Greek Factor: +1 The day's premarket buzz highlights data on jobless claims, labor productivity, online job demand, monetary policy from the BOE and ECB and several pending reports and corporate earnings headliners. The "Greek Factor" ranges from +3 to -3, and is a subjective measure of The Greek's view of the market impact of individual and aggregate news and the day's scheduled events.
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The day's premarket buzz is born of yesterday's driver, QE2, and inaction this morning by the BOE and ECB. As the European banks often take their time in acting, this allows the Fed to get the desired result, or one of them, in a weakening dollar this month. The dollar has already weakened ahead of the QE2 policy statement, but it might have gained today if the ECB or BOE countered US Fed action. Thus, the increase in jobless claims is somewhat muted this morning, since we would look ahead to job gains and not expect them yet (or the Fed would). I'll have more to say about the impact of QE2 in the near future.
Weekly Jobless Claims were reported today, just one week removed from exciting the marketplace on a deep dip toward 400K. HOWEVER, this week’s data covering the period ended October 30 showed claims spiked back upward to 457K, versus economists' forecasts for 443K. Adding insult to injury, last week's sweet result was revised higher to 437K, up from 434K.
Monster Employment Index
Monster Worldwide (NYSE: MWW) reported its Monster Employment Index, a measure of online job demand, this morning. The MEI slipped two points in October, to 136, but was still better than last year's 120 mark. That was the basic message, better year-over-year data, but slippage against September, which is more important. During October, online job availability rose in 10 of the Index's 20 industry sectors and in eight of the 23 occupational categories monitored.
Productivity & Costs Report
The government reported on Productivity & Costs for the third quarter this morning. Nonfarm business sector labor productivity gained by a 1.9% annual rate in the quarter. Output increased by 3%, while hours worked rose by only 1.1%. Productivity increased 2.5% over the last four quarters, which is not a stellar drive out of the depths of this recession. As is usually the case, Unit Labor Costs moved in the opposite direction to productivity, which is of course a good thing for corporations and is expected. Unit labor costs in nonfarm businesses decreased 0.1 percent in the third quarter of 2010, because productivity grew 1.9 percent while hourly compensation increased 1.8 percent.
ECB & BOE Hold Steady
Both the Bank of England and the European Central Banks kept their rates steady and quantitative easing efforts unchanged, which should allow the dollar more room to depreciate. This also allows stocks more room to rise in the short-term.
Chain Store Sales
Individual retailers will report their sales from stores in place for a year or more today. This October figure precedes the start of the holiday season and follows the back-to-school driver, so it lacks perhaps in importance. That said, it still matters to traders today.
Natural Gas Report
The EIA reports on the state of natural gas inventory later this morning at 10:30 PM.
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