Overnight trading in equity futures stayed in a tight range before volatile trading following the initial jobless claims report at 8:30 a.m. EST. Initial claims for unemployment insurance showed a large jump to 439,000 from last month's 361,000, well ahead of expectations of 375,000. The large jump was attributed to a lack of claims from New York state last week, due to a loss of electricity in government buildings. Thus, the claims this week included two weeks from New York, not to mention an already exaggerated number due to unemployment claims associated with the Hurricane Sandy.
Negative action was further exacerbated by Wal-Mart's
(NYSE:WMT) earnings. Wal-Mart's earnings-per-share was roughly inline with estimates at $1.08, but revenue missed sharply at $113.93 billion versus expectations of $114.87 billion . Also, a number of metrics for US sales showed dangerous declines. Forward guidance for the company was mostly unchanged.
Natural gas futures plunged after the weekly inventory report showed a smaller decline than what was expected. Natural gas futures fell more than 2% after the report showed a decline in inventories by 18 billion cubic feet, less than the expected 27 billion cubic feet.
Tomorrow's Financial Outlook
Remember that tomorrow is options expiration, so price action is more than likely going to be muted.
There isn't much in the way of economic data from the US tomorrow, although the capacity utilization figures will be key. The Fed focuses on this figure when looking at economic activity. The gauge is expected to stay unchanged at 78.3% from last month. Foot Locker
(NYSE:FL) will report earnings before the open.
It will also be pretty quiet on the Europe front. The eurozone will report its monthly trade balance. Declining German exports would indicate further weakness out of Europe. The gauge is expected to widen to 10 billion euros from 6.6 billion euros.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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