The day started out on a positive note, with equity futures modestly higher before the release of this morning's economic data. Weekly initial jobless claims data showed a small decrease to 393,000 from last month's 416,000. This was marginally lower than the 395,000 consensus. This week's results showed the third straight week of lowered claims due to Hurricane Sandy.
The second estimate of third-quarter GDP rose to 2.7% from the first estimate of 2.0%, slightly below the 2.8% estimate. This increase was due to incoming data over the past month that showed a noticeable increase in US economic activity.
Following the mixed economic data, the market was shaken a bit by aggressive political statements. House Speaker Boehner was not enthusiastic that any deal could be reached and was disappointed in the response he had gotten from the White House. This was a big turnaround from Thursday, when he felt "enthusiastic" and "optimistic" about progress on the budget talks. Strong partisan talk from fellow Washington heavyweights Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid didn't help matters.
Nonetheless, the S&P 500
((INDEXSP:.INX) squeezed through to finish in positive territory, with key momentum names Apple
(NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google
(NASDAQ:GOOG) each trading up over 1%, a positive sign for the public's risk tolerance.
In energy news, the weekly natural gas inventory report showed a sharp increase in stockpiles compared to estimates. According to the EIA, stockpiles rose 4 billion cubic feet, much more than the expected decline of 5 billion cubic feet. January 2013 natural gas futures fell $0.15 to $3.65/BTU.
Tomorrow's Financial Outlook
In economic data, we will see the November Chicago PMI, as well as the October PCE prices, personal income, and personal spending numbers.
There are four earnings reports on the calendar, including United Natural Foods
(NASDAQ:UNFI) and Genesco
However, the market is more apt to react to news out of Washington regarding the fiscal cliff.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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