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Pre-Market Primer: Jobless Claims Remain Elevated; Stocks Up Slightly

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Britain says hi to its newest central bank governor.

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Stocks are higher this morning as investors digest corporate earnings and higher-than-expected jobless claims.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance last week fell less than expected to 366,000 from the previous week's upwardly-revised 371,000. The four-week moving average fell to 350,500.

Index futures this morning were slightly higher. Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures are up 0.06% at 13,937. Futures on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) ticked up 0.09% to 1,508.20 and Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures drifted up 0.07% to 2,738.75. Asian markets fell overnight and Europe is mostly higher.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NASDAQ:GMCR) reporteed better-than-expected earnings yesterday after the closing bell.
The maker of Keurig coffee machines earned $0.76 per share as revenue rose 16% to $1.34 billion. Shares fell 7.5% in after-hours trading on sales guidance for the coming quarters that trailed estimates.

Visa (NYSE:V) booked $1.93 per share in the fourth quarter, exceeding analyst extimates. The payments giant also authorized the repurchasing of $1.75 billion in shares. The company's stock drifted between losses and gains after the announcement. This was the ninth consecutive quarter of earnings beats from Visa.

Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) shares fell just over 1% after the company reported a loss of $1.32 billion, or $0.44 per share for the fourth quarter. The loss was one penny per share, or $200 million greater than in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Facing competition from Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and others, Yelp (NYSE:YELP) reported a wider-than-expected loss in the previous quarter. Shares declined more than 5%.

LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) will report earnings this afternoon. The professional social network is expected to report $0.19 earnings per share, up $0.07 from a year ago.

Mark Carney, the incoming Bank of England governor who was recruited from Canada's central bank, was grilled by members of Parliament today. Since Carney's appointment, he floated the idea that monetary policy should be guided by a nominal GDP target rather than an inflation target. In his testimony today, he disavowed those views. He also endorsed moves similar to the Glass-Steagall Act in the United States, which strictly separate retail banks from investment banks.

The British pound rose 0.5% on the dollar to $1.575 on Carney's remarks that the bank should exit unconventional monetary policy. The Bank of England also announced that it will leave the level of the current quantitative easing policy and rates unchanged, but warned that inflation could hover above 2% for the rest of the year. The European Central Bank also left rates unchanged.

On the heels of a positive factory orders report yesterday, German industrial production for December rose 0.3%, exceeding expectations. UK industrial production rose 1.1% in December, also beating estimates.

The political uncertainty in Spain pushed bond yields higher, increasing borrowing costs for the troubled country. Spain sold 4.61 billion euros of short-term bonds. This exceeded the auction target, but yields rose to 2.889% from 2.587% a month ago. The Prime Minister and the ruling party are facing calls to resign on allegations of corruption.


Twitter: @vincent_trivett
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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