New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits fell last week and a gauge of labor market trends hit a six-month low, a government report showed on Thursday, pointing to an improvement in the jobs market.
JOHN CANALLY, ECONOMIST, LPL FINANCIAL, BOSTON:
Yesterday's Beige Book said it very well -- the economy has stalled out and the claims data continues to suggest that the economy has stalled out, so you are seeing about 400,000 people per week file for unemployment benefits. The 4-week average is about 403,000, so companies aren't hiring but they aren't laying off workers either. That is one big difference that you are seeing between now and 2007 or 2008 when you saw claims rocket higher as all the financial turmoil hit.
I think it is both good news and bad news. It is good news that we are not seeing claims go higher, but then again it is bad news that we haven't seen them drop below 400,000 because the level that claims are at now suggests the unemployment level does not move very much, and that is key because the unemployment rate is probably going to stay near 9 percent until we can push claims down into the mid-threes and we haven't been able to do that for a while now.
PETER JANKOVSKIS, CO-CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER AT OAKBROOK INVESTMENTS LLC IN LISLE, ILLINOIS.
It doesn't look too exciting, pretty much in-line. I'm more interested in seeing how the Philly Fed and the existing home sales data come out. Obviously we had good home sales numbers on new homes. Let's see if the overall market is clearing a little bit better. That is important. Philly Fed -- let's see if we can get some recovery out of the manufacturing sector out east.
WAYNE KAUFMAN, CHIEF MARKET ANALYST AT JOHN THOMAS FINANCIAL IN NEW YORK
This is a non-event. Everyone is watching what's going on in Greece and Europe, everyone is waiting for the summit. Trading is going to be driven by earnings and what comes out of Europe.
STOCKS: U.S. stock index futures trim gains slightly.
BONDS: U.S. Treasury debt prices extend losses.
FOREX: The dollar extends gains against the yen.
OIL: U.S. crude futures turn lower.