The major currencies recovered against the dollar in the Thursday session, with the Swiss franc edging up by more than 0.6% and the euro firmer by almost 0.5%. Meanwhile, US equities struggled lower as the Dow Jones closed beneath the key 10,000-level, shedding 0.74% to 9,956 and the Nasdaq declining by more than 1% to 2,119. Crude oil regained the $73-mark, settling higher by around 0.9%.
The dataflow was light today, seeing the release of weekly jobless claims which printed better than consensus estimates to 473k. However, last week's claims were upwardly revised from 500k to 504k. While this week's claims slipped to its lowest level in a month, it is unlikely to make a dent in the August non-farm payrolls, which are forecast to reveal a loss of 106k jobs following 131k jobs lost from July.
The calendar for Friday consists of Q2 personal consumption, GDP, personal consumption expenditures and the final reading for the August University of Michigan consumer confidence survey. Consensus estimates are looking for personal consumption to remain unchanged from the preliminary reading, holding steady at 1.6% while the core PCE is also seen steady at 1.1%. The second reading for Q2 GDP is also expected to stand pat at 1.4% on an annualized basis. Rounding out the reports will be the University of Michigan consumer confidence survey at 69.6.
The key highlight though, will be Fed Chairman Bernanke's speech at the Economic Summit in Jackson Hole, scheduled for tomorrow at 10:00 AM. In light of the deluge of disappointing economic reports, traders will turn to Bernanke's speech discussing the Economic Outlook and the Federal Reserve's Policy Response for additional insight into whether further quantitative easing will materialize from the FOMC to combat deteriorating economic fundamentals.