US Futures Cut Most Losses after Claims Report
US futures cut some losses on Thursday, with contracts on the Dow Jones little changed after falling almost 200 points early in the premarket session, as traders welcomed an upbeat claims report. Initial jobless claims dropped to a fresh pre-pandemic low of 444K, below market expectations of 450K. Still, worries over a rise in inflation and an early pull back in Fed’s monetary stimulus continue to weigh on investors’ mood. Last FOMC minutes showed some officials consider it might be appropriate to start discussing a tapering plan in upcoming meetings if the US economy continues to pick up strongly and inflationary pressures persist. Some officials also said that in several industries, the supply-chain disruptions appeared to be “more persistent than originally anticipated”. On Wednesday, the Dow Jones lost 165 points or 0.5% to 33896; the S&P 500 slid 12 points or 0.3% to 4116 and the Nasdaq ended little changed at 13300.
Canada New Housing Prices Rise 1.9% MoM
Prices of new homes in Canada rose 1.9 percent from the previous month in April of 2021, following a 1.1 percent increase in March. New house prices were up in 22 of the 27 census metropolitan areas surveyed, as demand remained strong despite higher construction costs linked to price increases for softwood lumber. Year-on-year, new house prices jumped 9.9%, the largest increase since February 2007, continuing an upward trend that began in December of 2020.
US Weekly Jobless Claims Continue to Fall
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits dropped by 34 thousand to 444 thousand in the week ending May 15th, the lowest since mid-March 2020 and below market expectations of 450 thousand. The labor market continued to show signs of recovery, helped by the country’s re-opening efforts, the ongoing government support and one of the world’s most successful vaccination campaigns. Applications are likely to decrease further in the coming weeks as more than 20 states have recently announced plans to withdraw from federal unemployment benefit programs, with businesses saying they make it more difficult to hire as the unemployment benefits pay more than most minimum wage jobs. Meanwhile, the report also showed the number of continuing claims unexpectedly increase by 111 thousand to a seven-week high of 3.75 million.