This Thursday brought many economic reports, none of which are very good for the bulls. The bulls have another worry here as well and that is that the weakness seen here today is not really another boost for the camp hoping that the numbers are bad enough that we get some additional quantitative easing measures from Bernanke and friends.
The current account deficit for the first quarter hit the worst level since December 2008 for the second month in a row: -$137.3 billion.
Weekly jobless claims are back on the rise and still moving back towards that 400,000 level. The prior week was revised upward from 377,000 to a new 380,000. Last week’s preliminary number was up 6,000 to 386,000. The army of unemployed measured by the continuing claims (with a one-week lag) managed to shrink by 33,000 to 3.28 million.
Consumer inflation is not a serious threat right now. Consumer Price Index came in at -0.3% for the month of May’s headline number but the core rate that excludes food and energy was up by +0.2%. On a year over year basis the inflation was +1.7% on the headline inflation data and the core reading excluding food and energy was up 2.3%.
None of today’s data is exactly great on the surface. It is also not bad enough to be one more pressure point for Ben Bernanke and The Federal Reserve to come out with a new round of quantitative easing or a move to extend ‘operation twist’ that much more.
JON C. OGG