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Jobless claims and spending both fall

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This morning's economic data shows that first time claims for unemployment fell by 10,000 in the latest week to 499,000 (forecast 502,000) and that has the 4-week moving average dropping by 9,000 to 497,250. Continuing claims for unemployment benefits rose 55,000 to 3.7 million, the highest level in 18.5 years. Consumer spending dropped 1.8% (forecast was for decline of 0.8%) in September while incomes for the same period were unchanged (forecast was for increase of 0.1%).

Stock futures show gains

Stock futures were showing marginal gains prior to the release of this morning's economic data, but since today's numbers were released we've seen stock futures rise. S&P futures are currently up 3 points, NASDAQ futures are higher by 18 and Dow futures are higher by 40 points. Fair value for the S&P 500 today is $1.42. HL Camp & Company has their computers set for program buying at $2.32 and set for program selling at $0.78. Fair value for the NASDAQ-100 today is $4.12.

More economic data yet to come

Later today at 10:00 am EST, we'll get the National Assoc. of Purchasing Managers (NAPM) numbers. Economists are looking for a number near the 44.2% level. Construction spending is also due out at the same time and economists are looking for a decline of 0.8% there.

Microsoft nears agreement

Shares of software giant Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) are being bid higher by $1.85 this morning to $60, on reports that the software maker may have reached a tentative agreement to settle its antitrust case. Details of the prospective settlement have yet to be disclosed and language was still being worked out between Microsoft and the Justice Department. Over 1.2 million shares have traded hands in pre-market action.

Jeff Bailey
Senior Market Technician
Option Investor

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