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Jobless claims worse than expected

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This morning's jobless claims number shows that first-time claims for jobless benefits rose by 1,000 to 445,000 in the latest week, while the more informative four-week average rose 13,750 to 448,750, the highest since November of last year. The recent continued rise of jobless claims increases the risk that the employment situation is deteriorating once again, though some feel the higher numbers of jobless claims are being distorted by the impact of extended benefits distorting the reports and makes it difficult to determine the significance of the recent increases.

The number of workers receiving extended unemployment benefits rose 82,000 to 3.84 million. The four-week average of continuing claims rose to 3.7 million, the most since May 1983, when the labor force was much smaller.

Nokia reduces growth outlook after reporting earnings

Handset maker Nokia (NYSE:NOK) reported Q1 earnings of $0.17 a share, which was 2-cents better than consensus on revenues that fell 12.4% to $6.23 billion (consensus $6.35 billion). For Q2, the company said it see EPS of $0.16-$0.18 a share, which was inline with consensus of $0.17.

However, the company did reduce its industry handset sales estimates to 400-420 million from 420-440 million, after Motorola (NYSE:MOT) reaffirmed its 420 million estimate yesterday. Taken together, these statements suggest to some that sales estimates are edging toward the lower end of the consensus range, which has also been weighing on Qualcomm's (NASDAQ:QCOM) stock as well.

Freeport McMoran (FCX) beats estimates

Copper producer Freeport McMoran (NYSE:FCX) just reported earnings that showed a loss of $-0.01 a share, which was better than consensus for the company to show a loss of $-0.10 a share. Yesterday we noted the bullishness taking place in the stock and the new 52-week high close that hinted that traders might have been front running this earnings report. Currently I don't have the details of the full earnings report, just the headline numbers.

Bullish traders in Phelps Dodge (PD)were interested in Freeport's (FCX) earnings as it may hint toward PD's earnings when they are scheduled to report a loss of $-1.07 a share on April 24th before the opening of trading.

SAP Aktiengesell yet to report

Another stock that some traders were looking to report on earnings in SAP Aktiengesell (NYSE:SAP) have yet to report their earnings this morning. Analysts are looking for the software maker to report earnings of $0.10 a share. I will report this number and any guidance given in the market monitor on OptionInvestor.com when they are released.

Stock futures mixed

Stock futures are mixed this morning as S&P futures trade down fractionally at 1,127. NASDAQ futures are trading down 8 points at 1,404, while Dow futures are up 18 points at 10,246.

Fair value for the S&P 500 today is $1.40. That price will not change during the day. HL Camp & Company has their computers set for program buying at $2.52 and set for selling at $0.34. Fair value for the NASDAQ-100 today is $5.18.

Jeff Bailey
Senior Market Technician
Option Investor

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