Of note was the jobless claims report.
Initial claims are up for a third straight week, 10,000 higher in the November 24 week to a 234,000 level that is outside high estimates for 228,000. The 4-week average is up a sizable 4,750 to 223,250 which is suddenly the highest reading since July. There are no special factors distorting today's report.
Also moving higher are continuing claims, up 50,000 in lagging data for the November 17 week with this 4-week average up 20,000 to 1.668 million. This reading is coming up from a 45-year low in late October at 1.635 million. The unemployment rate for insured workers is unchanged at 1.2 percent, which is very low but up 1 tenth from a month ago.
Unemployment claims do appear to be shifting higher which doesn't point to another month of outstanding strength for the November employment report.If you can decipher that, more power to you. All it may mean is the Fed may soften its stance on raising interest rates again. But don't count your chickens yet.
On another note, I did a couple of trades in oil futures (Feb 19 contracts) this week, so I'm up about $1,400, so I'll take the rest of the day off. I'll detail these trades this weekend when I do my market wrap.
Other than that, Wall Street is usually -- emphasis on usually -- quiet on Friday afternoons, so I suggest you find a good book to read.
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