Jobless Claims, Housing Starts And Earnings Results In Focus - Economic Highlights

Jobless claims clung to a higher rung of its 275K-300K range by posting initial claims of 294K for the week. This is an increase of 12K from the previous week, which was further revised up 1K. The 4-week moving average, which evens out week-to-week volatility, is currently at 282,750, up slightly from the previous week's average. The new claims figure is now at a 6-week high.

Both Housing Starts and Permits data were lower than expected this morning. Starts of 926K was below the 1M+ analysts had expected. Permits reached 1039K, but that was still below the 1081K expected. Perhaps at this stage we can blame weather-related issues for the misses, but these excuses will evaporate as the spring season moves along. That said, Starts have still come up 2 percent from the previous read, following a steep drop in February.

As Q1 earnings season moves forward, we encounter plenty of news from the Finance sector, and much of it is as expected. That said, some companies are shining brighter than others. JPMorgan ( JPM ), Goldman Sachs ( GS ) and Citigroup ( C ) have all beaten consensus estimates for the first quarter of 2014.

Yesterday after the bell, Netflix ( NFLX ) posted a big earnings miss but nevertheless jumped in after-market trading on better-than-expected subscriptions, both domestically and especially internationally. Also, Blackstone ( BX ) and UnitedHealth ( UNH ) posted better-than-expected earnings this morning.

The Q1 earnings train continues to roll along today, and will be at full throttle for the next couple weeks. Zacks Director of Research Sheraz Mian notes that Q1 has gotten off to a soft start, even with expectations lowered so much we're actually expecting an "earnings recession." Stay tuned.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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