The stock markets in the United States declined today despite the report that the number of people who filed for unemployment benefits last week—a sign that the labor market continues to move.

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The Department of Labor reported that 276,000 people applied for unemployment benefits for the week ended May 30, down by 8,000 from the previous week’s level at 284,000.

Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics commented that “businesses really look through the weakness in the first quarter.” He added that the “job market continues to do reasonably well.”

The Federal Reserve is monitoring the improvement in the labor market and inflation while considering raising interest rates. On May 22, Fed Chairperson Janet Yellen said they could raise interest rate if the economic growth meets their expectation.

[drizzle]Today, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) urged the Federal Reserve to delay raising interest rates until the first half of 2016. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said the inflation rate is not improving at a level that would warrant a rate increase without a risk.

On the other hand, the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Confidence declined to 40.5% from 40.9% for the week ended May 31. Gary Langer, “Weakened views of the buying climate bear the brunt of the blame for the index’s recent troubles. In short: It’s a serious sell-off.”

In an interview with Bloomberg, Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at JP Morgan Securities commented, “As we look at some of the week-to-week and month-to-month swings, it seems to come down to gas prices,” currently restraining consumer confidence. He added, “The broad improvement you’ve seen—the trend improvement — is probably more owing to what you see in the labor market.”

Meanwhile, Greece requested the IMF to postpone its four payments in June, and to pay a one lump-sum payment by the end of the month. According to IMF spokesman Gerry Rice, “Under an Executive Board decision adopted in the late 1970s, country members can ask to bundle together multiple principal payments falling due in a calendar month.”

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – 17,905.58 (-0.94%)
  • S&P 500- 2,095.84 (-0.86%)
  • NASDAQ- 5,059.12 (-0.79%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,251.30 (+1.05%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,556.38 (-0.77%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,859.24 (-1.31%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 11,340.60 (-0.69%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 20,488.19 (+0.07%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 27,551.89 (-0.38%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 5,181.98 (+0.73%)

Stocks in Focus

The shares of Chesapeake Energy declined 3.83% to $13.04 per share. The second largest natural gas producer lost more than 33% of stock value year-to-date. Analysts at Alembic Global Partners downgraded their rating on the stock to Underweight.  Evercore SI issued a Hold rating.

The shares of Sprint declined 6.11% to $4.46 per share. Analysts at Morgan Stanley recently issued an Underweight rating on the stock with a $4 price target. They even suggested that Sprint could plummet to as low as $2 over the next 12 months.

Shiloh Industries gained more than 30% to $12.98 per share, the highest gainer on NASDAQ. The company reported that its revenue increased 34.2% to $280.4 million in the second quarter of 2015. Its adjusted earnings increased from $0.35 to $0.42 per share.

 

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