Stock Market Today – Stocks Are Up; Unemployment Claims Miss Expectations

Last updated 10:00 AM EST

Stock indices are in the green to start today’s trading session. By 10:00 am EST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and Nasdaq 100 were up 0.3%, 0.4%, and 0.7%, respectively.

On Wednesday, the Department of Labor released its Initial Jobless Claims report, which was worse than expected. In the last week, 240,000 people filed for unemployment insurance for the first time. The expectation is for 225,000 individuals.

Using the four-week average, initial jobless claims were 226,750, up from last week’s reading of 221,250. It is worth noting that this number has risen in general since the end of September.

In addition, Continued Unemployment Claims, which measures the number of unemployed persons eligible for unemployment insurance, reached 1.551 million. This is above the forecast of 1.517 million and higher than last week’s print of 1.503 million.

Continued Unemployment Claims are currently sitting near their lowest level since 1970. Relatively speaking, this indicates that individuals are not struggling to find another job after being laid off.

However, this number has slowly increased recently as the Federal Reserve’s tightening policy began to take effect. Thus, it is likely to continue to rise as more companies announce layoffs.

Stock Market Today: Futures Up Ahead of Fed Meeting Minutes

First Published 7:18 EST

US stock futures are trending higher early Wednesday as investors look forward to the minutes of the last Federal Reserve meeting from the beginning of this month. The update will provide more clarity on the December policy approach.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) gained 0.05%, while the S&P 500 (SPX) gained 0.08%, as of 7:00 am EST, Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq 100 (NDX) futures forward 0.08%.

Nordstrom (NYSE: JWN) was a major pre-market mover, down by nearly 10% at the last check in the pre-market session on Wednesday even as the company beat top and bottom line estimates in Q3 and reaffirmed its guidance. Investors are most likely looking for a guidance lift and disappointed that expectations are kept flat, indicating that this is as good as it gets for Nordstrom.

What happened on Tuesday

After the initial shock, investors let go of concerns about a series of key cases related to the COVID-19 in China after a resurgence of cases. The S&P 500, Dow, and Nasdaq 100 closed the day with gains of 1.36%, 1.18%, and 1.48%, respectively.

Volumes remained low yesterday ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, and this is expected to continue on Wednesday.

Investors are more focused on earnings reports and expect dovish monetary policy from the Fed.

Surge Oil Shipping Rates

Meanwhile, the cost of shipping oil to different ports around the world is rising higher, pulling up energy prices and threatening fuel inflation.

The ongoing war in Ukraine has disrupted several short oil trade routes in the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. Moreover, with the reduction of Russian oil exports to Europe and the latter looking for other suppliers, the time required for tankers to reach their destination has increased. This is the root of the price surge.

What Awaits Wednesday

On the economic front, the minutes of the latest Fed meeting will be up for review on Wednesday to understand the central bank’s stance on inflation and its policy approach for the December meeting.

Weekly initial jobless claims will also be out, revealing more details about how the labor market is coping. With a large number of layoffs in tech, a spike in claims is expected. The Dow Jones survey forecast 225,000 for the week ending November 19, which was higher than the previous week’s 222,000.

The market will be closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving and will be open until 1pm on Friday.

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