Thursday, July 9, 2009

Quick Notes for the Day - July 9

Jobless Claims Drop to Lowest Since January - First-time claims for state unemployment benefits fell in the latest weekly data, after seasonal adjustment, while continuing claims hit a record high, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The number of initial claims in the week ending July 4 fell 52,000 to 565,000 - the lowest level since January - as the manufacturing layoffs, predominantly automotive, that had been expected have already occurred at some companies, according to the Labor Department, which added that some seasonally expected layoffs may come later or not at all. The four-week average of initial claims fell 10,000 to 606,000. For the week ending June 27, the number of Americans receiving state jobless benefits rose 159,000 to 6.88 million. The four-week moving average of these continuing claims rose 12,000 to a record 6.77 million. The insured unemployment rate, which represents the portion of all workers covered by unemployment insurance who are collecting benefits, rose to 5.1% from 5%.

Mortgage Rates Fall - Lowest Level in 6 Weeks - According to Freddie Mac's weekly survey of conforming mortgage rates, rates fell again this week, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropping to its lowest level in six weeks. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.20% for the week ending July 9 versus last week's 5.32% average and 6.37% a year ago. Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages also fell to 4.69% for the week versus 4.77% last week and 5.91% a year ago.

Natural Gas Inventories Rise - Natural gas inventories rose 75 billion cubic feet in the week ended July 3 to reach 2,796 billion cubic feet, the EIA reported Thursday. Natural gas futures rose 6.8 cents (2.1%) to $3.421 per million BTU. At the current level, inventories were 601 billion cubic feet higher than last year at this time and 452 billion cubic feet above the five-year average.

Fed Buys $3 Billion in Treasurys - The Federal Reserve bought $2.999 billion in Treasurys maturing between 2010 and 2011 on Thursday, the second of two buyback operations this week.

Dollar Falls, Gold, Oil Up - The dollar fell this morning after the jobless claims data showed some improvement, and on the news, gold and oil moved higher initially. Gold has continued to trade higher this morning (up about $5 to $914) on the weaker dollar, but oil has now pared its gains, and it is sitting virtually for the day at $60.

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