Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Quick Notes for the Day - September 2

Fewer Job Losses, Layoffs Planned - The ADP Employer Services report showed that fewer private sector jobs were lost in August than in July month while companies also planned fewer layoffs. When you combine those two, this seems to suggest that there has been a modest improvement in the labor market. All told, employers cut 298,000 private sector jobs in August versus 360,000 jobs in July.

On Friday, the Labor Department will release its comprehensive payrolls report with economists estimating public and private employers cut 225,000 jobs in August versus the July report of 247,000 job.

Non-farm Productivity Rises - The Labor Department reported that non-farm productivity rose at a 6.6% annual rate in the second quarter, faster than the initial 6.4% percent estimate. That was the biggest increase since the third quarter of 2003.

BP Makes 'Giant' Oil Discovery in the Gulf of Mexico - BP Plc said it had made a "giant" oil discovery in the deepwater in the Gulf of Mexico. Further appraisal will be required to ascertain the volumes of oil present, BP said, but a spokesman said the find could be bigger than its Kaskida discovery which has over 3 billion barrels of oil in place.

BP, the biggest leaseholder in the Gulf of Mexico, has a 62% working interest in the block while Brazilian state-controlled Petrobras owns 20% and ConocoPhillips owns 18%.

"These material discoveries together with our industry leading acreage position support the continuing growth of our deepwater Gulf of Mexico business into the second half of the next decade," said Andy Inglis, BP's head of Exploration and Production.

Factory Orders Rise 1.3% - The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that factory orders increased 1.3% in July. July's rise marked the fourth straight monthly increase with orders for durable goods jumping 5.1% in July. However, orders for nondurable goods fell 1.9%. Although the number was slightly below the 2.0% street estimate, it is still viewed as a positive that growth is occurring.

Oil Falls on Inventory Data - The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that crude inventories fell by 400,000 barrels last week which was less than expected. On the news, oil futures fell less than 1% Wednesday morning. Analysts surveyed by Platts had expected a decline of 1.9 million barrels. Gasoline inventories fell by 3 million barrels and distillate stockpiles rose by 1.2 million barrels, the EIA said.

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