Market Commentary – Thu, Mar 15 – 10:53 AM ET
Economic data was plentiful today and the data was reported better than expected.
The Labor Department reported this morning that Weekly Initial Jobless Claims fell by 14,000 in the latest week to 351,000 and just below the 355,000 that was expected, which matched a four year low. The four week moving average, which smoothes out any abnormalities, was unchanged at 355,750. Continuing Claims dropped by 81,000 to 3.34 million.
In manufacturing news, the Philly Fed Index rose by 12.5 in March from 10.2 in February. The 12.5 rise was the highest reading since last April. Employment picked up in March as 22 of the firms surveyed reported an increase, compared to 15% in February. Over in the New York State region, the Empire Manufacturing Index Index rose to 20.2 in March from 19.5 in February.
On the inflation front, the Producer Price Index rose by 0.4% in February from 0.1% in January but just below the 0.5% expected. The Core Producer Price Index was inline with expectations at 0.2% but the year-over-year number rose to 3%. The Producer Price Index measures inflation at the wholesale level.