Markets tumbled into the closing bell.
First the scoreboard:
Dow: 12,542, -28.5, -0.2 percent
S&P 500: 1,353, -2.1, -0.1 percent
NASDAQ: 2,836, -9.8, -0.3 percent
And now the top stories:
- There was a lot of economic data released today. But a lot of it was hit by Hurricane Sandy.
- First, initial weekly jobless claims surged to 439k from 361k a week ago. This was much worse than the 375k economists were looking for. The 4-week moving average climbed to 383,750 from 372,000 last week. Economists brushed it off, blaming it on Hurricane Sandy.
- CPI climbed a very tame 0.1 percent in October, which was right in line with expectations. Excluding food and energy, core inflation climbed 0.2 percent. This low level inflation rate will probably keep the inflationists at bay.
- The Empire Fed Manufacturing index unexpectedly improved to -5.22 in October from -6.16 last month. Economists were expecting it to fall to -7.35. " The general business conditions index was negative for a fourth consecutive month, but was little changed at -5.2, " wrote NY Fed. " Labor market conditions were noticeably weaker. The index for number of employees fell fourteen points to -14.6, a sharp drop to its lowest level since 2009 ."
- The Philly Fed Index, however, was particularly ugly. In November, the measure plunged to -10.7 from 5.7 a month ago. This was much worse than the 2.0 reading economists expected. "Firms reported declines in overall activity, new orders, shipments, and employment," wrote the Philly Fed in a statement. "But the influence of the recent storm in terms of lost production in the short run and reduced activity for longer periods was evident in firms’ responses to questions about the storm’s impact on business activity."
- The Morgan Stanley Business Conditions index, which unfortunately isn't followed very closely, tanked again in November. "Rising fiscal policy uncertainty is having an increasingly negative impact on business activity as the fiscal cliff looms," wrote the economists led by Vincent Reinhart.
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