Thursday Afternoon Cheat Sheet: 3 Stories That Moved Markets

U.S. equity markets posted modest gains on Thursday, pushing the S&P 500 into the fourth day of a rally.

DJIA: +0.42% to 14,865.10 S&P 500: +0.36% to 1,593.37 NASDAQ: +0.09% to 3,300.16
Gold: +$6.10 to $1,564.90 per ounce WTI Crude: -1.28% to $93.43 per barrel U.S. 10-Year: -0.014 points to 1.790%
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Here are three stories that helped move markets on Thursday afternoon.

1) What’s the Deal, PC? Tablets Got Your Sales? IDC and Gartner have released their quarterly trackers of PC shipments worldwide and in the U.S., and while both are mostly negative, there are some discrepancies between the two firms. According to IDC, global PC shipments declined 13.9 percent year-on-year to 76.3 million units in the first quarter of 2013, nearly doubling the firms predicted decline. The deep slide is the worst recorded since the firm began tracking shipments in 1994.

The overall numbers for the U.S. were similar to the global figure, as total shipments dropped 12.7 percent year-on-year, making for an 18.3 percent drop quarter-on-quarter. For most of the last 10 quarters, PC shipments have been declining year-on-year… (Read more.)

2) How Healthy Is The U.S. Labor Market? Although the economy remains weak and supported by historic central bank intervention, initial claims for unemployment insurance fell 10 percent in the week ended April 6 to a seasonally-adjusted 346,000. This compares against expectations for a 6 percent decline to 365,000 claims, and punctuates a March littered with negative labor market news.

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Weekly claims data has been particularly volatile recently, soaring to an upwardly-revised 388,000 in the previous period. The four-week moving average, a more reliable indicator of emerging trends, increased less than 1 percent to 358,000. This suggests that the data for the first week of April, though positive, is not necessarily indicative of improving labor market conditions… (Read more.)

3) Would Obama’s Budget Make a Healthcare Workforce Crisis Worse? “America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals see good news and bad news in President Obama’s proposed budget,” begins a statement issued by the Association of American Medical Colleges on Wednesday. “We are encouraged by the president’s continued support for medical research as reflected in the modest increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health. However, we are deeply concerned that the cuts to Medicare in the president’s proposal will have serious consequences on the health of the nation.” (Read more.)

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