Thursday Afternoon Cheat Sheet: 3 Stories that Moved Markets

The U.S. markets struggled for gains early on Thursday morning, but tripped over negative economic indicators and several weak earnings reports to close down across the board.

At the close: DJIA: -0.36%, S&P 500: -0.26%, NASDAQ: -0.01%.

Here are three stories that moved markets today:Debt

Breaking news: Congress has given final approval to the GOP plan to temporarily suspend the debt ceiling, allowing the treasury to keep spending until early August. The Senate voted 64 to 34 to pass the measure, which will now head to President Barack Obama’s desk, where he is expected to sign it.

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1) The Great Recession technically ended in the summer of 2009, as gross domestic product rebounded from the bottom and started to expand. However, to any American not looking at the textbook definition, the recession never ended. The latest economic reports on income and spending might appear to be positive, but consumers are still in survival mode.

On Thursday, the Commerce Department said incomes increased 2.6 percent in December, easily beating analysts’ expectations for only a 0.8 percent gain. It was the largest jump in eight years… (Read more.)

jobs2) After hitting a five-year low the previous week, the number of American workers filing new applications for unemployment benefits increased in the week through January 26, hitting levels consistent with modest job growth.

Last week, the advanced figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims rose by 38,000 to 368,000, the Labor Department reported on Thursday. The jump reflects the largest number of new claims since early November, when unemployment figures rose as a result of Superstorm Sandy… (Read more.)

3) “Our current monetary system seems to require perpetual expansion to maintain its existence,” writes William Gross, founder and co-CIO at Pacific Investment Management. Gross is referring to the incredible amount of credit that is required to spur economic growth in America, and the fact that it seems to be having diminishing returns. Gross likens the current monetary system to the universe at large, say that the economic could end in a “big freeze” when the credit markets get too large.

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