Thursday’s Mid-Day Movers: 3 Stories Driving Markets

U.S. equity markets were mixed on Thursday afternoon. Investors weighed fairly optimistic jobs data against a decrease in import and export prices. An IDC report weighed heavily on PC-makers, dragging down tech. At 12:35 p.m.:

DJIA: +0.35% to 13,854.40 S&P 500: +0.35% to 1,593.30 NASDAQ: -0.03% to 3,296.41
Gold: -$6.30 to 1,565.10 per ounce WTI Crude: -1.26% to $93.45 per barrel U.S. 10-Year: -0.017 points to 1.787 percent

Here are three stories moving markets on Thursday afternoon:

1) 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.)

2) 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.)

3) March Import and Export Prices Reflect Limited Global Demand: Import prices declined 0.5 percent in March, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Thursday morning. This is the first monthly decline since December, and contributed to a 2.7 percent year-over-year decrease in import prices for the month.

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A decrease in fuel prices led the decline. The BLS index for import fuel decreased 1.9 percent, driven by a 1.9 percent drop in the price of petroleum. Year over year, the fuel index is down 9.1 percent, led by a 10.4 percent drop in petroleum prices that outweighs a 47.1 percent increase in the price of natural gas… (Read more.)

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