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Imports/Exports Heat Up, Jobless Claims Increase


Thursday, March 14, 2019

New February results on Import and Export Prices have hit the tape this morning, with both headline numbers hotter than expected: Imports reached +0.6% from the +0.4% estimated, and Exports also hit +0.6% from -0.1% anticipated.

These numbers depict energy-driven growth, as we see when we strip out petroleum imports and wind up with a +0.1% figure. Year over year, Imports registered -1.3% on the headline, a smaller negative than in the previous read. Exports of energy helped today’s headline number swing from a negative estimate, and year over year Exports are +0.3%.

Initial Jobless Claims crept higher week over week, by 6000 claims to be exact from the previous week, to 229K overall. This is technically above our long-term range of 200-225K we’d enjoyed for most of the past year-plus, but still consistent with our healthy domestic labor market. We have surrendered our 50-year lows we’d been experiencing late last summer, but it’s nothing worth losing any sleep over.

Continuing Claims also bumped up a bit, to 1.776 million longer-term jobless claims from 1.758 million the previous week. Again, these remain consistent with a favorable employment situation, which for February reported Unemployment at a mere 3.8%. That said, we do see things cooling a bit on this front, and we will continue to monitor where these weekly claims figures keep increasing.

Dollar General DG reported fiscal Q4 earnings results before the bell this morning, with mixed results: earnings of $1.84 per share missed the Zacks consensus by 4 cents, even as the bottom line grew 24% year over year. Revenues in the quarter of $6.65 billion outperformed estimates by 0.72%. Shares are trading down 7% in today’s pre-market, after having climbed nearly 12% year to date. For more on DG’s earnings, click here.

After today’s close, we see a surprising number of earnings results set to come out, including tech majors Oracle ORCL, Adobe ADBE and Broadcom AVGO, as well as specialty retailers Ulta ULTA, Zumiez ZUMZ, Tilly’s TLYS and Turtle Beach HEAR.

Mark Vickery
Senior Editor

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