The number of people filing for new unemployment benefits increased to 326,000 last week, up 1,000 from the previous week, according to the Labor Department. The four-week moving average for claims, which evens out bumpy week-to-week data, fell by 3,750 to 331,500, indicating steady improvement in the job market.
Netflix (NFLX) surged more than 17% in pre-market trading. The company beat Wall Street earnings estimates and offered an upbeat outlook going forward. Netflix also said it added 2.3 million U.S. users to its streaming service in the last quarter, better than expected and up 14% from a year ago. It projects adding 2.25 million U.S. users in the next quarter, another number investors liked. The company also mentioned the possibility of pricing changes to its DVD and streaming services for new members.
eBay (EBAY) also saw shares rise in pre-market trading. The company beat earnings estimates by a penny though they did miss on revenue. eBay attributes the beat to a strong holiday season for its e-commerce site and PayPal. Shares also rose after billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn urged eBay to spin-off PayPal into a separate company.
Dow component, McDonald's (MCD), posted earnings this morning of $1.40, which beat earnings estimates by a penny but missed revenue estimates. The company also reported a decline in comparable store sales for December versus estimates they would remain flat. The company called 2013 a "challenging year."
As the world's greatest economic thinkers discuss incmoe inequality at this year's World Economic Forum in Davos, two new reports were released on exactly that issue. A study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research finds the odds of a child moving up the economic ladder have remained about the same for the past three decades, meaning a widening income gap hasn't translated into less economic mobility than in the past. That study coincides with a new USA Today/Pew Poll that finds two-thirds of Americans believe the gap between the rich and everyone else has increased.