REUTERS/Jason LeeThe markets took a bit of breather today.
First the scoreboard:
Dow: 15,082, -22.5 pts, -0.1%
S&P 500: 1,626, -6.0 pts, -0.3%
NASDAQ: 3,409, -4.1 pts, -0.1%
And now the top stories:
- The latest reading of weekly initial unemployment claims was much stronger than expected. Claims unexpectedly fell to 323,000 from last week's revised reading of 327,000. This is the lowest level since January 2008. Economists were looking for the number to climb to 335,000. Furthermore, the Department of Labor added that no states estimated their claims and there was nothing unusual in the data, so this was a clean number.
- Electric car maker Tesla shocked everyone with a big earnings announcement surprise. The company reported its first profitable quarter of $0.12 per share, blowing away the expectation for $0.03 per share. The company also raised its guidance for full-year deliveries to 21,000 units. The stock closed up 24% for the day.
- There was quite a bit of activity in the currency markets. The Bank of Korea announced a surprise interest rate cut last night. That follows surprise cuts from the National Bank of Poland and the Reserve Bank of Australia earlier this week. "It's like Girls Gone Wild with rate cuts," said "Currency Wars" author Jim Rickards.
- At around 2:00 p.m. EDT today, the dollar crossed the ¥100 level. This may be a sign that Japan's extraordinary efforts to stimulate its economy by weakening its currency is working. However, yen weakness also means dollar strengthen which makes American goods more expensive to Japanese customers.
- The dollar strengthened further and the price of gold fell late in the trading session on a rumor. Fund manager Doug Kass tweeted a "vague rumor" that WSJ reporter Jon "Fedwire" Hilsenrath would be writing an article on the Federal Reserve's intentions for "tapering" its easy monetary policy. Hilsenrath has earned a reputation for being close to Fed members, so the markets moved.
- Today's market sell-off was a welcome development for those who have been worried about frothy sentiment. "The S&P has been up 56 of the 88 trading sessions so far," said UBS's Art Cashin. "That rate of success is not only extremely rare, it is, borderline, unprecedented. Fifty years of experience suggests streaks ultimately end – just ask Joe DiMaggio. For now, enjoy the ride; be wary of rumors; stay very nimble and have a great weekend."
- Don't Miss: 21 Giant Companies Reveal What's Really Going On In The Economy >
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