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August 22: Initial Claims in Focus

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Thus far, we following the annual Fed summit at Jackson Hole have been devoid of any red meat. In times when there's very little on the economic menu these days, it can be downright painful.

Basically, according to the minutes released from yesterday, Fed members are mixed on when to enact a policy of tapering $85B in monthly asset buybacks. Some say a new policy should be put in place right away, while others think the Fed should be patient. Great, just what we were looking for -- a nebulous read on a complex topic. Not exactly the things screaming headlines are made of.

T.G.I.T. -- Thank God It's Thursday, when Initial Jobless Claims come out. We see this morning that we remain solidly below 350K new claims -- in fact, the 4-week moving average hovers around 330K, meaning another down-leg to 325K may be in the offing down the road apiece if economic improvements continue on pace. And this is after moderate upward revisions from the last couple weeks from their initial reads -- things still look pretty decent on the jobless claims front, especially considering the past dire couple of years.

All of this is to say there doesn't seem to be much of a catalyst to shake the downward drift in the markets of the past couple weeks. Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) missing yesterday does little to quell the negative PC market narrative, and Sears (SHLD) and Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) missing earnings estimates haven't exactly helped the Retail industry this earnings season.

So let's just be satisfied to tread water in the near term, at least until they close the pool for the summer.

Read the analyst report on HPQ

Read the analyst report on SHLD

Read the analyst report on ANF

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