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David Becker

US stocks surged higher on Thursday, rallying following news that the Trump administration has reached a trade deal in principle with China. Most sectors were higher led by energy and financials, real estate and utilities bucked the trend. Wholesale prices came out in line with expectations. US jobless claims jumped to a fresh 2-year high. The VIX volatility index tumbled 7% back below the 14% level.

Phase One Deal Reached

The White House and China reached a trade deal in principle with China according to sources. It appears that the Trump administration is ready to scrap the next round of tariffs on China. The Trump administration has offered to eliminate tariffs on Chinese goods set to take effect Sunday and cut some existing duties in half. It appears that China will purchase 40-billion in agricultural products compared to the 50-billion the Trump administration wanted.

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US PPI was Unchanged

US Wholesale prices were unchanged according to the Labor Department which followed last months 0.4% surge in October. On a year over year basis, the PPI gained 1.1%, matching October’s rise, which was the smallest increase since October 2016. Expectations were for PPI would rise 0.2% in November and accelerate 1.2% on a year-on-year basis. Core PPI was also unchanged last month after edging up 0.1% in October. Core PPI increased 1.3% year over year, the smallest gain since September 2016, after advancing 1.5% in October.

Jobless Claims Rise More than Expected

Jobless claims surged 49,000 to 252,000 for the week ended December 7, the highest reading since September 2017. The increase was the largest since August 2017. Claims dropped to 203,000 in the prior week, which was a seven-month low. Expectations were for claims to increase  to 213,000 in the latest week. The four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, rose 6,250 to 224,000 last week.

Boris Johnson Wins a Majority

Exit polls from the UK show that the conservatives have won a majority and will likely move forward withy a Brexit. Shortly after 10 p.m. London time, a survey of thousands of people who had just left the voting booth, indicated that the Conservatives are on course to gain around 50 seats, ensuring a healthy majority. The Labour would lose 71 seats from its performance in 2017. In Scotland, the Scottish National Party is forecast to win as many as 55 seats

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