Stocks Gain Ground After Better-Than-Expected Initial Jobless Claims ReportMeanwhile, Housing Starts and Building Permits reports indicate that the housing market remains in a good shape.
Initial Jobless Claims Declined To 900,000
Initial Jobless Claims report indicated that 900,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits in a week. Analysts expected Initial Jobless Claims of 910,000. Meanwhile, Continuing Jobless Claims declined from 5.18 million to 5.05 million while analysts expected that they would increase to 5.4 million.
Job market reports exceeded analyst expectations and provided additional support to S&P 500 futures which are gaining ground in premarket trading. Most likely, traders will remain focused on the upcoming stimulus package, and stocks will have a good chance to test new highs during today’s trading session.
Housing Starts Increased By 5.8% In December
Building Permits grew by 4.5% month-over-month compared to analyst forecast which called for growth of just 0.1%. Housing Starts increased by 5.8% compared to analyst forecast of just 0.2%.
The housing market continues to show strength, supported by low interest rates and unprecedented stimulus. The continued growth of the housing market may provide additional support for stocks.
Crude Inventories Unexpectedly Increase
Oil faced significant resistance near multi-month highs at $53.90 and pulled back after API Crude Oil Stock Change report indicated that crude inventories increased by 2.6 million barrels while analysts expected that they would decline by 0.3 million barrels.
Traders will likely wait for the confirmation of this data from EIA, whose Weekly Petroleum Status Report will be published on Friday. The oil market remains in a bullish mode as traders expect that the new U.S. stimulus package will boost demand for oil, but a sudden increase in inventory levels may hurt momentum in the near term if EIA report shows a similar picture.
At this point, the market looks ready to ignore API data, and oil-related stocks are set to start the trading session on a strong note.
For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.