The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits fell last week to 550,000, according to a government report on Thursday that also showed the number of those collecting long-term aid tumbled.
Analysts polled by Reuters had expected initial claims to drop to 560,000, after reaching 576,000 the prior week, which had previously been reported as 570,000.
That's the lowest the number has been in months. Though, this is only a weekly number, and so it's one to watch over the next few weeks.
This latest number did however have an immediate effect. Most indices turned from slightly worse to slightly better upon release of the news. All indices are up less than a quarter percent currently but that's better than the negative territory they were in prior to the news.
Meanwhile, bonds are making a slight comeback. The ten year is now trading at 3.44% after reaching 3.5% yesterday. The yield spread between the two and ten year remains relatively unchanged at 2.44%. Oil continues to inch just slightly higher. It's now at $71.87 a barrel. That's up another 50 cents from the close yesterday. It's up nearly $7 a barrel in just under two weeks.
Markets were almost entirely up in the Far East while they were decidedly more mixed in Europe. The Hang Seng in China was up 2.15%, the NIKKEI in Japan was up 1.95% and the Straits Time Index was up 1.19%. The broader Chinese index was the only one down and that was down .73%. In Europe, the FTSE was down .48%, the DAX in Germany was up .16%, and the Spanish index was down 1.13%.
The Dollar looks weaker against most of the other major indices. It is down by .16% against the Euro, it's down by .61%, and it's down by .37% against the Japanese Yen.