he Labor Department said the number of workers filing new claims for jobless insurance fell to a nine-month low last week. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 33,000 to a seasonally adjusted 521,000 in the week ended Oct. 3, the lowest level since early January.
That number had risen for the last two weeks following a four week drop. The Dow is currently up about 70 points, the NASDAQ is up 20, and the S&P is up 8, and so all three are pushing a full percentage point rise. The markets are also likely to digest the announcement that our yearly budget deficit has reached $1.4 trillion and the news that the Senate Finance Committee's health care bill was scored at $829 billion over the next ten years and would actually reduce the deficit.
Meanwhile, the strength in equities hasn't soured on the taste for bonds. The ten year U.S. Treasury Bond is now at 3.17%. That's pushing lows over the last nine months. The yield spread between the two and ten year is also currently at 2.30%. That's the lowest that's been in months as well. Oil is now back below $70 a barrel, at least temporarily. It's currently trading at $69.45. It reached above $71 a barrel earlier in the week following rumors that the major oil producers were holding secret talks to consider alternatives to using the dollar to trade oil.
In the Far East, the Hang Seng was was up 1.18%, the NIKKEI was up .32%, and the Straits Time Index in Singapore was up .61%