The Washington drama continues to steal the limelight from everything else, even as this morning’s jobs and economic growth data broadly came in positive. Hard to envision the market clearly breaking out in either direction in the absence of the budget and debt-ceiling debates concluding.
This morning’s economic data is broadly positive, with weekly Jobless Claims coming in better than expected and the final look at Q2 GDP remaining unchanged. Jobless Claims dropped 5K to 305K from the prior week’s revised 310K level. The 4-week average, which smooths out the reading’s week-to-week volatility, dropped 7K to 308K.
We will get a better sense of the health of the labor market in next week’s September non-farm payroll report. But the recent levels of initial Jobless Claims data would be consistent with strong gains in the coming Friday’s jobs report. The GDP read was modestly negative, as the expectation was for the growth pace to be revised higher, but it came instead unchanged at 2.5%.
On the earnings front, we will get reports from Nike (NKE) and Accenture (ACN) after the close today. We got a scare Wednesday from the Wal-Mart (WMT) news, but it’s unclear at this stage whether it’s a company-specific issue or something relevant to the broader retail sector.
In other earnings reports, Jabil Circuit (JBL) came out ahead of EPS and revenue expectations, but guided lower. Results from Bed, Bath & Beyond (BBBY) were all around strong, with positive surprises on earnings, revenues and guidance.
It is perhaps reasonable to assume that the Congressional battle will eventually get resolved. But the path to that end-point will likely be anything but reassuring.