News Column

Stocks Get Green Light on Weekly Jobless Claims

March 6, 2014

Staff Reports --

bank teller
Hopeful employment numbers gave Wall Street a bump Thursday (file photo)

Weekly jobless claims hit a three-month low, according to a report released today, sending the Standard & Poor's 500 index to another all-time high. Investors also kept a wary eye on developments in Ukraine as authorities in Crimea scheduled a referendum on whether to join Russia.

Jobless claims dropped by 26,000 to 323,000 in the week ended on Saturday, far exceeding analysts' expectations that claims would drop by just 12,000.

Another report showed nonfarm productivity rose by 1.8 percent -- well below the expected 2.2 percent, following the previous revision of a 3.2 increase -- and the Fed's "beige book" report showed that growth remains problematic, but should get healthier as the winter's particularly weather begins to lift.

Deep freezes and ice storms slowed hiring, disrupted supply chains, and kept customers away from stores and auto dealerships, the report indicated. The beige book business survey showed that activity improved, "but in most cases the increases were characterized as modest to moderate." Financial Markets contributed.

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