Stocks finished Thursday little changed as the Trump administration creeps closer to the psychologically important 100 day mark on Saturday.
The Dow and S&P 500 held flat, while the Nasdaq climbed a bit into the green.
First up, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 20,983.78, +8.69, (+0.04%)
- S&P 500: 2,388.87, +1.39, (+0.06%)
- Nasdaq: 6,046.54, +21.34, (+0.36%)
- US 10-year yield: 2.293%, -0.018
- WTI crude oil: $US49.10, -0.52, (-1.05%)
1. It looks like the US economy just ground to a halt. The Department of Commerce will publish its first estimate of US economic growth in the first quarter of 2017 on Friday, and it may show that the economy barely grew at all. The Atlanta Fed’s widely followed GDPNow tracker fell to an all-time low of 0.2% for the first quarter, while economists surveyed by Bloomberg forecast gross domestic product increased at an annual rate of 1%.
2. The Mexican peso climbed after the Trump administration said that, actually, it isn’t going to terminate NAFTA. The peso was up by about 1.3% around 7:30 a.m. ET, but retraced some of those gains later in the day.
3. Trump went on a raging tweetstorm against Democrats over negotiations to avoid a government shutdown. “I promise to rebuild our military and secure our border,” the president tweeted. “Democrats want to shut down the government. Politics!” The current funding bill for the federal government expires Friday, and if a spending bill is not passed by then, parts of the federal government will shut down.
4. Durable goods orders rose by less than expected in March. Orders for things designed to last for three or more years rose by 0.7%, a third-straight monthly increase. Excluding volatile transportation orders, so-called core durable goods fell by 0.2%, dragged by lower orders for communications equipment and computers.
5. Initial jobless claims, which count the number of people who applied for unemployment insurance for the first time, climbed by 14,000 to 257,000, above economists’ expectations. “Breaking economy news. Unemployment claims higher and business new equipment orders turn sideways with decision-making apparently thrown into limbo as companies wait for signs that any of the myriad of proposals by the Trump administration will ever become law,” Chris Rupkey, an economist at MUFG Union Bank, said in an email after the data crossed.
6. Oil tumbled after Libya ramped up production at 2 key oil fields. West Texas Intermediate crude oil traded down 1.1%, or $US0.52, at $US48.69 a barrel as of 12:51 p.m. ET after Libya announced it’s restarting production at its Sharara and El Feel oil fields. The fields have a combined capacity of nearly 400,000 barrels per day, Reuters says.
7. Bitcoin spiked to an all-time high. The cryptocurrency was up 2.9% at $US1,330 a coin around 10:17 a.m. ET. 2017 has been a volatile year for bitcoin. It rallied more than 20% in the opening week before crashing 35% on word that China was going to begin to crack down on trading.