The Dow and S&P 500 hit new all-time highs on Thursday, as housing data came in worse than expected while initial jobless claims data beat expectations.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 17,269.05, +112, (+0.6%)
- S&P 500: 2,011.32, +9.7, (+0.5%)
- Nasdaq: 4,591.25, +29, (+0.6%)
And now, the top stories on Thursday:
1. The weekly report on initial jobless claims fell to 280,000, less than the 305,000 that was expected by economists and down from last week’s 316,000. Following the report Ian Shepherdson at Pantheon Macro said: “With the exception of the week of July 19, when claims were distorted by the automakers’ shutdowns, this is the lowest reading since May 2000.”
2. Housing starts plummeted in August, falling at 14.4% to an annualized rate of 956,000 in the biggest monthly drop since April 2013. Economists were expected the pace of housing starts to fall 5.25 to 1.04 million. Following the report, Dean Maki at Barclays said, “Because the housing starts data are volatile on a monthly basis, these data do not change our view that a moderate housing recovery remains on track.”
3. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s latest manufacturing report fell to 22.5 from 28.0, also missing expectations for a reading of 23.0. The report’s employment subindex, however, rose to its best level since May 2011.
4. The latest Z.1 Flow of Funds report from the Federal Reserve showed that household net worth grew by $US1.4 trillion in the second quarter to $US81.5 trillion. During the quarter, the value of stocks rose $US1 trillion and the value of real estate increased by $US230 billion. Household debt increased by 3.6%.
5. Shares of Rite Aid were among the biggest losers on Thursday, falling more than 18% after the pharmacy chain cut its fiscal-year earnings and sales outlook, citing reduced margin in its generic drug business.
6. Microsoft laid off 2,100 employees, and a source close to the company told Business Insider’s Julie Bort that cuts were happening in “many different team, functions and countries.” Microsoft still plans to lay off 2,900 or so employees over the next few months.
7. Shares of pharmaceutical company VIVUS gained more than 12% after the FDA approved updated labelling for the company’s erectile dysfunction treatment.
8. On Thursday, Scotland went to the polls to vote on a referendum to leave UK. Recent polls indicated that “No” votes were leading “Yes” votes by a margin of about 52-48, and on the belief that Scots will vote to stay in the UK, the British pound rallied. Conventional wisdom this week has pointed towards Scots voting to stay in the UK, but Business Insider’s Joe Weisenthal reported that, according to a top analyst following the vote, a huge turnout could render recent polls useless.
9. Business Insider’s Jim Edwards will be live in London all night updating results of the Scottish vote as results roll in. Business Insider’s Tomas Hirst will be be live in Edinburgh, Scotland documenting the scene as results come in.
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