February 17th, 2011 14:07:08 GMT

Iran State TV confirms passage of war ships through Canal

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Not that there is anything wrong with that, they say…

With Mid-East tensions already high as a result of demonstrations against the status quo across the region, the Iranian move to send ships to Syria only increases fears that oil supplies may be disrupted at some point…

WTI crude prices are fairly steady despite the jitters, off earlier lows around $84.40. We are now at $85.00.

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February 17th, 2011 13:45:39 GMT

Unadjusted Initial Claims Changes By State For Feb. 5 Week

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WASHINGTON (MNI) – THe following are the changes in unadjusted
initial claims by state for the week ended February 5. Data for the
January 29 week is not yet available:

STATES WITH A DECREASE OF MORE THAN 1,000

State Change State Supplied Comment

FL -4,542 Fewer layoffs in the construction, trade,
service, and manufacturing industries, and
agriculture.
TX -3,657 Drop in claims caused by inclement weather
throughout the state, as well as fewer layoffs
in the insurance, real estate, trade, service,
and manufacturing industries.
SC -2,780 Fewer layoffs in the manufacturing industry.
TN -2,535 Fewer layoffs in the construction, trade, and
service industries.
GA -1,784 Fewer layoffs in the service and manufacturing
industries.
NY -1,718 Fewer layoffs in the construction, trade, and
transportation industries.
IL -1,713 No comment.
CA -1,694 No comment.
IN -1,501 Fewer layoffs in the automobile industry.
WI -1,336 No comment.
MO -1,259 Fewer layoffs in the trade and service
industries.
LA -1,139 No comment.
IA -1,061 No comment.
MA -1,027 Fewer layoffs in the construction industry.

STATES WITH AN INCREASE OF MORE THAN 1,000

State Change State Supplied Comment

NC +1,222 Layoffs in the construction and furniture
industries.
MI +2,693 No comment.

** Market News International Washington Bureau: (202) 371-2121 **

[TOPICS: MAUDS$,M$U$$$]

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February 17th, 2011 13:45:38 GMT

US Initial Claims Up 25,000 To 410,000 In February 12 Week

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–Labor Analyst Says Indeterminate Period Continues
–Seasonals Expected NSA Claims To Drop 45K But Instead Dropped 19K

By Denny Gulino and Kevin Kastner

WASHINGTON (MNI) – Initial claims for U.S. state unemployment
benefits rose by 25,000 after seasonal adjustment in the Feb. 12 week,
continuing the latest period of stubborn indeterminacy in an otherwise
improving trend, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday.

A Labor Department analyst distinguished between the typical path
this time of year of gradual improvement and the performance of the
recovery which has been hard to see in the claims data in recent weeks.
“The volatility has made it very difficult,” he said, to see an economic
effect as the level of claims stays above the 400,000 demarcation line
below which real jobs market improvement can be assumed.

Aside from the recovery, not seasonally adjusted claims could be
expected to gently decline from the beginning of the year, when there
are many refilings for a new benefit year, as well as seasonal retail
and construction layoffs. The next seasonal upturn is usually around the
holidays in mid summer.

The improvement in claims generally “stalled,” he said, through
much of last year after showing a spate of noticeable improvements.
Since September the improvement resumed along a more gradual slope but
now has become mired in week-to-week ups and downs which obscure any
trend.

According to the analyst, seasonal factors had expected a 10.1%
decline in unadjusted claims, about 45,000, in the latest week and
instead there was a 4.4% decline, or about 19,000 which the adjustment
process transformed into the week’s increase. Unadjusted claims were
down 19,271 to 421,713 in the Feb. 12 week and a year ago were 478,235.

The analyst added that only Alaska and Puerto Rico were
estimated in the week by the Labor Department and there were no unusual
weather or other factors in the latest week.

Economists surveyed by Market News International had expected
initial claims to rise to 405,000 in the current week. The previous week
was revised to 385,000.

The seasonally adjusted 4-week moving average rose by 1,750
from the previous week’s revised average of 416,000.

In the Feb. 5 week, continuing claims increased by 1,000 to
3,911,000 after seasonal adjustment. Unadjusted claims continuing
claims fell 62,137 to 4,544,310, well below the 5,597,688 of a
year earlier.

The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate held steady at
3.1% in the Feb. 5 week and was 3.7% a year earlier.

The unemployment rate among the insured labor force is well below
that reported monthly by the Labor Department because claims are
approved for the most part only for job losers, not the job leavers and
labor force reentrants included in the monthly report.

The Labor Department said that the level of unadjusted Emergency
Unemployment Compensation benefits claims dropped by 127,386 in the Jan.
29 week, bringing that category to 3,629,604. Extended benefits claims
rose 42,165 to 873,002.

The Labor Department reported that a total of 9,250,156 persons
claimed unemployment benefits in the January 29 week, down 108,468 from
the previous week, also well below the 11,820,222 persons in the
comparable week a year ago. These data are not seasonally adjusted, and
include regular state claims, federal employee claims, new veterans
claims, the EUC and extended benefits programs, state additional
benefits, and STC/Workshare claims.

** Market News International Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 **

[TOPICS: MAUDS$,MT$$$$,M$U$$$,MAUDR$]

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February 17th, 2011 13:44:28 GMT

USD/JPY slumping; large bid at 83.40

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USD/JPY has taken on a weak tone after the data as US yileds fall back below 3.60%. We’re now down to 3.58%.

USD/JPY saw tremendous amounts of buying the last few sessions near 84.00 with no pay off, so it looks like a lot of what we are seeing now is long liquidation.

A large bid is seen on EBS at 83.40; Japanese importers are the presumed buyers. Look for stop-loss selling if breached, but bids return toward 83.10/20.

1 Comment

February 17th, 2011 13:40:27 GMT

EUR/USD get a lift; yields ease

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As the data is sorted through, US yileds have slumped, now down 3.5 bp on the day at 3.59%

EUR/USD rallied as high as 1.3586, targeting small stops in the 1.3590 area. Chinese offers are rumored above 1.3600, so dealers may be playing an opportunistic game of search and destroy with the stops.

Asian central banks continue to diversify dollars into euros on dips, so look for more 1.3550/1.36 ahead.

2 Comments

February 17th, 2011 13:35:23 GMT

US DATA: Jan CPI +0.4%, core +0.2% (+0.1697% for YOY.

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US DATA: Jan CPI +0.4%, core +0.2% (+0.1697% unrounded) for YOY
rates of +1.6% overall & +1.0% core, a tad worse than expected. Within
core, apparel +1.0% (due to seas adj, with all areas gaining except
inflants’), airfares +2.2% (5th gain), drugs +0.2% but medical care
commodities +0.5% (which incl nonprescription drugs & eqpt). Food +0.5%
as cereals, meats, veg and beverages gained. Energy +2.1% as fuel oil
and gas jumped but nat gas and elec fell. Services (flat) and new
vehicles (-0.1%) remain subdued, as does OER (+0.1%). So bottom line is
bad seasonals and yr-start hikes should not be repeated; CPI is subdued.
-
Initial Unemploy Claims +25k to 410k in Feb 12 wk, payroll survey pd, vs
403k in mid-Jan, showing very little change. Nothing unusual in state
data, analyst says. Contin’g claims +1k to 3.911m for Feb 5 wk. The data
suggest labor mkt improvement has stalled in ’11, perhaps due to storms.

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