Weekly Jobless Claims Increase Again

Stock futures are signaling a lower opening today, as the weekly jobless claims data came in  worse than expected. Initial Jobless Claims grew 135,000 to 1.106 million for the week ended Aug 15. This compares unfavorably with the consensus estimate of 883,000. Moreover, the previous week’s data was revised upward by 8,000 to 971,000. Notably, the previous week was the first week after the outbreak of the pandemic in which weekly jobless claims fell below 1 million.

Continuing Claims  —  those who have collected benefits for two straight weeks — were reported at one week lag. This data decreased by 636,000 to 14.844 million. The previous week’s continuing claims were revised 6,000 lower to 15.48 million.

About 57.4 million Americans have filed new unemployment benefit claims since the week ended Mar 20. Notably, today’s data was the first after the Small Business Association’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) came to an end on Aug 8. This fiscal stimulus was provided by the government to support the coronavirus-stricken U.S. economy.

Moreover, yesterday the Fed released the minutes of its latest FOMC meeting conducted during Jul 28-29. Per the minutes, officials have reduced the growth forecast for the rest of the year. Fed officials were concerned about the pandemic’s impact on U.S. GDP, unemployment and inflation.

Q2 Earnings at a Glance

Leading global cosmetic product manufacturer The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. EL bore the brunt of the pandemic in fourth-quarter  fiscal 2020. Adjusted loss per share of 53 cents was wider-than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 19 cents. It had reported earnings of 64 cents per share a year earlier. Revenues of $2.43 billion missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.46 billion and deteriorated from the year-ago figure of $3.59 billion. The company has decided to cut 1,500 – 2,000 jobs since its sales in duty-free airports and cruises suffered a blow owing to travel restrictions.

U.S. warehouse retailer BJ’s Wholesale Club Holdings Inc. BJ reported stronger-than-expected earnings results for second-quarter fiscal 2020. Same store sales climbed 17.2% year over year. Excluding gas station sales, the metric jumped 24.2% year over year. Moreover, online sales soared more than 300%.

Quarterly adjusted earnings of 77 cents per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 60 cents and increased from 39 cents reported a year-ago. Revenues of $3.95 billion exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3.75 billion and improved from year-ago revenues of $3.35 billion.

After the closing bell today, retail giant Ross Stores Inc. ROST and electronics manufacturer Keysight Technologies Inc. KEYS will report their earnings results.

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