Stocks are off their early lows but still negative this morning. Worries about China’s economy and the euro zone offset jobless claims hitting a four-year low. China’s manufacturing sector activity fell in March marking the fifth-straight monthly decline. The euro zone’s composite PMI also showed slowing manufacturing activity especially in France and Germany.
Closer to home, the jobs market continues to improve. Weekly jobless claims fell 5,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 348,000. This is a new four-year low for jobless claims according to the Labor Department. Economists were expecting jobless claims to jump slightly to 354,000.
The major stock indices are down anywhere between 0.3% and 0.5% this morning. The Dow is down 49 points, the Nasdaq is down 9 points and the S&P 500 is down 7 points. [Read more...]