Markets Mixed Again Amid Swirling Uncertainties…..

U.S. equities finished mixed and somewhat rangebound, as investors appeared to ponder the latest run to fresh record high territory, while processing a host of data and events. Focus remained on the vaccine roll-out progress and the continued failures on the U.S. fiscal relief and Brexit trade deal negotiation fronts. Meanwhile, the markets were served some disappointing domestic jobless claims data, subdued inflation figures, and the European Central Bank’s (ECB) decision to increase its emergency measures. In equity news, Starbucks offered upbeat longer-term guidance, while mostly favorable quarterly results from RH and Adobe failed to boost their share prices. Treasury yields finished lower amid a rise in bond prices and the U.S. dollar declined in the wake of a rise in the euro following the ECB’s decision, while gold was lower and crude oil prices rallied. Europe finished mixed in choppy trading, while markets in Asia slipped.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 70 points (0.2%) to 29,999, the S&P 500 Index was down 5 points (0.1%) at 3,668, while the Nasdaq Composite increased 67 points (0.5%) to 12,406. In heavy volume, 1.1 billion shares were traded on the NYSE and 5.1 billion shares changed hands on the Nasdaq. WTI crude oil jumped $1.26 to $46.78 per barrel and wholesale gasoline gained $0.04 to $1.32 per gallon. Elsewhere, the Bloomberg gold spot price fell $3.57 to $1,835.98 per ounce, and the Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—decreased 0.4% to 90.77.

Jobless claims and consumer price inflation come in higher than expected…..

Weekly initial jobless claims came in at a level of 853,000 for the week ended December 5, above the Bloomberg estimate of 725,000, and compared to the prior week’s upwardly-revised 716,000 level. The four-week moving average rose by 35,500 to 776,000, while continuing claims for the week ended November 28 increased by 230,000 to 5,757,000, north of estimates of 5,210,000. The four-week moving average of continuing claims declined by 260,250 to 5,935,750.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.2% month-over-month (m/m) in November, above estimates of a 0.1% gain, and compared to October’s unrevised flat reading. The core rate, which strips out food and energy, also increased 0.2% m/m, versus expectations calling for a 0.1% gain and October’s unadjusted flat reading. Y/Y, prices were 1.2% higher for the headline rate, north of forecasts projecting a 1.1% increase and matching October’s unadjusted rise. The core rate was up 1.6% y/y, above projections of a 1.5% gain and in line with October’s unrevised increase.

Treasuries were higher, as the yield on the 2-year note lost 2 basis points (bps) to 0.13%, the yield on the 10-year note declined 3 bps to 0.91%, and the 30-year bond rate fell 6 bps to 1.63%.

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