Jobless claims surprised to the downside this morning, falling from 263K down to 235K in what was the largest weekly decline since January 2015.  This morning’s print was also 25K below consensus expectations of 260K and marked the 96th straight week that claims were below 300K.  That’s the longest streak in decades (or since 1970 to be exact).

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This week’s lower than expected reading also brought the four-week moving average down to 256.75, but that is still more than 7K above the cycle low of 249.5K from early October.  We are going to have to see a few more strong prints like this week’s in order to get the four-week moving average back down to new lows.

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Getting back to the headline number, today’s report was just the 17th time since 2001 that weekly claims have been at least 25K below consensus expectations.  Using our Economic Indicators Database (Institutional clients only), on the 16 prior days where jobless claims beat expectations by a wider margin, the S&P 500 averaged a gain of 0.38% (median: 0.28%) on the day with gains 75% of the time.

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