NEW YORK (Reuters) - Jobless claims fell to 391,000 in the latest week, from 428,000 the prior week, the government said on Thursday.
JOE MANIMBO, SENIOR MARKET ANALYST, TRAVELEX GLOBAL PAYMENTS, WASHINGTON:
"It's certainly encouraging for the outlook for the U.S. economy. The final print of second-quarter GDP came out a little bit faster than expected and that suggests the U.S. economy entered the third quarter on a slightly better footing. That encouraging news was reinforced by the larger-than-expected decline in jobless claims, which again cast doubt on the likelihood of the economy tipping back into recession. So I think that's favorable for riskier assets."
OMER ESIMER, CHIEF MARKET ANALYST, COMMONWEALTH FOREIGN EXCHANGE, WASHINGTON:
"It's encouraging to see jobless claims come in below a 400 handle. And even the GDP number, which at this point is dated, is adding to the overall improved tone in markets. So we're seeing that play out through a rise in equity futures and a push higher in commodities. You take a step back, though, and this week looks like it's been one of consolidation and profit-taking after the sharp moves seen in previous weeks. But the overall landscape hasn't changed much, so it probably doesn't warrant all the optimism we're seeing. I'm still somewhat bearish on the outlook for growth."
TODD SCHOENBERGER, MANAGING DIRECTOR, LANDCOLT TRADING, WILMINGTON, DELAWARE:
"Not terribly surprised on GDP, this level of expansion seems to be status quo around the country. The year-over-year rate stands at 1.6 percent, and any number under 2 percent suggests recession ahead. So this isn't really an improvement. This is clearly not good news.
"There was a drop in jobless claims, which was also surprising. That drop is good, but we're so jaded as investors that it is almost a nonbeliever. Hard to believe that this number is true."
SAM COFFIN, SENIOR U.S. ECONOMIST, UBS SECURITIES, STAMFORD, CONNECTICUT:
"The labor department pointed to some calendar shifts. The seasonal factors look to us to be slightly friendly, but not to this degree.
The recent weeks were probably boosted by the Hurricane although the Labor Department isn't so sure of that, and this is a bit of a bounce back. Three-ninety looks like a bit of an exaggeration.
"The truth is probably somewhere in between 428 and 391, I would say toward the lower end of that range."
VIMOMBI NHSOM, ECONOMIST, IFR ECONOMICS, A UNIT OF THOMSON REUTERS:
"Surprisingly, the number of people initiating the process to receive unemployment insurance fell by 37k from the week prior, to 391,000 initial claims filed in the week ending September. Too bad it was not the survey week for the employment report -- market squawkers would have gone bananas.
"Before making conclusive statements about today's report reflecting changes in labor market conditions (a handful of reports would be needed to confirm that), it would be best to incorporate the fact that NSA claims fell by an amount habitually seen in the past, it was just that the NSA movement was paired with a seasonal adjustment that was not sufficiently aligned this time around. Despite falling below the 400k-level, claim's moving average is still elevated at 417k, given readings topping 410k for the reference period."
PHIL STREIBLE, SENIOR MARKET STRATEGIST, MF GLOBAL, CHICAGO:
"I'm pretty surprised that they (jobless claims and GDP) came out as well as they did. Our expectations were pretty pessimistic. So along with the German vote, we could have a small turnaround in the market.
"Claims falling 37,000 is really good; we haven't seen that low of a number in quite a while. That could give a boost of optimism in the market, which is needed. But lately rallies have been limited. There is some euphoria, but we still face significant headwinds."
MARKET REACTION: STOCKS: U.S. stock index futures add to gains BONDS: U.S. bond prices pare gains FOREX: The dollar extends gains versus the yen