Jobless claims plummet 8,000 to 276,000 from a revised 284,000 the prior week. The revision was 2,000 more than previously reported. The four-week average of applications, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, increased to 274,750 from 272,000 in the prior week. Bottom line: we're in a "zone." It's all background noise. But it is interesting: the 276,000 reported today is still higher than the four-week average of 274,750 which was a pretty big jump from 272,000. Just saying. With productivity falling 3% in first quarter and labor costs rising, it's not a pretty picture economically.
Pickens picking on princes. I agree with Pickens; the Saudis are bluffing. However, it should be noted that Pickens quietly reduced his end-of-year projection. A few months ago, in a similar interview, he suggested $80 by the end of the year (if I recall correctly, but could be wrong). In this interview, he suggested $70 by the end of the year.
RBN Energy: capital spending and profitability of gas in free fall.
RBN analysis of 31 exploration and production (E&P) companies shows sharp differences between two groups of gas-weighted firms. The US diversified group is struggling to increase production, and slashing capital spending in light of weak profitability. Meanwhile, the Appalachian group is flying high as the most profitable classification in our analysis – largely as a result of slashing costs in response to weak natural gas prices. Today we wrap up our three-part analysis of U.S. E&P company’s 2015 outlook.For those paying attention, here's another state facing huge ObamaCare premium increases: Texas. CNBC is reporting:
A major Texas health insurer is feeling "blue" from some steep losses and now wants sharply higher prices for Obamacare plans next year.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas last year took up to a $400 million loss on its individual, Obamacare-compliant plans, according to filings disclosed earlier this week by the federal government.
BCBS cited that loss, which represents a 20 percent loss of premium on the insurers' Affordable Care Act-related plans, in requesting an average rate hike of 19.97 percent for individual plans next year, including those sold on the federal Obamacare exchange HealthCare.gov.
That increase would come on top of the 9.09 percent premium increase BCBS got approved for its plans in 2015.Greece: says "no." It's going to be interesting to see who blinks first. My hunch: Ms Merkel. She's the swing vote. Or the one who will make it unanimous, 5 - 0 to extend the deadline another three months.