Good News to Start the Day

The Chicago Fed led off today’s spate of economic data with the news that its National Activity Index rose more than expected last month to a level of 1.71 from a downwardly revised minus 1.2. Analysts were only expecting a move to 1.25 in a rebound from February’s previously reported minus 1.09.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also released its Initial Jobless Claims total for the week ending April 17th and they came in at 547k. Analysts were looking for 610k while the prior week’s 576k was revised to 586k. Continuing Claims for the week ending April 10th fell to 3.67M versus a forecast of 3.65M. The prior week’s 3.73M was revised to 3.71M.

Later today, investors will be looking at fresh reports for the Conference Board’s Leading Indicator Index, Existing Home Sales, and the Kansas City Fed’s Manufacturing Index. Meanwhile, Treasury prices are slightly lower in early trading but have come back some since the release of this morning’s numbers. The Long Bond is looking at a yield of 2.26% with the Ten-Year yielding 1.57%. The Two-Year is around 15 basis points. Crude oil is up slightly to $61.56 while gold is off about $8 to $1,786. Equity futures are looking slightly weaker.