Stock futures jumped as initial jobless claims, at 341,000, was lower than the consensus expectation of 360,000. U.S. futures had been weak as the euro fell to its lowest level in nearly a month on weak European gross domestic product numbers ... Germany and France both saw a contraction in the fourth quarter. European stocks were also weak.
The Japanese have come under criticism at the Group of 20 nations meeting for its aggressive weakening of the yen. The defense: Monetary expansion is aimed at reviving the economy and the yen weakening was a mere byproduct. Not a convincing argument.
The Japanese position was strengthened by data showing Japanese GDP contracted in the fourth quarter, which strengthens the hands of those who want more aggressive easing.