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Jobless Numbers Not To Markets Liking

Thursday, 3 Apr 2008 | 9:07 AM ET

407,000 initial jobless claims is the highest sincethe 425,000 reading of Sept 16, 2005. Disappointing. Futures dropped 8 points, bonds rallied.

Continuing concerns over writedowns of European banks caused a brief rally in the dollar, but the poor jobless claims has taken much of the gains out.

Elsewhere:

1) Is the decline in Chinese stocks ending? Hong Kong's Hang Seng index has finally broken a downtrend that began back in November. The Shanghai index, which has been in a freefall since January (down 40 percent or so), which is just off its lows, had one of its best days in a while, up about 3 percent.

2) With all this talk of reform in Washington, where is the proposed FHA expansion that everyone was talking about a few weeks ago, which Barney Frank referenced? It seems to have disappeared. There was significant stimulus in the plan.

Earnings:

1) Micron reported earnings a bit below expectations. Average selling prices were down for both NAND (flash memory chips--down 30 percent) and DRAM (down 15 percent). Despite that, Goldman upgraded the stock, saying DRAM fundamentals would improve later in the year. Up 5 percent.

2) Ruby Tuesdayreported earnings a bit above expectations, and like most restaurants talked about the lower spending by consumers and the emphasis on controlling costs. They tightened full year estimates to $0.40-$0.50 from $0.40-$0.60.

3) Constellation Brands beat, and guided for fiscal 2009 of $1.68-$1.76 (analyst estimate $1.67).

National City said on Tuesday that they were exploring strategic alternatives, essentially acknowledging that they are for sale. But what is it worth? Even a modest premium would be good news for the beleaguered banking business. Today, Morgan Stanley said they thought it was worth $12 as an acquisition candidate. That's about 25 percent above the $9.22 price it closed at. They upgrade the stock, as does Bear Stearns.


Questions? Comments? tradertalk@cnbc.com

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  • A CNBC reporter since 1990, Bob Pisani covers Wall Street from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

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