New U.S. jobless claims fell for a third straight week last week; productivity rose 1.6 percent. What does this herald for the stock markets?
Art Cashin, UBS Financial Services director of floor operations, offered his Thursday insights to CNBC.
Initial jobless claims "set the tone" for today's trading, Cashin said — and that tone "is rather neutral. No vim or vigor."
"I'm surprised that the market behaved so benignly."
But that tepid reaction is just one of the "emerging anomalies in market internals," he believes.
"We had a terrific 3-day rally that took us up above the 200-day moving average. Yet the number of new lows increased. ...Mind you, these are 52-week lows."
The seeming contradiction is "not overwhelming, but it is counterintuitive."
Cashin touched on Pimco CEO Mohamed El-Erian's interview with the Financial Times, in which the latter commented on Ben Bernanke's statements this week.
Cashin agreed with El-Erian's view that much of the positivity now is the result of inventory rebuilding. "That's not exactly green shoots," he said.
Finally, Cashin hazarded a guess as to the May jobless number, due out tomorrow (Friday). Watch the interview above for Cashin's prediction.
More from the master:
CNBC's Companies in the News:
Bank of America
Disclosure information was not available for Cashin or his company.