NEW YORK (Reuters) - New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week, a government report showed on Thursday, pointing to a labor market that is struggling to regain momentum after job growth faltered in the last two months.
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MARK MCCORMICK, CURRENCY STRATEGIST, BROWN BROTHERS HARRIMAN,
"The jobless data is a bit soft. We're not seeing the high frequency jobs data moving in the right direction. But the focus is on the euro zone. An extension of the loans for Greece and increased flexibility for the ESFS to recapitalize institutions takes the heat of the ECB. It's definitely positive for the euro. It's not a panacea but it's a step in the right direction. We might target $1.4350 over the next day or two."
JEFFREY GREENBERG, ECONOMIST, NOMURA SECURITIES, NEW YORK
"We're just stuck in this trend between 410,000 and 430,000. Generally we're just really not seeing any improvement but also not much worsening, so neither discouraging nor encouraging. It's important that this is the week for the nonfarm payrolls survey and there's a slight improvement of 11,000.
"In that sense it does seem stronger than the payrolls number than we saw in June. We'll expect a bounce.
"The jobless claims number that you would need to have the unemployment rate worsen is something a bit higher. Like 450,000."
MARK LAMKIN, CEO OF LAMKIN WEALTH MANAGEMENT IN LOUISVILLE,
"Initial claims rose, but I don't think that was too unexpected. This isn't a shocker and won't move the market either way."
STOCKS: U.S. stock index futures kept earlier gains.
BONDS: U.S. bond prices hold earlier losses.
FOREX: Dollar extends losses against euro.