US Govt. Reports Significant Decrease in the Claim Applications for Unemployment Benefits

The unemployment benefit claims in the U. S, have gone down to 410000 (marking a decrease of 41000 claims). The numbers of claims have reduced as the adverse effects of the super-storm Sandy has started to fade away; more than 100 lost their lives, whereas around 8 million people were left to survive in the absence of power and communication. The numbers of claims lately have been linked with the effects of Sandy; earlier factors were mainly the global recession and “fiscal cliff”.

According to Ryan Sweet, an economist from Pennsylvania, the unemployment scenario in the U. S, will stay same for a while due to the uncertain situation about the “fiscal cliff”.

The Claims till last week were reported to be around 451000 as compare to 439000 reported earlier. The stock exchange indexes were also found to be oscillating between losses and gains.

Situation in New York & New Jersey

As far as the number of applications received this week in New York and New Jersey is concerned, there has been an increase in the both the places. Similarly around forty other states have reported an increase in the number of applications whereas around thirteen territories have shown a decrease in the number of claims.

As per the reports from Labour Department, the number of people still given unemployment benefits has decreased though the figure does not include the people with extended benefits from the federal schemes. The effects of the super storm Sandy is still visible as still many states were found receiving excess applications. The number of people receiving emergency benefits jumped to almost 2.2 million from 62000 only.

Retail Sales

It will take a long time before the effect of Sandy will completely eliminate as there are workers who have lost their jobs and are still filing claim applications. The retail sales in the Malls and Automobile industries have also been hit by the storm.

Many companies in Europe were already hit by recession and were apprehensive about the possible $ 607 billion fiscal cliff of spending cuts and tax increase in the month of January. In such circumstances, Sandy’s effects have been really devastating for many companies and it is possible that the growth rate in immediate future will be really low.

Despite many lows, there are a few companies, which are still hiring fresh staff. The Chrysler Group LLC has appointed around 1250 workers to increase the production of pickups and engines in their three plants. Similar situation has been observed in the housing market.  The Chief Financial Officer of D. R. Horton Incorporation, Bill Wheat, and the housing sector is witnessing a tiny job growth situation. An overall improvement in the economy and the job market is expected to ensure a long term growth in the housing sector.

Canada Stocks – TSX Jumps on U.S. Budget Hopes

Canada’s major stock index climbed 0.1%; the increase was led by energy stock and material as commodity prices came up on trusts that the U.S budget crisis might be avoided.

Republicans and Democrats on Sunday said that they are working on a deal to avoid the “fiscal cliff”, a combination of spending cuts and tax increases beginning early in 2013 unless there is an agreement on Capitol Hill.

Irwin Michael, ABC Funds portfolio manager, said that if the market feels some deal might be crafted, it will progress. He said that the market was letdown. If we obtain some good news, it will be mirrored in the stocks.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX combined index rose 1.08 percent or 128.08 points, at 12,005.80. The 10 main segments on the index were up.

Energy stocks were up by 1.67%, tracking high oil prices. Suncor Energy Inc stocks rose 3.65% at 32.69 and played a major role of any sole stock in heading the market higher.

Sid Mokhtari, the director of institutional equity research at CIBC World Markets and market technician said that as the energy sector grows, TSX does the same. He stated that the energy segment had fallen much since achieving highs in September.

Oil prices were up more than 2% due to the increasing aggression in the Middle East concerns on oil supplies. Goldcorp Inc rose 2.64% at C$40.77, and Barrick Gold Corp was up 1.33 % to C%34.22. That made the material groups that include mining stocks up by 1.87 percent. The fall in the dollar rate made gold price to rise by 1 percent.

Michael said that there is a disconnection between the regular shares of gold, gas, and oil companies when compared to the commodities of gas, oil, and gold. The market is extremely undervalued.

Agrium Inc share value rose 1.84 percent to C$99.61 following the launching of a proxy battle by its major shareholder Jana Partners. It named nominees to the board of Agrium.

The financial segment, which is the biggest on the index rose by 0.82 percent. Royal Bank of Canada increased by 1.60% at C$56.51 and the Bank of Nova Scotia stocks rose 0.74% to C$53.40.

Astral Media Inc shares climbed up by 3.15 percent when Canada’s major telecom supplier, BCE Inc revealed that it might get a regulatory sanction for an altered C$3 billion program to take over Astral Media Inc.