CRUDE OIL TECHNICAL ANALYSIS (based on dailyfx article)
The formation of a Dark Cloud Cover candlestick pattern preceded a turn lower, as expected. Sellers are now approaching support at 97.17, the 38.2% Fibonacci expansion, with a break below that exposing the 50% level at 94.69. Near-term resistance is in the 100.23-73 area, marked by the 23.6% Fib and the December 27 high.
GOLD TECHNICAL ANALYSIS (based on dailyfx article)
Prices are testing resistance at 1371.70, the 38.2% Fibonacci expansion. A break above this boundary exposes the 50% level at 1385.46. Near-term support is at 1354.66, marked by the 23.6% Fib and a falling trend line set from April 2013. A reversal below that initially targets rising channel resistance-turned-support at 1339.59.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Labor Department reports on the number of people who applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week. The report will be released at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Thursday.
SMALL REBOUND LIKELY: Economists forecast the number of people seeking benefits will rise 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 330,000, according to a survey by FactSet. That modest increase would follow a sharp drop in applications two weeks ago to 323,000, from 349,000.
JOB MARKET ON THE MEND: Applications are a proxy for layoffs. They are currently close to pre-recession levels, a sign that companies are cutting few workers. That suggests they are confident the economy will continue to grow in the coming months. Story: Paul Ryan Gets Serious About Poverty
Hiring picked up in February after two sluggish months, the government said last week. Employers added 175,000 jobs, up from 129,000 in January and close to the monthly average of the past two years.
The unemployment rate ticked up to 6.7 percent, but the increase occurred partly for a good reason: more people started looking for jobs. Most weren't immediately hired, boosting the unemployment rate. But the fact that they started job hunting suggests they were optimistic about their prospects.
Last week's jobs report suggested the economy was recovering after harsh winter weather caused auto sales to dip, sales of existing homes to plummet, and Americans to spend less at stores and restaurants. Video: Sen. King: U.S. Needs to Focus on Deficit Reduction
Employers advertised more jobs in January, a separate government report said earlier this week, suggesting that hiring will likely remain steady in the coming months.
The weather did force about 6 million people with full-time jobs to work part-time in February. Many of their paychecks will shrink, likely weighing on spending.
That's one reason economists forecast growth will slow to an annual rate of 2 percent or less in the first three months of this year, down from 2.4 percent in the final three months of last year. But as the weather improves, most analysts expect growth to rebound to an annual rate near 3 percent.
S&P 500 TECHNICAL ANALYSIS (based on dailyfx article)
Prices put in a Hammer candlestick below support at the bottom of a rising channel set from mid-February, hinting a bounce may be ahead. Initial resistance is at 1889.20, the 23.6% Fibonacci expansion, with a break above that targeting the channel top at 1897.60. Alternatively, a break below the channel floor (now at 1864.40) aims for the 23.6% Fib retracement at 1853.00.