Tyler Durden at ZeroHedge:
First the expected: last week's 374K in initial claims was revised upward to 376K as is now the norm.
Then the unexpected: this week's initial claims dropped to 350K, well below expectations of 372K, and purely an artifact of the holiday shortened week as this was the biggest miss to expectations since November 2008.
Of course, the Not Seasonally Adjusted claims number rising by 70K is very much irrelevant: it is all about statistical smoothing as those who have leaked access to early release BLS data will tell us.
Finally, here is what the BLS actually said: "onetime factors such as fewer auto-sector layoffs than normal likely caused the sharp decline."
Continuing claims did miss expectations of 3300K printing at 3304K, and down from a revised 3318K.
The market reaction is typical schizophrenia: first risk is up on "better than expected" news, then right back down as the meme spreads that this makes the NEW QE even less realistic. Our condolences to all whose job it is to trade this newsflow.
Finally, in the all important cliff category, another 13K fell off extended claims programs, and no longer are eligible for Uncle Sam funded X-Box 360 playtime compensation...
From the comments afterward: