The Dow and S&P 500 hit new all-time highs on Thursday, as housing data came in worse than expected while initial jobless claims data beat expectations.
First, the scoreboard:
Dow: 17,265.99, +109, (+0.6%)
S&P 500: 2,011.32, +9.7, (+0.5%)
Nasdaq: 4,593.42, +31.2, (+0.7%)
And now, the top stories on Thursday:
1. The weekly report on initial jobless claims fell to 280,000, less than the 305,000 that was expected by economists and down from last week's 316,000. Following the report Ian Shepherdson at Pantheon Macro said: "With the exception of the week of July 19, when claims were distorted by the automakers' shutdowns, this is the lowest reading since May 2000."
2. Housing starts plummeted in August, falling at 14.4% to an annualized rate of 956,000 in the biggest monthly drop since April 2013. Economists were expected the pace of housing starts to fall 5.25 to 1.04 million. Following the report, Dean Maki at Barclays said, "Because the housing starts data are volatile on a monthly basis, these data do not change our view that a moderate housing recovery remains on track."
3. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's latest manufacturing report fell to 22.5 from 28.0, also missing expectations for a reading of 23.0. The report's employment subindex, however, rose to its best level since May 2011.
4. The latest Z.1 Flow of Funds report from the Federal Reserve showed that household net worth grew by $1.4 trillion in the second quarter to $81.5 trillion. During the quarter, the value of stocks rose $1 trillion and the value of real estate increased by $230 billion. Household debt increased by 3.6%.
5. Shares of Rite Aid were among the biggest losers on Thursday, falling more than 18% after the pharmacy chain cut its fiscal-year earnings and sales outlook, citing reduced margin in its generic drug business.
6. Microsoft laid off 2,100 employees, and a source close to the company told Business Insider's Julie Bort that cuts were happening in "many different team, functions and countries." Microsoft still plans to lay off 2,900 or so employees over the next few months.
7. Shares of pharmaceutical company VIVUS gained more than 12% after the FDA approved updated labeling for the company's erectile dysfunction treatment.
8. On Thursday, Scotland went to the polls to vote on a referendum to leave UK. Recent polls indicated that "No" votes were leading "Yes" votes by a margin of about 52-48, and on the belief that Scots will vote to stay in the UK, the British pound rallied. Conventional wisdom this week has pointed towards Scots voting to stay in the UK, but Business Insider's Joe Weisenthal reported that, according to a top analyst following the vote, a huge turnout could render recent polls useless.
(Newser) - Fifteen people have been detained in Australia, and police there say that in so doing, they have thwarted a plot to carry out a random beheading in Sydney. More than a dozen properties across Sydney were raided today by a force of 800 federal and state police officers, making it... More »
(Newser) - Some of the last known movements of missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham are being pieced together with the help of surveillance video. The two most recent videos to surface haven't been released, but police have described their contents. An eyewitness previously told police that Graham entered the... More »
(Newser) - Police say five teenagers are lucky to be alive after an early Sunday rollover crash in Boise, Idaho. The cause? Burning armpit hair. Three boys and two girls, aged 15 to 18, suffered non-life-threatening injuries—a fortunate feat as police say none were wearing seat belts and two were thrown... More »
(Newser) - Scots are taking to the polls today to determine whether Scotland should gain legal independence from the United Kingdom for the first time since 1707. Voters—more than 4 million perhaps, with 97% of the electorate registered to vote—have access to 2,608 polling places across the country between... More »
(Newser) - A San Francisco official looks to be the first public figure in the country to "come out of the PrEP closet," as he puts it in a piece for the Huffington Post . Scott Wiener—who represents a district he calls "ground zero for the HIV epidemic"—... More »
(Newser) - Everyone wants to know who shot Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 out of the skies over Ukraine in July, but one unknown entity really wants to know—and is apparently willing to pony up $30 million for the answer. Wifka, a German private-investigation firm, says it has a client who's... More »
German cyclist Jens Voigt just set a new world hour record, cycling's... Read »
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