Financial Morning report from Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management

The torrent of Americans filing for unemployment insurance continued last week as 6.6 million new claims were filed, the Labor Department reported Thursday.  Economists surveyed by Dow Jones estimated 3.1 million, a week after nearly 3.3 million filings in the first wave of what has been a record-shattering swelling of the jobless ranks.  Before the coronavirus shut down major parts of the U.S. economy, the highest week for claims was 695,000 in 1982. The Great Recession high was 665,000 in March 2009. (CNBC)

The FTC is suing to unwind Altria’s stake in Juul Labs, claiming it violated antitrust laws by using its dominant market position to get product into more stores. An administrative trial is scheduled for Jan. 5, 2021. In January, Altria already took a second big writedown on its Juul holdings and stripped down its agreement to provide services to the startup. It now values the e-cigarette maker at about $12B, down from its $38B valuation in December 2018. (SA)

Crude surged more than 12% on reports that China is set to take advantage of low prices and start buying for its strategic reserve. The news, though welcome for oil producing nations, comes with a sting in the tail as the cost of shipping the commodity around the globe has sky-rocketed recently. It now costs $10 a barrel to move crude from the U.S. to China. The President met with executives from the country’s oil industry yesterday as he steps up efforts to intervene in the rout which threatens to wipe out tens of thousands of jobs in the shale industry.

S&P 500 is up 30, and the NASDAQ is up 78. The MSCI International Index is slightly higher.

Oil is up $2.13 at $22.44 a barrel.

Gold is $27 higher today at $1618 an ounce. 

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