A slew of economic reports will be rolling out today as the fourth quarter of the calendar year kicks off. First up, initial jobless claims went up 10,000 to 277,000, higher than the Briefing.com consensus number of 270,000. The real show — and a better indicator of the state of the economy — will come Friday, when the Labor Department weighs in with its September nonfarm payrolls report.
Stocks started off the month in positive territory, but quickly reversed course.
At midday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 176.54 points, or 1.1 percent, to 16,108.16, and the S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group was off 6.55 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,168.26.
European markets were uneven with the UK and France up slightly and Germany down. Euro zone manufacturing declined with German expansion weakening, while France returned to growth. IMF chief Christine Lagarde said that worldwide growth would likely slow this year.
Chinese markets are closed this week for “Golden Week,” a seven-day festival celebrated in China twice a year. The intention is to go visit family, but most use it as an occasion to go shopping.
The fallout for The Gap Inc. losing its top Old Navy executive to Ralph Lauren continues. Earlier this week, Stefan Larsson left Gap to join Ralph Lauren Corp. as its new chief executive officer. Several analysts cut their ratings and then Standard & Poor’s cut its outlook for the Gap to negative.
According to Law360, American Apparel won two lawsuits that had been filed against it by former chief executive officer Dov Charney. The company has needed something positive as it slides closer to bankruptcy. It was told last week that it would be delisted by the New York Stock Exchange for not paying its listing fees and falling out of compliance with listing standards. Plus, the company has a debt payment due on October 15 for $13.9 million. As of August 11, American Apparel only had $11.2 million in cash. The stock has dropped 29 percent this week to 11 cents.
Throughout the day automakers will be delivering their September sales figures and most are expected to report a slight increase. Manufacturing and construction data will come out at 10 a.m. Eastern time, along with gas inventories at 10:30 a.m. Add to the mix a Fed speaker at 2:30 p.m., whose comments could shed light on a rate increase.