Telecoms Keep the Dow Afloat

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A faulty jobs report, a letter from Russian President Vladamir Putin to the American people, and a gold sell-off are leading to an up-and-down Thursday for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) . As of 1:25 p.m. EDT the Dow is down a negligible four points. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) is down 0.11%, and the CBOE Volatility Index (VOLATILITYINDICES: ^VIX  ) is up 1.8%.

There were two U.S. economic releases today.

Report

Period

Result

Previous

New unemployment claims

Aug. 31 to Sept. 9

--

323,000

Import price index

August

0%

0.1%

Export price index

August

(0.5%)

(0.1%)

Source: The Wall Street Journal.

The Department of Labor's Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report showed that unemployment claims fell below 300,000 but the drop is attributed to computer errors in two states resulting from a systems conversion this week. The Department of Labor still reported the data, even though it knows the data is faulty. Figures will be revised next week, so we will then be able to see whether the trend of declining unemployment claims is continuing.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that import prices were unchanged in August after a 0.1% revised gain in July. Excluding fuel import prices, which rose 0.5%, overall import prices fell 0.2%. Prices of exports fell a larger 0.5%, led by a 4.3% drop in agricultural prices.

Today's Dow leaders
Today's Dow leaders are AT&T (NYSE: T  ) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) , both up more than 1% for the day. Yesterday Verizon completed a $49 billion debt offering to fund its purchase of the 45% stake in Verizon Wireless that is currently held by Vodafone. Vodafone will receive cash and Verizon shares, a large portion of which the company will give to shareholders. Both companies have been in the news this week after AT&T completed its previously announced acquisition of wireless spectrum from Verizon for $1.9 billion. Today, Verizon also announced that it will sell a large portion of a historic building it owns in New York City to a condo developer for $275 million.

Verizon and AT&T both got a boost this week after Apple did not announce a significantly cheaper iPhone, which could have significantly increased Apple's sales in China and given a boost to T-Mobile

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