U.S. stocks have traded relatively flat today as oil prices shot up and Wall Street was disappointed at new unemployment data. Oil shot up about two bucks a barrel to $106 as the ongoing crisis in Libya weighs on production. The U.S. Department of Labor said there were about 6,000 fewer claims for unemployment benefits last week, but analysts were expecting a larger drop. There were still 388,000 people that did file for unemployment though. On a positive note, despite rising commodity prices and a slower-than-expected recovery in the job market, consumer confidence still seems stable. According to Bloomberg's Consumer Comfort Index, this suggests that Americans still have a handle on the economic challenges for the time being.
Major U.S. Stock Indices:
DJIA: 12,355.00 (+0.04 percent)
S&P500: 1328.52 (+0.02 percent)
Nasdaq Comp.: 2776.04 (-0.03 percent)
Russell 2000: 841.01 (+0.08 percent)
In other news:
- David Sokol, a top executive at Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A), has resigned. Sokol had long been considered one of the logical successors of Warren Buffett, but controversy could be brewing from his personal investment in Lubrizol Corp. (NYSE: LZ). [Forbes]
- Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) enters the fray of the ongoing EU probe of Google (NASDAQ: GOOG). This could get interesting. [NY Times]
- The Federal Reserve was forced to release thousands of previously undisclosed documents detailing which financial institutions the government issued loans to during the peak of the economic crisis. Worms, meet can-opener. [Bloomberg]
- What a rocky first quarter it's been, am I right? [Marketwatch]
- How the devastation in Japan could affect the way global business is done in the future. [The Economist]
Check back as more news develops.