10:00 AM New York – U.S. indexes climbed after jobless claims decreased 30,000 to 339,000, trade deficit widened in August and foreclosure filings declined in the third quarter. Wal-Mart targeted sales increase between 5% and 7% in fiscal 2014.
U.S. indexes gained after jobless claims fell to a four-year low and foreclosure filings declined in the third quarter.
Wal-Mart said fiscal year 2014 capital plan will decline to a range between $12 and $13 billion and targeted sales increase of as much as 7%.
European indexes edged higher as the markets in the region overlooked the latest downgrade of Spanish debt just above junk level. Italy sold €3.75 billion of three-year debt at higher yields.
Standard & Poor''s lowered Spain''s long-term credit rating by two notches to ""BBB-"" from ""BBB+"" with a negative outlook, just above the junk level.
Asian indexes fell on global economic concerns. Domestic economic data did not lift investor sentiment.
Confidence among Japanese households declined in September. The seasonally adjusted consumer confidence index, excluding one-person households, decreased to 40.1 in September from 40.5 in August.
South Korea''s central bank lowered its base rate today. The Bank of Korea''s monetary policy board cut the nation''s benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points, from 3% to 2.75%.
Separately, Australia''s unemployment rate soared to a seasonally adjusted 5.4% in September, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said today.
U.S. Foreclosures Drop
U.S. foreclosure filings in the third quarter declined 5% to 531,576 U.S. properties from the second quarter and fell 13% from the third quarter of 2011, according to RealtyTrac.
Foreclosure filings were reported on 180,427 U.S. properties in September, a decrease of 7% from August and down 16% from September 2011.
U.S. Trade Deficit Widens
U.S. trade deficit widened to $44.2 billion in August from a revised $42.5 billion in July, according to a report released by the U.S. Commerce Department today.
Exports dropped 1% to $181.3 billion, while imports declined 0.1% to $225.5 billion.
U.S. Jobless Claims Slump
Seasonally adjusted weekly jobless claims in the U.S. for the week ending October 6 declined 30,000 to 339,000 from the previous week''s revised figure of 369,000. The 4-week moving average was 364,000, a decrease of 11,500 from the previous week''s revised average of 375,500.
Quad/Graphics to Acquire Vertis
Quad/Graphics, Inc. will acquire substantially all of the assets comprising Vertis Holdings, Inc.’s businesses for $258.5 million, which includes the payment of approximately $88.5 million for current assets that are in excess of normalized working capital requirements.