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MARKET SNAPSHOT: Dow, S&P 500, Nasdaq Threaten To All Log 3rd Straight Loss For First Time Since April
Unemployment

MARKET SNAPSHOT: Dow, S&P 500, Nasdaq Threaten To All Log 3rd Straight Loss For First Time Since April

MARKET SNAPSHOT: Dow, S&P 500, Nasdaq Threaten To All Log 3rd Straight Loss For First Time Since April.
North Korean tensions help to undercut investor optimism All three major equity benchmarks were stumbling firmly lower on Thursday, with the trifecta of indexes on track to fall in three consecutive sessions in unison for the first time since mid April amid persistent tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.
Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 130 points, or 0.6%, lower at 21,915, while the S&P 500 index gave up 20 points, or 0.9%, to 2,462, with all of the index’s 11 sectors trading in the red, topped by falls of at least 1% in financials and technology shares, two groups with the biggest weighting in the broad-market benchmark.
If all three stock gauges finish in the red on the same day for a third straight session, it would be the first time such a streak occurred since April 13, according to WSJ Market Data Group.
North Korea also laid out detailed plans of how it would launch a missile strike on U.S. military bases in Guam (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/north-korea-details-plan-to-fire-missiles-toward-guam-says-only-absolute-force-will-work-with-trump-2017-08-09). “Traders would require nerves of steel to start buying into the stock market now, given standoff between the U.S. and North Korea,” David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets U.K., said in a note to clients.
If it’s North Korea, I don’t think this will be a fruitful period for equity investors,” Nick said.
Meanwhile, traders absorbed a report on jobless claims (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-jobless-claims-rise-by-3000-to-244000-2017-08-10) that showed that initial claims for U.S. unemployment-insurance benefits continue to reflect a strong labor market, even as they inched slightly higher.
The number of people who applied for U.S. unemployment-insurance benefits rose by 3,000 to 244,000 in the week that ended August 5, the Labor Department reported.
Meanwhile, U.S. wholesale prices (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-wholesale-inflation-fall-01-in-july-first-decline-in-almost-a-year-2017-08-10) declined in July for the first time in almost a year, providing additional evidence of tepid inflation that is bedeviling the Federal Reserve.

MARKET SNAPSHOT: Dow Losses Grip On 22,000 Level As Stock-market Downturn Enters 3rd Day
Unemployment

MARKET SNAPSHOT: Dow Losses Grip On 22,000 Level As Stock-market Downturn Enters 3rd Day

MARKET SNAPSHOT: Dow Losses Grip On 22,000 Level As Stock-market Downturn Enters 3rd Day.
North Korean tensions help to undercut investor optimism U.S. stock-index benchmarks opened firmly lower on Thursday as Wall Street extended its recent move south amid persistent tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.
Dow Jones Industrial Average traded down 87 points, or 0.4%, at 21,963, while the S&P 500 index off 12 points, or 0.5%, to 2,461.04, with all of the index’s 11 sectors trading in the red.
North Korea also laid out detailed plans of how it would launch a missile strike on U.S. military bases in Guam (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/north-korea-details-plan-to-fire-missiles-toward-guam-says-only-absolute-force-will-work-with-trump-2017-08-09).
If it’s North Korea, I don’t think this will be a fruitful period for equity investors,” Nick said.
Stocks finished off their lows, but still held on to losses Wednesday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stock-futures-pull-back-as-north-korea-threatens-guam-2017-08-09), as investors remained anxious about the U.S.-North Korea war of words and a clutch of disappointing earnings reports.
Meanwhile, traders absorbed a report on jobless claims (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-jobless-claims-rise-by-3000-to-244000-2017-08-10) that showed that initial claims for U.S. unemployment-insurance benefits continue to reflect a strong labor market, even as they inched slightly higher.
The number of people who applied for U.S. unemployment-insurance benefits rose by 3,000 to 244,000 in the week that ended August 5, the Labor Department reported.
Meanwhile, U.S. wholesale prices (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-wholesale-inflation-fall-01-in-july-first-decline-in-almost-a-year-2017-08-10) declined in July for the first time in almost a year, providing additional evidence of tepid inflation that is bedeviling the Federal Reserve.
Shares of Kohl’s (KSS) declined 1.3% after an earnings beat (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/kohls-stock-jumps-premarket-after-earnings-beat-2017-08-10).

US jobless claims rise; labor market still tightening
Unemployment

US jobless claims rise; labor market still tightening

The U.S. unemployment rate shot to a 14-1/2 year high last month as …
The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week, but the underlying trend remained consistent with a tightening labor market.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 244,000 for the week ended Aug. 5, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims would be unchanged at 240,000 in the latest week.
That is the longest such stretch since 1970, when the labor market was smaller.
The government reported last week that nonfarm payrolls increased by 209,000 jobs in July.
The economy has added 1.29 million jobs this year.
That has resulted in the unemployment rate dropping five-tenths of a percentage point.
Thursday’s claims report also showed the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid fell by 16,000 to 1.95 million in the week ended July 29.
The so-called continuing claims have now been below the 2 million mark for 17 straight weeks, pointing to diminishing labor market slack.

Dow, S&P 500, Nasdaq threaten to all log 3rd straight loss for first time since April
Unemployment

Dow, S&P 500, Nasdaq threaten to all log 3rd straight loss for first time since April

Reuters All three major equity benchmarks were stumbling firmly lower on Thursday, with the trifecta of indexes on track to fall in three consecutive sessions in unison for the first time since mid April amid persistent tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.
Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.45% traded 130 points, or 0.6%, lower at 21,915, while the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.68% gave up 20 points, or 0.9%, to 2,462, with all of the index’s 11 sectors trading in the red, topped by falls of at least 1% in financials and technology shares, two groups with the biggest weighting in the broad-market benchmark.
If all three stock gauges finish in the red on the same day for a third straight session, it would be the first time such a streak occurred since April 13, according to WSJ Market Data Group.
Geopolitical tension gained momentum on Thursday, after a North Korean army commander said, “sound dialogue” isn’t possible with President Donald Trump and “only absolute force can work on him,” according to state media.
North Korea also laid out detailed plans of how it would launch a missile strike on U.S. military bases in Guam.
“Traders would require nerves of steel to start buying into the stock market now, given standoff between the U.S. and North Korea,” David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets U.K., said in a note to clients.
If it’s North Korea, I don’t think this will be a fruitful period for equity investors,” Nick said.
Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected the government to report that initial claims for regular state unemployment-insurance benefits rose 2,000 to 242,000.
Meanwhile, U.S. wholesale prices declined in July for the first time in almost a year, providing additional evidence of tepid inflation that is bedeviling the Federal Reserve.
Economic docket: New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley was slated to speak on wage inequality in the New York region at 10 a.m. Eastern.

Initial jobless claims
Unemployment

Initial jobless claims

Initial claims for U.S. unemployment-insurance benefits inched higher in the latest week but continued to signal a healthy labor market, according to government data released Thursday.
The number of people who applied for U.S. unemployment-insurance benefits rose by 3,000 to 244,000 in the week that ended August 5, the Labor Department reported.
Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected the government to report that initial claims for regular state unemployment-insurance benefits rose 2,000 to 242,000.
The average of new claims over the past month, which gives a more stable picture of layoff trends, slipped by 1,000 to 241,000.
Layoffs nationwide remain extremely low.
The underlying story is firms want to hire more workers but qualified staff are increasingly hard to find, Shepherdson said.
That dynamic has raised the bar for layoffs as employers are now more inclined to ride out small dips in demand without letting go of staff because they fear hiring them if activity picks up will be difficult and potentially expensive, he said in a research note to clients.
The low level of claims is a signal the job market hasn’t lost momentum, said James Glassman, an economist at J.P. Morgan Chase.
Nonfarm payrolls have increased 184,000 monthly on average so far this year, little changed from 188,000 last year, he said.
U.S. stocks held on to modest losses after the report, along with a reading of producer prices, was released, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.45% and the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.68% on pace to open trade lower.

Opinion: Why central bankers are so confused by low prices
Unemployment

Opinion: Why central bankers are so confused by low prices

Opinion: Why central bankers are so confused by low prices.
Their dilemma lies in an incorrect reading of statistics and taking modern macroeconomic theory too seriously.
Unemployment in the European Union is at its lowest level since 2009, yet inflation across the pond drags along at about 1.3%.
According to the textbooks, unemployment and inflation are supposed to move in opposite directions, not in tandem as they have.
As summarized by the Phillips curve, falling unemployment should coincide with tightening labor markets and rising wages and prices, and the inverse should be true as unemployment rises.
For one thing, headline unemployment rates are proving an increasingly poor measure of what is going on in many labor markets.
However, even after pulling cell-phone services out of the core deflator for personal consumption — the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation — price increases have been slowing through 2017 and were only 1.6% in June.
These kinds of structural changes — all occurring with increasing perforce — simply shift the parameters of the Phillips curve in ways conventional macroeconomic models and the bubble think at central banks cannot accommodate.
In many ways, the latter mirrors the obsession central bankers have with trying to inflict inflation on households.
The steady growth in the United States and recent uptick in Europe indicate that simply isn’t so, and central bankers should normalize monetary policy now.

Judge grants Argus Leader Media attorney fees in FOIA lawsuit
Welfare

Judge grants Argus Leader Media attorney fees in FOIA lawsuit

Judge grants Argus Leader Media attorney fees in FOIA lawsuit.
A federal judge has awarded Argus Leader Media nearly $70,000 in attorney fees after finding the newspaper “substantially prevailed” in a lawsuit against the United States Department of Agriculture.
The award comes after Argus Leader Media won a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the department last year.
The newspaper sued the department in 2011 after the department refused to turn over five years of sales data for every business in the country that participates in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, formerly known as food stamps.
Following the victory, the Food Marketing Institute intervened in the case, appealing the decision to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The appeal is pending.
Judge Karen Schreier’s award of attorney fees will depend on the outcome of Food Marketing Institute’s appeal.
Still, in awarding fees, Schreier noted that the information sought by the paper served a public benefit as opposed to a private benefit to Argus Leader Media.
“Argus is not using its FOIA request to further a private interest in a dispute with the government.
Instead, Argus submitted its FOIA request to obtain information to share with the public.”

Comp insurer credits predictive modeling for reduction in opioid use
Welfare

Comp insurer credits predictive modeling for reduction in opioid use

Comp insurer credits predictive modeling for reduction in opioid use.
The Travelers Companies Inc. has spent the past two years attempting to curb opioid abuse by gauging the likelihood that an injured worker would become hooked — and it helped reduce opioid use in claims by 30% among 500,000 claimants in the United States, the company reported Wednesday.
The Hartford, Connecticut-based company’s Early Severity Predictor model identifies the likelihood that someone will develop chronic pain, a leading cause of opioid dependency, according to a statement.
Travelers shares the data gathered from questionnaires with the injured employee’s doctor, allowing them to identify effective treatment alternatives, such as physical therapy.
In some cases, surgery is avoided to help ensure a safe recovery without the prolonged use of opioids, the company reported.
Since January 2016, surgeries for the company’s workers compensation cases have fallen by 25%, and those who received alternative treatment methods recovered and returned to work 10% faster than those who did not, according to the statement.
“Surgical procedures used to correct common workplace injuries are oftentimes followed by an opioid prescription for pain,” said Dr. Adam Seidner, addiction specialist and Global Medical Director at Travelers, in a statement.
“Physical therapy and other treatments limit the employee’s exposure to opioids and often produce better long-term medical outcomes.”

Lawsuit Says Seattle’s ‘Tax-the-Rich’ Measure Violates State Constitution — Update
Unemployment

Lawsuit Says Seattle’s ‘Tax-the-Rich’ Measure Violates State Constitution — Update

Lawsuit Says Seattle’s ‘Tax-the-Rich’ Measure Violates State Constitution — Update.
A new tax-the-rich measure in Seattle was hit with its first legal challenge Wednesday.
The new Seattle measure, passed by the city council in July, would impose a 2.25% tax on any income over $250,000 or above $500,000 for couples filing jointly.
It is expected to impact about 9,000, or 2%, of the city’s taxpayers.
A lawsuit filed by the Freedom Foundation, a conservative think tank, on behalf of 19 Seattle citizens, alleges the measure violates the state constitution as well as restrictions on cities to impose such taxes.
The last time voters passed a graduated statewide income tax in Washington it was struck down by the state Supreme Court in 1933 as unconstitutional.
The state constitution requires property be taxed at a uniform rate, which the court said applied to income in turning down the tax.
The tax would bring in about $140 million every year for the city.
Backers of the tax say they want the rich to pay their fair share.
The state’s poorest 20% of residents, or those making less than $21,000 a year, pay 16.8% of their income.

California considers second round of feedback in drug formulary proceedings
Welfare

California considers second round of feedback in drug formulary proceedings

Stakeholders called for more tweaks to California’s proposed workers compensation drug formulary, which is slated to go into effect in January 2018 and still needs refining of provisions for weaning injured workers off drugs that would be exempt from prescribing under the new rules, according to several commentators.
In its latest call for public comments on the proposed drug formulary for injured workers, the California Department of Industrial Relations received insight from 17 separate organizations and individuals by the Aug. 2 deadline.
Closed drug formularies are the latest trend in state workers comp systems, praised as an answer to opioid overprescribing.
In the latest round of comments, organizations said the weaning rules need to be clarified and that doctors may need more time to put patients on an alternative treatment plan.
The Sacramento-based California Applicants’ Attorney Association issued a letter criticizing the draft for not containing a “timeframe for a worker to be allowed to transition from a non-formulary drug to a formulary drug.” “Unfortunately, as we have seen in too many cases, the (Medical Treatment Utilization Schedule) and current applicable utilization review and independent medical review regulations will not protect workers from being cut off ‘cold turkey’ from medications they have been on for years,” the attorney association stated in its letter.
Meanwhile, one organization — Memphis, Tennessee-based Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc. — called for a shortened timeframe for new reports on weaning: Feb. 1 instead of April.
“In similar fashion, there are several other references throughout the proposed rules wherein authorization through prospective review is required, but the proposed rules do not specifically state what action is to be taken in the event that the mandatory prospective review is not requested,” she wrote.
As of July, regulators made further changes to the proposed drug formulary and several workers comp organizations applauded the state’s work to refine the formulary, which grew out of the state’s passage of Assembly Bill 2224 in 2015.
Closed formularies limit approved medications for workers comp claims, and prior to the new law, California legislators had carefully examined closed formularies in Texas and Washington state.
Several organizations issued statements simply applauding the Department of Industrial Relations’ newest version, which included changes such as replacing the “Preferred/Non-Preferred” drug designations to “Exempt/Non-Exempt” to better align with how the designations affect the prospective utilization review status of the drug; revised provisions relating to phased implementation of the formulary; deletion of provisions regarding issues that will be addressed in the utilization review regulations rather than in the formulary regulations; clarification of applicable dispute resolution procedures; and an updated drug listing and formatting changes.