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US stock market daily report (February 07, 2013, Thursday)

February 8, 2013, Friday, 04:57 GMT | 23:57 EST | 09:27 IST | 11:57 SGT
Contributed by Millennium Traders


The Big Daddy winter storm of the year, a Nor'easter Category 4 storm system is expected to hit New York City and the East Coast during rush hour on Friday. The National Weather Service has predicted a potential historic winter storm, dumping 1 to 2 feet of snow on the area at the rate of 2 to 3 inches 'per hour'. Some computer models are calling for snow accumulations of up to 50 inches. Should the storm pan out, travel will be impossible Friday night. Roughly 35 years ago, the Nor'easter Blizzard of 1978 hit, dumping up to 27 inches of snow on the North East. Friday is the anniversary of the Lindsey Storm in 1969 - Category 2 - that brought New York City to a standstill with over 20 inches of snow.

The U.S. Labor Department reported on Thursday, new applications for unemployment benefits fell by 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 366,000 in the week ended February 2. Initial claims from two weeks ago were revised up to 371,00 from an original reading of 368,000 based on more complete data collected at the state level. Over the past month, average new claims moved lower by 2,250 to 350,500, marking a near - five-year low. In the week ended January 26 continuing claims increased by 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 3.22 million.

During Q4, U.S. productivity fell 2.0% as workers put in more hours although production of goods and services were basically flat, with little change. Productivity rose an estimated 1.0% for 2012 which compares to a 0.7% increase during 2011 and a 3.1% gain during 2010. The increase in Q3 productivity was revised up to 3.2% from 2.9%. Output of goods and services moved higher by a scant 0.1% while hours worked moved sharply higher by 2.2%, during Q4 and unit-labor costs moved sharply higher by 4.5%. Unit-labor costs rose a much smaller 0.7% for all of 2012. During Q4, hourly pay for American workers rose 2.4% however, when adjusted for inflation, wages only increased 0.3%. Inflation-adjusted wages fell 0.4% for 2012 following a 0.5% decline in 2011. Also for Q4, for the U.S. manufacturing sector, productivity rose 2.0%, more than offsetting a 0.9% drop in Q3.

LinkedIn Corp. (LNKD) shares soared in aftermarket trading on Thursday, up 12% after beating Wall Street’s estimates on surging revenue, particularly in its hiring services business. The firm said it now has 202 million members, up 39% year-over-year. LinkedIn reported a Q4 profit of $11.5 million or 10 cents a share; revenue of $303.62 million and adjusted profit came in at 35 cents a share. The firm reported expected revenue in the range of between $305 million and $310 million, for the current quarter. In a statement, Chief Executive Jeff Weiner said, “2012 was a transformative year for LinkedIn. We exited 2011 having successfully revamped our underlying development infrastructure.”