Fewer Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, pushing the average over the past month to the lowest level in 15 years and underscoring labour-market strength. Jobless claims decreased by 1,000 to 264,000 in the seven days ended May 9.
Fewer workers are being let go, a sign that demand for staffing remains robust and that a slowdown in economic growth was due to transitory factors, like bad weather and port disputes on the West Coast. Persistently low firings and greater employment gains should help wages pick up and support consumer spending.
Producer prices in the U.S. unexpectedly fell 0.4 percent in April from the prior month, depressed by declining profit margins at wholesalers and retailers.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and her colleagues are monitoring the labour market while also looking for signs of inflation as they consider the appropriate time to raise their benchmark interest rate from near zero.
Repayment of what Greece owes to the European Central Bank should be pushed into the future, but it is not an option because it fills ECB chief Mario Draghi's "soul with fear", Greece's finance minister said on Thursday. Yanis Varoufakis said Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, cannot risk irritating Germany with such a debt swap because of Berlin's objection to his bond-buying programme.
Varoufakis first raised the idea of swapping Greek debt for growth-linked or perpetual bonds when his leftist government came to power earlier this year, But Athens has since dropped the proposal after it got a cool reception from euro zone partners.
The outspoken minister, who has been side-lined in talks with European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders, brought it up again on Thursday, saying 27 billion euros of bonds owed to the ECB after 6.7 billion euros worth are repaid in July and August should be pushed back.
Bank of England governor Mark Carney has suggested he's in favour of the Tories holding an early referendum on Britain's membership to the European Union.
Carney said that the planned vote on EU membership should be held "as soon as necessary" in an interview on Thursday. He also stressed the importance of Europe to Britain's economy saying "one of the big advantages this economy has is access to the European market".
The Conservatives have promised to hold a referendum on Britain's membership to the European Union before the end of 2017. However, since David Cameron's shock majority victory at the polls there have been suggestions it could be brought forward. The governor also took the opportunity to play down inferences he thinks an influx of foreign workers are responsible for holding down wages.
15:00 - USD Prelim University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment
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