A lengthy dispute that paralyzed shipping at U.S. West Coast ports for months was resolved by a tentative five-year contract between dock workers and ship owners. Analysts warned that clearing the backlog that piled up during negotiations would take months.
Initial claims for U.S. unemployment benefits rose last week, but the four-week moving average eased to its lowest level in more than five years. The slackening pace of firings indicates businesses anticipate stronger consumer demand in coming months, analysts said.
The winding down of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is needed so that taxpayers are not on the hook in case of another boom and bust cycle, says Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. The GOP's plan would leave a few agencies in place for first-time and lower-income buyers but would eliminate the government-sponsored enterprises; like the Senate proposal, it calls for a five-year plan for dissolution.
First-time jobless claims in the U.S. declined to 339,000 last week, close to a five-year low, the Labor Department says. Economists had expected a total of 351,000. The four-week rolling average, seen as a better indicator of labor-market conditions, reached 357,500, compared with the previous week's 362,000.
After an auction of two-year debt revealed strong demand for Japanese debt across all maturities, the yield on the five-year bond fell to 0.14%, equal to an all-time low set Jan. 22. The government sold $27 billion of two-year notes, with bids for 10.13 times the amount of securities offered.