Data released today showed that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits had once again risen.

Initial Jobless Claims increased by more than expected in the week before Valentine day, climbing to 861,000.

The figures which were for the week ending February 13th saw claims fly past the market forecast of 765,000 applications.

As a result of the rise the main U.S. indices fell on Thursday, with the S&P 500 falling as 0.43% as of writing.

Both the NASDAQ and DOW Jones were also down 0.74% and 0.32% respectively.

Oil prices fall as Texas blackouts continue

After rising to 13-month highs earlier in the week, Oil prices fell on Thursday even as the blackout in Texas continued, halting production.

Oil prices rose recently as tensions in the middle-east worsened and the U.S. oil patch was effected by an unusual winter freeze with shutdowns in Texas and other States resulting in 40% of U.S. Oil production going offline.

As a result of this, data released by the Energy Information Administration today showed that stockpiles had fallen more than expected last week.

Crude oil inventories had declined by 7.258 million barrels last week, versus expectations of 2.43 million barrels.

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 3.42 million barrels, after being expected to fall by 1.57 million barrels.

Many now wait to see when the freeze and resulting blackouts will end, and how this will affect Oil prices as supply comes back to the market.

Robinhood set for congressional hearing

Robinhood, Reddit, Roaring Kitty and other big names involved in the GameStop ($GME) saga are due to speak in a virtual congressional hearing, explaining their involvement in the Meme Stock rally which was headlined by GameStop.

It is expected that the CEO’s of Robinhood, Citadel, Melvin Capital and Reddit, the platform which helped rally the army of retail traders, will all speak, plus retail trader Keith Gill (also known as Roaring Kitty).

Speaking yesterday in anticipation of the hearing, the CEO of Melvin Capital, Gabriel Plotkin stated that, “I want to make clear at the outset that Melvin Capital played absolutely no role in those trading platforms’ decisions”.

Although trading in $GME has somewhat been muted in recent days, Congress  still wants to understand the events, in order to prevent a repeat of this in the future.

Source: CNBC Television

Quote of the day – “I don’t think you can get to be a really good investor over a broad range without doing a massive amount of reading. I don’t think any one book will do it for you.”

Charlie Munger

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Eliman Dambel

Senior Market Analyst