SCOREBOARD: Apple stew

US equities pulled back after tech giant Apple reported the slowest profit growth in almost a decade.

The US labour market, already positing a strong recovery, looks like it may be in store for another boost if recent jobless claims numbers are any guide. Claims fell to 330,000 (from 335,000, with the four-week moving average around 350,000) in the week to January 20, which was much weaker than the consensus for 355,000. Recall in the previous week there had been a sharp drop in claims, but the problem is that there are often seasonal adjustment problems this time of year and so it’s really quite difficult to get an accurate read. Was 335,000 just noise or what?

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