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U.S. stocks were lower yesterday as investors were discouraged by a worse-than-expected jobless claims reading as well as a weak forecast from Walmart.

 

Another 861,000 workers filed for unemployment benefits for the first-time last week, according to the Labor Department. That's nearly 100,000 more claims than economists had predicted and the highest number in a month. It was also an increase from the week before -- which was revised higher as well. America's jobs recovery has really lost steam and last week's initial claims were four times higher than in the same period last year.

 

Walmart shares dropped after their fourth-quarter earnings fell short of Wall St estimates. The big-box retailer sees sales growth slowing this year as the pandemic momentum ebbs. Walmart also raised wages for store workers in digital and stocking positions to $13-$19 an hour, though their minimum starting wage will remain $11/hr.

 

The cost to build a new house is going significantly higher. Lumber prices are now at an all-time-high of $1,004 per 1,000 board feet, which is double the price just 3 months ago.

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