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After long weeks at high levels, this weekly barometer of the labor market dipped to more favorable levels: 269K instead of 281K expected. Continuing claims also beat with 2.239 instead of 2.25 million forecast. The 4 week moving average is down to 281.25K, still elevated given the previous elevated 3 weeks.

The US dollar is slightly stronger on the news, at least against the safe haven euro and yen.

Will this improve the markets’ mood or will the doom and gloom prevail?

Weekly jobless claims were expected to tick down form 285K to 281K this time. The number of claims is above the lows of around 260K in recent weeks.

Markets are in total turmoil, with safe haven currencies such as the euro and the yen experiencing  rises (and perhaps some BOJ intervention) while commodity currencies and the pound are on the back foot.  WTI Crude Oil is deep in the $26 handle.

The all-important NFP showed  less jobs gained than expected but rises in wages and a nice slide in the unemployment rate. Also the JOLTs report for December came out better than expected.

Yet what sets the tone is the mood and its damp. Falling oil prices, worries about individual companies, and the  inability of central banks to help all weigh.

USD/JPY made an absolute crash to the 110 handle and  suddenly leaped. This might be the Bank of Japan acting in markets, or at least  the fear of the BOJ in action. EUR/USD made a long move to 1.1368 on safe haven flows.