• From the Associated Press:
Fewer Americans filed for jobless benefits last week despite efforts by the Federal Reserve to loosen the labor market with higher interest rates as it tries to cool the economy.
"Applications for jobless aid in the US for the week ending Feb. 11 fell by 1,000 last week to 194,000, from 195,000 the previous week, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
"It’s the fifth straight week claims were under 200,000."
• The Conference Board said this week that its Measure of CEO Confidence "stands at 43 to start 2023, up from 32 in the final quarter of 2022 … In the survey, 93 percent of CEOs still report they are preparing for a US recession over the next 12-18 months (compared to 98 percent in the Q4 2022 survey). They also still expect that the recession will be brief and shallow with limited global spillover (86 percent).
"However, the percentage who are preparing for a deep US recession dropped from 13 percent in Q4 2022 to 7 percent in Q1 2023, signaling that some CEOs are somewhat less pessimistic. Nonetheless, 55 percent of CEOs believe that a global recession is the greatest challenge for their companies."
The Conference Board notes that "a total of 142 CEOs participated in the Q1 survey, which was fielded between January 17 through 30.
• Ahold Delhaize said that its US business saw a Q4 sales increase of 9.2 percent, with overall same-store sales up 9.3 percent.
Annual sales were up 7.9 percent to $58.9 billion, compared to a year earlier. Q4 operating income was up 16% to about $914 million, and up 3.9% for the year, to about $2.8 billion.
Q4 online sales were up 17.3 percent, and annual online sales were up 14.5 percent.