Stocks and exchange traded funds (ETFs) are trading in a flat range this morning as the markets sort out less-than-thrilling earnings figures from Goldman Sachs and Citigroup.

Yesterday, JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) set a high bar for earnings, but Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) and Citigroup (NYSE: C) failed to reach it when they announced their third-quarter results this morning. Goldman Sachs reported $3.19 billion in trading profits that beat expectations, but the stock dropped on declines in investment banking revenues. Citigroup reported a smaller loss than expected, but credit losses are high, report Sara Lepro and Tim Paradis for the Associated Press.

  • Financial Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLF) is down about 1.25% this morning

Two positive signs for the U.S. economy emerged this morning: new jobless claims made a surprise drop to 514,000 and inflation stayed low in September. (How to play inflation, deflation and stagflation with ETFs).

The drop in the number of newly laid-off workers isn’t enough to signal that companies are in hiring mode, but it’s a sign that they’re at least slashing fewer workers, reports Christopher S. Rugaber for the Associated Press. It’s the fifth decline in six weeks.

Consumer prices rose 0.2% in September, which was in line with what analysts expected. Excluding energy and food, prices still rose 0.2%. (Read about the holiday retail sales outlook here).

Oil shot above $76 a barrel as the U.S. Dollar continues to weaken. The spike came after a report showed that fuel inventories declined by 5.2 million barrels. A drop of 700,000 had been anticipated. (Where gas prices may be headed).

  • PowerShares DB Oil (NYSEArca: DBO) is up nearly 2.5% this morning

Read more about oil by visiting our oil category.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.