Friday, June 5, 2009

Jobs Data Improving, But Stocks Fail to Gain

At the release of May's non-farm payroll data from the Labor Department, stock futures rose dramatically, as the government said 345,000 job losses occurred in May. Most analysts were looking for a loss of about 520,000, so the improvement was substantial and the futures trade spilled over into the open, with stocks sharply higher in the opening minutes.

Just about 10 minutes into the session, though, something odd happened. Stocks lost their momentum and before 10:00 am, all of the indices were trading in the red. For the remainder of the session, the various indices either stayed marginally positive (the Dow), hugged the flat line (NASDAQ and S&P) or remained in the red (NYSE Comp.).

By 2:00 pm, the bloom was off the rose, and the expected rally on "real" good economic news, instead of the media-spun variety, never materialized. Stocks generally slumped when they should have been soaring.

The mainstream and financial media will attempt to put some kind of cover story on how the numbers were "already discounted" or some other rubbish, but let's allow for some degree of inside baseball (manipulation) as the true explanation. If one examines the timeline between the March 9 bottom and today, it's fairly evident what has occurred. The banks, through their brokerage arms, which received government money through TARP and other lending facilities - B of A, Citi, Goldman, JP Morgan, et. al. - pumped the markets back to life, and, not satisfied with a reasonable rebound of 15-20%, extended gains to the 35-39% range, all of this based on media innuendo, fudged accounting and hopes pinned on stress test results.

Now, when there is actual positive news on unemployment, the banksters find themselves in a topped out position. Further gains would seem frothy, despite the good news, so they are nakedly doing what every chiseling, cheating, Ponzi player would: they are dumping stocks at inflated prices back to the rabble. The whole process has been very untidy and wholly opaque. Fewer words of truth have ever been spoken around Wall Street than during the past three months. Big money is bailing, taking profits and heading to the sidelines and the Hamptons while the rest of the market hammers out the details over the summer.

Investors had best pay close attention next week and especially the trading week of June 15-19, when June options expire. There are likely large put positions already staked out by the large money players. The markets remain remarkably overbought and poised for a move in one direction or the other. With 2nd quarter earnings season still more than a month off, the chances are good that some external event will precipitate a trundle to the downside.

Dow 8,763.13, +12.89 (0.15%)
NASDAQ 1,849.42, -0.60 (0.03%)
S&P 500 940.09, -2.37 (0.25%)
NYSE Composite 6,082.64, -28.12 (0.46%)

In deference to the flat headline numbers, declining issues far outpaced advancers, 3408-2908. New lows vs. new highs remains at a crossroads, with the new highs a narrow winner, 91-87. Volume was pathetic, so, once again, it's influence as an indicator is marginal.

NYSE Volume 1,261,973,000
NASDAQ Volume 2,333,721,000

Commodities spent the majority of the day in the red. Oil backed off 37 cents, to $68.44, though gold saw a much larger decline, down $19.70, to $962.60, backing far away from the magic $1000 level. Silver tracked along the same path, losing 51 cents, to $15.39 the ounce. Its difficult to get a handle on commodity trading with so much speculation going on, but there are small indications that the general deflationary environment is keeping a lid on prices, for now. How that plays out a year or two down the road is also very uncertain.

Stocks still showed another positive week, despite the sleepy results of Friday. Next week may very well show more liquidation in equity positions and consolidation, otherwise known as profit-taking. It bears watching,

No comments: