Friday, December 6, 2013

November Jobs: 203,000; So, Now Good News Is Good News?

Highly anticipated all week, the November Non-farm payroll report from the BLS showed 203,000 jobs created during the month. The official unemployment rate fell to 7.0%, which, for all intents and purposes, is pretty close to not just the Fed's 6.5% target for raising interest rates, but not too distant from what is regarded as full employment at five percent unemployed.

Initially thought to be a negative if the number came in anywhere above official estimates of 185,000, index futures got ramped higher and stocks were off to the races, opening with a huge gap higher and maintaining price levels throughout the final session of the first week of December.

For the week, the Dow was down just 66.21 points; the S&P missed closing positive by a mere 0.72; and, the NASDAQ actually closed in the green for the week by 2.63 points.

Opinions varied widely about what the movement in stocks meant, based upon the potential for tapering of the bond buying program by the Fed. In general terms, the Fed now has Wall Street's tacit approval to begin winding down the $85 billion a month program as early as this month. either that, or today's trading, and all the supposed "fearful profit taking" of the first four days of the week were simply short-term momentum trades, rooted in absolutely nothing.

In any case, those who were short the market for the better part of the first four days of the week and then went long at the close on Thursday (cue insider bankster types) were big winners. Anybody who waited for the number to be released prior to the opening on Friday, ate dust.

And that, my friends, is how the game is played. Good news may very well be perceived as bad news, until the size players decide that good news is good news, after all. Pure thievery at a high level is probably the most apt description of how this week played out. A telltale sign was the absurdly low volume, especially coming in anticipation, and, on the heels of a critically "important" number.

Thank goodness, Christmas is less than three weeks away and the retailers haven't had much to say, but that card will be turned shortly, and it could be a wild one.

DOW 16,020.20, +198.69 (+1.26%)
NASDAQ 4,062.52, +29.36 (+0.73%)
S&P 1,805.09, +20.06 (+1.12%)
10-Yr Note 99.03, +0.74 (+0.76%)
NASDAQ Volume 1.49 Bil
NYSE Volume 2.74 Bil
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 3965-1711
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 310-112
WTI crude oil: 97.65, +0.27
Gold: 1,229.00, -2.90
Silver: 19.52, -0.047
Corn: 434.25, +0.75

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