Stocks in the US staged a half-hearted rally on Thursday, with virtually no news - good, bad or otherwise - to support the move, so, as they say in whispered tones, the market is trading on vapors.
Tomorrow's expected 185-195,000 January NFP may not have as much significance as previous iterations of the market's most-massaged number. There are other issues pressuring stocks that are of more importance. Also, with unemployment - according to "official" sources - very tame, only a huge beat or a huge miss could be cause for stocks to respond going into the weekend.
The money would be on "big miss," as Challenger, Gray and Christmas, the firm that monitors job layoff announcements in the US (and is a fairly reliable source), saw a 218% jump in announced job cuts in January, as employers issued more than 75,000 pink slips during the month.
Those figures aren't likely to be well-represented in the BLS figures on Friday, as the Labor Department has, over the years, garnered quite a reputation for seasonal adjustments and massive post hoc revisions, due, in the main, to the convoluted manner in which they arrive at their contrived conclusions.
In other words, the January non-farm payroll figures should be faded, no matter what they announce at 8:30 am tomorrow.
Gold and silver continued to rally strongly on Thursday, with gold crossing the $1150 rubicon and silver streaking toward $15/ounce, which, by the way, is still the bargain of the century (buy low, sell high, remember?)
Part of the reason for the metals to be heading higher is the decline in the dollar, which is down 4% on the week against competing currencies.
With the Super Bowl just a few days off, traders may tread lightly on Friday, with more interested in covering the spread then covering their clients' losses.
With the tiny uptick today, there's evidence of some level of buying interest, though it seems pretty non-committal and sparse, likely due to the fact that the Dow is still a solid 2000 points from all-time highs and those were set in May, 2015, which happens to be nine months ago.
If it looks like a bear, smells like a bear, it just could be a bear. Most people don't taunt bears. People on Wall Street may appear brave, but there's surely no shortage of stupidity.
Today's hopeful mess:
S&P 500: 1,915.45, +2.92 (0.15%)
Dow: 16,416.58, +79.92 (0.49%)
NASDAQ: 4,509.56, +5.32 (0.12%)
Crude Oil 31.68 -1.86% Gold 1,156.30 +1.31% EUR/USD 1.1215 +1.16% 10-Yr Bond 1.8640 -0.90% Corn 369.00 -0.54% Copper 2.12 +1.26% Silver 14.90 +1.16% Natural Gas 1.97 -3.14% Russell 2000 1,014.79 +0.44% VIX 21.84 +0.88% BATS 1000 20,644.48 +0.45% GBP/USD 1.4589 +0.0041% USD/JPY 116.7550 -1.09%