Friday, February 3, 2012

Stocks Rocket Higher on January Employment Data

What a week for stocks!

Following Friday's 8:30 am ET release of January's non-farm payroll data - which showed a net gain of 257,000 jobs and the "official" unemployment rate dropping to 8.3% - stocks took off at the open and never looked back, with the major indices closing at or near 3 1/2-year highs. In fact, the NASDAQ closed at an 11-year high, dating back to the collapsing side of the dotcom bust.

While the Wall Street crowd saw reason to celebrate the headline number, drilling down into the data revealed some troubling, ongoing trends, not the least of which was the continuous and sharp decline in the labor force participation rate, otherwise known as the number of people in the labor market. That number, which has been falling since 2000, is now at a 30-year low. The federal government may want its citizens to believe labor conditions are improving, but the truth is that the number of people in America who actually work for a living has been shrinking for the last 11 years.

Meanwhile, out in the blogosphere (where the heck is Keith Olbermann, anyhow?) the big push up in employment and down in the unemployment number, along with growing distrust of all government-manufactured data, was cause for much debate and rancor. The best commentary and focus was provided by Zero Hedge, which is usually in the lead when it comes to dissecting government data designed to offer "hope and change."

Here are the best stories on what appears to be well-manufactured (read: total BS) non-farm payroll number:

Record 1.2 Million People Fall Out Of Labor Force In One Month, Labor Force Participation Rate Tumbles To Fresh 30 Year Low

Nonfarm Payroll Surge... On Gain From "Low Wage Jobs", Delay In Courier, Messenger Job Drop

Implied Unemployment Rate Rises To 11.5%, Spread To Propaganda Number Surges To 30 Year High

Final Nail In Today's NFP Tragicomedy: Record Surge In Part-Time Workers

and finally...
TrimTabs Explains Why Today's "Very, Very Suspicious" NFP Number Is Really Down 2.9 Million In Past 2 Months

And, unrelated, but still interesting, is this article about states considering alternatives to the US Dollar.

But, possibly the most underreported story of the day came out of New York, where Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a lawsuit against some of the biggest banks, and MERS,, alleging mortgage and foreclosure fraud.

So, stock jockeys are having their way, but, as expressed here yesterday, equities are certainly getting pricey, confirmed by today's move into even pricier territory.

It's only money, as they say, and you can't take it with you, though you can leave your debts behind.

Here's a good Super Bowl prediction. Enjoy the game.

Dow 12,862.23, +156.82 (1.23%)
NASDAQ 2,905.66, +45.98 (1.61%)
S&P 500 1,344.90, +19.36 (1.46%)
NYSE Composite 8,060.43, +115.00 (1.45%)
NASDAQ Volume 2,151,960,000
NYSE Volume 4,580,415,500
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 4464-1168
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 561-19
WTI crude oil: 97.84, +1.48
Gold: 1,740.30, -19.00
Silver: 33.75, -0.43

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