Showing posts with label BLS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BLS. Show all posts

Sunday, June 7, 2020

WEEKEND WRAP: Did The BLS Cook The Books On May's Jobs Report?; Despite Stock Euphoria, The Crisis Will Continue

The week was one of consistency on the major indices, with stocks closing higher every day except Thursday, though, of the big four, the Dow was higher every day of the week, culminating in Friday's blow-off rally following the release of May non-farm payroll data from the BLS.

There was a considerable amount of speculation regarding the veracity of the BLS figures, which showed a net gain in May of 2.5 million jobs, the unemployment rate falling to 13.3%, according to the official release.

Most of the nation at least partially shut down during the month, the data provided by the BLS, while good enough for Wall Street's stock enthusiasts, has to be considered at least partially flawed, given that continuing claims for unemployment insurance rose sharply in the most recent week, hitting nearly 21.5 million.

Given that the April non-farm payroll report was a blockbuster all-time record at -20,537,000, revised higher, to -20,687,000, adding in the +2,509,000 would yield 18,178,000 still unemployed at the end of May, a number that does not jibe with the 21,487,000 continuing unemployment claims reported by the US Labor Department.

Also taken into consideration for the discrepancies between the two reports are the differences in reporting schedules and the Labor Department's estimate of more than 42 million initial claims filed over the past 10 weeks. Simply put, a lot of people went back to work in May, but there are still somewhere between 18 and 25 million unemployed. By claiming a record job creation number in its May data, the BLS has likely overstated the case for people returning to work after a brief hiatus due to the lockdowns caused by extreme measures taken to combat COVID-19.

A jump of 2.5 million jobs for the month has to be taken somewhat tongue-in-cheek since these are not new jobs whatsoever. The economy didn't produce 2.5 million new jobs. A better explanation would be that during the month, more people went back to work than were laid off or fired, by about 2.5 million.

Therefore, while the BLS can be accused of massaging their data to produce a positive headline, their methodology and timing remain - as has been the case for a very long time - somewhat suspect. There's still a massive unemployment problem which was manifest by the enormous numbers of protesters that appeared in cities nationwide over the course of the week. Many of these mostly young people were out on the streets during daylight and into the evenings. It would be logical to conclude that the vast majority of them were not holding down full-time jobs.

The protests underscore two things, neither of which have anything remotely to do with the death of George Floyd or police brutality. First, the protests are more about income inequality than anything else. These young people from Generation Z and the last remnants of the Millennials are becoming more and more impatient with the structure of the economy, even though most of them don't recognize that as the overriding factor of their movement.

While the chants of "Black Lives Matter" and "No Justice, No Peace" make for sensationally simple-minded soundbites on the mainstream media's morning and nightly news broadcasts, the root of the frustration is an economy which provides fewer jobs than are needed for fewer hours per week, at low rates of pay while the purchasing power of the dollar continues to decline, especially in some very important areas, those being primarily, housing, education, and health care.

When economists decry that large government deficits will be bourn on the backs of future generations, what we are seeing today is the truth of that dictum as the youthful protesters on the street are the generation now paying for the deficits rung up from the 1970s and '80s. It's a continuing, systemic problem that isn't about to go away. People trying to enter the workforce and engage in meaningful careers are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet. Income has net kept pace with inflation over the past 40-50 years, dating back to when then-President Nixon took the country off permanently off the gold standard in August of 1971.

There are certainly many young people doing fine in their careers. Those with masters degrees or doctorates or well-honed skills make very good money, but at a considerable price. Their cost of eduction can be measured in their student loan debt. Since housing costs have risen to extreme levels with only a slight blip in 2008-09, the affordability of just plain living quarters tests their resolve. Those wishing to start families (a declining number) see health care costs spiraling out of control. And those are the lucky ones with good jobs and dual incomes.

The rest of their generation struggles with all of that at lower pay and onerous debt. Many Millennials and Generation Z youths live four and five to a single home or apartment. Most cannot save anything, much less even dream of owning their own homes. Pity those who have medical conditions. Most cannot afford $300-$600 a month premiums with $5-8,000 deductibles, so they go without. To a lesser degree, the same conditions affect the backend of the Baby Boomers and early Millennials who have lived their lives on the fringes of society.

It's a condition of perpetual decline when roughly half of adult Americans do not have any savings whatsoever, the result of massive, uncontrolled government deficits, fait currency backed by nothing, printed to the hilt causing the purchasing power of the almighty dollar to slide into obscurity. It's not going away. In fact, with the Federal Reserve now in the process of either buying up or backing every stock or bond issued, hoisting their balance sheet by more than three trillion dollars in just the past three months, the US economy has become one of very few haves and very many have-nots, manifesting itself as runaway inflation. Not confined to just the United States, the rest of the world is revolted and revolting. Under current fiscal and monetary policy, the entire planet is rapidly turning into an oversized Venezuela.

Dissatisfaction with the political process is the second tenet of the protesters root causes, dovetailing income inequality and unaffordable living conditions. Federal, state, and local governments are ill-equipped to handle even ordinary stresses. Now that unemployment is on the rise and inflation is taking hold, government resources are stretched beyond their means. When people needed food during the recent lockdowns, government made little effort to step in. Food banks, charities and private citizens stepped up to fill the void. Government is increasingly being viewed with a jaded eye, neither responsive to people's needs nor able to fulfill basic obligations. People are simply tired of paying taxes and getting little to nothing in return. Individual income tax revenues are falling off a cliff while government debt continues to rise at an accelerating pace. Nothing about the current social and political condition is sustainable over anything but the short term, which is why we are seeing one crisis after another, bailout after bailout, emergencies arising on a regular schedule.

The United States and the rest of the world cannot buy or borrow their way out of this situation with policies that only increase debt and the burden to society. President Trump and Wall Street can go giddy over the most recent jobs data, but the underlying problems continue to mount and they're not going away. For all the media hype and government high-fiving in the short term, there's a larger price to be paid down the road. After years of can-kicking of core fiscal and monetary issues, the road is coming to an end. Most people, politicians, and financial planners don't have sufficient knowledge or vision to see where this all leads, preference being given to the present.

The NASDAQ is less than one half of one percent away from breaking to a new all-time high (9838.37).

The S&P 500 is about six percent away from a record close (3393.52).

Stocks are likely to continue climbing to record highs, but a period of stagnation lies just ahead. The bear market which was cut short by the Fed's money-pumping mechanisms and the government's emergency spending bills was the shortest on record, lasting a mere five weeks. Another bear market will be coming, as this one was papered over with currency that has only declining value. Oil prices are back up and by Friday, interest rates on treasuries had exploded. The 10-year note yielded 0.66% on Monday. By Friday, they were at 0.91%. The 30-year yield went from 1.46% to 1.68% over the course of the week. Shorter-dated maturities remained low, steepening the curve.

The final question for economists is this: How can high unemployment and tighter currency (higher rates) co-exist. The answer is very simple. They can't. With business unwilling or unable to expand, few will be hiring. Unemployment will remain elevated until there's a clearing or restructure of debt and businesses see a rosier future.

The Federal Reserve and the federal government has a very big problem on their hands. The pandemic and street uprisings were just the opening chapters of a very long story.

Gold and silver saw gains early in the week, only to be hammered lower on the paper markets.

The latest prices on ebay for one troy once items (shipping - often free - included):
Item: Low / High / Average / Median
1 oz silver coin: 24.95 / 42.50 / 28.47 / 27.75
1 oz silver bar: 24.99 / 45.00 / 29.09 / 27.90
1 oz gold coin: 1,780.00 / 1,882.00 / 1,823.11 / 1,823.69
1 oz gold bar: 1,755.95 / 1,826.92 / 1,792.96 / 1,794.40

Premiums for silver are, on average, ten dollars or more over spot. Gold premiums are $80-100 over spot.

Greg Mannarino expounds upon the jobs number being cooked, market response and his positioning:

At the Close, Friday, June 5, 2020:
Dow: 27,110.98, +829.16 (+3.15%)
NASDAQ: 9,814.08, +198.27 (+2.06%)
S&P 500: 3,193.93, +81.58 (+2.62%)
NYSE: 12,641.44, +354.46 (+2.88%)

For the Week:
Dow: +1727.87 (+6.81%)
NASDAQ: +324.21 (+3.42%)
S&P 500: +149.62 (+4.91%)
NYSE: +838.49 (+7.10%)

Friday, February 7, 2020

Wuhan Flu Can't Stop Stocks; January Added 225,000 Jobs

Stocks made reasonable gains on Thursday in advance of the monthly non-farm payroll data released Friday prior to the market open.

The news was solid for US employment, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 225,000 new jobs in the month of January, far outpacing expectations of 165,000.

Entering into the job market in January were 500,000 looking for work, though not all of them found it. The influx of new job seekers boosted the jobless rate to 3.6 percent, from a 50-year low of 3.5 percent in December.

On mainland China, both the death count and number of new cases of coronavirus, or Wuhan Flu, as it is now becoming known more colloquially, continued to rise, but the Chinese government announced that the number of people under observation was declining. This, according to Chinese officials, is an important turning point in efforts to control the spread of the virus. How well that prediction works out for the country of 1.2 billion people remains to be seen.

The roller coaster ride that has recently been Tesla stock abated, at least for a day, with shares of the electric car company settling around a price of $750 per unit. Whether that level proves to be support or resistance is another guessing game. Many are still short the stock, believing that the company is built largely on sand and promises, while rumors of a secondary offering continue to swirl.

President Trump lambasted his foes and praised his friends in a pair of very pubic appearances on Thursday, the day after the Senate voted overwhelmingly (2/3rds vote needed) in favor of acquittal from the charges of impeachment leveled against him by a partisan, Democrat-led House of Representatives. At a prayer breakfast, Trump had no kind words for Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, nor Mitt Romney, the only Republican to cast a vote of guilty against him.

Later in the day, Trump assembled members of the House, Senate, his legal team and others, in a round of congratulations and thanks that lasted well over an hour. Singling out many of his political allies with stories and minutia, Trump laid the groundwork for what is likely to be a counter-attack against the Democrats who tried to have him removed from office and public life, setting the stage for a wide open election campaign that will hold nothing back.

Politics, like money, is a hardball business and the Trump team intends to use the best equipment and the best players to take it to the opposition in the fall.

At the Close, Thursday, February 6, 2020:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 29,379.77, +88.92 (+0.30%)
NASDAQ: 9,572.15, +63.47 (+0.67%)
S&P 500: 3,345.78, +11.09 (+0.33%)
NYSE: 14,034.95, +10.09 (+0.07%)

Friday, January 10, 2020

January Effect In Force; US Adds 160,000 Jobs In December

Stocks rallied once again, with the Dow jones Industrials popping for a gain of over 200 points. The Dow closed higher for the fourth time in six 2020 sessions for a total rise of 418 points, or about 1.4%.

The Dow, S&P 500, and NASDAQ set new all-time highs on a closing basis, while the NYSE Composite index finished just shy of a record, ending the session at 13,997.65. The prior high of 14,001.13 was achieved on January 2. Any kind of positive return Friday should push the Composite into record territory.

Investors should get their "Dow 30,000" hats ready, because the world's most-watched stock index is about to surge beyond that number, quite possibly today right at the open after the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported an additional 145,000 jobs created in December according to the just-released non-fram payroll report for December, 2019.

Even though there's some seasonality to the figures due to holiday hires and a fall-off after November's gains were boosted by striking GM workers returning to their jobs, the number is another sign of strength in the underlying US economy, now, more than ever, the main driver of global growth. As Europe struggles with deflationary trends, negative interest rates, and high unemployment (especially among youths), and China increasingly seems to be bowing to pressure on tariffs and trade from the US, America's clout has become paramount.

Among developed nations, the United States continues to set the agenda, as President Trump's "America First" strategy has emboldened employers and workers alike to share in the positivism of the current environment. While wage growth is still sluggish, job creation in the private sector continues strong. Wednesday's ADP private payroll report found 202,000 new jobs created in December.

While the 145,000 jobs in the non-farm payroll report did come in below estimates of 160,000, the miss was not significant. October was revised 4,000 lower, to 152,000, and payrolls in November were revised down 10,000 to 256,000.

Unemployment remained steady at 3.5%, as expected. By sector, retail and leisure/hospitality led the gains, with bricks and mortar stores adding 41,000 jobs while restaurants, hotels and such added 40,000. Health care was another gainer, picking up 28,000 jobs in December. Construction trades added 20,000 new positions, but manufacturing and transportation declined, by 12,000 and 10,000, respectively. For all of 2019, manufacturing added 46,000, while transportation gained 57,000.

Those two sectors are offering indications that the expansion may have run its course, or at least is slowing significantly. In 2018, manufacturing added 264,000 jobs, transportation gained 216,000. While those figures may cause some anxiety, they also can be interpreted as a sign that these segments of the economy are still integrating the additional employees and that this period is merely a lull, following a robust hiring round.

Overall, despite the small miss and reductions from prior months, the report still comes in as positive for the US economy. Perhaps not the robust growth expected by the most bullish, but stable hiring is a sign that, in such a mature economy, nothing troubling lies directly ahead.

The jobs report was good enough to keep the rally humming along. The major indices should continue their path through record highs for time being.

At the Close, Thursday, January 9, 2020:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 28,956.90, +211.81 (+0.74%)
NASDAQ: 9,203.43, +74.18 (+0.81%)
S&P 500: 3,274.70, +21.65 (+0.67%)
NYSE Composite: 13,997.65, +63.21 (+0.45%)

Friday, December 6, 2019

Non-Farm Payrolls Up 266,000 In November, Unemployment At 50-Year Low

Since markets stalled out on Thursday in anticipation of the November non-farm payroll report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), it's prudent to focus on what that report says about the US economy and prospects going forward.

Released at 8:30 am ET, the report concluded that there was an increase of 266,000 jobs created in November. That was well beyond all expectations, which centered around 185,000. The gain was the largest since January of this year, but is somewhat misleading since it includes 46,000 workers at GM plants in Michigan and Kentucky returning from a 40-day strike.

So, a more reliable, realistic number would be around 220,000, which is still much better than expected, and puts to rest the notion that the US job market had stalled out.

Wall Street is expectedly ebullient over the big surprise number which shows that the US economy is still moving forward and that the labor market remains tight. Unemployment dropped to a 50-year low of 3.5%

Another encouraging sign was wage growth, which shot up 3.1%. This is a strong signal that the economy is in good shape and that the labor market is tight. Employees are asking for - and receiving - pay increases and better benefits from employers.

A main takeaway from the retail sector in the pre-holiday period was that a mere 2,000 jobs were added, but the catch is in the distribution of that small gain. Within the industry, employment rose in general merchandise stores (+22,000) and in motor vehicle and parts dealers (+8,000), while clothing and clothing accessories stores were decimated, losing 18,000 jobs.

Attributable to the "Amazon effect" and to great strides over the years to online merchandising, as well as the overabundance of clothing outlets and their reliance on such a narrow segment, it is not surprising that purveyors of shirts, slacks, dresses, and accessories were hardest hit. Heightened competition in the space and slim profit margins due to heavy discounting also contributed to the demise of a good number of chains.

Among major chains that largely will be turning out the lights - or have already done so - in 2019 were Payless Shoes, Gymboree, Fred's, Charlotte Russe, Shopco.

Forever 21, Dressbarn, and Gap stores also announced a high number of store closings over the past year. The trend will continue, with as many as an additional 75,000 stores potentially lost by 2026, according to investment bank UBS.

The trend is clear. Shop online or at general merchandise retailers. The glory days of single sector retailing are long past.

At the Close, Thursday, December 5, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 27,677.79, +28.01 (+0.10%)
NASDAQ: 8,570.70, +4.03 (+0.05%)
S&P 500: 3,117.43, +4.67 (+0.15%)
NYSE Composite: 13,482.30, +24.33 (+0.18%)

Friday, October 4, 2019

September Non-farm Payrolls Fall Short; Stocks Brace for Selloff or Liftoff

Thursday's trading was another typical banker-assisted positive close on US indices. Stocks continued their descent from Tuesday and Wednesday's losses at the open, but quickly rebounded into positive territory. This pattern has been a feature for the Dow, S&P and NASDAQ since the late 1980s, when the PPT or President's Working Group was created, buoying stocks when losses appeared to be overwhelming.

Free markets? Probably not now and not in the near future. The Fed can put its fingers on the scales at any time, frustrating short sellers but acting as an artificial booster rocket for stocks. While the blatant manipulation is nearly-universally disliked, holders of 401k or retirement funds find the benefit of a backstop beneficial to the health of their portfolios.

That's why fundamentals really haven't mattered for some time, and especially since the GFC of 2008. The Fed or their proxies step in and stop the losses in their tracks. It's not exactly fair or transparent, but it is effective.

Prior to Friday's opening bell, September's non-farm payroll data was released by the BLS, showing an increase of 136,000 jobs for the month, below expectations of 145,000. August payrolls were adjusted upward to 168,000. Due to July's low numbers, the three-month average for payroll additions between July, August and September fell to 119,000, representing the lowest since 2012.

The jobs report sends a clear signal that the economy is slowing, but not yet going in reverse. The weak September report paves the way for the Fed to cut another 25 basis points from the federal funds overnight lending rate. Mixed signals are being sent as this produces a "bad news is good news" condition, as weaker economic numbers push the Fed to continue lowering rates.


At the Close, Thursday, October 3, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,201.04, +122.42 (+0.47%)
NASDAQ: 7,872.27, +87.02 (+1.12%)
S&P 500: 2,910.63, +23.02 (+0.80%)
NYSE Composite: 12,685.77, +77.34 (+0.61%)

Monday, August 6, 2018

Weekend Wrap: Dow Goes Positive For Week On Friday Ramp

Logicians need not apply.

Following the disappointment of the BLS August Non-Farm Payroll data, the general assumption was that stocks would sour, as also presaged by the index futures on the Dow Mini, et. al..

Such was not the case. Stocks rose throughout the day, based upon algorithms interpreting all news as positive, giving the Dow Industrials its best gain since July 25th.

The NASDAQ ended the week with both the best point and percentage gains, +74.60, and +0.96%, respectively.

One very prescient observation is that while volume has all but dried up the past few weeks, it's much easier for stocks to find bids than otherwise.

A resumption of the more serious selling seen in February and March is unlikely to occur until after Labor Day.

These are certainly dog days, a period in which short-side players should exercise extreme caution.

Dow Jones Industrial Average August Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
8/1/18 25,333.82 -81.37 -81.37
8/2/18 25,326.16 -7.66 -89.03
8/3/18 25,462.58 +136.42 +55.05

At the Close, Friday, August 3, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average, 25,462.58, +136.42 (+0.54%)
NASDAQ: 7,812.01, +9.33 (+0.12%)
S&P 500: 2,840.35, +13.13 (+0.46%)
NYSE Composite: 12,953.34, +55.27 (+0.43%)

For the Week:
Dow: +11.52 (+0.05%)
NASDAQ: +74.60 (+0.96%)
S&P 500: +21.53 (+0.76%)
NYSE Composite +32.00 (+0.25%)

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Stocks Split As NASDAQ Soars; Jobs Report Disappoints

Stocks shrugged off a slow start on Thursday after Wednesday's sluggish session and finished split for the second straight day, with the NASDAQ and S&P posting gains while the Dow and NYSE Composite were held to small losses.

With the US congress mostly out of town for the month and earnings season winding down, the market is prone to swings in either direction at the slightest rumor or data dump.

The Dow has fallen back into the trading range that was prevalent after the February and March drop-off, while the NASDAQ gravitates near recent record closes.

The big news for Friday is the July non-farm payroll report from the BLS. Analysts were expecting 191,000 new jobs per the data, but had to settle for 157,000, well below the estimate. The unemployment rate fell one tenth of a percent to 3.9%.

Released at 8:30 am EDT, the jobs report comes as a disappointment for the bullish case. Stock futures had been strong and trending higher until the release, but fell sharply leading into the opening bell.

Dow Jones Industrial Average August Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
8/1/18 25,333.82 -81.37 -81.37
8/2/18 25,326.16 -7.66 -89.03

At the Close, Thursday, August 2, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,326.16, -7.66 (-0.03%)
NASDAQ: 7,802.69, +95.40 (+1.24%)
S&P 500: 2,827.22, +13.86 (+0.49%)
NYSE Composite: 12,898.07, -4.32 (-0.03%)

Monday, January 29, 2018

Stocks Soar Through January; Big Week Upcoming

Stocks staged their best cumulative effort of the new year, as January equity returns continued to explode through the final full week of trading in the United States.

Making the gains all the more impressive is the fact that the month has seen only 18 out of a possible 20 trading days, due to the New Year and MLK holidays falling on Mondays. Three more sessions to start the new week will conclude January trading.

Stocks have been the major story of the year thus far, along with the continued decline of the US dollar against other major currencies, especially the Yen, Euro and British Pound.

President Donald J. Trump returned from Davos over the weekend, preparing for his first State of the Unions address to congress on Tuesday night.

Also of note this week is the FOMC policy rate meeting of the Federal Reserve. While the Fed is not expected to raise key interest rates at this meeting, there's general impetus for a planned rate hike at the March meeting. The FOMC meets on Tuesday and Wednesday, January 30 and 31. The March meeting is March 20-21.

The week concludes with the January Non-farm Payroll release by the BLS on Friday, Feb. 2. The data release includes publication changes related to the annual sample review and the conversion to NAICS 2017.. Expectations will be high, given the explosive nature of the stock market and recent touting of strong economic growth by President Trump.

At the Close, Friday, January 26, 2018:
Dow: 26,616.71, +223.92 (+0.85%)
NASDAQ: 7,505.77, +94.61 (+1.28%)
S&P 500: 2,872.87, +33.62 (+1.18%)
NYSE Composite: 13,637.02, +124.36 (+0.92%)

For the Week:
Dow: +544.99 (+2.09%)
NASDAQ: +169.39 (+2.31%)
S&P 500: +62.57 (+2.23%)
NYSE Composite: +252.56 (+1.89%)

Friday, December 8, 2017

Stocks Bid as Congress Avoids Government Shutdown; NFP Grows by 228,000

On Thursday, with the House and Senate agreeing to keep the federal government open for business via a two-week continuing resolution, investors took that relief as reason to rally stocks, erasing some of the losses of the previous week.

As Friday morning advanced toward the opening bell, the Commerce Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics released their most recent data on employment in the November non-farm payroll (NFP) report.

Coming in better-than-expected, the department reported an increase of 228,000 net new jobs in the month of November, adding more evidence that the economy, under the guidance of President Donald J. Trump, continues to expand. The unemployment rate remained at decades-low, 4.1%.

Futures pointed to a strong positive open for Friday's week-ending session.

At the Close, Thursday, December 7, 2017:
Dow: 24,211.48, +70.57 (+0.29%)
NASDAQ: 6,812.84, +36.47 (+0.54%)
S&P 500: 2,636.98, +7.71 (+0.29%)
NYSE Composite: 12,568.98, +36.55 (+0.29%)

Thursday, October 5, 2017

With September Non-Farm Payroll Data On Deck, Stocks Post Record Highs

Even though ADP reported the weakest jobs numbers in 11 months Wednesday, investors shrugged off the data and limped higher, with all major indices closing at fresh all-time highs.

ADP private employment figures for September showed a gain of 135,000 jobs, with the most damage done to firms with less than 20 employees, which registered a loss of 11,000 jobs. The firm, which tracks private payrolls, was quick to point out that hurricanes Harvey and Irma accounted for 50-60,000 fewer jobs created, noting that many mom-and-pop-like outfits were forced to close during and after the disasters that covered much of Florida and the Houston metropolitan area.

Without doing the requisite math, October's figures are likely to be higher by an order of magnitude, unless Mother Nature unleashes more of her wrath on America's southern states.

The data which ADP provides usually presages the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Non-farm Payroll release, due out on Friday, October 6.

Wall Street will likely remain unfazed with a low NFP number, taking the easy way out by blaming storms and natural disasters for the poor showing.

Life goes on, new jobs or not.

At the Close, Wednesday, October 4, 2017:
Dow: 22,661.64, +19.97 (+0.09%)
NASDAQ: 6,534.63, +2.91 (+0.04%)
S&P 500: 2,537.74, +3.16 (+0.12%)
NYSE Composite: 12,304.67, +1.79 (+0.01%)

Friday, September 1, 2017

Great News! August Jobs Numbers Miss; Stocks Aim For Moon Shot

Bad news is still good news on Wall Street.

According to the impeccable source of all financial excitement, Yahoo! News,

The August jobs report is out and it’s a miss.

The U.S. economy added 156,000 nonfarm payrolls in August while the unemployment rate rose slightly to 4.4%, according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Economists were looking nonfarm payrolls to grow by 180,000 in August while the unemployment rate was expected to hold steady at 4.3% near a post-crisis low. The BLS noted in its report that Hurricane Harvey had “no [discernible] effect” on the employment data for August.

Wage growth was also a disappointment, with average hourly earnings rising 0.1% over the prior month and 2.5% over last year. Earnings were expected to rise 0.2% over the prior month and 2.6% over the prior year. A rise in wages is seen by economists as portending an uptick in inflation, which has disappointed this year.

The rest of the story is here.

After ten years of the most tepid "recovery" on record, and despite $14 trillion of magic money creation by the central banks of the developed countries (adding in China, it's more like $18 trillion), poor employment data is still greeted with smiles by stock jockeys, because it means the economy is not really recovering and the Fed and other globalist central banks cannot realistically raise interest rates.

That means the punch bowl will be refilled with easy credit and the bubbly stock market can advance to every higher levels of insanity.

Forget that the average P/E of S&P 500 stocks is four standard deviations above the norm, that government pension shortfalls threaten the retirement of millions of aging Americans. Forget that wages have been stagnant for 17 years running. Just buy more stocks and everything will turn out just fine.

It's madness. Nothing, absolutely nothing will change until the day comes when it all changes at once. But that day may still be years away because the central banks and government number crunchers will see to it that the veil is never removed from the eyes of ordinary people who will be taxed and regulated into the ether.

There are no jobs. Party on!

At the Close, 8/31/17:
Dow: 21,948.10, +55.67 (+0.25%)
NASDAQ: 6,428.66, +60.35 (+0.95%)
S&P 500: 2,471.65, +14.06 (+0.57%)
NYSE Composite: 11,875.69, +70.62 (+0.60%)

Friday, August 4, 2017

Indices Split Again, Dow Only Gainer; NFP Shows 209,000 July Jobs

The rally fizzled badly on Thursday, but the market may get a boost from strong jobs data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which showed non-farm payrolls increasing by 209,000 in the month of July.

All the major index futures are showing plus signs prior to the opening bell on Wall Street. The official unemployment rate fell to 4.3%, matching the 16-year low set back in May.

With all this good news on the employment front, there seems to be nothing capable of holding back another rally on Wall Street to close out the week.

If all of this seems to be a trifle boring, it's because the Dow has now posted gains in each of the last eight sessions, rising from 21,500 to over 22,000 over that short span.

The other indices don't appear to share the enthusiasm for the Dow. The NASDAQ in particular has been down five of the last six sessions.

Perhaps this is just money moving from speculative tech stocks into solid dividend-paying stocks on the Dow, although Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT) and Intel (INTC) are all components of the 30 Dow Jones Industrials.

At the Close, 8/3/17:
Dow: 22,026.10, +9.86 (0.04%)
NASDAQ: 6,340.34, -22.30 (-0.35%)
S&P 500: 2,472.16, -5.41 (-0.22%)
NYSE Composite: 11,956.52, -22.85 (-0.19%)

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Dow Set To Rise Over 22,000; ADP Report Shows 178,000 July Jobs

For a change, all of the major indices moved in the same direction on the day. While the Dow set a new closing all-time high, it fell short of the 22,000 milestone, though the NYSE Composite squeaked by the 12,000 mark by a mere 0.02 points.

With earnings news continuing to come out in fairly rosy fashion, the latest from Apple (AAPL), reporting better-than-expected iPhone sales, revenue and earnings per share.

As August rolls along, there appear to be few impediments to further gains in stocks. Earnings reports will begin to slow to a trickle, but there is no FOMC meeting this month, and congress is likely to take at least two weeks off after wasting the first two weeks of the month posturing and posing over health care and/or tax reform.

It's unlikely that congress will accomplish anything of import, as their record of accomplishments since Donald Trump became president is shallow and thin.

Of some significance is Friday's release of July non-farm payroll numbers. Wednesday morning, ADP released their proprietary payroll data for the month, showing 178,000 new private sector jobs created in July. Expectations were for 185,000, after June disappointed with just 158,000 jobs created.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publishes its data on the first Friday of the month, at 8:30 am ET.

Whether the jobs data is good or bad may be immaterial, as the market has a tendency to take either without much pause. Just about everybody knows the economy is stuck in low gear, with the Fed and other central banks' backing and active in the markets.

22,000 on the Dow is a no-brainer. Unless war is launched against North Korea or some other great geo-political development occurs, nothing significant is likely to happen until congress reconvenes in September and attempts to craft a budget and hurdle the debt ceiling.

If there's ever been a time to break out the "all clear" foghorn, this could be it.

Still, it's advisable to keep close stops on positions because surprises routinely occur when complacency is high.

At the Close, 8/1/17:
Dow: 21,963.92, +72.80 (0.33%)
NASDAQ: 6,362.94, +14.81 (0.23%)
S&P 500: 2,476.35, +6.05 (0.24%)
NYSE Composite: 12,000.02, +32.35 (0.27%)

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Jobs Numbers Disappoint, Markets End Week Confused And Lower

After ADP reported blowout jobs numbers for the private sector on Wednesday (+263,000), the expectations from the BLS in Friday's March non-farm payroll report were for a solid figure.

It didn't happen, as the Labor Department reported a gain of just 98,000 jobs, the worst since President Trump was elected and a blow to his "America First" agenda.

Expectations for the BLS' NFP were 180,000, so this was a huge miss which left investors scratching their collective heads. Stocks ended the day slightly to the downside and all four major averages lower for the week.

At the Close, Friday, April 7, 2017:
Dow: 20,656.10, -6.85 (-0.03%)
NASDAQ: 5,877.81, -1.14 (-0.02%)
S&P 500: 2,355.54, -1.95 (-0.08%)
NYSE Composite: 11,445.58, -11.71 (-0.10%)

For the week:
Dow: -7.12 (-0.03%)
NASDAQ: -33.93 (-0.57%)
S&P 500: -7.18 (-0.30%)
NYSE Composite: -47.27 (-0.41%)

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Stocks Finish With Small Gains On Tuesday, But ADP Jobs Report Could Change The Narrative

Stocks finished with small gains on Tuesday, but the recent squeamishness of investors may be about to change, as ADP reported job growth of 263,000 for the month of March, the largest gains seen in the small business sector, characterized as businesses with fewer than 50 employees, which gained by 118,000 during the month.

Making note of the increasingly positive tone of business and employment, stock futures were set to explode higher, with Dow futures up by more than 50 points roughly a half hour prior to the opening bell on Wall Street.

The ADP report - which covers private sector employment - is generally seen as a guide to the highly-anticipated monthly Non-Farm Payroll (NFP) report, generally released the first Friday of each month. The BLS is set to issue the report for March on Friday, April, 7.

At the close, April 4, 2017:
Dow: 20,689.24 +39.03 (0.19%)
NASDAQ: 5,898.61 +3.93 (0.07%)
S&P 500: 2,360.16, +1.32 (0.06%)
NYSE Composite: 11,470.54, +6.62 (0.06%)

Friday, March 3, 2017

Stock Markets Backtrack In Advance of February NFP Jobs Report

Editor's Note: Sincere apologies to readers for the incorrect posting this morning. February Non-farm payroll data will not be released until March 10, instead of the usual first Friday of the month. Money Daily reported below that the NFP data would be out TODAY, March 3, but that is not the case. We seriously regret the error.

Following Wednesday's massive upturn in markets on the heels of President Trump's speech, Thursday was a bit of a reality check for gamblers in the Wall Street Casino.

Smart one - and there were plenty of them - took their quick profits and are likely sitting in cash ahead of Friday's non-farm payroll report from the tarnished Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Since February is a short month, expectations for another bump in payrolls may very well be disappointed, to a degree not previously factored.

ADP reported fewer jobs created in the private sector for February than expected. The 139,000 American workers hired to private-sector payrolls in February was below economists' consensus forecast of 155,000. Additionally, ADP revised their January figure to 127,000 from 175,000. That's a mighty big decline which was overshadowed by Wednesday's shock and awe euphoria.

While the NFP does not exactly mirror ADP, it usually tracks pretty well, though the BLS is notorious for using metrics such as the business birth/death model to goose numbers toward the desired result.

Non-farm payroll data will be released Friday morning at 8:30 am ET. There may well be fireworks if the number falls short of the lowered-bar expectations of 157,000 net new jobs.

At The Close, 3.2.17:
Dow: 21,002.97, -112.58 (-0.53%)
NASDAQ: 5,861.22, -42.81 (-0.73%)
S&P 500: 2,381.92, -14.04 (-0.59%)
NYSE Composite: 11,575.91, -85.31 (-0.73%)

Friday, February 3, 2017

What Wall Street Wants, Wall Street Gets; Trump Slashes Dodd-Frank

There's no better way to put it than to say that the Wall Street banks - Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, and Citi - have Donald Trump's "get out of jail free" card in their back pockets.

Today's action by the President, an executive order slashing most of the regulations put on banks by the Dodd-Frank act under past-president Obama and the useless congress, paves the way for even looser regulations and more wild risk-taking by Wall Street.

And the celebration got underway right after the stupid BLS jobs report and the opening bell, boosting all major averages to within spitting distance of all-time highs.

Should anyone wonder if Mr. Trump knows anything about economics, one has only to look at his Treasury nominee, Steven Mnuchin, who led a group of investors in the take-out of IndyMac, later changing the name to OneWest while it became a serial abuser of mortgage financing and foreclosure laws.

While the former Goldman Sachs partner is not yet assured of passing muster in Senate confirmation, the appearance of yet another Goldman alumnus at the top finance job in the administration should be all one needs to know. Trump has long-standing associations with Wall Street, Goldman Sachs and financiers in general, so it isn't really a surprise.

Business will do business, whether or not it's moral, fiduciary, or based upon sound best practices. Wall Street retained control when Trump was elected, and would have even with Hillary as the president, so there's a bit of a silver lining in that at least the office of the president isn't occupied by a serial liar and psychopath. President Trump is better than the alternative, probably by more than anyone imagined.

After all the whipsaw activity of the past week, the major indices ended relatively unchanged. So, jobs data, the Fed, Trump, the EU, Japan, and the UK central bankers didn't actually add up to much at all.

Caveat Emptor

Carry on and Mind the Gap.

At the Close, Friday, February 3, 2017:

Dow: 20,071.46, +186.55 (0.94%)
NASDAQ: 5,666.77, +30.57 (0.54%)
S&P 500: 2,297.42, +16.57 (0.73%)
NYSE Composite: 11,311.74, +96.36 (0.86%)

For the Week:
Dow: -22.32 (-0.11%)
NASDAQ: +5.98 (0.11%)
S&P 500: +2.72 (0.12%)
NYSE Composite: +27.52 (+0.24%)

Stocks Finish Flat Thursday, Friday Futures Boosted By Boffo BLS Jobs Report

Stocks finished the day Thursday relatively flat, but the big jobs number Friday should manage to erase any doubts about where the market is headed (spoiler alert: back over 20,000).

According to the ever-accurate-and-oft-revised BLS, he US economy added 227,000 jobs in January while the unemployment rate rose slightly to 4.8%. Economists were looking for payrolls to grow by 175,000 with the unemployment rate expected to hold steady at 4.7%.

So, more jobs, but the unemployment rate goes higher. Only in America, land of missed opportunities and bogus statistical data from the government.

Wages missed the mark, as average hourly earnings rose just 0.1%. The usual suspect "experts" were seeking a gain of 0.3%. Sorry, slaves. Back to work. However, the day is early, and though futures are rocketing higher, there's now the possibility that President Trump will unleash a tweet or two designed to fan the flames of confusion.

Just one question: Are we having fun yet?

At The Close, Thursday, February 2, 2017:
Dow: 19,884.91, -6.03 (-0.03%)
NASDAQ: 5,636.20, -6.45 (-0.11%)
S&P 500: 2,280.85, +1.30 (0.06%)
NYSE Composite: 11,215.38, +8.14 (0.07%)

Friday, December 2, 2016

December Jobs Report OK; Look For FedRes To Raise Rates

The U.S. economy added 178,000 net new jobs last month while the unemployment rate fell to 4.6%, the lowest since 2007, the Labor Department said Friday.

That's about all one needs to know about what the Fed may do at the next meeting of the FOMC in less than two weeks, December 13 and 14.

The economy seems to have picked up some confidence from the Trump election, and there's the possibility that the Fed may consider more rate hikes at a faster pace if economic conditions continue to improve (it's about time). what the Fed doesn't want to do is slam the door shut on any expansion by raising rates too quickly, but, after eight years of moribund global flim-flammery, it's apparent that the Fed doesn't want to do anything that might draw undue attention to itself.

As the year enters the final month of a very turbulent 2016, the signs are good that the eight years of non-recovery (except for stocks) may be about to usher in a new prosperity and at least a couple of good years for the US economy. While the rest of the world is in somewhat dubious condition, especially Japan and Europe, with their mountains of debt and negative interest rates, the US seems poised to again take the lead in economic matters.

It may take a while and it may take a pullback in stocks, which hasn't happened since '09, but things do seem to be on the improve.

Other than the Dow Industrials, stocks took a bit of a beating this week, ending on a down note as the Friday rally failed to maintain momentum. This could be the beginning of a Wall Street hissy fit over rate hikes. Then again, stocks are close to all-time highs.

Stay tuned and keep that power dry.

Closing Bell, Friday 12/02/16
Dow: 19,170.42, -21.51 (-0.11%)
NASDAQ: 5,255.65, +4.55 (0.09%)
S&P 500: 2,191.95, +0.87 (0.04%)
NYSE Composite: 10,841.64, +12.65 (0.12%)

For the week:

Dow: +18.28 (+0.10%)
NASDAQ: -143.27 (-2.65%)
S&P 500: -21.40 (-0.98%)
NYSE Composite: -38.98 (-0.36%)

Friday, August 5, 2016

Stocks Gallop Ahead On July Jobs Boost

While the consensus estimate was for July Non-Farm Payrolls to show a gain of 160,000, the BLS (aka Bureau of Lies and Salaciousness) blew away the number, showing the US economy grew by 255,000 jobs in the usually dolorous month of July. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.9%.

That number sent the dollar screeching higher and stocks rocketing back toward or beyond (S&P 500) all-time highs.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up more than one percent, along with the NASDAQ, no doubt buoyed by the sensational jobs report and the trouncing Hillary Clinton was giving to Donald Trump in the majority of the latest polls. The elite status quo has their agenda in hand; Wall Street obviously a willing partner.

All major averages finished with modest gains for the week (with the exception of the NYSE Composite), despite the idea that a better economy - one that, say, produces 250,000+ jobs per month - might give the Federal Reserve cause to raise rates. For now, however, good news is good news.

On The Day:
Dow Jones Industrial Average
18,543.53, +191.48 (1.04%)

5,221.12, +54.87 (1.06%)

S&P 500
2,182.87, +18.62 (0.86%)

NYSE Composite
10,781.78, +75.74 (+0.71%)

For the Week:
Dow: +111.29, (+0.60%)
S&P 500: +9.27 (+0.43%)
NASDAQ: +58.99 (+1.14%)
NYA: -2.65 (-0.02)