Showing posts with label health care. Show all posts
Showing posts with label health care. Show all posts

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%)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Limited Follow-Through After Friday's Euro-fed Bazooka Gains

Like night follows day, Monday's trading followed on the heels of Friday's great Eurozone "we fixed it, again" ramp-job; the pseudo-rally on vapors of Germany "backing down" from imposing terms and conditions on bailout money was an enormous sham, a dickering of the markets which, without doubt will be eaten alive by the short-sellers, profit-takers and high frequency traders in due time.

The retrenchment did not begin at the first possible moment, with the start of trading for the week at Monday morning's opening bell, but, with the 10:00 am EDT release of the latest ISM Index showing a massive decline, from 53.3 in May to 49.7 in June, signifying slight, but actual, contraction, stocks quickly tumbled to what turned out to be the lows of the day.

With extremely light volume, all of the major indices kept to within a very narrow range, with the NYSE Composite and NASDAQ turning positive for much of the session, eventually being joined by the S&P 500 late in the day.

Of course, the markets being what they are, no bad news - such as the ISM report - is taken without swift contrary action via the HFTs, plus this week is shortened by the odd Wednesday holiday, the 4th of July being Independence Day, and the big nugget out there comes Friday, with June's non-farm payroll report, expected to show US job gains of 90,000.

By the end of the day, the only major index not showing a gain was the Dow, though its losses were marginal. Volume was excepted to be low, and it was probably less than expected. All in all, the day was very uneventful trading-wise, though those with a keen eye for data surely did not miss the fact that the ISM numbe was under 50 - signaling contraction - for the first time in three years, and that is, in itself, notable.

However, in what can be called the most perverse trade of the day, the ISM news was so bad that the most cynical traders see it as impetus for more easing by the Federal Reserve, and we all know what that means: No, not free houses for everybody, free money for BANKERS! and, if that's not just the best news of the day, what is?

On a note unrelated to to the day's trading action and other miscellaneous items of high finance, Henry Blodget at The Daily Ticker has a neat summary of what the Obamacare tax is going to cost Americans.

Dow 12,871.39, -8.70 (0.07%)
NASDAQ 2,951.23, +16.18 (0.55%)
S&P 500 1,365.51, +3.35 (0.25%)
NYSE Composite 7,825.02, +23.18 (0.30%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,708,509,750
NYSE Volume 3,267,654,000
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 3768-1838
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 414-32
WTI crude oil: 83.75, -1.21
Gold: 1,597.70, -6.50
Silver: 27.50, -0.11

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Supreme Court Affirms Health Care Mandate; Stocks Erase Losses on European Rumors

Kiss the US constitution goodbye... or, rather, what's left of it.

When the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court breaks ranks with his fellow conservative justices to affirm that all Americans must purchase health care insurance or be fined, siding with four liberal justices - who, by the way, should be stripped of their robes - in a matter of such great economic and political importance, then there's no hope left for the system left by our founding fathers.

Count Chief Justice John Roberts as just another Washington politician either bought and sold by special interests, playing presidential politics serving a master other than the people of the United States. Whatever the case, the law be damned with this horrendous decision, which accomplishes nothing other than to feed more fodder into the cannons of the upcoming political debate.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney immediately went on the offensive, while the White House checked off a mark in the victory column. Choosing to evade the issue of whether the mandate violated the commerce clause, by calling the "penalty" a tax, the five affirming justices simply kicked the can down the road a pace, a maneuver that's well-learned in the halls of power these days.

Next, they'll be telling Americans to quit smoking or be fined, stop eating fatty foods or go to jail or by whatever "legal" means strip common citizens of even more rights while emptying their pockets of any available cash.

It's a sham, much like most of what comes out of Washington, DC, these days. The best solution, on an individual basis, is to ignore the law and resist any and all attempts to circumvent the constitution with passive opposition, or, failing that, take to the streets and fight (the author is dreaming).

After the initial shock and awe over the Supreme Court shocker, stocks continued to trend lower, as they had all day, until, with less than an hour left in the session, news from Europe that Angela Merkel had cancelled a conference call scheduled for tonight had stocks moving well off their lows, finishing with comfortable losses rather than worrisome ones.

The official story of the Dow erasing most of a 177-point decline is, of course, bunk. This was an orchestrated move to get stocks back into a more tenable range of trading as the second quarter comes to an end with Friday's closing bell and make today's closing numbers look more appealing to the herd of sheeple that populate the nation.

Not a thing is going to be resolved in Europe at the latest in a series of meaningless summits, so, for whatever reason, the HFT mechanisms which control 85% of the trading on Wall Street simply went into overdrive on a "risk-on" scenario late in the day.

The move, like most of what passes for economy and trading these days, was another pathetic example of why most individual investors have pulled their money out of stocks altogether and will remain on the sidelines until some semblance of balance and fair play is returned to the equity markets (more wishful thinking).

Meanwhile, commodities were lambasted, with oil down sharply, silver closing at its lowest level of 2012 and gold dropping close to its lower support.

For whatever it's worth, a growing number of Americans and professionals in the fields of finance and economics think the Wall Street casino is a complete and total farce.

Those embracing that line of reasoning are surely on to something.

Dow 12,602.26, -24.75 (0.20%)
NASDAQ 2,849.49, -25.83 (0.90%)
S&P 500 1,329.04, -2.81 (0.21%)
NYSE Composite 7,597.50, -0.55 (0.01%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,753,433,750
NYSE Volume 3,867,150,000
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2697-2879
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 122-99
WTI crude oil: 77.69, -2.62
Gold: 1,550.40, -28.00
Silver: 26.25, -0.70