Stock futures were indicating lower after the payrolls report. The SPDR S&P 500 (NYSE: SPY) traded down fractionally Thursday and will likely look lower today too; it's off 0.75% or so in the pre-market. It's the close of the holiday shortened week, and it looks like it will go out with a second bang. The monthly Employment Situation Report hit the wire like a 4th of July fireball. This report just happens to be the most widely followed report by the market and by Main Street. The president even comments on the data each time it is reported, and now his challenger does as well. Nothing else matters more to the market today than this data point and its interpretation will determine the direction for stocks, unfortunately...
The report for June showed unemployment stuck at 8.2%, and nonfarm payrolls hardly budged, increasing by 80K through the month. Economists were on the ball for their unemployment rate forecast but a bit high for nonfarm payrolls, which they saw at 90K at consensus (according to Bloomberg's survey). ADP reported its estimate of private (not total) nonfarm payrolls yesterday, indicating its expectation for a relatively stronger 176K increase, but I had serious doubts about that. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg did as well, forecasting just a 100K increase in private nonfarm payrolls. That would compare with May's increase of 82K. Private Nonfarm Payrolls for June actually came it at +84K.
In conclusion, the data was poor without question, but expectations were not high either. Stocks were indicating significantly lower for the start of trading, with the SPY down 0.75% or so.
Monster Worldwide (NYSE: MWW) posted its Monster Employment Index for June. It increased 4% month-to-month, to reach a mark of 153. The MEI was up 5% year-over-year. The index is a gauge of U.S. online job posting activity, and with the job search market effectively moved online now, it matters. However, all market focus will be on the poor federal jobs figure.
Thursday's wire had the day's biggest percentage decliner down 19.6%, as Ambow Education (NASDAQ: AMBO) reported its first-quarter EPS, filed a statement with the SEC about a former employee's allegations and reported on the resignation of its CFO. The company's March quarter report showed a net loss against estimates for a positive result. Also, in a filing to the SEC, the company said it was conducting an internal investigation regarding "allegations of financial impropriety and wrongful conduct" made by a former employee regarding the acquisition of a training school in 2008. This miss of its EPS looks to me to be tied to a change in its accounting and revenue recognition that the Street had not anticipated nor incorporated into its valuation yet.
One of Thursday's sharpest risers was Microvision (NASDAQ: MVIS), which after sliding recently on a dilutive share offering, seemed to benefit Thursday on its mentioning with this article by PCWorld. Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) recent announcement regarding its hi-tech glasses reminded some of MVIS' work in the area.
The earnings schedule for Friday includes Daxor (NYSE: DXR), Hicks Acquisition (Nasdaq: HKAC), Hoku (NASDAQ: HOKU), NewLead (NASDAQ: NEWL), Roberts Realty Investors (NYSE: RPI), R.F. Monolithics (NASDAQ: RFMI), Rosetta Genomics (NASDAQ: ROSG) and Torch Energy Royalty Trust (NYSE: TRU-OLD).
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.