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David Moenning is a the proprietor of StateoftheMarkets.com. In addition to providing free and subscription-based portfolios on "State", Dave is a full-time money manager and the President and Chief Investment Strategist of a Chicago-based Registered Investment Advisory firm. Dave... More
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Daily State of the Markets
  • Sometimes Reading Is Required 0 comments
    Feb 10, 2014 8:06 AM

    Daily State of the Markets
    Monday, February 10, 2014

    The talk in the markets on Friday was all about the jobs report. For the second month in a row, the headline nonfarm payrolls number was a big surprise - and not in a good way. For the second month in a row, the number of new jobs created in the U.S. came in well below expectations. And yet, for a second month in a row, traders didn't seem to care.

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were 113,000 new jobs created in January. While this may not sound bad, consider that the consensus estimate was for that number to be more like 180,000. And for those who follow such things, this was a big miss - again.

    This report was chock full of fun facts to know and tell. Here are some of the highlights you may have missed:

    • The December-January total was the weakest two-month gain in three years
    • The November nonfarm payrolls total, which was already gangbusters, was revised higher again, this time by 33,000 to 274,000.
    • The unemployment rate, edged down again to 6.584%, which is the lowest level since 2008.
    • The labor participation rate, which has become a widely followed statistic these days, moved higher to 63.0 percent from 62.8 percent
    • Last month's 62.8 percent participation rate was the lowest since 1978 (hence all the attention)
    • Private nonfarm payrolls rose by 142,000, also below consensus
    • Household employment soared by 616,000
    • The number of unemployed fell by 117,000
    • The employment-to-population ratio rose 0.2 points to 58.8 percent, which is tied for the highest level since August 2009
    • The broad measure of the unemployment rate fell to 12.7 percent from 13.1 percent, which is the lowest level since November 2008
    • The number of people working part-time (for economic reasons) fell by 514,000, the most in four years.
    • The part-time unemployment rate dove to 5.1 percent from 5.9 percent.
    • The goods-producing sector added 76,000 jobs, the most since January 2006
    • Construction jobs increased by 48,000, the biggest gain since March 2007
    • New manufacturing jobs improved by 21,000

    If, after perusing the above list, you came away with the warm-fuzzies about the jobs market, give yourself a gold star. In short, after the humans got done reading the details in the report, particularly the data from the Household Survey, the computers were told to go the other way. As such, the "big miss" on the headline jobs number quickly turned into a "big plus" as the algos began to push stocks higher within minutes. And after a brief dip in the first hour, the algos didn't stop buying until the closing bell rang.

    Blame It On The Weather

    The key here is that analysts were quick to blame the poor nonfarm payroll totals on the wicked winter weather and to focus on the positives found in the report.

    While it is true that the two-month gain in payrolls was the weakest since January 2011, it is important to note that the early 2011 numbers were also impacted by severe winter weather. In a research note, Ned Davis Research explained that in 2011, the rebound from the weather-induced punk data was strong as private payrolls rose an average 211,000 per month for the rest of the year.

    NDR says the economic fundamentals currently remain sound and that they expect private payrolls to rebound similarly to the 2011 situation. In their estimation, new job growth is likely to return to the norm in the coming months (the 12-month average increase in nonfarm payrolls has been 190,000). Interesting.

    The Worry is Gone

    Perhaps the biggest takeaway from Friday is that the fear that had gripped the market (or more accurately, caused the algos to sell relentlessly) since 2014 began appears to be waning.

    Sure, the 3.3 percent bounce seen in the S&P 500 over the past four sessions could be considered a bounce of the dead-cat variety. And yes, there is important resistance overhead at 1810, 1820, and 1850 on the S&P chart, which could cause the bulls to curb their enthusiasm in the near-term.

    However, the market did not go down on what could have easily been considered bad news. Instead, traders and their computer algos produced back-to-back gains of 1 percent for the first time since 1/2/2013. As such, it appears that the bulls now have possession of the ball and that we've got ourselves a ballgame again.

    Looking for a disciplined approach to managing stock market risk on a daily basis? Check Out My "Daily Decision" System. Forget the fast money and the latest, greatest option trade. What investors need is a strategy to keep them "in" the stock market during bull markets and on the sidelines (or short) during bear markets.

    Turning to This Morning...

    After Friday's surge in the stock market indices, traders appear to be more sanguine to start the new week. The overnight news flow has been fairly quiet and there are no economic releases scheduled in the U.S. Asian markets were mostly higher while European bourses are largely flat, save for Italy and Spain. In the U.S., all eyes will be on Janet Yellen as she heads to Capitol Hill for her semi-annual testimony before Congress. Finally, stock futures are pointing to a bit of a pullback at the open on Wall Street.

    Pre-Game Indicators

    Here are the Pre-Market indicators we review each morning before the opening bell...

    Major Foreign Markets:
    - Japan: +1.77%
    - Hong Kong: -0.27%
    - Shanghai: +2.03%
    - London: +0.01%
    - Germany: +0.02%
    - France: +0.18%
    - Italy: -0.29%
    - Spain: -0.98%

    Crude Oil Futures: -$0.53 to $99.35

    Gold: +$10.90 at $1273.80

    Dollar: higher against the yen and pound, lower vs. euro

    10-Year Bond Yield: Currently trading at 2.680%

    Stock Futures Ahead of Open in U.S. (relative to fair value):
    - S&P 500: -3.12
    - Dow Jones Industrial Average: -31
    - NASDAQ Composite: -1.66

    Thought For The Day...

    What worries you masters you. -- Unknown

    Positions in stocks mentioned: none

    Follow Me on Twitter: @StateDave

    The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are those of Mr. David Moenning and may not actually come to pass. Mr. Moenning's opinions and viewpoints regarding the future of the markets should not be construed as recommendations. The analysis and information in this report and on our website is for informational purposes only. No part of the material presented in this report or on our websites is intended as an investment recommendation or investment advice. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed nor any Portfolio constitutes a solicitation to purchase or sell securities or any investment program. The opinions and forecasts expressed are those of the editors of StateoftheMarkets.com and may not actually come to pass. The opinions and viewpoints regarding the future of the markets should not be construed as recommendations of any specific security nor specific investment advice. One should always consult an investment professional before making any investment.

    Any investment decisions must in all cases be made by the reader or by his or her investment adviser. Do NOT ever purchase any security without doing sufficient research. There is no guarantee that the investment objectives outlined will actually come to pass. All opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. Neither the editor, employees, nor any of their affiliates shall have any liability for any loss sustained by anyone who has relied on the information provided.

    The analysis provided is based on both technical and fundamental research and is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Although the information contained is derived from sources which are believed to be reliable, they cannot be guaranteed.

    The information contained in this report is provided by Ridge Publishing Co. Inc. (Ridge). One of the principals of Ridge, Mr. David Moenning, is also President and majority shareholder of Heritage Capital Management, Inc. (NASDAQ:HCM) a Chicago-based money management firm. HCM is registered as an investment adviser. HCM also serves as a sub-advisor to other investment advisory firms. Ridge is a publisher and has not registered as an investment adviser. Neither HCM nor Ridge is registered as a broker-dealer.

    Employees and affiliates of HCM and Ridge may at times have positions in the securities referred to and may make purchases or sales of these securities while publications are in circulation. Editors will indicate whether they or HCM has a position in stocks or other securities mentioned in any publication. The disclosures will be accurate as of the time of publication and may change thereafter without notice.

    Investments in equities carry an inherent element of risk including the potential for significant loss of principal. Past performance is not an indication of future results.

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