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U.S. Markets Summary: Still Cloudy

The U.S. Markets ends the week on an upbeat tone, with the S&P’s 500 up 1,4%, making its longest rally of the year. Some more less-worse-than-expected numbers from the labor market offset yesterdays “surprisingly” bad housing numbers. It’s still difficult to see clear signs of a real recovery. But heck, you can’t see anything in this weather!
“No doubt there will be legions of economists sifting through the data to gauge the weather effects and conclude that excluding the storms, there would have been oodles of jobs created last month.”
David Rosenberg


Stocks and commodities climbed while Treasuries retreated, Friday, and the dollar erased gains after a smaller-than-estimated decrease in U.S. jobs added further optimism about the global economic recovery is accelerating.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbed 1.4 percent for a sixth straight days of advance, its longest rally since the start of the year.
Oil and copper surged, while Treasury two-year note yields climbed six basis points to a two-week high of 0.9 percent.
The Dollar Index slipped 0.2 percent after gaining as much as 0.4 percent.
Global stocks extended their advance after a U.S. government report showed the country’s unemployment rate held at 9.7 percent in February as the nation lost 36,000 jobs.
Economists on average had forecast a decrease of 68,000 jobs and a gain in the unemployment rate to 9.8 percent, according to a Bloomberg survey.
“Today’s employment report was a real win-win. If it was considerably negative, it would be dismissed as snow-induced and a snapback in March was all but assured. On the other hand, if the report was better than expected, and it was, then it demonstrates a strong jobs market in spite of weather related factors,” Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak & Co, writes in a note to clients.
Well, David Rosenberg. chief economist at Gluskin Sheff has a slightly different view:

“No doubt there will be legions of economists sifting through the data to gauge the weather effects and conclude that excluding the storms, there would have been oodles of jobs created last month (the only issue is whether or not the person got paid, not whether they were actually at their desk. The question the consensus really has to ask is why it was so focused on the weather and forecasting a 70,000 job decline when we know with perfect hindsight that the fabled Storm of the Century back in January 1996 only managed to result in a 19,000 decline?) The growth bulls will also undoubtedly point to fact that only 15,000 Census workers were hired and that there is still a huge pipeline of jobs here that will be counted in the coming months.”

“Better yet, what is normal after a 5.9% real GDP quarter historically (which is what we just saw in Q4)? On average, the next two months see job gains of 215,000 rather than the average 31,000 decline we just saw in the January and February reports. Never before have we seen declines two months after such a strong GDP quarter until now.”