Thursday, January 9, 2014

Throw today's jobs number out! Or not...

Mark Zandi and a whole herd of other economists say "throw today's jobs number out!". Which means their predictions were way off the mark (the consensus had 195k new jobs in December, the number came in at 75k. OUCH!!). Stock trader Jim Cramer says "don't dismiss today's jobs number". Cramer goes on to say that stocks trade on interest rates and, therefore, the hugely under-consensus-estimate jobs number is good news for stocks, particularly homebuilders. Meaning, he likes numbers that, in his view, help the stock market.

Was it bad weather? Perhaps. But what about the 238k December ADP number released on Wednesday? Cramer says this is why that (ADP) number is worthless. I wonder which number he'd consider worthless if the release dates were reversed and the market rallied on the ADP number?

So anyway, does the fact that stocks opened higher mean that bad economic news remains good news because it keeps the Fed buying bonds? That was more or less the excuse proffered in the headlines. However, I was watching futures before the number was released and the Dow was looking to open 70 points higher. That gain quickly dried up on the news. Then, as we neared the opening bell the market began to move a bit higher. So, is it that bad news remains good news, or is it that traders buy the miss-calculating economists complete disregard for December's miserable employment report?

I think I'm moving away from the bad news is good news opinion. However, the spike higher in emerging markets stocks this morning suggests to me that those markets remain correlated (short-term) to the prospects for continued QE. So we'll conclude that, for the moment, bad news is no longer good news for U.S. stocks, but that's not necessarily the case globally-speaking. That's why diversification is everything.

As I close, the major U.S. averages have dipped into negative territory. Believe me, if bad news were good news (for the U.S market), they'd be up big time.

Stay tuned... Uh, on second thought, don't stay tuned! Think long-term and tune out the short-term noise. In case you just can't (tune out the noise), I'll continue to offer up my perspective as it gets louder...

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