Blain here: Last reminder for to please take our fourth quarter reader survey which can be found here. Thank you and have a great weekend!
Futures were up sharply again to begin the day but a confusing jobs report stunted that and stocks instead opened near flat. Most of the day was spent near unchanged or in the red but a sharp uptick of buying in the last hour created positive gains with the S&P 500 up 0.23% and the NASDAQ 0.44%. As to the employment data job gains came in far below expectations but many blamed the weather; meanwhile the unemployment rate dropped drastically but much of this seems to be Americans dropping out of the work force as they have been doing since the recession ended. There could be some serious revisions to this number in the next few months when it is all said and done.
There were a paltry 74,000 nonfarm payrolls added in December and the unemployment rate fell to 6.7 percent, largely due to a decline in individuals looking for work. Economists had expected about 200,000 and an unemployment rate of 7 percent. Those not at work due to bad weather numbered 273,000 for the month, some 92,000 above the five-year average, analysts at Strategas said in a report. Another negative in the report was a decline in the participation rate, which fell to 62.8 percent, the same as the October rate and the lowest since 1978. From 2003 to 2007, it was closer to 66 percent. The rate reflects the number of Americans working or actively looking for jobs.
Technically until we see some sort of high volume selloff that breaks the current trend there is no change in the outlook. Both indexes remain fine…
… and the NYSE McClellan Oscillator continues to show healthy readings above 0.
The bond market reacted a lot more seriously to today’s negative news than the equity markets as the yield on 10 years sunk sharply. 3% on the 10 year seems to be the ceiling for now as it has been hit twice in the past six months.
When the overall market slows down we can focus more on individual stocks as we have highlighted some nice breakouts this week; here are two more – WebMD Health (WBMD) is a healthcare info portal and one assumed this big move is part and parcel with the increased enrollment of Americans into the insurance system as of late December. Again note the lower pane and the huge jump in volume this week.
Online review site Yelp (YELP) which had a very volatile 2013, is back on the upswing now, with volume confirming.
One name worth noting is Apple (AAPL) – we had pointed out a few days back on the chart that it had not closed below its 50 day moving average since late September; that did happen late this week.
Today’s fun fact, more than half of the U.S. Congress are now millionaires.
See you back here next week as we begin the hot and heavy portion of earnings season.