labor force participation rate

A LITTLE HELP FROM THE JOB MARKET

A LITTLE HELP FROM THE JOB MARKET

A LITTLE HELP FROM THE JOB MARKET

The major stock market averages opened modestly higher today following the monthly jobs report (see below). The Dow is currently up 148 pts and the SPX is up .4%. The energy sector is up nearly 2% on continued gains in oil prices. Transports, banks, and semiconductors are also in the green. On the other hand, retailers, gold miners and utilities are down in early trading. Commodities are moving higher as well. WTI crude oil is back up around $55/barrel. Copper is up .3% and iron is up more than 3%. Bonds are falling back, giving up yesterday’s gains. The 5-year and 10-year Treasury yields are hovering around 2.51% and 2.69%. By the way, Treasury yields have been hovering around 1-year lows this month, a condition that usually reflects a softening economic outlook and a more dovish Federal Reserve. But on days when we get some encouraging economic news—like today’s jobs report—yields tend to jump.


*The foregoing content reflects the author's personal opinions which may not coincide with the opinions of the firm, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. All investing involves risk. Asset allocation and diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Finally, please understand that–as with other social media–if you leave a comment, it will be made public.

January 4, 2019

January 4, 2019

The stock market gapped up at the open after an encouraging jobs report (see below). The Dow and SPX are currently up 650 pts and 3%, respectively. Tech—hated by traders yesterday—is the best-performing sector, up over 3.5%. The materials sector is up 3% in early trading. Transports—again, hated yesterday—are up over 3% as well. The VIX Index is back down to 22.7, exactly even with VIX January futures. Traders are wondering why, when the market is now routinely moving more than 2% per day, the VIX isn’t well into the 30s. It may no longer be an accurate reflection of market volatility. European markets will close up over 2% in today’s session. The Chinese stock market has stabilized over the last several days, so that’s good news. After the release of the jobs report this morning, the dollar strengthened and bonds sold off. Opposite of the recent trend, Treasury bonds fell in price but junk bonds rose. The 10-year Treasury Note yield climbed back to 2.66%, surging 10 basis points from yesterday’s level. Bond yields provide different signals depending on the economic & market situation. At this moment, rising yields will signal some relief that perhaps the economic outlook isn’t as dire as the bears think.


*The foregoing content reflects the author's personal opinions which may not coincide with the opinions of the firm, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. All investing involves risk. Asset allocation and diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Finally, please understand that–as with other social media–if you leave a comment, it will be made public.

July 6, 2018

Stocks opened higher this morning as the jobs report and trade tariffs dueled for traders’ attention. The Dow is currently up 120 pts and the SPX is up .8%. Indeed, this is a traders’ market with low volume, lots of back-and-forth, but no real trend. At the moment, all eleven market sectors are in the green, led by healthcare (+1.3%). Biotechs are rallying on the back of a positive clinical trial for Biogen’s new Alzheimer drug. European markets are poised to close slightly higher on the session and Asian markets were (surprise, surprise) higher overnight. The VIX Index is back town to 13.6 and VIX July futures are trading down around 14.8. Oil is rising again; WTI crude is up around $73.60/barrel. The Bloomberg Commodity Index is up .3% today but still down on the year. Copper continues to struggle on fears that the emerging trade war could dent China’s economy. Bonds are trading higher in price—lower in yield—despite a positive jobs report. The 5-year and 10-year Treasury yields are hovering around 2.73% and 2.83%, respectively. So as an investor, you get only 10 more basis points in yield for locking up your money over an additional 5 years. The yield curve continues to flatten, and the Federal Reserve is increasingly squeezed between that fact and the fact of strong economic growth. Bloomberg Economics now believes the flat yield curve will convince the Fed to pause rate hikes. 


*The foregoing content reflects the author's personal opinions which may not coincide with the opinions of the firm, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. All investing involves risk. Asset allocation and diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Finally, please understand that–as with other social media–if you leave a comment, it will be made public.

April 6, 2018

tocks gapped down this morning on trade war tensions (not the jobs report). The Dow is currently down 364 pts and the SPX is down 1.17%. The defensive sectors—utilities, consumer staples, real estate—are not surprisingly faring better than cyclicals, but just about everything is in the red. The VIX Index is up a bit to trade just under 20. VIX April futures are around the same level. So the options market doesn’t seem to expect a full-blown trade war. European stock markets are poised to close slightly lower and Asia was mixed overnight. The dollar and most commodities are down a bit today. WTI crude oil is trading down around $62.70/barrel, continuing in the $59-$66 range. Gold is up about .4% this morning (and 2% on the year). Bonds are trading higher as yields dip. The 5-year and 10-year Treasury yields are hovering around 2.6% and 2.79%.


*The foregoing content reflects the author's personal opinions which may not coincide with the opinions of the firm, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. All investing involves risk. Asset allocation and diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Finally, please understand that–as with other social media–if you leave a comment, it will be made public.

March 9, 2018

The major stock market averages gapped up at the open (Dow +267 pts; SPX +1%) after an encouraging jobs report. The cyclicals are alive and well today—materials, energy, industrials, tech and financials are all up over 1%. Utilities and telecom sectors are in the red. The VIX Index is back down around 15.5. Commodities are broadly higher, except gold. WTI crude oil is back up over $61/barrel. Bonds are trading mostly lower. The yields on the 5- and 10-year Treasury bonds are back up to 2.67% and 2.91%.


*The foregoing content reflects the author's personal opinions which may not coincide with the opinions of the firm, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. All investing involves risk. Asset allocation and diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Finally, please understand that–as with other social media–if you leave a comment, it will be made public.

January 8, 2017

US stock market averages dipped after posting new highs on Friday. The Dow is currently down 20 pts and the SPX is flat. The tech & utilities sectors (+.4%) are leading the charge, but retailers and transports are also up modestly. On the other hand, biotechs and pharmaceuticals are down over 1% in early trading. The VIX Index is still hovering below 10 indicating low expected volatility. The rest of the world is also rallying. European markets are closing up about .3% and Asian markets were up overnight. Commodities are trading mostly lower, but WTI crude oi is up around $61.50/barrel. That’s a 2.5-year high. Shorter-term bonds are holding steady after selling off sharply last week. The 5-year Treasury yield is sitting at 2.29%, the highest since April 2011. Longer-term bonds are selling off today, with yields moving higher. The 10-year Treasury note yield is up around 2.48%. Investors are closely watching long bonds for any sign of rising inflation expectations.


*The foregoing content reflects the author's personal opinions which may not coincide with the opinions of the firm, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. All investing involves risk. Asset allocation and diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Finally, please understand that–as with other social media–if you leave a comment, it will be made public.

December 8, 2017

Stocks opened higher this morning (Dow +76 pts; SPX +.4%). Most market sectors are in the green, led by healthcare and energy. The only sectors retreating are utilities and consumer staples. The VIX Index is down to 9.7 and VIX January futures are trading down around 12.4. The dollar is stronger on the day due to some strong economic data. Commodities are also higher. WTI crude oil is back up to $57.45/barrel. Bonds are little changed but the yield curve steepened just a bit. The 5-year Treasury yield is fat at 2.14% and the 10-year is up around 2.37%.


*The foregoing content reflects the author's personal opinions which may not coincide with the opinions of the firm, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. All investing involves risk. Asset allocation and diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Finally, please understand that–as with other social media–if you leave a comment, it will be made public.

October 6, 2017

Stocks sank at the open after a disappointing jobs report. The Dow is currently down 33 pts and the SPX is down .28%. Just about everything is in the red except for gold miners, semiconductors and healthcare stocks. The VIX Index, which has been languishing below 10 for over a week, is up a bit to trade around 9.8. VIX October futures are up slightly to trade around 11. That’s not much of a move. Commodities are lower on the day; WTI crude oil is down 3% to $49/barrel. Despite a weak day for stocks, bonds are selling off as well. The 5-year Treasury yield shot up to 1.96% and the 10-year yield rose to 2.36%. It seems bond traders didn’t like the jobs report for a different reason—rising wage inflation.


*The foregoing content reflects the author's personal opinions which may not coincide with the opinions of the firm, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. All investing involves risk. Asset allocation and diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Finally, please understand that–as with other social media–if you leave a comment, it will be made public.

June 8, 2017

Stocks opened mixed this morning (Dow +32 pts; SPX flat). Banks, semiconductors and retailers are in the green, but the more interest rate sensitive sectors (utilities, real estate) are lower. The VIX Index is down around 10. The dollar is up about .4% today, partly because the Euro is weaker after the European Central Bank policy meeting. WTI crude oil is down modestly to trade around $45.70/barrel. Bonds are selling off a bit as yields head higher. The 5- and 10-year Treasury yields are up to 1.77% and 2.20%, respectively.


*The foregoing content reflects the author's personal opinions which may not coincide with the opinions of the firm, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. All investing involves risk. Asset allocation and diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Finally, please understand that–as with other social media–if you leave a comment, it will be made public.

March 16, 2017

Stocks opened a bit lower this morning (Dow -45 pts; SPX -.29%) following yesterday’s rally. Just about everything—except tech, financials and some retailers—is lower in early trading. The market has been very resilient, however, and the Dow has now gone 106 days since experiencing a 1% daily move. Most commodities are higher on the day. But WTI crude is trading down to $48.65/barrel. Bonds are trading slightly lower as yields tick higher. The 5-year Treasury yield is currently 2.02% and the 10-year is trading at 2.52%. By the way, junk bonds are the real story in the bond market this month. After selling off during the last few weeks, they rebounded strongly yesterday in the wake of the Fed announcement (see below).


*The foregoing content reflects the author's personal opinions which may not coincide with the opinions of the firm, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. All investing involves risk. Asset allocation and diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Finally, please understand that–as with other social media–if you leave a comment, it will be made public.

December 2, 2016

Stocks opened modestly higher (Dow -10 pts; SPX +.17%%; Nasdaq +.17%). Today is sort of the mirror image of yesterday’s session. Interest rate-sensitive sectors like utilities and real estate are up big while the cyclical sectors like financials and consumer discretion are lagging. The VIX Index is down a bit to 14. And bonds are up in price today. The 5- and 10-year Treasury yields ticked down to 1.83% and 2.39%, respectively. WTI crude oil, on the other hand, continues to drive higher, now trading around $51.20/barrel. Commodity traders are really taking this OPEC production deal seriously…for now.


*The foregoing content reflects the author's personal opinions which may not coincide with the opinions of the firm, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. All investing involves risk. Asset allocation and diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Finally, please understand that–as with other social media–if you leave a comment, it will be made public.

October 7, 2016

Stocks opened modestly lower (Dow -26 pts; SPX -.2%). Utilities, financials and energy sectors are up very slightly but everything else is lower. WTI crude oil is trading slightly lower, near $50.20/barrel. The Bloomberg Commodity Index is up .5% this morning on gains in copper, gold. Bonds are mostly unchanged. The 5- and 10-year Treasury yields are hovering around 1.28% and 1.75%, respectively. 


*The foregoing content reflects the author's personal opinions which may not coincide with the opinions of the firm, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. All investing involves risk. Asset allocation and diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Finally, please understand that–as with other social media–if you leave a comment, it will be made public.

June 3, 2016

Stocks gapped down at the open (Dow -52pts; SPX -.4%) in the wake of a disappointing jobs report. The reaction is classic risk-off: defensive sectors are rising and cyclical sectors are falling. Financials (esp. banks) are down the most in early trading. The dollar is weaker (-1.4%) and commodities are mostly higher. Gold is up over 2%. But WTI crude oil is trading down to $48.70/barrel. By the way, US oil production has been falling for 12 straight weeks, and that’s helping prop up oil prices. Bonds are surging ahead because the weak jobs figure makes it less likely the Fed will raise interest rates later this month. The 2-year Treasury yield fell to .78% (from .89%) this morning. The 5- and 10-year Treasury yields fell to 1.23% and 1.71%, respectively. We see technical support for the 10-year at 1.69 – 1.70%. 


*The foregoing content reflects the author's personal opinions which may not coincide with the opinions of the firm, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Any investor who attempts to mimic the performance of an index would incur fees and expenses which would reduce returns. All investing involves risk. Asset allocation and diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Finally, please understand that–as with other social media–if you leave a comment, it will be made public.