Sellers Fade The Opening Stength In Stocks
I have rarely seen the economist correctly forecast the monthly payrolls figure, but today they did. The February nonfarm payrolls report showed the economy lost 651,000 jobs (vs. consensus of -650k). The manufacturing sector shed 168,000 jobs, which was less than the 200,000 predicted. The market breathed a sigh of relief that the numbers weren't worse, and that allowed stocks to rally. But after about an hour, sellers reemerged and so far have erased those early gains.
Banks stocks were also higher after Wells Fargo (WFC) announced it is cutting its dividend to $0.05 from $0.34 per share. The decision was made in order to preserve capital and pay back the TARP funds as quickly as possible.
In overseas news, Asian markets were lower overnight. Japan's Financial Services Agency plans to extend its ban on short-selling stock beyond the end of this month.
The dollar is lower vs. the Yen and Euro so far, and oil and gold are both trading higher. The 10-year yield is lower to 2.78%; and the VIX is up slightly to 50.80.
Trading comment: I have not made any further adjustments to our hedges. The stock market has finished lower 12 of the last 14 days, and I still expect more of an oversold bounce.