Thursday, September 01, 2011

Stocks Flattish Ahead of Friday's Jobs Report

The market has been dancing around the flat line so far today. Asian markets were higher overnight, but Europe was lower this morning after some disappointing manufacturing data out of France and Germany.

Here in the US, the ISM Manufacturing Index for August came in at 50.6, which was better than expected. A reading over 50 indicates that the sector is still in expansion mode (under 50 signals contraction). Initial jobless claims were basically in-line.

Other than that, there has not been a ton of market moving news today. Participants are awaiting tomorrow's monthly jobs report. The consensus estimates are for an addition of 70,000 jobs, although I hear Goldman Sachs just lowered their forecast to just 25,000.

The dollar is lower today, but so are most commodities. Oil prices are flat near $88.75, and gold prices are down slightly around $1826.

The 10-year yield is lower today to 2.18%; and the VIX is down another percent near the 31 level, but still unable to break below that psychological 30 level.

Trading comment: The market has pretty much worked off its recent oversold condition with this last 4 day rally. Volume levels will remain light ahead of the Labor Day weekend, but next week things should start to heat up again and we will see if the market can continue to build upon its recent base and work back towards the SPX 1250 level. I continue to trim cyclicals on strength and favor defensive stocks with yield in this environment.


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