Friday, February 03, 2012

Economic Data Much Better Than Forecasts

The market is rallying strongly this morning on a double dose of stronger than expected economic data. The first report was the monthly payrolls report, which showed the economy added 243,000 jobs in January. That was far greater than the 155k forecast. Private payrolls were also much greater than expected at +257,ooo vs. 168,000 consensus. Also, the unemployment rate fell to 8.3%.

The better than expected jobs report caused the futures to spike higher before the open. The market was only up slightly before the data was released. After the open, we got another dose of good economic data in the form of the ISM Services Index. The ISM rose to 56.8 in January, which was above expectations and also a nice increase from last month's reading of 52.6.

Earnings season continues to roll along as well. Among the stocks seeing positive reactions to their earnings reports are: TSN, WY, CLX, and APKT. A couple notable standouts on the downside this morning are EL and WYNN.

Asian markets were mixed overnight. The dollar got a boost from the jobs report, which is weighing on most commodities. Oil prices are higher to $97.13, but gold prices are lower near $1740, and silver prices are lower as well. Copper prices are higher on the strong economic data.

The 10-year yield is also getting a nice bounce. It is currently up 11 bps to 1.94%. As for the VIX, it has fallen another 6% and is now down at its lowest levels since last July (16.89). Do I smell a VIX trade coming?

Trading comment: Yesterday I mentioned the issue of performance anxiety, and today's action will likely put an exclamation point on it. Interestingly, the market also ran higher last year right into mid-February before experiencing a sharp 3-day correction. Guess what the high on the SPX was last Feb. before the correction? Answer: 1344. Guess what today's high is: 1343. Pretty similar. But the Nasdaq is doing much better, so I think the SPX can continue to play catch-up.

KAM Advisors was long CLX, GLD, SLV


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