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Market Moves Up on News

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We had the non-farm payroll report this morning and the news was better than expected for the headline number: 54,000 new job losses Vs the anticipated 120,000 losses. Also, the government revised the July number to 54,000 losses as well from the previously reported 131,000 losses. This juiced the stock market today up 1.32%.

What I find odd, and I don’t mean to rain on anyone’s parade here, is that the four-week moving average of jobless claims is still terrible, worse than after Lehman Brothers failed, after Bear Stearns failed, after Enron failed, after the 9/11 attacks, after the NASDAQ crash, etc., (source: Gluskin Sheff). The only difference now is that we’ve gotten used to it and we seem to be sliding into the same long-term malaise that Japan has been dealing with since their stock market crash in 1989.

But, more on the similarities to Japan in the near future. For the time being, the August new job losses and revised July new job losses were enough to get investors excited and push the market above 1100 again. The volume in the market was low, well below the 20-day moving average, as many Wall Street participants had left work early for the holiday weekend, trying to be Hurricane Earl to the Hamptons, the Cape, the Shore, and the Vineyard.

Enjoy the holiday weekend for which you’ve worked so hard.

Mark