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Monday, April 09, 2012

DOW – 130 = 12, 929 SPX – 15 = 1382NAS – 33 = 304710 YR YLD – .14 = 2.04%OIL – .15 = 102.31GOLD + 10.20 = 1642.30SILV +.05 = 31.86PLAT + 17.00 = 1619.00 Remember Friday? Remember the disappointing jobs report? The economy added 120,000 jobs in March. The unemployment rate dropped from 8.3% to 8.2% but that was just because people dropped out of the labor pool, they just quit looking for a job. While the economy undeniably continues to grow, the rate of that growth continues to disappoint. The stock market was closed on Friday; today, we saw the response and it was ugly. Alcoa kicks off the earnings reporting season tomorrow afternoon. Alcoa is forecast to post a $0.05 loss versus a $0.28 gain a year ago. Even if Alcoa beats expectations, it would be disappointing. A bad first quarter is expected; earnings will almost certainly be lower than last quarter and absolutely down on a year over year basis. And while earnings might be disappointing, big U.S. companies are flush with cash, they’re more productive, more profitable, and less burdened by debt. An analysis by The Murdoch Street Journal of corporate financial reports finds that cumulative sales, profits and employment last year among members of the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index exceeded the totals of 2007, before the financial crisis. Deep cost cutting during the downturn and caution during the recovery put the companies on firmer financial footing, helping them to outperform the rest …

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April, Friday 06, 2012

If the employment report falls on a holiday weekend, does it make a sound? Yes it does; the sound is a loud thud. Earlier today the US Department Labor released March employment statistics. The report shows an increase of 120,000 non-farm payrolls, which is significantly lower than the estimated 200,000 new jobs and less than half the average monthly increase in the prior three months. On the other hand, the unemployment rate fell from 8.3% to 8.2%, which is lower than the estimate of 8.3%.So clearly, the correct bet was to take the “unders”. Just in case you were wondering, Goldman Sachs yesterday raised their prediction from 175,000 to 200,000; which means Goldman is either a ship of fools or they were betting that you are a muppet that would take that bet, and they were betting against you. What happened? One explanation is that the warm winter weather across much of the country produced a little boost of economic activity in December, January, and February; and now we’re returning to the more normal rate of growth for the past couple of years, which is fairly weak. There is growth, it just isn’t robust. Prices for U.S. Treasury debt rallied on the report, pushing yields to more than three week lows, as investors anticipated further bond purchases by the Fed. This is not a guarantee of QE3 but the report certainly did not take QE3 off the table. The dollar fell. The US stock markets were closed for Good Friday, …

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