Sunday, June 07, 2009

Dollar Surges on Jobs Report

- Non-farm payrolls gap stocks higher but stocks have a hard time keeping it up.
- Dollar surges on jobs report yet commodities hold their ground though they reverse head and shoulders gap gains.
- Better but not better: jobs report leaves many questions.
- Unemployment rate is worse than the already bad headline.
- Market got its first dose of rate reality Friday.
- SP500 having trouble thanks to January high, but even if it tests, the money is still there.

Non-farms much better, but market sniffs through the details and closes flat.

The non-farm payrolls number gapped stocks higher Friday, but they had a hard time keeping their end up. The market showed the second scenario that noted in the Thursday report - that is, some ostensibly good news that rallied stocks higher. Were we buyers? No, that was not the plan moving into the day. We were sellers and were able to take some very nice gain on stocks that surged up as a investors initially rushed into the market and drove our positions higher. We like to buy when the market says to buy, and the patterns were telling us it was time to move in over the past week or two. Then we got another great upside day and had another excellent session where we were able to bank a lot of nice gain. We all saw what happened after that initial rush: investors had second thoughts about the jobs number and the stock market came back closing essentially flat.

The non-farm payrolls came in at -345K jobs, well below the -525K expected. Revisions to April were to the upside; in other words, only 504K jobs lost that month. It is strange to say that "only" 345K jobs were lost, but it was enough to satisfy stock investors at the open and they gapped stocks higher. I specifically focused on the non-farm payrolls because that was really the only good news (if you want to call -345K jobs good news) in the report. It certainly was not the unemployment figure itself, which came in at 9.4%, higher than the 9.2% expected and jumped way over the 8.9% in April. That is the highest reading since August of 1983. The average workweek is still heading lower. It clocked in at 33.1 hours, down from 33.2 the prior month and before that, it had been running steady at 33.3 hours per week. What we are seeing is that the workweek is still fading right now. Job losses may be slowing I repeat, MAY BE slowing but that is a long way from the losses in the workweek hours slowing down and starting to turn back up. They have to start rising and make that turn back up before we will see any demand for new employees.

This is underscored by Thursday's productivity report. Thursday showed that productivity doubled in April to 1.6% over March's 0.8%. Why is productivity up? Workers have been laid off at a 600K per month clip and there are fewer employees to do the job. Nonetheless, even with fewer workers to do the job, the workweek continues to fall. We know companies still have too many workers for the work on hand because that work week keeps declining. Typically, you will see that when the economy turns back up the workweek will start to rise because the employers are requiring the few workers who are left after all the layoffs to work longer. You will see productivity jump up because there are fewer workers doing more work. We saw it jump up we saw it double but still we saw the workweek going down. That just tells us more employees were laid off. When it turns around and the worker week and productivity both start to rise, then we know that jobs are going to go up as well. This is because employees get worked too much when the business returns and they threaten to leave if they don't get help. Or headhunters start coming around and cherry-picking the best employees. That is when you see hiring start because employers have to keep their good people happy, and that means not working them to death. When business expands - and technology will only carry it to a certain point - companies need the extra workers to do the jobs because you can only push your workers so far.

Right now what these jobs numbers show is that the economy no longer has the depression problem with the -600K+ per-month losses. We are in more of a 'normal' recession because we are only losing 350K jobs a month. That is better but not great.

The market figured this out. It gapped up on the euphoria of a substantially lower non-farm payrolls number. The whisper number was over -600K, so it was very well received at the open. Then when investors got a better look at the workweek and a better look at the unemployment number (which we will talk about in more detail later) they decided it was not such a great report and stocks came back. The results were good news but not such great action in the market. At the open we booked a lot of nice gain, but others did the same. As soon as that gap was up, the market did not run anymore but came back and traded up and down around the flat line until the close. Basically everything closed flat to positive, not a very strong session not as strong as the numbers would have led you to believe, particularly pre-market after the news first came out.



The action was not the best. A gap open and then the fade. The market traded up and down, but always around the flat line and it basically finished flat. There were some negatives the SOX index closed down 1.90%, the laggard on the session, but it is always more volatile than the other indices.


The internals mostly matched the session. Flat breadth on both NASDAQ and NYSE, and volume was lower on both as well, falling back below average on both. The only index that was trading above average on the week is NASDAQ. Friday it traded very much summertime volume with trade really contracting and falling well below average. The positive is that even though there was reversal off the highs, it shows that the sellers were not piling in to drive stocks lower. It was the buyers who just stopped buying and the market fell back to flat to close. We will know more Monday when we see the continued reaction when more investor are involved. Friday in the summer is typically light volume. Monday tells more of the story after a Friday when big news comes out.


The story of the week was SP500 and its fight with the May high at 944. It moved over that level twice during the week, but it was never able the close the deal. We thought some good news on Friday and SP500 would easily push above that level. It tired but could not hold it. The news was not as good as the main headline number indicated so therefore it makes sense that SP500 faded back on Friday and closed just below 944.

The sub-story for the indices was the SOX. For the second time in the last two weeks it has failed a breakout. It cracked over the October high again, but was unable to hold it. It did not break down there was no roll over but it is unable to extend its gains. If you look at NASDAQ and NASDAQ 100, they broke out to new post-bear market highs this past week and they were able to hold their gains. There was a little testing back Friday, but they extended their breakouts through the week. SOX on the other hand is struggling. It was an early leader in the market rally. It consolidated, broke out it failed that breakout and consolidated again. It broke out again this week but as of Friday it fell back down below the October high. It is very important to watch SOX coming into next week and see how the semiconductors react. Whether analysts like it or not, semiconductors are in everything that we buy and therefore are very much a harbinger of economic improvement. If we buy more stuff, chip companies sell more semiconductors, and the market prices that in ahead of time. A failure and breakdown by the semiconductors would be something that would have some ill winds blowing for this rally.


Friday the leaders in the market energy, commodities, technology, industrials had a good opening, gapping higher. As the dollar rose, however, most all turned back down and sold. The dollar was up big on the session and that pressured oil and all dollar-denominated sectors those that trade up or down based on whether the dollar is rising or falling. They were under pressure but the interesting thing was that they did not collapse. They gave up their early gains on the gap, but they did not break down and crack trendlines or even come close to that.

Gold sold off hard but gold ran hard to the upside and as it approached 1000 again it was vulnerable to some volatility. The dollar itself is quite volatile and we will talk about that later. It broke a down trendline from April and, with it breaking that trendline, gold sold off hard. Importantly, the other commodities that are dollar-based did not break down but just sold back to flat. Some of them did not even do that - steel and copper stocks still performed to the upside. No problem with the show of strength Friday.


Dollar surges yet commodities hold up well on this relief bounce.

As noted, the dollar surged Friday following the jobs report. The greenback hit 1.4317 on the close earlier in the week. Friday it closed at 1.3966. Huge move. Six sessions back, the dollar was at 1.3870. Another huge move. That is a tremendous range: from the 1.38's to the 1.43's and then back down to basically 1.4. Huge.

The dollar is now breaking back through the April down trendline. That is a rather sharp trendline from April into June and now it is getting a relief bounce. The dollar could not stay down in a trend forever the trend cannot head down at 45 degrees without coming up for air. The dollar got beaten down hard and is making a bounce, using the jobs report as the trigger. There are a lot of dollar shorts so that fed the Friday rebound and will likely do the same this week. When the news came out, the snowball started rolling and shorts started to cover their short term positions.

It will be very important next week to see how the dollar trades it will likely bounce higher even more to start the week. It will go higher still because once you have these oversold bounces as we have seen with the stock market they can get some momentum and head up for a few days in the market's case, months but we do not think that is going to happen with the dollar because we still have the same issues outstanding that are going to override this 'modest' 345K job loss. Those issues are the massive amount of ongoing dollar printing and the inflation that is being spawned by that money printing. What will happen is the dollar will bounce, but it will run out of gas.

Jobs report appears solid but there are major cracks still.

The jobs report was better but it was also not better. It still left many questions as to the state of the US economy and any potential recovery. Well, to us it didn't leave any questions: the economy is still struggling. The market initially viewed the 345K jobs lost as if it were 345 jobs GAINED - it looked as if they were celebrating a turn to positive in the economy.

As noted earlier, however, these are basic recession levels. These are not representative of a turn in the market but they are what we see in a typical recession. What we have done is gone from the -600K loss depression level to a more 'normal' recession level. Doesn't make you feel that great but it is enough for a weary market to bounce. The decline in job losses shows that companies really panicked in the fall, and understandably so. When the credit market froze up and they could not get funds to conduct their business, they were worried about long-term effects. They had to lay people off because they were not going to get caught in scenarios of the past where they keep people on too long and end up paying a dear price for doing so.

Interestingly, government jobs were down in the May report, yet that is where a lot of these new jobs are coming from. We cannot take a lot of solace from a decrease in non-farm payrolls because so many jobs are being created whether it is federal government, state, or county. It really is not showing that the economy is recovering on its own, but it is part of the attempt at stimulus. Whether police, educators, road workers or the million-plus census workers to be hired over the next year, that is the major upside influence in the jobs number. Again, you cannot take solace from just the non-farm payroll given how involved the government is right now in trying to stir the economy from the government side of spending.

Disgruntled workers leave those wanting an improving economy disgruntled.

That ties directly into the unemployment rate at 9.4%. Obviously not a good rate - in fact it is the worst since August of 1983. When you consider the Administration and its budget forecasting for the stimulus, future budgets, healthcare plan, and other spending, it forecast unemployment peaking at 8.4%. You can see that this fundamental flaw will create a lot of trouble for what its planned social engineering. A trillion dollar (that is the price tag they put on it today) healthcare plan is in the works, yet the forecasts are obviously horribly wrong and thus wrong as to how we are going to be able to generate the revenue necessary. That is one reason worry crept back into the market Friday. The market reads all these factors and decided things are not as rosy as the initial headline looked.

On top of that, you have to factor in that there were 792K disgruntled workers. Disgruntled workers are those people who were looking for jobs but were unable to find them, so they just gave up and left the market. It is a misnomer to say "disgruntled workers," since it is more like "disgruntled hopefuls." These hopefuls left the market, and when you add those numbers into the unemployment figure it jumps to over 16%. That is kind of the misery index in the employment number or the unemployment number, as it might be better to call it.

Rate reality: coming to grips with coming rate hikes.

The interest rate reality is starting to hit home. We have been talking about the Fed needing to raise short term rates faster than anticipated and how that rise will be unexpected to most of the market. What the jobs report did at least the non-farm payroll aspect of it was basically slap a lot of people in the face and get them to realize that the Fed is going to have to raise rates faster than expected. The irony is that the reason the Fed will have to raise rates quicker than anticipated is not because of this 345K job loss number that is not a positive economic indicator, it is a terrible number but because of the wide disparity between the 2 year yield and the 10 year yield. As we noted earlier this week, you cannot have such a wide spread (it hit a record this past week) and have a functional credit market. This disparity could again freeze credit, causing another credit lock up with just a different hat on the cause. Rate spreads this wide interrupt the equilibrium of the credit market.

What the Fed will have to do is somehow rectify this disparity in the short end versus the long end without stalling any economic momentum to the upside that is. It did get some help from the market on Friday. After that non-farms number came out, the 2 year Note jumped up and closed at 1.29%. After the spread hit over 280BP and a new record early in the session, it closed at 255BP. Better, but still much too high.

Nonetheless, it still will be a long time before the Fed starts to raise rates. It wants to see economic improvement not just the slowing of the spiral lower but real economic improvement. Even with the disparity in the credit market, unless it results in major upheavals and business starts to slow again, it is going to keep interest rates very low at the short end in an effort to try to push the economy with monetary stimulus in other words all of the liquidity we have been talking about. If the economy turns to where GDP hits positive a little faster than expected, then the market will become more worried about the Fed raising rates faster than initially anticipated. I do not know if you recall this, but only a month ago forecasters said the Fed would leave rates at essentially zero for years to come. That is how long they said it would take to get over is this credit crisis. Maybe so. If it does that will be a disaster due to inflation reasons, but that does not mean the Fed can just leave short term rates at zero for that entire time. The Fed will have to act, and if the data improves over a couple of quarters with some actual positive reports but the yield spread is still wide then the Fed's hand will be forced. Again, that is still some time in the future though not 'years.'



VIX: 29.62; -0.56
VXN: 30.71; -0.35
VXO: 29.3; -0.12

Put/Call Ratio (CBOE): 0.81; -0.07

Bulls versus Bears:

This is a reading of the number of bullish investment advisors versus bearish advisors. The reason you look at this is that it gives you an idea of how bullish investors are. If they are too bullish then everyone is in the market and it is heading for a top: if everyone wants to be in the market then all the money is in and there is no more new cash to drive it higher. On the other side of the spectrum if there are a lot of bears then there is a lot of cash on the sideline, and as the market rallies it drags that cash in as the bears give in. That cash provides the market the fuel to move higher. If bears are low it is the same as a lot of bulls: everyone is in and the market doesn't have the cash to drive it higher.

Bulls: 42.5%. Bulls continue their steady climb, trotting higher as the market holds its gains. Up from 40.9% where it has hung around for three weeks. Steady move up from 36.0% just over a month back. Moving in on the 43.2% hit mid-April before anticipation of stress tests and SOX' issues. Over the 35% threshold, below which is considered bullish, but this is not a bearish indication yet. Has to get up to the 60% to 65% level to be bearish. Dramatic rise from 21.3% in November 2008, the bottom on this leg. This last leg down showed us the largest single week drop we have ever seen, falling from 33.7% to 25.3%. Hit 40.7% on the high during the rally off the July 2008 lows. 30.9% was the March low. In March the indicator did its job with the dive below 35% and the crossover with the bears. A move into the lower 40's is a decline of significance. A move to 35% is a bullish indicator. This is smashing that. For reference it bottomed in the summer 2006, the last major round of selling ahead of this 2007 top, near 36%, and 35% is considered bullish.

Bears: 25.3%. Bears are becoming rare. Down from 28.4% last week and 33% four weeks back. Well off the 37.2% and the 37.1% in mid-April as the rally continued higher. As with bulls, below the 35% threshold considered bullish though not at bearish levels. Now far from off the high on this run at 47.2%. For reference, bearishness hit a 5 year high at 54.4% the last week of October 2008. The move over 50 took bearish sentiment to its highest level since 1995. Extreme negative sentiment. Prior levels for comparison: Bearishness peaked at 37.4% in September 2007. It topped the June 2006 peak (36%) on that run. That June peak eclipsed the March 2006 high (33%) and well above the 2005 highs that spawned new rallies (30% in May 2005, 29.2% in October 2005). That was a huge turn, unlike any seen in recent history.


Stats: -0.6 points (-0.03%) to close at 1849.42
Volume: 2.218B (-5.63%). Positive price/volume action on the week a nice change from what was seen in early May.

Up Volume: 1.131B (-846.062M)
Down Volume: 1.162B (+667.545M)

A/D and Hi/Lo: Decliners led 1.18 to 1
Previous Session: Advancers led 2.52 to 1

New Highs: 52 (+11)
New Lows: 7 (0)

NASDAQ had a very good week, a nice breakout and rally. It gave up a little of the gain on Friday, but it spent the week after the Monday breakout extending the gains. It is somewhat in no man's land now as it trades below the next resistance at 1897 where it gapped down to in October while well above the November high cleared this week. It still has some room on the upside, about 30 points that its momentum can carry it before it makes its next test. Again, we will have to see how the dollar plays in to all of this, but NASDAQ is in good shape and it handled the breakout very well. Impressive the way NASDAQ performed, moving up on good volume on the upside all week.

SOX is something to worry about a bit. It is not a major worry, but it is that second failed breakout that is a concern. Most semiconductors are still in their uptrends, but one of the problems that they were having this week was a lot of downgrades. Analysts do not like semiconductors; a lot of the trading shows on television tend to say, "I do not like semiconductors even though I have to say they are moving well." There is just a general dislike for semiconductors. Must be some right wing conspiracy. Regardless, they have made us a lot of money since this bottom started because we always go with what the market shows us is moving. That means we have to watch what they are doing now with this second failed breakout. They are holding their trend and as long as that continues things are fine. We have a warning flag up, however, that is telling us to keep an eye on these guys. Semiconductors are in everything, so if they start to break down that is an indication that the other indices could have some problems, too.





Stats: -2.37 points (-0.25%) to close at 940.09
NYSE Volume: 1.262B (-7.12%)

Up Volume: 464.671M (-522.771M)
Down Volume: 768.516M (+410.917M)

A/D and Hi/Lo: Decliners led 1.1 to 1
Previous Session: Advancers led 3.22 to 1

New Highs: 38 (+10)
New Lows: 71 (+16)

SP500 was unable to hold that move over 944 as indicated. Some are saying that the failure to do so is a top, but I am not convinced that that is the situation. Even with the second failure on the week to get through 944, is that really a big deal? The SP500 has come up and bumped it it has not cleared it, but it has not broken down either. It is moving laterally. You will often see an index come up, bump, then fade back down. Then it will come up and bump again and finally make the breakout. SP500 still has plenty of room to play and can still trade down to 925 and be in solid shape. It could even go down to 900 or 875. That would not the end of the pattern and that still keeps it in the consolidation. The point is that nothing has really changed with respect to the SP500. The financials are still consolidating (showing some indication they might try to breakout) and the overall index is doing the same. We are not in the camp that says this is a top. We may get some more softness it may come back next week if the dollar rallies and some of its industrial and commodity and energy components sell back, but that is a big difference for from a top where it breaks down.




Still at 8750ish, working laterally after the strong Monday break higher. Very much like SP500, measuring again for the break higher.

Stats: +12.89 points (+0.15%) to close at 8763.13
Volume: 255M shares Friday versus 237M shares Thursday.



The thing that keeps coming back to us is the money in the market from the central banks printing all of the trillions of dollars, rubles, pounds, francs, etc. The money is going into markets and will continue to do so. The economies (US included) are not good enough yet to soak up that money, regardless of the jobs report on Friday. As long as the central banks keep the rates low and the printing presses going, that money is going to come into market. It will continue to come into the market even as the world economies start to improve because it is not going to be a dramatic improvement. The kind of stimulus that we have is not going to snap the United States back into a rip-roaring, 7%-quarterly GDP growth rate that we saw in Q3 of 2003 when we snapped out of that last recession. With money pushed into the economy but not being used that money is going to find its way into the market and keep a bid under stocks. The dollar may bounce up again further this coming week and that may pressure some of the recent leaders that are tied to the dollar, but that is typical rebound action and the market can handle it. Let us view that as an opportunity to set up new buy positions that we can move into as the bounce in the dollar peters out and it starts to decline again.

As I said earlier, the fundamentals have not changed after Friday's jobs report. Indeed, in my opinion, that jobs report only confirms worries and concerns about the US economy given the average workweek continuing to decline and the unemployment rate rising so sharply. If the dollar bounces, we will get a pullback in the recent leaders, and when the dollar resumes its decline we will have great buys in those stocks in the energy sector and commodities and even technology. The market is producing new leadership and so we can take advantage of the new sectors that come in but primarily the market is looking at the industrials, the commodities, the metals (such as steel and copper) and the large cap techs as well. It is pushing those higher and it behooves us to follow the market. When it is telling us what looks good with the patterns that keep setting up and repeating, then we will keep playing those.

Here in the office I'm bringing some new people on. We were going over some fundamentals yesterday and laughing because I told them that the market will repeat over and over again until... it does not. That is basically the case: it will do the same thing over and over again until the pattern changes. Right now there is nothing in the mix that would change what has been happening with the market. We may see the dollar strengthen a bit more next week which could soften stocks some, but after that we expect the trend to resume. If we are proven wrong, we will pick up the next trend and make money off of it as well. I had a great week this week and I hope you did, too. Have a great weekend, and good investing to you!

Support and Resistance

NASDAQ: Closed at 1849.42
1897 is the October post gap intraday high.
1947 is the October gap down point
1984 from late September
2099 is the mid-September low
2169 is the March 2008 double bottom low

The 10 day EMA at 1801
1780 is the November 2008 peak
1773 is the May peak
1770 is the mid-October interim peak
The 50 day EMA at 1691
The 200 day SMA at 1683
1673 is the prior April peak
1666 is the intraday January 2009 peak
1664 is the May 2008 low
1661 is the April 2009 prior peak
The January closing peak at 1653 (intraday)
1623 is the early April peak
1620 from the early 2001 low
1603 is the December peak
1598 is the February 2009 peak, the last peak NASDAQ made
1587 is the March 2009 high is getting put to bed again
1569 is the late January 2009 peak
1542 is the early October 2008 low
1536 is the late November 2008 peak
1521 is the late 2002 peak following the bounce off the bear market low
1505 is the late October 2008 closing low.
1493 is the October 2008 low & late December 2008 consolidation low

S&P 500: Closed at 940.09
944 is the January 2009 high

935 is the January closing high
930 is the May peak
The 10 day EMA at 926
The 200 day SMA at 920
919 is the early December peak
899 is the early October closing low
896 is the late November 2008 peak
888.70 is the April intraday high.
882 is the early May low
The 50 day EMA at 882
878 is the late January 2009 peak
The prior April peak at 876
866 is the second October 2008 low
857 is the December consolidation low; cracking but not broken
853 is the July 2002 low
848 is the October 2008 closing low
846 is the April peak
842 is the early April peak
839 is the early October 2008 low
833 is the March 2009 peak
The 90 day SMA at 830
818 is the early November 2008 low
815 is the early December 2008 low
805 is the low on the January 2009 selloff. KEY Level
800 is the March 2003 post bottom low

Dow: Closed at 8763.13
8829 is the late November 2008 peak
8934 is the December closing high
8985 is the closing low in the mid-2003 consolidation
9088 is the January 2009 peak
9387 is the mid-October peak
9625 is the October closing high

8626 from December 2002
The 10 day EMA at 8610
8588 is the May high
8521 is an interim high in March 2003 after the March 2003 low
8451 is the early October closing low
8419 is the late December closing low in that consolidation
8375 is the late January 2009 interim peak
8315 is the February 2009 peak
8307 is the April 2009 intraday high
The 50 day EMA at 8255
8221 is the May 2008 low
8197 was the second October 2008 low
8191 is the prior April peak
8175 is the October 2008 closing low. Key level to watch.
8141 is the early December low
The early April intraday peak at 8113
The early April peak at 8076
7965 is the mid-November 2008 interim intraday low.
7932 is the March 2009 peak
7909 is the early January low
7882 is the early October 2008 intraday low. Key level to watch.
7867 is the early February low
7702 is the July 2002 low
7694 is the February intraday low
7552 is the November closing low. KEY Level.

Economic Calendar

These are consensus expectations. Our expectations will vary and are discussed in the 'Economy' section.

June 5 - Friday
May Average Workweek (8:30): 33.1 actual versus 33.2 expected, 33.2 prior
Hourly Earnings, May (8:30): 0.1% actual versus 0.2% expected, 0.1% prior
Nonfarm Payrolls, May (8:30): -345K actual versus -525K expected, -504K prior (revised from -539K)
Unemployment Rate, May (8:30): 9.4% actual versus 9.2% expected, 8.9% prior
Consumer Credit, April (14:00): -$6.0B expected, -$11.1B prior

June 9 - Tuesday
April Wholesale Inventories (10:00): -1.0% expected, -1.6% prior

June 10 - Wednesday
April Trade Balance (8:30): -$28.7B expected, -$27.6B prior
Crude Oil Inventories, 06/05 (10:30): -2.87M prior
Treasury Budget, May (14:00): -$175.0B expected

June 11 - Thursday
May Retail Sales, May (8:30): 0.3% expected, -0.4% prior
Retail Sales ex-auto, May (8:30): 0.2% expected, -0.5% prior
Initial Jobless Claims, 06/06 (8:30): 621K prior
Business Inventories, April (10:00): -1.0% expected, -1.0% prior

June 12 - Friday
May Export Prices ex-aq. (8:30): -0.3% prior
Import Prices ex-oil, May (8:30): -0.7% prior
Michigan Sentiment-Preliminary, Jun (9:55): 68.6 expected

By: Jon Johnson, Editor
Copyright 2009 | All Rights Reserved

Jon Johnson is the Editor of The Daily at

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