The U.S. economy added “only” 150,000 jobs in October, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced this morning, November 3. Economists had projected that the economy would add 180,000 jobs for the month. The unemployment rate climbed slightly to 3.9% from 3.8%,
And the government statisticians revised September’s shocking 336,000 job increase the month down to 297,000 and revisions to the August and September totals took 101,000 jobs out of the totals for those to months.
The Wall Street conclusion: The Fed has done its job and the economy has slowed. And that means, cue cheers here from the assembled crowd, the the Fed is done. There will be no interest rate increase at the December 13 or January 30 Fed meetings.
I bet you can guess what the market reaction has been so far today. Forget any worries about Apple’s revenue or signs of a weak holiday shopping season or weakness in auto sales. We’re off to the races again on belief that a Fed that has stopped raising interest rates will soon move to cut them.
As of 1 p.m. New York time today the Standard & Poor’s 500 was up 1.14%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average had gained 0.88%. The NASDAQ Composite was higher by 1.42% and the NASDAQ 100 had climbed 1.26%. As has been true for the last few sessions, the small-cap Russell 2000 is the day’s big winner so far with a gain of 2.76%. My “feel” for why the Russell 2000 is so far outperforming the other indexes is that we’re seeing a lot of buying today from shorts looking to cover their positions.
My big disagreement with the market’s direction is that stocks are up big on speculation that the Fed is done raising interest rates just when it is increasingly clear that the Federal Reserve is no longer calling the shots on interest rates. The bond market is the driver of rates right now and I see no change in the fundamentals that will continue to push bond yields higher over the next 6 months or so.
That said, the yield on the 10-year Treasury, which was flirting with 5% at the beginning of the week, is down another 11 basis points to 4.55% today. The yield is still up 41 basis points in the last year but it has dropped 24 basis points in the last month
As you might expect the VIX fear index (VIX) also sounded the all clear with the CBOE S&P 500 Volatility Index falling another 2.62% to 1525.