Basically everything was up to one degree or another on the surprisingly weak jobs report–the economy added only 266,000 jobs–for April.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 closed higher by 0.74% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.66%. The NASDAQ Composite moved up 0.88% and the Russell 2000 finished ahead 1.38%.
The weak jobs report led investors and traders to conclude that the Federal Reserve wasn’t about to raise interest rates tomorrow. Which produced a strong rally in risk trades and technology stocks. Fintech momentum play Square (SQ), for example, ended 4.19% higher. Microsoft (MSFT) closed up 1.09%. Auto chip stocks NXP Semiconductors (NXPI) and Infineon (IFNNY) closed higher by 2.80% and 3.39%, respectively.
But, perhaps illogically, inflation plays in the commodity sector rose too, even more strongly. Southern Copper (XCCO) ended the day up 5.56%. First Quantum Minerals (FQVLF) finished up 7.87% and Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold closed ip 4.52%. Copper futures on the London Metal Exchange charged past the 2011 record high and rose 3.2% on the day to $10,417. Copper is up more than 30% this year and has move than doubled off March 2020 lows. But the move higher in commodities wasn’t limited to copper. Lithium rose too with lithium miner Albemarle (ALB) ended up 6.46% on the day.
If it’s odd that commodity prices would rise on a day when inflation fears looked to be abating, how about another “strange” occurrence today. If jobs disappointed, you might think investors would have pulled back on stocks that need an improvement in the general economy. Not so. Macy’s (M) was up 2.02%. MGM Resorts International (MGM) and Wyndham Hotels (WH) rose 2.60% and 2.49%, respectively on the day. Cyclicals such as Dupont (DD) were up (1.78%). Caterpillar (CAT) sand Deere (DE) gained 1.65% and 1.11%, respectively.
The CBOE S&P Volatility Index (VIX) dropped 9.24% to 16.69 as investors and traders said “What, me worry?” and decided they didn’t need to pay up for insurance against volatility in the short run. The yield on the 10-year Treasury gained 1 basis point to 1.58%.
I’m forced to conclude that nothing–not inflation and not economic growth–matters as much as speculation on what the Federal Reserve will do (and when) on interest rates. This remains the Fed’s market.