Does Jobs Number Give Fed Cover?

Friends

Stocks suffered losses for the 7th straight session (as measured by the Dow), as reaction to the jobs number was muted. The non-farm payroll number came in as expected at 215,000 new jobs having been created in July. The unemployment rate fell to 5.3% while the average hourly earnings increased a somewhat meager .02%. The average work week also increased slightly, all seemingly giving the Fed enough cover to raise rates in September should they decide to. Interestingly, bonds rallied (yields fell) on the longer end while the short end sold off a bit, causing a little flattening of the yield curve today.

As for stocks, by the close the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 46 points to finish the day at 17,373. The S&P 500 was down 5 points to close at 2077. Gold was up $1 to trade at $1091 per ounce, while oil was down $.84 to trade at $43.82 per barrel WTI.

While the S&P clings to the break-even level for the year, the Dow has broken into decidedly negative territory down more than 2.5%. As we’ve mentioned the market indexes are masking the damage among individual stocks, as more stocks are hitting new 52 week lows on a daily basis. If you hear market pundits on TV mentioning the bad breadth of the market, they are referring to how there are many more stocks down that day than up. Breadth has not been good for some time now. But, once again the market indexes are hanging tough because of a few good soldiers.

That’s a wrap for this week. Market participants likely will focus on the possibility of the Fed raising rates in September over the coming weeks. We’ll let you know how markets react.

Have a great weekend everyone. Try to stay cool.

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