The good news today was that the jobs number was much better than expected, as 292,000 new jobs were created in December. The bad news is despite or because of that, stocks fell once again, capping off the worst first week of trading of a new year ever (and ever is a long time). Yes, the jobs number was good, but the interpretation there is that a good jobs environment allows the Fed to proceed with their “planned” 4 or 5 interest rate hikes this year. Never mind, that there is virtually no other good news to be found at the moment.
As for stocks, though there were moments when shares were nicely higher, the afternoon saw stocks continue their decline as traders wanted no part of being long into a weekend where we will get economic data from China. By the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 167 points to finish the day at 16,346. The S&P 500 was down 21 points to close at 1922. Gold was down $4.10 to trade at $1103 per ounce, while oil was down $.20 to trade at $33.07 per barrel WTI.
As I have mentioned throughout the week, what we are experiencing this week is an acceleration of last year’s stealth bear market. Earnings season starts next week, so it will be interesting to see if the lowered expectations will be sufficient to turn the tide of the market decline. Sentiment is very negative at the moment, and with good reason, but this downturn didn’t just begin this week. We are much further along in this disruption than one might have guessed. We’ll keep our heads about us and look for opportunities during the turmoil. These disruptions happen every so often and we have known we were due. Just remember those who sold when the Dow dropped to 6600 back in 2009 and missed the subsequent climb to more than 18,000. It’s not fun, but it is part of the process. The roads to our financial goals do contain potholes here and there. We’ll be back at it on Monday. Stay tuned. If you’ll excuse me, I have to stop at Spec’s on the way home.
Have a great weekend everyone.