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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Morning Market Report

There's breaking economic news that will have as much political impact as economic.

The number of newly-laid off workers seeking jobless benefits unexpectedly rose last week, as the job market recovers at a slow and uneven pace.

The Labor Department said Thursday that initial claims for unemployment insurance rose by 36,000 to a seasonally adjusted 482,000. Wall Street economists had expected a small drop.

Now, if you've been following the monthly jobs number, you know that our economy took a step back in terms of jobs last month. We lost about 80,000 jobs in December after gaining 5,000 jobs the month before. This number is also getting worse.

Both of those are signs that the economy is headed for a W shaped recovery. In layman's terms, the economic recovery will be choppy and that means an unstable job market for the indefinite future. That will cause Obama and the Democrats nearly as much pain as the jobseekers.

The data hasn't been interpreted all that badly yet by equities. All three indices are down but rather slightly. All are down less than .25% in the pre markets. Meanwhile, bonds are also a bit weaker which is a bit of a head scratcher. The ten year U.S. Treasury bond is at 3.67%. That's weaker by two basis points. The yield spread between the two and ten year is 2.78%. The three month t bill is at .041%. Those are all roughly what they've been over the last week and a half.

Markets in the Far East and Europe are mixed. The Hang Seng in China was down 1.99%, the NIKKEI in Japan was up 1.22%, and the Straits Time Index was down 1.46%. In Europe, the FTSE in London is up .24%, the DAX in Germany is up .62%, and the Spanish index is down .18%.

The Dollar, meanwhile, is showing strength this morning. It's up .08% against the Euro, up .61% against the British Pound, and up .53% against the Japanese Yen.

Finally, in the latest quarter, the Chinese economy grew by just more than 10%.

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