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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Morning Market Report

Lots of news again this morning. First, the weekly jobs numbers came out and they surprised on the positive side.

The number of U.S. workers filing new applications for jobless benefits tumbled last week, a government report showed on Thursday, reversing a recent spike that had raised concerns about renewed labor market weakness.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped by 43,000 to a seasonally adjusted 440,000 for the week ended Feb. 6, down from a revised 483,000 in the prior week, the Labor Department said.

The four week average is now at 468,500. The jobs picture remains murky. Less murky is the picture in Greece as European leaders agreed on a bailout.

Stocks rose and the yield premium on Greek government debt shrank to the lowest level in a month as European leaders agreed to deal with Greece’s debt crisis and inflation concern waned in China. Copper climbed.

All of this is adding up to a good opening this morning. The Dow was down by 20 points yesterday and finished at 10038. It's up about 20 points in the pre market.

Bonds took a tumble following the comments of Ben Bernanke yesterday. Bernanke projected that he would raise short term rates and tighten money by the end of the year. That will lead to higher rates across the board, everything else being equal of course,and bonds responded in kind. The ten year is even at 3.70% but it raise by seven basis points yesterday. The yield spread between the two and ten year bond is 2.83% and continues to push all time highs. The three month t bill also rose slightly to .096%. Meanwhile, oil is showing some sign of strength. It's now pushing $75 a barrel at $74.93 a barrel. Gold is slightly higher at $1084 an ounce.

The dollar is mixed this morning. It's up .47% against the Euro but down .04% against the British Pound and down .24% against the Japanese Yen.

Finally, the Obama administration is predicting a gain of 95,000 jobs a month for the rest of the year. This is a fairly optimistic prediction and even if true, the jobs picture would be sour. We'd need about 150,000 new jobs created every month merely to stay up with new people entering the job market. As such, this prediction would mean that we'd still be increasing the unemployment rate until the end of this year.

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