New Highs in the Headlines –
We had record high closes today in the S&P 500, the NASDAQ composite; the Dow Jones not quite a new record but still up better than 300 points: 301.13 to be precise. Of course, all of the headlines, and President Trump – they’re going to be claiming that the reason that we had these surging stock prices is because we had a stronger than expected jobs report. We got the October nonfarm payroll that came out this morning and it was better than was expected. You had Larry Kudlow out there talking about how this is a fantastic jobs report. It basically shows how we have this great economy; the greatest economy in the history of America, and that’s the reason that the stock market is making record highs, because we have this great economy.
Economic Data was a Mixed Bag –
Well, first of all, the jobs report is really not that great. Sure, it was stronger than expected, but that’s not why the stock market went up today. We had other economic data that came out that was weaker than expected, so it was an overall mixed bag. On Thursday we got the Oct. Chicago PMI, which plunged to its lowest level since Dec. 2015. It was the largest 8-month decline in 30 years. In fact, the Atlanta Fed came out today and downwardly revised their forecast for Q4 GDP from 1.5% down to 1.1%, and I think the New York Fed is actually below 1% in its forecast for fourth quarter GDP. So hardly the strongest economy in history, yet the markets and President Trump are certainly celebrating like the economy is strong.
Nonfarm Payroll up from an Upwardly Revised Previous Month –
But let me get to the tale of the tape first in the jobs report, because we were looking for a weak number. So the bar was pretty low. The consensus was for 90,000 nonfarm payroll jobs, and one of the reasons was because of the striking GM workers, so they were going to be subtracted from the numbers. So that was already baked into the cake. We ended up getting 128,000 jobs, so nicely above those diminished expectations. But probably more significantly, they went back and upwardly revised the number they told us for the prior month, which was originally reported at +136,000. Now the government claims it was +180,000.