The equity bulls woke up to 287,000 reasons to smile Friday, as the much-stronger-than-expected June jobs report was just right.
The strength of the monthly non-farm payrolls print was in stark contrast to the May report, which actually was revised lower to reflect just 11,000 new jobs created.
The rebound this month in the employment picture was just what the market needed to feel like the economy can support more growth, and that Q2 earnings are going to be decent.
The reaction today in markets tells you all you need to know about how Wall Street is handling the June jobs data. Stocks started the day strong, and by midday the S&P 500 had surged nearly 1.4%.
The broad measure of the domestic market now trades at new highs, and more importantly, we’ve erased all of the downside that was generated just two weeks ago by the Brexit vote.
Let me just say that while I still think markets have some strong headwinds in front of them — election uncertainty, Brexit outcome uncertainty, earnings season and slow GDP — today’s strength in the labor market is one less headwind to negotiate.
Moreover, today’s jobs report should be considered “Goldilocks,” as it was hot enough to give markets confidence in the economy, but not too hot that it would crank up expectations of another rate hike before the election.
All in all, Wall Street and Main Street have something to smile about today, and in a week in which Americans didn’t have much reason to smile on the social front, the June employment data was a welcome relief.
Your First Half Market Scorecard
The first half of 2016 is in the books, and it’s been one marked by a lot of big price swings, a lot of buying in safe-haven assets and a lot of buying in stocks.
Check out the list here of some of the markets I monitor each day. Here you’ll find the performance data for each respective index, year to date through June 30.
- S&P 500 2.69%
- Dow 2.90%
- Nasdaq -3.29%
- Nasdaq 100 -3.86%
- Gold 24.65%
- Silver 35.44%
- Treasuries 15.19%
Although there was a decent move higher in large-cap domestic stocks, tech and large-cap tech struggled through the first half of the year. And while stocks generally experienced a back-and-forth first half, it was a different story entirely with safe-haven assets such as gold, silver and long-term U.S. Treasury bonds.
Gold and silver have shined so far in 2016, easily outpacing equities. More significantly, Treasury bonds also outpaced the stocks by a wide margin.
It is this boost in Treasury bond prices, one that has pushed bond yields down to record lows on the 10-year Treasury note, that has me feeling more than a bit uncomfortable.
The reason why is because bond yields should not be falling so low when stock prices also are pushing up toward all-time highs. At some point, something has to give, and if history is any harbinger of things to come, the bond market will win out over stocks.
In a year that’s been fraught with some big bouts of selling, as well as some big buying, we now are at a place where we expect more volatility to continue.
Election uncertainty, Brexit outcome uncertainty, Fed uncertainty, etc., all will help determine what’s next for markets.
And while we can’t be certain of what’s going to happen, we can be reasonably sure that the markets are going to throw us at least a few curve balls along the way.
The only thing we can do, as investors, is to stay in the batter’s box and keep our eyes on the ball.
If you’d like to find out how my subscribers are preparing for anything the market has to throw at us, then I invite you to click here to check out my Successful ETF Investing newsletter, today.
“Bravery is being the only one who knows you’re afraid.”
–Franklin P. Jones
The events of the past few days involving shootings in American cities is enough to make anyone feel uncomfortable, sad, confused and even afraid. Yet just remember that the people who succeed in making the world a better place usually are the bravest among us. So, while it’s okay to be afraid, it’s better to be brave.
Wisdom about money, investing and life can be found anywhere. If you have a good quote you’d like me to share with your fellow readers, send it to me, along with any comments, questions and suggestions you have about my audio podcast, newsletters, seminars or anything else. Click here to ask Doug.
In case you missed it, I encourage you to read my column from last week about the significance of market data from the first quarter of 2016. I also invite you to comment about my column in the space provided below.