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NFP Potpourri

10-06-2017

Today's NFP roulette was a potpourri of head-scratching data that allowed folks to come away with whatever conclusion they wanted. Supposedly, 33,000 jobs were lost, versus expectations of a gain of 80,000, coupled with back-month revisions to the downside by 38,000. On the other hand, the unemployment rate dropped to 4.2% and average hourly earnings were better than expected.

"N" Is for "Noisy" The Liscio Report summed up the data succinctly: "So, there's not much to do in the face of this report other than scratch one's head. The human impulse to find meaning in apparently random events is not something to be consistently indulged."

I wouldn't spend 10 seconds analyzing those numbers because they are rife with estimation and extrapolation. Nonetheless, speculators took the report to be good for stocks, bad for bonds, good for the dollar, and bad for the metals. That theme lasted for a couple of hours before the stock market began to weaken a bit and was marginally red through midday. In the afternoon, the market just drifted quietly higher from the earlier weakness, closing about flat.

Away from stocks, post the kneejerk reaction, green paper wound up flat, oil lost 3%, fixed income was lower (although not as weak as it was initially), and the metals came back from an early loss to gain ground with silver up 1% to gold's 0.75%.

Something On Your Mine? I found it interesting that, even at the lows for the metals today, the miners behaved better once again. Thus, we now have a pattern that has held for about a week of the miners digging in better than gold, which has often been the sign of a turn. But as everyone has probably learned, there are no absolutes when it comes to what moves metals prices.

Housekeeping There will be no Rap next Monday through Wednesday, as I will be attending the Grant's Conference and watch Jim interview Easy Al, among other high points. Ask Fleck will run as usual and the Rap will return on Thursday, Oct. 12.