Saturday, March 7, 2009
February's jobs report was a disaster but at least it was a disaster that was expected. In fact, the markets already expect the unemployment rate to move to 9 percent sometime about mid-year, though the 5-tenth single-month jump in February to 8.1 percent is definitely steep. Payroll data so far this year show numbing declines approaching 700,000 each month, but better days, thanks to stimulus, are expected ahead. Stocks rose in reaction to the report, only to reverse and then rebound in late trading to end 0.1 percent higher at 683.38 on the S&P 500. The early rally in stocks pulled money out of the safety of the dollar and Treasuries. The dollar fell about 1 cent against the euro to $1.3651 while the 2-year yield rose 7 basis points to 0.96 percent. Crude firmed to end at $45.76 for April WTI while gold firmed slightly to end just under $940.