Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Dow flirts with new record after March jobs data

Dow rose 31, advancers ahead of decliners 5-4 & NAZ climbed 5.  The MLP index slipped 1 to the 471s & the REIT index lost a fraction to 286.  Junk bond funds inched higher & Treasuries retreated.  Oil & gold did little.

AMJ (Alerian MLP Index tracking fund)

Treasury yields:

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U.S. 2-year


U.S. 10-year


CLK14.NYM...Crude Oil May 14...98.94 Down .....0.80  (0.8%)

GCK14.CMX...Gold May 14.....1,293.10 Up ...13.20 (1.0%)

Companies boosted payrolls in Mar by the most in 3 months, adding to evidence the job market is recovering from a blast of harsh winter weather.  The 191K increase in employment followed a revised 178K gain in Feb that was stronger than initially estimated, according to the ADP Research Institute.  The forecast called for a 195K advance.  The figures show companies are gaining confidence demand will strengthen from earlier in the year when colder-than-normal temperatures & snowstorms prompted Americans to cut back.  ADP’s numbers have missed the mark in tracking gov jobs figures over the past couple of months.  The group’s initial estimates showed a 127K gain in employment for Jan followed by a 139K Feb increase.  That compared with the Labor Department’s initial estimate of a 142K gain in Jan private payrolls & a 162K increase in Feb.

ADP Says Companies in U.S. Added 191,000 Workers in March

The euro-area economy grew at a slower pace in Q4 than initially estimated, providing further evidence for the ECB assessment that the currency recovery is still fragile.  GDP expanded 0.2% in Q4, according to the EU’s statistics office.  That’s down from the preliminary measure of 0.3% on Mar 5.  The revision comes as ECB policy makers gather for their monthly interest-rate decision, which is scheduled to be announced tomorrow.  Mario Draghi predicted last month that a fledgling recovery from Europe’s sovereign debt crisis will gradually gain strength, while noting that the central bank stands ready to ease monetary policy further if necessary.  “Looking ahead, the ongoing recovery is expected to proceed, albeit at a slow pace,” Draghi said.  The ECB last month forecast economic growth for the 18-nation economy of 1.2% this year, rising to 1.5% next year & 1.8% in 2016.

Euro-Area Economic Growth Revised Down to 0.2% in Fourth Quarter

Russia pressed Ukraine to disarm nationalists it says are oppressing its compatriots there as NATO looked to bolster European security as the Cold-War foe massed troops on Ukraine’s border.  The presence of as many as 40K soldiers along Ukraine’s eastern frontier is fueling concern that Russia is poised to invade on the pretext of protecting Russian-speaking inhabitants of eastern & southern Ukraine.  Backed by state-run media, pres Putin says the Kiev-based gov is influenced by Russophobe extremists & it hasn’t done enough to stop them from persecuting Russian-speakers.  “We urge the Ukrainian authorities not to limit themselves to sham statements about the fight against radical forces in Ukraine and to take decisive measures to disarm the militants,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said.  Russia issued similar comments in the run-up to its military occupation of Crimea & its annexation following a Kremlin-backed referendum there.  Ukraine’s gov denies that Russian speakers are at risk.

Russia Presses Ukraine on Nationalists Amid NATO Talks

The jobs data didn't say much that was new.  Jobs are being added to the economy, but at a sluggish pace.  The unemployment rate is coming down largely because some are discouraged & have given up looking for work.  Expect that kind of report from the gov on Fri.  Dow continues to chug along, attempting to reach a new record which is only a whisper away.

Dow Jones Industrials

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