Sunday, February 3, 2019

Wall Street Wrap

The strong January jobs report in spite of the U.S. partial government shutdown helped sentiment and eased worries about a potential economic slowdown. Alongside January's 304K job gain, November's print was revised higher by 20K to 196K, but December's was trimmed by a whopping 90K to 222K. 

The last three months have now seen an average job gain of 241K. The unemployment rate unexpectedly ticked higher to 4.0% thanks to a jump in the labor force participation rate to 63.2% from 63.1%, while the broader U6 unemployment rate rose to 8.1% from 7.6%. 

On Friday, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq were weighed by a 5%-plus drop in Amazon after the company issued cautious Q1 revenue guidance amid an anticipated increase in spending. For the week, the Dow gained 1.3%, the Nasdaq climbed 1.4% and the S&P advanced 1.6%.

More details at Seeking Alpha.

Is the market over-valued? One indicator, called the Shiller PE Ratio, indicates that the S&P 500 is high on the valuation curve. 

Speaking employment data, if you'd like to do your own research, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Your tax dollars are paying for this service. Why not use it? There is enough data there to keep you busy for a very long time. And most of the data is downloadable. For example, try the data for Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey. The cart below, which I created in just a few minutes, shows total employment, which has grown from about 125 million in 1990 to 163.229 million in Jan. 2019. You can also download the data in Excel format and create your own analysis and charts. 

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