From Teeka Tiwari, editor, Jump Point Trader: We saw a blockbuster January jobs number announced last Friday… even the “End of America” bears had to grudgingly admit that it was a stellar number.
Here’s a quick recap: 275,000 jobs were added in January. That’s 10% higher than expected. The December jobs report was upgraded from 240,000 new jobs to 353,000. In all, 1 million new jobs were added in the final three months of 2014.
The back-to-back gains from December to January were the strongest in 15 years. The jobless rate ticked up from 5.6% to 5.7%, but that was because more people got off the couch and re-entered the workforce.
[The Bureau of Labor Statistics removes “long-term unemployed”—those out of work for more than six months—from the workforce when calculating unemployment numbers. When these folks start looking again, they’re returned to the labor force in BLS calculations.]
That’s a good thing. It means that people are feeling encouraged enough to start looking for work again.
The so-called “real” unemployment rate—which includes people who want to work but have stopped looking, as well as people working part time who want to work full time—is still high at 11.2% (about 2% higher than normal).
However, that reading is the lowest since October 2008.
So if the news was good, why was the market down on Friday?
Here’s the thing to remember about the stock market: It is a leading indicator. That means it does not look at what’s happening right now. The market looks 6-18 months into the future and prices in what it believes that future will be. Because of this, the market moves ahead of the news.
The market was down on Friday because it believes that the good employment news will cause the U.S. Federal Reserve (the Fed) to raise interest rates this year.
The market would be happy with zero interest rates forever. That’s because the traders and hedge funds that dictate much of the day-to-day action make more money when interest rates are low.
Traders can borrow huge sums of cash for rates you and I will never be able to get. They then take this cheap cash and use it to fund their trading operations. They’ve been “getting high” on cheap money for years. Ending this cheap cash stream is like cutting off a child from a free supply of endless candy… They kick and scream.
Now, there will be a short readjustment period as Wall Street comes to terms with the reality of normalized interest rates. But make no mistake: Rising rates off these low levels is a good thing. The Fed could raise rates only if the economy was recovering, and it clearly is.
Bottom line: The good employment news may cause the Fed to raise interest rates this year. If we look at history, we can see that when the Fed begins a new rate increase, cycle stocks rally. (They do so because the rate of improvement in the general economy and corporate earnings outpaces the rate of growth in interest rates.) And that is bullish.
At Jump Point Trader, our portfolio is designed to surge from volatility followed by bullish news just like this. We’re primed to make a killing.
Next week, I’m going to show all Palm Beach Daily readers how. Our back-test data shows the average JPT position clocks a 66% gain… but I’m really excited to share my analysis with you because our current stocks are actually tracking a lot better than many of the back-test stocks did in their first few weeks of trading. Stay tuned for more details next week.