The rally in equities continued today as investors cheered a better than expected jobs report. Fears of massive lay-offs proved to be overdone as job losses came in well ahead of expectations. Overall, it was another constructive day for the bulls. Breadth was very strong at 5:1 though volume was a big on the light side at well under 1 billion shares at the NYSE. As I mentioned earlier today, the VIX has now fallen an incredible 17 of the last 18 days. That is the longest such streak I can recall in my time trading futures markets. In addition, high beta names were off to the races as the Russell 2,000 and Nasdaq 100 both added over 1.5% on the session. The Russell 2,000 has now rallied in 16 of the last 18 sessions. Stocks rallied into the end of the day in anticipation of the usual Monday morning mark-up. We’ll see how busy analysts are with their upgrades this weekend.
From Daily Futures:
The U.S. Labor Department said that the unemployment rate stayed at 9.7% in February while non-farm payrolls were down 36,000, a smaller drop than expected. The June U.S. T-bonds dropped 1.04/32nds to 116.22/32nds.
The U.S. Labor Department also said that the drop in payrolls was revised in January from -20,000 to -26,000 and in December from -150,000 to -109,000.
Grains and Cotton
Overall, grains were steady to lower with the USDA’s next monthly estimates due out on Wednesday. May corn finished down 7.5 cents at $3.755, the lowest close in over a week.
After the close, the USDA estimated this week’s beef production at 476.2 million pounds, down slightly from a year ago. Pork production was estimated at 438.5 million pounds, down 3.5% from a year ago. June hogs were down .12 at 81.87.
Energies and Metals
Today’s jobs report is being seen as a positive indication that the economy is continuing to recover. May crude oil is trading higher. May copper closed up 4.20 cents at $3.4175.
Japan had its own positive employment report just two days ago, but the March yen fell .0156 to 1.1068, the lowest close of the week, with concerns that a U.S. recovery favors the dollar.
There seems to be a growing consensus that Europe will be able to manage Greece’s debt problems. The March euro closed up .0046 at $1.3623.