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Friday January 8, 2010 - 13:24:19 GMT
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Equity Markets Flat Ahead of Jobs Data

U.S. Equity markets are trading flat ahead of this morning’s jobs report.  A friendly U.S. Non-Farm Payrolls Report is likely to trigger a rise in stocks today as it will signal the economy is on the path to recovery. 


Treasury futures could feel downside pressure today if the Non-Farm Payrolls number comes out much better than expected.  A strong report will signal that the Fed is getting closer to hiking interest rates.  This would be negative news for March Treasury Bonds and Treasury Notes.


February Gold is likely to feel downside pressure if the Dollar rises.  The daily chart indicates that a break to $1108.10 to $1100.40 is likely over the near term if the Dollar accelerates to the upside.


The trading picture could be mixed in March Crude Oil.  A bullish jobs report may trigger a rally because it indicates that the economy is improving which could lead to an increase in demand for crude oil.  On the bearside, a rise in the Dollar could pressure commodity prices.  Watch for volatile trading today in the energy complex.


The U.S. Dollar is up slightly overnight ahead of today’s U.S. Non-Farm Payrolls Report.  Today’s report is hard to get exactly right because of the size of the survey but the consensus is for a break-even to slightly better payrolls number.


The key point to get out of this report is that today’s data is likely to show that the U.S. economy stopped losing jobs in December.  Based on this premise, economists are looking for December Non-Farm Payrolls to rise by 10,000.  The unemployment rate is expected to rise to 10.1% from 10.0%.


Because of the wide range of guesses and the large margin of error, payroll growth could be zero but the margin of error is +75,000 to -75,000.  The size of this margin of error is likely to trigger volatile trading conditions following the release of the report.


November’s non-farm payrolls report showed the smallest decline since the start of the recession.  The number came very close to being positive; traders are hoping this report finally shows positive growth.


Initial claims reports over the past few weeks have shown a general improvement. This news coupled with other rising employment indices, points toward an improvement in the jobs picture.  The negative to consider is the decrease in ADP December private jobs data.  This report could be offset if there is an increase in government jobs.


A lower payrolls report will weaken the Dollar. The strength of yesterday’s market is an indication that traders are pricing in a good payrolls number.  If it comes out below the consensus then look for the Dollar to retreat.


If the report is close to the consensus, the market is likely to rally, then settle into a range or weaken into the close.  This will be because traders have already priced in this number.


A strong non-farm payrolls number will help the Dollar.  Traders have been buying the Dollar in anticipation of a strengthening economy.  A much better than expected number should help increase demand for the Dollar.


The March Euro traded lower following the news that the Euro Zone unemployment rate reached 10% in November.  This was the highest level since the Euro was introduced. The penetration of the retracement zone at 1.4350 to 1.4319 is a sign of weakness.  Regaining this area is bullish.


The March British Pound is still trying to establish support inside a retracement zone at 1.6036 to 1.5988.  Uncertainty over the upcoming general election is putting pressure on the British Pound.  Concerns remain over the budget and other fiscal issues.


Technically, the March Japanese Yen should remain under pressure as long it remains under 1.0825. The next downside objective is 1.0601.  Yesterday’s bearish comments from Japan’s new Finance Minister and an improving U.S. economy should continue to help this currency pair rise.


The stronger Dollar is helping to pressure the Swiss Franc. Based on the short-term range of .9522 to .9766, traders should look for a minimum retracement to .9640 - .9612.  Last night the market fell below the upper end of this retracement zone.  Holding .9640 sets the market up for a break to the next target at .9612.


The March Canadian Dollar is down slightly overnight.  A bullish employment report could help launch a break to .9510 - .9461 over the near-term. Weaker gold and crude oil prices will continue to underpin the market. 



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