Suddenly, the Jobs Data Matter Again

 | May 03, 2012 | 1:33 PM EDT
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The most notable thing about the market action today is how completely the mood shifted from yesterday. Yesterday the poor ADP jobs news was widely shrugged off as irrelevant, and we had quite a few pockets of hot momentum.

Today, the better-than-expected unemployment claims numbers are being ignored, and the momentum has mostly dried up. A few things are moving, such as Multimedia Games (MGAM), Rackspace Hosting (RAX) and Liquidity Services (LQDT), but that is being more than offset with strong reversals and some notable weakness in oil, chips and precious metals. Breadth is more than 2-to-1 negative, and the biggest positive seems to be that retail is holding up, although same-store sales numbers were quite weak.

I suspect that the mood shift is largely due to increased nervousness over Friday's jobs news. The trend in the economic reports recently has been to miss, and given today's ISM Services number and the retail sales figures, it is tough to be very optimistic about that report.

We are making a new intraday low as I write, and that is sending buyers to the sidelines. I'm hearing many complaints from traders who have not made much progress lately, and they are inclined to move into cash rather than fight this action. I see no reason to try to be a hero and bet that the jobs news is going to bail us out. Be careful.


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