Focusing on Jobs and Wages
June 2, 2017
The Dow Jones Industrial Average joined the other major equity indices in kicking off June by surging to new all-time highs. And more broadly, we saw the buying spread to heretofore unloved sectors and individual names. Financials have been a major disappointment, but they outperformed yesterday.
Even with today’s disappointing report – more on that in a moment – I continue to base a large part of my investment thesis on job and wage improvement. As such, I’m a big fan of retailers and other consumer discretionary names right now.
It’s still early, but there appears to be evidence of serious traction in the Trump economy, along with the initial post-election excitement becoming a hard and fast economic reality. Through the month of April, we are seeing a decided move in job creation and wages. The market is on pace to rally more than 20%.
One of the reasons is that corporate earnings growth is beginning to accelerate. This will bode well for all that confidence that’s been brimming from executive suites since November. It’s clear that consumers are finally beginning to step up to the plate as spending recently reached a five-month high, and that’s a trend I see continuing as jobs keep growing and wages improve.
Speaking of jobs, today is national doughnut day and that’s exactly what the jobs report felt like when it was released this morning. I must say, the number was so low as to be absurd. There wasn’t a single economist out of 100 that modelled for 138,000 net new jobs in the month of May.
More and more I’ve been saying I have more faith in the ADP number when it comes to the private sector employment data. Be that as it may, the Street takes its cue from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The BLS number corroborated signs of strength on construction and mining, but the rest was a total disconnect. The indices are flat this morning as a result, and those financials that outperformed yesterday are weaker today as interest rates fell.
Still, I remain bullish based on actual business trends and where businesses are putting their money. Day-to-day trading has been a grind recently, but there are still a lot of great things happening with the economy and wheels of commerce that have us on the cusp of a breakout that will bring a lot of money rotating back into a lot more stocks – not just five or six high-flying tech names. That’s what we need to get in position for.