Saturday, May 8, 2004

That wacky stock market (and why jobs growth is bad)

The best back to back jobs data since 2000 and the market takes a dive. What gives?! Well, you would think that with more and more people going back to work that the stock market would rally. But this rally is somewhat counterintuitive. With stronger and stronger jobs numbers, the specter of higher interest rates is looking more and more likely. The exact same thing happened last month when there was very strong jobs growth.

The Fed rate is not going to stay at 1% forever. And while some people had thought that Greenspan was going to raise rates in August, if we get another great jobs number next month, we might see a raise in rates in June.

The market is a funny thing. Ben Stine calls it "a place to buy future earnings". I like to think of it as a speculation on how people will react to news. Because about half the time, the market does the opposite of what you would think it should. Great jobs growth and an improving economy and the market goes down. Who would have thunk it?

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