This morning we learned that the November employment report was tremendous! U.S. companies added over 260,000 jobs, which far exceeded expectations. This pushed the employment rate back down to 3.5% matching the low from earlier this year, which is the lowest since 1969.
There were some concerns about the potential for this report because the ADP employment report from Wednesday was so poor. That ADP report indicated private sector job growth of just 67,000 compared to the 157,000 expected.
The large discrepancy between the BLS report we received this morning and the ADP report from a couple days ago is very strange. Perhaps the truth lies somewhere between the two, but for now, the market appears to be taking the government BLS report at face value as the S&P 500 is up over 1.0% on the day at the moment.
The employment-population ratio held steady at 61%. Construction job growth slowed to just 1,000. Speaking of construction jobs….
Over the last couple weeks I provided you with two videos. There have been a couple developments since I released those. Continue reading “Huge Employment Report and Video Follow Up”
Where do you store your passwords? Do you maintain a notebook with them all written down? How about an excel spreadsheet? Some other document on your computer? The “Notes” app on your phone? These are inferior ways of storing your passwords for a variety of reasons including; security, convenience, password-generation, etc… Continue reading “Thoughts on Password Management and Storage”
Executive Summary: Warren Buffett is holding records amount of cash. Meanwhile, households are holding near record LOW levels of cash and near record high levels of stocks.
Last week we learned Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway set another new record for the amount of cash and short-term investments (e.g. U.S. Treasurys) its holding. Specifically, Berkshire is holding over $128 BILLION of cash and short-term instruments. That’s a lot of dry powder!
The reason he’s holding so much cash is because he hasn’t been able to find attractively-valued investment opportunities. So, like any disciplined investor, he’s not chasing obscene valuations. Successful investors don’t get caught up in the emotions of manias and bubbles. Successful investors also don’t let fear prevent them from buying good assets when they’re priced right much like Mr. Buffett was doing in early-2009 when everyone else thought the world was ending.
Last week, I also happened to come across some charts from @SentimentTrader (Twitter) showing how households are currently invested. There is some really interesting data here that presents a stark contrast to Mr. Buffett’s approach right now. Before we continue, remember Mr. Buffett’s wise words, “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy only when others are fearful.”
Continue reading “Warren Buffett versus U.S. Households… In Charts”
Yesterday, the Federal Reserve confirmed the market’s expectations and announced they would be cutting rates for a third time this year. The rate cut is an addition to the recently-announced program of supplying $120 BILLION in liquidity each night AND announcing the resumption of QE whereby they’ll be buying $60 BILLION of short-term Treasurys each month.
In other words, the Fed is pursuing policy that, until the recent Great Financial Crisis, was unprecedented. Why? Why are they pursuing emergency policy actions when the economy is supposedly strong, stock market is near all-time highs, unemployment near all-time lows and inflation supposedly around 2%? Continue reading “The Fed Cuts Rates for a Third Time…And Zombies”
Back in February, I summarized a few potential recession signals. In that commentary I also stated;
“However, I’ll start to get really concerned when this ISM Purchasing Manager’s Index drops below 50, which would round out a trifecta of recessionary signals.”
Today, it was announced that the ISM Manufacturing PMI has contracted with a reading at 49.1 (below 50 indicates contraction). Continue reading “Final Shoe Drops”