Stocks traded lower with the Dow falling 133 points to 28,823 on surprisingly light volume. The Dow had opened higher and crested 29,000 for the first time ever but the White House announced sanctions on eight Iranian officials plus mining, steel and aluminum industries and as the day wore on stocks retreated (or is the “re-tweeted”) as investors took gains ahead of the weekend. For the week the Dow gained about 0.6%. All indicators are currently positive.
The December labor report came in weaker than expected with 145,000 new jobs versus guru expectations calling for 160k new jobs. The unemployment rate held steady at 3.5%. Wage growth weakened to an annual rate of 2.9% which is still above inflation at 2.1%. A separate but related report showed private sector job creation which includes startup businesses as creating a robust 267,000 new jobs. Overall the report was neutral to positive and despite struggles at some retail shopping malls many people are starting delivery businesses via Amazon, Uber and others who have embraced the trend of “mobile, buy online, delivery to your door”.
WTI crude oil slipped below $60 per barrel as worries of excess supplies outstripped fears of a Middle East supply disruption. The US continues to crank out oil and gas and according EIA data contained in a report by Hennessy Funds the export of US LNG set records in October and November as the US became the world’s third largest LNG exporter. Capacity to export continues to grow and buyers are lining up LNG supply contracts with US companies which are seen as cheap and stable sources for energy.
The Scouts head out this weekend for a snow camp near Lake Wenatchee. Will report on status when they get back. It should be a good trip with lots of fresh snow. We will go to a different place this year since the guy who let us camp on his property pulled the standing invitation because he did not like girls being in the troop. Every time something changes it’s like a ref calling a foul in a soccer game. There will be 11 players upset and 11 players happy.