Stocks ended the week in “snooze” mode as the labor numbers came out and were neither good nor bad. The Dow ended the session with a light volume 28 point decline to close at 18,240. For the week the Dow lost a net 53 points or 0.23%
The labor market continues to evolve as the latest jobs report showed 156,000 new jobs created which was less than estimates calling for 172,000. The unemployment rate however ticked higher to 5% but this was due to a slight rise in the labor force participation rate. The average work week increased as did wages and the demand for workers seems to be drawing people out of the woodwork who had, according to official stats, left the workforce. The labor force participation rate hit a 6 month high. US factory jobs continue to decline while construction jobs gained. All in all the September jobs report was indicative of an economy that is moving but continues to sputter on all cylinders.
US based conglomerates are under price pressure as of late and today Honeywell lowered its forward guidance sending investors to the exits and shares reeling 9%. Conglomerates are corporations with multiple lines of business coupled with global exposure. In Honeywell’s case they cited a slowdown in aerospace as Boeing (“Boeings” as my mother in law says it) adjusted its gross 2016 aircraft orders lower by 80 units to 460. This could also affect GE and analysts have recently lowered GE’s target price. The shares of both Honeywell, GE and United Technology have experienced institutional selling as of late. The US dollar is also hitting these global players as a strong dollar creates FX headwinds and makes their products and services less price competitive.
Gold was up slightly today and oil slipped back below $50 a barrel. Not much happened in the commodity arena other than it was a big down week for gold.
There is another Scout trip this weekend. We are expecting 20+ scouts to hit the Blewett Pass area and do rock climbing as well as fling some pointed sticks and launch small pieces of led.