The Dow closed the week out with a gain of 62 points to finish at 17,006. We certainly have not seen that number in a while. For the week the Dow was higher by 2.2%. Market leadership has shifted to material stocks in part because the gubment has begun imposing tariffs on imported steel. Material stocks include steel, copper and iron ore.
The February jobs report was issued this morning and it could be the envy of the world as the US created 242,000 jobs and the unemployment rate held steady at 4.9%. The report did reveal that average hourly wages fell which means labor inflation is tame for now and giving the Fed more time to decide if and when an interest rate move is appropriate. Construction added 19,000 jobs while healthcare added 57,000 jobs. Retail, bars and restaurants added a combined 95,000 jobs.
In earnings reports, Mister Smith and Mister Wesson posted booming numbers last night that blew away estimates by posting a 3x rise in profits and a 61% jump in sales. The company also raised forward guidance by a significant amount and said it was increasing production to meet demand. President Obama at a presser took credit for the stellar numbers at Smith & Wesson. (Just kidding) Old tech biggie Hewlett Packard Enterprise which recently split from Hewlett Packard, reported a 4% decline in revenue and a 15% decline in net income but the numbers were so much better than the dire predictions of the swamis that shares jumped 14% at the opening. I guess this is a case of “things are so bad they are good”.
WTI crude oil continues to move higher and today traded up 4.8% thanks to a rig count report showing that 8 more rigs were taken off line this past week bringing the total to under 400 rigs. The final number was 392 rigs operating down from almost 1,700 two years ago.
Gold continues to advance creeping up $4.30 an ounce to close $1,262. During the day gold had hit $1,272 but then faded into the close.