Stocks closed out the week on a positive note with the Dow up 94 to 21,414. Trading volume was on the light side. For the week the Dow posted a net gain of about 0.35% to 75 points. Stocks, according to IBD are under pressure but the bias continues to show an upward bent.
The June jobs report or “JJR” came out today and the numbers were higher than expected. The gurus were looking for 178,000 new jobs but the actual report came in at 222,000. The unemployment rate moved up to 4.4% from 4.3% and average hourly wages rose 0.2% and are now up 2.5% from a year ago. The labor force participation rate increased by 361,000 which is good news and it is also why the unemployment rate ticked higher. The labor force participation rate is still near a 40 year low but it has been on the increase since 2016 and has added 1.7 million workers over the past 12 months.
Shares of home builder stocks were higher today after Credit Suisse upgraded several home builders saying they should outperform thanks to strength and forward potential in the housing cycle. On top of the list for Credit Suisse was D. R. Horton which focuses on the construction of entry level homes where demand is hotter than a fox farting in a forest fire. Meanwhile housing in Seattle continues to roll along in a competitive battle of “survival of the richest”. Homes on Queen Ann hill averaged $1 million smackers for the first time ever and the Puget Sound Business Journal reported that for every 3 people moving into the Puget Sound area there is only one housing unit being built. Inventory is at a record low and housing costs are rising in the face of city council efforts to make them more affordable by increasing costs and regs. Go figure.
I will be out of the office next week on another scouting adventure. The Troop is having its annual scout camp and this year we will be at Camp Fire Mountain near Mt Vernon. We are taking 48 lunkheads and they will be working on rank advancement and merit badges while creating general mayhem. While I am away I will be checking in with the office but rest assured that Cleo and John will be on the job. My goal is to take first place in the scoutmaster chili cook-off thanks to a super tasty secret hot sauce crafted by a longstanding and cantankerous Greystone client named Gary. Those other guys won’t know what hit ‘em!