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Two Ways: Unemployment Going From Bad to Worse


Strengthen your portfolio in good times and bad.

Job Numbers likely to be less ugly?

Stock futures are currently lower as the nation nervously awaits this month's jobs numbers due out at 8:30 AM EST. Economists are expecting that US employers likely slashed 370,000 jobs in July which would be an improvement of the prior month's figure of 467,000.

But the unemployment rate, already at a 26-year high, is likely to creep upwards to 9.7% from the current 9.5% figure. The average workweek is likely to remain low at 33.0 hours signaling continued pressure on the pocketbooks of the American consumer. Since the recession began in December 2007, almost 6.5 million jobs have been lost.

For more context, see Professor Mike Mish Shedlock's The Dismal State of Unemployment.

From the Bull Pen: Despite the economic fundamentals, it's hard to be overly bearish with counterparty risks down to June 2008 lows and the Fed willing to backstop all toxic assets. Bulls can look to an energy play like Hess Corp (HES) as the stock filled its gap and is holding its 200 day moving average (a textbook technical setup). A sell stop can be set 2% below entry.

From the Bear Cave: If you're in the camp that a correction in the S&P 500 is imminent, consider playing the downside in the SPY, or for a short term trade, the Ultrashort S&P 500 (SDS). Risk management is key, however, so set your stops. Also take into consideration that traders typically don't like to be short into the weekend.

Quick Check Around the World

Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng -2.51%, India -2.28%, Shanghai -2.85%, Nikkei 0.23%, and Taiwan (Closed).

Across the pond, we see the FTSE -1.13%, CAC -0.99%, DAX -0.70%

As of 7:20 AM EST, S&P Futures are trading -3.25 to 991.75 and Nasdaq futures are -2.25 to 1599.25.

A Look at Commodities

Over in commodities, crude oil is trading -0.63 to 71.31 while gold is -0.400 at 961.10 this morning. Silver is -0.100 to 14.64 and copper -3.400 to 271.80.

The dollar index is -0.0050 to 78.1500.

On the Radar


8:30 Average Workweek 33.0 cons
8:30 Hourly Earnings 0.1% cons
8:30 Nonfarm Payrolls -333K cons
8:30 Unemployment Rate 9.6% cons
2:00 Consumer Credit -$4.1B cons

Bacon, egg and cheese, pizza, and philly cheesesteaks today! Happy Fat Friday! Good luck!

With unemployment at historic highs, keeping your job is job one. Join Hoofy and Boo for some tips on how to stay working:

No positions in stocks mentioned.

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