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Before the Bell: Break Up UBS?; The Jobs Report


Jobs this month saw a decline of 80,000 jobs.

Morning Perspective: Break Up UBS?

Bloomberg reports former UBS (UBS) executive Luqman Arnold is calling for a breakup of Switzerland's biggest bank. Arnold, who now runs Olivant Advisers, holds 0.7% of UBS and made his proposals in a letter to the board asking to meet before the annual meeting on April 23. Among his proposals, Arnold is calling for the bank to separate its wealth management and business bank and sell the asset management business. Analysts believe Arnold may have an impact given his former insider status with UBS. Read Mr. Practical's Market Manipulation Under Veil of Secrecy?

From the Bull Pen: Those that believe Arnold will be able to unlock value can play the upside in the UBS; sell-stops below yesterday's low ($31.50).

From the Bear Cave: Bears are cautious shorting in the current environment although they believe the long-term trendline is still down. Lehman Brothers (LEH) may be an option should the stock rally to $50; buy-stops could be set above that level.

The Jobs Report

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Nonfarm payrolls for the month of March fell 80,000 vs. expectations of a decrease of 50,000. The unemployment rate increased to 5.1% vs. consensus estimates of 5.0%, the highest since September of 2005. Average hourly earnings grew 0.3% on a month-over-month basis and 3.6% on a year-over-year basis. Both figures were inline with economists' expectations. The average hours worked per work week moved up slightly to 33.8 vs. expectations of 33.7. For context on the economy, see Professor Mike Shedlock's Fed Uncertainty Principle.

From the Bull Pen: Bulls can look to Microsoft (MSFT) for an upside play. Professor Jeff Macke positively mentioned the stock yesterday because the company finds "a whole bunch of ways to win regardless of what the economy does" for 2008. Near-term sell-stops can be set below $28.

From the Bear Cave: Bears are not expecting the consumer to buy any cars in a recessionary environment. General Motors (GM) is an option. Buy-stops can be set above $23 on downside attempts.

For more ideas, see Minyanville's Spotlight Stocks.

Quick Check Around the World

Welcome back! It's Freaky Friday!

Asian trading closed with the Nikkei -0.72%, and Sensex -3.09%. Other markets were closed due to holidays.

Looking towards Europe, we see the CAC +0.19%, DAX +0.13%, FTSE +0.36%.

As of 8:30 AM EST, S&P futures are higher +2.10 to 1375, and Nasdaq futures are up +5 points to 1871.

A Look At Commodities

Commodities are mixed. Crude oil is higher +0.81 to 104.64. Gold is up +1.40 to 906.40. Silver is down -0.065 to 17.415, and copper is off -2.0 to 390.40.

The dollar index is down -0.180 to 72.040.

On the Radar


Change in Nonfarm Payrolls: -80 k vs. -50 k
Unemployment rate: 5.1% vs. 5.0% cons.
Change in Mfg payrolls: -48 k vs. -35 k cons.
Avg. Hourly Earnings (m/m): 0.3% vs. 0.3% cons.
Avg. Hourly Earnings (y/y): 3.6% vs. 3.6% cons.
Avg. Weekly Hours: 33.8 vs. 33.7 cons.

Bring it home! Good luck and have a great day!
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