In this ‘Bizarro World,’ a soft payrolls report might be what the market needs to bounce

There is no bid in the market. We have a market that has gone from overbought two weeks ago to marginally oversold, and it still can’t bounce. That’s bearish. There has been a notable buyer’s strike in the past two weeks, with only one notable up day in last 11 (Aug. 25, when the S & P 500 was up nearly 60 points). Boy, could the stock market use a soft jobs report. There’s certainly nothing that’s going to notably change sentiment today: There are more Covid lockdowns in China. Nvidia revealed the U.S. government had imposed new licensing requirements on some of its advanced chips, affecting sales to China. The dollar remains at a 20-year high. The rate on the 10-year Treasury is well over 3%. Federal Reserve officials are determined to keep rates higher for longer , even if a recession ensues. It’s little wonder stocks are in another downtrend. Several sectors are in notable downtrends. I would particularly highlight health care, including pharmaceuticals (the Invesco Dynamic Pharmaceuticals ETF , PJP), and even the Dow Industrials, down almost 8% in a little more than two weeks. Surprisingly, gold and silver are in a notable downtrend. SLV, the iShares SilverTrust , is at a two-year low. Formerly high-flying “thematic tech” ETFs, including robotics ( BOTZ ), video games ( HERO , GAMR ) are also in downtrends. Even oil (a proxy for inflation) below $90 is not helping the bull cause: It’s weaker but not weak enough to get a clear sign of another leg down. Bears, of course, are claiming the decline in oil is a sign recession worries are getting louder and overcoming supply issues. With the ADP report and stronger-than-expected job openings , buyers see no reason to stick their necks out. We need a soft jobs report. I’m looking for 300,000, but when I poll traders most say it would likely take 200,000 or so to get a positive response from the market. It’s what UBS’ Mark Haefele calls “Bizarro World,” where bad news is good news.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *