The macro view
The big macro news of the day is the U.S. employment data released this morning. The headline numbers look encouraging, as the U.S. economy added 171,000 jobs last month, and the numbers for August and September were revised upwards. This being the last jobs report prior to next week's election, pundits are finding all sorts of ways to dissect the data.
On Twitter, Wall Street Journal economic policy reporter @damianpaletta notes:
Obama trying to join Reagan and GW Bush; won reelection with unemployment higher than day took office. (7.9% 10/12 vs. 7.8% 1/09)— Damian Paletta (@damianpaletta) November 2, 2012
Meanwhile, The Economist's economics correspondent @ryanavent tweets:
And private employment is up 5 million from labor-market bottom in February of 2010. So that's something.— Ryan Avent (@ryanavent) November 2, 2012
Anyway, Obama is now net positive on job growth for his term (actually got there last month, revisions reveal).— Ryan Avent (@ryanavent) November 2, 2012
The most useful quote, in this context, comes from my Foolish colleague Morgan Housel, who took a look at the historical data in "The Best Presidents for the Economy," writing: "In general, presidents get too much credit for the economy when things are good, and too much blame when things are poor. We tend to imagine every blip in the stock market and every unemployment report as a direct reflection of a president's policies -- particularly during election years."
I agree entirely.
The micro view
Last month, Dow component Chevron (NYSE: CVX ) issued a profit warning based on the production impact of hurricane Isaac and a shutdown at a California refinery due to a fire. Nevertheless, the company reported third-quarter earnings that fell short of expectations ($2.69 versus $2.83). Yesterday, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell pointed to lower oil and natural-gas production in their disappointing earnings reports. However, our top energy analyst likes "The One Energy Stock You Must Own Before 2014." Click here to receive his free report.