A Silver Lining in the Jobs Report

The string of mediocre employment numbers continued today when the Department of Labor reported a 155,000-worker increase in nonfarm payrolls in December. This was a fairly average jobs report in the context of the last two years, and it will barely make a dent in our 7.8% unemployment rate.

There is a silver lining to the jobs numbers, though. As we headed toward the fiscal cliff, businesses were supposed to be cutting back on hiring and big purchases because of the uncertainty regarding the federal budget and taxes. Either businesses were unaffected and have come to expect dysfunction from Washington or the economy is stronger than we think, and even cutbacks at some companies didn't deter hiring. Either way, I think it's a good sign for 2013.

Markets reacted with a big yawn at the unemployment numbers, which basically met expectations, and traders have apparently forgotten about the doom-and-gloom predictions of late 2012. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) has risen 0.27%, while the broader S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) is up 0.44% on the day.

Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) is leading the Dow today, up 2%. There isn't any earth-shattering news about Disney, but Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN  ) announced that it struck a deal to stream A&E's shows on its Prime service. Disney is one of the major content owners, and with streaming companies clamoring for content, the company is in a good position to capitalize on the streaming trend.

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) has fallen 1.4% to lead the Dow's losers. Yesterday, the FTC said it wouldn't bring antitrust charges against competitor Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) for favoring its own results in search. Microsoft blasted the ruling, with vice president and deputy general counsel Dave Heiner saying, "The FTC's overall resolution of this matter is weak and -- frankly -- unusual." This isn't a death blow of any sort for Microsoft, but it isn't the win it was hoping for.

Gold has taken it on the chin today as investors sold the news that the Fed's bond-buying program may end this year. The widely owned SPDR Gold Shares was down 1.2% on the day, but the commodity itself fell 2% to $1,641 per ounce. Investors have been buying gold as a hedge against the Fed's money-printing program, but if that comes to an end this year, the big driver that pushed gold higher will stall.

The markets are up huge so far in 2013, but you could be up much more over the long term. In fact, The Motley Fool wants to give you a 98.79% chance at beating the market. If you're interested in the best odds in the universe -- including more than a 70% chance at doubling the market's return over the long haul -- here's some very good news for you: Motley Fool Supernova is reopening to new members for the first time ever on Jan. 15! Get instant and free access to learn how you can get these kinds of market-beating odds by clicking here now.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (2)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2179843, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/26/2016 10:25:43 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated Moments ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,134.17 -127.28 -0.70%
S&P 500 2,155.82 -8.87 -0.41%
NASD 5,270.57 -35.18 -0.66%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

9/26/2016 10:10 AM
AMZN $801.36 Down -4.39 -0.54% CAPS Rating: ****
DIS $92.39 Down -0.89 -0.95%
Walt Disney CAPS Rating: *****
GOOGL $805.73 Down -9.23 -1.13%
Alphabet (A shares… CAPS Rating: *****
MSFT $56.91 Down -0.52 -0.91%
Microsoft CAPS Rating: ****