All Eyes on the Jobs Market

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

This morning investors received two jobs reports: the ADP Non-Farm Employment Change report for August and last week's Bureau of Labor Statistics jobless-claims number. Neither report wowed the markets, but neither was terrible, either, so that should be seen as a win, and the market is acting accordingly.

As of 12:55 p.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) is up 13 points, or 0.09%, while the S&P 500 has risen 0.21% and the Nasdaq is climbing 0.28% higher. The ADP number was expected to hit 180,000 new jobs in the month of August, but it came in at 176,000. The jobless-claims number declined by 9,000 to 323,000 initial claims for unemployment benefits. The less volatile four-week moving average for initial claims fell from 331,500 to 328,500.But while these reports give market watchers confidence, the real number everyone is waiting for is tomorrow's jobs report from the Department of Labor.

A few Dow downers
Coca-Cola
  (NYSE: KO  )  has lost 1% of its value today after Marcos De Quinto, CEO of Coca-Cola Spain, put the organization in an awkward position. Coke is a sponsor for a Spanish TV program that has some questionable ethics, and a religious group has asked the sponsors to pull their support. Not only did Marcos decline to pull the adds, but he tweeted that group's members were "fanatics." This controversy has now prompted some individuals within the group to organize a boycott of the beverage company. 

Shares of both the Dow's big telecoms are falling today. AT&T (NYSE: T  ) is down 1.2%, while Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) is off by 0.9%. The moves come at a time when both companies find themselves in difficult situations. Verizon just announced that it will buy the 45% stake in Verizon Wireless that's owned by joint venture partner Vodafone -- and it will take on an insane amount of debt to do it. Meanwhile, AT&T's closest competitor has set itself up for near-term weakness but long-term strength. Now reports indicate that AT&T may be in talks with large shareholders of Italy's Telecom Italia to acquire their stakes in the company. This would open the doors for AT&T to begin expanding its business to other countries as the U.S. market grows saturated. Verizon is clearly not in a position to expand internationally in any major way, and that should give AT&T the ability to get a strong head start on the competition.

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