Whether you celebrate Veterans Day by watching endless Band of Brothers reruns or preparing a George Washington-approved meal of hamburgers and Hershey's bars, the holiday is a slow one on Wall Street. While the stock market was open for business, banks were on vacation -- The Dow inched up 21 points Monday to a fresh new record as investors look forward to the confirmation of a new Federal Reserve Chair(wo)man later this week.
With bond markets closed Monday, investors placed orders to the traders sitting around the stock exchanges in New York City on the slow day. The juicy topic still fresh on Wall Street's mind: the shocking October jobs report from Friday, in which the recently reopened Labor Department reported that 204,000 jobs were added to the American economy in October (Forbes).
Despite 16 days of turmoil in Washington and hundreds of thousands of federal workers on furlough catching up on their long-overdue Shark Tank season 5 TV binge, businesses were hiring, and that's a majorly positive sign for the recovery. The unemployment rate ticked up a tad from 7.2% to 7.3%, but the fact that the number of new jobs nearly doubled what analysts projected was the dominating headline.
With positive news always comes the scary flip side: Investors wonder when the Federal Reserve's "quantitative easing" stimulus policy that they love so much will begin to taper. The general feeling is that the economy responded in the face of adversity like Rocky in the second round against Drago, and Wall Street was impressed enough by the positive report to kill its worries about the end of the Fed's market-friendly stimulus moves.
It's all about timing. The core of the American economy is and always has been consumer spending -- it's 70% of our gross domestic product. Now that the job market continues to improve during the fall (September and August's job gains were also revised upward in the report), you've got a warm feeling in your stomach that American consumers will be employed, have some cash in their pockets, and be able to slap down the green just in time for capitalism's favorite day: Christmas.
2. News Corp earnings are bad news
The Wall Street Journal, New York Post, and newspapers across Australia have disappointed their father, and News Corp CEO, Rupert Murdoch. News Corp (NASDAQ:NWS) released its earnings report after the stock market closed Monday, reporting that revenues fell 2.8% last quarter as sales dropped to $2.07 billion -- worse than the lowly $2.13 billion in sales analysts predicted. Shares of News Corp dipped nearly 1% Monday in anticipation of a not-so-hot report (Bloomberg).
Odds are, like you, most people are reading about this online (MarketSnacks was born digital, baby). Demand for printed newspaper ads is simply dropping. News Corp's news division revenues plummeted 10% according to the earnings report, as advertising sales fell 12% and overall sales from circulation and subscriptions fell 6%. Plus, to add insult to injury, News Corp is still dealing with the $40 million in legal costs from that 2011 hacking scandal.
The takeaway is that News Corp is doubling down on print news like a bachelor party best man at a Vegas blackjack table. Remember, News Corp split off its entertainment division, 21st Century Fox, in June, leaving the more streamlined, news-focused News Corp to rebuild itself solo. Now 70% of the revenues for the new News Corp come from publishing, meaning Murdoch is seriously putting his money where his mouth is.
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