Good News, Bad News: Jobs Data Upsets the Dow

The BLS December jobs report showed a drop in the unemployment rate, but many fewer jobs were created.

Jan 10, 2014 at 12:02PM

The much-awaited December unemployment report didn't inject joy into the markets this morning, as another drop in the unemployment rate was offset by a dearth of new jobs.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) expressed dismay by dropping precipitously around midmorning. While it had started to gain back ground thereafter, as of noon EST the index was still in the red by 58 points.

Things may be rocky through the day on the Dow, as investors chew on the Bureau of Labor Statistics data. With a mere 74,000 jobs joining the economic landscape in December, the drop in the jobless rate to 6.7% from its previous 7% is apparently causing some consternation. Not only did markets expect nearly 200,000 new jobs, but the labor force participation rate dropped to 62.8% from November's 63%.

Investors may also be worried about the pacing of the Federal Reserve's taper, as well as a rise in short-term interest rates, which the Fed has said will be considered when the unemployment rate reaches 6.5%. However, the recent Federal Open Market Committee minutes reiterated the Fed's commitment to keeping rates low "well past the time" when that benchmark is reached.

Big banks expect to keep their wallets open in 2014
The banking sector is a mixed bag this morning, with JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) down more than 0.8% and Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) up by 0.3%. The latter had a bit of good news today, as global financial regulators agree to ease off on one aspect of Basel III rules, which would have made banks' leverage ratio uncomfortably tight. Banks such as Goldman Sachs had complained that adding up derivatives on a gross, rather than net basis would be too strict, and would cost U.S. banks money under certain accounting rules.

JPMorgan has prompted its peers and their legal teams to sharpen their pencils as they try to figure out this year's liability for the industry using the new, hefty settlement guidelines recently experienced by the nation's biggest bank. According to The New York Times, a price of $50 billion is being bandied about -- which doesn't include JPMorgan's recent $13 billion settlement with U.S. regulators. Big banks' boards of directors are looking for some kind of reasonable tally that could free the industry, once and for all, of the problems caused by the mortgage meltdown.

More premium investing advice

It's no secret that investors tend to be impatient with the market, but the best investment strategy is to buy shares in solid businesses and keep them for the long term. In the special free report, "3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich," The Motley Fool shares investment ideas and strategies that could help you build wealth for years to come. Click here to grab your free copy today.

Fool contributor Amanda Alix has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Goldman Sachs. The Motley Fool owns shares of JPMorgan Chase. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.

Compare Brokers