Major averages finished Thursday fractionally higher once again on higher volume. The small cap Russell 2000 has been outperforming, a sign that institutions are willing to take on greater risk. This suggests capital which had flowed into defensive names was a temporary measure.
The U.S. added 242,000 new jobs in February vs. an expected 195,000. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.9%. Wage growth fell. Futures first rallied then sold off. They remain slightly higher as of this writing. As we have said, these jobs numbers are manipulated, so are less meaningful. The market's bipolar and somewhat muted reaction comes as little surprise.
The likelihood of the U.S. Federal Reserve continuing its easy money policy along with other central banks remains high as banks continue to refuse to lend by any substantial measure, and instead, over in Europe, are increasing lending rates to cover their expenses of parking money at negative rates of interest with their respective central banks. Nevertheless, negative rates may be in the offing in the U.S. despite these issues. Capital would have no choice but to flow into hard assets and equities. Stocks, gold, and real estate would benefit.
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