Weekly Economic Update – May 7, 2012

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”
Walt Disney

The jobless rate dipped 0.1% in April, but Wall Street didn’t exactly cheer about it as just 115,000 non-farm jobs were added to the economy. Economists polled by Briefing.com thought payrolls would expand by 162,000. The Dow fell 168 points Friday on the news. On the bright side, job gains across February and March were revised upward by 53,000. Payrolls grew by a cumulative total of 635,000 positions in Q1 2012, making it the best quarter for hiring since Q1 2006.1,2,3      
Analysts termed March’s gain disappointing after the (upwardly revised) 0.9% advance in February. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News anticipated a 0.4% improvement. Consumer incomes rose 0.4% in March, the best month in that category since December; consumer wages were up 0.3%.3

The Institute for Supply Management’s April manufacturing PMI rose 1.4% in April to 54.8, representing the best monthly gain since June. Now for the bad news: the ISM non-manufacturing index showed a 2.5% drop in the same month to 53.5.2,4

That is a new all-time low recorded by Freddie Mac in its May 3 Primary Mortgage Market Survey. A year prior, interest rates on 30-year conventional home loans averaged 4.71%. Rates on the refinancer’s favorite tool – the 15-year FRM – have dropped from 3.89% to just 3.07% in the same time frame.5

The job report drained enthusiasm from the market Friday, and stocks retreated for the week. The five-day performances: S&P 500, -2.44% to 1,369.10; DJIA, -1.44% to 13,028.27; NASDAQ, -3.68% to 2,956.34. Also notable: oil’s dive back under $100. At Friday’s NYMEX close, crude futures settled at $98.49, down 6.14% in a week.1,6
THIS WEEK: Monday offers Q1 results from Electronic Arts and Tyson Foods. Tuesday, DirecTV, Wendy’s, Disney and HSBC issue earnings reports. Wednesday brings earnings announcements from Priceline.com, NewsCorp, Toyota, AOL, Dean Foods, Macy’s, Activision Blizzard and Cisco. Thursday, new initial claims figures appear along with Q1 results from Kohl’s, Nordstrom and Sony; Fed chairman Ben Bernanke speaks at the annual Conference on Bank Structure and Competition in Chicago. Friday brings the April PPI and May’s initial University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey, and earnings arrive from Nissan and Nvidia.


DJIA +6.72 +2.39 -0.36 +3.02
NASDAQ +13.48 +4.53 +2.99 +8.33
S&P 500 +8.87 +1.62 -1.81 +2.75
10 YR TIPS -0.30% 0.70% 2.24% 3.48%

Sources: money.msn.com, bigcharts.com, treasury.gov, treasurydirect.gov – 5/4/121,7,8,9
Indices are unmanaged, do not incur fees or expenses, and cannot be invested into directly.
These returns do not include dividends
 WEEKLY RIDDLE:   About 90% of this country’s land area is made up of arid tan desert, yet its flag is solid green – in fact, at present it is the only nation in the world with a flag containing just one color. What nation is this?
             Contact our office or see next week’s update for the answer!
Last week’s riddle:   Four grown men decided to play on the sidewalk for three hours. No one chided them for childish or immature behavior; many appreciated the noise they made in unison. They even went home a bit richer. What were these men doing?    

Last week’s riddle answer:  They were street musicians performing for passerby.
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1 – money.msn.com/market-news/post.aspx?post=06187871-41ac-4526-a225-e3067cf18d18 [5/4/12]
2 – briefing.com/investor/calendars/economic/2012/04/30-04 [5/4/12]
3 – www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2012/04/30/bloomberg_articlesM3ALE03T6SRQ01-M3ALE.DTL [4/30/12]
4 – www.ism.ws/ISMReport/MfgROB.cfm [5/1/12]
5 – www.cbsnews.com/8301-500395_162-57427288/record-low-mortgage-rates-what-to-do-now/ [5/4/12]
6 – montoyaregistry.com/Financial-Market.aspx?financial-market=common-financial-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them&category=29 [5/4/12]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=5%2F4%2F11&x=0&y=0 [5/4/12]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=5%2F4%2F11&x=0&y=0 [5/4/12]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=5%2F4%2F11&x=0&y=0 [5/4/12]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=5%2F4%2F07&x=0&y=0 [5/4/12]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=5%2F4%2F07&x=0&y=0 [5/4/12]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=5%2F4%2F07&x=0&y=0 [5/4/12]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=5%2F3%2F02&x=0&y=0 [5/4/12]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=5%2F3%2F02&x=0&y=0 [5/4/12]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=5%2F3%2F02&x=0&y=0 [5/4/12]
8 – treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=realyield [5/4/12]
8 – treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=realyieldAll [5/4/12]
9 – treasurydirect.gov/instit/annceresult/press/preanre/2002/ofm10902.pdf [1/9/02