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Strong Employment Numbers Point to a Positive Non-farm Report

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Strong Employment Numbers Point to a Positive Non-farm Report

Stocks in the US started the trading session in the black as economic data on the employment front continues to impress. Wednesday’s better than expected ADP report, was followed up with a very robust Challenger employment report along with a better than expected jobless claims report. Stocks closed mixed with the S&P 500 notching up a small gain against the Nasdaq.

The number of layoffs at U.S. firms plunged by 32 percent in December to the lowest monthly total in more than 13 years, according to the Challenger employment report. Employers announced 30,623 layoffs in December, down from 45,314 in November. The last time employers announced fewer job cuts was June of 2000, when 17,241 planned layoffs were recorded.

Also on Thursday the Department of Labor released their weekly unemployment claims report. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, initial jobless claims declined 15,000 to 330,000 better than the 5K drop to 340K which was expected by economists.

Auto sales continued outperform. For the first time ever annual global auto sales have topped 80 million vehicles, according to consulting firm IHS Automotive. The firm tallied year-end sales numbers from around the world and came up with a total of 82.84 million vehicles, a 4.2% increase compared to 2012.

Macy’s (NYSE:M) moved higher after it said that it would save $100 million dollars a year by closing stores and cutting 2,500 jobs. The news help push the stock higher as the reduction in jobs would go straight to the company’s bottom line. The retailer also forecast fiscal year 2015 earnings per share of $4.40-$4.50, above consensus of $4.36.

Price action has been suspect in January with the major indices notching up small losses for the first 5-days of the New Year. Historically a higher 5-days predicts at an 80% rate that the major averages will be higher. A higher January also predicts a higher close at a rate of 75%.

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