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Quiet Markets As Algos Quiver In Anticipation Of The Flashing Jobs Headline





It's that time again, when a largely random, statistically-sampled, weather-impacted, seasonally-adjusted, and finally goalseeked number, sets the mood in the market for the next month: we are talking of course about the "most important ever" once again non-farm payroll print, and to a lesser extent the unemployment rate which even the Fed has admitted is meaningless in a time when the participation rate is crashing (for the "philosophy" of why it is all the context that matters in reading the jobs report, see here). Adding to the confusion, or hilarity, or both, is that while everyone knows it snowed in December and January, Goldman now warns that... it may have been too hot! To wit: "We expect a weather-related boost to January payroll job growth because weather during the survey week itself - which we find is most relevant to a given month's payroll number - was unusually mild." In other words, if the number is abnormally good - don't assume more tapering, just blame it on the warm weather!

 
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How To Read, And Trade, Tomorrow's Jobs Report





This is an important jobs report. Not because it matters in the least whether the US economy added 170,000 new jobs or 185,000 new jobs. Not because it matters a whit whether the unemployment rate goes up or down 1/10th of 1 percent. No, the importance of this jobs report rests in two related linguistic games. Here's how to translate the lingo.... and then how to trade it.

 
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What Wage Inflation? Unit Labor Costs Have Biggest Annual Drop Since 2010





Less than a year ago, David Rosenberg fundamentally shifted his thesis from deflationary to stagflationary at first, and then to outright inflationary, aka from bearish to bullish, based on one simple thesis: labor costs, and thus wage inflation - that all important harbinger of broad economic inflation - have nowhere to go but up. Unfortunately, they also have another direction they can go: down.

 
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Why Tomorrow's Jobs Report May Surprise





With all eyes hope-full-y transfixed on tomorrow's non-farm payrolls data and its confirmation-biased 'select-a-headline' post-data farce, we thought it worth a look at the noise in the signal and a reminder, as Bloomberg's Joseph Brusuelas notes, the annual benchmark revisions that will be published and likely obliterate everything we thought we knew about job growth (or lack of). As Brusuelas notes, the January jobs report is likely to be better-than-forecast because the weather-impacted December estimate will see upward revisions as firms probably made up for hiring postponed during the previous month. While weather effects may dominate the topline estimate, the underlying trend in hourly and weekly earnings is likely to remain quite weak since it’s not contingent on swings in seasonal patterns.

 
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Initial Jobless Claims Flat At 8-Month Average





Initial jobless claims fell 20k from a previously revised up 351k (the highest in a month) and hovers at the the average level of the last eight months as the downward trend in this apparently key indicator has broken. The BLS cites nothing unusual in this report aside from Kansas estimated its numbers (so we have no real way of deciphering signal from noise once again). Continung claims rose a modest 15k seasonally-adjusted (and less modest 44k non-adjusted) as emergency benefits remains at 0.

 
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Obama's Minimum Wage Hike "Won't Meaningfully Help Economy"





The US minimum wage has been a common news topic lately - increasing its sound and fury since President Obama's State of the Union proclamation of a rise in federal employee minimum wages to $10.10 (from $7.25). While obviously a contentious political issue, one question keeps coming up - will this help? As BofAML notes in a recent report, a simple back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that the rise in wages from a minimum wage increase would amount to fractions of a percentage point on macroenomic data. There simply are not enough people working at (or below, since some jobs are exempted) the minimum wage to have a noticeable impact on the total wage bill and in the end, there are just too few people, earning far too little, at the minimum wage to meaningful affect aggregate macroeconomic statistics. So why is he doing it?

 
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Futures Lower? Blame It On The Snow (And The Carry Trade)





It's snowing in New York so the market must be down. Just kidding - everyone know the only thing that matters for the state of global risk is the level of USDJPY and it is this that nearly caused a bump in the night after pushing the Nikkei as low as 13,995, before the Japanese PPT intervened and rammed the carry trade higher, and thus the Japanese index higher by 1.23% before the close of Japan trading. However, since then the USDJPY has failed to levitate as it usually does overnight and at last check was fluctuating within dangerous territory of 101.000, below which there be tigers. The earlier report of European retail sales tumbling by 1.6% on expectations of a modest 0.6% drop from a downward revised 0.9% only confirmed that the last traces of last year's illusionary European recovery have long gone. Then again, it's all the cold weather's fault. In Europe, not in the US that is.

 
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Dude, "It's Going To Be A Bloodbath": Newly Private Dell To Fire 15,000





Curious why Michael Dell was so eager to take the company he founded private? So he could do stuff like this without attracting too much attention. According to the Channel Register, the recently LBOed company is "starting the expected huge layoff program this week, claiming numbers will be north of 15,000." Of course, with a private sponsor in charge of the recently public company, the only thing that matters now is maximizing cash flows in an environment of falling PC sales, a commoditisation of the server market and a perceived need to better serve enterprises with their ever-increasing mobile and cloud-focused IT requirements - things that do not bode well for Dell's EBITDA - and the result is perhaps the largest axing round in the company's history. But at least the shareholders cashed out while they could.

 
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Guest Post: The Warped, Distorted, Manipulated, Flipped, Housing Market





Reality will reassert itself in 2014, with lemmings, flippers, and hedgies getting slaughtered as the housing market comes back to earth with a thud. The continued tapering by the Fed will remove the marginal dollars used by Wall Street to fund this housing Ponzi. The Wall Street lemmings all follow the same MBA created financial models. They will all attempt to exit the market simultaneously when their models all say sell. If the economy improves, interest rates will rise and kill the housing market. If the economy tanks, the stock market will plunge, creating fear and killing the housing market. Once it becomes clear that prices have begun to fall, the flippers will panic and start dumping, exacerbating the price declines. This scenario never grows old.

 
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Chicago PMI 59.6 Beats Despite Decline: Employment Drops Most Since April





The worst news that could happen for stocks today was a Chicago PMI beat - after all it is becoming all too clear that the market is begging for a tapering of the tapering, and any and every bad news will be welcome. Alas, the Purchasing Managers Institute did not get the memo, and moments ago MNI-Deutsche Boerse reported (to subscribers first), that the January print was 59.6, below the revised December print of 60.8 but above the expected 59.0. This was thje third consecutive monthly fall following October’s jump to the highest since March 2011.  The only silver lining for stocks was that the Employment component slipped into contraction for the first time in nine months, printing at 49.2, down from 51.6. Must have been the fault of that horrible polar vortex in January then.. Or Bush of course.

 

 
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Treasury Sells First Floating Rate Notes In Heavily Subscribed Auction





Moments ago, the US Treasury sold its first $15 billion in 2 Year Floating Rate Notes, providing investors with yet another product that "protects" against inflation, following the 1997 introduction of TIPS, which courtesy of their linkage to the official BLS hedonically and seasonally-adjusted definition of "inflation" have mostly protected investors from any real gains. Here are the results.

 
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Dear JPMorgan Workers: No Raise For You





There was a time in the financial industry when the many wouldn't suffer for the sins of the few (although taxpayers were certainly excluded from this maxim). Well, for the "many" who work at JPMorgan, that is no longer the case because as Reuters reports, JPM employees can forget getting a pay raise in 2013 (although with sub-2% annual inflation as calculated by the BLS one wonders just why anyone should be getting a raise: just hand out an edible iPad or two and the COLA is fixed). The reason for the lack of a raise: "the bank's massive legal bills" - bills which incidentally were incurred when a select few JPM employees cheated and defrauded the system - illegally - in order to procure massive year end bonuses, most if not all of which were not clawed back, and subsequently were caught (one can only imagine how many of the "few" are still at the bank, doing manipulation and defrauding as usual. And now it is everyone else's turn to pay because the bank lacked the most elementary supervision of its criminal employees (long since fired) and raked up roughly $20 billion in litigation and legal settlement charges.

 
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Blame It On The Weather





No matter how centrally-planned and meticulously managed the US economy/market has become, the policy-setting powers-that-be have yet to be able to control one thing... mother nature...

 
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The New Normal Paradox: All The Job Gains With Half The Hiring?





Why is hiring important? Because that is the actual process by which those without a job end up with a job. And as we just learned today after the latest JOLTS release, which showed that there were over 4 million job openings (4,001 to be precisely) for the first time since 2008, a far more important number is the update on Hires which at 4.5 million barely changed from last month, but more importantly, is barely a fraction of where it should be based on the number of job gains reported by the BLS monthly. The chart below confirms this stunning discrepancy: a surge in jobs with barely half the pre-recession hiring?

 
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Prescription Drug Price Plunging By Most On Record Keeps Tepid Inflation In Line With Expectations





If yesterday's rising PPI print suggested the Fed may continue its $10 billion a month taper at its next meeting, today's comparably rising CPI for December will likely mean that absent another payroll-like shock, the Fed will soon monetize "only" $65 billion per month. The reason: in December core consumer inflation rose by 0.3%, compared to the 0.0% change in November, and in line with expectations. Stripping away food and energy however, the increase was only 0.1%, also in line with expectations, and a decline from November's 0.2% increase. More importantly, on a Y/Y basis, core CPI was up by 1.7%, still shy of the Fed's 2% target but not too far.

 
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