Talking Squawk: Blogging tidbits, insight and some sarcasm on the WEEK THAT WAS and the WEEK TO COME from the notepad of the senior executive producer of "Squawk Box."
It was the word everybody heard, thought or felt at 8:30 a.m. ET on Friday morning.
Only 88,000 new non-farm jobs were created in March.
Not 200,000. Not 150,000. Not even 100,000. Not good.
The sequester, payroll tax hike, budget impasse, health care reform, seasonal spring swoon, retail pullback, President Barack Obama, Congress (The Walking Dead) …
Blame it on whatever you want.
If you are an investor, the word that says it best is … "Ouch!" (Actually, "This sucks" and a host of other phrases also work, but I don't think I'm allowed to write them here—this is a family blog.)
It was a 180-degree mood swing in the newsroom from how we started the week Monday morning, which was the beginning of Q2. The S&P 500 had closed out the first three months of the year by beating its record closing high set in October 2007.
(Read More: We Ask the Pros: Too Late to Buy Record-High Stocks?)
It was also Opening Day for baseball this week. (Wow, the Yankees look great again this year … crickets!)
We all felt good and even found a way to work in '90s teen idols Hanson (website) and their timeless 1997 hit "MMMBop" into the program. (I could play you the clip, but the music lawyers here at CNBC would have me fired, and then would sue me just for sport.) Here's the chorus:
"Mmm bop, ba duba dop / Ba du bop, ba duba dop / Ba du bop, ba duba dop / Ba du / Mmm bop, ba duba dop / Ba du bop, Ba du dop / Ba du bop, Ba du dop..." — Hanson, MMMBop, 1997
You can let your mind run wild about the hidden market messages these teen prophets were trying to tell us. But "up, up and away" was still our theme, and we literally were singing in the commercial breaks.
I should also point out for all you market doomsayers out there, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 11 percent in the first quarter. The blue chip index has never finished in negative territory for the year when it was up at least 8 percent in Q1. (Can you give me an "Mmm Bop!")
Of course, now post-Friday's jobs report, I realize that I sound like my flood insurance salesman pushing a new insurance policy based on top historic flooding levels three weeks before Superstorm Sandy. (True story, it happened to me!) Let's just say, now there is a new "historic" flood level. And it's one my insurance doesn't cover. And the flood after the jobs number probably made a lot of investors feel like me standing in my moldy storm ravaged garage saying, "Now what?"
But I'm not bitter, and "swoon or no swoon," at least Friday woke everybody up to a little sense of reality. It allowed us to stop singing "Mmm Bop" for a minute and actually think about more serious subjects like, the economy, the Fed, the Bank of Japan, the ECB, corporate profits, Apple, Facebook, gold, oil. ...
Don't worry, we'll quickly get bored of all this serious talk and any day now find a new teeny bopper boy band song to sing along to!
Guest Moments Worth Another Look
Monday, 8:40 a.m. ET: Larry Lucchino, CEO of the Boston Red Sox on steroid rules, the DH, the state of the "Moneyball" system, and how the Red Sox and the Yankees are both the underdogs this year! (story)
Tuesday, 7:15 a.m. ET: David Stockman on the coming financial crisis due to "The Great Deformation" (video); 7:45 a.m. ET, Nasdaq OMX CEO Bob Greifeld on buying the eSpeed trading platform for U.S. Treasurys. (story)
Tweets of Note
@MrT riddle me his: Should Fools get paid overtime for working on April Fools' day?
(What purpose would Twitter serve if we all didn't follow Mr. T?)
@nbcnightlynews: Jane Henson, co-creator of the Muppets, dies at 78 http://nbcnews.to/ZyUy3e
(I grew up on the Muppet show. Pigs In Space and The Swedish Chef! RIP Jane Henson.)
@TonyFratto: There's a Stephen King novel here.
RT @CNBCEuropeBreak: Damaged Carnival Ship Triumph Breaks Away From Dock http://cnb.cx/10cZej5
(I will never go on a cruise, ever! Unless it's one of those aging 80s heavy-metal rocker ones; then count me in!)
Mark Your Calendar (or Set Your DVR)
Monday: Fabrice Bregier, Airbus CEO
Tuesday: Sir Richard Branson and St. Louis Fed President James Bullard
Wednesday: United Continental CFO John Rainey; guest host Kenneth Tropin, chairman of Graham Capital Management
Thursday: House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and BlackRock CIO Russ Koesterich
Friday: Guest host Daniel Arbess, partner at Perella Weinberg
Joe at 6:01 a.m. ET on a Tuesday morning … "Andrew, at this point, hair anywhere is good."
However, that was not nearly as awkward as Joe, Becky and Andrew live on air trying to talk through whether the story about Facebook eyeing the app "Bang with Friends" was real or a late April Fools' hoax. (video)
Data Check: 'Money Madness'
We have made it through our Favored Four and to the stock championship game: This week's results include Apple taking out General Electric and Bank of America, while BlackBerry upset IBM, and then Facebook.
Our final matchup: BlackBerry (BBRY) vs. Apple (AAPL)—grab our bracket!
Remember, vote on which stock you think will do better from the start of the second quarter until the end of the year.
(Vote now on our Facebook page: Apple vs. BlackBerry)
We will reveal the winner Monday morning.
As we approach the actual Final Four this weekend, here are the latest standings in the TVNewser March Madness pool.
Joe and Becky both appear to be heading for Skid Row. (And I would NEVER mention my potential top 5 finish.)
Too bad the Final Four is something my team isn't thinking about right now, or anytime in the near future—Rutgers class of '92—ugh!
Word Jumble Score
Words we (and by "we" I mean Becky) stumbled on when jumbled?
Becky: GAADEN (Agenda), MERVEO (Remove), TUMEAT (Mutate), FERSUE (Refuse)
Joe: He didn't stumble all week, so let's give him a bonus question: AELETUCNLF
*Note: Answer at the end.
Monday, 11:30 a.m. ET: 3- and 6-Month Bill Auctions (I admit, BORING! But I had to list something.)
Tuesday, 7:30 a.m. ET: NFIB Small Business Optimism Index
Wednesday, 2 p.m. ET: FOMC Minutes
Thursday, 8:30 a.m. ET: Chain Store Sales (March) and Weekly Jobless Claims
Friday, 8:30 a.m. ET: Producer Price Index (March) and Retail Sales (March)
Where is Andrew Ross Sorkin?
He took off on vacation this week to a top-secret locale.
Joe tried to break him down and we got a few hints:
- The flight was more than four hours
- He's not in Amsterdam
- Patriotic music playing with the sounds of helicopters
- The Dead Kennedys
- Iced tea is free in most restaurants
Feel free to send any pics of possible "Sorkin Sightings" via twitter to @SquawkCNBC.
Facebook and Your Phone
The social network is now more in your face on your device, really?
I hear a bidding war for the rights to a "Squawk Box" phone could be heating up in the next few weeks.
While we're still talking Facebook, let's plug our New "Squawk Box" Facebook page! "Hey, Dude, we have a Facebook page." Feel free to "Like" us while you are there.
Our resident tech nerd @Matt_SquawkCNBC says it helps us somehow.
We regret that Facebook's potentially buying "Bang with Friends" wasn't really as true as we wanted it to be.
(Personal regret) We have not studied up on Slovenia yet (see Cyprus post from last week). If that domino falls, our newsroom will plunge into chaos and the graphics department will be scrambling for days. And it will all be my fault!
Maybe it's not too late. How about this for an idea for a new animation? "Crisis in Slovenia" (Yep, pure genius! That's why I'm the senior EP. "News Team Assemble!" (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy clip)
Check out @jimcramer on "Squawk" with his take on how crazy this market really is and why he wants to trade in his latest tablet device for a Sony Walkman.
Nuclear 'Nut Job'
Now to that Looney Tune over in North Korea threatening a thermo nuclear holocaust this week. (Proof the apple doesn't fall far from the tree!)
Like the jobs report wasn't bad enough, I seriously have to worry about this joker over the weekend?
Nobody on Wall Street seriously worried about it early in the week, and the newsroom laughed it off. (Besides, we live on the East Coast; those nukes couldn't reach here, anyway.)
It took until Wednesday for Wall Street to decide that maybe people living on the West Coast—and even Guam—count, too.
But that notion was equally short-lived.
Thursday came, and the weekly jobless claims data seemed to rank higher on Wall Street's radar than nuking of the West Coast.
And, of course, Friday's jobs sealed the deal for blowing it off as a true market concern.
Besides, explain to me how you factor in a nuclear "nut job" who hangs out with Dennis Rodman (pix) into your investment risk model?
Looking Forward to the Weekend
Spring planting season is upon us! I have studied all week learning about "deer-proof" plants and foliage that won't look like a patch of weeds. Don't worry, I have no true delusions that these plants will actually repel any deer or not look like weeds.
Plus, I still have to watch "The Walking Dead" finale. It's been on my DVR all week! Honesty, who doesn't crave a little weekend family bonding time on the couch together watching for the coming zombie apocalypse? Hmm, did I just stumble on a metaphor for the current bull market post-Friday's jobs report?
Nah, can't be. …
Good times, no worries, OK everybody—all together now!
"Mmm bop, ba duba dop / Ba du bop, ba duba dop / Ba du bop, ba duba dop…"
*Joe's Bonus Word Jumble Answer: Flatulence