April's jobs report could actually bring in more May buyers.
The report is expected to be fairly gloomy, forecast to show a loss of 75,000 non-farm payrolls or more last month. But Thursday's frisky market action could carry through if the report does not show up worse than expected. It sounds odd, but the bad news is already what's expected.
After an initially wishy washy reaction Wednesday, the stock market Thursday embraced the Fed's actions and rallied to closing levels not seen since early January.
The big trade of the day was the reversal of the weak dollar, strong commodities trade which pushed the dollar higher and took the wind out of a wide range of commodities. Oil was one of those, losing 0.8 percent to $112.52. Gold lost 1.6 percent to $848.90 per troy ounce. Copper plunged 5.3 percent to $3.7255 per pound and silver lost 2.3 percent to $16.1210 per troy ounce.
Stocks followed the same pattern - energy and materials were lower and transports higher. Energy stocks were up 2.2 percent, and airlines were up more than 5.6 percent.
The dollar gained a full percent against the euro Thursday and 0.34 against the yen. The Dow meanwhile finished up 189, at 13,010, its first close above 13,000 since Jan. 3 and the S&P closed up 24 at 1409, the first close above the magic 1400 level since Jan. 14.
"I think it's going to be a continued unwind" in commodities, said John O'Donoghue, head of equities at Cowen. "I don't think it's going to be a massive crash. it's an unwind. I think there's a long-term bull market in commodities. I think it just got ahead of itself."
In addition to the 8:30 a.m. jobs report, factory orders for March are reported at 10 a.m. Some important earnings news is expected from oil major Chevron. Also reporting are Viacom, Duke Energy, Agrium, and Weyerhaeuser.
Berkshire Hathaway holds its annual meeting on Saturday. CNBC's Becky Quick will report from there Friday and share her exclusive interview with Warren Buffett starting on "Squawk Box."
There's been so a great deal of anticipation about this week's Fed meeting and jobs data. I asked Deutsche Bank chief U.S. economist Joseph LaVorgna what we should be looking at next.
"I think financial market conditions," said LaVorgna. "With what's happening with Libor, you want to start to see lending among institutions pick up." He said the market believes things are becoming more liquid. "But are things really improving? is this just a head fake, or the start of something more meaningful?" he said.
LaVorgna said it remains to be seen if the dollar has bottomed but it appears like it may have. "If you look at the trade weighted basket, it looks like the low was definitely set around the middle of March," he said. The resulting ease up in commodities prices would be a positive for households who are feeling the pressure of rising costs.
I spoke with Margaret Cannella, head of global credit research and U.S. corporate strategy at J.P. Morgan Thursday afternoon. She relayed an interesting observation from a meeting earlier in the day between J.P. Morgan strategists and clients.
She said they took an informal poll at the start of the meeting. Of about 30 people in the room, about five said they see the credit crisis as still in its beginning stages, and about the same number thought it was at the end. The rest saw it in the middle. (Interesting to see a divide in opinion even after we've been hearing many of Wall Street's top CEOs saying they think the worst is over.)
Canella said she personally believes we're over the worst but not at the end. "We are well into the middle and toward the sixth inning of the crisis. But the aftermath is going to be very significant. We've probably gone through the worst of the crisis. Now, we have all the adjustments," she said.
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