Data shows improvement on the jobs front

Pisani's market open mixed

I said Wednesday the chances of a Fed rate hike in June were extremely small, and I still believe that. But the very low initial claims report for this week (262,000 vs. 290,000 expected) may be a sign that March's low nonfarm payroll report will be revised upward—which is certainly a requirement for the Fed to even consider a hike.

The Employment Cost Index, which measures the cost of labor for businesses, was up 0.7 percent quarter over quarter, better than an expected 0.6 percent increase. It rose 2.6 percent year-over-year, another sign of modest wage pressures. The dollar strengthened, and the 10-year Treasury yields rose on the news.


1) Energy has turned from loser to winner, while healthcare is flat. Energy, which was the loser for the year going into April, has turned into one of the gainers as oil went from $48 to $59 a barrel. Healthcare was the big gainer going into April, but a volatile month for biotech combined with some real down moves in other sectors. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF is flat.

Sectors in April

  • Energy: up 7 percent
  • Tech: up 3.9 percent
  • Materials: up 3.9 percent
  • Industrials: up 0.8 percent
  • Healthcare: flat

Indeed it's not biotech that investors should be looking at; the bloom is off the rose for many sub-sectors of healthcare, including pharmacy benefits managers like CVS Health (down 2.3 percent for the month), HMOs like Health Net (down 11 percent), managed Medicaid providers like Molina (down 11 percent), and device makers like Medtronic (down 2.9 percent)

Much of this seems to be simple de-risking toward the end of the month. Healthcare as a group was the big winner this year and was a very long trade.