Bulls have regained some control of the narrative — for the moment.
Man, that was a hairy morning.
Friday's jobs report was perfect for bulls. The 163,000 jobs created in April was just a tad below the 195,000 expected, and not too strong to allow bears to claim the Fed was going to get more aggressive raising rates. It was also not too weak to add to the bear argument that growth is slowing. Wage growth at 2.6 percent year over year still shows growth but nothing that has the inflation hawks worried.
It's a sign of how timid bulls have become that futures traded in a narrow range before the market opened and then fell at the open.
The good news is that all the selling action was right at the open. The minute the S&P went into positive territory, at about 9:55 a.m. ET, volume surged as buy orders came in.
Midday Thursday, traders began picking at the sectors that have had the worst momentum in the last couple weeks: semiconductors, consumer staples and industrials. That trend is continuing Friday. Volume is heavier than normal in semiconductors (SMH) and industrials (IYJ). Consumer staples have also notably turned around, but it's a sign that this group is in a secular decline that volume is only tepid despite a 16 percent decline this year.
These and other sectors (materials) have reached well within oversold territory. But bears have successfully convinced the world that global growth is slowing, and that inflation is going to pick up more than expected. Almost overlooked along the way: the fantastic earnings season, the fantastic guidance, and the excellent increase in capital expenditures, buybacks and dividends.
This jobs report is a big help, but a lot of technical and emotional damage has been done. Bulls need to regain control of the narrative: Global growth is not slowing dramatically, first quarter GDP weakness in the U.S. is typical, inflation is under control and earnings growth is continuing, even if the rate of growth is somewhat slower.