How Confused Are We?

Futures moved in a 10-point range (up and down 5 points) within minutes of the non-farm payroll reports at 8:30, which reported a loss of 598,000 jobs.

The confusion stems from the fact that while the numbers were almost 20 percent worse than the losses expected, they were within the whisper range of 600,000 losses.

So the Street has already been moving to price in this kinds of losses, shocking as they are.

Despite the poor news, most traders expect stocks to trade in a narrow range as we await a final vote on the stimulus plan and details of Treasury Secretary Geithner comprehensive financial framework plan on Monday.


1) Bank of America up 8 percent as Ladenburg's Dick Bove says the current fears about the bank (that it will fail and be nationalized) "make no sense whatsoever...this bank is cash flow positive. It is not in danger of failure. Plus, the United States is now committed to keep it in business...Plus, for the record, I have always believed and continue to believe that Ken Lewis may be the best operating manager of any bank in the United States. Moreover, I continue to think that this company has $5 per share in earnings power."

2) Hartford Financial down 20 percent pre-open after reporting a large loss of $0.72 (a gain of $1.30 was expected) and cutting the quarterly dividend to $0.05 from $0.32. 2009 guidance is $5.80-6.20 vs. analyst consensus of $6.08.

3) Parent company General Electric down 2 percent pre-open as JP Morgan said the company could see a credit rating downgrade soon. "Fundamental pressure continues to mount on the GE earnings stream, most notably at GECS [GE Capital], but now at Industrial." They say GE will have to improve earnings in the second half to maintain the AAA rating and says a dividend cut could be next.

3) Somebody is still drinking champagne. LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton , the largest luxury goods maker in the world, reported earnings roughly in line with expectations. Not surprisingly, sales of watches & jewelry were down big (29 percent, we're talking TAG Heuer and Ebel watches), but wine and spirits were down only 11 percent. Aside from producing Hennessy cognac, LVMH is far and away the largest champagne producer in the world (Dom Perignon, Moet & Chandon, Veuve Cliquot, and the legendary Krug), so a decline of 11 percent is pretty good in this environment.

Even more surprising is Selective Retailing (Sephora , Le Bon Marche), which was UP 5 percent and Fashion & Leather Goods (Donna Karan , Givenchy , Kenzo , Louis Vuitton), which also was UP 5 percent as well.

    • Nearly 600,000 Jobs Lost As Unemployment Hits 7.6%



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