Building on yesterday’s 1.00% to 1.25% gains for US indices, US index futures are up another 0.3% to 0.4% this morning amid a number of significant developments from many directions. On the government side, a new $1.9 Trillion US stimulus package continues to work its way through Congress. On the vaccine side, Johnson & Johnson is asking the FDA for accelerated emergency approval of its single-dose COVID vaccine after announcing positive clinical results recently. On the trading side, some brokerages, including RobinHood, have eased trading restrictions on some of the so-called Reddit stocks, such as GameStop. Positive sentiment has kept a tailwind behind commodities as well this morning. Natural gas is up 3.4% while WTI crude oil is up 0.9%. In metals trading, Copper, Silver and Platinum are all up between 1.00% and 1.30%, while gold is up 0.4%.
Indices remain in the green but have started to tumble slightly on today’s US employment news. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 49K in January, just below the 50K street estimate, but the December job loss was revised down to -227K from -140K. It’s possible that some investors may have been expecting a positive surprise following Wednesday’s strong ADP payrolls report. At 6.3%, the US unemployment rate came in better than the 6.7% rate the street had expected.
Canadian employment was hit really hard in January from lockdowns, nosediving for a second month in a row, this time by -213K, the worst month since April of 2020 and far worse than the 48K drop in jobs the street had been expecting. The Canadian employment rate increased to 9.4% from 8.8% last month.
Overnight earnings reports have been dominated by consumer products, technology and communications companies. Highlights include: Lightspeed POS* (sales $57.6M vs street $50.2M), Ford ($0.34 vs street -$0.07), Pinterest ($0.43 vs street $0.32), Peloton* ($0.18 vs street $0.09), and Snap ($0.09 vs street $0.07)
*Shares of Lightspeed POS and Peloton are held in some portfolios managed by SIA Wealth Management.