Stocks remain flat after the December jobs report showed the economy added 155,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.8%. According to various consensus estimates, economists were expecting between 150,000 to 160,000 jobs added and a 7.7% unemployment rate.
The unemployment rate for November was revised higher to 7.8% and nonfarm payrolls growth was revised to 161,000 from 146,000.
“That might be the goldilocks number the market was looking for,” says David Lutz, head of ETF trading at Stifel Nicolaus. “There was a lot of conjecture saying ‘if we had a really good nonfarm payrolls number, if we added a lot of jobs, does that increase a lot more of the anxiety that the FOMC minutes brought on yesterday?’”
Federal Reserve minutes from the December meeting jolted investors on Thursday afternoon, revealing several members want to end quantitative easing sometime this year. During that policy meeting the FOMC adopted official rate targets of 2% for inflation and 6.5% unemployment.
“In light of being in line with expectations, this was actually a really solid number and a really solid reaction for the market,” says Lutz in the attached video. “So we’re watching gold right now. Gold is going to be a leading indicator, it’s still getting absolutely pummeled.”
Related: Why Gold Is at the Fed's Mercy
Gold prices fell as much as 2% earlier, dipping below $1,650 an ounce for the first time since August. Stay tuned to Breakout for more on the gold sell-off and market reaction to the latest jobs data.