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Volatility Remains With Us

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This week started with a big sell-off Monday, including a 3% drop in the Dow midday. From there we saw some value buying, but it’s clear volatility remains with us in the present-day markets. We would be hard pressed to blame anywhere but the U.S. indexes, as Europe took Monday off in observation of the Easter holiday. Overnight, Japan’s Nikkei index fell 0.5%, likely in response to yesterday’s red numbers here at home.

Pre-market futures are up at this hour after closing below the 200-day moving average yesterday, erasing the Nasdaq’s gains for the whole of 2018 thus far. In fact, early trading looks to dig out of “correction territory” today, with the Dow +121, Nasdaq +71 and S&P 500 +20. Whether we can hold these numbers is contingent on a wide spectrum of news items we’ve yet to see. At this point, many analysts are expecting merely a “dead cat bounce,” meaning a period of buying back even thought the trading cycle remains bearish, at least near-term.

This is also the week we get to look at new jobs numbers, with the ADP ADP private-sector report coming out ahead of the bell tomorrow and the big Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) non-farm payroll numbers hitting the tape Friday morning. For February, we could not have possibly seen a more “Goldilocks” scenario: 300K+ new jobs with only moderate wage increases, meaning the labor market continues to tighten without a noteworthy spike in wages, which would be a big contributor to overall economic inflation.

On CNBC’s Squawk Box this morning, Paychex PAYX CEO Martin Mucci reported small businesses experienced a pullback in jobs for the month of March. Mucci pointed toward the tight labor market itself as the reason small businesses have had difficulty finding enough skilled workers to fill the jobs available, at least for firms with fewer than 50 employees. Phoenix remained the top city for wage growth, and Tennessee won the top state for small business growth overall. We shall see if this reported pullback makes it into the date we expect later this week.

Tesla’s Other Shoe Drops

As expected, Tesla TSLA reported its production and deliveries for last month, posting 8180 new Teslas delivered in March. For the past week, 2020 new Teslas were produced — beneath the original guidance of 2500 per week, but better than many of the Tesla bears had been anticipating. Shares of the electric car leader are up nearly 3% in today’s pre-market, after tumbling in excess of 5% Monday.

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