Dumb Luck?

My Washington DC office has been vacant all week. It’s amazing to me that record snowfalls have turned my DC staff into shut-ins (and closed the government for the third day) while life goes on at its normal pace here in Vermont.

The snowstorm that’s crippled the mid-Atlantic region will certainly have an impact on 1st quarter GDP. I would expect that 1st quarter retail numbers will be pretty bad. But there could be some good numbers for restaurants coming. The rally in the dollar over the last few weeks has lowered food costs. And I also think that once we see a thaw on the Eastern seaboard, people will shake off their cabin fever with a night out. I know I would…

I’m really on the fence with this one: did the Obama administration purposefully wait to attack the unemployment situation? Or is it just dumb luck?

I ask because it’s clear to me that now is the time to strike. If stimulus money had been used at this time last year to help the unemployment situation it wouldn’t have worked. Corporations were still in the process of cutting costs to meet lower demand. And at the time, demand itself was a moving target.

Now that the economy has stabilized, demand is returning and corporate earnings are on the upswing. So corporations are starting to hire again. New jobless claims are down again, as are continuing claims. The unemployment rate has dropped, and on-line employment ads are increasing.

The Conference Board, a non-profit global business organization, reported that online job demand is rapidly rising. According to the Conference Board, the total job vacancies advertised online today is over four million, or the same level as November 2008.

Seems to me, the added perk of government incentives, like a payroll tax holiday or tax credits for new hires, could give companies the final push needed to add employees.

So what do you think? Was the health care reform bill simply a distraction to give the economy time to mend so that employment incentives could actually work? Or is the timing of the administrations newfound resolve on unemployment dumb luck born of political necessity? My address is [email protected].

Greek Aid, Investors Yawn

The European Union appears to have agreed on the spirit of an aid package for Greece, although the details have not been finalized. Futures for U.S. indices have started positive most mornings this week on hopes that a deal will remove some of the uncertainty afflicting the stock market. But stocks have not made much of the cautious optimism. That goes for European stocks as well.

Now, let’s get the latest from TradeMaster‘s Jason Cimpl:

The bulls are trying to fight off the bearish momentum, but have thus far been unsuccessful. The bears are showing unusual strength in the 1070’s and SPX 1085 has been successfully defended.

This game of chicken needs to be resolved soon though, and the odds increase for the bears to win the longer it takes the bulls to pull SPX across 1085. Today, the market will digest a Euro bailout for Greece and retail numbers. SPX 1045 and 1085 are your prices to watch.

I favor 1085 and the bulls, but my loyalty is dwindling.

That’s an excerpt from Jason’s daily missive to TradeMaster Daily Stock Alerts members. Jason also includes potential trade set-ups, videos detailing trade set-ups (complete with entry and exit points), and daily market commentary. He also takes suggestions from his readers to review stocks they hold.

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