Daily State of the Markets 
Tuesday Morning – September 8, 2009  

If you did up the Labor Day weekend right, Friday probably seems like a distant memory. So, in light of the fact that Friday offered us the Big Kahuna of economic reports, which seemed to provide something for everyone, we should probably take a moment to review the details.

If you will recall, the Labor Department reported that the economy lost just 216,000 jobs in August, which was slightly better than the expectations for a loss of 233,000 as well as July’s total of 247,000. However, the big news in the report was the Unemployment Rate jumping to 9.7% from 9.4%, which is the highest level since June 1983. Thus, the bottom line is the economy continued to lose jobs, albeit at a slower pace.

The bear camp jumped all over the big increase in the unemployment rate and suggested that this would be the top story on all the nightly news programs and that the data was not going to sit well with the consumer. And given that the all-important holiday shopping season is due to get started in a couple of months, the worry is that the consumer is likely to remain cautious as a result of the report.

If you dig into the household side of the report, the numbers were also a bit discouraging. The survey showed that 392,000 fewer people counted themselves as employed, while 466,000 more people classified themselves as out of work. Thus, the total number of unemployed jumped to 14.9 million, which is (a) up 123% since the cycle low in December 2006 and (b) the highest level in the postwar period.

But, you know the way the game works on Wall Street; it’s not necessarily the news that counts, but whether the data came in above or below expectations. So, with the trend of job losses clearly in decline, the bulls argued that at the current pace, we’d see the job losses come to a halt and quite possibly see actual job growth in either November or December of this year.

This upbeat outlook, when combined with the IMF raising their forecast for global growth in 2009 and 2010, China’s banking regulators talking down concerns about tighter credit conditions, Novellus (NVLS) saying good things about the upcoming quarter, and a long holiday weekend, was enough to get the shorts to run for cover and fuel a pretty decent rally.

So, will Friday’s rebound provide the spark needed to overcome last week’s pullback? Based on the fact that both Asian and European markets have advanced nicely since we saw them last, it looks like the answer might be yes.

Turning to this morning, we don’t have any economic data to review today. However, we will want to watch for the results of the Treasury’s auction of 3-year notes at 1:00 this afternoon.

Running through the rest of the pre-game indicators, as we mentioned, the foreign market are higher across the board and also advanced on Monday. Crude futures are moving up with the latest quote showing oil trading higher by $1.66 to $69.68. On the interest rate front, we’ve got the yield on the 10-yr trading up to 3.45%, while the yield on the 3-month T-Bill is trading at 0.13%. And finally, with about 45 minutes before the bell, stock futures in the U.S. are pointing to a higher open. The Dow futures are currently ahead by about 63 points; the S&P’s are up about 8 points, while the NASDAQ looks to be about 12 points above fair value at the moment.

Upgrades/Downgrades/Brokerage Research:

Honda Motor (HMC) – Upgraded at BofA/Merrill Cracker Barrel (CBRL) – Upgraded at BofA/Merrill Panera Bread (PNRA) – Upgraded at BofA/Merrill MetLife (MET) – Upgraded at BofA/Merrill Lincoln National (LNC) – Downgraded at BofA/Merrill Best Buy (BBY) – Estimates and target increased at Barclays Repsol (REP) – Downgraded at Barclays Harley-Davidson (HOG) – Upgraded at Citi Gap (GPS) – Upgraded at Credit Suisse Shaw Group (SGR) – Downgraded at Credit Suisse American Intl Group (AIG) – Downgraded at Credit Suisse Lubrizol (LZ) – Target increased at Deutsche Bank Ericsson (ERIC) – Upgraded at Deutsche Bank Ameristar Casinos (ASCA) – Downgraded at Goldman Penn National Gaming (PENN) – Downgraded at Goldman Red Hat (RHT) – Upgraded at Goldman VMware (VWM) – Upgraded at Goldman BMC Software (BMC) – Downgraded at Goldman Symantec (SYMC) – Downgraded at Goldman Boyd Gaming (BYD) – Downgraded at JP Morgan General Electric (GE) – Upgraded at JP Morgan Eagle Materials (EXP) – Upgraded at JP Morgan Costco (COST) – Upgraded at Morgan Stanley Altera (ALTR) – Upgraded at Morgan Stanley PMC-Sierra (PMCS) – Upgraded at Morgan Stanley Xilinx (XLNX) – Upgraded at Morgan Stanley Texas Instruments (TXN) – Downgraded at Morgan Stanley STMicroelectronics (STM) – Downgraded at Morgan Stanley Autodesk (ADSK) – Downgraded at Morgan Stanley Citrix Systems (CTXS) – Downgraded at Morgan Stanley Novellus (NVLS) – Downgraded at Morgan Stanley Lam Research (LCRX) – Upgraded at Morgan Stanley QLogic (QLGC) – Upgraded at Morgan Stanley Lexmark (LXK) – Upgraded at Morgan Stanley Dell (DELL) – Downgraded at Morgan Stanley IBM (IBM) – Downgraded at Morgan Stanley Allstate (ALL) – Estimates and target increased at Soleil Securities Borg Warner (BWA) – Upgraded at Soleil Securities Corning (GLW) – Downgraded at ThinkEquity SanDisk (SNDK) – Estimates and target increased at UBS Micron (MU) – Upgraded at UBS Procter & Gamble (PG) – Target increased at UBS NII Holdings (NIHD) – Upgraded at Wells Fargo

Long positions in stocks mentioned: LZ, EXP

We are all in this together… So, until next time, “may the bulls be with you!”

David D. Moenning
Founder TopStockPortfolios.com

For more “top stock” portfolios and research, visit TopStockPortfolios.com


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