Disappointing Jobs Report Signals Trouble For Retail

Posted: Feb 05, 2021 11:58 AM
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Disappointing Jobs Report Signals Trouble For Retail

Source: AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano

It was another monster session for the stock market, especially for smaller cap names and indices.  For all the press the short squeeze stocks have received, momentum in the Russell 2000 and Microcap names has gone on for some time and looks unstoppable near term.

Like the short squeeze saga, the moves are more than just individual investors. It is also a reflection of how broader Main Street participation is changing the selection process.  Individual investors are focused on sizzling industries and underdogs that reflect themselves. 

In many ways, this is that the so-called barbell approach espoused by so many on Wall Street these days.  In this instance, its about sexy growth names like Penn National Gaming (PENN) and the surge in online betting. But it is also those names that could become behemoths in the next few years.




FDM First Trust Dow Jones Select Microcap Index Fund



Russell 2000



NASDAQ Composite



S&P 500



Dow Jones Industrial Average




Market Breadth

The two major exchanges saw overwhelming strong breadth, but once again, the story was the NASDAQ.  It’s where all the action is, and few are going to leave the party while the music is still playing.

 Market Breadth









52 Week High



52 Week Low



Up Volume



Down Volume




The Market

The S&P 500 saw 10 of 11 sectors higher on the session.  As I pointed out in yesterday’s commentary the steepening yield curve and growing chance of higher inflation is great for Financials.  Brick and mortar retailers also continue their improbably run with several among the top 15 gainers.

S&P 500 Index



Communication Services XLC



Consumer Discretionary XLY



Consumer Staples XLP



Energy XLE



Financials XLF



Health Care XLV



Industrials XLI



Materials XLB



Real Estate XLRE



Technology XLK



Utilities XLU



Not Enough Exuberance

The financial media has spent a century convincing us that when individual investors are excited about the stock market, it was a sure sign to get out.  This viewpoint is really despicable.  I watch everyday stocks that only individual investors were buying in 2020 fetch upgrades and higher targets. 

According to the AAII, individual investor bullishness peaked on December 2, and it is currently at its lowest level since October 28, 2020.

To see the chart, click here.

Portfolio Approach

There were no changes in the Hotline Model Portfolio yesterday. This morning, we are taking profits in Materials and adding a new position in Technology. If you are not a current subscriber to our premium Hotline service, email info@wstreet.com to get started today. 

Today’s Session

  1. Watch transportation stocks today. 

Treasury Secretary Buttigieg says there are “very active” conversations ongoing between the White House, Congress and stakeholders to provide additional assistance to the transportation sector.

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau says his government is having “great discussions” with airlines about possible aid.

  1. Watch Disney

California legislators have sponsored a bill to reopen theme parks. 


There was bad news on the jobs report, however optimism is growing.  Forty-nine thousand jobs created in January as some of the stay-at-home restrictions have been lifted. However, the expectation was for 105,000 new jobs. 

The report was a major disappointment for several reasons:

  • Participation declined to 160,161 from 160,567
  • Long term unemployment (27 weeks plus) 4,023,000 from 3,956,000
  • December revised to -227,000 (Leisure lost 536,000 jobs)

Retail trade lost 37,800 as restaurants and travel industries suffered more cuts.

On the positive side:

  • Wages +5.4% from +5.0% against consensus of +5.1% y/y

Third Vaccine

Johnson and Johnson (J&J) applied for emergency use authorization (EMA) on Thursday. The FDA is expected to greenlight it in the coming weeks.

If it is authorized, the Covid-19 vaccine would be U.S.'s third, joining Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

The company stated, "Today's submission for emergency use authorization of our investigational single-shot Covid-19 vaccine is a pivotal step toward reducing the burden of disease for people globally and putting an end to the pandemic."

Click here to read the announcement

Earnings Scoreboard

So far 263 companies have reported earnings:


  • 78% beat
  • 22% missed
  • Blended return +1.0% consensus Jan -1.4% Oct -2.8%


  • 83% beat
  • 14% missed
  • Blended return +1.6% consensus Jan -10.3% Oct -13.6%