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“Never confuse genius with a bull market.” – Unknown

After five days where the S&P 500 has moved up or down 1%, futures are practically flat this morning as the market tries to catch its breath from all the volatility.  The quiet tone may not last long, though, as Non-Farm Payrolls was just released and came in much weaker than expected at just 210K compared to estimates for a gain well in excess of 500K.  Despite the weak print, the unemployment rate was much less than expected (4.2% vs 4.5%).  In terms of average hourly earnings, month/month growth was 0.3% vs 0.4%.  In addition to the jobs data, we’ll be getting ISM Services, Factory Orders, and Durable Goods all at 10 AM. The initial reaction to the jobs number has been slightly positive with Nasdaq futures leading the way.

Last night, the state of New York announced five additional COVID cases related to the omicron variant, and Hawaii announced one case.  At this point, all the cases appear to be mild which is encouraging. In South Africa, where the variant was first detected, the number of cases has tripled within the last three days, but thankfully, hospitalizations are not rising nearly as fast.  Barely a week after the omicron variant first made headlines, there’s still a lot we don’t know about this variant, but based on data so far, it doesn’t appear to be any worse than other strains.

Read today’s Morning Lineup for a recap of all the major market news and events from around the world, including the latest US and international COVID trends.

It’s been quite a week in the markets, so investors probably deserve a quiet day for a change.  Check out the carnage that we’ve seen in US stocks since Thanksgiving when news of the Omicron variant first surfaced and then Powell’s hawkish pivot this week.  Every major US index ET we track in our Trend Analyzer is down more than 2%, while small caps are down more than twice that.  Market cap has really been a factor in market performance this week as the Micro-Cap ETF (IWC) is down close to 6% while mega-cap indices like the Nasdaq 100 (QQQ) and S&P 100 (OEF) are both down less than 2.5%.

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