Jobs Picture Continues to Brighten – Janaury 5th

Good economic news in the US is getting trumped by Euro concerns. The year 2011 lives on in this respect.

In general retailers posted good same store sales numbers in December, but expectations were high and some of those elevated hopes were not realized.

• Costco stores were up 7%.
• Ross Stores were up 9%.
• Macy’s was up 6.2%.
• Nordstrom’s was up 8.7%.
• Gap was down 4%.

The employment picture continues to brighten.

• Initial jobless claims continue to hold below that 400,000 mark at 373,000. The important 4-week rolling average fell 11% in 2011.

• The ADP jobs number showed the private sector added 325,000 jobs in December.

• Announced lay-offs in December were down from November by 1.6% according to Challenger. Layoffs did increase in 2011 mostly in the government and financial sectors.

The S & P 500 is down 11 and the NASDAQ is down 12.

Oil is down a buck to $102.50 barrel.

Gold is down $13 to $1600 a Troy ounce.

The Euro is down again at $1.27 versus the US Dollar.

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Financial Focus • January 5, 2012


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