The markets calmed down a bit on Thursday after the Commerce Department said new factory orders increased 1.5 per cent in November, much greater than the expected 0.4 percent rise and the ADP reported the economy created 40,000 new jobs in December. Some traders had feared the number would be negative. ADP also revised down its October-November payroll growth to 173,000 from the initially reported 189,000.

Weekly jobless claims fell 21,000 to 336,000, below an expected level of 345,000 and the four-week moving average decreased slightly. Claims fell from an upwardly revised 357,000 the prior week, which was a high for 2007 and the highest level since October 2005. For the week ending December 22, the number of people continuing to receive unemployment insurance increased 46,000 to 2.761M, the highest level since October 2005. Economists were expecting 2.675M.

The Equity/Carry Trade markets are likely to be extremely sensitive to the NFP. The expectations are that slump in the housing sector may continue thru 2008-therefore jobs will be the key indicator of whether the US consumer will continue to spend at a level which will prevent the economy from falling into recession. The problem is that job creation is been weakening over a long period of time. For example, average monthly job creation in 20007 was down over 60 percent from 2006. As far as I'm concerned, the economy will go into recession by Q2, however, that's not the current market expectation.

On to the mechanics of the trade. The first thing you need to do is to get all the numbers-headline and revision. When you get the revision numbers, you need to do the math and see if jobs were added or subtracted from the covered period. The markets do tend to trade more off the revised numbers then the headline, but they can be put together for an even better trade.

If the headline beats the consensus and the prior period is revised up that will be very supportive for the Equity/Carry Trade markets, which means the Yen will depreciate while all of the JPY crosses appreciate. The opposite is equally true as well. Should the headline number disappoint while the prior period is revised down, the Equity/Carry Trade markets will take a big hit and could go into a downward trend that lasts for days. The GBP/JPY carry trade is the most volatile JPY cross and tends to move the most. NZD/JPY tends to be the least volatile pair of the JPY crosses.

The above two scenarios are the best-case trade opportunities. Less certain is what happens with a mixed set of numbers, although a downward revision to previous periods has usually been taken as a net-negative. In the case where a mixed set of numbers is released, you'll want another way to gauge market reaction and you can do that by observing what happens in the futures markets after the report is released. A strong positive reaction is seen when S&P futures rise and 10 year bond futures fall, while a strong negative is just the opposite. The key here is that the JPY crosses move with the S&P 500 and inversely with bonds. And if we have data that creates a market consensus there (either good or bad), we know what will happen with the carry trade pairs as well.

While the ADP report has been not been accurate as far as the numbers are concerned, they have been pretty good with the overall direction. Their headline number disappointed and their prior number was revised down in this report and I think it highly likely to see the same result in the NFP tomorrow.

And obviously, you'll want to look at the services ISM as well. The easiest trades are always when a strong consensus exists and if the NFP and ISM both disappoint, that will be the time to take an aggressive short position. The only ways to stop the markets from falling heavily at that point are two things:

1. The Plunge Protection Team Pulls The Plug

2. Bernanke cranks up the presses and announces the Fed is "injecting" a tax-free $1,000,000.00 into everyone's bank account.

It does appear the The Presidents Working Group For Financial Markets a.k.a. the PPT HAS indeed been hard at work. Obviously, traders will need to keep an ear out for any information that's released in the press conference tomorrow.


Jan. 3 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush will meet with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke tomorrow as he considers whether to announce a new economic stimulus package amid slowing growth.

Bush will speak to reporters tomorrow after a 1 p.m. meeting at the White House with members of the President's Working Group on Financial Markets, press secretary Dana Perino said today.

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