Markets Slide Further From Last Week’s Highs; JOLTS Up Slightly

Image source: PixabayMarkets are down for the second-straight session, following cresting highs that consistently struck new all-time closing highs on the S&P 500 last week. This really means the markets are still in good shape overall — we haven’t plummeted off last week’s highs, only trimmed some of the excess from lofty valuations… so far, that is. The Dow dropped -395 points for an even -1.00%, the Nasdaq hived off another -156 points, -0.95% and the S&P slid -0.72%. The small-cap Russell 2000 fell deepest, -1.80% for the day.This was the day that kicked off a new Jobs Week, with the February print for Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), which ticked up month over month, albeit slightly, and right in-line with expectations, to 8.756 million. The previous month saw a downward revision from 8.9 million to 8.75 million, and in any case, we’re well off the near-10 million job openings we were seeing a year ago, and the 12.2 million back in March of 2022. That said, we were averaging around 7.2 million openings in the months prior to the Covid pandemic.The Job Quits Rate remained steady at +2.2%, for the fourth straight month — down from the +2.6% recent highs in May of last year and +3% back in April of 2022. In short, we are making longer-term progress. However, the actual amount of job quits for February — a measure of employment confidence in the domestic labor force — did rise to 3.48 million from 3.45 million the previous month. We’re also looking at numbers a month in arrears; other jobs data later this week should give us a tidier picture.Speaking of other jobs data, tomorrow morning brings us monthly private-sector jobs totals from Automatic Data Processing (ADP – Free Report), and here we get what seems to be an accurate assessment of the labor market over the past year or so. Expectations are for 155K new private-sector jobs filled for March, up from the 140K posted the previous month. That said, the past six months of ADP payroll results have averaged 127K overall, whereas the six months prior averaged 281K. So while employment remains historically healthy in a general sense, it has come measurably down from a year ago.After today’s close, Dave & Buster’s (PLAY – Free Report) broke its five-quarter positive surprise earnings streak in fiscal Q4, posting earnings of 88 cents per share versus $1.07 expected (though up 8 cents from the year-ago level). Revenues were also light of expectations: $599 million compared with $603.4 million in the Zacks consensus. Yet shares, which had initially dropped -7% on the news in the late session, are up +3.5% upon further review. PLAY shares have gained +14% from the start of the year, and an eye-opening +72% from this time a year ago.More By This Author:Markets Pull Back To Start A Fresh Quarter Top Research Reports For Walmart, Linde & IBMTop Analyst Reports For Meta Platforms, S&P Global & AT&T


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