What to expect from Friday's jobs reports
Here's what I expect the numbers will say, what they'll mean for the market and which stocks investors should buy now.
This week, Wall Street is heavily focused on two major reports due Friday. The first is the unemployment report. The second is the nonfarm payroll report. While neither should paint a rosy picture for the current state of the economy, I expect to see "less-bad" numbers that should get investors in the buying mood.
I'll also be keeping a close eye on the average workweek -- we'll get those numbers Friday, too. That figure recently hit a low of 33 hours. As the workweek lengthens, I expect to see more jobs created. The bottom line is that serious job growth is still months away, but the seeds of job creation are firming up.
I expect to see more job losses for November, which will make it the 23rd month in a row of employment declines. However, I also expect to see some modest increases in temporary employment. This is an important hint that broader employment will pick up in the near future, and I wouldn't be surprised to see a fresh round of buying from institutional investors.
The nonfarm payrolls report is important because it will show how many jobs the economy made or lost in November. The good news is that by this count, the economy has been getting worse at a slower pace. Last winter, the economy was losing 600,000 to 700,000 jobs a month. That's slowed down recently, and we've only been losing around 200,000 jobs a month since the summer. A continuation of fewer jobs lost is exactly what this market needs right now.
Another indicator that is pointing to strength in the market is holiday sales. The numbers have been good so far, and much better than last year. Amazon.com (AMZN), which is one of my Top Stocks for December, continues to make new highs on increased sales.
Increased sales means increased inventory rebuilding, which leads to higher GDP. During the worst of the crisis, many companies simply burned off their excess inventory rather than restocked their shelves. Inventories have dropped for 10 straight months but with sales picking up, a turnaround is in the works. Those shelves need to be restocked, and that's why I'm expecting fourth-quarter GDP growth to be up at least 3%.
There's a nice snowball effect happening now that has jobs moving in the right direction, sales picking up and GDP rising. I like what I'm seeing, and the best strategy for investors is to continue to focus on buying stocks that are increasing sales in this environment. A great example is the weight-loss outfit Medifast (MED). The company's business has been booming. Sales surged 65% last quarter, and I'm expecting another solid earnings report in a few weeks. The stock has recently hit another new 52-week high, and I think it's very possible for Medifast to gain another 25% to 35% in the next three months. I rate Medifast and Amazon.com as Strong Buys for solid profits in the coming months.
At the time of this writing, Louis Navellier owned shares of AMZN and MED in personal or client portfolios.
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