If Friday's market action should teach investors (that is, folks with financial horizons that extend beyond next week or next month or even next year) anything, it's that they should never jump on one day's trading or one day's data point.
We got a double-dose of good news at the end of the week and it looks like just the balm the market needed, as my colleague Jill Schlesinger reports:
The Labor Department April job creation was UP and oil prices are DOWN -- hooray, great news for a Friday! In April, the US economy added 244,000 new non-farm jobs and the government revised the previous two months upward -- 221,000 jobs were added in March and 235,000 in February, for a net of 46,000 extra jobs that had not been reported.That's the most new job creation in five years, by the way, and all of a sudden it appears the recovery hasn't lost steam after all.
You know, like it had on Thursday. Remember Thursday? When commodities collapsed and the Dow shed more than a hundred points because the data of the day said we were doomed?
That's how speculators work. Rule number one is that traders must live to trade another day. The Osama bin Laden news, a mixed bag of corporate profit reports and some conflicting or lackluster economic data has made recent market movement as pleasant as flying a Cessna through a thunderstorm. Heck, in two days the Dow dropped nearly 225 points.
Then Friday brings better news and traders pull out of their collective nosedive. Meanwhile, the view from the ground has shown all along that stocks are doing just fine. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite are all up more than 20 percent over the last year.