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Money Watch: Weekly Wrap

It seems impossible, but oil surged nearly 7 percent on the week and stocks manage to eke out gains. It was a roller coaster week, where events in the Middle East caused oil to surge above $104 a barrel, but US economic data was good enough to convince the bulls that recovery is firmly in place. Crude oil is now up 23 percent since the Libyan uprising began on February 15th.

The DOL February Employment report was the main focus of the data dump (see "Jobs Report Cheat Sheet" for more details), as investors were soothed with nearly 200,000 additional jobs added last month.

  • DJIA: 12,169, up 0.3% on week, up 5.1% YTD
  • S&P 500: 1321, up 0.1% on week, up 5% YTD
  • NASDAQ: 2784, up 0.1% on week, up 4.9% YTD
  • April Crude Oil: $104.42, up 6.7% on week (highest settlement since 9/26/08)
  • April Gold: $1428.60, up 1.4% (highest nominal close in nearly 31 years)
Total bank failures for 2011 = 23 (No new bank failures over weekend)

FACTOIDS OF THE WEEK: Employment Edition

  • February Jobs: +192,000 (+1.3 million (106,000/month) since February, 2010)
  • Jan/Feb Avg.: +127,500/month (It's probably best to take an average, because January (revised up to +63,000 jobs from +36,000) was a bit of an anomaly due to severe weather)
  • +125,000/month: number of jobs needed to keep pace with new entrants to the work force
  • Unemployment Rate: 8.9 percent, from 9.0 percent in January
  • Under-Employment Rate (marginally attached, part-time): 15.9 percent, down from 16.1 percent (high was 17.4 percent in October 2009)
  • Long-term unemployed (jobless for 27 weeks and over): 6 million, down from 6.2 million (peak was 6.8 million in May 2010)
  • -30,000: Number of jobs slashed by local governments, a trend that is likely to continue as states and municipalities try to balance budgets
  • -7.5 million: Number of jobs that vanished during the recession
IN THE WEEK AHEAD: Investors will keep an eye on events in the Middle East, especially a planned protest being organized on Facebook in Saudi Arabia on Friday. US Retail Sales are likely to rise, propelled by higher energy costs and China will report on inflation, retail sales and industrial output.

Mon 3/7:
3:00 Consumer Credit

Tues 3/8:
ICSC Store Sales

Weds 3/9:
10:00 Wholesale Trade

Senate Banking Committee convenes to discuss the housing market

Thurs 3/10:
8:30 International Trade

8:30 Weekly Claims

Fri 3/11:
China reports on consumer/producer inflation, retail sales and industrial output

8:30 Retail Sales

9:55 Consumer Sentiment

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