On Friday, U.S. markets cheered after taking a look at unemployment numbers. Unemployment rate is at the lowest level since December 2008. U.S. Labor Department also significantly raised hiring estimates for the two prior months, by a combined 114,000 jobs. Without much argument, this is clearly a sign of economic recovery in U.S. But, the question is will it sustain? Especially with crazy housing boom (and the subsequent bidding wars for real estate properties) in many parts of the country.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 142.38 points, or 1%, to 14973.96. In an interesting development, gold futures are losing momentum which may indicate that investors are willing to sell gold to move back into stocks. Investors start accumulating gold when they feel that other investments are relatively worse and gold is the safe bet. They start selling gold when they feel that other investments are relatively better off.
Some Fed officials are adjusting their hopes for a stronger economic rebound. Economic growth has averaged about 2% a year during the recovery. “We are likely to see brief swings above and below that rate from time to time, but I don’t see a compelling case for a sustained departure anytime soon,” Jeffrey Lacker, president of the Richmond Fed, said in a speech Friday.
It’s not all rosy. The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index released on Friday fell to 53.1 in April, from 54.4 in March. This index is still above 50 which typically indicates improvement for the service sector. However, the decline from previous month is something to watch out for.