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Listen to the latest episode of the Emerald Wit & Wisdom Podcast (5/29/24)


Good morning.

Stock futures, which indicated a positive open was in store for U.S. equities, quickly turned south upon release of employment numbers which looked stronger than many had anticipated … though a short while ago the S&P limped back into positive territory.

How much stronger was the employment data?  While consensus was for 185,000 new jobs, BofA called for 200k and Morgan Stanley probably felt it went out on a limb by stating a forecast of 220k.  Even though there was a rise in the unemployment rate (to 4%), the number (which might be revised) came in at $272k, which Yahoo characterized as “smashing projections.”

And what does this do to the Fed?  Well, Mohamed El-Erian was quick to point out on Bloomberg Surveillance immediately after the release that this result will “close the door on the July rate cut regardless of what the CPI number shows next week.”  Yes … it appears the much-dented can is being kicked further down the road.

Even so, more have entered the work force (an important part of the unemployment rate) as the ratio moved to 4%, from 3.9%.  This is an interesting number as most economists consider 5% to be “full employment” …where everyone looking for a job can find a job … but the Fed supposedly doesn’t even look at that as there is so many variables in the details … and opinions of full employment vary greatly. Still, I bring it up because Haver Analytics claims it had been under 4% for 27 consecutive months, something that hasn’t happened since 1967 … so something (I don’t know what) is obviously going on.

Of course, there was a lot of news on Gamestop during the last day as “Roaring Kitty” made mere mention of owning it and this drove speculators wild.  While there has been a lot written about the wisdom of a slow-and-steady investment strategy, it has become (for some) a sport to try to find the next golden nugget amid a heck of a lot of rocks.  Still, an organization known as Capgemini claims the U.S. “minted” 600,000 new millionaires last year on the heels of AI investments though, to be fair, the CNBC article mentioning this does not say if it was just because a small amount pushed these people over the top … or if they started from very little means.

But this leads me to the fourth article below which concludes you don’t need anything close to a million dollars to retire quite comfortably. I must work through the math, as it seems to me that housing, transportation and medical really would eat into retirement hopes of many … and for food … well … even the price of Alpo has jumped up … if that is all that can be afforded by the time inflation again become transitory.

Speaking of food, today there are savings to be had … as it is doughnut day throughout the land … and many places are offering celebratory specials.

On a final note, some might find tonight to be quite sad as it is the final show for Pat Sajak of Wheel of Fortune fame.  I will certainly be watching (with doughnut in hand) as I was on the show many years ago and even though he could have walked away after the taping (his 4th of the day), he hung around, chatted for a while and … well … couldn’t have been nicer.  I see him as the perfect game show host and with him now gone … I don’t think there is anyone left to enjoy.  Maybe I’ll audition.

Okay, that about wraps it up as I just turned off the financial news and accidentally flipped to a cooking channel.

All I heard was the chef say, “where there is plenty of fat, there is plenty of flavor.”

I know he was talking about grilling, but I still am taking it as a compliment.

Have a great day,

Joseph G. Witthohn, CFA


A Look At The News | June 7, 2024

As of 10:47 AM today

The jobs report came in this morning … and new positions were much higher than expected … probably upsetting hopes of a Fed rate cut any time soon (CNBC)


… but for some of those looking for work there is an important prerequisite that interviewers are now asking about … experience with AI … which could make all the difference (WeForum)


If you are like most, you worry about markets and try to figure out the best time to invest.  According to this article, the answer is now … and it always will be (USAToday)


How much do you really need for a comfortable retirement?  A million dollars is a fine number to shoot for, but with the proper budgeting it might not be needed (USAToday)


It is a great day for many as it is officially “Doughnut Day” and there are plenty of offers out there to help you celebrate.  Life is good (FoxBusiness)


Tonight marks the end of an era … as Wheel of Fortune is broadcasting host Pat Sajak’s last episode.  Personally, I can’t see how he can be replaced (NPR)


The statements above are supplied for educational purposes only. The statements depict the viewpoints and opinion of the author and are not necessarily the views of Emerald Asset Management or its affiliates. The information described herein is taken from sources which are believed to be reliable, but the accuracy and completeness of such information is not guaranteed by us.