More downbeat economic news from Europe yesterday sent the euro down to $1.2790. As The Wall Street Journal points out, this is the single currency’s lowest level against the US dollar since September 2010, following the initial turmoil in European sovereign debt during the spring and summer of 2010. Sentiment remains uniformly bearish on the euro, which is often a decent contrarian indicator. In the words of hedge fund manager Gravelle Pierre (quoted in the Journal): “A lot of people are short euros,” he says. “As much as I think the euro is going down to $1.20, everyone else is thinking the same thing and that scares me.”
In a break from recent market patterns, euro weakness coincided with gains in US equities. The latter moved higher on news that America added 325,000 private sector jobs in December – considerably more than the 125,000-230,000 analysts had been expecting. One should be wary of such numbers, however, as they tell us nothing about the quality of the jobs gained on net.
13.30GMT sees the release of US nonfarm payroll and unemployment figures for December. Consensus estimates for payrolls are for 150,000 gains, with the consensus for unemployment at 8.7%. If the trend for above average gains in American economic statistics continues, however, we are likely to see the numbers come in better than expected. This column’s prediction? Job gains north of 175,000 and an unemployment rate of below 8.7%.
But while these stats my be getting better, the US Treasury’s balance sheet gets ever-redder: as ZeroHedge reports, Uncle Sam is now just $25 million away from hitting his debt ceiling. Yet another reminder – as if it were needed – of one of the major problems affecting the US economy.
James Turk has also done a new interview with King World News, that talks about “silver as the next Apple” – Apple, as in the computer company Apple, whose stock has increased 70-fold over the last decade. Check out this article to see James’s argument in full, as well as his long-term price target for silver.