Friday's Jobs Numbers Could Mean Another Big Day

01/05/2012 2:53 pm EST

Focus: MARKETS

Jim Jubak

Founder and Editor, JubakPicks.com

We had a promising set up today, in the weekly initial claims for unemployment data, for tomorrow’s release of the December jobs number.

For the week that ended December 31, the number of people filing new claims for unemployment dropped to 372,000. That was a significant decline from the 387,000 initial claims filed in the week ended December 24. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had expected the initial claim number to drop to 375,000.

Even the continuing claims for unemployment number dropped to a still-horrendous 3.595 million for the week, from 3.617 million the week before.

Today’s improved initial claims numbers argue that there’s a good chance that the non-farm payroll number, to be released tomorrow, will show something better than the 150,000 increase expected by economists, according to Briefing.com.

In November, payrolls grew by a net 120,000 jobs. That was up from a revised 100,000 gain in October. A 150,000 gain in jobs for December would create a three-month upward trend.

That in itself would be greeted with cheers by a stock market that sees growth in the US economy as the only growth story in town at the moment. I don’t know that we’d get a huge 2% rally like we saw on Tuesday, but I would certainly expect an up day after the consolidation of Tuesday’s move on Wednesday and today.

Anything significantly above 150,000 and, yes, we could see another 2% advance. As long, of course, as the news from Europe isn’t so bad as to completely overshadow the US picture.

The payrolls numbers get reported at 8:30 tomorrow New York time—before the New York financial markets open.

Full disclosure: I don’t own shares of any of the companies mentioned in this post in my personal portfolio. The mutual fund I manage, Jubak Global Equity Fund, may or may not now own positions in any stock mentioned in this post. The fund did not own shares in any stock mentioned in this post as of the end of September. For a full list of the stocks in the fund as of the end of September see the fund’s portfolio here.

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