Falling oil prices contributed to a 68 percent surge in job cuts last month, as US-based employers announced workforce reductions totaling 61,582 in April, up from 36,594 in March, according to the latest report on monthly layoffs released Thursday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. The April total was 53 percent higher than the same month a year ago, when 40,298 planned job cuts were recorded. It represents the highest monthly total since May 2012 (61,887) and the highest April total since 2009 (132,590). Year to date, employers have announced 201,796 planned job cuts, which marks a 25 percent increase from the 161,639 layoffs tracked in the first four months of 2014. This is the largest four-month total since 2010.
Stocks look to open around flat. The real reaction to all this week’s employment data should culminate tomorrow when the monthly jobs report comes in.
Software Time Machines: Issues for News Junkies
I’ve told you often enough about our ongoing evolution of the web-scanning software called Nostracodeus (which is updated daily by Grady over at www.nostracodeus.com) and which we run overnight here, as well.
The idea is simple: Send software out to scan the news and look for tell-tale words that are harbingers of future events.
We often do very well anticipating this and that because the world doesn’t happen in an entirely chaotic manner; there’s a kind of soft order to how we careen into the future. It’s found in the analysis of time-indicators in news and social media.
Take a word like “next week” and scan the web looking only for pages posted in the last day, or two, and which point to next week. Then go through the web pages and see what next week will look like in a Big Data sense. It’s really pretty cool.
Except, sometimes there are other forces at play and we often jump the gun by a day, a week, a month, a year, and so forth, because these are most commonly referenced timescales.
This morning, the stock market will be opening flat, but there is an increasing chance of us seeing a big scrap between bulls and bears at the S&P 2,040 level. I told you on April 6th in our report then that this was in the cards…I apologize for being a month off on the precise data of the battle. But here’s how it looked a month ago:
What we were mentioning the past couple of weeks to our Peoplenomics™ subscribers could show up today, or this week, as the S&P 500 does battle royal at the 2,040 level.
My friend Robin Landry and I talked about this at some length when we flew up there to huddle weekend before this one. Here’s part of what Robin had sent out to his managed account clients:
“Once the MACD has crossed the signal line and begins to drop sharply, in the past it has paid to get defensive and raise cash. The 2040 level is also about to be tested as well as the trend line from the low last October which I referenced above was broken earlier today and then the market rallied into the close to the underside of that trend line.
I call this the Kiss of Death, when it happens, because of the high percentage of times when this happens the decline resumes and accelerates.
There are also a number of other technical indicators, not shown, which are supporting my concern of the potential for a large decline.
The following support level are ones, which if broken on a closing basis, would cause my concern to rise further. This is a time when the know your client rule really becomes even more important and the risk profile of each client needs to be reviewed. “
While our Peoplenomics Trading Model has continued to be positive, I’ve been reiterating that “cash is a position, too.”
Last month’s news? Perhaps. But likely not. The market still has the same weaknesses, same (approximate) technical diversions, and in all this we can look at things like the “2,040” column and see a template.
The future comes at us as a series of templates and using software to home-in on particular aspects of the future is how we are able to be better prepared than most, to cope with new news developments.
These stories are not making the big headlines like the storms that beat up the Midwest overnight, but they are important stories at a fundamental level, as they are big templates that are filling in and playing out.
The mention of war, Egypt, and Putin, for example sends us off sniffing Google News engines to see what’s shifting there: “Al-Sisi to visit Moscow for WWII commemoration” and “Business as usual for Egypt and the West.” are turned up. Which means the Russians are attempting to flank US foreign policy and spin Egypt…where the US-friendly Saudis (if you don’t count 9/11) have invested billions to buy allies.
The reference to Ebola may seem a bit obscure, but sure enough, we turned up the report in today’s New York Times that there has been a drop in reported cases to the WHO and the science report that “Ebola Virus Lives on Hospital Surfaces for Days.”
We’ve also put the Frontline documentary on Ebola on our watch list on the strength of background stories like this one: “Frontline’s ‘Outbreak’ is an eye-opener on how the Ebola crisis… “
There’s also a cluster of news items around the concept of disappearing…such as this National Geographic report on a lake disappearing every year in Oregon, only to reappear on schedule.
What should be interesting to observe – in the way of major future templates – is how the coming week and a half evolve concerning earthquakes at a global level. There has been some discussion about the May 10-20 period (some going to Nostradamus quatrains, but also based on the odds of large flares off the sun shortly.
Sure. there’s “breaking news” all the time, but what is really important?
That’s why we focus so much on the templates:
X number of people were killed today when a Y (verb) caused a terrible (noun).
See ChimpRewriter. Thus we are left with an important decision every day: Do we sense the future by looking at changes to the templates, or by looking at knee-jerk minutia.
A buddy of mine already called this morning and asked me what I thought of Jade Helm. And when I directed him to an alternative explanation in Peoplenomics™ yesterday, he agrees that it may NOT be an effort to impose federal direct rule on a number of states. It could be the US Military attempting to prepare for the low intensity conflict with Mexico going hot.
As I explained: I believe the risk of nuclear war is as great now as it was around the time of the Cuban missile crisis, witness the Russians ready to pounce on Ukraine, other eastern former states, and the mess around Iran not to mention the recent Russian border tests with strategic bombers.
Is Jade Helm a power grab? that’s one way to read it. But another way to see it is as preparing to defend our southern frontier from aggression from the South and Central America corridors….and that seems to be where the Obama administrations are conflicted: Between the ultra-liberals and the solid military.
If you look at the Jade Helm maps, think “War with Mexico?” before you think takeover of Austin.
A story a while back headlined “US State Department calls reports of ISIS camps in Mexico “unfounded” reminds me that when government says don’t worry that’s when you should be most worried.
We’re in warring templates and there’s more than one way to read Jade Helm. Maybe the military is option planning to do what Border Patrol hasn’t been inclined to do. That’s how the maps look to me…and especially so when you see the hot zone in deep southern California and consider the strategic energy importance of guess which state?
1. Look at the data
2. Test all possible templates
3. Pick the one that makes the most sense.
4. When in doubt, the one that doesn’t suggest meds.
More wind and tornadoes likely after yesterday’s strikes up north of us.
The U.S. population seems fascinated with the Brits for reasons that escape me: How do we admire a country so much that once ran the whole world and then blew it?
The Saudis have announced a 5-day ceasefire in Yemen…the here’s the trick: Don’t tell anyone when it starts or ends…. yeah…our kind of pr campaign.
*Tegwar – Bang the Drum Slowly (the novel by Mark Harris, also a film) It is a game basically designed to separate a sucker from his cash. The letters stand for “The Exciting Game Without Any Rules.” When the characters in the film play the game, they appear to be making things up as they go along.
Truly Great Thoughts
“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson