Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Is the Stock Market Turning Bearish? Watch Friday's Jobs Report

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Is the Stock Market Turning Bearish? Watch Friday's Jobs Report

Article excerpt

After sliding for 8 days, the Dow's meager 30-point bump on Wednesday leaves investors 'very nervous,' say analysts. But the experts aren't sweating - yet.

Even though the stock market finally broke its eight-session losing streak, investors are starting to wonder if the stock market is such a good deal.

On Wednesday, after being down most of the day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finally managed to pick up 29.82 points by the closing bell. Despite the gain, the Dow is down about 7 percent over the last nine trading sessions. As a result, stock advisors describe investors as "very nervous."

Initially, many investors were shaken by Congress's game of chicken over the national debt ceiling. Then, after several days of glum economic news, they became more concerned. Now, many are beginning to question whether the stock market - up about 5,300 points from the Dow's March 2009 lows - is still the place to have their money.

"It's a very fair question," says Mark Lamkin, CEO of Lamkin Wealth Management in Louisville, Ky. "We had a really nice bull market but I think the market may have rebounded a little ahead of itself."

Mr. Lamkin believes a key test for the stock market will come on Friday, when the government reports the July jobs and unemployment numbers.

"I can't remember a more important jobs report," says Lamkin. "If they pop to 200,000 or better, the market will rally fiercely," he says. "But, if they are 50,000 or less, we could shave 300 to 400 points off the Dow. And, if they come out as a gain of 90,000 to 110,000 - right below analysts' expectations - we will have a sideways pattern."

Many investors remain committed to the stock market because corporate earnings remain strong.

"There is no indication companies will not continue to do relatively well," says Frank Fantozzi, chief investment strategist for Planned Financial Services, a Cleveland-based money manager. …

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