“Start your engines,” was not in the Department of Labor (DOL)’s June Employment Report Summary, but it may as well have been. A positive jobs report revved investor optimism and sent U.S. stock markets sprinting higher last week.
Job growth was strong in June with 287,000 new jobs created. That helped soothe worries raised by a less than stellar May jobs report. The Wall Street Journal wrote:
“A powerful rebound in hiring last month eased fears about an economic downturn as the U.S. expansion enters its eighth year, putting the nation on solid footing to absorb global shocks and market turbulence.”
Investors appeared to agree the U.S. economic growth would continue apace. The American Association of Individual Investors (AAII)’s Investor Sentiment Survey reported bullish sentiment – the expectation stock prices will rise over the next six months – increased by 5.8 percentage points last week to 36.9 percent. That’s just the second time since November 2015 bullishness has stayed above 30 percent for two weeks in a row.
Money managers didn’t sit in the stands. The National Association of Active Investment Managers reported active managers increased their stock market exposure to 97 percent last week, which is the highest since the group began calculating the measure, according to Bloomberg.
Investors’ enthusiasm was fortified by positive earnings reports and helped some markets reach new highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished Friday at a record high, according to Reuters, and Bloomberg said, “…the S&P 500 Index closed at record highs on four consecutive days, something that hadn’t happened since November 2014.”
The coup in Turkey on Friday threw a wrench into the works. Demand for safe haven assets increased, according to Bloomberg. It wouldn’t be a surprise if markets pulled back to assess.