Stocks Look Strong Despite Big New Jobs Number

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Who's afraid of inflation?

Not, apparently, the stock and Treasury market. The January

employment report

showed non-farm payrolls jumping by 358,000 -- far more than the 233,000 that economists expected. (The unemployment rate stayed unchanged at 4.7%.) Stock index futures and Treasuries dove on the 8:30 a.m. EST report -- and then quickly came back.

At 9 a.m., the

S&P 500

futures are up 4.90, indicating a strong opening. The 30-year Treasury, down as much as a half point immediately following the report, is up 11/32 at 103 2/32, dropping the yield to 5.91%.

"You know how it is with these numbers, you wait all week and then it's nothing earth shattering," says Bob Basel, director of listed trading at

Salomon Smith Barney

. "They tried selling it a little bit after the number, but then they put them right back to where they were. If anything they are actually rallying them a bit from 8:29. Why, I don't know."

In overseas action, Asian markets were higher, while Europe, which has been hitting new highs recently, has seen a bout of profit taking.

Japan's stock market appears to have settled in at around the 17,000 mark, as investors wait for the ruling

Liberal Democratic Party's

economic stimulus package. The plan is set for release on Feb. 20, but details may start making it into the market next week. The

Nikkei

climbed 36.76 to close at 17,040.06.

Stocks edged higher in Hong Kong. With fears that China will devalue the yuan receding, China-related shares continue to outperform. The

Hang Seng

rose 43.73 to close at 10,485.86.

In Germany, the

Dax

fell 52.12 to close at 4496.33. That's not as bad as it looks -- stocks had fallen sharply in the after-hours session in Germany yesterday.

London stocks are rallying on expectations of a strong U.S. open. The

FTSE

is up 10.00 at 5616.40.

Columbia/HCA

(COL)

announced that it expects to report a fourth-quarter loss of 60 to 70 cents per share -- not including restructuring charges, which will bring the losses to $1.95 to $2.10 per share.

First Call

expectations were for the company to earn 16 cents per share. Ouch.

The Wall Street Journal

reports that Donald Trump is planning to put

Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts

(DJT)

, a holding company for his casino resorts, on the block. Trump has retained

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

and

Bear Stearns

, according to the paper.

Cincinatti Milacron

reported fourth-quarter earnings of 67 cents per share, a nickel ahead of estimates.