Strong Jobs Report Elicits Little Reaction

Bonds and futures sell off on the numbers but quickly rebound.
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The bond and stock markets are looking past a stronger-than-expected

employment report

this morning.

The economy added 268,000 jobs in June, well above consensus expectations for a 220,000. The unemployment rate ticked up to 4.3% -- economists had expected it to remain unchanged at 4.2% -- and wages gained 0.4%, against expectations of a 0.3% gain.

But mitigating the strength in June were downward revisions to the May report -- which was weak to begin with. Furthermore, because of the strength of the

National Association of Purchasing Managers

index yesterday, many in the bond pit were already poised for a strong report.

Bonds and futures sold off on the number, but quickly came back, and have since been bouncing merrily. At 9 a.m. EDT, the

S&P 500

futures were up 1, indicating slight strength at the open. The 30-year was flat at to 89 16/32, putting the yield at 6.01%.

It looks like stocks may run strong at the open, but "I have a feeling we're going to have a little profit taking later on," said Jim Benning, trader at

BT Brokerage

. "I think there's a little hesitancy going into the long weekend."

Tokyo stocks gained, but with the quarterly

tankan

report set for release Monday, trading was cautious. Most forecasters expect the closely followed sentiment report to book an improvement over April's levels, but there's a lot of disagreement over how much. The

Nikkei

added 71.72 to 17,932.47.

After taking the day off yesterday to celebrate the island's return to Chinese rule, Hong Kong traders had some catching up to do. Inspired by the not-so-bad

Fed

meeting and the rallies that followed it, they rode the

Hang Seng

up 652.44, or 4.8%, to 14,184.58.

European bourses weren't doing much of anything. In Frankfurt, the

Xetra Dax

was up 7.54 to 5487.76. In Paris, the

CAC

was down 0.56 to 4608.7. And in London, the

FTSE

was off 19.9 to 6469.

Friday's Wake-Up Watchlist

By

Brian Louis

Staff Reporter

(earnings estimates are from

First Call

):

  • Evans & Sutherland Computer (ESCC) expects to report a second-quarter loss in the range of 35 cents to 40 cents a share, a world away from the four-analyst consensus estimate of a profit of 11 cents a share.
  • Jostens (JOS) anticipates 1999 earnings of $1.55 to $1.65 a share, below the two-analyst consensus estimate of $1.67.
  • Mirage Resorts (MIR) warned it expects second-quarter earnings of 7 cents to 10 cents a share, below the 21-analyst forecast of 24 cents. The company, which earned 18 cents in the year-ago period, cited competition in the Las Vegas market, low table-games win percentages and a slow start with a new resort in Mississippi.
  • If you're in the market for an online brokerage stock, shares of National Discount Brokers (NDB) are cheap compared to those of other online brokers, the Heard on the Street column in The Wall Street Journal says, citing analysts James Marks of Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown and Stephen Franco of U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, who this week issued strong buy ratings on NDB. The column also pointed out that the analysts work for firms that served as underwriters on a recent stock deal for NDB.
  • Oneok (OKE) - Get Report, a natural gas utility, posted third-quarter net income of 38 cents a share, in line with the three-analyst estimate but down from the year-ago 52 cents.
  • Following Frontier (FRO) - Get Report, U S West (USW) has agreed to open merger talks with Qwest Communications (QWST) while still keeping its existing agreement to merge with Global Crossing (GBLX) . Qwest has offered to buy both Frontier and U S West. In May, Global Crossing and U S West agreed to merge. In March, Global Crossing said it would acquire Frontier.
  • The Inside Wall Street column in Business Week reports some investors in Philips Electronics (PHG) - Get Report have been pressuring management to take its semiconductor unit public through an IPO. The column reports that Pope & Talbot (POP) could be a takeover target. Pope & Talbot is a manufacturer of lumber, pulp and pulp chips. One California money manager who has been buying shares in Pope & Talbot says that Georgia-Pacific Group (GP) and Champion International (CHA) - Get Report have "looked at the books" of Pope and have expressed an interest in the company, the column reports. The money manager says the stock is worth $20 a share, the column reports. Pope & Talbot closed yesterday at 12 11/16. The column reports that investment adviser Charles LaLoggia expects Victorinox will make an offer of at least $15 a share for Swiss Army Brands (SABI) . All the products Swiss Army Brands carries are made by Victorinox, which is Europe's largest cutlery maker and is also the largest Swiss Army shareholder, the column reports. Swiss Army closed yesterday at 9 1/8.