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All eyes are on the U.S. jobs report—plus these other factors moving the markets

February 7, 2020, 10:07 AM UTC

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Happy Friday, Bull Sheeters. Let’s go right to the numbers that matter on this final day of the trading week.

Markets update

The markets seem to be losing momentum today. The major indices in Asia and Europe are mixed, as I type, and the U.S. futures are down a tick, too. Maybe it’s just a breather as Thursday was a big day everywhere. The Stoxx 600 in Europe, plus the S&P 500, Nasdaq and Dow Jones Industrial Average all closed in record territory.

Yet again today the markets’ main focus is on earnings and economic data, less so on the coronavirus outbreak (death toll now at 636, infections above 31,000) which also involves this harrowing situation in Japan of a quarantine cruise ship.

Numbers that matter

It’s Friday. I’m going to try something different—a look at a few of the big figures that have moved markets this week, with an eye on what to watch in the days ahead. That means no chart today. Here we go.

158,000. All eyes will be on the U.S. jobs report today, due out before the U.S. opening bell. Economists forecast an addition of 158,000 nonfarm payrolls last month. As always, the strength of the employment situation will go a long way towards determining Fed policy this year. The real drama in today’s report though will almost certainly come from the revised numbers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has to clean up its math from 2018-19. The result? A jobs-drop of a half-million is predicted.

17%. Here’s our mystery stock for the week. Which Nasdaq-listed company came out of the gates flying this week, climbing a combined 32% on Monday and Tuesday…only to fall 17% on Wednesday…before—catch your breath—creeping up yesterday 2%? Answer: right, it’s Tesla. It’s up 17% so far this week. My colleague Shawn Tully is unconvinced this incredible run is sustainable. A reminder: shorting this stock has been a bad idea so far.

620. After a big weeklong rally, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed yesterday at 29,379.77. That means we’re a mere 620.23 points away from Dow 30,000.

You may recall the very first Bull Sheet newsletter in which I asked for your predictions on when we’d hit Dow 30,000. Many of you calculated we’d hit that landmark, no problem, by end of January. Not quite, but I admire your bullish calls!

Since we have many new readers (Bull Sheet, amazingly has nearly doubled in subscribers since our mid-January launch) I want to open the floor once again to your predictions. Who here has a bet on when we’ll hit 30,000? Fire away! Message me. I’ll do a nice little shout-out to whomever comes closest.

***

Have a nice weekend. We’ll see you next week!

Bernhard Warner
@BernhardWarner
Bernhard.Warner@Fortune.com

Today's reads

Thiam out. In a shocker, Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam is stepping down. He's been dogged by a spying scandal that's rocked the Swiss lender since September when it emerged the bank was tailing a former star banker, Iqbal Khan. An investigation found the surveillance was ordered by Credit Suisse’s chief operating officer, without Thiam’s knowledge. In a bank statement issued this morning, Thiam repeated his innocence, but added: “It undoubtedly disturbed Credit Suisse and caused anxiety and hurt.” Thiam will stay on for one more week, presiding over the company's Q4 results. Expect fireworks.

SoftBank targeted. Activist investor Elliott Management Corp. has quietly built up a more than $2.5 billion (about 3%) stake in Japan’s SoftBank Group and is pushing the sprawling technology giant to make big changes, The Wall Street Journal reported. Elliott is said to be calling for more transparency and better management of investment decisions at SoftBank’s $100 billion Vision Fund. Elliott, founded by billionaire Paul Singer, has pushed for SoftBank to buy back $10 billion to $20 billion in shares to help close a yawning gap between the company’s market value and the value of stakes in companies in which it has invested. SoftBank shares were up 7% on the news.

Boeing effect? Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has claimed that U.S. economic growth would have achieved the Trump administration’s 3% target (spoiler: not a chance) if it had not been for Boeing’s 737 Max woes and the coronavirus crisis. Fortune’s Erik Sherman investigates, and finds the claim doesn't quite hold water.

Market candy

Desert downer. It's not quite as stomach-churning as Tesla, but consider the ride Saudi Aramco shareholders have been on. Since going public in early December, the Saudi oil giant briefly hit a record $2 trillion valuation. Shares have come crashing back since, hurt by a perfect storm of escalating U.S.-Iran tensions and now coronavirus. And now the Financial Times’ Lex column is warning of a more existential threat to Saudi Aramco and other oil majors: a combined $900 billion in "stranded assets," essentially energy deposits it will never be able to tap. The upside: Aramco shares are 4% above the IPO price, but there are few indications it'll budge beyond that any time soon.