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The markets drivers this past week were the Nonfarms Payroll Report and Crude Oil prices. The Jobs report showed a gain for February of 192,000 jobs compared to the consensus estimate of 178,000. The U3 unemployment rate came down to 8.9%, the U6 number, meaning ~total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force~ was 16.7%. BLS Chart
The other market mover, oil rallied again as violence increased in Libya and unrest grew in Bahrain, Oman and Yemen. Protests began appearing in eastern Saudi Arabia in the oil producing provinces ahead of the scheduled national Day of Rage protest next Friday, March 11th. West Texas Crude WTI is now testing Fibonacci levels, most likely $110 (ITZ 2011 target) is in the cards very soon. Itz quickly entered & exited a short oil trade this week on hope a quick resolve would occur in Libya. That said, it now looks like things will escalate into all out civil war and will perhaps drag out for weeks or months. The worry of the markets has been not a spike in oil, but the length and duration, which could set us back into a recession again. Of course there are the fear mongers calling for $200 oil and the speculators. The spread between Brent & WTI has come in from $17 to $10. The big worry remains Saudi Arabia, which has issued a warning that it will not tolerate protests. It issued warnings this weekend that security forces will use all means at their disposal to prevent any protests from occurring. This coming week will be a nervous one in the energy markets to say the least.
The dollar fell to another three month low and that helped push oil, gold and silver higher. Silver hit 31 year highs this week, also ITZ PIX holding Silver Wheaton reported earnings that doubled sending the stock to all time highs. Read Report
The S&P 500 continues to hold above it's 50 day moving average, but may face some pressure on the March 15th meeting. There is a growing expectation for a change in the statement and will ignite a market sell off when it finally comes. There is a good possibility the current market weakness is related to expectations for a statement change at this meeting.
So for the next week or so expect market volatility as geopolitical and economic concerns pressure the markets. Consider taking some money off the table, raising some cash or using option puts and hedges for insurance.
Jim Rogers, chairman of Rogers Holdings, talks about his investment strategy for global stocks and commodities. Gold advanced, approaching a record, as tensions in the Middle East boosted oil prices, increasing demand for precious metals as a protector of wealth and hedge against inflation. Rogers also discusses his strategy for the U.S. dollar. He speaks in Hong Kong with Rishaad Salamat on Bloomberg Television's "On the Move Asia."
The crude trade, with Dennis Gartman, The Gartman Letter.
A look at what's driving the demand for silver from Brian Kelly of Kanundrum Capital on CNBC.
Can the gold rally continue? Insight with Brian Kelly, Kanundrum Capital president.
Cramer Off the Charts 3-1-11 Gold & Oil
Airtime: Wed. Mar. 2 2011 | 7:14 PM ET
Oil markets remain rattled by violence in Libya and the Middle East tonight. John Kilduff, Again Capital and Peter Beutel, Cameron Hanover, weigh in. http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?play=1&video=3000008366
Silver Wheaton hits new highs after blowout earnings, with the Fast Money crew, and Peter Barnes, Silver Wheaton CEO.