Don’s Notebook May 4, 2018


Payrolls rose 164,000 after an upwardly revised 135,000 advance,  according to the Labor Department data announced earlier today.

  • The jobless rate fell to 3.9 percent, the lowest since December 2000, after six months at 4.1 percent.
  • Average hourly earnings increased 0.1 percent from the prior month and 2.6 percent from a year earlier, both less than analysts expected.


  • The MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan Index dropped 0.7 percent for a fourth day of declines influenced by a retreat in financial stocks.
  • Japan markets remained closed for a holiday.
  • In Europe, the Stoxx 500 Index was 0.3 percent higher at 5:40 a.m. with a rise in mining stocks more than offsetting a drop in bank shares following disappointing results from some major institutions.
  • The 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.935 percent and gold was slightly lower.

Earnings announcements today include listings, Alibaba, Newell Brands, Celgene, Post Holdings, Boise Cascade and Johnson Outdoor, rounding out the 147 companies in the S&P 500 that have announced this week.

Tomorrow’s results from Berkshire Hathaway Inc. will need a qualification. Because of a new accounting rule, the company is required to report unrealized gains and losses from equity investments in net income.

  • With a $170 billion stock portfolio, quarterly market swings might have an overstated effect on the company’s results.
  • However, this morning CNBC reported that Berkshire recently increased their holdings in Apple Inc. by  75 million shares.
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Dr. Don Pratl is Director of Trader Development and Education for TradeStation. He joined TradeStation in 2016 after holding similar roles with other online brokerages. Don’s long career in the financial services industry reflects expertise in administering trading and investment strategy programs for retail investors as well as financial services professionals. Since the 1980s, he has held various positions in areas including CBOE trading floor order execution, marketing, sales, personnel management, training and customer service. Don holds series 3, 4, 7 and 63 FINRA licenses, earned his Ph.D. in Organization and Management, and his M.A. and B.A. in Political Science. He has been an occasional adjunct college instructor since 2004 at a range of institutions, teaching undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students using in-class and online formats.