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Stocks survived a big test of the winter rally on Friday as they finished a positive week with mild losses.
The Friday session featured a report on non-farm payrolls that came in worse than expected, but not egregiously so. Energy, industrials and utilities fared the best, while financials and telecoms slipped the most. Treasuries blew higher across the board, showing again why we always say that the bonds love misery.
Earlier in the week, I forecast that a disappointing payroll number and a modestly negative reaction would be the best possible result for bulls for three reasons: a) it maintains pressure on the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates low and to continue buying assets; b) it keeps pressure on the new Congress to keep up the pace of fiscal spending; and c) it provides a mildly oversold technical condition that provides a better base from which to rally later in the month.