US Economy

January Jobs Report: Even the Cooked Numbers Are Bad

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The January jobs report is another sign of how weak our economic recovery is - and it's not even taking into account all of the unemployed.

Friday, the Labor Department reported employers added 113,000 jobs last month. The unemployment rate ticked down to 6.6% from 6.7% in January, a rate not seen in five years.

But we know that number doesn't tell the full story...

The decline in the unemployment rate is due to an ongoing trend: discouraged workers exiting the labor force.

The actual unemployment rate, the U-6 rate, which includes "marginally attached workers plus total employed part time for economic reasons," remains at an unhealthy 12.7%.

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This Stock Market Sell-Off Will Bring a Great Opportunity to Buy

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The stock market sell-off has made for a rough start to 2014 - and February could bring more of the same.

The S&P 500 Index fell by 3.56% in January, its worst monthly drop since May 2012, and was off to its worst start in February since 1933. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 300 points on Monday, Feb. 3, and had its worst start since 1982. And the Nasdaq Composite Index started the month down 106 points, or 2.61%.

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Stock Market Selloff: Should Investors Be Worried?

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 326 points today, while the S&P 500 dipped 40 points and the Nasdaq dropped 107. In 2014, the Dow is down 7.3%, the S&P 500 5.8%, and the Nasdaq 4.3%.

Money Morning's Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald joined FOX Business' "Varney & Co." today (Monday) to answer today's biggest question: Should investors be worried about this stock market selloff?

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Best Stocks to Buy Now: A Money Morning Weekly Roundup

What are today's best investments?

Best investments for the week ending Jan. 31, 2014: A sharp sell-off in emerging markets, disappointing earnings from several key companies, and further tapering from the U.S. Federal Reserve left markets reeling last week.

Despite the nosedive, investors still have plenty of opportunities for profit. Money Morning keeps readers current on the best stocks to buy now and the best investing moves to make for any market conditions.

Here's what we covered last week:

Stock Market Today: Dow Jones Industrial Average Gets Hammered

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Stock Market Today, Feb. 3: U.S. stocks closed down Monday after a rough trading session on the heels of a disappointing report on U.S. manufacturing and ahead of a busy week for economic indicators.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 326.05 points, or 2.1%, at 15,372.80 points; the S&P 500 Index closed down 2.28%, or 40.7 points, at 1,741.89; and the Nasdaq Composite Index closed down 2.61%, or 106.92 points at 3,996.96.

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Today's Stock Market News and Earnings Calendar

Today's stock market news, Feb. 3: U.S. markets slumped on Friday and posted their worst month since May 2012.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 4.88% in January. Last week, mixed earnings from retail and tech giants collided with renewed concerns about emerging markets and production declines in China.

With our eye on the Opening Bell, here are five stories to watch this morning.

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Stock Market Today: Dow Jones Industrial Average Ends January in the Red

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Stock market today, Jan. 31: U.S. stocks closed down Friday, wrapping up a rough January and the worst month in trading in over a year as several corporate earnings weighed on the market.

All three major indices closed in the red. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 0.94%, or 150 points, at 15,699 points. The S&P 500 closed down 0.65%, or 11.6 points, at 1,783 points, and the Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.47%, or 19 points, to close at 4,104 points.

Energy futures closed down today. Light sweet crude oil for March delivery closed $0.74 to settle at $97.49 per barrel. Heating oil for March delivery closed down 1.0% at $3.00 per gallon, and natural gas lost 1.36%, or $0.07, to close at $4.94 per million BTUs.

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Today's Stock Market News: The Biggest Stories and Earnings to Watch

Today's Biggest Stock Market News, Jan. 29:

Five Stories for This Morning

  • The State of Our Union is Expensive: U.S. President Barack Obama gave his fifth State of the Union address last night. During the speech, he demanded a guaranteed retirement plan for American workers, immigration reform, tax reform, gun control, and economic opportunity for all. The White House even announced it will back a congressional Democratic plan to increase the federal wage to $10.10 over three years, and then index it to inflation.

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2014 State of the Union Address: Nine Ideas You'll Hear Tonight and Why They Matter

SOTU 2014: U.S. President Barack Obama will deliver his fifth State of the Union address tonight, which means tomorrow most media outlets will graph and "wordcloud" his most used buzzwords like "jobs," "invest," and "innovate."

Instead of waiting until after the SOTU, we put together the nine phrases you're likely to hear tonight - as well as why President Obama needs to address them.

Here's your outline of State of the Union 2014:

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DON’T BE SO ARROGANT, MR. PRESIDENT

Empires have come and gone. Some lasted a blink of an eye and some millennia.
The question is, after 9/11, the rise of China and a great financial crisis, where does the U.S. empire stack up to its predecessors?
Well, it seems the one commonality they all have is the point when their might was undermined by sloth and greed. And entitlements: free bread and circuses. For some it took years, others centuries.
Here, in a compelling and unique address, is what Romulus Augustus, the last emperor of the Roman Empire, might say to President Obama now about how to keep America great.
Read on and share with family and friends...

The Latest Obama Outrage: the Family's $100 Million Vacation

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How much do you spend on your summer vacation? American households usually spend about $1,200 per person on summer vacations, according to a recent American Express survey.

Presidents spend more on their vacations than you or I. They have to. Air Force One and security does cost more than loading the Honda and heading to the beach.

Here's how much some recent presidents spent our tax dollars on vacation.

Ronald Reagan spent most of his free time at his California ranch. Taxpayers covered the cost of approximately $8 million for presidential travel during Reagan's first six years in office, according to the Los Angeles Times. That amounts to $1.3 million a year.

For George Bush the cost of flying Air Force One to his Texas ranch was approximately $56,800 per trip, for each of the 180 trips according to Media Matters. President Bush spent Christmas during his two terms at the White House so his staff and secret service could spend the holiday with their family, according to Conservative Byte.

Now Obama plans to blow away all previous presidents' leisure travel costs on our dime with a better than Disney World extravaganza trip to Africa.

However Obama had to cancel the safari because of the need to fill the surrounding jungle with snipers to guard the president from wild animals!

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How Big Corporations Are Destroying the "Free Market"

Business problems As an economist, I wince whenever I hear someone say that we live in a true free market.

The reality is we live in a semi-free market where regulation stifles business and corporate money influences and distorts what would normally be a highly competitive marketplace.

And over the last two decades, the situation has only gotten worse for consumers, producers, and defenders of the so-called "free market."

From 2008 to 2010, 30 major corporations paid more money in lobbying fees than they did in taxes, according to the Public Campaign.

But while traditional lobbying once centered on altering tax rates and encouraging legislation to liberalize and deregulate the economy, it has now evolved into a competitive weapon for companies trying to box out competitors and raise barriers to entry in their markets.

It's a business phenomenon that I like to call the "Rise of the Fifth Rail."

You see, in traditional markets, companies compete on four specific principles: Price, product quality promotion, and place (market access). These principles are known as the "four P's."

The first three are self-explanatory in that customers want the highest quality product at the cheapest price. Companies use promotional techniques to instill a need for its products and do so by marketing against the offerings of a competitor.

The fourth principle centers on a company's ability to reach new markets and still provide low prices for high-quality products. A strong coordinated distribution network tends to make this possible.

Naturally, when all four work together, you end up with a company like Walmart (NYSE: WMT), which has the ability to provide low, everyday prices due to its best-in-class distribution network.

But over the last few decades, this new phenomenon of using lobbying as a competitive tool has altered the course of market economics, and driven fair competition into the ground.

And that phenomenon is rotting the American free market from the inside.

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