Why don't you get a job?

January 6-10, 2014

In North America...

Markets: In the first full week of trading in 2014, the weakest US job growth in three years was announced. Many analysts are crediting the weather for the weak numbers, and suggesting they are a blip in an otherwise strong trajectory. Just 74,000 new jobs were created in the US last month, well short of the expected increase of 196,000 and the smallest rise since January 2011.Gold prices and bonds yields improved as a result, whilst equity investors seemed less certain. The S&P 500 gained 0.6% for the week. 

Canadian job numbers were even worse, and Stats Can reported that Canadian economy shed 45,900 jobs last month, a major miss as economists had expected that the economy had created about 14,600 jobs. The Canadian dollar continued to fall, now sitting near levels not seen since 2009.

Companies: Remember Madoff? Seems JP Morgan was aware of the ponzi scheme (or rather, had misgivings) for approximately over ten years before the scheme was revealed to the world. The bank, who was Madoff's primary banker, did not address possible problems that were present from the early 90's when Madoff was not arrested until 2008.  The bank will pay a $2.6 bn fine to stop criminal prosecution going forward. 

Maybe the analysts responsible were over worked? An internal memo from Merrill Lynch said analysts and associates — the two lowest-ranking employee levels — should try to spend four weekend days away from the office each month, part of a broader effort to improve working conditions. Also possible this is a move towards culture change.

L'Oreal, the world's largest cosmetic company, has decided to pull its Garnier brand out of the Chinese market. It is citing a change in strategy, with plans to promote the L'Oreal Paris and Maybelline lines, and forego Garnier. Interesting to note that Revlon, one of the company's competitors have planned a pull out of Chinese markets completely. 

Otherwise: Final tallies are in. in 2013, US equities markets were up 33%. UK equities gained 19%. 

The 2014 Consumer Electronics Show provided a week long look into the future of technology. The primary take-a-away? The internet of things (wearable tech connected through the internet) and shape shifting screens. Read the FT's in depth coverage here

In Europe...

Weak US job numbers also impacted European markets. The FTSE Eurofirst 300 gained just 0.7% over the week.

The Economist reports: Ireland’s first sale of a government bond since exiting its bail-out programme late last year was almost four times oversubscribed. The sale of a ten-year bond raised €3.8 billion ($5.1 billion) with a yield below 3.5%; at the height of its debt crisis Ireland’s borrowing costs approached 14%.