March 6, 2009

Non-Farm Payrolls fell 651K in February, January revised higher to minus 655K, and December revised higher to minus 681K.  The Unemployment rate jumped to 8.1%.  The economy has now lost 4.168 million jobs over the last 12 months.  More than half of the job losses have occurred in the past quarter.  Staggering.  After you get over the shock and awe, notice that the numbers are coming down, post revisions, showing signs that while all might not be good, some stability is developing in the trend.  Hopefully, we have seen the worse and now will start to put people back to work.

As we expected, the less than ugly numbers gave a boost to stocks while putting a little pressure on bonds, notes, and mortgage pricing.  The Dow opened sharply higher with all sectors on the plus side out of the gate.  A couple of stocks, including Ann Taylor, have not had a good day.  Ann Taylor, citing sales that have dropped off the table, is down 25% at the open.

Since the open, stocks have given up their gains, currently up 8 points on the big board.  Mortgage backs, after suffering a morning drop of 4/32’s, have bootstrapped themselves back to unchanged.  I would like to leave you with a letter from one of my favorite people in western history.  Today is the anniversary of the final battle of the Alamo, March 6th, 1836.

Commandancy of the Alamo

Bejar, Beby. 24th 1836

Fellow Citizens & compatriots

I am besieged by a thousand or more Mexican under Santa Ana.  I have sustained a continued bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man.  The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken – I have answered the demand with a cannon & our flag still waves proudly from the walls.   I shall never surrender or retreat.  Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch – The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days.  If the call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a solider who never forgets what is due to his honor & that of the country.  Victory or Death.

William Barret Travis

Lt. Col. Comdt

May the spirit of Col. Travis be with us all.