Markets were relatively flat on Wednesday after the private sector announced new job numbers that were below expectations during the month of February. The ADP National Employment Report showed that private employers hired a total of 139,000 new employees and they downwardly revised the previous months data. January’s data was lowered to 127,000 new jobs from the originally reported 175,000. Economists were expecting the new report to show a gain of 160,000. The labor report from the government, which is a much more in-depth, is due out this coming Friday. Economists are expecting new job numbers to ring in around 150,000 for non-farm payroll and 154,000 in the private sector. Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James, said, “As you head to Friday’s payroll report, you are looking at another month of weather effect. It still suggests things are improving but it’s hard to gauge the exact strength of the job market. Things should look less distorted in March and April. Spring is the make or break time for (the) economy.”
Shares of General Electric (GE) were trading slightly higher after the company announced that their CEO, Jeff Immelt, would be spending his entire bonus for 2013 on shares of the company’s stock. The bonus, totaling $2.6 million, accounted for roughly 104,900 GE shares (currently running $25.19 per share). This news comes shortly after he purchased 40,000 shares of the company in January. To date this year, Immelt has spent $3.6 million on shares of General Electric. In the latest filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, he now holds 1.96 million shares in GE. Immelt said, “I am investing right alongside of you. I have invested my entire bonus in GE stock. Like the rest of our leaders, I believe in GE.”
Exxon Mobil (XOM) shares were trading lower after the company announced they were expecting nearly flat natural gas production for 2014. They are also expecting spending to drop 6% to roughly $39.8 billion. Throughout this year the company is predicting that they will produce about 4 million barrels of oil per day, which is very little movement from last year. They are, however, expecting growth between 2015 and 2017. Production is expected to increase between 2% and 3%. Throughout this year Exxon is expecting to launch 10 new major projects into production. The majority of these projects will involve more profitable crude oil. Mark Albers, Exxon’s senior vice president, said, “This is going to be a big year.”
That’s all for the day.
All the best,