The Bottom Line on the Jobs Numbers

Stocks opened higher this morning, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) down 0.09% and the broader S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) up 0.11% as of 10:10 a.m. EDT.

The macro view
The big macro news of the day is the U.S. employment data released this morning. The headline numbers look encouraging, as the U.S. economy added 171,000 jobs last month, and the numbers for August and September were revised upwards. This being the last jobs report prior to next week's election, pundits are finding all sorts of ways to dissect the data.

On Twitter, Wall Street Journal economic policy reporter @damianpaletta notes:

Meanwhile, The Economist's economics correspondent @ryanavent tweets:


The most useful quote, in this context, comes from my Foolish colleague Morgan Housel, who took a look at the historical data in "The Best Presidents for the Economy," writing: "In general, presidents get too much credit for the economy when things are good, and too much blame when things are poor. We tend to imagine every blip in the stock market and every unemployment report as a direct reflection of a president's policies -- particularly during election years."

I agree entirely.

The micro view
Last month, Dow component Chevron (NYS: CVX) issued a profit warning based on the production impact of hurricane Isaac and a shutdown at a California refinery due to a fire. Nevertheless, the company reported third-quarter earnings that fell short of expectations ($2.69 versus $2.83). Yesterday, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell pointed to lower oil and natural-gas production in their disappointing earnings reports. However, our top energy analyst likes "The One Energy Stock You Must Own Before 2014." Click here to receive his free report.

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Alex Dumortier, CFA has no positions in the stocks mentioned above; you can follow him @longrunreturns. The Motley Fool has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Chevron. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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