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Who Needs the Government?

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October 4, 2013

Mark Vickery here, covering for Sheraz Mian, who is doing an early-morning interview.

Plenty of market-centric people -- traders, investors or just interested observers -- like to say government doesn't matter to the markets. Thus far this week, since the childlike tantrum in a power suit known as "The Shutdown," these people have a point: we're almost exactly break-even on the S&P 500 since Monday, before The Shutdown began and the 24-hour news cycles praised the heavens for having something to talk about.

Too bad for there rest of us, especially those who like to stay grounded with the monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) nonfarm payroll report, which we don't have thanks to The Shutdown. (Be careful next time you buy meat at the store, too, by the way.) Thus, on the first Friday of THIS month, all we've got is guessing games:

It's a good bet that we're 100K+ on September payrolls; it would probably be even more accurate to put gains at around 150K gains on the month… then again, we just don't know. Private-sector gains from the ADP (ADP - Free Report) report on Wednesday were for 166K -- somewhat of a disappointment, actually, but still pretty decent, though recent trends would indicate more government jobs will have been shed in the month.

Thus, taking the ADP figure as close to what the BLS number would be (certainly not a "gimme"), we might expect something in the 150-160K range had we actually had a nonfarm payroll report this morning. Just a guess. How awesome!

In actual market news, Twitter (TWTR) finally announced yesterday it will go public -- the social media player expects to raise up to $1 billion in the market based on the move -- and Potbelly (PBPB - Free Report) actually takes the plunge onto the Nasdaq this morning. Both companies have a few question marks, though the new influx of capital will certainly help, but thank goodness I don't have to resort to discussing Peyton Manning's odds of reaching the Super Bowl in this column today.

Anyway, Happy Friday. Try not to worry about the ineptitude of the Legislative and Executive branches of our federal government. What it may come down to is a debt-limit compromise to settle matters in Washington; it would likely come down to some sort of good faith efforts on behalf of President Obama and Speaker Boehner… [sigh]. God help us all.

Mark Vickery
Senior Editor

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