Stocks move higher on a hollow Jobs report

The Labor Department’s “Employment Situation” report on Friday showed 211,000 new jobs compared to only 79,000 (revised) previously. But the participation rate dropped from 63% to 62.9 and the average work week moved from a pathetic 34.3 to an equally pathetic 34.4. The S&P responded to this by moving higher; this is another example of the divorce between fundamentals and stock prices.

My relative-strength stock-sector table shows big gains and big losers at the same time seemingly without reason or any order. For example, there has been a 2% loss in the Semiconductor Sector but a 4% increase in Computer Software. There were also big drops in the Media, Energy, Basic Materials, Telecommunications and Agriculture sectors. But gains were in the Machines, Leisure. Alcohol and Tobacco, Internet, and Retailing Sectors.,

Here are the sales figures for the Machines sector that gained 3.6% (i.e., a rather high amount) since April 1:

SYMBOL Sales – Last Quarter 3-Year Sales Rate
RSG 6% 4%
ITW 6% -4%
ABB -1% -8%
MTW -60% -26%
PNR -1% -15%
WM 8% -2%
TEX -10% -19%
CAT 4% -14%
average -6.1% -10.5%

I shudder to think what the sales numbers must be for a sector that sank rather than increased!

Here is my relative-strength chart of the Machines Sector:

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