S&P 500 (Figure 2)
In addition to this week's employment data, the market had also been watching for December's retail sales as well on Thursday. Unfortunately, the data was not as reassuring as one might have hoped and many retailers saw their share prices slip. American Eagle Outfitter (AEO) fell 10.82%, Children's Place (PLCE) shares were lower by 6.58%), Gap (GAP) fell 3.23%, while Target (TGT) ended the session down 2.98%, and J.C. Penney fell 2.69%. Barnes & Noble (BKS) was one of the worst-hit though. It fell 17.05% after slashing its fiscal Q-3 guidance. The season was celebrated for its sharp retail discounts, which cut into profits. High-end retailer Nordstrom (JWN) (+1.06%) and teen retailer Zumiez (ZUMZ) (+17.55%) were among the few that beat estimates.
Despite the disappointing retail data, the market did manage to turn higher in early-morning trade. Intraday lows held between 9:45 a.m. ET and 10:00 ET and the market trended higher into 14:00 before striking resistance once again at the upper end of the 30-minute trading range. This range continued afterhours with another two-wave pullback on the 5 and 15 minute time frame (albeit more gradual than the one Thursday morning), and the market attempted to hold onto a more bullish bias and pulled higher into Friday morning after only a 62% Fibonacci retracement off highs.
The market is currently testing the upper end of the range heading into Friday's jobs data, but even though the action Thursday and into midnight was bullish, the pace of the upside throughout premarket trade shows hesitation. The market still has plenty of room for another swing higher on the 30-minute charts, but it's obvious that market participants are awaiting today's reports before jumping on board.