The Good, the Bad and the Bumpy

Good news for the economy today – which could be bad news for stocks.

But that could be good news for investors!

What do I mean? Let’s dive in.

Unemployment claims fell to a surprisingly low 249,000 for the week ended Oct. 1 , below analysts’ forecast of 265,000 and the second-lowest level since 1973. That’s great news for American workers and communities. The economy finally seems to be generating enough jobs for almost everyone who wants one – which leads to higher wages and more prosperous households.

But if Friday’s jobs report confirms this strong trend, it could be bad news for stocks, at least in the short run. That’s because the stronger jobs picture makes it even more certain that the Fed will raise interest rates in December. The Fed is already leaning that way, but held off in September. If the economy seems to be heating up, with wage growth likely to pick up, the Fed’s lean could turn into a decisive consensus.

And a Fed rate hike is one of several triggers that could lead to a stock-market correction in the coming months, as Personal Finance Chief Investment Strategist Jim Pearce recently explained to his subscribers (along with recommendations for stocks that could thrive in this environment).

Other than a few minor bumps, the U.S. stock market has been flat as a pancake in recent months. When that changes – and it will, guaranteed – it’s more likely to go down than up. As I’ve said before, that’s A-OK for long-term investors. When attractive stocks go on sale, we’re happy.

If you’re looking for buy candidates, we’ve got plenty, from this specialty chemical maker recommended to Growth Stock Strategist subscribers to this medical device maker recommended in the new Systematic Wealth service – and many more.

Tomorrow, I’ll let you know what happened with the September employment report.

And if you’re anywhere in the path of Hurricane Matthew, batten down the hatches – and be careful out there.