The stock market has been stuck in a trading range for more than three weeks. Some of the economic data out today was a little disappointing. The ISM Services index saw a contraction. The same-store sales in the retail industry were generally worse than expected. If the consumer isn't participating in the "economic recovery" then it's already doomed.
That could change if the labor market starts to improve. Today's initial weekly jobless claims improved and have been improving (very slowly) for the last few weeks. This should bode well for tomorrow's non-farm payroll number. Currently estimates are set for a loss of 130,000 jobs in November compared to a loss of 190,000 in October. Anything better than -130K jobs should be consider bullish and I would expect stocks to rally on the news. The question is, at what number would the jobs report be considered a disappointment? Obviously -190K would be disappointing but what about -170K, or -150K? These would be "improvement" but worse than expected.
Market direction will depend on how investors choose to interpret the jobs number tomorrow. We will add new plays this weekend based on Friday's performance.