I’m still nursing a New Year’s hangover. It takes a long time for the mind to rid itself of all the news the mainstream media deems fit to read. But as the third rock keeps spinning, markets will keep moving and we will strive to untangle the ball of confusion. After today’s tepid ADP data the market has settled into a consensus for 175,000 nonfarm payrolls. Again, I would love to see a number greater than 250,000 just to test the recent market action. BONDS rallied, currencies rallied against the DOLLAR, precious metals are showing early year strength and commodities have held support levels in the age of TRUMFLATIONARY EXPANSIONARY EXPECTATIONS.
Archive for the ‘unemployment’ Category
The first Friday of the month brings big news for the data dependent Fed. The market consensus is for 185,000 job gain and average hourly earnings increase of 0.2% and the work week to remain unchanged at 34.4 hours. In my opinion, a HUGE increase of 300,000 jobs with another 0.4% increase in wages (similar to last month) would bring great pressure on the FOMC to increase FED FUNDS more than the market’s expectation of 25 basis points. What I am saying is purely THEORETICAL but it would make for an interesting discussion for the DATA DEPENDENT FOMC. It’s especially interesting as the exuberance of the tax cuts, infrastructure projects, rollback of regulation, the equity markets should prompt the asymmetrical nature out of the FOMC decision-making process.
Before we review Friday’s action, I would like to present a quote from Tolstoy sent from a long-time reader and is representative of the 2+2=5 basis of Notes From Underground. While I have respect for the theoretical basis in the continued search for knowledge, I try to write NOTES with a deeper understanding of the fundamentals that drive markets on a short- and long-term time scale.
MAYBE. It’s the release of the most important economic data for market watchers, the unemployment report. The JOBS NUMBERS have taken on added importance as the FED has made its data dependent interest rate decision overly reliant on job growth and more importantly, AVERAGE HOURLY EARNINGS. Last month’s nonfarm payrolls were well below expectations and the market reacted in a HOLIDAY-SHORTENED trading session (Good Friday) with a rally in all ends of the interest rate market and the U.S. dollar being sold in response to a FEDERAL RESERVE remaining at the zero interest rate level for longer than previously anticipated.
Tomorrow is the release of the U.S. and Canadian Employment reports, which are usually days of increased market volatility. Usually, Notes From Underground provide some insight into possible market movement based on attaining a sense of investor consensus and putting that into perspective based on relevant indicators and pre-release price action across a wide variety of variables.
Post-ECB the U.S. employment report will be of minimal importance. The market is expecting a 210,000 increase in nonfarm payrolls (NFP), a modest rise after April’s larger than expected 288,000 increase. The unemployment rate is guesstimated to rise to 6.4% from 6.3%. More importantly, the average hourly earnings is estimated to rise 0.2% after last month’s flat number. The wage gains are now the most important piece of data as the Yellen Fed has more than hinted that stagnant wages have been a perennial drag of consumer demand. It is better for wages to rise than demand to remain tepid. If wages were to outpace inflation it would act to stimulate domestic consumption.
The U.S. unemployment data released on Friday was extremely positive on two measures: Nonfarm payrolls increased by 288,000 and the unemployment rate dropped from 6.7 to 6.3 percent. The soft side of the numbers was that the average hours worked remained flat and the all-important average hourly earnings also stayed flat, undermining the robustness of the headline figure. The U.S. dollar and U.S. bond markets initially performed as expected as the DOLLAR strengthened and bond yields rose in response to positive news. However, by day’s end the DOLLAR was LOWER and the yields on the long end of the CURVE had also dropped while the SPOOS and DOW failed to hold gains on what was a very strong employment picture. The reason given by analysts was that the Ukraine situation was becoming more volatile and caused investors to be cautious over the weekend.
Notes From Underground: Does The Unemployment Data Allow The Fed to Taper?? (Yra Says 90% Possibility in December)December 8, 2013
Friday’s U.S. jobs report was stronger than pre-ADP consensus, only because of several pundits pushing the idea of 250,000 non farm payrolls (the whisper number seemed to be around 225,000). Thus, the 203,000 NFP was well within the range of prediction. The falling rate to 7.0% was a stronger sign of growth, especially when coupled with a rise in the participation rate and a fall in the U-6 rate. Average hours worked gained and wages increased by 0.2% per hour. All in all, it was the most positive data in many months. Manufacturing was a pleasant surprise as 27,000 jobs were added along with 17,000 jobs in the construction sector.
Today the markets received the long-awaited data on the U.S. job situation and the major beneficiary seemed to be the HFT algorithms that had the number two seconds early. The stock indices, currencies and precious metals all reversed early movements and rallied just prior to the public release. Setting aside the trading action, the data continues to reflect a very tepid recovery. Nonfarm payrolls grew by 148,000 making the FED’s September 18 decision look credible. More important, the average hourly earnings grew less than expected and kept the pace of wage growth very anemic. The FED has communicated that it is the jobs rate that the markets should be mindful of when anticipating any future action to raise rates. The FED has told the markets that an UNEMPLOYMENT LEVEL of 7.0% or maybe 6.5% will be a threshold target that could prompt the FED into action.
Yesterday, I had a global macro session with some of the best users of the Notes From Underground. They are disciplined in pursuit of profit but as most of my readers try to do, pursue causation as a prelude to correlation. Carl had prepared a white board chart of all of the relevant events that are set to play out in September. April may be the cruelest month but September 2013 will certainly give T.S. Eliot’s poem a run for the grand title. The desire to anticipate any of the events may lead to a “wasteland” of capital. So thanks to Carl, let me restate the list of events: