European stocks rose amid earnings beats, offsetting weakness in the energy sector and easing investor concerns ahead of the weekend’s French election. Asian shares and U.S. futures also rise. The dollar weakens against the euro and most crosses, while crude oil rebounds following renewed OPEC chatter of a production cut, this time with Saudi Arabia seemingly onboard.
"One respondent said that during a recent six-month attempt to add to staff for a new product, two-thirds of applicants for assembly line jobs were screened out before hiring via math tests and drug tests; of 400 workers hired, only 180 worked out."
European stocks rebounded after the biggest one-day drop since November, alongside S&P futures, while Asian equities posted modest declines after yesterday's weak US close. Gold and yen slid, while the dollar gained on the latest Mnuchin comments to the FT according to which Trump was "absolutely not" trying to talk down the dollar.
European stocks slide s traders return from a 4-day Easter holidays, Asian equities likewise drop pressured by the ongoing rout in iron ore, while U.S. stock-index futures point to a lower open. British markets were roiled after U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said she would seek an early election on June 8. The FTSE 100 droped 1.3%, on the news, hitting the lowest since Feb. 24
This week will be dominated by the first round of the French presidential election on Sunday. On the data side, following China's strong economic report, attention will focus on US industrial production growth on Tuesday. In the euro area, flash PMIs for April due on Friday could point to moderation. This is also the first full corporate earnings week.
If wages disappoint for the second month in a row, then markets may begin to ease back their hiking expectations for the rest of the year. For markets to price out a rate hike in March, wage growth would probably need to slow markedly and the headline NFP number to fall well below 100K.
What was most interesting in the latest Beige Book was not the comprehensive summary but the anecdotes revealed by the various districts among them concerns about the stronger dollar, worries about Obamacare repeal, Atlantic City casino revenues, retailer fears about online competition, shipping container volumes, the impact of immigration policy on labor supply and even a sharp drop in Broadway theater attendance.
The dollar and U.S. Treasury yields jumped on Wednesday, while global stocks and S&P futures rose as investors gave generally favorable marks to President Donald Trump's first speech to Congress, while paying more attention to the sudden onslaught of Fed hawks who repriced March Fed hike odds from 50% to 80% in a single afternoon. Strong economic data from China and Europe helped propell global risk assets higher.
The main focus this week will be on President Trump's speech to Congress and Chair Yellen's speech which is the last before the blackout period. US durable goods, ISM, the BoC rate decision, EZ CPI, UK PMIs and a busy calendar in Australia & Scandinavia also coming up.
Since President Trump’s surprise victory over Hillary Clinton in November, investors and management teams have been acutely focused on the new administration’s policy proposals. As expected, all 4 key themes discussed on Q4 conference calls are closely linked to Trump's policies and include tax reform, regulation, fiscal spending and trade policy.
The real travesty, and what I think deserves top priority (but I don’t see it), is that we have, in addition to 7.5 million officially unemployed (a number that is closer to 15 million when all the hidden unemployment is accounted for), 23.5 million Americans aged 25-to-54 who reside outside the confines of the labor force. And at a time when job openings are at record highs.
The Fed's latest beige book, perhaps the most boring report released by the Federal Reserve, found 10 of the 12 Fed districts growing at the now ubiquitous "modest or moderate pace" with Cleveland growing only slightly and New York reporting little change for the fourth period in a row. However, despite stagnant growth, margin pressures are building as input prices are rising faster than final goods prices.
The week ahead will be a busy one, with a plethora of events including the Davos shindig, where particular focus will be on Chinese President Xi Jinping, the first Chinese president to attend. China will also announce GDP on Friday, which also marks the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th US president. Tuesday brings Theresa May's long-awaited Brexit speech.