I strongly suspect that Ms. Holmes' delusions that she's going to pull herself out of this mess will, at long last, be dismissed when the reaction she gets to this "3 for 1" offer is the sound of crickets.
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.
Global markets continued their levitation with the UK returning from vacation, pushing the MSCI Asia Pacific Index higher for the first time in seven days, while oil headed for the longest winning streak in almost seven years ahead of the promised OPEC production cut which is set to begin in just days. The USDJPY rose for a second day, pushing US equity futures higher and the DJIA is once again teasing with the 20,000 mark.
"If rate normalization happens in a steady and more predictable approach, the economy can incorporate this change in rates and psychology and make investment decisions based on the best allocation of capital to productive sources versus riding the asset bubble being generated by the easy-money policies around the globe."
The Fed's latest Beige Book released Wednesday found seven regional Fed districts reporting economic activity as growing at a modest or moderate pace, a decline from 11 in the last report, with strong dollar headwinds among one of the more frequently cited reasons for the weakness.
European, Asian stocks rise as do S&P futures as OPEC ministers gathering in Vienna appeared to be set to announce a deal to cut oil production and prop up global prices. Oil has surged over 7% as a result, also pushing US TSY yields and the dollar higher.
The key economic releases this week are consumer confidence on Tuesday, ISM manufacturing on Thursday, and the employment report on Friday. There are a few scheduled speaking engagements from Fed officials this week. The Beige Book for the December FOMC period will be released on Wednesday.
European shares dipped and U.S. equity-index futures (-0.3%) pointed to a lower open as traders questioned the stability of the Italian banking sector ahead of next weekend's referendum as well as the longevity of the Trumpflation rally, pressuring the dollar. "It's a bit of a pull back in the dollar," said Societe Generale strategist Alvin Tan. "The fall in oil is pushing back U.S. bond yields and that is leading the consolidation in the dollar.. there is more scepticism about an (OPEC) output cut now."