The week ahead is striking in the sheer number of central bank speakers, but with the Fed on hold until December and the BoJ’s new framework now revealed, focus turns squarely from central banks to US politics. The first US presidential debate at the start of the week will be a key focus.
While today's biggest event for both markets and politics will be tonight's highly anticipated first presidential debate between Trump and Hillary, markets are waking up to some early turmoil in both Asia and Europe, with declines in banks and energy producers dragging down stock-markets around the world, pushing investors to once again seek the safety of government bonds and the yen.
August Non-farm Payrolls have been weaker than consensus expectations in each of the last 5 years and in 14 of the last 18 years of available data. However, with all eyes focused on how Janet will see it, Goldman notes that it is possible that Fed officials would look through moderate weakness given 1) the strength of the June/July payroll gain, 2) their sub-100k estimate of the “breakeven” payroll gain, and 3) the well-publicized tendency for weak first prints in August.
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After a muted end to August, September started off on the strong foot overnight following a surprising beat in China's official manufacturing PMI print, which rose above 50 to the highest level in almost two years. That, together with a record rebound in the UK PMI, bolstered investor confidence, fueling gains in stocks and industrial metals. The dollar advanced against most of its peers while bonds retreated before Friday’s payrolls report.
After bouncing miraculously in June (to 18mo highs), slipped lower in July and has now tumbled in August to 51.5 (missing expectations of 54.09 markedly).With weakness across the board - new orders, inventories, and production all slumping - MNI warns, "Economic activity slowed down into the summer, suggesting June's momentum was only a temporary revival in activity. Overall, it wasn't a rosy month."
The August market doldrums were on display on the last day of the month as S&P futures were fractionally lower on non-existent volume, while both Europe and Asia were modestly in the green; ten-year Treasury yields headed for the biggest monthly jump in more than a year while the dhe dollar gained for a sixth day against the yen in the longest winning streak since March. European stocks advanced for a second day, adding to a monthly gain as oil trimmed its advance in the best month since April.
After Friday's Jackson Hole repricing of Fed hike expectations, which made it clear that the fate of a September rate hike is now in the hands of the August payrolls number, the main risk event of the week is therefore this Friday's US NFPs for which consensus expects a reading of 180K, down from last month's 217K print. A number substantially above this will make a September hike virtually certain, and potentially risks roiling markets as good news will likely be bad news this time around.
The ongoing misinterpretation and massaging of economic data to spin a positive view on the economy are fine and good. However, real economic recovery must start with the average American since consumption makes up nearly 70% of economic growth. While the current Administration and Federal Reserve promote policies that are supposed to create economic prosperity for all, the reality is that remains bottled up on Wall Street.
As the world awaits the next in the series of "most important jobs numbers ever," which has now been shown as only relevant to the degree by which it moves the S&P 500 higher (or god forbid lower), consensus expectations are for a goldilocks 180k gain in jobs and flat 4.9% unemployment rate. The market will be looking to see if the Fed's recent optimism surrounding labor market conditions (despite a collapse in their own LMCI) are justified and if the employment figures of July and August demonstrate a new trend in conjunction with June ahead of the September meeting... and of course the 'election adjustment'.
Following last Friday's shocking weak US GDP print, Asian stocks jumped to an 11 month high on reduced prospects of a near-term rate hike, while the region also digested mostly encouraging in conflicting Chinese PMI data. European bank stocks initially rose following the release of the 2016 stress test then declined, tempering gains in global equity indexes, amid investor skepticism over the usefulness of stress-test results and weaker oil prices.
After its heroic "7 standard deviation beat" bounce in June, Chicago PMI dropped modestly in July from 56.8 to 55.8 (better than the expected 54.0). The stability in the headline print (at 18-month highs) amid tumbling GDP is odd given that production, new orders, and order backlogs all declined in July. Peculiarly, in the face of these declines, the employment subindex saw a strong gain!
European stocks and Asian shares rose, U.S. equity futures were unchanged and the yen surged after the BOJ shocked markets and kept its QE program unchanged, defying market expectations of a big boost to its monetary stimulus program.