For the first time since June, The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence index declined YoY, plunging from near cycle highs at 104.1 (revised lower to 103.5) to 98.6 (missing 101.5 expectations), this is the biggest monthly plunge since Nov 2015, catching down to UMich and Bloomberg surveys. Employment and Business Conditions sentiment declined notably as did 'plans to buy' a home or appliance.
Looking at the week ahead, the US election enters the home stretch and politics will likely dominate the headlines, especially the closer races in Congress. Despite data being overshadowed by politics, there are some key US releases coming up, with the first estimate of Q3 GDP, the employment cost index and durable goods the main focus.
The distribution of guesses for tomorrow's "most important payrolls print ever" skews modestly to the upside after the biggest spike in ISM employment ever this week jarred some economists to the more optimistic side with Goldman Sachs expecting a Fed-inspiring drop in the unemployment rate, rise in average hourly earnings, and better than expected payrolls of 190k (172k exp).
Record levels denote the point that previously marked the end of a cycle, not the beginning of a new one. This point is often missed by the mainstream media. Record highs of anything, whether it is economic, fundamental or financial data, are warnings signs of late stage events.
It would appear the people who The Conference Board were asking about their 'confidence' were not from the Richmond fed region. A 3rd massive contraction in the last 4 months was not the worst of it as the "number of employees" subindex crashed to -13 - its lowest since June 2009.
Just days after Bloomberg's Consumer Comfort index plunged to its lowest since 2015, The Conference Board reports a spike in Consumer Confidence to 104.1 - the highest since Sept 2007 (right before the market topped out).
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.
Following the Fed's "hawkish hold" and the BOJ's "confused contradiction", global risk (and non-risk) assets got the green light, and as a result stocks and bonds rallied in Asia and Europe, with US equity futures rising another 0.4%, advancing with oil and industrial metals, as iron surged in Chinese trading.
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.
Slumping economic growth and rising gas prices don't matter. US Consumer Confidence jumped to 101.1 in August - highest since Sept 2015 - smashing expectations by almost 5 standard deviations as stocks hit record highs. Notably 'current expectations' rose to their highest since Aug 2007.
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.
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'.