• Weekly Market Outlook

    From U.S. debt ceiling drama to the release of the Fed minutes, and the latest sentiment reading from business leaders, I’m Jeff Kleintop and here’s 90 seconds on what you need to know for the week ahead.

    Kicking off the week there is some optimism about a debt ceiling deal. The hope is that the House can vote on a deal by the end of this week and the Senate next week…but we expect a number of twists and turns.

    On Tuesday, we get the preliminary May Purchasing Managers’ Indices that track the sentiment of business leaders around the world. The manufacturing sector likely remains in a recession, but services are expected to show continued strength in May keeping the overall global economy stuck in the middle with sluggish growth.

    On Wednesday, we get the IFO survey of Germany’s business climate, expected to show continued strength. The outlook has improved in 2023 helping drive the German DAX Index to all-time highs last week.

    On Thursday, the Fed issues minutes of its May policy meeting where it raised interest rates by 25 basis points and hinted it may be the final move. Markets will look for how united – or not – the committee is on 5.25% as the peak in the policy rate.

    On Friday, we get a read on the U.S. consumer with personal income and spending for April. Earnings reports from Best Buy, Costco and Dollar Tree this week are expected to echo the cautionary note sounded last week by retail peers Walmart, Target, and Home Depot, as tightened household budgets continue to crimp consumer demand.

  • Weekly Market Outlook

    From the U.S.debt ceiling deliberations to rate cuts in China, the pace of U.S. retail sales and the job picture in Europe. I’m Jeff Kleintop with 90 seconds of what you need to know for the week ahead.

    Stocks in the U.S. were weighed down by the looming debt ceiling last week. While the White House meeting didn’t yieldany big breakthrough., staffs continued meeting to discuss a deal. The president and four top congressional leaderswill meet again early this week as the June 1st deadline looms.

    A deal may be taking shape in the form of clawing back billions of unspent COVID money, reforming the energy project permitting process, and agreeing to negotiate a set of spending cuts in the upcoming budget package. All seems like it could work, but getting a deal passed by both chambers in time is still a risk.

    China’s April economic data, due Wednesday will likely see a production and retail sales jump in comparison to last year’s terrible numbers during the lockdowns. But the month on month figures may show slowing reopening momentum and open the door to a rate cut by China’s central bank. Auto sales will likely boost April U.S. retail sales due Tuesday.

    Auto sales jumped to 15.9 million annualized units in April from 14.8 in March. But other categories may signal softness.

    Also on Thursday, the U.K. will release its latest batch of labor market data. The Bank of England raised its target rate by 25 basis points last week. Another strong reading for wages may keep policymakers on a path of higher rates, with the next meeting on June 22nd.

  • Market Snapshot – May 2023

    Published by Charles Schwab

    Given the attention lately on the health of the labor market, that’s the topic for this month’s video, especially in the wake ofwhat was at least on the surface, a better than expected jobs report for April.

    Now, let’s start with an important discussion around buckets. Buckets? ‘What is she talking about?’, you probably ask. Well, pretty much every economic data point can be sorted into one of three broad buckets: leading indicators, coincident indicators, and lagging indicators. In addition, there are subsets of leading indicators. In other words, certain data points that lead the common leading indicators. And we’ll get to that in more detail shortly.

    Leading Indicators

    Initial unemployment claims represents one of those heads up indicators that moves in advance of broader economic trends. This table shows every official recession start point by month back to the late 1960s.In addition, the dates and levels of troughs in the four week average of unemployment claims, as well as the percentage increase in claims leading into each recession start point. This is actually a perfect example of my – probably my favorite adage, which is better or worse, tends to matter more than good or bad when it comes to economic data. Yes, the latest reading of 239,000 for the four week average of unemployment claims is still low in level terms; no question about that. But it’s up more than 25%from the trough, which was last September. And as you can see, the average increase in claims heading into recessions has historically only been 20%. Again, it’s the rate of change that matters at least as much as the level.

    Coincident Indicators

    Nonfarm payrolls is one such indicator. Now, as you can see, payrolls are actually often still trending higher at the onset of recessions, in part because the NBER, they’re the official arbiters of recessions, they backdate recessions’ starts to at or near whatever the recent peak was in the aggregate data they track, including payrolls. So keep that in mind.

    Lagging Indicators

    Here’s a long term look at the unemployment rate. I can’t tell you, especially these days, how often I hear something to the tune of there’s no way the economy is at risk of a recession with such a low unemployment rate. Well, as a lagging indicator. The unemployment rate doesn’t foretell recessions. In fact, as you can see, it’s historically been very near its low at the outset of recessions. Maybe put another way, a rising unemployment rate doesn’t bring on recessions. Recessions ultimately bring on a rising unemployment rate. Now, an understanding of the relationship between payrolls and the unemployment rate is also important. The monthly nonfarm payrolls release comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics establishment survey. That’s what it’s called, which counts jobs. On the other hand, the unemployment rate is calculated from a separate survey called the Household Survey, which counts people. Now, over the past 12 months, the establishment survey suggests that 4.25 million jobs were added, while it’s only 2.7 million jobs per the household survey. Now, some of the differences. The establishment survey includes qualitative assumptions and adjustments tied to seasonality for one, as well as what the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls the birth death model. It’s not of people. It estimates the birth and death of businesses. For what it’s worth, the birth/death assumptions in particular tend to overstate business births and understate business deaths at important inflection points down in the economy. In addition, again, for what it’s worth, the household survey does tend to be more accurate around those same inflection down points with the establishment survey data ultimately subject to pretty significant revisions to prior releases. In fact, related to that, the April jobs report showed payroll growth that was stronger than expected. However, there were significant revisions to the prior two months data. In fact, the downward revision to March’s data was about the same amount by which the April data beat expectations. Keep that in mind.

    Now, in another sign of at least a loosening up of what has been a very tight labor market, the prime age labor force participation rate continues to move higher and actually finally surpassed the pre-pandemic peak. Now, this at least, is in keeping with what the Federal Reserve is looking for to help bring inflation down.

    Now, another component of the labor market tied to the ongoing inflation problem is wage growth not yet approaching what might be considered the Fed’s comfort zone. As of April, average hourly earnings were slightly higher than the prior month. Keep in mind, though, that this is an average and is likely skewed lower by something called the mix shift. I’ll explain that in a moment. Because of this, we also need to look at median measures of wage growth, not just average measures. And we can look at a median courtesy of the Atlanta Fed Wage Growth tracker as it’s called. Now you see a meaningful divergence between these two measures recently, and that’s because layoffs to date have been disproportionately biased toward higher wage jobs within higher wage industries. So get back to the average thing and the mix shift. What happens when you take a bunch of high numbers out of an average? The average goes down. A median measure is not biased as such. Hence the spread between the two. And we can look at this in a little more detail here. This plots average hourly earnings against payroll growth for each defined sector. And the mixed shift effect is in play. If you look at the information and education slash health services sectors as two examples. Information, as you can see, is the highest paying sector, but job creation was the weakest in April. Conversely, the education/health services sector is in the middle of the pack in terms of hourly earnings, but had the strongest job growth last month.

    Finally, we can move on to the recent release of data from the JOLTS report, that stands for the Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey. Job openings fell from nearly 10 million in February to less than 9.6 million in March. By the way, the data lags other labor market data by a month. That’s why we’re talking about March data and not April. Put another way, the job openings rate fell to 5.8%,keeping its swift move off the peak in places you can see. Now, the rolling over in job openings has been a key supporting factor for those hoping for a soft landing. But that wasn’t the case in March. Given that the layoffs and discharge rate rose sharply. If we continue to see this, it would confirm that the reduction in job openings is consistent with a recession or hard landing, not a soft landing.

    In summary, unemployment claims lead with job openings and layoffs leading those. Payrolls are a coincident indicator, also subject to revisions and adjustment vagaries. And the unemployment rate lags. In keeping with what the Fed wants to see, the labor force participation rate is moving higher, but wage growth may still be a little too hot. Unique in this cycle is the “top down”, as I’ve been calling it, or higher wage nature of layoffs to date. But of course, so many things are unique in this pandemic-afflicted cycle. My final thought is to remind viewers that it’s often the case that better or worse matters more than good. Keep that in mind as you look at economic data to judge just where we are in this unique cycle.

  • Weekly Market Outlook

    Will Charles III’s first act as King be to raise inflation? Will CPI show the Fed’s fight against inflation is far from over? And will there be any signs of a breakthrough on the debt ceiling? I’m Jeff Kleintop with 90 seconds on all this and much more of what you need to know for the week ahead.

    The weekend’s coronation of King Charles III is expected to have cost £100million, but deliver £350 million in extra sales for UK pubs and restaurants. That’s a nice multiplier effect, but it comes when services and food inflation are already high and could add to further inflation pressures.

    On Tuesday, President Biden is scheduled to meet with congressional leaders on the debt ceiling. Treasury Secretary Yellen has said the default could come as soon as June 1st. Also, Tuesday is Victory Day in Russia, commemorating World War II, as a spring offensive by Ukrainian forces appears to be getting under way. A day later, NATO defense chiefs meet in Brussels.

    Finally on Tuesday, China’s inflation data is likely to keep the window open for the People’s Bank of China to add stimulus with a rate cut in coming months. CPI likely rose just 0.3% from a year ago. On Wednesday, falling hard on the heels of the Fed’s meeting last week where they signaled an end to the series of rate hikes, the April CPI release may highlight that the fight against inflation is far from over. In year-over-year terms, CPI inflation is expected to remain at 5%, with core inflation stubbornly elevated at 5.4.

    On Thursday, the Bank of England is set to lift interest rates by 25 basis points to 4.5%. The Central Bank is likely to cite recent surprises in CPI and wage data as justification.

  • Weekly Market Outlook

    From Federal Reserve and European Central Bank interest rate decisions, to the jobs report, and the peak of quarterly earnings reports, I’m Jeff Kleintop with 90 seconds of what you need to know for the week ahead.

    The Fed will announce its latest decision on Wednesday. Nearly everyone expects a one and done 25 basis point hike, taking the upper bound of the funds rate to 5.25% and marking the end of the tightening cycle. But with inflation still running at more than double the Fed’s 2% target, there’s abundant reason for the Fed to leave rates there for a while, despite stress among some banks. And a day later on Thursday, the European Central Bank is also expected to hike by 25 basis points. But the hike probably won’t mark the end of the cycle. Upside surprises in the Eurozone inflation and bank lending data, due two days before the ECB decision, could even bring another 50 basis point hike into play.

    On Friday, both Canada and the US report the April employment numbers. In the U.S., the April jobs data is expected to show a slowdown in the pace of hiring, but not enough to get inflation back to target. Economists anticipate a payroll gain of about 180,000, which is less than the prior month’s 236,000. The unemployment rate seen holding at 3.5%. Now it’s the peak week for earnings reports for the 162 S&P 500 companies expected to report and 156 companies in Europe’s Stoxx 600 index. Overall earnings are coming in better than expected, even more so than in prior quarters.