Payroll Report Lowers Probability of a Near Term Rate Hike
Market indices finished the week little changed after a weaker than expected report on the labor situation raised concern over the durability of the economic expansion.
June 06, 2016
| By Mike Schwager
Performance for Week Ending 6/3/16:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (Dow) fell 0.37%, the Wilshire 5000 Total Market IndexSM (Wilshire 5000SM) added 0.19%, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500) finished unchanged and the Nasdaq Composite Index (NASDAQ) gained 0.18%. Sector breadth was mixed with 6 of the S&P sector groups finishing higher and 4 finishing lower. The Utility (+2.49%) sector was the best performer while Financials (-1.29%) lagged.
||Closing Price 6/3/2016
||Percentage Change for Week Ending 6/3/2016
||Year-to-Date Percentage Change Through 6/3/2016
*See below for Index Definitions
MARKET OBSERVATIONS: 5/30/16 – 6/3/16
Market indices finished the week little changed after a weaker than expected report on the labor situation raised concern over the durability of the economic expansion. While the report was clearly disappointing it did calm worries that the Fed will hike rates at this month’s FOMC meeting. According to Bloomberg, the probability of a June rate hike fell to 4% from 30% a week earlier.
According to the Labor Department, non-farm payrolls during the month of May rose by just 38K, well short of the 160K expected by economists and the lowest number of jobs added in almost 6 years. In addition, the prior two months’ worth of data were revised lower, now showing the economy added 59K less jobs than originally reported. Average hourly earnings grew by 0.2% during the month and are up 2.5% on a year-over-year basis.
At a speech following the release of the payroll data, Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard said the employment report suggests the labor market has slowed. Brainard also warned against raising rates too quickly and that the resiliency of the economic recovery should not be taken for granted. Over the past several weeks, Fed officials have been “telegraphing” that changes to interest rate policy could occur at any of the upcoming meetings. The weak payroll data may have thrown a monkey wrench into that thinking. This coming Monday, Fed Chair Yellen is scheduled to speak and investors will be looking to see how she characterizes the downshift in the labor market as well as for insight on how she views the near term path of policy. Certainly one data report does not make a trend and therefore the Fed will likely want to evaluate at least a couple more months of employment reports before taking any action. This would suggest that the soonest the Fed would move would be at the September meeting – stay tuned.
Beige Book: The Federal Reserve released its Beige Book report last week. The report—which provides an anecdotal summary of economic conditions compiled by the 12 regional Reserve Banks—seemed to conflict a bit with the negative tone of the monthly employment data. The report showed the U.S. economy expanded at a modest pace across most parts of the country. It also noted that employment expanded, wages grew modestly, and pricing pressure was up slightly in most districts. In other words, tighter employment appears to be leading to rising wages and prices are beginning to follow suit. This progression seems to suggest that the Fed is making progress toward its mandate.
The Week Ahead: The focal point in the coming week will be a speech on Monday by Fed Chair Yellen who will address the World Affairs Council in Philadelphia. Investors will look for Yellen’s thoughts on the employment report and how it may impact the forward rate path. As is typical during the week following the payroll report, the data calendar is relatively light. Reports of note include non-farm productivity, unit labor costs, wholesale inventories, and the University of Michigan sentiment report. Earnings season will remain on the backburner with just 3 members of the S&P 500 scheduled to report results.
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