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NFP React: What economic slowdown? Jobs Shocker supports Fed 75bp argument for September, Stocks drop, Oil pares weekly losses, Gold rally ends, Bitcoin equity correlation ends

The July nonfarm payroll report delivered a juicy plot twist in the Wall Street’s Fed pivot playbook.  Stubbornly high inflation and a global economic…

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The July nonfarm payroll report delivered a juicy plot twist in the Wall Street’s Fed pivot playbook.  Stubbornly high inflation and a global economic slowdown was expected to drag down the US economy, but after today’s jobs report that does not seem to be the case. Fed officials were already pushing back on the idea of a Fed pivot and now it seems they will be debating whether they need to be even more aggressive to tackle inflation given how strong the labor market is performing. 

US stocks plunged after a robust employment sent Fed rate hike expectations higher. The stock market was too optimistic in feeling confident the Fed only had a full-point in rate hikes left in them before they would keep rates steady.

NFP

This nonfarm payroll report was a gamechanger for Wall Street.  Robust job growth and accelerated wage gains confirms the US economy is not in a recession and paves the way for continued massive rate increases.  The labor market is still very tight after nonfarm payrolls surged 528,000 in July, more than doubling economists’ expectations.  The unemployment rate ticked lower to 3.5% as the labor participation continues to dip.  Wages continue to rise and that will further fuel inflation worries.  Employment is back to pre-pandemic levels and it looks like it is not going to stop there. 

A September Fed pivot is completely off the table and the risks of a full-point rate hike could grow if the next two inflation reports remain hot. 

FX 

The reaction to a shockingly impressive payroll report was a surge in Treasury yields that bolstered the dollar. King dollar is here to stay as the debate for higher Fed rate increases will likely be supported by the next round of inflation data.  The euro defended parity against the dollar, but it will be hard for that to last as the interest rate differential will continue to widen more to the greenback’s favor and as the global economic slowdown will lead to more safe-haven flows.

Oil

Oil prices are finishing on a strong note after a week filled with global recession fears destroyed the crude demand outlook.  A robust nonfarm payroll is welcome news for the US economy and that is helping oil pare some of this week’s losses. Europe also posted better-than-expected industrial production data from both Germany and France.  Despite all the global economic slowdown worries, the oil market is still tight.

A surging dollar and rising risk that the Fed may need to be more aggressive with the tightening of monetary policy is unnerving some energy traders. With Saudi Arabia and the UAE saving their emergency oil capacity, further downward pressure might be limited.  The oil market remains tight and if today’s bounce off major technical support (200-day SMA) lasts, prices could stabilize above the $90 level.

Gold

Gold’s rally might be over now that Wall Street needs to have a reset with their Fed rate hiking expectations.  The July nonfarm payroll report was a shocker that has sent Treasury yields soaring, which is kryptonite for non-interest-bearing gold.  The next couple of weeks will truly test if gold is a safe-haven again. Bullion traders now have two big questions: How much higher will the Fed take rates? Can gold rally alongside a strengthening dollar? 

The next inflation report will be key for determining if a 75-basis point rate hike will fully be priced in, but if we see a much hotter-than-expected report some might argue for a full-point at the September FOMC meeting. 

Bitcoin

Bitcoin might be ending its correlation with equities.  After a robust nonfarm payroll report, Wall Street sent Treasury yields skyrocketing, which sent stocks sharply lower, but not Bitcoin.  If we were still in a crypto winter, Bitcoin’s typical reaction would have delivered a steeper drop than what happened with US stocks. If Bitcoin can hold onto the $23,000 level, that could be very promising for the medium-term outlook.  Bitcoin has been stabilizing here and could see further bullish momentum on the break of the $25,000 level.   

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Economics

Is housing inventory growth really slowing down?

The problem with new listings declining now is what will happen if mortgage rates make a solid push lower.
The post Is housing inventory growth really…

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One of the most important housing market stories in recent weeks has been the decline in new listings, which has slowed the growth rate of total inventory. What does this mean? Some have said this is evidence of a soft landing for housing since we are in August and it doesn’t look like we are going to even get to the peak inventory levels we saw in 2019 this year, or even breach the lower levels of 2019 on the national data.

From the National Association of Realtors:

What I want to talk about is the concern I’ve had throughout this post-COVID-19 housing market: When will we get total inventory back into a range of 1.52 million to 1.93 million? Once that happens, I can finally take the savagely unhealthy housing market theme  off my talking points.

First let’s take a look at the data.

Redfin:

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Realtor.com:

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Altos Research:

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Clearly, we are seeing a slowdown in new listings as the data has been negative now for months. One thing that I have stressed is that higher mortgage rates can create a slowdown in demand and thus allow more inventory to accumulate through a weakness in demand. After March of this year when rates were rising, this was the case, especially when rates ranged between 5% to 6%. Inventory growth is happening much like we saw in 2014 — the last time total inventory grew — which was also the last time mortgage purchase application data went negative year over year. 

However, inventory accumulation due to weakness in demand is only one of many ways to see inventory increase. If you really want to see inventory grow to 2019, 2016, 2014 or even 2012 levels, you need a healthy amount of new listing growth each year. We aren’t talking forced sellers, foreclosures or even short sellers. With just traditional new listings and with higher rates and time, we should be able to hit peak 2019 inventory levels. 

The problem with new listings declining now is what will happen if mortgage rates make a solid push lower. At that point housing inventory could slow even more, pause, and in some cases fall again due to demand. If mortgage rates peaked at 6.25% or 6.50%, that means that the next big move should be lower and that is a risk to getting balance back into the system.

How low do rates need to go?

Mortgage rates have made a move of 1.25% in recent week and I have talked about how low they need to go to make a material shift in the markets. Looking at the most recent mortgage purchase application data, I haven’t seen anything yet to show that demand is coming back in the meaningful way. In fact the recent data shows that even though we saw a positive 1% move week to week, the year-over-year data is still down 19%.

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So as of now, the growth rate of inventory slowing down is a supply issue more than demand picking up in a meaningful way. This is why if rates do fall, we will have more supply and more choices for borrowers, who in some areas won’t have to get into a bidding war for a home. This is something I will be keeping an eye on for the rest of the year, since I do have all six of my recession red flags up, which historically means that rates and bond yields fall.

Two things that I believe are key for a soft landing are rates falling to get housing back in line and inflation growth falling so the Fed can stop with the rate hikes and start cutting rates if the economic data gets even worse.

Inflation!

The recent inflation data did surprise the downside a bit, sending the bond market rallying, stocks higher and mortgage rates falling.

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However, we are far from calling it a victory as inflation growth rate is still very high and we do have some variables that can create supply shortages, such as war and aggression by other countries. 

For today, people cheered the growth rate of inflation falling as they know this is the biggest driver of the Federal Reserve’s hawkish tone and more aggressive rate hikes. Also, in general, the mood of Americans is much better when gasoline prices are falling and not rising. However, we need much more aggressive monthly prints heading lower for the Fed to be convinced that inflation is no longer a concern. 

All in all, the decline in new listings does warrant a conversation on how much more growth we will see for the rest of the year. Inventory data is very seasonal and traditionally we see inventory start to fall in October as people start getting ready for the holidays and the New Year, and then in the spring and summer inventory pops up again.

I would remind everyone that the growth rate of inventory, working from all-time lows, was aggressive in the last few months, so some context is needed if we do see some weekly declines in inventory during the summer months. For now, this is due to a lack of new sellers rather than demand picking up. If demand starts to pick up due to falling rates, that is an entirely different conversation we will have, but we haven’t crossed that bridge yet. 

Just remember that American homeowners are just in much better shape these days.

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I know the professional grift online since October of 2021 was that a massive wave of millions of people were going to list their homes to sell at any cost to get out before the housing market crashed. 

However, homeowners don’t operate this way. A traditional home seller is a natural homebuyer, buying another property when they sell. They don’t sell their house to be homeless or purposely sell to rent at a higher cost for no good reason. If we get a job loss recession we can have a further discussion of credit risk profiles, but for now, it shouldn’t be too shocking that new listings are declining, except for the fact it’s happening sooner than later in the year.

The post Is housing inventory growth really slowing down? appeared first on HousingWire.

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Economics

US CPI eases substantially to 8.5% but the Fed yet to “hit the brakes”

US consumers received a welcome break from the meteoric rise in prices with the July CPI ‘easing’ more than anticipated to 8.5% Y-o-Y. The figure moderated…

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US consumers received a welcome break from the meteoric rise in prices with the July CPI ‘easing’ more than anticipated to 8.5% Y-o-Y.

The figure moderated from 9.1% in June owing to a fall in surging gasoline prices as the summer driving season came to a close.

Forecasts had suggested that the CPI may only fall to 8.7%.

Prices of key commodities such as corn, wheat and copper also declined by 20.4%, 27.7% and 13.5% compared to 3 months ago at the time of writing.

Buoyed by renewed optimism, the S&P 500 has risen by 2.1% thus far during today’s session.

Yet, the rate of inflation is still far above the Fed’s stated 2% target.

Source: Investing.com

Core CPI which excludes volatile energy and food items from the main basket stayed unchanged at 5.9% Y-o-Y while increasing by 0.3% on a monthly basis, significantly below July expectations of 0.7%.

Pimco economists Tiffany Wilding and Allison Boxer noted that although headline inflation has eased, core CPI has stayed firm, and has even seen an uptick in related data released by the Fed’s regional institutions.

The July reading showed the sharpest Y-o-Y dip since March 2020, when CPI fell from 2.3% in February to 1.5% as the initial lockdowns took effect.

Source: Investing.com

American families continue to battle sky-high prices amid declining real wages. Simon Moore, a contributor at Forbes magazine adds that “price increases for many other areas of the economy still remain concerning for the Fed.”

The broad-based nature of inflation has meant essentials such as food, rent, and health services are continuing to see an uptick despite a lower aggregate number.

For instance, the Bank of America noted that the average monthly rent has risen by 16% for those in the youth demographics.

Source: TradingEconomics.com, US EIA

Jobs market

The substantial dip in the CPI has proved to be a bit of a surprise following the latest jobs report which registered an increase of 528,000 in July, with the unemployment rate falling to a low of 3.5%.

The labour market continues to remain unnaturally tight despite the Fed’s overall hawkishness, two consecutive quarters of GDP contraction, and reports of big-tech lay-offs earlier in the year.

A tighter job market usually implies more competition for talent, higher wages and ultimately more spending. More spending tends to push up consumer inflation necessitating rate hikes.

As of July 2022, the U.S economy has been able to replace the 22 million jobs that were lost amid covid lockdowns, leading to predictions of a “jobful recession.”

Economists argue that this unique situation may be fueled in part by ageing demographics and a sharp decline in immigration during the course of the pandemic.

Productivity data

A key concern for the Federal Reserve is falling labour productivity in the economy. The output per worker reduced for a second consecutive quarter to -4.6% Y-o-Y, having registered a fall of 7.4% in the first three months of the year.

Q1 marked the deepest cut in labour productivity since records began in 1948, 74 years ago. This was reinforced by the weakness in GDP data that contracted in both Q1 and Q2, contrasting with the positive signals from the headline jobs figures.

At the same time, unit labour costs increased 10.8% in Q2, although real wages have contracted 3.5% over the past year.

Can we expect a pause in rate hikes?

Bluford Putnam, Managing Director & Chief Economist, CME Group, wrote “…factors has changed course in the past six to 12 months and is no longer likely to be a source of future inflation”

Elevated goods demand due to the pandemic and ongoing lockdowns have eased markedly; supply chain disruptions will take time to alleviate completely but significant strides have been made in this regard; the gigantic fiscal stimulus injected during the covid crisis has largely run its course; central banks are finally reducing their balance sheets; while policymakers have embarked upon the withdrawal of rock-bottom interest rates.  These are all sources of price rise that have seemingly turned the corner.

In addition, gasoline prices are likely to ease for the foreseeable future, while WTI and Brent have fallen 4.7% and 2.4%, respectively over the past month.

However, Bill Adams of Comerica Bank has been reluctant to call a peak to inflation and expects that the US is at risk of “another energy price shock” over the winter.

The conduct of monetary policy has never been a clear-cut matter. The judgement of monetary authorities is paramount while projecting into the future has always been fraught with known and unknown unknowns. 

The relatively sharp decline in CPI, contracting GDP and tightness in the job market tell a muddled tale.

For the average householder, costs are punitive, and inflation is likely to stay sticky.

However, the New York Fed in its July survey of expectations found that inflation expectations of the ‘general public’ have followed gasoline and broader energy prices lower, with one year ahead expectations falling to 6.2%.

Since inflation expectations are central to the monetary policy equation, once again, we find that supply-side factors not under the control of central banks may have influenced public sentiment and consumer behaviour more so than simply tighter policies.

In light of the likely easing among key inflationary sources, CME’s FedWatch Tool reports that there is a 60.5% probability of a 50 bps hike in September, while there is a 39.5% chance of a third consecutive 75 bps hike.

This is in spite of the fact that Jerome Powell believes that the Fed has been able to achieve the neutral interest rate during its last meeting – a level where the economy is neither constrained into contraction nor incentivized to expand.

Putnam states that “any level of short-term rates that is below a reasonable view of inflation expectations remains accommodative”, resulting in the Fed taking “its foot off the accelerator, but it has not hit the brakes. “  

Moore points out that “Inflation is starting to fall, but still not by as much as the Fed would like and it may be some time before they can declare any sort of victory”

For now, all eyes will be on tomorrow’s Producer Price Index data and the likely passing of the controversial Inflation Reduction Act in the coming days.

The post US CPI eases substantially to 8.5% but the Fed yet to “hit the brakes” appeared first on Invezz.

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Stocks

4 Natural Gas Stocks To Watch Today

Are these the best natural gas stocks to watch today?
The post 4 Natural Gas Stocks To Watch Today appeared first on Stock Market News, Quotes, Charts…

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Check Out These 4 Top Natural Gas Stocks In The Stock Market Today

If you’re looking for an investment in the stock market that will give you exposure to the natural gas industry, then natural gas stocks may be a good option. For the uninitiated, Natural gas is a vital commodity used in a variety of industries, including power generation, heating, and manufacturing. And as the world moves to cleaner energy sources, demand for natural gas is expected to grow.

Despite the downturn in the economy, natural gas stocks have held their value quite well in recent years. This is evident with natural gas stocks such as Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS.A) and Antero Resources Corporation (NYSE: AR). Both companies have seen their share price increase year-to-date by 19.07% and 113.76%, respectively. While the natural gas industry is not immune to market fluctuations, it has proven to be relatively stable in turbulent times. Moreover, natural gas is a increasingly popular energy source, due in part to its relatively low emissions. As more and more countries commit to reducing their carbon footprint, demand for natural gas is expected to rise. For these reasons, I’m not surprised investors are turning their attention to natural gas stocks in the stock market today.

Natural Gas Stocks To Watch Today

Occidental Petroleum (OXY Stock)

Occidental Petroleum (OXY) is an international energy company that has majority of its assets throughout the U.S., Middle East, and North Africa. The company is one of the largest oil producers in the U.S., as well as a leading producer in the Permian and DJ basins, and the offshore Gulf of Mexico. Its midstream and marketing segment provides flow assurance and maximizes the value of its oil and gas products. Also, Occidental Petroleum has its Oxy Low Carbon Ventures subsidiary that is advancing leading-edge technologies and business solutions that economically grow its business.

Just this month, OXY reported a beat for its 2nd quarter 2022 results. Diving in, the company reported earnings of $3.16 per share on revenue of $10.7 billion. Wall street’s conensus earnings estimate was $2.93 per share on revenue of $9.8 billion. This reflects an increase in revenue of 78.6% year-over-year. Since releasing these results, OXY stock has jumped over 5% and is currently trading on Wednesday afternoon at $63.25 per share.

Oxy completed another quarter with strong operational and financial performance across all of our businesses. We generated $4.2 billion of free cash flow before working capital in the second quarter, our highest quarterly free cash flow to date. We also achieved a significant milestone as we surpassed our near-term debt reduction goal and activated our share repurchase program,” commented President and Chief Executive Officer Vicki Hollub. All in all, is OXY on your list of stocks to watch today?

OXY stock
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

[Read More] What Are The Best Stocks To Invest In? 4 Lithium Stocks To Know

ConocoPhillips 

Following that, let’s take a look a independent exploration and production company, ConocoPhillips (COP). In brief, ConocoPhilips explores, produces, and markets crude oil, bitumen, natural gas, liquefied natural gas, and natural gas liquids. With operations in 14 countries around the world, while boasting $87 billion worth of total assets, I could see why investors may be add COP stock to your radar in the stock market today. In August, ConocoPhillips reported a miss for its second quarter 2022 results.

In detail, the company posted earnings of $3.91 per share on revenue of $22.0 billion. Analysts consensus earnings expectations were $3.78 per share on revenue of $17.2 billion. Next, the company notched a 115.3% increase in revenue on a year-over-year basis. As well as announcing a $5 billion increase in estaimted 2022 return on capital to its shareholders, brining it to a total of $15 billion. Over the last five trading days shares of COP stock are up 3.75% and it’s currently trading at $96.09 a share on Wednesday afternoon.

The second quarter delivered strong financial results and presented outstanding opportunities to accelerate progress on our Triple Mandate to reliably and responsibly deliver oil and gas production to meet energy transition pathway demand, deliver competitive returns on and of capital for our shareholders, and achieve our net-zero operational emissions ambition,” quoted chairman & CEO Ryan Lance. All being said, is now the time to add COP stock to your radar?

COP stock chart
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

Chevron 

Next, let’s check out Chevron (CVX). Chevron is another natural gas company to watch in the stock market today. The company focuses in producing a broad range of offerings. This ranges from the production of crude oil and natural gas to the manufacturing of transportation fuels and petrochemicals. Separate from that, Chevron also develops additives alongside industry-relevant tech solutions. For a sense of scale, they currently have operations in over 180 countries across the globe.

In July, the company reported a beat on its 2nd quarter 2022 results. In the earnings report, Chevron reported a year-over-year revenue increase of 82.9%. Furthermore, the company posted an earnings per share of $5.82 on revenue of $68.8 billion. As a whole, wall street estimates for this quarter were $5.02 per share on revenue of $55.1 billion. “Second quarter financial performance improved as we delivered a return on capital employed of 26 percent,” commented Mike Wirth, Chevron’s chairman and chief executive officer. As a result, shares of CVX have gained 10% in the last month of trading action and is currently trading at $155.77 during Wednesday’s lunchtime session.

CVX stock chart
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

[Read More] Stock Market Today: Dow Jones, S&P 500 Rally On Less-Than-Expected Inflation Report

ExxonMobil

Last but not least, let’s look at ExxonMobil (XOM). As most would know, ExxonMobil is among the largest players in the global energy and petrochemical market today. Through its broad portfolio, ExxonMobil serves the energy needs of the world. Among ExxonMobil’s core divisions would include its Upstream, Product Solutions, and Low Carbon Solutions. Through this, the company produces energy, chemicals, lubricants, and low-emission tech. 

At the end of last month, XOM announced a better-than-expected second quarter 2022 results. Specifically, the company announced a earnings of $4.14 per share on revenue of $115.7 billion. This was better than the consensus estimates of earnings per share of $3.80 and revenue of $120.2 billion. Also, Exxon notched in a 70.8% year-over-year jump in revenue for the quarter. “Earnings and cash flow benefited from increased production, higher realizations, and tight cost control,” commented chairman and CEO Darren Woods. “Strong second-quarter results reflect our focus on the fundamentals and the investments we put in motion several years ago and sustained through the depths of the pandemic.” On Wednesday afternoon, shares of XOM stock are trading at $91.40. Given all this, do you think XOM stock is a buy now?

XOM stock chart
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

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The post 4 Natural Gas Stocks To Watch Today appeared first on Stock Market News, Quotes, Charts and Financial Information | StockMarket.com.

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