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S&P Futures Rebound Above 4,000, Boosted By Surging Nvidia

S&P Futures Rebound Above 4,000, Boosted By Surging Nvidia

US futures rebounded from yesterday’s post FOMC selloff, rising back over 4,000…



S&P Futures Rebound Above 4,000, Boosted By Surging Nvidia

US futures rebounded from yesterday's post FOMC selloff, rising back over 4,000 as concern about aggressive monetary tightening eased and Nvidia soared 10% after giving a bullish revenue outlook. Contracts on the Nasdaq 100 were up 1% as of 7:45 a.m. ET while S&P 500 futures rose 0.4%. The underlying stock gauges closed mixed on Wednesday as minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting signaled its determination to keep hiking interest rates to combat inflation. The tech rally may be short-lived thought: treasuries edged lower again, reversing yesterday’s gains. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index recovered from earlier lows, pressuring most Group-of-10 currencies. Gold was little changed, while oil advanced. Bitcoin rose nearly 2% following two days of losses, before fading some of its gains.

In premarket trading, tech stocks were among the best performers, with chipmaker Nvidia, which has a 4.2% weighting in the Nasdaq 100, surging 10% after it reported Q4 results that beat expectations and gave a bullish revenue outlook for the current quarter. Growth in sales of chips for data centers has helped the company weather a slowdown in the PC market as it gears up for an expected boom in artificial intelligence. By contrast, EV maker Lucid plunged 8.1% in premarket trading after it posted worse-than-expected results in the final months of what it called a “challenging” year. Unity Software dropped 7.3% after the company’s revenue forecasts trailed consensus estimates. Here are some other notable premarket movers:

  • EBay shares fall ~5% in US premarket trading after the online auction and retail company’s 2023 guidance came in weaker than expected, with a more difficult macro picture set to weigh and a “challenging” margin outlook.
  • Enovix shares rise ~gr15% in premarket trading after the electronic-components maker reported revenue for the fourth quarter that beat the average estimate. Analysts note the earnings call reiterated milestones disclosed in January’s presentation and progress on cash.
  • Graphite Bio soars 16% in premarket trading after the biotech company unveiled plans to trim its workforce by 50% while exploring “strategic alternatives.”.
  • Teladoc shares fall ~7% in US premarket trading after the online health services firm guided to a slowdown in revenue growth, which analysts said more than offset an improved margin outlook.
  • Unity Software shares drop as much as 8.9% in premarket trading after the software maker’s first-quarter and full-year revenue forecasts trailed consensus estimates. The guidance was the main point of discussion among analysts, with Citi saying it might weaken sentiment toward the stock.
  • Moderna Inc. shares climb 2.9% in postmarket trading after the personalized mRNA cancer vaccine that it’s developing in combination with Merck & Co.’s flagship immunotherapy, Keytruda, received Breakthrough Therapy Designation from the US Food and Drug Administration.
  • Etsy gained 6% in extended trading, after the online retailer focused on handmade and vintage items reported fourth-quarter results that beat expectations. It also gave an outlook that analysts see as mixed.
  • Rackspace Technology gained 8% in postmarket trading after reporting adjusted earnings per share and revenue for the fourth quarter that beat the average analyst estimates.

Nvidia provided “an excellent report and solid outperformance amid weakening macro trends,” CJ Muse, an analyst at Evercore ISI, wrote in a note. Still, others saw this as merely another modest bounce in an otherwise bearish slump. Further policy tightening “will create some small recessionary result probably in the third or fourth quarter of 2023, but we will still be in a scenario of soft landing,” said Stephane Monier, chief investment officer at Banque Lombard Odier. “In that scenario we expect the S&P 500 to be around 3,900,” he said on Bloomberg TV. “We are currently underweight US equities as we are expecting a little bit of a correction in the weeks to come,” Monier said. “And we have a strong preference for Asian equities, particularly China but not only.”

After months of divergence over the perceived path of monetary tightening, the Fed and markets are increasingly getting aligned in their expectations, reducing the scope for hawkish shocks. While the minutes and comments by Fed officials including James Bullard reiterated a continuing preference for rate hikes, they didn’t say anything that wasn’t factored in by the market’s aggressive repricing of Fed bets in recent weeks. 

“One of our big concerns coming into this year was the market was anticipating an event that wasn’t likely to occur, that being a dovish Fed pivot,” Danielle Poli, co-portfolio manager of the diversified income fund for Oaktree Capital Management, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “The market has woken back up a little bit in these last two weeks.”

US Jobless claims data due Thursday may help shine a light on the strength of the labor market, which has remained stubbornly robust through the rate-hiking cycle. Eurozone inflation data due today will also help investors outline the health of the European economy.

European stocks struggled for direction as investors remained wary of the prospect of additional monetary tightening by the Fed when the latest Fed minutes revealed that a “few” officials favored a larger half-point hike. The Stoxx 600 was up less than 0.1% with autos, tech and media the best performing sectors. The FTSE loses 0.4%. Here are some of the biggest European movers:

  • Rolls-Royce shares soar as much as 20%, the most since November 2020, after the engine manufacturer’s full-year earnings and forecast topped expectations on all metrics
  • Axa climbed 3.8%, the top performing stock on the Stoxx 600 Insurance Index, after the French insurer announced it could buy back up to €1.1 billion worth of shares
  • HeidelbergCement rises as much as 3.1% as analysts say the outlook is positive for the German construction giant, noting diminishing energy cost headwinds from 2022
  • Accor shares rise as much as 2.8%, after the hospitality company reported full-year Ebitda and dividend per share that was ahead of analyst estimates
  • Bouygues shares rise as much as 3.9%, after the French conglomerate posted what Citi analysts described as a “solid” set of numbers, with top line ahead of consensus and margin up
  • Spectris rises as much as 7.6%, the most since April 2022, after the precision-measurement specialist released full- year results which Shore Capital says were a beat
  • Anglo American drops as much as 2.8% after the mining giant revealed a significant writedown at its Woodsmith polyhalite project
  • Munich Re slumped as much as 6.2%, the most since July, as analysts pointed to weaker underlying property and casualty underwriting despite an overall earnings beat for the German reinsurer

Earlier in the session, Asian stocks snapped a two-day decline as traders focused on US economic data due Thursday, while shares in Hong Kong entered correction territory. The MSCI Asia Pacific ex Japan Index rose as much as 0.9%, before paring gains to 0.3% in afternoon trading. South Korean shares were among the biggest advancers in the region as the Bank of Korea paused rate hikes for the first time in a year. Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell into correction amid growing geopolitical concerns and doubts over the strength of China’s economy. Japan was closed for a holiday. The US will release data on economic growth, consumption and employment, providing more clues on the Fed’s policy path.

The MSCI Asia gauge is trading about 6% lower than a peak reached in late January as investors assess higher bond yields and China’s path to recovery. Still, a gauge of tech stocks soared as the US 10-year Treasury yield eased toward 3.9% overnight, although it reversed the decline in the afternoon. Minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting showed that officials continued to anticipate further increases in borrowing costs, although most were in favor of smaller rate increases.  Fed’s Williams Says Fed’s 2% Inflation Goal Key to Taming Prices The FOMC “sounded hawkish at the margin,” Saxo Capital Markets strategists wrote in a note. “While this risk of a recession was noted, data since the meeting including the most recent PMI numbers this week have continued to ease recession concerns.”

Australian stocks declined again, as the S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.4% to close at 7,285.40, extending losses for a third day, dragged by mining shares and banks.  National carrier Qantas was among the day’s laggards after the airline flagged higher-than-expected spending on planes, while Eagers, the top performer, rallied after the Australian auto dealer said demand for new cars remains strong. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.8% to 11,888.50.

Indian stocks ended lower after a volatile session as monthly derivative contracts expired on Thursday. The S&P BSE Sensex fell 0.2% to 59,605.80 in Mumbai, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index declined by a similar measure.  The gauges have now dropped for five straight sessions, the longest run of declines since Sept. 29. The benchmark Sensex has nearly erased its gains for February, while the Nifty has fallen to its lowest levels since Oct. 18. All but two of ten companies controlled by the Adani Group closed lower as concerns linger about the conglomerate’s corporate structure. Expiry of monthly options also weighed on the stocks.   India’s finance ministry on Thursday said that if predictions on the return of El Nino conditions are accurate, that could lead to a deficient monsoon, resulting in lower agricultural output and higher prices. Sixteen of 20 sector sub-gauges compiled by BSE Ltd. declined. Realty firms and utilities were the worst performers, while metal and services sector companies advanced. For the week, all but fast-moving consumer-goods companies have retreated. HDFC Bank contributed the most to the Sensex’s decline on Thursday, decreasing 0.7%. Out of 30 shares in the Sensex index, 13 rose and 17 fell.

In FX, the BBG Dollar Index traded marginally weaker, having come off day’s lows; the New Zealand dollar and Australian dollar are vying for top sport among the G-10’s, while the pound was the worst.

  • The euro edged lower, extending its slump into a fourth day, and touched 1.0587, the lowest since Jan. 6. The German yield curve twist-flattened very modestly. Three-week implied volatility in euro-dollar is up a third day for the first time this month as the tenor now captures the ECB meeting on March 16 and the release of US CPI data two days earlier
  • The pound slumped. Gilts underperformed European peers, with yields rising around 3bps across the curve, as traders added to BOE pricing after policymaker Catherine Mann said more interest-rate rises are needed to clamp down on inflation as she dismissed talk of a looming “pivot” to easier monetary policy
  • The Australian dollar climbed from a seven-week low as dip-buyers emerged and business spending beat estimates

In rates, Treasuries were under pressure as US trading day begins, with yields still inside Wednesday’s ranges. UST yields are higher by as much as 2.4bp in 10-year sector; Wednesday’s ranges included YTD highs for most tenors; the 10Y TSY rose 4bps to 9.449%, near session highs. The week's auction cycle concludes with 7-year note sale at 1 p.m. New York time, last coupon auction until March 8 and poised to draw a record high yield.  WI 7-year yield 4.08%; record high stop was 4.027% in October.  In Europe, gilts underperformed their German counterparts after hawkish remarks from BOE policymaker Mann. UK 10-year yields are up 4bps while the German equivalent is up 2bps.

Traders are now pricing in a Fed peak rate of 5.55% by July, compared with 4.90% they were betting on at the start of year. However, Fed officials haven’t grown more aggressive during this time: Fed Bank of St. Louis President Bullard reiterated his earlier stance, saying “I’m still at 5.375%.” Markets fully price in a 25 basis-point hike in March, but assign a 24% probability for a 50-point hike.

In crypto, bitcoin is firmer on the session having successfully reclaimed the USD 24k mark after losing the figure on Wednesday, though it remains shy of recent USD 25k+ levels.

In commodities, oil gained — after the longest run of losses this year — as traders took stock of a mixed demand outlook of tightening US monetary policy and China’s reopening. WTI rose 0.7% to trade near $74.45. Spot gold is little changed around $1,826.

Looking to the day ahead now, and data releases include the final CPI release from the Euro Area in January, which came in just hotter than the Flash print, as well as the second estimate of US GDP in Q4. Otherwise, we’ll get the US weekly initial jobless claims, and the Kansas City Fed’s manufacturing index for February. Meanwhile from central banks, we’ll hear from the Fed’s Bostic and Daly, the ECB’s de Cos, and the BoE’s Cunliffe and Mann. Finally, today’s earnings releases include Booking Holdings and Moderna.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures up 0.3% to 4,012.25
  • MXAP up 0.1% to 160.54
  • MXAPJ up 0.3% to 523.26
  • Nikkei down 1.3% to 27,104.32
  • Topix down 1.1% to 1,975.25
  • Hang Seng Index down 0.4% to 20,351.35
  • Shanghai Composite down 0.1% to 3,287.48
  • Sensex down 0.3% to 59,551.16
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.4% to 7,285.40
  • Kospi up 0.9% to 2,439.09
  • STOXX Europe 600 little changed at 462.61
  • German 10Y yield little changed at 2.53%
  • Euro down 0.1% to $1.0593
  • Brent Futures up 0.1% to $80.72/bbl
  • Gold spot up 0.0% to $1,826.01
  • U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 104.62

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  1. The global economy is in a better place today than many predicted months ago, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Thursday, while reiterating her calls for support to Ukraine on the eve of the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion. BBG
  2. The EU and the US are close to an agreement on raw materials used in batteries that would allow EU companies access to some of the same benefits in President Joe Biden’s green investment plan as Washington’s free-trade partners, according to the bloc’s trade chief Valdis Dombrovskis. BBG
  3. Sweden’s government budget is likely to be in the red for the first time since the pandemic hit in 2020, as tax income is set to drop and large-scale electricity-price support weighs on finances, according to the National Debt Office. BBG
  4. Hong Kong’s CPI for Jan overshoots the St, coming in at +2.4% Y/Y (vs. the consensus forecast of +2.1% and up from +2% in Dec). BBG  
  5. BABA +4% pre mkt reported solid Q4 upside, including revenue +2% to RMB247.7B (vs. the St RMB245.8B), EBITDA +15% to RMB59.16B (vs. the St $RMB53.5B), and EPS +14% to RMB19.26 (vs. the St 16.57). Revenue upside was driven by the core China Commerce business along with Int’l Commerce and Cainiao Logistics while Local Consumer Services and Cloud Computing fell a bit short. During Q4 the company repurchased 45.4 million ADSs for approximately US$3.3 billion. They still have $21.3B left on the buyback (as of 12/31). BBG
  6. Chinese leader Xi Jinping is preparing to shake up the leadership of the country’s financial system, installing key associates to run the central bank and reviving a Communist Party body to tighten political control over financial affairs, according to people familiar with the discussions. WSJ
  7. Washington is considering releasing intelligence showing that China is considering supplying weapons to Russia as part of a campaign aimed at deterring Beijing from intervening militarily. WSJ
  8. South Korea’s central bank left rates on hold, as expected, joining the Bank of Canada as the second monetary authority to complete its hiking cycle. RTRS
  9. The European Commission has banned its staff from using the TikTok app on their work-issued devices, widening across the Atlantic a patchwork of similar, limited bans affecting U.S. officials. WSJ
  10. Europe’s final CPI for Jan was revised higher on core (from +5.2% to +5.3%) while the headline figure of +8.6% was kept unchanged. BBG
  11. The US oil buildup continued. Inventories bumped up by just under 10 million barrels last week for a ninth weekly increase, the API is said to have reported. That would take total holdings to the highest in 21 months if confirmed by the EIA. More bearish pressures: Brent's prompt timespread narrowed sharply yesterday, signaling a softer market, and the nearest spread for WTI indicates ample supply. BBG
  12. New York Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams on Wednesday said the U.S. central bank is "absolutely" committed to bringing inflation back down to its 2% target over the next few years, by bringing demand down in line with constrained supply. RTRS
  13. After peaking at $47.7 trillion in June, the total value of US homes declined by $2.3 trillion, or 4.9%, in the second half of 2022, according to real estate brokerage Redfin. That’s the largest drop in percentage terms since the 2008 housing crisis, when home values slumped by 5.8% from June to December. BBG

A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk

Asia-Pacific stocks lacked firm direction with price action mostly rangebound amid thinned conditions due to the holiday closure in Japan and following the mixed performance stateside where the major indices faded mild gains in the aftermath of the FOMC minutes. ASX 200 was the laggard with the index weakened by underperformance in the mining industry after recent declines in commodity prices and a slump in Rio Tinto’s profits, although losses were limited as participants also digested better-than-expected capex data. KOSPI was the biggest gainer amid recent currency weakness and after the BoK kept its rate unchanged for the first time in a year, as unanimously expected. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp. were indecisive with stocks initially led higher by strength in tech and after China vowed to improve measures to cut taxes and fees, although the gains were briefly pared amid ongoing global frictions and the PBoC’s liquidity drain.

Top Asian News

  • BoK maintained its base rate at 3.5%, as expected, while it noted uncertainties surrounding the policy decision are high and it deemed it warranted to keep a restrictive policy stance for a considerable time. BoK Governor Rhee said board member Cho Yoon-Je dissented and that the decision should not be taken as indicating the tightening cycle is over. Furthermore, Rhee stated that five members wanted to keep the chance open for the terminal rate to reach 3.75% and that the decision was based on the expectation that inflation will head down from March, while he added that it is time to stop and watch if the inflation trend goes along the expected path.
  • Chinese Commerce Ministry says the consumer market recovery momentum was strong in January, will take more measures to restore and expand consumption.
  • China is to shake up its financial system, according to WSJ; Citic Group Chairman Zhu Hexin is reportedly the leading candidate for PBoC governor, according to sources.
  • PLDT Said to Weigh Data Center Stake Sale After Spending Overrun
  • Janus Henderson Bets Big on Hedge Funds, Alts After Outflows
  • Astra Clinches Deal for China Drug to Boost Cancer Pipeline

European bourses are firmer on the session with a hefty earnings docket dictating action after an uninspiring APAC handover, Euro Stoxx 50 +0.4%. However, the FTSE 100 -0.5% is the exception following pressure from Anglo American and BAE Systems post earnings, though this is offset a touch by marked outperformance in Rolls Royce. Stateside, futures are broadly-speaking in-fitting with Europe though the NQ +0.7% outperforms given tailwinds from NVIDIA's after-market update.

Top European News

  • BoE's Mann says failing to do enough now risks the worst of both worlds – the higher inflation and lower activity – as monetary policy will have to stay tighter for longer. Believe that more tightening is needed, and caution that a pivot is not imminent. In her view preponderance of turning points is not yet in the data. BoE should weigh inflation more highly in our reaction function. Adding, she does not think UK monetary policy is in a restrictive stance particularly.
  • Axa Plans $1.2 Billion Buyback as Underlying Earnings Rise
  • Ukraine Latest: EU Rushes on Sanctions; Russians Still Back War
  • Eni Posts Record Annual Profit on High Oil and Gas Prices
  • Apollo Mulls $750 Million First Boston Leveraged-Finance Bet
  • EssilorLuxottica Falls After Profit Growth Slows in Second Half
  • WPP CEO Says AI Already ‘Fundamental’ to Advertising Giant


  • The DXY continues to grind higher at the top-end of 104.30-65 parameters to the mixed fortune of peers.
  • Antipodeans are the modest outperformers with AUD benefitting from overnight data and NZD revisiting post-RBNZ highs amid commentary from Governor Orr; AUD/USD and NZD/USD printed peaks of 0.6841 and 0.6251 respectively.
  • Despite modest upside following hawkish commentary from BoE's Mann, GBP is the incremental laggard vs USD, though Cable remains comfortably above 1.20 within 1.2015-74 boundaries.
  • Elsewhere, EUR was unreactive to unsurprising upwards revisions to January's EZ HICP while the JPY is little changed ahead of domestic CPI and Ueda's Lower House appearance; pivoting 1.06 and 134.90 respectively.
  • PBoC set USD/CNY mid-point at 6.9028 vs exp. 6.9028 (prev. 6.8759)

Fixed Income

  • Gilts are the incremental laggards post-Mann and down to a new 101.26 session low with the Sonia strip similarly dented; market pricing for a 25bp BoE hike in March is around the 95%, in-fitting with recent sessions.
  • Within the EZ, the hawkish direction remains in-play with Bunds at the lower-end of 133.92 to 134.41 parameters; similarly, USTs are underpressure ahead of 7yr supply and commentary from non-voters Bostic and Daly.


  • WTI and Brent April futures are consolidating following another hefty session of losses on Wednesday which saw both benchmarks settle lower by almost USD 2.50/bbl apiece.
  • Nat Gas futures experienced modest divergence with TTF fairly contained while Henry Hub is firmer as attention turns to potential cold weather state-side ahead.
  • Exxon posted USD 2.5bln after-tax earnings in Kazakhstan and produced 246k bpd there for 2022, while it alerted against potential risks of disruptions of Kazakhstan oil through the CPC pipeline.
  • Spot gold has drifted towards the bottom of its intraday range as the Dollar picked up this morning, with the intraday low just under yesterday’s USD 1,823.56/oz trough


  • Russian Defence Ministry accused Ukraine of planning to stage an 'armed provocation' in the near future against Transnistria, Moldova and noted that it is ready to respond to any changes in the situation, according to a Telegram and RIA news agency.
  • Russian President Putin said Moscow will pay increased attention to bolstering the country's nuclear forces and will start mass deliveries of Zirkon sea-launched hypersonic missiles, according to Reuters.
  • US President Biden said Russian President Putin's suspension of the New START treaty is a big mistake and is not very responsible, while Biden added that he does not read into Russian President Putin's comments that he's thinking of using nuclear weapons and sees no change in Russia's nuclear posture, according to an interview with ABC News.
  • US mulls releasing intelligence on China's potential arms transfer to Russia, according to WSJ.
  • Russian Defense Ministry plane has reportedly crashed near Belgorod, Russia, via AJA Breaking citing Tass.

US Event Calendar

  • 08:30: 4Q GDP Annualized QoQ, est. 2.9%, prior 2.9%
    • 4Q Personal Consumption, est. 1.9%, prior 2.1%
    • 4Q GDP Price Index, est. 3.5%, prior 3.5%
    • 4Q PCE Core QoQ, est. 3.9%, prior 3.9%
  • 08:30: Feb. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 200,000, prior 194,000
    • Feb. Continuing Claims, est. 1.7m, prior 1.7m
  • 08:30: Jan. Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index, est. -0.25, prior -0.49
  • 11:00: Feb. Kansas City Fed Manf. Activity, est. -2, prior -1

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

Although markets have stabilised after Tuesday’s sell-off, the release of the FOMC minutes yesterday still led the S&P 500 (-0.16%) to lose ground for a 4th consecutive session, marking the longest run of declines of 2023 so far. Admittedly, the minutes were always going to feel a bit stale given the strong payrolls and CPI data as well as the upward revisions that have transpired since the meeting, but there were still some insights to be gleaned. In particular, they showed that “almost all” participants favoured downshifting to a 25bp hike, whilst “a few” still wanted a 50bp move. Furthermore, many on the committee “observed that a policy stance that proved to be insufficiently restrictive could halt recent progress in moderating inflationary pressures, leading inflation to remain above the Committee’s 2 percent objective for a longer period, and pose a risk of inflation expectations becoming unanchored.” That follows recent data prints indicating that policy may not yet be fully restrictive. And on financial conditions, the minutes noted that “a number of participants observed that financial conditions had eased in recent months, which some noted could necessitate a tighter stance of monetary policy."

Following the minutes, pricing for the Fed’s terminal rate closed at its highest level of this cycle to date, with futures expecting a rate of 5.37% at the July meeting, ending the day up +0.5bps higher. Overall though, the curve was little changed, with the end-2023 rate for December down by -1.1bps to 5.18% by the close. In turn, that prompted US Treasuries to pare back their earlier gains, with the 10yr yield moving off its lows for the day prior to the minutes to only close down -3.7bps at 3.92%. Those swings were even more evident looking at the 2 year yield, which was down -7.1bps in the early US afternoon before spiking +4.1bps to end the day down -2.9bps at 4.69%.

The perception that the minutes had a hawkish tilt meant that market-based measures of US inflation expectations moved lower in response, having been on a consistent run higher over recent weeks. For instance, at one point yesterday the 2yr inflation breakeven was on track to close above 3% for the first time in over 6 months, before closing -1.9bps lower at 2.97%. Bear in mind it was only on January 18 that it closed at 2.04%, so the last month has seen a serious reappraisal about the likely path of inflation over the next couple of years. That’s been echoed at longer time horizons as well, with the 10yr breakeven on track to close at its highest level since early November yesterday just ahead of the minutes, before falling -4.1bps to 2.60%.

Ahead of the Fed minutes, we heard separately from St Louis Fed President Bullard who said in a CNBC interview that “I’m still at 5.375%” in terms of where he wanted to take rates. That would be 75bps above their current levels, and is roughly in line with where current market pricing is expecting terminal to get to. After the close, we then heard from New York Fed President Williams, who reiterated his previous stance that inflation would return to trend in the next “few years”. He noted that goods prices have come down, but not as quickly as he had hoped. He also echoed the FOMC minutes by emphasising they did not want the “inflation expectations anchor to slip.”

When it comes to the Fed’s hiking cycle, another interesting datapoint came from the Mortgage Bankers Association, whose index of home-purchase applications fell to its lowest level since 1995 in the week ending February 17. That comes as mortgage rates have begun to rise again following their decline at the end of last year, with the MBA’s data for a 30-year contract showing rates have gone up by +44bps in the last two weeks, which is the biggest two-week increase since September.

US equities had fluctuated between moderate gains and losses throughout the day, before moving lower following the FOMC minutes with the S&P 500 down -0.16%. The largest underperformers were mostly made up of cyclicals such as Real Estate (-1.02%), Transportation (-0.99%), and Energy (-0.77%), but also some defensives like Food & Staples (-1.15%). The best performers were led by Autos (+1.34%) due in large part to Tesla (+1.77%), and the NASDAQ (+0.13%) posted a modest gain as well.

Over in Europe, markets had similarly put in a pretty subdued performance ahead of the Fed minutes, with the STOXX 600 down a further -0.33%. That said, this marked a recovery from its earlier lows, when it had been down -1.03% during the European morning before recovering into the afternoon. It was much the same story for bonds, with yields on 10yr bunds as high as 2.57% intraday before closing -0.8bps lower at 2.52%. Those more positive moves came as we had further evidence that the economic situation was improving in Europe with the release of the Ifo Institute’s latest business climate indicator for February. That rose to 91.1 in February (vs 91.2 expected), which marked its 4th consecutive monthly advance and is its highest level since June. The expectations component also hit a 1-year high of 88.5 (vs. 88.4 expected), although the current assessment dipped slightly to 94.1 (vs. 94.9 expected).

Overnight in Asia, it’s a quieter session given the Japanese holiday today, but equity markets have remained subdued as in the US and Europe. For instance, the Hang Seng is up just +0.01% this morning, whilst the Shanghai Comp (-0.11%) and the CSI 300 (-0.11%) have both posted modest declines. The main exception to that pattern has come from the KOSPI (+1.01%), which follows the Bank of Korea’s decision to leave interest rates unchanged for the first time in a year, holding at 3.5%. The BoK’s Governor said that one member wanted a 25bp increase, and also that “I hope the hold this time isn’t going to be seen as meaning the rate-hike stance is over”. In response, the South Korean Won has strengthened by +0.62% against the US Dollar this morning. And looking forward, US equity futures are pointing to a better performance today, with those on the S&P 500 (+0.43%) and the NASDAQ 100 (+0.79%) posting decent gains.

To the day ahead now, and data releases include the final CPI release from the Euro Area in January, as well as the second estimate of US GDP in Q4. Otherwise, we’ll get the US weekly initial jobless claims, and the Kansas City Fed’s manufacturing index for February. Meanwhile from central banks, we’ll hear from the Fed’s Bostic and Daly, the ECB’s de Cos, and the BoE’s Cunliffe and Mann. Finally, today’s earnings releases include Booking Holdings and Moderna.

Tyler Durden Thu, 02/23/2023 - 08:02

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February Employment Situation

By Paul Gomme and Peter Rupert The establishment data from the BLS showed a 275,000 increase in payroll employment for February, outpacing the 230,000…



By Paul Gomme and Peter Rupert

The establishment data from the BLS showed a 275,000 increase in payroll employment for February, outpacing the 230,000 average over the previous 12 months. The payroll data for January and December were revised down by a total of 167,000. The private sector added 223,000 new jobs, the largest gain since May of last year.

Temporary help services employment continues a steep decline after a sharp post-pandemic rise.

Average hours of work increased from 34.2 to 34.3. The increase, along with the 223,000 private employment increase led to a hefty increase in total hours of 5.6% at an annualized rate, also the largest increase since May of last year.

The establishment report, once again, beat “expectations;” the WSJ survey of economists was 198,000. Other than the downward revisions, mentioned above, another bit of negative news was a smallish increase in wage growth, from $34.52 to $34.57.

The household survey shows that the labor force increased 150,000, a drop in employment of 184,000 and an increase in the number of unemployed persons of 334,000. The labor force participation rate held steady at 62.5, the employment to population ratio decreased from 60.2 to 60.1 and the unemployment rate increased from 3.66 to 3.86. Remember that the unemployment rate is the number of unemployed relative to the labor force (the number employed plus the number unemployed). Consequently, the unemployment rate can go up if the number of unemployed rises holding fixed the labor force, or if the labor force shrinks holding the number unemployed unchanged. An increase in the unemployment rate is not necessarily a bad thing: it may reflect a strong labor market drawing “marginally attached” individuals from outside the labor force. Indeed, there was a 96,000 decline in those workers.

Earlier in the week, the BLS announced JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) data for January. There isn’t much to report here as the job openings changed little at 8.9 million, the number of hires and total separations were little changed at 5.7 million and 5.3 million, respectively.

As has been the case for the last couple of years, the number of job openings remains higher than the number of unemployed persons.

Also earlier in the week the BLS announced that productivity increased 3.2% in the 4th quarter with output rising 3.5% and hours of work rising 0.3%.

The bottom line is that the labor market continues its surprisingly (to some) strong performance, once again proving stronger than many had expected. This strength makes it difficult to justify any interest rate cuts soon, particularly given the recent inflation spike.

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Mortgage rates fall as labor market normalizes

Jobless claims show an expanding economy. We will only be in a recession once jobless claims exceed 323,000 on a four-week moving average.



Everyone was waiting to see if this week’s jobs report would send mortgage rates higher, which is what happened last month. Instead, the 10-year yield had a muted response after the headline number beat estimates, but we have negative job revisions from previous months. The Federal Reserve’s fear of wage growth spiraling out of control hasn’t materialized for over two years now and the unemployment rate ticked up to 3.9%. For now, we can say the labor market isn’t tight anymore, but it’s also not breaking.

The key labor data line in this expansion is the weekly jobless claims report. Jobless claims show an expanding economy that has not lost jobs yet. We will only be in a recession once jobless claims exceed 323,000 on a four-week moving average.

From the Fed: In the week ended March 2, initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits were flat, at 217,000. The four-week moving average declined slightly by 750, to 212,250

Below is an explanation of how we got here with the labor market, which all started during COVID-19.

1. I wrote the COVID-19 recovery model on April 7, 2020, and retired it on Dec. 9, 2020. By that time, the upfront recovery phase was done, and I needed to model out when we would get the jobs lost back.

2. Early in the labor market recovery, when we saw weaker job reports, I doubled and tripled down on my assertion that job openings would get to 10 million in this recovery. Job openings rose as high as to 12 million and are currently over 9 million. Even with the massive miss on a job report in May 2021, I didn’t waver.

Currently, the jobs openings, quit percentage and hires data are below pre-COVID-19 levels, which means the labor market isn’t as tight as it once was, and this is why the employment cost index has been slowing data to move along the quits percentage.  


3. I wrote that we should get back all the jobs lost to COVID-19 by September of 2022. At the time this would be a speedy labor market recovery, and it happened on schedule, too

Total employment data

4. This is the key one for right now: If COVID-19 hadn’t happened, we would have between 157 million and 159 million jobs today, which would have been in line with the job growth rate in February 2020. Today, we are at 157,808,000. This is important because job growth should be cooling down now. We are more in line with where the labor market should be when averaging 140K-165K monthly. So for now, the fact that we aren’t trending between 140K-165K means we still have a bit more recovery kick left before we get down to those levels. 

From BLS: Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 275,000 in February, and the unemployment rate increased to 3.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in health care, in government, in food services and drinking places, in social assistance, and in transportation and warehousing.

Here are the jobs that were created and lost in the previous month:


In this jobs report, the unemployment rate for education levels looks like this:

  • Less than a high school diploma: 6.1%
  • High school graduate and no college: 4.2%
  • Some college or associate degree: 3.1%
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher: 2.2%

Today’s report has continued the trend of the labor data beating my expectations, only because I am looking for the jobs data to slow down to a level of 140K-165K, which hasn’t happened yet. I wouldn’t categorize the labor market as being tight anymore because of the quits ratio and the hires data in the job openings report. This also shows itself in the employment cost index as well. These are key data lines for the Fed and the reason we are going to see three rate cuts this year.

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Inside The Most Ridiculous Jobs Report In History: Record 1.2 Million Immigrant Jobs Added In One Month

Inside The Most Ridiculous Jobs Report In History: Record 1.2 Million Immigrant Jobs Added In One Month

Last month we though that the January…



Inside The Most Ridiculous Jobs Report In History: Record 1.2 Million Immigrant Jobs Added In One Month

Last month we though that the January jobs report was the "most ridiculous in recent history" but, boy, were we wrong because this morning the Biden department of goalseeked propaganda (aka BLS) published the February jobs report, and holy crap was that something else. Even Goebbels would blush. 

What happened? Let's take a closer look.

On the surface, it was (almost) another blockbuster jobs report, certainly one which nobody expected, or rather just one bank out of 76 expected. Starting at the top, the BLS reported that in February the US unexpectedly added 275K jobs, with just one research analyst (from Dai-Ichi Research) expecting a higher number.

Some context: after last month's record 4-sigma beat, today's print was "only" 3 sigma higher than estimates. Needless to say, two multiple sigma beats in a row used to only happen in the USSR... and now in the US, apparently.

Before we go any further, a quick note on what last month we said was "the most ridiculous jobs report in recent history": it appears the BLS read our comments and decided to stop beclowing itself. It did that by slashing last month's ridiculous print by over a third, and revising what was originally reported as a massive 353K beat to just 229K,  a 124K revision, which was the biggest one-month negative revision in two years!

Of course, that does not mean that this month's jobs print won't be revised lower: it will be, and not just that month but every other month until the November election because that's the only tool left in the Biden admin's box: pretend the economic and jobs are strong, then revise them sharply lower the next month, something we pointed out first last summer and which has not failed to disappoint once.

To be fair, not every aspect of the jobs report was stellar (after all, the BLS had to give it some vague credibility). Take the unemployment rate, after flatlining between 3.4% and 3.8% for two years - and thus denying expectations from Sahm's Rule that a recession may have already started - in February the unemployment rate unexpectedly jumped to 3.9%, the highest since February 2022 (with Black unemployment spiking by 0.3% to 5.6%, an indicator which the Biden admin will quickly slam as widespread economic racism or something).

And then there were average hourly earnings, which after surging 0.6% MoM in January (since revised to 0.5%) and spooking markets that wage growth is so hot, the Fed will have no choice but to delay cuts, in February the number tumbled to just 0.1%, the lowest in two years...

... for one simple reason: last month's average wage surge had nothing to do with actual wages, and everything to do with the BLS estimate of hours worked (which is the denominator in the average wage calculation) which last month tumbled to just 34.1 (we were led to believe) the lowest since the covid pandemic...

... but has since been revised higher while the February print rose even more, to 34.3, hence why the latest average wage data was once again a product not of wages going up, but of how long Americans worked in any weekly period, in this case higher from 34.1 to 34.3, an increase which has a major impact on the average calculation.

While the above data points were examples of some latent weakness in the latest report, perhaps meant to give it a sheen of veracity, it was everything else in the report that was a problem starting with the BLS's latest choice of seasonal adjustments (after last month's wholesale revision), which have gone from merely laughable to full clownshow, as the following comparison between the monthly change in BLS and ADP payrolls shows. The trend is clear: the Biden admin numbers are now clearly rising even as the impartial ADP (which directly logs employment numbers at the company level and is far more accurate), shows an accelerating slowdown.

But it's more than just the Biden admin hanging its "success" on seasonal adjustments: when one digs deeper inside the jobs report, all sorts of ugly things emerge... such as the growing unprecedented divergence between the Establishment (payrolls) survey and much more accurate Household (actual employment) survey. To wit, while in January the BLS claims 275K payrolls were added, the Household survey found that the number of actually employed workers dropped for the third straight month (and 4 in the past 5), this time by 184K (from 161.152K to 160.968K).

This means that while the Payrolls series hits new all time highs every month since December 2020 (when according to the BLS the US had its last month of payrolls losses), the level of Employment has not budged in the past year. Worse, as shown in the chart below, such a gaping divergence has opened between the two series in the past 4 years, that the number of Employed workers would need to soar by 9 million (!) to catch up to what Payrolls claims is the employment situation.

There's more: shifting from a quantitative to a qualitative assessment, reveals just how ugly the composition of "new jobs" has been. Consider this: the BLS reports that in February 2024, the US had 132.9 million full-time jobs and 27.9 million part-time jobs. Well, that's great... until you look back one year and find that in February 2023 the US had 133.2 million full-time jobs, or more than it does one year later! And yes, all the job growth since then has been in part-time jobs, which have increased by 921K since February 2023 (from 27.020 million to 27.941 million).

Here is a summary of the labor composition in the past year: all the new jobs have been part-time jobs!

But wait there's even more, because now that the primary season is over and we enter the heart of election season and political talking points will be thrown around left and right, especially in the context of the immigration crisis created intentionally by the Biden administration which is hoping to import millions of new Democratic voters (maybe the US can hold the presidential election in Honduras or Guatemala, after all it is their citizens that will be illegally casting the key votes in November), what we find is that in February, the number of native-born workers tumbled again, sliding by a massive 560K to just 129.807 million. Add to this the December data, and we get a near-record 2.4 million plunge in native-born workers in just the past 3 months (only the covid crash was worse)!

The offset? A record 1.2 million foreign-born (read immigrants, both legal and illegal but mostly illegal) workers added in February!

Said otherwise, not only has all job creation in the past 6 years has been exclusively for foreign-born workers...

Source: St Louis Fed FRED Native Born and Foreign Born

... but there has been zero job-creation for native born workers since June 2018!

This is a huge issue - especially at a time of an illegal alien flood at the southwest border...

... and is about to become a huge political scandal, because once the inevitable recession finally hits, there will be millions of furious unemployed Americans demanding a more accurate explanation for what happened - i.e., the illegal immigration floodgates that were opened by the Biden admin.

Which is also why Biden's handlers will do everything in their power to insure there is no official recession before November... and why after the election is over, all economic hell will finally break loose. Until then, however, expect the jobs numbers to get even more ridiculous.

Tyler Durden Fri, 03/08/2024 - 13:30

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