Dream JOLTS Data

Yesterday was a typical ‘bad news is good news’ day. Risk sentiment in the US and across the globe was boosted by an unexpected dip in US job openings to below 9 mio jobs in July, the lowest levels since more than two years, and an unexpected fall in consumer confidence in August. The weak data pushed the Federal Reserve (Fed) hawks to the sidelines, and bolstered the expectation of a pause in September, and tilted the probabilities in favour of a no hike in November, as well.

Note that the latest JOLTS data printed the ideal picture for the Fed: Job vacancies eased, but hiring was moderate and the layoffs remained near historically low levels. The data also suggested that the era of Great Resignation, where quit rates hit a record, could be over, as people quitting their jobs retreated to levels last seen before the pandemic. The US 2-year yield dived 15bp, the 10-year yield fell 8bp, while the S&P500 jumped nearly 1.50% to above its 50-DMA and closed the session at a spitting distance from the 4500 level. 90% of the S&P stocks gained yesterday; even the Big Pharma which had a first glance at which medicines will be subject to price negotiations with Medicare held their ground. But of course, tech stocks led the rally, with Nasdaq 100 closing the session with more than a 2% jump. Tesla was one of the biggest gainers of the session with a more than a 7.5% jump yesterday.

US and European futures suggest a bullish open amid the US optimism and news of upcoming deposit and mortgage rate cuts from Chinese banks.

On the data front, all eyes are on the US ADP report and the latest GDP update. The ADP report is expected to reveal below 200K new private job additions in August, while the US growth is expected to be revised from 2% to 2.4% for the Q2 with core PCE prices seen down from 4.90% to 3.80%. If the data is in line with expectations, we shall see yesterday’s optimism continue throughout today. Again, what we want is to see – in the order of importance: 1. Slowing price pressure, 2. Looser, but still healthy jobs market, 3. Slowing but not contracting economy to ensure a soft landing. We will see if that’s feasible.

In Europe, however, that slow landing seems harder to achieve. Today, investors will keep an eye on the latest inflation updates from euro-area countries, and business and sentiment surveys. We expect to see some further red flags regarding the health of the European economy due to tighter financial conditions in Europe and the energy crisis. German Chamber of Commerce and Industry warned yesterday that German businesses are cutting investments and move production abroad due to high energy prices at home. The EURUSD flirted with 1.09 yesterday, as investors trimmed their long dollar positions after the weak JOLTS data. The AUDUSD rebounded, even though the latest CPI print showed that inflation in Australia slowed below 5% in July, a 17-month low. In the UK, shop prices fell to a 10-month low. But it won’t be enough for central bankers to cry victory just yet, because the positive pressure in energy prices remains a major concern for the months ahead. The barrel of American crude is pushing toward the $82pn level, with improved trend and momentum dynamics hinting that the bullish development could further extend.

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