US jobless claims data beats expectations – but Wall Street struggles

Equities

Global stock markets are struggling around or below opening levels today despite an improvement in US jobless data.

The Dow has crept higher, while the Nasdaq has eked out a new intraday high before trimming gains. The S&P 500, which is now under 2% away from February’s all-time high, is trading marginally lower.

Jobless claims drop, but the overall picture remains bleak

Markets are little cheered by the latest labour market data, with investors instead awaiting any news of progress as lawmakers continue to argue over a new stimulus bill. The proximity of tomorrow’s nonfarm payrolls report is also keeping markets soft.

This is despite initial weekly jobless claims printing at 1.186 million – well below the 1.415 million expected by analysts and also the lowest reading since the pandemic sent claims jumping by nearly 7 million at the end of March.

Continuing claims – which counts those claiming benefits for two or more consecutive weeks – have dropped from 16.95 million to 16.10 million, again below forecasts.

While this points to improving labour market conditions, the bigger picture remains bleak. This is the 20th straight week that the US has registered more than a million new weekly claims. 31 million Americans remain unemployed.

The figures have further complicated the outlook for the labour market, which had been showing signs of weakening again. Yesterday’s ADP private payrolls report showed jobs growth of just 167,000 compared to expectations of over 1 million.

Nonfarm payrolls in focus – is the jobs recovery under threat?

The latest numbers will put tomorrow’s nonfarm payrolls report under even greater scrutiny, as markets look for more clarity over the direction of the labour market.

Economists expect payrolls grew by 1.6 million, which represents a sharp slowdown in jobs gains after payrolls jumped 2.7 million in May and 4.8 million in June. However, payrolls returned to growth more quickly than expected.

President Donald Trump has promised “big jobs numbers are coming on Friday”.

Stocks steady as pubs prepare to reopen

Morning Note

European stocks were steady near the flatline on a quiet Friday session with the US market closed for the Independence Day holiday. Stocks rallied in the prior session after a bumper US jobs report showed 4.8m jobs were created in June.

Despite this, as detailed yesterday, the unemployment rate remains very high at more than 11%, the more up-to-date weekly initial and continuing claims numbers are not improving quickly enough, and the recent spike in cases means several states are re-imposing lockdown restrictions, which will hamper jobs growth in July.

Risk assets gained more support as the Chinese services PMI rose to a 10-year high at 58.4 – the usual caveats about diffusion indices apply, as to the usual caveats about any data out of China, but it’s solidly encouraging for markets.  Australian retail sales bounced back almost 17%. The number of cases in the US continue to surge – more than 55k in a single day the latest total, with the governor of Texas now mandating the wearing of facemasks.

Major indices continue to track around the middle of the June range, though thanks to a decent run this week are now moving towards the upper end of the range having tapped the lower end last week. The S&P 500 cleared the 61.8% retracement yesterday but closed well off its highs, while the Dow is struggling to hold the 50% level.

In Europe the FTSE 100 is holding above the 50% level, while the DAX is facing resistance today at the 78.6% level. After a strong week and with the US shut, it might be a quiet session today. Scratch that – with pubs about to reopen and with every trader planning their weekend engagements, it will be a very quiet one in London.

UK government eases quarantine rules for travellers

Anyone arriving in England from a number of countries including Spain, France, Germany and Italy won’t need to self-isolate from July 10th, whilst the government is also easing international travel restrictions. A full list of countries that people can arrive from without self-quarantining will be published today.

Relaxing the draconian quarantine rules and allowing more ‘non-essential’ travel should come as a shot in the arm for many beaten up travel & leisure stocks, but there’s a long way to go to restore confidence and get people travelling as much as they did last year. It will take years to get air passenger numbers back to 2019 levels.

Pub and restaurant stocks have taken a beating during the pandemic, but investors may be able to raise a glass come Saturday as the various inns and hostelries reopen because share prices have recovered remarkably well. Marston’s has risen threefold from its March low, while JD Wetherspoon and Mitchells & Butlers have both more than doubled in that time. Mine’s a quadruple whisky.

Oil (WTI-Aug) drifted higher to the top of the Jun 8th peak around $40.70 where it’s pulled back to the $40 round number. The move higher has been steadily losing momentum and failure at the $40.70 area suggests perhaps the progression of the double top into a head and shoulders reversal pattern.

GBPUSD hits resistance, EURUSD bullish flag nears completion

In FX, the pound’s bounce ran out of steam and the euro has come back to its anchor. GBPUSD rallied strongly out of the channel but hit resistance at 1.2520 and has consolidated in a very narrow range around 1.2470. As markets opened in Europe the pair slipped this range and started a move lower – it could retrace towards the round number support at 1.24.

Meanwhile EURUSD has come back to 1.1230, the anchor point for the whole of June. This is the 23.6% retracement of the 2014-2016 top-to-bottom rout. As the bullish flag pattern nears completion, we should expect a breakout soon – the swing highs around 1.14-1.15 offering the main resistance.

Stocks go up, cases go up, US jobs harder to call

Morning Note

European equities followed the US and Asia higher on hopes for a vaccine and a strong US jobs report, whilst shrugging off soaring numbers of new cases in the world’s largest economy.

US cases of Covid-19 continue to surge, rising more than 50,000 in a single day for the first time. Florida’s new case count rose 4.3%, vs the previous 7-day average of 5.7%, so indications perhaps that the rate of new cases may be coming down there. But California, Texas and Arizona recorded their largest one-day rise in cases.

Meanwhile, Tokyo also reported its highest number of cases in two months. Whilst the rise in cases is slowing the reopening of many states, some may argue that the US is simply heading for herd immunity a lot faster than anywhere else; in the long run this may help, not hinder, the country’s ability to get back to normal social and economic functioning.

Investors largely are shrugging off higher cases though as Pfizer reported positive results from a vaccine trial. But we have been here before – it’s too early to get too excited – but a working vaccine is the holy grail as it would allow real normality to return to the economy.

The S&P 500 rallied 0.5% to move to the 61.8% retracement, whilst the Nasdaq Composite set a new record high. The Dow finished a little lower. Shares in Asia took the cue to rally, whilst European bourses have opened with strength on Thursday morning. Lots of noise around but equity markets are not showing any real trend – major indices are still sitting around the middle of the June ranges.

Nonfarm payrolls tough to call

The ADP jobs report showed private employers in the US created 2.4m jobs in June, while the figure for May was completely revised to show a gain of 3m gained versus a previous estimate of 2.76m lost. Nonfarm payrolls today are again especially hard to call given the crisis. For May the consensus was for 8m jobs to be lost, but instead 2.5m were added.

For June the consensus is for 3m+ to be created. But the exceptionally wide range of forecasts suggests no true consensus – as I’ve mentioned a few times here the data is particularly difficult and noisy right now. Even if we get 5.5m created over the last two months, it still leaves 15m or so from the 20.5m lost in April unemployed, so recovery to the status quo ante remains a long way off.

Fed minutes indicated policymakers are keen to offer more detailed forward guidance about the path of interest rates but seemed less ready to go for yield curve control – a policy it last pursued during the second world war and one that the Bank of Japan is currently practising with limited success in achieving its goals.

Which leads us on nicely to the theme of Japanification, which is a thread which we like to explore from time to time. It can be summed up long-term economic malaise, deflation and a reliance on ever-larger monetary easing and low bond yields to prop up growth. Usually it’s Europe that seems to be tarred with this particular brush, but lately there are murmurings that the UK is heading down the same path.

For the first time, 30-year gilt yields fell below their Japanese counterparts this week. This is anomalous for a couple of reasons. First, the fact that gilt yields across the curve are at or near record lows highlights that investors haven’t blinked at the super-high issuance by the government to fund its response to the pandemic – the Bank of England’s asset purchase programme is doing its job. Two, the yield on Japan’s long bonds went up because the Bank of Japan said it would increase purchases of debt up to 10 years in maturity but keep buying of longer-dated maturities unchanged. This pushed up the yield curve, a fine example of yield curve control in action.

Whilst the crisis is disinflationary at present, the vast increase in the supply of money, which unlike the post-2008 QE is not going to end up sloshing around the banks but be put to work directly in the economy, means it may be too soon to call Britain the next Japan, whatever the chart vigilantes tell us.

Gold eases back from multi-year high, crude oil soft on rising gasoline stocks

Gold pulled back off its recent multi-year high in a sharp corrective move but has found support around $1765. Yesterday I said fading momentum on the CCI with a bearish divergence to the price action suggested a near-term pullback may be required – this came a little swifter than expected and we may see further weakness as a bearish flag formation may call for another leg lower to $1750.

Crude oil stocks declined by 7.2m barrels vs an expected drop of about 1m, driven by lower imports due to an expected drop from Saudi Arabia. Price action was weaker on the news though as gasoline stocks rose 1.2m barrels vs an expected decline of 1.6m. WTI (Aug) initially eased back but has recovered a little to sit on $40. Again, as mentioned previously, the estimates on WTI stocks right now are also way off the mark.

In FX, GBPUSD broke out as the dollar was offered across the board. The double tap on 1.2250 produced a strong bounce that carried forward to see the downtrend broken as it broke out of the channel resistance and cleared the 50-day simple moving average. Bulls will need to see the last swing high around 1.2540 cleared to reassert an uptrend. Brexit headline risk remains a big hurdle to getting real momentum behind a rally for cable, but if there is a breakthrough the upside could run very quickly. EURUSD pushed up on dollar weakness with bulls needing to take out the Jun 29th high at 1.12877.

Candlestick price chart showing the pound to dollar FX pair

Week Ahead: FOMC minutes and NFP dominate the calendar

Week Ahead

While Chinese PMIs will be in focus at the start of the week, the US economic calendar will dominate over the next few days, with the latest ISM Manufacturing PMI, FOMC meeting minutes, and the June nonfarm payrolls report all on the way.

China PMIs 

It’s time for the latest China PMIs – as these are the first of the month’s global PMI data they are the first chance markets have to see how things are shaping up. 

China’s recovery may be in jeopardy now thanks to new Covid-19 outbreaks, but the latest PMIs will nonetheless serve as something of a blueprint for how other nations might fare, as they too look past battling the virus and begin focussing more on getting their economies up and running again. 

Germany, Eurozone inflation 

Consumer prices shrank -0.1% across the Eurozone during May, although this is hardly a shock. Inflation data this week could show further declines, which is to be expected given the huge collapse in demand, surging unemployment, and the stimulus being pumped out by the European Central Bank. Last week Fitch predicted that core Eurozone inflation will decelerate throughout the next 18 months and end 2021 below 0.5%. 

A sustained period of deflation will be bad for the economy, but in the short term these readings are expected and so the market impact of CPI data has been somewhat lessened of late. 

Germany retail sales 

Consumer activity has rebounded sharply in the US and UK since restrictions were eased – can Germany follow suit? US retail sales jumped 17.7% in May, beating market expectations of an 8% rise, while UK sales were up 12% against the 5.7% forecast. 

German retail sales dropped -5.3% in April, but this was far better than the -12% fall expected by analysts, with a surge in online sales helping soften the rate of collapse. Sales are expected to have climbed 2.5% in May as physical retailers began to reopen, but as with the US and UK data we could see a much bigger reading. 

US ISM manufacturing 

US manufacturing is struggling to recover from the shock of the pandemic. May’s ISM PMI ticked higher after the lowest reading in more than a decade in April, but missed market expectations by half a point. A sharper rebound is forecast for June, but the manufacturing PMI released by IHS Markit last week disappointed expectations by remaining in contraction territory, even as the Eurozone and UK readings returned to growth. 

FOMC meeting minutes 

The FOMC dealt markets a blow as a result of its last meeting, releasing worse-than-expected economic projections that did much to kill the idea that the US would enjoy a V-shaped recovery. Policymakers noted that interest rates would stay near zero until at least 2022 and that the rate of asset purchases would increase over the coming months. 

Minutes of the meeting will give more details, with markets particularly interested in any mentions of yield curve control (YCC), which is likely to be the next policy tool deployed by the Fed to keep a lid on rates. The time of this move is still uncertain, but the minutes may provide some clues. 

US nonfarm payrolls report 

It’s the US Independence Day bank holiday on Friday, due to July 4th falling on Saturday this year. This means the June nonfarm payrolls report is due out on Thursday. 

Last month’s data stunned with a 2.5 million increase in employment against forecasts of an -8 million drop, indicating that the US economy may be recovering faster than previously thought. 

Recently weekly jobless claims figures have disappointed, however – although the numbers have continued to fall, the decline in new claims has been softer than expected. Is this pointing to a more permanent scarring of the labour market, and if so do we need to reign in expectations that the NFP can continue to deliver such strong numbers? You can get instant reaction to the data and analysis of the market response with our free NFP Live webinar – register free today. 

Highlights on XRay this Week 

Read the full schedule of financial market analysis and training.

07.15 UTC Daily European Morning Call
From 15.30 UTC 30-Jun Weekly Gold, Silver, and Oil Forecasts
17.00 UTC 01-Jul Blonde Markets
19.00 UTC 01-Jul Introduction to Currency Trading: Is it For Me?
12.25 UTC 02-Jul

US Nonfarm Payrolls: Live Market Analysis

 

Key Events this Week

Watch out for the biggest events on the economic calendar this week:

12.00 UTC 29-Jun German Preliminary Inflation
23.30 UTC 29-Jun Japan Unemployment / Industrial Production
After-Market 29-Jun Micron Technology – Q3 2020
01.00 UTC 30-Jun China Manufacturing, Non-Manufacturing PMIs
06.00 UTC 30-Jun UK Finalised Quarterly GDP
30-Jun easyJet – Q2 2020
09.00 UTC 30-Jun Eurozone Flash CPI
12.30 UTC 30-Jun Canada Monthly GDP
14.00 UTC 30-Jun US CB Consumer Confidence
After-Market 30-Jun FedEx Corp – Q4 2020
01.45 UTC 01-Jul Caixin Manufacturing PMI
06.00 UTC 01-Jul Germany Retail Sales
Pre-Market 01-Jul General Mills – Q4 2020
Pre-Market 01-Jul Constellation Brands – Q1 2021
12.15 UTC 01-Jul US ADP Nonfarm Payrolls Report
14.00 UTC 01-Jul ISM Manufacturing PMI
14.30 UTC 01-Jul US EIA Crude Oil Inventories
18.00 UTC 01-Jul FOMC Meeting Minutes
01.30 UTC 02-Jul Australia Trade Balance
12.30 UTC 02-Jul US Nonfarm Payrolls (Friday is US Bank Holiday)
01.30 UTC 03-Jul Australia Retail Sales
All Day 03-Jul US Bank Holiday – Markets Closed

Week Ahead: Central banks on tap, NFP faces massive Covid hit

Week Ahead

The economic calendar is packed full of top-tier releases this week, starting with manufacturing PMIs from China and the US. The RBA, BOC, and ECB all announce their latest policy decisions – and, in the case of the ECB, potentially ruffle a few more feathers in Germany. And, of course, we have the latest US nonfarm payrolls report to round off the week. 

China Caixin Manufacturing PMI – does the headline reflect the story?

China’s Caixin Manufacturing PMI slipped back into negative territory in April, missing market expectations of another print just above the 50 mark. A look at the sub-indexes painted a rather more messy picture than the headline number. 

New orders slumped for a third month and export orders dropped the most since December 2008. Order backlogs rose, while supplier delivery times improved and input costs fell on the collapsing oil prices, pushing the headline number higher. 

May’s reading is expected to hold just below 50 – but once again, the vastly different performance of those sub-indexes is likely where the true story will lie. It looks like Chinese industry has a lot further to go yet before growth returns properly. 

US ISM PMIs to stabilise

US manufacturing collapsed last month, with the index diving to 41.5 from 49.1 in March. Despite being the worst drop since April 2009, the reading was still better than market expectations of 36.9, although this was because of a surge in supplier delivery times. While usually a sign of a strong economy, deliveries were held up by supply shortages due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Things are expected to have stabilised in May, but getting back into growth territory (a reading above 50) could take a while; Oxford Economics doesn’t expect output losses to be recouped until 2021. 

The decline in non-manufacturing is expected to moderate slightly, with the index forecast to tick higher to 44.2 from 41.8. 

RBA, BOC, ECB interest rate decisions

The Reserve Bank of Australia is the first of three central banks to hold monetary policy meetings this week. Rates are already at a record low 0.25%, which is effectively zero, and the board has no appetite for taking them negative. 

ASX 30 Day Interbank Cash Rate Futures for June show markets are pricing in nearly 50-50 odds of a cut to zero, but many analysts think the RBA has done all it will do, and that rates will remain unchanged for two or three years. 

This week’s Bank of Canada rate announcement coincides with the start of Tiff Macklem’s tenure as governor. Senior deputy governor Carolyn Wilkins said recently that the BOC could look at adjusting its asset purchasing programme with the aim of stimulating the economy, rather than just enhancing the liquidity of financial markets, although policymakers may not be ready for such a move just yet.  

The European Central Bank is expected to leave rates unchanged, although the pandemic emergency purchase programme (PEPP) is likely to be extended and expanded. Christine Lagarde will face questions about Germany’s ruling on the ECB’s quantitative easing programme during the post-meeting presser. Read our full preview on the ECB monetary policy meeting here.

Last week Isabel Schnabel, a member of the ECB board who joined in January, shrugged off the ruling, suggesting it was for the Bundesbank and Germany’s government to resolve the issue. 

“I’m sure there is going to be communication between the Bundesbank and the German parliament and the German government, and one will have to find a solution,” Schnabel told the Financial Times last week. “If the ECB can be constructive in supporting that process, we will of course do so.” 

Australia quarterly GDP: the end of three decades of growth

First-quarter economic data is expected to show that the Australian economy contracted -0.8% on the quarter and -1.2% on the year. Australia is expected to fall into recession for the first time in three decades this year, with GDP dropping -10%. 

Last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison outlined the government’s plans to help revive the economy, but he also warned that any recovery was likely to take between three and five years. 

Eurozone retail sales and Germany factory orders

The collapse in Eurozone retail sales is expected to have worsened at the start of Q2. Analysts are forecasting a month-on-month decline of -18.6% during April, after a -11.2% drop in March. Year-on-year sales are predicted to have cratered -24%. 

Germany’s April factory orders data will likely reveal some similarly painful numbers. Orders fell -15.6% in March and economists are expecting a -21.3% drop when the April data is published on Friday.  

US NFP – jobless rate to hit 20%?

After tanking -20.5 million last month in the worst drop on record, this week’s US nonfarm payrolls report is expected to show another decline in employment of up to -5 million. The jobless rate, which leapt to nearly 15% in April, is likely to print just shy of 20%. Economists expect unemployment will peak around 25%, although Goldman Sachs analysts have suggested it could climb higher. 

Join Markets.com chief market analyst Neil Wilson for live analysis of the market reaction to the US nonfarm payrolls report with our free webinar.

Heads-Up on Earnings 

The following companies are set to publish their quarterly earnings reports this week:

After-Market 02-Jun Zoom Video Communications – Q1 2021
Pre-Market 03-Jun Campbell Soup – Q3 2020
After-Market 04-Jun Broadcom – Q2 2020
After-Market 04-Jun Slack – Q1 2021
05-Jun Toshiba Corp – Q4 2019

Highlights on XRay this Week 

Read the full schedule of financial market analysis and training.

07.15 UTC Daily European Morning Call
From 15.30 UTC 02-June Gold, Silver, and Oil Weekly Forecasts
12.50 UTC 03-June Asset of the Day: Indices Insights
19.30 UTC 04-June Daily FX Recap and Looking Forward
10.00 UTC 05-June Supply & Demand – Approach to Trading

Key Economic Events

Watch out for the biggest events on the economic calendar this week:

01.45 UTC 01-Jun China Caixin Manufacturing PMI
14.00 UTC 01-Jun US ISM Manufacturing PMI
01.30 UTC 02-Jun Australia Company Operating Profits (Q/Q)
05.30 UTC 02-Jun RBA Interest Rate Decision
07.15 – 08.00 UTC 02-Jun Eurozone Member State Finalised Manufacturing PMIs
08.30 UTC 02-Jun UK Finalised Manufacturing PMI
01.30 UTC 03-Jun Australia GDP (Q/Q)
01.45 UTC 03-Jun China Caixin Services PMI
07.15 – 08.00 UTC 03-Jun Eurozone Member State Finalised Services PMIs
08.30 UTC 03-Jun UK Finalised Services PMI
14.00 UTC 03-Jun Bank of Canada Interest Rate Decision
14.00 UTC 03-Jun US ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI
14.30 UTC 03-Jun US EIA Crude Oil Inventories
01.30 UTC 04-Jun Australia Retail Sales / Trade Balance
09.00 UTC 04-Jun Eurozone Retail Sales
11.45 UTC 04-Jun ECB Interest Rate Decision
12.30 UTC 04-Jun ECB Press Conference
14.30 UTC 04-Jun US EIA Natural Gas Storage
06.00 UTC 05-Jun Germany Factory Orders
12.30 UTC 05-Jun US Nonfarm Payrolls

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