Yesterday afternoon, we presented readers with the latest Jeff Gundlach webcast and presentation, in which the DoubleLine fund manager was surprisingly non-committal in his outlook on the future, predicting no imminent – or even belated – recession and adding there is no risk of a high-yield junk bond “meltdown.”
Among other things, the sanguine Gundlach touched on US policy, saying that with healthcare legislation overhaul derailed, U.S. tax cuts will be “really, really hard to get done.”
He told Reuters following the webcast that repealing and replacing Obamacare “was always going to be hard to get done. But, yes, the first round failure to repeal is a negative omen” later telling Reuters’ Jennifer Ablan that repealing and replacing Obamacare “was always going to be hard to get done. But, yes, the first round failure to repeal is a negative omen.”
Gundlach also remarked on one of Wall Street’s darlings du jour, namely Tesla, which yesterday surpassed GM briefly in market cap, and which he called a “momentum stock.” He told Reuters: “As a car company alone, Tesla is crazy high valuation. As a battery company – one that expands and innovates substantially – maybe the valuation can work.”
Japan’s unemployment rate in February fell to 2.8 percent from the previous month, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said Friday.
Separate data showed the country’s job availability stood at 1.43 in February, unchanged from January, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. The figure, staying at the best level since July 1991, means that 143 positions were available for every 100 job seekers.
The US dollar remained under pressure in Asia following the disappointment that the FOMC did not signal a more aggressive stance, even though its delivered the nearly universally expected 25 bp rate hike. News that the populist-nationalist Freedom Party did worse than expected in the Dutch elections also helped underpin the euro, which rose to nearly $1.0750 from a low close to $1.06 yesterday. European activity has seen the dollar recover a little, but the tone still seems fragile, even though US interest rates have stabilized and the 10-year Treasury yield is back above the 2.50% level.
The US premium over Germany on two-year money peaked a week ago near 2.23. After the US yield fell in response to the Fed’s move, the spread finished near 2.12%, from which it has not moved far. Initial euro support has been found a little above $1.07. The first retracement target of the run-up is a little below there at $1.0690. The other retracement targets are seen near $1.0675 and $1.0655.
Few expected the Wilders in the Netherlands to have a say in the next Dutch government. He drew about 13% of the vote and will hold about 20 seats, which is five more than currently. Prime Minister Rutte’s party appears to have received the most votes and 33 seats, down from 41. The other coalition partners did worse. In particular, the disastrous showing of Labor means that Dijsselbloem, the current finance minister and head of the Eurogroup of finance ministers is unlikely to hold his post. Labor may have less than 10 seats in the new parliament, down from 38. The other coalition partner, Liberals, lost eight seats.
Following Wednesday’s blowout ADP report, which printed some 40K jobs higher than the highest estimate, the only possibility for tomorrow’s nonfarm payroll report, the last major economic data point before the Fed’s March 15th rate hike announcement, is to disappoint, especially in terms of wages (which in light of the recent downward revision of Q1 GDP by the Atlanta Fed to 1.2% is not out of the question). That possibility, however, is slim to none if one looks at Wall Street’s forecasts, where virtually every sellside analyst boosted their NFP estimate in the hours after the ADP number. Still, with the market pricing in a 100% chance of a rate hike, only a very disappointing – think less than 100K – report will derail the Fed from hiking for the second time in three meetings.
Here are some of the more notable forecasts for tomorrow’s number::
Bank of America 185K
Deutsche Bank 200K
Goldman Sachs 215K
Morgan Stanley 250K
Putting it all together, here is what Wall Street expects from the February payrolls report due out at 8:30am ET tomorrow morning:
Change in Nonfarm Payrolls: Exp. 193K (Prey. 227K, Dec. 157K)
According to the document, the deficit-to-GDP ratio is expected to be at the level of 3 percent, while the registered urban unemployment rate will reach 4.5 percent.
The GDP growth in China is expected to amount to 6.5 percent or more in 2017, which has been the worst indicator in the past 26 years.
“The GDP will grow by about 6.5 percent but in practice we will try to achieve better results,” according to the report by China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), published before the opening of the National People’s Congress.
On Saturday, China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) announced that Beijing will increase by around 7 percent this year, as compared to last year’s $146 billion.
According to China’s National Statistics Bureau, the GDP growth declined to 6.7 percent in 2016 from 6.9 percent in 2015, which has been the worst results in the past 26 years.
China’s National People’s Congress gets underway this weekend, and investors will get an update on the health of the US labour market.
Here’s what to watch in the coming days.
Li Keqiang, China’s premier, delivers the country’s proposed economic targets on Sunday at the opening of the fifth session of the 12th National People’s Congress, the country’s top legislature.
While much of the discussion takes place in closed-door meetings, economists are paying attention to the Government Work Report and the 2017 growth target. Jian Chang, economist at Barclays, said their base case is for 6.5 per cent growth. He also expects the government to maintain the budget deficit at 3 per cent and inflation target at 3 per cent.
On the politics front, China-watchers will keep their eyes peeled for clues on who could make it to China’s 25-member Politburo and possibly the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC), following a reshuffle of some senior provincial and central government leaders, particularly with the 19th Party Congress scheduled for this fall.
UK chancellor Philip Hammond will present his first budget on Wednesday, and economists expect it to show a decline in gilt issuance.
“The UK economy has outperformed earlier forecasts, and so there should be a bit more revenue to play with, leading to the first decline in borrowing in 3 years,” strategists at TD Securities said. “But we see a cautious budget with few giveaways as the UK approaches Brexit.”
Following Yellen’s speech which did not throw any curve balls to this week’s sharply revised, hawkish narrative by her FOMC peers, a March rate hike – according to Goldman – appears to be in the books. In a note moments ago by Goldman’s Jan Hatzius, the investment bank said that the bottom line is that “Fed Chair Yellen said today that a rate increase at the March FOMC meeting “would likely be appropriate”, as long as incoming data continue to confirm officials’ outlook. We see this as a strong signal for action at the upcoming meeting, and have raised our subjective odds of a hike to 95%.”
Goldman’s key points:
1. In remarks this afternoon, Fed Chair Yellen indicated a readiness to raise the funds rate at the FOMC’s March 14-15 meeting in fairly explicit language. She said that as long as “employment and inflation are continuing to evolve in line with” officials’ expectations, “a further adjustment of the federal funds rate would likely be appropriate”. As a result, we now see a hike at the March meeting as close to a done deal, and have raised our subjective probability to 95%.
2. The remainder of Chair Yellen’s speech focused on the Fed’s post-crisis monetary policy strategy in general, and did not discuss incoming data in much detail. However, given constructive comments about current economic conditions from many Fed officials this week—including from Vice Chair Fischer at today’s US Monetary Policy Forum—we think committee members will see recent news as consistent with their outlook, and therefore supportive of further tightening. At this stage, the February employment report—to be released next Friday—may have more bearing on the committee’s guidance about action after the March meeting than on its decision whether to hike this month.
The number of Americans applying for first-time unemployment benefits fell to a near 44- year low last week, reinforcing the picture painted by recent economic indicators of continued strength in the US labor market.
US jobless claims fell by 19,000 to 223,000 in the week ending February 25, according to the Labour Department — confounding market expectations for a rise to 245,000.
The figures would represent the lowest level of weekly claims since the week of March 31 1973.
The lack of an uptick in jobless claims further underscores the strength of the US labour market, one of the primary considerations weighed by the Federal Reserve as it readies to raise interest rates perhaps as soon as this month.