Marketbites: Job Market Remains Strong
Portfolio Manager Commentary:
Wednesday's trading session was choppy with markets down early in the day on the back of a mixed bag of economic data, but stocks ended up positive overall. The Dow ended the day up 0.4%, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq added 0.8% and 0.7%, respectively.
November’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover, or JOLTS, report showed the job market remained strong, bolstering concerns that the Fed could continue raising interest rates as long as there remained a hot market for workers. But the ISM manufacturing index showed the sector was contracting after 30 months of expansion, which investors saw as a positive indicator that previous rate hikes had the intended impact of cooling the economy.
Looking forward, there is more data on jobs being released today, as well as the trade deficit and business activity. Fed speakers Raphael Bostic and James Bullard are also both slated to speak. On Friday, investors will review data on nonfarm payrolls, the unemployment rate, and hourly wages.
Chart of the Day:
Oil prices are falling, driven by China's messy Covid reopening, dragging Brent crude below $80 a barrel for the first time since Dec. 21. Analysts expect the relaxation of restrictions in China eventually to boost global oil demand by unleashing travel and activity in the world's second-biggest economy. But the early weeks of reopening are proving to be disruptive as the virus rips through the population. "China is not providing any pickup in demand at this point," said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank. "First we need to see the peak of the virus outbreaks."
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