Halyard’s Weekly Wrap – 12/17/21

As expected, Chairman Powell turned “tough” at the post-Open Market Committee meeting this week and announced the accelerated wind-down of the Fed open market purchases.  Moreover, the so-called “dot plot”, the committee’s forecast for interest rates, is projecting three rate hikes in 2022 and three more in 2023.  We would have preferred to hear that message last January, but Powell failed to take action despite the rise of inflation and accelerating economy.

Halyard’s Weekly Wrap – 12/10/21

Treasury yields drifted higher and stocks closed at or near record highs in somewhat muted trading this week.  The price action was a little surprising given the outsized economic data reported.  The least watched, but one of our favored measures, the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey  (JOLTS), counted 11,033,000 available and unfilled jobs in the economy.  That was only the second instance that JOLTS topped more than 11 million.  The second economic surprise was initial jobless claims for unemployment insurance which counted 184,000 applicants for the week ended December 4th.

Halyard’s Weekly Wrap – 12/03/21

Trading this week was dominated by Chairman Powell’s sudden hawkishness and the November jobs report.  The headline nonfarm payrolls came in well below expectation, registering 210,000 new jobs versus consensus expectation of 531,000.  That statistic is based on a survey of businesses.  The Bureau of Labor also releases an employment measure based on a survey of households and that measure showed a gain of 1.1 million new jobs in the month, significantly above expectations and the polar opposite of the nonfarm farm result.  Moreover, the household report showed that 594,000 persons reentered the workforce and, as a result, the unemployment rate fell to 4.2%, down from 6.3% in January of this year and well below the 14.8% rate registered in April 2020. 

November 2021 – Monthly Commentary

Undoubtedly, the most important economic release of the month is the jobs report on the first Friday of the month.  Jobs drive the economy!  The November report was a bit of a “headscratcher” though.  The general public and media look to the nonfarm payrolls as the lead indicator of job gains and in November that number came in well below expectation, registering 210,000 new jobs versus an expectation of 531,000.  That statistic is based on a survey of businesses.

Halyard’s Weekly Wrap – 11/19/21

At the press conference following the last FOMC meeting, chairman Powell described the employment recovery as incomplete, leaving market participants to conclude that the then just decided directive to taper open market purchases would be the modus operandi, at least for the foreseeable future.  We call that interpretation into question with today’s comments by Vice Chairman Richard Clarida and Fed Governor Chris Waller.  In separate speeches they both communicated that the Fed may need to discuss speeding up to pace of taper at the meeting in December.