Dec 7, 2018, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
One of the continuing bright spots for the U.S. economy gets an update today when the jobs report for November is published at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. Expectations are for employers to have added 198,000 new positions and both the unemployment rate and average hourly earnings to remain unchanged at 3.7 percent and 3.1 percent respectively. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell described the labor market “very strong” yesterday as he delivered a bullish assessment of the economy.
The meeting of OPEC and its allies moved into its second day in Vienna after Russian resistance scuppered an output-cut deal yesterday. Today’s talks focus on curbing production by 1 million barrels a day, led by OPEC members to the tune of 650,000 barrels. So far, oil traders seem to be humming ‘this means nothing to me’ with Brent crude futures holding around $60 a barrel this morning while West Texas Intermediate languishes close to $51.
Huawei or another
The arrest of Huawei Technologies Co.’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, has thrown a spanner in the works for the prospect of improving relations between the U.S. and China. There is a debate raging in Beijing on whether the country should continue with trade talks, or see the move as part of a wider American campaign against China and retaliate accordingly. Either way, the U.S. is continuing to make things hard for companies and countries that threaten its global tech dominance.
Markets (very) mixed
The roller coaster ride in U.S. stocks yesterday seems to have ended on something of a crest for the rest of the world, with the MSCI Asia Pacific Index gaining 0.2 percent overnight while Japan’s Topix index closed 0.6 percent higher. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was firmly in positive territory, with the gauge 1.3 percent higher by 5:50 a.m. even as some of Thursday’s biggest losers continue to underperform. S&P futures paint a dimmer picture ahead of the jobs report as they point to a loss at the open. There is also likely to be little relief for those worried about U.S. yield curve flattening. Analysts say both a weak and a strong payrolls number will keep the current trend on track.
As well the U.S. data, Canada publishes its jobs print at 8:30 a.m. this morning. October wholesale inventories numbers and December consumer confidence are published at 10:00 a.m. If oil investors have any energy left after a busy week, they might be interested in today’s Baker Hughes rigcount at 1:00 p.m. In politics, it is likely to be a big day for Robert Mueller’s investigation with his team expected to present details on Paul Manafort’s case and sentencing requirements for President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen.