A quick review of the issues and events driving the markets this past week... and what's on tap for the week ahead.

Weekly Market Snapshot

October 5, 2015

"it's cheap to run 'em, it's cheap to buy 'em and there's more people with jobs, so more people need 'em"

— Automotive consultant Mark Wakefield, on the forces behind surging US vehicle sales (Bloomberg, Oct 1 2015)

The week in review...


US jobs: Not so fast, Janet September's jobs numbers were largely softer than hoped; non-farm payrolls rose 142k vs. the expected 201k and the unemployment rate was steady at 5.1%. The market's reaction was sharp, at least in the short term, with 10-year yields falling below 2% for the first time since April, and the closely-watched 2-year yield notching downward to 0.5518%.¹ The downbeat numbers shifted the market's implied probability for a Fed rate hike well away from December (30.4%), rising above 50% for the March 16, 2016 meeting. Perhaps most telling: the market's verdict on inflation five years out stayed at about 1.82% – well below the Fed's 2% objective.

US vehicle sales: Still booming September was a great month for car dealerships; the annualized rate of sales reached 18.07 mn, the fastest pace in more than 10 years. Record low fuel prices, easing credit standards and competitive product offerings contributed, as did the advanced age of the cars currently on the road. Pickup truck sales were especially strong; some credit the boomlet in housing construction and the related contractor labor shortage as a key factor in the segment.

Brazil: Budget-busting retirement reforms? The political pressures on the current government resulted in the promotion of a slightly younger retirement age and the ability to collect pensions while working at a second job. Financial markets viewed the move as a step away from much-needed fiscal reform, driving the Brazilian real below 4.0 to the US dollar after a brief respite earlier in the week.


Factories: Cheap energy matters Factory-gate prices fell in September for the first time in six months, as input costs – chiefly fuel – fell at the fastest pace since January. In the current European environment of soft demand, this flavor of falling prices may not help boost profitability. And export-driven demand is still on the weak side, with sales to emerging-market economies falling. All of which could further encourage the ECB to increase its current bond-buying program to help boost demand and prevent a deflationary spiral.


No place like home Another move to boost residential real estate: the central bank cut the minimum required down payment for first-time buyers in cities to 25% from 30%. The previous requirement had been in place since 2010, when the government boosted the requirement to 30% from 20%, to curb speculation.

¹ Source: Bloomberg, as of Oct 2, 2015, 9:19 AM

Signs of the times:

Japan Aug Industrial Production Falls 0.5% M/m – Bloomberg

German Inflation Drops Below Zero in Euro-Area Price Alert – Bloomberg

Euro-Area Sentiment Unexpectedly Rises to Four-Year High – Bloomberg

Japan's Household Spending Bounces Back With 2.9% Gain in August – Bloomberg

Sources: Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times, Xinhua, China Daily, Market News International.


The Federal Reserve System (the Fed), the central bank of the US, is responsible for the formulation of a policy designed to promote economic growth, full employment, stable prices, and a sustainable pattern of international trade and payments.

The European Central Bank (ECB) is responsible for the monetary system of the European Union (EU) and the euro currency.


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Will China's official growth rate fall to 6 percent by the end of 2015?


Will China's official growth rate fall to 6 percent by the end of 2015?

Yes: Economic reform measures will take their toll on growth
Yes: Demographics and urban labor shortage will constrain demand
No: New monetary and fiscal stimulus will restore rapid growth
No: Recovery in the US, Europe and Japan will more than make up for slowing domestic demand

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When will the Fed raise the Fed Funds target rate?

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