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

August 4, 2014

"These are good-quality jobs. These are career jobs"

– Owner of a medium-size US manufacturer on his plans to hire as many as 17 additional workers (Bloomberg, Jul 31, 2014)

The week in review...


GDP: OMG? Headline 4.0% annualized growth for 2Q handily beat expectations, and previous quarter figures were revised upward. But the devil's in the details: of that 4.0%, 1.7 percentage points were from inventory accumulation; the remaining 2.3 percentage points were from non-inventory final sales  for the quarter – much more in line with expectations. Fixed nonresidential investment rose 5.5% and residential investment rose 7.5% after dropping in 1Q.

Wages: Piece of the pie As expansion proceeds and corporate margins remain strong, employers are passing along a bit more of their profits in employees' pay envelopes. The Commerce Dept. employment cost index rose 0.7% for 2Q14, highest since 3Q08. Wages and salaries (70% of the index) rose 0.6%, while benefits (30%) rose 1.0%. The improvement may be affecting employee attitudes; consumer confidence of households with incomes from $35k to $50k rose in July to the highest level since Dec 2007; from $50K to $75K, highest since Nov 2010.

Jobs: Good news... The ADP jobs report counted 218k workers added in July, much better than expected, even after June's 281k increase that was itself the strongest since Nov 2012. As usual, smaller companies carried the weight: employers with 500 or more workers added about 41k; with 50-499, 92k; under 50, 84k.  Though jobless claims rose slightly (23k) for the week ended Jul 26, the more telling four-week average dropped to 297,250, the lowest since Apr 2006.

The Fed: Slackers The July 29-30 FOMC meeting left rates unchanged and added another $10 bn reduction in the bond-buying program, as expected. One issue did stand out: the Fed's continued focus on "underutilization of labor resources", or "slack" in the labor market. The Fed's preferred inflation measure, the personal consumption expenditure (PCE) price index, rose 1.8% in May – approaching the 2% "longer-run objective" but not enough to prompt a change in tactics.


Too much good news? The number of jobless fell 12k to 2.9 mn in July, better than expected, for a 6.7% rate, the lowest in more than 20 years. German 10-year government bonds ("bunds") continue to rally, yielding 1.16% late afternoon Thu Jul 31. But inflation for July dropped to 0.8% year-over-year, lowest since Feb 2010, stoking further concern about deflation both in Germany and across the euro area.


Help wanted The closely-watched jobs-to-availability ratio rose to 1.10 in Jun from 1.09 in May, matching a high last seen in Jun 1992. The jobless rate rose to 3.7% in Jun from 3.5% in May, but for the best reason:  an increase in job-seekers, called off the sidelines as the economy sputters to life.


Signs of the times:

Hong Kong Popping Housing Bubbles London Can't Handle – Bloomberg

Italians Abandoning Home for Work Cause Renzi Headaches – Bloomberg

UK mortgage approvals rise for the first time in four months – Telegraph

Mid-Wage Work Comes Back as U.S. Moves Past Burger-Flipping Jobs – Bloomberg

Sources: Bloomberg, Reuters, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times, Deutsche Welle, Xinhua, China Daily, Telegraph (UK), MercoPress

...And the week ahead:




Other Americas

Europe, UK, Africa, Mideast

Japan, Asia Ex Japan & Pac Rim

Aug 3




China: non-manufacturing (mfg) PMI

Aug 4



Switzerland: mfg PMI

Japan: monetary base

Aug 5

Non-mfg PMI, factory orders


UK: TV debate on Scottish independence referendum, services PMI
Eurozone: services PMI, retail sales

Australia: rate decision
China: services, composite PMI
Indonesia: GDP

Aug 6

Trade balance, debt sales


Germany: factory orders
Italy: GDP, industrial production
Greece: CPI
UK: Industrial production
Switzerland: CPI


Aug 7

Unemployment, consumer credit

Mexico: inflation

European Central Bank (ECB): policy decision
UK: central bank policy decision
Netherlands: CPI
Greece: unemployment
Switzerland: foreign currency reserves


Aug 8

Wholesale inventories

Brazil: inflation

Germany: exports
France: industrial production, business sentiment
UK: trade
Greece: industrial production
Switzerland: unemployment

China: exports
Japan: current account, rate decision

Aug 9




China: wholesale prices, consumer prices


Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is an economic statistic which measures the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period of time.

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is a policy-making body of the Federal Reserve (Fed) 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.

Purchasing Managers Indexes (PMI) measure the manufacturing and services sectors in an economy, based on survey data collected from a representative panel of manufacturing and services firms. PMI greater than 50 indicated economic expansion; below 50, contraction.

Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures the average change in consumer prices over time in a fixed market basket of goods and services.
Ralentización: Slowdown (Spanish)

The ADP National Employment Report provides a monthly snapshot of U.S. nonfarm private sector employment based on actual transactional payroll data.

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