All eyes on the labor market

(Reuters) – A look at the day ahead in US and global markets by Harry Robertson

Data that Jerome Powell wants, and data that Jerome Powell will get.

The Federal Reserve chairman continued to play a familiar tune Wednesday. “Given the strength of the economy and progress on inflation so far, we have time to let the incoming data drive our policy decisions,” he said in a speech at Stanford University.

Thursday brings new weekly unemployment claims figures for Powell and his colleagues to chew on. Economists expect the number to reach 214,000, up slightly from the previous week but in line with the average over the past six months – and hardly commensurate with a faltering labor market.

Then Friday comes the big one: March nonfarm payroll employment data could move markets. Analysts polled by Reuters think 200,000 jobs were added in March, a relatively large drop from 275,000 in February. But recent US data is generally warmer than expected.

Wednesday, however, provided a sign of a possible crack in the armor of the US economy. The Institute for Supply Management pegged the services sector as much weaker than expected, with a measure of price growth hitting a four-year low.

The ISM rating dented the dollar, which fell lower to end the session down 0.5%, although 10-year Treasury yields are still near their highest levels since November.

In currency markets, where volatility has eased, the focus remains on whether Japan will step in to support the yen, which is trading near a 34-year low.

The S&P 500 rose slightly on Wednesday, but remained about 1% below last week’s record after a shaky start to the second quarter. Future…

Read Complete News ➤

Benefits of eating guava for Americans