Fed Wildcard to Watch

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Dynamics Between Stocks, Bonds, and the Economy Have Changed Since Covid
  • Fed Wildcard to Watch Today
  • KBE Chart – Visualizing the Recent Carnage
  • Existing Home Sales Rebound Amid a Pullback in Mortgage Rates: Chart

Stock futures briefly spiked lower overnight in the wake of a hot CPI print in the U.K. but bond markets are steady and futures have largely stabilized as focus turns to the Fed.

Economically, U.K. CPI jumped from 10.1% in January to 10.4% in February, well ahead of estimates of 9.9%, however, both input and output PPI readings unexpectedly declined, easing some of the inflation worries this morning.

There are no notable economic reports today which will leave markets focused on the price action in the banking sector in the morning (meaningful weakness could drag the broader market lower) before attention shifts to the FOMC Meeting Announcement (2:00 p.m. ET) and Fed Chair Press Conference (2:30 p.m. ET) this afternoon.

A 25 basis point hike and no change to the dot plot is the consensus expectation but there are a lot of moving pieces to today’s meeting so watching the reaction from the Treasury market this afternoon will be critical in interpreting what today’s decision means for markets.

Sevens Report Co-Editor, Tyler Richey, Quoted in MarketWatch on March 8th, 2023

Oil marks back-to-back losses after Fed’s Powell sparks selloff

Powell’s comments before the Senate Tuesday “sent the clear message that economic data in the near term will be critical for the decision-making process on the pace of future rate hikes and eventually the terminal rate,” said Tyler Richey, co-editor of Sevens Report Research. Click here to read the full article.

Powell Testimony Takeaways

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • What Powell’s Comments Mean for Markets
  • Powell Testimony Takeaways

Stock futures are stable as yesterday’s Powell-driven losses continue to be digested while the yield curve is hitting new cycle lows with the 2-Yr Note holding above 5% for the first time since 2007 while the 10-Yr hovers just below 4%.

Economic focus was on German data o/n as Industrial Production topped estimates while the previous Retail Sales print was revised notably higher, bolstering Bund yields.

Looking into today’s session, focus will be on labor market data early, especially considering Powell’s “data dependent” policy comments from yesterday’s testimony.

The ADP Employment Report (E: 175K) will hit the wires before the bell and then JOLTS (E: 10.6 million) will be released after the open. Investors want to see some deterioration in the jobs market but not an all-out collapse while any indication of declining wages would be well received. International Trade in Goods and Services (E: -$69.0B) will also be released this morning but is less likely to move markets.

From there, Powell’s two-day testimony continues before the House Banking Committee today at 10:00 a.m. ET and investors will continue to listen intently for further clues about policy plans and terminal rate expectations.

Finally, there is a 10-Year Treasury Note auction at 1:00 p.m. ET that could move yields and ultimately impact the bond market, specifically if the auction tails and rates move meaningfully higher.

Fed Pause Playbook & Powell Preview

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Fed Pause Playbook
  • Powell Testimony Preview
  • Chart – Return Comparison After the Last Rate Hike Pauses

U.S. equity futures are trading with tentative gains amid a stable bond market following good data out of Europe as focus shifts to Powell’s Congressional testimony today.

The ECB’s latest consumer survey showed a notable drop from 3.0% to 2.5% in three year inflation expectations which is helping bonds stabilize while German Manufacturers Orders came in at 1.0% vs. (E) -0.6%, underscoring a resilient Eurozone economy.

This morning, focus will be exclusively on Powell testimony before the Senate which begins at 10:00 a.m. ET as investors will be looking for any new insight on the pace of future rate hikes (25 or 50 basis point hike this month?) and/or the expected terminal rate (currently priced in near 5.375%). If Powell strikes a hawkish tone, expect volatility in stocks amid a potentially sharp rise in yields.

Looking into the afternoon, there is a 3-Yr Treasury Note auction at 1:00 p.m. ET which should offer some clues to how the bond market digests Powell’s first day of Congressional testimony (a badly tailing auction could further weigh on stocks), while there is one economic report due out late in the day: Consumer Credit (E: $26.4B), but unless the number comes in well above estimates, it should not move markets.

Tom Essaye Quoted in MarketWatch on February 8th, 2023

The bond market is flashing a warning that U.S. stocks could be headed lower

“The spike in the 2-year yield tells us the market is now believing the Fed when it has been saying it’s going to raise rates close to or above 5%, notably, it wasn’t Powell’s commentary that got the market to believe that — it was the economic data from Friday, notably the jobs report and ISM Services PMI,” Essaye said, the founder of Sevens Report Research. Click here to read the full article.

Hard Landing, Soft Landing, or No Landing?

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Hard Landing, Soft Landing, or No Landing? (Printable PDF Table Available)
  • Powell Interview Takeaways

Futures are moderately lower this morning as investors continue to digest Powell’s commentary from yesterday which was largely viewed as another missed opportunity to push back on recent dovish money flows across markets.

Looking into today’s session there are no notable economic reports but a slew of Fed speakers that could move markets. In chronological order, we will hear from: Williams (9:20 a.m. ET), Cook (9:30 a.m. ET), Bostic (10:00 a.m. ET), Kashkari (12:30 p.m. ET), and finally Waller (1:45 p.m. ET).

Additionally, the Treasury will hold a 10-Yr Note auction at 1:00 p.m. ET and seeing as yesterday’s dismal 3-Yr auction sent the S&P 500 to session lows, the outcome could very well move markets today.

Finally, Q4 earnings season continues today with a few notable companies releasing results: UBER (-$0.21), CVS ($1.92), DIS ($0.80).

Has the Fed Reached Peak Hawkishness?

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Has the Fed Reached Peak Hawkishness?
  • Weekly Market Preview:  Will Powell Sound Hawkish on Tuesday?
  • Weekly Economic Cheat Sheet:  Key inflation data Tuesday and Friday.

Futures are moderately lower mostly on follow-through selling from Friday’s hot jobs report.

The Chinese spy balloon drama dominated weekend headlines but it’s unlikely to materially alter U.S./China relations and as such shouldn’t be an influence on markets.

Rate expectations rose over the weekend following Friday’s jobs report, with markets now pricing in a terminal Fed Funds rate of 4.75% and that’s the main reason stocks are lower this morning.

Today there are no notable economic reports and no Fed speakers, so the focus will remain on yields and rate expectations and if they continue to climb, that will weigh on stocks.

Was Powell’s Press Conference A Bullish Gamechanger?

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Why Did Stocks Rally During Powell’s Press Conference?
  • Was the FOMC Decision A Bullish Gamechanger (No, But It Was a Positive Event)
  • EIA Update and Oil Market Analysis

Futures are solidly higher on continued momentum from Wednesday’s “not hawkish” post-FOMC rally and following better-than-expected META earnings.

META surged 19% overnight as the company reported better-than-feared earnings driven by gains in artificial intelligence and aggressive cost-cutting.

Today will be a very busy day of micro and macro-economic events as we get major central bank decisions, more important economic data, and key earnings.

First, this morning there are two central bank decisions:  BOE Rate Decision (E: 50 bps hike) and ECB Rate Decision (E: 50 bps hit).  If either is overtly hawkish (maybe the ECB) it could send global yields higher and take back some of yesterday’s rally.

After those two central bank decisions, we get an update on the labor market via Jobless Claims (E: 193K),  inflation via Productivity & Costs (E: 2.4%, 1.5%), and economic growth via Factory Orders (E: 2.2%).  Especially in light of Powell’s not hawkish press conference, data that shows stability and declining price pressures will support stocks.

Finally, on earnings, today is likely the single most important day of the earnings season as we get results from three of the most widely held stocks in the market:  AAPL ($1.93), AMZN ($0.15), and GOOGL ($1.14).

Fed Wildcard to Watch

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Wildcard to Watch: Powell’s Press Conference
  • Employment Cost Index Takeaways
  • Key Technical Levels to Watch in the Wake of the Fed – Chart

Global markets are rallying on the back of favorable economic data in Europe while large cap tech shares are dragging U.S. futures lower following dismal SNAP earnings (shares of the company are down ~15% in pre-market trading).

Economically, the Eurozone Manufacturing PMI met estimates at 48.8 while the HICP Flash (their CPI) cooled to 8.5% vs. (E) 9.1% which is being received as mildly dovish ahead of this week’s all-important central bank meetings.

Looking into today’s session, we will get our first look at January jobs data with the ADP Employment Report (E: 158K) ahead of the bell while JOLTS (E: 10.2 million) and the ISM Manufacturing Index (E: 48.0) will be released at the top of the 10:00 a.m. hour ET.

From there focus will shift to the Fed with the FOMC Decision at 2:00 p.m. ET (E: +25 bp to 4.50% – 4.75%) followed by Powell’s Press Conference at 2:30 p.m. ET.

There are also a few notable earnings releases to watch today: TMUS ($1.39), META ($2.12), and ALL (-$1.37).

Bottom line, investors will be looking for further moderation in the morning economic data but not a sharp drop off indicating a deep recession looming while an as-expected or dovish Fed decision and press conference would likely see January’s gains extended in the afternoon. Conversely, a hawkish press conference (like the Jackson Hole speech in August) would very likely trigger a surge in volatility into the final hour of the day.

Hard Landing or Soft Landing?

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Hard Landing or Soft Landing?
  • Weekly Economic Cheat Sheet:  Does Growth Stabilize?
  • Weekly Market Preview:  The Peak of Earnings Season

Futures are little changed following a mostly quiet weekend of news as markets look ahead to more earnings and economic data this week.

On Sunday the WSJ published an article on the Fed that stated the Fed will hike 25 bps at the upcoming meeting and begin discussions on when to end the rate hike cycle.  The article is being taken as dovish, but it’s not very different from current consensus thinking.

Today the focus will be on Leading Indicators (E: -0.7%) because this number flashed an intense recession warning signal last month and if there’s further deterioration that will likely weigh on stocks modestly.

On the earnings front, most of the key names this week report Tuesday – Thursday, but some results we’re watching today include:  SYF ($1.12), BKR ($0.41), and LOGI ($1.06).