Volatile US markets after weak job growth report

Volatile US markets after weak job growth report

Brent crude, the international oil marker, was 0.7 per cent lower at $67.49 a barrel after the jobs data, before recovering to trade 0.2 per cent higher at $68.30 a barrel. The dollar, as measured against a basket of currencies, fell by 0.7 per cent. Asset managers said they were stunned by the wide margin between the payroll numbers and expectations of large groups of economists surveyed by financial data providers ahead of the report.

US equities trimmed their gains by lunchtime in New York, with the Nasdaq Composite index, which has a large concentration of technology and healthcare companies whose fortunes are less dependent on economic cycles than sectors such as energy and banking, rose 0.8 per cent. The blue-chip S&P 500, which had climbed as much as 0.9 per cent to an intraday high of 4,238.04, was up 0.6 per cent. US Treasury bonds initially rallied, with the yield on the 10-year note falling by a steep 0.07 percentage points to 1.497 per cent in the moments after the data were released. Bond yields move inversely to prices. Later, the 10-year yield was up 0.02 percentage points on the day at 1.578 per cent.

I find it mind-boggling that the forecasts could have got it so wrong The report also found that rising demand for workers “may have put upward pressure on wages”, making it difficult for markets to assess the future path of US inflation.

“I find it mind-boggling that the forecasts could have got it so wrong,” added Tatjana Greil-Castro, co-head of public markets at credit investment group Muzinich. Recommended “There may be a substantial negative supply shock in the labour markets, which is larger than we really anticipated,” he added, although this could also be “transitory” as more people received Covid-19 vaccinations and US schools fully reopened.

“This is bad news. This is worse than my worst expectations of this jobs print,” said Jeffrey Schulze, investment strategist at ClearBridge Investments in New York. The US economy grew by 6.4 per cent in the first quarter of the year, thanks to trillions of dollars in government stimulus spending and a rapid coronavirus vaccination programme, prompting analysts to expect hiring to follow suit.

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