MONDAY SCOUTING REPORT
Stocks surged, bonds tanked, and gold melted down after the we got the better-than-expected June jobs report on Friday.
The economic calendar is much lighter this week.
However, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will be speaking on Wednesday on the Federal Reserve’s policy record.
This will give Fed watchers some fodder to chew on.
Also, earnings season unofficially kicks off with aluminium giant Alcoa releasing its Q2 financial results on Monday afternoon.
Historically, this has set the stage for thee-month stock market performance. More on that later.
- Get Ready For The Taper: “In light of the better-than-expected labour market data over the past few months, we are bringing forward our call for the Fed tapering QE purchases from the December FOMC meeting to the September meeting,” said Goldman’s Jan Hatzius. “We expect that purchases may be reduced from the current rate of $85bn per month to $65bn per month, with most or all of the adjustment occurring through reduced Treasury purchases.”
- But…: While the jobs reports was certainly encouraging, the pace of the gains were still below a level that would suggest the Fed would taper its stimulative bond purchases this fall. Anyone expecting a fall tapering would need the economic data to accelerate. Here’s Calculated Risk’s Bill McBride: “It has only been just over two weeks since the FOMC press conference, and all of the data has been worse than the FOMC forecasts (GDP revised down, unemployment rate at high end, prices below forecast). It would be a stretch to say the incoming data has been “broadly inconsistent” with the June FOMC projections, but clearly the economy will have to pickup before the FOMC would meet their “broadly consistent” goal and start to taper QE3 purchases in December.”
- Consumer Credit (Monday): Economists estimate balances grew by $12.5 billion in May, up from $11.0 billion in April. “An anticipated acceleration in non-revolving loan growth, combined with the largest one-month jump in credit card debt since January, likely boosted consumer instalment liabilities by $13.6 billion in May, after the $11.1-billion takedown recorded in April,” said Societe Generale’s Brian Jones. “Our projection, if realised, would place the nominal value of outstanding liabilities at a record $2.82 trillion.”
- FOMC Minutes (Wednesday): “In particular, the markets will be looking for anything to substantiate the hint provided in a recent speech by Fed Governor Jeremy Stein that the tapering may begin in September,” said Capital Economics’ Paul Ashworth and Paul Dales. “Stein also suggested that the Fed will not place too much emphasis on the data released between now and September, preferring to base the tapering decision on all of the data released since QE3 was launched late in 2012.”
- Initial Jobless Claims (Thursday): Economists estimate claims slipped to 340,000, down from 343,000 last week. “Claims have tended to be biased down in early July in recent years by over-adjustment for annual auto plant shutdowns.” said High Frequency Economics’ Jim O’Sullivan. “We thought that pattern might apply this year as well.”
- Producer Price Index (Friday): Economists estimate that PPI climbed 0.5% in June, and 0.1% excluding food and energy prices. “We expect the PPI to have risen again in June, with energy prices up over the month,” said Wells Fargo’s John Silvia. “That said, pipeline pressures have remained fairly weak, which should keep price growth at the finished stage of goods temperate over the next few months.”
- University Of Michigan Consumer Confidence (Friday): Economists are expecting this preliminary reading to climb to 85.0 in July, up from 84.1. “We expect confidence to have ticked up in the survey’s preliminary reading for July,” said Silvia. “Consumers are likely feeling a bit better about the labour market as indicators on employment, unemployment and layoffs have continued to improve. Gas prices have come down over the past few weeks, which should relieve some pressure on consumers’ budgets due to weak real income growth.”
Alcoa announces its Q2 earnings after the closing bell on Monday. This is the unofficial beginning to earnings season.
As a global supplier of aluminium, Alcoa is considered a reliable indicator of the economy.
But are the company’s earnings an indicator of what’s to come in the stock market?
“Over the past 10 years, Alcoa has reported earnings above the mean EPS estimate 48% of the time (19 out of 40 quarters),” said FactSet’s John Butters. “In the 19 quarters that Alcoa reported actual EPS above the mean EPS estimate, the average price change for the S&P 500 from report date to report date (for Alcoa) is 3.6%. The price of the S&P 500 increased in 15 of these 19 quarters (79%).
“In the 21 quarters that Alcoa reported actual EPS below the mean EPS estimate, the average price change from report date to report date is -0.5%. However, the price of the index decreased in only 11 of these 21 quarters (52%). During the other 10 quarters, the price of the index increased over the next three months after Alcoa missed estimates.”
For what it’s worth…
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