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07/06/24 Briefing

Stocks closed another week near record highsas the latest jobs report showed a US labor market that's cooling, but not at a pace that economists find concerning.

The Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) was up about 2.3%, and the S&P 500 (^GSPC) rose roughly 1.3%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) was up about 0.3%.

The week's highlights include the June Federal Reserve meeting and a key inflation reading on Wednesday. The first reading of consumer sentiment for June is also expected on Friday.

In corporate news, Big Tech will kick off the week with Nvidia's (NVDA) 10-for-1 stock split and Apple's (AAPL) Worldwide Developer's Conference both set for Monday. A vote on Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk's $56 billion pay package is expected on Thursday.

Meanwhile, chaotic moves in GameStop stock (GME) have continued to garner investor attention as the return of Keith Gill, a popular leader of the 2021 meme stock frenzy, has reignited interest.

NASDAQ Composite (^IXIC)



Friday's May jobs report showed more job additions than expected, adding fuel to a common narrative from Federal Reserve officials that the labor market remains on solid enough footing to keep interest rates at their current restrictive levels. And to economists, the latest data just emphasizes that the Fed needs to see inflation decline further before cutting rates.

"Policymakers will need to see a few slower inflation reports over the summer in order to start cutting rates by the fall," Wells Fargo senior economist Sarah House wrote in a research note on Friday.

The next update on inflation is expected on Wednesday morning with the release of the May Consumer Price Index (CPI). Wall Street expects an annual gain of 3.4% for headline CPI, which includes the price of food and energy, unchanged from April. Prices are set to rise 0.1% on a month-over-month basis, down from 0.3% in April.

On a "core" basis, which strips out the volatile food and energy prices, inflation is expected to have risen 3.5% year over year, a slowdown from the 3.6% increase seen in April. Monthly core price increases are expected to clock in at 0.3%, unchanged from the prior month.

The release will come just hours before the Fed's latest policy decision, where markets largely expect the central bank to keep rates unchanged. This pushes the main focus to the Fed's latest Summary of Economic Projections (SEP) — including its "dot plot," which maps out policymakers' expectations for where interest rates could be headed in the future — as well as commentary from Fed Chair Jerome Powell.

JPMorgan chief US economist Michael Feroli expects the Fed to project a median of two interest rate cuts this year in its dot plot, down from three in March. As far as Powell's commentary is concerned, Feroli believes Powell's presser will be perceived "dovish."

"At the press conference, we expect Chair Powell will express confidence that the economy is still on the right path and that the FOMC can be patient in gaining confidence that inflation is heading toward two percent," Feroli wrote in a note to clients on Friday.

Fewer cuts, no problem

Prior to Friday's jobs report, the market was pricing in two rate cuts this year. After the release, that number teetered between one and two, per Bloomberg data.

Notably, though, that shift and a 15-basis-point jump in the 10-year Treasury yield (^TNX) to 4.43% did little to deter investor optimism as the S&P 500 closed near a record high on Friday.

New York Life Investments economist and chief market strategist Lauren Goodwin told Yahoo Finance this could be because the stronger-than-expected jobs report is good news for the economy, and "markets have been very focused on growth."

She added that, given the solid earnings backdrop expected for the rest of this year and a solid growth trajectory for the economy, markets can take the Fed repricing "in stride."

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