Friday, March 10, 2017

Is Good News, Good News? February NFP 255,000; Fed Sure To Hike Rates Next Week

As was expected, the February non-farm payroll number was massive, with the US labor force expanding by 235,000 jobs according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Additionally, the unemployment rate fell to 4.7%, the excellent report supplying plenty of cover for the Federal Reserve to increase the federal funds rate when the FOMC meets next Tuesday and Wednesday.

While the jobs report has Americans ecstatic over the prospects for jobs as the first year of the Trump administration ensues, raising interest rates is not such a universally-loved subject as low rates have largely fueled the eight-year rally which continues on Wall Street.

If the Fed decides to hike rates when they meet next week, it will be the second such advance in three months. In December, the Fed increased the federal funds rate to a range of 0.50-.0.75%. The stock market shrugged it off, advancing sharply since, though the past week has seen the major averages pull back from all-time highs.

An increase to 0.75-1.00% next week would hardly be earth-shattering or even noticeable to most. Some mortgage and credit card debt is tied to the rate, though more are gauged to the prime rate, which hasn't seen much movement throughout the economic expansion.

So, perhaps the good news from the jobs report will translate into genuine good news for the economy. It will, if it slows down the pace of stock buybacks which have fueled the rally, and doesn't crimp the Main Street economy, which is beginning to show positive signs.

At The Close, 4.9.17:
Dow: 20,858.19 +2.46 (0.01%)
NASDAQ: 5,838.81, +1.25 (0.02%)
S&P 500: 2,364.87, +1.89 (0.08%)
NYSE Composite: 11,457.64, +9.43 (0.08%)

No comments: