The Week Ahead – Rate Hike, Unemployment, and Election Anxiety

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What Other Than a Large Rate Hike Can Investors Expect this Week?

Another 75 basis point hike is expected on Wednesday after the November 1-2 FOMC meeting. The discussion that is expected to immediately follow is will the Federal Reserve slow or pause its tightening from there. Those answers can’t be certain as even the Fed hasn’t seen the economic numbers unfold that will lead to the next meeting and play a part in the decision.

Since March, the FOMC has raised rates a cumulative 300 basis points. If they move .75 percent this week, the fed funds target range will be 3.75%-4.00%. This range was last experienced after the January 2008 meeting.

In September’s  Summary of Economic Projections, the FOMC forecast for the fed funds rate was 1.25 percent above the current level or .50 percent above what most expect we will have by the end of the week. The statement and remarks following the next FOMC meeting by Chairman Powell may suggest that the FOMC is going to slow down the upward movement in rates while they see if previous rate hikes have begun to have a slowing impact on the economic pace.

The second scheduled event with the most potential to impact markets is the October Employment Situation on Thursday.  

From there, all attention and talk may be on the elections next week, as they can have a powerful impact on market moves.

Monday 10/31

  • 9:45 am US Chicago Purchasing Managers Report (PMI). The consensus is 47.3. For September, this survey of business conditions in the Chicago area showed a collapse to 45.7. A small improvement is expected from the October Survey
  • 10:30 am Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey is expected to come in at -18.0. This would be the sixth straight negative reading. This survey tracks manufacturing in Texas; for September, the results were -17.2.
  • 3:00 pm US Farm Prices are expected to have come down during October by -1.8%, showing a year-over-year rate of 20% increase in farm prices. This is an important inflationary gauge as farm prices are a leading indicator of food price changes Consumer Price Index (CPI). There is a direct relationship between inflation and interest rates; markets can be influenced as interest rate expectations rise and fall.  

Tuesday 11/1

  • The Federal Open Market Committee meets eight times a year in order to determine the near-term direction of monetary policy. The November meeting extends through November 2. After the meeting, typically at 2 pm, any change in monetary policy is announced.
  • 10:00 am US Construction Spending is expected to have fallen by -.5%. Construction spending fell 0.7 percent in August, which was the seventh straight lower-than-expected result, showing lower activity in this important economic sector.
  • 10:00 am JOLTS report consensus is 9.875 million. These reported job openings have been falling over several months; the previous month’s (August) openings reported were 10.05 million. The acronym JOLTS stands for Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.

Wednesday 11/2

  • Motor Vehicle Sales (US) are expected to have increased to 14.2 million from 13.5 million in September. The pattern of consumption is a direct influencer on company earnings and stock prices. Strong economic growth translates to healthy corporate profits and higher stock prices.
  • 10:30 am EIA Petroleum Report shows crude inventory changes, as well as gasoline and other petroleum products. The Energy Information Administration provides this report weekly. During periods when inflation and fuel prices are a concern, the data in these reports can play a wider-than-normal role in influencing stock, bond, and of course, commodity price levels.
  • FOMC Announcement usually comes at 2:00 pm. The expectations had not changed since the last meeting when it became widely expected that the Federal Reserve would raise overnight lending rates at this meeting by 0.75%. A big focus will be on the policy statement following the meeting to sense at what pace removing accommodation will continue in the US.

Thursday 11/3

  • 8:30 am US Jobless Clams are expected to be 222,000 for the week ending October 29. The prior week they had been 217,000. Employment is one of the Feds’ primary concerns as it fights inflation which also tops the list.
  • 10:00 am US Factory orders are expected to have risen in September by 0.3%. The prior month this leading indicator of future economic activity was flat.
  • 10:30 am EIA Natural Gas weekly report will update the current stocks and storage as well as production information from five regions within the US.

Friday 11/4

  • 8:30 am, the Employment Situation report is released. It is expected to show an unemployment rate of 3.6%, or 210,000. The results of this survey have the potential to jar markets late in the week as one of the more important measures of a healthy economy (weak or overheated) is employment levels.

What Else

If the week brings more clarity from the Federal Reserve and likely next moves, investors may begin to focus on retail numbers as the calendar moves toward the shopping season.

Paul Hoffman

Managing Editor, Channelchek



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