Weekly Market Update | Week 6, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • Giant Bounce Off October Lows
  • More All-Time Highs
  • SPX 5000

Markets were modestly higher with the S&P 500 posting another record close last week, finishing above 5000 for the first time on Friday.  The S&P 500 and Nasdaq made it 14th out of 15 weeks in the green.

It’s been a massive rip higher since the October 27th close.

  • The S&P is now up over 22% since the October low.
  • The Russell 2000 outperformed the S&P 500 for the fifth time in the past seven weeks, though still remains a big YTD laggard.
  • Big tech was mostly better this week.
  • Treasuries were weaker, keeping the ytd returns in the red.
  • The dollar index was up 0.2%, though hit the highest level since mid-November.
  • Gold finished the week down 0.7%.
  • Bitcoin futures were up nearly 11%.
  • WTI crude was up 6.3% for the week.

The week’s gains also came despite Treasuries under pressure again as strong economic data and hawkish Fedspeak continued to flatten fed rate cut path expectations. The policy-sensitive 2Y yield ended the weak just under 4.50%, the highest level since December, while the 10Y saw the biggest two-day increase early this week since Jun-22, and is now back to the highest levels since November. The odds of a March Fed rate cut fell this week to around 15% from nearly 40% a week ago.

Some pieces of the bullish narrative included strong earnings and rising 2024 earnings growth expectations, while AI tailwinds also remain a big support. Strong Treasury auction results this week dampened some fears around Treasury supply.

This week’s CPI revisions where also little changed, as expected, though removed an overhang after last year’s revisions pushed Fed policy in a more hawkish direction. This week also saw some favorable pieces in the disinflation traction narrative, including the Manheim Used Vehicle Index down the most y/y since July, while China is also seen adding to global deflationary pressures.

Rates and the Fed remain the key bearish overhangs with yields now fully erasing the gains made over the past two months, while Fedspeak remains uniformly hawkish with higher-for-longer messaging. 

Regional bank uncertainty also remains an overhang, with NYCB -18.9% down big again this week after a Moody’s downgrade and elevated fears around real estate loans and its balance sheet.

Extended valuations (even outside Mag Seven stocks), growing Mag Seven concentration, China uncertainty (including deflation running at fastest pace since 2009), an increasingly cautious consumer impulse and household balance sheets were among the other pieces of the bearish narrative.

very busy week of Fedspeak continued to highlight the Fed’s higher-for-longer messaging. Chair Powell’s appearance on 60 Minutes tracked his post-FOMC meeting commentary, reiterating the Fed is unlikely to have enough confidence on inflation to target a cut at the March meeting, while he also played down the potential for significant changes in the dot plot, which in December showed three cuts for 2024.

In addition to the market pulling back from March rate cut bets, the year-end market median fed funds rate now sits at 4.28% (~110 bp of cuts from the current midpoint), up nearly 40 bp from 3.91% a week ago.

Earnings metrics improved this week, with companies now reporting earnings that are 3.8% above estimates, up from 2.6% last week, while 2024 estimates have been fairly stable (see FactSet’s latest Earnings Insight).

For Q4 2023 (with 67% of S&P 500 companies reporting actual results), 75% of S&P 500 companies have reported a positive EPS surprise and 65% of S&P 500 companies have reported a positive revenue surprise. For Q4 2023, the blended (year-over-year) earnings growth rate for the S&P 500 is 2.9%. If 2.9% is the actual growth rate for the quarter, it will mark the second straight quarter that the index has reported earnings growth.

A busy week on the macro calendar next week includes January CPI on Tuesday. Markets are looking for headline CPI to tick down 0.1pp to 0.2% m/m, while annualized headline CPI is expected to fall 0.43pp to 3.0%, which could surpass the recent Jun-23 (2.97%) low to the coolest since Mar-21.

Core CPI is also expected to tick down 0.1pp to 3.8%, which would also be the lowest print since May-21. Data Thursday (15-Feb) include January retail sales, the Empire State and Philadelphia Fed indexes, initial jobless claims, and NAHB builder confidence.

Data Friday (16-Feb) include January housing starts and building permits, January PPI, and February Michigan consumer sentiment.

Fixed Income

Yield Curve

Dec FOMC Statement      Balance Sheet Reduction Plan       Credit, Liquidity and Balance Sheet    Federal Reserve Dot Plots  

Treasury.gov yields    FOMC Policy Normalization Statement     Longer- Run Goals Jan 2022

Foreign Exchange Market

Energy Complex 

The Baker Hughes rig count was up 4 this week. There are 623 oil and gas rigs operating in the US – Down 138 from last year.

Metals Complex 

Employment Picture 

Weekly Unemployment Claims – Released Thursday 2/8/2024 – In the week ending February 3, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 218,000 a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The 4-week moving average was 212,250 an increase of 3,750 from the previous week’s revised average.

January Jobs Report –  BLS Summary – Released 2/2/2024 –  The US economy added 353k nonfarm jobs in January and the Unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7%. Average hourly earnings increased 19 cents to $34.55.  Hiring highlights include +74k Professional and Business Services, +70k Healthcare, and +45k Retail Trade.

  • Average hourly earnings increased 19 cents/0.6% to $34.55.
  • U3 unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7%. U6 unemployment rate increased 0.1% to 7.2%.
  • The labor force participation rate was unchanged at 62.5%.
  • Average work week decreased 0.2 to 34.1 hours.

Employment Cost Index – Released 1/31/2024 – Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 0.9% for the 3-month period ending in December 2023. The 12-month period ending in December 2023 saw compensation costs increase by 4.2. The 12-month period ending December 2022 increased 5.1%. Wages and salaries increased 4.3 percent over the 12-month December 2023 and increased 5.1 percent for the 12-month period ending in December 2022. Benefit costs increased 3.8 percent over the 12-month period ending December 2023 and increased 4.9 percent for the 12-month period ending in December 2022. This report is published quarterly.

Job Openings & Labor Turnover Survey JOLTS – Released 1/30/2024 – The number of job openings changed little at 9.0 million on the last business day of December, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Over the month the number of hires and total separations was little changed 5.6 million and 5.4 million, respectively. Within separations, quits (3.4 million) and discharges (1.6 million) changed little.

This Week’s Economic Data

U.S. Trade Balance – Released 2/7/2024 –  The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis announced that the goods and services deficit was $62.2 billion in December, up $0.3 billion from $61.9 billion in November. December exports were $258.2 billion, $3.9 billion more than November exports. December imports were $320.4 billion, $4.2 billion more than November imports. The December increase in the goods and services deficit reflected an increase in the goods deficit of $0.7 billion to $89.1 billion and an increase in the services surplus of $0.4 billion to $26.9 billion.

Consumer Credit Released 2/7/2024 – Consumer credit increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.4 percent in December. Revolving credit increased at an annual rate of 8.4 percent, while nonrevolving credit increased at an annual rate of 0.4 percent.

PMI Non-Manufacturing IndexReleased 2/5/2024 – Economic activity in the services sector expanded in January for the thirteenth consecutive month as the Services PMI® registered 53.4 percent, 2.9 percentage points higher than December’s reading of 50.5 percent.

Recent Economic Data

U.S. Construction SpendingReleased 2/1/2024 – Construction spending during December 2023 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $2,096.0 billion, 0.9 percent above the revised November estimate of $2,078.3 billion. The December figure is 13.9 percent above the December 2022 estimate of $1,840.9 billion.

PMI Manufacturing IndexReleased 2/1/2024 – The January Manufacturing PMI registered 49.1 percent, up 2.0 percent from December. The manufacturing sector continued in contraction for the 15th consecutive month following one unchanged month and 28 months of growth prior to that. The New Orders Index entered expansion territory at 52.5 percent, 5.5 percentage points higher than the figure of 47.0 percent recorded in December. The Production Index reading of 50.4 percent is a 0.5-percentage point increase compared to December’s figure of 49.9 percent.

Chicago PMI – Released 1/31/2024 – Chicago PMI remained in contraction territory in January unexpectedly declining to 46.0 points down from 47.2 points in December. The contraction follows a contraction in December which follows one month of expansion and follows 14 consecutive months of contraction in business activity in the Chicago region.

Consumer ConfidenceReleased 1/30/2024 – Consumer Confidence increased in January, up to 114.8 from 108.0 in December. Expectations increased from 81.9 to 83.8. January’s increase in consumer confidence likely reflected slower inflation, anticipation of lower interest rates ahead, and generally favorable employment conditions.

US Light Vehicle SalesReleased 1/26/2024 – U.S. light vehicle sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 15.893 million units in December.

Personal Income – Released 1/26/2024 – Personal income increased $60.0 billion (0.3 percent at a monthly rate) in December. Disposable personal income (DPI) increased $51.8 billion (0.3 percent). Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $133.9 billion (0.7 percent).

New Residential Sales – Released 1/25/2024 – Sales of new single‐family houses in December 2023 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 664,000, according to estimates released jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  This is 8.0 percent above the revised November rate of 615,000 and is 4.4 percent above the December 2022 estimate of 636,000. The median sales price of new houses sold in December 2023 was $413,200.  The average sales price was $487,300.  At the end of December, the seasonally adjusted estimate of new homes for sale was 453,000, a supply of 8.2 months at the current sales rate.

Durable GoodsReleased 1/25/2024 – New orders for manufactured durable goods in December, up three of the last four months, increased $0.1 billion or virtually unchanged to $295.6 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. This followed a 5.5 percent November increase. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.6 percent. Excluding defense, new orders increased 0.5 percent. Primary metals, also up three of the last four months, drove the increase, $0.4 billion or 1.4 percent to $27.1 billion.

Advance Estimate of 4th Quarter 2023 GDP – Released 1/25/2024 – Real gross domestic product (GDP) surpassed expectations and increased at an annual rate of 3.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2023, according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 4.9 percent. The GDP “advance” estimate is based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision. The increase in real GDP reflected increases in consumer spending, exports, state and local government spending, nonresidential fixed investment, federal government spending, private inventory investment, and residential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.

Existing Home Sales Released 1/19/2024 – The Existing home sales decreased in December following an increase in November which followed five consecutive months of declines. Existing home sales in December decreased 1.0% from November and fell 6.2% year over year. Existing home sales decreased to 3.78 million in December seasonally adjusted. The median price of exiting homes for sale increased to a record high of $389,800.

Housing Starts – Released 1/18/2024  December housing starts came in at 1,460,000, 4.3% below the November estimate but is 7.6% above the December 2022 rate. Building permits were 1.9% above the November rate at $1,495,000 and 6.1% above the December 2022 rate.

Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization – Released 1/17/2024 – Industrial production increased 0.1% in December and declined 3.1% in the fourth quarter. Manufacturing increased 0.1%. Utilities output decreased 1.0%. Mining increased 0.9%. Capacity utilization was unchanged in December, a rate that is 1.1 percent below its long-run average.

Retail Sales – Released 1/17/2024 – Headline retail sales increased 0.6% in December and are up 5.6% above December 2022.

Producer Price Index – Released 1/12/2024 – The Producer Price Index for final demand declined 0.1 percent in December, seasonally adjusted. Final demand decreased 0.1 percent in November. On an unadjusted basis, the index for final demand moved up 1.0 percent for the 12 months ended in December.

Consumer Price Index Released 1/11/2024 – The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers increased 0.3 percent in December on a seasonally adjusted basis, after increasing 0.1 percent in November. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 3.4 percent before seasonal adjustment.

Next week we get data on the CPI, PPI, Retail Sales, Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization, and Housing Starts.


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Data Sources: 

Conference Board Economic Indicators   Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)   Congressional Budget Office (CBO)     U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)    Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED Charts)

CME Fed Watch   U.S. Treasury – Yields   U.S. Census Bureau    Institute for Supply Management (ISM)    Weekly DOL Employment Data    BLS Monthly Jobs Report    JOLTS      All capital in one visualization 2020

US Energy Admn (EIA)   BLS Consumer Price Index CPI      BLS Producer Price Index PPIAtlanta Fed GDPNOW    NY Fed Nowcast GDP     US Census Bureau Housing Starts   U.S. Energy Admn

Consumer Credit  USCB Retail Sales   Construction Spending      Federal Reserve Dot Plots 2017   NY Empire Index    Philadelphia Federal Reserve   P/E Ratio Data -Yardeni Research

Technical Analysis Info: Koyfin.com  StockCharts.com – Financial Charts    Exponential vs Simple Moving Average

Other links: 1973 Arab Oil Embargo    Hunt Brothers Silver    Asian Contagion   Long-Term Capital bailout