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Daily Market Outlook, April 5, 2024 🕶️

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 Daily Market Outlook, April 5, 2024.

Most Asian stock markets are experiencing declines on Friday, in response to the drop in Wall Street's performance yesterday. This is due to renewed worries about the future of interest rates, as the possibility of a rate reduction in June remains unclear. The expectation of elevated energy prices leading to increased inflation may persuade the US Federal Reserve to refrain from reducing interest rates. The Japanese stock market is experiencing a sharp decline on Friday, erasing all the gains made in the previous session. This comes as a result of negative signals from Wall Street overnight. The Nikkei 225, a key benchmark, is dropping by 2.5 percent and is now below the 38.8K handle.

In the UK, all eyes are on the PMI construction report for March, providing valuable insights into a sector that is highly sensitive to changes in interest rates. The overall index for February was just below the expansion level of 50, at 49.7, its highest reading since August of last year. There were signs of stabilization in housing activity, which has historically been the weakest part of the construction sector. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues in response to indications of a recovering housing market. 

Today's highly anticipated US labor market report is a crucial indicator of economic activity and inflationary pressures. The February update showed significant job gains, indicating continued strength in the labor market. However, the overall report was slightly weaker compared to January, with the unemployment rate reaching its highest level in almost two years and wage growth slowing down. Although there have been some reports of a slowdown in hiring and an increase in layoffs, these trends have not been reflected in the data yet. For example, unemployment claims remain close to their lowest levels in several years. For March, expect another strong increase in jobs, around 225,000, in line with the average growth rate over the past two years. Additionally, a slight decrease in the unemployment rate to 3.8% from 3.9% is anticipated, along with a small increase in monthly wage growth, although the annual growth rate may slow down. While the report may not rule out the possibility of an interest rate cut in the middle of the year, especially considering recent comments from Fed Chair Powell, it could increase uncertainty about the likelihood of multiple rate cuts this year.

Federal Reserve policymakers have been actively giving speeches throughout the week, with more scheduled for today. Of particular interest will be their initial reactions to today’s labor market data, especially regarding its potential impact on current guidance suggesting the likelihood of an interest rate change.

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