US economic indicators and the Nasdaq are fueling the Fed
It was a busy Friday session, as US economic indicators came in much warmer than expected, surprising investors.
In January, non-farm payrolls increased by 517,000, compared to an expected increase of 185,000 and 260,000 in December. Wage growth was also better than expected, rising 4.4% year-on-year compared to expectations of 4.3%, while down from 4.8% in December.
The increase in non-farm payrolls brought the unemployment rate down to 3.4%, well below the Fed’s mandate of 5%.
Along with an impressive set of indices, the ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI jumped from 49.2 to 55.2, dispelling immediate fears of a recession. However, the latest numbers may give the Fed reason to take a more hawkish move in March.
Looking at the sub-components, the ISM non-manufacturing price index fell from 68.1 to 67.8, while the employment index increased from 49.4 to 50.0.
The figures point to an increase in consumption that could provide a demand-driven increase in inflationary pressures, adding more weight to the January CPI report.
In response, the NASDAQ fell 1.59%, and Apple (AAPL) and Alphabet Inc. joined. (GOOGL) to Amazon.com (AMZN) reported disappointing results and a bleak outlook, adding to the downside.