Measured by intensity of price changes and volume in a 30-minute period, we cannot find any event as volatile as this morning’s reaction to April payrolls in the last five years. We actually quit looking after we got to the beginning of 2016, so we’re not certain what the record might actually be. The job report itself wasn’t that surprising, it’s simply that no one saw it coming. The low estimate was 700k, but distortions related to timing and worth-less-than usual seasonal adjustments should have clued more people into the possibility the number could be a surprise. But, the stimulus/vaccine recovery story has been the dominant theme this spring…so a shortfall in April was huge news. The bigger news should have been the downward revision to March, but that fight can wait until next week.
Before Friday’s excitement, yields remained in a tight range. UST prices were supported in part by Wednesday’s confirmation by Treasury it is content with current auction sizes. Three questions loom for supply in 2022. Economic recovery is the biggest question, the Fed’s continuing reinvestment program is the second, and US fiscal policy is third.
The US vaccine rate fell to its lowest weekly total in eight weeks. Is it because of less immediate risk as caseloads fall? Many countries overseas, though, are still crushed by new cases. Last, an observation about how popular resentment against perceived and actual mistakes by global governments might change politics (and economics) long after the immediate danger is gone.
A review of April’s total returns across key financial markets completes this issue.