It has been an active open to the U.S. forex session. A slew of economic metrics have brought currency traders out of hibernation and into the markets in droves. Big moves in the USD/CAD and USD/JPY have headlined the action thus far for Friday’s session.
Thursday’s bull run in the U.S. indices has continued through today’s New York cash open. For the first hour of trading, the DJIA is up over 50 points and the S&P 500 is in the green by six.
Major media outlets are reporting that the U.S. added 148,000 jobs for December. By most measures, this is a positive development. However, the high degree of optimism in recent months has analysts calling this number a “disappointment.” A few years back, adding almost 150,000 jobs in a single calendar month would have been viewed as fantastic news. Now, it is business as usual.
The Hard Data
There have been a slew of metrics out this morning facing the U.S. economy:
Event Projected Actual
Average Hourly Earnings (YoY, Dec.) 0.3% 0.3%
Non-Farm Payrolls (Dec.) 190K 148K
Trade Balance (Nov.) $-49.5B -$50.5B
Unemployment Rate (Dec.) 4.1% 4.1%
This group of numbers is a mixed bag, with Non-Farm Payrolls and the Trade Balance lagging behind expectations. Traders do not seem too concerned about the numbers, as equities are rallying and the USD is hanging tough against the Euro, Swiss Franc, and Japanese yen. The only substantial damage has been against the Canadian dollar, which is down over 80 pips.
One of the prices of success is higher expectations. While the U.S. economy continues to advance, academics forecast better and better news. Eventually, the bar is raised so high that it cannot be reached. If equities sustain their rally for the coming months, and substantial GDP growth becomes the norm, we will see more and more of this type of thing.
All in all, the numbers aren’t too bad. Unemployment is static above 4% and wages are holding steady. I will be looking for sub-4% U.S. Unemployment in the coming months, most likely in Q2 of this year.