Happy Valentine’s Day!
Markets couldn’t decide whether they were going to show investors some love or not early this morning – and for good reason. The long-awaited inflation data for January hit the tape at 8:30 am EST, and like all “big news” events, it caused some frantic and chaotic early trading.
More on the data in a minute. But now that things have settled down a bit, we see that equities, gold, and silver are mostly flat. Treasuries are bit lower in price along with oil.
Let’s talk about the January Consumer Price Index now. It rose 0.5% on headline and 0.4% on core (ex-food and energy). That was exactly in line with forecasts. But the year-over-year figures were a bit hotter than expected at 6.4% and 5.6%, respectively.
Inflation is on Wall Street’s mind because of Federal Reserve policy implications. The hotter inflation gets, the more the Fed will hike...and vice versa. In that regard, these numbers were a bit of a “push.” They don’t move the outlook noticeably one way or the other.
Speaking of the Fed, Vice Chairwoman Lael Brainard will soon be moving from her position there to director of President Biden’s National Economic Council. The existing director Brian Deese is stepping down soon, and Brainard will now be advising the president on important policy decisions.
Banking and securities regulators are turning the screws on the crypto industry. Their actions take a number of forms. But in total, they’re designed to make it tougher to transact in cryptocurrencies and move money from the traditional finance system into the crypto world and back.
Meanwhile, Former UN ambassador and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has thrown her hat in the ring as a 2024 Republican presidential candidate. She will run against former President Trump and other candidates who have not yet made their intentions clear publicly.
Finally, Tesla (TSLA) workers at a New York plant are seeking to unionize in order to secure better pay and working conditions. Shares of the automaker have performed very well in the last month, gaining 58%. But even after that rally, they remain about 33% lower than this time last year.