Tomorrow is “Jobs Friday”, so it’s no surprise the markets are muted today. Equities, the dollar, and crude oil are flattish, while gold and silver are mixed. Treasuries are a bit higher.
On the news front...
We don’t get the official monthly employment figures until tomorrow. Economists expect the economy added 240,000 jobs in March, down from 311,000 in February, while the unemployment rate held steady at 3.6%.
But there are increasing signs of fraying around the economy’s edges these days. The recent JOLTS data disappointed, while the outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas reported today that layoffs spiked to 89,700 last month from 77,800 a month earlier. Job cuts are running at their highest level since 2009 in the first few months of 2023.
China showed restraint in responding to the U.S. visit by Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen yesterday. But most analysts suggest Chinese President Xi Jinping had calculated reasons for doing so, and that the muted response/verbal protests don’t signal a new policy of détente toward the U.S.
Finally, if you’re the type who listens to AM radio on your drive to work or around town, Ford Motor (F) has some bad news. The company is dropping AM radio from its cars and trucks starting in the 2024 model year. The wheel of progress never stops turning, I suppose.
Please note: The stock market is closed tomorrow for the Good Friday holiday. So, there will not be a “Market Minute” segment. You can still count on your daily allotment of investing ideas from our network of experts though!