Stocks are squishy in the early going, while Treasuries are rebounding from earlier losses, amid a spike in jobless claims filings. The dollar is falling, while gold and silver are rising, and crude oil is roughly flat.
On the news front...
Something “broke out” to the upside today. Unfortunately, it was initial jobless claims filings. Roughly 261,000 Americans filed for unemployment assistance in the most recent week. Not only was that much higher than expectations, it was also the highest level going all the way back to October 2021.
This kind of data will get the Federal Reserve’s attention ahead of next week’s rate-setting meeting. Interest rate futures markets were recently assigning only a 28% chance the Fed will raise rates another 25 basis points at the June 13-14 gathering. But that could change depending on what key inflation data shows between now and then.
Meanwhile, central banks in Australia and Canada didn’t show any restraint this week. Hikes on Tuesday (by the Reserve Bank of Australia) and Wednesday (by the Bank of Canada) helped push short-term yields much higher this week, with yields in many countries at or near their highs from March of this year.
The 2-year Treasury yield here in the US, for instance, just hit 4.51%. The peak three months ago was just over 5%, as you can see in this chart.
Finally, if you live anywhere in the Mid-Atlantic or Northeast, you’ve had quite the “smoke show” lately thanks to wildfires in Canada. Skies have ranged anywhere from beige to red over the last couple days because prevailing weather conditions have transported smoke from Canadian fires south into the US. Air quality in the New York City metropolitan area hit the top end of the Environmental Protection Agency’s six-tier index, prompting schools, airports, and stadiums to cancel or curtail operations.