NFP React: Stocks lower after soft NFP report and Omicron jitters, No one named an FX manipulator

US stocks declined after a soft employment report and as traders remain on edge over the uncertainty with the Omicron variant. The next couple of weeks will remain volatile as the focus falls on the latest inflation report, the December 15th FOMC meeting, and further clarity on the impact with the Omicron variant. 

A record ISM Services reading did not excite traders, perhaps they focused more so on the supplier deliver delays, wage increases, and labor shortages. Technology stocks are getting hit hard as Facebook, Microsoft, and Square sell-off.  Didi shares fell on delisting plans and that raised the risk that other Chinese companies would follow.  

NFP

The US economy is adding jobs at a slower pace as employers are starting to have success luring people back to the labor force. If wages continue to rise, that will be the key for companies to reach their hiring targets. 

The November employment report showed US employers added 210,000 jobs, a miss of the 550,000 consensus estimate and well below the upwardly revised prior reading of 546,000 jobs. A headline miss with the nonfarm payroll report, may be mostly attributed to seasonal factors. The underlying components make this labor market report not so bad as people are coming back to the labor force, with the participation rate improving from 61.6% to 61.8%.

Wage pressures may be slowing as average hourly earnings dipped in November from 0.4% to 0.3%, but some of that could be attributed to the weakness in lower paying hospitality jobs. 

The Fed may view this as a positive employment report as minority unemployment improved significantly and the participation rate is now only 1.5 percentage points lower than in February 2020. Fed rate hike expectations are settling around two rate hikes next year. The headline jobs miss takes away momentum from an accelerated tapering but allows them to increase the taper pace by $5-10billion to the monthly pace. 

FX

The Treasury has placed 12 countries on a foreign exchange watchlist, bringing back China to the list, while adding Japan, Switzerland, and Germany.  The Treasury refrained from calling any country a currency manipulator, but both Vietnam and Taiwan will get enhanced analysis.

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Ed Moya

Ed Moya

Senior Market Analyst, The Americas at OANDA
With more than 20 years’ trading experience, Ed Moya is a senior market analyst with OANDA, producing up-to-the-minute intermarket analysis, coverage of geopolitical events, central bank policies and market reaction to corporate news. His particular expertise lies across a wide range of asset classes including FX, commodities, fixed income, stocks and cryptocurrencies. Over the course of his career, Ed has worked with some of the leading forex brokerages, research teams and news departments on Wall Street including Global Forex Trading, FX Solutions and Trading Advantage. Most recently he worked with TradeTheNews.com, where he provided market analysis on economic data and corporate news. Based in New York, Ed is a regular guest on several major financial television networks including CNBC, Bloomberg TV, Yahoo! Finance Live, Fox Business and Sky TV. His views are trusted by the world’s most renowned global newswires including Reuters, Bloomberg and the Associated Press, and he is regularly quoted in leading publications such as MSN, MarketWatch, Forbes, Breitbart, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Ed holds a BA in Economics from Rutgers University.
Ed Moya