Powell remarks were a non-event, stocks edge higher, dollar pares gains, NFIB, coinbase struggles

Whipsaw moves in stocks continue as investors fixate over central bank speak and as they await a pivotal inflation report later this week. ​ US stocks edged higher as we didn’t get a steady dose of hawkish speak from Fed Chair Powell and as expectations grew for disinflation trends to continue. Wall Street appears to be turning more bullish with stocks, but that might include a rebalancing of how much weight they put into tech stocks. ​ ​

Ten days into the New Year and some traders are already tossing their eurozone recession calls out the window. ​ Sentiment is on a rollercoaster ride and optimism is growing that Europe won’t have that bad of a rough patch as China reopening gains momentum and as we did not see the worst-case scenarios play out for natural gas prices. ​ Goldman Sachs notably revised their eurozone forecast for 2023, from -0.1% to +0.6%. ​

The World Bank also lowered its outlook for global growth from 3.0% to 1.7% and highlighted new shocks to trigger a global recession. ​

Powell

Fed Chair Powell’s speech at the symposium on central bank independence did not give an update on the economy or monetary policy. ​ He noted we are not, and will not be, a “climate policymaker.” Powell doesn’t want to compromise their independence by getting entrenched in the climate change debate. ​ Regarding independence and transparency, Powell gave the standard, “the case for monetary policy independence lies in the benefits of insulating monetary policy decisions from short-term political considerations.”

FX

The dollar gave back gains after Fed Chair Powell’s speech was not a reiteration of his hawkish stance. ​ Dollar weakness could gain momentum again if more investors grow confident that the eurozone will avoid a recession. ​ Goldman Sachs changed their euro area forecasts since natural gas prices have tumbled and as China reopens. ​

NFIB
​Small business optimism slumped worst than expected and fell to the weakest levels since 2013. ​ Growth was obviously coming down, but this decline supports the idea that the economy is recession bound. ​ The Fed’s tightening cycle and potential commodity price volatility in both ways could complicate the disinflation trends in the middle of the year. ​

The headline index from the National Federation of Independent Business fell to 89.8, the lowest level since June and below the estimate of 91.5. Small business is weakening and they are still having trouble filling job vacancies, which could keep wage pressures elevated. ​ ​ ​

Crypto

Crypto traders were not surprised that Coinbase is having another round of layoffs. ​ The crypto exchange will let go about 950 people in hopes of reducing its operating expense by about 25% quarter-over-quarter. ​ CEO Armstrong said, “This is the first time we’ve seen a crypto cycle coincide with a broader economic downturn, but otherwise it is similar.” ​

Coinbase trading volumes have been crippled by both the FTX collapse and as Binance dominates Bitcoin and Ethereum trading. ​ There has been a steady improvement with the growth of the global crypto market cap this year and if that continues, that should be positive for Coinbase. Many traders are focusing on Altcoins which is what is needed to attract fresh money into this space. ​

Bitcoin and Ethereum got a boost after the dollar softened after a key appearance by Fed Chair Powell did not contain another round of hawkish Fed speak. ​

This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.

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