US stocks are struggling here as the labor market refuses to cool, which should prevent the Fed from delivering a dovish hike tomorrow. Wage pressures are not going away anytime soon and that will prevent inflation from cooling.
Wall Street saw a major reversal after another round of economic data showed the labor market remains robust and that could keep the door open for the Fed to remain aggressive with tightening in December. Momentum was building on expectations for the Fed to downshift their tightening pace in December, but now that call seems like it may have been premature. Rates might need to stay higher for longer if the labor market is still healthy and inflation ends up being stickier than markets are initially thinking.
The ISM manufacturing report came in better-than-expected and signaled that the goods sector of the economy is doing just fine. The ISM headline reading declined to 50.2 but did beat expectations of a 50.0 print. The Fed will be happy to see input prices finally fell down to 46.6 from 51.7 in the prior month. The employment component rebounded from 48.7 to 50.0, which supports the argument that the labor market is still very strong.
The JOLTS data did not provide any relief for wage pressures. Instead of seeing a cooling in the amount of jobs available, it looks like companies remain committed to filling vacancies. Job openings in October jumped to 10.72 million, almost a million above the consensus estimate and well above the 10.05 million seen in the prior month. The economy can’t be slowing down that fast if companies are still struggling to fill job openings. The Fed downshift trade could blow up if the labor market refuses to break.
Bitcoin continues to hover above the $20,000 level ahead as the Fed begins its two-day policy meeting. Bitcoin dropped after the latest JOLTS report showed the labor market was not willing to cool. Aggressive rate hikes might have to stay on the table a little while longer and that could prove troubling for risky assets such as bitcoin.
Bitcoin might end up settling in the $19,500 to $21,000 trading range until the Fed decision. It seems like Wall Street might have to wait until the New Year for the Fed to downshift, which means bitcoin could be vulnerable to finish the week lower.
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