Friday, August 03, 2007
Imagine Macro Man's surprise when, ten minutes after the data release, two differnt brokers noted that "clients don't really know how to react to the number." The prior view that the figure was largely irrelevant appears to have been vindicated.
On balance, the number was weak- but not diastrously so. Headline and household employment was low, and the unemployment rate was a couple of high school burger-flippers away from jumping to 4.7%. That monthly payroll growth has slowed sharply is clear- that the Fed will care is not.
The uptick in the U-rate, while surprising, is hardly disastrous and looks very similar to what was observed late last year. Moreover, it should also be viewed through the lens of the recent downward revisions to GDP. Those should lead to upward revisions to unit labour costs, as output per worker has evidently been lower than previously though. This in turn might imply that NAIRU is a bit higher than previously believed as well. And lest we forget, both the three and six month averages for payroll growth are in the 125-130 range- levels that the Fed appears to believe are consistent with trend.
As such, the preferred setup remains in play- market strength until 2.15 EDT on Tuesday, no real loosening of Fed language, and the onset of Wave C at 2.16 EDT on Tuesday.
As such, it's probably wise to leave a few orders to play the anticipated set-up:
* Macro Man will sell his residual long SPY position in the alpha portfolio at 150;
* He will sell his EWZ position at 67;
* He will bid 25.50 for 120,000 XHB to offset his long put position;
* He will bid 117 for $15 milion USD/JPY to hedge his straddles
Best to use the current quiet period to adjust portfolios; if Macro Man is right, it should all kick off in the second half of next week.
UPDATE: Doh! Super-weak services ISM and Bear Stearns on negative outlook by S&P may have wrecked the game plan, though would make any non-throwing of an easing bone by the Fed that much more powerful....