Daily Agenda: U.S. Jobs Report Muddles Economic Outlook

Investors focus on employment data; Turkish Prime Minister Davutoglu to step down; Alibaba beats estimates; Tesla sales soar.


Equity markets globally were relatively flat in trading this morning, with futures for US equities indicating that traders are balancing concerns about a that a strong employment report my move the Federal Reserve to act in June against a series of positive earnings reports. After initial claims data that rose to the highest level in more than a month, there is greater sentiment that the pace of improvement in the U.S. employment situation is moderating. Nonetheless, the dollar rebounded further today, indicating currency markets are increasing pricing in a June hike. With the Cinco de Mayo holiday today, investors may get some much-needed distraction from macro and market forces.

Alibaba beats estimates. Fiscal fourth-quarter results released today by China’s Alibaba Group Holding included revenues that significantly exceeded consensus analyst estimates on higher advertising sales. Total sales grew by 39 percent on a year-over-year basis, as more Chinese consumers embraced online shopping.

Davutoglu loses power struggle to Erdogan. Turkish media outlets have reported that Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will resign from his post, as well as leadership of the ruling Justice and Development Party, commonly known by its Turkish initials AKP, after failing to reach an accord with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on key issues. Davutoglu has been lauded by Western leaders for criticizing attempts by Erdogan to silence critics and for his push for a proactive solution to the ongoing refugee crisis.

Tesla targets aggressive expansion. Shares of Tesla Motors rose sharply after the electric carmaker reported better earnings than anticipated for the first three months of the year. Critically, the company moved up its target date for reaching 500,000 vehicles in annual production to 2018 from a prior 2020 estimate — a leap expected to require a capital raising to expand production capacity.

Lula to face charges. Brazilian Attorney General Rodrigo Janot yesterday asked the country’s supreme court for an indictment of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Janot specifically cited alleged attempts by da Silva to block the ongoing investigation at state-owned energy company Petrobras.

Stevens to step down at RBA. Today the Reserve Bank of Australia announced that Governor Glenn Stevens will step down from his role heading the bank in Favor of Phil Lowe. Lowe, who has worked closely with Stevens for years, is an MIT-trained economist who studied under Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman while there.


Oil continues rebound. Futures for front month delivery of West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose by more than 4 percent in early trading on Thursday. The bullish move comes one day after Iranian officials signaled increased willingness to negotiate production caps with other OPEC members and weekly data from the Energy Information Administration revealed a decline in production of 113, 000 barrels per day in the U.S.