On Friday afternoon, as US stocks surged in the wake of an astounding upside surprise on the May jobs report, Kevin Hassett confirmed that if June’s numbers paint a similar picture in terms of the recovery’s trajectory, the next virus relief package will be structured accordingly.
June’s payrolls report “will be something like” May’s numbers, Hassett mused. He pledged (on behalf of the administration) more government spending to aid the economy, but the scope of that spending is contingent on the labor market. The current relief measures, he said, offer a “bridge to July”.
It’s a good thing. Because, as Mitch McConnell has made clear, the Senate won’t be considering additional assistance for Americans until at least July 22.
The figure shows that in absolute terms, “V-shaped” is still a laughable misnomer, Friday’s encouraging news notwithstanding.
In the same vein, the hardest-hit sectors of the market are still lagging, as Energy and Banks remain depressed despite the recent rotation.
The S&P logged a third weekly gain, and a fourth in five. Anyone who was laughing in early April at projections for a return to record highs by 2021 isn’t laughing now, that’s for sure.
Gold was pummeled Friday as risk assets exploded higher and yields rose. Although it’s not difficult to make the case for carefully-polished, yellow paperweights in a world where many believe currencies are being haphazardly debased amid thinly-veiled central bank debt monetization, the metal is riding a three-week losing streak.
Oil, meanwhile, rose for a sixth week as an OPEC+ deal to extend production curbs is now all but assured. Futures in New York topped $39 – a long way from negative $35.
The US oil rig count fell again last week, Baker Hughes said Friday. At just 206, drilling rigs targeting crude have fallen by 70% in the past 12 weeks alone to the least since the summer of 2009.
Oil’s rebound is helping equities along and it will also add upside impetus for yields and inflation expectations which, for now, is still a good thing.
Ultimately, Friday marked a fittingly dramatic end to a historic week for the United States. Donald Trump used the jobs report as an excuse to deliver a 45-minute-long, unscripted “speech” at the White House. It was, effectively, a campaign rally with a captive audience (the press).
To be sure, not everyone was enamored with the proceedings.
“I was disturbed… to see the president crowing this morning — basically hanging a ‘mission accomplished’ banner when there is so much work to be done — and so many Americans are still hurting”, Joe Biden said, in remarks delivered at Delaware State University.
The unemployment rate for African Americans actually rose in May to the highest in more than ten years, widening the gap with the jobless rate for white workers, which fell by nearly two percentage points from April.
Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser renamed the street outside the White House “Black Lives Matter Plaza” on Friday, ordering the city to paint the message in giant yellow letters.
The Washington Post called it “a pointed salvo in [Bowser’s] escalating dispute with President Trump over control of D.C. streets”.
During the jobs celebration, Trump claimed Friday was a great day for George Floyd.
“Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying, ‘this is a great thing that’s happening for our country'”, Trump said. “This is a great day for him”.
Social media derided the remarks as ludicrous.
But what isn’t ludicrous these days?
As Cheshire Cat put it, “we’re all mad here”.