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Friday’s job numbers won’t be enough to slow the pending Fed rate hike

Some analysts say reports take pressure off the Fed to hike again in March -- here's why they still might
  • Friday's job data are contradictory on the surface -- lots of jobs but little gain in wages -- but the purchasing management numbers were hot.
  • New data is not remotely soft enough to stop the Fed, or even to slow it.

Financial markets are freezing like the scenes in sci-fi movies, jagged lines of frost hissing and crackling across trading floors. On election day the S&P (Standard & Poor) 500 was 2139. By December 20, elated by coming stimulus, tax cuts and regulatory relief, the index reached 2270. Two months later, add only 26 points -- 16 of those Friday in foolish hope that new data will hold back the Fed. The 10-year T-note on election day was 1.86 percent, three weeks later 2.45 percent, and today...2.45 percent. Jobs and purchasing reports Markets are in the business of second-by-second re-pricing of new information -- first, new economic data -- and then trying to evaluate the future. But economic data is inherently back-looking, so we hang on every numeral and dot from the most recent period. Stuff like revisions from mid-2016, we ignore altogether. The most-recent data each month are the job stats released on the first Friday, and the twin surveys of purchasing mana...

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