Tuesday, 12 March 2024 04:10

Bonds Inch Higher Following February Jobs Report

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the US added 275,000 jobs in February which was slightly higher than expectations. However, the report indicated some softening in the labor market as job gains in January and December were revised lower by a collective 167,000, and the unemployment rate inched higher to 3.9%. 

 

It resulted in bonds moving higher as odds increased that the Fed would cut rates in June. Additionally, the number of hikes expected in 2024 also rose from 3 to 4. Most strength was concentrated on the short-end, which is more sensitive to Fed policy as yields on the 2-Year Treasury note declined by 10 basis points. There was much less movement on the long-end as the 10-year Treasury yield was lower by 3 basis points. Earlier this week, bonds also caught a bid as Chair Powell’s testimony to Congress was interpreted as being dovish. 

 

Overall, the jobs report perpetuates the status quo in terms of the Fed remaining data-dependent, while the path of the economy and inflation remain ambiguous. On one hand, wages and the labor market have defied skeptics who were anticipating a downturn. But there has been acute weakness in areas like manufacturing and services which have historically coincided with a weakening economy. 


Finsum: The February jobs report resulted in a slight rally for bonds as it increased the odds of a rate cut in June. Most strength was concentrated on the short end of the curve.

 

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