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Markets Await Economic Data

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Ahead of Wednesday’s opening bell, markets are again trading modestly down. Without a catalyst signifying growth well beyond present market levels — where the Nasdaq currently sits at a fresh all-time closing high, the S&P 500 not too far off its record close and the Dow only about a month removed — we’re seeing a bit of a downward drift. Perhaps today’s economic reads will hold some positive sway.

JOLTS — the Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey — reports its July numbers after the bell this morning. Expectations are high: the previous month’s read was a series high for the survey, which began in 2006, to 10.1 million openings. This demonstrated a big jump month over month of +590K new openings, led by the Professional & Business Services group. Because these figures are a month in arrears, they do less for plotting employment trends into the future.

Also, this afternoon we’ll get to see the latest Beige Book — a summary of current economic conditions from the Fed, ahead of its upcoming Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. In the last Beige Book, dated July, we saw all 12 regions demonstrating growth: some moderate (Chicago), some solid (Dallas) and some strong (New York). At the time, however, the Delta variant had not yet emerged as a significant obstacle to economic growth.

A new read on Consumer Credit, also for July, will likewise be released after the opening bell has sounded. Here we expect a headline somewhere in the range of $23-26 billion, well below the $37.7 billion in June. However, this June read rose at the quickest rate ever: right about $1 billion even, month over month. This metric tracks credit card use in the U.S., which blossomed in the Great Reopening. Last read’s Revolving Credit was up $17.86 billion — the highest since 2006.

Supply chain concerns are causing analyst guidance coming down somewhat for Q3, while the Sell-side is seeing some cuts to its U.S. equity outlook. And, while we still expect a low base effect in Q3 year-over-year comparisons, results will likely not be as gaudy as in Q2. That said, estimates for the coming earnings season (a couple weeks from now) still reflect healthy growth, overall.