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ADP Cools to 107K Private-Sector Jobs; BA, NVO Beat in Q4

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January Jobs Week continues this morning, even as we’re only just closing out the month today. Private-sector payrolls reported by Automatic Data Processing (ADP - Free Report) came in below estimates: 107K versus 150K expected, and beneath the previous month’s downwardly revised 158K. We’ve now spent a full six months sub-200K private-sector job gains per month. Typically, the breakdown was 30K new private-sector jobs in goods producing and 77K in services.

Based on company size, small firms (fewer than 50 employees) gained +25K new jobs in the private sector this month, while large companies (500 or more employees) grew +31K. Medium-sized employers led the month with 61K new private-sector hires. Unsurprisingly, Leisure & Hospitality led all industries with +28K new jobs filled (many times lower than we were seeing from this sector a couple years ago), followed by Trade/Transportation/Utilities at +23K and Construction +22K. Interestingly, Info Tech dropped -9K for the month — though this aligns with reported layoffs at Microsoft (MSFT - Free Report) , Alphabet (GOOGL - Free Report) and Salesforce (CRM - Free Report) , among others.

Another aspect of this ADP data is in its recent tracking of wage growth among employees who stay at their current jobs versus those who find employment elsewhere: these figures are +5.2% and +7.2%, the lowest they’ve been since the waning months of the Covid pandemic. These are the kinds of data points the Fed is looking for, by the way, when it decides on whether to cut interest rates based on disinflationary economic data.

Speaking of the Fed, its latest Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting concludes this afternoon, with a new statement released on interest rate policy. Virtually no one expects to see a move from the 5.25-5.50% Fed funds rate that has been in effect since late July 2023. This will be followed by a press conference and Q&A with Fed Chair Jerome Powell in the 1pm hour ET. It will be interesting to hear the Fed’s forecast based on this modestly shrinking labor market results from ADP this morning.

Meanwhile, Boeing (BA - Free Report) outperformed expectations in its Q4 earnings report this morning, to -$0.47 per share from -$0.72 expected (and the -$1.75 per share reported in the year-ago quarter). However, the aerospace major has suspended forward guidance for 2024, based on the fate of its 737 MAX fleet, which saw a fuselage panel blowout on a recent flight. We’re also four years into the tenure of CEO Dave Calhoun (who took over following two 737 MAX crashes in late 2018 and early 2019), where Boeing has reported 10 earnings misses in the past 14 quarters. Shares are up nearly +2% on the Q4 news.

Diabetes and weight-loss drug specialist Novo Nordisk (NVO - Free Report) , the Denmark-based maker of Ozempic, Rybelsus, Wegovy and many others, also outperformed expectations on both top and bottom lines: earnings of 71 cents per share outpaced the Zacks consensus by 5 cents (and well above the 42 cents per share reported in the year-ago quarter), while revenues of $9.51 billion swept past the $9.14 billion analysts were looking for. Ozempic rose +85% in the quarter, while weight-loss treatments Saxenda and Wegovy together grew +114% in the quarter. Shares are up +2.3% on the news in today’s pre-market. For more on NVO’s earnings, click here.

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