Stock futures extend gains and yields rise after March jobs report outstrips expectations

NYSE Trader smile happy
  • S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq-100 futures each rose Friday after data showed the US economy added 916,000 jobs in March.
  • Long-dated Treasury yields also rose after the report beat expectations of 660,000 jobs.
  • The stock market will reopen and trading will resume on Monday.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Stock futures extended gains and Treasury yields rose Friday after a larger-than-expected addition of 916,000 US jobs in March underscored expectations the world’s largest economy continues to recover from the COVID-19 crisis.

The moves in futures and government bonds took place during the Good Friday holiday. Full equity trading will resume on Monday and the bond market will close early on Friday, at 2 p.m.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up by 180 points and popped up as much as 218 points, or 0.7%, after the Labor Department released its monthly jobs report. Dow futures had been up by 0.2% just before the data arrived. S&P 500 futures rose 0.5% and Nasdaq-100 futures tacked on 0.4% after pre-data gains of 0.3% each.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected, on average, nonfarm payrolls to climb by 660,000. The latest report also included upward revisions in January and February for a combined addition of 156,000 jobs.

“The equity market party is in the early stages as the US will likely add between 500,000 and a million jobs over the next few months,” wrote Edward Moya, a senior market analyst at Oanda, in a Friday note. “US stocks will remain attractive, but that could change quickly if Treasury yields start to surge again.”

Friday’s gains in stock futures suggested that Wall Street could see more record highs on Monday. The S&P 500 on Thursday powered through the 4,000 mark for the first time after President Joe Biden late Wednesday outlined an eight-year infrastructure plan to invest in upgrading and modernizing transportation systems, roads, bridges and broadband, among other items.

In the bond market, the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield rose to 1.70% as prices fell. The yield was at 1.68% before the March data. The 30-year Treasury yield also rose, to 2.357% from 2.328%. Bond yields have been climbing this year as investors price in expectations for further economic growth and higher inflation to accompany the expansion.

The US Dollar Index also gained ground, up at 93.04 from 92.86 before the payrolls report.

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Oil tumbles 8% as uneven vaccine rollout threatens demand prospects

oil texas
Workers extracting oil from oil wells in the Permian Basin in Midland, Texas.

  • Brent and West Texas Intermediate oil futures each fell by 8% during Thursday’s session.
  • Rising COVID-19 cases in Europe are hurting demand prospects for oil.
  • A rise in the US dollar was also putting pressure on the commodity.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Oil prices were sharply knocked down Thursday, hurt in part by a dimmer outlook from Europe as the region battles rising COVID-19 cases counts and a sluggish rollout of vaccinations to curb the spread of the disease.

Brent oil, the international benchmark, extended its run of losses into a fifth session and West Texas Intermediate crude was in its sixth consecutive session in the red.

“Europe is struggling with COVID. Their pickup in crude demand is likely to lag the Americas and it’s probably going to really threaten a lot of hopes that we were going to see a big pickup this summer,” Ed Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda, told Insider on Thursday.

Brent oil fell 8% to $62.52 barrel and WTI fell by 8.3% to $59.25 per barrel.

Several European countries were recording a rise in coronavirus infections, prompting France on Thursday to declare new lockdown measures in Paris while Italy this week imposed movement restrictions.

Oil prices found no relief Thursday from the European Medicines Agency’s ruling that AstraZeneca‘s coronavirus vaccine developed with Oxford University is safe to use. The review came after several European countries suspended the vaccine’s use following reports of blood clots in some people who had been injected with the formula.

Meanwhile, oil was under pressure in the wake of the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting on Wednesday during which it upgraded its growth projections for the US economy.

“You have a stronger dollar which has emerged from the surge in Treasury yields, which is also weighing on commodities as well,” said Moya. The US Dollar Index rose 0.5% to 91.87.

The 10-year Treasury note yield note yield surged past 1.7% on Thursday, marking a fresh 14-month high and the 30-year yield rose to 2.5% for the first time since August 2019. Higher yields tend to make the greenback more attractive to holders of other currencies.

While the outlook for European oil demand looks weakened by the COVID crisis, there are still expectations for stronger oil demand from the US with vaccinations on the rise, said Moya.

“It’s going to be a very busy summer travel season and I think jet fuel demand will also bounce back. We haven’t seen airlines really increase their flights…but once we start to see that, that’s going to be very positive for the demand forecast.”

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Dow, S&P 500 close at records after Fed upgrades its growth outlook and indicates no rates hikes until 2023

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  • The Dow and the S&P 500 closed at new records after the Federal Reserve reiterated an accommodative policy stance as the economy recovers.
  • It’s “not yet” time for the Fed to start talking about reducing asset purchases, says Fed Chairman Powell.
  • The 10-year yield eased back from its highest level in 14 months.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

US stocks turned higher Wednesday, with the Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 closing at new record highs. Tech stocks recovered after the Federal Reserve reiterated its pledge to continue supporting the US economy as it continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Nasdaq Composite reversed course after losing more than 1% during the session and the S&P 500 clawed out of negative territory during afternoon trading. The run higher in stocks during the session came after Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said it was “not yet” time to begin discussions about tapering its purchases of bonds and other securities.

“We want to see that labor market conditions have made substantial progress toward maximum employment and inflation has made substantial progress toward the 2% goal,” Powell said in an afternoon press conference. “When we see actual data coming in that suggests that we’re on track…then we’ll say so,” and “well in advance of any decision to actually taper.”

The Fed at its policy meeting ended Wednesday left its benchmark interest rate unchanged, as expected. The Fed currently buys $120 billion a month in assets in part to help keep the financial system running smoothly as the worldwide pandemic persists.

Here’s where US indexes stood at 4 p.m. ET at the close on Wednesday:

Investors had earlier shoved down high-performing tech stocks as borrowing costs increased as implied by the 10-year Treasury yield. The yield approached 1.7% and reached its highest level since January 2020, which was before the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a pandemic.

The Fed upgraded its economic projections including its view that gross domestic product will expand by 6.5% this year, up from the prior estimate of 4.2%. Economists have said the vaccinations of millions of Americans and the $1.9 billion fiscal stimulus package from Washington are key factors in driving economic recovery. The Fed also indicated that no rate hikes will take place before 2023.

In equities, Uber fell over 4% after the company said late Tuesday it will reclassify drivers in the United Kingdom as “workers,” guaranteeing them minimum wage, paid vacation and other benefits.

Plug Power shares tumbled as much as 23% after the hydrogen fuel-cell company said it will restate some of its financial reports because of accounting errors.

Legendary investor Bill Gross said he’s betting against GameStop stock again after walking away from January’s wild volatility with $10 million.

Meanwhile, short bets on the stock market may be bottoming out as indexes hit record highs, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Gold rose 1.09% to $1,751.05 per ounce. Long-dated US treasury yields rose.

Oil prices fell. West Texas Intermediate crude slipped 0.46% to $64.64 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, dropped 0.55%, to $68.06 per barrel.

Bitcoin rose as much as 4.4% to $58,184.

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Investors pull $15 billion from bond funds as rising yields contribute to the biggest weekly outflows in a year

us cash
Rising yields have led to bond-fund outflows.

  • Weekly outflows from bond funds hit $15 billion, the highest amount in about a year, says tracker EPFR.
  • Rising Treasury yields have spurred flight from bond funds while bolstering equity funds.
  • The 10-year Treasury yield spiked beyond 1.6% on Friday.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A climb in long-dated Treasury yields stoked by US growth expectations has contributed to investors yanking more than $15 billion from bond funds this week, the largest outflow in a year, according to figures released Friday.

Borrowing costs are stepping higher as implied by the 10-year Treasury yield which is tied to a range of loan programs. The pickup in borrowing costs has put pressure on equities, particularly highly valued tech stocks, in recent sessions including on Friday. The 10-year yield was pushed up to 1.639%, its highest in more than a year and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.5%.

Yields have increased as investors price in a potential rise in inflation as the US economy recovers from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic that threw it and other economies into recession last year.

Concerns about US bond yields was a factor in chasing more than $15 billion from bond funds during the week ended March 10, said EPFR, a subsidiary of Informa that provides data on fund flows and asset allocation. The latest outflow was the largest in nearly a year, it said in a note Friday. Bank of America, meanwhile, tallied bond outflows of $15.4 billion.

This week’s bond auctions included the sale of $38 billion in 10-year Treasuries. This week also marked the signing by President Joe Biden of a massive fiscal package under which $1,400 checks will be sent to most Americans.

“While the specter of another wave of US Treasuries hitting the market contributed to the growing angst about global borrowing costs,” wrote Cameron Brandt, director of research at EPFR, “the $1.9 trillion worth of stimulus they will be issued to finance added fresh fuel to the global reflation narrative.”

He said that narrative has “lit a fire” under equity flows. Equity funds tracked by EPFR raked in more than $20 billion for a fifth straight week. That keeps stock-fund inflows on track for a new quarterly record as year-to-date flows “moved within striking distance of the $240 billion mark,” said Brandt.

Brandt also said weekly bond outflows were spurred by the liquidation of funds linked to Greensill Capital, a UK-based supply chain finance company that filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this week.

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Gold slumps to lowest in eight months as market ‘finally wakes’ up’ to spiking bond yields

gold bars
  • Gold hit an intraday low of $1,714 an ounce, trading at the lowest prices since early June 2020. 
  • Gold funds logged a weekly outflow of $500 million, extending a run of weekly losses. 
  • Gold is competing against higher yields and hurt by a rising dollar. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Gold prices Friday slumped to their lowest since mid-2020, under pressure as bond yields continued to spike while investors yanked money out of gold funds.

Gold prices fell as much as 3.4% to an intraday low of $1,714.90 an ounce on a continuous-contract basis and traded at levels not seen since early June 2020. For the week, the metal was on course to drop 3% and has lost roughly 9% so far this year.  

There were outflows of $500 million from gold funds this week, according to Bank of America in its Flow Show update Friday. Gold funds logged the biggest weekly outflow since mid-November and their 16th in the past 20 weeks, according to fund tracker EPFR on Friday.

Gold’s been suffering at the hands of higher bond yields as well as gains for the US dollar. Yields on US government bonds have raced higher this week, making gold, which offers no yield, less attractive for investors to own.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury popped above 1.6% on Thursday, a sharp move from 1.3% in less than a week. Yields have climbed as investors sell off bonds in part as they price in inflation expectations on the view that the world’s largest economy will continue recovering from the recession brought on by the COVID-19 health crisis.

Dollar-denominated gold has also been weighed by a recent increase in the greenback’s value.

“The USD is bid as FX finally wakes up to what is happening in fixed income and equities around the world,” said Brad Bechtel, global head of FX at Jefferies, in a note Friday in which he pointed out a rise in the Bloomberg Dollar Spot index. That index rose 0.6% to 1,135 during Friday’s session, moving around its highest since early February.

While gold funds saw outflows, it was a “huge week” for inflows into equity funds of $46.2 billion, the third-largest ever weekly inflow, said BofA, adding that bond funds took in $7.1 billion.

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10-year Treasury yield nears highest in a year as recovery prospects strengthen

money
  • The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was nearning 1.374%, which would mark the highest level since February 2020. 
  • Yields have been surging as investors sell off bonds on expectations that recovery in the US economy will lead to higher inflation. 
  • Bonds are looking undervalued against stocks, says Bank of America 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The 10-year Treasury yield pushed close to its highest level in a year on Monday, as the outlook for economic recovery prompted investors to continue selling bonds and search for higher-yielding assets.

The yield hit 1.352%, just shy of a 12-month high of 1.374% logged on Feb. 24, 2020.

The yield on the note has climbed about 43 basis points since the start of the year when it was at 0.92%. Yields rise when prices fall.

The move is part of a broader rise in global bond yields that reflects expectations for further economic recovery and a related pickup in inflation as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.

The latest signal of growth in the US economy arrived Monday from the Conference Board. The business think-think said its Leading Economic Index rose by 0.5% in January to 110.3, better than the 0.3% consensus estimate from Economy.

“As the vaccination campaign against COVID-19 accelerates, labor markets and overall growth are likely to continue improving through the rest of this year as well,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, the Conference Board’s senior director of economic research, in a statement. The group now expects the US economy to expand by 4.4% in 2021 following its contraction of 3.5% in 2020.

The 10-year breakeven inflation rate, which measures the market’s inflation expectations, was at 2.14% and recently hit its highest level since 2014, according to Bloomberg data. The breakeven rate is the difference in yield between 10-year Treasuries and 10-year Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities, or TIPS. 

Bank of America on Monday said US yields have already reached its year-ahead targets, including the 10-year surpassing 1.30% and the 30-year bond yield above 2.16%.

“This is now realized, but it is over? The biggest risks to current trends include the long-term support levels nearby (yield resistance),” the investment bank said in a note Monday. As well, weekly resistance strength indexes are “starting to flash oversold” signs and bonds are looking undervalued against small-cap stocks “similar to the dot com and [Global Financial Crisis] era,” it said.

Investors ditching bonds have been putting money broadly into equities, fueling a 15% year-to-date surge in the Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks.

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