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Wednesday January 7, 2015 - 16:48:33 GMT
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| | Email US Mid-Session Update: US Job Growth Still Strong in December

Wed, 07 Jan 2015 11:39 AM EST

***Economic Data***
- (ZA) South Africa Dec Naamsa Vehicle Sales Y/Y: +10.7% v -0.8%e
- (IE) Ireland Dec Live Registry (Monthly Change): -3.3K v -4.1K prior; Unemployment Rate: 10.6% v 10.7% prior; Live Registry Level: 363.9 v 367.2K prior
- (BR) Brazil Nov PPI Manufacturing M/M: 1.2% v 0.7% prior; Y/Y: 4.6 v 4.0% prior
- (CL) Chile Dec Trade Balance: $1.2B v $0.7Be; Total Exports: $7.2B v $5.9B prior; Total Imports: $6.0B v $5.4B prior; Copper Exports: $3.8B v $3.2B prior
- (US) MBA Mortgage Applications w/e Jan 2nd: 11.1 v 0.9% prior
- (CL) Chile Nov Nominal Wage M/M: 0.6% v 0.3% prior; Y/Y: 7.0% v 6.9% prior
- (PL) Poland Dec Official Reserves: $100.4B v $100.4B prior
- (US) Dec ADP Employment Change: +241K v +225Ke
- (CA) Canada Nov Int'l Merchandise Trade: -C$0.6B v -C$0.2Be
- (US) Nov Trade Balance: -$39.0B v -$42.0Be
- (CA) Canada Dec Ivey Purchasing Manager Index: 55.4 v 53.0e; PMI Unadj: 46.7 v 49.2 prior
- (US) DOE Crude: -3.06M v +0.5Me; Gasoline: +8.12M v +3Me; Distillate: +11.2M v +2.5Me

Defensive stocks and healthcare led gains on the S&P500 in the early going this morning after several sessions of sustained declines. Traders are eagerly awaiting the FOMC minutes later this afternoon for any possible hints on Fed tightening strategy. As of writing, the DJIA is up 0.66%, the S&P500 is up 0.55% and the Nasdaq is up 0.74%.

The December ADP jobs report was very strong, beating expectations for the fourth month in a row. Note that this is the highest ADP reading since June, and the strong gains were led by small businesses. The consensus estimate for Friday's December non-farm payrolls number is 240K, right in line with today's ADP.

Crude prices fell further during the European session, with the front-month WTI contract touching fresh 5.5 year lows around $47. Rumors made the rounds as US traders were coming into the market that Saudi King Abdullah may have died, goosing WTI up to nearly $49.50, although there was no substance to the talk. The contract is around $48 presently. Brent slipped below $50 for a brief moment earlier this morning but is presently around $51.

The latest polls out of Greece show Syriza with a three-point lead over the New Democracy. Meanwhile, the Eurozone December CPI data suggested that disinflation has deepened in Europe. The euro continues to take on water, with EUR/USD at nine-year lows around 1.1820.

Homebuilders are gaining this morning on news that the FHA will lower its mortgage insurance premiums. Back in November, the FHA said its Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund had returned to solvency after falling into a steep deficit during the financial crisis and the housing bust. While not quite back to its best condition, the fund's improving condition will allow the agency to cut rates from 1.35% to 0.85%. Lennar was up 4.5% and other names were up 3-4% on the news.

Hayman Capital's Kyle Bass launched a new crusade against drug prices and the US pharmaceutical industry this morning. According to Bass, patent abuse has created a big drug pricing problem for the US. Bass plans to launch short selling activist strategy against certain pharma names to bust abusive patents and lower drug costs.

***Looking Ahead***
- 14:00 (US) Fed Releases Minutes from Its Dec. 16-17 FOMC Meeting
- 18:30 (US) Fed's Evans on monetary policy in Chicago
- 22:45 (JP) Japan to sell 10-Year CPI Linked Bond
- Sri Lanka Presidential Elections


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