September 1, 2017
Soft is the news from August's employment report with nonfarm payroll growth of only 156,000 vs expectations for 180,000. Especially soft are average hourly earnings which inched 0.1 percent higher on the month for a year-on-year rate of 2.5 percent, both 1 tenth below expectations and pointing to continuing trouble for wages and inflation. The day's other news includes the weakest unit vehicle total in 3-1/2 years in what looks to be a negative for August retail sales. Also below expectations is construction spending though spending on single-family homes was in fact solid.
The Dow, at 21,987, edged 0.2 percent higher on the day to end the week with a 0.8 percent gain. Oil, despite Hurricane Harvey, actually fell in the week, down nearly 50 cents at $47.31 though gasoline futures surged, up 20 cents to $1.74. Gold had a very solid week, up 2.6 percent to 1,330 for a robust 15.4 percent year-to-date gain. Rates and the dollar were little changed in the week.