A Fun September?

The markets were quiet for most of August, and traders are eager for September to bring more activity.

Stocks were almost unchanged for the month of August, and bonds had the worst month since June of last year, according to CNBC. Traders are eager for September to begin but must also have feelings of trepidation, not knowing what form that activity will take.

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Bond traders remain more confident than stock traders from a longer-term perspective, but they’ll have to start worrying if the string of stronger global data continues.

September should more fun to watch than August, but I doubt we’ll end September will any higher degree of confidence about what comes next. When September ends, traders will immediately start worrying about the U.S. election and the possible referendum vote in Italy.

I doubt the markets will do much today, but whatever the markets do will have little meaning with Friday’s jobs report looming.

The consensus remains for a gain of 180,000 in nonfarm payrolls, but no one has a lot of confidence in the consensus guess by economists. If the number is below 100,000, traders will assume and likely be right that a rate increase in September is off the table. A number much above 200,000 would certainly raise the odds of a hike.

Read more about report revisions, hourly wages, and unusual shifts in labor force participation.

Dwight Johnston is the chief economist of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues and president of Dwight Johnston Economics. He is the author of a popular commentary site and is a frequent speaker at credit union board planning sessions and industry conferences.

September 1, 2016

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