Markets Take A Cue From “Silent Night”

All is calm, but is all bright?

The bond markets look on course for another very quiet day. Traders are taking this all-is-calm, all-is-bright stuff seriously. Dow futures are up 5 whole points in pre-opening trading and bond prices are lower.

Readings On Today’s Economic Releases

The first of today’s economic releases are out. Weekly Jobless Claims rose by 19k to 275k. The claims numbers will be getting more volatile over the next few weeks as seasonal workers and weather factors start coming into play. The second revision to third quarter GDP kicked the number up to 3.5% vs. expectations of 3.2%. The preliminary release was 2.9%. This is the best GDP reading since the first quarter of 2014, but it’s ancient history.

The ever volatile Durable Goods Orders headline number came in at4.6% vs. expectations of -4.0%. The tamer and more closely watched ex-transportation component rose by 0.5% vs. expectations of 0.2%. All in all, a good batch of numbers but none of which will matter to traders.

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Later this morning Personal Income and Spending will be released. This report is also unlikely to get much of a reaction unless the inflation component in the report goes far astray of expectations.

The markets feel done for this week. Tomorrow should be even slower, and the bond market closes early. Dow 20,000 before Christmas? It’s certainly doable, but traders are going to have to dig deep and find some Christmas spirit tomake it happen.

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.

December 22, 2017

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