This Week; oil markets will continue to drive interest rates and the US equity markets. Crude is being driven as you know by civil tensions in an increasing number of countries in the Mideast and in N Africa. While there hasn't been much new out of the region for the past few days, the fears continue that oil production and distribution will continue. If there is and doubt that oil supplies and oil demand are at critical melting points the recent spike in oil should alleviate and questions.
This week the economic calendar has a lot to think about. The US economy has been on a path of recovery with almost every economic data point has been better than estimates. The new and increasingly important question now is, will consumers draw back with the price of energy expected to increase even more. Talk of $4.00 a gallon gasoline is presently dominating investor thinking. $4.00 gas will very likely lower discretionary consumer spending if in fact it occurs. Meanwhile recent economic measurements are being debated on the premise nasty weather in most of the US in Jan and Feb has distorted norms.
This is employment week; on Friday the Feb employment report is expected to have increased to 9.1% frm 9.0% in Feb, non-farm jobs +180K, non-farm private jobs +193K> if we get those numbers and just 0.2% increase in hourly earnings----and if, there is a relaxation in the oil markets this week interest rates will likely increase. We continue our view that the only reason we have seen the recent decline in interest rates has been due to the civil unrest in the Mideast and N Africa. The week will likely be marked with continued volatility.
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