Prior Week Summary
After a busy week on both the economic and geopolitical front, U.S. equity markets edged higher, including the S&P 500 index, which closed above the psychologically-significant 2,800 price level for the first time since early November of last year.
The Director of the United States National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow, indicated that the U.S. and China are nearing the completion of a “historic” trade deal, citing a number of Chinese concessions, including a reduction of subsidies to state-owned institutions. A finalized deal is still likely weeks away, as the deal needs approval from high-level officials on both sides. But the U.S. Trade Representative’s office announced Thursday that tariff increases will be put on hold indefinitely because of the progress in trade negotiations.
Speaking in front of Congress, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell acknowledged that “crosscurrents and conflicting signals” have muddied the outlook for the U.S. economy and emphasized the Federal Reserve’s data dependency saying, “Going forward, our policy decisions will continue to be data dependent and will take into account new information as economic conditions and the outlook evolve.”
In economic news, the U.S. economy grew at a 2.6% annualized pace in the 4th quarter, topping analyst estimates as GDP grew 3.1% year-over-year, the highest yearly growth rate since 2005. Updated figures on housing starts, the ISM Manufacturing Index and consumer spending fell below consensus estimates.
The Look Forward
A host of market-moving economic data will be released this week, most notably the January jobs report on Friday. Additionally, $48 billion of 3-month Treasury Bills and $39 billion of 6-month Treasury Bills are going to auction.
Market Implied Policy Path (Overnight Indexed Swap Rates)
Fixed Income Snapshot
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