Stocks are up this morning as commodities rally. Bonds and MBS are down.
Initial Jobless Claims fell to 253k from 266k the week before. This is the lowest reading since 1973. When you take into account population growth, the number is even more dramatic. Employers are hanging onto their workers, but they aren’t necessarily paying them more.
Inflation remains muted at the consumer level, with the Consumer Price Index rising 0.1% month over month. Ex-food and energy, it is up 0.9%. The core index, which excludes food and energy was up 0.1% MOM and 2.2% YOY. Real average weekly earnings were up 1.1%.
Consumer comfort increased slightly last week to 43.6 from 42.6 the week before.
Wells reported numbers this morning, with a decrease in profit on loan loss provisions. Mortgage loan origination volume and margins both fell on a QOQ and YOY basis. Originations fell 6% from Q4 and 10% YOY. Margins fell 15 bps QOQ and 25 bps YOY. Non-conforming mortgage growth was up 8% YOY. The stock is down a couple percent pre-open. Overall, lower net interest margins are hurting the banking business in general. Separately, the US government increased Well’s “systemically important” rating, which means they could be subject to higher capital requirements. JP Morgan, Citi, Morgan Stanley and Goldman are also in that club.
Bank of America also reported weaker-than expected earnings this morning. Losses in the energy patch are hurting them. The stock is down about a percent. The big legal fees and settlements should be in the rear view mirror now.
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are debating in New York over whether the financial industry should be drowned in boiling oil or just put before a firing squad.