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Romain Fournier

Chief Editor
Having worked in the British, French and Swiss financial press, Romain is able to report on local and international issues, as comfortable in French as in the language of Shakespeare, Romain Fournier leads the editorial team at Marketscreener. Fine connoisseur of the English-speaking markets, Romain delivers an editorial every day on US and UK markets.

What higher-than-expected July jobs data means for markets

08/06/2021 | 08:57am EDT

Stocks have reached record highs this week, due to strong quarterly results from the largest U.S. companies, despite rising coronavirus cases, China's regulatory assault on technology companies and the threat of higher interest rates if inflation remains high. The release of monthly US employment figures may change things, but market reaction is hard to predict.

The U.S. added 943,000 nonfarm payrolls in July, which is much higher than the 870,000 economists expected and above the previous month's 850,000. Average hourly earnings rose 0.4% versus 0.3% expected and 0.3% in June.

The unemployment rate fell to 5.4%, vs a consensus of 5.8%, the Labor Department said.

This statistic is traditionally highly anticipated, but it is even more so at the moment because it is important for the evolution of the Fed's monetary policy. Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida said on Wednesday that conditions for raising interest rates could be met by the end of 2022.

It is very difficult to predict the reaction of markets because the interests at stake are sometimes contradictory. Could these favorable statistics accelerate the timetable for the reduction of the US central bank's support measures? Or is it a good sign that the economic recovery is on track?

Investors, both large and small, still have an overwhelming appetite for stocks. At this stage, one could almost speak of gluttony. After the - relative - slump that lasted from mid-June to mid-July, corporate results for the second quarter of 2021, boosted by an ultra-favorable basis of comparison, have provided the fuel needed for a resumption of the upward movement.

As a result, yesterday saw a slew of stock market peaks for indexes such as the S&P500 and the Nasdaq.

Listed companies have generally been able to cope with health restrictions, and the results for the first half of 2021 are overwhelmingly better than those for the first half of 2019, after the 2020 parenthesis. Some areas of exuberance persist, such as the current IPO frenzy, the valuations retained on these occasions, and the volatility of new entrants' shares. Investors often sign a blank check based on financial forecasts that are at the crossroads of marketing, prophecy and reality. This morning, Bukalapak's IPO in Indonesia is up 25% and Kakao Bank in Korea is up 40%. These are further signs that investors are willing to take significant risks, or that investment banks have become unable to price these deals right.


Economic highlights of the day:

German and French industrial production for June, and monthly employment figures for the United States in July are the main indicators of the day.

The dollar remains strong at EUR 0.8472. The ounce of gold is down to USD 1797. Oil is rising very moderately at USD 71.96 a barrel of Brent and USD 69.62 a barrel of WTI. Bitcoin is trading around USD 40,800.


On markets:

* Amazon won a major victory Friday after an Indian court blocked the $3.4 billion sale of assets by its partner Future Group to Reliance Industries.

* American International Group on Thursday reported better-than-expected second-quarter profit, buoyed by strong performances in its general insurance and life and pension units.

* Novavax fell 10.7% in premarket trading after further delaying its application for U.S. approval of its COVID-19 vaccine.

* Johnson & Johnson said Friday that it has submitted an emergency use application for its COVID-19 vaccine to Indian authorities.

* Beyond Meat expects lower-than-expected third-quarter sales due to reduced restaurant demand amid uncertainty over the coronavirus. The group specializing in meat substitutes lost 3.7% in pre-market trading.

* Facebook - The U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Thursday criticized the platform for "misleading claims" it made to explain why it disabled the accounts of researchers studying political advertising.

* Didi Global is considering handing over the management of its users' data to a third party amid an investigation by China's cyberspace regulator, Bloomberg News reported Friday, citing people close to the matter. The U.S.-listed stock is up 6.4 percent in premarket trading.

* Virgin Galactic opened Thursday for spaceflight tickets starting at $450,000 a seat, weeks after founder Richard Branson's high-profile trip to the space frontier. The stock gained 4.4% in pre-market trading.

* Levi Strauss announced Thursday it would buy clothing maker Beyond Yoga to expand its presence in the lucrative leggings business that exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic.

* Procter & Gamble said Thursday that activist investor Nelson Peltz would step down from the company's board at the end of his term this year.

* Zynga on Thursday issued a disappointing annual bookings forecast, weighed down by a slowdown in the gaming market and the announcement of a potential acquisition worth more than half a billion dollars. The stock fell 14.5% in pre-market trading.

* Yelp gained 13.2% in premarket trading after raising its annual net revenue outlook to a range of $1.01 billion to $1.03 billion.

* Expedia Group is down 6.4% in pre-market trading after its management expressed concern about the potential impact of coronavirus variants in the travel industry during the release of the group's results.

* GoPro is up 6.4% in premarket trading after reporting higher sales and a profit in the second quarter on Thursday, after posting a loss in the same period last year.

* Gilead Sciences said Thursday it became aware that counterfeit and falsified versions of its HIV treatments, Biktarvy and Descovy, were circulating in U.S. drug distribution networks.


Analyst recommendations:

  • Becton Dickinson: J.P. Morgan cut the recommendation  to neutral from overweight. PT up 9% to $265
  • Berkshire Hills: RBC starts coverage at New Sector Perform,  PT $29
  • BP Plc: Morgan Stanley upgraded from Underweight to Overweight with a target of GBP 342.
  • Cairn Energy: Berenberg upgrades from Hold to Buy, targeting GBp 235.
  • Cardinal Health: Deutsche Bank downgrades to hold from buy. PT up 0.9% to $51
  • Compass: Morgan Stanley upgrades its weighting to overweight.
  • Douglas Emmett: SMBC Nikko cut the recommendation to neutral from outperform. PT up 3.6% to $34
  • Meggitt: Bernstein upgraded from Outperform to Market Perform, targeting GBP 800.
  • OceanFirst: Piper Sandler raised the recommendation to overweight from neutral. PT up 18% to $24
  • PageGroup: Jefferies remains Buy with target price raised to GBP 680 from GBP 620.
  • Parker-Hannifin: Deutsche Bank downgrades to hold from buy. PT up 8.9% to $327
  • Moderna: Piper Sandler cut the recommendation to neutral from overweight. PT up 6.9% to $445
  • Sthree: Jefferies remains Buy with a target price raised from GBP 540 to GBP 570.
  • Synthomer: Berenberg upgrades its buy rating to hold with a target of 550 GBp.
  • Unilever: Morgan Stanley upgrades from Underweight to Overweight with a target of GBP 4,200. 

ę MarketScreener.com 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AMAZON.COM, INC. 1.75% 3436.255 Delayed Quote.1.95%
AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL GROUP, INC. -0.86% 58.6944 Delayed Quote.56.44%
AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR / US DOLLAR (AUD/USD) 0.27% 0.7529 Delayed Quote.-2.64%
BECTON, DICKINSON AND COMPANY 0.09% 246.6 Delayed Quote.-1.55%
BERKSHIRE HILLS BANCORP, INC. -2.09% 27.12 Delayed Quote.64.89%
BEYOND MEAT, INC. 3.18% 97.32 Delayed Quote.-24.50%
BITCOIN (BTC/EUR) -2.43% 50766 Real-time Quote.119.75%
BITCOIN (BTC/USD) -2.23% 58927.318985 Real-time Quote.109.32%
BP PLC -0.45% 357.6 Delayed Quote.40.97%
BRITISH POUND / US DOLLAR (GBP/USD) -0.09% 1.37539 Delayed Quote.0.65%
CANADIAN DOLLAR / US DOLLAR (CAD/USD) 0.46% 0.81071 Delayed Quote.2.86%
CARDINAL HEALTH, INC. -2.22% 47.615 Delayed Quote.-9.02%
COMPASS GROUP PLC 1.97% 1524 Delayed Quote.9.65%
DEUTSCHE BANK AG -6.92% 11.078 Delayed Quote.33.00%
DIDI GLOBAL INC. -2.78% 8.1895 Delayed Quote.0.00%
DOUGLAS EMMETT, INC. -1.85% 33.29 Delayed Quote.15.70%
EURO / US DOLLAR (EUR/USD) 0.13% 1.1609 Delayed Quote.-4.96%
EXPEDIA GROUP, INC. 0.47% 163.49 Delayed Quote.22.92%
FACEBOOK INC 0.07% 316.0193 Delayed Quote.15.61%
FEEDER CATTLE?FUTURES (GF) - CMG (ELECTRONIC)/C1 0.03% 156.025 End-of-day quote.12.00%
GILEAD SCIENCES, INC. -1.45% 66.725 Delayed Quote.16.25%
GOPRO, INC. 0.12% 8.655 Delayed Quote.4.47%
INDIAN RUPEE / US DOLLAR (INR/USD) -0.11% 0.013339 Delayed Quote.-2.72%
JOHNSON & JOHNSON -1.33% 163.5 Delayed Quote.5.32%
LEVI STRAUSS & CO. -1.48% 26.305 Delayed Quote.32.97%
LIVE CATTLE (LE) - CMG (ELECTRONIC)/C1 -0.16% 126.625 End-of-day quote.12.28%
LONDON BRENT OIL -1.67% 84.63 Delayed Quote.66.23%
MEGGITT PLC 0.05% 750 Delayed Quote.60.69%
MODERNA, INC. 0.08% 345.9401 Delayed Quote.230.95%
MORGAN STANLEY -1.21% 102.11 Delayed Quote.50.99%
NASDAQ COMP. 0.83% 15363.684885 Real-time Quote.18.14%
NEW ZEALAND DOLLAR / US DOLLAR (NZD/USD) 0.24% 0.71835 Delayed Quote.-0.20%
NOVAVAX, INC. 9.52% 147.85 Delayed Quote.21.06%
OCEANFIRST FINANCIAL CORP. -0.90% 22.02 Delayed Quote.20.18%
PAGEGROUP PLC 0.23% 667.5 Delayed Quote.48.86%
PARKER-HANNIFIN CORPORATION -0.15% 303.47 Delayed Quote.11.56%
PIPER SANDLER COMPANIES -2.54% 158.805 Delayed Quote.62.02%
PROCTER & GAMBLE COMPANY -0.11% 142.665 Delayed Quote.2.67%
RELIANCE INDUSTRIES LTD -1.26% 2627.4 Delayed Quote.34.04%
S&P 500 0.16% 4582.28 Delayed Quote.21.58%
S&P GSCI COCOA INDEX 0.50% 101.8854 Delayed Quote.-0.85%
S&P GSCI CRUDE OIL INDEX -1.12% 453.5787 Delayed Quote.72.26%
STHREE PLC 1.03% 590 Delayed Quote.95.97%
SYNTHOMER PLC -1.86% 474 Delayed Quote.7.43%
THE WENDY'S COMPANY -0.29% 22.06 Delayed Quote.0.96%
UNILEVER PLC -0.64% 3893 Delayed Quote.-10.79%
VIRGIN GALACTIC HOLDINGS, INC. -6.53% 18.325 Delayed Quote.-17.36%
WTI -1.79% 82.738 Delayed Quote.73.92%
YELP INC. -1.13% 38.8 Delayed Quote.19.99%
ZYNGA INC. -0.20% 7.355 Delayed Quote.-25.33%