Key Focus This Week: Jobs Report and AI Hype Take Center Stage Following Debt Ceiling Deal

Explore the AI revolution, market rallies, and upcoming earnings reports. Stay informed on economic data and the trillion-dollar shift in computing.

May 28, 2023 - 14:36
May 28, 2023 - 14:37
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Key Focus This Week: Jobs Report and AI Hype Take Center Stage Following Debt Ceiling Deal
Jobs Report and AI Hype Take Center Stage Following Debt Ceiling Deal

Anticipate Easing of Debt Ceiling Worries as Focus Turns to May Jobs Report and AI Advancements

Investors can look forward to a week shortened by the holiday, where concerns over the debt ceiling are expected to fade. The spotlight will shift to the release of the May jobs report, diverting attention from fears of a US default and turning towards the Federal Reserve's upcoming rate announcement on June 14.

Over the weekend, President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced a preliminary agreement on the debt ceiling, which is set to span two years. Lawmakers will now focus on passing this legislation before the looming June 5 deadline.

Aside from the jobs report scheduled for Friday, market watchers can also expect data on housing market trends and consumer confidence, along with a handful of corporate earnings reports. It's important to note that US markets will be closed on Monday in observance of Memorial Day.

The recent weeks witnessed extensive discussions on the US debt ceiling, although it had minimal impact on market performance. Meanwhile, the current week is anticipated to shift attention towards the thriving AI sector, allowing thought leaders in this field to dominate discussions.

Notably, chipmaker Nvidia (NVDA) achieved remarkable earnings, propelling the company's market cap to the $1 trillion mark and driving the overall tech sector upwards. Last week, the Nasdaq Composite index (^IXIC) surged by 2.5%, while the S&P 500 index (^GSPC) saw a modest 0.3% increase and the Dow Jones Industrial Average index (^DJI) experienced a 1% decline.

Anticipate 180,000 Job Additions and Slight Increase in Unemployment Rate in May Jobs Report

According to Bloomberg data, the May jobs report, set to be released on Friday, is expected to reveal the addition of 180,000 nonfarm payroll jobs to the US economy. Simultaneously, the unemployment rate is projected to experience a slight uptick to 3.5%. This report holds significant importance as the Federal Reserve reviews multiple key data points leading up to its Federal Open Market Committee meeting on June 13-14.

In April, the US economy saw an unexpectedly robust increase of 253,000 nonfarm payroll jobs, while the unemployment rate dropped to 3.4%, reaching its lowest level since May 1969.

As economic data consistently outperforms expectations, predictions regarding the central bank's next move have become increasingly mixed. Following last week's inflation data, the CME Group reported that markets are pricing in a greater than 50% chance of a 0.25% rate hike by the Fed on June 14. In late April, investors believed it was more likely for the Fed to cut rates rather than raise them in June.

Bank of America's US economics team, led by Michael Gapen, highlighted the current economic landscape, stating that inflation is surpassing the 2% target rate, while the unemployment rate remains lower than estimates of the longer-run rate among FOMC participants. They emphasized the significance of the upcoming jobs report on June 2 and the CPI (Consumer Price Index) data on June 13, which will further influence the decision-making process leading up to the June and July meetings. A strong nonfarm payroll growth of over 200,000, a stable or decreasing unemployment rate, and core CPI of around 0.4% month-on-month would contribute to a leaning towards additional tightening measures.

Technology and Retail Earnings Take Center Stage as HP, Salesforce, Okta, Dell, Macy's, and Lululemon Report Quarterly Results

The upcoming week will see a focus on corporate earnings, particularly from technology and retail companies. Notable companies such as HP, Salesforce, Okta, Dell, Macy's, and Lululemon are set to disclose their quarterly results, offering valuable insights into the consumer landscape.

These earnings reports will provide a clearer understanding of the mixed performance observed in the consumer sector throughout this earnings season. While some companies have expressed concerns about a discretionary spending slowdown, others have indicated a thriving apparel market.

In general, S&P 500 companies have surpassed Wall Street estimates, despite the index witnessing its second consecutive quarter of aggregate earnings decline. According to data from FactSet, S&P 500 earnings declined by 2.2% in the first quarter. Additionally, 81 companies have provided negative earnings per share (EPS) guidance, marking the highest number since the third quarter of 2019.

C3a.i. Earnings Awaited in the AI Industry's Eventful Week

Investors can anticipate further earnings updates from the AI sector, including C3a.i. (AI), whose earnings report is scheduled for Wednesday. The tech company has experienced significant growth, with its shares surging over 190% year-to-date, positioning it as one of the primary beneficiaries of the ongoing AI boom.

The first quarter of the year already witnessed considerable excitement surrounding AI-related announcements during earnings season. However, the past week witnessed an intensified frenzy among investors, reaching new heights of enthusiasm.

Notably, Nvidia's stock experienced a remarkable surge of nearly 25% on Thursday. The company's impressive performance was fueled by revenue guidance for the current quarter, which surpassed Wall Street estimates by over 50%. Additionally, Marvell Technology saw its shares climb more than 30% a day later, following the company's projection of doubling revenue attributed to AI in the coming year.

Nvidia CEO Foresees $1 Trillion Transition to AI in Data Centers

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang stated that a massive shift from general-purpose to accelerated computing is expected in global data centers, valued at approximately $1 trillion. Companies are racing to integrate generative AI across their products, services, and business processes, driving the demand for accelerated computing solutions. The growing significance of AI has contributed to the market's overall rally, with the Nasdaq experiencing a 24% gain this year.

As investors evaluate the landscape, the AI theme has gained prominence, intensifying the sensitivity to interest rate changes. According to strategists at Citi, the US markets are particularly influenced by the AI trend, and they anticipate US outperformance once the Federal Reserve concludes its deliberations.

While the market excitement surrounding AI-related stocks has been remarkable, some caution that it may still be premature to dismiss these developments. Bank of America Global Research emphasized that the lack of conviction in the macro narrative of 2023 has heightened the focus on the micro narrative of AI.

In the week ahead, investors can also look forward to earnings reports from notable companies in the technology and retail sectors. HP (HPQ), Salesforce (CRM), Okta (OKTA), Dell (DELL), Macy's (M), and Lululemon (LULU) are among the companies set to release their quarterly results. These reports will provide further insights into the mixed performance of the consumer sector during this earnings season.

Furthermore, the S&P 500 companies have been surpassing Wall Street estimates, although the index reported a decline in aggregate earnings for the second consecutive quarter. With the Federal Reserve monitoring key data points, including the upcoming nonfarm payrolls report, expectations for the central bank's next move remain uncertain.

The week will also feature economic data releases, including the Dallas Fed Manufacturing Activity report, FHFA House Price Index, S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller data, and the Conference Board Consumer Confidence index. Additionally, a range of companies, such as Box (BOX), HP Inc. (HPQ), U-Haul (UHAL), Advance Auto Parts (AAP), Capri Holdings (CPRI), Chewy (CHWY), Crowdstrike (CRWD), and others, will announce their earnings throughout the week.

Also Read: Revitalizing America: Unleashing the Power of Biden's $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Boost

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