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Non-farm payrolls to dictate Fed policy

If non-farm payrolls data supports the Federal Open Market Committee’s projections for the economy, bond purchases will continue to be reduced at a measured pace says Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen.

What now remains to be seen is how much poor weather will be blamed for the jobs data this year.

In yet another weather-related failure to meet consensus expectation, US private employers added 139,000 jobs in February with gains in the previous month also revised lower from 175,000 to 127,000.  

While there is undoubtedly some relationship between ADP numbers and the non-farm payrolls number, correlation has been tenuous at best over the past year. Nevertheless, the failure to match expectations along with the downward revision tends to bring a certain confluence to the two metrics.

This Friday, market participants are expecting to hear that a total of 151,000 jobs were added in February, anticipating the rate of unemployment to stay the same at 6.6%.

US indices remain at all-time highs yet, with the crisis in Russia still something of a concern. Sentiment in the market is vulnerable and any fears that the US growth picture is faltering could see profit-taking set in.  

 

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