Bloomberg - Evening Briefing - Jobs report blowout

Bloomberg Evening Briefing

If anyone is worried about a bubble on Wall Street, it was hard to tell on Friday as a blowout US jobs report convinced investors of America’s continuing resilience, overwhelming any attendant worries about delayed rate cuts. US payrolls swelled by 303,000 in March, topping all estimates. The unemployment rate edged lower to 3.8%, wages grew at a solid clip and workforce participation rose, underscoring the strength of a labor market that’s driving the economy. All major groups in the S&P 500 gained. “It’s hard to find anything wrong with the March Jobs report,” said Steve Wyett at BOK Financial. “The only people who might be disappointed in today’s report are those looking for relief from Fed rate cuts. We still expect the next move from the Fed to be to lower rates, but there is little sense of urgency at the moment.” 

Here are today’s top stories

Not so in Europe. The European Central Bank will embark in June on a steady-yet-gradual path of interest-rate cuts that’ll run at least through the end of next year, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Respondents anticipate a first quarter-point reduction in the deposit rate—currently at a record 4%—at the policy meeting following the Governing Council’s upcoming session on April 11. Similar moves will ensue once a quarter, taking the rate to 2.25% by late 2025.

In monetary policy, there’s a school of thought that you can have too much of a good thing. Too many jobs, too much wage growth, too much economic output—it’s all potentially inflationary, or so the thinking goes. Or, at least it is in normal times, Jonathan Levin writes in Bloomberg Opinion. In today’s context, that line of thinking is probably wrong, and it’s good that at least one influential member of the Fed’s interest rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee recognizes as much.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen chided China for “unfair” treatment of American and other foreign companies and said its factories risk producing more than the world can easily absorb. China has pursued “unfair economic practices, including imposing barriers to access for foreign firms and taking coercive actions against American companies,” Yellen said Friday in the southern city of Guangzhou. For Chinese leader Xi Jinping, the Yellen visit marks one of the final chances to shape American policy before November’s US election, in which both candidates are vying to look tough on China.

Beset by a regular drumbeat of bad news, Tesla is slashing prices on its best-selling vehicle as it scrambles to clear its biggest-ever stockpile. The company is marking down Model Y sport utility vehicles, with long-range and performance versions discounted by at least $5,000. Tesla shares plummeted Friday, in part thanks to another news report. The stock has dropped 31% this year.

Two of Trafigura Group’s most senior executives are leaving in the second major shake-up in less than a year at one of the world’s top commodity traders. Executive director and long-time head of oil Jose Larocca will retire in September, while Chief Financial Officer Christophe Salmon is leaving in June. The departure of the two men, among the most senior figures in the global commodity trading industry, comes after a period in which Trafigura has been roiled by trading missteps in nickel and oil and charges of wrongdoing.

The rulers of the United Arab Emirates are about to turn their once sleepy stock market into a $1 trillion giant. This success relies on the recent chart-topping performance of the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, run by the UAE’s biggest and wealthiest city-state. But global investors tempted to pile in face the Abu Dhabi market’s defining feature. Royal family member Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan—one of Abu Dhabi’s two deputy rulers, national security adviser of the UAE and brother to its president—dominates just about every part of its business. As of March 31, the sheikh’s companies or those he oversees had a weighting of at least 65% of the benchmark FTSE ADX General Index.

Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan Photographer: Atta Kenare/Getty Images

If you haven’t been watching the Tennessee Legislature, you should be, Mary Ellen Klas writes in Bloomberg Opinion. After six people including three children were gunned down at the Covenant School in Nashville last year, the Republican-controlled legislature hasn’t been able to accept that many Tennesseans want sensible gun reform. Instead, Klas writes, legislators have passed a law to make sure residents are protected from vaccines they believe can be transmitted through lettuce, embraced a long-debunked conspiracy theory that governments are releasing chemicals into the air using airplane condensation trails and proposed a bill to prevent first cousins from marrying

What you’ll need to know tomorrow

Murdoch Is Having a Hard Time Selling His Place

Rupert Murdoch’s Manhattan penthouse is on the market yet again—and the Australian media mogul is taking another, deeper hit to unload it. The roughly 7,000-square-foot triplex in the Flatiron neighborhood was first listed for $62 million in 2022. It’s since taken multiple cuts: Before it was delisted in December 2023, the asking price had fallen to $42 million. Now it’s going for only $38.5 million.

Rupert Murdoch’s Flatiron penthouse Source: Compass

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