The first big economic report since the partial government shutdown was today’s non-farm payrolls report for September, which came in far below expectations. Payrolls increased only 148,000 against an expectation of 180,000. Traders took this as practically guaranteeing the Fed will not reduce its $85 billion a month in bond purchases until next spring. This sent stocks higher, pummeled the dollar, and gave gold an immediate $20/oz boost to three-week highs. The dollar is near two-year lows against the euro. at well over 1.37.
The Treasury Department announced today that the Chinese were already souring on U.S. debt, even before the budget fight and near-default in Washington. China dumped $11.2 billion in long-term Treasuries in August, but still holds $1.268 trillion worth of U.S. bonds. Japan picked up the slack, buying $13.7 billion in Treasuries.
European stocks were mixed ahead of the U.S. employment report, edging up a bit over yesterday’s record numbers, while Hong Kong and mainland Chinese shares were off yesterday’s highs on fears a residential real estate bubble may cause the PBoC to tighten money. Oil is lower, on expectations the wounded U.S. economy has lost steam.
Analysts who had predicted that a breach of the $1,325 level for gold would signal a negation of the latest bear trend and begin bullish moves are carefully watching today’s activity for confirmation. Not much worry is being directed at the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting scheduled to begin a week from today, but that could change if a raft of good economic news is released between now and then.