After yesterday’s weaker than expected report on GDP growth, the Fed Funds futures market is giving odds of just 12% on a June interest rate increase. The odds of a June rate increase had been 21% after the Fed’s Wednesday meeting
U.S. financial markets have apparently decided that the disappointing first quarter GDP data released this morning are just another example of first quarter weakness. It’s the third straight first quarter GDP read that has shown a U.S. economy headed toward stagnation–and in each case the economy recovered to show better growth in the rest of the year.
Look to tomorrow’s GDP numbers to see if the first quarter upsets the Goldilocks story that the financial markets have been reading lately. That story has included just enough economic growth to keep stocks moving higher but not enough growth to prompt the Fed to move quickly on another interest rate increase for 2016.
Last night’s first quarter earnings report and guidance from shale oil producer Pioneer Natural Resources has set off a new round of speculation about how high oil prices have to go before U.S. shale producers decide to put some of the drilled but uncompleted wells that they’ve put on hold into production.
Natural gas futures for May delivery rose 3.5% on Friday to give the commodity a 13% gain for the week. That’s the best performance for natural gas since the week that ended on January 1. At this point and with so much short covering, I’d be very cautious about chasing prices here. This rally is, though, part of a recovery in the sector and I’ve got suggestions for what stocks to watch