Unless next week's payrolls report is an outlier, investors should expect a continuation of the directionless market that has kept the S&P 500 trading in place for most of the year. Should July post strong job gains, it would point to an economy strong enough for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates for the first time in almost a decade.
Talks on a Pacific Rim free-trade pact are unlikely to end in a final deal, sources involved in the talks said on Friday, with a dispute between Japan and the United States over autos, New Zealand digging in over trade in dairy products and no agreement on monopoly periods for next-generation drugs. Trade ministers from the 12 nations negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would stretch from Japan to Chile and cover 40 percent of the world economy, delayed until 4 p.m. local time (10 p.m. ET) a news conference originally scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on the Hawaiian island of Maui. Three sources involved in the talks said a last-minute breakthrough was unlikely due to issues with dairy and auto trade and a stand-off over biologic drugs, although ministers were due to meet again shortly.
U.S. labor costs in the second quarter recorded their smallest increase in 33 years as workers earned less in commissions and bonuses, in what appeared to be a temporary wage growth setback against the backdrop of diminishing labor market slack. The surprisingly smaller rise reported by the Labor Department on Friday did little to temper expectations that the Federal Reserve is set to raise interest rates later this year. The job market is fast approaching full employment.