This morning the economic calendar, which has been a bit comatose so far this week, saw an influx of news. In case you missed it, here are the two main points.
U.S. nonfarm productivity increased 4.9% in the third quarter, topping expectations for a 3.4% rise. This rebound in productivity marks the fastest pace in 4 years. Meanwhile, the second-quarter productivity-growth number was revised marginally lower to reflect a rate of 2.2%. Meanwhile, unit labor costs edged 0.2% lower, the biggest decline since the second quarter of 2006. Economists were expecting a 0.8% rise. On a year-over-year basis, however, labor costs have grown by 4.3%. According to a Dow Jones report, these numbers may ease some worries at the Fed about the economy's ability to grow without sparking inflation.
Following this report, fed funds futures were little changed, with the December contract reflecting a 76% change for a move down 25 basis points to 4.25% at the December 11 meeting. The February contract remains fully priced for a 4.25% rate at the January 29-30 meeting, with a 26% chance for a move to 4.0%.
At 10:00 a.m., wholesale-inventory numbers for September hit the Street, reflecting an increase of 0.8%, broader than the 0.3% gain targeted by analysts. The August number was revised higher to show a gain of 0.7%, above the originally reported gain of 0.1%. The inventory-to-sales ratio edged lower to 1.1 months after 4 consecutive months at 1.11. On a year-over-year basis, wholesale sales jumped 9.9%, with inventories rising 5.2% during the same 12-month time period.
Checking in on the bid indices, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA 13,521.5) is down 140 points but is holding above the 13,500 mark. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP 2,794.7) has pulled back 30 points, and the S&P 500 Index (SPX 1,502.71) is barely atop the 1,500 level, down 17.5 points.