The release of crucial economic data, including nonfarm payrolls, the unemployment rate, and hourly wages, will shed light on the Federal Reserve's dilemma as it approaches the June policy meeting. Analysts anticipate a smaller increase in non-farm payrolls, with consensus pointing to a rise of 190,000 in May compared to the 253,000 added in April. Additionally, a slightly higher unemployment rate of 3.5% is projected, up from April's 3.4%. Hourly wages are expected to grow by 0.3% on a monthly basis and 4.4% compared to the previous year, following a 0.48% increase and 4.45% annualized growth in April.

This labor market report will underscore the persistent challenges faced by the Federal Reserve in its quest to reestablish inflation at the desired target level. We maintain the perspective that the Fed should raise interest rates in June to demonstrate its determination, followed by a pause to assess the impact on macro conditions. However, the most crucial aspect of our outlook remains the expectation that the Fed will maintain a hold on rates at least until the year's end.

Federal Reserve's Role in Managing Monetary Policy

The Federal Reserve, tasked with promoting price stability and sustainable economic growth, employs various tools, including interest rate adjustments, to achieve its objectives. Essential economic indicators, such as nonfarm payrolls, the unemployment rate, and hourly wages, provide valuable insights into the state of the economy, enabling the Fed to make informed decisions regarding appropriate courses of action.

Despite Challenges, Fed Should Maintain Gradual Monetary Tightening

In recent years, the Federal Reserve has encountered difficulties in boosting inflation to its target level of 2%. Despite a robust labor market and strong economic growth, inflation has persistently remained below the desired threshold, leading to calls for a more accommodative stance by the Fed. However, we believe that the Fed should continue pursuing a gradual tightening of monetary policy to address inflation concerns. The forthcoming labor market report will offer further insights into the economic landscape and the challenges the Fed faces in achieving its objectives.

Tesla: Elon Musk's Visit to China Sparks Share Rally

Elon Musk concluded his whirlwind tour of China on Thursday, where he met with top officials, praised the country's technological advancements, and visited Tesla's Gigafactory. China holds significant importance for Tesla, serving as a crucial market for sales and production. Over the years, Musk has expressed admiration for the world's second-largest economy. This visit, his first in three years, comes as China aims to present a favorable environment for foreign businesses amidst geopolitical tensions with the United States and the lingering effects of strict Covid controls.

Meta's Quest 3 VR Headset: Enhancing the Virtual Experience

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, unveiled the highly anticipated Quest 3 virtual reality headset through a video posted on Instagram. The Quest 3 boasts "high-res color mixed reality" and is set to have a starting price of $499, approximately 40% thinner than its predecessor, the Quest 2.

Featuring multiple front-facing cameras, the Quest 3 promises improved pass-through experiences, enabling users to seamlessly transition between the virtual and physical worlds. The video showcased enhanced "natural" depth perception and graphics improvements for gaming.

Meta emphasized that the Quest 3 would offer "high-fidelity color Passthrough, innovative machine learning, and spatial understanding," allowing users to interact with both virtual content and the real world simultaneously.

Equipped with a next-generation Qualcomm chipset, the Quest 3's advanced features will be further unveiled during Meta's Connect conference on September 27.

Apple's Potential Game-Changer: Mixed-Reality Headset

Rumors suggest that Apple may make a groundbreaking announcement during its software-focused developer conference, WWDC. Speculation centers around the potential unveiling of Apple's mixed-reality headset, marking the tech giant's first major product line since the launch of the Apple Watch in 2014.

The anticipated device is expected to incorporate high-definition screens in front of the user's eyes, while powerful cameras mounted on the headset enable augmented views of the real world. Apple's foray into mixed reality comes at a time when the virtual reality industry is grappling with skepticism and uncertainty.

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Fullerton Markets Research Team

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