1) Fears of a possible recession were dampened as stocks rose while Treaasury yields rebounded. The U.S. decision to extend a temporary reprieve to the Chinese telecom giant Huawein is credited with the change in markets. The Treasury notes appears to have broken out of the yield-curve inversion , which is a potential signal that a recession may be coming in the near future.
2) Delivery platforms like DoorDash, Uber Eats, Postmates and Grubhub have open new opportunities for America’s fast food industries. Previously, the only fast food delivered was pizza, but these new delivery services allows a wide range of foods to be delivered to customers at home or office. While it does open new opportunities for increased sales, the down side is the service could eat into restaurant’s profits and erode customer loyalty.
3) The retail giant Target, known for being the master of private label brands, is launching it’s own new food brand called ‘Good & Gather’. Due to start on the 15th of September, it will initially have 650 products, but will eventually expand to about 2,000 products, such as coffee, milk and eggs. Target describes their product line to be affordable and will replace present brands such as Simply Balanced and Archer Farms brands, while also reducing its Market Pantry line. For Target, using private label brands have been a way to boost profit margins while maintaining affordable prices. They’re a big asset in driving traffic to their stores.
4) Stock market closings for – 19 AUG 19:
Dow 26,135.79 up 249.78 Nasdaq 8,002.81 up 106.82 S&P 500 2,923.65 up 34.97
1) Home construction in America fell in July by 4.0%, in particular apartments. While a solid job market coupled with falling mortgage rates have boosted the desire to purchase new homes, the inventory shortage and rising prices have stifled sales. However, building permits issued have risen 8.4% with apartment complexes accounting for most of the increase.
2) Japan surpasses China as the largest foreign holder of American Treasury notes. Japan now holds $1.12 trillion dollars of Treasurys while China has $1.11 trillion dollars worth. Since the start of the trade war, China has bought less of the U.S. sovereign debt, with speculation that one tactic China could take in the trade war is to unload its holdings of U.S. debt. So far, there are no indications of China doing that.
3) The threat of fresh water shortages across the world is becoming more pronounced, with western America experiencing growing problems. The Colorado River, is a 1,450 mile source of water for seven states, who’s flow decreased 19% from 2000 to 2014. The river’s water is drawn off to supple cities and agriculture so almost nothing reaches the Pacific ocean. The bulk of the water is used by farmers producing a significant amount of America’s food, with almost 90% of the winter’s vegetables come from the river’s irrigation.
4) Stock market closings for – 16 AUG 19:
Dow 25,886.01 up 306.62 Nasdaq 7,895.99 up 129.38 S&P 500 2,888.68 up 41.08
1) Retail giant Walmart reported a strong second quarter and raised its earnings expectations for the year. This news eases concerns about consumer demand dropping because of the trade war with China. Shoppers spent more at stores and websites, indicating the consumer economy has not lost steam. Walmart posted a 20 quarter or five years of growth unmatched by any other retailer. The retailer gets 56% of its revenues from grocery sales, so it is less vulnerable to tariffs.
2) In July, American’s spent more at retail stores and restaurants, indicating the economic growth remains healthy, despite fears of a coming global economic slowdown and possible recession. Despite such fears, consumer confidence remains steady. Most economists are not forecasting a recession, because consumer spending and the job market remains strong.
3) Saudi Arabia is ramping up its oil exports to China, with crude shipments doubled over the last year, while its oil exports to America have dropped by nearly two thirds. This shift has occurred in part from oil embargo on Iran, which has caused Asian importers to shift away from Iran to other sources, aided by U.S. growing independence of any oil imports. The U.S. is becoming the worlds largest producer of oil.
4) Stock market closings for – 15 AUG 19:
Dow 25,579.39 up 99.97 Nasdaq 7,766.62 down 7.32 S&P 500 2,847.60 up 7.00
1) Fears are growing that the world is moving towards an economic crisis, based on signs from Washington and Wall Street, starting with President Trump’s retreat from adding new tariffs. The stock market rose over the news meaning Christmas had been saved for this year’s sales. But the bond market wasn’t as optimistic, the rates dropping indicating a lack of confidence in the future economy. Called an inverted yield curve, it signals investors expect a weak growth and lower inflation over the years.
2) The troubling signals from the bond market caused the stock markets to drop, with the Dow dropping 800 points to erase all of Tuesdays gains. Worried about the state of the economy, investors are rushing to long term safe haven assets, pushing the yield on 30 year Treasury bonds to a new record low. The Cboe Volatility Index jumped to a high of 22.
3) The financial problems plaguing Boeing aircraft from the 737 MAX grounding may delay or even cancel Boeing’s next airliner design, the 797. A mid-size airplane, the aviation industry expected Boeing would go ahead with a new design, but the sever loses from the 737 MAX are now casting doubt on that happening, especially if the world economy does deteriorate. The 797 is expected to be a long range jet seating about 250 passengers. The design would make extensive use of light weight composites giving good fuel economy and range. Additionally, engineering resources are being pulled away from the 797 to work the 737 MAX problem.
4) Stock market closings for – 14 AUG 19:
Dow 25,479.42 down 800.49 Nasdaq 7,773.94 down 242.42 S&P 500 2,840.60 down 85.72
1) Boeing aircraft has not received any new orders for their 737 MAX in six months. This could give Boeing’s competitor Airbus a major market advantage having made 389 commercial plane deliveries in the same six months, making Airbus the largest supplier of this market segment with its A320 design. The grounding of the 737 MAX has forced Boeing to park completed aircraft to await its air worthiness to be restored.
2) Signs of inflation are increasing as U.S. consumer prices increased broadly in July. Expectations are for the Federal Reserve to again cut interest rates next month as much as half a percentage point in September. Continue trade tensions between China and America out weight fears of inflation so interest rates will continue to remain low, if not go lower.
3) Fears grow that protests in Hong Kong, which have persisted for the last two months, could have a lasting detrimental effect on U.S. and global markets. Hong Kong operates with a high degree of autonomy from China, having its own currency and judiciary system. This is fueling the rising concerns of investors of a major violent eruption of conflict between Hong Kong and main line China, coupled with concerns over U.S. – China trade war and the total impact on the world markets. With Hong Kong a financial hub, an invasion by Chinese troops with sever repressive measures on the people could disrupt other markets across the world. Furthermore, violence with loss of life could make it impossible for President Trump to resolve differences with China.
4) Stock market closings for – 13 AUG 19:
Dow 26,279.91 up 382.20 Nasdaq 8,016.36 up 152.95 S&P 500 2,926.32 up 43.23
1) Royal Dutch Shell is building a 386 acre chemical plant to make bulk plastic. The construction project is one of the largest active construction projects in America employing over 5,000 people. The plant has hundreds of miles of pipelines to feed it petroleum and will have its own rail system with 3,300 freight cars. The new plant is expected to produce a million tons of plastic pellets each year.
2) Saudi oil company Aramco is buying a 20% share in Reliance Industries Ltd of India an oil to chemicals business. This will include the 1.24 million barrels a day Jamnagar refining complex. This is part of Aramco plan for refinery investments to double its processing network and handle as much as 10 million barrels of oil a day by 2030. Reliance has agreed to purchase 500,000 barrels of crude a day over the long term.
3) The IMF (International Monetary Fund) has warned that addition tariffs in the trade war will sharply cut Chinese growth. The IMF has already forecast a 6.2% decline in China’s growth for this year, which assumes no new tariffs. They forecast a sharp cut in China’s growth if the additional tariffs threaten are imposed on the first of September. President Trump has cast doubts on a trade deal, and indicated he might cancel the trade talks scheduled for September.
4) Stock market closings for – 12 AUG 19:
Dow 25,897.71 down 389.73 Nasdaq 7,863.41 unchanged 0.00 S&P 500 2,883.09 down 35.56
1) The electric car company Tesla Inc is being sued claiming the company limited battery range of its older vehicles using software updates. The alleged intent was for Tesla to avoid costly fixes to defective batteries. The lawsuit is seeking class action status for thousands of Model S and X owners. The suit claims that older generation batteries had their range curtailed by an automatic software update. As a result of a battery fire, Tesla claims they are revising charge and thermal management settings via the software to further protect the battery and improve battery longevity.
2) The Chinese-American trade war hasn’t been bad for all nations, other nations are experiencing increase trade as a result of the war. Australia is the biggest beneficiary with exports to China of natural resources. Second is Switzerland, the third is Mexico which has replaced China as U.S. largest exporter. Fourth is Brazil who is benefitting from agricultural export to China and the fifth is Canada.
3) Malaysia is expanding its efforts to prosecute seventeen Goldman Sachs executives, who were allegedly involved in misleading investors in a $6.5 billion dollar bond sale. The bonds were for the state investment fund, 1 Malaysia Development Bhd or 1MDB. Charges include executives knowing that funds would be siphon off so Malaysia is also seeking to recoup funds and fees.
4) Stock market closings for – 9 AUG 19:
Dow 26,287.44 down 90.75 Nasdaq 7,959.14 down 80.02 S&P 500 2,918.65 down 19.44
1) Mexico has become America’s largest trading partner as a result of the U.S. – China trade war. For the first half of 2019, trade between America and Mexico was $309 billion dollars worth of goods, just over 15% of all U.S. trade. In comparison, trade with Canada was $306 billion dollars and China at $271 billion dollars. Trade with Mexico has been steadily rising for several decades, while trade with Canada has historically been high it’s always been flat.
2) A battle may be developing between Amazon and FedEx over handling packages, because of surging e-commerce shipments. With their ground delivery deal ending, FedEx is deepening its pullback from Amazon. The ending of two delivery contracts with Amazon means FedEx will have to seek out new major customers for lost sales while Amazon will now depend more on the U.S. Postal Service and UPS. FedEx is seeking to serve major e-commerce companies such as WalMart as the one-day delivery service for e-commerce heats up.
3) Lift, the internet based ride sharing rival to Uber may become profitable sooner than anyone had predicted. It’s growth is accelerating faster than anticipated, which clears the path to profitability. Some are speculating that 2019 might be Lift’s ‘peak loss’ year with losses being less than 2018. Wall Street is acting positive over the news with Lift’s stock rising from an overnight boost of 4%.
4) Stock market closings for – 9 AUG 19:
Dow 26,378.19 up 371.12 Nasdaq 8,039.16 up 176.33 S&P 500 2,938.09 up 54.11
1) Disney, the owner of the Star Wars franchise rights, is finding that today’s kids are not as interested in Star Wars as previous generations have been. While the last of the trilogies have turned a profit, they have not met the success of previous movies. Purchased from Lucasfilm Ltd in 2012 for $4.05 billion dollars, Disney is worried about the long term profitability of the franchise. It’s newly opened attraction Star Wars theme-park hasn’t meet expectations, indicated the young are not entranced by the intergalactic saga.
2) Gold continues to increase in value as more jittery investors flee traditional havens for money, to the supposed safety of gold ownership. With gold now at $1,500 per ounce, it is outperforming stocks this year. Concerns over the world economy from uncertainty of the U.S. and China trade war, China’s currency, oil and repercussions from political hot spots across the world have all combined to form a economic climate of fear and uncertainty. All foretell of a global slow down in growth, and as always the case, gold provides safety better than money in economic hard times.
3) A federal judge has ordered litigation over defective General Motors ignition switches to be narrowed in claims by owners. Owners claimed they lost value in their vehicles because of the defect, but the judge ruled the owners have failed to show the value of their vehicles has declined as a result of the defect. Instead, damages could only be measured by costs to repair defective vehicles, which is zero if GM paid for repairs. This defect is linked to 124 deaths.
4) Stock market closings for – 7 AUG 19:
Dow 26,007.07 down 22.45 Nasdaq 7,862.83 up 29.56 S&P 500 2,883.98 up 2.21
Two of the country’s largest newspaper companies will be merging and creating one huge newspaper media conglomerate. New Media Investment Group (NYSE: NEWM) will buyout Gannett Co. (NYSE: GSI) for $1.38 billion dollars, in cash and stock options.
The closing of the deal is supposedly going to be complete at the end of 2019. New Media and its satellite company GateHouse Media will operate under Gannett Co. and also be headquartered in Virginia, where Gannett is also located. -SB