9 July 2019

1) America now has such a surplus of natural gas, that it’s being burned off instead of sold and used. The problem isn’t a lack of a market to sell to, rather it is insufficient distribution infrastructure. There isn’t enough pipeline capacity to get the gas from the oil fields to customers. In West Texas, enough gas is burned off each day to fuel every house in Texas. Natural gas prices are negative in some areas as producers pay people to take the gas off their hands.

2) The international banking giant Deutsche Bank is getting out of the investment banking by closing its equities business. This restructuring will result in posting a $3.1 billion dollar loss for the second quarter and an overall loss of $8.3 billion dollar into 2022. Additionally, there will be a loss of 18,000 jobs or one fifth of their labor force.

3) The summer labor force of teenagers is shrinking as American youth opt for summer school and extracurricular activities. Only about 40% of highschool age kids are working during their summer vacations, compared to more than 60% in the twentieth century. This leaves businesses with a dilemma of find enough workers, especially those business which are more active in the summer months and need that extra short term labor boost. Much of this shift is because of increased emphasis on education for the young, who opt for summer school and summer college prep programs instead of earning some pocket money.

4) Stock market closings for- 8 JUL 19:

Dow         26,806.14    down    115.98
Nasdaq      8,098.38    down      63.41
S&P 500     2,975.95    down      14.46

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.03%

Oil:    down   at    $57.54

2 July 2019

1) At a time when auto sales are slowing or even sagging, pickup truck sales continue to rise even with hefty yearly price increases. The industry average for full size pickups is $45,260 in 2019. Chevrolet has announced an all new version of its Silverado that tops the $100,000 price. Profit margins for pickups are large compared with standard automobiles, about $10,000 per truck, with high end trucks bringing as much as $20,000.

2) Importers are dodging the tariffs on Chinese goods by entering the U.S. via third countries such as Vietnam. This practice is called transshipment where Chinese goods are minimally processed or altered in a third country then shipped to America as exports from that third country. The administration has spent this last year investigation strategies to best counter this ploy, which cost America billions of dollars in uncollected tariffs.

3) As global demand for oil weakens amid America’s shale oil boom, OPEC considers extending its production cuts for another nine months. The supply growth in oil is expected to exceed the demand growth for 2020 with OPEC members wanting to get ahead of the situation to avoid a drastic drop in world oil prices. Russia in particular is pushing for extension as it strives to raise its production capacity.

4) Stock market closings for- 1 JUL 19:

Dow                 26,717.43    up    117.47
Nasdaq              8,091.16    up      84.92
S&P 500             2,964.33    up      22.57

10 Year Yield:    up   at    2.03%

Oil:    up   at    $59.19

26 June 2019

1) The problem of student loan debt is becoming more acuate. The effects of the $1.6 trillion dollar student loan debt, which represents about 8% of national income, is a massive burden, which has doubled since the mid 2000s. The consequences for massive student loans is that young people are delaying marriage and family formation, hampering the growth of small businesses, delaying the purchases of first homes, saving for retirement and in general reducing the discretionary income of young people. For a consumer based economy, all these spell an adverse overall effect on America’s economy.

2) The consumer confidence has fallen to its lowest level in 21 months with people more pessimistic about business and labor market conditions. Worries about recent increase in trade tensions between China and the United States further erodes consumer confidence. The consumer confidence index dropped 9.8 points to 121.5 for this month, the lowest since September 2017. While the index remains high, the drop has fueled fears of a continual downward slide reflecting a reluctance for consumers to make purchases other than essentials.

3) The British fund manager H2O, which had stellar returns with surging assets from clients buying in, last week clients starting pulling their money out. The investment manager lost $3.4 billion dollars in just three days. H2O is fighting back taking measures to assure investors the company can meet redemptions, but also making it more adverse for getting out. Their goal is to avoid fund freeze that has thrown other fund managers into chaos.

4) Stock market closings for- 25 JUN 19: Stocks decline after weak consumer confidence report.

Dow                 26,548.22    down    179.32
Nasdaq             7,884.72    down    120.98
S&P 500            2,917.38    down      27.97

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.99%

Oil:    up   at    $58.77

17 June 2019

1) Citizens of Hong Kong have started moving assets offshore amid fears of a China takeover. China’s demand to extradite criminal suspects to face trial in China is seen as a political move to be able to more tightly control the population politically, by eliminating dissidents and political opposition. People of money are also fearing that China will clamp down on moving money out of the reach of the Chinese government. This move is heightening the tensions of China and western nations.

2) As a result of its legal entanglements from lawsuits alleging Roundup herbicide is a carcinogen, Bayer AG plans to invest almost $6 billion dollars in developing new chemical products to combat weeds over the next decade. Roundup is a product inherited by Bayer in its takeover of Monsanto Co. last year, which has driven its stock down by 50%.

3) The trade war between China and U.S. is having unexpected results of other countries taking up the manufacturing slack. This runs the risk of China permanently losing market share to America as well as China failing to archive its goal of becoming the worlds top global manufacturing base. This decreases China’s chances of becoming a technologically advance and innovative economy. China’s loss of their once famed ‘low pay for unskilled labor’ is further increasing the flight of factories to other countries.

4) Stock market closings for- 14 JUN 19:

Dow               26,089.61    down    17.16
Nasdaq            7,796.66    down    40.47
S&P 500           2,886.98    down      4.66

10 Year Yield:    unchanged   at    2.09%

Oil:    unchanged   at    $52.51

7 June 2019

1) Years of slow economic progress, where the South nearly reach equality with northen and western neighbors, has reversed. Since 2009, the South’s growth in output and wages has slowed so the South is now receding compared with the rest of America. The twin forces of automation and globalization have wiped out millions of factory jobs where the lower wages and taxes were instrumental in the South drawing those businesses. The net result is the South’s economy is falling behind.

2) The discount retailer chain Costco announced they will be raising prices, stating the tariffs on China as the reason. Costco joins other retailers such as Walmart, Target and Macy in having to raise prices to consumers. There are fears that the wave of retail store closures will further increase as consumers retract from their spending habits.

3) Presidential candidate’s promise of free college to alleviate the growing student debt problem is facing problems of implementation. Low income students need more than just free tuition for gaining a college degree, and therefore the presidential plans will aid those who least need the financial help. The tuition accounts for half or less of college expenses. Presently, student debt stands at $1.6 trillion dollar, where presently 20 to 25% of new college graduates are unemployed or underemployed.

4) Stock market closings for 10 JUN 19:

Dow            26,062.68    up    78.74
Nasdaq         7,823.17    up    81.07
S&P 500        2,886.73    up    13.39

10 Year Yield:    up   at    2.14%

Oil:    up   at    $53.42

6 June 2019

1) The trade war continues to escalate as China takes action against American companies operating in China proper. China is levying fines on Ford’s joint venture for antitrust violations. Changan Ford Automobile Co. will be fined $23.6 million dollars for restricting retailers sale prices. Fed-Ex has recently come under Chinese scrutiny for ‘wrongful’ deliveries. China has threaten to blacklist foreign firms which damage domestic companies’ interests. Chinese citizens are being warned against travel to America, thereby restricting income from tourism and business reaching America.

2) The video game retailer GameStop, with over 5,700 retail outlets, is in decline, and was the place to go to buy video games and virtual reality products. But their sales have been in significant decline, with attempts to use e-commerce to counter the downward slide being of no help. Their forecast for next year show little improvement to its deteriorating business as their business migrates over to Amazon.

3) Bernie Sanders has made good his promise to take his fight for the common worker to Walmart’s annual stockholders meeting, to demand that Walmart workers be given a place on their board of directors. He introduced a shareholder proposal which would make roughly 1.5 million hourly workers eligible for board nominations. Sanders’ consider this move a way to separate himself and his policies from the democratic presidential nomination pack. Walmart is one of the huge American retailers pushing for new robotic technology to use in their stores.

4) Stock market closings for 5 JUN 19:

Dow             25,539.57    up    207.39
Nasdaq          7,575.48    up      48.36
S&P 500         2,826.15    up      22.88

10 Year Yield:    up   at    2.12%

Oil:    up   at    $51.69

5 June 2019

1) The tech giants Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon are facing antitrust troubles. The government is stepping up scrutiny of these big four with possible new rules, regulations and law suits. The investigative efforts will be split between the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission driven by mounting criticism over political bias, disinformation and privacy breaches. This could spell years of troubles and law suits and possible breakup of the companies.

2) The threat of tariffs on Mexican imports has American oil refiners worried, since Mexico is the number two source of foreign oil to the United States. American produced oil is a light oil which is a poor match for Gulf Coast refining facilities, while the Mexican oil is a heavy oil that when blended with the America optimizes the refinery’s output.

3) The Medicaid system is still suffering from the Great recession, so there are fears than another recession could be devastating for the system. This is at a time when state spending on Medicaid is still high with no signs of subsiding. In a recession, payrolls decrease from people unemployed or underemployed, so contributions are down. This means less buildup of reserve funds needed for the future, and a second recession so soon, could seriously deplete those reserves quicker, leaving the future of the system in doubt.

4) Stock market closings for 4 June 2019: Jump in Dow comes from Fed signals flexibility on rates.

Dow               25,332.18    up    512.40
Nasdaq             7,527.12    up    194.10
S&P 500            2,803.27    up      58.82

10 Year Yield:    up   at    2.12%

Oil:    down   at    $52.95

3 June 2019

1) The rife between China and America stands to grow deeper with less chance of resolving relationships, with China threatening a hit list of ‘unreliable’ foreign firms. These are individuals and groups who they consider harm the interest of Chinese companies. The threat is retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods imported into China. These last two weeks have been a war of words as the nations exchange economic threats.

2) Chicago based nursing home chain collapses leaving the federal government on the hook for millions of dollars. First sign was when the owners stop making mortgage payments in 2014. Reportedly, money meant for the thirteen nursing homes were diverted to prop up another investment. This failure is revealing the problems that HUD is having in helping obtain facilities for the elderly by providing affordable loans.

3) Trade wars may expand again with threats by President Trump to impost a 5% tariff on goods imported from Mexico, if Mexico doesn’t do more to stop the flow of illegal immigrates. Tariffs are due to start on 10 June, and will increase in 5% increments until the flow halts. This is coming at a time when more Mexican immigrates are returning to Mexico than are coming, highlighting that the immigration is from other South American countries.

4) 31 MAY 19 Stock market closings: Oil prices sink toward worst May in 7 years from trade war fears.

Dow           24,815.04    down    354.84
Nasdaq        7,453.15    down    114.57
S&P 500       2,752.06    down      36.80

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.14%

Oil:    down   at    $53.36

21 May 19

1 ) The stock for electric auto maker Tesla fell today as the car maker faces an uphill battle to become profitable in the second half of the year. Delivery of its new cars are way down from sales forecast, with Tesla stock closing down 2.7%, the lowest in two and a half years. Additionally, Tesla may be facing severe financial consequences from a fatal crash involving their Autopilot system.

2) The fallout from Huawei being blacklisted in America has caused the stock market to fall. Huawei uses electronic components in their product line, high technology parts that can’t be procured from other vendors. The down side is these vendors have significant sales from Hauwei, which lowers their revenues.

3) The trade wars with China is threatening to close as many as 12,000 stores in America this next year. For the last two years, the closing of retail stores in America had been accelerating before the trade war started, the result of falling store traffic. Tariffs would cause price increases at a time when consumers are increasingly reluctant to spend their money. All ready, the closure of 6,400 retail stores have been announced.

4) 20 MAY 19 Stock market closings:

Dow              25,679.90    down     84.10
Nasdaq          7,702.38    down   113.91
S&P 500         2,840.23    down      19.30

Year Yield:    up   at    2.42%

Oil:   up  at  $63.30

7 May 2019

1) The jobs report Friday was better than expected, up from last months 190,000, with 263,000 jobs reported and unemployment down again to 3.6%. This underscores the economy’s vigor with unemployment at half the century low. This may eliminate the markets fears of a recession.

2) This Friday, just after midnight, China will have an additional 25% tariffs imposed. However, there are fears that domestic Chinese politics may cause the ploy to backfire, from the Chinese people seeing their government backing down to America. Therefore, the Chinese government may not be able to respond as Washington is expecting.

3) Fears of the consequences of more tariffs on China caused a slight downturn of today’s market closings.

4) 6 MAY 19 Stock market closings:

Dow             26,438.48    down    66.47
Nasdaq          8,123.29    down    40.71
S&P 500         2,932.47    down    13.17

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.50%

Oil:    down   at    $62.04