1) The crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has warned of astronomical oil prices if tensions escalate in the Persian Gulf. In a ‘60 Minute’ interview, the Prince called for strong and firm action to deter Iran and lessen the threat to world interests, so as to avoid disruptions of oil exports. The attacks on Saudi oil production facilities caused Brent crude to jump 19.5%, the biggest jump on record. The Middle East provides about 30% of the world’s energy supplies constituting about 4% of world GDP (Gross Domestic Product).
2) In order to avoid a quarterly decline in U.S. retail sales, automakers are offering big discounts to maintain sales growth. For the last three months, auto sales have flattened with average incentive spending rising 6% to more than $4,110 per vehicle, which is a third quarter record.
3) The fashion retailer Forever 21 Inc. has filed for bankruptcy protection and is the latest big fashion merchant who, like many other retailer chains, is unable to cope with high rents and heavy competition from e-commerce. The chain has 800 stores across the world, selling affordable but eye-catching designs, but has falling out of favor with the generation-Z consumers who turn to e-commerce. The bankruptcy will allow the company to reorganize and gain additional capital for operations.
4) Stock market closings for – 30 SEP 19:
Dow 26,916.83 up 96.58 Nasdaq 7,999.34 up 59.71 S&P 500 2,976.74 up 14.95
1) Saudi Arabia has restored 75% of its crude oil output and will have restored full production by next week. The September 14 attacks had reduced crude production to half, but promises that production will be fully restored by the end of September. The Saudis have managed to avoid a world wide oil crisis by drawing upon their stockpiles to continue supplying their customers at near pre-attack levels of crude.
2) The retailer giant Amazon plans to purchase 100,000 electric delivery vans from the company Rivian as part of its carbon neutral plan. Furthermore, Amazon announced plans to up its present 40% renewable energy to 100% by 2030. Rivian will design a custom electric delivery van for Amazon to be delivered between 2021 and 2024, who also has an agreement with Ford to develop an electric F-150 pickup truck. Amazon is also working to halt its support of the fossil fuel industry, stopping donations to climate denying politicians and think tanks, and stopping the oppression of climate refugees.
3) The British travel firm Thomas Cook has collapsed with bankruptcy, leaving about 600,000 customers stranded. The 178 year old group, which is debt plagued and struggling against fierce online competition for some time, is blaming Brexit uncertainty for the recent drop in bookings, and thus its inability to secure $250 million dollar loan to prevent collapse. This also leaves 22,000 staff members unemployed, with the British government chartering airlines to fly stranded passengers home.
4) Stock market closings for – 23 SEP 19:
Dow 26,949.99 up 14.92 Nasdaq 8,112.46 down 5.21 S&P 500 2,991.78 down 0.29
1) Fears of climate change is causing some retired seniors to pull up and move out of Florida, which for many years has drawn the ‘sixty plus year olds’ demographics for a life of peaceful retirement with its low cost of living, no income tax and nice warm weather. But the threat of hurricane damage from flooding and rising sea levels is also making the associated insurance cost soar, in turn causing retirees to reconsider and move more inland, the result some are claiming from global warming.
2) Losses from the flooding in Nebraska is estimated to be over one billion dollars with more flooding forecasted. But even worst is the anticipated impact on farmers. Last year, 19% of Nebraskan farms filed for bankruptcy, and many more are now anticipated to file as the consequence of the flooding pushes more farmers under.
3) The Feds have elected to not raise interest rates again this year, expecting an economic slowdown ahead. There isn’t any need to guard against inflation coupled with indicators of slower growth from household spending and business fixed investment. The GDP was 2.1% instead of the expected 2.3%.
4) 20 MAR 19 Stock market closings:
Dow 25,745.67 down 141.71 Nasdaq 7,728.97 up 5.02 S&P 500 2,824.23 down 8.34
1) California produce prices are going up because of labor shortages and increasing cost for labor. Agriculture workers are now under California’s minimum wage and overtime laws, plus mandated medical care. In response, farmers are turning more to automation to reduce labor cost and requirements. In the mean time, farm production is down which can further drive prices of produce up nation wide. Also, farming is moving off shore.
2) Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) filed for bankruptcy, which puts pending lawsuits on hold and will consolidate them in bankruptcy court.
3) Insurance losses for California wildfires top $11.4 billion dollars, from 46,000 insurance claims. The fires destroyed 13,000 houses and businesses and left 89 dead.
4) 29 JAN 19 Stock market closings:
Dow 24,579.96 up 51.74 Nasdaq 7,028.29 down 57.40 S&P 500 2,640.00 down 3.85
1) Five ways the economy is being effected by the government shutdown. 1) Consumerism is weakened 2) Data freeze for economist 3) Stress on the financial sector 4) Obstacles for all sizes of business requiring government actions 5) More economic uncertainty amid global fears
2) Brexit vote today by Parliament is crucial because its defeat could send England into disarray with exit just weeks away. Imports and exports for England and EU countries becomes questionable.
3) PG&E files for chapter 11 bankruptcy with its CEO resigning, as financial difficulties mount.
4) 14 JAN 19 Stock market closings:
Dow 23,909.84 down 86.11 Nasdaq 6,905.92 down 65.56 S&P 500 2,582.61 down 13.65
Sears looks as if it will be staring down the eyes of bankruptcy. They have hired M-III Partners to assist in the bankruptcy filings; that is expected to be filed later this week. The end of the second week of October.
Sears has been losing money with their brick and mortar businesses in recent years, especially as e-commerce businesses such as Amazon have been profiting from online sales for a long time.
As E-commerce ramps up sales as the holiday season approaches, Sears has needed to reevaluate their business models, while at the same time waving the white flag. -SB