1 July 2019

1) Consumer spending increased in May as well as prices creeping up too. Both point to a slowing economic growth and benign inflation pressures. These two facts gives the Federal Reserve more reason to cut interest rates next month. Inflation is under the 2% target for this year with a projected 1.5% verses 1.8% originally expected. Consumer spending is about two thirds the U.S. economy.

2) Consumerism is changing fast, with a push to ‘no cashier checkouts’. Amazon Go stores are pushing the technology where sales payment is made automatically just by picking out items and walking out the door. E-commerce and on-line shopping continue their assault on traditional brick and mortar stores. Another strategy is showrooms in place of stores that allow the customer to try out products prior to purchasing them. Finally, drone delivery allows getting your purchases at home in less time than it takes to drive to and from a store. All these new technologies are coming together with increased profits by reducing labor cost.

3) The weekly jobless claims has increased more than expected, although there is no sign of significant layoffs as the economy slows down. Unemployment claims were 227,000 up by 10,000. The economy is slowing with manufacturing sliding down and the trade deficient widening as consumer confidence ebbs.

4) Stock market closings for- 28 JUN 19: Results from bank stress test edged markets up. Best June performance since 1938.

Dow            26,599.96    up    73.38
Nasdaq         8,006.24    up    38.49
S&P 500        2,941.76    up    16.84

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.00%

Oil:    down   at    $58.20

4 February 2019

1) Amazon’s retail sales was lower than expected for the fourth quarter, although their other operations kept profits up.

2) The collapse of Sears just might be the start of a retail apocalypse. As more retailers became troubled, it may signal consumerism is slumping. Even strong retailers had a lackluster Christmas, more economist are fearing a coming recession and more retailers will be in trouble if economic growth slows.

3) Brexit has already spawned economic damages. The largest EU banks are moving out or planning to move in the near future. Britain’s Pound has fallen 10% against the Euro resulting in reduced purchasing power for the British people. There are many other sectors adversely effected.

4) 1 FEB 19 Stock market closings:

Dow               25,063.89          up    64.22
Nasdaq            7,263.87      down   17.87
S&P 500           2,706.53            up     2.43

10 Year Yield:    up   at   2.69%

Oil:    up   at    $55.37