24 January 2020

1) After two friendly attempts to merge with HP, Xerox is launching a hostile takeover bid. Xerox will nominate eleven new directors to replace all of HP board members, thus leaving Xerox in control of the company. HP claims that Xerox’s proposal significantly undervalues HP and creates risk for the HP shareholders, while Xerox claims combining the similar companies will create significant cost savings.

2) The number of claims for unemployment benefits for mid January rose slightly, but layoffs remain near a fifty year low. There are no signs of the strongest U.S. labor market in decades deteriorating. The number of people actually collecting unemployment benefits has fallen by a small amount. The U.S. economy is still growing but at a slower rate.

3) Fair Isaac Corp. announced changes on their scoring of consumer credit, the making of their FICO score. Soon, they will start scoring consumers with rising debt levels and those who fall behind on loan payments with lower scores. The changes will create a bigger gap between consumers considered good and bad credit risks. Also, scores are considering bank account balances and utilities payments. The new FICO changes reflect a shift in U.S. lenders’ confidence in the economy.

4) Stock market closings for – 23 JAN 20:

Dow              29,160.09    down    26.18
Nasdaq           9,402.48          up    18.71
S&P 500          3,325.54          up      3.79

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.74%

Oil:    down   at    $55.66

10 January 2020

1) HP’s board has rejected Xerox’s $33 billion dollar takeover bid, for the same reason as Xerox’s previous offer, that the proposal significantly undervalues HP. Xerox first moved to acquire HP in November, but was rejected because HP stock holders would lose much of their value in the company. HP is a 2015 spinoff of giant Hewlett-Packard who has a market value of $300 billion dollars that dwarfs Xerox’s value of 7.7 billion dollars.

2) Mack Trucks, the manufacturer of large commercial trucks, announced plans to layoff 305 employees, which is about 13% of their payroll. After two years of high volumes of production, marked demand has dropped so the company must adapt to the lower demand. There are expectations of the truck market in America being down 30% this next year.

3) The American consumer continues to shun the traditional big department stores. Despite the monster holiday shopping season, America’s biggest department stores still lost money. This is a trend that has been in progress for several years as typified by Sears’ decline. Department stores such as JCPenny, Kohl’s and Macy’s continue to decline with dropping sales and store closings. Consumers are now going to big box stores and the internet commerce to save money, signaling a fundamental change in American consumerism.

4) Stock market closings for – 9 SEP 20:

Dow              28,956.90    up    211.81
Nasdaq           9,203.43    up      74.18
S&P 500          3,274.70    up      21.65

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.86%

Oil:    down   at    $59.59

6 January 2020

1) The U.S. manufacturing sector contracted the most in December, more than for a decade. Order volumes crashed to a near eleven year low with factory employment falling for a fifth straight month. The index of national factory activity fell to 47.2 last month from 48.1 for November and is the lowest reading since June 2009. A value of 50 or above indicates expansion, while below is contraction.

2) The electric auto maker Tesla sold more cars in 2019 than the two previous years combined. Tesla sold 367,500 cars in 2019, although its on the low end of the 360,000 to 400,000 cars the company estimated at the beginning of 2019. Its newly opened plant in China will sell its Model 3 automobile in China thus avoiding transport and import cost. China promises to be a major increase in Tesla sales for next year.

3) Despite worries by experts expecting a decline of spending by American consumers, many consider the consumer will keep the economy humming through the next year. This Christmas shopping season appears it will set new records in spending, despite trade tensions, Washington being absorbed in impeachment and oil prices creeping up. With the economy always on the minds of voters, a good economy bodes well for incumbents with 2020 being a presidential election year.

4) Stock market closings for – 3 JAN 20:

Dow              28,634.88    down    233.92
Nasdaq            9,020.77    down       71.42
S&P 500         3,234.85    down      23.00

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.79%

Oil:    up   at    $63.04

18 November 2019

1) Experts question if proposals to tax the billionaires, the so call wealth taxes, really work in practice? Lawyers and advisers to the wealthy say the tax would never collect the amounts claimed by proponents, simply because a yearly determination of assets isn’t easy and straight forward. There are just too many strategies that can be used to shelter assets, including moving them off shore. Attempts to tax the wealthy in other nations have been far from successful, the Great Brain Drain of Britain is a prime example. The rich simply move somewhere else.

2) While U.S. retail sales rebounded in October, consumers cut back on purchases of big ticket household items and clothing. This could temper expectations for a strong holiday shopping season. Still, compared to October of last year, retail sales are up 3.1%. Consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of the economy.

3) NextEra Energy Inc., the world’s first utility with capitalization of $100 billion dollars plus, owes its success to clean power business. Two decades ago this Florida utility plowed some of its extra cash into a wind farm in Oregon. Then NextEra made loans to wind-farm developers, and when some ran into financial troubles, NextEra forgave debts in exchange for majority stakes in the farms. Without any master plan for renewables, NextEra grew in the industry to become the largest.

4) Stock market closings for – 15 NOV 19:

Dow             28,004.89    up    222.93
Nasdaq          8,540.83    up      61.81
S&P 500         3,120.46    up      23.83

10 Year Yield:    up   at    1.83%

Oil:    up   at    $57.93

24 October 2019

1) Several high profile companies have missed their third quarter earnings, making analysts worry if a long feared earnings recession may be getting closer. Earnings missed from expectations are FedEx by 3%, McDonald’s 5%, Caterpillar 8% and Boeing 30%. Texas Instruments has given a very poor revenue guidance for the fourth quarter of 11% below consensus. This quarter, 83% of reporting companies have beaten expectations by 4.2% average, so earnings misses by large companies is fairly rare.

2) Walmart will start its holiday sales earlier this year, starting this Friday at midnight. This is about a week earlier than last year. Retailers are facing a short holiday shopping season this year, which is just 26 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This is about a week shorter than the same period last year.

3) Car prices have been rapidly increasing, leaving consumers having a hard time affording new vehicles. This forces buyers to take out long term auto loans making a further burden on hard pressed consumers. The average new car purchase price in the U.S. is $36,718 with interest rates at about 6%, which is up 2% from 2017. A decade ago, the average price for a new car was $23,900, while average wages has remained static.

4) Stock market closings for – 23 OCT 19:

Dow         26,833.95    up    45.85
Nasdaq      8,119.79    up    15.50
S&P 500     3,004.52    up      8.53

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.76%

Oil:    up   at    $55.88

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

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

CVS BUYING HEALTHCARE GIANT AETNA…

By: Economic & Finance Report

Pharmacy giant CVS is buying the third biggest healthcare company, Aetna for a reported $69 billion dollar deal, which includes cash and stock options.

This deal is coming to fruition just in time as the Senate and US House Reps each passed their version of the tax reform bill, now the two versions will go into conference with negotiators from both chambers. The end bill looks like it will be touching President Trump’s desk before Christmas, for his signature into law.

Both CVS and Aetna are power houses in their respective industries and business sectors. CVS beong one of the biggest retail and pharmaceutical chains in the US and Aetna being in the top 3, in the healthcare industry. Both companies have indicated that the merger makes sense because the consumer(s) will be the ultimate winners from the deal because they will be paying a lot less and saving alot more for medical prescription drugs in the US. -SB