27 December 2019

1) The Permian Basin continues to experience difficulties producing oil, becoming increasingly gassy as drilling slows down. This undercuts profits for producers at a time when investors are demanding better returns. The region has long been plagued with a massive glut of gas which crude producers must sometimes pay to have hauled away or burn in the open air. This problem is intensifying as wells age and fewer new wells are drilled.

2) Oil prices rise to a three month high because of optimism on supply. The stage is set for the biggest monthly gain in almost a year on speculation that supplies are shrinking. Prices are up almost 12% for this month and are now higher since the mid-September high. The U.S. stockpiles have dropped 7.9 million barrels this last week, while Russia cut their crude output with a reduction of 240,000 barrels a day for December. Oil has surged about 36% for this year.

3) American retailers continue to struggle while some are actually thriving. The once giant Sears has fallen into bankruptcy having closed over 3,000 stores. Other major retailers in decline are Blockbuster Video, Radioshack, Victoria’s Secret, the Gap, JCPenny, Toys R Us and Borders Books. Retailers such as TJ Maxx, Amazon, Walmart, Target, Dollar General, Costco and Ross have flourished in the peril waters of American consumerism.

4) Stock market closings for – 26 DEC 19:

Dow                28,621.39    up    105.94
Nasdaq             9,022.39    up      69.51
S&P 500            3,239.91    up      16.53

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.90%

Oil:    up   at     $61.68

7 October 2019

1) As part of its restructuring plan, HP announced they will cut about 7,000 to 9,000 jobs, resulting in an estimated savings of about $1 billion dollars. While HP expects to incur labor and non-labor cost of about $1 billion dollars, they expect to generate at lease $3 billion dollars of free cash flow. As of 31 October 2018, HP had world wide employment of about 55,000 workers.

2) Consumer spending has been the bright spot in an economy showing signs of weakening on multiple fronts, in particular manufacturing. Economists worry if consumer spending will continue to prop up the economy, saying that the up coming Christmas season will be a test. Issues such as trade, interest rates, global risk factors and political rhetoric are where confidence can be eroded by deterioration of these items.

3) The new Costco in Shanghai China reports membership of more than 200,000 as compared to an American average of 68,000 per store. Costco will open a second Shanghai location in early 2021. The first day opening, the store was so swamped with customers, that the doors had to be closed for four hours to limit the number of people inside to safe limits.

4) Stock market closings for – 4 OCT 19:

Dow                  26,573.72    up    372.68
Nasdaq               7,982.47    up    110.21
S&P 500              2,952.01    up      41.38

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.52%

Oil:    up   at    $53.01

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