1) There are fears that the manufacturing segment is in trouble and may contract for the third straight month. This in turn could drag down the U.S. GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in the third and fourth quarters. Three factors are causing this down turn- the trade war with China, the GM (General Motors) strike and Boeing’s 737 MAX problems stopping deliveries and slowing production.
2) In the recent past, the online retailer giant Amazon has been unable to compete with traditional retailers when selling single items costing less than a few dollars, because the shipping cost is more than the single item cost such as toothpaste, deodorant or a simple brush. Customers had to buy these items as add-ons to make the $25 minimum for free shipping. But these items are now available for free shipping with Amazon’s Prime shipping. This could make for a significant challenge to other retailers such as Walmart, Target and CVS.
3) GM is attempting to end the month long strike of the UAW (United Auto Workers) by making direct appeal to the workers. The company has lost more than a $1 billion dollars so far, and is making several promises to the workers trying to circumvent the union’s leadership. The UAW has increased strike pay from $250 to $275 per week with union members allowed to hold other jobs as long as it doesn’t interfere with their picket duty.
4) Stock market closings for – 14 OCT 19:
Dow 26,787.36 down 29.23 Nasdaq 8,048.65 down 8.39 S&P 500 2,966.15 down 4.12
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
1) One of the nations largest credit card companies Capital One announced a massive data breach which affects tens of millions of customers. This news has sent its stock down 7%. Most of the data lost to hackers was personal information such as names, addresses, phone numbers and income of consumers and small businesses from 2005 to 2019. About 140,000 Social Security numbers of customers was comprised with 80,000 bank links. This breach is one of the largest yet.
2) China and America have resumed trade talks in Shanghai after a three month suspension. President Trump has criticized China for it’s reluctance to buy U.S. agricultural products, the Chinese using this as a pressure point on Trump with many farmers having previously supported Trump. There are low expectations for a breakthrough in trade talks because the two sides are further apart now than three months ago.
3) American consumer confidence is at the highest level since November negating its June drop. The index rose from June’s 124.3 to 135.7. The index measures consumers’ assessment of the current economic conditions and their expectations for the next six months. Consumers have little concern for trade tensions with China or a slowing economy. This should translate into robust spending in the near future.
4) Stock market closings for – 30 JUL 19:
Dow ,198.02 down 23.33 Nasdaq 8,273.61 down 19.72 S&P 500 3,013.18 down 7.79
1) The video streaming service Netflix has lost customers for the first time in eight years while also missing its target for new subscriptions overseas. The lost of 130,000 customers from April to June resulting in a 10.3% drop in its stock. Netflix confessed that its new TV shows for this quarter were not as appealing as expected and price increases in some markets has slowed their growth.
2) The software giant Microsoft beat analysts estimates for fourth quarter revenue and profit, primary because of its flagship cloud products Azure and Office software. Microsoft has tapped into the booming demand for cloud based services, pushing its capitalization to about $1.05 trillion dollars. Microsoft’s net income rose to $13.19 billion dollars in the quarter ending on June, up from $8.87 billion dollars.
3) The Democrats have pass legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. The raises will be over a six year span from the present $7.25 hour, and will be halted if a study shows job losses or other adverse effects. The increase in labor cost will most likely spur development of automation technologies to reduce the need for people in company’s labor force. The bill still has to be voted on and passed by the Senate before it can go to the President for signing.
4) Stock market closings for – 18 JUL 19:
Dow 27,222.97 up 3.12 Nasdaq 8,207.24 up 22.04 S&P 500 2,995.11 up 10.69
1) The production of the Volkswagen Beetle, probably the most recognized automobile in the world, is coming to an end at their Puebla, Mexico plant on Wednesday. The demand for the iconic automobile has been squashed by years of low gasoline prices and the market shift to SUVs and pickups. In its place, VW is manufacturing a version of the Chinese SUV, the Tharu, but will be a beefed up version to be called the Tarek.
2) The Consumer Price Index edged upwards while the inflation rate remains steady. The index rose 0.1% in June with low gas prices being offset by higher rents and auto cost. However, core inflation rose 0.3%, which is the largest increase in eighteen months. This persistently low inflation is justification for lowering the short term interest rates. Usually, a low jobless rate forces employers to increase pay to get workers, and in turn they must raise their prices to pay the extra labor cost.
3) Dollar General is changing its marketing strategy to attract wealthier customers by expanding into home furnishings, kitchenware and party supplies. Their strategy, which built the highly successful retailer, had been to focus on selling cheap consumables such as food, cleaning and household supplies and personal care products, which have a low margin. Dollar General will now carry products with higher margin such a pillows, candles, home decorations, gift bags and wrapping paper.
4) Stock market closings for – 11 JUL 19: Oil prices jump as approaching a storm shuts down energy operations in the Gulf. The Dow broke the 27,000 mark for the first time.
Dow 27,088.08 up 227.88 Nasdaq 8,196.04 down 6.49 S&P 500 2,999.91 up 6.84
AMAZON (AMZN) has done it again folks!!!!!! One of the world’s largest online retailers has just bought the biggest Middle East online e-commerce retailer. Amazon has recently acquired Souq.com; the biggest ecommerce retailer in the Middle East. The company which is based in Dubai, United Emirates is the largest of its kind, in the middle east. Souq is valued at over $1 billion dollars .
Amazon has been serving customers in the Middle East for years, but wanted to expand its portfolio in the region, and they have with the purchase of Souq. It has been noted that Souq.com sells more than eight million products in the region.
Souq.com has over 3,000 employees in the Middle East and Arab countries; when the company started in Dubai, they only had five employees. Souq CEO Ronaldo Mouchawar, believed Amazon was the only choice as far as his concern, though the company had a $800 million counter offer buyout on the table; Mouchawar and his team believed Amazon was a very suitable home for Souq’s long term vision. -SB