12 July 2019

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

Year Yield:    up   at    2.12%

Oil:    up   at    $60.43

23 May 2019

1) British Steel, Britain’s second biggest steel maker, collapsed on Wednesday. This leaves 5,000 jobs directly at risk, while also threatening another 20,000 at suppliers. The company had been seeking a $95 million dollar loan to cover losses suffered because of European orders lost from the uncertainty of Brexit. European steel manufactures have been under pressure from Chinese steel manufactures, with Europe taking antidumping measures against China.

2) The collapse of airline Wow Air is having a detrimental effect on Iceland’s economy. The airline had turn tourism into Iceland’s major economic boom which pulled Iceland out of its financial collapse over a decade ago. In addition, Iceland has suffered a disastrous fishing season. With Wow Air out of business, tourism is expected to drop dramatically.

3) The Dollar General store chain is making its millions of profit via catering to those in the lower economic strata. About 57% of Dollar General’s customers come from households of less than $49,000 yearly income, with 30% less than $25,000. The company has been able to sidestep the recent meltdown of retailing that has ravaged other big retailers, despite having a minimum of e-commerce.

4) 22 MAY 19 Stock market closings:

Dow             25,776.61    down    100.72
Nasdaq         7,750.84     down      34.88
S&P 500        2,856.27     down        8.09

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.39%

Oil:     down   at    $61.32