3 September 2020

1) Major American companies are extending their ‘work from home’ policy, such as Google, Uber and Airbnb, until the summer of next year. The companies Zillow, Twitter, Facebook and Square have announce that employees can work from home indefinitely. Some companies are also offering stipends to employees for home office equipment as well as a $500 quarterly credit to use specifically on Airbnbs. This at home work policy remains in effect even after offices start reopening. The work at home is even spreading across the international scene with electronic giant Hitachi having 70% of its employees work permanently from home. Nationwide Insurance plans to downsize from 20 physical offices to just four with the majority of its employees continuing to work permanently from home. It’s looking more and more like working at home is becoming the norm for the future in America.

2) In a bid to counter the competition of e-commerce, the traditional department store giant Macy’s has started opening new, smaller stores away from the malls, reflecting a growing trend in the retail industry. The retail giant will test small-format Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores outside of underperforming malls, joining a growing trend in retail. The test stores will begin operation the fourth quarter of 2021 in Dallas, Atlanta and Washington DC. Many other major retailers are turning away from the mall format of retailing, leaving many malls withering on the vine, with foot traffic on the decline even before the Convid-19 crisis. This is another indication of a shift in American culture and society.

3) Fashion retailer Old Navy has announced they will pay their employees to work at polling stations comes election day. Each employee will be paid a full days wages for their poll work. Furthermore, store employees will have up to three hours of paid time-off on election day to vote. Old Navy joins other retailers such as Patagonia, PayPal and Levi Strauss & Co. to help in the national elections.

4) Stock market closings for – 2 SEP 20:

Dow 29,100.50 up 454.84
Nasdaq 12,056.44 up 116.78
S&P 500 3,580.84 up 54.19

10 Year Yield: down at 0.65%

Oil: down at $41.78

2 August 2019

1) Goldman Sachs, the investment bank, is starting a three year, $100 million dollar plan to overhaul its stock trading platform. The project, which is named Atlas, is aimed at the world’s largest quant hedge funds with the intent of shaving milliseconds off trades. The quantitative hedge fund investment has become a cutthroat business as other firms have been winning a larger share of a shrinking pie, and Goldman Sachs realizes they have been falling behind the technology race. They must make a strong effort to push forward the technology of electronic trading to maintain their market position.

2) As trade talks continue in Shanghai between China and America, President Trump has imposed an additional 10% tariff on $300 billion dollars worth of Chinese imports. These imports are due to start on the first of September. This does not include the $250 billion dollars already tariffed at 25%. The President blames the Chinese for imposing the tariff, saying China is not following through their promise to buy more American agricultural products and not doing more to stem sales of synthetic opioid fentanyl.

3) Lowe’s, the home improvement retailer, has told thousands of its workers that their jobs are being eliminated. The company will out source the jobs of maintenance and assembly workers to third party companies. These workers assembly products such as wheelbarrows and grills, claiming this will allow store associates to spend more time on the sales floor serving customers. Lowe’s employs 190,000 full time and 110,000 part time workers.

4) Stock market closings for – 1 AUG 19:

Dow           26,583.42    down    280.85
Nasdaq         8,111.12    down      64.30
S&P 500        2,953.56    down      26.82

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.89%

Oil:    up   at    $54.49

24 May 2019

1) Oil prices dropped liked a brick in its worst day of trading in 2019, the result of jitters over trade with China. The price of oil serves as a barometer to the world economic outlook, with a slowing of the world economy translating into a lesser demand for oil and therefore lower oil prices. The situation is aggravated by a surprise jump in American crude stockpile, with inventories up by 4.7 million barrels. The stock market reflected the world economic situation by massive drops too.

2) Panasonic electronics is joining a growing list of firms distancing themselves from Huawei, by stopping their supplying of some electronic parts to Huawei. Companies are declining to do business with Huawei because of warnings from U.S. intelligence that Huawei presences a security risk with their new 5G technology, which will allow the Chinese military to use smart phones to gather foreign intelligence.

3) President Trump announced $16 billion dollars in farm aid to offset the losses by farmers in the ten month long trade war. Distribution of aid payments will be based on where they farm rather than what crops they till. Farmers were a key constituency that help bring victory to President Trump, and they have been the hardest hit from the trade wars with China. China used to import 60% of U.S. soy bean production.

4) 23 May 19 Stock market closings: Dow tumbles 400 points as trade war worries continue.

Dow            25,490.47     down    286.14
Nasdaq         7,628.28     down    122.56
S&P 500        2,822.24     down      34.03

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.30%

Oil:    up   at    $58.19