13 August 2020

1) Another national retail outlet, Stein Mart, is going the way of the brick and mortar retail system announcing they are closing all their stores in bankruptcy amid Covid-19 pandemic. Based in Jacksonville, Florida the company operates 281 stores in 30 states with 9,000 employees. Stein Mart ‘going out of business’ sale is expected to begin in August 14 or 15 with complete liquidation of inventory, with the anticipation of all stores closed by the fourth quarter of 2020. The retailer joins a long list of businesses to file for bankruptcy protection amid the coronavirus crisis.

2) With all the money being pumped into the economy by the government, there were fears of fueling inflation. Those fears were increased with the July consumer price data showing that prices are indeed on the rise. But some are saying these price increases are a result of supply and demand dynamics from the pandemic, and will fall once the supply system becomes stable with production reaching equilibrium again. It’s just a matter of time.

3) Amid suspicion of a rigged election by authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko, Germany and Lithuania is calling for renewed sanctions on Belarus. Claiming a landslide victory in his presidential election, Lukashenko has cracked down on protesters and demonstrators. The EU (European Union) has call an extraordinary meeting of foreign ministers to discuss the situation, considering the election was neither free nor fair, and efforts to suppress demonstrations as unacceptable. The EU is considering reinstating sanctions. The protest have been violent with about 1,000 people arrested to add to the 5,000 already being held, and injuries to both protesters and police.

4) Stock market closings for – 12 AUG 20:

Dow 27,976.84 up 289.93
Nasdaq 11,012.24 up 229.42
S&P 500 3,380.35 up 46.66

10 Year Yield: up at 0.67%

Oil: up at $42.56 +0.01

2 July 2020

1) The airline industry is one of the hardest hit segments of the economy from the pandemic, with an estimated 36% drop in traffic this year. But the International Air Transport Association is warning that it could worsen with a 53% drop if boarder curbs on emerging market countries and the U.S. remain in place. The U.S. – EU (European Union) air travel market generates $29 billion dollars a year is threaten by the ban on non essential flights from the U.S. as the EU attempts to avoid an resurgence of the virus. Air travel was down over 90% for April and May, with little prospects for improvement in the near future, leaving the future of air carriers in doubt too.

2) The maker of electric automobiles Tesla has become the world’s most valuable automaker, surpassing Toyota’s for the first time on record. Tesla’s valuation is roughly $206.5 billion dollars compared with Toyota’s valuation of about $202 billion dollars. This underscores the vast investor enthusiasm for the automaker, which has yet to turn a profit on an annual basis. While it’s valuation exceeds Toyota, its car production of 103,000 cars lags far behind Toyota’s production of 2.4 million vehicles. The valuation comes from the stock in the company, with investors piling money in since there aren’t any other electric vehicles investments available, with Tesla stock soaring to $1,135 per share.

3) Electricity bills are set to surge this summer because of millions of Americans sheltering in place. This added demand will mean higher electricity costs for months to come. This will mean an additional $30 to $40 per month on electric bills in cities like New York and Philadelphia. Increases are anticipated to be highest for the northeast area of the country, decreasing when going westward. This comes when people’s finances are already stretched tight because of the coronavirus crisis.

4) Stock market closings for – 1 JUL 20:

Dow 25,734.97 down 77.91
Nasdaq 10,154.63 up 95.86
S&P 500 3,115.86 up 15.57

10 Year Yield: up at 0.68%

Oil: down at $39.71

30 April 2020

1) Experts are speculating on the interest rates going negative in the near future, something that President Trump wants. Negative interest rates have been a reality in the EU (European Union), with studies showing that investors do not significantly increase their equity holdings as interest rates decline. But when the rates go negative, they start increasing their equity holdings significantly. This in turn is a big boost to the stock market. Interest rates are an excellent predictor of long range growth potential, today’s level reflecting the markets expectation of sustained low future growth.

2) Larry Kudlow, the top White House economist, is calling for stimulate measures before a slowdown of the economy. Measures include tax breaks such as payroll tax holiday and deregulation of small businesses. This is in anticipation of growth in the second quarter worse than in the first, which shrank 4.8%. Additionally, he supports a second stimulus package to create incentives to grow in the medium and long term. Also more investment in infrastructure should be included.

3) After posting a massive first quarter loss, Boeing has announced they will slash staff and production of about 16,000 people or about 10% of its personnel. Demand for air travel evaporated because of the coronavirus, so Boeing is drastically scaling back production of the two widebody passenger jets, its 787 Dreamliner and the 777. Boeing lost $1.7 billion dollars, while shutting down its factories, because of the pandemic, added another $137 million dollar lost.

4) Stock market closings for – 29 APR 20:

Dow 24,633.86 up 532.31
Nasdaq 8,914.71 up 306.98
S&P 500 2,939.51 up 76.12

10 Year Yield: up at 0.63%

Oil: up at $15.35

1 April 2020

1) To aid in economic recovery, President Trump is calling for a $2 trillion dollar spending plan to update the country’s infrastructure. Monies would be used to update the country’s roads, bridges and other parts of the physical infrastructure. This would be part of Phase 4 response to the coronavirus crisis. The President said that with interest rates at zero, this is the ideal time to address our declining infrastructure.

2) There are growing fears of the devastation that the coronavirus has and continues to wrought on America’s economy. Layoffs are coming faster than unemployment offices can accommodate, increasing fears about making mortgage and loan payments, malls and shopping centers devoid of people with only the essential commerce. Economist are now forecasting a real GDP growth of negative 9% for the first quarter and minus 34% for the second. There is expected to be 4.5 million filings for jobless benefits this week, which will be the highest in history. While there are hopes for a quick turn around, the damage may be too great to quickly return to the economic boom prior to the virus.

3) Founders of the European Union (EU) have always feared that Italy’s proliferate borrowing would ultimately become the EU’s problem. Now with Italy’s coronavirus problems, the country is having to borrow again to care for its people, in turn pushing up its debt to dangerous levels which the EU will have to cover. This is made doubly critical with other EU member’s economies shaken by the shutdowns from the virus. Presently, Italy’s debt level is approaching 150% of its gross domestic product and may well surpass that.

4) Stock market closings for – 31 MAR 20:

Dow 21,917.16 down 410.32
Nasdaq 7,700.10 down 74.05
S&P 500 2,584.59 down 42.06

10 Year Yield: up at 0.70%

Oil: down at $20.10

12 March 2020

1) The WHO (World Heath Organization) has declared the coronavirus to be a pandemic, which in turn has cause the markets to make another plunge after its apparent recovery on Tuesday. The number of coronavirus cases world wide is now in excess of 100,000 with more than 1,000 in the U.S. The central banks in other western nations are cutting their interest rates in an attempt to minimize the effects of the virus and avoid a world wide economic slowdown. At present, there doesn’t seem to be an end to the markets volatility.

2) The United Kingdom is levying an additional 2% tax on big high tech companies starting the first of April. Call the ‘digital services tax’, it will levy a tax on the revenues from search engines, social media services and online marketplaces used by British citizens, but it only applies to companies making more than $650 million dollars and derive more than $35 million dollars revenue from UK users. This will encompass companies like Amazon, Apple, facebook and Google. The EU (European Union) is considering a similar tax, but with a 3% rate.

3) Oil production in the U.S. is expected to drop as a result of the dramatic collapse in oil prices. This would be the first decline in output since 2016 as drillers are cutting back on capital spending. Oil prices are below $35 a barrel, well below the breakeven price for most American shale fields. Oil prices have been pushed down by the economic impact of the coronavirus plus Saudi Arabia and Russian failing to agree on limited oil production.

4) Stock market closings for – 11 MAR 20 Stocks down 20% from their high.

Dow 23,553.22 down 1464.94
Nasdaq 7,952.05 down 392.20
S&P 500 2,741.38 down 140.85

10 Year Yield: up at 0.82%

Oil: down at $33.12

6 March 2020

1) The devastation that the coronavirus fears has wrought on Europe’s tourist industry is brought into glaring focus in front of the famous Mona Lisa painting in Paris. Where there would normally be a continuous surge of admiring people to view the art classic, now just vacant space. The same at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the normally long lines of waiting people to get in, are also gone. The drop in tourism is costing the EU (European Union) $1.1 billion dollars a month, just when the high season is getting under way. Expectations are that it will only get worst as the year progresses.

2) General Motors is making an all out effort to dominate the EV (Electric Vehicle) market and in the process beat Tesla at its own game. GM has developed new battery modules called Ultium that is said to reduce the cost of batteries and therefore make more affordable EVs. Plans are to offer 20 new EVs by 2023, both in America and China, with marketing plans to sell one million electric cars in the next five years. However, the UAW is concerned that EVs will hurt the union because they require less manpower to assemble. Presently, GM holds over 3,000 patents on electric automobile design.

3) Seattle area school district has closed down its 33 schools of more than 23 thousand kids for up to two weeks due to the coronavirus threat. These students will use online teaching during this time through Google Apps for Education. Students needing a device or internet connection will be provided with one. Teaching staff have been provided with a one day instruction on using the apps and how to monitor the progress of their students. ATS (Automated Teaching Systems) has been on the cusp of revolutionizing American schools, and the coronavirus may provide the impetus to open the market to wide spread commercialization.

4) Stock market closings for – 5 MAR 20: The instability of the markets continue with wild swings of the trading indexes.

Dow 26,121.28 down 969.58
Nasdaq 8,738.60 down 279.49
S&P 500 3,023.94 down 106.18

10 Year Yield: down at 0.93%

Oil: down at $46.13

3 February 2020

1) Brexit, the exit of Britain from the European Union, has been confirmed by the European Parliament with a vote Wednesday, which ratified the withdrawal agreement. The vote to ratify was 621 to 49 with 13 abstentions. For the EU (European Union) the loss of Britain represents a significant defeat, a loss of size, reach, momentum and permanence akin to the U.S. losing Texas. Potentially, the EU bloc now has less clout, although the remaining 27 countries have been drawn tighter together by the debate. Now comes the negotiations of EU’s future relationship with Britain to try and maintain the single open market.

2) Delta Air Lines and American Airlines announced they are suspending service to mainland China to counter the spread of coronavirus. It is expected that United Airlines is expected to soon follow suit. American will continue service to Hong Kong. Other world air carriers have also announced suspended or reduced services to China.

3) With the decision two years ago by the Supreme Court to widely legalize sports betting, companies are rushing in to expand sports betting operations. U.S. casino operators, fantasy apps and betting grands from Europe and Australia are in a race for American customers now that the way has been cleared for betting outside of Nevada.

4) Stock market closings for – 31 JAN 20: Fears of China’s coronavirus continue to push markets down.

Dow                   28,256.03    down    603.41
Nasdaq               9,150.94     down    148.00
S&P 500              3,225.52     down       58.14

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.52%

Oil:    down   at    $51.63

18 October 2019

1) New home construction has dropped from a twelve year high in September, although single home construction rose for a fourth straight month. This indicates the housing market remains supported by lower mortgage rates even as economy slows. Housing starts declined 9.4% last month as construction in the volatile multi-family housing segment dropped.

2) The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom announced a great new Brexit deal. The proposed exit plan goes before the U.K. parliament this Saturday, the EU (European Union) claimed the deal was a fair and balance one. Parliament must vote approval before the deal can be accepted, however, this time the Conservative party is now committed to this deal and not a ‘no-deal’ and so will campaign for a majority support.

3) The employees for the bank Goldman Sachs will receive the lowest pay in the last ten years. This is a result of software systems doing more and more of the company’s business, another example of technology displacement. The bank set aside 35% of its revenues for staff compensation and benefits this year, the lowest rate since 2009, with an average employee earning of $246,000 less than half of the $527,000 from last year.

4) Stock market closings for – 17 OCT 19:

Dow           27,025.88    up    23.90
Nasdaq        8,156.85    up    32.67
S&P 500       2,997.95    up      8.26

10 Year Yield:    up   at    1.76%

Oil:    up   at    $54.05

13 June 2019

1) Demand for oil is shrinking as the trade war causes the world economies to retract. China’s economy is slowing faster than experts had expected, with the EU and US also not growing in oil demand. Fears that oil prices will drop below $40 a barrel fuel fears of a continual global slowing of economies. The U.S. boom in domestic oil production using fracking is dependent on high oil prices, and with American petroleum stocks at an all time high, it may not be feasible to continue fracking.

2) With mortgage rates dropping to their lowest level in nearly two years, there has been a surge in refinancing applications. In just one week, applications increased 26.8%, which is 41% greater than a year ago. Refinance mortgages are the most rate-sensitive because when low, people rush to refinance while they can get the lower rates.

3) For the second straight month, Boeing aircraft reports no new aircraft sales. The drop isn’t just because of the 737 MAX grounding, but the company already has a massive 5,000 aircraft backorder to fill, so many customers don’t need to place additional orders. With the airline Jet Airways halting operations, their pending sales contracts have been canceled, which totaled 71 aircraft.

4) Stock market closings for- 12 JUN 19:

Dow           26,004.83    down    43.68
Nasdaq        7,792.72 down    29.85 
S&P 500          2,879.84    down      5.88 

10 Year Yield:   down   at    2.13% 

Oil:    down   at    $51.08

11 April 2019

1) Boeing has not received any new orders for its 737 since its grounding, in addition, Boeing has had 100 cancellations of orders. Its stock is down 19%, but worst its stockholders have filed a law suit against Boeing claiming the company has defrauded its investors because Boeing failed to disclosed safety issues concerning their 737 MAX-8.

2) British Prime Minister May has asked the EU (European Union) for a second extension. Britain will be leaving the EU this Friday if an extension is not granted, so the EU held an emergency summit to consider warnings that a crash-out might cause a recession. Last reports are that the EU will grant an extension to 31 October this year.

3) The ECB (European Central Bank) will leave interest rates steady, forecasting no change for 2019. The ECB is being forced to backtrack on its tightening monetary policy as signs of a world economic slowdown are increasing.

4) 10 APR 19 Stock market closing:

Dow            26,157.16     up     6.58
Nasdaq         7,964.24     up   54.97
S&P 500        2,888.21     up   10.01

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.48%

Oil:   down   at    $64.47  0.14