5 August 2020

1) The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has issued a 36 page document detailing the fixes and training that Boeing needs to implement so the 737 MAX can return to commercial service. The document was in the works before the planes were grounded in the spring of 2019, a result of two air crashes. There were few requirements that Boeing management wasn’t already aware of, and it’s considered a milestone in the certification process. The document only applies to 737 MAX aircraft flying in the U.S., and it is expected the changes will be adopted by aviation regulators around the world. Once done, all 737 MAX jets will undergo an operational readiness flight prior to returning each airplane to service. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency is waiting on doing its flight test as the FAA moves ahead.

2) The oil company giant Exxon Mobil Corp., is seeking the dismissal of a climate change lawsuit brought on by the Massachusetts attorney general. The lawsuit alleges that Exxon defrauded consumers and investors by the company’s public position on climate change, that Exxon hid its early knowledge of climate change and misled investors about the projected financial impact of global warming on its business. Exxon claims the law suit amounts to improper retaliation against the company over its views on climate change. The bases for Exxon’s challenge is the state’s anti-Slapp law which prohibits the use of litigation to punish a defendant for statements on matters that are under consideration by a legislative or judicial body.

3) The Department of Labor has come down hard on social investing or EAG, proposing rules that strongly limit such activities for private pension plans covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). They consider that pension fund investing is not the place to solve the ills of the world, that it is unlawful for a fiduciary to sacrifice return or accept additional risk to promote a public policy, political or any other nonpecuniary goal.

4) Stock market closings for – 4 AUG 20:

Dow 26,828.47 up 164.07
Nasdaq 10,941.17 up 38.37
S&P 500 3,306.51 up 11.90

10 Year Yield: down at 0.52%

Oil: up at $41.53

27 July 2020

1) Another indication of the contraction of the oil business is the oil services company Schlumberger who cut 21,000 jobs or about one fifth of its 105,000 global employees. This is a direct result of an expected 25% drop in the number of oil wells drilled worldwide. Revenues fell 58% from last year for north American operations. The world wide cornavirus crisis caused a massive drop in oil demand, which collapsed the price of oil.

2) Boeing aircraft is facing another trouble, this time with their older Boeing 737 jets. The FAA was warned of corrosion which could cause dual-engine failure, and has ordered inspections. The corrosion problem is a result of hundreds of aircraft now in storage that have been idled because of the drop in air travel from the virus. The order requires aircraft that have not been operated for a week or more must be inspected which will impact about 2,000 aircraft. The corrosion is in engine valves, which has caused single-engine shutdowns which resulted from engine bleed air valves being stuck open.

3) Junk bonds are back again, but are packaged in a format met to appeal to investors, avoiding their seamy 1980s era reputation. Low interest rates driven by the Federal reserve is encouraging companies to borrow, which has lead to a record $51.5 billion dollars worth of junk bonds issued in June. Junk bonds are bonds with high yields (interest rates) but having a lot higher risk. The high risk comes from companies fiscal ability to pay out the bond on maturity or dividends. In a recessionary environment awash in cheap money, a troubled company can collapse under the weight of their debt. But extensive use of junk bonds pose the same dangers of the mortgage backed securities in 2008 with massive failing of businesses pulling the already fragile economy down.

4) Stock market closings for – 24 JUL 20:

Dow 26,469.89 down 182.44
Nasdaq 10,363.18 down 98.24
S&P 500 3,215.63 down 20.03

10 Year Yield: up at 0.59%

Oil: up at $41.34

9 July 2020

1) In a move that shows just how much troubled the airline industry is, United Airlines is sending out layoff warnings to half of its U.S. staff, or about 36,000 employees. The world’s airline industry has be devastated by the coronavirus crisis, with the prospects for recovery in air travel dimming in just the past two weeks because of a rise in infections. The ‘36,000 people’ is a worst case scenario, with United striving to minimize layoffs through things like early retirement packages. Air travel had plunged 95% from March to April, and has been making a slow recovery. Still air travel is down 70%.

2) After more than fifteen months since being grounded for safety, Boeing’s 737 MAX is finally getting close to winning approval to fly again. But it’s not expected the aircraft will actually start carrying passengers until late this year at the earliest. Now with a history of missed deadlines, neither Boeing or the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) will say when the airplane will be approved to fly passengers. But after the aircraft is certified, there will still be months of training before the 737 MAX can actually operate. The good news is the test flights signal the certification is nearing its end. Once the U.S. has granted approval, Boeing will start the process of certification in a number of other countries which the 737 will operate out of. Plus, the 400 aircraft built during the grounding will need to be modified and tested before they can be delivered. The biggest question is how much and how long the airline industry will need to recover from the pandemic.

3) President Trump is threatening to cut off funding for schools that do not reopen this fall. It’s unclear just how the federal government could exert significant financial pressure on states and local school systems. The President is also in disagreement with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for their reopening.

4) Stock market closings for – 8 JUL 20:

Dow 26,067.28 up 177.10
Nasdaq 10,492.50 up 148.61
S&P 500 3,169.94 up 24.62

Year Yield: up at 0.65%

Oil: up at $40.93

30 June 2020

1) The Boeing Aircraft Co. has started it re-certification process for the 737 MAX with the take off of a test aircraft for the first flight. An FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) pilot was on board as test flights begin, to determine if the aircraft is safe for flying with passengers. The first flight test is to fly maneuvers for about three hours, the test craft being fitted with a number of instruments and monitoring equipment to test and record how the aircraft performs. Test include the ‘wind-up turn’ which is a steep turn that essentially approaches a stall, with wings almost at 90 degrees of bank. This maneuver should trigger the Boeing software system that played a role in both crashes, which caused the aircraft design to be grounded. The software caused the aircraft’s nose to be repeatedly pointed downward at the ground until pilots lost control. These certification flights are expected to take approximately three days, and while they are an important milestone, there remains a number of key tasks to be completed.

2) According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 47.2% of American adults are now jobless, almost half the adult population. This is a direct result of losing 30 million jobs because of the coronavirus crisis. While there was an unexpected snap back in May, there are now signs of a slowdown in the labor market improvement because of fears of a Convid-19 resurgence increased these last few weeks. The massive loss of jobs is what is now dragging the economy down. Both Texas and Florida have paused plans for further reopening because of a record spike in coronavirus cases.

3) Lending institutions are pulling back sharply on their lending to U.S. consumers during the pandemic, because they can’t tell who is creditworthy anymore. There are millions of Americans out of work and behind on their debts, but many of these missed payments aren’t reflected in credit scores. This is a result of the government’s stimulus package which allows borrowers to defer their debt payments, but credit companies can’t report these late payments to credit reporting companies. For May, there were more than 100 million accounts with deferred debt payments. This is a sign of widespread financial distress.

4) Stock market closings for – 29 JUN 20:

Dow 25,595.80 up 580.25
Nasdaq 9,874.15 up 116.93
S&P 500 3,053.24 up 44.19

10 Year Yield: unchanged at 0.64%

Oil: up at $39.55

29 May 2020

1) Another 2.1 million Americans are unemployed as the economy begins its reopening with restriction on economic activity easing in some parts of the country. One bright spot is the number of continued claims (people remaining on unemployment) dropped slightly from people returning to work. While the number of new claims continues to drop each week, it still remains at a record high, with the drop in new claims remaining higher than anticipated. The continued elevated number of claims isn’t a good sign, showing that we are not through the business shutdowns and possible closures yet, with some furloughs shifting over to permanent layoffs. The unemployment in America is now at 40.7 million workers.

2) Boeing aircraft manufacturer may be starting its recovery announcing the resumption of limited production of its 737 MAX after a five month halt. The 737 MAX has been grounded since March of 2018 because of software problems resulting in two airliners crashing. While the FAA has not cleared the airplane for return to passenger service, Boeing expects the 737 MAX to fly again in mid 2020.

3) The millennials and generation-Z are worst off economically than any previous generation, they are experiencing slower economic growth since entering the workforce than any other generation in U.S. history. It’s not just that it’s a bad recession, or that it’s hitting young people more, but rather that it’s hitting people who have already been hit by the Great Recession. Millennials have experienced slower economic growth since entering the workforce than any other generation in U.S. history, and they will bear these economic scars throughout their lives, with lower earnings, lower wealth and delayed milestones, such as home ownership. The old adage of ‘just work harder, sink or swim by your own effort’ no longer applies, because many millennials are now having to swim upstream against a much stronger current . . . from the forces of automation and technology displacement.

4) Stock market closings for – 28 MAY 20:

Dow 25,400.64 down 147.63
Nasdaq 9,368.99 down 43.37
S&P 500 3,029.73 down 6.40

10 Year Yield: up at 0.70%

Oil: down at $33.68

13 November 2019

1) An FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) official states that Southwest Airlines should ground 49 of its airliners that had repairs failing to meet legal standards. The official claims there is a high likelihood of a violation of a regulation, order or standard, so the FAA must take immediate action to revoke the certification of the planes. Aircraft in questions is the Boeing 737 NG which were previously owned by foreign carriers, saying inspections should be speeded up, but fall short of grounding the aircraft.

2) Dean Foods, America’s largest milk producer, is filing for bankruptcy. The 94 year old company has struggled in recent years because Americans are drinking less cows milk. In 2019, sales are down 7%, while for the first half of the year, profits are down 14%, with Dean’s stock dropping 80% in a year. The company is straddled with debt and is unable to fully fund its pensions.

3) The retail giant Walmart is experiencing internal strife over its e-commerce operation with the corporate culture of traditional marketing. Apparently, Walmart’s management doesn’t have a real understanding of the complex technology of e-commerce. The impact of Walmart’s plunge into online retailing has reduced Walmart’s already thin profit margins, which are at historic lows. Some high profile acquisitions and other strategic moves have cratered and talented executives on both sides have departed.

4) Stock market closings for – 12 NOV 19:

Dow               27,691.49    unchanged    
Nasdaq            8,486.09      up    21.81
S&P 500           3,091.84      up      4.83

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.91%

Oil:    up   at    $56.78

22 August 2019

1) Retailers Target and Lowe’s posted second quarter sales higher than anticipated by analyst. Target’s ‘same store sales’ is up by 3.4% compared to an expected growth of 2.9%. This news boosted Target’s stock by 16%. Lowe’s also reported better than expected second quarter earning results which pushed its stock up 10%. These big box store reports help qual fears of an approaching recession.

2) The chip maker Intel announced two new chip products for the AI (Artificial Intelligence) market, processors as part of its Nervana Neural Network Processor. This chips will accelerate training and inferences drawn from AI models. This will allow AI systems to gain inferences and insights more readily. They will help AI platforms address the crush of data being generated and ensure AI enterprises make efficient use of their data, by processing it where it’s collected.

3) Boeing, the aircraft manufacturer, is incurring additional cost from its grounded 737 MAX, by hiring hundreds of temporary workers to help maintain its growing fleet of 737 MAXs that Boeing is storing until the FAA restores its certification. These temporary workers have skills such as avionics technicians, aircraft mechanics, airframe and power plant mechanics and aircraft electricians. Once the aircraft is re-certified, these technicians will be needed to upgrade the software and prepare aircraft for delivery.

4) Stock market closings for – 21 AUG 19:

Dow            26,202.73    up    240.29
Nasdaq         8,020.21    up      71.65
S&P 500        2,924.43    up       23.92

10 Year Yield:    up   at    1.58%

Oil:    up   at    $55.85

28 June 2019

1) The Ford Motor company will eliminate 20% of its European workforce in a sweeping move to overhaul the manufacture’s falling sales. This will entail reducing its manufacturing facilities from 24 down to 18, with England, Germany and Russia the hardest hit. About 12,000 regular, staff and workers at joint ventures will be effected. Predicted deliveries for automobiles is down, as a result of Britain’s uncertainty from Brexit, with Ford’s European sales dropping 8.3% in May.

2) The crypto-currency Bitcoin having moved up over the last eighteen months to $14,000, suddenly drop 16%, down to $11,000. Bitcoin’s all time high was $20,000 reached in December of 2017, and is noted for it’s wild deviations of price over the last few years. Facebook just announced they are coming out with their own crypto-currency which may be a factor in Bitcoin’s sudden drop.

3) The Federal Aviation Administration has announced more safety concerns with Boeing’s 737 MAX just as the aircraft is being evaluated for software fixes designed to correct computer flight control systems. This system was responsible for two recent crashes with the death of all passengers and crew. Boeing’s stock dropped 3% Thursday as a result of added concerns for its star product, which the FAA is now evaluating software fixes with the expectations of finally getting its airliners airborne again. Boeing is presently parking completed 737 MAX aircraft in its car parking lots waiting for approval so they can make deliveries.

4) Stock market closings for- 27 JUN 19:

Dow           26,526.58    down    10.24
Nasdaq       7,967.76         up     57.79
S&P 500      2,924.92         up      11.14

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.00%

Oil:     down   at    $59.28

25 April 2019

1) Boeing’s profits have plunged because of their 737 MAX problems, which has cost them one billion dollars so far. The fix for the aircraft is causing uncertainty in their earnings and how long it will take before the aircraft is re-certified for operating. There are further concerns over foreign re-certification taking longer than the FAA. Boeing had 4,600 unfilled orders for the 737 MAX.

2) Almost one half of American parents are cutting back on their retirement savings to help pay their adult children’s bills. Additionally, parents are not setting aside some amount of their earns for retirement savings, instead are helping their children pay bills. The average American needs three-quarters of a million dollars in savings to retire and maintain their standard of living.

3) Many major companies are raising prices, considering that raising prices a little will help increase profits. Some of these companies are the railroads, Kimberly-Clark, Procter and Gamble and Whirlpool. Rising wages and raising productivity will tend to increase inflation.

4) 24 APR 19 Stock market closings: Red across the board with everything down.

Dow           26,597.05    down    59.34
Nasdaq        8,102.02    down    18.81
S&P 500       2,927.25    down      6.43

10 Year Yield:     down   at    2.52%

Oil:      down   at     $65.74

28 March 2019

1) Eviction crisis is starting to look a lot like the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Housing is increasingly out of reach for many Americans, which is resulting in increased incidents of evictions. This is an indicator of housing being priced out of reach for many people.

2) There has been another incident with Boeing’s 737 bringing further doubts to the design. Soon after a 737 MAX-8 took off, it developed an engine problem forcing it to return. Boeing announced that they were completing a software fix for the MAX-8 series, and are close to submitting it to the FAA sometime this week. The new software is reported to now use the inputs from two different sensors, which must agree before the program will accept the input.

3) Prime Minister May has announced her willingness to step down if Parliament will past her Brexit plan, but didn’t give a specific date. Parliament considered eight proposed strategies and voted on each one, with all eight being voted down. This leaves Britain right where she started, with time quickly running out.

4) 27 MAR 19 Stock market closings:

 Dow                25,625.59    down    32.14
Nasdaq              7,643.38    down    48.14
S&P 500             2,805.37    down    13.09

10 Year Yield:     down   at    2.37%

Oil:    down   at    $59.35