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

24 February 2020

1) To settle its civil law suit over fake accounts, Wells Fargo, America’s fourth largest bank, is paying $3 billion dollars. In order to meet sales quotas, employees opened millions of savings and checking accounts using the names of actual customers. Wells Fargo is accountable for tolerating fraudulent conduct, which was remarkable for its duration and scope. The bank company took several steps to conceal the accounts from customers, such as forging signatures and preventing other bank departments from contacting customers to survey their accounts.

2) John Deere, a manufacturer of farm and construction equipment, has experience a first quarter profit, signs that the U.S. farm market is stabilizing. The manufacturer has been buffeted for the last two years by the U.S. – China trade war, which has pushed agriculture business down leaving farmers struggling to turn a profit.

3) Facebook will stop listening to and transcribing messenger voice for its speech recognition technology development. But the company still needs the voice recordings to improve its speech recognition, so the company will pay selected users to record snippets of audio using a development program called ‘Pronunciations’. Test subjects will have phrases recorded, which Facebook will specify, and in turn will receive compensation.

4) Stock market closings for – 21 FEB 20:

Dow 28,992.41 down 227.57
Nasdaq 9,576.59 down 174.38
S&P 500 3,337.75 down 35.48

10 Year Yield: down at 1.47%

Oil: down at $53.46

15 November 2019

1) Sears is laying off a little less than 300 people in their corporate headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Illinois and company offices in San Francisco, many being informed in a company meeting. The last round of layoffs was 250 employees in September. Restructuring plans include closing 96 more Sears and Kmart stores by February leaving about 180 stores remaining.

2) Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales is starting a social networking and news sharing site as an alternative to Facebook and Twitter. Called WT:Social, it will show the newest links first instead of using algorithms to bump posts with the most comments or likes to the top. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, the service will be funded by advertising. Just a month old, and it already has 50,000 users.

3) Interest in tiny houses continues with Amazon now offering prefabs from 100 square feet up to 1,500 square feet and prices from $5,000 to over $100,000. These style of houses are becoming popular with the young just starting life who don’t have the resources to buy a conventional home. However, their small size, while more friendly to the environment, set constraints on peoples lifestyles, by limiting what they can own or the number of friends they can have over at any one time. Nevertheless, tiny house continue to grow in popularity.

4) Stock market closings for – 14 NOV 19:

Dow              27,781.96     down    1.63
Nasdaq           8,479.02     down    3.08
S&P 500          3,096.63           up    2.58

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.82%

Oil:    down   at    $56.86

14 November 2019

1) The new streaming service Disney+ has surpassed ten million sign-ups since its launch Tuesday. In response Disney’s stock is up slightly while Netflix shares are down 1%. While there were technical problems connecting at first, that didn’t prevent customers from flooding the sign up page. The initial signup is for a free seven day trial, so it’s unknown how many will continue with the pay service.

2) In October, consumer prices rose the most in seven months as the price for gasoline was higher, along with medical treatment and recreation. But in general, inflation remained low and fairly stable, with consumer price index jumping 0.4%, primary from rising cost of energy. While gas prices surged upwards 3.7% in October, it’s still less than what Americans were paying a year ago.

3) The ever expanding corporate giant Google will offer personal checking accounts next year in partnership with Citigroup Inc and a small credit union at Stanford University. To be called Cache, it is intended to follow Apple Inc. and Facebook Inc into the financial industry. Google’s strategy is to deeply partner with banks and the financial system.

4) Stock market closings for – 13 NOV 19:

Dow                   27,783.59         up    92.10
Nasdaq               8,482.10    down      3.99
S&P 500              3,094.04         up      2.20

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.87%

Oil:    up   at    $57.38

9 September 2019

1) Several state attorney generals will investigate Facebook for possible stifling competition and putting users at risk. This comes after reports that Google will face antitrust investigations from state attorney generals. The investigations will center on actions that endangered consumer data, reduced the quality of consumers’ choices or increased the price of advertising. States investigating include New York, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and the District of Columbia.

2) President Trump unhappy at GM for decision to close four of its domestic auto plants. General Motors, which was once the giant automaker in Detroit, is now one of the smallest. GM has gone from 33 plants in the US to 29, but has an additional 27 manufacturing plants in China. Presently, GM sells more cars in China than it does in America. This accounts for $16 billion dollars in profit for GM.

3) The American consumer is carrying the U.S. economy in last quarter. The personal expenditures rose last quarter while business and residential investment, net exports and inventories have declined. There are concerns that consumers may rein in spending from fears of economic future. Global commerce is slowing, partly in response to the trade war, and without strong consumer spending it’s hard to see alternate sources of economic growth.

4) Stock market closings for – 6 SEP 19:

Dow               26,797.46         up     69.31
Nasdaq            8,103.07    down    13.75
S&P 500           2,978.71          up      2.71

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.55%

Oil:     up   at    $56.73

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

5 June 2019

1) The tech giants Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon are facing antitrust troubles. The government is stepping up scrutiny of these big four with possible new rules, regulations and law suits. The investigative efforts will be split between the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission driven by mounting criticism over political bias, disinformation and privacy breaches. This could spell years of troubles and law suits and possible breakup of the companies.

2) The threat of tariffs on Mexican imports has American oil refiners worried, since Mexico is the number two source of foreign oil to the United States. American produced oil is a light oil which is a poor match for Gulf Coast refining facilities, while the Mexican oil is a heavy oil that when blended with the America optimizes the refinery’s output.

3) The Medicaid system is still suffering from the Great recession, so there are fears than another recession could be devastating for the system. This is at a time when state spending on Medicaid is still high with no signs of subsiding. In a recession, payrolls decrease from people unemployed or underemployed, so contributions are down. This means less buildup of reserve funds needed for the future, and a second recession so soon, could seriously deplete those reserves quicker, leaving the future of the system in doubt.

4) Stock market closings for 4 June 2019: Jump in Dow comes from Fed signals flexibility on rates.

Dow               25,332.18    up    512.40
Nasdaq             7,527.12    up    194.10
S&P 500            2,803.27    up      58.82

10 Year Yield:    up   at    2.12%

Oil:    down   at    $52.95

28 May 2019

1) Some young people with outstanding student debts are moving abroad where cost of living is much lower and debt collectors have little to no powers. One former student has moved to a concrete house in India and now lives on $50 a month, while hoping to never again set foot in a Walmart. The strategy of abandoning America to avoid student loans is spreading via social media and the internet.

2) The crypto-currency Bitcoin nears $9,000 dollars as it breaks it highest level this year, but is still a long way from its 2017 high of $19,000 dollars. Other crypto-currencies are also up sharply , and with the renewed interest in the past few weeks, their prices are up over 140% this year. Other companies, including Facebook, are reportedly coming out with new crypto-currencies to offer consumers.

3) Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, the 2020 party nomination for president, is proposing a plan to raise $2 trillion dollars by taxing Wall Street trading. The senator has introduced a bill that would tax trading of stocks, bonds and derivatives to raise between $776 billion and $2.4 trillion dollars over the next ten years. He would use this money to pay for his Medicare for all and free public college, which is the centerpiece for his presidential bid.

4) 27 MAY 19 Stock market closings:

Dow                25,585.69    up    95.22   
Nasdaq              7,637.01    up      8.73
S&P 500             2,826.06    up      3.82

10 Year Yield:    up   at    2.32%

Oil:    up   at    $59.24

UBER STOCK TANKED, AFTER IT’S IPO HIT THE MARKETS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

By: Economic & Finance Report

Uber the rideshare tech company, its stock tanked on its first official trading day on the NYSE, Friday, May 10, 2019 will be a day of turmoil on the Uber corporate calendar. It was a horrible trading day for the mammoth ride sharing tech company.

Uber declined close to 8% during the stock market trading day. The stock plummeting so much (in which it did), is the first time any stock has come out the gates on Wall St and lost so much market share. The valuation of Uber was at $76 billion dollars, when analysts had predicted that it would be valued around $90-$100 billion dollars, well that didn’t happen. Not only that, Uber has been bleeding money and the perception is that, Uber won’t actually make any real money until the year 2024, hopefully.

Uber being one of the biggest IPO companies probably since Alibaba, Facebook and a few others. So it to falter as it did was a shocker to some and to others, not so much. Technology companies tend not to fare well in the beginning of their IPO presence. Facebook had a rocky start coming out the gates and other big tech companies before it, have gone through similar revelations.

It’s the test of time that will dictate the longevity of Uber’s existence and if they can navigate their ship in theses rough and turbulent stock market waters. -SB

18 March 2019

1) A second crash of a new Boeing 737 MAX 8 airliner, in just months, is raising doubts about its safety. Speaker Pelosi is calling on Boeing to ground all 737 MAX 8 airliners. The airliner was one in Ethiopia’s airline fleet, which like the first one, crashed just after takeoff killing all onboard. Reportedly, one of the Ethiopian pilots had only 200 hours experience, while American pilots typically average about 1,500 hours. In America 200 hours is only enough to qualify for a commercial license, but doesn’t allow a pilot to fly aircraft over 12,500 pounds (airliners). General rule – that at 300 hours a pilot is considered most dangerous and overconfident, and so gets into trouble, but doesn’t have the experience to get out of trouble.

2) The sudden questions of the Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 airlines caused Boeing’s stock to drop 9%. But even with a 9% drop in Boeing stock, the rise in tech stocks pushed the overall stock markets up.

3) Facebook is facing ever increasing series of problems starting with Senator Elizabeth Warren’s proposal to break up the company, then came Facebook’s longest outage of network and services. Followed by news of a criminal investigation into data agreements with other companies, then two of Facebook’s top executives left the company. Finally, the live movies of the New Zealand’s shooting massacre focusing the growing problem of hate on social media.

4) 15 MAR 19 Stock market closings:

Dow           25,848.87    up    138.93
Nasdaq       7,688.53    up      57.62
S&P 500      2,822.48    up      14.00

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.59%

Oil:    down   at    $58.39