1 June 2020

1) For the last few years, a number of retailers have been downsizing by closing a number of their stores across the country, something that the coronavirus pandemic has greatly accelerated. But the restaurant chains have also been downsizing as well, closing branches all across the county. Such popular names as Jack in the Box, Luby’s, Pizza Hut, Ruby Tuesday, Steak’nShake , Subway, Burger King, TGI Fridays and Applebee’s just to name a few, who are closing restaurants across the country. Each have been struggling for the last several years. This is another sign that the American consumer market is in the process of fundamentally changing.

2) The U.S. consumer spending plunged in April by the most on record because of the nation wide lock down. Spending fell 13.6% from the prior month, making for the sharpest drop in six decades. A rise in income temporarily masks the fact that people are in a fragile economic position, because the rise was a result of the one time stimulus checks. The virus crisis halted all but the most essential purchases, with economists expecting it will take a year or more before spending recovers.

3) It’s anticipated that the national debt will increase to more than 100% of the national GDP (Gross Domestic Product) by the end of the year. This will exceed the record set after World War II. The $25 trillion dollar national debt equates to $76,665 dollars per citizen or $203,712 dollars per taxpayer. The federal deficit is over $1.9 trillion dollars through April, and is expected to rise to $3.7 trillion dollars by the end of September, which is the end of the fiscal year. Such debt could draw investors to demand higher interest rates, as the federal government’s position becomes increasingly precarious. This is like an individual piling on credit card debt without consideration for the short or long term consequences to their financial position. For America, those consequences could be deep depression coupled with inflation of the dollar leaving money far less valuable than today.

4) Stock market closings for – 29 MAY 20:

Dow 25,383.11 down 17.53
Nasdaq 9,489.87 up 120.88
S&P 500 3,044.31 up 14.58

10 Year Yield: down at 0.65%

Oil: up at $35.32

18 May 2020

1) The federal government has warned that the financial sector faces significant vulnerabilities because of the coronavirus pandemic. Both businesses and households are struggling with fragile finances and will be for the foreseeable future. So far, the banking system has withstood the initial downturn, but there are significant risk if the virus crisis proves to be lengthy and/or more sever than hoped for. The financial stress will continue to build if the crisis persists from households and businesses being deprived of wages and revenues. No sectors would be immune from the risk they face from default on debt, being forced to sell off assets, bankruptcy or having value of assets dwindled. Forceful early interventions have been effective in resolving liquidity stresses. There are fears that what might start out as a cash crunch could spiral into something worse, that few if any parts of the economy are safe.

2) The retail industry has been devastated by the coronavirus crisis with April sales diving down 16.4% (Manufacturing is also down by 13.7%) with major retailers such as J.C. Penny, J Crew and Neiman Marcus filing for bankruptcy recently. However, discount retail chains such as Dollar General and Aldi seem to be thriving as consumers cut back on discretionary spending while continuing to spend on food and household essentials. The Dollar style stores are gaining because of their low prices and close proximity to customers, with people buying things they have run out of between their larger routine shopping trips. In recent years, the Dollar style stores have significantly increased their number of stores thereby enabling them to capture more retail sales from the traditional retailers.

3) Some are predicting that the pandemic has permanently changed the auto industry, with some automakers made stronger while others are left too weak to survive. The pressure from the electric automobiles will become stronger with fewer conventional automakers able to make the transition. There are fears that people have discovered they need to travel much less, that they can get a surprisingly amount done from home. This translates into lower demand for automobiles. Demand for new cars was expected to be low before the pandemic, now things are expected to get very brutal for survival of some automakers.

4) Stock market closings for – 15 MAY 20:

Dow 23,685.42 up 60.08
Nasdaq 9,014.56 up 70.84
S&P 500 2,863.70 up 11.20

10 Year Yield: up at 0.64%

Oil: up at $29.78

10 December 2019

1) Celadon, a truckload carrier and American trucking giant, is slated to declare bankruptcy as early as December the 11 th. This may possibly be the largest truckload bankruptcy in history. Already, fuel cards for truck drivers are getting turned off, leaving truckers stranded in the field unable to get home without using their own money. As many as 3,200 truck drivers may find themselves stranded in addition to being without jobs. In the first half of 2019, about 640 trucking companies went bankrupt, triple the number from last year as freight volumes decline for 11 straight months. Celadon’s stock has gone from $20 a share down to 41 cents.

2) The Federal Government’s liquidity problem hasn’t gone away yet, even with hundreds of billions of dollars in new liquidity created out of thin air. The Feds will not know if there is enough money to cover repos, the short term loaning of money from bank to bank to cover short term cash shortages. If there is insufficient liquidity, then there’s the danger of a ‘lock up’ of American’s financial system.

3) Yes Bank Ltd. is expected to reject an offer of $1.2 billion dollars, more than half its planned $2 billion dollar capital raising. Instead, the company is turning to institutional investors to make up the shortfall. The bank would prefer to have institutions rather than individual investors in their fund raising. Yes Bank needs new investors in order to replenish its capital, which is now down to regulatory minimum as a result of bad loans.

4) Stock market closings for – 9 DEC 19:

Dow           27,909.60    down     105.46
Nasdaq        8,621.83    down       34.70
S&P 500       3,135.96    down         9.95

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.83%

Oil:    down   at    $58.87

4 July 2019

1) Estimates for National Employment Report forecast 140,000 new jobs, but private employers added just 102,000. This compares to 41,000 new jobs for the pervious month. This report comes ahead of the U.S. Labor Departments’s more comprehensive non-farm payrolls which includes both public and private sector employment.

2) Renown former Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca, the man who put the Mustang in Ford’s lineup, has died at 94. Mr. Iacocca is also noted for creating the minivan and Chrysler K-cars in his 32 year career in Detroit. He’s best noted for his turn around of Chrysler corporation when in 1979 the company was floundering with $5 billion dollar debt turning out gas guzzler cars that people didn’t want. To save the company, he secured $1.5 billion dollar loan guarantees from the Federal Government which kept the company afloat until new fuel efficient cars could be produced.

3) The U.S. trade deficient surges to a five month high in May as imports of goods increased with businesses building up stock supplies to avoid tariffs. The trade deficit increased 8.4% to $55.5 billion dollars. The widening trade deficit adds to weak housing, manufacturing, business investment and slow consumer spending which may spell a lowering of the American economy. The trade deficit may be further aggravated with the suspension of Boeing’s 737 MAX deliveries.

4) Stock market closings for- 3 JUL 19: Stocks surged up on news of new U.S.- China talks.

Dow              26,966.00    up     179.32
Nasdaq            8,170.23    up       61.14
S&P 500           2,995.82    up       22.81

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.95%

Oil:     up   at    $57.40

12 June 2019

1) For the sixth straight month of a gold buying spree, China continues to add to it’s gold reserves under the protracted trade war. China added 58 tons of gold to its reserves in the five months to April, then added 15.86 tons in May. At this rate China could buy as much as 150 tons of gold in 2019, as they diversify away from the U.S. dollar.

2) The retailer giant Amazon has opened a second cashier-free store in New York, which makes the thirteenth ‘Amazon Go’ store to open in America. The convenience robot store is about 1,700 square feet with Amazon announcing its fourteenth store will open in San Francisco. By 2021, Amazon may open as many as 3,000 of these robot retailing stores which threaten other retailers like 7-Eleven shops, CVS and Walgreens.

3) Ten state attorney generals plan to jointly file a lawsuit to stop the merger of Sprint and T-Mobile. The $26 billion dollar merger will reduce the number of nationwide wireless carriers to three. So far, the deal has won the backing of the majority of the FCC, which makes the Federal Government in favor of the move.

4) Stock market closings for 11 JUN 19:

Dow            26,048.51    down    14.17
Nasdaq         7,822.57    down      0.60
S&P 500        2,885.72    down      1.01

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.14%

Oil:    down   at    $53.05

3 June 2019

1) The rife between China and America stands to grow deeper with less chance of resolving relationships, with China threatening a hit list of ‘unreliable’ foreign firms. These are individuals and groups who they consider harm the interest of Chinese companies. The threat is retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods imported into China. These last two weeks have been a war of words as the nations exchange economic threats.

2) Chicago based nursing home chain collapses leaving the federal government on the hook for millions of dollars. First sign was when the owners stop making mortgage payments in 2014. Reportedly, money meant for the thirteen nursing homes were diverted to prop up another investment. This failure is revealing the problems that HUD is having in helping obtain facilities for the elderly by providing affordable loans.

3) Trade wars may expand again with threats by President Trump to impost a 5% tariff on goods imported from Mexico, if Mexico doesn’t do more to stop the flow of illegal immigrates. Tariffs are due to start on 10 June, and will increase in 5% increments until the flow halts. This is coming at a time when more Mexican immigrates are returning to Mexico than are coming, highlighting that the immigration is from other South American countries.

4) 31 MAY 19 Stock market closings: Oil prices sink toward worst May in 7 years from trade war fears.

Dow           24,815.04    down    354.84
Nasdaq        7,453.15    down    114.57
S&P 500       2,752.06    down      36.80

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.14%

Oil:    down   at    $53.36