22 June 2020

1) Oil has passed$40 a barrel, continuing a slow but steady recovery. This could be signaling a reawakening of the U.S. shale oil production. This rally allows the oil industry some breathing room with its high debt burden as the shale oil industry seeks to rebuild after the worst price collapse in a generation. This is far different than earlier this year when oil producers were paying to have their oil taken away. OPEC+ continues efforts to re-balance the global oil market, now abundantly clear that everyone loses in a price war.

2) More encouraging economic news with Ford Motor and Fiat Chrysler returning to pre-coronavirus pandemic production schedules in their American plants. Ford plans to fully return to production levels by July 6 while also ramping up their production facilities in Mexico. Although not given any firm dates, Fiat Chrysler is also returning to former production levels as rapidly as possible.

3) Experts are predicting the restaurant business, as we know it, is coming to an end because of the Convid-19 crisis. The industry generates $900 billion dollars a year, employs 15 million people, which is 15 times more than the airline business, which many are so concerned about now. Estimates vary widely of 20 to 80% of the privately own restaurants succumbing to the pandemic. The big franchise restaurant chains are expected to mostly survive and continue, but the independents are expected to fade out. One factor is change, which is coming too fast for small operations to adapt and keep pace with. The general consensus is that the business was in trouble long before the pandemic, struggling with poor working conditions, very thin profit margins, low wages and increasing competition. But it’s not just the restaurants themselves, for behind them is farming, distribution, suppliers and commercial real estate. It’s apparent that the demise of a significant number of independent restaurants will spell a significant change to the American business environment.

4) Stock market closings for – 19 JUN 20:

Dow 25,871.46 down 208.64
Nasdaq 9,946.12 up 3.07
S&P 500 3,097.74 down 17.60

10 Year Yield: unchanged 0.70%

Oil: up at $39.43

23 April 2020

1) The present unemployment rate is thought to be higher than anytime during the Great Depression, raising the question if the present day recession will last as long as the Depression, which was almost ten years. While some sever recessions have been short lived, usually they are long affairs. Lowering the interest rates is a traditional tool used by the government to counter a recession and stimulate the economy, but interest rates are already near zero when the coronavirus hit, so the government didn’t have its primary tool. Many economist are considering the strategy ‘America is back open for business’ as unlikely to create a huge surge in growth. There are three other major factors to consider- 1) the other world economies are continually pulling America’s down 2) the big mess that oil is in and 3) predictions from several different experts that in the next 15 to 25 years as much as 50% of the jobs will disappear to technology. It will be difficult for employment to return to pre-coronavirus levels if jobs are continually disappearing faster than people are being rehired. One interesting point, a financial analyst is predicting that Disney World, Disneyland and their overseas parks will not be able to reopen until January 2021, and if such a cash rich company is having so much difficulty reopening, how about the multitude of smaller companies with much more limited resources?

2) U.S. automakers are taking the first steps to bring workers back and start manufacturing operations again, but are finding it easier said than done. There are negotiations with the United Auto Workers union, for the manufactures to provide protective gear, frequently sanitize equipment and take worker temperatures to prevent infection of the virus to the union members. As much as workers want to return to a paycheck, there are real fears of catching the virus. Fiat Chrysler has announced May 4 as the gradual restart date, with General Motors and Ford expected to quickly follow.

3) Reports are building that the coronavirus may cause lasting damage to some organs such as the kidneys. There are fears from reports that the virus may cause damage to the heart, lungs and possibly the liver. Furthermore, the blood from Covid-19 patients is having unprecedented blood clotting, evident by blood clots forming while trying to insert IVs or taking blood samples. Internal blood clots can be life threatening, and autopsies are finding such internal blood clots.

4) Stock market closings for – 22 APR 20:

Dow 23,475.82 up 456.94
Nasdaq 8,495.38 up 232.15
S&P 500 2,799.31 up 62.75

10 Year Yield: up at 0.62%

Oil: up at $14.23

19 December 2019

1) New York Life Insurance is buying Cigna business, which sells life and disability insurance, for $6.3 billion dollars. This is just one of several which have bought into the group benefits business. Such businesses are attractive to insurers seeking to diversity, because the units are less capital intensive, don’t rely as much on investment income and also provide cash flow.

2) Auto makers Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot maker PSA have agreed on a binding merger for $50 billion dollars, which paves the way to the creation of the world’s fourth largest automaker. The merger will create a cost savings of $4 billion dollars by combining technologies and through shared purchasing agreements.

3) There are more people being rejected for auto loans according to a Federal Reserve Bank report. Auto loan rejections spiked in October at 8.1% compared to 4.5% a year ago, while for a full year, rejections are up at 7.1% from 6.1% for 2018. A decade of easy auto credit has sparked concerns that U.S. households could be on the verge of another financing bubble. Other segment of consumer credit have reported fewer rejections of credit applications.

4) Stock market closings for – 18 DEC 19:

Dow                28,239.28    down    27.88
Nasdaq             8,827.74          up      4.38
S&P 500            3,191.14    down       1.38

10 Year Yield:    up   at    1.92%

Oil:    up   at    $60.84

22 November 2019

1) After HP rejected Xerox’s offer of $22 per share, Xerox is now threatening to go hostile with its $33.5 billion dollar buyout if HP does not agree to a friendly discussion before November the 25 th. Goldman Sachs & Co. set a $14 target price , the median price target on HP stock by 15 analysts is $20. HP had rejected Xerox first offer considering the combined companies would be saddled with outsized debt, and therefore not in the best interest of the shareholders.

2) The world economy is predicted to expand just 2.9% next year. The global economy is stuck in a rut which it wont exit unless governments revolutionize policies and how they invest, rather than just hope for a cyclical upswing. The biggest concern is that the deterioration of the outlook continues unabated, reflecting unaddressed structural changes. The risk of further escalation of world tensions is a serious concern.

3) General Motors and Fiat Chrysler are embroiled in a law suit with GM alleging that fiat Chrysler got an unfair business advantage by bribing officials of the United Auto Workers union. The suit alleges racketeering by paying millions in bribes to get concessions and gain advantages in three labor agreements with the UAW union. Details of the racketeering have been exposed in a federal probe of corruption in the union which resulted in multiple arrests starting in 2017.

4) Stock market closings for – 21 NOV 19:

Dow             27,766.29    down    54.80
Nasdaq          8,506.21    down    20.52
S&P 500         3,103.54    down      4.92

10 Year Yield:    up   at    1.77%

Oil:    unchanged   at    $57.09

1 November 2019

1) The international auto makers Fiat-Chrysler and Peugeot, which is owned by PSA group of France, have agreed to merge. This deal will create one of the world’s largest auto makers by volume, having a market value of $48.4 billion dollars. The focus on the Jeep sport-utility vehicles and RAM trucks account for the majority of Fiat-Chrysler’s profit, helping to offset the Fiat brand.

2) New data shows that low income people are more likely to shop at Family Dollar and Dollar General than at Walmart, the traditional retailer for the poor. Low income is considered those with household incomes below $50 thousand dollars. The data was obtained by measuring location data from 50 million mobile devices. The Dollar General chain has 16,000 stores in 44 states and the Dollar Tree has 15,115 stores in the U.S. and Canada, while Walmart has 4,700 stores.

3) Five months of protests has brought Hong Kong’s economy into a recession with a sharp contraction in the third quarter. The economy is being driven completely by social events, so traditional economic measures to reverse a recession, such as cutting interest rates, should have little effect. So far, the city hasn’t seen significant capital outflow from the unrest, something many feared when protest demonstrations started. One major factor in determining if Hong Kong will recover is how soon mainland Chinese tourist will return. There is no signs of the protest coming to an end.

4) Stock market closings for – 31 OCT 19:

Dow            27,046.23    down    140.46 
Nasdaq         8,292.36    down      11.61
S&P 500        3,037.56    down        9.21

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.69%

Oil:    down   at    $54.16

4 September 2019

1) The ever present problem of growing student debt is being aggravated by the ever rising cost of college. This rise in cost is fueled by decreasing funding by governments, a lack of cost controls by college administrations and an emphases on plush facilities instead of real education support.

2) Manufacturing shrank in August for the first time since August 2016. The manufacturing index slid to 49.1 from 51.2 in July, where an index below 50 signals a contraction. Production declined by 1.3 percent while employment fell by 4.3 percent with new orders falling by 3.6 percent. With the trade war increasing the cost of Chinese manufactured imports, it would be expected that American manufacturing would be increasing.

3) The United Auto Workers union is targeting GM for contract talks, with the UAW approving a strike. The UAW represents nearly 150,000 hourly workers at Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler with 96% of it’s workers OKing a strike. Leaders of the UAW are under investigation for corruption by the FBI who have conducted raids on key leadership members recently for mis use of monies. The union is angry at GM for layoffs and the closing of plants, plus production plants in Mexico.

4) Stock market closings for – 3 SEP 19:

Dow              26,118.02    down    285.26
Nasdaq           7,874.16    down      88.72
S&P 500          2,906.27    down       20.19

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.47%

Oil:    down   at    $53.90