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

31 January 2020

1) Hallmark Greeting Cards is suffering a downturn in the brick-and-mortar retail industry, closing sixteen of its retail outlets across America. Social media is crushing the card business, so it’s no longer a viable business. People use to buy and send cards all the time, but now it’s all online. This is just another indicator of how the retail business is changing, more people doing their shopping on line.

2) Franchise businesses remain a popular strategy for people to start their own business, giving them the benefit of an established brand. About two-thirds of Americans say they want to start a small business, but fears of failure stop most, with good reason. About half the small business startups fail within five years, and two-thirds within ten years. Most businesses do not fail because they don’t make a profit, but rather because of insufficient cash flow problems.

3) Independent grocery stores and regional supermarket chains, who are already facing brutal competition and shrinking profits, now face losing a valuable source of sales- the food stamp recipients. New rules for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) could eliminate 700,000 people from eligibility. Loss of sales could result in reduce orders from suppliers, reducing labor in stores or the closing of stores. Grocery stores have a profit margin of only about 1 % to 2% leaving little room for changes in their sales volume.

4) Stock market closings for – 30 JAN 20:

Dow              28,859.44    up    124.99
Nasdaq          9,298.93    up      23.77
S&P 500         3,283.66    up      10.26

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.56%

Oil:    down   at    $52.87

18 December 2019

1) Walt Disney’s Star War’s empire has been fading at the box office with many fans finding the new offerings less than anticipated. The last chapter of the Star Wars series, The Rise of Skywalker, is being heavily promoted to halt the financial slide. In playing up the nostalgia aspects and the fact that this will be the last Star Wars release for years, they are trying to reverse the downward slide of the franchise, which Walt Disney purchased from George Lucas for $4 billion dollars in 2012.

2) Ford Motor Company plans to invest more than $1.45 billion dollars in two of its manufacturing facilities in Detroit, to make electric, autonomous and sports-utility vehicles. The new manufacturing will add 3,000 jobs, with Ford saying it will invest $11 billion dollars to make forty new hybrid and fully electric vehicles by 2022.

3) Fears continue that Boeing’s halting of the 737 MAX production could have serious impact on the U.S. economy next year. This production halt is anticipated to go until March and April of next year. Presently, Boeing has 400 airplanes in storage awaiting delivery. The production halt will impact everything from airlines to parts manufacturers, with a supply chain consisting of hundreds of firms and tens of thousands of workers. This widely diversified economic network makes forecasting the total economic impact of Boeing very difficult.

4) Stock market closings for – 17 DEC 19:

Dow                  28,267.16    up    31.27
Nasdaq             8,823.36    up       9.13
S&P 500            3,192.52   up        1.07

10 Year Yield:    unchanged   at    1.89%

Oil:    up   at    $60.54

8 August 2019

1) Disney, the owner of the Star Wars franchise rights, is finding that today’s kids are not as interested in Star Wars as previous generations have been. While the last of the trilogies have turned a profit, they have not met the success of previous movies. Purchased from Lucasfilm Ltd in 2012 for $4.05 billion dollars, Disney is worried about the long term profitability of the franchise. It’s newly opened attraction Star Wars theme-park hasn’t meet expectations, indicated the young are not entranced by the intergalactic saga.

2) Gold continues to increase in value as more jittery investors flee traditional havens for money, to the supposed safety of gold ownership. With gold now at $1,500 per ounce, it is outperforming stocks this year. Concerns over the world economy from uncertainty of the U.S. and China trade war, China’s currency, oil and repercussions from political hot spots across the world have all combined to form a economic climate of fear and uncertainty. All foretell of a global slow down in growth, and as always the case, gold provides safety better than money in economic hard times.

3) A federal judge has ordered litigation over defective General Motors ignition switches to be narrowed in claims by owners. Owners claimed they lost value in their vehicles because of the defect, but the judge ruled the owners have failed to show the value of their vehicles has declined as a result of the defect. Instead, damages could only be measured by costs to repair defective vehicles, which is zero if GM paid for repairs. This defect is linked to 124 deaths.

4) Stock market closings for – 7 AUG 19:

Dow             26,007.07    down    22.45
Nasdaq           7,862.83          up    29.56
S&P 500          2,883.98          up       2.21

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.68%

Oil:    up   at    $52.29