15 October 2019

1) There are fears that the manufacturing segment is in trouble and may contract for the third straight month. This in turn could drag down the U.S. GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in the third and fourth quarters. Three factors are causing this down turn- the trade war with China, the GM (General Motors) strike and Boeing’s 737 MAX problems stopping deliveries and slowing production.

2) In the recent past, the online retailer giant Amazon has been unable to compete with traditional retailers when selling single items costing less than a few dollars, because the shipping cost is more than the single item cost such as toothpaste, deodorant or a simple brush. Customers had to buy these items as add-ons to make the $25 minimum for free shipping. But these items are now available for free shipping with Amazon’s Prime shipping. This could make for a significant challenge to other retailers such as Walmart, Target and CVS.

3) GM is attempting to end the month long strike of the UAW (United Auto Workers) by making direct appeal to the workers. The company has lost more than a $1 billion dollars so far, and is making several promises to the workers trying to circumvent the union’s leadership. The UAW has increased strike pay from $250 to $275 per week with union members allowed to hold other jobs as long as it doesn’t interfere with their picket duty.

4) Stock market closings for – 14 OCT 19:

Dow            26,787.36    down    29.23
Nasdaq         8,048.65    down      8.39
S&P 500        2,966.15    down       4.12

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.73%

Oil:    down   at    $53.50

2 October 2019

1) The retailer giant Amazon is expanding into the grocery business by leasing retail space across the Los Angeles area, signing leases for more than twelve locations. This is the first step of plans to open grocery stories across the nation. Amazon job postings are looking for people to work in retail concepts for a multiple customer experiences under one roof. Stores are reportedly to be about 35,000 square feet and intended to compete with big box stores such as Walmart, Target and Kroger.

2) The Institute for Supply Management says its manufacturing index dropped to 47.8 last month, the lowest since June 2009, below the forecast 49.1. Indexes below 50 indicate a contraction in manufacturing. Manufacturing accounts for 12% of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product), so a slowdown could effect other parts of the economy. Other indicators have shown output increased over last month.

3) Oil prices record its weakest quarter since late last year as fears over a global economic slowdown overshadowed the attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil production facilities. Brent futures are down 8.7% since the end of June, despite the peak after the attacks. The price of oil is considered an economic indicator, since demand goes down as economies slow down, making more oil available, thus causing oil prices to decline.

4) Stock market closings for – 1 OCT 19:

Dow               26,573.04    down    343.79
Nasdaq            7,908.68    down      90.65
S&P 500           2,940.25    down      36.49

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.64%

Oil:    down   at    $53.98

1 October 2019

1) The crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has warned of astronomical oil prices if tensions escalate in the Persian Gulf. In a ‘60 Minute’ interview, the Prince called for strong and firm action to deter Iran and lessen the threat to world interests, so as to avoid disruptions of oil exports. The attacks on Saudi oil production facilities caused Brent crude to jump 19.5%, the biggest jump on record. The Middle East provides about 30% of the world’s energy supplies constituting about 4% of world GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

2) In order to avoid a quarterly decline in U.S. retail sales, automakers are offering big discounts to maintain sales growth. For the last three months, auto sales have flattened with average incentive spending rising 6% to more than $4,110 per vehicle, which is a third quarter record.

3) The fashion retailer Forever 21 Inc. has filed for bankruptcy protection and is the latest big fashion merchant who, like many other retailer chains, is unable to cope with high rents and heavy competition from e-commerce. The chain has 800 stores across the world, selling affordable but eye-catching designs, but has falling out of favor with the generation-Z consumers who turn to e-commerce. The bankruptcy will allow the company to reorganize and gain additional capital for operations.

4) Stock market closings for – 30 SEP 19:

Dow              26,916.83    up    96.58
Nasdaq           7,999.34    up    59.71
S&P 500          2,976.74    up    14.95

10 Year Yield:    unchanged   at    1.68%

Oil:    $54.29

5 August 2019

1) Even though U.S. employers slowed their hiring in July, there was 164,000 jobs added to the economy. The unemployment rate remained at 3.7% for a second month with average hourly earnings rising 3.2% which was up from June. The unemployment is near a half century low, and with the U.S. economy on a firm footing, the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is growing 2.1%.

2) The price of oil declined the most in over four years with President Trump’s latest tariff threat. Oil plunged 8%, for the steepest one day drop, from concerns of a global slowdown. A slowdown results in less consumption of oil, and therefore less demand. For months, the stalled China-U.S. trade negotiations is fueling concerns for the future of world economies.

3) Online delivery of prepared food is surging with people able to order a full restaurant meal from home using smart phones, and have them delivered much as a pizza is. By 2020, it’s forecast that more than half of restaurant spending will be off premise from deliveries, drive-thoughs and takeaway meals. More than 80% of the restaurants industry growth will be off premise sales, with Americans spending more on restaurants than at grocery stores.

4) Stock market closings for – 2 AUG 19:

Dow            26,485.01    down     98.41
Nasdaq        8,004.07    down   107.05
S&P 500       2,932.05    down     21.51

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.86%

Oil:    down   at    $55.19

3 July 2019

1) The U.S. economy has entered its 121st month of economic growth setting a new record. Some experts are saying the real economic recovery may only be in its infancy. It’s just this last year that the gross domestic product caught up with estimates of its potential. Periods when GDP exceed potential are when workers typically enjoy the greatest wage gains. There are concerns of a changing environment with global trade disputes and other risks slowing down the economy.

2) Another daily newspaper has announce it is closing down, in what this year has been a rash of daily newspaper closing as well as massive layoffs. The Vindicator of Youngstown Ohio, which just celebrated its 150th anniversary, will cease publication the end of August, with 144 people losing their jobs. Virtually all daily newspapers have had deep cuts in staff these last couple of years, giving credence to the prediction that all the daily newspapers in America will be gone in ten years, displaced by newer mass media technologies.

3) The Payless ShoeSource is going out of business, closing all of its 2,500 retail stores. Once the largest and most successful family owned business in the country, the chain is succumbing to competition from big-box stores and on-line retailers. Founded in the 1960s, its demise could be the largest retail liquidation in history. Payless strategy uses customer self help allowing a minimal labor force of one manager and a couple of cashiers.

4) Stock market closings for- 2 JUL 19:

Dow               26,556.14    up    19.32
Nasdaq            7,958.05    up    45.06
S&P 500           2,926.73    up    12.95

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.98%

Oil:    up   at    $56.66

13 May 2019

1) Trump’s tariffs went into effect today, at first driving the markets down, but then they recovered to all close high. Trumps statement that talks with China will continue pushed the markets up, while also leaving open the possibility that the tariffs may be soon removed. The tariffs went from 10% to 25% on $200 billion dollars of Chinese imports.

2) With the new tariffs on China, there are concerns for the U.S. economy and that the threat of an increased trade war between China and U.S. will cause a drop in both China’s and American’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Declines in GDP is not expected to be limited to America and China, but the global GDP could also suffer too.

3) The apparent contraction of consumerism continues with more than 6,200 stores to close this year. For the last couple of years, the retail industry has been rocked by the number of store closures. The list of retailers include such big names as Payless ShoeSource, Family Dollar, Gap, Victoria’s Secret, Office Depot and OfficeMax, Kmart, CVS, Pier 1 Imports, Bed and Bath, Lowe’s, JC Penny’s and even Walmart.

4) 10 MAY 19 Stock market closings:

Dow               25,942.37    up    114.01
Nasdaq           7,916.94    up        6.35
S&P 500          2,881.40    up      10.68

10 Year Yield:    unchanged   at    2.46%

Oil:    up   at    $61.71

8 May 2019

1) Tomato prices could raise 40% from U.S. withdrawing from trade pact with Mexico, called the Tomato Suspension Agreement which expires this Tuesday. This will trigger duties of more than 17% on tomatoes coming from Mexico. Tomatoes from Mexico are selling below domestic production cost.

2) The Dow Jones slid down 648 points, before rising to 473 points on closing, over news that America will impose higher tariffs on Chinese goods late this week. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 also experienced similar significant drops over fears of a full blown trade war with a down turn in global growth and a drop in China’s GDP.

3) Analyst say that a breakdown in the semiconductor field is a warning sign that a trade war with China is coming. This industry is more sensitive to U.S. – Chinese trade tensions. Watch the Philadelphia Semiconductors SOX index, for if the index falls below about the 1,430 level, that indicates trouble.

4) 7 MAY 19 Stock market closings:

Dow             25,965.09    down    473.39
Nasdaq         7,963.76    down    159.53
S&P 500        2,884.05    down      48.42

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.45%

Oil:    up   at    $61.44

9 April 2019

1) In ten years, the US debt to GDP ratio will be equal (100%). The debt to GDP ratio is presently 78%, the highest since the end of World War II, but it’s anticipated to be 96% by 2028. To bring this into perspective, countries with sever economic problems such as Greece have a ratio of 188%, Italy 130%, Portugal at 120% and Spain with 97%. On the positive side, Germany has a ratio of 59%. The IMF is warning of the problem for America if the ratio is left to continue as is. A high ratio hinders a government’s ability to counter any economic downturn. America’s entitlements is the principle cause for the increase, because when Social Security was started, there were 16 workers to support each retiree, now there are just 2.6 workers.

2) European Union borrowers are eager to see how a Brexit extension will effect markets, by possibly reducing the uncertainty that Brexit has brought on. This spring, the IMF and World Bank will be meeting for their annual conference on world economic matters.

3) Tesla, the maker of electric automobiles, is starting its new quarter with another round of cuts of sales staff following poor deliveries. The company is closing some of it’s show rooms in favor of online sales. These actions are rattling investors by stoking confusion.

4) 8 APR 19 Stock market closing:

Dow                          26,341.02     down     83.97
Nasdaq                       7,953.88           up     15.19
S&P 500                      2,895.77           up       3.03

10 Year Yield:    up   at    2.52%

Oil:    up   at    $64.46

21 March 2019

1) Fears of climate change is causing some retired seniors to pull up and move out of Florida, which for many years has drawn the ‘sixty plus year olds’ demographics for a life of peaceful retirement with its low cost of living, no income tax and nice warm weather. But the threat of hurricane damage from flooding and rising sea levels is also making the associated insurance cost soar, in turn causing retirees to reconsider and move more inland, the result some are claiming from global warming.

2) Losses from the flooding in Nebraska is estimated to be over one billion dollars with more flooding forecasted. But even worst is the anticipated impact on farmers. Last year, 19% of Nebraskan farms filed for bankruptcy, and many more are now anticipated to file as the consequence of the flooding pushes more farmers under.

3) The Feds have elected to not raise interest rates again this year, expecting an economic slowdown ahead. There isn’t any need to guard against inflation coupled with indicators of slower growth from household spending and business fixed investment. The GDP was 2.1% instead of the expected 2.3%.

4) 20 MAR 19 Stock market closings:

Dow                25,745.67    down     141.71
Nasdaq             7,728.97          up         5.02
S&P 500            2,824.23     down         8.34

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.54%

Oil:     down   at     $59.99

16 January 2019

1) China releases data showing a further slowdown of their economy, with consumer spending retreating as people buy less. They reduced their forecast for their 2019 GDP.

2) The British parliament voted to reject the Brexit plan by 432 to 202. With just ten weeks before Britain exits the EU, concerns for the British economy are growing. Britain exits the EU on 29th of March, with the exit agreement having taken two and a half years to negociate. Prime Minister May’s future is in doubt with an upcoming no confidence vote likely soon.

3) It’s estimated there is a 0.1% drop in the economy for every week of government shutdown. Job expansion is threaten as workers are dropped off the payrolls.

4) 15 JAN 19 Stock market closings: Netflix pushed the markets up with their announcement they are raising their rates.

 Dow                      24,065.59   up   155.75
Nasdaq                    7,023.83   up   117.92
S&P 500                   2,610.30   up      27.69

10 Year Yield:   up   at   2.71%

Oil:   down   at   $51.91