1) The dreaded coronavirus seems to be on the rise again in Europe, with some European countries experiencing an increase of new cases, but this time with fewer deaths. This resurgence of recent weeks, has not forced as many people into medical wards as last spring. However, the increase of Convid-19 is widespread, unsettling people who hoped the worst was behind them. So far, the rise in cases is in France, Germany and Spain, with Spain hit particularly hard. Europe had just started their schools for the new academic year.
2) The E-commerce giant Amazon has just opened its first ‘shop-in-person’ grocery store under its own name. The new store in the Los Angeles suburb of Woodland Hills, is a traditional physical store open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. PST. But the store has lots of high-tech touches such as a new feature called Dash Cart which allows you to use Alexa. This allows the customer to create a shopping list in advance then be guided around the store to those items on the list. The store uses cashierless checkout, so there isn’t any line to wait in. The customer has the option of using their Amazon account and Prime membership to order and get free delivery. Amazon is soon opening additional stores in other cities.
3) One of the most powerful storms to ever hit the US Gulf Coast, Hurricane Laura has left the usual damage and destruction, but having missed the Houston and New Orleans areas, caused far less damage than it could have. The death toll was six people and monetary damages are estimated to be between $8 billion and $12 billion dollars, most of the loss in Louisiana with only about $500 million dollars in Texas. The total economic cost from damaged structures and closed businesses is estimated to be about $20 billion dollars.
4) Stock market closings for – 28 AUG 20:
Dow 28,653.87 up 161.60 Nasdaq 11,695.63 up 70.30 S&P 500 3,508.01 up 23.46
1) Another national retail outlet, Stein Mart, is going the way of the brick and mortar retail system announcing they are closing all their stores in bankruptcy amid Covid-19 pandemic. Based in Jacksonville, Florida the company operates 281 stores in 30 states with 9,000 employees. Stein Mart ‘going out of business’ sale is expected to begin in August 14 or 15 with complete liquidation of inventory, with the anticipation of all stores closed by the fourth quarter of 2020. The retailer joins a long list of businesses to file for bankruptcy protection amid the coronavirus crisis.
2) With all the money being pumped into the economy by the government, there were fears of fueling inflation. Those fears were increased with the July consumer price data showing that prices are indeed on the rise. But some are saying these price increases are a result of supply and demand dynamics from the pandemic, and will fall once the supply system becomes stable with production reaching equilibrium again. It’s just a matter of time.
3) Amid suspicion of a rigged election by authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko, Germany and Lithuania is calling for renewed sanctions on Belarus. Claiming a landslide victory in his presidential election, Lukashenko has cracked down on protesters and demonstrators. The EU (European Union) has call an extraordinary meeting of foreign ministers to discuss the situation, considering the election was neither free nor fair, and efforts to suppress demonstrations as unacceptable. The EU is considering reinstating sanctions. The protest have been violent with about 1,000 people arrested to add to the 5,000 already being held, and injuries to both protesters and police.
4) Stock market closings for – 12 AUG 20:
Dow 27,976.84 up 289.93 Nasdaq 11,012.24 up 229.42 S&P 500 3,380.35 up 46.66
1) Monday markets opened in a steep downward spiral from sell offs, driven by the coronavirus fears, followed by the sharp drop in oil prices. The Dow dropped 2,000 points, with a massive sell off of both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq, which triggered a key market circuit breaker that halted trading for fifteen minutes. There are widespread fears over the economic impact of low oil prices, with some experts fearing oil prices down to $20 a barrel. Gold prices crossed the $1,700 dollar an ounce, hitting the highest since December 2012. The banks are hard pressed as the interest continues to sink, cutting into their margins.
2) Experts speculate that the Feds will cut the interest rate to zero in the next few months in an effort to forestall a downturn of the economy. The entire U.S. yield curve fell below 1% for the first time in history on expectations that the Federal Reserve will cut rates to zero in the next few months. Some speculate the Feds may adopt a negative rate just as some European countries have, such as Germany’s -1%.
3) While checkout-free with cashless supermarkets is now a novelty, Amazon expects this technology to spread to other retailers. Amazon has announced it plans to license its automated checkout technology to other retailers, telling of several other companies that have already signed up for the technology. The technology has been proven with cashless convenience stores across America and with Amazon’s new Go-supermarkets. The technology represents another significant step in retail automation.
4) Stock market closings for – 9 MAR 20: The stock market is like a rectal thermometer- it’s rude and crude, but surprisingly effective in showing a sick economy.
Dow 23,851.02 down 2013.76 Nasdaq 7,950.68 down 624.94 S&P 500 2,746.56 down 225.81
1) Debt relief services for student loan burden is the newest wave of scams. With student debt soaring to nearly $1.5 trillion dollars and with defaults at a record high, over burdened students are looking for relief. Companies promise to help students through the maze of government programs to reduce or forgive loans, but they offer nothing that individuals can’t do on their own. One company’s fee is $1,195 for document preparation, then $40 per month for almost 20 years for a total of $10,555.
2) The consequences of switching to renewable energy is causing prices for electricity to soar, sometimes as much as 40,000%. With Texas in the grips of a massive heat wave, the price of electricity went from $15 to as much as $9,000 a magawatt-hour. The same problem is occurring worldwide in countries like Germany and England, with not only spikes in cost, but threats of power grid collapse.
3) The English ship Maxlimer is set to start a new revolution in robotics, by being the first crewless robot ship to cross the Atlantic. It’s a proof of concept ship, 36 foot long, created by SEA-KIT that some day may spawn crewless cargo and oil tanker ships plying their way across the earth’s oceans. The goal is to produce shipping that is cheaper and safer than manned ships are. The historic crossing of the Atlantic is scheduled for the first half of 2020.
4) Stock market closings for – 26 AUG 19:
Dow 25,898.83 up 269.93 Nasdaq 7,853.74 up 101.97 S&P 500 2,878.38 up 31.27
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
1) The British business climate is expected to get worst after Brexit. A survey of chief finical officers finds that a full 80% consider Britain’s economy will slump after Brexit, especially if an unplanned exit occurs. The long term outlook for investment is poor, so with little investment, the economy will flatten.
2) Battle lines of banking are being drawn in China between virtual banks and conventional banks. A banking shakeup is in progress between hi-tech companies and traditional banks, who find it hard to quickly react to the challenges of virtual banks, much as with Amazon is to retailing or Urber is to transportation.
3) The auto maker Mercedes-Benz is being investigated for software cheating of emissions test. Germany has ordered recall of 238,000 cars using illegal software to defeat government testing for compliance of emissions standards.
4) 15 APR 19 Stock market closings:
Dow 26,384.77 down 27.53 Nasdaq 7,976.01 down 8.15 S&P 500 2,905.58 down 1.83
1) The IMF (International Monetary Fund) has reduced their forecasted for world economic growth from 3.5% to 3.3%, which is the third reduction since last October. It forecasted 2.3% growth for the US economy, as well as reduced growth forecast for Germany and Great Britain.
2) Walmart is rolling out thousands of robots for use in their retail stores across America. These robots will automatically scan shelves and clean floors. With a million employees, Walmart is seeking ways to keep labor cost down.
3) Bank of America is raising it’s minimum wage to $20 an hour over the next two years. Starting the first of May, the rate will increase to $17 per hour. The bank has 205,000 employees.
4) 9 APR 19 Stock market closings: Markets pulled down by industrial sector.
Dow 26,150.58 down 190.44 Nasdaq 7,909.28 down 44.61 S&P 500 2,878.20 down 17.57
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
1) Germany’s business outlook falters amid Brexit concerns of potential US tariffs, especially on their car exports in addition to uncertainty of the German people. Germany has the largest European economy.
2) The father of Reaganomics says it’s time to get out of the market. He cautions that the end of easy money policies, the huge deficit and a near record economic expansion are all signs of a pending market collapse.
3) Trade talks continue between China and US as tariff deadline nears causing worries of talks failing. But after meeting with his advisers and Chinese officials, President Trump has extended that deadline citing the talks are going so well. Negotiators have reached a compromise on key issues, such as China’s requirement that American companies give intellectual property and technology to do business in China, more purchases of agriculture and energy products such as liquid natural gas. But so far, there hasn’t been a signing of an official agreement.
4) 22 FEB 19 Stock market closing:
Dow 26,031.81 up 181.18 Nasdaq 7,527.54 up 67.84 S&P 500 2,792.67 up 17.79
1) This next week, the markets promises to be positive because the big high-tech companies will be releasing their accounting statements with anticipation of healthy profits.
2) Germany announces it will close down all its coal fired power plants by 2038, which presently generates about 40% of Germany’s electrical power.
3) Facebook announced its plan to integrate it’s Whatsapp, Instagram and Messenger services so they can argue that the three are the same service, thereby avoiding anti-trust allegations and possible actions aimed at breaking up monopolies.
4) 25 JAN 19 Stock market closings:
Dow 24,737.20 up 183.96 Nasdaq 7,164.86 up 91.40 S&P 500 2,664.76 up 22.43