1) Speculation abounds over what the next stimulus package will have, such as extended income support for the unemployed and underemployed. New temporary subsidies for low wage workers. Cheap loans for small and medium size businesses with additional support for state and local governments. Cost estimates for a second stimulus program range from one to two trillion dollars. But like the first stimulus package, no one is offering ideas how this money will be paid off, especially if economic expansion doesn’t materialize.
2) The worlds fastest super computer is now Japan’s Fugaku supercomputer developed by Riken and Fujitsu with backing from the Japanese government. It has a speed of roughly 415.53 petaflops, which is 2.8 times faster than the US Summit supercomputers at 148.6 petaflops. The Fugaku was under development for six years and will start full time operation by April 2021, although it has been pressed into service in the coronavirus crisis, running simulations on how droplets would spread in office spaces with partitions. Previously, the fastest supercomputers have belong to America and China.
3) The sales of existing homes has dropped in May, a result of the coronavirus impact on the economy. The sales of existing homes in May fell 9.7% compared with April, which makes for an annual decline of 26.6%. This is the largest decline since 1982 when interest rates were 18%. There remains a shortage of housing which is helping to uplift the market, and therefore the economy as soon as the crisis has subsided.
4) Stock market closings for – 22 JUN 20:
Dow 26,024.96 up 153.50 Nasdaq 10,056.48 up 110.35 S&P 500 3,117.86 up 20.12
1) South Carolina has the lowest unemployment rate with 2.3% which ties with Utah and Vermont. But while there’s lots of jobs, they mostly pay low wages making it hard for people to make a living. The state is typical of states across the U.S., with job growth looking strong on the surface, but much of the work is meager wages and few benefits. As automation pushes more people down to the lower paying ranks, they find themselves struggling to acquire the basics of living, even with wages that are above the minimum wage.
2) With the government’s announcement that Americans should prepare for a Covid-19 (coronavirus) crisis, and the continual spread of the virus, prices of hygienic masks have surged upwards. Tracking the product on Amazon shows an immediate rise just twenty-four hours after the announcement. A pack of disposable masks which were $125 surged to $220 in just three days, showing the deep concerns people have to the coronavirus threat.
3) Micro units are small dwellings of about 350 square feet or less, which may be the answer to affordable housing. The micro unit comes complete with a kitchen, bathroom and living or sleeping space comparable to studio apartments in Paris, Tokyo or Rome. This gives everything needed for basic living, but little else. Micro units are approximately 20% to 30% cheaper than conventional sized units, and are most popular with young single working adults, age under 30, who are willing to compromise space for location, amenities and cost savings.
4) Stock market closings for – 26 FEB 20:
Dow 26,957.59 down 123.77
Nasdaq 8,980.78 up 15.16
S&P 500 3,116.39 down 11.82
1) The IMF (International Monetary Fund) has made another cut to its 2019 global growth forecast, the fifth in a row. The reason given is a broad deceleration of the world’s largest economies with trade tensions undermining the expansion. Their projections of world economic growth has gone from a high of 3.9%, down to 3.5%, then to 3.4%, to 3.2% and finally to 3%.
2) The low mortgage rates has caused an epic housing shortage. The average mortgage rate for 30 year fixed was over 5% last November and stayed above 4.5%, but now is around 3.5%. Inventory trends in the mid-market indicate lower levels of inventory in early 2020. Housing starts have been moving up slowly, but mostly in the higher end homes, leaving the ‘starter home’ market depleted.
3) The production and delivery of Harley-Davidson’s new LiveWire electric motorcycle has been halted with the discovery of a problem with its charging mechanism. There was a non-standard condition in the final quality check, which halted deliveries of LiveWire bikes, however customers can continue riding their LiveWare motor cycles. Additional testing and analysis is progressing well.
4) Stock market closings for – 15 OCT 19:
Dow 27,024.80 up 237.44 Nasdaq 8,148.71 up 100.06 S&P 500 2,995.68 up 29.53
1) Ikea, the pioneer of inexpensive self-assembled home furniture is adapting its manufacturing and marketing methods to inexpensive housing. Sections for homes will be built in factories, then quickly assemble into ready to move-in houses. Bringing the factory manufacturing techniques to homes would significantly reduce the cost as compared to the hand built housing techniques now used. This could open the way to home ownership by the younger generations.
2) Despite the continual upsurge of the markets, Americans aren’t convinced the economy is doing well. A survey shows 39% of U.S. consumers believe the economy is ‘not so good’ or even poor. Lower income Americans are not doing as well as macro indicators would suggest, despite getting more raises recently. These gains don’t offset years of high unemployment and stagnant wages.
3) A huge drop in U.S. crude oil inventories and the outlook for demand has pushed oil futures prices up to near $60 dollars a barrel. Domestic stockpiles fell by 12.8 million barrels last week, the biggest drop in supplies since September 2016. In the past week, oil futures have jumped 10%, with the traditional expected increase in oil demand with summer driving. Gasoline reserves are further aggravated by the fire at Philadelphia Energy Solutions, the East Coast’s largest refinery.
4) Stock market closings for- 26 JUN 19:
Dow 26,536.82 down 11.40 Nasdaq 7,909.97 up 25.25 S&P 500 2,913.78 down 3.60
1) Eviction crisis is starting to look a lot like the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Housing is increasingly out of reach for many Americans, which is resulting in increased incidents of evictions. This is an indicator of housing being priced out of reach for many people.
2) There has been another incident with Boeing’s 737 bringing further doubts to the design. Soon after a 737 MAX-8 took off, it developed an engine problem forcing it to return. Boeing announced that they were completing a software fix for the MAX-8 series, and are close to submitting it to the FAA sometime this week. The new software is reported to now use the inputs from two different sensors, which must agree before the program will accept the input.
3) Prime Minister May has announced her willingness to step down if Parliament will past her Brexit plan, but didn’t give a specific date. Parliament considered eight proposed strategies and voted on each one, with all eight being voted down. This leaves Britain right where she started, with time quickly running out.
4) 27 MAR 19 Stock market closings:
Dow 25,625.59 down 32.14 Nasdaq 7,643.38 down 48.14 S&P 500 2,805.37 down 13.09