7 October 2020

1) Ikea, the big Swedish world wide modular furniture manufacture, has experienced a surge in sales from the pandemic as people turned homes into offices and schools. Their online sales are up 45% over the last 12 months to August, with 4 billion visits to their website. Outdoor furniture is the fastest growing category, followed by office furniture. While many of their stores were forced to close from the virus, their online sales remain high even as stores reopen. The furniture retailer has added 6,000 new employees world wide to make a total work force of 217,000. Online sales account for about one fifth of total sales.

2) Job openings in America fell in August for the first time in four months, indicating a moderation in hiring as the crisis continues. Available positions slipped down to 6.49 million from July’s 6.7 million. These numbers do not include recalls from layoffs or positions that are offered only internally. However, layoffs and discharges are at a low for August, although there are still 13.6 million Americans unemployed, which means there are about 2 unemployed competing for each job opening. There are fewer vacancies in construction, retail and health care industries, while vacancies increased for manufacturing, food service and government.

3) Federal reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says America is on the long road to economic recovery from the pandemic induced recession, but still there are other problems on the horizon. There are fears of the economy shifting into reverse once again, especially if a resurgence of the virus comes with cold weather . . . the flue season. Such a resurgence could significantly limit economic activity leaving many unemployed stranded with no jobs for many more months. Powell is calling for the passing of the second stimulus bill presently being debated in the Congress. He considers the risk of pouring too much money into the economy far lower than the risk of not spending enough, despite the already sky high federal budget. While he considers the debt is on an unsustainable path, and has been for some time, but this is not the time to address it.

4) Stock market closings for – 6 OCT 20:

Dow 27,772.76 down 375.88
Nasdaq 11,154.60 down 177.88
S&P 500 3,360.95 down 47.68

10 Year Yield: down at 0.74%

Oil: up at $39.83

27 June 2019

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

10 Year Yield:    up   at    2.05%

Oil:    down   at    $59.21