2 October 2020

1) With the government support ending the first of October, American and United airlines are cutting 32,000 jobs. The airlines received $50 billion dollars under the CARES Act to boost liquidity and support payroll in exchange for not laying off employees through the 30th of September. Their revenue down by more than 80% and a full recovery still years off, the industry needs to shrink, so American airlines furloughed 19,000 workers with United airlines to furlough 13,000 people. However, both airlines said they are ready to reverse their course if a new support bill is passed.

2) Red China has announce its program to go to the moon. Its new launch vehicle was unveiled on September 18th, which is designed to send a 27.6 ton spacecraft into trans-lunar injections. At liftoff, it will weight about 4.85 million pounds, which is about three times China’s present largest rocket, the ‘Long March 6′. Made up of three 16.4 foot diameter cores or stages, it is similar to America’s ‘Delta IV Heavy’ and ‘Falcon Heavy’. The new three stage rocket will be 285 feet long, but China has not announced a time frame to start testing.

3) Boeing Aircraft has built some 460 of their 737 MAX jets, whose delivery has been frozen since March of 2019. This is a $16 billion dollar inventory, that with the 737 MAX’s certification to fly approaching, needs to be sold for Boeing to stay viable. Many of these aircraft were built for clients that have since canceled their orders, or worst yet have gone out of business, and are now called ‘White Tails’ from a lack of an airline livery painting. Boeing is now looking for new customers to buy these aircraft, in particular Delta airline which is the only major U.S. carrier without any 737 MAX aircraft in their inventory. But Delta’s relations with Boeing has been poor in recent years, while they have also parked many of their jets because of the slowdown from the pandemic, so with Delta intent on not spending cash on aircraft, this makes for a hard sale.

4) Stock market closings for – 1 OCT 20:

Dow 27,816.90 up 35.20
Nasdaq 11,326.51 up 159.00
S&P 500 3,380.80 up 17.80

10 Year Yield: unchanged at 0.68%

Oil: down at $38.58

14 August 2020

1) This year’s hurricane season was already forecast to be a very active season, but now is going from bad to worst because of La Nina. The hurricane season was already on a record making pace, with the peak of the season coming in just a few more weeks. The possibility of the pacific having a La Nina, a state where the sea surface temperature becomes cooler than usual, is increasing in probability. This change in pacific weather patterns decreases the hurricane killing wind shear across the Atlantic, thus allowing more storms to form and strengthen. The Atlantic has already had 10 storms, which is the earliest number to occur by this date. Predictions are for as many as 25 storms forming, compared with the 2005 record of 28 storms including Hurricane Katrine. Additionally, a La Nina can spell cooler temperatures and storms across the north, with drier weather in the southern U.S., all having significant economic impact on America.

2) Again, the first time jobless claims have dropped, this time it’s the first time below 1 million since last March. Last week, 963,000 people filed for first time unemployment benefits, the first time in five months claims were below 1 million. Although the decline is a positive sign, the economic job situation still remains critical with 15.5 million people still unemployed, but still people are returning back to work. The employment problem still remains worst than for the Great Recession just a decade ago, which had lower jobless claims. It took nearly five years for the peak in 2009 until 2014 to return to what they were before the Great Recession.

3) Oil prices dropped as a result of IEA’s (International Energy Agency) forecasts for global oil demand. This reduction is in part a result of the slowdown in air travel. Price of oil has been creeping up coming to a five month high on Wednesday, but then fell as much as 1.3%, from the forecast of a drop in consumption for every quarter to the end of the year. The forecast also signals a shift in the recovery toward a stalling of economic growth. There remains an inventory overhang that persists, which the oil industry continues to work down.

4) Stock market closings for – 13 AUG 20:

Dow 27,896.72 down 80.12
Nasdaq 11,042.50 up 30.27
S&P 500 3,373.43 down 6.92

10 Year Yield: up at 0.72%

Oil: down at $42.34

13 August 2020

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

10 Year Yield: up at 0.67%

Oil: up at $42.56 +0.01

21 May 2020

1) The Federal government is moving to address the record deficits that America has amassed. One method is to stretch out the time over which the deficit is paid off. Part of that plan is the reinstating of the 20 year bond, which was last issued in 1986. The Feds will auction off $20 billion dollars worth of bonds Wednesday, with an expected return of 1.21% verses 0.70% for the 10 year bonds and 1.42% for the 30 year bonds. The government is also considering 50 and 100 year bonds, but there doesn’t seem to be any demand for such financial instruments. It’s expected that the deficit will be $3.4 trillion dollars for fiscal 2020 and $2 trillion dollars for 2021.

2) The CBO (Congressional Budget Office) estimates the nation’s unemployment rate will exceed 15% through September then remain above 11% for the rest of the year. For 2021, they estimate an average of 9.3%. For the second quarter of 2020, the labor market is projected to see the steepest declines since the 1930’s. These high unemployment rates are expected to persist despite lawmakers’ efforts to counter with injections of cash into the economy. Further layoffs are expected despite the $660 billion dollar Paycheck Protection Program, but a partial rebound is possible in the last three months of the year, with as much as 30% of laid off workers being rehired.

3) Housing sales are way down, the lack of inventory has propped up prices with bidding wars from the limited availability of properties. The health guidelines have made it more difficult to market homes, another fallout of the pandemic. Since the pandemic began, the demand has fallen off, with the number of sellers also contracting, therefore the limited availability of properties. Despite the economic uncertainty, the supply shortage prior to the Covid-19 crisis still remains. Nevertheless, the housing market has cooled, with sales of existing homes projected to fall 20% in April compared to March, which had a 8.5% drop. Construction of new houses is down as contractors wait out the virus. While loan interest rates are low, lending institutions have tightened up their loan standards.

4) Stock market closings for – 20 MAY 20:

Dow 24,575.90 up 369.04
Nasdaq 9,375.78 up 190.67
S&P 500 2,971.61 up 48.67

10 Year Yield: down at 0.68%

Oil: up at $33.52

20 May 2020

1) Just three months after filing for bankruptcy, the Pier 1 retail chain is closing down all its retail store outlets as soon as possible. This drastic action is blamed on store closure from the pandemic and failure to find a buyer. After modeling several options for remaining in business, they found liquidation was the best option to maximize Pier 1’s assets. Plans are to sell its remaining inventory, website and intellectual property. Once a large seller of home goods, the company has suffered severely from online retailers such as Amazon and Wayfair, while big box stores such as Target and Walmart have increased their marketing of home goods products. The fifty-eight year old retailer joins several other big name store chains now in bankruptcy, in what appears to be a fundamental change in consumerism.

2) The damage to employment continues to spread, starting with 1 million public sector workers possibly losing their jobs. All governments are seeing a drop in revenue from businesses being shut down because of the coronavirus. With limited money- cities, counties and states are facing layoffs of their workers until things improve. Restaurants have loss 417,000 jobs to closure. The low wage workers account for 86% of job losses, while over two hundred hospitals have laid off staff because of elective procedures being suspended to accommodate Covid-19 patients, because hospitals have experienced cash crunches.

3) The ride sharing service Uber has had steep revenue losses from the pandemic shutdown, and so announced another 3,000 layoffs to bring their total layoffs to 6,700 or 25% of its workforce. It’s anticipated this action will save the company more than $1 billion dollars annually. Additionally, the company is reorganizing into transportation (Uber Works) and food delivery (Uber Eats).

4) Stock market closings for – 19 MAY 20:

Dow 24,206.86 down 390.51
Nasdaq 9,185.10 down 49.72
S&P 500 2,922.94 down 30.97

10 Year Yield: down at 0.71%

Oil: down at $31.86

14 April 2020

1) The auto industry, already reeling from the new car shutdown and depressed demand, is now concerned about a possible used car price collapse, which could have far reaching effects across the economy. The used vehicle auctions are now virtually paralyzed, the same as the rest of the country, with vehicles piling up at places where buyers and sellers bid on cars and trucks, a situation which cannot go on for months. This is creating a huge level of wholesale supply in the market as inventories continue to expand. This will cause fiscal problems for in-house lending divisions, lease contracts and car rental companies from falling car values. Used car sales fell 64% in the last week of March with prices falling an estimated 10%. The auto makers credit companies are taking huge losses and looking for ways to take advantage of asset backed securities market. With car rentals way down, rental companies are fearful of having to raise cash by selling off inventory when prices are way down.

2) Mr. Neel Kashkari, the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, was on ‘Face the Nation’ television show last Sunday, considers the U.S. may be facing an 18 month shutdown based on what is happening in other countries. Fearing flare-ups, America may face shutdowns until an effective vaccine or therapy is found.

3) Economists fear poor recovery, with high unemployment through 2021, despite the trillions of dollars in cash and loans from the Federal Reserve. Nevertheless, the massive effort is likely to leave millions of additional Americans unemployed for an extended time with unemployment not just spiking, but remaining for the next year. Unemployment may jump up to 20% in the coming months then coming down into the single digit range. It’s expected that a lot of people will not be getting their jobs back as the economy shifts and reforms itself. The more specialized a design, the more brittle it is.

4) Stock market closings for – 13 APR 20:

Dow 23,390.77 down 328.60
Nasdaq 8,192.42 up 38.85
S&P 500 2,761.63 down 28.19

10 Year Yield: down at 0.75%

Oil: down at $22.71

23 December 2019

1) Stock markets ended at record highs this last week, coming closer to what may well be a blockbuster year. This rally now covers four weeks, with one record closing after another, driven by easing of geopolitical worries. Trade worries have kept investors on the edge for most of 2019. The questions is, will this rally continue into next year?3) Steel maker US Steel is closing a mill near Detroit and will lay off 1,500 workers, and in addition will cut its dividend in an attempt to reverse operating losses which is forecasted for the fourth quarter. The Great Lakes Works mill, which rolls slabs into sheets of steel will close, and shift its work to three other mills. Additional cost savings measures will be implemented including a $75 million dollar reduction on capital expenditures and cutting labor cost.1) Stock markets ended at record highs this last week, coming closer to what may well be a blockbuster year. This rally now covers four weeks, with one record closing after another, driven by easing of geopolitical worries. Trade worries have kept investors on the edge for most of 2019. The questions is, will this rally continue into next year?

1) Stock markets ended at record highs this last week, coming closer to what may well be a blockbuster year. This rally now covers four weeks, with one record closing after another, driven by easing of geopolitical worries. Trade worries have kept investors on the edge for most of 2019. The questions is, will this rally continue into next year?

2) Automaker Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles is making an all out push to clear out tens of thousands of vehicles which their dealerships have not ordered, because their new data driven production strategy has swelled their inventory. The automaker is offering its most aggressive discounts since the financial crisis to sell certain 2019 models under their Dodge, Jeep and Ram brands. Their sales staff is working overtime to sell more than 70,000 unassigned cars in December to their 2,400 dealerships.

3) Steel maker US Steel is closing a mill near Detroit and will lay off 1,500 workers, and in addition will cut its dividend in an attempt to reverse operating losses which is forecasted for the fourth quarter. The Great Lakes Works mill, which rolls slabs into sheets of steel will close, and shift its work to three other mills. Additional cost savings measures will be implemented including a $75 million dollar reduction on capital expenditures and cutting labor cost.

4) Stock market closings for – 20 DEC 19:

Dow                28,455.09    up    78.13
Nasdaq             8,924.96    up    37.74
S&P 500            3,221.22    up     15.85

10 Year Yield:    up   at    1.92%

Oil:    down   at    $60.36

1) Stock markets ended at record highs this last week, coming closer to what may well be a blockbuster year. This rally now covers four weeks, with one record closing after another, driven by easing of geopolitical worries. Trade worries have kept investors on the edge for most of 2019. The questions is, will this rally continue into next year?3) Steel maker US Steel is closing a mill near Detroit and will lay off 1,500 workers, and in addition will cut its dividend in an attempt to reverse operating losses which is forecasted for the fourth quarter. The Great Lakes Works mill, which rolls slabs into sheets of steel will close, and shift its work to three other mills. Additional cost savings measures will be implemented including a $75 million dollar reduction on capital expenditures and cutting labor cost.1) Stock markets ended at record highs this last week, coming closer to what may well be a blockbuster year. This rally now covers four weeks, with one record closing after another, driven by easing of geopolitical worries. Trade worries have kept investors on the edge for most of 2019. The questions is, will this rally continue into next year?

2) Automaker Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles is making an all out push to clear out tens of thousands of vehicles which their dealerships have not ordered, because their new data driven production strategy has swelled their inventory. The automaker is offering its most aggressive discounts since the financial crisis to sell certain 2019 models under their Dodge, Jeep and Ram brands. Their sales staff is working overtime to sell more than 70,000 unassigned cars in December to their 2,400 dealerships.

3) Steel maker US Steel is closing a mill near Detroit and will lay off 1,500 workers, and in addition will cut its dividend in an attempt to reverse operating losses which is forecasted for the fourth quarter. The Great Lakes Works mill, which rolls slabs into sheets of steel will close, and shift its work to three other mills. Additional cost savings measures will be implemented including a $75 million dollar reduction on capital expenditures and cutting labor cost.

2 December 2019

1) Deere & Co., the famous manufacture of green and yellow tractors, reported lower earnings blaming trade tensions and poor weather in the U.S. farm belt. Last year’s difficult growing and harvesting conditions have made farmers cautious about investing in new farm equipment. Sales of the construction and forestry division are expected to be down by 10% to 15%, while agricultural is down 5% to 10% next year.

2) Texas oil explorers say predictions of shale production isn’t reflecting the industry’s slowdown. Producers are being starved of funding, stocks have plunged and little interest in public offerings, which may cause a downturn to be more enduring. Seeking to cut costs, drillers have laid off 1,000 workers. There are predictions that U.S. oil production growth will flatten as early as 2021. There is a rapid decline of shale well production, partly a result of placing wells too close together.

3) Global manufacturing has been dragging the world economy down this last year. Weak auto sales have added to the problem, with China’s auto market the worst with a 11% decline in sales. Slow auto sales have cut production at auto plants, with Audi cutting 7,500 jobs. U.S. dealerships are struggling to clear inventory for the new year, with a 12% rise in incentive spending in November, compared to a typical 4%.

4) Stock market closings for – 29 NOV 19:

Dow         28,051.41    down    112.59
Nasdaq      8,665.47    down      39.70
S&P 500     3,140.98    down      12.65

10 Year Yield:    up   at    1.78%

Oil:    down   at    $55.42

16 October 2019

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

10 Year Yield:     up   at    1.77%

Oil:    down   at    $52.93

19 August 2019

1) Home construction in America fell in July by 4.0%, in particular apartments. While a solid job market coupled with falling mortgage rates have boosted the desire to purchase new homes, the inventory shortage and rising prices have stifled sales. However, building permits issued have risen 8.4% with apartment complexes accounting for most of the increase.

2) Japan surpasses China as the largest foreign holder of American Treasury notes. Japan now holds $1.12 trillion dollars of Treasurys while China has $1.11 trillion dollars worth. Since the start of the trade war, China has bought less of the U.S. sovereign debt, with speculation that one tactic China could take in the trade war is to unload its holdings of U.S. debt. So far, there are no indications of China doing that.

3) The threat of fresh water shortages across the world is becoming more pronounced, with western America experiencing growing problems. The Colorado River, is a 1,450 mile source of water for seven states, who’s flow decreased 19% from 2000 to 2014. The river’s water is drawn off to supple cities and agriculture so almost nothing reaches the Pacific ocean. The bulk of the water is used by farmers producing a significant amount of America’s food, with almost 90% of the winter’s vegetables come from the river’s irrigation.

4) Stock market closings for – 16 AUG 19:

Dow             25,886.01    up    306.62
Nasdaq          7,895.99    up    129.38
S&P 500         2,888.68    up      41.08

10 Year Yield:    up   at    1.54%

Oil:    up   at    $54.94