20 December 2019

1) Timothy Litzenburg, a Virginia lawyer involved in litigation over the health risks of Monsanto’s roundup weed killer product, has been arrested. He is charged with interstate intentions to extort an unnamed company into a $200 million dollar consulting fee for his firm. Litzenburg threatened to find people who he would advise to sue companies for exposing them to the chemical, but that he would cease searching for potential plaintiffs in exchange for a multi million dollar consulting agreement.

2) Freddie Mac has offered early retirement to about 25% of its staff in a drive to overhaul its workforce, as a result of the Trump administration’s reforming the housing finance giant. There are 1,650 eligible employees being offer the early out, with about one quarter expected to take the buyout. This will be about 6% of Freddie Mac’s workforce.

3) The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits dropped from more than a two year high, decreasing 18,000 to 234,000. This points to a sustained labor market strength, another sign of a strong American economy. Despite trade tensions and slowing global growth with a weighing down on manufacturing, the economy is on a moderate growth path.

4) Stock market closings for – 19 DEC 19:

Dow                    28,376.96    up   at    137.68
Nasdaq                 8,887.22    up   at      59.48
S&P 500                3,205.37    up   at       14.23

10 Year Yield:     down   at    1.91%

Oil:    up   at    $61.03

4 October 2019

1) MGM Resorts has reached agreement with families of victims who were killed in the October 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas. The settlement for the 2,500 family victims will be almost $800 million dollars with the agreement that all pending litigation against MGM will be dismissed. The shooting left 58 dead while wounding hundreds of others.

2) Soon to be implemented, tariffs will make imports more expensive for Americans, such as Scotch and Irish whiskies, Parmesan cheese and French wine. The tariffs will be on $7.5 billion dollars of European imports. Further tariffs are threaten over aircraft subsidies by the European Union, coming at a time when economies have been hurt by the US-China trade war. The World Trade Organization has ruled America can impose tariffs because the European Union has failed to abide by earlier ruling of Airbus subsidies.

3) The service-sector activity in the U.S. slowed to its weakest pace in three years this September. This is another sign that the U.S. economy may be weakening where the services sector accounts for more than two thirds of economic activity. The non-manufacturing index fell to 52.6 last month, which was the lowest reading since August 2016 and far below the 55.3 expectations.

4) Stock market closings for – 3 OCT 19:

Dow                 26,201.04    up    122.42
Nasdaq              7,872.26    up      87.02
S&P 500             2,910.63    up      23.02

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.54%

Oil:    down   at    $52.34

8 August 2019

1) Disney, the owner of the Star Wars franchise rights, is finding that today’s kids are not as interested in Star Wars as previous generations have been. While the last of the trilogies have turned a profit, they have not met the success of previous movies. Purchased from Lucasfilm Ltd in 2012 for $4.05 billion dollars, Disney is worried about the long term profitability of the franchise. It’s newly opened attraction Star Wars theme-park hasn’t meet expectations, indicated the young are not entranced by the intergalactic saga.

2) Gold continues to increase in value as more jittery investors flee traditional havens for money, to the supposed safety of gold ownership. With gold now at $1,500 per ounce, it is outperforming stocks this year. Concerns over the world economy from uncertainty of the U.S. and China trade war, China’s currency, oil and repercussions from political hot spots across the world have all combined to form a economic climate of fear and uncertainty. All foretell of a global slow down in growth, and as always the case, gold provides safety better than money in economic hard times.

3) A federal judge has ordered litigation over defective General Motors ignition switches to be narrowed in claims by owners. Owners claimed they lost value in their vehicles because of the defect, but the judge ruled the owners have failed to show the value of their vehicles has declined as a result of the defect. Instead, damages could only be measured by costs to repair defective vehicles, which is zero if GM paid for repairs. This defect is linked to 124 deaths.

4) Stock market closings for – 7 AUG 19:

Dow             26,007.07    down    22.45
Nasdaq           7,862.83          up    29.56
S&P 500          2,883.98          up       2.21

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.68%

Oil:    up   at    $52.29