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

10 June 2019

1) Many consider that it is no longer a question if the Fed will cut interest rates, but rather when. With the apparent softening of the job market, many investors firmly believe the Federal Reserve  will move to cut interest rates this year possible as soon as this July. The markets bounced up on the expectation.

2) The job numbers are in for May, with job creation slowing dramatically. There were just 75,000 new jobs added to the economy, about 100,000 less than economist expected. Both March and April job numbers were lower than expected leading experts to conclude a downward trend in the American economy is beginning. There are fears that we may see a recession as early as next year.

3) The book seller Barnes & Noble has closed a deal to sell itself to Elliott Management Corp, a hedge fund based in New York. The news sent Barnes & Noble stock surging upward as much as 36%. Like many other retailers, Barnes & Noble has struggled with little success to counter the power house e-commerce giant Amazon. It’s Nook e-book device was a bust, which the company had heavily invested in. Barnes & Noble has 600 brick and mortar retail stores.

4) Stock market closings for 7 JUN 19: The Dow has had its best week since November.

Dow                   25,983.94    up    263.28
Nasdaq                7,742.10    up    126.55
S&P 500               2,873.34    up       29.85

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.08%

Oil:    up   at    $54.04

20 May 2019

1 ) Hewlett Packard is buying the supercomputer maker Cray for $1.4 billion dollars. HP is intent on strengthening it position against IBM by expanding its high end computer line, expanding into AI (Artificial Intelligence), Internet of things and distributed computing offerings, and is expecting to see a return on investment in the next two years.

2) There are reports that the U.S. China trade talks have been put on hold, causing a reversal of the markets. The holdup is the increased scrutiny of Chinese telecom companies. This scrutiny is making it harder for Chinese companies such as Huawei to do business with U.S. companies.

3) Airline baggage fees is becoming an increasingly lucrative source of income. The U.S. airlines brought in $4.9 billion dollars from luggage fees, an 80% increase from 2009. Typical fees is $30 for the first bag, $40 for the second and $150 for the third. There are also expensive payments for heavy or oversize bags.

4) 17 MAY 19 Stock markets closing:

Dow                  25,764.00     down    98.68
Nasdaq              7,816.28      down    81.76
S&P 500             2,859.53 down 16.79

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.39%

Oil:    down   at    $62.71

16 May 2019

1) Markets continue to rise as President Trump delays the actual implementation of auto tariffs. Reportedly, the tariffs are to be delayed for up to six months. Other news helped push the markets up, such as Boeing expects to have its 737 MAX software fix released soon.

2) Monet’s ‘Meules’ is now the most expensive painting ever sold at auction. The painting sold for $110.7 million dollars after an eight minute bidding war at Sotheby’s in New York. This is a crushing return on investment, which was bought for $2.56 million dollars in 1986, giving a return on investment of 4,300%.

3) Prior to the new tariffs, China’s economy was slowing down, showing the fragility of the world’s second largest economy. China’s industrial output, retail sales and investment have slowed more than economist expected. With the faltering of credit coupled with slowing consumption at home, combining with a weaker global economy translates into China running out of steady growth right when it’s most needed.

4) 15 MAY 19 Stock market closings:

Dow                  25,648.02    up    115.97
Nasdaq               7,822.15    up      87.65
S&P 500              2,850.96    up      16.55

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.38%

Oil:    up   at    $62.13

13 May 2019

1) Trump’s tariffs went into effect today, at first driving the markets down, but then they recovered to all close high. Trumps statement that talks with China will continue pushed the markets up, while also leaving open the possibility that the tariffs may be soon removed. The tariffs went from 10% to 25% on $200 billion dollars of Chinese imports.

2) With the new tariffs on China, there are concerns for the U.S. economy and that the threat of an increased trade war between China and U.S. will cause a drop in both China’s and American’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Declines in GDP is not expected to be limited to America and China, but the global GDP could also suffer too.

3) The apparent contraction of consumerism continues with more than 6,200 stores to close this year. For the last couple of years, the retail industry has been rocked by the number of store closures. The list of retailers include such big names as Payless ShoeSource, Family Dollar, Gap, Victoria’s Secret, Office Depot and OfficeMax, Kmart, CVS, Pier 1 Imports, Bed and Bath, Lowe’s, JC Penny’s and even Walmart.

4) 10 MAY 19 Stock market closings:

Dow               25,942.37    up    114.01
Nasdaq           7,916.94    up        6.35
S&P 500          2,881.40    up      10.68

10 Year Yield:    unchanged   at    2.46%

Oil:    up   at    $61.71

9 May 2019

1) An experiment in four cities is giving four hundred mothers $4,000 dollars per year to test the effects that an infusion of money has on children. The study hopes to answer questions, for children in low income families, about the development of a child’s well being, how their brains work and their behavior.

2) China has promised retaliation if promised tariffs are imposed after mid-night this Thursday. President Trump is tweeting optimism over the coming deal with China, in contrast to China’s threats to retaliate for imposing any tariffs, leaving markets jittery over what may happen.

3) The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is for relieving people of massive student loan obligations in exchange for working in professions of public service such as teaching, nursing or public-interest law. However the program is in disarray with more than 73,000 people having applied for debt forgiveness. The applicants are frustrated by the poorly written legislation, mismanagement by contractors to process application for forgiveness, and general apathy.

4) 8 MAY 19 Stock market closings:

Dow            25,967.33         up      2.24
Nasdaq         7,943.32    down    20.44
S&P 500        2,879.42    down      4.63

10 Year Yield:    up   at    2.48%

Oil:    down   at    $61.99

2 May 2019

1) Wall Street is expecting another surge upwards of the markets, which they are terming a ‘melt up’ and analysts are recommending call options contracts which pay off in a move higher. Call option contracts give the investor the option to buy in at an agree price, but are not obligated to buy.

2) Pork prices are expected to jump this year because African swine fever is ravaging the hog population of China, a big consumer of pork. Because there still isn’t any containment of the disease, analysts estimate it will be at least twenty months of elevated pork prices. Non-domestic pork demand will continue into 2020 at a minimum.

3) With U.S. crude stockpiles rising, traders are fearing oil prices will slide despite bullish forces traditionally pushing oil prices up. The tightening sanctions on Iran, the unstable state of Venezuela and OPEC’s desired to reduce production, are all forces that push oil prices up, but U.S. domestic production and rising stockpiles may counter these forces.

4) 1 MAY 19 Stock market closings:

Dow              26,430.14    down    162.77
Nasdaq           8,049.64    down      45.75
S&P 500          2,923.73    down      22.10

10 Year Yield:     up   at   2.51%

Oil:    up   at    $63.62

30 April 2019

1) Reports are that China and the U.S. are nearing the conclusion of talks to overhaul their economic relationships. Talks are nearing a point where they will produce a deal or end with no agreement. These talks have been in progress for months and have included tariffs from both sides, and in the process have upset world markets. The biggest obstacle is agreeing on how to enforce an agreement.

2) This March, U.S. consumer spending has increased the most in nine years, driven by purchases of motor vehicles. However, fears of inflation remain mute, giving support to a stronger economic growth in the second quarter.

3) Corporate economists consider there will be slower U.S. growth in the future. They fear the tariffs recently imposed are a drag on growth. Still, they consider the economy will continue to expand, just not at a fast rate.

4) 29 APR 19 Stock market closings:

 Dow             26,554.39    up    11.06
Nasdaq           8,161.85    up    15.45
S&P 500          2,943.03    up      3.15

10 Year Yield:    up   at    2.54%

Oil:    up   at    $63.57

18 April 19

1) Increase in spending on gasoline and cars is expected to boost retail sales for March above the dismal sales of February. These numbers are being watched closely because there are conflicting statistics in reports that will indicate if there is a down turn of the economy. The retail sales numbers are the last to be coming in.

2) Contributions to restore Notre Dame continue to come in, now totaling almost one billion dollars. Notre Dame didn’t have any insurance, but Lloyds of London estimates that full restoration will require about eight billion dollars. Initial investigation found that the church structure came close to total collapse.

3) Fears of ‘medicare for all’ caused the health care stocks to drop. So far, health insurance and hospital stocks are down about $28 billion dollars, but in general today’s markets closed unchanged.

4) 17 APR 19 Stock market closings:

Dow            26,449.54    down    3.12
Nasdaq         7,996.08    down    4.15
S&P 500        2,900.45    down     6.61

10 Year Yield:    unchanged   at    2.59%

Oil:    down   at    $63.75

31 January 2019

1) German technology giant SAP takes a drop in the markets because of a one time write off charge.

2) Chinese purchases of US commercial property is at the lowest since 2012. For the last four quarters, the Chinese have sold more than they bought as the Chinese government pushes to bring money back into China in an effort to stabilize its currency. With China’s economic problems springing from the slowing down in its growth, this trend is expected to continue in 2019.

3) The Feds signal an end to interest rate hikes, with economic growth remaining strong and expected to continue, while fears of inflation are diminishing. Their announcement spurred the stock markets up.

4) 30 JAN 19    Stock market closings:

Dow             25,014.86    up     434.90
Nasdaq          7,183.08    up     154.79
S&P 500         2,681.05    up        41.05

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.70%

Oil:    down   at    $54.22