8 January 2020

1) Coal consumption in America dropped sharply last year, reaching its lowest level since 1975, with power plants switching to cheaper natural gas and renewables. This shift has cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than 10%, but other sources also contribute to growing planet warming pollution last year. The U.S. is the second largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world, as well as other greenhouse warming gases, contributing 14% of all annual greenhouse emissions.

2) The federal government is close to selling a group of nursing homes it took over eighteen months ago, a result of the biggest default in the history of a government mortgage insurance program which provides critical support to the nursing home industry. The previous owner defaulted on $146 million dollar worth of mortgages leaving the government to take possession of the facilities, which they have been working to find new owner-operators.

3) A new pizza making robot was unveiled at this year’s CES (Consumer Electronis Show) in Las Vegas, which attracts 200,000 people across the world. The machine is placed adjacent to the oven so pizzas automatically go in for cooking. The robot can make up to 300 12 inch customized pizzas an hour, while making consistent pies. Several companies are engaged in developing pizza robots including Little Caesar’s and Domino’s. The robots for the fast food industry is growing in response to demands for a minimum wage of $15 an hour for restaurant workers.

4) Stock market closings for – 7 JAN 202:

Dow                28,583.68    down    119.70
Nasdaq            9,068.58    down        2.88
S&P 500           3,237.18    down        9.10

10 Year Yield:    up   at    1.83%

Oil:    up   at    $63.21 

16 December 2019

1) The Trump administration has reached a trade deal in principle with China. Reportedly, the United States has offered to cut existing tariffs on Chinese goods by as much as 50%, while also suspending new tariffs that are scheduled to become effective on Sunday. This is a bid to secure a “Phase One” trade deal. The 50% tariff reduction would be on $375 billion dollars of Chinese goods, and $160 billion dollars in goods scheduled to become effective on the fifteenth of December.

2) The natural gas boom has fizzled because of a glut in U.S. gas with sinking profits. Hydraulic fracturing has uncorked a lucrative new source of natural gas supply, with billions of dollars poured into export terminals to ship gas to China and Europe. But the drop in gas prices has caused a bust with energy companies shutting down drilling rigs, filing for bankruptcy protection and slashing the value of shale fields. The supply of gas has far outstripped demand and the over-supply likely to remain for several more years.

3) The number of applications for unemployment jumped to more than a two year high last week, but experts don’t think this signals a coming round of layoffs. Claims are up by 49,000 for a seasonally adjusted 252,000 for the week ending the seventh of December. The previous week, claims had dropped to 203,000, which was a seven month low. In the same period, the government reported adding 266,000 new jobs to the economy.

4) Stock market closings for – 12 DEC 19:

Dow                   28,132.05    up    220.75
Nasdaq               8,717.32    up      63.27
S&P 500              3,168.57    up       26.94

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.90%

Oil:    up   at    $59.48 +0.30

12 November 2019

1) The KKR & Co. is offering a deal to take the drugstore giant Walgreens Boots Alliance private in what could be the biggest ever leveraged buyout. The New York private equity firm is proposing to buy out shareholders of Walgreens Boots, but there are no details on the proposed transaction. Walgreens Boots has a market value of $53 billion dollars and debt of $16.8 billion dollars. A buyout would give Walgreens Boots time to adapt to a fast changing retail landscape.

2) Some U.S. oil and natural gas production companies are planning to pump less petroleum thereby reducing production for this next year. Several producers, including EQT Corp and Chesapeake Energy Corp have announced their intention to alsoreduce production thereby reining in spending and forecasting slower growth, while other fracking companies like Diamondback Energy Inc., Cimarex Energy Co. and Callon Petroleum Co. plan to hold next year’s spending the same.

3) The Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has shattered their single day sales from last year. Alibaba had $33.9 billion dollars in sales, which eclipsed last year’s numbers of $30.8 billion dollars in sales for 24 hours. Alibaba’s annual shopping extravaganza is equivalent to Black Friday or Cyber Monday in the US. The eleventh of November was originally created as a student holiday in China to celebrate single people, but has been transformed into a massive day of sales on Alibaba.

4) Stock market closings for – 11 NOV 19:

Dow               27,691.49         up     10.25
Nasdaq            8,464.28    down    11.03
S&P 500           3,087.01    down       6.07

10 Year Yield:    up   at    1.94%

Oil:    down   at    $56.63

7 November 2019

1) The Oklahoma energy company Chesapeake Energy, who helped pioneer America’s shale natural gas revolution, is now warning that it may not survive the era of cheap gas it helped usher in. In a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company stated that if depressed prices persist, there is substantial doubt if it can survive. Fracking made it a natural gas powerhouse, at one time the number two natural gas producer, but now it is drowning in $10 billion dollar debt.

2) The U.S. productive has fallen for the first time since 2015. American productivity fell 0.3% in the third quarter, after two quarters of healthy gains, while productivity had increased 1.4% in the past year, about two-thirds of its long run average. Additionally, the low unemployment rate is driving up labor costs by forcing companies to pay more for workers, a trend that could eventually raise inflation. Labor cost rose at 3.6% in the third quarter, up 3.1% for the past year.

3) SoftBank Group Corp. reported an enormous loss from investments in the two money losing startups WeWork and Uber Technologies Inc. SoftBank reported a loss of $6.5 billion dollars after writedowns in WeWork and other investments, the first such loss in 14 years. The massive losses were incurred when WeWork’s IPO failed leaving the startup company cash starved so SoftBank had to extend a $9.5 billion dollar rescue package and take an 80% stake in the company.

4) Stock market closings for – 6 NOV 19:

Dow           27,492.56         up       0.07
Nasdaq        8,410.63    down    24.05
S&P 500       3,076.78          up      2.16

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.81%

Oil:    down   at    $56.39

15 July 2019

1) It appears the oil boom in the Permian basins is slowing down as producers dial back growth plans in face of numerous problems. These problems include pipeline limits, reduced flow from wells drilled too close together, low natural gas prices and high land cost. Most serious is that the shale-well oil production is falling off at such a high rate (as much as 70% in first year) that producers are forced to keep spending additional money on new wells in order to maintain production output.

2) Imports from China to U.S. are down by 31% as a result of the trade war. Trade has weakened since the trade war started, with tariffs and counter tariffs and with suppliers looking for alternative countries to fill their orders. This has put pressure on the Chinese government to shore up economic growth and avoid politically dangerous job losses. Nevertheless, Chinese leaders are confident they can survive the tariff fight.

3) The Argyle diamond mine in Western Australia, world’s largest diamond mine, is closing at the end of the next year as diamond supples are exhausted. The mine is famed for the coveted pink and red diamonds it produced, rather than the quantity of lower quality gems it has produced for almost forty years. A glut of cheap and small diamonds has eroded profits worldwide with other diamond mines scheduled to also close operations.

4) Stock market closings for – 12 JUL 19: All three markets closed with record setting highs. Also Standard & Poors broke the 3,000 mark.

Dow               27,332.03    up    243.95
Nasdaq            8,244.14    up     48.10
S&P 500           3,013.77    up     13.86

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.11%

Oil:    up   at    $60.39

9 July 2019

1) America now has such a surplus of natural gas, that it’s being burned off instead of sold and used. The problem isn’t a lack of a market to sell to, rather it is insufficient distribution infrastructure. There isn’t enough pipeline capacity to get the gas from the oil fields to customers. In West Texas, enough gas is burned off each day to fuel every house in Texas. Natural gas prices are negative in some areas as producers pay people to take the gas off their hands.

2) The international banking giant Deutsche Bank is getting out of the investment banking by closing its equities business. This restructuring will result in posting a $3.1 billion dollar loss for the second quarter and an overall loss of $8.3 billion dollar into 2022. Additionally, there will be a loss of 18,000 jobs or one fifth of their labor force.

3) The summer labor force of teenagers is shrinking as American youth opt for summer school and extracurricular activities. Only about 40% of highschool age kids are working during their summer vacations, compared to more than 60% in the twentieth century. This leaves businesses with a dilemma of find enough workers, especially those business which are more active in the summer months and need that extra short term labor boost. Much of this shift is because of increased emphasis on education for the young, who opt for summer school and summer college prep programs instead of earning some pocket money.

4) Stock market closings for- 8 JUL 19:

Dow         26,806.14    down    115.98
Nasdaq      8,098.38    down      63.41
S&P 500     2,975.95    down      14.46

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.03%

Oil:    down   at    $57.54