2 October 2019

1) The retailer giant Amazon is expanding into the grocery business by leasing retail space across the Los Angeles area, signing leases for more than twelve locations. This is the first step of plans to open grocery stories across the nation. Amazon job postings are looking for people to work in retail concepts for a multiple customer experiences under one roof. Stores are reportedly to be about 35,000 square feet and intended to compete with big box stores such as Walmart, Target and Kroger.

2) The Institute for Supply Management says its manufacturing index dropped to 47.8 last month, the lowest since June 2009, below the forecast 49.1. Indexes below 50 indicate a contraction in manufacturing. Manufacturing accounts for 12% of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product), so a slowdown could effect other parts of the economy. Other indicators have shown output increased over last month.

3) Oil prices record its weakest quarter since late last year as fears over a global economic slowdown overshadowed the attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil production facilities. Brent futures are down 8.7% since the end of June, despite the peak after the attacks. The price of oil is considered an economic indicator, since demand goes down as economies slow down, making more oil available, thus causing oil prices to decline.

4) Stock market closings for – 1 OCT 19:

Dow               26,573.04    down    343.79
Nasdaq            7,908.68    down      90.65
S&P 500           2,940.25    down      36.49

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.64%

Oil:    down   at    $53.98

19 September 2019

1) The Federal Reserved voted for a quarter percent drop in the interest rate, bringing the ire of President Trump in a tweet, complaining the Feds lack the guts and vision to cut more. But the board surprised everyone by its divided vote, three of the members voted against a policy decision, while seven voted for it. This is considered an indication of how uncertain things are and just what the economic future holds. In response, the stock markets fell over the news of just a quarter percent rate reduction.

2) Some fear that parallels in the market signal the coming of another recession. These parallels include an inverted yield curve with the stock markets making new highs in July, followed by a correction in August, then a rally in early September. Additionally, growth is slowing. These same signs occurred in 2007 prior to sliding into a sever recession. All that is needed is a trigger such as the world oil supply.

3) As a result of the UAW (United Auto Workers) strike, GM (General Motors) announced 1,300 layoffs in their Oshawa plant in Canada. This is because GM plants in the US are shut down and unable to deliver needed parts and assemblies to the Canadian plant. This shows that the strike is spreading to other units of the automakers business.

4) Stock market closings for – 18 SEP 19:

Dow             27,147.08         up    36.28
Nasdaq          8,177.39    down      8.62
S&P 500         3,006.73          up      1.03

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.79%

Oil:    $58.25

18 September 2019

1) World oil prices dropped sharply with Saudi Arabian source saying that their oil production could be fully back on line within weeks. This is far sooner than was initially assumed by world markets. Production may be back up in as little as two to three weeks. The attacks resulted in the largest single supply disruption in half a century.

2) Economists say the GM (General Motors) strike no longer has the economic impact that they once did. They assert it will take a lengthy shutdown to make a national impact. This is a result of GM’s market share shrinking while its work force is now smaller, in part because of automation. A prolonged strike could impact the economy by disrupting the supply chain effecting other industries. GM has shifted workers health care cost to the UAW (United Auto Workers) union, increasing pressure on the union for a quick settlement.

3) There are expectations that the Federal Reserve will lower interest rates on Wednesday for the second time in two months with another likely cut later this year. The consensus is the feds will drop the interest rate by about a quarter percent in an attempt to starve off the world economic slowdown from reaching America. Job growth has slowed and the index of manufacturing activity shows contraction, increasing fears that a recession will happen in the near future.

4) Stock market closings for – 17 SEP 19:

Dow                 27,110.80    up    33.98
Nasdaq             8,186.02    up    32.47
S&P 500            3,005.70    up      7.74

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.81%

Oil:    down   at    $58.81

6 September 2019

1) The Exxon Mobil oil giant agreed to sell its Norwegian oil and gas assets for as much as $4 billion dollars. The U.S. firm is exiting from production in the country after more than a century doing business there. In 2017, Exxon produced 170,000 barrels of oil per day from its Norwegian operations. The shares in Exxon, the world’s biggest publicly traded oil company, rose 1.7% on the news.

2) The announcement that China and America would resume trade talks pushed the price of oil up from optimism of an improving world economy. Chinese trade negotiators will come to Washington in early October for talks. Gasoline and distillate supplies fell, as well as stockpiles in storage.

3) Alan Greenspan, former Federal Reserve Chairman, forecast that negative rates will soon spread to the U.S. Negative rates are now in Belgium, Germany, France and Japan with $16 trillion dollars in negative yielding debt instruments around the world. Ten year sovereign bonds are trading with a negative rate. The thirty year U.S. rate is trading at 1.95% reaching an all time low.

4) Stock market closings for – 5 SEP 19:

Dow                   26,728.15    up    372.68
Nasdaq                8,116.83    up    139.95
S&P 500               2,976.00    up       38.22

10 Year Yield:    up   at    1.56%

Oil:     down   at    $56.17

5 September 2019

1) A federal judge has ruled that investors may sue five big banks for conspiring to rig prices on bonds worth hundreds of billions of dollars issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for a seven year period. This clears the way for investors to pursue antitrust claims against Bank of America, BNP Paribas SA, Deutsche Bank AG, Goldman Sachs Group and Morgan Stanley. The banks are accused of fixing prices at a specific level before bringing the bonds to the secondary market.

2) The U.S. trade deficit narrowed overall slightly in July, however the gap with China surged to a six-month high. The trade tensions have caused wild swings in the trade deficit as exporters and importers try to stay ahead of the tariff fight between America and China. The Atlanta Federal Reserve is forecasting the economy growing at a 1.7% pace in the third quarter.

3) Oil dependent nations are facing economic troubles because gas and oil production are unsustainable. As oil and gas supplies dwindle and demand decreases, their once lucrative revenues may be decreasing. Nations whose economies are principally oil production face a trouble future as their oils supplies decline in the next few decades, with nothing to replace those revenues. Those nations facing economic troubles are the UAE, Nigeria, Qatar, Libya, Angola, Kuwait, Venezuela, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

4) Stock market closings for – 4 SEP 19:

Dow            26,355.47    up    237.45
Nasdaq        7,976.88    up    102.72
S&P 500       2,937.78    up    31.51

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.46%

Oil:    down   at    $55.98

23 August 2019

1) President Trump’s suggestion of buying Greenland is bringing to light international interest in the world’s largest island because of its geopolitical importance. Since World War II, there has been a strategic interest as a result of Atlantic shipping lanes. But the island nation also has stocks of natural resources such as coal, zinc, copper, iron and rare minerals. Even China has made proposals to Greenland for economic development. Some think that Greenland also harbors vast reserves of oil.

2) Twenty-two city municipalities have had their computer systems hacked and taken ransom, all simultaneously which indicates the ransom attacks is by a single unknown entity. So far, more than forty municipalities have been digitally hijacked this year, including major cities such as Baltimore and Albany. Most attacks are upon small cities and towns who have limited monetary resources for strong cyberdefenses or backing up data. There are more ransom ware attacks simple because they work and pay so well.

3) Foreign oil companies are leaving Canada to the tune of $30 billion dollars in the last three years. Canada’s oil industry has struggled to recovered from the 2014 crash in global oil prices, an industry that accounts for one fifth of Canada’s exports. The lack of pipelines has seriously effected Canada’s heavy crude prices for years. Consequently, capital is draining out of the industry effecting overall production and hence revenues.

4) Stock market closings for – 22 AUG 19:

Dow             26,252.24         up    49.51
Nasdaq          7,991.39         up    28.82
S&P 500         2,922.95    down      1.48

10 Year Yield:   up   at    1.61%
Oil:    up   at    $55.39

16 August 2019

1) Retail giant Walmart reported a strong second quarter and raised its earnings expectations for the year. This news eases concerns about consumer demand dropping because of the trade war with China. Shoppers spent more at stores and websites, indicating the consumer economy has not lost steam. Walmart posted a 20 quarter or five years of growth unmatched by any other retailer. The retailer gets 56% of its revenues from grocery sales, so it is less vulnerable to tariffs.

2) In July, American’s spent more at retail stores and restaurants, indicating the economic growth remains healthy, despite fears of a coming global economic slowdown and possible recession. Despite such fears, consumer confidence remains steady. Most economists are not forecasting a recession, because consumer spending and the job market remains strong.

3) Saudi Arabia is ramping up its oil exports to China, with crude shipments doubled over the last year, while its oil exports to America have dropped by nearly two thirds. This shift has occurred in part from oil embargo on Iran, which has caused Asian importers to shift away from Iran to other sources, aided by U.S. growing independence of any oil imports. The U.S. is becoming the worlds largest producer of oil.

4) Stock market closings for – 15 AUG 19:

Dow            25,579.39         up    99.97
Nasdaq         7,766.62    down      7.32
S&P 500        2,847.60          up      7.00

10 Year Yield:     down   at    1.53%

Oil:     up   at    $54.70

13 August 2019

1) Royal Dutch Shell is building a 386 acre chemical plant to make bulk plastic. The construction project is one of the largest active construction projects in America employing over 5,000 people. The plant has hundreds of miles of pipelines to feed it petroleum and will have its own rail system with 3,300 freight cars. The new plant is expected to produce a million tons of plastic pellets each year.

2) Saudi oil company Aramco is buying a 20% share in Reliance Industries Ltd of India an oil to chemicals business. This will include the 1.24 million barrels a day Jamnagar refining complex. This is part of Aramco plan for refinery investments to double its processing network and handle as much as 10 million barrels of oil a day by 2030. Reliance has agreed to purchase 500,000 barrels of crude a day over the long term.

3) The IMF (International Monetary Fund) has warned that addition tariffs in the trade war will sharply cut Chinese growth. The IMF has already forecast a 6.2% decline in China’s growth for this year, which assumes no new tariffs. They forecast a sharp cut in China’s growth if the additional tariffs threaten are imposed on the first of September. President Trump has cast doubts on a trade deal, and indicated he might cancel the trade talks scheduled for September.

4) Stock market closings for – 12 AUG 19:

Dow               25,897.71             down    389.73
Nasdaq            7,863.41   unchanged        0.00
S&P 500           2,883.09              down     35.56

10 Year Yield:     down   at    1.64%

Oil:    down   at    $54.78

7 August 2019

1) There are fears that the deepening China and American trade war may severely effect the fragile oil market. The tariffs increases has already send oil prices spiraling down over concerns of a sever global economic slowdown or recession. But China could use oil as an economic weapon by purchasing vast quantities of oil from Iran thus driving oil prices down from $60 to as low as $40 while also undermining President Trump’s foreign policy.

2) Gold, always a panic investment from economic fears, is again attracting investors with its prices pushing upward. With the devaluation of the Chinese money and threats that the U.S. might follow suit, investors are worried about the value of other monies sliding down. Fears of what will happen to the Euro and British Pound with a ‘no deal’ exit, coupled with European government bonds rates that are so low, is further attracting investors to gold. Hence, investors are migrating to the traditional safe heaven of gold.

3) In an attempt to further push into the Nordic markets, payment processor Mastercard Inc will buy the majority of the corporate services businesses of Scandinavian payments group Nets. The financial technology sector is consolidating fast as more people switch from cash to digital payments, both on line and on the street. The $3.19 billion dollar deal gives Mastercard further clearing and instant payment services plus e-billing solutions.

4) Stock market closings for – 6 AUG 19:

Dow             26,029.52    up    311.78
Nasdaq           7,833.26    up    107.23 
S&P 500          2,881.77    up      37.03

10 Year Yield:    up   at    1.74%

Oil:    down   at    $53.46

5 August 2019

1) Even though U.S. employers slowed their hiring in July, there was 164,000 jobs added to the economy. The unemployment rate remained at 3.7% for a second month with average hourly earnings rising 3.2% which was up from June. The unemployment is near a half century low, and with the U.S. economy on a firm footing, the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is growing 2.1%.

2) The price of oil declined the most in over four years with President Trump’s latest tariff threat. Oil plunged 8%, for the steepest one day drop, from concerns of a global slowdown. A slowdown results in less consumption of oil, and therefore less demand. For months, the stalled China-U.S. trade negotiations is fueling concerns for the future of world economies.

3) Online delivery of prepared food is surging with people able to order a full restaurant meal from home using smart phones, and have them delivered much as a pizza is. By 2020, it’s forecast that more than half of restaurant spending will be off premise from deliveries, drive-thoughs and takeaway meals. More than 80% of the restaurants industry growth will be off premise sales, with Americans spending more on restaurants than at grocery stores.

4) Stock market closings for – 2 AUG 19:

Dow            26,485.01    down     98.41
Nasdaq        8,004.07    down   107.05
S&P 500       2,932.05    down     21.51

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.86%

Oil:    down   at    $55.19