23 April 2019

1) The United States announced that economic exemptions for Iran oil will be invalid starting the second of May. There are eight countries with exemptions, Asian nations who would suffered hardships from the oil sanctions, but some have already foregone their exemption status. China and India will be the hardest hit from no longer being exempt from Iranian oil sanctions.

2) The Trump administration is cracking down on zero-down home loans from the national affordable housing programs. Fears are mounting over the $1.3 trillion dollar Federally insured home mortgages, stemming from the 2008 housing crash which cost $17 billion dollars from defaults.

3) Executives of automotive manufactures are very concerned about new car sales, considering that at best, stagnation will occur in 2019. For the first three months, new auto sales have been down, they considering that the auto industry having reached a plateau. With half the new auto sales being SUV’s and crossovers, verses only one third for traditional sedans with many models being phase out, there are concerns over the typical new auto costing $34,000 to $35,000. Rising high prices are increasing putting new cars out of the reach of the average American.

4) 22 APR 19 Stock market closings:

Dow              26,511.05    down    48.49
Nasdaq           8,015.27         up    17.20
S&P 500          2,907.97         up      2.94

10 Year Yield:    up   at    2.59%

Oil:    up   at    $64.00

5 April 2019

1) German economic forecast for growth has been reduced as foreign industrial orders fall. Last year, Germany narrowly skirted a recession. The forecast for economic growth was reduced from 1.8% down to 1.0% due to slower global economic growth and the uncertainties from Brexit.

2) There are about 54,000 bridges in America which need urgent repair, and it’s estimated it will take 80 years to rebuild them. The report by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association says that about 9% of the highway bridges are deficient with 174 million vehicles crossing each day. On a rating scale of 0 to 9, a rating of 4 or below is considered deficient.

3) Oil prices briefly topped $70 for the best grade of crude oil, but was unable to hold because of signs of tightening global supplies plus uncertainty over world economic outlook. Prices were pushed up by forecast of declining OPEC exports.

4) 4 APR 19 Stock market closings:

Dow           26,384.63          up     166.50
Nasdaq        7,891.78     down        3.77
S&P 500       2,879.39           up        5.99

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.51%

Oil:    up   at    $62.18

4 April 2019

1) Ghawar, the biggest Saudi oil field is declining faster than was generally accepted by the world oil market. Oil production and reserves have been a state secret for more than forty years, but in a just released prospectus, Saudi Arabia open it’s books to reveal that their largest oil field has a maximum production three quarters what was assumed. Still, the Saudis claim they are able to pump oil at the maximum capacity of 12 million barrels a day, enough for another 52 years.

2) Signet Jewelers plans to close more than 150 of its stores in the fiscal year 2020. This is part of their plan to turn around the company and includes stores from Kay, Zales and Jared. Signet based their decision on a decline of mall foot traffic and increasing promotions required to get sales. They expect sales to drop 2.5% next year.

3) As the dollar weakens, gold has shown little change. Some claim gold prices reveal the true state of US economic health. When high, the economy is not healthy, while when low, it is healthy. People invest in gold as a hedge, a heaven or as a direct investment. The price of gold is more than just supply or demand since gold production is just a small fraction of the world gold supply.

4) 3 APR 19 Stock market closings:

Dow          26,218.13    up    39.00
Nasdaq       7,895.55    up    46.86
S&P 500      2,873.40    up      6.16

10 Year Yield:    up   at    2.52%

Oil:     unchanged   at    $62.46

2 April 2019

1) Oil hits its highest for 2019 as demand outlook improves, spurred on by positive manufacture PMI numbers for China and US, both the worlds largest economies. This caused US stocks to rally, in addition to China-US trade talks continuing. Additionally, OPEC has cut it’s production while sanctions on Iran and Venezuela add to pushing oil prices up.

2) The breakfast cereal company Kellogg is selling several of its brands for $1.3 billion dollars, divesting itself of its cookies and sweet brands as sugary fast foods seemed to be on the decline. Brands being sold include Keebler cookies as well as Mother’s and Famous Amos cookies. The Italian confectionary company Ferrero will acquire six manufacturing plants in the US from the deal.

3) The low cost Iceland air carrier WOW Airline, which started up in 2012, suddenly collapsed fiscally leaving an estimated 10,000 people stranded. The airline abruptly ceased operations by repeatedly delaying flights for hours on end, until finally announcing that all flights were canceled and customers would have to make other arrangements on their own. There had been rumors for the last several months of a possible sale of WOW Airline.

4) 1 APR 19 Stock market closings:

Dow           26,258.42     up    329.74
Nasdaq        7,828.91     up      99.59
S&P 500       2,867.19     up      32.79

10 Year Yield:    up   at    2.50%

Oil:    up   at    $61.77

5 December 2018

1) World stock markets fell dramatically, the Dow down 800 points, a result of uncertainty about China and American trade war.  There wasn’t any signing of agreements at G20, nor has China made any public statements about resolving the conflict since then, adding to the uncertainty.  Also contributing are fears of the American economy sliding downward in the near future.

2) A recall of 12 million pounds of beef because of salmonella outbreak, has stretched across the country.  So far, there has been 240 cases of infection in 6 states.

3) New carbon taxes in France aimed at reducing global warming effects has resulted in extensive riots forcing France to back off the taxes.

4) 4 DEC 18    Stock market closings:    The stock market is like a rectal thermometer- rude and crude, but surprisingly effective in showing sickness.

Dow                           25,027.07          down       799.36
Nasdaq                        7,158.43          down       283.09
S&P 500                       2,700.06          down          90.31

10 Year Yield:     down   at    2.92%

Oil:      down   at    $52.61

4 December 2018

1) Qatar announced they are dropping out of OPEC to focus on natural gas production, which is what their oil fields mostly produce.  Being a small producer of oil, Qatar considered itself too small to be a part of OPEC, despite being a member for 57 years.

2) For the best bets in the stock market during this next 90 days of trade war truce, experts are saying to watch where China spends money in the US that best strengthens it’s position with America.  Look for such things as agriculture products like pork and grains, and big ticket machinery such as construction equipment and aircraft.

3) Walmart is buying robots, autonomous floor scrubbing machines, and will have 360 units in stores by end of January.  Walmart is already using robots which scan for ‘out of stock’ items on shelves. Both robots operate by themselves on the store floor while customers are present.

4) 3 DEC 18      Stock market closings:    Oil prices rise as Saudi Arabia and Russia agree to limit oil production.

Dow                  25,826.43    up    287.97
Nasdaq               7,441.51    up    110.98
S&P 500              2,790.37    up       30.20

10 Year Yield:     down   at    2.99%

Oil:    up   at    $53.22

27 November 2018

1) Reports that the struggling retailer Sears was a ghost town on Black Friday is another sign of how Sears is struggling through the holiday season trying to remain in business.  Sears hasn’t turned a profit in 8 years.

2) GM announced layoffs of 15,000 employees of which 15% are salary and one fourth are executive staff.  Five GM plants will close this next year as GM abandons the traditional automotive sedans and invest in electric cars and autonomous driving cars, which they consider the future of automobiles.  Sales of the auto market in US is flattening.

3) Saudi Arabia raised oil production in November because of pressure from Washington to keep oil prices low as Iraq sanctions took effect.  But those sanctions have not been as sever, so the result has been a collapse of oil prices from a high of $85 down to $50.

4) 26 NOV 18     Stock market closings:    Stock prices are up because of the success of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Dow                    24,640.24     up    354.29
Nasdaq                 7,081.85     up    142.87
S&P 500                2,673.45     up      40.89

10 Year Yield:     up   at    3.07%

Oil:     down   at     $51.55

The Problems Millennials are Facing

A list of the problems the Millennials and Z-Generation are now facing in their future.

James Lyman BSAE, BSEE, MSSM

The youth of America, the millennials and Z-Generation, are now facing a number of serious problems that are shaping their lives and future, both near and far term.  Here is a short list of the most profound and critical problems they are facing:

1) Obsolescence Technology is growing exponentially, doubling every fifteen years.  Most Americans are failing to advance, that is, most have gone no further than the nineteenth century.  Therefore, more and more Americans are unable to make substantive contributions to society.

2) Technology Displacement Going hand in hand with Obsolescence is displacement by technology.  The replacement of humans by machines and technology, leaving people with minimal to no jobs.  Each passing day, more of America’s youth are not needed, not wanted, not having any real value to society.

3) Diminishing Resources The availability of resources such as natural minerals and resources, water, energy, oil . . . in particular the oil, and negative resources of pollution and trash is a continual source of problems for young Americans, both for shortages in domestic America and world competition to obtain and hold those resources.

4) Increasingly Threatening World With the end of the cold war, many felt that world peace was finally at hand, but increasingly there are threats of war across the world.  The Middle East, China and the Pacific Rim, Russia and the adjacent Eastern European countries, all are tender boxes where armed conflict can erupt. In these modern times, wars are no longer isolated affairs, instead ripples reach out across the world to affect other nations at least economically.

5) Fragile World Economies Much to the consternation of many Americans, young and old, America’s economy is tightly coupled with other country’s economies across the world, friend and foe. And it’s been this way since the start of the twentieth century, having become increasingly more interdependent.  The economies of countries such as Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal and China are prime examples of countries with fragile economies, where sever economic problems or collapse will have profound impact on many other countries including the United States.

6) Climate Change There is a lot of daily debate about global warming and climate change, much of it revolving around people’s aversions to the high technology world they are trying to live in.  What the scientist are saying in Scientific American and Science News is that yes, there probably is climate change, the extent and effects unknown, and yes human activity may be a factor, but how much is unknown.  As with so many problems, there is a false perception of climate change being a political problem.  It’s a political problem if and only if, the legislative process has significant control over the forces driving the problem.  Climate change is a result of massive over population of a species- and that’s US . . . the 7.5 billion humans now living. The political systems does not have any real control over the most important forcing function of this problem.

7) Government Nonperformance As with any other organization, the larger the organization becomes, the more sluggish and non-responsive it becomes. This very much holds true for governments . . . Federal, state and local. Nonperformance translates into not addressing problems faced by the people. You seldom hear any government people talking about things like technology displacement and obsolescence of people, indeed they are usually very careful to avoid the topics. Yet, these and other subjects are having a very profound effect on the future of most Americans, and the younger they are, the more likely a detrimental impact to their lives.

8) Stability of American Economy Probably the most important and critical factor for the young people of America is how stable the economy remains.  The near collapse of the world’s economies in 2008 shows how susceptible people of all economic strata, are to the stability of economies.  Anytime there are upheavals in the business world, then fissures and holes open up which allows technology to flow into the economy creating obsolete people and their displacement by technology.

There are other lesser problems on this list, but those listed above are most profoundly effecting the greatest number of people, and will most likely aversely impact the future of the millennials and Z-Generation.  While Obsolescence and Technology Displacement are at the top of the list, which they rightly should be, both are interleaved with all the other problems to some extent.  One factor that is greatly hindering any real progress in addressing these problems, is the assumption that all problems are a political problem which can be addressed with the techniques of political activism.  You see that with the global warming problem, where advocates are using the techniques of political activism, such as public education, spots on news stories to cultivate public opinion, countering any challenges in public debate, campaigning for political support and meeting with political leaders to garner their support. All fine and well, but as pointed out in item 6, Climate Change, the principle driving force of the problem is massive over population, and the political process has no real effective control over that.

And this highlights the real problem for millennials and the Z-generation, and that’s the poor education and problem solving skills of so may who are involved with the above list.  Failing to first identify the forces acting on a system shows a near complete lack of real problem solving skills, thus ensuring failure of any attempts to address problems.  And that’s really where the young of America stand today . . . a number of very serious problems which is detrimental to their generation . . . and no one able to really address any of those problems.

21 November 2018

New article posted below, titled “Recession Worries?”

1) Another major drop in the markets, with the Dow and S&P wiping out their 2018 gains. Oil is down, the biggest single day fall in 3 years.  Markets reacting to concerns of future higher interest rates and a slowing of international economics.

2) GM had offered salaried employees a buyout, but only a little over half the needed 7,000 employees have accepted, leading to fears of pending layoffs in January.

3) 20 NOV 18      Stock market closings:

Dow                   24,465.64        down        551.80
Nasdaq                6,908.82        down        119.65
S&P 500               2,641.89        down          48.84

10 Year Yield:     down   at    3.05%

Oil:            up   at    $53.57

14 November 2018

1) For the twelfth straight trading day oil prices have dropped, the steepest in 3 years.  US oil inventories are at record high.

2) Tesla’s Gigafactory produces more battery packs for electric vehicles than all the rest of the world combined.  Presently, Tesla is producing battery packs for $116 per kilowatt-hour while the average cost from other manufactures is $146 per kilowatt-hour.  Tesla expects cost to continue dropping.

3) While unemployment dropped to 3.7%, the cost of living has risen 14% over the last 3 years.  The median home price is up 21% over the same period.

4) 13 NOV 18    Stock market closings:  Volatile market fails to rebound.

Dow                                25,286.49                down        100.69
Nasdaq                             7,200.88                      up            0.01
S&P 500                            2,722.18                 down           4.04

10 Year Yield:       down   at    3.14%

Oil:         down   at      $55.61