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

23 July 2019

1) Despite the world wide forces that normally pushes oil prices higher, the oil markets remain surprisingly flat. Available oil has dropped with the embargos on Venezuela and Iran, plus tensions over the Strait of Hormuz which would have normally pushed oil prices up. But at the same time, consumption has dropped with China leading the way, plus U.S. oil production continues to creep up. The International Energy Agency recently cut its expectations for global demand for 2019 and 2020.

2) Ford Motor Company stumbles in its attempt for global growth, in particular in trying to expand its market in China. Ford’s auto sales in China are down 27% for the first six months. Ford is being threatened by much improved Chinese’s domestic brands, resulting in a speedy and deep decline in Ford’s sales in China. So Ford is now counting on introducing new-models to revive its sales. Auto sales in China are softening as the Chinese economy slows and with the uncertainty over trade relations with America.

3) American farmers now facing a third obstacle to profits with a stifling heat wave spreading across the continent this summer. First, farmers faced the trade war with China imposing counter tariffs which dropped the demand for food products from one of their biggest customers. Then torrential rains flooded farmland delaying planting of crops and harvesting. Now droughts threaten to severely limit production and harvests. Many farmers may be facing financial disaster by the end of this year, not having the monetary resources to hold out for a better next year.

4) Stock market closings for – 22 JUL 19:

Dow             27,154.20    down    68.77
Nasdaq         8,146.49    down    60.75
S&P 500        2,976.61    down    18.50

10 Year Yield:    up   at    2.05%

Oil:    up   at    $55.74

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

21 June 2019

1) Boeing has landed a$24 billion dollar contract from IAG SA, the owner of British Airways, to purchase 737 MAX airliners. Rival builder Airbus has vowed to fight the agreement since they never received an RFP (Request For Proposal) for making a bid on the contract. The secret negotiations between Boeing and IAG was the bomb shell surprise coming out of the Paris air show this week. This sale comes as a major endorsement to Boeing’s 737 MAX to reestablish Boeing as a major supplier of airliners.

2) The price of crude oil shot up 5% over news that Iran has shot down a American drone aircraft, fueling additional fears of a US-Iran military confrontation. The drone was shot down by a surface to air missile while flying over international airspace of the Strait of Hormuz. This is another move by Iran to control the seaway and thus control the flow of oil in an effort to force the U.S. to abandon its crippling economic sanctions.

3) The cost of opening a major fast food franchise in terms of liquid assets can be as much as a million dollars or more. You must have $500,000 cash to open a McDonald’s, $750,000 to open a Taco Bell and $2 million dollars to open a Wendy’s. Startup costs exceed a million dollars for most major fast food chains in America, with additional monthly fees for royalties, advertising and services, which can add up to 10% of gross sales.

4) Stock market closings for- 20 JUN 19:

Dow            26,753.17    up    249.17
Nasdaq         8,051.34    up      64.02
S&P 500        2,954.18    up      27.72

10 Year Yield:     down   at    2.00%

Oil:    up   at    $57.16

13 June 2019

1) Demand for oil is shrinking as the trade war causes the world economies to retract. China’s economy is slowing faster than experts had expected, with the EU and US also not growing in oil demand. Fears that oil prices will drop below $40 a barrel fuel fears of a continual global slowing of economies. The U.S. boom in domestic oil production using fracking is dependent on high oil prices, and with American petroleum stocks at an all time high, it may not be feasible to continue fracking.

2) With mortgage rates dropping to their lowest level in nearly two years, there has been a surge in refinancing applications. In just one week, applications increased 26.8%, which is 41% greater than a year ago. Refinance mortgages are the most rate-sensitive because when low, people rush to refinance while they can get the lower rates.

3) For the second straight month, Boeing aircraft reports no new aircraft sales. The drop isn’t just because of the 737 MAX grounding, but the company already has a massive 5,000 aircraft backorder to fill, so many customers don’t need to place additional orders. With the airline Jet Airways halting operations, their pending sales contracts have been canceled, which totaled 71 aircraft.

4) Stock market closings for- 12 JUN 19:

Dow           26,004.83    down    43.68
Nasdaq        7,792.72 down    29.85 
S&P 500          2,879.84    down      5.88 

10 Year Yield:   down   at    2.13% 

Oil:    down   at    $51.08

24 May 2019

1) Oil prices dropped liked a brick in its worst day of trading in 2019, the result of jitters over trade with China. The price of oil serves as a barometer to the world economic outlook, with a slowing of the world economy translating into a lesser demand for oil and therefore lower oil prices. The situation is aggravated by a surprise jump in American crude stockpile, with inventories up by 4.7 million barrels. The stock market reflected the world economic situation by massive drops too.

2) Panasonic electronics is joining a growing list of firms distancing themselves from Huawei, by stopping their supplying of some electronic parts to Huawei. Companies are declining to do business with Huawei because of warnings from U.S. intelligence that Huawei presences a security risk with their new 5G technology, which will allow the Chinese military to use smart phones to gather foreign intelligence.

3) President Trump announced $16 billion dollars in farm aid to offset the losses by farmers in the ten month long trade war. Distribution of aid payments will be based on where they farm rather than what crops they till. Farmers were a key constituency that help bring victory to President Trump, and they have been the hardest hit from the trade wars with China. China used to import 60% of U.S. soy bean production.

4) 23 May 19 Stock market closings: Dow tumbles 400 points as trade war worries continue.

Dow            25,490.47     down    286.14
Nasdaq         7,628.28     down    122.56
S&P 500        2,822.24     down      34.03

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.30%

Oil:    up   at    $58.19

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