22 June 2020

1) Oil has passed$40 a barrel, continuing a slow but steady recovery. This could be signaling a reawakening of the U.S. shale oil production. This rally allows the oil industry some breathing room with its high debt burden as the shale oil industry seeks to rebuild after the worst price collapse in a generation. This is far different than earlier this year when oil producers were paying to have their oil taken away. OPEC+ continues efforts to re-balance the global oil market, now abundantly clear that everyone loses in a price war.

2) More encouraging economic news with Ford Motor and Fiat Chrysler returning to pre-coronavirus pandemic production schedules in their American plants. Ford plans to fully return to production levels by July 6 while also ramping up their production facilities in Mexico. Although not given any firm dates, Fiat Chrysler is also returning to former production levels as rapidly as possible.

3) Experts are predicting the restaurant business, as we know it, is coming to an end because of the Convid-19 crisis. The industry generates $900 billion dollars a year, employs 15 million people, which is 15 times more than the airline business, which many are so concerned about now. Estimates vary widely of 20 to 80% of the privately own restaurants succumbing to the pandemic. The big franchise restaurant chains are expected to mostly survive and continue, but the independents are expected to fade out. One factor is change, which is coming too fast for small operations to adapt and keep pace with. The general consensus is that the business was in trouble long before the pandemic, struggling with poor working conditions, very thin profit margins, low wages and increasing competition. But it’s not just the restaurants themselves, for behind them is farming, distribution, suppliers and commercial real estate. It’s apparent that the demise of a significant number of independent restaurants will spell a significant change to the American business environment.

4) Stock market closings for – 19 JUN 20:

Dow 25,871.46 down 208.64
Nasdaq 9,946.12 up 3.07
S&P 500 3,097.74 down 17.60

10 Year Yield: unchanged 0.70%

Oil: up at $39.43

10 April 2020

1) Jerome H. Powell, the Federal Reserve Chair, said the U.S. economy is in an emergency, which is deteriorating with alarming speed. His remark comes after unveiling over $2 trillion dollars in new loans to keep the economy afloat, a result of the coronavirus shutdown. America is moving from the lowest unemployment in fifty years to a very high unemployment in just weeks. Claims for unemployment aid is now up to 17 million and still climbing as more businesses fight to survive. It is expected the U.S. economy may shrink by more than 30% between April and the end of June. The Fed will soon begin purchasing up to $750 billion dollars in corporate loans from big businesses who have a low investment grade, in the hopes of preventing their bankruptcy bringing further damage to the American economy. The Feds are making a wide range of loans to various size businesses which it doesn’t expect to get paid for. No one is making estimates on how extensive this will ultimately be to the American economy.

2) Although Saudi Arabia and Russia have reached an agreement on limiting oil production, it’s not yet known just how large those reductions are going to be, so oil prices had turned negative while awaiting details of OPEC+ cuts in oil production. The general consensus is each nation will cut production by 10 million barrels a day, but with world oil consumption way down because of the pandemic, it’s not certain if the OPEC+ cuts will have much effect, especially for U.S. domestic oil production (shale oil).

3) The Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin considers it may be possible for the U.S. to be open and back to business next month, considering it’s just a matter of medical considerations. The administration is doing everything possible for business to resume as soon as the ‘all clear’ is sounded and they have the necessary liquidity to operate. The president is forming a second taskforce charged with addressing the economic devastation which the virus has wrought and take measure to resume economic activity as soon as possible.

4) Stock market closings for – 9 APR 20:

Dow 23,719.37 up 285.80
Nasdaq 8,153.58 up 62.67
S&P 500 2,789.82 up 39.84

10 Year Yield: down at 0.73%

Oil: down at $23.19

9 March 2020

1) The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) will vote later this month on rules requiring all providers of phone service to implement automatic call blocking. This automatic technology will block illegal robocalls, that is, the automatic calling of people with a prerecorded message or to connect the person to a salesman. This will give phone and cable companies until June 20, 2021 to implement. This blocking technology is called STIR/SHAKEN protocol that authenticates the origin of a call and can automatically block it if it’s from an illegal robocaller.

2) The U.S. credit markets of bonds are suffering their worst day in a decade as fears increase over the spreading coronavirus and it’s possible effects on corporate income as well as their ability to repay debt. Bonds of American Airlines Group Inc. dropped to near distressed levels as companies worldwide canceled business travel. Other travel related bonds, such as rental car and cruise line companies, as well as energy companies, their bonds and loans fell further towards distressed levels. The selling off of bonds triggered a surge in derivative indexes that investors use to hedge against losses. The week has seen the most cash in at least ten years being withdrawn from funds buying corporate bonds and loans.

3) There are fears that the unraveling of the Saudi-Russia alliance will cause the biggest plunge of oil prices since 2015. Talks between members of the OPEC+ collapsed in Vienna, with members free to pump oil without any restrictions starting next month. The collapses is a result of Russia’s refusal to accept Saudi Arabia’s proposal for output cuts aimed at offsetting the coronavirus crisis’s impact on demand. Oil futures have plunged about 9% in New York and London.

4) Stock market closings for – 6 MAR 20:

Dow 25,864.78 down 256.50
Nasdaq 8,575.62 down 162.98
S&P 500 2,972.37 down 51.57

10 Year Yield: down at 0.71%

Oil: down at $41.57

3 January 2020

1) Major drug makers such as Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi have plans to raise drug prices on more than 200 drugs in the United States. Nearly all of the price increases will be below 10%, with about half in the range of 4 to 6%. With soaring prescription drug prices a central issue in the presidential election, the move promises to bring the issue front and center to the American public.

2) The year’s first five days of stock markets is often an indicator of how the market will go for the year. On the first trading day of 2020, stocks jumped up, and if the next four secession are also upwards, stock traders anticipate another good year for the markets. Last year, 2019, started out the same way, rebounding from the worst December since the Great Depression.

3) OPEC’s output drop last month as several Persian Gulf producers stepped up their implementation of cutbacks. The reduced oil production is aimed at balancing global oil markets by reducing a new surplus forming. Cutbacks started in 2019, will continue in 2020 with more and deeper cuts expected for this year. Next meeting of the oil alliance is early March.

4) Stock market closings for – 2 JAN 20:

Dow            28,868.80    up    330.36
Nasdaq         9,092.19    up    119.59
S&P 500        3,257.85    up      27.07

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.88%

Oil:    down   at    $61.18

5 December 2019

1) The oil cartel OPEC and their allies are being called on for dramatic action to avert a crash in oil prices. They are being called on to cut production of crude oil to keep oil prices high, while the world is facing a looming flood of oil from American production. If they don’t restrict production, the world faces an oversupply of about 800,000 barrels per day in the first half of 2020.

2) Businesses are under a constant threat of ransomware attacks with increasing consequences of financial loses. Every business or organization from large corporations, health care systems, universities and small businesses are at risk. These targets must use defensive methods, but those costs time, money and resources to do. The FBI estimates there are several thousand ransomware attacks each day.

3) Stock market closings for – 4 DEC 19:

Dow             27,649.78    up    146.97
Nasdaq          8,566.67    up      46.03
S&P 500         3,112.76    up      19.56

10 Year Yield:    up   at    1.78%

Oil:    up   at    $56.32

2 July 2019

1) At a time when auto sales are slowing or even sagging, pickup truck sales continue to rise even with hefty yearly price increases. The industry average for full size pickups is $45,260 in 2019. Chevrolet has announced an all new version of its Silverado that tops the $100,000 price. Profit margins for pickups are large compared with standard automobiles, about $10,000 per truck, with high end trucks bringing as much as $20,000.

2) Importers are dodging the tariffs on Chinese goods by entering the U.S. via third countries such as Vietnam. This practice is called transshipment where Chinese goods are minimally processed or altered in a third country then shipped to America as exports from that third country. The administration has spent this last year investigation strategies to best counter this ploy, which cost America billions of dollars in uncollected tariffs.

3) As global demand for oil weakens amid America’s shale oil boom, OPEC considers extending its production cuts for another nine months. The supply growth in oil is expected to exceed the demand growth for 2020 with OPEC members wanting to get ahead of the situation to avoid a drastic drop in world oil prices. Russia in particular is pushing for extension as it strives to raise its production capacity.

4) Stock market closings for- 1 JUL 19:

Dow                 26,717.43    up    117.47
Nasdaq              8,091.16    up      84.92
S&P 500             2,964.33    up      22.57

10 Year Yield:    up   at    2.03%

Oil:    up   at    $59.19

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

17 April 2019

1) The Russian company Rusal plans to build an up-to-date $200 million dollar aluminum rolling mill in Kentucky, which they intend to start construction of after sanctions have been lifted. The mill will provide about 1,500 jobs and is expected to open in 2021.

2) Gasoline prices are quickly rising to the three dollar a gallon mark, even four dollars for parts of California. This rise in price is attributed to several different factors, such as problems with loss of refinery capacity, reduced production from OPEC, higher domestic consumption, flooding reducing grain production for ethanol and sanctions on oil exporting countries.

3) Donations are already coming in to restore Notre Dame less than twenty-four hours after the fire. So far, several billionaires have contributed $700 million dollars to restore the 850 year old church. No doubt, the restoration will require substantially more money and will probably take decades to accomplish.

4) 16 APR 19 Stock market closings:

Dow            26,452.66    up    67.89
Nasdaq         8,000.22    up    24.21
S&P 500        2,907.06    up      1.48

10 Year Yield:    up   at    2.59%

Oil:    up   at    $64.29

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

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