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

1 October 2019

1) The crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has warned of astronomical oil prices if tensions escalate in the Persian Gulf. In a ‘60 Minute’ interview, the Prince called for strong and firm action to deter Iran and lessen the threat to world interests, so as to avoid disruptions of oil exports. The attacks on Saudi oil production facilities caused Brent crude to jump 19.5%, the biggest jump on record. The Middle East provides about 30% of the world’s energy supplies constituting about 4% of world GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

2) In order to avoid a quarterly decline in U.S. retail sales, automakers are offering big discounts to maintain sales growth. For the last three months, auto sales have flattened with average incentive spending rising 6% to more than $4,110 per vehicle, which is a third quarter record.

3) The fashion retailer Forever 21 Inc. has filed for bankruptcy protection and is the latest big fashion merchant who, like many other retailer chains, is unable to cope with high rents and heavy competition from e-commerce. The chain has 800 stores across the world, selling affordable but eye-catching designs, but has falling out of favor with the generation-Z consumers who turn to e-commerce. The bankruptcy will allow the company to reorganize and gain additional capital for operations.

4) Stock market closings for – 30 SEP 19:

Dow              26,916.83    up    96.58
Nasdaq           7,999.34    up    59.71
S&P 500          2,976.74    up    14.95

10 Year Yield:    unchanged   at    1.68%

Oil:    $54.29