12 July 2019

1) The production of the Volkswagen Beetle, probably the most recognized automobile in the world, is coming to an end at their Puebla, Mexico plant on Wednesday. The demand for the iconic automobile has been squashed by years of low gasoline prices and the market shift to SUVs and pickups. In its place, VW is manufacturing a version of the Chinese SUV, the Tharu, but will be a beefed up version to be called the Tarek.

2) The Consumer Price Index edged upwards while the inflation rate remains steady. The index rose 0.1% in June with low gas prices being offset by higher rents and auto cost. However, core inflation rose 0.3%, which is the largest increase in eighteen months. This persistently low inflation is justification for lowering the short term interest rates. Usually, a low jobless rate forces employers to increase pay to get workers, and in turn they must raise their prices to pay the extra labor cost.

3) Dollar General is changing its marketing strategy to attract wealthier customers by expanding into home furnishings, kitchenware and party supplies. Their strategy, which built the highly successful retailer, had been to focus on selling cheap consumables such as food, cleaning and household supplies and personal care products, which have a low margin. Dollar General will now carry products with higher margin such a pillows, candles, home decorations, gift bags and wrapping paper.

4) Stock market closings for – 11 JUL 19: Oil prices jump as approaching a storm shuts down energy operations in the Gulf. The Dow broke the 27,000 mark for the first time.

Dow            27,088.08         up   227.88
Nasdaq         8,196.04    down       6.49
S&P 500        2,999.91         up        6.84

Year Yield:    up   at    2.12%

Oil:    up   at    $60.43

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