10 October 2019

1) PG&E (Pacific Gas & Electric), the massive power supplier of California, has announced they are planning power outages for Northen and Central California which will effect an expected 800,000 customers in 31 counties to reduce the risk of wildfires in windy conditions. The Paradise fire and the 2017 Wind Country fires were ignited when wind blown power lines sparked. It is unknown what the economic impact will be from such a massive loss of electrical power that may last for days on end.

2) The prices for many popular drugs is rising far faster than inflation, more than twice the medical consumer price index since 2017. Prices may not be justified by clinical improvements to the drugs themselves. This is especially important for people with limited income, in particularly the elderly on fixed incomes who are the major consumer of drugs in America. This is at a time when President Trump is vowing to attack high drug prices in America.

3) American Airlines announced extensions of 737 MAX cancellations of flights through January 15, despite Boeing’s promises that the grounded jets would be flying again before year’s end. American said full year profit would be reduced by about $400 million dollars if the jet remained grounded through the second of November, and is likely to spill over into 2020.

4) Stock market closings for – 9 OCT 19:

Dow               26,346.01    up    181.97
Nasdaq            7,903.74    up      79.96
S&P 500           2,919.40    up      26.34

10 Year Yield:    up    1.59%

Oil:    down    $52.65

19 September 2019

1) The Federal Reserved voted for a quarter percent drop in the interest rate, bringing the ire of President Trump in a tweet, complaining the Feds lack the guts and vision to cut more. But the board surprised everyone by its divided vote, three of the members voted against a policy decision, while seven voted for it. This is considered an indication of how uncertain things are and just what the economic future holds. In response, the stock markets fell over the news of just a quarter percent rate reduction.

2) Some fear that parallels in the market signal the coming of another recession. These parallels include an inverted yield curve with the stock markets making new highs in July, followed by a correction in August, then a rally in early September. Additionally, growth is slowing. These same signs occurred in 2007 prior to sliding into a sever recession. All that is needed is a trigger such as the world oil supply.

3) As a result of the UAW (United Auto Workers) strike, GM (General Motors) announced 1,300 layoffs in their Oshawa plant in Canada. This is because GM plants in the US are shut down and unable to deliver needed parts and assemblies to the Canadian plant. This shows that the strike is spreading to other units of the automakers business.

4) Stock market closings for – 18 SEP 19:

Dow             27,147.08         up    36.28
Nasdaq          8,177.39    down      8.62
S&P 500         3,006.73          up      1.03

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.79%

Oil:    $58.25

17 September 2019

1) The drone attacks on two Saudi oil refineries has caused a jump in world oil prices. The strikes wiped out half of Saudi Arabia’s output capacity leading to fears of de-stabilization of the world’s crude producing region and therefore to the world’s economy. Prices for oil leaped with the opening of markets on Monday, the biggest jump in prices ever. President Trump claims that Iran was behind the attacks and that a coalition should be formed to counter the threat of Iran. The strike was made using 10 drones with the disruption surpassing the Kuwaiti invasion by Saddam Hussein in 1990.

2) UAW (United Auto Workers) workers at GM (General Motors) have gone on strike which has shut down the automakers highly profitable U.S. operations. Lost production is expected to cost GM $40 to $50 million dollars a day. There are a number of issues which GM and union officials said must be resolved before a new contract can be signed. The UAW wants to block the closing of plants engaged in manufacturing of sedans, which the company and other manufactures are discontinuing as the market goes to SUVs and crossover automobiles.

3) Gold and silver prices have surged from the global turmoil of Saudi oil attacks. Gold and silver are the traditional safe haven for investors in times of uncertainty. This gives further impetus to lower the interest rates by a quarter point to counter a slide into a recession.

4) Stock market closings for – 16 SEP 19:

Dow            27,076.82    down    142.70
Nasdaq        8,153.54    down      23.17
S&P 500       2,997.96    down        9.43

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.84%

Oil:    down   at    $61.90

9 September 2019

1) Several state attorney generals will investigate Facebook for possible stifling competition and putting users at risk. This comes after reports that Google will face antitrust investigations from state attorney generals. The investigations will center on actions that endangered consumer data, reduced the quality of consumers’ choices or increased the price of advertising. States investigating include New York, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and the District of Columbia.

2) President Trump unhappy at GM for decision to close four of its domestic auto plants. General Motors, which was once the giant automaker in Detroit, is now one of the smallest. GM has gone from 33 plants in the US to 29, but has an additional 27 manufacturing plants in China. Presently, GM sells more cars in China than it does in America. This accounts for $16 billion dollars in profit for GM.

3) The American consumer is carrying the U.S. economy in last quarter. The personal expenditures rose last quarter while business and residential investment, net exports and inventories have declined. There are concerns that consumers may rein in spending from fears of economic future. Global commerce is slowing, partly in response to the trade war, and without strong consumer spending it’s hard to see alternate sources of economic growth.

4) Stock market closings for – 6 SEP 19:

Dow               26,797.46         up     69.31
Nasdaq            8,103.07    down    13.75
S&P 500           2,978.71          up      2.71

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.55%

Oil:     up   at    $56.73

29 August 2019

1) Threat of a ‘no deal’ Brexit has the British pound falling relative to the US dollar and euro. The new British prime minister Boris Johnson announced the annual suspension of Parliament would be extended until 14 October, just two weeks before the UK is set to leave the European Union. This suspension is considered a move to block a no-deal Brexit within the UK parliament.

2) If General Motor exits from China, it will mean billions of dollars of profit lost. President Trump’s threatening order for American business to leave China would leave GM the hardest hit of the big three American automakers. While most of GM’s profits comes from North America, it makes about 43% of it annual auto sales in China. This would also mean the loss of all future growth potential, leaving it almost a North American only company, since GM has sold off its European operations.

3) The international gold market is falling prey to a forgery crisis. Gold bars are being stamped with logos of major refineries which makes them of questionable purity. These fake bars are being used as a means to launder cash money or trafficking illegally mined gold. The fakes became apparent when gold bars were found with identical serial numbers. In 2017 and 2018 there were 655 forged bars reported. Gold Kilobars are the most common form of gold in circulation and are worth about $50,000 each

4) Stock market closings for – 28 AUG 19:

Dow                26,036.10    up    258.20
Nasdaq             7,856.88    up      29.94
S&P 500            2,887.94    up      18.78

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.47%

Oil:    up   at    $55.90

21 August 2019

1) The Dollar has hit its highest value for 2019, as measured by the Bloomberg Dollar Index. This is when President Trump wants the Dollar value lowered to position America better in international trade. The President claims that the Dollar is so strong now, that it is hurting other parts of the world. He is even suggesting that the U.S. should actually weaken the Dollar, although this could turn the trade conflict into a currency war. Presently, the U.S. economy is doing much better than global peers, so it is unlikely to deteriorate faster than other countries and therefore is unlikely for the Dollar to weaken on its own accord.

2) The millennials are turning away from the large elaborate houses of the baby boomers in the sun belt. Houses built before 2012 are being sold at a deep discount, sometimes as much as a half, so owners are not making a profit. Large homes are receiving 12% to 45% fewer views on the internet and are selling up to 73% slower.

3) America’s steel giant, U.S. Steel announced layoffs of hundreds of its workers in Michigan. The layoffs are expected to be temporary because of a halt in production at the Michigan facility, while also idling two blast furnaces. The reason for production cutbacks is lower steel prices and softening demand. The layoffs are anticipated to last about six months. U.S. Steel’s stock has dropped 73% since March of 2018.

4) Stock market closings for – 20 AUG 19:

Dow              25,962.44    down    173.35
Nasdaq           7,948.56    down      54.25
S&P 500          2,900.51    down      23.14

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.56%

Oil:    down   at    $56.12

15 August 2019

1) Fears are growing that the world is moving towards an economic crisis, based on signs from Washington and Wall Street, starting with President Trump’s retreat from adding new tariffs. The stock market rose over the news meaning Christmas had been saved for this year’s sales. But the bond market wasn’t as optimistic, the rates dropping indicating a lack of confidence in the future economy. Called an inverted yield curve, it signals investors expect a weak growth and lower inflation over the years.

2) The troubling signals from the bond market caused the stock markets to drop, with the Dow dropping 800 points to erase all of Tuesdays gains. Worried about the state of the economy, investors are rushing to long term safe haven assets, pushing the yield on 30 year Treasury bonds to a new record low. The Cboe Volatility Index jumped to a high of 22.

3) The financial problems plaguing Boeing aircraft from the 737 MAX grounding may delay or even cancel Boeing’s next airliner design, the 797. A mid-size airplane, the aviation industry expected Boeing would go ahead with a new design, but the sever loses from the 737 MAX are now casting doubt on that happening, especially if the world economy does deteriorate. The 797 is expected to be a long range jet seating about 250 passengers. The design would make extensive use of light weight composites giving good fuel economy and range. Additionally, engineering resources are being pulled away from the 797 to work the 737 MAX problem.

4) Stock market closings for – 14 AUG 19:

Dow           25,479.42    down    800.49
Nasdaq        7,773.94    down    242.42
S&P 500       2,840.60    down      85.72

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.58%

Oil:    down   at    $54.95

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