25 March 2020

1) President Trump has proposed easing restrictions after the 15 day shutdown ends next week, to restart the devastated U.S. economy. But many states protest this as too soon, that the spread of the coronavirus will just resume with the efforts thus far wasted. The apex of the outbreak could still be 14 to 21 days away. So far, more than 42,000 Americans have contracted COVID-19 with about 620 having died. The World Health Organization warned that the United States could possible become the next epicenter of the pandemic. The virus has shuttered thousands of businesses, throwing millions out of work with state governors ordering about 100 million people (one third of the nation’s population) to stay at home. Economic activity has ground to a halt in major cities.

2) First economic data coming in shows the U.S. is now in a recession, with the biggest economic slump on record for March. Various metrics and indexes of economic activity show the same thing, as the economies (both U.S. and global) grind to a halt. Some consider that once the ‘shelter in place’ and ‘none essential business close’ orders are lifted, that world business will just spring back into action as if nothing had happened. But many economist consider the recession will just deepen with jobs already being slashed at a pace not witnessed since the 2009 global financial crisis. Small businesses don’t have the cash to weather even a short shutdown, and many will fail, which in turn will drag other larger businesses down too.

3) Due to the coronavirus, the revenues for the US Postal Service has drastically dropped off leaving the service short of cash needed for operations. There are warnings in Congress that the USPS may have to cease operations in June, forcing layoffs of thousands of postal employees. The service will require massive infusion of government funds to ensure continual operations necessary for American society. Additionally, postal workers are also falling victim to the infection with 13 already reported sick.

4) Stock market closings for – 24 MAR 20: The Dow had its single largest point gain in a single day.

Dow 20,704.91 up 2112.98
Nasdaq 7,417.86 up 557.18
S&P 500 2,447.33 up 209.93

10 Year Yield: up at 0.82%

Oil: up at $24.33

24 March 2020

1) The International Monetary Fund stated the global recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic could be worse than the global financial crisis of 2008-9. However, the world economic output should recover in 2021 because of the extraordinary fiscal actions already being taken by many countries and their central banks. But for a 2021 recovery, countries need to prioritize containment and strengthen health systems.

2) The U.S. is entering a recession, but the ultimate fear is a protracted malaise akin to a depression. Some prominent economy watchers are drawing comparisons to the Great Depression, although falling short of forecasting another one, based on the fact that the world has not seen a synchronized interruption in economic output in decades as was seen with the Great Depression. The U.S. will suffer a huge economic contraction as businesses close and Americans stay home, with some estimates that the economy will have the worst quarter since 1947.

3) Most U.S. small businesses have only days to stay afloat amid the coronavirus crisis. Only about half of the 30 million small businesses in America have a 15 day cash reserve needed to survive. The shelter in place orders have cut business revenues to near zero almost over night. Particularly hard hit is the service industries such as restaurants, landscaping, personal services and salons. These small businesses employ about 60 million people, or half of American’s work force. Many of the businesses were already operating on razor thin margins before the virus crisis. With so little cash reserves, they are forced to immediately reduce hours or layoff employees to survive.

4) Stock market closings for – 23 MAR 20:

Dow 18,591.93 down 582.05
Nasdaq 6,860.67 down 18.84
S&P 500 2,237.40 down 67.52

10 Year Yield: down at 0.76%

Oil: up at $24.24

23 March 2020

1) The shutting down of many of American service industries is having an effect on America’s hard pressed trucking industry. Suddenly, there are fewer hauling jobs, a result of the coronavirus control measures. There are 300,000 to 400,000 thousand truck drivers who own their trucks and don’t have much protection if rates or demand for their service falls. Trucking is often considered a leading economic indicator where the rest of the economy is heading, because 71% of the freight in America is moved by trucks. A downturn in freight being hauled indicates the economy is slumping.

2) President Trump says the U.S. may be headed for a recession for the first time in eleven years as the coronavirus cripples the world economies which in turn can pull the U.S. economy down despite it being strong. Experts anticipate America will enter a recession in the upcoming second quarter, from April through June, with a decline of 4% to 8% annual pace. The unemployment rate could zoom up to 6% from its current fifty year low of 3.5%, which would hinder a recovery. Typically, economic hard times opens the way for new technologies to displace workers as business strive for ways to reduce cost and remain profitable.

3) The Department of Labor reported a 30% increase in unemployment claims, which is one of the largest spikes in claims. This signals the start of feared layoffs in response to the coronavirus impact on the economy. As more businesses are vastly reducing or stopping operations, they have no real choice but to lay off workers in the hope of surviving the coming economic storm. America’s oil industry is facing massive layoffs with tens of thousands being laid off in the shale fields like the Permian Basin as oil prices drop to alarming lows. No longer profitable to pump out shale fields and strapped with high levels of debt, the oil companies are facing bankruptcy. Six years ago, a sharp price drop in oil cost 200,000 oil workers their jobs.

4) Stock market closings for – 20 MAR 20: The Dow had its worst month since 1931.

Dow 19,173.98 down 913.21
Nasdaq 6,879.52 down 271.06
S&P 500 2,304.92 down 104.47

10 Year Yield: down at 0.94%

Oil: down at $23.64

13 February 2020

1) NASA (National Air and Space Administration) has asked for a 12% increase to give a $25.2 billion dollar budget for next year. Nearly half of this years proposed budget is for NASA’s lunar project with much of the money going to the biggest American space companies. Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Aerojet Rocketdyne will be the primary beneficiaries with $1.4 billion dollars going to the Orion spacecraft and $2.26 billion dollars for the Space Launch System. There is $3.37 billion dollars proposed to fund a crewed lunar lander system.

2) Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell suggest that the central bank may not have the ability to fight the next recession and therefore Congress may need to get ready to help. This is a result of the already low interest rate, one of the prime tools used by the central bank to counter recession trends. Tax cuts and government spending increases may be necessary to fight a downturn, for there is little else the central bank has to counter a recession.

3) The giant aircraft maker Boeing Aircraft is facing bigger problems than just fixing its 737MAX and getting it certified to fly. The company needs to be focused on its next generation of passenger aircraft. Boeing didn’t get any new orders for aircraft in January compared with 45 orders last year, while delivering 13 airliners compared with 46 last January. Boeing is falling behind its rival Airbus and must build its next generation of planes to remain competitive. This means getting its 777X finished and ready for delivery with its other wide body plane, the 787 Dreamliner. In the background is a possible new design concept the 797.

4) Stock market closings for – 12 FEB 20:

Dow 29,551.42 up 275.08
Nasdaq 9,725.96 up 87.02
S&P 500 3,379.45 up 21.70

10 Year Yield: up at 1.63%

Oil: up at $51.69

21 January 2020

1) As Boeing’s 737 MAX crisis continues, Boeing is talking with banks to borrow $10 billion dollars or more to finance the rising cost from its 737 MAX woes. So far, the company has borrowed $6 billion dollars to cover its cash-sapped operations after having suspended production of the planes this month. The crisis which grounded the 737 MAX is now entering its eleventh month.

2) The global auto industry continues its downward slide into deeper recession with sales down 4%. Automakers are struggling to find buyers in China and India, with the downward trend expected to continue this year. The number of vehicles sold dropped from 94.4 million down to 90.3 million last year, with the record high in 2017 of 95.2 million. The IMF says new autos account for 5.7% of economic output and 8% of the goods exported. Autos are the second largest consumer of steel and aluminum.

3) Because of unrest in Iraq and Libya, oil rose to its highest in more than a week. Oil prices have always been heavily influenced by geopolitical instability, especially those countries heavily involved with oil exports. Lybia has Africa’s largest oil reserves, with their Sharara oil field being Lybia’s largest by pumping 300,000 barrels a day.

4) Stock market closings for – 20 JAN 20:

Dow              29,348.10    up    50.46
Nasdaq          9,388.94    up     31.81
S&P 500         3,329.62    up    12.81

10 Year Yield:    up   at    1.84%

Oil:    down   at    $58.70

1 November 2019

1) The international auto makers Fiat-Chrysler and Peugeot, which is owned by PSA group of France, have agreed to merge. This deal will create one of the world’s largest auto makers by volume, having a market value of $48.4 billion dollars. The focus on the Jeep sport-utility vehicles and RAM trucks account for the majority of Fiat-Chrysler’s profit, helping to offset the Fiat brand.

2) New data shows that low income people are more likely to shop at Family Dollar and Dollar General than at Walmart, the traditional retailer for the poor. Low income is considered those with household incomes below $50 thousand dollars. The data was obtained by measuring location data from 50 million mobile devices. The Dollar General chain has 16,000 stores in 44 states and the Dollar Tree has 15,115 stores in the U.S. and Canada, while Walmart has 4,700 stores.

3) Five months of protests has brought Hong Kong’s economy into a recession with a sharp contraction in the third quarter. The economy is being driven completely by social events, so traditional economic measures to reverse a recession, such as cutting interest rates, should have little effect. So far, the city hasn’t seen significant capital outflow from the unrest, something many feared when protest demonstrations started. One major factor in determining if Hong Kong will recover is how soon mainland Chinese tourist will return. There is no signs of the protest coming to an end.

4) Stock market closings for – 31 OCT 19:

Dow            27,046.23    down    140.46 
Nasdaq         8,292.36    down      11.61
S&P 500        3,037.56    down        9.21

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.69%

Oil:    down   at    $54.16

31 October 2019

1) The Federal Reserve has cut interest rates for the third time this year to ensure the U.S. economy weathers a global trade war without a recession. While the feds signaled the rate cut cycle might be at a pause, there is signs for a future rate cut if need be. The markets have shown little response to the cut because the action was widely expected. While unemployment is near a 50 year low, inflation is moderate while gross domestic product grew at 1.9% in the third quarter, parts of the economy like manufacturing having slowed as well as the global economy.

2) A new kind of consumer debt is gaining popularity, called the Online Installment Loan. It is a longer maturity loan unlike the payday loans, but also comes with the triple digit interest rates. Unlike the payday loans aimed at the nation’s poor, these loans are targeting the working class who have amassed debt over years. The installments generate much greater revenue for loan companies than the payday loans, with loan amounts much larger.

3) While the U.S. economy continues growing, with unemployment at a half century low, factory activity has contracted for two consecutive months. Manufactures of consumer goods are still stronger, while those manufactures engaged in global markets are feeling the effects of trade wars and profound uncertainly of the future. Thousands of factory workers have been laid off in the mid-west with factory wages being higher than average, as well as higher benefits than other jobs not requiring a college degree..

4) Stock market closings for – 30 OCT 19:

Dow                  27,186.69    up    115.27
Nasdaq               8,303.98    up      27.12
S&P 500              3,046.77    up         9.88

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.80%

Oil:    down   at    $54.90

9 October 2019

1) The pizza giant Domino’s had been the darling of Wall Street, with its soaring sales, but its growth has gone stale. The company’s reported revenue and profit missed Wall Street’s forecast with its stock sagging. The same-store sales grew just 2.4% compared with last years 6.3%. Domino’s operates in 85 countries with 10,000 stores outside of the U.S., which generate half of its revenues.

2) Boeing aircraft has got its first 737 MAX order since the crashes forced grounding of all 737 MAX aircraft. Boeing’s net order tally, including cancellations, was a negative 84 for the first nine months of 2019. In addition, Southwest Airlines’ pilots union has filed a law suit against Boeing for damages caused by the prolonged grounding of its 737 MAX, claiming loss of pay to its pilot from canceled flights and seeing $115 million dollars in compensation.

3) Duke University professor Campbell Harvey, the father of the yield curve and pioneer of the economic forecasting model, says to prepare for a recession. He based his prediction on inverted curves, which happen when short term Treasury yields are higher than those with longer duration, which his research indicates the coming of a recession.

4) Stock market closings for – 8 OCT 19:

Dow                     26,164.04    down    313.98
Nasdaq                  7,823.78    down    132.52
S&P 500                 2,893.06    down      45.73

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.54%

Oil:    down   at    $52.57

3 October 2019

1) Despite positive last quarters, both General Motors and Ford Motor company’s are concerned about the U.S. auto market taking a turn for the worse. Shares for the two automakers, as well as Fiat Chrysler, fell because of smaller figures for the quarter, although smaller than market analysis projected. There are also concerns of the overall impact from a slowing U.S. and international economies with the impact it would have on new car sales.

2) For the second day, the stock markets nose dived with the Dow losing more than 800 points these last two days. Fears of an economic recession cause the Dow to lose 490 points on Wednesday, with indications that manufacturing is slowing down, and even though manufacturing accounts for only 10% of the economy, investors see this as an indication that the economy is contracting soon with a possible recession in the near future.

3) With the markets in decline, there is a lot riding on the up coming job numbers this Friday. Fears of a coming recession could be reinforced with poor job numbers signaling that a recession is nearing. So far, there is little evidence of layoffs on the rise despite scattered reports that more companies are cutting jobs.

4) Stock market closings for – 2 OCT 19:

Dow           26,078.62    down    494.42
Nasdaq        7,785.25    down   123.44
S&P 500       2,887.61    down     52.64

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.60%

Oil:    down   at    $52.47

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