13 January 2020

1) Several name brand products have decided to withdraw from Amazon for direct sales, the latest being Ikea, who started selling through Amazon in 2018. Other brand names such as Nike, Birkenstock and PopSockets are withdrawing too, considering it isn’t worth the hassle. There are growing fears that more big brands will flee the site, although their products can still be purchased through third party sellers on Amazon.

2) A ransom ware attack on foreign currency exchange company Travelex on New Year’s Eve has disrupted cash deliveries from its network of vaults to world banks. Banks in U.K. such as Barclays PLC, Lloyds Banking Group PLC and Westpac Banking Corp. are unable to take orders from customers in branches relying on Travelex services. Travelex was attacked with a ransom ware software virus called Sodinokibi often called Revil that locks up data via encryption.

3) Half the work force doesn’t expect to retire at age 65, while 13% don’t expect to retire at all. The average worker needs to have three quarters of a million dollars saved for retirement in order to maintain their standard of living. People are just not able to accumulate such wealth with conventional 401K plans, requiring significant additional investments by individuals. This is particularly difficult for middle and lower class American workers who are struggling to meet their basic livelihood expenses.

4) Stock market closings for – 10 JAN 20:

Dow            28,823.77    down    133.13
Nasdaq         9,178.86    down      24.56
S&P 500        3,265.35   down          9.35

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.82%

Oil:    down   at    $59.11

8 October 2019

1) GE (General Electric) announced they will freeze pensions for about 20,000 salaried U.S. employees in order to help the ailing conglomerate cut debt and reduce its retirement fund by $8 billion dollars. Presently, the company has $105.8 billion dollar debt. Their pension plans are among it biggest liabilities and is underfunded by about $27 billion dollars. This move will not effect present retirees who are collecting their pensions.

2) Twenty-one days into the strike, the UAW (United Auto Workers) and GM (General Motors) contract talks have taken a turn for the worse. The snag is product commitments for U.S. factories for new vehicles, engines, transmissions and other items represented by the union. GM is losing $80 million dollars a day, while striking workers are earning about one fifth their regular pay as $260 a month strike benefits.

3) The U.S. railroads slump is getting worse from the slowdown as manufacturing threatens U.S. economy. Trucking is also feeling a slowdown with less than truckload cargos decreasing, although long haul trucking seems to be holding up. Truck rates have dropped, which is pulling some freight business away from trains.

4) Stock market closings for – 7 OCT 19:

Dow                26,478.02    down    95.70
Nasdaq             7,956.29    down    26.18
S&P 500            2,938.79    down     13.22

10 Year Yield:    up   at    1.55%

Oil:    down   at    $52.80