4 June 2020

1) The stock market continues to climb, with some saying this signals the end of the recession. The S&P 500 has a return of 37.7% over the past 50 trading days, which is the largest 50 day rally in history. This rally is attributed to the quick response of the Federal Reserve, with a record $2 trillion dollar federal stimulus package. Another factor is the unlimited asset purchases by the Federal Reserve. While the shutdown depressed retail and airlines businesses, other parts of the economy saw a boost, such as Netflix, Amazon and Facebook. But there is still the record high of over 40 million workers idled by the pandemic, while the weakening in the Chinese’s economy coupled with the tensions between China and America could have a telling effect to the economic recovery.

2) There are fears of another round of layoffs in the later part of 2020, amid questions of where the economy will go in the next six to twelve months. Businesses are now reluctant to expand and hire new people, and may decide to contract thus being better able to weather economic hard times. There is also the unspoken problem of continued automation taking jobs as AI (Artificial Intelligence) and automation that experts predict will continual to sap jobs for the next decade. Automation gives companies an added advantage in surviving when the economy slows down, but a second wave of layoffs may trigger that slowdown.

3) The giant movie theater chain AMC has announced they doubt they can remain in business after the effects of the coronavirus shutdown. The company has problems with their liquidity, their ability to generate revenue and the timeline for reopening its theaters. The chain expects to lose $2.1 to $2.4 billion dollars for the first quarter, with the second quarter to be even worst. With all its theaters closed down, AMC is generating zero revenues. The major problem in reopening is having enough cash for operations until cash starts coming in again, and there is still questions of when theaters will be able to open again, especially if there are flare-ups of the virus.

4) Stock market closings for – 3 JUN 20:

Dow 26,269.89 up 527.24
Nasdaq 9,682.91 up 74.54
S&P 500 3,122.87 up 42.05

10 Year Yield: up at 0.76%

Oil: down at $36.75

MAJOR TECH COMPANIES ARE BETTING ON PODCASTS….

By: Economic & Finance Report

Major technology companies such as Spotify, Apple, BarStool Sports, and Amazon, are racking up their check books in investing in podcast shows and networks.

Amazon is utilizing Audible to attain podcast shows, while Apple is using its Apple TV shows and other Apple products for podcasting viability. BarStools Sports which began as a sporting blog, has utilized its strong sports platform in the podcasting space.

Over 100 million people in the United States listen to podcast shows, one way or another. The number seems to be increasing on rolling average basis according to analysts estimates. The way that traditional radio has been digressing, don’t be surprised as podcasting surpassing the new normal. -SB

_Listen to the #EFRPodcast & #TheCastPodcast shows on the cloud, soundcloud.com/Economic-FinanceReport

5 February 2020

1) As the coronavirus continues the slowing of China’s economy, coupled with a general slow down in world economies, world oil prices are dropping. China is the world’s largest oil importer, with speculation that if oil continues to drop, America can expect a drop in gasoline prices, possibly going below $2 a gallon.

2) The credit card company Visa is planning major changes to the rates U.S. merchants pay to accept its cards. These changes are the biggest changes in a decade, with Visa hoping to encourage people to abandon checks and cash. Higher rates are coming for transactions on e-commerce sites, while certain retailers such as real estate and education will see lower rates. Retailers have long complained about the $100 billion plus dollars they spend each year to accept electronic payments.

3) Ford Motor Co. has posted a fourth quarter loss and provided weaker than expected 2020 forecast due to continued higher warranty cost, lower vehicle volumes, lower results from Ford Credit branch, and higher investment in future transportation. This is coming at a time when Ford and other automakers are making huge investments in producing a line of electric cars and trucks. For the fourth quarter, Ford is reporting a net loss of $1.7 billion dollars, or 42 cents a share. Revenue for the fourth quarter was down 5% to $39.7 billion dollars.

4) Stock market closings for – 4 FEB 20:

Dow                   28,807.63    up    407.82
Nasdaq                9,467.97    up    194.57
S&P 500               3,297.59    up      48.67

10 Year Yield:    up   at    1.60%

Oil:    down   at    $49.45

17 January 2020

1) The trust funds for Social Security are in trouble and will run dry by 2035. But Social Security is not going bankrupt because the program’s primary source of revenue is payroll taxes, which at present is 12.4% of pay. So even if the trust fund should run out, Social Security still would have the money to largely keep up with benefits. A much greater danger for retirees is high inflation, for historically the first to suffer from a collapsing economy are those on fixed incomes.

2) The recently signed phase one agreement with China made for a cease-fire in the trade, but leaves the tariffs largely in place, with some considering the tariffs to be the new norm in international trade. China has committed to making $200 billion dollars in purchases from America. The agreement does not address the intellectual property issues, both the forced intellectual transfers and out right theft.

3) Claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, indicating a sustained strong labor market. Claims dropped 10,000 last week to 204,000 with the labor market remaining on a solid footing, the unemployment rate holding near a fifty year low of 3.5% for December. Layoffs were in manufacturing, transportation and warehousing.

4) Stock market closings for – 16 JAN 20:

Dow              29,297.64    up    267.42
Nasdaq          9,357.13    up      98.44
S&P 500         3,316.81    up      27.52

10 Year Yield:    up   at    1.81%

Oil:    up   at    $58.59

15 January 2020

1) J. P. Morgan Chase posted profit and revenue far in excess to analysts’ expectation at the end of 2019. Fourth quarter profit was up 21% to $2.57 a share compared with $2.35 estimates of analysts. The investment bank produced record revenue for the fourth quarter. Citigroup also beat estimates for profit and revenue, their fixed income trading revenue gaining 49%.

2) Consumer prices rose at the fastest pace in eight years, in 2019. The increase was driven by higher gasoline, health care and rent prices in addition to the biggest annual advance in inflation since 2011. The consumer price index rose 0.2% in December, while economist had forecast 0.3%. The cost of living in 2019 rose 2.3% from 2.1%. Price increase for food was mild, while prices fell for used vehicles and airline fares.

3) Three of China’s automakers are considering expanding into Mexico with factories. Car makers Changan, BYD (electric cars) and Anhui Jianghuai or JAC, who already has manufacturing facilities in Mexico, but is considering expanding. The companies are considering expansion sometime this next year. No comments on if and where cars will be exported to.

4) Stock market closings for – 14 JAN 20:

Dow                   28,939.67         up    32.62
Nasdaq                9,251.33    down    22.60
S&P 500               3,283.15    down      4.98

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.82%

Oil:    up   at    $58.14

ALIBABA CLOBBERS EARNINGS, MORE GROWTH EXPECTED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Image Photo Credit: Asia.Nikkei.com

By: Economic & Finance Report

Alibaba Holdings LTD (BABA) surpassed earnings expectations. The Asian e-commerce giant, stated that their retail business and their cloud business, were huge components in their earnings viability, while also beating estimates.

Their retail commerce business (BABA) spurned over $14 billion USD in revenue, while thier (BABA) cloud business did over $1 billion USD in revenue. At the end of the Friday Oct. 31, 2019 business day, BABA’s stock was up over 3%. Not a bad day for a major Chinese e-commerce business..SB

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

30 July 2019

1) The once high flying German Deutsche Bank has run aground rapidly slashing jobs and losing a ton of money. Stock for Germany’s biggest lender is trading at a near all time low. This is a result of poor management and failing to fully clean up its crisis era balance sheet. The banks restructuring efforts have fell short coupled with countless legal black eyes that have all contributed to the bank’s financial woes.

2) The pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Mylan have announced they are combining to create a global powerhouse in the low price drug market. Pfizer will gain most control of the company with 57% ownership, with Mylan shareholders owning the rest. Both companies lost exclusive manufacture rights from patent expirations, that were big money makers for the companies. Mylan, is the manufacturer of the emergency treatment for allergic reactions, the EpiPen. Mylan has recently been in the news for raising the price of EpiPens by 400%.

3) J.C. Penney, the 117 year old department store chain, is at risk of being de-listed from the New York Stock Exchange. To counter its downward spiral, the company has hired advisers to explore debt restructuring. Penney has $4 billion dollars in debt coming due in the next few years, while its revenues are increasingly being lost to sales on the internet and niche brands. Revenue has fallen over the last three years. The retail giant Sears has suffered similar troubles.

4) Stock market closings for – 29 JUL 19:

Dow                 27,221.35        up   28.90
Nasdaq               8,293.33   down   36.88
S&P 500              3,020.97   down     4.89

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.06%

Oil:    up   at    $57.13

SIRIUS XM TO BUY PANDORA

By: Economic & Finance Report

Sirius XM will be making a big acquisition in purchasing Pandora for a reported $3.5 billion dollars.

The deal seems to make sense since the growing competition in streaming services, such as Tidal, Apple Music, Spotify, and now YouTube Music, which  are all culminating new listeners and subscribership.

Sirius XM has a subscriber base of approx. 36 million and Pandora has a listener base of approx. 70 million and of those 70 million, 6 million are paid premium subscribers.

The buyout of Pandora will make Sirius XM the largest audio service network globally. -SB