20 April 2020

1) The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent ‘sheltering in place’ is changing the American supermarkets. Online shopping of groceries had been somewhat of an awkward luxury service, that was growing ever so slowly, despite efforts of retailers to promote the new service. But the lockdown, stay at home orders have catapulted the service forward by up to a fifty times (not percent) increase in usage. Stores have been left struggling to meet the demand with many unable to keep up with that demand. When the pandemic ends, it will have forever changed the supermarket for many Americans, for once customers have used and got use to the service, then they will most likely continue using online grocery shopping, at least in part. But online shopping eliminates one of the big mainstays of modern supermarkets, the psychology of shopping with the browsing and impulse buying. The counter to this is automation which reduces the staff and labor cost of traditional retail stores, just as Amazon has done with dry goods.

2) The Chinese maker of driverless cars, Pony.ai, has launched a delivery service in Irvine California using its robot cars to deliver to people stuck at home from the virus. Teaming up with the e-commerce site Yamibuy, orders from Yamibuy get delivered to the customers homes. Each car can deliver between 500 to 700 packages a day. A year ago the company launched a robo-taxi service in Irvine, but with the ‘shelter in place’ order, their taxis were repurposed for deliveries.

3) Everyone is baffled over how the stock market continues to hold, even climbing, with what is happening today. For example-
a) Unemployment is now at 22 million and still climbing
b) Threat of large numbers of businesses going bankrupt
c) Recession starting, which most expect will last at least 12 months
d) Automation expected to eliminate up to 50% of jobs in 15 to 25 years
e) Global coronavirus cases surpass 1.5 million and continue growing
At a time when the markets would normally be crashing down from all the uncertainty, what is holding them up? Experts think because of the quick reaction of the government in passing the $2.2 trillion dollar economic stimulus waylaid market fears by showing something is being done. Also, Warren Buffett’s axiom, “Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy only when others are fearful.” Finally, the ‘social distancing’ measures seems to be controlling the virus, thereby lessening its economic effects in the long run.

4) Stock market closings for – 17 APR 20:

Dow 24,242.49 up 704.81
Nasdaq 8,650.14 up 117.78
S&P 500 2,874.56 up 75.01

10 Year Yield: up at 0.65%

Oil: down at $18.12

8 January 2020

1) Coal consumption in America dropped sharply last year, reaching its lowest level since 1975, with power plants switching to cheaper natural gas and renewables. This shift has cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than 10%, but other sources also contribute to growing planet warming pollution last year. The U.S. is the second largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world, as well as other greenhouse warming gases, contributing 14% of all annual greenhouse emissions.

2) The federal government is close to selling a group of nursing homes it took over eighteen months ago, a result of the biggest default in the history of a government mortgage insurance program which provides critical support to the nursing home industry. The previous owner defaulted on $146 million dollar worth of mortgages leaving the government to take possession of the facilities, which they have been working to find new owner-operators.

3) A new pizza making robot was unveiled at this year’s CES (Consumer Electronis Show) in Las Vegas, which attracts 200,000 people across the world. The machine is placed adjacent to the oven so pizzas automatically go in for cooking. The robot can make up to 300 12 inch customized pizzas an hour, while making consistent pies. Several companies are engaged in developing pizza robots including Little Caesar’s and Domino’s. The robots for the fast food industry is growing in response to demands for a minimum wage of $15 an hour for restaurant workers.

4) Stock market closings for – 7 JAN 202:

Dow                28,583.68    down    119.70
Nasdaq            9,068.58    down        2.88
S&P 500           3,237.18    down        9.10

10 Year Yield:    up   at    1.83%

Oil:    up   at    $63.21 

19 June 2019

1) The pizza giant Domino’s will test pizza delivery using fully autonomous vehicles in Houston. Domino’s has been exploring this technology for the last two years with robot cars that had standby drivers for safety, but these robots will be human free. The Silicon Valley startup Nuro, who has been working with the grocery chain Kroger testing home delivery service, will provide the automobiles. Customers will be able to make orders via their smart phones, track progress of the cars, then use their smart phone to unlock the robot car to obtain their pizza.

2) Boeing Aircraft Co., the manufacture of the grounded 737 MAX, announce they have not received one single order for new airliners at the Paris air show. Their rival Airbus recorded orders and options for 123 new planes. Overall orders for this year’s Paris air show is expected to be the lowest since 2016, with emphasis on defense spending.

3) President Trump announced he will meet with China’s Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit, raising hopes of resumption of Chinese-American trade talks and a deal which will resolve the current trade war. The President says he will have extended meetings next week at the G-20 conference in Japan. News of the meeting coupled with expectations of near future cuts in the interest rates boost confidence in the markets.

4) Stock market closings for- 18 JUN 19 Stocks rally on news of US-China trade talks.

Dow                    26,465.54    up    353.01
Nasdaq                 7,953.88    up    108.86
S&P 500                2,917.75    up      28.08

10 Year Yield:     down   at    2.06%

Oil:    up   at    $53.97

10 April 2019

1) The IMF (International Monetary Fund) has reduced their forecasted for world economic growth from 3.5% to 3.3%, which is the third reduction since last October. It forecasted 2.3% growth for the US economy, as well as reduced growth forecast for Germany and Great Britain.

2) Walmart is rolling out thousands of robots for use in their retail stores across America. These robots will automatically scan shelves and clean floors. With a million employees, Walmart is seeking ways to keep labor cost down.

3) Bank of America is raising it’s minimum wage to $20 an hour over the next two years. Starting the first of May, the rate will increase to $17 per hour. The bank has 205,000 employees.

4) 9 APR 19 Stock market closings: Markets pulled down by industrial sector.

Dow             26,150.58    down    190.44
Nasdaq          7,909.28    down      44.61
S&P 500         2,878.20    down      17.57

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.50%

Oil:    up   at    $64.24