16 October 2020

1) Peloton, the exercise machine maker, has recalled pedals on 27,000 of their bikes which have caused some injuries. The 27,000 bikes were manufactured between July 2013 and May 2016. The company has received 120 reports of the pedals breaking resulting in 16 injuries to users, with 5 people requiring medical care including stitches. Peloton is one of the few companies who have benefitted from the coronavirus crisis because with people staying at home for long periods, they are purchasing home exercise machines. Their stock is up 380% a year to date, while their fitness subscribers is up 113% from a year ago.

2) The investment firm BlackRock considers China’s domestic bond market to be a good investment, offering a level of returns that may be difficult to find elsewhere in the current world economy. Economic data and continued monetary policy support, point to a sustained economic recovery, with foreign investors remaining under-invested in Chinese bonds. These investors account for only about 2% of the $16 trillion dollar market. Using diversified and resilient portfolio allows investors to avoid being exposed to risk specific for a company or sector. While there are some troubling signs, such as China Evergrande Group seeking government help in meeting its debt, looking across the whole spectrum, a fairly diversified portfolio can be built to yield a reasonable income.

3) General Motors will start operating robot cars in San Francisco without any human backups in the cars by the end of this year. The company Cruise has received a permit from California’s Department of Motor Vehicles to allow them to operate robot cars, without humans, on public highways. Other companies have gotten permits for autonomous automobile operation without humans, including Waymo, but none have set a date for autonomous ride-hailing services. Cruise will start ride-hailing service first in the surround neighborhoods, one at a time, slowly working their way into the heart of San Francisco with it’s dense traffic challenges. Progress towards fully autonomous ride-hailing services was retarded in 2018 when an Uber autonomous test car ran down a pedestrian in Temple Arizona.

4) Stock market closings for – 15 OCT 20:

Dow 28,494.20 down 19.80
Nasdaq 11,713.87 down 54.86
S&P 500 3,483.34 down 5.33

10 Year Yield: up at 0.73%

Oil: down at $40.89

15 October 2020

1) The much feared Diablo winds, along with its low humidity, will bring critical fire weather to Northern California through Friday, increasing the risks of wild fires. There are widespread red flag fire warnings for Northen California above San Francisco because of extremely dry, gusty, north to northeast winds which will bring critical fire conditions. With the relative humidity down into the single digits and teens, winds could reach about 45 mph, with gust up to 55 mph, both conditions very conducive to rapidly spread wild fires. The Diablo winds are much like the Santa Ana winds so familiar to Southern Californians.
2) Boeing’s troubles continue with no new orders for jets and more 737 MAX cancellations as the companies crisis continues. There were more orders for the 373 MAX canceled in September with delivery of only 11 total aircraft to customers, which is less than half the number from the same month a year ago. Furthermore, the quality flaws on the 787 Dreamliner continue to hamper efforts to develop an alternative cash cow to the 737 MAX. The major source of Boeing’s problems is the coronavirus pandemic, which continues to hurt the demand for jets, for Boeing as well as its rival Airbus, and this is a factor that neither aircraft manufacture has any control over.
3) The prices for crude oil are rising with the dollar’s decline, which in turn is boosting appeal of commodities priced in dollars. There are signs of oil demand increasing in Asia, which is helping lift the overall outlook for oil consumption. The company Rogsheng Petrochemical of Singapore is buying up oil futures to run its expanded refinery operation in Zhejiang this quarter. The outlook for refineries output remain precarious, with refining margins severely depressed for this time of the year. Refineries typically need a spread of more than $10 a barrel to make it profitable to process crude oil.
4) Stock market closings for – 14 OCT 20:
Dow 28,514.00 down 165.81
Nasdaq 11,768.73 down 95.17
S&P 500 3,488.67 down 23.26
10 Year Yield: unchanged at 0.72%
Oil: up at $41.22

29 September 2020

1) A railroad link between Alaska and Canada has been a dream for generations, because such a rail link would reduce Alaska’s costs for goods and services. It would also give Canada’s land locked oil-sands access to ports in Alaska, therefore making for more domestic oil reserves, but such a railroad line faces numerous steep challenges. President Donald Trump has endorsed such a proposal, but several regulatory agencies in both America and Canada must first approve such an undertaking before the first shovel full of dirt can be moved, and this is expected to take years to get permits. The Alaska-Alberta railway Development Corporation (A2A Rail) project would be privately funded costing about $17 billion dollars and would run about 1,600 miles.

2) The plague of wild fires continues in California with several new fires in Northen California consuming thousands of acres a day. The fires are consuming vineyards and destroying the wine business, including grape vineyards that have produced for over a hundred years. The heat wave continues to bring dry air into the conflagration, thus drying out vegetation to make ideal fuel for fires, while strong winds are fanning and spreading the flames. Fires are around the San Francisco area, the Napa-Sonoma wine region and Shasta County which are consuming land at a prodigious rate. Two major fires are the Zogg Fire, which has burned through 15,000 acres and the Glass Fire burning through 11,000 acres. The damage is being created so fast that estimates of dollar losses can not be reliably made.

3) The Congress continues to struggle with a second stimulus bill, the Democrats looking to score at the polls if passed before the election. The big question and holdup is the personal stimulus check to individuals and how much it will be this time. It now appears that $1,200 will be the maximum for individuals, but this time there will be restrictions which will lower the amount for many people based on how much their income is. After nearly two months of relative inactivity, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have agreed to resume negotiations.

4) Stock market closings for – 28 SEP 20:

Dow 27,584.06 up 410.10
Nasdaq 11,117.52 up 203.96
S&P 500 3,351.60 up 53.14 %

10 Year Yield: unchanged at 0.66%

Oil: up at $40.57

15 November 2019

1) Sears is laying off a little less than 300 people in their corporate headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Illinois and company offices in San Francisco, many being informed in a company meeting. The last round of layoffs was 250 employees in September. Restructuring plans include closing 96 more Sears and Kmart stores by February leaving about 180 stores remaining.

2) Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales is starting a social networking and news sharing site as an alternative to Facebook and Twitter. Called WT:Social, it will show the newest links first instead of using algorithms to bump posts with the most comments or likes to the top. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, the service will be funded by advertising. Just a month old, and it already has 50,000 users.

3) Interest in tiny houses continues with Amazon now offering prefabs from 100 square feet up to 1,500 square feet and prices from $5,000 to over $100,000. These style of houses are becoming popular with the young just starting life who don’t have the resources to buy a conventional home. However, their small size, while more friendly to the environment, set constraints on peoples lifestyles, by limiting what they can own or the number of friends they can have over at any one time. Nevertheless, tiny house continue to grow in popularity.

4) Stock market closings for – 14 NOV 19:

Dow              27,781.96     down    1.63
Nasdaq           8,479.02     down    3.08
S&P 500          3,096.63           up    2.58

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.82%

Oil:    down   at    $56.86

12 June 2019

1) For the sixth straight month of a gold buying spree, China continues to add to it’s gold reserves under the protracted trade war. China added 58 tons of gold to its reserves in the five months to April, then added 15.86 tons in May. At this rate China could buy as much as 150 tons of gold in 2019, as they diversify away from the U.S. dollar.

2) The retailer giant Amazon has opened a second cashier-free store in New York, which makes the thirteenth ‘Amazon Go’ store to open in America. The convenience robot store is about 1,700 square feet with Amazon announcing its fourteenth store will open in San Francisco. By 2021, Amazon may open as many as 3,000 of these robot retailing stores which threaten other retailers like 7-Eleven shops, CVS and Walgreens.

3) Ten state attorney generals plan to jointly file a lawsuit to stop the merger of Sprint and T-Mobile. The $26 billion dollar merger will reduce the number of nationwide wireless carriers to three. So far, the deal has won the backing of the majority of the FCC, which makes the Federal Government in favor of the move.

4) Stock market closings for 11 JUN 19:

Dow            26,048.51    down    14.17
Nasdaq         7,822.57    down      0.60
S&P 500        2,885.72    down      1.01

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.14%

Oil:    down   at    $53.05

29 May 2019

1) Reports continue of a General Motors and Ford merger in the near future, both are in deep financial trouble. The proposed merger would make the new company the third largest in the world, behind Toyota and Volkswagen. Car sales have flattened in the U.S. and are dropping in China, which are the two largest car markets in the world. There are also questions of how successful Ford can enter the electric and hybrid car markets.

2) Amazon, the worlds largest retailer, is starting to purge many of its small vendors, and concentrate on large major brands like Lego, Procter & Gamble and Sony to better compete with the large traditional retailers such as Target and Walmart. This will be one of the biggest shifts in Amazon’s strategy since it started using independent sellers, and is scaring the daylights out of many smaller companies.

3) The prices for homes is rising at its slowest pace in six years, down 2.7% from last year’s 3%. Price gains in hot cities like San Francisco have cooled, which is causing sellers to pull in their price increases. The home and auto segments of the economy constitute one half of the U.S. economy.

4) 28 MAY 19 Stock market closings:

Dow              25,347.77    down    237.92
Nasdaq           7,607.35    down      29.66
S&P 500          2,802.39     down     23.67

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.27%

Oil:    down   at    $59.06

HOUSING MARKET IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA IS ON FIRE….. LITERALLY…….

Northern California pic.2

By: Economic & Finance Report

 It seems as though the housing market in northern California has taken off, and there is no indication that it is looking back either. In the city of San Francisco, one of the hottest housing markets in the US, houses seem to be moving quicker then ever. In Oakland another dynamic market in northern Cali, houses have doubled and in some cases tripled in sales from the previous year, next comes the lucrative and expansive area of San Jose.

Hopefully everyone’s credit scores are up to par, or at least close to be. These markets show no signs of devaluing in value. CNN MONEY indicates that the northern California market is picking up rapidly as the rest of the country is gradually uptrending in sales.

For first time home buyers, CNN MONEY states that the Midwest comes after the West Coast in affordable housing comps, especially couples or families pursuing a house for middle class income. The Midwest is the market to seek in a direction of affordability. -SB