4 December 2019

1) Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal raised it’s ugly head again with the German public prosecutors raiding VW Wolfsburg headquarters looking for documents. The scandal broke in 2015, but there are still questions about newer engines which succeeded the diesel engines with fraudulent testing for emissions. So far, Volkswagen’s cheating test has cost the company about $33 billion dollars in fines, vehicle refits and legal costs.

2) Richmond California is moving to ban the export of coal through their port facilities citing coal dust pollution in parts of the town. Coming from western states such as Wyoming, the coal is shipped to China, India and other far east countries still making heavy use of coal fired electric generation plants. However, the city may be facing legal challenges against the city ban. Richmond, Stockton, Los Angeles and Long Beach are now the only major west coast ports that handle coal.

3) President Trump has suggested that the trade war with China could drag on for some time, that it might be better to wait until after the 2020 election to sign a trade agreement. The next deadline is 15 December when 15% levies on an additional $160 billion dollars in Chinese goods. The news cause another drop in the stock markets, in addition to the drop from news about metal tariffs on Brazil and Argentina.

4) Stock market closings for – 3 DEC 19:

Dow              27,502.81    down    280.23
Nasdaq           8,520.64    down      47.34
S&P 500          3,093.20    down      20.67

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.71%

Oil:    up   at    $55.99

3 December 2019

1) President Trump has imposed tariffs on metal from Brazil and Argentina in response to currency manipulation which hurt American farmers. The tariffs is on steel and aluminum imports. Additionally, Trump has called on America’s central bank to take action to prevent other countries from devaluing their currencies. Brazil and Argentina had been exempt from tariffs imposed in March 2018.

2) The factory sector in the U.S. shrank again in November, the fourth straight month as new order volumes slid back to around their lowest level since 2012. The index of national factory activity fell to 48.1, a reading below the expectations of 49.2, a reading above 50 indicates expansion while below indicates contraction.

3) The auto makers Nissan Motor Co., Renault SA and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. have formed an alliance in the form of a new company to do research and development of advance automotive technologies. The new venture also aims to strengthen the alliance which has been worn thin since the arrest and ouster of former supremo Carlos Ghosn. The formal plans will be announced in January.

4) Stock market closings for – 2 DEC 19:

Dow           27,783.04    down    268.37
Nasdaq        8,567.99    down      97.48
S&P 500       3,113.87    down      27.11

10 Year Yield:    up   at    1.84%

Oil:    unchanged   at     $55.42

27 November 2019

1) Farmers are facing a potential $24.5 billion dollar market for pork in China within ten years if America can gain unrestricted trade access. The reason is that Asian hog herds have been devastated by the disease of African swine fever. The disease has driven up the price of pork, a major staple of the Chinese diet, by more than 69%. There is a 12% duty on frozen pork, which the Chinese added a 60% punitive tariff, with China imposing customs restrictions to non-frozen pork.

2) U. S. home prices increased modestly over the last year with a 2% annual gain. Housing prices have increased for the last seven years, making houses unaffordable for many. Prices have steadily outpaced wage growth for several years. The low interest rates have helped alleviate the problem.

3) The arts and crafts retailer chain A.C. Moore is closing all of its 145 stores, although up to 40 of these closing locations will become Michaels, another arts and craft retail chain. Retailers nation wide have succumb to the changing patterns of American consumerism, with nearly 9,100 store closures in 2019, including big name well known stores such as Payless ShoeSource, Dressbarn and Gymboree.

4) Stock market closings for – 26 NOV 19:

Dow                28,121.68    up   55.21
Nasdaq             8,647.93    up   15.44
S&P 500            3,140.52    up     6.88

10 Year Yield:   down  at   1.74%

Oil:    unchanged  at   $57.91

5 September 2019

1) A federal judge has ruled that investors may sue five big banks for conspiring to rig prices on bonds worth hundreds of billions of dollars issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for a seven year period. This clears the way for investors to pursue antitrust claims against Bank of America, BNP Paribas SA, Deutsche Bank AG, Goldman Sachs Group and Morgan Stanley. The banks are accused of fixing prices at a specific level before bringing the bonds to the secondary market.

2) The U.S. trade deficit narrowed overall slightly in July, however the gap with China surged to a six-month high. The trade tensions have caused wild swings in the trade deficit as exporters and importers try to stay ahead of the tariff fight between America and China. The Atlanta Federal Reserve is forecasting the economy growing at a 1.7% pace in the third quarter.

3) Oil dependent nations are facing economic troubles because gas and oil production are unsustainable. As oil and gas supplies dwindle and demand decreases, their once lucrative revenues may be decreasing. Nations whose economies are principally oil production face a trouble future as their oils supplies decline in the next few decades, with nothing to replace those revenues. Those nations facing economic troubles are the UAE, Nigeria, Qatar, Libya, Angola, Kuwait, Venezuela, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

4) Stock market closings for – 4 SEP 19:

Dow            26,355.47    up    237.45
Nasdaq        7,976.88    up    102.72
S&P 500       2,937.78    up    31.51

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.46%

Oil:    down   at    $55.98

26 August 2019

1) The industrialist David Koch and political activists dies at age 79. The billionaire is noted for using his fortune to support right wing political movements thereby reshaping American politics. Brother to Charles Koch, the pair were one of the richest people in the world. Mr. Koch die Friday in Manhattan after a long battle with cancer.

2) China is retaliating in the trade war by imposing a tariff on $75 billion dollar on imports from China. It’s a 10% addition on top of existing rates pushing the trade war up another notch, in retaliation for the tariff imposed on $300 billion dollars of Chinese imports. China is also reinstating tariffs on cars and auto parts originating from America.

3) The race for the next internet revolution is on with Bezos and Musk planning to use low orbiting satellites to provide broad band world wide service. Jeff Bezos’ Project Kuiper’ will used a constellation of 3,236 satellites for broad band internet communications with service costing lower than today’s high speed internet service, allowing Americans to save more than $30 billion dollars a year. While testing is now in progress, there are tentative plans to begin serving customers as early as next year.

4) Stock market closings for – 23 AUG 19:

Dow              25,628.90    down    623.34
Nasdaq           7,751.77    down    239.62
S&P 500          2,847.11    down      75.84

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.53%

Oil:    down   at    $53.97

15 August 2019

1) Fears are growing that the world is moving towards an economic crisis, based on signs from Washington and Wall Street, starting with President Trump’s retreat from adding new tariffs. The stock market rose over the news meaning Christmas had been saved for this year’s sales. But the bond market wasn’t as optimistic, the rates dropping indicating a lack of confidence in the future economy. Called an inverted yield curve, it signals investors expect a weak growth and lower inflation over the years.

2) The troubling signals from the bond market caused the stock markets to drop, with the Dow dropping 800 points to erase all of Tuesdays gains. Worried about the state of the economy, investors are rushing to long term safe haven assets, pushing the yield on 30 year Treasury bonds to a new record low. The Cboe Volatility Index jumped to a high of 22.

3) The financial problems plaguing Boeing aircraft from the 737 MAX grounding may delay or even cancel Boeing’s next airliner design, the 797. A mid-size airplane, the aviation industry expected Boeing would go ahead with a new design, but the sever loses from the 737 MAX are now casting doubt on that happening, especially if the world economy does deteriorate. The 797 is expected to be a long range jet seating about 250 passengers. The design would make extensive use of light weight composites giving good fuel economy and range. Additionally, engineering resources are being pulled away from the 797 to work the 737 MAX problem.

4) Stock market closings for – 14 AUG 19:

Dow           25,479.42    down    800.49
Nasdaq        7,773.94    down    242.42
S&P 500       2,840.60    down      85.72

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.58%

Oil:    down   at    $54.95

7 August 2019

1) There are fears that the deepening China and American trade war may severely effect the fragile oil market. The tariffs increases has already send oil prices spiraling down over concerns of a sever global economic slowdown or recession. But China could use oil as an economic weapon by purchasing vast quantities of oil from Iran thus driving oil prices down from $60 to as low as $40 while also undermining President Trump’s foreign policy.

2) Gold, always a panic investment from economic fears, is again attracting investors with its prices pushing upward. With the devaluation of the Chinese money and threats that the U.S. might follow suit, investors are worried about the value of other monies sliding down. Fears of what will happen to the Euro and British Pound with a ‘no deal’ exit, coupled with European government bonds rates that are so low, is further attracting investors to gold. Hence, investors are migrating to the traditional safe heaven of gold.

3) In an attempt to further push into the Nordic markets, payment processor Mastercard Inc will buy the majority of the corporate services businesses of Scandinavian payments group Nets. The financial technology sector is consolidating fast as more people switch from cash to digital payments, both on line and on the street. The $3.19 billion dollar deal gives Mastercard further clearing and instant payment services plus e-billing solutions.

4) Stock market closings for – 6 AUG 19:

Dow             26,029.52    up    311.78
Nasdaq           7,833.26    up    107.23 
S&P 500          2,881.77    up      37.03

10 Year Yield:    up   at    1.74%

Oil:    down   at    $53.46

3 June 2019

1) The rife between China and America stands to grow deeper with less chance of resolving relationships, with China threatening a hit list of ‘unreliable’ foreign firms. These are individuals and groups who they consider harm the interest of Chinese companies. The threat is retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods imported into China. These last two weeks have been a war of words as the nations exchange economic threats.

2) Chicago based nursing home chain collapses leaving the federal government on the hook for millions of dollars. First sign was when the owners stop making mortgage payments in 2014. Reportedly, money meant for the thirteen nursing homes were diverted to prop up another investment. This failure is revealing the problems that HUD is having in helping obtain facilities for the elderly by providing affordable loans.

3) Trade wars may expand again with threats by President Trump to impost a 5% tariff on goods imported from Mexico, if Mexico doesn’t do more to stop the flow of illegal immigrates. Tariffs are due to start on 10 June, and will increase in 5% increments until the flow halts. This is coming at a time when more Mexican immigrates are returning to Mexico than are coming, highlighting that the immigration is from other South American countries.

4) 31 MAY 19 Stock market closings: Oil prices sink toward worst May in 7 years from trade war fears.

Dow           24,815.04    down    354.84
Nasdaq        7,453.15    down    114.57
S&P 500       2,752.06    down      36.80

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.14%

Oil:    down   at    $53.36

10 May 2019

1) Uber raised $8.1 billion in it’s IPO (Initial Public Offering), which was priced near the bottom of the range. Uber sold 180 million shares at $45 each, making its listing among the 10 largest U.S. IPOs. This gives Uber a market value of $75.5 billion dollars, however Uber is deeply unprofitable with $3.04 billion dollars in losses last year.

2) Traders wait to see if President Trump hikes tariffs today. U.S. equity futures were little changed this Thursday while traders wait for the midnight deadline when tariffs are scheduled to take effect. These tariffs will be imposed on $200 billion dollars worth of Chinese goods. Fears are that market reaction will be severe, which either way the tariffs goes.

3) The U.S. trade deficient has widened to $50 billion dollars in March, up 1.5% from February. Economists had anticipated the U.S. trade deficit to fall, but much of the increase came from higher crude imports.

4) 9 MAY 19 Stock market closings:

Dow              25,828.36    down    138.97
Nasdaq           7,910.59    down      32.73
S&P 500          2,870.72    down        8.70

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.46%

Oil:    down   at    $61.68

7 May 2019

1) The jobs report Friday was better than expected, up from last months 190,000, with 263,000 jobs reported and unemployment down again to 3.6%. This underscores the economy’s vigor with unemployment at half the century low. This may eliminate the markets fears of a recession.

2) This Friday, just after midnight, China will have an additional 25% tariffs imposed. However, there are fears that domestic Chinese politics may cause the ploy to backfire, from the Chinese people seeing their government backing down to America. Therefore, the Chinese government may not be able to respond as Washington is expecting.

3) Fears of the consequences of more tariffs on China caused a slight downturn of today’s market closings.

4) 6 MAY 19 Stock market closings:

Dow             26,438.48    down    66.47
Nasdaq          8,123.29    down    40.71
S&P 500         2,932.47    down    13.17

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.50%

Oil:    down   at    $62.04