5 December 2018

1) World stock markets fell dramatically, the Dow down 800 points, a result of uncertainty about China and American trade war.  There wasn’t any signing of agreements at G20, nor has China made any public statements about resolving the conflict since then, adding to the uncertainty.  Also contributing are fears of the American economy sliding downward in the near future.

2) A recall of 12 million pounds of beef because of salmonella outbreak, has stretched across the country.  So far, there has been 240 cases of infection in 6 states.

3) New carbon taxes in France aimed at reducing global warming effects has resulted in extensive riots forcing France to back off the taxes.

4) 4 DEC 18    Stock market closings:    The stock market is like a rectal thermometer- rude and crude, but surprisingly effective in showing sickness.

Dow                           25,027.07          down       799.36
Nasdaq                        7,158.43          down       283.09
S&P 500                       2,700.06          down          90.31

10 Year Yield:     down   at    2.92%

Oil:      down   at    $52.61

4 December 2018

1) Qatar announced they are dropping out of OPEC to focus on natural gas production, which is what their oil fields mostly produce.  Being a small producer of oil, Qatar considered itself too small to be a part of OPEC, despite being a member for 57 years.

2) For the best bets in the stock market during this next 90 days of trade war truce, experts are saying to watch where China spends money in the US that best strengthens it’s position with America.  Look for such things as agriculture products like pork and grains, and big ticket machinery such as construction equipment and aircraft.

3) Walmart is buying robots, autonomous floor scrubbing machines, and will have 360 units in stores by end of January.  Walmart is already using robots which scan for ‘out of stock’ items on shelves. Both robots operate by themselves on the store floor while customers are present.

4) 3 DEC 18      Stock market closings:    Oil prices rise as Saudi Arabia and Russia agree to limit oil production.

Dow                  25,826.43    up    287.97
Nasdaq               7,441.51    up    110.98
S&P 500              2,790.37    up       30.20

10 Year Yield:     down   at    2.99%

Oil:    up   at    $53.22

3 December 2018

1) President Trump has signed USMCA, the new trade agreement with Mexico which will replace the NAFTA, the current agreement.

2) Microsoft has been awarded a $480 million dollar contract from the military to adapt their HoloLens for virtual reality training and combat.  This could mean sales of up to 100,000 units.

3) Microsoft surpassed Apple as the most valuable publicly traded company, closing with a total stock value of $851.2 billion compared to Apple’s value of $847.4 billion.  Apple’s stock dropped 20% last month.

4) 30 NOV 18    Stock market closings:    Ninety day truce of American-China trade war is expected to boost markets.

Dow                     25,538.46      up      199.62
Nasdaq                  7,330.54      up        57.45
S&P 500                 2,760.17      up        22.41

10 Year Yield:    down    at    3.01%

Oil:    down    at    $50.72

30 November 2018

1) President Trump goes to G20 conference amid concerns for the near and far future of world economies, as countries are withdrawing into nationalism and protectionism.  While flying to the conference, Trump tweeted his cancellation of meeting Putin because of Russia’s recent aggressive actions against Ukraine.

2) Because of sever shortages of pork, a result of widespread disease in Chinese hog herds, China has resumed buying pork from America despite the trade war.

3) The pharmaceutical company Bayer announced plans to cut 12,000 jobs as a result of the Monsanto takeover.  This action is a result of restructuring because of losing a massive lawsuit over the weedkiller Roundup.

4) 29 NOV 18    Stock market closings:   The three day market rally ends.

Dow                           25,338.84       down          27.59
Nasdaq                        7,273.08       down          18.51
S&P 500                       2,737.76       down            6.03

10 Year Yield:      down   at    3.04%

Oil:         down   at    $51.33

29 November 2018

1) America had the fastest expanding GDP by growing 3.5% in the third quarter. The Feds hint that they might hold interest rates at present level, which would further stimulate growth.

2) There are threats of a partial government shutdown next week over funding for the border wall, the shutdown coming one week from this Friday.

3) Google is facing a $4 billion dollar fine for using smart phones to track people without their consent.  Last May, Europe passed regulations controlling the use of digital technology with people, which allows them to level such a large fine. The American Congress is considering similar legislation to regulate the digital industry.

4) 28 NOV 18   Stock market closings:   Biggest Dow rally in eight months.

Dow                    25,366.43            up         617.70
Nasdaq                 7,291.59            up         208.89
S&P 500                2,743.79            up           61.62

10 Year Yield:      down    at     3.04%

Oil:     up    at     $50.52

28 November 2018

1) There are reports that Apple stock holds key to end market slide, that the markets can’t turn around until Apple is going up, because the markets are being driven by the tech stocks, and Apple is the lead technology stock.  In the last two months, Apple stock has lost 25% of its value.

2) While home values have continued rising, the gains have shrunk to their lowest amount in the last two years.

3) Economy tiny houses are being offered in Silicon Valley costing $280,000.  The houses are prefabricated units.

4) GM has spent $10 billion dollars in buying back its stock, but then cut jobs to save $4.5 billion dollars.

5) 27 NOV 18      Stock market closings:

Dow                24,748.73     up      108.49
Nasdaq             7,082.70     up          0.85
S&P 500            2,682.17     up          8.72

10 Year Yield:     down    at    3.06%

Oil:     up    at     $52.02

27 November 2018

1) Reports that the struggling retailer Sears was a ghost town on Black Friday is another sign of how Sears is struggling through the holiday season trying to remain in business.  Sears hasn’t turned a profit in 8 years.

2) GM announced layoffs of 15,000 employees of which 15% are salary and one fourth are executive staff.  Five GM plants will close this next year as GM abandons the traditional automotive sedans and invest in electric cars and autonomous driving cars, which they consider the future of automobiles.  Sales of the auto market in US is flattening.

3) Saudi Arabia raised oil production in November because of pressure from Washington to keep oil prices low as Iraq sanctions took effect.  But those sanctions have not been as sever, so the result has been a collapse of oil prices from a high of $85 down to $50.

4) 26 NOV 18     Stock market closings:    Stock prices are up because of the success of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Dow                    24,640.24     up    354.29
Nasdaq                 7,081.85     up    142.87
S&P 500                2,673.45     up      40.89

10 Year Yield:     up   at    3.07%

Oil:     down   at     $51.55

26 November 2018

1) The government released a report on climate change and the adverse effects to be expected.  The US GPD may decline as much as 10% by 2100. It acknowledge that the US is not the only driving force of global warming, as of now, not a single G20 country is meeting their climate targets.  The costs of climate change could reach hundreds of billions of dollars annually, with agriculture predominate where farms may produce 75% less corn and 25% less soybeans.

2) The Dow may drop another 2,000 points before market selling is done.  The US economic growth could be cut in half this next year over fears of consumer demand declining.

3) A family feud threatens Campbell’s dynasty as soup sales tank, with one cousin complaining to another cousin that he didn’t have any confidence in the company management, which precipitated a feud.  Shareholders vote next Thursday, that will determine if Campbell’s will remain a family dynasty.

4) 23 NOV 18    Stock market closings:     Drop in oil prices causes drop in stock markets.

Dow                         24,285.95         down         178.74
Nasdaq                      6,938.98         down            33.27
S&P 500                     2,632.56         down            17.37

10 Year Yield:      down   at    3.05%

Oil:    down   at    $50.39

The Problems Millennials are Facing

A list of the problems the Millennials and Z-Generation are now facing in their future.

James Lyman BSAE, BSEE, MSSM

The youth of America, the millennials and Z-Generation, are now facing a number of serious problems that are shaping their lives and future, both near and far term.  Here is a short list of the most profound and critical problems they are facing:

1) Obsolescence Technology is growing exponentially, doubling every fifteen years.  Most Americans are failing to advance, that is, most have gone no further than the nineteenth century.  Therefore, more and more Americans are unable to make substantive contributions to society.

2) Technology Displacement Going hand in hand with Obsolescence is displacement by technology.  The replacement of humans by machines and technology, leaving people with minimal to no jobs.  Each passing day, more of America’s youth are not needed, not wanted, not having any real value to society.

3) Diminishing Resources The availability of resources such as natural minerals and resources, water, energy, oil . . . in particular the oil, and negative resources of pollution and trash is a continual source of problems for young Americans, both for shortages in domestic America and world competition to obtain and hold those resources.

4) Increasingly Threatening World With the end of the cold war, many felt that world peace was finally at hand, but increasingly there are threats of war across the world.  The Middle East, China and the Pacific Rim, Russia and the adjacent Eastern European countries, all are tender boxes where armed conflict can erupt. In these modern times, wars are no longer isolated affairs, instead ripples reach out across the world to affect other nations at least economically.

5) Fragile World Economies Much to the consternation of many Americans, young and old, America’s economy is tightly coupled with other country’s economies across the world, friend and foe. And it’s been this way since the start of the twentieth century, having become increasingly more interdependent.  The economies of countries such as Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal and China are prime examples of countries with fragile economies, where sever economic problems or collapse will have profound impact on many other countries including the United States.

6) Climate Change There is a lot of daily debate about global warming and climate change, much of it revolving around people’s aversions to the high technology world they are trying to live in.  What the scientist are saying in Scientific American and Science News is that yes, there probably is climate change, the extent and effects unknown, and yes human activity may be a factor, but how much is unknown.  As with so many problems, there is a false perception of climate change being a political problem.  It’s a political problem if and only if, the legislative process has significant control over the forces driving the problem.  Climate change is a result of massive over population of a species- and that’s US . . . the 7.5 billion humans now living. The political systems does not have any real control over the most important forcing function of this problem.

7) Government Nonperformance As with any other organization, the larger the organization becomes, the more sluggish and non-responsive it becomes. This very much holds true for governments . . . Federal, state and local. Nonperformance translates into not addressing problems faced by the people. You seldom hear any government people talking about things like technology displacement and obsolescence of people, indeed they are usually very careful to avoid the topics. Yet, these and other subjects are having a very profound effect on the future of most Americans, and the younger they are, the more likely a detrimental impact to their lives.

8) Stability of American Economy Probably the most important and critical factor for the young people of America is how stable the economy remains.  The near collapse of the world’s economies in 2008 shows how susceptible people of all economic strata, are to the stability of economies.  Anytime there are upheavals in the business world, then fissures and holes open up which allows technology to flow into the economy creating obsolete people and their displacement by technology.

There are other lesser problems on this list, but those listed above are most profoundly effecting the greatest number of people, and will most likely aversely impact the future of the millennials and Z-Generation.  While Obsolescence and Technology Displacement are at the top of the list, which they rightly should be, both are interleaved with all the other problems to some extent.  One factor that is greatly hindering any real progress in addressing these problems, is the assumption that all problems are a political problem which can be addressed with the techniques of political activism.  You see that with the global warming problem, where advocates are using the techniques of political activism, such as public education, spots on news stories to cultivate public opinion, countering any challenges in public debate, campaigning for political support and meeting with political leaders to garner their support. All fine and well, but as pointed out in item 6, Climate Change, the principle driving force of the problem is massive over population, and the political process has no real effective control over that.

And this highlights the real problem for millennials and the Z-generation, and that’s the poor education and problem solving skills of so may who are involved with the above list.  Failing to first identify the forces acting on a system shows a near complete lack of real problem solving skills, thus ensuring failure of any attempts to address problems.  And that’s really where the young of America stand today . . . a number of very serious problems which is detrimental to their generation . . . and no one able to really address any of those problems.

23 November 2018

1) Global economic slowdown is due to rising interest rates and the trade war. The international slowdown is faster for other nations than for America, while England’s growth rate is slowing because of the additional problem of Brexit.

2) Government funding may run out on the seventh of December, when Congress might shut down the government over the boarder wall funding.

3) Worries are growing about high corporate debt, which might cause economic problems in the future, with corporate debt now totaling nine trillion dollars. Furthermore, increasing interest rates on debts may pull corporations down who are unable to service that debt. Corporate debt has double over the last decade.

4) 21 NOV 18    Stock market closings:

Dow                        24,464.69       down        0.95
Nasdaq                     6,972.25             up     63.43
S&P 500                    2,649.93             up       8.04

10 Year Yield:      up   at     3.06%

Oil:       up    at      $54.72