15 September 2020

1) The old, almost extinct vinyl record album technology for music has surpassed the newer high technology CD music media this year, by selling $129.9 million compared to $232.1 million dollars for vinyl records. This is the first time vinyl has outsold CDs since the 1980’s. About 8.8 million records were sold with 10.2 million CDs, so number wise CD’s are still ahead. Overall, the music industry now is center on digital downloads, digital subscription and streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube with revenues up 12% overall. The recorded music for the first six months of 2020 was $5.6 billion dollars so combined vinyl and CD’s are just a small fraction of the total business.

2) Amazon is hiring again expecting to fill 100,000 part time and full time openings across the U.S. and Canada. This is in addition to 33,000 technology and corporate jobs announced just a week ago, many paying six figure salaries. The 100,000 labor jobs pay at least $15 an hour with a $1,000 sign up bonuses in some cities. Amazon is opening 100 new buildings this month because of the pandemic fueled sales surge with increase home delivery, as shopping habits shift to e-commerce. Market value for Amazon is now at $1.6 trillion dollars and continues climbing.

3) Oil giant BP (British Petroleum) says the demand for oil may have peaked last year, that global market for crude oil might never recover from the coronavirus pandemic. The company considers there are three scenarios for energy demand, all of which forecast a decline in demand for oil over the next thirty years. 1) ‘Business as usual’ oil demand increases slightly after the pandemic crisis passes, then plateaus around 2025 finally it declines after 2030. 2) Governments take more aggressive steps to curb carbon emissions, 3) there are significant shifts in societal behavior, both leading to a decline in oil demand. All point to a shift in the world economic system with a significant decline in growth for many countries.

4) Stock market closings for – 14 SEP 20:

Dow 27,993.33 up 327.69
Nasdaq 11,056.65 up 203.11
S&P 500 3,383.54 up 42.57

10 Year Yield: unchanged at 0.67%

Oil: down at $37.38

28 April 2020

1) The economic woes of the coronavirus may not be over yet. Forecast are that the U.S. economy later this year could contract at a faster rate than for the Great Depression, with a 30% contraction of the second quarter. Durable goods have plunged 14.4% in March as the economy came to a near halt, while the unemployment rate for the same time rose 4.4%. The number of people losing jobs in the last five weeks is 26.4 million, which has wiped out all the job gains made after the Great Recession.

2) Oil continues its troubles, sliding down in price with fears of it reaching zero again. There remains a critical shortage of storage for bulk oil, so there’s no place to put new oil pumped up, and that drives the price of futures down. Oil prices plunged nearly 25% at the start of the week amid fears of limited storage. Global energy demand has fallen drastically from the pandemic shutting factories and putting limits on travel around the world, leaving a glut of oil. With the world economy down, there isn’t any light at the end of the tunnel, and therefore not much hope that the oil glut will ease significantly in the foreseeable future.

3) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have announced that borrowers who skip mortgage payments (called forbearance status) due to the coronavirus pandemic won’t have to make lump-sum repayments when the crisis is over. The administration is encouraging other mortgage lenders to adopt similar policies to avoid undue stress to the people and economy during a recovery. Almost 6% of borrowers have delayed making mortgage payments as of April 12, up from 3.7% a week earlier. It’s still not clear just when or how forbearance status will be granted to a borrower, thus allowing the deferment of payments to a later date.

4) Stock market closings for – 27 APR 20:

Dow 24,133.78 up 358.51
Nasdaq 8,730.16 up 95.64
S&P 500 2,878.48 up 41.74

10 Year Yield: up at 0.66%

Oil: down at $12.93

27 February 2020

1) South Carolina has the lowest unemployment rate with 2.3% which ties with Utah and Vermont. But while there’s lots of jobs, they mostly pay low wages making it hard for people to make a living. The state is typical of states across the U.S., with job growth looking strong on the surface, but much of the work is meager wages and few benefits. As automation pushes more people down to the lower paying ranks, they find themselves struggling to acquire the basics of living, even with wages that are above the minimum wage.

2) With the government’s announcement that Americans should prepare for a Covid-19 (coronavirus) crisis, and the continual spread of the virus, prices of hygienic masks have surged upwards. Tracking the product on Amazon shows an immediate rise just twenty-four hours after the announcement. A pack of disposable masks which were $125 surged to $220 in just three days, showing the deep concerns people have to the coronavirus threat.

3) Micro units are small dwellings of about 350 square feet or less, which may be the answer to affordable housing. The micro unit comes complete with a kitchen, bathroom and living or sleeping space comparable to studio apartments in Paris, Tokyo or Rome. This gives everything needed for basic living, but little else. Micro units are approximately 20% to 30% cheaper than conventional sized units, and are most popular with young single working adults, age under 30, who are willing to compromise space for location, amenities and cost savings.

4) Stock market closings for – 26 FEB 20:

Dow 26,957.59 down 123.77
Nasdaq 8,980.78 up 15.16
S&P 500 3,116.39 down 11.82

10 Year Yield: down at 1.31%

Oil: down at $48.65

14 January 2020

1) Ford Motor Company’s sales in China has declined for the third straight year, falling by 26.1%. The company has been trying to revive sales in China after the decline started in 2017 and plans to introduce thirty new models in the next three years, with a third being electric models. General Motors has also experienced a decline in sales of 15% this last year.

2) One of the largest suppliers of parts to Boeing’s 737 MAX, Spirit AeroSystems, is laying off 2,800 workers. Based in Wichita Kansas, will eliminate 20% of its workforce. Smaller layoffs will happen at its facilities in Tulsa and McAlester, with half its annual sales from parts for the 737 MAX. Since last February, Spirit’s stock has fell from a high of $100 a share to $71.50 on news of the layoffs.

3) Expectations are that the U.S. will remove China from its list of currency manipulators two days before the signing of initial U.S. – China trade agreement. Part of the agreement is that both nations will not devalue its currency to gain a competitive advantages of exports. Labeling China a currency manipulator was viewed largely as a symbolic action.

4) Stock market closings for – 13 JAN 20: Stocks are up 495% in the past decade.

Dow             28,907.05    up    83.28
Nasdaq          9,273.93    up    95.07
S&P 500         3,288.13    up    22.78

10 Year Yield:    up   at    1.85%

Oil:    down   at    $58.12

25 October 2019

1) Another wave of technology displacement is sweeping across America, with 32 stores getting rid of their cashiers and checkout lanes. For the last decade or so, there has been an increasing incident of self checkout facilities appearing in stores. Driven by Amazon’s marketing model, retailers are experimenting with ways and methods to dispense with the labor cost from check out clerks. The ‘one of a kind’ Sam’s Club Now is really an incubator to develop the technologies for automated check out systems in stores. Walmart has its Scan & Go app, Kroger its Scan Bag & Go service and fast food chains such as McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and burger King have kiosk systems for ordering.

2) California is not seeing the expected revenues for legalization of cannabis for personal use. After three years of legalization, the anticipated windfalls have failed to materialize a result of regulations and a robust black market cutting into legal sales. The legal market has produced just a fraction of what the state had anticipated, while legal growers who invested millions to cultivate the product are not seeing any profits. Growers must pay a number of fees to the government annually, which cut heavily into their profits.

3) If China signs a partial trade deal with the U.S., it will buy at least $20 billion dollars of agricultural products in a year. This would take China’s farm goods imports back to the levels of 2017, before U.S. imposed tariffs, which once removed might actually push imports up to as much as $40-$50 billion dollars a year. China has already issued waivers for 10 million tons of soybean purchases this week, and is considering an additional 4-5 million tons of grains.

4) Stock market closings for – 24 OCT 19:

Dow           26,805.53    down    28.42
Nasdaq        8,185.80          up    66.00
S&P 500       3,010.29          up      5.77

10 Year Yield:    up   at    1.77%

Oil:    up   at    $56.15

14 October 2019

1) China has announced they are ending caps to foreign financial ownership, allowing foreign firms to have full ownership of financial services companies. Starting in 2020, overseas institutions can apply for total control of onshore ventures. China has been opening its financial sector at an unprecedented pace to lure financial giants such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley into greater participation in China’s economy.

2) Investors are retracting the fastest since the collapse of Lehman Brothers. In the past six months, money market funds have attracted billions of dollars of inflows, the largest flight to safe assets since the second half of 2008, with investors raising their cash holdings despite falling interest rates. This is being driven by unresolved issues of the trade war, Brexit and the domestic political turmoil mixed with fears of a recession.

3) The U.S. and China have reached a partial agreement Friday which would broker a truce in the trade war. This will lay the groundwork for a broader deal later with Presidents Trump and Xi Jinping. News to the agreement cause the markets to shoot up over 300 points. Part of the agreement is for China to make agricultural concessions and the U.S. provide some tariff relief.

4) Stock market closings for – 11 OCT 19:

Dow 26,816.59 up 319.92
Nasdaq 8,057.04 up 106.26
S&P 500 2,970.27 up 32.14

10 Year Yield: up at 1.75%

Oil: up at $54.91

15 March 2019

1) GE (General Electric) paid $1.5 billion dollars civil penalty for sub-prime house loans prior to 2007, to resolve claims over residential mortgage loans made by their WMC Mortgage unit, a company purchased by GE during the boom prior to the economic collapse in 2008. Their lending activities concealed the poor quality of the loans being made.

2) The Chevron oil company is buying the Anadarko Petroleum Corporation for $33 billion dollars which will put Chevron Corporation in the top ranks of energy companies. Chevron will be the third largest oil producer behind Exxon and Shell.

3) The GE20 group announced the global economy is slowing down faster than was expected, with an anticipated global growth of 3.3% for this next year. This is the lowest expansion since 2016, which may become worst if US-China trade tensions should increase.

4) 12 APR 19 Stock market closings: JP Morgan-Chase and Disney pushed stocks up.

Dow             26,412.30    up    269.25
Nasdaq          7,984.16    up      36.80
S&P 500         2,907.41    up      19.09

10 Year Yield:    up   at    2.56%

Oil:    down   at    $63.76

5 March 2019

1) Shale oil companies are adding even more new wells, but that is threatening the future of the US oil boom. Their strategy of drilling more wells chose to old wells has backfired because the new wells not only have lower outputs than the old wells, but the production of the old wells also declines.

2) Again, there are reports that the US-China trade talks are still progressing well and soon may end with an agreement to end the trade war tariffs.

3) 4 MAR 19   Stock market closings:

Dow             25,819.65    down    206.67
Nasdaq          7,577.57    down      17.79
S&P 500         2,792.81    down      10.88

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.72%

Oil:    down   at    $56.45

28 February 2019

New article posted below titled, “NIGERIADECIDES: BABA MUHAMMADU BUHARI REELECTED AS NIGERIA’S PREZ.”

1) The takeover of Time Warner by AT&T, an $81 billion dollar acquisition, has been cleared by the US Appeals Court. This acquisition will bring Warner Brothers, HBO and Turner to AT&T’s video, mobile and broadband services.

2) US farm debt soars to levels that haven’t been seen since the 1980’s farm crisis. The debt has risen from $385 billion dollars to $409 billion dollars which indicates a high strain on the US farm belt, a result of commodity prices, storm damage and loss of key exports principally China. The present day situation is similar to 1980’s financial collapse of American farms.

3) China-US are making real progress in trade talks, but the talks are far from being completed. US is taking a tougher stand by insisting on an all or nothing agreement.

4) 27 FEB 19     Stock market closings:

Dow               25,985.16     down    72.82
Nasdaq            7,554.51          up       5.21
S&P 500           2,792.38     down       1.52

10 Year Yield:    up   at    2.69%

Oil:    up   at    $56.96

25 February 2019

1) Germany’s business outlook falters amid Brexit concerns of potential US tariffs, especially on their car exports in addition to uncertainty of the German people. Germany has the largest European economy.

2) The father of Reaganomics says it’s time to get out of the market. He cautions that the end of easy money policies, the huge deficit and a near record economic expansion are all signs of a pending market collapse.

3) Trade talks continue between China and US as tariff deadline nears causing worries of talks failing. But after meeting with his advisers and Chinese officials, President Trump has extended that deadline citing the talks are going so well. Negotiators have reached a compromise on key issues, such as China’s requirement that American companies give intellectual property and technology to do business in China, more purchases of agriculture and energy products such as liquid natural gas. But so far, there hasn’t been a signing of an official agreement.

4) 22 FEB 19 Stock market closing:

 Dow               26,031.81    up    181.18
Nasdaq             7,527.54    up      67.84
S&P 500            2,792.67    up      17.79

10 Year Yield:     down    at    2.66%

Oil: down    at    $57.07