15 October 2019

1) There are fears that the manufacturing segment is in trouble and may contract for the third straight month. This in turn could drag down the U.S. GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in the third and fourth quarters. Three factors are causing this down turn- the trade war with China, the GM (General Motors) strike and Boeing’s 737 MAX problems stopping deliveries and slowing production.

2) In the recent past, the online retailer giant Amazon has been unable to compete with traditional retailers when selling single items costing less than a few dollars, because the shipping cost is more than the single item cost such as toothpaste, deodorant or a simple brush. Customers had to buy these items as add-ons to make the $25 minimum for free shipping. But these items are now available for free shipping with Amazon’s Prime shipping. This could make for a significant challenge to other retailers such as Walmart, Target and CVS.

3) GM is attempting to end the month long strike of the UAW (United Auto Workers) by making direct appeal to the workers. The company has lost more than a $1 billion dollars so far, and is making several promises to the workers trying to circumvent the union’s leadership. The UAW has increased strike pay from $250 to $275 per week with union members allowed to hold other jobs as long as it doesn’t interfere with their picket duty.

4) Stock market closings for – 14 OCT 19:

Dow            26,787.36    down    29.23
Nasdaq         8,048.65    down      8.39
S&P 500        2,966.15    down       4.12

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.73%

Oil:    down   at    $53.50

2 October 2019

1) The retailer giant Amazon is expanding into the grocery business by leasing retail space across the Los Angeles area, signing leases for more than twelve locations. This is the first step of plans to open grocery stories across the nation. Amazon job postings are looking for people to work in retail concepts for a multiple customer experiences under one roof. Stores are reportedly to be about 35,000 square feet and intended to compete with big box stores such as Walmart, Target and Kroger.

2) The Institute for Supply Management says its manufacturing index dropped to 47.8 last month, the lowest since June 2009, below the forecast 49.1. Indexes below 50 indicate a contraction in manufacturing. Manufacturing accounts for 12% of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product), so a slowdown could effect other parts of the economy. Other indicators have shown output increased over last month.

3) Oil prices record its weakest quarter since late last year as fears over a global economic slowdown overshadowed the attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil production facilities. Brent futures are down 8.7% since the end of June, despite the peak after the attacks. The price of oil is considered an economic indicator, since demand goes down as economies slow down, making more oil available, thus causing oil prices to decline.

4) Stock market closings for – 1 OCT 19:

Dow               26,573.04    down    343.79
Nasdaq            7,908.68    down      90.65
S&P 500           2,940.25    down      36.49

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.64%

Oil:    down   at    $53.98

30 August 2019

1) The American trucking industry is in trouble with many major trucking firms such as J.B. Hunt, Knight-Swift and Schneider cutting their annual outlooks. In a growing wave of trucking firms bankruptcies, 3,000 truck drivers have lost their jobs. One positive point is the trucking volume seems to be rising, although trucking is a highly cyclic business with wide swings in high and low peaks. With about 1.8 million American truckers, there is the rising threat of automated robot trucks, which the automatic driving technology industry is eyeing and experimenting already with UPS and the post office.

2) More troubles for Tesla’s SolarCity solar-panels and fires with people’s houses being set on fire resulting in extensive damage. Both Walmart and Amazon.com are suing, claiming Tesla’s solar energy systems have caused fires at their stores and warehouses. Tesla is telling home owners their need to do preventive maintenance on their solar power systems, but with 400,000 solar customers, one of the largest customer bases in America, this may not be a strategy to avoid law suits.

3) Disney’s Disney+ is penetrating NetFlix market share with very aggressive pricing and promotion programs that undercuts NetFlix rates, offering with rates that are as much as one third of NetFlix, while locking customers into contracts for as long as three year. When Disney+ announced its entry into the streaming market, Netflix grew its customer base by 2.7 million, instead of the 5 million that had been forecast. The increased competition from Disney+ and other streaming services is forcing NetFlix to use large amounts of capital to create new video content and so remain a viable competitor.

4) Stock market closings for – 29 AUG 19:

Dow 26,362.25 up 326.15
Nasdaq          7,973.39 up 116.51
S&P 500 2,924.58 up 36.64

10 Year Yield: up at 1.52%

Oil: down at $56.61

16 August 2019

1) Retail giant Walmart reported a strong second quarter and raised its earnings expectations for the year. This news eases concerns about consumer demand dropping because of the trade war with China. Shoppers spent more at stores and websites, indicating the consumer economy has not lost steam. Walmart posted a 20 quarter or five years of growth unmatched by any other retailer. The retailer gets 56% of its revenues from grocery sales, so it is less vulnerable to tariffs.

2) In July, American’s spent more at retail stores and restaurants, indicating the economic growth remains healthy, despite fears of a coming global economic slowdown and possible recession. Despite such fears, consumer confidence remains steady. Most economists are not forecasting a recession, because consumer spending and the job market remains strong.

3) Saudi Arabia is ramping up its oil exports to China, with crude shipments doubled over the last year, while its oil exports to America have dropped by nearly two thirds. This shift has occurred in part from oil embargo on Iran, which has caused Asian importers to shift away from Iran to other sources, aided by U.S. growing independence of any oil imports. The U.S. is becoming the worlds largest producer of oil.

4) Stock market closings for – 15 AUG 19:

Dow            25,579.39         up    99.97
Nasdaq         7,766.62    down      7.32
S&P 500        2,847.60          up      7.00

10 Year Yield:     down   at    1.53%

Oil:     up   at    $54.70

9 August 2019

1) Mexico has become America’s largest trading partner as a result of the U.S. – China trade war. For the first half of 2019, trade between America and Mexico was $309 billion dollars worth of goods, just over 15% of all U.S. trade. In comparison, trade with Canada was $306 billion dollars and China at $271 billion dollars. Trade with Mexico has been steadily rising for several decades, while trade with Canada has historically been high it’s always been flat.

2) A battle may be developing between Amazon and FedEx over handling packages, because of surging e-commerce shipments. With their ground delivery deal ending, FedEx is deepening its pullback from Amazon. The ending of two delivery contracts with Amazon means FedEx will have to seek out new major customers for lost sales while Amazon will now depend more on the U.S. Postal Service and UPS. FedEx is seeking to serve major e-commerce companies such as WalMart as the one-day delivery service for e-commerce heats up.

3) Lift, the internet based ride sharing rival to Uber may become profitable sooner than anyone had predicted. It’s growth is accelerating faster than anticipated, which clears the path to profitability. Some are speculating that 2019 might be Lift’s ‘peak loss’ year with losses being less than 2018. Wall Street is acting positive over the news with Lift’s stock rising from an overnight boost of 4%.

4) Stock market closings for – 9 AUG 19:

Dow                26,378.19    up    371.12
Nasdaq              8,039.16    up    176.33
S&P 500             2,938.09    up      54.11

10 Year Yield:    up   at    1.72%

Oil:    up   at    $52.81

11 July 2019

1) The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) ruled in June that carriers can block robocalls for customers without them having to sign up for the service. So AT&T will enable its Call Protect service without the customer asking for it. Call Protect does three things, 1) detects and blocks fraudulent calls entirely, 2) flags telemarketers and spam calls, and 3) maintain a personal block list.

2) Walmart reports that China’s factories are now getting urgent and desperate, as concerned U.S. retailers accelerate moving out of the country. They predict that China will see more factory shutdowns as the trade war continues. Suppliers of retail goods from Asia are under increasing pressure to shift their sources to manufactures in other countries at a time when their margins are already very thin.

3) Airline giant American Airlines is having a nightmare summer with a cancellation rate eighteen times higher than Delta Airlines. Labor disputes with alleged slowdowns and adverse weather are major problems the airline faces in trying to maintain its customer base, something hard to do when 7,500 international and domestic flights are canceled with resulting loss of revenues. There are added financial losses in paying compensation, hotel and restaurant cost to stranded customers.

4) Stock market closings for – 10 JUL 19:

Dow               26,860.20    up    76.71
Nasdaq            8,202.53    up    60.80
S&P 500           2,993.07    up    13.44

10 Year Yield:    up   at    2.06%

Oil:    down   at    $60.27

20 June 2019

1) The $800 billion dollar trucking industry is in a slowdown as retailers and manufacturers are shipping less. Freight rates have declined for the last six months with the spot market dropping 62.5% for May verses last year. Already, a few major trucking firms have gone bankrupt, with one laying off 550 employees. Even the major trucking companies FedEx, UPS and J.B. Hunt have experienced declines sparking fears of a slowdown of the economy.

2) Harley-Davidson is making good its promise to build more motorcycles outside the United States by partnering with China’s Qianjiang Motorcycle to produce smaller motorcycles. The new bike will have a 338 cubic centimeter engine verses the 601 cc engine for its domestic motorcycles. Harley-Davidson is trying to boost its overseas sales as its domestic market shrinks.

3) Expectations for future global growth and corporate profits have shrank as investor confidence continues to decline amid the trade war. Concerns of an economic slowdown further fuel fears of investors for the demise of global growth, despite America’s stock market now trading near its record high. Global profit expectations fell by the second largest amount on record. The giant retailer Walmart announced they will be laying off nearly 600 employees later this year.

4) Stock market closings for- 19 JUN 19:

Dow                 26,504.00    up    38.46
Nasdaq              7,987.32    up    33.44
S&P 500             2,926.46    up      8.71

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.03%

Oil:    up   at    $54.14

18 June 2019

1) Traditional retail stores, who have been suffering the ravages of e-commerce, are worried about another coming blow. The new tariffs on Chinese imports, which President Trump threatens to impost, could have a disastrous effect on retailers such as Walmart and Target. These next round of tariffs will be specific to consumer goods, which these retailers sell, and will start to force price increases and so most likely will result in decline of sales revenue.

2) While President Trump has been pressing for a cut in the interest rate, the U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to defer and leave the interest rates unchanged. However, the board may possibly lay the groundwork for a rate cut later this year. While the economic outlook has become less clear, there still isn’t sufficient indication of a slow down to warrant cutting interest rates yet.

3) The Pfizer pharmaceutical company is buying Array BioPharma for $10.6 billion dollars for a price 62% above the company’s closing price this last Friday. Pfizer will gain medical technology for new drugs to treat cancer that limit or suppress the effects of chemotherapy. The drugs target a mutation that’s found across many tumor types in those patients who carry the mutation. Two of Array BioPharma drugs have been FDA approved for use in advanced melanoma. There are other drugs which are in the development pipeline.

4) Stock market closings for- 17 JUN 19:

Dow               26,112.53    up    22.92
Nasdaq             7,845.02    up    48.37
S&P 500            2,889.67    up      2.69

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.09%

Oil:    down   at    $51.90

14 June 2019

1) Two tankers have been attacked near the Iran coast, which has caused oil prices to surge with fears that Iran may try to close the Gulf of Oman, which transports oil out of the Middle East. The choke point of the Strait of Hormuz is only 21 miles wide and handles 80% of the oil destined for Asia. Last month four other tankers were attacked near Fujairah using sabotage, which further fueled fears that Iran may become very aggressive in the region and against exports of oil.

2) With voters no longer showing a strong concern for the federal debt, the political support for reining in Federal spending and controlling the growing national debt is melting away with Republicans willing to accept a large deficit in exchange for tax cuts and Democrats making big spending promises in the 2020 campaigns. Some experts, who had once augured against the government growing debt, now say it may not be as critical a problem as they once thought.

3) The mega-retailer Target is upping the ante for e-commerce by offering same-day delivery on thousands of items for just $9.99. Using the delivery startup Shipt, which Target purchased nearly two years ago, the retailer is positioning itself to compete against Walmart and Amazon in what is becoming a ‘delivery time’ war of the major maga-retailers. The one day service will cover 65,000 items from 1,500 stores out of 1,800 stores in 47 states.

4) Stock market closings for- 13 JUN 19:

Dow               26,106.77    up    101.94
Nasdaq            7,837.13    up      44.41
S&P 500           2,891.64    up      11.80

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.09%

Oil:    down   at    $52.11

7 June 2019

1) Years of slow economic progress, where the South nearly reach equality with northen and western neighbors, has reversed. Since 2009, the South’s growth in output and wages has slowed so the South is now receding compared with the rest of America. The twin forces of automation and globalization have wiped out millions of factory jobs where the lower wages and taxes were instrumental in the South drawing those businesses. The net result is the South’s economy is falling behind.

2) The discount retailer chain Costco announced they will be raising prices, stating the tariffs on China as the reason. Costco joins other retailers such as Walmart, Target and Macy in having to raise prices to consumers. There are fears that the wave of retail store closures will further increase as consumers retract from their spending habits.

3) Presidential candidate’s promise of free college to alleviate the growing student debt problem is facing problems of implementation. Low income students need more than just free tuition for gaining a college degree, and therefore the presidential plans will aid those who least need the financial help. The tuition accounts for half or less of college expenses. Presently, student debt stands at $1.6 trillion dollar, where presently 20 to 25% of new college graduates are unemployed or underemployed.

4) Stock market closings for 10 JUN 19:

Dow            26,062.68    up    78.74
Nasdaq         7,823.17    up    81.07
S&P 500        2,886.73    up    13.39

10 Year Yield:    up   at    2.14%

Oil:    up   at    $53.42