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

6 June 2019

1) The trade war continues to escalate as China takes action against American companies operating in China proper. China is levying fines on Ford’s joint venture for antitrust violations. Changan Ford Automobile Co. will be fined $23.6 million dollars for restricting retailers sale prices. Fed-Ex has recently come under Chinese scrutiny for ‘wrongful’ deliveries. China has threaten to blacklist foreign firms which damage domestic companies’ interests. Chinese citizens are being warned against travel to America, thereby restricting income from tourism and business reaching America.

2) The video game retailer GameStop, with over 5,700 retail outlets, is in decline, and was the place to go to buy video games and virtual reality products. But their sales have been in significant decline, with attempts to use e-commerce to counter the downward slide being of no help. Their forecast for next year show little improvement to its deteriorating business as their business migrates over to Amazon.

3) Bernie Sanders has made good his promise to take his fight for the common worker to Walmart’s annual stockholders meeting, to demand that Walmart workers be given a place on their board of directors. He introduced a shareholder proposal which would make roughly 1.5 million hourly workers eligible for board nominations. Sanders’ consider this move a way to separate himself and his policies from the democratic presidential nomination pack. Walmart is one of the huge American retailers pushing for new robotic technology to use in their stores.

4) Stock market closings for 5 JUN 19:

Dow             25,539.57    up    207.39
Nasdaq          7,575.48    up      48.36
S&P 500         2,826.15    up      22.88

10 Year Yield:    up   at    2.12%

Oil:    up   at    $51.69

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

10 April 2019

1) The IMF (International Monetary Fund) has reduced their forecasted for world economic growth from 3.5% to 3.3%, which is the third reduction since last October. It forecasted 2.3% growth for the US economy, as well as reduced growth forecast for Germany and Great Britain.

2) Walmart is rolling out thousands of robots for use in their retail stores across America. These robots will automatically scan shelves and clean floors. With a million employees, Walmart is seeking ways to keep labor cost down.

3) Bank of America is raising it’s minimum wage to $20 an hour over the next two years. Starting the first of May, the rate will increase to $17 per hour. The bank has 205,000 employees.

4) 9 APR 19 Stock market closings: Markets pulled down by industrial sector.

Dow             26,150.58    down    190.44
Nasdaq          7,909.28    down      44.61
S&P 500         2,878.20    down      17.57

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.50%

Oil:    up   at    $64.24