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Business News Archives for 2016-02


Happy Leap Day! The People's Bank of China further cut the reserve requirement or the amount of cash the country's banks have to hold, in an attempt to calm investor jitters over the world's second largest economy. (CNBC)

Kraft Heinz, the maker of Oscar Mayer hot dogs, Jell-O and Heinz ketchup, reported quarterly earnings topping estimates. Profits were $285 million for the quarter compared with a loss of $17 million last year.
Sales fell 5% to $7.1 billion, impacted by the strong U.S. dollar. Kraft Foods and H.J. Heinz merged in 2015 to create Kraft Heinz. Warren Buffett is the company's largest shareholder. (Reuters)

Careful if you are filing your taxes via the internet. An audit by Internet security nonprofit the Online Trust Alliance found that 46% of tax software websites in an IRS Free File program failed cybersecurity protocols. (CNBC)

S&P 500 is down 5 and the NASDAQ is down 13.  MSCI International Index is down 0.28%.

Oil is up 11 cents at $32.89 a barrel. An indication oil will stay lower for longer. Less than a year ago major shale firms were saying they needed oil above $60 a barrel to produce more; now some say they will settle for $40 a barrel in deciding whether to crank up output. (Reuters)

Gold is up $8 at $1229 a Troy ounce. Gold, has rallied about 15% this year. It is set to mark its best monthly performance in four years in February, driven by the safe-haven trade. (Reuters)



New orders for long-lasting items like toasters and aircraft in January rose by the most in 10 months. Orders for durable goods jumped 4.9%. This may be an indication that the worst of the manufacturing downturn is over. Manufacturing output rose solidly in January and factory payrolls that month increased by the most since August 2013. The manufacturing sector accounts for 12% of the U.S. economy. (Reuters)

Kohl's is closing 18 under-performing stores with a list of affected locations expected in March. The retailer operates 1,160 stores in the U.S., including the Bend store.  Employees at affected stores will be offered a position at another Kohl's location or a severance package. (AP)

J.C. Penney reported a better-than-expected results, helped by strong sales at it its Home, Sephora, Footwear and Handbags divisions. Sales rose 2.5% to $4 billion. Same-store sales rose 4.1%.  But that still adds up to a loss of $131 million compared with a loss of $35 million a year earlier. (Reuters)

Join us this weekend for Financial Focus Radio, the truth in wealth building, when we will prepare you for that next annuity salesman that visits you.



New single-family home sales declined 9.2% in January from a 10-month high. Sales dropped to annual rate of 494,000 units. (Commerce Department)

Gun maker Sturm Ruger topped Wall Street expectations for the quarter. Reporting fourth-quarter earnings of 88 cents a share on revenue of $152.4 million. (Market Watch)

Best Buy forecast current-quarter sales and profit below analysts' estimates as the retailer struggles with falling sales of mobile devices. The Company announced a special dividend of 45 cents per share.
Sales at established stores fell 1.7% in the fourth quarter. Sales mobile devices fell 6.8% in the US. The category accounts for 43% percent of the company's total U.S. revenue. (Reuters)

Same store sales at Sears and Kmart fell 6.9% and 7.2% respectively in the fourth quarter. The company reported a loss of $580 million compared with a loss of $159 million a year-ago. Sales came in at $7.3 billion, down from $8.1 billion in the year-ago. (USA Today)
 



Home Depot reported quarterly profits rose to $1.47 billion from $1.38 billion a year earlier. Sales rose to $20.98 billion. The company raised its quarterly dividend by 17% and announced a $5 billion share buyback plan. Same-store sales, rose 8.9% in the United States. Home Depot benefited from rising home prices, combined with job, wage and credit growth. (Reuters)
 
Mentor Graphics will buy out half of Carl Icahn’s remaining stake in the company. Mentor will pay Icahn $146 million for 8 million shares, 7% of all Mentor's stock. Icahn still has another 8 million shares. In 2011, Icahn sought to take over the Company. Mentor makes electronic design automation software that helps engineers design computer chips, airplanes, cars and other products. It employs 1,000 persons in Wilsonville. (OregonLive)
 
Macy's reported quarterly profits of $544 million. The department store posted sales of $8.87 billion. Macy's expects full-year earnings in the range of $3.54 to $3.59 per share. (AP)
 
Burger King becomes the biggest restaurant seller of hot dogs in the country today. The fast-food chain best known the Whopper is adding a $1.99 classic grilled dog and a $2.29 chili cheese dog. (USA Today)



U.S. inflation in January climbed by the most in nearly 4-1/2 years. The Consumer Price Index, excluding the volatile food and energy components, increased 0.3% last month. In the 12 months through January, the CPI advanced 2.2%, the largest increase since June 2012. Last month, the rental index increased 0.3%, medical costs climbed 0.5%. Apparel prices were up 0.6% and prices for cars advanced 0.3%. Gasoline prices fell 4.8%, while food prices were unchanged. (Labor Department)

Lattice Semiconductor climbed nearly 20% last week on hints the Portland company has signed up Apple as a major client. Lattice makes programmable computer chips for industrial and consumer electronics.  Its biggest customer is Samsung. Lattice became Portland's biggest tech company in 2015 when it moved its headquarters from Hillsboro to the U.S. Bancorp Tower. (Oregon Live)

Another step toward easy money. Bank of America is rolling out a new mortgage with down-payments of as low as 3%.  This represents an end run around the FHIC that punished the bank for making errors on similar loans during the financial crisis. (WSJ)

Oil is up $1.31 at $31.00 a barrel.

Gold is down $20 at $1211 a Troy ounce.

 



A key economic measure fell in January. The Leading Economic Index declined 0.2% in January to 123.2. Stock price declines and weakness in initial claims for unemployment insurance were behind the dip. In spite of the decline, the economy is still on pace for moderate expansion. (The Conference Board)

John Deere's quarterly performance beat expectations, as the company continues to deal with weak sales of farm and construction equipment. Deere costs and expenses declined 12% during the quarter. Deere had profits of $254.4 million, down 35% from a year earlier. Sales totaled $5 billion. Sales for the agriculture and turf unit dropped 12%.  Construction and forestry division sales fell 23%. (AP)

Nordstrom reported disappointing results for the holiday season. The Seattle-based company had a profit of $180 million. The Company had sales of $4.14 billion in the quarter. Sales in stores open at least a year rose 1%. Nordstrom operates more than 300 locations in the United States and Canada.  Nordstrom expects full-year earnings in the range of $3.10 to $3.35 per share.
 



U.S. producer prices rose 0.1% in January but lower energy prices and a strong dollar keep inflation in check. In the 12 months through January, the PPI decreased 0.2%. In January, energy prices fell 5.0%. Wholesale food prices rose 1.0%. (Labor Department)

U.S. housing starts fell 3.8% in January to an annual pace of 1.1 million units.   Confidence among homebuilders fell in February amid concerns over "the high cost and lack of availability of lots and labor."

In January, single-family housing starts fell 3.9% to a 731,000-unit pace. (Commerce Department)

Wal-Mart reported a decline in quarterly earnings and a smaller-than-expected increase in sales at existing stores.  The retailer also said it expected net sales to be flat in its new fiscal year, down from a previous forecast for 3% to 4% growth. Wal-Mart said profits fell 7.9% to $4.6 billion in the fourth quarter. Wal-Mart said sales at U.S. stores open at least a year rose 0.6%, positive for the sixth consecutive quarter.



Columbia Sportswear handily beat Wall Street profit forecasts. Columbia Sportswear's fourth-quarter profits totaled $63.4 million. Sales totaled $699.4 million, up 3% from a year earlier. For the year, sales grew 11% to $2.3 billion, a record. The company forecast slower growth this year, in part due to the strong U.S. dollar. (Oregon Live)
 
The lower interest rates go, the more borrowers refinance. Total mortgage applications jumped 8.2% last week. Refinances were up16%. The average loan size for refinances was $316,000, a new record. The average interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate decreased to its lowest level since April 2015, at 3.83%.  Mortgage applications to purchase a home fell 4% last week, but are now 30% higher than a year ago. (Mortgage Bankers Association)
 
Campbell Soup says it expects to report quarterly profits of 87 cents per share, well above consensus forecasts of 71 cents. The food company also raised its 2016 earnings guidance, helped by cost cuts.
(CNBC)
 
Northwest timber company Plum Creek Timber will be no more when trading opens on Friday. Plum Creek's acquisition by Weyerhaeuser will be completed on Thursday. Oil and natural gas exploration company Concho will join the S&P 500, replacing Plum Creek Timber. (Yahoo Finance)



U.S. consumer spending for retail sales excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services increased 0.6% in January after declining 0.3% in December. Consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity. Consumer spending is being supported by a strengthening labor market, which is starting to lift wages. (Reuters)

U.S. import prices fell 1.1% in January for a seventh straight month as the cost of petroleum products continued to decline and a strong dollar undercut prices, pointing to weak inflation in the near term.
Import prices have decreased in 17 of the last 19 months. (Reuters)

The Index of Consumer sentiment hit 90.7 down from January's final reading of 92.  The survey measures consumers' attitudes toward current economic conditions and future expectations. Both edged downward for the month. (University of Michigan)

Hormel Foods reported quarterly profits of $235.1 million. The results topped Wall Street expectations. The maker of Spam and Dinty Moore stew had sales of $2.29 billion in the period. Hormel shares have more than doubled since the beginning of the year and the stock has nearly tripled in the last 12 months. (AP)

Oil is up 55 cents at $30.00 a barrel.

Gold is down $25 at $1214 a Troy ounce.
 



Good morning everybody. US markets are closed in observance Presidents Day today. So since there is no real market news to report let's talk about the crazy markets we've seen since the beginning of 2016.

I know these are very scary times for many of you and your retirement portfolios. Many of you are extrapolating the recent selloff to project your investment accounts going to zero. That is FEAR talking and can put you in a position of doing harm to yourself.

If you have a well-balanced and well diversified portfolio now is not the time to be making changes in your investments. That is when people lock in losses by selling and are not in the market when they inevitably turn up again.

Now is the time to be a patient investor and let the markets run their course. If you are currently investing in your 401(k) or other retirement vehicle now is a great buying opportunity for good high-quality stocks.

The market goes down from time to time and then returns to normality and goes up again. The most expensive words and investing our "this time is different".

Don't be a market timer! Remember the market timers Hall of Fame is an empty room in Paducah Kentucky.
 



The Asian stock rout continued overnight, with the Japanese Nikkei dropping 4.8%, its seventh decline in eight sessions to the lowest close since October 2014. The 10-year Treasury yield hit a low of 1.53% yesterday.  That is an August 2012 low. (Reuters/CNBC)
 
Big bank AIG, reported a fourth-quarter loss of $1.3 billion versus a profit of $1.4 billion last year.  The AIG board approved raising their dividend by 14% to 32 cents a share and increasing the stock buyback by $5 billion. (Market Watch)
 
AT&T will conduct 5G field trials by the end of the year. 5G promises speeds 10-100 times faster than today's average 4G LTE connections. (USA Today)
 
Join us this weekend for Financial Focus Radio when we will give you a tour of the bad investments being pushed in this market down turn.
 
The S&P 500 is up 15 and the NASDAQ is up 36. The MSCI international index is up 0.14%.
 
Oil is up $1.25 at $27.4 6 a barrel. Oil prices have tumbled over 70% since mid-2014 as producers pump 1-2 million barrels of crude every day in excess of demand.  Global demand is at all-time highs. (CNBC)
 
Gold is down $8 at $1240 a Troy ounce. Gold has gained 5.5% this week, the biggest such gain since October 2011. (Fox Business News)



Fed Chair Janet Yellen goes back to Capitol Hill and the Senate this morning after rattling markets from the House side yesterday. The 10-year Treasury yield has fell to around 1.53%. That is a three-year low. (CNBC)
 
Pepsi reported quarterly profits rising to $1.72 billion, from $1.31 billion, a year ago as higher sales of snacks and beverages in North America helped reduce the impact of a strong dollar. Sales fell 7% to $18.59 billion. The company increased its 2015 annual dividend to $3.01 per share from $2.81 per share and said it would return about $7 billion to shareholders through dividends and buybacks in 2016. (Reuters)
 
Whole Foods sales at established locations slipped 1.8% in the quarter and are forecast to be flat to down 2% for the year, as it works to keep prices down and fend off rivals.  Profits for the quarter fell to $157 million. Total sales rose to $4.8 billion. (AP)
 
Kellogg is reporting a loss of $41 million in the quarter. The maker of Frosted Flakes, Pop Tarts and Eggo waffles posted sales of $3.14 billion in the quarter. Kellogg shares are off 2% since the beginning of the year, but are up almost 7% in the last 12 months. (AP)
 
The S&P 500 is down 31 and the NASDAQ is down 63. The MSCI international index is flat.
 
Oil is down 75 cents at $26.66 a barrel. That is a 2003 low.
 
Gold is up $45 at $1239 a Troy ounce. That is an eight and a half month high.



US Stocks finished yesterday’s extremely volatile trading session near the flat line.  The DOW traded in a 1000 point range yesterday eventually settling nearly unchanged.  We also saw a sharp drop in oil prices back below $30/barrel.

Coca-Cola reported 4th quarter revenue of $10 Billion which was $100mm above Wall St. expectations.  The company reported EPS of 28 cents per share which was way above the 17 cents per share they reported over the same period last year.  Shares of Coke traded 1.5% higher on that news.

Walt Disney reported the highest quarterly earnings in the company’s history as the success of the latest installment of Star Wars offset continued woes at ESPN.  Disney said revenue in its movie business jumped 46% in the quarter to $2.72 Billion.  The woes at ESPN though continue to weigh on the stock price.  Shares of Disney are 5% lower right now.

Oregon Insurance regulators removed MODA Health from State Control as MODA agreed to remain in business and stabilize their shaky finances by selling assets and taking other steps to raise $179mm.  The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services issued a consent order that outlines a plan to raise sufficient funds so they can serve their 62K Oregon customers without interruption.

And the Fed Chair Janet Yellen is out this morning sounding a bit more cautious about the Fed’s outlook for the US economy, but didn’t back away from expectations for additional, gradual, interest rate hikes.



Japan's Nikkei dropped 5.4% last night, as the dollar dipped to a November 2014 low against the yen, and yields on Japan's 10-year bond went negative for the first time ever. China markets remained closed for the Lunar New Year holiday. (CNBC)
 
Coca-Cola's global soda volume rose 2% in the fourth quarter, even though Diet Coke continued to suffer declines. Diet Coke's decline has been largely a U.S. issue. Non-carbonated drink such as bottled water rose 6%. Coke earned a profit of $1.24 billion. Total revenue fell 8% percent to $10 billion in the quarter. (AP)
 
Sears Holdings, the parent company of Sears and Kmart, continued its sales slump and is closing at least another 50 stores. Kmart is now down to 950 locations from 1,309 just five years ago, while Sears’ namesake department stores now number 708, from 868 in 2011. Sears is also considering selling off more assets, including its auto services business, to raise cash. Holiday comparable sales at Kmart fell 7.2% and 6.9% at Sears, for the worst performance among major department. (Fortune)
 
The S&P 500 is down 14 and the NASDAQ is down 33. The MSCI international index is down 1.80%.
 
Oil is up 25 cents at $29.75 a barrel. The slick stuff was down more than 4% yesterday.
 
Gold is down $2 at $1196 a Troy ounce. Yesterday the bling popped nearly 3.5%. Uncertainty over global growth puts the precious metal on course for its longest rally since 2011. Up nearly 14% for the year. (Reuters)
 
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.
 



Last week Berkshire Hathaway bought Precision Castparts. Now three Precision Castparts leaders, including CEO Mark Donegan, Corporate Counsel Ruth Beyer and CFO Shawn Hagel have been appointed to Warren Buffets Board of Directors. (Omaha World Herald)
 
Hasbro posted its biggest jump in quarterly revenue in nearly five years driven by demand for Star Wars and Jurassic World toys. Sales from toys targeted at boys, surged 35% to $569.8 million in the quarter.  Sales from its games category, which includes Monopoly, were up 11% after two straight quarters of decline. Hasbro profits rose 3.4% to $175.8 million. The company also raised its quarterly dividend by 11%to 51 cents per share. (Reuters)
 
Don’t forget we live in a global economy. Ford plans to build a new assembly plant in Mexico and increase output in that country. That follows the signing of a new labor deal which boosts worker pay in the U.S.. (Wall Street Journal)
 
Chobani, the Greek-yogurt maker,  has rejected offers from beverage giant Pepsi and other investors to buy a majority of the company. Chobani was exploring a sale after being approached by several parties in 2015. The yogurt maker wanted to sell a minority stake while outside investors were looking for a majority stake in the company. Coca-Cola was also a suitor. (Reuters)
 
The S&P 500 is down 27 and the NASDAQ is down 86. The MSCI international index is down 2.21%.
 
Oil is up $1.00 at $29.75 a barrel.
 
Gold is up $24 at $1182 a Troy ounce.
 



It is jobs Friday and the Department of Labor says the economy added 151,000 jobs in January. The private sector added 158,000 jobs, government shed 7000.  The unemployment rate dipped to 4.9%, the lowest level since February 2008. Wages increased 0.5%.  All those are pretty good numbers.

 

The dollar index has been getting weaker the last few days. The greenback against a basket of six major international currencies is on track for its heaviest weekly loss since 2009. (Reuters)

 

With the big game on everyone’s mind there are new players competing to bring you NFL football action.  Apple, Amazon, Google, and Verizon are among companies bidding for streaming rights to the NFL's Thursday night package. (Variety)

 

Is this another sign of their end times? J.C. Penney selling its headquarters building in Plano, Texas in an effort to reduce debt and costs. J.C. Penney has occupied the three-story office building as its headquarters since 1992. (CNBC)

 

Join us this weekend for Financial Focus Radio, the truth in wealth building, when we will guide you through the MODA and Obama Care mess with our trusted health insurance expert Don Klipennes.

 

The S&P 500 is down 12 and the NASDAQ is down 32. The MSCI international index is down 0.5%.

 

Oil is up 25 cents at $32.00 a barrel.

 

Gold is up $2 at $1160 a Troy ounce.



Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell saw a steep decline in profits as lower crude prices continue to inflict pain on major oil companies. Fourth-quarter 2015 profits were down 56% to $1.8 billion.  Revenue on an annual basis, was the lowest in 13 years, falling 87%. Shell, is cutting some 10,000 jobs and contractor positions this year. (Reuters)

ConocoPhillips, the largest U.S. independent oil and gas company, reported a bigger quarterly loss and slashed its dividend. The company will cut its quarterly dividend to 25 cents per share, from 74 cents per share. The company lost $3.5 billion in the fourth quarter. Shares of ConocoPhillips are down nearly 45% over the past year. (CNBC)

Layoffs surged in January to the highest levels since July as employers in the retail and energy sectors cut jobs. U.S.-based companies announced 75,114 planned job cuts last month, up more than 200% percent from a 15-year low in December. That is 42% higher than last year. Retailers cut 22,246 positions, a seven-year high. Wal-Mart accounted for much of the payroll reductions. The nation's largest retailer said it plans to close 269 stores and expects to let go 16,000 workers.

Macy's said it will also shutter some locations this year, costing 4,820 employees their jobs. The energy sector layed off 20,246 positions, the highest monthly total since the start of the oil price rout. (Challenger, Gray & Christmas)

The S&P 500 is down 7 and the NASDAQ is down 17. The MSCI international index is down 0.5%.

Oil is flat at $31.75 a barrel.

Gold is up $9 at $1150 a Troy ounce.
 



Mortgage applications fell last week by 2.6% as snow covered much of the East Coast. Applications to refinance rose 0.3%, but are down 31.5% from a year ago. Applications to purchase a home fell 7% from a week earlier but are 17% higher than a year ago. (Mortgage Bankers Association)

Job growth in the private sector slowed a bit in January as larger companies hired fewer workers than the previous month and manufacturing jobs were flat, according to ADP and Moody's Analytics. However, the private sector added 205,000 new positions. Strong job growth in the service sector that added 192,000 jobs. Financial firms added19,000 workers for the biggest gain since March 2006. Medium-sized firms, 50 to 499 employees, added the most with 82,000 jobs, while companies with more than 500 workers added 44,000, just half December's total. (CNBC)

Amazon is planning to open hundreds of physical bookstores.  The number may be as high 300 to 400 brick-and-mortar locations. In November, Amazon opened its first brick-and-mortar store in Seattle. Amazon has promised that literature sold at Amazon Books will not differ in price from its online price tag. (Wall Street Journal)

Merck reported a 2.5% fall in quarterly revenue, hurt by a strong dollar. Profits fell to $981 million down from $7.32 billion last year. Revenue fell to $10.22 billion. (CBC)

The S&P 500 is up 6 and the NASDAQ is up 11. The MSCI international index is up.

Oil is up 25 cents at $30.25 a barrel.

Gold is up $5 at $1132 a Troy ounce.
 



It is Ground Hog Day and the market like the movie is the same thing over and over. As go the price of oil so goes stocks.  This morning that is down.  

The US consumer is not doing too bad.  Consumer spending was unchanged in December after rising 0.5% in November. Consumer spending increased 3.4% in 2015. (Commerce Department)

Wages and salaries increased 4.5% in 2015 the largest increase since 2012. Income at the disposal of households after accounting for inflation in 2015 recorded its biggest increase since 2006. (Commerce Department)  

Savings surged to $753.3 billion in December, the highest level since December 2012. (Commerce Department)

U.S. construction spending rose in December 0.1% as spending on nonresidential structures recorded its biggest drop since 2013. Construction outlays increased 10.5% in 2015, the biggest rise since 2005. (Bloomberg)

Toy maker Mattel beat expectations on profits and sales, helped by the first quarterly sales increase in more than two years on renewed popularity for Barbie and Hot Wheels. (CNBC)

As the consumer makes the transition to more efficient LED light bulbs, General Electric will stop selling compact fluorescent lamp bulbs in 2017. (Gizmodo)

The S&P 500 is down 15 and the NASDAQ is down 17. The MSCI international index is down.

Oil is down 75 cents at $30.75 a barrel.

Gold is down $3 at $1125 a Troy ounce.
 



While we slept in was reported China's manufacturing sector contracted at the fastest pace since 2012 in January.  That added worries about oil demand from the world's second-biggest economy at a time when the market is already weighed down by a large supply overhang. For the last month or so oil and the stocks have assumed an almost perfect correlation.  So you got it oil is down and so are stocks. (Bloomberg)

The health insurer Aetna had a profit of $1.37 per share in the fourth quarter, above estimates. Revenue also beating forecasts. Aetna was helped by improved membership numbers and margins in its Medicare business. (CNBC)

Drug distributor Cardinal Health earned a profit of $1.30 per share in Q4, better than expected as were sales.  The company said its results were boosted by growth in its customer base and solid fundamentals. (CNBC)

It is no longer buying the world a Coke. Coca-Cola has taken 40% stake in Nigerian juice and snack Chi as it continues its push into Africa. (Bloomberg)

Boeing won the contract to begin preliminary work on a new fleet of Air Force One presidential jets, based on its 747-8 model. The initial contract is worth $25.8 million, while estimates put the deal's total worth at $1.65 billion. (CNBC)

The S&P 500 is down 18 and the NASDAQ is down 32. The MSCI international index is flat.

Oil is down $1.16 at $32.43 a barrel.

Gold is up $6 at $1113 a Troy ounce.
 


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