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Business News Archives for 2019-07


Stock valuations in developed-international markets are quite a bit lower than those in the United States. However, peel back the onion and you will find that the MSCI EAFE Index--the benchmark for developed international equities primarily composed of European and Japanese stocks--actually appears closer to fairly valued than underpriced due to different sector and profitability profiles. (LPL Research)

 

Morgan Stanley’s rich clients pulled about $10 billion of outflows from their accounts last quarter the likely culprit: Under the Trump administration’s 2017 tax reform, the deduction for state income, sales and property taxes was capped at $10,000. That has widely been perceived as causing higher taxes for people living in New York, New Jersey and California. (CNBC)

 

Anheuser-Busch InBev is contemplating selling off business units in South Korea, Australia and Central America. AB InBev called off the initial public offering of its Asian business on Friday (Wall Street Journal)

 

The House passed a bill to hike the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour. It would index further hikes to median wage growth. It would also phase out lower minimum wage paid to tipped workers. (CNBC)

 

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management on Troy Reinhart.



Stocks dipped yesterday as investors sift through a slew of 2nd quarter earnings reports.


Amazon’s 2019 Prime Day was its biggest sales event yet.  The company said it sold more than 175 million items over the course of the event, up from 100 million items last year.  Amazon-branded electronics including the Echo Dot, Fire Stick, and other Alexa-enabled devices were among the top-sellers.  Meanwhile, third-party sales volume topped $2 billion during this year’s Prime Day, up from $1.5 billion last year.


Construction of new houses fell slightly in June and permits sank to the lowest level in two years, suggesting a sluggish U.S. housing market has failed to gain much momentum from lower mortgage rates.  Housing starts slipped 0.9% to an annual pace of 1.25 million last month. That’s how many homes would be built in 2019 if construction took place at same rate over the entire year as it did in June.


Shares of railroad giant CSX fell sharply after the company reported earnings that missed expectations.  The CEO of the company said on the earnings call that the US economy was the most puzzling he has experience in his career.


Shares of United Airlines are higher after the company reported revenue and earnings that topped expectations.  The company also increased their stock buyback program to $3 Billion
 
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I'm Tyler Simones.



Stocks slipped from record highs yesterday after President Trump said that we have a long way to go on trade talks with China.

Four of the major US Banks JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America all reported earnings results that beat analysts expectations.  On the earnings conference calls all of the companies mentioned the trade war and the Fed cutting interest rates as reasons for declining revenues later this year.

Sales at U.S. retailers rose solidly in June for the fourth month in a row, pointing to a strong rebound in consumer spending in the second quarter that suggests the economy is not as fragile as the Federal Reserve apparently believes.  Retail sales increased 0.4% last month, the government said Tuesday. Economists polled by MarketWatch expected a 0.1% gain.

Oregon’s unemployment rate has been at or near a record low for almost three years. That trend continued in June, according to the latest figures released by the state.  The unemployment rate in Oregon for June was 4.1%, according to economists with the Oregon Employment Department. The rate for May was 4.2%. The record low, for data going back to 1976, was 4% in May 2018.  For 32 months, or since November 2016, Oregon’s unemployment rate has been between 4% and 4.4%.

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I'm Tyler Simones.



Back to school time is the second busiest shopping period of the year and is projected to be flat compared to a year-ago. Spending for back-to-school clothing, school supplies and electronics for children in grades K-12 is expected to reach $27.8 billion this year. (Deloitte survey)

 

Shares of Helen of Troy, owners of Revlon, Vicks and Hydro Flask is raising their forward earnings guidance. The company also beat earnings and revenue expectations in announcing quarterly results. (CNBC)

 

President Trump is considering firing Commerce Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. (NBC News) 

 

Second quarter earnings season gets rolling this week with nearly 60 S&P 500 Index companies reporting results. Consensus estimates are calling for a slight year-over-year decline in S&P 500 earnings amid the downshift in U.S. and international economic growth, tariffs, and ongoing trade tensions. (FactSet)

 

More than 1 million children were victims of identity theft or fraud in 2017, according to a report from Javelin Strategy & Research. Two-thirds of those affected were age 7 or younger.

 

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management on Troy Reinhart.
 



After more dovish communications from Federal Reserve officials sent U.S. stocks to record highs last week, second-quarter corporate earnings results that start this week will pose the next test for investors.
 
China's gross domestic product rose 6.2% in the second quarter from a year earlier, the slowest pace in at least 27 years.  The GDP figure comes as the world’s second largest economy remains locked in a trade war with the U.S.
 
Amazon kicked off its fourth annual blockbuster Prime Day sale at midnight, promising “more than one million deals globally” for products from Alexa-enabled devices to goods from many of the company’s third-party sellers.
 
China's trade with the United States plunged last month amid a tariff war.  Imports of US goods fell 32% over the same period last year, while exports to the American market fell 8%.  China's trade surplus with the US widened by 3%, giving critics ammunition to demand Washington take a hard line with Beijing.
 
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I'm Tyler Simones.
 



Markets have a July rate cut from the Federal Reserve as the base case following Chair Jerome Powell’s two-day testimony to Congress. Two regional Fed governors are pushing back, with Atlanta’s Raphael Bostic and Richmond’s Thomas Barkin disputing the need for stimulus right now. Each of them cited the Dallas Fed’s measure of inflation which has come in close to 2% in recent months. As neither of them are voting on the FOMC this year, their arguments could well get lost as Powell gets on with being the world’s central banker. (Bloomberg)

 

Shares of pharmacy benefit managers and other healthcare players soared on Thursday in reaction to the administration's reversal of its proposed overhaul of rebates collected by the drug middlemen. At this juncture, the administration is moving forward with its plan to tie Medicare reimbursement for drugs to the lowest prices paid elsewhere. The news came days after a federal judge dealt a blow to the White House by striking down a rule that would have forced pharmaceutical companies to disclose the list price of their drugs in TV ads. (SA)

 

Crude prices are headed for their biggest weekly gain in three as simmering Middle East tensions, shrinking U.S. crude inventories and Tropical Storm Barry in the Gulf of Mexico threaten the supply outlook. Despite the developments and recent rollover of an OPEC-led output cut, the IEA is forecasting another oil glut in 2020. "This surplus adds to the huge stock builds seen in the second half of 2018," the agency declared, adding that "market tightness is not an issue for the time being" but predicting growth of 1.4M barrels per day next year (from 1.2M bpd in 2019). (WSJ)

 

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Josh Fenili.



France’s Senate has approved a tax on the revenues of tech giants like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple, defying a warning from President Donald Trump's administration that it “unfairly targets American companies.” The administration has launched an investigation into the 3 per cent digital services tax, which is to be imposed on digital businesses with revenues exceeding €750m globally and €25m in France. The unilateral move by Paris could result in tariffs on French wine or cars though both sides would likely seek a negotiated settlement first.  The US has lobbied aggressively to block taxes on tech companies’ revenues. But France and other EU countries have pursued national-level duties after a pan-Europe effort stalled earlier this year. (FT)
 
The last Volkswagen Beetle has rolled off the assembly line in Mexico's central Puebla state, serenaded by a mariachi band and surrounded by proud factory workers. It marks the end of the road for an iconic car that began in Germany in the 1940s through the hippie counterculture in the 1960s, but failed to navigate a current swerve in consumer tastes toward SUVs. The Puebla factory, which already produces VW's Tiguan SUV, will make the Tarek SUV in place of the "bug" starting in late 2020. (SA)
 
U.S. underlying consumer prices increased by the most in nearly 1-1/2 years in June amid solid gains in the costs of a range of goods and services, but will probably not change expectations the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates this month.  The Labor Department said on Thursday its consumer price index excluding the volatile food and energy components rose 0.3% last month.  There were also increases in the cost of healthcare and rents. In the 12 months through June, the core CPI climbed 2.1%
 
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Josh Fenili.



Jay Powell, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, has cemented the case for the US central bank to cut interest rates based on mounting risks to the US economic outlook, in dovish testimony to Congress that could fuel expectations of a looming monetary easing.  Despite a strong jobs report for the month of June and last month’s new truce in the trade war between the US and China, Mr Powell said “uncertainties about the outlook have increased in recent months”, particularly internationally. (FT)

 

Something interesting is happening in the media landscape, where Netflix is becoming the incumbent, and the challengers are established firms that have been around for nearly a century. Disney, Warner Media, and NBCUniversal are all launching direct-to-consumer streaming services by the first quarter of 2020, and the race is heating up over content. The latest move has seen Warner Media pull Friends off Netflix in 2020 when it debuts its service, HBO MAX, and comes shortly after Netflix lost The Office to NBC Universal coming 2021. (SA)

 

After achieving record deliveries in the second quarter, Tesla is getting ready to increase EV production at its factory in Fremont, California. Tesla has said it plans to produce "significantly" more than the 360,000 to 400,000 vehicles expected to be delivered in 2019, easing concerns over demand for the company's electric cars.


Elon Musk’s automaker impressed Wall Street with record second quarter sales numbers yet analysts remain cautious, focusing instead on the company’s upcoming earnings report. Tesla is expected to report second-quarter earnings on Aug. 7. (CNBC)

 

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Josh Fenili.



Jerome Powell has stepped up to the starting line, with a marathon of speeches over the next three days ranging from comments at the Boston Fed to his semiannual monetary policy testimony to Congress. Today, he's scheduled to give opening remarks at a conference discussing the effectiveness of bank stress tests. While traders have priced in a 100% probability of a Fed rate cut in July, expectations for a more aggressive cut have been tempered by the strong jobs report released Friday. (SA)

 

Levi Strauss releases earnings figures The 166-year-old jeans maker releases second earnings after the market closes. Shares in the San Francisco-based group have only risen 0.5 per cent since its initial public offering on March 21, compared with a 7 per cent rise for the broader S&P 500. Alongside its first set of earnings as a public company, which were released in April, the company outlined plans to open 100 new stores. (Barron’s)

 

Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic has announced plans to go public via a New York cash shell led by former senior Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya.  Virgin Galactic, which aims to take passengers into space, said this morning that it would merge with a cash shell led by Mr Palihapitiya, which was launched in 2017 and is publicly traded in New York. Virgin Galactic said the company would have an enterprise value of about $1.5bn.  The cash shell is an alternative way to bring technology companies to the stock market without the hassle of an initial public offering. (FT)

 

PepsiCo shares are higher this morning  after the company’s second-quarter earnings topped estimates, as healthier snacks and sparkling water helped fuel sales growth and offset a drag from foreign exchange.  As consumers drink less soda, Pepsi has turned to higher-growth beverage categories instead, releasing energy drinks like Mtn Dew Game Fuel and jumping in on the sparkling water trend with Bubly. (CNBC).

 

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Josh Fenili.
 



Stocks have stuttered and the dollar is circling a three-week high this morning while investors reassess their expectations for the pace of Federal Reserve interest rate cuts.  The cautious trading pattern comes with Jay Powell due to offer two days of testimony on monetary policy before Congress, starting on Wednesday. Minutes are also due then from the Fed’s last rate-setting meeting, at which policy was left on hold.  While a rate cut at this month’s policy meeting is expected, hopes for one of 50 basis points looked misplaced after a significantly stronger-than-expected jobs report on Friday. (WSJ)
 
While Deutsche Bank had once sought to compete with America's big banks on Wall Street, the German lender has been pummeled by scandals, probes and massive fines stemming from the financial crisis and other issues in recent years. The latest overhaul will see Deutsche exit the global equities business and shed 18,000 jobs, booking charges of €7.4B through 2022, while it won't pay a dividend this year or next. The German bank also expects to report a net loss of €2.8B for the second quarter, before it narrows its focus on serving European companies and retail-banking customers. (SA)
 
In another setback for Boeing, Saudi Arabian budget airline Flyadeal said it will cancel its order for up to 50 737 Max jets, a deal worth $5.9B when it was announced last December. The low-cost carrier will instead buy up to 50 A320neo planes and become an "all-Airbus fleet," marking one of the first tangible signs the 737 Max crisis could shift business to Boeing's European rival. (FT)
 
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Josh Fenili.



The meeting between President Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping at the G-20 might have been enough to pause the trade war, but it seems that finding a lasting peace is no easier than it was before the summit. China’s pre-condition is a removal of all tariffs placed on its goods, with state media saying talks will “go backward again” without the U.S. agreeing to that step. Trade spats are starting to spread beyond the U.S.-China faceoff, with the long-standing grudge match between Japan and South Korea among those that are beginning to re-emerge. (Bloomberg)

 

Payroll growth rebounded sharply in June as the U.S. economy added 224,000 jobs amid concerns that both the employment picture and overall growth picture were beginning to weaken. The unemployment rate edged up to 3.7%. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had expected nonfarm payrolls to rise by 165,000 after and the unemployment rate to hold steady at 3.6%. May’s initially reported growth of 75,000 had raised doubts about the durability of the record-setting expansion that began a decade ago. (CNBC)

 

Workers in the Bend-Redmond Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average hourly wage of $23.27 in May 2018, about 7 percent below the nationwide average of $24.98, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 8 of the 22 occupational groups, including food preparation and serving related; construction and extraction; and building and grounds cleaning and maintenance. 

 

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Josh Fenili.



Stocks were little changed yesterday after the U.S. threatened a new wave of tariffs on European goods, dampening recent optimism surrounding the Washington-Beijing trade truce.

 

Drivers should pay about a dime less per gallon for gasoline over the Fourth of July holiday than last year, even with a major refinery outage and new taxes in about a dozen states.  A record 41.4 million people are expected to travel on the nation’s roadways over the long holiday weekend, an increase of 4% from 2018, according to AAA, and even with the shutdown of the largest East Coast refinery, gasoline should be plentiful.
 
Anheuser Busch Inbev - The brewer’s stock jumped 2% after announcing that it is looking to raise as much as $9.8 billion from a Hong Kong listing, in what would be the world’s largest initial public offering of the year. The IPO would give Budweiser Asia, which has a portfolio of more than 50 beer brands in the region, a market capitalization of up to $63.7 billion.

 

According to the Commerce Department outlays for U.S. construction projects fell 0.8% in May at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.3 trillion. That's the biggest drop since November.

 

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I'm Tyler Simones



U.S. stocks pared back early gains yesterday, including a new intraday high for the S&P 500, but were still up on the day after Washington and Beijing agreed to refrain from escalating their trade dispute.


As July starts, the current U.S. economic expansion is crossing an invisible line: At 121 months, it's officially the longest period of growth in U.S. history, and records for US GDP growth in the US go back to 1854.  One of the things that has made the current expansion the longest on record is its slow, gradual nature. Average annual GDP growth has been lower in this expansion than in the previous three.
 
U.S. manufacturers grew in June at the slowest pace in more than two years, hurt by trade tensions with China and Mexico and weak exports.  The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index slipped to 51.7% in June from 52.1% in the prior month.  Readings over 50% indicate more companies are expanding instead of shrinking, but the index has fallen three months in a row and is well off recent highs.


Oregon’s minimum wage is set to rise again this month, and much of the impact will be seen in restaurants.  In Deschutes County, the minimum wage will rise from $10.75 per hour to $11.25 per hour. In the Portland metro area, the minimum wage will be $12.50 per hour. In rural counties, including Crook and Jefferson, it will be $11 per hour.  Few jobs in Central Oregon pay minimum wage, but those that do are concentrated in hospitality, one of the region’s largest industries, according to the Oregon Employment Department.

 

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I'm Tyler Simones



US Stocks finished slightly lower last week but posted their best June return in 80 years with the S&P 500 7% higher.  Stocks had a great first half of 2019 with the S&P 500 posting a 17% gain and the tech heavy NASDAQ 21% higher.
 
President Trump and President Xi Jinping of China managed to get trade talks back on track this past weekend, but an even tougher job lies ahead—appeasing hard-line factions within their own governments demanding they give no quarter.  President Xi faces party leaders and executives of state-owned enterprises who believe Washington is out to demolish the government-led economic model that is responsible for China’s emergence as a global power.  Mr. Trump, for his part, faces skepticism from some Republican and Democratic lawmakers who worry he will give up too much in any deal, as well as wariness among some of his own appointees.

 

J.P. Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup — Shares surged more than 2% after the Federal Reserve said all major U.S.-based banks passed the central bank’s annual stress test. The banks also got approval to hike their quarterly dividends and increase buybacks.

 

The University of Michigan said the final reading of its consumer sentiment index in June was 98.2, down from the 100 reading in May.  Wealthier Americans were rattled over tariffs. Households with incomes in the top third of the distribution were responsible for the decline.
 
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I'm Tyler Simones


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