Mark Levin


Mark Levin

3:00pm - 6:00pm

Business News

According to our friends at Eager law, if you own residential rental property in Oregon and you sometimes feel like the state looks poorly upon your ilk, you're right. And it's likely to get a lot worse. Faced with a severe rental housing shortage and rising prices in some parts of the state, Democrats in Salem want the country's first statewide rent control law, and they have the votes to get it. 


ShopKo vendors have taken steps that may force the company to file bankruptcy this week. ShopKo has 300 retail locations with 18,000 employees. (AP)


Our trade surplus with China grew by 17 percent year-over-year to $323.32 billion in 2018. That's the highest on record dating back to 2006. (CNBC)


This week 35 S&P 500 companies will report quarterly results, highlighted by several big banks.  We expect a solid economic backdrop to support earnings in the mid-to-high teens for the quarter. (LPL)


China's exports fell 4.4% year over year, while Chinese imports significantly missed expectations slipping 3.1%. Both figures were the worst since 2016 and about 10 percentage points below the November readings. (LPL) 


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

Falling gas prices weigh on U.S. inflation. Consumer price inflation data shows inflation fell 1/10 of 1% last month. At an annualized rate of 1.9% inflation is very tame. A 7.5% drop in gasoline prices offset increases in food, shelter, and electricity services. Excluding more volatile components such as food and energy (Core CPI), inflation was up 2.2% year over year. Though not the Federal Reserve's (Fed) preferred inflation measure, consumer prices have ticked lower recently, but growth rates remain in a healthy range that supports flexibility on the Fed's part. (LPL)


The Wall Street Journal reported that investors began 2018 anticipating inflation, but higher consumer prices have not materialized. Returns for Treasury inflation-protected securities ended the year down 1.4 percent, while returns for fixed-rate US government debt rose 1.9 percent. 


Global earnings expectations have converged. Though earnings growth is expected to be stronger in the U.S. and EM in the coming year, that gap has closed, with 6% expected in developed international markets, 7% in the U.S., and 8% in EM, according to FactSet estimates. 


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

According to the mortgage bankers Association home loan applications rose 23.5% last week but are still 22% lower than a year ago.


The e-cigarette company Juul it is about to air its first television ad campaign targeting adult smokers. (CNBC)

Could they be the next iconic retailer to bite the dust? JCPenney said holiday shopping season sales were down 3.5% year-over-year.


Target says its same-store sales climbed 5.7 percent during the holiday shopping season.

E-commerce company Wayfare is hiring 600 people at its new Springfield Oregon call center. (Oregonian)


Almost 200 new jobs will be created at the North American headquarters of Daimler trucks in Portland. The jobs will center around developing self driving semi’s. The company says it will spend $570 million on the new efforts. (Oregonian)


According to the Census Bureau’s American community survey 7.7% of Portland’s residents work from home. That ranks at number 4 out of the top 50 US metro areas.


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

China's foreign currency reserves rose for a second straight month, which on the surface suggests concerns about capital flight and a slowing economy may be overdone; however, a report from Bloomberg noted that much of the gains were due to positive currency valuation effects. When removed, reserves would actually have fallen by a notable amount, indicating that capital outflows remained substantial, though well below those seen in 2015. (LPL)


U.S. non-manufacturing misses, but still strong. ISM's non-manufacturing index registered a five-month low of 57.6 for December. Much of the decline in the overall reading can be attributed to a drop in inventories and employment. However, an uptick in new orders, to 62.7, shows that future activity in the sector should remain robust.


Small business optimism elevated but qualified workers scarce. The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index was slightly lower in December but remains near cycle highs at 104.4. The decline from November's reading was driven by falling expectations for both real sales growth and deteriorating business conditions over the next six months. At the same time, reports of higher worker compensation remained near record levels as employers struggle to find qualified workers to help boost inventories. 


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor, I am Troy Reinhart.

According to the Labor Department when Trump became president in January 2017, 152,076,000 Americans were employed. Last month, that number grew to a record 156,945,000, a gain of 4,869,000 in two years. The manufacturing industry posted net job gains of 284,000 over 2018, capping its best calendar year since 1997. The number of Hispanics employed set a new record high of 27,701,000 in December, as their unemployment rate fell to a record low. The number of Hispanics employed, participating in the workplace, and civilian population all rose in December, as Hispanics' labor force participation rate increased from 66.8% to 67.0%, recording its fourth straight monthly increase.


Eurozone sentiment hits four year low. The investor sentiment index for the region fell for the fifth consecutive month in January to its lowest level since December 2014. A so-called hard Brexit, political unrest in France, and Italy's budget struggle with the European Union are among the issues weighing on investors. Also adding to angst were data that showed German factory orders fell for the first time in four months during November. The dip compares with an increase in the prior month and is likely to renew concerns that trade tensions and an overall loss of momentum are now weighing on the Eurozone's largest economy. (LPL)


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

Markets surged on Friday as we had a big jobs report, potential resolution of some of the trade issues and some Fed speak. 
Wage growth and economic recessions. Nonfarm payrolls grew 312K last month, significantly above the consensus estimate. Average hourly earnings climbed 3.2% year over year in December, the fastest pace of the cycle, bucking investors' fears that inflationary pressures may have fallen too far over the past few months. While strong jobs growth is always a good sign, wage growth is the most important metric to watch in jobs data these days, especially as recessionary fears increase. (LPL Research)
China moves to boost slowing economy. In an effort to prop up its cooling economy, the country's central bank cut its reserve requirement imposed on financial firms. The move is expected to inject liquidity by freeing up more than 800B yuan (~$116B). (LPL Research)
An interesting dichotomy in the online versus brick-and-mortar sales arena. In-store shoppers return about 8% of their purchases, while online shoppers return close to 30%. Consumers will return approximately $100 billion of the $850 billion they bought during the holiday buying season. (CNBC)
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

Trade impact clearly evident. The official Chinese Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for Dec of 49.4 is nearing the 2011 and 2016 lows at 49.0. Meanwhile, the broader Caixin Manufacturing PMI measure came in at 49.7, its first sub-50 reading since 2016, with particular weakness in new export orders. Export weakness, coupled with anecdotal evidence of slower growth in China from corporate America (see Apple news), highlight the impact of the U.S.-China trade dispute. We continue to expect the dispute to be resolved over the next several months. (LPL)
Nordstrom co-president Blake Nordstrom died of cancer at age 58. (CNBC)
Manufacturing in the United States, grew but at a slower pace, in December, according to the ISM Manufacturing index. It slowed to a level not seen since November 2016. The index was pushed lower as new orders fell 10 percentage points.
It's Girl Scout cookie season, and the green-sashed entrepreneurial saleswomen have a new cookie. It is Caramel Chocolate Chip. (USA Today) 
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

Markit Manufacturing PMI reports from a dozen countries, showed overall activity remains steady and in expansionary territory across most of Europe, while Asia weakened last month. In a sign that it's likely faring worse in the trade spat, Chinese data fell into contractionary territory in December for the first time in 19 months. The slowdown comes as gov't officials are already tapping the brakes on the economy through deleveraging. With the U.S. remaining firmly in expansionary territory, it bodes well for face-to-face trade negotiations slated to start next week. (LPL) 


Shoppers delivered the strongest holiday sales increase for U.S. retailers in six years. Total U.S. retail sales, excluding automobiles, rose 5.1% between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24 from a year earlier, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracks both online and in-store spending with all forms of payment. Overall, U.S. consumers spent over $850 billion this holiday season.


Traeger grills has purchased the Redmond, Oregon Pacific Pellet mill for undisclosed terms. Pacific pellet manufacturing almost 21,000 tons of pellets in 2017 according to the Department of environmental quality. (Bulletin)


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

The FTSE All-World index, which tracks thousands of stocks across a range of markets, plummeted 12% this year. It's the index's worst performance since the global financial crisis, and a sharp reversal from a gain of nearly 25% in 2017. The Dow was down 6.7% in 2018. The S&P 500 has dropped 7%. The Nasdaq shed 4.6%. (CNN)


Stocks, bears, and recessions. With the S&P 500 down 15.8% from the September peak, the question now becomes could we see a bear market decline in the S&P 500 of 20% or more? If we do see a bear market, how low could it go? The bottom line is the worst stock corrections take place during a recession, something we don't see happening in 2019. Looking at the 14 bear markets going back to World War II, we found the S&P 500 drops an average of 24% in a non-recessionary economy, while it has dropped 37% on average in a recession. In fact, three of the past four non-recessionary bear markets all ended right near 20% drops. This could be good news that current selloff will be fairly contained from current levels. (LPL)


Mondelez is selling its Kraft-branded cheese business in the Middle East and Africa to Denmark's Arla Foods for an undisclosed amount. (CNBC)


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

Wednesday marked the biggest post-Christmas rally for U.S. stocks ever amid strong retail sales indications, surging oil prices and positive headlines from the White House. The DJIA jumped 1,086.25 points, or 4.98%, posting its largest single-day point gain in its history, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq recorded their best days since March 2009. Santa's trip to Wall Street is not coming easy, however, with futures pointing to a significant decline for the three major U.S. stock indexes ahead of the open. (SA)


The U.S. Department of Commerce will not publish economic data - including GDP, inflation and other figures - during the ongoing partial government shutdown, an agency spokeswoman told the WSJ. The closure is set to enter its sixth day after the President said he was prepared to wait as long as it takes to get $5B in border wall funding. (WSJ)

If you thought the US was protectionist – look abroad for context.  India will ban e-commerce companies from selling products in which they have an equity interest, which could impact Amazon and Walmart's Flipkart. The companies also can't form exclusive deals with sellers, but they can make bulk purchases through their wholesalers or retail groups and then sell those products with agreements. (SA)


A U.S. trade team will travel to Beijing the week of Jan. 7 to hold talks with Chinese officials, according to Bloomberg. Since President Trump and Xi Jinping came to a temporary truce almost a month ago, China has slashed import tariffs and drafted a law to prevent forced technology transfers. Trade tensions have weighed on the world's second-largest economy, with the latest data showing industrial profits suffering their first drop in three years. (Bloomberg)


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

Traders returning from the holiday are sending U.S. futures higher following the Grinch's appearance on Christmas Eve that continued the market meltdown. President Trump has since praised U.S. companies, saying, "they have record kinds of numbers. So I think it's a tremendous opportunity to buy," and expressed confidence in Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who convened the "Plunge Protection Team" on Monday after speaking with executives from six major banks. (SA)


U.S. government payments to farmers - as part of trade aid relief - will temporarily stop next week if the federal shutdown continues, according to the Department of Agriculture. The payments are part of a larger $12B emergency aid package the Trump administration announced in July to help U.S. soybean, corn and commodity producers impacted by retaliatory trade tariffs from China and others. (SA)


Shoppers delivered the strongest holiday sales increase for U.S. retailers in six years, according to early data.  Total U.S. retail sales, excluding automobiles, rose 5.1% between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24 from a year earlier, according to Mastercard, which tracks both online and in-store spending with all forms of payment. Overall, U.S. consumers spent over $850 billion this holiday season. The figures suggest a stock-market swoon and partial government shutdown haven’t curbed consumer confidence and spending. (WSJ)


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

Non-recessionary bears are rare and not much worse than this. Over the past 40 years, the S&P 500 has experienced only one decline >20% that was not accompanied by a recession based on closing prices and that was 1987. It did come very close three times, falling 19% peak-to-trough in 1978, 1998, and 2011. No one can predict with certainty how far this latest selloff will go but fundamentals, including a low probability of recession in 2019, and historical perspective suggest much of this selloff may be behind us. (LPL)


The National Association of Realtors said existing home sales increased 1.9 percent Sales have now increased for two straight months. Existing home sales, which make up about 90 percent of U.S. home sales, fell 7.0 percent from a year ago in November, the largest annual drop since May 2011.


According to HireSanta LLC, a company that places hundreds of Saint Nicks throughout the U.S., most Santas typically rake in around $2,000 to $15,000 per holiday season, starting around Thanksgiving and ending on Christmas Day. (FBN)


S&P 500 is up 9 and the NASDAQ is up 33.

Oil is down 62 cents at $45.29 a barrel.

Gold is down $5 at $1263 a Troy ounce.


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.


According to Bank of America Merrill Lynch's December survey, pessimism among investors is at its highest level in a decade, with November seeing the largest one-month rotation into bonds since 2001. At the same time, the Financial Times is reporting that no company has borrowed funds in the $1.2T U.S. high-yield corporate bond market this month. Should the trend continue, it would mark the first month since November 2008 that not a single high-yield bond priced in the market. 


According to the Mortgage Bankers Association mortgage application volume fell 5.8 percent last week and is 17 percent lower than a year ago. Purchase volume fell 7 percent for the week and is 2 percent higher year over year. Applications to refinance a home loan fell 2 percent for the week and 33 percent from last year. 

Costco reported a quarterly profit of $1.61 per share. Sales beat forecasts. Costco's same-store sales were 8.8 percent higher during the quarter.  (CNBC)


Will Santa come? December is off to a very rocky start, as after 10 trading days it was the worst start for the month of December for the S&P 500 since 1980. The good news is in 1980 the S&P 500 bounced more than 6% the remainder of the month. (LPL)


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

Columbia Sportswear has hired Peter Ruppe, to lead it’s footwear initiative. Columbia owns two footwear brands -- Montrail and Sorel -- in addition to its namesake label. Ruppe, is a Reedsport, Oregon native. (Oregonian)


28 percent of Americans said the economy will get better in the next year, while 33 percent predict it will get worse according to a NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.  The number of Americans expecting the U.S. economy to get worse in the next year is at its highest point since 2013.


Forbes reported banks and credit unions have been making Small Business Administration loans at record volumes. SBA loans come with government guarantees against default that mitigates lender risk. 


According to the Farm Credit Administration’s “quarterly report on economic issues affecting agriculture,” the “USDA forecasts an 8 percent drop in net cash farm income in 2018.” 


A tweet from The UPS Store went viral after the company's joke about shredding kids' letters to Santa this holiday season didn't quite land. In a tweet that has since been deleted, the company said Sunday, "If your child addresses a letter to the North Pole, you can leave it with us. We do shredding." (CNBC)


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

A slew of data is due out in the U.S., though the highlight of the week will be the Federal Reserve's monetary policy meeting on today and Wednesday. A rate hike is expected, so market participants will be looking for any indication of the future path of the policy rate for 2019. (LPL)


After Monday's decline, the Russell 2000 benchmark is now down 20 percent from its all-time high hit in late August. Small caps had outperformed their large peers earlier in the year. 

According to the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, homebuilder sentiment declined in December to 56, the lowest point since May 2015.

The index has plummeted nearly 20 points over the past year while potential buyers hesitate to purchase new homes even as mortgage rates have pulled back in recent weeks. (CNBC)


Nothing says Christmas like Kentucky Fried Chicken. The fast food chain introduced the 11 Herbs & Spices Firelog from Enviro-Log. The yule log is guaranteed to make your home smell like fried chicken. The yule log can burn up to three hours and sells for $18.99. (Yahoo)


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

Industrial production growth in China slowed to 5.4% year over year in November, while retail sales grew 8.1%, 
the lowest reading since May 2003. In Europe, services and manufacturing PMIs out of France, Spain, and the Eurozone composite all disappointed. (LPL)


U.S. retail sales strong. U.S. retail sales figures for November rose 0.2% on top of the upwardly revised 1.1% increase seen in October, topping forecasts and pointing to a healthy U.S. consumer. The better-than-expected gains may help to alleviate concerns about a slowing U.S. economy given consumer spending accounts for ~2/3 of GDP. 


Worry is increasing and that could be a good thing. There are signs that sentiment is near a washout. For instance, the recent American Association of Individual Investors sentiment poll had the most bears since April 2013. Flows saw extreme panic last week as well, as according to Lipper data, weekly outflows of US-based stock funds was an all-time record last week ($46 billion). From a contrarian point of view, this could be a positive for a meaningful low to occur.


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

Just 11 days till Christmas and here is some disturbing news. Between 75 and 80 percent of Americans who have a Christmas tree now have an artificial one, and the $1 billion market for fake trees is growing at about 4 percent a year. Americans buy about 10 million artificial trees each year. (Oregonian)


Trade tensions cooling. China has resumed soybean purchases for the first time since tariffs were put in place, and more corn shipments could be next according to a Bloomberg. China also indicated it would provide greater market access to foreign companies. (LPL)


Initial jobless claims fall. Weekly initial unemployment claims came in at 206K, below the 226K expected and last week's revised 233K. The four-week moving avg., a better gauge of labor market trends, also declined. Overall, the data suggest the labor market, and by extension the U.S. economy, remain in good shape. (LPL)


Tailored Brands, the parent of apparel chains Jos. A. Bank and Men's Wearhouse reported a quarterly profit of $1.01 per share, seven cents above estimates. However they saw sales miss estimates, and it lowered its full year guidance. (CNBC)


S&P 500 is down 28 and the NASDAQ is down 91.

Oil is down 32 cents at $52.26 a barrel.

Gold is down $6 at $1242f a Troy ounce.


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

Oil has a supply problem. Sharply lower oil prices are also being cited by some as a sign of looming recession. But oil's weakness has been driven mostly by supply issues, including Iran sanctions, record levels of U.S. production, and elevated domestic inventories. (LPL)


The Labor Department said U.S. consumer prices were unchanged in November, held back by a drop in the price of gasoline. Underlying inflation pressure is seen in rising rents and healthcare costs. In the 12 months through November, the CPI rose 2.2 percent. 


PYMNTS reported that for the first time in PayPal’s history, “mobile payment volume topped $1 billion, and did so on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday.” Black Friday had the highest total payment volume, posting a 42 percent YoY increase in mobile payment volume. 


Is a shutdown coming? President Trump threatened to shut down the U.S. government next week in a discussion with Senate Minority Leaders Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Tuesday. So what does it mean for stocks if this happens? The good news is the S&P 500 Index has gained during each of the previous five shutdowns going back 23 years. (LPL)


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

My father says don’t confuse activity with accomplishment. Markets did just that yesterday with another 500 point swing that brought us back to the flatline to end the day. 


According to NFIB, their Small Business Optimism Index in November registered a 104.8 reading, a modest decline but nonetheless continuing an exceptionally strong two-year trend. Expected Business Conditions and Expected Real Sales accounted for slightly more than half of the decline. 


Bonds have done their job. Over the past month while the S&P 500 Index has lost 5% on a total return basis, Treasuries have gained 2% based on the broad Bloomberg Barclays Treasuries Index. Does that mean sell stocks and buy Treasuries? I don't think so. However, this latest performance does underscore the value of moving up in quality with fixed income allocations at this stage of the business cycle. (LPL)


Producer Price Index ticked up 0.1% MoM in November but was down sharply from October's 0.6% increase thanks to falling gas prices. (LPL)


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

According to Bend business attorney Eager law if you own residential rental property in Oregon and when your tenant moves out he leaves some of their personal property behind, you are in for some unpleasantness. You're required to provide written notice to the tenant, make a determination of value, and sometimes hold a public sale, with the proceeds of which eventually going to the tenant, who by the way left the stuff in your property to begin with. The statute governing all of this is 19 pages long when printed out and it's a mess. 


U.S. services sector still humming along. ISM's November non-manufacturing index came in at 60.7. Business activity increased for the 112th consecutive month as order backlogs fell and new orders and inventories rose. Survey participants continued to highlight concerns about tariff impacts and transport capacity shortages, but expressed stable-to-positive views on the overall business environment. (LPL)


America turned into a net oil exporter last week for the first time in 75 years. The U.S. sold overseas last week a net 211,000 barrels a day of crude and refined products, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

Wall Street last week sawthe worst week for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq since late March. The Dow and S&P plunged about 4.5 percent each. The Nasdaq fell nearly 5 percent. The Dow and S&P 500 are negative for the year. However, the Nasdaq was still up nearly 1 percent for 2018. (CNBC)


Ten years ago this week Bernard Madoff's $65 billion Ponzi scheme came to light. (CNBC)


Uber has filed paperwork for an initial public offering. Rival Lyft filed for its IPO last week. (Reuters) 


Bloomberg News reports, “sub-$2 gasoline can now be found in at least one gas station in 20 US states, as the effects of the bear market in crude oil trickle down to motorists.” Meanwhile, “the national average has fallen for seven straight weeks to $2.53 a gallon, the lowest since March.


The National Association of Realtors points out that one reason for the flattening housing prices in the West that our region saw the biggest, fastest price increases and consumers are just being priced out of the market. That, along with the impact of increased interest rates. 


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

Stocks closed mostly unchanged yesterday after being down 3% intraday after the Federal Reserve suggested they could hold off raising interest rates later this month.
According to the Bureau of Labor the US economy added 155,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.7%.  The most job gains occurred in health care, manufacturing, and transportation.
The Institute for Supply Management said that its non-manufacturing index in November rose to a seasonally adjusted 60.7%, up from 60.3% in October the second-strongest reading in 13 years.
The commerce department said that the US trade deficit rose 1.7% to $55.5 Billion which is a 10-year high, amid a record shortfall with China.  Ironically this stems from tariffs imposed by President Trump in an effort to reduce the deficit.

US Stock and Bond markets were closed yesterday in observance of a national day of mourning for the late President George H. W. Bush.  International markets were open though and continued the slide that started here in the US on Tuesday.
The Federal Reserve released their "Beige Book" report, which is a snapshot of the US economy.  The report said that the economy appeared to be growing modestly to moderately. Labor markets tightened across a broad range of industries, and wage growth "tended to the higher side of a modest to moderate pace." Tariff-driven price increases have spread more broadly through the U.S. economy, though on balance inflation has risen at a modest pace in most parts of the country. The Fed is widely expected to raise interest rates at the close of its Dec. 18-19 policy meeting. Policymakers have said the United States' strong economy could stoke higher inflation if they do not raise borrowing costs further.

The payroll company ADP released their employment report for the month of November this morning.  The report showed that the US economy added 179,000 jobs last month, which was lower than economists had predicted.

Short end of the yield curve inverts. The spread between 3- and 5-year, as well as 2- and 5-year Treasury yields turned negative Monday for the first time since July 2007.


Manufacturing activity remains robust. The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index for November was 59.3 up 1.6% m/m. New orders were up 4.7%, while the prices component was down 10.9% (showing increasing prices), with aluminum the most cited commodity up in price. Respondents flagged shortages, longer lead times, and tariffs as headwinds, though a healthy business environment and steady orders were positives. 


Final US Markit PMI Manufacturing for November (55.3) came in slightly below estimate, though new orders increased at fastest rate since May. Overall, manufacturing activity remains firmly in expansionary territory.


Just 20 days till Christmas and the National Christmas Tree Association says natural Christmas trees still outsell artificial, but their share of US annual sales has fallen from 77 per cent in 2010 to 56 percent last year.

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

Markets will be closed on Wednesday as we have a national day of mourning for Pres. George Bush.

The Canadian province of Alberta will cut oil production by almost 9%, or 325k barrels/day, to manage a pipeline bottleneck that has doubled the storage levels in the province. The U.S., though, is producing record output, which contributed to oil's ~22% plunge in November, and the influx of supply has put more pressure on OPEC and non-OPEC producers to curtail output in the coming year. (LPL)


The US debt-service ratio has declined from a 2007 peak of 13% to a current 9.8%; trends in quality, fixed rate debt, and delinquencies are all favorable. (GS)


Microsoft's market value at Friday's close was higher than Apple's, making it the world's most valuable company for the first time since 2002. (CNBC)


Amazon is testing cashierless checkout technology in bigger stores. The system tracks what shoppers pick from shelves and charges them automatically when they leave the store. (Wall Street Journal)


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

Viral Videos