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There is increasing concern among investors about the spread of the coronavirus in countries outside China, with a spike in infections in South Korea, and deaths in Japan and Iran. The Chinese province at the center of the outbreak reported a sharp drop in new cases after the country again changed the way it diagnoses infections. The economic fallout also continues as automakers prepare for widespread production halts at plants around the world as the shutdown in China is leading to shortages of components. A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S, the world’s largest container shipping company, tried to strike a more upbeat tone by predicting a sharp rebound in trade in the coming months, based on expectations the outbreak may soon peak. (Bloomberg)

 

L Brands is nearing a deal to sell control of Victoria's Secret in a transaction that values the lingerie brand at about $1.1B, WSJ reports. Private-equity player Sycamore Partners is expected to buy 55% of the struggling business and take it private, while L Brands will retain a 45% stake that will include the Pink chain. Alongside, L Brands Chairman and CEO Leslie Wexner, the embattled billionaire who has run the retail company for more than 50 years, will step down from both roles (but remain on the board). (SA)

 

Morgan Stanley to buy E-Trade: The $13bn all-stock deal is a sharp escalation of the battle for middle America’s wealth management market and comes less than two months after Charles Schwab announced a $26bn takeover of its biggest rival TD Ameritrade. E-Trade has more than 5.2m client accounts and over $360bn of retail client assets, which Morgan Stanley will add to the $2.7tn of assets it manages for 3m clients.  (FT)

 

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



The Fed releases minutes of its Jan. 28-29 policy meeting today, which could help explain what the central bank is thinking about potential economic risks, including those stemming from the coronavirus. It may additionally provide insight into the central bank's balance sheet policy, with Powell having indicated that both Treasury bill purchases and role of repo operations in the open markets would decline during Q2. (SA)

 

Facebook has been accused of downplaying the value of its intellectual property. Tax authorities say Facebook is deliberately misrepresenting the value of its assets as part of a scheme to pay less US tax, in a court case that could cost the social media company more than $9bn. The trial centers on how the company valued intellectual property, such as software and trademarks transferred to an Irish subsidiary in 2010. (FT)

 

The gap between open jobs and unemployed workers is about as wide as the one between the kinds of available positions and the qualifications that the workforce collectively has to fill them.  A recent survey from the Manpower Group, a job placement firm, exemplifies the chasm: Nearly 7 in 10 employers reported talent shortages in 2019, the worst level ever and a jump of 17 percentage points from just a year ago. It’s also more than three times higher than a decade ago.  The data comes as the Labor Department reports that there are still about 670,000 more job vacancies than there are unemployed potential workers.  (CNBC)

 

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



Analysts are continuing to expect robust profit growth from US companies this year despite warnings about the potential impact about the coronavirus, helping to explain why the US stock market has extended its record-breaking run in recent weeks.  With three-quarters of the S&P 500 companies having reported their latest quarterly earnings and statements on the outlook for their business, analysts have shaved only a small amount from their earnings forecasts for 2020. 


Earnings growth for the S&P 500 is now projected to be 8.1 per cent, down from 9.6 per cent at the start of the year but still a healthy outlook and a re-acceleration from the estimated 1.7 per cent growth in 2019.


US industrial output declined for the fourth time in the past five months, depressed by warm weather and a halt in Boeing’s production of the 737 Max.  Manufacturing output was depressed by the halt in Boeing’s 737 Max production as the company continues to face a regulatory review that has kept the jets grounded following two fatal crashes. Excluding the production of aircraft and parts, factory output advanced 0.3 per cent.

 

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



Stocks fell yesterday, slipping from record highs, as investors grappled with a jump in reported coronavirus cases and the virus’ possible economic impact.


The number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits in early February rose slightly, but there’s still no sign of widespread layoffs in an economy that has been expanding for a record 10 and a half years.  Initial jobless claims edged up by 2,000 to 205,000.


The cost of staples such as rent, medical care and prepared food rose in January to push consumer prices higher, but inflation more broadly was still relatively tame.  The consumer price index edged up 0.1% last month, marking the smallest increase in four months.  The cost of living in the past 12 months, meanwhile, climbed to 2.5% from 2.3% — the highest level since the fall of 2018.


Amazon has won a temporary restraining order from a federal court to block Microsoft award of a $10 billion Pentagon cloud-computing contract.  Amazon, which lost out on the bitterly disputed deal, filed a lawsuit last month asking the court to halt Microsoft’s work on the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract. Amazon Web Services alleged the yearslong evaluation process included “clear deficiencies, errors and unmistakable bias.”



U.S. stocks traded solidly higher yesterday, with the major benchmarks hitting all-time highs, buoyed by signs of a slowdown in the number of new cases of coronavirus emerging in Wuhan China.

 

The sea of red ink is continuing to swell in Washington, with the federal government already racking up a budget deficit that is averaging close to $100 billion a month in the current fiscal year.  Treasury Department data released Wednesday show the shortfall at $389.2 billion in the first four months of fiscal 2020. That’s a 25% gain over the same period in the previous year and already about 40% of the total deficit for fiscal 2019.  Over the past 12 months, the government has spent $1.06 trillion more than it has taken in. All the red ink has bought the total national debt to $23.3 trillion. 


80% of the S&P 500’s companies have reported fourth-quarter earnings results.  Among those, earnings have so far beaten consensus expectations by 5.2%, and 63% of companies have exceeded their bottom-line estimates.   That compares to 5.2% and 71% over the past three years.  Aggregate earnings per share are on pace to rise 3.5% for the fourth quarter. 


A few months after Disneyland opened their biggest expansion in its history, the Anaheim theme park raised ticket prices yesterday, pushing the cost of some one-day passes above $200 for the first time.  In a press release announcing the price changes a Disney spokeswoman said, “A visit to our parks is the best value in entertainment bar none.”

 

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I’m Tyler Simones



The S&P 500 and NASDAQ were up slightly yesterday as investors digested testimony from the top U.S. central banking official and assessed the potential economic impact of the coronavirus.

 

Household debt surged by more than $600 billion in 2019, marking the biggest annual increase since just before the financial crisis, according to the New York Federal Reserve.  Total household debt balances rose by $601 billion last year, topping $14 trillion for the first time.  The last time the growth was that large was 2007, when household debt rose by just over $1 trillion.

 

Boeing said they booked no new jetliner orders in January, increasing the financial strain that has been building during the 737 Max crisis as airlines added no new deposits to secure a place in the plane maker’s order backlog.  Boeing delivered 13 planes last month, including six 787 Dreamliners, two 777s and military versions of its commercial jets. Boeing said no customers canceled orders, leaving its backlog for future production at 5,393 jets.

 

Small businesses turned more optimistic about sales and profits in the first month of 2020, but they are still struggling to find qualified workers, according to a closely followed survey.  The National Federation of Independent Business said its index of small-business optimism rebounded from a small dip in at the end of last year, rising to 104.3 in January from 102.7 in December.

 

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



The Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 hit fresh records yesterday as investors took heart in mostly solid U.S. fourth-quarter corporate earnings and looked beyond concerns about the coronavirus outbreak’s potential disruption to global supply chains.

 

Shares of the wireless carrier Sprint soared more than 60% yesterday afternoon after the Wall Street Journal reported its pending merger with T-Mobile U.S. Inc. is expected to be approved by a federal judge. Shares of T-Mobile rallied about 10%. The Journal said the judge's ruling, which would clear the way for the $26 billion merger, could be made public today. The tie-up of the nation's third- and fourth-largest wireless carriers was agreed upon two years ago, but has been held up over antitrust concerns.

 

Mortgage rates have dropped to the lowest levels since before the 2016 presidential election.  The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.45% during the week ending Feb. 6, a decrease of six basis points from the previous week. This was the third consecutive week in which mortgage rates dropped.The last time the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was at or below this level was in October 2016, when it averaged 3.42%.  The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage also fell three basis points to 2.97%.

 

In other corporate news, Xerox raised its offer to buy HP Inc to $24 per share, or about $34 billion. That’s up from a $22 per share offer made by Xerox in November. Xerox shares gained 1.4% while HP advanced 1%.

 

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



The USDA announced it will provide crop insurance coverage for hemp growers in certain counties across 21 states — including Oregon and California, but not Washington and Idaho. To be eligible, producers must comply with all state and federal laws, have at least one year of history growing the crop and have a contract for sale in place.

 

Precision Castparts, headquartered in Portland has laid off 150 Oregon workers due the halt in production of Boeing’s 737 MAX. The company has production facilities in Central Oregon and Clackamas county. The company had 30,000 employees at the time, including 3,000 in Oregon.

 

A cashless economy may not be in Oregon’s future. Democrats are proposing legislation to require businesses to accept cash. The proposed legislation would exempt most public bodies and government agencies from the requirement to accept cash.

 

Macy’s is closing 125 stores and cutting 2,000 corporate jobs. It did not immediately indicate which stores it will close. The store closures represent about one fifth of Macy's current total. Macy’s has eight stores in Oregon, plus one furniture store.

 

Columbia Sportswear reported record annual sales of almost $1 billion in fourth-quarter sales. 2019 was a record year for Columbia Sportswear Co., with sales surpassing the $3 billion mark for the first time in the company's history.



Worried by the mounting death toll from the coronavirus and drastic efforts to contain it, investors dashed for the exits as Chinese markets reopened following an extended Lunar New Year break (markets have been closed since Jan. 23). Shanghai plunged 7.7%, Shenzhen tanked 8.5% and the tech-heavy Chinext Composite slumped 6.9%, marking the heaviest loss since August 2015 in the aftermath of the bursting of an equity bubble. Officials tried to head off the panic, but to little avail. The PBOC injected $174B into money markets and cut rates by 10 basis points, while the China Securities Regulatory Commission told traders they weren't allowed to be net sellers of equities this week and brokerages were only allowed to sell to meet redemptions. (SA)


Global dealmaking got off to its slowest start in seven years in 2020, more than halving from a year earlier as companies failed to seal transactions of a similar scale.
Companies across the globe clinched $164bn worth of mergers and acquisitions in January, led by declines in dealmaking in the US and across Asia-Pacific, according to data provider Refinitiv. January marked the quietest month for takeovers since April 2013. (FT)

 

S&P 500 is up 19, and the NASDAQ is up 61. The MSCI International Index is down 3/10’s of a %.

With crude trading near $51 a barrel - after a slump of about 16% in January - OPEC and its allies are considering calling an emergency meeting. Potential dates being discussed begin next week, though for now the next regular meeting on March 5-6 remains on schedule. OPEC, meanwhile, is holding a meeting of technical representatives - the Joint Technical Committee - on Tuesday and Wednesday to assess the coronavirus's effect on markets and demand, according to delegates. (OPEC)

 

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



Stocks rose yesterday after the Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged and maintains a positive view on the U.S. economy. 

 

The index of pending home sales decreased 4.9% in December from the previous month, according to the National Association of Realtors.  The index reflects transactions where a contract has been signed but the sale has not yet closed. As a result, the index functions as an indicator for existing-home sales reports in the coming months.
 
The Federal Reserve held their benchmark fed funds interest rate steady yesterday, as the economy stayed on a moderate growth path.  The central bank’s description of the economy was unchanged from six weeks ago: the labor market remained strong, growth was helped by consumer spending, and inflation remained below the 2% target.  The Fed kept its benchmark fed funds rate steady in a range between 1.5% and 1.75%.


The aerospace giant Boeing reported their first operating loss since 1997, losing $2.33/share last quarter.  The stocks traded higher though as investors cheered the new CEO’s turnaround plan.
 
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I'm Tyler Simones



U.S. stocks rose yesterday, steadying after fears over the deadly coronavirus in China sent the S&P 500 to its worst one day drop since October on Monday.

 

The S&P Case-Shiller 20-city home price index increased 2.6% in November versus a year ago. On a monthly basis, the index ticked up just 0.1% in November compared with October on a seasonally adjusted basis.  At the national level, home prices were up on an annual basis by 3.5%.  Phoenix saw the highest home-price appreciation in the country in November with a 5.9% increase.


Americans began 2020 with the most confidence in the economy since last summer, buoyed by an interim trade deal with China, a soaring stock market and the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years.  The closely followed index of consumer confidence climbed to a five-month high of 131.6 in January from a revised 128.2 in the prior month. It was the strongest reading since last August.

 

Apple posted record quarterly results for their holiday quarter yesterday afternoon while easily topping expectations for revenue and earnings.  The stock traded higher as the company also gave a revenue forecast for the current quarter than came in ahead of the consensus view.  Apple generated net income of $22.24 billion up from $19.97 billion in the year-earlier quarter. 

 

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I'm Tyler Simones



Globally stocks tanked yesterday after more cases of the coronavirus were confirmed over the weekend, ratcheting up worries over the virus’ impact on the global economy.

 

Sales of new U.S. single-family homes unexpectedly fell in December, likely held down by a shortage of more affordable homes, but the housing market remains supported by lower mortgage rates.  The Commerce Department reported new home sales slipped 0.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 694,000 units last month, with sales in the South dropping to a one-year low. It was the third straight monthly decline in sales.

 

Boeing has secured more than $12 billion in financing from more than a dozen banks as the industrial giant shores up their balance sheet amid the nearly yearlong grounding of the 737 Max following two fatal crashes.  Boeing is expected to detail the rest of their turnaround strategy when the report earnings on Wednesday.

 

Disney, McDonald’s, Starbucks and other U.S. companies with significant footprints in China are suspending operations and instituting travel restrictions for employees as they respond to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

 

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I'm Tyler Simones



Stocks and crude oil tumbled last week, and havens including the Yen and Treasuries jumped, as fears deepened about the rising impact of the deadly coronavirus.
 
U.S. private sector companies indicated a faster expansion of business activity in January, with the pace of growth accelerating to a ten-month high. The upturn was driven by a sharper increase in service sector output, as growth of manufacturing production was unchanged. Adjusted for seasonal factors, the  Purchasing  Manufacturers Index posted 53.1 in January, up from 52.7 in December, to indicate the quickest rise in output since last March.
 
US Stocks had their first negative week of the year last week.  The sell-off was triggered by fears China’s coronavirus will spread outside its borders and impact the world economy.  Investors are also focused on other factors in the coming week— the Federal Reserve’s meeting Tuesday and Wednesday and earnings reports from 135 S&P 500 companies including Apple.

Intel crushed revenue expectations for the fourth quarter by about $1 billion and sent its stock to a new post-dot-com-boom high, but the company didn’t get a ton of credit from analysts.  Intel remains a controversial name on Wall Street as the chip giant deals with production challenges and tougher competition from Advanced Micro Devices.

 

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



John Stumpf, the former chief executive of Wells Fargo, has agreed to pay $17.5m as part of a civil settlement with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which also charged or settled with seven other former senior executives of the bank. The enforcement actions announced on Thursday by the US banking regulator related to the fake accounts scandal at Wells that emerged in 2016 and continues to haunt the bank.    Mr Stumpf, who was also the bank’s chairman, resigned in 2016 after leading the bank for nearly a decade. (WSJ)


A powerful rebound in Intel’s data center division drove a stronger than expected recovery in the final quarter of last year, fueling a rally of as much as 7 per cent in the US chipmaker’s shares in after-market trading on Thursday.  Intel’s recovery, after three quarters of flat or declining revenues, provided one of the most encouraging indicators yet that a cyclical upturn in the chip sector may be under way. Wall Street had anticipated a recovery in the sector for much of last year.  Intel’s revenues jumped 8 per cent in the fourth quarter, to $20.2bn, compared to analysts’ expectations for growth of 3 per cent. (FT)


Xerox escalated its $33bn hostile takeover fight for control of HP on Thursday, proposing a new set of directors for the printer and computer maker’s board in an attempt to force HP to the negotiating table.  The tactic, a common weapon in the arsenal of activist investors, is an unusually aggressive move for a company trying to accomplish a merger.  HP has so far rejected overtures from Xerox, warning that it has “significant concerns” about the health of Xerox’s business and is skeptical of its rival’s ability to find $2bn of cost cuts if the two companies were to combine. (FirstFT)

 

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



Having reached a phase one trade deal with China, it seems American attention is turning to Europe. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this morning Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the U.S. was still considering slapping levies on European auto imports even as it hopes for a “peaceful resolution” of differences. This follows comments from President Donald Trump yesterday where he said Europe is “more difficult to do business with than China.” The U.S. administration is seeking to complete a new trade deal with the bloc ahead of the 2020 election in November. (Bloomberg)

 

Procter & Gamble’s long-struggling personal grooming business has produced higher quarterly sales despite men’s tendency to shave less, contributing to a broader turnaround at the household products company behind Gillette.  Razors have in recent years been among the weakest performing parts of the consumer goods group’s portfolio of brands, which also includes Head & Shoulders shampoo, Ariel laundry detergent and Bounty paper towels.  Net earnings for the quarter rose 16 per cent to $3.74bn.  


There will be some interest in earnings today for American Airlines Group Inc. and Southwest Airlines Co. as investors will get a look at the hit the companies are taking from the grounding of Boeing Co.’s 737 Max aircraft. Intel Corp., Comcast Corp. and Union Pacific Corp. are among the other companies announcing results. (Refinitiv)

 

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



Stocks dropped across the globe following a big selloff in Asia on concerns that a mysterious coronavirus emanating from China will spread through the region as travel heats up for the Lunar New Year holidays. The disease has already infected 224 people and killed six, and is reminiscent of the SARS epidemic that subtracted an estimated 0.8 percentage point from GDP growth in China in 2003. The World Health Organization will meet tomorrow to discuss whether to declare the outbreak an international public health emergency.  (SA)

 

The world's political and business leaders, plus the usual smattering of celebrities, are gathering today to kick off the World Economic Forum in the Swiss Alpine resort of Davos. The official theme of the 2020 meeting is "Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World." According to forum founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab, "business has now to fully embrace stakeholder capitalism, which means not only maximizing profits, but use their capabilities and resources in cooperation with governments and civil society to address the key issues of this decade." (FT)

 

While today’s economic slate for the U.S. is blank, there was some good news from Europe where a German survey showed investor confidence rising to the highest level in four years. It is a big day for earnings with Netflix Inc.’s results expected to give a clear view of how the company is faring against new competition from Disney+. International Business Machines Corp., Haliburton Co. and United Airlines Holdings Inc. are among other companies announcing performance. (Bloomberg)

 

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



U.S. stock and bond markets will be closed Monday in observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, coming as Wall Street absorbs a record-setting run-up for equities.  Meanwhile, on the U.S. commodities markets, there will be no regular trading or settlements, including crude oil and gold.  However, Brent oil, the international benchmark, conduct regular trading today. (Marketwatch)


Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet (which last week joined the $1tn market-capitalization club) Facebook and Amazon account for almost a fifth of the S&P 500 index and are responsible for a quarter of the broad market’s return over the past 12 months. Just how long this remarkable run can last is currently dominating the market conversation.  History has shown the largest stocks duly slide down the rankings as they enter a period of natural underperformance after reaching an expensive valuation that proves far too rich for most investors. (FT)


World leaders, chief executives, thinkers and celebrities are gathering in the Swiss mountain town of Davos for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting.  The event, which begins on Tuesday, has earned a reputation for high-altitude pontificating as the global elite gather to pitch their takes on topics picked by WEF founder Klaus Schwab, from deglobalization to the fourth industrial revolution. This year, as the WEF marks its 50th anniversary, a new urgency hangs over the Alpine town. The prospects for trade and global economic growth, tech companies (feted at previous meetings but now in regulators’ sights), the future of multilateralism and the geopolitical order all face growing challenges.

 

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



US Stocks hit fresh record highs yesterday after investors digested solid data on the U.S. economy.
 
The number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits in early January fell for the fifth week in a row, giving a clean bill of health to strong U.S. labor market as 2020 got underway.  Initial jobless claims declined by 10,000 to 204,000 in the seven days ended Jan 11th.

 

In another good sign for the U.S. economy, most retailers posted higher sales in December to finish out the holiday season on a strong note.  Retail sales increased 0.3% last month, just a tick below forecast.  Every major group except auto dealers and department stores reported stronger sales.

 

The rapid increase of student loan debt has slowed over the past few years, but individual borrower balances aren’t going down mostly because hardly anybody is paying down their loans.  Total indebtedness over the past year or so has stopped its meteoric rise, according to a study that Moody’s Investors Service. Nevertheless, the study showed a number of factors are constraining borrowers from lightening their loads. Outstanding loans total more than $1.6 trillion, more than doubling over the last decade and tripling since 2006.

 

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I'm Tyler Simones



US Stocks closed marginally lower yesterday after reports China tariffs will remain until after 2020 election.
 
JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings, while Wells Fargo fell well short of profit forecasts.  JPMorgan and Citigroup stock’s rose while Wells Fargo stock sold off.
 
Higher prices for gasoline, health care and rent spurred another increase in the cost of living in December, capping off the biggest annual advance in inflation in eight years. But price pressures more broadly remained largely muzzled.  The consumer-price index rose 0.2% last month.  The increase in the cost of living in the past 12 months rose a few ticks to 2.3%.

Small-business owners' confidence in the U.S. economy declined in December, though owners benefited from strong consumer spending as well as federal tax and regulatory relief, according to the National Federation of Independent Business.  The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index's December reading was 102.7, down two points from the prior month. The NFIB survey is a monthly snapshot of small businesses in the U.S., which account for nearly half of private-sector jobs

 

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I'm Tyler Simones
 



Stocks traded higher yesterday, resuming the rally that started last week amid news the U.S. will remove China from a list of currency manipulating countries, increasing optimism ahead of the signing of a key trade agreement.
 
It’s no secret that a handful of tech giants have been dominating the stock market, but their leadership has reached a level that is raising eyebrows on Wall Street as being unsustainable.  The top five U.S. companies — Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon and Facebook — now make up 18% of the total market capitalization of the S&P 500, the highest percentage in history, according to Morgan Stanley.

 

The U.S. fiscal deficit topped $1 trillion in 2019, the first time it has passed that level in a calendar year since 2012, according to Treasury Department.  The budget shortfall hit $1.02 trillion for the January-to-December period, a 17.1% increase from 2018, which itself had seen a 28.2% jump from the previous year.  President Trump had vowed that his stimulus policies, including massive corporate tax cut and aggressive deregulation, would help stem the red ink coming from Washington, but it has only increased. As deficits have swelled, so has the national debt, which is now at $23.2 trillion.
 
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I'm Tyler Simones



US Stocks traded higher last week with the Dow crossing 29,000 intra-day for the first time ever.  The Dow first crossed 28,000 just 37 trading days ago.
 
The US economy added 145,000 jobs in December, capping a decade of solid job creation.  The US economy has added over 2 million jobs per year for the last 10 straight years.   The government’s monthly jobs report, released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, also showed that the nation’s unemployment rate remains unchanged, at a 50-year low of 3.5 percent.
 
After announcing last month that a phase one trade agreement with China would be signed this Wednesday January 15, Trump said in an interview last Thursday that the deal could now be signed “shortly thereafter,” and all signs still point to a resolution at some point this week.
 
Ford Motor's China vehicle sales fell for a third consecutive year, by 26.1%, as it battles a prolonged overall sales decline in its second-biggest market.  The U.S. automaker delivered 146,473 vehicles in China in the fourth quarter, down 14.7% year-on-year.
 
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I'm Tyler Simones



Mercedes-Benz successfully defended its title as the world's best-selling luxury-car brand in 2019, topping archrivals BMW and Audi for the fourth year in a row. Mercedes sales increased 1.3% to 2.34M vehicles, making it the highest annual sales volume in its history. (SA)

 

Even with U.S. energy production at an all-time record, seven different U.S. refineries are on the block now, accounting for about 5% of U.S. crude oil processing capacity, according to data compiled by Reuters. The properties are having trouble finding bidders because of unfavorable locales, worries about falling margins, and the coming restart of nearby facilities in the Caribbean. There's also pressure from new international shipping fuel regulations, known as IMO 2020, and U.S. renewable fuels standards that require refineries to blend in biofuels. (Bloomberg)

 

Employers added 145,000 jobs in December and unemployment stayed at a 50-year low of 3.5%, capping a tenth straight year of payroll gains.  Private-sector wages advanced 2.9% from a year earlier, the smallest annual gain since July 2018. And revisions showed payrolls for November and October were revised down by a net 14,000.  U.S. employers have added jobs for a record 10 years, the longest stretch in 80 years of data. That consistency, alongside low unemployment and modest wage gains, points to steady growth heading into 2020. (WSJ)

 

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



China has confirmed that Vice Premier Liu He will travel to Washington next week to sign the phase one trade deal with the U.S. After that, there’s round-two to look forward to. When President Trump announced the date on Twitter earlier this month he stated his intention to visit Beijing to start negotiations on the second phase. Meanwhile, China intends to open up oil and gas exploration to foreign companies, in an attempt to ease commercial frictions with the U.S.

 

The World Bank said that the global expansion will accelerate slightly to 2.5% in 2020, down from a previous 2.7% projection. In its latest Global Economic Prospects report the lender warned that conditions remain fragile as it lowered euro area and China estimates for this year. There was some good news from Germany this morning as industrial production rebounded, raising hopes the sector may be ending its protracted slump. (Bloomberg)

 

Grubhub, the food-delivery provider, has tapped financial advisers for help with a review of potential moves that could include a sale of the company or an acquisition, WSJ reports. Also on the menu is what to do in case an activist shows up. Going public nearly six years ago, Grubhub's market cap is now valued at roughly $5B, down from a peak of more than $13B just over a year ago - before competition from other delivery startups heated up.  Expect more consolidation in the food-delivery business to come.  (SA)

 

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



Global stocks plunged and oil moved higher in the immediate aftermath of the missile attack. However, markets soon pared those losses as hopes rose that the response could lead to a cooling of tensions. Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 0.8% while Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index was 0.2% lower by 5:45 a.m. Eastern Time. S&P 500 futures had erased all losses to trade slightly higher, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 1.800% and Brent crude had reversed almost all of its $3-a-barrel surge. (Bloomberg)

 

Continuing its surge into 2020, Tesla rose as much as 4.7% on Tuesday to carve out yet another all-time high at over $470/share. The extended rally has pushed the company's market cap to the highest ever recorded by a U.S. automaker, topping the $80.81B cap of Ford in 1999 and easily outdistancing the record cap for pre-bankruptcy General Motors or post-bankruptcy GM. Global records? Tesla's market cap still trails Toyota and Volkswagen, which were valued at $231.76B and $98.05B, respectively. (SA)

 

Results today from Walgreens Boots Alliance, Constellation Brands, and Bed Bath & Beyond will be among the last ahead of the fourth-quarter earnings season, which kicks into full gear over the coming weeks. While profits are expected to fall slightly - capping 2019 as a lackluster year - Wall Street is hopeful that earnings will rebound in 2020, possibly rising 9.6%. That would be the third-best growth rate in the last seven years, helping justify high stock prices and boosting further economic growth.

 

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



Congress has passed the SECURE Act, which became effective January 1, 2020. Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) and Contribution Age raised from 70½ to age 72. The SECURE Act eliminates the “stretch IRA,” an estate planning method that allows IRA beneficiaries to stretch their distributions from their inherited account. Will allow withdrawals from a 401(k), IRA or other retirement account prior to age 59½ for child birth and adoption cost without penalty.

Spam was introduced more than 80 years ago. For 2019, Hormel reported that Spam had its fifth consecutive year of record sales.

 

According to YouGov, 36% of millennials polled say that they approve of communism, which is up significantly from 28% in 2018.

 

Changes in Lattice Semiconductor management continue as board member Brian Beattie resigned effective Dec. 31. He had been on the Lattice board since 2016.That leaves the Lattice board with nine members, five of whom have joined since 2018.

 

U.S. hop production set a record high above 100 million pounds for the third year in a row in 2019.  At 112 million pounds, the crop was up 5%, according to a report from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Oregon production was up 12% at 13 million pounds.


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  • Purcell Bridge CLOSED through April 2020.
  • ORE 22 remains CLOSED between Idanha and the junction with U.S. 20 (milepost 53-81) following a tanker truck crash that caused a fuel spill yesterday. The road will be closed to thru traffic indefinitely for the clean up of the fuel spill and recovery of the tanker.

 

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