Dr. Eric Wattenburg


Dr. Eric Wattenburg

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Business News

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.

Low global interest rates are here to stay "for the next five to 10 years," which should lead Fed officials to hold themselves accountable to their 2% inflation target, according to New York Fed President John Williams. He also said the Fed's response to inject liquidity into repo markets following a cash crunch in September had "worked exactly as we wanted." "As the level of reserves have been brought back to the appropriate level, we've seen money markets operate very smoothly." (SA)

Citigroup, Mizuho Financial and Bank of America have agreed to provide Xerox with up to $24B in financing for its takeover offer for HP Inc., sources told the WSJ. It's a sign the company is pushing forward with an unsolicited $33B deal that its larger rival had rejected as too low and not in the best interests of its shareholders. Xerox on Nov. 5 made the cash-and-stock offer for HP, whose market value has since risen to almost $30B, making it nearly four times Xerox’s size. (WSJ)


Remember the trade war? While events in the Middle East have certainly taken over investor attention, there was more good news on progress towards getting a phase one deal signed, with China planning to send top negotiator Vice Premier Liu He to Washington on Jan. 15 to ink the agreement, according to people familiar with the matter. The South China Morning Post reported that the delegation changed their schedule after Trump unilaterally announced the signing date, and indicated he’d be willing to seal the deal with China’s President Xi Jinping being present.


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

US Stocks started the New Year with a bang extending the gains we saw in 2019 with the major indexes hitting fresh all-time-highs yesterday.
The number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits at the end of 2019 fell slightly, showing the pace of layoffs in the U.S. remains near a half-century low. The U.S. labor market is still quite robust even though the economy has slowed. While companies aren’t hiring as many workers, they haven’t resorted to widespread layoffs. They worry they won’t be able to rehire them if the economy speeds up.
Once real estate’s sleepiest month, data suggests January could be this year’s home buying hot season — a status historically reserved for April.  Homebuyers are shopping earlier in the year, a trend that began in 2015. Last year, listing views peaked in February: If the trend continues in 2020, January could be the most competitive month for home shoppers, according to economists. 
As a decade-long economic boom pushes into 2020, affording a home isn't expected to become much easier for the average American.  The Average American wage earner can't afford to buy a home in 75% of the US. 
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I'm Tyler Simones

Stocks fell from their all-time highs as investors took off some risk on the second-to-last trading day of a historic year for equities.

The economy in the Midwest improved in December for the second month in a row, but the region is still suffering from a trade war with China that’s hurt farmers and manufacturers.  The Chicago Purchasing Management Index rose to 49 this month from a revised 46.2 in November. The October reading was the weakest since the end of 2015.

The index of pending home sales increased 1.2% in November from the previous month, according to the National Association of Realtors. In October, sales had fallen after two consecutive months of increases.  The index records transactions that have not yet closed but where a contract has been signed. As a result, the index serves as an indicator for existing-home sales reports in the coming months. Compared with November 2018, contract signings were up 7.4%.
Deschutes County outpaced the rest of the State of Oregon in job growth in 2019.  There are 90,000 jobs in the county a 5% increase over last year.
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I'm Tyler Simones.

US Stocks traded higher yet again last week and are on track to have their best year since 1997 with the S&P 500 up 29% year-to-date.

Homebuyers in 2019 faced a tough housing market again, while current homeowners enjoyed another increase in home equity.  A lack of homes for sale, a crowd of potential buyers, and low mortgage rates helped to boost housing prices higher in 2019, the seventh straight year that prices have increased.  Median home prices hovered around $250,000, up more than $11,000, or 5%, versus last year.  The states that saw the most home price appreciation were Massachusetts, Michigan, Illinois, and Texas.

The Secure Act, which was signed earlier this month, changes the way beneficiaries will receive money from inherited retirement accounts.  The new rules say beneficiaries of qualified retirement accounts, such as individual retirement accounts and 401(k) plans, need to withdraw all of the money out of those accounts within 10 years, instead of over their life expectancy as was previously allowed.  There are no required minimum distributions within that time frame, but the account balance must be zero after the 10th year.

President Donald Trump’s strategy to use import tariffs to protect and boost U.S. manufacturers backfired and led to job losses and higher prices, according to a Federal Reserve study released this week.  The Fed found that the tariffs are associated with reductions in manufacturing employment and increases in producer prices.  While the tariffs did reduce competition for some industries in the domestic U.S. market, this was more than offset by the effects of rising input costs and retaliatory tariffs


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I'm Tyler Simones

US Stocks rose to yet another all-time high yesterday as investors looked past the news of President Trump’s impeachment as well as mixed U.S. economic data.

For the first time ever, the U.S. economy started and ended an entire decade without entering a recession.  It’s been the longest expansion in the country’s history.  But overall economic growth during this decade has been slower compared to previous booms.  There’s a saying among economists that “expansions don’t die of old age.”  As of December, the U.S. economy has expanded for a record 126 straight months, the longest time period in the country’s history according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. 

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes declined to a five-month low in November, indicating lean inventories are holding back a residential real estate market that’s been supported by low mortgage rates and job growth.  Contract closings fell 1.7% from the prior month to a 5.35 million annual rate. The median sales price rose 5.4% from a year earlier to $271,300.
Nike reported quarterly earnings and revenue that topped expectations, but a miss on gross margin and sales in North America sent shares lower.
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I'm Tyler Simones.

US Stocks traded very close to the flat line yesterday on light trading volume.  Gains were kept in check as investors digested some weaker than expected earnings reports. 


The maker of Blue Buffalo Dog Food, Cheerios, and other well know packaged food brands, General Mills is trading higher after the company reported fiscal 2nd quarter profits that beat expectations.  This is the 7th straight earnings beat for General Mills on strong organic growth.  The stock is trading higher on the news and is up 36% YTD.


Shares of the embattled utility company PG&E rose 6% after the company said it reached a $13.5 billion settlement with California wildfire victims, and an $11 billion agreement with insurance companies. Last Friday California Governor Gavin Newsom rejected the company’s bankruptcy reorganization plan.


In November, Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped below 4 percent for the first time since comparable records dating back to 1976. This puts the rate slightly above the November U.S. rate of 3.5 percent. Oregon’s unemployment rate has been hovering near historical lows of near 4 percent for the past 37 months.
International Stocks:
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I'm Tyler Simones.

The S&P 500 rose slightly to a fresh an all-time high yesterday and posted its longest winning streak since November.
The House passed a $1.4 trillion spending package yesterday, sending it to the Senate as Congress rushes to prevent a government shutdown.  The chamber easily approved two measures to fund the government through Sept. 30. The Senate needs to pass the legislation — and President Donald Trump has to sign it — by Friday to keep federal departments running.
FedEx reported fiscal second quarter results that missed consensus expectations and lowered its profit outlook again amid escalating competition from e-commerce giant Amazon.  Shares of FedEx traded sharply lower on the news.
Builders began construction on new homes in the U.S. at a pace of 1.37 million in November. This represented a 3.2% increase from a revised 1.32 million in October and was 13.6% higher than a year ago.  Meanwhile, permitting activity hit yet another post-recession high. Building permits for privately-owned housing units were authorized at a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.48 million. That was 1.4% above the pace of 1.46 million set in October and 11.1% above last year’s rate.
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I'm Tyler Simones.

US Stocks hit record highs yesterday and saw their fourth straight gain as a so-called phase one trade deal between China and the U.S. clears the path higher for Wall Street to end a banner year.


Home builders are closing out 2019 more optimistic than they’ve been in decades.  The National Association of Home Builders’ monthly confidence index increased five points to 76 in December from an upwardly revised 71 the month prior. December’s figure represents the highest index reading since June 1999.


The US Composite Purchasing Managers Index rose in December, edging up for a second straight month. The improvement signaled the fastest rate of expansion of the combined manufacturing and service sectors since July, driven by the strongest inflows of new business seen over the past five months.


The Boeing board is going to temporarily shut down 737 production in Renton, Washington starting in January.  Boeing will keep the 737 MAX assembly lines closed until the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) clears the jet to return to commercial service, which is currently expected around mid-February or early March.  Shares of Boeing are sharply lower on the news.
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I'm Tyler Simones.

Stocks concluded a solid week of gains after China and the U.S. agreed to a phase one trade deal.
While few details have been disclosed, the agreement between the US and China principally seems to involve the U.S. calling off a new round of tariffs that were slated to take effect on Dec. 15 and removing others already in place in exchange for more Chinese purchases of U.S. farm products.  Good news, right? The end of the trade war is nigh? Don’t get your hopes up.  While business leaders in both countries will be temporarily relieved, the underlying tensions between them will not end easily.


Sales at U.S. retailers rose slightly in November and mostly benefited a few merchants such as auto dealers and internet stores, suggesting the holiday season got off to a sluggish start.  Retail sales edged up 0.2% last month economists polled had expected a 0.5% increase.


Oregon spent half a decade as one of the nation’s hottest housing markets, with home prices soaring by up to 10% annually for much of the stretch from 2013 to 2018.  Now, for the first time since 2012, home prices are rising faster nationally than they are in Oregon.Growth in Oregon home prices dipped below 5% in each of the first two quarters of the year, less than half their growth rate at the end of 2016.The Oregon slowdown reflects a cooling economy and declining population growth as fewer people move into the state. 


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

The President signed off on a phase-one trade deal with China, a move that averts the introduction of further tariffs on the Asian nation that were due to come into effect on Sunday. While the terms of the deal have been agreed, the legal text has not yet been formalized, according to people familiar with the matter. There has been no official confirmation from the White House that a deal has been done either, while Chinese media suggest there still may be more work to do. (Bloomberg)


Shares of Hertz and Avis dropped sharply on Thursday after ride-sharing company Lyft introduced a car rental service allowing customers to rent a vehicle without having to go to the counter. The service that has no mileage limits, cars can be taken for a day or up to two weeks, and 22 will be set minimum age for a renter. Lyft will also charge the "local market rate" for gas and provide renters with two $20 ride credits to cover the cost of taking a Lyft to and from the rental points. (SA)


Boris Johnson has won a crushing victory in the UK general election, paving the way for Britain to leave the EU by the end of next month. Mr Johnson’s Conservative party won its biggest majority in a general election since Margaret Thatcher’s victory in 1987, as traditional Labour voters in the industrial heartlands of the Midlands and north abandoned Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party. The result breaks years of deadlock at Westminster and gives Mr Johnson a mandate to push ahead with Brexit and take the UK out of the European Union by January 31. (FT)


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

A Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman said that trade teams from his country and the U.S. remain in close contact as Sunday’s deadline for higher tariffs approaches. Officials from China are expecting a delay to the measure to give more time to reach an interim deal, according to people familiar with the discussions. There may be some news on that later today as President Donald Trump is expected to meet his trade team. (Bloomberg)


Traders will get quarterly results after the bell from Adobe, Broadcom and Oracle, which are usually the last to report following the busy earnings season. Robust adoption is anticipated in Adobe's Digital Media Solutions, as well as impressive growth at its Creative Cloud and Document Cloud business lines. Broadcom is meanwhile expected to benefit from the upcoming 5G cycle, but weakness may be seen from recent enterprise networking and storage trends, while Oracle results are likely to reflect solid adoption of cloud-based services. (SA)


Saudi Aramco briefly reached a $2tn valuation on its second day of trading on Riyadh’s Tadawul stock exchange. The shares rose 10 per cent — the daily limit — before falling back. Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has long sought a $2tn valuation for Saudi Aramco, which became the world’s most valuable publicly listed company after its debut yesterday.  (First FT)

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

In the 10 years since the Great Recession ended, the typical Oregonian’s annual income has increased by $2,500. The number of households with annual income of $1 million or more “has risen faster in Oregon than any other state,” with Washington coming in second and Florida third. (Oregon public-policy institute)


The U.S. solidified its status as an energy producer by posting the first full month as a net exporter of crude and petroleum products since government records began in 1949. The nation exported 89,000 barrels a day more than it imported in September. (Bloomberg)


Potato processors are rushing to buy supplies and ship them across North America in order to keep french fries on the menu after cold, wet weather damaged crops in key producers in the U.S. and Canada. The United Potato Growers of Canada estimates about 18% of their planted area, were left unharvested. The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts domestic output will drop 6.1% this year to the lowest since 2010. 


Morgan Stanley is cutting roughly 2% of its workforce due to an uncertain global economic outlook, CNBC reported. The job cuts at the investment bank, the world's biggest equities trading firm and a leading mergers advisor, will hit technology and operations roles hardest.


Americans are dog and cat crazy. They spent $72 billion on their pets in 2018.

With a new round of U.S. tariffs on China set to kick in at the end of this week, pressure on trade officials is mounting to make sufficient progress in talks to allow that move to be postponed, at least. There have been signs of progress recently, but confusion remains as to how close both sides actually are to reaching a phase-one deal. A Chinese Ministry of Commerce official said the country hopes the talks can produce “satisfactory results.” Adding further impetus to Beijing’s search for a deal is the unexpected drop in the country’s exports last month, with the total to the U.S. down 23% from a year ago. (Bloomberg)


In a case slated to start this morning, a coalition of 13 states and the District of Columbia, all led by their attorneys general, will face off against T-Mobile and Sprint over their $26.5B merger. Both the DOJ and the FCC have already allowed the deal to proceed after reaching an agreement with Dish Network which will buy Sprint's prepaid businesses including Boost and Virgin Mobile. The states argue, however, that the regulators erred in their decision, stating the tie-up of the third and fourth largest wireless carrier will limit competition and lead to higher prices. (SA)


Wednesday’s Federal Reserve monetary policy decision is not expected to produce any change in policy, with last week’s blowout jobs number backing policymakers’ view that the jobs market in the U.S. remains strong.  There is no data of note for the U.S. economy today. In earnings, Toll Brothers Inc., Thor Industries Inc. and Casey’s General Stores are among the companies reporting. (FT)


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

Stocks ended yesterday’s trading session little changed as investors digested employment data while they monitored the latest news from the U.S.-China trade negotiations.


The Labor Department reported the US Economy added 260,000 new jobs last month a number that was much better than expected.  This signals that the labor market here in the US remains quite strong even though the economy has slowed a bit.  The unemployment rate also dropped to 3.5% which is a 50 year low.  The only negative in the jobs report was that average wages dropped slightly.

Saudi Arabia has just pulled off the biggest initial public offering in history, raising $25.6 billion by selling shares in its giant state-owned oil monopoly.  Saudi Aramco sold 3 billion shares at 32 riyals in its IPO.   The IPO values Aramco at roughly $1.7 trillion, making it the most valuable publicly traded company in the world ahead of Apple, which is worth about $1.15 trillion.
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I'm Tyler Simones.

U.S. stocks traded higher yesterday following a report that a phase-one trade U.S.-China trade deal was still in the works, contrary to what the President said the day before.


Private-sector employment slowed sharply in November, according to payroll processor ADP.  Job growth rose 67,000 in the month., the smallest increase since May. The gain was well below forecasts from economists surveyed who expected a gain of 156,000.


The huge service side of the U.S. economy slowed again in November, adding to a slew of evidence pointing to weaker growth toward year end.  The Institute for Supply Management’s survey of service-oriented companies such as hospitals, retailers and restaurants fell to 53.9% in November from 54.7%.  Numbers over 50% are viewed as positive for the economy, but the index has come down sharply from a 13-year high of 60.8% just a little over a year ago.


Shares of Googles parent company Alphabet rose over 2% after the company announced it’s co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin were stepping down from the company and being replaced by Sundar Pichai who’s been at the company since 2004.


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

U.S. Stocks sank for a 3rd straight day yesterday after President Trump suggested he may want to delay a trade deal with China until after the 2020 presidential election.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will let mortgage borrowers nationwide take out home loans over $500,000 in 2020.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency said that it will increase the limit on conforming loans, meaning mortgages that adhere to the standards imposed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to a maximum of $510,400 nationwide. In high-cost areas, the maximum loan limit for mortgages acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be $765,600.


American shoppers increased their spending by 16% over the five-day shopping period between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday, according to new data, signaling U.S. consumer confidence hasn’t wavered in the face of global political and economic uncertainty.  190 million shoppers made purchases during the period, a 14% increase over the previous year, showing the US consumer is still healthy.


For Medicare’s 61 million or so beneficiaries, Saturday marks the day that their coverage for 2020 is locked in.  The fall enrollment period, which opened Oct. 15 and runs through Dec. 7, is when you can make certain changes to your Medicare coverage, effective Jan. 1.  So, if you want to make changes to your Medicare plan you better do it this week.  If you take no action, you’ll automatically remain enrolled in your 2019 plan.
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I'm Tyler Simones.

Stocks dropped yesterday, the first trading day of December, as investors digested disappointing manufacturing data along with the latest trade news after capping a month that featured blistering gains.
Manufacturing activity continued to lag in November amid a decline in inventories and new orders, according to the latest ISM Manufacturing reading released yesterday.  The reading came in at 48.1 vs. an expectation of 49.4.  Any reading below 50 represents a contraction.  This is the 4th straight reading below 50.
Outlays for U.S. construction projects fell 0.8% in October at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.29 trillion.  Economists had expected growth of 0.4%. Spending on private construction declined 1%, with residential construction down by 0.9%.
According to Salesforce.com, a whopping 76% of digital traffic during the Thanksgiving Day holiday weekend came from mobile devices with 60% of Thanksgiving Day shopping executed on smartphones. And 9% of those orders placed came from products that were clicked or tapped from an algorithmic recommendation, proving that artificial intelligence is gaining traction in directing online traffic.
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I'm Tyler Simones.




  • Purcell Bridge traffic with lane closures, complete closures at times (10/18-5/1)