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Looking to jump-start its Prime one-day shipping program, Amazon is offering steep warehouse discounts of up to 75% to get sellers onboard. Independent merchants are particularly important to the goal, since they make up about 58% of Amazon's total online sales. One-day shipping will encourage consumers to spend more online, which still accounts for just 12% of U.S. retail spending, and will upend an industry already working overtime for deliveries. (SA)

A disease ravaging hog farms 11,000km away in China is affecting US restaurant chains and meat producers, leaving customers forking over higher prices for their pork.

Hormel Foods, which produces Spam, said on Thursday that African swine fever in China drove up pork costs, weighing on its quarterly earnings and contributing to a cut in its full-year earnings and sales outlook.  African swine fever is a highly contagious and deadly viral disease that affects both domestic and wild pigs. On its earnings call, Hormel pointed to industry information that showed China, the world’s largest pork producer and consumer, has lost 150m to 200m hogs, equivalent to more than the entire pork production in the US.  (FT)


The owner of the Bend Bulletin plans to dissolve the company and sell all seven newspapers in its Pacific Northwest chain, according to a liquidation plan filed in federal bankruptcy court.  A total liquidation like this is atypical under a Chapter 11 proceeding because Chapter 11 is based on the assumption a business can survive if new terms are negotiated with creditors.  The corporation owes roughly $30 million in debt, much of it accumulated during an ill-timed investment in a new headquarters at the outset of the digital media revolution. 

Oil had its worst day of the year yesterday, dropping almost 6% as the commodity got caught in the stampede out of risky assets. Tensions in the Middle East had helped to shelter crude from some of the worst fears on global trade as investors balanced demand concerns against a possible supply disruption. Clearly that balance broke yesterday amid the renewed global growth concerns. While oil is 1.2% higher at $58.62 a barrel this morning, the damage is clear.


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

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