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.