Stocks traded higher yesterday on the back of some good earnings reports and some good economic data propelling the DOW 220 points higher.
This morning we are seeing a global rally in stocks after the bank of Japan shocked financial markets around the world last night when they announced they would provide their economy with another round of stimulus. That news send the Japanese stock market 5% higher.
Shares of GoPro rose over 10% yesterday after the bell after the company's earnings results easily topped Wall St. earnings estimates.
Shares of Starbucks fell 4.5% after the coffee house giant reported disappointing 4th quarter sales and a lower 1st quarter outlook. The decline in sales comes as the company once again try's to diversify away from their traditional coffee business be adding more packaged products and food. Stick to what you are good at!
Personal income in September was .30% higher
Consumer Spending in September was .20% lower which was the first decline in 8 months
This is an interesting story. The polling firm Ipsos Mori polled Americans and asked them what they thought the unemployment rate is in America in the month of September. The average guess was that the American unemployment rate is 32% in this country vs the actual number of 5.9%, which certainly explains why people look at me like I am crazy when I tell them the recession ended 5 years ago and the economy is getting better.
Stocks snapped a 4 day win streak yesterday to close marginally lower. The Federal Reserve ended their 2 day policy meeting yesterday and announced the end of Quantitative Easing. They also said that they could raise interest rates sooner than expected if conditions in the labor market continue to improve, which caught investors off guard.
Yesterday after the bell Visa reported 3rd quarter earnings that beat expectations. The company earned $2.18/share when wall st. had been expecting them to earn $2.10/share. That news sent Visa's stock 4.6% higher.
The world's largest smartphone maker by volume, Samsung, reported 3rd quarter earnings that were 60% lower than over the same period last year. Earnings at Samsung were the lowest they have been in 3 years as their mobile division continues to shrink.
The US Department of Labor reported this morning that jobless claims last week rose 3,000 to 287,000, which is a number that will continue to push the unemployment rate lower.
OPEC isn't happy about falling oil prices, but Americans sure are. The average price of a gallon of gas nationwide is $3.06/gallon and it is certainly headed below $3/gallon. For the average family that buys 90 gallons/month to fill up 2 cars they will save $720/year at current prices, which is like a big tax cut for the American consumer.
And we got our first look at 3rd quarter GDP this morning and it appears the US economy grew at a 3.5% rate which was better-than-expected.
US Stock investors bid up prices yesterday ahead of the Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting that ends today. The Dow rallied to reclaim the 17,000 point level and all of the major equity indexes turned positive for the month.
The Federal Reserve is widely expected to announce the end of the 2008-era bond buying program also affectionately known as Quantitative Easing. The Fed is also expected to keep short-term interest rates at zero for a considerable period to come.
Facebook reported earnings yesterday after the bell that easily beat expectations. The company said 3rd quarter earnings rose 90% as the social network continued to show more evidence of its growing strength in mobile advertising. Facebook's monthly active users grew to 1.35 billion and the percentage of advertising dollars that came from mobile devices increased to 66%. The stock has sold off sharply though after the company also said they expect to see slower growth in the future and an increase in operating expenses.
The Consumer Confidence Board reported that after slumping in September, consumer confidence rose sharply in October as people feel better about the job market and better business conditions.
And shares of Twitter are 10% lower after the company reported earnings that were in-line with expectations, but the company reported declines in user engagement which will affect future earnings negatively.
Corporate earnings are on pace to post 8% to 9% gains in the 3rd quarter. That is pretty good. (LPL Research) The Federal Reserve starts a two day meeting this morning where they are widely expected to shut off their bond buying program. (Fox Business News)
September durable goods declined 1.3% following an 18.4% plunge in August. This index is very volatile, but this number will disappoint the market. (Bloomberg)
DuPont, the biggest US chemicals producer, reported a 52% jump in profits as operating margins rose in five of its seven businesses. Sales increased to $7.87 billion from $7.74 billion a year ago. (CNBC)
The luxury handbag maker Coach reported quarterly profits of $119.1 million on sales of $1.04 billion. Coach shares have dropped 36% since the beginning of the year, while the S&P 500 has increased 6%. The stock has decreased 28% in the last 12 months. (Associated Press)
Wal-Mart announced the launch of a certified preowned video game program in 1,700 stores nationwide, finally putting those games it has been offering store credit for over the last seven months back up for sale. Certified preowned games from the retailer will carry an average cost of $12 to $30 vs. a new title for today's consoles which can cost $60 or more. (CNBC)
US stocks look to open lower this morning, following the best week of the year for the markets. The results of Brazil's presidential election and bank stress tests in Europe did little to sway the markets. (CNBC)
Bad news out of Europe just keeps coming. Twenty-five out of 130 European banks have failed a key stress test of the region’s financial system. Those banks failing the test would have a nearly $32 billion shortfall on their books during a financial crisis. (CNBC)
It won’t be all smooth sailing for the new Apple Pay system. CVS and Rite Aid are blocking the new mobile Apple Pay system in their stores. The drugstore chains are supporting a rival payment system. (NY Times)
The U.S. dollar has been getting stronger relative to other currencies. The dollar has risen steadily for over 12 weeks and that’s the longest winning streak for the dollar since our currency became free-floating in 1973. The rising dollar can affect your wallet. The strong dollar affects the price of crude oil driving prices and imports lower. If you are going to travel abroad or export goods your costs will be going up. (Market Watch)
With just 59 days till Christmas, three of the biggest insurance firms for Sears suppliers are seeking to reduce coverage, prompting at least one medium-sized vendor to halt shipments to the department-store chain. Sears has been unloading assets to generate cash after nine straight quarters of losses. (Bloomberg)
We are in the thick of earnings season. So far S&P 500 companies have increased profits over 5% from last year. (Fox Business News)
Caterpillar says there was “a reasonable likelihood” that global growth could improve next year, as the world’s largest maker of heavy equipment raised its 2014 earnings forecast. Caterpillar reported profits of $1.02 billion for Q3, up 8% from last year. (Financial Times)
Procter & Gamble, makers of Scope mouthwash and Tide laundry soap, reported quarterly profits in line with expectations. The consumer products giant said it would split off its Duracell battery business into a separate company. Profits were up 3% from last year on sales of $20.79 billion. (CNBC)
Microsoft Corp reported higher-than-expected quarterly profits, helped by stronger sales of its phones, Surface tablets and cloud-computing products for companies. Microsoft's quarterly profits fell 13%, largely due to an expected $1.1 billion charge related to mass layoffs announced in July. Microsoft shares, which have climbed 33 percent over the past year. (Reuters)
US Stocks snapped a 4 day win streak yesterday after early morning gains gave way to red on Wall Street with stocks closing at session lows.
Shares of Boeing fell 4.5% yesterday despite beating earnings estimates because the company plans to spend more CAPEX in the coming year to spur growth for years to come which will have a negative short-term effect on earnings per share growth.
Shares of General Motors are higher this morning after the company reported better than expected earnings in the 3rd quarter. GM earned $1.5 Billion in the quarter. North America saw big increases in sales for the company, but the company continues to lose money in Europe. Shares of GM are 2.6% higher in early trading.
Caterpillar posted stronger than expected earnings this morning sending their shares and the DOW higher this morning. CAT also raised their profit outlook for the next 12 months. The company has been able to successfully raise prices globally to offset tepid sales in Asia. Shares of CAT are 4% higher.
And the one part of the economy we are seeing inflation is in housing, including the rental market. Over the last year shelter costs in the US rose 3% which is the fastest pace since 2008. Dramatic increases in rents over the last year has been the major contributor to the overall increase.
And weekly jobless claims came in at 283,000 this morning. Any number under 300,000 will push the employment rate lower.
Markets snapped back for the third straight day on Tuesday as good earnings reports fuel belief in an improving economy. (CNBC)
U.S. home re-sales jumped to their highest level in a year in September, the latest indication that the housing market recovery is gradually getting back on track. The National Association of Realtors said on Tuesday existing home sales rose 2.4 percent to an annual rate of 5.17 million units, the strongest reading since September of last year.
Shares of Coca-Cola sunk on Tuesday, down more than 5% after the Atlanta-based beverage company reported a third quarter profits drop of 14% to $2.1 billion from $2.45 billion one year ago. Revenue fell to $11.98 billion in the third quarter from $12 billion a year earlier. Coke's case volume for the quarter fell below estimates and the company issued a warning of currency headwinds impacting its profits. (The Street)
Shares of McDonald's were down yesterday by over 2% after the company reported a decline in its 2014 third quarter earnings results. The fast food restaurant chain said profits for the most recent quarter was $1.06 billion, down 29% from the same time last year. McDonald's sales fell 3%. (TheStreet)
Markets have new been in rally mode the last two days driven by strong corporate earnings. Apple blew out earnings making a profit of $8.5 billion in the latest quarter on sales of $42.1 billion. Sales of the new iPhone boosted sales. (The Wrap)
US housing starts and permits rose in September, a signal the market's modest recovery is supporting what appears to be growing strength in the broader economy. Groundbreaking rose 6.3% to an annual 1.02 million-unit pace. New housing starts for single-family homes, the largest part of the market, rose 1.1% in September, while the more volatile multi-family homes segment jumped 16.7%.(Reuters)
The number of supertankers sailing toward China’s ports surged to a nine-month high amid speculation an oil-price slump is encouraging the world’s second-biggest crude importer to accelerate purchases. On Friday there were 80 very large crude carriers, the industry’s biggest ships, sailing toward the Asian country’s ports, according to Bloomberg. That’s the highest since Jan. 3. Average shipments are 2 million barrels.
U.S. consumer sentiment rose in October to the highest in more than seven years, boosted by views on personal finances and the national economy. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary October reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment came in at 86.4, the highest since July 2007.
Goldman Sachs turned in significantly better third-quarter results than expected, thanks to a long-awaited improvement in trading conditions for Wall Street banks.
Goldman’s profits rose to $2.24 billion, up 47% from the third quarter of 2013. The bank’s total sales rose 25%, to $8.39 billion. (Reuters)
Mattel Inc's revenue fell for the fourth straight quarter as demand for its billion-dollar brands, Barbie and Fisher-Price, slipped further, increasing pressure on the toymaker as it heads into the holiday shopping season. Barbie made her debut in 1959, but the doll has fallen out of favor with fickle-minded young girls, who are reaching for electronic toys such as tablets. In 2009, Barbie held more than a quarter of the market share in the dolls & accessories category in the United States, but that fell to 19.6% in 2013. (Fox Business News)
There is a downside to lower oil prices we will pay for later. The global crash in crude prices is reverberating through the oil and gas industry, pressuring producers to curtail investment to protect profits and avoid cuts to dividend payments. Projects in the Canadian oil sands, offshore fields in Norway and drilling-intensive U.S. shale deposits are among the most vulnerable as oil prices come perilously close to production costs. The world’s largest oil companies have rarely spent so much for so little reward. (Bloomberg)
Just how bad a job have we been doing saving for retirement? A majority of U.S. seniors would be poor if Social Security were excluded from their incomes, according to a report on poverty released by the Census Bureau on Thursday. If the Census were to exclude Social Security benefits from income, the poverty rate for American seniors would jump from 14.6% to a whopping 52.6%—roughly 23.4 million people. The nation’s overall poverty rate would rise to 24.1% from 15.5%. (Wall Street Journal)
The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits fell to a 14-year low, a positive signal that could counter doubts over whether the economy is shifting into a higher gear. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 23,000 to a seasonally adjusted 264,000, its lowest level since 2000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. This suggests the labor market is gaining steam. (Reuters)
Industrial production in the U.S. rose in September by the most since November 2012, driven by a surge in utilities and a rebound in manufacturing.
The 1% advance in output at factories, mines and utilities exceeded the highest forecast. Utility production was the strongest since May 2012, while factories made strides even as motor vehicle output fell for a second month. The fact that we can get a 1% increase in production when you have a decline in the auto sector is striking. (Bloomberg)
Goldman Sachs turned in significantly better third-quarter results than expected, thanks to a long-awaited improvement in trading conditions for Wall Street banks. Goldman’s profits rose to $2.24 billion, up 47% from the third quarter of 2013. The bank’s total sales rose 25%, to $8.39 billion. (Reuters)
Philip Morris International's third-quarter profits dropped 8% as cigarette sales fell in the overseas markets that it serves and it was hurt by foreign exchange rates for the U.S. dollar. The seller of Marlboro outside the United States earned $2.15 billion, down from $2.34 billion, a year ago. Cigarette shipments fell less than 1% to 222.3 billion cigarettes. Shipments fell 2% in Latin America and Canada and 1.3% in Asia. Shipments were up less than 1% in the company's region that encompasses Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as well as in the European Union. (Associated Press)
The market continues its correction. But even with this correction the S&P 500 is essentially flat for the year. Not that bad. (Fox Business News)
The Commerce Department says business inventories increased 0.2%, the smallest rise since June 2013. Business sales fell 0.4% during the month, and at August's sales pace it would take 1.29 months for businesses to clear shelves, this is unchanged from July.
U.S. retail sales declined in September even when factoring out weakness at auto dealers and gasoline stations, providing a surprisingly cautionary sign for the strength of consumer demand. Total retail sales dropped 0.3% during the month, according to the Commerce Department. Drops in receipts at gasoline stations and auto dealers dragged on the reading.
Prices received by U.S. producers fell in September for the first time in over a year, a potentially worrisome sign for the economy in that inflation appears to be failing to gain traction. U.S. producer prices slipped 0.1% last month, according to the Labor Department.
The US dollar has been getting stronger relative to other currencies recently. The dollar has risen steadily for over 11 weeks and that's the longest winning streak for the dollar since our currency became free floating in 1973. Rising dollar can affect your wallet. The strong dollar affects the price of crude oil driving prices of imports lower. If you're going to travel abroad or export goods your cost will be going up. (Market watch)
Oil continues to fall as oil gushes out of the ground in both the United States and Canada, and much of it is coming from places they don't have a pipeline infrastructure. So it's being shipped by rail. In 2008, around 9,500 carloads of crude oil were transported by rail in the US. By 2013, that number topped 400,000 according to the Association of American Railroads.
Death rates are declining worldwide. In almost every country, mortality rates fell during the last four decades. The biggest falls were among young children, twice the rate of decline was experienced by those age 5 to 49. The biggest absolute declines occurred in poor and low to middle income countries. (Economist)
More investors are taking out loans against their 401(k)s, and that could hurt their retirement income by hundreds of dollars a month. The number of investors borrowing from their 401(k)s has been steadily increasing for more than a decade with more than one in five people, borrowing against their retirement savings, up from 18.7% in 2000. More than 2 million investors have outstanding loans, and nearly 1,000,000 took out loans in the past year. (USA TODAY)
Nearly one in for millennial's, those born from 1980 to 2000, say they trust no one for money advice. About a third said they trust their parents most for information on money, but many reported a real lack of communication with their parents about their finances. Almost half reported never receiving financial advice from their parents. (CNBC)
Okay let's talk about what's on everybody's mind. This correction. For at least the last 36 months I have been telling you to get ready for this correction and it is here so it should not be a surprise to anyone.
What about the big intraday and intraday moves in the market indices? The market fell about 1.7% yesterday on the heels of a 2.1% drop on Thursday, which was the worst performance for the S&P 500 for the year. But Thursdays move also marked only the fourth time this year that the S&P 500 has closed down by more than 2% on any given day. But that is well below the number of 2% corrections to the downside there we should expect on any typical year. Since 1928 the S&P 500 has averaged 19 separate 2% losing days in any given year. There were 35 such moves in 2011, 56 and 2009 and 72 in 2008 the worst for the financial crisis. A Record of 140 Took Place in 1932. (CNBC)
What we are going through right now is your basic run-of-the-mill correction in the market. This is not being caused, in our opinion by any market forces other then there are more buyers than sellers and a weak sisters are being washed out of the market. For the long-term prudent investor this correction should be welcome and embraced, not feared. The speculator there was betting on highflyers and overvalue companies, this is indeed an unwelcome event.
Volatility in the market is commonplace and to be expected. The amount of volatility there we are currently seen is normal for lack of volatility that we have seen since 2011, in fact was the abnormal situation.
So in our opinion this correction is not to be feared, but embrace. For the long-term investor just stay the course and you're very reported over the long-term.
Stocks are way overdue for a correction and this may be it. But don't dismay. Last week was volatile, the Dow lost 466 points and the S&P 500 dropped 3.1%. But even with that, the broad index S&P 500 is up 3.1% year to date. So it's not a disaster. Corrections come and go. (CNBC)
Americans' confidence in the housing market is on the rebound. More than two-thirds polled said they think it's a good time to buy a home, while only one in four said they would rent. Historically low mortgage rates make buying attractive. But while borrowing costs are low, relatively few are taking the plunge. In August total existing home sales remain more than 5% below the 5.33 million-unit level from the same period last year. (CNBC)
A new survey lists the top college majors that make someone the most employable. Business majors (27%) are the best bet followed by engineering (20%), accounting (14%), nursing (6%) and computer and information sciences (5%). Those on the bottom included math and statistics (1), science technologies (1%), communications technologies and finance (both at 0%). (CNBC)
Oil is dropping. West Texas Intermediate has gone from $105 to $85 in three months.
Gold settled lower on Friday as a rise in the dollar capped four days of gains, though the metal remained supported around the $1,220 level by the prospect of a widespread economic slowdown that could keep interest rates low. Strength in the U.S. currency drove commodities lower across the board.
US stocks look to open sharply lower after Thursday’s 334 point Dow drop, the worst since February and the third straight day of moves of 200 points or more. Stocks were poised for their biggest weekly losses in more than two months. (CNBC)
September import/export prices are out and tell us there is no inflation on the horizon. Import prices were down 0.5% and export prices were down 0.2%. (Fox Business News
Ford sold 95,875 vehicles in China in September, edging down 0.2% from last year. That follows a 9% year-over-year rise in August and a 25% increase in July. Ford's sales in the first nine months of the year totaled 813,412 vehicles in China, up 26% from the same time last year. (Reuters)
Join us tomorrow at 10am for Financial Focus Radio when we share with you our thoughts on why you should not fear the correction.
The ying and the yang of market volatility is back as yesterday we had a monster gain that wiped out the monster loss of the day before. Are the bulls or the bears in charge? Only time will tell; but in the long-run we know the bulls will prevail. (Fox Business News)
PepsiCo beat analysts' expectations in the third quarter. The company's third-quarter profits grew 10% year-over-year. Revenue increased to $17.22 billion, up about 2%. (Reuters)
Sales of personal computers fell 0.5% in the third quarter as shipments declined in emerging markets. Growth continued in mature markets, with shipments in the US rising 4%. The third quarter is typically driven by back-to-school sales and business purchases. (Wall Street Journal)
Many employers do a poor job making sure they are good fiduciaries for their company retire plans. That may be why the US Supreme Court will consider giving 401(k) participants more power to sue their plans over investments that impose excessive fees. The appeal, filed by Edison International workers, contends that participants should be able to sue plans for retaining imprudent investments. (Bloomberg)
The level of government overspending fell by nearly a third during the 2014 fiscal year to $486 billion, as revenues grew 9% and spending grew only a fraction. Higher spending was fueled largely by the cost of expanding health-care coverage and Social Security. (CNBC)
US Stocks had their largest one day sell-off in two months yesterday. US Stocks are now 4% below their all-time-highs reached just 3 weeks ago. This morning stocks are trading
The International Monetary Fund trimmed their forecast for global economic growth yesterday. The IMF said there is a widening divide between the accelerating growth here in the US and a slowdown in the Eurozone and Asia. The IMF expects global growth to be 3.8% the year versus their previous estimate of 4%.
The owner of Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut, Yum Brands, reported earnings that came in below expectations. The company missed on both the top and bottom line. Sales in their Chinese stores fell 14% year over year which was a major contributor to the earnings miss. Shares of Yum are lower on that news.
Warehouse club operator Costco profits topped analysts' estimates for the first time in five quarters, helped by strong back-to-school sales and higher membership fees. Shares of Costco are 2.5% higher on that news.
Home price growth has dropped to a two year low. Year over year home price growth fell 6.4% in August. Housing appreciation is expected to slow down even further, with growth of 4% forecasted in 2015. Continued moderation in home price appreciation is a good sign of a more balanced real estate market.
Stocks had their biggest one day gain in 2 months on Friday thanks to a stronger-than-expected jobs report that delivered a dose of investor confidence. Friday's big gain put a dent in the weekly loss but the major indexes ended the week lower marking the 2nd straight of declines for stocks.
Hewlett-Packard announced yesterday that they plan to break into two companies, separating their personal computer and printer business from their corporate hardware and services operations. The distribution of the separate company's shares will be tax-free and happen early next year. The move by HP is one that has long been anticipated by investors. Shares of HP are trading sharply higher on the news.
Medical technology company Becton Dickinson has reached a deal to buy CareFusion for $12.2 Billion in cash and stock. Subject to shareholder and regulatory approval the deal is expected to close early next year. Shares of both companies are higher, shares of CareFusion are up over 25%.
In another sign of an improving economy here in Central Oregon the Gross Domestic Product for Deschutes country increased 6.1% in 2013 which is the largest increase among Oregon's 8 metropolitan statistical areas.
And the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, is having trouble refinancing his mortgage. In an effort to save $300/month on his D.C. home, Bernanke tried to refi at a lower interest rate, but the underwriters say his income over the last 12 months was too low to qualify for a new loan even though he is now making $250k per speaking engagement and has a $1mm+ book deal.
The US economy added 248,000 jobs in September. The lower than expected August number was revised up by 40,000 making it almost 200,000 for the month. The unemployment rate dropped to 5.9%. (Fox Business News)
New orders for manufactured goods dropped 10.1% in September, the largest drop since 1992. Stripping out transportation orders, new orders were down a more modest 0.1%.The U.S. manufacturing sector continues to expand, although growth may be moderating. (Reuters)
Mortgage applications to purchase a home are 11% lower than they were one year ago and are running about 30% lower than historical norms. With investors pulling back, the market is shifting more towards traditional and first-time buyers who rely on mortgages to purchase a home. (CNBC)
Get ready to see peanut butter in a lot more places. This years harvest will jump 19% to 4.97 billion pounds creating an oversupply and driving down prices. Prices for the creamy spread dropped for five straight months through July, when they reached the lowest level since 2011. Creamy peanut butter was about $2.42 a pound in August, 11% cheaper than a year earlier. (Bloomberg)
The National Football League announced a new long-term deal with DirecTV for it to carry Sunday Ticket, which was set to expire soon. The new deal will expand DirecTV's rights to stream Sunday Ticket programming live on mobile devices and through broadband. Renewal of the agreement was thought to be key in the AT&T – DirecTV merger deal. (CNBC)
Still think the job market is not really getting better? The number of planned layoffs by US employers fell to a 14-year low in September. Employers planned to cut 30,477 jobs in the month. Heading into the fourth quarter, 2014 is now on track to have the lowest number of planned job cuts since 1997. (Challenger, Gray & Christmas/CNBC)
U.S. student debt has climbed to an all-time high, despite a decrease in consumer debt for all other major lending categories such as automotive debt, credit card and home equity loans. Behind mortgages, student loans are the second largest debt class. Now at $1.2 trillion, student debt has increased 84% since the 2008 Great Recession. Mississippi, Oklahoma and Louisiana had the highest amount of late payments. Massachusetts, Vermont and Minnesota had the least amount of late payments. (CNBC)
In another example of why costs go up. A shopper at a Costco Wholesale store in Northeast Portland is suing the store for $670,000. The male shopper says that he was pushing his shopping cart out of the store when he was detained because he wouldn't stop and show his receipt. The shopper tried to remove one of the employees who was holding on to his cart by grabbing the employee's shirt collar. A second employee then used a martial-arts-style kick to strike breaking his leg in several places. (Oregon Live)
A new month and new hopes for the equity markets. The S&P 500 and NASDAQ have posted 7 consecutive quarters of positive growth as of the end of the third quarter. That is almost two years. (Fox Business News)
U.S. single-family home prices rose in July year-over-year up 6.7%. Home prices continue to rise but thankfully at a more sustainable rate. (S&P/Case Shiller composite index)
ADP says the private sector added 213,000 jobs in August. Growth was seen across every sector and every size of business. (CNBC)
Iron ore has slumped below $80 a metric ton for the first time in five years on speculation that China’s slowing economic growth will curb demand by the world’s biggest user, exacerbating a global surplus. Global output of iron ore will exceed demand by 52 million tons this year and 163 million tons in 2015, adding to the surplus. (Bloomberg)
First it was the surge in beef prices now you can add lemons to the growing list. A case of 165 lemons costs about $50, up from $30 to $35 last year. A prolonged drought in California, which grew 91% of US lemons this year, contributed to a surge in costs. Wholesale prices almost doubled from a year earlier, and retail lemons are up 36% in August, the highest since 1980. (Bloomberg)