Business News Archives for 2016-03

Back to the Flatline

Today is the last trading day of the month and first quarter. Yesterday the S&P 500 and Dow closed at their highest level of 2016 for the second day in a row. (CNBC)
Mortgage applications, fell by 1% last week. That was largely due to a drop in refinancings, which slipped 3%. The refinance share of mortgage applications fell to its lowest level since July.  The 30-year fixed rate mortgage inched up 0.1% to 3.94%. ( Mortgage Bankers Association)
Costco’s new card, managed by Visa, will launch June 20. It replaces the current card that is managed by American Express. The new Costco Visa card will offer 2% back on Costco and purchases, and 1% back everywhere else. The new Visa also offers some of the best rewards of any card in the market. Costco customers who have the current American Express card will receive the new Visa card in the mail in May. (Business Insider)
This is the way it is supposed to work. Macy's CEO will get no bonus or raise after an awful 2015.  Neither will any of the other top executives.  Macy’s reported its first annual sales decline since the Great Recession. (Fortune)
Oil is flat at $38.42 a barrel.
Gold is up $10 at $1238 a Troy ounce. Gold is heading for its best quarter in close to 30 years. (Reuters)  
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

Confidence is Up!

Consumers were feeling more optimistic in March. The Consumer Confidence Index hit 96.2. Consumers surveyed believe current business conditions are good. In March, 24.9% said conditions were good, while 18.8% said conditions were bad. 15% of consumers expect business conditions to improve in the next six months, while 9.2% expect conditions to worsen. (The Conference Board)
Home price appreciation in major U.S. cities in January rose 5.7% from the previous year. Price appreciation in Portland was 11.8%. Seattle and San Francisco followed with 10.5% increases. (Case-Schiller Index)
A US Bankruptcy Court approved the sale of 29 Haggen stores to Albertsons for $106 million. The Federal Trade Commission had ordered Albertsons just over a year ago to sell off many of those same stores to avoid a monopoly in certain markets as it merged with Safeway. The unions affected by the sale have waived their rights to any claims against Haggen or Albertsons regarding the sale. The two Bend Haggen stores are part of the sale. (OregonLive)
Watch out Angies List!  Amazon says customer orders have increased by 20% per month for services like plumbing and handyman repairs since the online retailer launched the platform last year. (Reuters)
Oil is up 50 cents at $38.75 a barrel.
Gold is flat at $1237 a Troy ounce.
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

Yellen About Interest Rates

Markets are cautious this morning before a speech today by Fed chair Janet Yellen in New York.  Investors will be looking for any possible clues as to the latest outlook on interest rate increases. (CNBC)
Consumer spending moved up 0.1% last month. Consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity. Consumer spending was held back by a 0.7% drop in purchases of goods. Spending on services rose 0.4%. Personal income rose by 0.2%. (Commerce Department)
Contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes rose sharply in February.  The pending home sales index rose 3.5% last month, the highest level in seven months. (National Association of Realtors)
Spice company McCormicks reported quarterly profits of $93.4 million. The results surpassed Wall Street expectations. The spices and seasonings company had sales of $1.03 billion in the period. McCormick shares have climbed 14% since the beginning of the year and has risen 28% in the last 12 months. (AP)
You scream, I scream and we will all scream at the price of ice cream as the cost of a key ingredient is climbing. The price of vanilla beans has surged in the last 12 weeks following a disappointing harvest in Madagascar. (CNBC)
Oil is down 75 cents at $38.64 a barrel.
Gold is down $1 at $1219 a Troy ounce.
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

GDP Picks Up

With four trading days left in the first quarter the Dow is slightly positive to for the year, the S&P 500 is slight negative and the Nasdaq is off nearly 4.7% in 2016. (CNBC)
The Commerce Department says orders for durable goods, items meant to last three years or more, declined 2.8% in February.  Manufacturing, accounts for 12% of the U.S. economy and has been hammered by the dollar's strength, weak global demand and capital spending cuts by oilfield service firms.
U.S. economic growth slowed in the fourth quarter, but not as sharply as previously estimated. Gross domestic product increased at a 1.4% annual rate. Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two thirds of U.S. economic activity, rose at a 2.4% pace. With the dollar's appreciation slowing since the start of 2016 and the oil price stabilizing, corporate profits are poised to rise, helping GDP growth. (Reuters)
Business economists are more pessimistic, predicting weaker growth in corporate profits and the economy than they were late last year, according to a new survey from the National Association for Business Economics. (AP)
Oil is up 40 cents at $39.85 a barrel.
Gold is down $2 at $1219 a Troy ounce.

Good Friday

Blessed Good Friday to everyone. US markets are closed today in observance of the Christian holiday. So let's talk about those end of the world predictions we keep hearing in financial markets.

Making predictions is a lot like being a weatherman. The more sensational the claim the more attention it garners. In most cases those calling for the end of the world in regards to financial markets are trying to sell books or other wares in an effort to gain financial profit.  So they make sensational claims to get your attention and kick you in to action.

The end of world trade has always been a losing trade. You're only right once … and so what if you are right the world has ended.

To be a successful retail investor you have to do to three things:

1.  Keep a long term perspective and not be rattled emotionally by short-term events.

2.  Own Quality companies, that have enduring brands and will increase profits overtime.

3.  Be well diversified and own lots of different things. Diversification is the only free lunch in investing.  

Control your emotions and you can be a successful investor.

Happy Easter everybody!

Easter Spending Way Up

The Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq on track for their first weekly losses in the past six weeks. Today is the last trading day of the week as U.S. financials markets will be closed tomorrow for the Good Friday holiday. (CNBC)
The National Retail Federation’s annual Easter Spending Survey says spending for the holiday is expected to reach $17.3 billion. Those celebrating plan to spend an average of $146 per person. That’s the highest level in the 13 years. Consumers will spend $5.5 billion on food, $3 billion on clothing, $2.7 billion on gifts, $2.4 billion on candy and $1.2 billion on flowers.
Yum Brands, owner of KFC and Pizza Hut, is in talks with private equity firms to sell a minority stake in its China operations as it prepares to spin off the once booming and now battered unit. The spin off could be worth $10 billion. (Reuters)
The world continues to drown in excess supply. U.S. oil stockpiles skyrocketed by 9.4 million barrels last week to 532.5 million barrels. The latest supply surge is driven by overseas producers. Total  gasoline stockpiles plunged by 4.6 million barrels last week as more people take to the open road.
S&P 500 is down 10 and the NASDAQ is down 20.  MSCI International Index is down 1%.
Oil is down 84 cents at $38.95 a barrel. Oil is headed for its biggest weekly slide in two months, battered by record-high crude stockpiles in the U.S., and a stronger dollar. (Reuters)
Gold is down $2 at $1222 a Troy ounce.

Oil Supplies Climb

U.S. stocks are flat this morning, while Europe is higher and Asian markets closed mixed. Wall Street finished relatively flat yesterday. The market saw its second lowest volume day of 2016. The Nasdaq, up five straight days, could post its longest winning streak in a year with an advance today.      (CNBC)
Nike profits rose 20% in the latest quarter and sales rose 8%, but the company reported a slight slowdown in orders. The company posted profits of $950 million on sales of $8.03 billion. Nike was hurt by a strengthening dollar that erodes international revenue after currencies are exchanged. If currencies had remained unchanged, sales would have surged by 14%. (USA Today)
Total mortgage applications decreased 3.3% last week. Refinance volume was down 5%. Refinance volume was 4.5% lower than a year ago. The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.93%. Mortgage applications to purchase a home, fell 1% for the week and are 25% higher than a year ago. (Mortgage Bankers Association)
S&P 500 is up 3 and the NASDAQ is up 18.  MSCI International Index is flat.
Oil is down 25 cents at $41.12 a barrel. The American Petroleum Institute says U.S. crude inventories rose by 8.8 million barrels last week, a gain almost three times higher than predicted.
Gold is down $19 at $1230 a Troy ounce.

Brussels Attacks Fail to Dramatically Impact Equity Markets

The sharp sell-off in European financial markets following explosions in Brussels is easing.  Equity indices fell as reports broke of attacks at the Zaventem airport and Maalbeek metro station, but have since recovered and are now trading little changed.  Airline and hotel stocks, which recorded some of the largest falls, have regained some composure, but are still down modestly.  (FT)
The national average for gasoline prices is poised to shoot past $2, as fuel demand hits levels never before seen at this time of year. The mean price for a gallon of regular gasoline now stands at $1.98, and has climbed for 25 out of the past 27 days, this according to AAA. Despite the rise in costs, pump prices are still about $0.45/gallon cheaper than a year ago, on average, and are at their lowest levels for late March since 2009. (SA)
Carnival has said it secured approval from the Cuban government to sail from the United States to the island nation, the first such voyage in more than 50 years.  The cruise operator has been cleared to operate the 704-passenger MV Adonia to Cuba through its Fathom brand. The ship will visit Havana, along with two other ports of call.  The move is the latest sign of thawing relations with Cuba ushered in by the Obama administration. This weekend Obama became the first US president to set foot in Cuba in 88 years. (Bloomberg)

Another Data Center for Oregon

US Stocks rallied on Friday led higher by health care and financial stocks, which helped stocks notch a 5th  straight week of gains and push the S&P 500 into positive territory for 2016.

The Cleveland based Sherwin-Williams said yesterday that they have reached a deal to acquire paint-industry rival Valspar in a deal valued at $11.3 Billion.  Sherwin-Williams said they would pay $113/share in cash for each share of Valspar which is a 35% premium over Valspar’s closing stock price on Friday.

Starwood hotels has signed an agreement to manage 3 prominent hotels in Havana Cuba, marking the first time since the 1959 revolution that a US based company has been allowed to operate in Cuba.  Starwood got authorization from the US Treasury to operate in Cuba, something that would have been prohibited under the economic embargo.

Google announced they will go ahead with plans to build a $600mm data center in the Dalles.  Google got tax breaks as an incentive to build the server farm in Oregon.  The data center business is booming as companies and individuals move more of their lives to the internet.  Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Apple all have data facilities in Eastern and Central Oregon drawn by low energy prices and tax incentives.

Biggest Since 1933

Markets are higher this morning, with S&P 500 and NASDAQ on pace for a sixth straight winning week. The Dow Jones industrial average is on track for its biggest comeback from a deficit during a quarter since 1933. (CNBC)

Umpqua Bank will close 26 branch offices. A company release didn't specify which outlets will close.  The company cited the rise of online banking for its decision. (Portland Business Journal)

Three former Les Schwab employees are suing the company for $15 million in punitive damages accusing the tire company of pushing unneeded tires on customers. Les Schwab is headquartered in Bend and was founded in 1952 with a single store in Prineville. Under Oregon law, the state would collect 70% of any punitive damages collected in the case.
The suit is scheduled for trial in late September. (Oregon Live)

Join us this weekend at for Financial Focus Radio when Tyler and I will discuss the traps we are seeing in your portfolio.

Oil is up 75 cents at $41.00 a barrel. Oil is hitting fresh highs for 2016. West Texas Intermediate is on track for a more than 4% weekly gain. (Reuters)

Gold is down $13 at $1252 a Troy ounce.

Wear a little Green today

It is Wall Street’s favorite holiday - the wearing of the GREEN.  Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

The Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged yesterday and cut its expectations for further interest rate increases. The Fed now expects to raise rates only twice this year, down from its previous estimate of four. (CNBC)

The Consumer Price Index increased 0.3% in February. But underlying inflation increased more than expected as rents and medical costs maintained their upward trend. In the 12 months CPI is up 2.3%, the largest gain since May 2012. Medical care costs rose 0.5% prescription drug prices were up 0.9%, hospital services increased 0.5%. Price of apparel, rose 1.6%, the largest gain since February 2009. (Labor Department)

Caterpillar, the biggest maker of construction and mining machinery in the world, says quarterly results were impacted as miners cut billions from their investment budgets to weather the commodity rout. Commodity prices slumped earlier this year to their lowest level in almost seven years.  (Bloomberg)

Office Depot may get a bid from Amazon to buy its corporate business unit, according to The New York Post.

Oil is up 50 cents at $39.00 a barrel.

Gold is up $41 at $1271 a Troy ounce.

Inflation Still Tame

U.S. producer prices fell 0.2% in February on lower energy and food costs, but prices were unchanged from a year ago.  This was the first time since January 2015 that the year-on-year PPI did not decline.  Energy prices declined 3.4%. Gasoline prices declined 15.1%, the biggest drop in a year. (Labor Department)
Total mortgage application volume fell 3.3% this week, but 21% percent higher than last year. Refinance volume saw a 6% drop for the week. Refinance activity has been falling steadily for the past month, now dipping to its lowest level since August. The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate is 3.94%. Mortgage applications to purchase a home were basically flat, for the week, but are 33% than one year ago. Applications for adjustable rate mortgages are down 68% from a year ago. (Mortgage Bankers Association)
Oregon's unemployment rate dropped its lowest level in more than 20 years and stands at 4.8% in February. The jobless rate peaked at almost 12% in the spring of 2009. The Oregon labor force has grown by nearly 100,000 in the past two years, driven by people moving from California. Oregon worker average wage is up 4.5% in the last year to $24.40 per hour. The national average is up about 2.5%. (AP)
Oil is up 75 cents at $37.00 a barrel.
Gold is up $2 at $1233 a Troy ounce.

Fed starts a 2-day meeting

Stocks are lower this morning, as the Federal Reserve starts a two-day meeting. Yesterday was flat with the Dow posting its highest close of 2016. (Fox Business News)

Asian stocks closed mixed while we slept, after the Bank of Japan did not introduce new stimulus measures at its latest policy meeting. Stocks in Europe tracked those in Asia. (CNBC)

The Haggen name will live on.  With the sale of 29 of its remaining "core" stores to Albertsons, 15 of the stores in Washington will continue to operate under the Haggen banner. The 15 stores are all original Haggen-operated stores. Albertsons will take the other 14 previously divested stores and move them back to the Albertsons banner. Both Bend stores will return to Albertsons name. (Oregon Live)
Avon is slashing 2,500 jobs and will move its corporate headquarters from New York City to the U.K.. The cosmetics maker will take a $60 million charge for job cuts during the current quarter. This is part of its three-year turnaround program. (AP)

Oil is down 75 cents at $36.25 a barrel. This is a second straight day of losses. The slick stuff is trading lower over concerns that this six-week rally will stall out as markets remain oversupplied. (Reuters)

Gold is down $14 at $1231 a Troy ounce. That is the lowest in two weeks. (CNBC)

Merger Monday

What is new is old again. Haggen will sell to Albertson's 29 "core stores," including the two in Bend. Haggen bought the stores from Albertsons just a year ago before going bankrupt in September. Haggen will seek approval to begin a going out of business sale for the 3 stores not included in the sale. (AP)
Another skirmish in the fast food breakfast wars. Taco Bell is expanding its breakfast menu, and most items will only cost $1. The announcement comes quickly after reports McDonald's is testing an expansion of its all-day breakfast menu. (CNBC)
An SEC filing reveals that part of executive compensation at Chipotle Mexican Grill will now be tied to the stock's performance. Chipotle has seen sales suffer after illness outbreaks at some restaurants late last year. (CNBC)
Starwood Hotels received an unsolicited takeover proposal from a consortium of companies, led by China's Anbang Insurance Group. The offer is worth $76 per share. Starwood recently accepted and still supports an offer by Marriott that appears to be better. (Reuters)

Oil is down $1.02 at $37.48 a barrel. Crude was up more than 7% last week. (Reuters)
Gold is down $5 at $1254 a Troy ounce.

A fourth consecutive week?

Sears' second-largest shareholder has sold off more than 700,000 shares this month. The SEC says, Bruce Berkowitz's Fairholme Capital has sold 706,600 Sears shares reducing its ownership to 27.3 million shares. Sears stock has fallen 16% so far this year, and is down 53% over the past 12 months. (CNBC)
As they try to figure out life after Costco, American Express has developed a plan to generate more revenue from existing customers, by getting more merchants to accept its cards and encouraging shoppers to spend more with Amex rather than other cards. (WSJ)
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is suing the Lake Oswego company Aequitas Capital and its leaders for running a $350 million Ponzi scheme. The SEC claims Aequitas defrauded over 1,500 investors selling them health care, education and transportation-related investments, when their money was really being used in a last-ditch effort to save the firm. (Oregon Live)
Join us this weekend for Financial Focus Radio, the truth in wealth building when we will talk about what negative interest rates really mean.
Oil is up 75 cents at $38.75 a barrel.
Gold is down $5 at $1268 a Troy ounce.

The world of negative interest-rates

Welcome to a world of negative interest rates. The European Central Bank moved its bank deposit rate to minus 0.4% today. It also extended its monthly asset purchases to 80 billion euros or $87 billion. A 10-year German Treasury is currently at .182%, a 10-year Japanese Treasury is at minus .029% and the 10-year US Treasury is at 1.87%. (CNBC)
Chinese stocks lost 2% last night, as we got another round of Chinese data. New Zealand announced a surprise cut interest rate cut while South Korea held rates steady. (CNBC)
Vail Resorts is reporting quarterly profits of $117 million. The results surpassed Wall Street expectations. The ski resort operator posted revenue of $599.4 million in the period. Vail Resorts shares have risen almost 4% since the beginning of the year and is up 53% in the last 12 months. (AP)
It is becoming the breakfast for lunch wars. McDonald's is testing an expansion of its all-day breakfast menu. McDonald's all-day breakfast has boosted sales for the chain since its launch in October, but only offers customers a limited number of breakfast items outside of morning hours. McDonald's has been testing a "bigger menu" for all-day breakfast in Oklahoma and North Carolina. (Brand Eating)
Oil is flat at $38.25 a barrel.
Gold is down $11 at $1247 a Troy ounce.

Happy Birthday Bull!

We are now 7 years from the Bear Market low of 3/09/09 when the S&P 500 hit a closing low of 677.  
The 2-years following the low the S&P 500 gained +101.7% on a total return basis.  Since then the S&P 500 has gained an additional 70.0%. Remember it is time in the market – not timing the market. (Bloomberg)

Outstanding credit card debt climbed to $917.7 billion in 2015. During the year, consumers amassed $71 billion in credit card debt, up 24% from the previous year. Average debts in 2015 hit levels not seen since the Great Recession, with households owing around $7,879 on cards. (CNBC)

There is a growing divide between refinance mortgage applications and those for purchasing a home. Refinances fell 2% last week and are still 13% higher than a year ago. Purchase applications rose 4% last week and are 30% higher than last year. (Mortgage Bankers Association)

Darden Restaurants, owners of the Olive Garden, gave a quarterly projections of profits of $1.18/share, up from 99 cents/share a year ago. Same-store sales are expected to rise 6%. The stock has gained 1.5% year to date at Tuesdays close. (Market Watch)

Oil is up 75 cents at $37.05 a barrel.

Gold is down $5 at $1275 a Troy ounce.

Commodities continue upswing

Dick's Sporting Goods reported fourth-quarter results that missed expectations. Fourth-quarter profits were a $1.13 per share on sales of $2.24 billion. Same store sales were down 2.5%. Shares of Dick's Sporting Goods are off more than 6% on the report. (CNBC)

Lattice Semiconductor chief financial officer Joe Bedewi is leaving the company in May after five years in the position. Lattice appointed vice president of finance Max Downing to fill the job on an interim basis. (OregonLive)

The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Wells Fargo with fraud in connection to a bond offering that supported ex-Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling's now-defunct video game company. The bond offering raised $50 million for Schilling's company. (CNBC)

Small business confidence declined in February over concerns about sales growth and profits hurt capital spending and hiring plans. The National Federation of Independent Business said its small business optimism index dropped to 92.9.  The sustained weakness in the index is at odds with economic data such as employment, consumer spending and manufacturing that have suggested a pick-up in economic activity. (CNBC)

Oil is up 35 cents at $38.25 a barrel.

Gold is up $11 at $1275 a Troy ounce.

Three straight weeks of Gains

Markets will open today at their highest levels in nearly two months, while turning in a third straight week of gains. (CNBC)

Iron ore jumped the most ever after Chinese policy makers signaled their desire to spur economic growth.
Ore jumped 19% to $63.74 a dry metric ton. (Bloomberg)

We should brace themselves for higher U.S. interest rates. The National Association for Business Economics survey shows economists expect the Federal Reserve to continue hiking rates this year. 39% expect the Fed to raise rates twice in 2016 and 24% believe they will only hike once. 65% of economists expect inflation at the Fed's 2% inflation target.

Fresh from their takeover of Lolliard, Reynolds American may be a takeover target itself by British American Tobacco.  British American Tobacco already owns a stake in Reynolds American. (Sunday Telegraph)

Oil is up 50 cents at $36.36 a barrel. Last week was the best week since August for oil. Depressed crude has surged more than 30% since its recent low last month. Gasoline prices increased by 7 cents over the past two weeks to $1.84 per gallon. (CNBC)

Gold is up $2 at $1273 a Troy ounce.

Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!

The US economy added 242,000 jobs in February, 230,000 in the private sector, and the unemployment rate is 4.9%. (Department of Labor)
The US service sector expanded in February.
The index of non-manufacturing activity was 53.4. Levels above 50 indicates expansion and a reading below 50 indicates contraction. (Institute for Supply Management)
Auto sales climbed to record highs last quarter. Leasing also hit a record high. 28.9% of all new vehicles were leased last quarter. The average monthly payment for a leased new vehicle is $412, compared a monthly payment for an auto loan, which was $493. The total amount financed hit a record $29,551 during the fourth quarter, marking an increase of more than $1,000 compared with the same period in 2014. The average auto loan is now five years and seven months. (Experian Automotive)
US productivity, a measures hourly output per worker, decreased 2.2% on annual rate and was the biggest drop since the first quarter of 2014. Weak productivity has boosted employment growth as companies hire more workers to increase output, but sustained weakness could undermine Americans' living standards. (Reuters)
Oil is up 40 cents at $35.00 a barrel.
Gold is up $4 at $1262 a Troy ounce.

Costco Results Unimpressive

Costco’s earnings were not particularly impressive. The retailer had sales for the quarter up 3% to $27.57 billion. Profits were $546 million.  Same store sales up 3% in US, 7% in Canada, 3% in other international and up 1% total Company for the quarter. (24/7 Wall Street)
Layoffs by US companies eased in February. Companies announced 61,599 job cuts last month, down 18% from January. But downsizing in February was 22% higher than a year ago. Layoffs in the energy sector accounted for 40% of February's numbers accounting for 25,051 job cuts. The technology sector had layoffs of 16,000. (Challenger, Gray & Christmas)
IBM is suing Groupon accusing the daily deal website of building its business model using IBM patents without authorization. (Reuters)
You may not be able to find everything you want next time you are shopping at Target.  The retailer is paring down its product offerings to add efficiencies to its inventory management. CEO Brian Cornell told investors the process is being carried out category by category, in a "surgical" manner. (CNBC)
As commodities continue to suffer, Monsanto is cutting its 2016 profit outlook. The seeds and chemical giant did say there were signs of stabilization, and doesn't plan any further job cuts beyond prior plans to lay off 3,600 workers. (CNBC)
S&P 500 is down 2 and the NASDAQ is down 3.  MSCI International Index is up .31%.
Oil is down 16 cents at $34.50 a barrel.
Gold is up $3 at $1244 a Troy ounce.

The Market's Super Tuesday

Yesterday turned out to be Super Tuesday for the stock market too, as investors bought equities with gusto. The Dow popped 349 points for its second best day of the year, the S&P 500 almost 2 1/2%, while the Nasdaq logged its greatest day of 2016 with a whopping 2.9% gain. Despite the additional certainty from the primaries, traders may have more on their minds than the elections: The U.S. economy is picking up (last month's manufacturing data, durable goods and auto sales all came in better than expected). (SA)
A top global credit ratings agency has warned of a possible downgrade of China’s sovereign debt, a sign of increasing investor concern about the country’s rising debt and dwindling foreign exchange reserves.  Moody’s Investor service announced today that the agency had changed its outlook to negative from stable.  Moody’s currently rates China’s government at Aa3, its fourth highest credit rating (FT)
Even if OPEC members win their struggle with U.S. shale over market share, they still have another big problem to get over before they can expect a meaningful rise in prices – and that’s current oil stockpiles. The International Energy Agency forecasts that inventories will continue to build until the end of 2017, and then would take years to unwind. The oil price squeeze isn’t just hurting U.S. shale producers, with Middle Eastern oil ministers telling reporters that they’re now facing dollar shortages as revenue from oil dries up. (Bloomberg)
S&P 500 futures are down 6 and NASDAQ futures are down 10.  The MSCI International Index is up .4% -  
Oil is down 44 cents at $33.96 a barrel.   Gold is up $2 at $1232 a Troy ounce

Hydro Flask Cashes In

The discount retailer Dollar Tree missed estimates with a quarterly profit of $1.01 per share. Same-store sales increased 1.7% during the quarter. (AP

Home buyers signed 2.5% fewer contracts in January to buy existing homes compared to the month before and is now only 1.4% higher year-over- year. Pending sales have been higher annually for 17 straight months. (National Association of Realtors)

Subway settled a legal case paying $500 to 10 people who claimed their sandwich was not exactly 12 inches long. Subway also paid $520,000 in attorney fees. (OregonLive)

Acquisition rumors are swirling around Portland-based Lattice Semiconductor.  Reuters reports an unnamed Chinese company is interested in the company. Reuters says, Lattice is working with banker Morgan Stanley.
The American Dream comes true again in Bend. Hydro Flask has sold itself for $210 million in cash to El Paso, Texas-based Helen of Troy Limited. Hydro Flask has more than quadrupled in size since the beginning of calendar year 2014 and grew over 50% in calendar year 2015. (Portland Business Journal)


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