Business News Archives for 2017-12

The Last Trading Day of the Year

Investors are reflecting back on the big market events of 2017. The Highlights: Brexit negotiations, the future of U.S. trade, the unraveling of Dodd-Frank, the tax overhaul, U.S. economic growth finally above 3%, persistently higher stock index records, crypto-currency mania, media company M&A, OPEC output cuts, the Paris accord pullout, GE's restructuring, Korean Peninsula tensions, the EU's war on tax avoidance and new Fed leadership. Traders will also remember the bruising year for the dollar and the go-slow approach toward monetary-stimulus withdrawal in major economies.

It's still the most valuable U.S. startup, but Mitsuyushi Son's SoftBank has succeeded in its bid to buy a large stake in UBER at a steep discount, the WSJ reports. Investors and employees of the ride-hailing service tendered shares equal to about 18% of the company in an offer that values Uber at $48B - a roughly 30% discount to its most recent valuation of about $68B. (WSJ)

U.S. oil prices have reached their highest since mid-2015 due to an unexpected fall in American output and commercial inventories. Crude futures are currently edging higher to just over $60 a barrel. Since the start of the year, WTI has climbed around 12%, although the price rise from mid-2017 is much stronger, at nearly 50%.

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

Deal Levels Down, but still Set a Record

During the last few days of 2016, the talk on Wall Street centered upon when the Dow Jones Industrial Average would top 20,000. A year on, the discussion has shifted to when the blue-chip index will hit 25,000, with only two more days in 2017 to claim the milestone. Dow futures are currently up 34 points in premarket trade, making the goal a real possibility. At that level, the DJIA's gain would total about 25% YTD. (SA)

Worldwide mergers and acquisitions activity has exceeded $3tn for the fourth consecutive year, extending a multi-year wave of deal-making that bankers say is set to accelerate in 2018.  The total volume of dealmaking hit $3.5tn this year, a 1 per cent drop from a year ago and the lowest figure since 2014, but it also marked the fourth straight year that deal levels surpassed $3tn, a record streak. (FT)

Copper prices continued their march higher this morning, rallying to their highest level in almost four years and putting the metal on track for its best year since 2010.  The red metal (aka Doctor Copper) is looked to as a powerful macroeconomic indicator, with price swings seen as leading indicators of economic shifts because of its widespread application in most sectors of the economy.  (FT)

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

Amazon Prime Membership Swells

U.S. stocks traded lower yesterday, as investors returned from the long holiday break, with technology stocks coming under pressure as shares of Apple declined.

Shares of retailers were broadly higher yesterday, with a key sector tracker surging toward a one-year high, after a report that holiday spending rose more than expected to record levels.  A SpendingPulse report on national retail sales, across all payment types, said retail sales during the holiday season increased 4.9% from a year ago, the fastest pace of growth since 2011. Dollars spent this season set a record, helped by an 18.1% jump in online shopping and heavy early-season promotions.

The S&P/Case-Shiller national home price index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.7% in the three-month period ending in October. It was up 6.2% compared to the same period a year ago. The 20-city index also rose a seasonally adjusted 0.7% for the month and it’s up 6.4% for the year.  The cities with the largest home price appreciation over the last year were Seattle up 12.7% and Las Vegas up 10.2%.

The e-commerce giant Amazon said yesterday morning that customers were shopping on its website at "record levels" throughout November and December, and over the course of one week, more than 4 million people became Prime members or started a free trial, sending Amazon's membership count to new highs.

And Oil prices touched two-and-a-half year highs in light volume, boosted by an explosion on a crude pipeline in Libya and voluntary OPEC-led supply cuts.

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management I’m Tyler Simones

Santa Claus Rally

The Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq closed higher on Thursday for the first time in three days. The Dow is up 25% this year, the S&P is up 20% and the Nasdaq is up 29%. (CNBC)

Today kicks off the well-known Santa Claus Rally, which refers to a rise in stock prices during the last five trading days of the year and the first two trading days of the following year. Sure enough, these seven days are up +1.35% on average and higher 77.6% of the time--making it hands down one of the most bullish times of the year. (LPL)

According to Recode Walmart is rolling out new services aimed at high-end consumers. The report says the worlds largest retailer is working on stores without checkout lines or cashiers, like Amazon's Amazon Go stores.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported demand for grass-fed beef has risen due to “rising scrutiny from environmentalists, animal rights activists and consumers,” who are “looking for healthier, more environmentally friendly options.” “Sales of fresh grass-fed beef soared from $17 million in 2012 to $272 million just four years later,”.

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

Big Surge in Yields

News out of Europe, along with tax reform in the United States, has caused global yields to move higher. The 10-year Treasury yield jumped from 2.39% on Tuesday to 2.49% today, its highest level since late October. (LPL)

According to the National Association of Realtors existing-home sales surged for the third straight month in November and reached their strongest pace in almost 11 years. Total existing-home sales jumped 5.6% in November. The median existing-home price $248,000, up 5.8% from November 2016. November’s price increase marks the 69th straight month of year-over-year gains. Total housing inventory dropped 7.2% and is now 9.7% lower than a year ago and has fallen year-over-year for 30 consecutive months. Unsold inventory is at a 3.4-month supply which is down from 4 months a year ago. Matching the highest share since May, all-cash sales were 22% of transactions in November.

Bed Bath & Beyond reported a quarterly profit of 44 cents per share, beating estimates. Sales were slightly above expectations. Same store sales fell by 0.3%, a smaller drop than the 2.4% expected. (Yahoo)

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

What does 20% really mean?

The Commerce Department says single-family homebuilding climbed 5.3% to highest level since September 2007. Single-family home permits rose 1.4%.

The S&P 500 is officially up 20% for the year. Although you might think a big gain one year might mean weakness the next, that isn't usually the case. In fact, since 1950, the S&P 500 has logged an annual gain of 20% or more 18 times and was higher the next year 16 times, with 10 of those up double digits. Compare that to the 19 times it closed down for the year and one could argue there's about the same chance as a 20% gain versus a negative year. (LPL)

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association total mortgage application volume dropped 4.9% this week.  Applications are now 8% percent lower than one year ago.
Mortgage applications to purchase a home fell 6% for the week and are up 1% from a year ago. Applications to refinance were down 3% for the week.

Michael Saltsman, with the Employment Policies Institute, wrote in Forbes that California is raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour statewide by 2022 for large businesses. His recently released study says “California will lose approximately 400,000 jobs by 2022 when the $15 rate is phased in.

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

Class A Shares touch $300,000

The Dow has closed at new all-time high 70 times so far, this year, busting the previous record from 1995. The Dow started trading in 1896. (LPL)

Hood River Distillers is selling its Pendleton Whisky brand to the Mexican liquor conglomerate who is the parent company of the Jose Cuervo tequilas.  Purchase price is $205 million. Pendleton Whisky was started in 2003 and sells 3 million liters a year. The Pendleton Round-Up rodeo made $1.7 million in royalties in 2016. Hood River Distillers will continue to bottle Pendleton on behalf of Proximo. (Eastern Oregonian)

The National Association of Home Builders' Confidence index in December rose 5 points to 74. This is the highest reading since 1999. Sentiment stood at 69 in December 2016. Of the index's three components, buyer traffic jumped 8 points to 58. Current sales conditions rose 4 points to 81. Sales expectations in the next six months increased 3 points to 79.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Class A shares touched $300,000 for the first time on Monday. The shares have never split. Shares are up about 23% this year. Buffett, 87, started accumulating the stock at $7.50 a share in December 1962. (Yahoo)

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

Hershey To Buy Skinny Pop

The Federal Reserve said U.S. industrial production rose 0.2% in November. Mining activity, led by oil and gas, climbed 2%, production at utilities fell 1.9% and manufacturing activity rose 0.2%. Over the past 12 months, total industrial production is up 3.4%. Factories are using more of their capacity and added 189,000 manufacturing jobs over the past year.


Chocolate maker Hershey is acquiring SkinnyPop parent Amplify Snack Brands for about $1.6 billion. Amplify's stock is up by 70% on news of the deal. (CNBC)


The consumer products giant Procter & Gamble has appointed Nelson Peltz to its board of directors after a big proxy fight. The company said it held discussions with Peltz about a board seat because the shareholder vote was very close and that a large number of shareholders had voted for Peltz to be appointed. (CNBC)


Campbell Soup is buying  snack maker Snyder's-Lance, in a deal worth nearly $4.9 billion. Snyder's-Lance is the maker of Cape Cod brands; Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps; Pop Secret; and Kettle Brand; KETTLE Chips. (Yahoo)


Business software giant Oracle paid $1.2 billion deal to buy Australia-based project management software maker Aconex. (AP)


The S&P 500 is up 16 and the NASDAQ is up 47. The MSCI international index is higher.

Oil is up 31 cents at $57.61 a barrel.

Gold is up $5 at $1262 a Troy ounce.

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

e-Commerce Sales Surged a Gigantic 43.5%

The Commerce Department said U.S. retail sales increased 0.8% in November. That is almost three times expectations as the holiday shopping season got off to a brisk start.

The Labor Department said U.S. import prices climbed in November by 0.7%. Imported petroleum products had their largest year-on-year increase in seven months. In the last 12 months import prices are up 3.1%.

Costco had a profit of $1.36 per share for the quarter.  Sales came in slightly above forecasts. Same-store sales jumped a super-sized 10.5% and e-commerce sales surged a gigantic 43.5%. The stock is moving higher by 3% in early trading – those prices are all time highs, (AP)

Wells Fargo is cutting 60 jobs in its mortgage unit, according to The Wall Street Journal, as it continues to revamp its business following increased scrutiny by federal regulators. (CNBC)

Staring today select Regal Cinemas will offer Cheetos-flavored popcorn mixed with crunchy Cheetos pieces. Of course, the Beaver-like bright-orange, puffed corn snack will comes in a giant 32-ounce container. (TODAY)

Join us this weekend for Financial Focus Radio when we will talk about a Santa Claus rally.

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

Consumer Price Index

The Labor Department said the Consumer Price Index increased 0.4% in November. The CPI is up 2.2% year-on-year. Gas prices climbed 7.3%, food prices were unchanged, and the cost of rental accommodation rose 0.3%.

Eugene-based Ninkasi Brewing will start putting three of its beers in cans starting in 2018. Ninkasi has 96 employees, with 80 of those in Eugene. The company is the 33rd largest craft brewery in the United States. Ninkasi is distributed in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Maryland, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Utah, Virginia and Washington and Canada. (ERG)

Twenty-First Century Fox is selling its film and TV assets to Walt Disney for $52.4 billion in stock. The companies expect the transaction to close by mid-2018. (CNBC)

The IEA said that the rise in U.S. crude oil supply was likely to continue into 2018. The IEA says that non-OPEC supply will climb by 600,000 barrels a day in 2017, and 1.6 million barrels a day in 2018. It also noted that global oil supply rose 200,000 barrels a day in November to 97.8 million barrels a day. Good news for drivers.

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

PPI is Up 3.1%

94.6% said they were positive about their own company's outlook.  Almost 63% of CEO’s said comprehensive business tax reform would encourage their company to increase capital spending. 54% said they would hire more workers, and 49% said they would increase employee wages and benefits.

The Labor Department says producer prices jumped 0.4% in November. In the last 12 months the PPI is up 3.1%. That is the biggest gain since January 2012. Gas prices surged 15.8%, wholesale food prices rose 0.3% and prices for services increased 0.2%.

Facebook will grow its Prineville facilities by more than 80% by adding 1 million sq. ft. of data center facilities by 2021. Construction on a fourth data center will begin this month and a fifth building next year. The three existing data centers employ over 200 workers and represent more than $1 billion in construction investments. (PBJ)

The President of Toyota says he wants electric cars and hybrids to account for 50% by 2030. He made his statement at a news conference announcing an expansion of Toyota's battery partnership with Panasonic. (CNBC)

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

The Hispanic Unemployment Rate Dropped

Central banks will dominate the news cycle this week. The Federal Reserve is expected to implement a quarter point interest rate hike tomorrow. The European Central Bank and Bank of England will meet on Thursday. (LPL)

The Hispanic unemployment rate dropped to 4.7% - the lowest in the history of the United States. The manufacturing sector added 31,000 jobs, while its unemployment rate fell to a record-low 2.6%. The unemployment rate remained near a 17-year low of 4.1%. (BLS)

The S&P 500 has officially gone 52 consecutive weeks without a 2% weekly change higher or lower. This is only the second time in history it has gone a full year without a 2% weekly change. The longest streak ever was 79 consecutive weeks without a 2% change in the mid-'60s. (LPL)

Can the S&P 500 go 12 for 12? Incredibly, the S&P 500 has been up on a total return basis all 11 months so far this year. There have been streaks of 12 consecutively higher months before, but never have all 12 months of one calendar year been higher. (LPL)

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

US Economy added 228,000 New Jobs

A bit of news from abroad to start the morning:
"We have made the breakthrough we needed," said European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, declaring a long-awaited Brexit deal and the opportunity to now discuss trade arrangements. A financial settlement was agreed that was "fair to the British taxpayer" and enshrined the "special rights of EU nationals," announced Theresa May, the British PM, adding a guarantee that there would be "no hard border" with Ireland. (SA)

Chinese trade unexpectedly accelerated last month in an encouraging sign for the world's second-largest economy. November exports rose 12.3% from a year earlier, while imports expanded 17.7%, resulting in a trade surplus of over $40b. Iron ore and copper imports also enjoyed a stellar rebound, which could help stem a recent pullback in commodity prices.  (FT)

Job creation exceeded expectations in November and wage growth gathered steam.  Employment rose by 228,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said this morning, topping estimates of 200,000.  Friday's report reflected normalization in the labor market after a string of hurricanes battered the US earlier this year.  The report also showed the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.1 per cent, while average hourly earnings grew at pace of 2.5 per cent year-on-year.  (FT)

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

An Automotive Vending Machine?

The U.S. government is urging a federal judge to reject the February court date sought by AT&T and Time Warner in a dispute over the firms' proposed merger, which the DOJ feels could raise prices and hamper the development of online video. It has requested that proceedings start on May 7, but AT&T will have to pay Time Warner $500M if the deal is not consummated by April 22. (SA)

Ford is expected to sign a deal tomorrow that may allow it to test selling cars in China through Alibaba's online retail arm Tmall, Reuters reports. The partnership would also include a new retail concept called the "Automotive Vending Machine" - a multi-story parking garage that partly resembles a giant vending machine - to cars sell directly to Chinese consumers. (SA)

Private sector employment increased by 190,000 jobs last month, slightly ahead of estimates, according to today's report by payroll processor ADP.  The data compared with expectations of a gain of 185,000 - and set an optimistic tone ahead of the closely watched monthly jobs report from the Labor Department, due to be issued tomorrow (FT).

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

A $9,000 cell phone in the 1987 movie "Wall Street"

The Commerce Department says new orders for U.S.-made goods for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, grew 0.3% in October. Business spending on equipment has increased strongly this year as corporations anticipated hefty tax cuts from the Trump administration. Business spending on equipment increased at its fastest pace in three years in the third quarter.

Global oil market is near balance, but U.S. Department of Energy forecasts call for a small surplus of about 1.1 million barrels per day of production in 2018. For comparison, in 2015 the surplus was approximately 6 million barrels per day. U.S. petroleum inventories are down about 100 million barrels from last year and have fallen within the 5-year range for the first time since 2014. But watch out for the likely supply response by U.S. producers at higher prices. (LPL)

In the 1987 movie Wall Street, Gordon Gekko is shown with his Motorola DynaTac 8000x cellphone. It weighed 2 lbs. and cost $3,995 ($9,835 in today's money). In 1989, just 1.4% of Americans had a cellphone. (Human Progress)

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

November was Another Green Month

November was another green month for equities, with the S&P 500 up 2.8%, the Dow up 3.8%, and the Nasdaq up 2.2%. The Dow has closed green eight consecutive months, the longest streak since in 22 years. The S&P 500 is also up eight in a row, the longest since 2007.  On a total return basis, the S&P 500 is up 13 months in a row--the longest monthly win streak in history. (LPL)

The Dow closed at another new all-time last Thursday, along the way closing above 24,000 for the first time ever. It took only 30 trading days to go from 23,000 to 24,000--the third fastest 1,000-point milestone ever. Additionally, this was a record fifth 1,000-point milestone this year, with two being the previous record.

The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index decreased to 58.2 in November. Fourteen out of 18 manufacturing industries reported growth in November, including paper products, machinery and transportation equipment.

The Commerce Department says that construction spending increased 1.4% to $1.24 trillion in November. Public construction projects jumped 3.9%. Private construction projects increased 0.6%.

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

Is Santa Coming to Wall Street?

Get ready for December. Historically, December is a good month for the S&P 500. In fact, since 1950, no month is up more often than the 75% of the time December finishes in the green, and the +1.6% average return is also the best out of the 12 months. The month of December has never finished as the worst month of the year.

The Commerce Department said consumer spending rose 0.3% in October.  Consumer spending grew at a 2.3% annualized rate in the third quarter.

The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index excluding food and energy, rose 0.2%. The core PCE increased 1.4% in the last 12 months.

Personal income rose 0.4% in October. Wages rose 0.3%.  Savings increased to $457.3 billion or 3.2% increase.  

This weeks positive GDP revision to 3.3% was driven by business equipment spending, state and local government spending, and private inventory accumulation.

Join us this weekend for Financial Focus Radio when we will talk about how to set yourself up for a potential Santa Claus rally.

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.


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