Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Odds and Ends: February 2019

The market is still being swayed by news except now, the news is bordering on truth or fiction. A report by the Commerce Dept. stated that retail sales had its worst December since 2009.  Immediately, two positive reports stated that sales rose. Master Card claimed sales were up by 6.2% for December. Redbook reported surging sales across the board. Who is right? Which is fiction?

Sebastian is sticking by his call for a market downturn by mid-March. He adds these tidbits to his call.
*Sysco just announced layoffs
*Payless is no more
*Home sales plunged 9.8% YOY.
*National disasters in the US cost $91 billion in 2018. Means higher insurance prices are coming.
*Italy fell back into recession. Germany disappointed. Brexit turmoil.
*Trade tensions between US and China continue with tariffs looming.
*Activision announced job cuts and the whole gaming industry is under pressure.
*IMF reported a global slowing.
*Saudi Arabia announced more oil cuts for March. This means higher prices for US and EM. Those two areas are under consumer duress and this adds to the equation.
*The Brexit problem has caused Honda and Ford to close all their UK auto plants.

Car Wreck?

The following report is scary on many levels. When reading, keep in mind the recent 800,000 furloughed federal employees. These are well paying jobs and those workers could not make do with missing a paycheck. This reveals a terrible danger that US citizens cannot manage money. In addition, the value of our money keeps declining which has even more dangerous repercussions.
According to a report by Bank there are 7 million car loans that are 90 days behind. Delinquent! In a related report it was revealed that one-third(33%)of Americans have ZERO SAVINGS! And, yes, there is an AND, Americans have more credit card debt than savings.

Now, those 7M car loans will add hefty late fees. Dear Reader, if those people could not make their payment with low rate financing, how are they going to meet the higher bill which will include late fees?
Bottom line: lending institutions will begin reporting lower guidance and the derivatives out there will hop like Mexican jumping beans.

Gov't fees

You now need a license to fly a drone along with a test which also means another fee. JFL called this one over a year ago.
A change in the tax code now requires companies to include all lease agreements to their bottom line.
The tax code has also revealed that many Americans will get a lower refund this year or worse. They will owe money to the government.

Gallium Nitride

Will be big in the future in electronics. GaN can withstand power surges and it has a wider band. This will be in chips and other applications.

Traffic Congestion

Inrix sturdy shows the US economy lost $87b sitting in traffic. This is a waste of time and energy. Congress should take note and do something good for the nation. Trump's idea for an infrastructure bill is needed before more deaths take its toll on our highways and bridges. I fear self-interest and ego's will kill another good suggestion.
Of course the federal government and the California government will no longer make a super train between LA and San Fran to which will make future congestion even worse in our most populated state.
On the plus side, Harley-Davidson will introduce an electric bike this August. At least the stop-and-go on the commute will be a little quieter.

Pork chops, anyone?

Tyson foods should benefit in the Year of the Pig. China is suffering with Asian Swine Flu. They will have to increase pork imports as pork is the meat of choice in Asia. I can see it now in the discussions over the trade tensions. A Chinese minister will rise and say, "To show our good faith, China will increase US exports of pork." He will sit and smile for the camera.

Box Office

Movie receipts are down 25% this year and that is after last years disaster of the Oscar telecast on TV. It was the lowest rating ever!

Equality and Fair Share

Amazon made $11 billion in profits in 2018 and the company will pay ZERO in taxes. New York was right. They would have received $3 billion in incentives, but the negative impact to the local infrastructure is off the charts. If Amazon truly wanted to be in New York - come, but no incentives other than being in the best city in the world. It is about time that Congress tax internet sales and give brick and mortar locations a fighting chance to survive.

Watch Brexit! It is like what Mark Twain said, "If voting meant anything, they wouldn't allow you to vote." They will continue to put off what the people wanted, but government doesn't.

Hey, Buddy, could you spare $2Gs for a phone call? Yes. You read that right. Remember the good old days when with a phone booth, all you needed was a .25cents to make a call? Well, Samsung is still "playing" consumers. The music went from a new phone to a better number 2, then, #3 and so forth. Along with the new models came pricing. Now, you need $2,000 for the latest model. What was it that PT Barnum use to say? Oh, yeah, "A sucker is born every minute."

This could be the last post as Google has reneged on its pledge to offer a blog for the public. I feel that they do not relish views that they oppose. They announced that the following on blogs is too small to continue. Isn't it ironic that workers rights through unions was once too small a public view? How about the Magna Carta? Ideas are central to change. To eliminate opposition is to silence ideas and only express one view. Isn't that the creed of the Communist Party?
Bye. Hopefully, some day the Evolution of Democracy will be published. Look for it!