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Industries Most At Risk In A Trade War With China

The U.S. and global economy has reacted in mixed fashion since the election of Donald Trump as 45th President of the United States. One of the most significant potential fallouts though, is a trade war with China. Trump has spoken out against the current situation with China on a great number of occasions. Now he is in a position to potentially see through his pledges, some fear the emergence of a tit-for-tat trade war between the two countries. As the infographic below shows, the industries most endangered by any such war would be transportation and tech.…

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Repeal Of Obamacare Not A Simple Task

As the market partied this week, believing that Obamacare would be smashed and their premiums would revert back to lower levels, I sat and chuckled.  You're already spending money you haven't received in terms of lower premiums but there's always a price. Always. Already the "costs" of repealing ACA are being calculated and surprise surprise, it won't be free or easy.  In fact QZ ponders it will cost "us" Billions but let's examine the possibilities.  From…

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Google's investment arm has quietly invested in Snapchat

Alphabet's investment arm, Google Capital, has quietly made an investment in Snapchat parent company, Snap Inc. 

The investment was only revealed after Google Capital rebranded itself to CapitalG on Friday and added the Snapchat logo to its portfolio page. Business Insider confirmed that it is a portfolio company of the growth equity arm of Alphabet. Snap Inc did not immediately respond to comment. 

The two companies have had a cozy relationship. In 2013, it was rumored that Google once tried to buy Snapchat for $4 billion after it turned down a Facebook acquisition. To this day, Snapchat remains one of the…

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Get ready for the era of augmented humanity.

Global research powerhouse IDC says the next era of IT transformation will marry technology with biology to take the human mind and body to unprecedented levels of mental and physical capability.

That was one of the top worldwide IT predictions for 2017 as outlined Tuesday by Frank Gens, senior vice-president and chief analyst at IDC.

Gens dubbed IDC’s augmented humanity concept its new “fourth platform.” Over the past few years, IDC has been laying out its view of a “third platform” consisting of cloud, mobile, social and big data/analytics. As described by Gens on Tuesday, the fourth platform of augmented humanity pushes the current wearable…

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As U.K.-based banks wait to see what life will be like after Brexit, one word -- passporting -- will speak volumes. If Prime Minister Theresa May can maintain the passporting rights of City of London banks, the U.K. stands to retain its status as a hub of global finance. If not, hope isn’t lost, but the alternative to passporting requires an arduous approval process and provides no secure basis for long-term planning.

1. What is…

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The Leaders Of Online Retail

In a bid to improve its position in the ever-growing e-commerce market, Walmart announced today that it agreed to acquire Jet.com for approximately $3 billion in cash. Jet.com is a relatively young e-commerce startup that made a name for itself with an innovative pricing scheme that allows customers to reduce prices by, for example, ordering items from the same distribution center or by forgoing the ability to return items for free.

Walmart and other big-box retailers have struggled to break Amazon’s stranglehold on online retail in the United States, where the market leader’s internet sales exceeded the aggregate sales of its nine largest…

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Seven Ways To Trade The Brexit Vote

Next week will be a historical one for both the United Kingdom and the global economy. On June 23rd the British people will decide whether to leave or stay in the European Union. Polls have been mixed over the last couple months, but the latest out show momentum for leaving, which is scaring the markets.

Loss of British sovereignty is the fundamental reason for leaving the EU, as many supporters want to take back control of U.K. borders in order to curb immigration. Those that wish to stay in the EU say there are severe short-term economic consequences that would make trade difficult and slow the economy. Even President Obama recently said that if there is a Brexit, the U.K. would go to the “back of the queue” in American trade deals.

While debate and speculation is running rampant, markets are watching the British Pound closely. Last week U.S. indices tracked and moved with the Pound tick for tick, showing that traders are very concerned about the upcoming…

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Bankruptcy Mayhem In The Oil Patch

And the second half of the year is touted to be even worse. What stress is this placing on banks which hold their debt???. Oye!

Most investors are aware that there is significant carnage in the oil patch. Low energy prices caught overleveraged companies off guard, and it’s forced many of these companies to seek protection from their creditors through bankruptcy.

However, the pace of new bankruptcies is accelerating fast, and now bigger companies are being affected. This week’s chart shows that the 11 new bankruptcies in April 2016 carry a substantial debt load of nearly $15 billion – most of which is unsecured.

A quick look at the data, which we pulled from…

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Admin

Smartwatches Overtake Swiss Watches

According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global smartwatch shipments reached 8.1 million units in Q4 2015, compared with 7.9 million Swiss Watch shipments. It is the first time ever that smartwatches have outshipped Swiss watches on a global basis.

Cliff Raskind, Director at Strategy Analytics, said, “We estimate global smartwatch shipments reached 8.1 million units in Q4 2015, rising a healthy 316 percent from 1.9 million in Q4 2014. Smartwatches are growing rapidly in North America, Western Europe…

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Admin

Gas Tanks, Air Bags And Other Auto Scandals

The recent Volkswagen scandal had me wondering about past auto manufacturer scandals and how their prices (individual or sector wide) were affected.  Here's a piece by ProPublica which brought back memories.  Especially the Pinto issue, which affected me as I learned to drive stick in a Pinto in the 1970s.  Boy, the mind reels!

The recent revelation that Volkswagen used software to make its diesel engines appear to be polluting less than they are is just one of a long list of scandals that have plagued the auto industry. Here is a selection of some of the best reporting on the subject.…

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High Speed Rail On Its Way To Las Vegas

Great news for LVS, MGM, WYNN, FLL, CZR and BYD.  High speed rail is on the way.  Imagine the increase in revenues long term as patrons will be able to get there, in the blink of an eye.

China Railway International USA CO., LTD. and XpressWest have agreed…

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Admin

Much Of The World Has Faster Netflix Than The U.S.

There are a lot of things the world does better than the US: Literacy, life expectancy, general happiness, and, of course, soccer. You can now add Netflix to that list.

On Monday (Sept. 14), the US streaming television service updated (and redesigned) its monthly speed index website, where it ranks Netflix speeds by internet provider. Given that the company has expanded into over 50 countries, with plans for hundreds more, the index now ranks Netflix speeds by country as well.

The US and Canada, where Netflix accounts for a whopping…

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Admin

The Growth of Robots

Today’s factories are highly automated and use amazing robotic machines to do the work of thousands of men. These factory machines don’t look like the robots in the movies. They are a very specialized breed called CNCs, which stands for Computer Numerical Control machines. These sophisticated machine tools are operated by computer programs.

But these aren’t new toys, by any means. CNCs have been around since the early 1970s when computer-controlled systems were introduced.

The first modern-day industrial robot, the Unimate, was put into use by General Motors in 1961. The Unimate was a 4,000-pound robotic arm that attached to a giant steel drum and did things like pour liquid metal into die casts, weld auto bodies, and lift 500-pound car bodies.

The Unimate performed tasks that humans often found dangerous or…

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Chinas Move Won't Help U.S. Tech Firms

China’s moves to spur its slowing economy and restore investor confidence are having an important but less obvious effect on the tech sector: Strengthening Chinese companies that already were making life difficult for U.S. rivals, many of whom have staked their growth plans on the world’s second-largest market.

The government’s surprise decision in early August to devalue China’s currency, in particular, could make it harder for U.S. companies to sell into the country by making their products more expensive to local buyers.

At the same time, a cheaper yuan makes Chinese-produced goods less costly abroad—dovetailing with government policies that have been promoting foreign sales by Chinese technology vendors.

“We see the key driver [of government action] being exports,” said Handel Jones, a consultant at International Business Strategies Inc. who…

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Admin

MLPs as Interest Rates Rise

I've long wondered about MLP's as interest rates begin to creep higher and crude oil, obviously, remains low.  After all, they're supposedly not tied to the price of crude oil, right?  Certainly 2015 has not been their "year" as the 10 year fluctuated, leaving me even more cautious but did this translate into a buying opportunity?  Consider this interesting piece here by TheReformedBroker

I’m sitting at the Strip House with a wholesaler from a large mutual fund / UIT sponsor two years ago. He’s a good guy but he’s there to sell. I’m there to eat…

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Admin

Consumers Shift To Buying The Experience

As Americans spend more money on doing things, not buying things, department stores are losing out.

A rebound in overall spending at retailers, which grew 0.6 percent in July from the previous month, has eluded department stores, where sales dropped 0.8 percent.

Department stores made up one of just two categories tracked by the Commerce Department where spending declined, the latest in a choppy performance from them…

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Admin

U.S. Rental Crisis Or The New Reality

In my typical day I read 20+ articles pertaining to the the stock market and investing.  Only occasionally posting one here which stands out in my mind but one yesterday at Sober Look caught my eye.  It's author begins right off the bat with "The United States is not building enough homes to meet the nation's housing demand." and I almost spit out my tea.  Not building enough homes when you compare the aging ones being thrown out versus the new ones being constructed or are we looking at what a consumer can afford to buy?  He is clearly in the camp that we should crank out more housing which would cause prices to drop at some point and suddenly "Joe the Plumber" will move out of his apartment an into a new home.  I simply don't buy that…

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Admin

Top 10 Federal Contractors

When I came across this list of the top 10 Federal contractors, not only were they all defense contractors, it also gave a eyes-glance breakdown of what the U.S. purchases from each.  Nice if you're an investor.  I find it interesting that the F35 has been in production for 14+ years.  Seriously?  By the time we get one that works, it'll be time to fund development of a new one.  From Nationalpriorities:

10. Huntington Ingalls Industries, $4.7 billion.

Huntington Ingalls describes itself as “America’s largest military shipbuilding company.”

9. BAE Systems, $5.0 billion.

BAE Systems…

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Admin

Dining Out Or Cook At Home?

Have you noticed in the last several years that there are an increasingly large number of restaurant related stocks out there?  It seems that every week there is an IPO of some new hot concept stock.  The reason for this influx of restaurant stocks is because Americans are increasingly choosing to eat their meals out rather than cook at home.  Today’s Retail Sales report for the month of April was a perfect case in point.  

While overall sales were unchanged, sales at Bars and Restaurants increased 0.7%, while sales at Food and Beverage Stores declined 0.13% in what has been a continuation of a trend that has been in place for the last several years.

The chart shows the historical share of total sales that both Bars and Restaurants and Food and Beverage Stores have accounted for.  Over time,…

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