Well, the month of December started off well for investors but the glee only lasted a short while as ISM manufacturing data showing growth to be in contraction turned smiles into frowns and stock indexes also turned downward.
Compounding this is news that tariffs might be restored on steel and aluminum coming from Brazil and Argentina as the administration feels those currencies have been unfairly devalued … and the President repeated calls for the Fed to further cut rates in the attempt to reduce the value of the dollar in order to make our exports more competitive. One thing noted in a Bloomberg article is that China has replaced, in large part, the purchase of U.S. soybeans with those from Brazil … adding to the woes of many a U.S. farmer.
Meanwhile, I do still find it interesting to note that a Wall Street Journal report shows that only 34% of economists surveyed feel a recession will start in 2020 … while Legg Mason (first article below) bravely calculates the odds of one starting the year as being the same as a coin flip.
Maybe holiday shopping will change some minds.
Statista reports that even though 44% of survey respondents expect the economy to weaken, 78% plan to spend either the same or more on holiday gifts as last year. Thank God for credit cards … keeping in mind that … as reported last week … a large number of Americans are still paying off last year’s holiday purchases.
Just two more notes today.
When you grocery shop do you feel guilt when using a single-use plastic bag … and end up buying one (especially if someone is looking) intending it to be reused time after time? Many do … but one study (below) shows this might not be helping … as many throw out (or end up losing) these reusable bags … and start the game anew.
… and speaking of losing, the final two articles below refer to weight loss attempts (or non-attempts) as people not only tend to stop exercising diligently at a relatively young age but, while people are getting heavier and heavier, many are just saying “the heck with it” and giving up on losing weight entirely.
I, personally, am getting frustrated with losing a few pounds only to find I’ve gained them back after going to a buffet (or ten).
I am tempted to just give up and throw in the trowel.
Have a great day,
Joseph G. Witthohn, CFA
Emerald Asset Management PA, LLC
610 Freedom Business Center Drive
King of Prussia, PA 19406
Direct: (610) 285-9905
… as of 11:00 AM today …
Quick Look at the News
Will there or won't there be a recession next year? Legg Mason feels it to be a coin flip ... but keep in mind that quite a few predicted one in 2019 and ... well ... it didn't happen (Forbes)https://www.forbes.com/sites/lcarrel/2019/11/30/legg-mason-says-probability-of-recession-is-now-at-50/#54cb52e35d23
... meanwhile, there are special sales going on today online ... but don't overdo it. It is the objective of many a store to get you to buy more (CNN)https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/29/business/tricks-online-shopping-buy-more-trnd/index.html
Jobs have been plentiful (as evidenced by the low unemployment rate), but will technological advances (robots, electric cars) hurt? Maybe a problem has already begun (CNN)https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/29/business/daimler-job-cuts-electric-cars/index.html
Many words and phrases have Latin origins ... so it might be good to know a few ... as some are used in many a circumstance. Carpe Diem! (ArtofManliness)https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/latin-words-and-phrases-every-man-should-know/
Do you buy reusable bags for grocery shopping? How often? It seems that many intend to re-use these but that is rarely the case (QZ)https://qz.com/1759150/reusable-plastic-shopping-bags-are-making-the-problem-worse/
We so often plan to "work out" more with health in mind ... but as we age this plan gets sidetracked. Many give up at a fairly young age (StudyFinds)https://www.studyfinds.org/survey-reveals-the-surprisingly-young-age-many-give-up-on-working-out/
... and lose weight? While our society gets larger (meaning in pounds, not number) it seems that fewer plan on dropping those excess pounds (CNN)https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/28/health/americans-weight-gallup-poll-trnd/index.html