Joseph G. Witthohn, CFA
VP of Product Development Emerald Asset Management

Good morning.

The market was all over the place this morning … at least the Dow was … because of the situation with Boeing. It seems that two of their 737 Max 8 airplanes crashed over the last couple of months and a few countries decided to temporarily ground the planes … in order to figure out just what is going on. As a result, the stock was down sharply at the open … but has rebounded a bit … and right now the Dow is actually in positive territory.

First, let me bore you a bit with some market-related information.

The Dow is made up of 30 stocks … with the index “price weighted.” Originally, when it was created in 1896, it was simple to just add the components to come up with the index … but because of “splits” and changes to the index it had to be adjusted … and there is a “Dow divisor” of 0.14748 … which means that every $1 change in a single stock is the equivalent of 6.78 points on the Dow. So when Boeing declines 57 points … as it did earlier this morning … it would equate to 381 points on the Dow.

But as mentioned the Dow is now in positive territory … for not only did Boeing move up off its low … but every one of the other 29 Dow components … at this moment … shows gains for the day.

Okay, I’m done. You can open your eyes now.

After concern over the weekly jobs report (showing only slight improvement), quite a few economists decided that – especially due to construction employment – cold weather and high precipitation in the West and Midwest could have had a temporarily-bad effect on the data. But, according to Daily Shot, there is concern that “labor slack” is shrinking … and there are fewer available workers on the sideline able to fill open positions. The publication points out that if slack disappeared, labor market competition could cause this to “overheat” … which might then result in higher wages and a subsequent Fed rate increase.

This weekend, there was also a robotics story that caught my interest.

A few years ago, a friend and I attended a robotics conference … and “walking” around the trade floor was a robot … which was controlled by some person in a far-away place and whose picture (via live video) and voice appeared on the screen. A claim was that some hospitals were using this to allow doctors to “visit” patient rooms without leaving the comfort of their office (assumedly assessing full visit charges for the consultation).

Well, this may have gone a bit too far recently (last story below) … as a doctor (via robot) “visited” a patient … and told him he was dying! Talk about losing the bedside manner! Is this the wave of the future? Or are we all guilty … as so much of our only personal contact is done via tweet or message … rather than face-to-face communication. I find myself guilty of this myself.

On a final point, a new budget is being released by the White House … with more spending on certain items … less spending on others … but don’t worry … we are told we will eventually be able to pay for it all … even though the economic projection is far above that of outside forecasters, according to CNBC.

Rest assured, we will have a balanced budget … but, wait … that won’t happen for another 15 years (moved up from previous 10 year claim).

I just love it when politicians make present moves and claim all will work out years after they leave office … and confidently supply statistics to back up present spending … making me remember a statement I heard a long time ago related to forecasting.

Do you know that 92.6% of all statistics are made up on the spot?

Have a great day,

Joseph G. Witthohn, CFA
Vice President
Emerald Asset Management PA, LLC
610 Freedom Business Center Drive
King of Prussia, PA 19406
Direct: (610) 285-9905
wit@teamemerald.com

… as of 11:49 AM today …

Quick Look at the News

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