Some speed bumps appeared on the investment highway this morning … as a sharp decline in China’s exports (on which they are pretty dependent) and lower-than-expected U.S. job creation … set a negative tone for investors as we near the end of the week.
Especially interesting were jobless claims … as the median economist forecast was a gain of 180,000 … and, instead, the number came in at 20,000. That is quite a miss!
On the positive side, not only did the unemployment rate fall to 3.8% (which Bloomberg claims is near a 50-year low) … but wage growth rose better than expected … which is a good thing, as CNBC … citing numbers from the Fed … just told us that the 4th quarter decline in household net worth was the largest drop since the financial crisis. Yikes! Let’s hope wage gains are used to shore up personal balance sheets!
But one thing people might decide against is downsizing their home. A new report by homes.com informs us that over 40% of “boomerang children” (young adults who share a home with parents after living on their own) end up staying in their childhood bedrooms. So don’t be so quick to rent out the room … junior might be coming back to live.
And speaking of kids … are you aware that a group of them are calling for a nationwide strike next Friday to bring attention to climate change? No? Me neither. I’m not the brightest bulb ever to be put into a lamp, but I do know you need some pretty big nationwide attention if you are going to accomplish anything by doing something like this. Truthfully, it sounds like a plan for a small group to cut school next Friday. Maybe I’ll join them. Is the weather nice enough to golf?
On a final point, my notes have lately been coming later in the morning … but this is mainly due to a very creative strategy I put in place.
I … like many others … have a problem with writing … so I came up with an amazing work/reward system.
Every time I write a sentence I reward myself by looking at the internet for 15 minutes.
Have a great weekend,
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 11:22 AM today …
Quick Look at the News
We have become quite used to good jobs data ... so this morning's low number of jobs created came as quite a shock ... but is an outlier number ... or a sign of bad things to follow? (CNBC)https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/08/nonfarm-payrolls-february-2019.html
There is one thing that occurs every time we do see an uncomfortable number (or two) ... the bears come out in force and freely tell us the bull run has ended (Forbes)https://www.forbes.com/sites/johntobey/2019/03/08/a-major-stock-market-reversal-now-looks-likely/#5606a6443429
... and though it might not have appeared in the U.S. ... things don't' appear so rosy in China ... as exports - which they count on a great deal - dropped ... signaling fears of trouble ahead (Reuters)https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-economy-trade-idUSKCN1QP0CA
One of the issues going on ... and this is a big issue ... is the decline in household net worth ... I mean ... a decline when things have been good? That doesn't seem comforting (CNBC)https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/07/us-households-see-biggest-decline-in-net-worth-since-the-financial-crisis.html
What seemed like a great concept is running into trouble. Cashless stores are being outlawed in some areas as it is looked upon as unfair to those who don't have ... or don't want to use ... cards. What? (Fortune)http://fortune.com/2019/03/07/philadelphia-cashless-cash-ban-law-credit-card-debit/
... though I don't think people will be walking the streets with as much cash as it will take to buy what could be pretty much in demand in coming decades ... flying cars. (Axios)https://www.axios.com/driverless-flying-cars-boeing-847330b0-f49c-4094-89b7-ea8021581e20.html
Climate change seems to be a rallying cry among our nation's youth ... so can they all get together with enough of a unified voice to force change? It looks good on paper. In reality ... not so much (TheBulletin)https://thebulletin.org/2019/03/adults-wont-take-climate-change-seriously-so-we-the-youth-are-forced-to-strike/