Blog Post

China Eases Tariffs

Most market indexes rose this holiday shortened week with the biggest gains in developed and emerging markets.  However, the small company Russell 2000 index had modest losses.  China announced a cut in tariffs, effective January 1st, on frozen pork, pharmaceuticals and some high-tech components.

The 10-year Treasury yield fell to 1.879%.  Crude oil rose to $61.67 a barrel.  The U.S. dollar fell against a basket of currencies and gold prices rose to $1515.40 an ounce.

In economic numbers this week:

  • Remember Greece?  In November, IHS Markit reported Greece’s manufacturing PMI was 54.1, it’s 30th consecutive month of expansion.  This contrasts with the Eurozone as a whole which has recorded manufacturing PMI’s below 50 (contraction) for the past 10 months.  It should be noted that manufacturing only accounts for 10% of Greece’s economy.  While Greece received the last bailout loan from the International Monetary Fund in 2018 it is already ahead of schedule in repaying those loans.
  • Japan, the worlds third largest economy, reported that industrial production fell 0.9% in November.   Falling exports to China for equipment to manufacture semiconductors and display planes was attributed to the decline.  However, forecasts for December and January, anticipate a rebound.
  • The Commerce Department reported
    • Durable goods orders fell 2% in November.  This was attributed to the volatile sector, defense capital goods, which was done 35.6%.  Excluding defense, durable goods orders actually rose 0.8%.
    • Sales of newly built homes rose 1.3% in November.  Sales have been driven by low borrowing costs but hindered by supply.  Despite a downward revision to the October data, the three months ending in November were the strongest since 2007.
    • The median new home sales price was $330,800 in November.
  • The Labor Department reported first time claims for unemployment fell 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 222,000.  The four week moving average of claims rose to 228,000.
  • The EIA weekly oil report is here: wpsrsummary (11).  Also, the EIA reported in the past week:
    • Field production of crude oil was rose from 12.8MM barrels per day to 12.9MM barrels per day..
    • Natural gas storage fell by 161BN cubic feet and is slightly below the five year average at this time of year.
  • Baker Hughes reported the number of active oil rigs fell 8 to 677 and the number of active gas rigs was unchanged at 125.

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Best Regards,

Loren C. Rex, CFP®, AIF®, MA                                                       Erik A Smith AIF®

President                                                                                               Managing Partner

Generations Financial Planning & Wealth Management           269-441-4143

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Battle Creek, MI  49017

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Registered Representative of and securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC.  Investment Advisor Representative, Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor.  Cambridge and Generations Financial Planning & Wealth Management are separate companies and are not affiliated.

These are the opinions of Loren Rex and Erik Smith and are not necessarily those of Cambridge, are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed or acted upon as individualized investment advice.  The Indices mentioned are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.


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