Stock rally continues following jobs report

Stocks jumped to start the week, adding to gains from Friday’s session that was powered by a better-than-expected jobs report. The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 320.11 points, or 1.3%, to 24,776.59. The S&P 500 gained 24.35 points, about 0.9%, to 2,784.17. The Nasdaq Composite rose 67.81 points, or 0.88%, to 7,756.20. Chinese shares bounced despite heightened trade tensions between Washington and Beijing after each imposed major tariffs on the other’s goods last week. The Shanghai Composite ended the session 2.5%, its biggest one-day rise in 2-years. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was higher by 1.5% Japan’s Nikkei ended the day up 1.21% In Europe, London’s FTSE traded 0.35% higher, Germany’s DAX gained 0.12% and France’s CAC was higher by 0.40% Stocks also rose Friday after a strong jobs report overshadowed U.S.-China tariffs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 99.74 points, or 0.41%, to 24,456.48. The S&P 500 climbed 23.21 points, or 0.84%, to 2,759.82. The Nasdaq Composite rallied 101.96 points, or 1.34%, to 7,688.39. The U.S. economy added 213,000 jobs in June with the unemployment rate rising to 4%. Wage growth remained steady at 2.7% even though hourly wages inched higher by 0.2%. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected the U.S. economy would have added 195,000 jobs in June with the unemployment rate holding steady at May’s 3.8%, which was the lowest since April 2000. Investors are looking ahead to Friday when the earnings season for banks gets underway. Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo will all report results on that day. Commodities were mostly higher.

Celebrate Fourth of July by supporting these veteran-owned companies

Fourth of July is a time when Americans look for ways to give back to the 2.1 million active duty and reserve members of the U.S. military who choose to make sacrifices for the country. One way to give back is by supporting veteran-owned businesses, which number in the hundreds. Click here to see three worth checking out:


American Workers Thank Trump as Manufacturing Plant Breaks Ground: ‘Me and My Family Are Grateful’

American workers thanked President Trump as a new Foxconn manufacturing plant broke ground in Wisconsin on Thursday. During the groundbreaking ceremony, Trump welcomed three American workers onstage who will be working at the manufacturing plant or are working on building the facility. The workers thanked Trump and Foxconn for giving them new opportunities in the president’s “Hire American” economy. “I started in 2005 as an operating engineer and Hoffman Construction gave me my first job in a hall truck,” Celia Griffin, a mother of three told the crowd at the ceremony. “Me and my family are grateful and very pleased to be at home again,” Griffin said. “Thank you, everyone. Thank you.” Dawn Wallace, a mother of three, says she re-entered the workforce after being a stay-at-home mom for years due to the job opportunities that have come to Wisconsin. “I would just like to thank Hoffman [Construction] for giving me the opportunity to start something new,” Wallace said. “What a perfect way than Foxconn. I was super excited when I heard it was coming in our area.” Chris Coski, who is one of the project managers on the site, said he “appreciated the opportunity” to get to do a job that he says he’s been doing since he was a child. “Foxconn is probably one of the best things that’s ever happened to Hoffman Construction … and I appreciate the opportunity, President Trump,” Coski said. “Thank you very much.” Trump said Foxconn has already contracted more than 25 local Wisconsin construction companies to help build their main facility. Foxconn executives say they will build the factory with American made steel and concrete. Earlier this week, American workers at Harley-Davidson praised Trump’s fair trade policies, crediting the populist president for “just trying to save American industry”..

Supreme Court rules states can collect sales tax from out-of-state retailers

The Supreme Court overturned decades of precedent Thursday and paved the way for states to impose broader internet sales taxes, a ruling that has the potential to help local bricks-and-mortar retailers while dangling a new source of revenue for state governments. The justices, in the 5-4 ruling, said an old rule that applied only to businesses that had a physical presence in a state was a vestige of the mail-order catalog era and no longer applies in the internet age. “Each year, the physical presence rule becomes further removed from economic reality and results in significant revenue losses to the States,” wrote Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who delivered the opinion for the court in the case of South Dakota v. Wayfair. South Dakota had challenged the physical presence rule, saying it was losing roughly $48 million to $58 million in revenue each year. It enacted a law requiring online retailers with $100,000 in sales of goods or with more than 200 transactions to collect and remit sales taxes, and then brought cases against online retailer Overstock and home goods company Wayfair. Lower courts, using the physical presence precedent, ruled against the state’s law. But the high court said Thursday that it was time to overturn those rulings, which date back to 1967 and were updated in 1992. “The internet’s prevalence and power have changed the dynamics of the national economy,” Justice Kennedy wrote. The decision produced a curious lineup, crossing the court’s usual ideological divisions. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, perhaps the most liberal justice, joined four Republican-appointed members in the majority — besides Justice Kennedy, Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr., Clarence Thomas and Neil M. Gorsuch. Meanwhile, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. led the dissent, joined by three Democrat-appointed jurists: Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Chief Justice Roberts argued that Congress should be the one to address the regulation of commerce between states. “Nothing in today’s decision precludes Congress from continuing to seek a legislative solution. But by suddenly changing the ground rules, the court may have waylaid Congress’s consideration of the issue,” he wrote. Since every bricks-and-mortar store is located in only one state and most of the customers are from that state, the custom and law have always been for merchants to collect sales tax on behalf of that one state and then forward it to the government — a simple task. Online sellers could have clientele in every state but have a legal obligation to collect taxes from customers in only one. Theoretically, customers are supposed to pay sales taxes to the state themselves if merchants don’t charge them, but hardly anyone does. As a result, many online merchants simply didn’t collect sales taxes, which cost the state revenue and gave online merchants a price edge over bricks-and-mortar stores. Among the major online sellers that don’t charge sales taxes on goods shipped to every state are pet store, jeweler Blue Nile and clothier L.L. Bean. Etsy and eBay don’t require their sellers, who are usually smaller-scale, to collect sales tax.

Boom: Over 95% of manufacturers bullish on future, ‘record optimism’

In a stunning turnaround sparked by the improving economy and last December’s tax cuts, over 95 percent of manufacturers have turned bullish about their future, an all-time record. A new survey from the National Association of Manufacturers found that 95.1 percent of manufacturers have a “positive outlook for their companies.” That is the highest outlook number in the 20-year history of the group’s Outlook Survey. The report, said the group, comes on the six-month anniversary of passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and amid reports that manufacturers are increasing wages, hiring, and capital investments. “This record optimism is no accident. It is fueled by the game-changing tax reform passed six months ago,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. In a statement he added, “Last year, manufacturers promised that we would deliver for our people and our communities if tax reform became law. Congress and the president delivered, and now manufacturers are keeping our promise: hiring new workers, raising wages, improving benefits, buying equipment and expanding right here in the United States. And the best part is, with manufacturers’ record-setting confidence and plans to keep hiring and growing, more good news is yet to come.”

More great news in this Trump economy!    🙂

Comcast bids $65 billion for 21st Century Fox assets, topping Disney

Comcast announced a $65 billion bid for Twenty-First Century Fox units that are currently in an agreement to be acquired by Disney. The bid, announced Wednesday, represents a 19 percent premium to Disney’s offer. Comcast, the parent of CNBC, offered $35 a share in cash. Disney agreed in December to buy the majority of Fox for $52.4 billion in stock. The deal included Fox’s movie studios, networks National Geographic and FX, Star TV, and stakes in Sky, Endemol Shine Group and Hulu, as well as regional sports networks. The assets would increase Comcast’s international footprint and boost its entertainment portfolio at a time when it’s facing pressure in its video business as more consumers cut the cord and turn to internet-delivered video services like Netflix. “These are highly strategic and complementary businesses, and we are in our minds the right buyer,” Comcast’s CEO Brian Roberts said on a call with investors. In a letter to Fox’s board and members of the Murdoch family released earlier, Roberts said, “We were disappointed when [Fox] decided to enter into a transaction with The Walt Disney Company, even though we had offered a meaningfully higher price.” He went on to say, “We are pleased to present a new, all-cash proposal that fully addresses the Board’s stated concerns with our prior proposal.” Comcast is planning for an increased bid from Disney that may include a cash component, according to people familiar with the matter. Comcast believes it is better suited to offer cash because the market allows for a higher leverage ratio from a cable company with strong cash flows than a media company like Disney, which is accustomed to carrying lower leverage ratios, the people said. A Disney bid with cash will also diminish the tax benefits for the Murdoch family, which controls Fox. The long-awaited bid comes a day after a federal judge cleared AT&T’s $85 billion takeover of Time Warner, a deal the government had tried to block on competition grounds. AT&T’s win in the court case is expected to usher in a wave of big mergers as companies look for new ways to combine. Comcast feels confident of its chances to get a deal passed by U.S. regulators after AT&T’s deal was approved yesterday, according to people familiar with the matter. Comcast is willing to divest Fox’s regional sports networks and even Fox’s portion of Hulu, if necessary, the people said. While Comcast would like to keep the Fox stake in Hulu if possible, and thinks it should be able to, it would consider dropping down closer to 50 percent if necessary, one of the people said. Comcast, Fox and Disney all own 30 percent of Hulu. Time Warner owns the other 10 percent. Asked about Hulu on the investor call, NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke said, “We think that’s a very important part of this deal,” adding that Comcast would be interested in investing in and growing the streaming service in the future. Comcast also pledged to offer the same $2.5 billion reverse termination fee Disney already agreed to and has offered to reimburse the $1.525 billion break-up fee that Disney would have to pay if it doesn’t complete its deal. In the media world, cable and telecommunications giants like Comcast are looking to add capabilities in creating the content they distribute across their networks. Viacom and CBS have also been dancing around a deal that would marry cable networks and the Paramount Pictures film studio with CBS’s networks and local television stations.

Seattle repeals ‘head tax’ after backlash from Amazon, Starbucks

The Seattle City Council on Tuesday voted 7-2 to repeal a “head tax” on the city’s largest employers, granting a surprise victory to corporate giants such as Amazon and Starbucks just weeks after the council unanimously approved the measure. The vote took place at a special meeting called by Council President Bruce Harrell and six other members of the nine-person Seattle City Council. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan also supported a repeal. The council struggled to conduct the vote at the meeting’s conclusion as protestors chanted “stop the repeal,” drowning out councilmembers as they attempted to cast their ballot. Councilwoman Kshama Sawant, who cast one of two votes opposing the repeal, said the council was “bending to big business” and referred to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos as an “enemy” of Seattle. Originally passed on May 14, the measure required companies with annual revenue of $20 million or more to contribute $275 per employee annually toward efforts to combat widespread homelessness in Seattle. At the time, the city council said the “head tax” would raise about $50 million per year toward the development of affordable housing, homeless shelters and other outreach efforts. “Today’s vote by the Seattle City Council to repeal the tax on job creation is the right decision for the region’s economic prosperity,” Amazon vice president and spokesman Drew Herdener said in a statement. “We are deeply committed to being part of the solution to end homelessness in Seattle and will continue to invest in local nonprofits like Mary’s Place and FareStart that are making a difference on this important issue.” The head tax drew widespread opposition from local business advocates and several major corporations, including Amazon, Seattle’s largest employer. Critics argued the tax would discourage investment in the city and place an undue burden on companies that were already paying a fair share of taxes. The measure’s supporters said large employers should pay the head tax because their presence in the city contributed to the rising cost of living. “We welcome this move by the City Council and believe the best path forward is to implement the reforms recommended two years ago by the city’s own homelessness expert,” Starbucks senior vice president of public affairs John Kelly said in a statement. “Starbucks remains a committed partner to government officials, business leaders, and family service providers. Together we must work to bring families inside, once and for all.” “No Tax on Jobs,” an organization that advocated for a repeal of the tax, told GeekWire Tuesday that it had amassed more than 45,000 signatures on a petition calling for the measure to be considered in a public referendum if it was not overturned. Amazon and Starbucks, which is also headquartered in Seattle, each provided funding to the organization. The measure would have cost Amazon an estimated $12.4 million each year. The e-commerce giant employs roughly 45,000 workers in Seattle. Last month, Amazon and Starbucks criticized the head tax in the hours after its passage. Other large businesses in the area, including Nordstrom, Boeing and Microsoft, did not comment publicly.

Glad to see this silly “head tax” passed originally by a bunch of extreme liberal/socialist Democrat politicians…was repealed under pressure from businesses in King County, WA that employ tens of thousands of workers.