Money

Feds Collect Record Income and Payroll Taxes Through July

The federal government collected record amounts of both individual income taxes and payroll taxes through the first ten months of fiscal 2017 (Oct. 1, 2016 through the end of July), according to the Monthly Treasury Statement. Through July, the federal government collected approximately $1,312,691,000,000 in individual income taxes. At the same time, it collected $976,278,000,000 in Social Security and other payroll taxes. Prior to this year, fiscal 2015 held the record for individual income tax collections through July. That year, the Treasury collected $1,309,431,860,000 (in constant 2017 dollars) in individual income taxes in the first ten months of the fiscal year. Last year (fiscal 2016), individual income tax collections from October through July dropped to $1,293,490,000,000 (in constant 2017 dollars). This year’s record of $1,312,691,000,000 in October-to-July individual income taxes is $3,259,140,000 more than the 2015’s previous record of $1,309,431,860,000. Before this year’s record $976,278,000,000 in October-through-July payroll tax collections, fiscal 2016 held the record at $948,709,020,000 (in constant 2017 dollars)—or about $27,568,980,000 less than this year. Overall federal tax collections in the first ten months of fiscal 2017 were $2,739,861,000,000. Yet that did not the record for October-through-July total federal tax collections. In the first ten months of fiscal 2015, the Treasury collected $2,741,079,280,000 (in constant 2017 dollars) in total taxes. That was $361,218,280,000 more than this year.

Wow..  For more of this exhausting report, click on the text above.

In Trump Era, U.S. Corporations See Best Earnings in 13 Years

As President Trump’s administration enters the last half of its first year, U.S. corporations are experiencing their best earnings in 13 years, a report finds. Bloomberg reports that U.S. corporate profits in the second quarter “have beaten estimates at more than three-quarters of the Standard & Poor’s 500 member companies. In every sector, at least half of the companies have surpassed or met expectations, with many also getting a boost from a sinking U.S. dollar.” “Growth was particularly strong in key regions of North America and Europe, where we grew sales greater than twice GDP, as well as throughout Asia-Pacific,” Dow Chief Executive Officer Andrew Liveris said. Europe supported U.S. growth during the first three months of this year, but during the second three months, emerging markets came in strong for U.S. earnings. Mark Luschini of financial service company Janney Montgomery Scott told Bloomberg that multinational corporations are seeing growth and higher earnings in both the U.S. and overseas operations. Bloomberg reported: ” Of the 454 companies in the S&P 500 that have so far reported second-quarter results, 68 percent have beaten analysts’ average estimates for revenue, and 78 percent have topped per-share earnings expectations, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Earnings rose an average of 9.8 percent, while sales have climbed 5.5 percent.” Indeed, even as U.S. prospects rise, so has that of much of the world’s economy. “More of the global economy is participating in this recovery simultaneously, and that’s what shows up in the top-line results, particularly in technology,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Leuthold Group. The health care and banking sectors have also seen great growth. Analysts expect this growth to continue into the third quarter.

Agreed!!  And we look forward to it!    🙂

U.S. Companies Post Profit Growth Not Seen in Six Years

America’s largest companies are on pace to post two consecutive quarters of double-digit profit growth for the first time since 2011, helped by years of cost-cutting, a weaker dollar and stronger consumer spending. Earnings at S&P 500 companies are expected to rise 11% in the second quarter, according to data from Thomson Reuters, following a 15% increase in the first quarter. Close to 60% of the firms in the index have reported second-quarter results so far. Corporate America’s strong earnings performance comes as several policy initiatives that were expected to help boost companies’ bottom line—corporate-tax cuts and increased government spending on infrastructure—have been sidetracked amid political infighting in Washington, D.C., which culminated with the recent failure of the health-law bill. Even as activity inside the Beltway bogged down, the markets have been on an almost nonstop rally since the election. The S&P 500 is up 16% since early November and 10% this year. “You could argue that the stock-market investor overestimated Trump but underestimated earnings,” said Christopher Probyn, chief economist for State Street Global Advisors. The second-quarter profit gains are spread across industries from Wall Street banks to Detroit’s car factories to Silicon Valley’s software labs. Earnings are expected to decline only in the utilities sector, according to data from Thomson Reuters. ​ Several factors are at work, analysts and economists say. A weaker dollar has made it easier to sell U.S.-made goods overseas and has kept borrowing costs low. U.S. wages have improved enough to help bolster consumer spending without raising employer labor costs so much to dent the bottom line. Companies also continue to reap the fruits of their recent zeal for cutting costs, Mr. Probyn said. “We underestimated some of the cost-cutting and restructuring that has gone on within the various industries; that has permitted earnings to keep doing well.” Sales, too, rose in the quarter, by an expected 5%, the second-biggest increase in more than five years, according to data from Thomson Reuters. The figures reflect actual results for about half the S&P 500 index, and analysts’ estimates for those that had yet to report results as of Friday. On Friday, the Commerce Department reported that gross domestic product rose at a 2.6% rate in the second quarter, up from 1.2% in the first quarter.

And the economy continues to roar on in this new Trump era..  To read the rest of this article from the Wall Street Journal, click on the text above.

TRUMP Records His 23rd New Stock Market High – Market Up 17% Since Election

The Dow Jones Industrial Average recorded its 23rd all time high of 2017 yesterday closing at 21,532. There have been a total of 120 days where the markets have closed since President Trump’s inauguration on January 20th. The ‘DOW’ has closed at all time highs 23 of those days for nearly 20% or one-fifth of the days the market has been open. The market is up 9% since the inauguration. Since the election on November 8th the DOW has closed at record highs an amazing 40 times! Nearly one-fourth or 24% of the 168 days the markets have closed have been record highs since the November 8th election. The market is up 17% since the election! Americans are benefitting greatly in their 401k’s from the recent change in Administrations. In Obama’s entire first term, the US stock market (DOW) never reached a new closing high. In years 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 the DOW never reached a new high once!

Trump making the Stock Market great again!   🙂

U.S. Stocks, Bonds Jump on Go-Slow Fed; Oil Climbs: Markets Wrap

U.S. stocks rose toward records, Treasuries rallied and the dollar retreated after Janet Yellen signaled the Federal Reserve won’t rush to tighten monetary policy as inflation remains persistently below target. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a fresh all-time high, technology shares added more than 1 percent and emerging-market equities surged to levels last seen in 2015 as Yellen expressed confidence in the American economy while suggesting inflation rates won’t force the Fed’s hand. The dollar fell versus most major peers, 10-year Treasury yields slid below 2.32 percent and gold futures rose. Oil bounced above $45 a barrel. The Brazilian real strengthened after former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was convicted of graft and money-laundering, while Canada’s dollar rallied on central bank tightening. The statement from Yellen diverted attention from the release of emails by Donald Trump Jr. about his controversial meeting with a Russian lawyer, though concern remains that the latest saga in Washington may be an unwelcome distraction for the Fed seeking to dismantle a decade of monetary stimulus. The Fed chair made no mention of asset prices just a week after her comment that some looked “somewhat rich” added to selling in stocks and bonds. Yellen’s dovish tone came as the Bank of Canada raised interest rates for the first time in seven years even as inflation in the country remains stubbornly sluggish. Central banks around the world have been hinting that the accommodative policies in place for years may no longer be needed amid signs that the global economy is gaining traction.

More great economic news in this Trump era.  Making America great again!   🙂

Amazon to buy Whole Foods in $13.7B deal

Amazon (AMZN) stormed into the world of food retail Friday with a stunning announcement it will acquire Whole Foods Market (WFM), a move that sent shares of industry mainstays sharply lower as many fear an imminent disruption of the way consumers shop for groceries will continue to pressure margins and potentially upend existing business models. The $475 billion e-commerce giant will snap up the struggling supermarket chain for $42 per share in an all-cash deal valued about $13.7 billion including debt. “Whole Foods Market has been satisfying, delighting and nourishing customers for nearly four decades – they’re doing an amazing job and we want that to continue,” said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in a statement. Under the deal, Whole Foods will continue to operate stores under its independent brand and the company’s CEO and founder, John Mackey will remain in his position. Mackey said the partnership allows the Austin, Texas-based food retailer to continue efforts to bring high-quality foods to its customers across America. The deal, subject to approval by regulators and Whole Foods shareholders, is expected to close in the second half of this year. News of the acquisition sent Amazon shares up nearly 3%, their biggest gain since January as Whole Foods leaped 27% in their biggest rally since 2009 to $42.35. At the same time, data from Dow Jones showed investors wiped out roughly $55 billion form the market value of other grocery names including Walmart (WMT), Target (TGT), Costco (COST) and Kroger (KR), which cut its full-year earnings guidance on Thursday, extended losses, falling 13% Friday. Whole Foods, largely credited with igniting a large-scale shift in consumer purchasing trends to fresh and sustainably-sourced food offerings, has long been a target of takeover speculation as it continues to face mounting pressure from longtime industry players including Walmart (WMT) and Kroger (KR) as they aggressively move into the fresh and organic food space. In the most recent quarter, Whole Foods booked adjusted earnings of 37 cents a share on revenue of $3.72 billion as sales at stores open at least a year fell 2.8% while transactions declined 3%. aimed at overhauling its purchasing program and category management while also accelerating

Car shoppers shelling out hundreds more in down payments

U.S. auto sales have moderated this year, but here’s a positive sign for dealerships: Consumers are spending hundreds of dollars more on down payments. Car buyers are digging deep to pay more money up front and lower their monthly payments, according to a new report from Edmunds, the car-shopping platform. Down payments on new cars nearly hit a record high in May, rising to an average of $3,801. That’s an increase of $233, or 6.5%, compared to May 2016. Used vehicles also attracted higher down payments. The average buyer paid an additional $93 up front, a jump of 3.8%. With interest rates and sticker prices climbing, the increase in down payments has helped buyers make up the difference. Edmunds also noted that shoppers have more confidence in a stronger economy, which has encouraged them to spend more for a car with extra bells and whistles. “In our increasing credit-based culture where consumers are willing to finance everything from cellphones to vacations, more money up front shows car buyers aren’t completely sacrificing practicality in order to get the cars they really want,” Edmunds Executive Director of Industry Analysis Jessica Caldwell said. Consumers have also cut their monthly payments by taking advantage of longer loan terms. The average loan for a new vehicle hit 69.1 months in May, marking a 6.6% increase over the last five years.