Money

Dow surges 322 points, closes above 26,000 for first time

The Dow closed above 26,000 for the first time in its history, as bank earnings, Boeing (BA) and IBM (IBM) drove the blue-chip index higher Wednesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 322 points to 26,115. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite also hit all-time highs. The S&P 500 advanced 26 points to 2,802. The Nasdaq gained 74 points to 7,298. An early rally Tuesday morning pushed the Dow past 26,000, clinching the fastest 1,000-point climb for the Dow. Although Wall Street pared its gains later in the session, the rally picked back up a day later. Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network, said the brief pullback after the Dow first cracked 26,000 on Tuesday was a healthy sign for the market. “With the economy growing at a healthy rate, with corporate earnings rising, and with the Fed still stimulating, there is simply no trigger for a pullback,” McMillan wrote in a note to clients. “Even if we did get a pullback, as we did in early 2016, it would be unlikely to last, and for the same reasons.” On Wednesday, Boeing jumped more than 4% on news that the aircraft maker will partner with automotive supplier Adient (ADNT) to create an exclusive supplier of high-end aircraft seats. Shares of IBM, another Dow component, rose about 3% after analysts at Barclays (BCS) upgraded the stock to overweight from underweight. UnitedHealth (UNH) also continued to march higher, with shares up 2.4%. The health insurer on Tuesday beat Wall Street’s expectations for fourth-quarter earnings and raised its outlook for 2018, citing federal tax reform.

More great economic news!!    🙂

America’s Small Business Optimism Hit Record High in 2017

The first year of President Donald Trump’s administration produced the strongest level of confidence in America’s small business owners on record. The NFIB Index of Small Business Optimism came in at 104.9 for December, slightly lower than the near-record November reading but still an indicator of high levels of confidence in the economy. With the December number released Tuesday, the full year 2017 is now officially the strongest year ever in the nearly halft-century history of the survey. “2017 was the most remarkable year in the 45-year history of the NFIB Optimism Index,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan. “With a massive tax cut this year, accompanied by significant regulatory relief, we expect very strong growth, millions more jobs, and higher pay for Americans.” Small business confidence soared following the election of 2016 and has remained in the “stratosphere” ever since, the NFIB said in a statement. “We’ve been doing this research for nearly half a century, longer than anyone else, and I’ve never seen anything like 2017,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “The 2016 election was like a dam breaking. Small business owners were waiting for better policies from Washington, suddenly they got them, and the engine of the economy roared back to life.” Two of the December components posted gains, five declined, and three remained unchanged, according to the NFIB. The downward pressure on the index came from a moderate decline in expected conditions, a volatile number, and plans for inventory. These were somewhat offset by a dramatic, 14-point improvement in “Actual Sales” for December, likely reflecting the robust holiday shopping season fueled by booming consumer confidence. Some of the things that register as a negative for small business confidence are actually indicators of a strong economy. A tighter labor market, for example, makes hiring more challenging and pushes up wages, which increase costs and cut into margins for businesses. “There’s a critical shortage of qualified workers and it’s becoming a real cost driver for small businesses,” said Dunkelberg. “They are raising compensation for workers in order to attract and keep good employees, but that’s a positive indicator for the overall economy.” “The lesson of 2017 is that better policies make for better economic results,” said Duggan. “The evidence is overwhelming that small business owners pay close attention to Washington, and that federal policies affect their decisions on whether to hire, whether to invest, whether to grow inventory, and whether to seek capital.”

More great news in this Trump economy!!   🙂

Dow Industrials Cross 25000 for First Time

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped past 25000 for the first time Thursday, on pace to notch the fastest run to a fresh 1,000-point milestone in history. The blue-chip index, which heavily weights industrial giants such as Boeing Co. and Caterpillar Inc., was recently up 138 points, or 0.6%, at 25061. If the Dow industrials close above 25000, the jump from 24000 would have taken 23 trading days, ahead of the 24-day spans that took the index to 11000 in 1999 and 21000 in March. The S&P 500 climbed 0.4% and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.1%. Thursday’s moves marked the latest feat for a rally that has repeatedly wrong-footed skeptics and sent stock indexes around the world to multiyear highs. The Dow industrials hit five thousand-point milestones last year, the most such records in its 120 years. Faster economic growth around the globe and improving sentiment from consumers and businesses—both of which were elusive for many years since the financial crisis a decade ago—have helped power this rally in recent weeks. Economic data in the first days of the new year continued to suggest steady expansion in the U.S., China and Europe. “The turn of the calendar year doesn’t change the dynamics of economic growth and earnings growth,” said Kate Warne, investment strategist at retail brokerage Edward Jones. “We shouldn’t be surprised that markets continue to move higher because fundamentals continue to be positive and investor optimism is actually improving rather than investors becoming more cautious.” A year ago, Ms. Warne said many investors were asking her what could go wrong for stocks in the U.S., with the overwhelming belief that stocks would fall. This year, there has been a shift. Now the question she hears the most is how long can this rally continue and what could possibly end it, with investors overwhelmingly expecting stocks to rise. On Thursday, shares of financial firms led markets higher as a strong private jobs report increased investors’ expectations of further interest-rate hikes. Businesses across the country added 250,000 workers in December, according to payroll processor Automatic Data Processing Inc. and forecasting firm Moody’s Analytics, topping economists’ expectations. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its monthly jobs report on Friday. Goldman Sachs Group gained 1.2%, making it one of the biggest contributors to the Dow’s point gain. American Express Co. added 1.9%, while JPMorgan Chase & Co. rose 1.7%.

Wow!!  Incredible!!  To read more, click on the text above.    🙂

US factories closed out 2017 with a boom

U.S. manufacturers expanded at a faster pace in December, boosted by a sharp increase in new orders. The Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday that its manufacturing index rose to 59.7 last month from 58.2 in November. Any reading above 50 points to greater factory activity. Manufacturing has been expanding for the past 16 months. “With a report like this, I can’t do anything but smile,” said Tim Fiore, chair of the ISM manufacturing business survey committee. U.S. manufacturers have been helped this year by a solid global economy and a decline in the dollar’s value, which helps to make exports more competitive abroad. Firms will soon see whether the lower corporate tax rates signed into law by President Donald Trump will help to push profits and growth even higher. New orders jumped in December to the highest level since January 2004. Production also rose. The pace of hiring slipped, although it remained positive. The ISM, a trade association of purchasing managers, said 16 of 18 manufacturing industries expanded in December. Among the sectors seeing growth were machinery, computer and electronics and chemicals. Other measures point to steady growth. The Federal Reserve said that factory output in November had increased at an annual rate of 2.4 percent. Through the first 10 months of the year, factory orders have risen 5.6 percent, according to the Census Bureau.

Great news on the manufacturing front!

Analysis: Nancy Pelosi’s Tax Apocalypse

To listen to the Democrats, the American middle class will be lucky to survive the Republican tax bill. Nancy Pelosi calls the bill “monumental, brazen theft from the American middle class,” and that’s one of her more restrained comments. Per Pelosi, the bill is an affront to the Founding Fathers, veterans, children, and all that’s good and true in America. She constantly charges that the bill “raises taxes on 86 million middle-class households,” and “hands a breathtaking 83 percent of its benefits to the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans.” This is a rhetorically potent line of attack that the polling suggest has made considerable headway. It just isn’t remotely honest. The Republican bill is, every factual analysis agrees, an across-the-board tax cut. Pelosi’s seemingly damning factoids come from the year 2027, an odd date to focus on, since it’s not when the bill goes into effect, but when part of it lapses. In about ten years, many of the tax cuts on the individual side expire, which Pelosi portrays as a Republican plot to loot the middle class. It’s a very strange argument against passing a bill to say horrible things will happen once the legislation no longer fully applies. This is more logically a case for extending the bill than for blocking it. Indeed, it’s almost certain the middle-class provisions would eventually be preserved. If Pelosi were being more scrupulous, she’d say, “If Democrats for some reason don’t agree with Republicans to extend the middle-class tax cuts — then they will disappear and it will be shame on us.” What is, by the way, this looming middle-class wasteland in 2027? Pelosi relies on the liberal Tax Policy Center for her figures. As that outfit puts it, “on average, in 2027 taxes would change little for lower- and middle-income groups.” Oh. According to the TPC, the lowest quintile of “tax units” would see, on average, a $30 tax increase in 2027. The second quintile would see a $40 increase. And the middle quintile a $20 increase. There’s a reason Pelosi doesn’t want to focus on the numbers when the tax bill she so vociferously opposes is fully in effect. In 2018, 80.4 percent of tax units get a tax cut, averaging $2,140. A grand total of 4.8 percent will see a tax increase. The small percentage of people with higher taxes is disproportionately tilted toward the top of the income scale. There isn’t really debate over the contours of the bill. According to the analysis of the Joint Committee on Taxation, the average tax rate goes down for every income cohort in 2019, and the share of federal taxes paid by millionaires will rise slightly to 19.8 from 19.3. It’s true upper-income people get a bigger tax cut in terms of absolute dollars than anyone else. As Brian Riedl of the Manhattan Institute points out, this is going to be the case for any across-the-board tax cut for the simple reason that the wealthy tend to pay more in taxes than anyone else. The tax bill is hardly invulnerable to criticism. Even if Republicans don’t always like to admit it, corporate tax cuts are at the heart of the bill. They aren’t popular, but they are pro-growth. There used to be a bipartisan consensus — encompassing Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton — that we needed corporate tax reform. Then, there’s the deficit. Republicans can fairly be taken to task for budget gimmicks (like the expiration of the individual tax cuts) that squeeze a much bigger tax cut into a $1.5 trillion ten-year window. All things being equal, economic growth will diminish some of the revenue loss. But the bill could’ve been smaller and added less to the deficit. It’s impossible to say how the tax bill will play in the midterms. What’s certain is that, contra Pelosi, the middle class will emerge intact, and with a lower tax bill.

Exactly!  So, next time you see ol’ Nancy spouting her geriatric, canned, Democrat talking points about how we’re all doomed because of this tax bill, which President Trump signed into law…keep this in mind.  Thanks to National Review editor Rich Lowry for this op/ed.  Also keep in mind the fact that he was part of the “never-Trumpers” from day one; not exactly part of the “Trump Train.”

The big list of tax-cut payoffs

Before the ink was even dry on President Trump’s signature on the Republican tax-cut bill, corporate America was not only toasting it, praising it and celebrating it, but handing out money to employees like Santa Claus. It started with AT&T expanding its bonus program to an additional 200,000 staffers getting $1,000 apiece. Next came Boeing announcing a gift of $300 million in investment in its employee-related charitable program “to support our heroes, our homes and our future.” Wells Fargo and Fifth Third Bancorp announced they would raise their minimum wage to $15 in the New Year, with Fifth Third kicking in an additional bonus of $1,000 to 13,000 employees. Comcast NBC Universal anted up $1,000 bonuses to more than 100,000 non-executive employees, announcing the move was not only tied, like all the others, to the tax cut but to the Federal Communications Commission’s elimination of government regulation of the Internet. Comcast NBC Universal Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian L. Roberts added the company plans to spend more than $50 billion in the next five years on infrastructure investments that he expects will create “thousands of new direct and indirect jobs.” In fact, before the bill was even passed, Kroger Chief Executive Officer W. Rodney McMullen offered that the legislation would influence his company “to continue to invest in our business, which will grow jobs.” You might remember, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the bill “Armageddon.” Click here to see the growing BIG LIST of companies reacting to the tax cuts with bonuses, more pay and expansion leading directly to new jobs:

Excellent!!    🙂

BOOM! Economy Adds 228,000 Jobs

The U.S. economy added 228,000 jobs in November, exceeding economist expectations of 200,000 jobs. Unemployment held steady at 4.1 percent. Despite the strong job growth, inflations data was tepid. Earnings rose just 0.2 percent, less than the 0.3 percent expected. On an annualized basis, wage were up 2.5 percent compared with economist expectations of 2.7 percent. Manufacturing added 31,000 jobs, while health care added 30,000. The biggest gainer was “professional and business services,” which added 46,000 jobs.

Great economic news!!  To read more, click on the text above.  Excellent!!  🙂