Walk OnSPX – 27 = 1942
NAS – 55 = 4756
10 YR YLD – .01 = 2.18%
OIL – 1.79 = 44.15
GOLD – 15.60 = 1106.80
SILV – .19 = 14.71
Wall Street opened higher; part of a global rally for stocks. Japan’s Nikkei index was up 7.7%, bouncing off 11 month lows. Equities in China rose as the finance ministry pledged to accelerate construction of some major projects. European stocks moved higher this morning, with France leading the way. But it didn’t last. The S&P energy sector led declines among the S&P 500 sectors, falling 1.3 percent, as oil prices dropped.
The World Bank’s chief economist is warning that the Federal Reserve risks triggering “panic and turmoil” in emerging markets if it opts to raise rates at its September meeting and should hold fire until the global economy is on a surer footing. Kaushik Basu told the Financial Times that rising uncertainty over growth in China and its impact on the global economy meant a Fed decision to raise its policy rate next week, for the first time since 2006, would have negative consequences.
His warning highlights the mounting concern outside the US over the Fed’s potential “lift-off”. It follows similar advice from the International Monetary Fund. That means that if the Fed’s policymakers were to decide next week to raise rates they would be doing so against the counsel of both of the institutions created at Bretton Woods as guardians of global economic stability.
This moment for the Fed is somewhat reminiscent of September 2013. Officials had been signaling plans to end a bond-purchase program, hesitated after an episode of market turbulence, and then started winding it down that December. You could also draw parallels to the situation in 1997, when the unemployment rate dropped through 5 percent. The Fed did raise rates a quarter point, but then stopped, waiting for inflation to become a problem – which it never did, even though unemployment continued to fall, eventually to 4 percent.
The lesson is that the Fed really doesn’t know what level of U3 constitutes full employment, and should be very cautious about acting preemptively absent any signs of inflation problems. By the way, the Fed still hasn’t reached its inflation goal of 2%.The markets tend to get caught up in the debate. And when the markets rally, it seems like a green light to hike rates; then when the markets think rates might be going up, the markets fall. You could also make the argument that if people are so frantic about a minor interest rate hike they need a reality check.
Puerto Rico said it faces a $13 billion funding shortfall for debt payments over the next five years even after taking into account proposed spending cuts and revenue enhancement measures outlined in a long-awaited fiscal and economic growth plan. The report, released today, said Puerto Rico will seek a consensual compromise with creditors to restructure its debt. No estimates were provided of potential losses for the owners of Puerto Rico’s $72 billion in debt.
Job openings in the US surged in July, even as the pace of hiring cooled. The latest Jobs Openings and Labor Turnover, or JOLT report, shows the number of positions waiting to be filled jumped by 430,000 to 5.75 million from a revised 5.32 million in June. The quits rate came in at 1.9% for a fourth straight month. Quits typically indicate a healthy labor market in which workers feel confident enough to leave one job for another.
Apple has unveiled the latest versions of the iPhone, the 6S and 6S+, at a big, glitzy event in San Francisco. Here is everything you need to know about the new Apple phones…Um, the big change is something called 3D Touch; if you press down hard on the screen you can do different stuff; however, this does not work if you press down with a hammer. The phone will cost the same as the iPhone 5. The phone has a faster chip and a better camera. It has a new optional case color called rose gold – don’t call it pink. And the phones are gluten free.
Netflix intends to launch its TV and movie streaming services in South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan early next year as the company continues its plans for world domination. The news comes after Netflix entered Asia last week by opening in Japan and as it explores its options in China. By the end of 2016, Netflix wants to be in 200 countries.
United Airlines Chairman and CEO Jeff Smisek has stepped down from both roles amid a federal investigation into whether the company traded favors with the chairman of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. The United States attorney for New Jersey has been investigating whether United, the nation’s third-largest airline, agreed to reinstate money-losing flights to the airport nearest the weekend home of the authority’s chairman, David Samson, in return for improvements the airline wanted at Newark Liberty International Airport, where it is the biggest carrier.
Toyota has introduced a revamped Prius in the first major redesign of the pioneering hybrid car in seven years. Toyota says it has given the vehicle a more sporty look with the addition of a spoiler and has improved fuel economy by 10% to 55 miles a gallon. Although the company is looking to boost flagging Prius sales, the timing of the launch isn’t great – competition has heated up in the alternative-fuels sector while low oil prices have reduced demand for fuel-efficient cars.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has announced plans that he says will offer a “swift, determined and comprehensive” response to Europe’s migrant crisis. Under the proposals, 120,000 additional asylum seekers will be distributed among EU nations, with binding quotas. It comes after a surge of thousands of mainly Syrian refugees pushed north through Europe in recent days. In a State of the Union address, Juncker told the European Parliament it was “not a time to take fright”. Germany, the main destination for many refugees, supports quotas, but some EU countries oppose a compulsory system. He opened his speech by admitting the European Union was “not in a good situation. There is a lack of Europe in this union, and a lack of union in this union”.
Denmark has suspended all rail links with Germany and shut a section of motorway after refugees crossed the border and began walking north, apparently trying to reach Sweden. In southern Hungary, refugees on the border with Serbia broke through police lines at a refugee camp, forcing the closure of a major highway. The new plans would relocate 60% of those now in Italy, Greece and Hungary to Germany, France and Spain. The numbers allocated to each country would depend on GDP, population, unemployment rate and asylum applications already processed. Countries refusing to take in refugees could face financial penalties.
The United States has vowed to help its European allies with the influx of migrants and refugees coming in from Middle Eastern and African countries ravaged by war, famine, and poverty. Secretary of State John Kerry met today with congressional lawmakers behind closed doors to discuss how many refugees the US government is willing to take in.
After the meeting, Kerry said the US wants to increase the number of refugees it takes in, but he did not announce a specific number. Many of the new European arrivals are coming from Syria, where a lengthy civil war has forced more than 4 million people to flee the country. According to the International Rescue Committee, a humanitarian organization that helps to resettle refugees, the US has been slow to help, only resettling about 1,400 Syrian refugees during the nearly five-year-long war.
The Surgeon General of the US, Vivek Murthy (who knew?) has issued a radical 72-page call to action: we should walk more. That doesn’t sound radical, but these days it is. Regular physical activity reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and a list of other health problems, and can ease symptoms and improve quality of life for people already living with chronic diseases.
Guidelines issued in 2008 recommend that adults get at least 2 1/2 hours a week of moderately intense physical activity. Children should be active at least 60 minutes every day. Most Americans don’t get anywhere near enough physical activity. And one of the easiest ways to get that physical activity is to walk; it is simple, affordable, and it works.
The problem is that most cities aren’t set up for walking; they are designed around cars. In many places, schools, restaurants and shops are located too far from home for people to walk. Busy streets may lack sidewalks, or there may not be adequate time to cross multiple lanes of traffic.
The Surgeon General’s new report offers a few specifics on how to revive to the culture of walking. He wants communities to make it easier and safer for people to walk; that will require efforts from transportation officials and city planners, parks and schools, businesses and health officials, and the public. Options range from zoning decisions and building sidewalks, to promoting worksite activity.
More powerful than any of these specifics, though, is the simple fact that the federal government just acknowledged, even if it didn’t use quite these words, that we need to design lives that have been modeled for decades around driving around our own feet instead.