Sunday, November 30, 2014

Black Friday A Bust For Retailers

The National Retail Federation estimated on Sunday that retail sales over the full Thanksgiving weekend will show a decline of 11.3 percent from a year earlier, to $50.9 billion.
The NRF said the average shopper's spending was down to $380.95 from $407.02, as early holiday promotions and a continued surge in online shopping changed the way consumers shopped this year.
Looks like online sales have cannibalized store traffic this season.  Who could blame someone for not wanting to wait in line and fight purchasers who act like hyenas fighting over the last scrap of food?

Russia Will Not Cut Oil Production

OPEC's decision to maintain production in the wake of falling oil prices has forced Russia not to proceed with its own cuts, according to Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov.  With oil and natural gas sales representing half of its budget, the fall in prices has made an even bigger dent in Russia's economy, which is already teetering on the brink of recession.  Remember when that country was an economic powerhouse?

Saturday, November 29, 2014

USC 49 Notre Dame 14

Fight On!!!

Black Friday Numbers

Black Friday A Hit Online

Shoppers' growing aversion to the retail stampede known as Black Friday may be powering a surge in online shopping, data from a retail tracking firm suggested on Saturday, aided by a flurry of promotions and mobile incentives.
Data from Custora said Internet sales were up 20.6 percent on Black Friday compared to a year ago. If the data holds up, Friday's online sales may even surpass 2013's Cyber Monday to become "the biggest shopping day in U.S. history."
Custora added a caveat, however: Monday's cyber sales are "all but certain" to beat Black Friday's web-fueled surge.
The report comes as more consumers, perhaps growing weary of the early bird sales and the skirmishes that break out over them, are resorting to the web to satisfy their holiday shopping needs.
This year, social upheaval may also be playing a modest role. Protests over the decision not to indict a Ferguson, Missouri police officer over the shooting of an unarmed teen impeded traffic in key U.S. cities and disrupted some Black Friday shopping.
The firm noted that average order value fell 2.3 percent from 2013, underscoring how online shoppers were slightly more frugal – or at least hunting for value.
Still, the proliferation of smartphones and tablets had a noticeable impact on Internet shopping, according to Custora. Their data showed that mobile orders accounted for almost one third of online shopping. That was an improvement over the 22.5 percent who used mobile devices to shop on Black Friday 2013.
Finally, Custora said Apple devices still rule the roost. Of those using a handheld device to shop, the maker of the iPad and iPhone accounted for nearly 77 percent of those sales, while Android-powered devices had a market share of less than 23 percent. However, Apple's share of mobile sales tumbled sharply from the 83.4 percent it had on Black Friday 2013.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Your Credit Report

How long does stuff stay on your credit report?  It depends on the information.  Foreclosures, judgements, and collections will stay on for 7 years.  Bankruptcies stick for 10 years.  It's critical that when the statute of limitation expires, you notify the credit bureau to have it removed.

Markets Are Higher

I guess some investors have equities on their Black Friday shopping list.  The markets are up once again as the price of oil goes through the floor.  Predictably, transportation companies are the beneficiaries.

How Are You Spending Black Friday?

While many Americans are battling the crowds on the year's most celebrated shopping day, I'm researching how the average family throws away money each year.  The irony is more than obvious.  Hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving and had much to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

ECB Ready To Act

The European Central Bank will be able to gauge in the first quarter of next year whether it needs to start buying sovereign bonds to stimulate the euro zone economy, announced ECB Vice President Vitor Constancio this morning. The new comments are the clearest indication yet to the exact timing of future QE. The ECB has already begun buying covered bonds and ABSs, aiming to increase the size of its balance sheet to levels seen in early 2012 - around €1T higher than its level today.
Looks like QE all over again!  You know what that did for the markets here in the U.S.  It should be good for the European markets as well.

Markets Stuck In Neutral

Orders for durable goods and applications for unemployment benefits both rose this morning.  The market didn't care.  There is no real catalyst to move the market in either direction at the present time.  It's like sailing in the doldrums.  Of course, this will change.  There is always a storm looming just over the horizon.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Markets Close Unchanged

The markets were virtually unchanged today.  Oil futures did drop over $1.50 a barrel which is good for cheap gas.  There are no real catalysts to move the markets these days.  Butterflies and bull put spreads on indexes are working like a champ.
Gross domestic product was up 3.9%, up over the 3.5% analysts estimated.  The U.S. economy continues to gain strength.  That's good for the economy as well as the rest of us.  Consumer confidence was down slightly, but still ver strong at 88.7.

Monday, November 24, 2014

My First Blog

This is my first blog, and as such, I thought I should let those of you following me, know what to expect.  You will find a combination of stock market news, financial strategies, personal development ideas , and general observations.  I will spare you with what time I ate breakfast or went to the mall.  If you care about such things, you need to follow someone else.  I will only post things that I truly believe carry some equity with the average person.  Sound reasonable?

Apple set an all time high today at $118.62.  It's going higher.  Do with that information what you will.