Oktoberfest & The State of Craft Beer!

beerIS YOUR STATE CRAFTY? Oktoberfest is upon us and that means beer. In the United States, celebrations are likely to include craft-brewed drafts, which are a far cry from traditional American lager, according to the Brewer’s AssociationThe Economist wrote:

“Any American university student can inform you that much of the beer in the United States is utter swill. Those who graduate from the red Solo cup – the brand so synonymous with beer pong and college life – can afford to purchase better. And so they do. Continue reading

The Fed Resists Urge to Raise Rates

hands on laptop - keep calm in backgroundAs expected…

The dovish U.S. Federal Reserve left rates unchanged last week and markets celebrated. Across the globe, national stock market indices finished the week higher. In the United States, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and NASDAQ gained more than 1 percent.

Not everyone was thrilled with the decision, however. Three Federal Reserve presidents cast dissenting votes. All believed interest rates should move higher. That’s the most dissents since December 2014 when even the dissenters were divided about what should happen. Continue reading

Grocery Shopping

shopping-cartsWHAT’S CHANGING IN WORLD MARKETS? GROCERY SHOPPING!

Groceries may be mundane, but they’re big business. By 2020, the value of the world’s grocery market is expected to reach $11.8 trillion, according to The Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD). The largest markets are expected to be China, United States, India, and Russia. That’s not the interesting part, though.

According to Morgan Stanley, fewer people will gather food by carting up and down the aisles of local grocery stores. Instead, in many countries, people will fill their baskets online. Continue reading

The Economic Cage Match: Softening Data Vs. Rising Inflation

cagePotentially Soft Economic Data Vs. Inflation

If it’s not one thing, it’s one other.

Economic data released last week will factor into this week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) decision on whether to push interest rates higher in the United States. Some of the August data supports the idea economic growth was soft. For example, August retail sales fell more than expected, down 0.3 percent from July. Other data was as expected: U.S. producer prices were flat, which was in line with expectations. Continue reading

Economics of Piracy

pirate-symbolWE’RE DEVILS, AND BLACK SHEEP, AND REALLY BAD EGGS…

In the movie, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jack Sparrow made light of piracy but maritime crime has a significant economic impact.

About 50 percent of the goods that trade globally travel by sea, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)’s 2014 report, Maritime Piracy. It estimated the economic costs of piracy – including ransoms, insurance, re-routing ships, security equipment and guards, naval forces and military operations, counter-piracy organizations, and other factors – at $7-12 billion in 2010. Continue reading

Complacency Down; Volatility Up

beach shotBlame recent volatility on the central banks!

After 44 consecutive sleepy, summer days when Barron’s reported the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index opened and closed without a 1 percent move in either direction, the index tumbled last week – and so did indices in other markets around the world. What roused investors from complacency? Some experts pointed their fingers at central banks: Continue reading

Where’s the Business Investment?

Welding the shipWHY AREN’T AMERICAN BUSINESSES INVESTING? For quite some time, American consumers have made the largest contribution to U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) growth. During the second quarter of 2016, personal spending and exports made positive contributions to GDP. These were largely offset by negative contributions from “private inventory investment, residential fixed investment, state and local government spending and nonresidential fixed investment.” Continue reading

Brexit Means ‘Brexit’

woman on a bikeBUT… WHAT DOES ‘BREXIT’ MEAN?

“We can never know about the days to come, but we think about them anyway…”
–Carly Simon

Economists and market analysts have been thinking a lot about the Federal Reserve and the actions it may take before the end of 2016. Friday’s employment numbers helped fan the speculative fire. The U.S. Labor Department reported the unemployment rate remained at 4.9 percent with 151,000 jobs added during August. Continue reading

Stock Markets, Bonds & Commodities… Oh My

cloudyA Weekly Perspective on Markets

As the “dog days” of summer drag on, trading continues to be relatively light. Oil prices fell at the beginning of last week amid rumors that Iraq may up its oil exports, prompting stocks to retreat. While stocks rallied midweek, they sunk by the close of trading last Friday following Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s intimation that short-term interest rates could be in line for an increase sooner rather than later. Of the domestic market indexes, only the smaller companies in the Russell 2000 didn’t lose ground. The larger companies found in the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq suffered their largest losses since the week of the Brexit vote in June. Continue reading

Public Wi-Fi Security

wi-fi-internet-routerPUBLIC WI-FI IS REMARKABLY CONVENIENT, making it possible to connect your tablet, laptop, phone, or other device in the middle of a national park, at a local bookstore or café, or while waiting for a flight. Whenever you’re connecting in a public venue, remember public Wi-Fi is not secure – even if you’re paying to access it. Norton warned:

“…Wi-Fi uses radio waves. The openness of these signals at public hotspots, combined with the right eavesdropping software, can allow others to take information without your knowledge – much like someone overhearing a private conversation in a crowded restaurant. Continue reading