With the proliferation of tablets, smartphones, powerful gaming consoles and smart televisions, many of the features that used to make PCs unique have been added to other devices. In some cases, such as wireless connectivity and touch screens, PCs' feature set has been surpassed. These changes in PC market have made it all the more impressive that HP CEO Dion Weisler has been able to keep the company successful. Jay Greene reports for The Wall Street Journal: Shortly after Dion Weisler took over Hewlett-Packard Co.’s computer business in 2013, he assembled his charges to survey nearly 40 … [Read more...]
Archives for May 2018
Did China Just Outmaneuver Trump on Trade?
The Trump administration has decided not to impose $150 billion in tariffs on China. According to the FT, the Trump administration caved on its demands for China to stop subsidizing favored industries and engaging in other troublesome behavior so long as China buys more American goods. This is a rather disappointing end to the tough-on-China trade policy. The U.S. says it will consider putting tariffs back on the table if China doesn’t live up to its commitments. But who is kidding who here? It would seem China has outmaneuvered Trump. Trump’s presidency ends in two years, or six years if … [Read more...]
Big Government and Globalism: Small Town America in Despair
Small-towns are the casualties of globalism. Industries have been shuttered. Big government, meaning both sides of the aisle, have failed America. Just take a look around on your next road trip. Glenn Hubbard, dean of Columbia Business School, explains in the WSJ’s Weekend Interview why he had students visit a failed middle America town: “I wanted the students to go to a place that had experienced industrial decline,” he says. “And they came back with a clear sense that there’s no silver bullet to our problems, but that people there had real points—that a lot of what you read about their … [Read more...]
Highest Corporate Bond Yields in Five Years
Cecile Gutscher writes at Bloomberg that corporate bonds are offering their highest yields in years: You need to rifle through 18 years of history to find selloffs that compare to the one corporate bond investors are now enduring. Debt of American companies just posted their third-worst 100-day returns since 2000, according to a JPMorgan Chase & Co. index, as tighter monetary conditions leave their mark on high-quality bonds with longer maturities. With negative returns likely to scare off retail investors, the outlook for the asset class looks grim, JPMorgan strategists said in a … [Read more...]
Kroger Gunning for Amazon
Kroger announced a deal with UK based online-grocer Ocado to build 20 customer fulfillment centers. Grocery stores remain largely a brick and mortar business in the U.S. with online sales only accounting for 1.5% of the total U.S. grocery market. But even if online grocery sales never surpass 10%, it still means a more than 6 fold increase in sales. The FT has more. But Americans are warming to grocery delivery. Walmart, the largest US grocer, reported a 33 per cent rise in online sales in its first quarter and said it was on track for a 40 per cent increase in the full year. Rodney … [Read more...]
Is Your State’s Pension System about to Collapse?
Katherine Loughead discusses state pension data from The Pew Charitable Trusts at The Tax Foundation. I've warned many times that states are under-funding their pensions and using unrealistic expected rates of return to hide their malfeasance (read here, here, here, and here). The low funding ratios are starting to bite. She writes: As of fiscal year 2016 (the most recent data available), states reported a combined $1.4 trillion in state pension plan funding deficits. Over the last two years, below-expected returns on investment and insufficient state allocations contributed to widening … [Read more...]
The Big Implications of Blockchain
“We’re quite confident that (blockchain) has big, big implications in supply chain, transportation and logistics. In the area where FedEx makes its living, this could be a big deal.” That's what FedEx CEO Fred Smith told the Consensus 2018 conference in early May. The blockchain technology Smith is excited about was touted by many at the Consensus conference, and could be applied in a range of industries. Steven Norton reports for The Wall Street Journal: Speaking at the Consensus 2018 conference, panelists described how distributed ledger technology could create an immutable data source … [Read more...]
America Records Lowest Birth Rates in 30 Years
In 2017, the United States recorded its lowest birth rate in 30 years. Population growth was the second lowest in 79 years, only slightly higher than 2013. Bloomberg reports: The number of births in the U.S. declined for the third year in a row in 2017 to 3,853,472, the lowest level since 1987, the National Center for Health Statistics reported Thursday. Births were down 2 percent, or 92,403, from 2016. The birth rate for women aged 15 to 39 declined from 2016 to 2017 but rose in that same time period for those aged 40 to 44. Teenage birth rates fell 7 percent from 2016 to a record low … [Read more...]
Are the Good Times over for Card Lenders?
For years credit card lenders have been reaping profits, but rising losses and consumers who demand more rewards for their business have lenders on their heels. AnnaMaria Andriotis writes: “The easy money has been made in card lending,” said Don Fandetti, consumer finance analyst at Wells Fargo & Co. While cards remain highly lucrative for banks, the benefits of a rising interest-rate environment have been muted lately. The added revenue of cardholders paying more in interest payments each month has also been offset by growing competition from lenders trying to poach card customers by … [Read more...]
This American City’s Economy is Humming like it’s 1955
Reporting for The Wall Street Journal, Bob Davis finds that Elkhart, Indiana is a modern day boomtown. With an economy built on the RV industry, the surge in demand for motorhomes, coupled with faster economic growth is driving labor shortages and increased pay in the small city. Davis writes: ELKHART, Ind.—The self-proclaimed RV capital of the world gives a glimpse of what the American economy looks like when operating at full tilt. High-school students around here skip college for factory jobs that offer great pay and benefits. For-hire signs sprout like roadside weeds. And workers … [Read more...]
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