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Here’s What You Missed (11/23/18)

Daniel Chase

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There are certain ways of telling if someone has a few screws loose or not. I’m not talking about someone struggling with mental illness, this is an issue our country needs to take more seriously and provide support for. I’m speaking of certain mannerisms that can indicate if a person is just slightly off. For example, someone who pours the milk in the bowl before pouring in the cereal. You can’t sit there and tell me that’s not a strange decision to make. Or perhaps you empathize with people who sleep completely naked, except they still wear a pair of socks. What’s up with that? All I’m trying to say is that not everyone is perfect, and I encourage each and every one of you to observe your friends. Don’t make it weird by keeping a logbook of what you see, but just be aware. 

Here’s what you missed in the news yesterday.

Oh, It’s As Bad As We Thought 

Not sure where you stand on climate change, whether you believe it’s not taking place or we’re actually in deep trouble. Regardless of your opinion, the fourth installment of the National Climate Assessment (NCA) was released on Friday, and the news regarding the fate of our planet’s environmental health isn’t pretty. 

“The global average temperature is much higher and is rising more rapidly than anything modern civilization has experienced, and this warming trend can only be explained by human activities. Climate change creates new risks and exacerbates existing vulnerabilities in communities around the world, presenting growth challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth.”

NCA report 

As temperatures rise, the quality and quantity of crops will decline across the country, with heat stress (the effect temperature has on the temperament of farm animals) causing average dairy production to fall between 0.60% and 1.35% over the next twelve years. 

The Wheels On The Bus

Dozens of members from the University of Washington marching band were hospitalized after their bus overturned on a Washington interstate late Thursday evening. According to reports from state troopers at the scene, forty to forty-five people were transported to the local hospital, though no injuries were critical. 

“The injuries reported were cuts, complaints of general pain and back pain, but the injuries are not believed to be critical. The university is doing everything it can to ensure the health and safety our students and staff, and to get them back on their journey to Pullman. 

Victor Balta, UW Spokesperson 

Wait, Come Again?

In perhaps one of the most bizarre turn of events, a farmer was crushed to death on Friday when his dog, who was sitting in the cab of a forklift truck, accidentally pushed a lever, causing the vehicle to roll over dairy farmer Derek Mead. According to CNN, Mead was working on a rock garden in the back of his home and needed the forklift to carry the rocks from one location to the next. 

“The most likely explanation, which I accept, is that the dog that he had in the cab with him on that day inadvertently moved the shuttle lever, causing the forward motion on the Manitou, which sadly trapped Mr. Mead against the solid gate, causing injuries which he did not survive.”

Peter Harrowing, Assistant Coroner

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Fed Announces No Rate Cuts, But Sees A Cut In The Future

Joe Samuel

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fed rate cut jerome powell

For the past couple of years, the United States Federal Reserve has been in the middle of a lot of speculation. The trade war between the United States and China has created a clamor for cuts in interest rates.

But on Wednesday, the Fed held the interest rates as they were. Furthermore, the Fed officially announced that no cuts in interest rates were forthcoming in 2019. It’s interesting to note that the markets are betting heavily on a forthcoming rate cut from the Fed. Some even expect the cuts to be formalized in July.

Rate Cut Ahead?

The Fed has ruled out the possibility of any cuts this year (allegedly). But many market watchers believe that a lot depends on how the market conditions evolve over the coming months. The uncertainty regarding the trade war with China is a major problem.

Yet experts believe that if it turns into a prolonged skirmish, then the Fed might reconsider its position. The United States President Donald Trump has led been campaigning for lower rates from the Fed for some time.

After having delivered his statement on Wednesday, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell seemed to imply that rate cuts could not be completely out of the question in 2019.

“Many participants now see the case for a somewhat more accommodative policy has strengthened.”

The decision by the Fed was possibly one of the most-watched events in recent times. Long-term ramifications are the main concern.

Market participants had been calling for multiple cuts. But the Fed voted to keep benchmark rates within the 2.25% and 2.5% range. It was the range that had been back in December when the Fed had controversially raised the interest rates. The voted had been passed 9-1 in favor of holding the rate.

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Trade Talks Fail, What’s Next For The Market?

Jon Phillip

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The trade war between the United States and China has probably been the biggest economic and diplomatic development since the turn of the year. Although the world’s two biggest economies were locked in talks for months over a new trade deal, it all unraveled quickly.

This happened when US President Donald Trump stated that the Chinese went back on their word. He then imposed tariff hikes on Chinese goods last Friday. The tariffs were raised to an astonishing 25% on goods worth $200 billion. Although Trump might believe this might bully the Chinese into submission, many experts believe that might not be the case.

Difficulty in Completing Deal

The President had imposed these tariff hikes right before the Chinese delegation was supposed to show up at Washington. This was for which many had believed was going to be the last round of talks. However, experts now feel that the escalation of tensions between the two countries following the latest developments will make it difficult to reach a deal that could be considered a win for the US. As soon as the tariffs kicked in, Beijing announced that it was looking at countermeasures as well. However, there were no specifics on the nature of these measures.

Last year, the two nations had been embroiled in a damaging retaliatory tariff war and it could lead to a protracted trade war, if the Chinese decided to resort of the same tactics. The Chinese delegation is going to be in Washington this week to engage in another round of talks but it is believed that a binding trade deal is unlikely to be signed.

Is A Trump Win Likely?

One of the biggest reasons why the deal might not be signed anytime soon is perhaps the fact that the US President needs to be able to claim it as a win for himself. The President has staked his personal weight behind a favorable deal for the US. But with every passing day, it is looking increasingly unlikely that it is going to happen.

If that is to happen, then China’s entire way of doing business will need to change. This is starting at intellectual property theft and expands to technology transfers by force from US companies. If those things are not part of the deal, then it would not be the sort of deal that can be claimed as a win for the US. It doesn’t help that today, China came in with its own tariffs. China will raise tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. goods, the Chinese Finance Ministry said Monday.

And in true Trump fashion, the U.S. may not be done retaliating. The U.S. President has threatened to put 25% tariffs on $325 billion in Chinese goods that remain untaxed. The president has signaled he is content leaving the duties in place, arguing they will damage China more than the U.S. What are your thoughts?

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Can 102 Words Really Impact Stock Prices?

Joe Samuel

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trump tweet

In short, the answer is yes.  We’ve witnessed, first hand, this week how just a few words can drastically impact the stock market.  If you’re just tuning in, at the beginning of the first full week of May, U.S. President Donald Trump Tweeted out a 102-word post that ended up triggering a sell-off costing the global markets around $1.36 TRILLION…with a “T”!

The “Trump Tweet” expressed that he would once again increase tariffs on Chinese goods by the end of this week. What followed has been a shock to the global markets with futures pointing at dramatic declines every day this week.  Though some say that the decline are all but a speed bump, it still hasn’t helped the fact that this drop is one of the worst seen all year. People like Kerry Craig of JPMorgan Asset Management think that a trade deal can still be reached.  The expectations, however, have been readjusted to reflect a more long-term time horizon.

Eyes Turn Toward The Second Half Of The Week

Other analysts like Oanda Asia Pacific’s Jeffrey Halley feel that investors are prudently “lightening their loads.” Halley said, “My feeling is that investors are lightening their portfolios as a precaution.”

All eyes are on the second half of this week.  As we reported on May 7th, Vice Premier Liu He, China’s top trade negotiator will be heading to the US to talk trade this week.  

“Liu will be in the U.S. from May 9-10. The invite comes from both the U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.” Regardless of what “will happen,” what has happened thus far has been an emotionally charged & very fragile global market. As this story develops we will continue to follow with more updates.

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