At the close the Dow belly flopped 268 points on heavy trading volume to close at 27,783. Stocks had opened higher but then reversed when President Trump tweeted he was reinstating steel and aluminum tariffs on Brazil and Argentina. The thinking is that both nations have allowed their currencies to fall relative to the dollar which gives exporters an advantage over domestic steel producers as well as US farmers. The sudden move pushed steel stocks higher and caused alarm bells to go off in Brasilia and Buenos Aires. Adding to downside pressure is a wave of unhappiness from China over the signing of the Hong Kong pro-democracy bill. China said it will limit activities for 5 US human rights NGOs plus not allow US war ships into Hong Kong.
Early holiday shopping is off to a hot start. Total sales were up and when you break out online vs brick and mortar the Black Friday online sales were up 14% while traditional brick and mortar shopping saw a 4.2% increase. Today is “cyber Monday” which is a day where people pretend to work while they are actually shopping online. The strong retail data show the US consumer is in good shape which is positive for the overall US economy. In other economic news both ISM and HIS Markit released their respective Purchasing Manager Index or PMI which is an indicator of manufacturing activity. The ISM data showed a slight slowing of PMI while the IHS Markit data showed improvement and the highest reading since April. Now if I could just figure out which guru is correct; I too could be a guru.
The Scouts got the tree lot set up on Black Friday. Unfortunately, the weather was perfect. No rain, wind or snow. Sales so far have been good but with a Christmas tree shortage still in play growers are increasing prices. The troop decided to hold the line on price increases this year so it will be interesting to see how it all works out. Check out pictures on the Facebook page.