Stocks took a pause yesterday for a few more passengers to get on board before moving higher today. Markets are so hot that even stocks like GE are starting to rise. At the close the Dow was up 205 points on heavy trade to close at a new record high of 25,574.
Wal-Mart announced a boost to its starting wage from $10 to $11 per hour plus a bonus of up to $1,000 smackers depending on seniority. Back in 2015 when the world was normal, Wal-Mart launched an effort to raise its minimum wage to $9 and then $10 within two years. Having completed that task the company is now capitalizing on the US tax overhaul saying it was an “opportunity” to continue the process while also staying competitive in a tight labor market. The higher wages and bonus will put an added $700 million into the pockets of Wal-Mart Employees. The company also expanded its maternity and parental leave policy.
The Energy Information Administration or EIA has reported the US is now a net exporter of natural gas on an annual basis for the first time since at least 1957. Net exports averaged about 0.4B cubic feet per day last year, flipping from net inflows of 1.8B in 2016. Chiniera Energy began shipping LNG from its recently completed Sabine Pass facility in the gulf to Europe and Asia while pipeline biggie Kinder Morgan is exporting increasing amounts of gas to Mexico via its pipeline. Mexico has falling oil production and is in the process of switching power plants from oil and imported Middle East LNG to natural gas from US shale fields.
Boy Scout troop 100 has decided to introduce our own crypto currency called the “lunkhead coin”. The Westport Mafia has graciously agreed to provide security on the project. The Lunkhead coin will join the over 1,300 other crypto currencies now trading on various exchanges around the world. Instead of lunkhead coin mining however we plan to have lunkhead coin “hiking”. You earn coin by going on hiking trips and the more miserable, tired and worn out you are the more coin you earn. In the end we will use lunkhead coins to buy Girl Scout cookies!