The month of February came to a close with the Dow off 69 points on mixed trading volume to at 25,916. For the month of February, the Dow gained about 3.6%. Global drama continues with the North Korea summit ending abruptly while China trade talks waffle. Up north in Canada there appears to be a political scandal brewing with PM Trudeau over a Canadian company that had dealings in Libya. Ah, the drama never stops! Who needs movies when you have real life.
The first estimate for 4th quarter GDP growth came in at 2.6% which is higher than expected. The gurus were looking for a reading of 2.2%. The data showed strength in personal consumption and business investment which combined, grew 3.1%. Areas of weakness included net exports and home building. In a bold call, Brian “Mr. Sunshine” Wesbury, chief economist at First Trust and honorary member of the Westport Mafia, said a pickup in business investment this deep into an economic cycle suggests that tax cuts could be resetting the economic clock and thereby increasing the odds of an interest rate hike later this year.
Amazon just backed out of a lease for office space in the Rainier Square development and will now sublease that space as it begins to cap its footprint in the downtown Seattle area. The company noted that it has more than 45,000 employees in Seattle and with current construction projects it foresees adding about 10,000 more workers by the end of 2020. Bellevue however is a different story. As recently as 2016, amazon had zero presence in Bellevue but is now on track to become the largest employer with a projected 4 million feet of space which can sustain approx. 25,000 employees. The move into Bellevue began last year when Amazon took control of the office building being vacated by Expedia which is moving to Seattle. The Puget Sound Business Journal has noted that since the company bolted from the Bronx it has quietly engaged developers in Bellevue for additional space.
Starbucks just opened its first reserve roastery in Tokyo, Japan. Check out pix on our Faceplant page