Stocks meandered back and forth today before posting a small loss. The Dow fell 29 points at 21,783 on higher trading volume. The annual Jackson Hole Economic Policy Summit in Wyoming is underway and US Fed Chair Janet Yellen along with ECB Prez “Super” Mario Draghi will be headliners as they are set to talk but not expected to say anything (kind of like the guys on sports radio).
The US housing market continues to make progress. New home sales in July were off 9.4% but 76% of new home sales are homes either in the planning or construction phase. Existing home sales were off 1.3% in July however prices of both new and existing homes are up significantly plus the inventory of existing homes for sale is at its lowest point since 1994 having fallen 9% over the past year. With a strong jobs market, low interest rates, tight supply and rising prices it looks like US housing dynamics will remain positive.
Amazon has officially won approval to take over Whole Foods after everyone gave their blessings for the deal. The Seattle Times had a good article about Amazon and what it is doing to the city. Amazon now occupies over 19% of all class A office space in Seattle which is more than the next largest 40 companies combined! Years ago the company made the decision to set up shop in the downtown area in order to attract young creative workers who like the urban setting and appreciate free bananas. The article is worth reading and you can find it at www.seattletimes.com.
Oil prices were lower while gasoline prices rose as hurricane Harvey headed for the coast of Texas. Harvey could shut down about 1/3 of US refining. Oil companies are evacuating platforms in the gulf and refineries are battening down the hatches as well. The storm is expected to bring up to 30 inches of rain.