Stocks continue to creep higher as the Dow gained 35 points to 19,251 on lighter volume. Tech stocks are starting to rebound after a post election beating and the NASDAQ was up on higher volume. Banks continue to show strength as do material stocks like steel.
Over the weekend Italy voted to reject gubment reforms and in doing so sent PM Renzi packing. Italy will hold elections sometime in 2017 and the results of the referendum are expected to be a blow to attempts by the ECB to boost growth in the region. Italy is in the middle of a banking crisis and the vote was seen as a message to Germany and Brussels that Italians want what they feel is best for them instead of what is best for the EU as a whole. Italy’s oldest bank, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, has sent notice that it is short of capital and faces going under. The entire Italian banking system has an estimated $387 Billion in non-performing loans or NPL’s with only a few billion left in the bailout fund. So far Italian markets are holding steady and outsiders from the US and Middle East could be angling to “help” out these banks in a way that would yield gains for these outsiders. Stay tuned as this story ain’t over.
Amazon rolled out a new product called Amazon Go. It is a grocery store with no checkout lines. You just fill your bag with what you need and head out the door. An app and computer technology figures out what you took and bills your account. Some are calling it an end of jobs since checkout clerks will no longer be needed. Maybe they could apply this same concept to gas stations in Oregon and New Jersey.
WTI crude oil ended the day down 2% to $50.72 per barrel. Gold lost about a half point to $1,169 an ounce.
The scout Christmas tree sales are going well. We are getting reports of growers selling out of stock and scrambling to meet demand. Wreaths are especially hot this year. We sold out by mid Saturday and even the grocery store next door was sold out by mid Sunday. It was a feeding frenzy but the scouts held their own as millennial families swooped in on Audi Quatro’s and snagged nobles.