Markets rallied as President Trump said that he would postpone tariffs on a few items until after December 15th. Cell phones, laptops, video games, toys, are a few items that will receive a reprieve for the time being. Trump targeted holiday gift items in order to prevent skyrocketing prices heading into the holiday season, and the markets reacted with big gains at the start of the session. The Dow gained 372 points and closed at 26,279. Oil prices also moved up after taking hits over the last couple weeks, it now sits at roughly $57 a barrel.
Along with trade, interest rates have been a big topic of conversation. First Trust economist and honorary member of the Westport Mafia, Brian Wesbury, thinks interest rates get too much attention and credit for their effect on the economy. While they certainly play a role, he points to Europe and the negative interest rates that are being issued there. Banks are currently being punished for holding reserves at their respective Feds, getting charged negative rates to hold cash in their account as they are trying to be encouraged to loan money. But this hurts the bottom line and weakens the financial institutions while they try to stay prudent and find credit worthy borrowers. He believes there are other ways to stimulate economies other than using low interest rates, which is also why he doesn’t believe the U.S. Fed needed to lower interest rates during their last session. The data shows this as inflation is 2.2% over the last 12 months, and on pace for 2.8% annually, while job growth continues to stay on pace, and unemployment is low. Instead of focusing on interest rates, he suggests better fiscal policy and an improved regulatory environment to incentivize innovation and entrepreneurship.
Viacom and CBS have agreed to a merger, proving that you can put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Viacom spun off CBS in 2006, and over the last couple of years the two parties have been in discussions to merge again in order to compete with mega media companies like Disney and AT&T. Talks had previously faced difficulties when they were discussing who would run the combined company, but since the former CBS CEO, Les Moonves, stepped down amid sexual harassment allegations, the vision of who would run the company became clearer, leaving Viacom CEO Bob Bakish as the only option.
Last night, Bill and the Boy Scouts (sounds like a cool band!) took flight to Switzerland. Today they made a stopover in Iceland, where they were able to try….hotdogs! We will continue to keep you up to speed as we get updates from Bill. Check out the FacePlant page for all the latest photos.