Stocks today continue to hit highs as the Dow gained 72 points on heavy trading volume to close at 21,963. Stocks ended the month of July at record levels. The Dow gained about 541 points or 2.5%. For the year the Dow is higher by 10.5%. Recent weakness in the NASDAQ tech space is being offset by strength in value stocks like banks, energy and materials. The market “advance decline line” remains positive indicating the current rally is broad and healthy.
In talking to a client who works in the trucking industry, new electronic log books will be required by the end of the year and he expects this will drive some of the old timers to retire. The new rules will favor the larger trucking companies and level the playing field since they already use electronic logs while the small operators us paper log books which can be fudged. Wages in the northwest for truckers who run local routes were $17 per hour last year but this year are up to $22 and could be headed to $24 as drivers are in short supply. Trucking companies are passing the costs through to end customer’s llike Amazon who seem to be willing to “pay up” and accept the reality of the situation. The bottom line is to expect higher wages for drivers, older independent drivers to retire and shipping costs to rise.
On the recent scout hike to Hidden Lake Lookout I discovered a new definition for the word “lunkhead”. It is where someone will pack in a full sized watermelon over 4 miles with 3,100 ft. elevation gain but not bring a cooking pot or toilet paper! Half way into the trip the scout in question was starting to groan which is when I found out he was packing the full sized casaba! I did tell him however that water melon is one of the 4 basic food groups. The other three being steak, baked beans and apple pie. There were 11 scouts on the trip. The kids were all amazed at the views and had a great time. While we need to work on packing smart it is true that watermelon tastes amazing at high elevations.