Stocks were higher on positive trade news. The Dow gained 157 points on mixed volume to close at 24,527. Health care stocks were strong as were auto stocks that might benefit from lower tariffs plus the introduction of the new Ford Ranger pickup.
Home improvement retailer Lowe’s saw its stock rise thanks to the company issuing positive forward guidance and upping its stock buyback program from $4.5 billion to $14.5 billion. CFO David “Doorknob” Denton said the company expects continued sales growth of 3% and plans to shut 51 stores in the US and Canada that are underperforming and open 8 new ones. Shares are higher on the news.
According to the South China Morning Post, car sales in China have now declined for 6 consecutive months. The China Passenger Car Association said on Monday that retail sales of vehicles dropped 18% to 2,050,000 units in November putting China on pace to have its first annual decline in car sales in almost two decades. This slowdown is having an effect in Germany which has relied on China for growth of its auto industry. Some German car companies have recently lowered earnings and sales estimates as a result. VW, which is the largest car seller in China, expects flat numbers this year but a return to growth by 2020. Tesla meanwhile is starting construction on a gigafactory in China and is planning on expanding electric car production in the Sino region.
The Boy Scouts are wrapping up another successful Christmas Tree sale. Once again, the lunkheads sold over 2,000 trees and had a great time doing it. The proceeds will be used to fund the troop and send kids to camp and on hikes for the coming year. Our next trip is a mid-January snow camp near Mt. Rainier. I tell people that when they put the Christmas tree up in their house they should take comfort in knowing that they helped some poor kid experience challenging conditions all while being wet, hungry, cold and tired. Now there is a great Christmas gift!