The Dow closed the week with a slight uptick while the NASDAQ was lower. Trade talks with China held investors in check but Boeing shares moved up and this pushed the Dow higher. At the close the Dow was up 1 point at 24,714. Trading volume was mixed. For the week the Dow was down about 0.5% and is at break even for the year.
Oil prices are rising even though the IEA has cut its global demand growth by 7%. One reason for higher prices is Venezuela which has seen oil production fall from 2.5 million barrels per day a year ago to 1.3 MMBPD now. The gurus are expecting oil production in the socialist paradise to fall another 30% by this time next year. Venezuela has an “election” this Sunday and after that could see US sanctions along with legal actions by international companies that have had assets stolen from them by the Maduro Gubment. These could further hit production rates. I read a news article which reported mass desertions from the Venezuelan military due to lack of food for the troops. Our old scoutmaster, Paul Hendricks, always said that when the scouts don’t get enough food things fall apart. Maybe Maduro should join a scout troop and learn something about leadership!
First Trust is reporting that housing starts in April fell 3.7% from the March level. Year over year starts however are up 10.2%. Starts dropped in April due to a decline in multifamily units while single family starts were higher. A single family start adds 2x more to the economy than a multifamily start. Going forward the gurus continue to expect strength in housing as higher interest rates and rising costs for lumber and land are offset by rising wages and a tight inventory.
Troop 100 is at the Aurora District annual Camporee this weekend at Ensign Ranch near Easton, WA, home of “Ron the Logger”. 40 scouts from our troop will compete with other troops on team events like navigation, cooking, first aid and the ever popular canoe race where last year our boat was t-boned and sunk by another boat. The weather looks to be good and the lunkheads are looking forward to having a good time. We have 8 new scouts in the troop so they will be on a steep learning curve.