Stocks were mixed to open the trading week. The Dow was down while the NASDAQ was higher. At the close the Dow posted a 53-point loss at 25,053. Trading volume was lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon rut. Trade negotiations with China are ongoing plus the White House is gearing up for a weekend getaway in North Korea.
Cleveland Cliffs, a miner of iron ore in the Great Lakes region, reported earnings on Friday posting a 36% revenue gain and an increase in net income of 600%. The company noted that demand for taconite is up as the steel industry in America continues to recover. A note of warning however came from the company as it relates to the January 25th failure of a dam owned by Vale, which operates in Brazil and is the biggest iron ore miner in the world. Vale supplies the bulk of ore to China and as a result of the failure, Vale will cut production by 10% resulting in global iron ore prices already starting to move higher by 10% and gurus think it could increase by 25% overall. Cliffs suggested that buyers should expect higher ore and steel prices globally as a result of this environmental disaster.
The Boy Scout snow camp was cancelled. With Seattle getting hit with a big snowstorm many scouts could not even make it to church from which we would leave for the trip. Then the gear was another issue since sleeping bags are rated to 20 degrees and the forecast was calling to -1 to 5 degrees at night plus increased travel times and the possibility of road closures. It looks like flaming snowballs will have to fly another day.