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The Best of What They Said and I Read Week Ending 11/17/2019

Short excerpts from articles I found interesting.   I may not agree with the author and the following material is not intended as investment advice

The Wall Street Journal – November 15, 2019 – Dow Jones Industrial Average Tops 28,000 for the First Time -  Gujan Banerji

  •  “The Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed 28000 for the first time Friday, notching a new record as fading recession fears extended the decadelong bull-market rally…Investors drove the Dow up 222.93 points, or 0.8%, to 28004.89—its 11th record close of 2019—as they cheered trade developments and a rosier economic outlook. The blue-chip gauge has logged four straight weeks of gains.   The S&P 500 and technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite also closed at records, extending their weekly winning streaks to six and seven, respectively.”

  • “This week’s optimism was spurred, in part, by White House economic adviser Lawrence Kudlow who indicated progress toward a potential trade deal with China and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell who noted strength in the economy. A better-than-feared corporate earnings season has also helped fend off fears of a downturn that had weighed on markets in recent months.”

  • “…The S&P 500 finished the week 0.9% higher. Its six consecutive weeks of gains are the longest such stretch in two years. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.8% this week.  Strong retail earnings like those from Walmart have spurred optimism that a strong holiday season could be ahead. Shares of J.C. Penney rose 6.4% Friday after the retailer boosted its financial outlook for the year and reported better-than-expected third-quarter results.”

Bloomberg – November 15, 2019 – Bill Gates Tops Jeff Bezos as World’s Richest Person with Amazon Slide -  Tom Metcalf

  •  “…Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates overtook Amazon.com Inc.’s Jeff Bezos as the world’s richest person on Friday, reclaiming the top ranking for the first time in more than two years.  Gates may have been helped in part by the Pentagon’s surprise decision announced Oct. 25 to award a $10 billion cloud-computing contract to Microsoft over Amazon. Shares of Microsoft have since climbed 4%, giving Gates a $110 billion fortune, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Amazon’s stock is down about 2% since the announcement, putting Bezos’s net worth at $108.7 billion.”

  • “Gates, 64, had briefly topped Bezos, 55, on an intraday basis last month after Amazon posted its first profit drop in two years, but shares of the world’s biggest online retailer pared the decline. The index, which tracks the wealth of the richest 500 people, is updated each trading day after U.S. markets close. Europe’s richest person, Bernard Arnault, is third with $102.7 billion.  Microsoft has surged 48% this year, boosting the value of Gates’s 1% stake. The rest of his wealth is derived from share sales and investments made over the years by his family office, Cascade.”

The Kiplinger Letter – November 15, 2019 

  •  “…A slew of electric cars is hitting the market. Technologically, they’re better than ever. But consumers aren’t buying many yet, despite hefty government incentives and regulations that strongly encourage automakers to build them…Widespread adoption of EVs is a decade off, probably. It’ll take that long for the cost of the batteries to fall enough and their driving range to improve enough that the typical buyer will view EVs as viable alternatives to traditional, gas-fueled autos. And while there are now tens of thousands of stations that offer high-voltage charging, the U.S. needs more before most drivers will be able to recharge on the go.” 

  • “Some challenges that must be overcome for sales of EVs to surge, aside from their high cost: How to reduce the time it takes to recharge. What to do with the batteries in old cars…Consumers are slowly warming to them, especially as their driving range improves…now up to almost 400 miles for pricey models, with 200 or so increasingly common. New models on the way will drive sales. Next up, electric pickup trucks. Several makers have EV trucks in the works, with promises of high towing capability, rugged off-road handling and sports car acceleration. They’ll cost a bundle initially. But given the red-hot truck market, expect plenty of affluent buyers to embrace them, especially folks with outdoorsy lifestyles who are drawn to new technology in general.”

  • “Both start-up firms and established giants like Ford are eyeing this potential market. Odds are EVs will colonize the suburbs first, before the cities or rural areas. Many suburban drivers have relatively short commutes, which are well suited for EVs. And more of them have houses with garages…key for installing high-voltage chargers. Charging at home is relatively cheap and generally costs less than fueling a gas car.” 

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