Inside | Real news, curated by real humans
Inside Finance

Inside Finance (Sep 13th, 2019)

1. The week will end with a mixed day on Wall Street. At last check, the Dow was up about 0.1 percent, the Nasdaq was down about 0.27 percent, and the S&P 500 was down 0.12 percent. Major companies making moves include tobacco giant Altria, which is continuing to slide amid vaping deaths and potential regulation. Many investors are already eager to get to next week when the Federal Reserve will meet and, if widespread predictions come true, cut benchmark rates. – CNN

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

2. The good news this Friday is rebounding consumer sentiment, as measured by the University of Michigan. The reading rose to 92, after hitting to a three-year low of 89.8 in August. Analysts had expected sentiment to rise after last month's dip, but the numbers beat expectations by nearly two points. All this is good news, but there are some downsides to the data. For one, the numbers are still well below July's reading of 98.4. Secondly, while consumers feel more confident about the economy in general, consumers are increasingly worried about the impact of tariffs. – MARKETWATCH

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

3. For today's #FollowFriday, let's follow economist and author Allison Schrager. She's made a name for herself by finding unique ways to show how risk and perceptions of risk affect economies far beyond Wall Street. Earlier this year, she compiled her thoughts on this issue into a book called "An Economist Walks Into a Brothel, and Other Unexpected Places to Understand Risk." More recently, she found similar lessons of risk in the world of paparazzi photographers.

Risk isn't her only area of specialty, though, and her Twitter feed is full of her latest thoughts on everything from European central banking, political proposals, and stock ownership. She's also a frequent podcast guest, and you can follow along with her thoughts on her personal website. – @AllisonSchrager

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

4. China has expanded its exemptions for U.S. products facing tariffs. The latest exemptions include soybeans, directly addressing American farmers who have been hit hard by tariffs so far. In 2017, China imported $12.2 billion in U.S. soybeans. In 2018, amid escalating tariffs on both sides of the Pacific, that number fell to $3.1 billion. The move comes after the Trump administration delayed a tariff hike for two weeks in a "gesture of good will" and recognition of the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China. – XINHUA

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

5. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the U.S. is seriously considering issuing a 50-year bond next year. The comments came after President Trump called for refinancing U.S. debt. While other countries like Mexico, Belgium, and Ireland have issued 50-year bonds (or longer), this would be a first for the U.S., which has so far issued a maximum of 30-year bonds. Longer bonds typically come with higher interest rates, but bond rates are nearing historic lows (remember the yield curve?), so the U.S. could issue the bonds with relatively lower rates. – NYT

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

6. On the debate stage last night, some Democratic 2020 hopefuls conveyed support for the Trump administration's tariffs. Three Democrats showed some support for tariffs. Mayor Pete Buttigieg from South Bend, Indiana said he wouldn't immediately repeal tariffs. Entrepreneur Andrew Yang also said he wouldn't repeal tariffs right away. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) didn't deny her support for steel tariffs. – MARKETWATCH

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

7. Yesterday was an especially busy day for financial news reporters. Since most of it happened more than 24 hours ago, I won't go into specifics, but CNBC did a great roundup article on the whirlwind of activity. Headlines included a massive bond-buying program overseas, inflation data that continued to fuel expectations of a rate cut, and the delayed tariffs that I mentioned earlier. If you've been unplugged from the news for the past 48 hours, this is a must-read. – CNBC

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

8. Amid reports of internal concerns about valuation, analyst and CNBC anchor Jim Cramer warned that WeWork's IPO could threaten the overall stock market. Cramer said there's too much negative sentiment surrounding the company, and the IPO's failure could spread to affect broader markets. He asked, "Why can't they just say, 'Hey, we're awful and we're going to wait until we're good again. We don't want to give them money. They're just going to screw up the market." – CNBC

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

9. Apple is trying to convince investors that Goldman Sachs used flawed logic when it significantly downgraded the company. Goldman Sachs is predicting that promos and discounts meant to attract customers to its streaming service will end up taking a hit on Apple's bottom line. Apple responded by disputing the math, saying "We do not expect the introduction of Apple TV+, including the accounting treatment for the service, to have a material impact on our financial results." – CNBC

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

10. While WeWork's IPO is in turmoil, Cloudflare successfully debuted on the public markets today—very successfully. At last check, the stock was up more than 20 percent at just over $18 per share. The company specializes in internet security and cloud services. – MARKETWATCH

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

Schuyler Durham writes Inside Finance. He’s a lifelong Portlander who got his start covering the local music scene, but later became enamored with the complexities of financial and political reporting. After three years in broadcast news, he's now diving back into the digital realm. You can keep up with his writing on Twitter at @SchuylerWriter or watch him goof around on Instagram at @bitterbuddha.

Editor: David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

  • Email gray

Subscribe to Inside Finance