Facebook became the world’s 22nd largest company after shares closed at an all-time high of $77.89 this week – putting the social networking company’s market value at more than $200 billion. The advance came as “investors bet on the company to capitalize on the future of mobile advertising.” (1) Next Crash Worse than 2008? Advisor to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence says recovery bogus—crash coming soon – learn more here. The unveiling of Apple’s new iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and Apple Watch on Tuesday sent the company’s shares on a roller coaster ride this week, with shares initially climbing nearly 5 percent before the announcement only to reverse the gains late in the day – finishing down 0.4 percent. Shares then rallied 3.1 percent on Wednesday to reclaim $100 a share. (2)
U.S. consumer credit surged by $26 billion to $3.24 trillion in July – marking the largest monthly advance since Nov. 2011 – as non-revolving loans climbed by the most in 3 years. Economists had called for a smaller increase of $17.35 billion. On an annual basis, consumer credit jumped 9.7 percent. (3) Next Crash Worse than 2008? Advisor to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence says recovery bogus—crash coming soon – learn more here. U.S. wholesale inventories made its smallest advance in 12 months – rising just 0.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted $533.76 billion in July compared to forecasts for an increase of 0.5 percent. However, with sales making a solid gain of 0.7 percent, the inventory slowdown is projected to be short-lived. (4) Australia’s unemployment rate sank from 6.4 percent to 6.1 percent in August, as the labor market added a record 121,000 jobs and the participation rate rose from 64.8 percent to 65.2 percent. Economist had called for the unemployment rate to make a slight decline to 6.3 percent with the addition of just 15,000 jobs. (5) Japan’s economy contracted more than anticipated in the second quarter – shrinking 7.1 percent versus forecasts of 7 percent – marking the largest downturn in more than 5 years. The decline came as a sales-tax hike weighed on retail sales and household spending. (6)
Barnes & Noble reported a Q1 loss of $0.56 a share – beating estimates for a loss of $0.63 – as the book retailer cut costs and the company’s gross profit margin rose from 27.7 percent to 31 percent year-on-year. Revenue fell, however, dropping 7 percent to $1.2 billion compared to forecasts of $1.26 billion. (7) The smaller than expected quarterly loss had shares rising to a 52-week high of $24.62. (8) Krispy Kreme’s Q2 profit advanced 22 percent to $5.8 million, as revenue rose 6.9 percent to $120.5 million. On an adjusted basis, the company’s earnings fell from $0.14 a share to $0.13 a share – missing forecasts of $0.16 – sending shares down more than 6 percent. (9) Kroger Co’s Q2 profit rose 9 percent to $347 million or $0.70 a share – surpassing Wall Street’s projection of $0.69 – as sales jumped 12 percent to $25.3 billion and the company benefited from the acquisition of Harris Teeter Supermarkets. The grocer also raised its full-year outlook from $3.19-$3.27 a share to $3.22-$3.28. The news sent shares higher. (10)
As anticipated, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand held its key interest rate at 3.5 percent, after lowering its inflation projection from 1.8 percent to 1.4 percent. The decision sent the kiwi to a 7 month low of 81.84 against the U.S. dollar. (11) The U.S. dollar climbed to a 6-year high of 106.56 against the yen this week, as U.S. Treasury yields rose – providing support for the dollar. (12) Australian dollar dropped to a 6-month low of 91.56 against the U.S. dollar this week, as speculation rose that both the U.K. and the U.S. could be seeing rate increases in the near-term. (13) The Canadian dollar fell to a nearly 4-month low of C$1.1032 against the U.S. dollar after crude oil dropped 1.4 percent to a more than 1-year low of $90.43 per barrel. (14)
According to Wednesday’s EIA report, the nation’s crude oil supplies dropped 1 million barrels to 358.6 million barrels last week compared to forecasts for a draw of 1.2 million barrels. Gasoline supplies made a surprise advance – rising 2.4 million barrels to 212.4 million barrels versus forecasts for a draw of 0.2 million barrels. Distillates jumped 4.1 million barrels to 127.5 million versus to forecasts for a build of 1 million barrels. The report had U.S. oil prices falling to an 8-month low of $91.49 a barrel. (15)
Natural gas storage rose by 92 billion cubic feet to 2.801 trillion cubic feet last week – exceeding forecasts for a build of 82 billion cubic feet. Supplies are 443 billion cubic feet lower year-on-year and 463 billion cubic feet below the 5-year average. (16)
In its most recent WASDE release, the USDA raised its domestic corn production estimate from 14.032 billion bushels to a record 14.395 billion bushels – topping forecasts of 14.31 billion – as ideal growing conditions sends yields to an all-time high of 171.7 bushels an acre versus forecasts of 170.7 bushels per acre. Following the report, corn prices dropped to a 4-year low of $3.3575 a bushel. (17) The agency also raised its domestic soybean production estimate from 3.82 billion bushels to an all-time high of 3.913 billion bushels – exceeding forecasts of 3.883 billion – as yields rise to a record 46.6 bushels per acre. The larger-than-expected projection sent soybean prices tumbling to a 4-year low of $9.695 a bushel. (18) The UN’s Food & Agriculture Organization raised its 2014/15 world wheat production forecast from 707.2 metric tons to a near record of 716.5 million tons. The estimate had wheat prices falling to a 4-year low of $5.155 a bushel. (19) Australia cut its 2014/15 wheat production forecast from 24.6 million metric tons to 24.2 million tons, as dry weather hurts yields. (20)
Gold prices fell to a 7-month low of $1,235.30 an ounce this week, as bets rose that the Fed Reserve would raise rates sooner than expected. Silver also fell – dropping to a 14-month low of $18.57 an ounce. (21) U.S. Mint gold coin sales have plunged 54 percent since the start of the year – dropping from 691,000 ounces sold during the same timeframe of 2013 to just 331,500 ounces – as demand the metal wanes. Total silver coin sales from June through Aug. have similarly declined – tumbling 41 percent from a year-earlier 11,306,500 ounces to 6,674,500 ounces. (22) South Africa’s mining output fell by a larger-than-expected annual rate of 7.7 percent in July versus forecasts for a decline of 6.35 percent, as output of platinum group metals plummeted more than 45 percent. (23)
A boost in sales brought on by higher prices likely has Vietnam’s coffee reserves standing at a 3-year low, with farmers holding “unsold inventories equal to 5 percent of the record harvest at the end of August from 10 percent a year earlier.” Forecasts also call for output during the 2014/15 season to fall 3 percent year-on-year to 1.65 million metric tons. (24) The USDA cut its 2014/15 domestic rice production estimate by 10.5 million cwt to 218.3 million, as yields fall from a previous estimate of 7,560 pounds to 7,501 pounds and harvest area is projected 116,000 acres lower at 2.91 million acres. (25)
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