It was just days ago that U.S. stocks were flirting with the beginning of a market sell-off as evidenced by a 1.76% drop in the S&P 500 (source: BTN Research). Fears over the possible impact of the coronavirus on global trade, coupled with only the third presidential impeachment trial in American history, had the potential to make equity investors nervous. But instead of retreating, the S&P 500 rallied to set two more all-time closing highs last week (source: BTN Research).
The U.S. trade deficit, i.e., foreign imports in excess of domestic exports, dropped 2% ($11 billion) to $617 billion in calendar year 2019, the first decline in our trade deficit in six years. The tariff battle with China resulted in the lowest annual trade deficit the U.S. has had with Beijing since 2014: $346 billion, the difference between $452 billion of Chinese imports and $106 billion of American exports (source: Commerce Department).
The price of oil (West Texas Intermediate) closed at $49.61 a barrel last Tuesday 2/04/2020, the first-time American oil has closed below $50 a barrel since 1/08/19 or 13 months ago. The breakeven price for oil produced in the Permian Basin is estimated to be $50 a barrel. Two million barrels a day are produced in the Permian Basin out of 13 million barrels a day produced by all U.S. oil producers (source: Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas).
Notable Numbers for the Week:
- THAT JOB WAS FILLED – The USA has tracked job openings nationwide since December 2000. The number of job openings as of November 2019 was 6.800 million, down 561,000 from the prior month, the third largest month-over-month decline in the statistic’s history (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).
- LOOKING AHEAD – 41% of 1,903 young adults surveyed in January 2020 (adults between the ages 24-41) have less than $15,000 saved for their future retirement, while 24% of those surveyed have more than $100,000 saved for retirement (source: Bank of America Better Money Habits Millennial Report).
- U.S. vs. EUROPE – The U.S. economy grew by +2.3% in calendar year 2019, almost double the +1.2% growth rate achieved by the 19-nation Eurozone. Germany, the largest Eurozone economy, experienced just +0.6% growth in its economy in 2019 (source: Eurostat).
- GOT A NEW CAR – Americans purchased 17.0 million new vehicles (cars and light trucks) in 2019, down from a record 17.5 million in 2016, but well ahead of the 10.4 million vehicle sales in 2009. American car buyers also purchased 40.4 million used cars in 2019, an all-time record for the United States (source: Statista).