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|10-YR Yield||-.012 to 1.939%|
|Gold||-$5.30 to $1,199.30|
|Crude Oil||+$0.33 to $51.97|
The 2016 election field just got a lot more crowded!
First, Democrat Hillary Clinton officially launched her campaign on Sunday afternoon. She used social media and video outlets like Twitter (TWTR, Weiss Ratings: D+) and Google’s (GOOGL, Weiss Ratings: B+) YouTube to make it official, saying “Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion.”
Clinton has huge name recognition, and years of experience as a candidate, New York Senator, and Secretary of State. She also has a huge war chest of cash, and won’t have any trouble raising more. That makes her the presumptive Democratic nominee even at this early stage.
On the other hand, campaign strategists say she has to make this campaign more about the struggles facing lower-and-middle-income Americans, and less about her and husband and former President Bill Clinton. She also has to counter perceptions she is less accessible and personable than other candidates, and willing to skirt the law for personal ambitions — two charges that have popped up over time.
|Regardless of who ends up in the White House, we’re likely to see a different approach to policy than the one taken by Obama.|
Second, Republican Senator Marco Rubio is entering the race today as a candidate targeting both independent and establishment members of his party.
He wants to reform immigration law, take a more hawkish stance on foreign policy than Obama, improve the tax system, and use his personal charisma to become the GOP nominee. Supporters also note that Rubio would likely draw strong support from Hispanic voters. That would attract a powerful and growing demographic group to the conservative cause, and away from the Democrats.
|“The Democratic nomination looks like Clinton’s to lose.”|
But Rubio has less heft with his party and name recognition than Jeb Bush, who will soon enter the race. And he is seen as relatively young and inexperienced, with some establishment Republicans preferring he wait another four or even eight years to enter the presidential election fray.
Bottom line: The stakes are getting much higher for 2016! The Republican field keeps getting larger, even as the Democratic nomination looks like Clinton’s to lose. Regardless of who ends up in the White House, we’re likely to see a significantly different approach to policy than the one taken by Obama over the past two terms.
So what do you think of Clinton and Rubio? Do you like Clinton’s focus on everyday Americans? Or do you think it’s just election tripe? Do you think Rubio is a strong upstart who can shake up the Republican field? Or is his inexperience and hawkish foreign policy approach a problem for you? How do they stack up to the other candidates who have already declared their candidacies?
You know what to do: Head over to the Money and Markets website and weigh in with your remarks!
|Our Readers Speak|
Meanwhile, I hope you had a great weekend and took the opportunity to share your thoughts on the markets!
There were a lot of solid, well-thought-out comments on General Electric’s (GE, Weiss Ratings: B) latest move to “De-congolmerat-ize” itself, and on what the company is going to do with the money raised. For instance, Reader John shared some extensive thoughts on the company’s structure, the history of conglomerates, and what else might be behind the move.
Reader Steve noted the curious timing of GE’s transactions, saying: “I find it interesting that GE is reducing its stake in the financial industry related to real estate. This is a strategic move to take profits off the table before interest rates increase (over the next 2 years). Rate increases will slow real estate sales and impact asset value.”
Reader Fred1 also picked up on that theme, saying: “I don’t care much for Jeff Immelt, but I think that the timing of this move is good … IF he can pull it off fast enough. We are near a top and he needs to do all of this quickly. On the other side of the fence, I think that Blackstone (BX, Weiss Ratings: B+), Wells Fargo (WFC, Weiss Ratings: A) and Warren Buffett are going to regret their moves for a lllllonnggggg time.”
As for spending the billions and billions of dollars raised by its corporate transactions, Reader Walt B. offered this perspective:
“Raise wages? What kind of socialist collectivist drivel is that? The investment is made by stockholders, not employees. The job of any business is to return equity to owners. Consequently, the work force is to be obtained at the lowest possible price which contributes to that goal. A combination of recurrent performance and retention are the consideration. Anything more is charity.”
But Reader Chuck B. countered with the following thought: “A very smart capitalist named Henry Ford realized that if he raised the wages of his employees, they might buy the products they were producing and ride to work in their own Model-Ts, instead of paying fares to the local transit company.
“It also made them happier and perhaps more productive as they and their families could live to a higher standard. It worked out pretty well at the time, and made him very wealthy.”
Thanks again to everyone who contributed. I should make clear that I don’t support government ordering GE to distribute its billions to workers. I’m just saying that if the company did — and other companies followed suit — it would help broaden out the economic recovery.
Stockholders have done very well in this expansion, and that’s great for investors like us who have the foresight and ability to take advantage of it. But job and wage growth has lagged, and that’s one reason many on Main Street don’t feel as wealthy now as they did in the early-2000s and mid-1990s expansions.
Here’s the link if you want to keep any of these discussions going — as always, I welcome your feedback!
|Other Developments of the Day|
Smartphone chipmaker and chip patent firm Qualcomm (QCOM, Weiss Ratings: B) rose sharply at the open amid pressure from activist investment firm Jana Partners. Jana wants Qualcomm to spin out its chip business, cut costs, buy back more shares, and otherwise get leaner and meaner. It owns more than $2 billion worth of QCOM shares, shares that ended up surrendering all their early gains — and then some — by the close.
So how many Apple (AAPL, Weiss Ratings: A+) Watches did the tech giant manage to move on its first day of sales? Research firm Slice Intelligence estimates around 1 million, with more than 60 percent opting for the cheaper Sport model.
Regardless of whether the dollar’s run is just about over, as I believe, or still has room to run, one thing is clear: Its massive move over the past year is creating big winners and losers on the global chessboard. This Bloomberg story goes into much more detail about who is benefitting and who is suffering as a result of the greenback’s gains. Definitely worth a read.
I’m not really a golf fan. But I know plenty who are, and they were definitely paying attention to the Masters tournament over the past few days. Twenty-one-year-old Jordan Spieth won the green jacket, tying former champion Tiger Woods’ record score of 18-under-par.
Any comments on these stories? Concerned that I missed other important ones? Want to tell me about it? Then use the website to let me have it!
Until next time,