George Chamberlin's Money in the Morning

September 1, 2015

Good news, bad news. The good news is August is over. It was not pretty as the Dow industrials lost 6.6 percent, the biggest one-month decline in three years. The bad news is today is the first day of September, historically the worst month of the year for investors. And, if today is any example, things could get really bad this month. Early trading has the Dow down 300 points and it could have been worse. Right before the opening bell the NYSE invoked something called Rule 48 to make the opening trades less volatile and avoid another mini-flash crash like last Monday.

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Good news, bad news. The good news is August is over. It was not pretty as the Dow industrials lost 6.6 percent, the biggest one-month decline in three years. The bad news is today is the first day of September, historically the worst month of the year for investors.

It may be a new month but it is still the same old problem haunting stocks. Like the many months investors fretted over Greece, the constant drumbeat of China, China, China has been the primary problem weighing on stocks. And, of course, the two-day meeting of the Fed's open market committee begins two weeks from today and the ever present specter of an interest rate hike is frightful.

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By the way, the media has gone all in reporting the decline in stock prices. As was the case last week on Monday and Tuesday, the cable networks were wall-to-wall reporting on the carnage as prices plunged. Of course, when the markets rebounded on Wednesday and Thursday -- up a combined 990 points -- they quickly switched back to Hillary and The Donald.

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The major U.S. and foreign car companies are reporting August sales this morning and the numbers are strong. The industry is on track to sell 17.5 million vehicles this year, something that hasn't happened for a decade. And, people are more than willing to pay big bucks for a new car. Kelley Blue Book reported this morning the average price paid for a vehicle in July was $41,694, up 3 percent from the previous month. Amazingly, the price is $6,457 more than in July 2014. Lower gas prices have people buying bigger, more expensive SUVs and other big-ticket vehicles.

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The Commerce Department reported construction spending rose by 0.7 percent in July to an annualized rate of $1.08 trillion. It is the highest level since May 2008. Yes, more evidence the U.S. economy is humming along, picking up momentum, but ignored by the national business media and, therefore, most people.

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Oil prices are down 5 percent this morning, a loss of $2.44 to $46.82 a barrel, after posting a record increase in the past three trading sessions, up 27.5 percent. All of a sudden traders believe OPEC members are going to start cutting production because of the declining demand for the stuff. Of course, OPEC members never cut production. Period.

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Wall Street braces for losses as futures tumble. Yep, it's a headline today from MarketWatch.com. I looked up the definition of "tumble" and came up with: "To fall into ruin." So, perhaps they once again were overstating the situation on Wall Street.

Weekly Updates

George Chamberlin on the Markets

August 31, 2015 -- Executive Editor George Chamberlin recaps last week's financial events and looks at the week's upcoming announcements.

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Video Interviews

Interview with CBRE's Mike Hoeck

June 29, 2015 -- George Chamberlin and Mike Hoeck, a first vice president with CBRE, discuss how changes in the legal industry and the work environment affect law office space

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