In a "watershed" move that has industry watchers scratching their heads, and which will ripple throughout the auto industry, General Motors announced that it is ending a 25-year practice and switching its reporting of U.S. auto sales from monthly to quarterly, effective immediately, in "an effort to give a more accurate view of its business operations." According to the US automaker, Q2 sales will be released on July 3, Q3 sales on Oct. 2 and Q4 sales on Jan. 3, 2019. The latest US sales report for March 2018, will be released as previously scheduled on April 3 at 9:30am ET, at which point there will be a three month radio silence. The change, which does not impact dealers reporting monthly sales to the automaker, was announced Tuesday ahead of GM releasing U.S. light-duty vehicle sales for March, its last monthly report. It follows by five years a decision to stop reporting North American production data. Fiat Chrysler has followed suit on that front. It is unclear how or why providing market updates two-thirds less frequently is supposed to provide a "more accurate view" of the business, and the transition has pundits wondering just how bad recent trends must be for the company to resort to such a dramatic adjustment in public reporting. Coincidentally, the announcement comes just hours after we published that the "Subprime Auto Bubble Bursts As "Buyers Are Suddenly Missing From Showrooms." How did GM justify the move? GM cited monthly sales being subject to many issues that make them more volatile than quarterly sales, including product launch activity, weather, other seasonal factors, the number of selling days and incentive activity. "Thirty days is not enough time to separate real sales trends from short-term fluctuations in a very dynamic, highly competitive market," Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of sales operations, said in a statement, even though it was for nearly three decades. "Reporting sales quarterly better aligns with our business, and the quality of information will make it easier to see how the business is performing." Once again: one wonders what the real cause for the unexpected lack of clarity truly is. According to Autonews, GM is the first major automaker to change how it reports monthly light-vehicle U.S. sales results since the industry dropped 10-day reports in the early 1990s. It is a step certain to be considered by other automakers - if it hasn't been already. Some more details on the decisions: as Autonews adds, the company conducted due diligence prior to making the decision. That included analyzing nearly three years of stock trading data on sales days and researching how other industries and companies report sales. GM benchmarked companies such as Amazon Inc., Apple Inc., AutoNation, John Deere, Penske Corp., Walmart Inc. and Whirlpool Corp. -- all of which do not report sales on a monthly basis. California electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla Inc. also reports quarterly sales instead of monthly results. Well yes, if GM polls companies which all report sales on a quarterly basis, it will find precisely what it is looking for. The question is why was GM reporting sales monthly for decades, and nobody had a problem with that. Until now. "GM gave this decision a lot of thought," said IHS Markit senior analyst Stephanie Brinley, adding this "wasn't a knee jerk" reaction to its sales or business operations. "Other automakers are going to have to take that same look." Michelle Krebs, executive analyst with Autotrader, said she wouldn't be surprised if other automakers followed GM in reporting on a quarterly basis. "I understand the reasons they are doing it," she said. "There can be a lot of fluctuation during a month." Krebs compared the newest change to the auto industry switching from 10-day sales reports to monthly sales in the '90s. "What happened was they decided to go monthly, and everybody did it," she said. "That would make me believe everybody is going to follow suit and follow GM's lead." Foreign units of GM will have separate treatment of sales reporting: GM's Canadian operations, according to company spokesman Jim Cain, will continue to issue monthly sales results. GM China, the automaker's top-selling market, will cease reporting on a monthly basis; however its joint ventures will continue to report wholesale volumes to government and industry associations. GM's operations in Brazil and Mexico will also continue to report sales to their respective associations. Cain declined to speculate if the company expects other companies will cease reporting sales on a monthly basis. "With respect to competitors, we're doing what we think is right for our business," he said. "Competitors will have to assess for themselves whether it makes sense to continue with the status quo." If others do follow GM, it could take years for the entire industry to move to quarterly reporting, much like it did to shift to monthly. For example, the former Chrysler Corp. eliminated 10-day reports in 1991; GM didn't do so until 1994. The move is merely the latest attempt by GM to mask and massage trend data; it comes nearly five years after GM stopped holding a monthly sales call with media and investors, something Ford Motor and other competitors continue to do. Switching to quarterly sales reporting, Krebs cautioned, could lead to "less transparency" and "leave an information gap" for the industry, which could lead to unintended speculation, particularly if some automakers follow GM but others do not. Naturally, GM argues it is not being less transparent, as it will continue to report the same amount of information on a quarterly basis as it currently does monthly. The disclosed data includes total deliveries, brand and nameplate sales, fleet mix and inventory, more than many of its competitors report. The company will also continue sharing J.D. Power PIN estimates for incentive spending and average transaction prices. In the end, all that will happen is that wealthy hedge funds will start using satellite tracking services to keep tabs on dealer lots and be informed on a day to day basis about trends, while the rest of the investing public will once again have to wait for months to realize why the stock - if indeed the subprime bubble has not burst - is down.
The serial entrepreneur was also the one-time owner of the Miami Dolphins, Florida Marlins and Florida Panthers.
Lower discounts, rise in interest rate and stringent credit conditions tamed consumer demand for new vehicles sales, brightening the prospects for used vehicles market.
Employers struggling to fill jobs have begun to relax or eliminate drug testing requirements amid increased marijuana legalization and a tightening U.S. job market. Drug testing has been standard procedure for decades across a variety of industries, ranging from finance to manufacturing to healthcare - which several employers have begun to eschew. Las Vegas based Excellence Health Inc., for example, stopped testing employees for marijuana two years ago - and completely dropped drug tests in the beginning of 2018 for employees on the pharmaceutical side of the business. “We don’t care what people do in their free time,” said company spokesperson Liam Meyer. “We want to help these people, instead of saying: ‘Hey, you can’t work for us because you used a substance." The company also provides a hotline for workers who might be struggling with drug issues. MassRoots employee taking pot break during brainstorming sessionIn February, AutoNation Inc. - the largest auto dealer in the country, announced it would no longer refuse job applicants who tested positive for marijuana, while the Denver Post ended pre-employment drug testing last September for all positions that don't require safety precautions. As the Daily Caller reported in February, the manufacturing industry in Ohio has experienced stunted growth because many potential employees are also addicted to drugs - primarily opioids. "Steve Staub, who runs Staub Manufacturing Solutions in Ohio, attended the State of the Union address Tuesday as a special guest to President Donald Trump. While there, aside from participating in the pageantry, Staub discussed problems in the manufacturing industry and business in general with the president. Staub mentioned to Trump the toll the opioid crisis has had on business’ ability to fill jobs. About two million Americans nationwide are addicted to the drug. The crisis has been particularly hard on Staub’s home state of Ohio, were thousands of job applicants are turned away because of substance abuse," reports the Caller. “In Ohio alone, they have about 20,000 available jobs in manufacturing. In Dayton, Ohio, where I’m from, we have about 4,000 jobs available today in manufacturing that we can’t fill,” Staub told TheDCNF. “We can’t get people to pass a drug test.” States that have legalized either recreational or medicinal marijuana now lead the way in companies which are dropping drug tests. A survey last year by the Mountain States Employers Council of 609 Colorado employers found that the share of companies testing for marijuana use fell to 66 percent, down from 77 percent the year before. -Bloomberg Last year the Fed noted in their traditionally drab Beige Book that employers are having an increasingly difficult time finding qualified and skilled workers to fill empty positions. Labor markets remained tight, and employers in most Districts had more difficulty filling low-skilled positions, although labor demand was stronger for higher skilled workers. Modest wage increases broadened, and reports noted bigger increases for workers with skills that are in short supply. A couple of Districts reported that worker shortages and increased labor costs were restraining growth in some sectors, including manufacturing, transportation, and construction. And according to the Boston Fed the qualified labor shortage is so bad, that the hit rate on hiring after a simple math and drug test, collapses below 50%. To wit: Labor markets in the First District continued to tighten somewhat. Many employers sought to add modestly to head counts (although one manufacturer laid off about 4 percent of staff over the last year), while wage increases were modest. Some smaller retailers noted increasing labor costs, in part driven by increases in state minimum wages being implemented over a multi-year period. Restaurant contacts, particularly in heavy tourism regions, expressed concern about possible labor shortages this summer, exacerbated by an expected slowdown in granting H-2B visas. Half of contacted manufacturers were hiring, though none in large numbers; several firms said it was hard to find workers. One respondent said that during a recent six-month attempt to add to staff for a new product, two-thirds of applicants for assembly line jobs were screened out before hiring via math tests and drug tests; of 400 workers hired, only 180 worked out. According to data from Quest Diagnostics Inc., failed drug tests reached an all-time high in 2017, which is estimated to get worse as more people begin to use state-legalized marijuana. “The benefits of at least reconsidering the drug policy on behalf of an employer would be pretty high,” according to Mercer Law School professor Jeremy Kidd, who wrote a paper on the economics of workplace drug testing. “A blanket prohibition can’t possibly be the most economically efficient policy.” Kidd also believes that eliminating drug testing would benefit the overall economy, allowing employers to hire the best, and theoretically most-productive workers which would otherwise not fall under consideration due to their recreational (or medical) habits. Indeed, more and more companies having a hard time hiring with unemployment around 4 percent are quietly pulling back on their strict drug policies. “Employers are really strapped and saying ‘We’re going to forgive certain things,’” said James Reidy, a lawyer that works with employers on their human resources policies. Reidy knows of a half-dozen other large employers that have quietly changed their policies in recent years. Not all companies want to advertise the change, fearing it might imply they are soft on drugs. (Even former FBI director James Comey in 2014 half-joked about the need for the bureau to re-evaluate its drug-testing policy to attract the best candidates.) -Bloomberg Employers are justifying the changes by claiming pre-employment testing isn't worth the expense in a society which has become increasingly accepting of recreational drug use. In October, a Gallup poll found that 64 percent of Americans favor legalizing marijuana - while Republican support for legalization is now at a majority level. When Gallup began asking the question in 1969, just 12% of American supported changing Marijuana's legal status. As Gallup concludes: "As efforts to legalize marijuana at the state level continue to yield successes, public opinion, too, has shifted toward greater support. The Department of Justice under the current Republican administration has been perceived as hostile to state-level legalization. But Attorney General Jeff Sessions could find himself out of step with his own party if the current trends continue. Rank-and-file Republicans' views on the issue have evolved just as Democrats' and independents' have, though Republicans remain least likely to support legalizing pot." With drug tests costing employers between $30 and $50 each time, the value of maintaining a drug-free workplace has become less and less attractive tradeoff. While pre-employment drug testing has waned in recent years, dangerous jobs such as operating heavy machinery and flying airplanes will always require checks. Companies which also contract with the U.S. government will also likely continue the practice of drug testing in accordance with federal mandates. Not all employers are feelin' the vibe. Burger King parent company Restaurant Brands International Inc isn't altering its corporate marijuana policy, according to CEO Daniel Schwartz. Ford Motor Co. similarly treats pot as an illegal substance. Said companies have an ally in Attorney General Jeff Sessions - whose war on marijuana is in direct conflict with several statements made by President Trump on the campaign trail in which he said the federal government should leave weed policy to the states. "In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state-by-state," Trump told The Washington Post. "… Marijuana is such a big thing. I think medical should happen — right? Don't we agree? I think so. And then I really believe we should leave it up to the states." Sessions, meanwhile, rescinded Obama-era policies in January which enabled state-legalized cannabis industries to thrive. The uncertainty caused by the DOJ's actions may put a crimp in both the industry, as well as employer plans to relax their drug policies. Moreover, employers have to weigh the financial costs of changing their rules surrounding drug tests - as discounts are often offered on workers' compensation insurance for companies which maintain "drug free" workplaces. That said, the type of job the test is for makes a huge difference - as white collar and other clerical positions are less likely to have many workers comp claims vs. factory jobs, for example. For many employers, the money saved by meeting the "drug free zone" qualifications isn't worth the savings. “We assume that a certain level of employees are going to be partaking on the weekends,” said Reidy. “We don’t care. We’re going to exclude a whole group of people, and we desperately need workers.”
Authored by Simon Black via SovereignMan.com, Over the weekend on Saturday morning, amid its usual fanfare and attention, Warren Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway released its annual report to the public. This is a pretty big deal each year. Investors and financial reporters typically wait with baited breath to hear what the Oracle himself has to say in his legendary annual letter. Buffett’s topics in previous letters have covered a lot of ground– the state of the US economy, value investing education, why Wall Street is so deeply flawed, commentary on financial markets, etc. This year’s letter was, as usual, quite interesting… but primarily because of what Buffett said about his own business. Berkshire Hathaway is an enormous enterprise; it’s essentially a $500 billion holding company that owns dozens of smaller businesses, all of which collectively generate tens of billions in free cash flow. Buffett’s primary mission is to acquire more businesses and expand Berkshire’s portfolio… and then ensure that each of those subsidiaries has top quality management to grow the cashflow. And that’s what was so interesting about this year’s letter: Buffett couldn’t really do his job. According to Warren Buffett himself: In our search for new stand-alone businesses, the key qualities we seek are durable competitive strengths; able and high-grade management; good returns on the net tangible assets required to operate the business; opportunities for internal growth at attractive returns; and, finally, a sensible purchase price. That last requirement proved a barrier to virtually all deals we reviewed in 2017, as prices for decent, but far from spectacular, businesses hit an all-time high. Now, consider that Berkshire Hathaway’s cash pile rose to an astonishing $116 billion at the end of 2017. With that much money on hand, very few companies are out of Buffett’s reach. Specifically, $116 billion would have been enough money to acquire any one of 465 out of the 500 largest companies in the United States– including Nike, Starbucks, UPS, Netflix, and Ford. Even more, Buffett had enough cash to collectively acquire a full TWENTY FIVE of the smallest companies in the S&P 500 (including AutoNation, Staples, Bed Bath & Beyond) and still have several billion dollars left over. But he didn’t. Even though one of his key roles is to acquire businesses and bring them into the Berkshire Hathaway tent, he didn’t acquire a single one of those companies. Why? Because they’re ALL overpriced. Read that quote again: “[P]rices for decent, but far from spectacular, businesses hit an all-time high.” He went on to write, “Indeed, price seemed almost irrelevant to an army of optimistic purchasers.” Investors are essentially paying record prices for shares of businesses that aren’t even all that great. Now, Buffett didn’t specifically advise people to avoid stocks. But actions speak louder than words. And Buffet’s not buying. Think about that: one of the richest guys in the world– one of the most successful investors in history– thinks assets are too expensive to buy. People don’t tend to get rich (or stay that way) by buying mediocre assets at all-time highs. The time to buy is when prices crash… when the highest quality assets can be acquired for peanuts. And as sure as night follows day, prices will decline. Asset prices always move in boom/bust cycles. As Buffett himself wrote in the annual report, In the next 53 years our shares (and others) will experience declines resembling those in the table. No one can tell you when these will happen. The light can at any time go from green to red without pausing at yellow. He knows there will always be periods of panic and fear when asset prices crash. But “[w]hen major declines occur, however, they offer extraordinary opportunities. . .” Taking advantage of these opportunities requires having sufficient ammunition. Namely, cash. If you want to be able to acquire the highest quality assets when prices crash, you have to be liquid. You can’t have your wealth tied up in illiquid assets whose prices have just crashed. This is another area where Buffett’s actions speak louder than words. Over the course of 2017, he increased Berkshire Hathaway’s cash position to $116 billion– a whopping 35% increase over the previous year. Put these two observations together: Buffett’s NOT buying… and he’s greatly increasing his cash position. It’s almost as if he’s preparing for a major decline… and getting ready to pounce when assets are cheap. Actions speak louder than words. And his actions are definitely worth considering. And to continue learning how to safely grow your wealth, I encourage you to download our free Perfect Plan B Guide.
Компания Уоррена Баффетта Berkshire Hathaway опубликовала свой ежегодный отчет для публики. Инвесторы и репортеры финансовых изданий обычно затаив дыхание ждут, что скажет сам Оракул в своем легендарном ежегодном письме. Berkshire Hathaway – это огромное предприятие; по сути, это холдинговая компания стоимостью $500 млрд., владеющая десятками небольших фирм, все из которых коллективно генерируют денежный поток, исчисляемый десятками миллиардов долларов. Вот что пишет сам Уоррен Баффетт: В нашем поиске новых самостоятельных предприятий ключевыми качествами, к которым мы стремимся, являются прочные конкурентные преимущества; умелое и высококачественное управление; хорошая доходность чистых материальных активов, необходимых для ведения бизнеса; возможности для внутреннего роста при сохранении привлекательной доходности; и, наконец, разумная цена покупки.Это последнее требование оказалось препятствием практически для всех сделок, которые мы рассматривали в 2017 году, поскольку цены на приличные, но совсем не впечатляющие бизнесы достигли рекордного уровня. Объем наличных на балансе Berkshire Hathaway вырос до невероятных $116 млрд. по состоянию на конец 2017 года. Имея такое большое количество денег на руках, Баффетт мог бы купить очень многое. $116 млрд. было бы достаточно для приобретения любой из 465 из 500 крупнейших американских компаний, включая Nike, Starbucks, UPS, Netflix и Ford. Более того, у Баффетта было достаточно денег, чтобы купить ДВАДЦАТЬ ПЯТЬ самых маленьких компаний из индекса S&P 500 (включая AutoNation, Staples, Bed Bath & Beyond), и у него все еще осталось бы несколько миллиардов долларов. Но он не сделал этого. Почему? Потому что ВСЕ они переоценены. В течение 2017 года он увеличил денежную позицию Berkshire Hathaway до $116 млрд., что на 35% больше, чем в предыдущем году. Он готовится к серьезному снижению рынка … и готовится покупать, когда активы будут дешевыми. www.sovereignman.com/investing/warren-buffett-isnt-buying-why-should-anyone-else-23022/ Сам отчет Berkshire Hathaway за 2017 год который вышел 23 февраля можно скачать и посмотреть здесь. www.berkshirehathaway.com/2017ar/2017ar.pdf
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This is a Real-time headline. These are breaking news, delivered the minute it happens, delivered ticker-tape style. Visit www.marketwatch.com or the quote page for more information about this breaking news.
Eastman Chemical (EMN) has raised its quarterly cash dividend by 10% to 56 cents per common share.