Boltwood Capital Management | Weekly Reads: 09/25/2017
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Weekly Reads: 09/25/2017

The Week’s Best Articles: Week of September 25th, 2017

Real Estate: Department Stores Still Hold Power of Landlords – click here
The department store business model has been under fire over the past several years as more business is completed online.  In an environment like this it would be logical to assume that these stores have little influence over their landlords.  Bloomberg examines due to historical contracts these stores are able to control the redevelopment/modernization of these locations.

Technology: SoftBank Founder Building an Empire – click here
The United States has produced a lengthy list of innovating and captivating business leaders over the years.  However, one of the most influential business operators in business right now hails from outside the US.  SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son is building a global empire using borrowed money and his personal charm.

Equifax: CEO Steps Aside After Breach – click here
In today’s world data apparently rules everything.  Not surprisingly in cases/events where companies have mishandled or exposed customers’ data leadership is held accountable.  In the most recent, and perhaps most alarming breach, the CEO of Equifax is stepping aside as a consequence of his company’s inability to safeguard this data.

Agriculture: Florida’s Orange Industry Facing Challenges – click here
Long known for its beaches, great weather and delicious oranges the state of Florida is facing a major crisis in one of its largest economic areas, citrus farming.  Citrus farmers in the state are facing a variety of obstacles most notably international competition and disease.  Keep an eye on orange juice prices at your local supermarket to keep track of how the industry is faring!

Border Wall: Construction of Wall Prototypes Set to Begin – click here
One of President Trump’s more outlandish campaign promises was his promise to build a wall along the US/Mexico border.  While we were (and remain) highly skeptical that this project will ever come to fruition there are signs that he is committed to staying the course.  Near San Diego four companies are beginning to build 30 foot wide by 30 foot high stretches of wall as prototypes for the government request for proposal (RFP) program.

Electric Cars: Dyson To Make Electric Car – click here
When I first saw this headline I was skeptical but it appears to be true.  Dyson the company long known for fans and vacuum cleaners is entering into the electric car market.  While they may be a longshot to succeed the more competition and innovation in the space will speed up the viability of the technology going forward.

Inflation: Fed May Have Been Wrong on Employment and Inflation? – click here
We have long felt that the Fed will move slower than many expect in “normalizing” interest rates and monetary policy.  Comments like the ones recently made by chairwoman Yellen add evidence to this thesis.

Science: Sequencing the Genome of the California Coastal Redwood and Giant Sequia Trees – click here
While not related to finance/investments per-say this article highlights an interesting study being done to better understand the genetic makeup of some of the earth’s largest organisms. We can only imagine what we will learn from such a study!

Retail: Malls Around the Country Are Struggling – click here
In yet another example of how traditional malls are struggling under the pressure of e-commerce the WSJ examines the case of Elmira, NY.  This town was built around a primary mall that provided vital resources to millions of workers in the area. Now many of the businesses in the area have moved on and the mall is left “holding the bag.”

Tax Overhaul: What Awaits Wall Street in Trump Tax Plan – click here
The Trump Administration has issued an outline for their proposed tax overhaul.  Wall Street like many regular Americans are waiting to hear more detail to see how the proposed changes will influence them.

Student Loan Crisis: More Americans Are Falling Behind on Loans, and Nobody Knows Why – click here
The economy has improved and unemployment is down yet Americans continue to struggle to handle the debt burden of their student loans.  Amazingly the share of Americans at least 31 days late on their loans ticked up to 18.8% as of June 30!  Bloomberg takes a look at some of the potential reasons for this situation.