Most of the news this week focused on political events in DC. Economic news took a back seat though company earnings for the third quarter were mostly coming in ahead of expectations. This continued the strong earnings reports that started last week. As we have mentioned many times in the past, strong company earnings are usually good news for stock markets.
This week's economic articles are on housing sales, the U.S. and China trade negotiations and the never-ending Brexit saga. We also have interesting articles on the best plant-based burgers, using dreams to solve problems, how to meditate during a busy workday, and Google achieving quantum supremacy (which sounds like a line out of Star Trek!).
Thank you for reading The Friday Buzz and please forward to anyone who may enjoy the articles!
- Housing Sales Slow in September: One of the most closely watched leading indicators for the economy are housing starts. Last month, sales of homes fell 2.2%. Even robust employment and lower mortgage rates were unable to overcome a lack of inventory due to labor and land shortages that drove up home prices. The good news is that buyers are probably out there ready to buy and more houses are set to come onto the market in the coming months. Wash Post
- Scoring the U.S. – China Trade Negotiations: Earlier this month President Trump announced a phase-one trade deal with China though there is no signed agreement and China has not admitted to a deal. In the opinion of one veteran China affairs columnist, China may be more eager for a deal than the U.S., and if the deal announced by the President were to hold up, the U.S. would make out better by having less concessions than China. Hopefully, a deal will get done for those companies hurting from the trade war, but doubts remain that even a signed agreement will hold up. South China Morning Post, Bloomberg, CNBC
- Another Brexit Delay? It is hard to believe that over three years ago Britons voted to leave the EU but it still hasn't happened. As of midweek, Britain was awaiting word from the EU to grant another extension to negotiate details and avoid a hard exit. The uncertainties have left businesses and people in limbo. I know of one Luxembourg student who would not apply to college in the UK because they didn't know what would happen to their residency when Brexit finally occurs. But the uncertainty continues. CNN
- The Best Plant-Based Burgers: In our house we have plant-based burgers about once a week. Half of the house prefers the Impossible Burger and the other half prefers Beyond Burger. Critics put together a blind taste test and came up with their own winners. NYT
- Using Dreams to Help Solve Problems: We spend one-third of our lives sleeping and yet it seems like we hardly have a good understanding of what happens. I read this fascinating article about dreams. Many people have five dreams a night even if they don't remember them. We also have the ability to control dreams or even let them help us solve problems. Sleep may be productive for more than just rest! BBC
- "Quantum Supremacy" Achieved by Google: Traditional computers solve tasks using the binary digits 0 and 1. The quest has been to discover chips to process the digits quicker to make more powerful computers. Quantum computers process information differently and exponentially quicker than traditional computers. They hold great promise in solving complex problems but the quantum computers have been difficult to create. But this week, a Google quantum computer solved a difficult task in about 3 minutes. It is estimated that same task would have taken a state of the art supercomputer 10,000 years! Science News
- Short Desk Meditation: Lately I've been doing my best to incorporate a short midday meditation into my daily schedule. I find it slows down all the tasks swirling in my head and relaxes me. I came across this video of Deepak Chopra showing how to meditate at a busy work desk. I tried it and found it helpful. But you don't have to be at a desk or even at work to give it a try. So give it a try! WSJ
Have a great weekend and thank you for reading The Friday Buzz!