Banks fared the worst as bond yields and interest rates nosedived. Health care, technology and industrial companies all took outsize losses and energy companies sank with oil prices.
“Labor is becoming scarce, and employers have to work to find, retain and train employees,” Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton, said. “This is new for many employers.”
But Mike Jackson, CEO of AutoNation, the country’s largest dealership group, said late-model used cars coming off leases are pulling buyers from higher-priced new vehicles. Despite tax reform, low unemployment and strong consumer confidence, he sees new-car sales falling to 16.8 million from last year’s 17.2 million.
The company said Thursday that it plans between $6.5 billion and $7 billion of capital spending this year on things like new cargo airplanes and automation in its distribution centers. That’s an increase from $5.2 billion last year.
“We don’t see positive surprises of this magnitude very often — expect us to double down,” said Bezos, who will appear in a Super Bowl commercial this weekend that promotes Alexa.
“If you are a person who doesn’t have a lot of wealth to start from … then when emergencies hit, that often causes someone to lean on debt to get through those periods,” Chan says. “Then once someone takes debt, if they don’t have wealth, they’re much more vulnerable if something happens when they’re trying to pay off their debt.”
The pay gains suggest that employers are increasingly competing for a limited pool of workers. Raises stemming from Republican tax cuts and minimum wage increases in 18 states also likely boosted pay last month. The figures point to an economy on strong footing even in its ninth year of expansion, fueled by consumer spending and global growth.
“We have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades,” Apple said. “Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love.”
The maker of Mercedes-Benz luxury cars said Thursday that its earnings this year faced the burden of “very high” expenditure on new models and technologies such as battery-powered cars. Like the rest of the industry, the company is positioning itself for an anticipated shift to autonomous driving and to transportation services such as car-sharing and ride-hailing through smartphone apps.