Are you an American citizen living abroad? Or simply interested in how the US media reports major financial stories? If so, read our monthly, two-minute round-up of major business and financial news – as viewed through the lens of US media
US stock market leads the way
US stocks are at record highs as we enter the last months of the year, with the S&P 500 rising 22% so far in 2019. Other stock markets around the world have not fared as well. A global index that excludes the US is up just 13%, the Wall Street Journal notes.
“Growth may be slowing, but the 10-year old expansion continues.” This makes US companies more attractive, the Journal suggests, than those in “other developed countries with stagnant growth prospects.”
Manhattan property prices fall
One US asset class that has not been performing quite so well is Manhattan residential property. Prices for 2 bedroom apartments – the “the bread-and-butter of both developers and agents” – have fallen by 8% over the past year, reported the New York Times.
The move lower in pricing for more modest 2 beds comes after several years of falling prices for “ultra-luxury three- and four-bedroom apartments, thousands of which remain vacant and unsold.”
The median sale price for a 2 bedroom apartment in Manhattan in the third quarter of 2019 was $1.5 million.
Trump’s change of address
For many Americans, President Trump is “the epitome of a New Yorker.” So it may have come as surprise when The New York Times revealed that he had filed documents changing his primary residence from New York to Palm Beach, Florida.
“Florida, which does not have a state income tax or inheritance tax, has long been a place for the wealthy to escape the higher taxes of the Northeast” the New York Times points out.
If this is the reason for the move, however, CNBC suggests that it may not be so easy: “the president — and any other wealthy New Yorker — should anticipate a fight with the state auditor when it comes to fleeing for more tax-friendly locales.”
Of course, it may be unfair to suggest the move is tax-motivated. The New York Times notes that Trump’s presence in Manhattan “created traffic headaches for New Yorkers and logistical and security challenges for the Secret Service.”
In a tweet, Trump expressed goodwill towards the people of New York, while suggesting he had been mistreated by its political leaders: “I cherish New York, and the people of New York….I have been treated very badly by the political leaders of both the city and state. Few have been treated worse”
All to play for in US election swing states
Key to President Trump’s 2016 election victory was his performance in swing states, such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, Arizona and North Carolina. Continued support in these states could put him on track for a second term in next year’s election, reckons the New York Times.
“Despite low national approval ratings and the specter of impeachment, President Trump remains highly competitive in the battleground states likeliest to decide his re-election.”
Trump’s lead is far from assured in these states, but nor do any of the leading contenders for the Democrat nomination have a convincing upper hand. The New York Times’ data suggests that Trump would come out ahead if running against Elizabeth Warren and deadlocked against Bernie Sanders. Joe Biden looks to have a slight edge, but “his lead against Mr. Trump is not nearly so comfortable that he could be considered a sure thing.“
Of course, there is still a year until the election and much could change.
The Washington Post, for instance, has unearthed signs of a deteriorating jobs market in some of these key states, which wouldn’t help Trump’s prospects. Nationally, US unemployment of 3.6% is near a record low. “But unemployment isn’t falling for everybody…In more than 1,000 counties, or about one in three, the unemployment rate is higher than it was a year ago.” This includes “all 72 counties in Wisconsin… as well as most in Michigan and North Carolina”.