Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Report: Small Businesses Express Optimism For Economic Growth - KJZZ

Report: Small Businesses Express Optimism For Economic Growth - KJZZ


Report: Small Businesses Express Optimism For Economic Growth - KJZZ

Posted: 11 Jun 2019 12:45 PM PDT

A new report issued by the National Federation of Independent Business that tracks small-business owners' attitudes on the economy cites increased optimism.

Chad Heinrich, Arizona state director for the nonprofit group that issues the monthly report, said small-business owners in the state cited plans for increasing capital investment which is ultimately good for job growth. 

"Things like vehicles and additional space. Remodeling of existing facilities. In some cases buying additional land or buildings. So, all of these capital expenditures translate into more employment needed," Heinrich said. 

Heinrich said conforming Arizona's state tax code to match the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was an important factor in creating optimism for small businesses.

Only one factor — historic low unemployment — was seen as a challenge for businesses to compete in a tight labor market.

5 Top Stocks to Buy as Small Business Optimism Rises - Yahoo Finance

Posted: 12 Jun 2019 05:28 AM PDT

In May, small business optimism increased substantially, bucking worries stemming from recent economic releases. A poor jobs report for the previous month had economists worried in particular since it dropped hints that the economic recovery is running out of steam. Strong hiring, investment and sales among small business clearly go against this logic.

Industry insiders feel that the small business side of the economy is now principally powering incremental growth. President Trump's tax cuts have possibly benefited this segment of the economy the most.

Further, small business owners are enjoying the benefits of deregulation. Additionally, many of them are U.S.-focused and largely insulated from the prevailing trade tensions. This is why domestic focused small caps would make great additions to your portfolio.

Index Betters Pre-Shutdown Levels

On May 11, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) revealed that its index for small business optimism had increased by 1.5 points to 105 in May, exceeding most estimates. Six of the index's components improved, three were flat with last month and only one declined. The increase took the index to levels that exceed those witnessed before the government shutdown.

The percentage of business owners reporting capital outlays increased by six points to 64, the highest level registered since February 2018. Of these, 30% plan to invest in capital over the next few months. This is an increase of three points and close to historical records. Most small businesses plan to invest in transportation, construction, manufacturing and professional services.

Additionally, small businesses reported a net addition of 0.32 workers per firm. An overwhelming majority believes the inability to find qualified workers is their biggest problem. At the same time, 62% said that were hiring or attempting to hire new employees, a five point increase from last month's level.

Gains From Tax Cuts, Deregulation Powering Sector

This latest report from the NFIB bucks the trend created by recent economic reports. Principal among these is May's dismal jobs report which set off alarm bells about the economy. It also led to speculation that a rate cut is around the corner. Adding to the gloom was the fact that the report was based on data collected before U.S.-China trade relations worsened earlier this month.

Happily enough, small businesses appear unscathed by this trend. Economists believe small businesses have benefited the most from Trump's tax cuts and deregulatory measures. Further, most of them conduct their businesses largely in the United States. This insulates them almost entirely from the ongoing trade war, which is already having a detrimental impact on the economy.

Our Choices

The increase in small business optimism comes as welcome relief for beleaguered investors, who have been receiving several dismal readouts on the economy. Last month's jobs data in particular had most market watchers worried. But small businesses seem to be bucking this trend, buoyed by tax cuts and deregulation.

Investing in small-cap stocks looks prudent. However, picking winning stocks may be difficult.

This is where our VGM Score comes in. Here V stands for Value, G for Growth and M for Momentum and the score is a weighted combination of these three scores. Such a score allows you to eliminate the negative aspects of stocks and select winners. However, it is important to keep in mind that each Style Score will carry a different weight while arriving at a VGM Score. 

We have narrowed down our search to the following stocks, each of which has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) VGM Score of A. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation GLDD is the largest provider of dredging services in the United States.

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock's expected earnings growth for the current year is more than 100%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 47.8% over the last 60 days. The stock has gained 63.3% year to date.

Fly Leasing Limited FLY is engaged in acquiring and leasing modern, high-demand and fuel-efficient commercial jet aircraft under long-term contracts to a diverse group of airlines throughout the world.

Fly Leasing's projected growth rate for the current year is 36.3%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 31.3% over the last 30 days. The stock has gained 55.5% year to date.

Construction Partners, Inc. ROAD is an infrastructure and road construction company.

Construction Partners' Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 4.3% over the last 30 days. The stock has gained 48.4% year to date.

Global Ship Lease, Inc. GSL is a containership charter owner.

Global Ship Lease's projected growth rate for the current year is 6.3%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 3.3% over the last 30 days. The stock has gained 43.4% year to date.

Quanex Building Products Corporation NX is a manufacturer of components sold to Original Equipment Manufacturers in the building products industry.

Quanex Building Products' expected earnings growth for the current year is 30.8%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 11.8% over the last 30 days. The stock has gained 23.4% year to date.

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Last year, it generated $8 billion in global revenues. By 2020, it's predicted to blast through the roof to $47 billion. Famed investor Mark Cuban says it will produce "the world's first trillionaires," but that should still leave plenty of money for regular investors who make the right trades early.

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To read this article on Zacks.com click here.

Small business owners feel impact of Paul McCartney concert - WQAD Moline

Posted: 11 Jun 2019 06:52 PM PDT

MOLINE, Illinois - Paul McCartney brought his Freshen Up Tour to the Taxslayer Center on June 11, and local business owners say they felt the impact.

The concert drew a crowd of more then 10,000 people. Scott Mullen, Executive Director for the Taxslayer Center said it is the highest grossing concert in the arena's history.

Ticket sales grossed nearly $2 Million.  Elton John's 2017 concert grossed about $1.1 Million. The Eagles grossed about $1.1 Million in 2002, 2009 and 2013. Bob Seger grossed about $1 Million in 2017.

Jennifer Bunnell came to town from Seattle and said the Quad Cities made a lasting impression on her.

"Its amazing place to be and its an amazing place to hang out," said Bunnell.

Beth Lagomarcino owns Lagomarcino's Chocolates in Moline. She said the level of excitement in downtown Moline ahead of the concert was "amazing."

The small business owner had a Beatles sign hanging in the front window of the chocolate shop.

"We had a difficult winter, then we go into flooding, more flooding, more flooding," said Lagomarcino.

In addition to the weather, business owners say I-74 bridge detours have been a challenge for Moline businesses as well.

"Bridge construction of course has affected people coming over from Iowa, and people just wanting to avoid the Quad Cities," said Lagomarcino. "Well, this is a reason people want to come to the Quad Cities."

Down the road at Pub 1848, people stopped for drinks on the way to the concert.

"What I love is when concerts come in town and we get to meet people from out of town and it drives business here," said owner Ashley Smith.

"It's fun. I meet people all the time," said Smith. "The band members were in here the last few nights, from Paul McCartney. Even his personal chef. I wouldn't have that opportunity if we weren't in this area.

A welcomed change of pace in downtown Moline as Sir Paul encourages people to "come together."

Small Business Vs. Big Business: Past, Present And Future - Forbes

Posted: 12 Jun 2019 05:30 AM PDT

It isn't easy running a small business -- I know this from experience. There are countless hurdles to overcome from the very beginning, and it can take a great deal of time and effort before your startup starts to see any success. But why is this the case, and can we do anything to fix it?

There are many headlines, think pieces and political speeches lamenting the state of small businesses today. However, it's possible that with the oversaturation of these stories in a sea of constant crises and breaking news stories, we've lost sight of the big picture.

Ultimately, I believe that the best way to gain some perspective in the present is to look at the past. That's why I researched the biggest stories and most pressing issues affecting small businesses ten years ago, in 2009. What's changed, what's remained the same and what's going to happen next?

Amazon And Apple

One of the largest issues facing small businesses today, according to many outspoken individuals, is big business and unfair competition. In a recent CNN Town Hall, presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren spoke out about the threat she believes Amazon poses to small businesses due to their monopoly over consumer data and distribution. Additionally, the Supreme Court recently ruled that Apple can be sued over its monopoly on smartphone apps through the App Store. Both these stories share a common theme: Two of the largest businesses in the world are viewed as threats to the continued existence of small businesses. But was this the case ten years ago?

Well, the warning signs were certainly there for complete market domination. In an interview with Newsweek about the (at the time) recently released Amazon Kindle, Jeff Bezos stated that one of his company's strategies for growth is to determine their future customers' needs and then say "We're going to give that to them regardless of whether we currently have the skills to do so, and we will learn those skills no matter how long it takes." At the same time, the impression left from a then-recent story of Apple rejecting the Google Voice app for the sake of their partner AT&T was that the company was "mired in the old think of protecting a lucrative business relationship, rather than letting the innovation chips fall where they may."

Hindsight And Perspective

With the benefit of hindsight, we can see that these issues didn't just appear overnight. The intentions of these companies in the past betrayed their conclusions in the future, which is now our present. It's true that Amazon was the subject of scrutiny, but it seemed to have more to do with potential collusion with Target and Walmart regarding below-cost pricing of new books. And while Apple and AT&T's attempts to prevent competition on their shared platform was also criticized, that story paled in comparison to the fervor over poor working conditions at iPhone manufacturing plants after a worker's alleged suicide.

For the most part, concerned watchdogs and business advocates focused on different issues ten years ago, such as the devastating recession that was in full swing. A notable attempt to repair the United States economy taken at the time was softening protectionist trade policies by removing a clause to "buy American" from an economic stimulus bill. At the time, policies like these were justified by big business moguls like then-UPS president Dan Brutto as "opening the doors to global trade," which he considered "one of the best, but least talked about, ways of fostering small-business growth." But what effect did these policies have on the present day?

Present And Future

After studying the reaction in the past to Apple's closed platform software practices, I believe enough sustained attention was focused around this issue to allow for progress to be made. The recent Supreme Court ruling is a major win for small app developers, who are now free to pursue a class action lawsuit in an attempt to open up Apple's platform for more fair competition. Furthermore, future legal victories can establish a precedent affecting other digital storefronts, as well.

However, the astronomical growth of Amazon and its domination over struggling small businesses have been relatively unopposed, even while store after store has declared bankruptcy and closed their doors for good. What's worse is that the aforementioned focus on decreased protectionism and encouragement of international trade may have made things worse. After all, I don't think it's unreasonable to connect the focus on globalization with Apple and Amazon's now notorious use of other countries as tax havens.

However, it looks as though these issues are gaining attention. Furthermore, it appears that a potential resistance to them is gaining momentum heading into election season. As mentioned, Elizabeth Warren wants to break up Amazon and other big tech companies with antitrust policies, while Andrew Yang wants to make them pay more taxes through a value-added tax. Donald Trump's approach to Amazon involves auditing the United States Postal Service, seemingly as a method of curtailing their uncompetitive distribution methods.

It's unclear which (if any) of these plans will actually come to fruition -- it's even less clear if they will have an effect on Amazon at all. However, the most opaque and pressing issue to small business, in my opinion, is the one quietly developing at this moment. I don't know for sure what this crisis will be, but I believe that most of us will be distracted from it until, just like Amazon or Apple, it becomes far too big to ignore.

Small Business Owners' Economic Outlook Rebounds, Hiring Plans Hold Steady - Yahoo Finance

Posted: 12 Jun 2019 05:00 AM PDT

Cost and complexity associated with health care pose challenges for small businesses

WASHINGTON, June 12, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Data from the Q2 MetLife & U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index  indicates employers are experiencing a boost in confidence about the state of the national economy and their financial future. The index overall score increased this quarter to 68.7, indicating nearly 69 percent of small business owners currently have a positive outlook about their companies and the small business environment in the United States.

This 3.1-point rebound follows a drop during the first three months of 2019 and matches the largest quarter-to-quarter increase in economic confidence in the history of the Index.

Results from the survey of 1,000 small business owners show this upward trend in confidence across all demographic groups. Breaking from a pattern of lower optimism in previous quarters, female business owners now express similar levels (58 percent ) of optimism about the state of the U.S. economy as their male counterparts (59 percent ). Results also suggest that new hiring is being led by millennial- and Gen-X-owned businesses contributing to 39 percent of small business hiring plans nationwide (despite representing only 27 percent  of survey respondents).

"Small business owners are showing renewed confidence that the nation's economy is poised for growth, following the resolution of the longest shutdown in government history," said Jessica Moser, senior vice president and head of MetLife's Group Benefits Small & Specialty Business. "This rebound in small business sentiment is a powerful leading indicator, as small companies have long been a significant growth engine for our country."

This quarter's index casts a spotlight on one of the most complex and time-consuming chores for small business owners—navigating health insurance options. Sixty-nine percent of survey respondents say the process to select health insurance plans is time consuming, and one in five small business owners says they do not have enough information to make informed decisions about health care options.

When seeking health insurance guidance, small business owners most commonly turn to brokers, consultants or agents (32 percent), while 9 percent depend on online search engines and 7 percent seek advice from other business owners. Other information sources include HealthCare.gov and other government sites (5 percent), Professional Employer Organizations (5 percent), and health insurance company sites (3 percent). Notably, 7 percent of small business owners say they do not know where to turn for information.

"It's pretty time consuming to navigate and understand the best options for your employees," said Natalie Kaddas, president and CEO of Kaddas Enterprises in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her small manufacturing company works with a broker, who each year provides information on cost increases for her current plan and alternative plans worth considering. Still, Kaddas says she and her staff could use more guidance.

"I wish I had some more data and information," Kaddas said. "I feel like some of my employees are choosing a plan without a lot of information. There's an educational component that's missing, and I don't necessarily have the skill set to try and bridge that gap—but I try."

When considering health care coverage options, one in five small business owners say their top priority when considering plans is keeping monthly premiums low; another 20 percent prioritize minimizing out-of-pocket costs like co-pays and deductibles. But cost is not always the top concern: 9 percent of owners say flexibility and variety in choice is paramount when considering their options, followed by access to quality hospitals and treatments (7 percent) and quality and size of provider networks (6 percent).

"For small business owners, health care costs and complexity continue to gobble up time and resources that could otherwise be spent growing their companies and creating more jobs," said Tom Sullivan, vice president of small business policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "Coupled with struggles finding qualified employees to fill open positions, these headwinds are holding back even higher levels of confidence from Main Street employers."

About the Small Business Index

The Index is part of a multiyear collaboration by MetLife and the U.S. Chamber to elevate the voice of America's small business owners and highlight the important role they play in the nation's economy. The initiative produces the quarterly MetLife & U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index; a nationwide event series, and the annual Dream Big Small Business Awards  program, which celebrates the achievements of small businesses and honors their contributions to America's economic growth.

About the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations. For more information, visit www.uschamber.com .

About MetLife

MetLife, Inc., through its subsidiaries and affiliates ("MetLife"), is one of the world's leading financial services companies, providing insurance, annuities, employee benefits and asset management to help its individual and institutional customers navigate their changing world. Founded in 1868, MetLife has operations in more than 40 countries and holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, visit www.metlife.com .

Please visit www.sbindex.us  for the full results and methodology.

Contact:
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
J.D. Harrison
(202) 463-5682
jharrison@uschamber.com

View original content:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/small-business-owners-economic-outlook-rebounds-hiring-plans-hold-steady-300864828.html

SOURCE U.S. Chamber of Commerce

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