Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross went on TV yesterday and said he wasn’t quite sure why unpaid federal workers were going to food pantries to feed their families as the government shutdown continues.
“There’s no real reason why they shouldn’t be able to get a loan,” Ross said on CNBC, encouraging the workers to hit up their local bank or credit union for cash.
As you can imagine, these tone-deaf remarks aren’t sitting well with anyone affected by the shutdown. Luckily, I’ve come up with a solution. If these government workers are tired of getting yanked around by political shenanigans, there are some other high-paying opportunities available right now.
You just have to know where to look…
Walmart (NYSE:WMT) desperately needs truckers — and they’re willing to pay a pretty penny to get them.
The American Trucking Association claims the number of truck drivers has held steady between 3 million and 3.5 million over the past two decades, CBS News reports. That’s not going to cut it.
“Freight volumes are expected to surge by about 37 percent over the next decade,” CBS notes. “The trade group estimates the industry now has a record shortage of 50,700 drivers, and expects that number to skyrocket to 174,000 by 2026 if ‘nothing happens.’”
To keep its everyday low prices down, Walmart is looking to hire hundreds of new truckers amidst this crippling industry shortage.
Their plan to attract new drivers is simple: pay them more. In fact, recent pay increases will bring the average salary of a Walmart truck driver near $90,000 a year.
Walmart held up quite well during the fourth-quarter meltdown. The stock is up 5% since October 1, compared to an almost 10% decline in the S&P and a miserable 17% correction in Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) shares over the same timeframe.
More importantly, Walmart is quickly emerging as a legit threat to Amazon’s retail dominance as it continues to ramp up its e-commerce efforts. If it succeeds, one Morgan Stanley analyst estimates that the stock could rise as much as 50%.
If Walmart can solve its supply channel problems and hire the truckers it needs, the company might just have a shot at defending its retail turf from the Amazon Juggernaut.
As Walmart and Amazon battle for retail supremacy, semiconductors are breaking out.
I’ve been keeping a close eye on the chipmakers lately as these former tech leaders attempt to carve out meaningful bottoms. Now, strong earnings are helping lift these stocks out of the gutter.
The VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF (NYSE:SMH) gained almost 6% yesterday after a handful of prominent names including Xilinx Inc. (NASDAQ:XLNX) and Lam Research Corp. (NASDAQ:LRCX) crushed earnings expectations. The ETF has now clawed back most of its December losses.
The only blemish on the semiconductor comeback thus far is Intel Corp. (NASDAQ:INTC). The stock is set to drop today after missing estimates and lowering its full-year outlook last night.
Still, I’m seeing plenty of strong comeback action throughout the sector. Remember, many of the most prominent chipmakers posted huge losses during the December meltdown. SMH had crashed nearly 20% by Christmas Eve, while Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ:AMD) and NVIDIA Corp. (NASDAQ:NVDA) were cut in half during the drawdown.
We can now thank the semiconductor comeback for kick starting our new AMD trade. The stock gained more than 5% yesterday, inching it closer to the big breakout that would put our $23 target in play. I smell double-digit gains in our future.
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Finally, stocks are extending their gains this morning following yesterday’s tech rally.
The Nasdaq led the averages by a country mile yesterday, posting a gain of almost 0.7% while the S&P and Dow both finished near breakeven.
This morning, the averages are set to gap higher at the open as the good vibes from the tech snapback spread across the globe. Asian and European markets are rallying today, giving U.S. stocks a chance to take back most of their early-week losses.
We’ll see soon enough if this newfound bullish sentiment can translate into additional comeback gains heading into the final week of January.