Trump Pulls US Out of UN Human Rights Council
On Tuesday, June 19th, the U.S. announced its decision to leave the United Nations Human Rights Council. The Trump administration based this move on the prevalence of discussions about Iran during most UNHRC meetings, which the U.S. found to be harmful to the goal of keeping the peace.
The United States demands reforms to be made in the council if they are ever to return. While many in office are content with this decision, others believe that this decision will ultimately act against U.S. interests. There are fears that the absence of the U.S. in this committee will weaken western alliances, allowing China and Russia an opening for ascendancy.
The only statement that all parties seem to agree on at this point is that without the leadership of the U.S., little will happen in the UNHRC.
Supreme Court Overturns Sales Tax Law
On Thursday, June 21st, the Supreme Court handed full collection powers to state sales-tax officials. This decision overturned the precedent from 1992, which prevented sales taxes from being collected from any businesses that were not physically in-state.
The result of this ruling is that there could be state sales taxes associated with new online shopping sites such as Amazon (AMZN). While this will definitely increase streams of revenue for states, there is concern regarding the lack of uniformity presented by this ruling. Some parties believe that Congress should have a larger role in this decision by being allowed to set guidelines, while other parties are more in favor of a free-for-all mentality.
Housing Market Slows
The report for the home builders’ housing market index came out on Monday, June 18th. Although it is still at a high level, it lost 2 points in June. The values for current and future sales, which were 75 and 76 respectively, both slipped one point.
The reading for traffic at just 50 points is the lowest it’s been since November. Regardless, it is reported that home-builder confidence has been steady and at strong levels, which predicts growth for new home sales. This report provides a gauge of the demand for housing, and therefore also provides a glimpse of economic momentum. This is due to the fact that people generally buy houses only when they feel confident in their financial position.
By tracking this type of economic data, investors can gain specific ideas with regards to how to manage their portfolios. Home sales are known to have a direct bearing on stocks, bonds, and commodities, because of the ‘ripple effect’ that ensues after one buys a house.