30 October 2020

1) The Boeing Aircraft Co. is selling new bonds to help repay its nearly $3 billion dollars of debt. Boeing announced the sale just minutes after a downgrade to the company’s credit rating. Fitch Ratings put out a report reducing Boeing’s credit rating down to BBB-, the lowest investment-grade rating, with a negative outlook. The company has burned through about $22 billion dollars of its free cash since March 2019, when the company’s best-selling jet, the 737 MAX, was grounded. It is anticipated that it will take two years until Boeing’s financial metrics return to that of a credit rating one level higher.

2) The Philippines has removed a major hurdle in advancing oil exploration with Beijing in the South China Sea, but the two nations will have to navigate their overlapping claims in the area to reach a deal. The island nation has lifted a six-year ban on oil exploration to stop activities that might annoy China. The Philippines has recently toughened its stance against China and is leaning back towards the U.S. It is estimated that 4 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves, that’s worth billions of dollars, could be found in South China Sea areas that is claimed by the Philippines and disputed by China. However an international arbitration court has ruled in favor of the Philippines in 2016. The two nations could set aside the ownership issue and proceed with joint development.

3) Exxon announces additional job cuts, that it intends to reduce its U.S. staff by around 1,900 employees. These reductions will be both voluntary and involuntary, a result of COVID-19 on the demand for oil aimed at improving efficiency and reducing costs. Amid declining oil prices, energy companies are taking drastic measures to improve their balance sheets, including reducing staff and in some cases suspending dividends, with the company’s fourth quarter dividend at 87 cents per share, although this is the first time since 1982 that it didn’t raise its dividend.

4) Stock market closings for – 29 OCT 20:

Dow 26,659.11 up 139.16
Nasdaq 11,185.59 up 180.73
S&P 500 3,310.11 up 39.08

10 Year Yield: up at 0.84%

Oil: down at $36.10

29 October 2020

1) One major factor in the spread of Covid-19 virus, is the portability of societies, the degree which people are moving about and interacting with each other with ease. This is a major cause of the spread of infectious disease. Now with the surge of coronavirus in Europe, Germany and France, they are planning to restrict movement of people for at least a month, coming close to the stringent lockdowns of the spring as European leaders seek to rein in a resurgent pandemic outbreak. Spain, Italy, the U.K., Greece and Portugal reported record numbers of new cases on Wednesday. Asia, Singapore and Hong Kong could start a planned ‘travel bubble’ as soon as next month. This also means restrictions of travel for migrant workers, which in turn means restricting their ability to make money, where much is sent back home to families to support their subsistence.

2) Boeing Aircraft company, a major manufacture of airliners, will cut 7,000 more jobs amid the pandemic, almost doubling its planned job cuts. The coronavirus pandemic has prolonged the grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max jet, thus dimming prospects for financial recovery. Executives are abandoning their forecast that Boeing will stop burning cash next year and so they are now forced to eliminate an additional 7,000 jobs. That will bring the expected losses from layoffs, retirements and attrition to 30,000 people, or 19% of the pre-pandemic workforce, by the end of 2021.

3) Taiwan’s microcircuit manufacture United Microelectronics Corp. has pledged its assistance to the U.S. in a high-profile trade-secrets prosecution of Chinese chipmaker Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co. UMC has pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court as part of a deal with U.S. prosecutors. Prosecutors agreed to drop serious charges of economic espionage and conspiracy for theft of proprietary information from Idaho-based Micron Technology Inc. UMC instead admitted to trade-secret theft and agreed to pay a $60 million dollar fine. Prosecutors haven’t publicly detailed the cooperation they are seeking from UMC against Fujian

4) Stock market closings for – 28 OCT 20:
Dow 26,519.95 down 943.24
Nasdaq 11,004.87 down 426.48
S&P 500 3,271.03 down 119.65

10 Year Yield: unchanged at 0.78%

Oil: down at $37.69

28 October 2020

1) The White House considers the chances for passing a pandemic aid deal before the elections as being slim. The prime reason is considered to be House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi who is seeking too much, including stimulus checks for immigrants who are in the United States illegally. The White House has said aid to state and local governments has been another sticking point, while Democrats cite the lack of a national coronavirus testing plan. President Trump supports another major relief package, but he and Pelosi have been unable to reach a deal. America is facing a resurgence of Covid-19 cases, with 36 out of the 50 states seeing an increase for at least two weeks in a row. Deaths from the respiratory disease have also more than doubled in seven states.

2) Pacific Ethanol (NASDAQ: PEIX) transformed its business from a low-margin maker of gasoline additives into a high-margin producer of alcohol for disinfectants and hand sanitizers, a result of the coronavirus which is the reason Pacific Ethanol stock soared more than 1,300% over the past year. Pacific Ethanol announced it will change its name to reflect its new corporate focus on the production of specialty alcohols and essential ingredients for the fight against the coronavirus. The company also decided to release a large secondary stock offering which appears to have depressed its stock price. Additionally, for a company whose production has been largely for gas tanks, the decrease in gasoline demand has shrunk its historic market.

3) The troubles brought onto American airlines by the pandemic isn’t limited to just U.S. air carriers. The Saudia airline faces claims over 50 leased Airbus planes with additional demands for other damages and costs, as documents seen by Reuters show. Fifty aircraft, which account for a third of Saudia’s fleet, worth around $8.2 billion dollars, were bought by International Airfinance Corporation (IAFC) and leased to Saudia. But apparently Saudia has failed to pay basic rent, after it sought to reduce its rent payments while also engaging in un-authorised and un-notified engine and part swaps. Therefore, IAFC is seeking restitution in London courts.

4) Stock market closings for – 27 OCT 20:

Dow 27,463.19 down 222.19
Nasdaq 11,431.35 up 72.41
S&P 500 3,390.68 down 10.29

10 Year Yield: down at 0.78%

Oil: up at $38.93

27 October 2020

1) Oil and gas companies are bringing record level of debt to bankruptcy court, making this year the worst oil bust in decades. Companies have brought $89 billion dollars of debt to bankruptcy court this year, compared to $70 billion during the last oil bust in 2014-16. While fewer companies have gone bankrupt this year, 84 compared with the historical high of 142 in 2016, each bankruptcy filing this year reported significantly higher debt. The average bankruptcy debt per company this year is $1.05 billion dollars so far, almost twice as much as the 2017 level of $576 million. But the worst isn’t over yet, it is expected that another 15 to 21 exploration and production companies will file for bankruptcy by the end of the year, pushing the related debt to more than $100 billion. Although crude prices have climbed back to around $40 a barrel, recovery remains tenuous, since energy bankruptcies was rising before the coronavirus pandemic wiped out global demand for crude and petroleum products such as gasoline and jet fuel.

2) Another tropical storm threatens the Gulf Coast again, as 2020 ties record for most named storms. Tropical Storm Zeta has formed in the western Caribbean and is drifting north promising to unleash wind, heavy rainfall and possible ocean surge as it approaches the U.S. Gulf Coast Tuesday night and Wednesday. The storm is most likely to come ashore on Wednesday at tropical-storm level or possibly as a hurricane. The landfall zone includes areas in Louisiana where hurricanes Delta and Laura hit as well as parts of Alabama hit by Sally. The hurricane season still has five weeks left, so the record for most named storms could fall. There are some indications that Zeta could sneak in some last-minute intensification before landfall, possibly becoming a Category 2 hurricane. Zeta’s eventual merger with a frontal system could bring a swath of three to four inches of rain or more into parts of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic late in the week.

3) Walmart is suing the Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration as a pre-emptive strike, anticipating a legal battle over the retailer’s responsibility in the opioid abuse crisis. Operating more than 5,000 pharmacies in its stores, Walmart says it is seeking a declaration from a federal judge that the government has no lawful basis for seeking civil damages from the company. The government blames Walmart for continuing to fill purportedly bad prescriptions written by doctors that the DEA and state regulators had enabled to write those prescriptions in the first place and continue to stand by today. In 2018, 46,802 people died from an opioid overdose, and health care providers across the country wrote prescriptions for opioid pain medication at a rate of 51.4 prescriptions dispensed per 100 people.

4) Stock market closings for – 26 OCT 20:
Dow 27,685.38 down 650.19
Nasdaq 11,358.94 down 189.34
S&P 500 3,400.97 down 64.42
10 Year Yield: down at 0.80%
Oil: down at $38.64

26 October 20

1) The renewable energy industry is possibly getting a boost from New York’s East River, which is set to become the testing ground for a technology that generates electricity from the tides by using tiny turbines. Verdant Power, a New York based marine energy technology company, is installing three small underwater turbines in the river that will generate electricity from the actions of the tide. The test system will feed power to Consolidated Edison Inc.’s grid. For years there has been other attempts to draw power from marine energy, but its adoption has been stymied by high costs and mechanical issues. The turbines use 16 foot diameter rotors which are expected to have 35 kilowatts of capacity each, about four times more than a typical U.S. residential rooftop solar system. The key to success is reducing the cost, but at 10 cents a kilowatt-hour, it’s still more than twice the cost of wind and solar power.

2) The oil giant Exxon Mobil, is still reeling from the massive oil bust, and so is now having to lay off workers after all. When the rounds of layoffs in the oil industry started last May, Exxon had no plans to lay off employees. But economic realities have force a reversal of that position, because other measures to control operating cost have not been sufficient to weather the downturn. Exxon’s market value has dropped by 66 percent from $418 billion dollars and has recently been removed from the Dow Jones Industrial index, a group of 30 key stocks that serves as a benchmark indicator of the U.S. stock market. Fears that the oil and gas industry will never recover fully from the pandemic are dismissed, the company saying that developing countries around the world will continue to rely on affordable and abundant fossil fuels for decades to power their economies. It’s projected that oil and gas will make up about 50 percent of the global energy mix by 2040, down from around 60 percent today.

3) China shows increasing aggressiveness with threats of retaliation, if U.S. arms sale to Taiwan proceed, sales worth more than a billion dollars. Failure to do so would “compel the Chinese side to fight back resolutely,” a Chinese statement said. America is selling 135 precision land attack missiles, plus associated equipment and training to Taiwan to improve its defense capabilities. Taiwan isn’t the only pacific neighbor fearing China’s belligerent stance, for Japan is planning to build a missile defense system at sea despite facing mounting costs. Japan’s Aegis Ashore systems is meant to intercept missile strikes from westward. Japanese officials are considering several proposals, including putting Aegis on platforms resembling oil rigs, or on converted merchant ships or naval vessels because of safety issues for civilians. Japan has also launched its first high technology submarine, one of a coming fleet, to protect Japan from China’s aggressive threats.

4) Stock market closings for – 23 OCT 20:

Dow 28,335.57 down 28.09
Nasdaq 11,548.28 down 42.28
S&P 500 3,465.39 down 11.90

10 Year Yield: down at 0.84%

Oil: down at $39.78

23 October 2020

1) Police in all 50 states are using secret tools to break into locked smart phones, not for just major felony crimes, but for cases such as low-level shoplifting. Police are using phone-cracking technology far more often than was previously known, often without any warrants. The police can use this technology to extract all of a person’s information, including photos, text messages, contacts, web browsing history and even where a person has been including at what times. These software tools are sold by firms such at Grayshift, Cellebrite, and AccessData, with police spending from $9,000 to more than $20,000 to buy and license the tools.

2) The Muslim fundamentalist attacker, who beheaded a French school teacher, is reported to have paid students to identify the teacher before the beheading, says the French prosecutor. The Chechen teenager beheaded the French teacher for showing caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad in class. It has also been confirmed that contact has been established between the teenager and an angry parent at the school, who had called on social media for the teacher to be fired.

3) The internet app Quibi, mostly a mobile streaming service that struggled to keep up with its own hype, is shutting down, a move coming less than seven months after it launched. Although the company has enough money to keep operating for a significant period of time, it has decided to make a graceful exit. The company will shop around to see if anyone wants to buy its assets over the coming months, and then it will return cash to its shareholders. Quibi launched in the US and Canada this last April as a service for watching videos on the go, just when the lock-down for the COVID pandemic started. The timing was a misfortune, and flawed strategies kept the service from reaching its ambitious growth goals, plus they underestimated the number of viewers interest in watching on TVs. The service competed with YouTube, the short-video specialist that is already drawing in more than 2 billion viewers every month.

4) Stock market closings for – 22 OCT 20:

Dow 28,363.66 up 152.84
Nasdaq 11,506.01 up 21.31
S&P 500 3,453.49 up 17.93

10 Year Yield: up at 0.85%

Oil: up at $40.61

QUIBI APP SHUTS DOWN FOR GOOD!!!!!!!

By: Economic & Finance Report

The popular mobile video streaming app shuttered its doors on October 21, 2020 Wednesday, after receiving $1.75 billion dollars in VC (venture capital). The executives at Quibi sent a letter to its employees; that they were shutting down after exhausting all options to keep the company afloat.

Quibi’s investors included WarnerMedia, AT&T, Comcast/NBCUniversal, Alibaba, ViacomCBS, Disney, Sony and MGM. They incurred various partnerships with mobile telecommunications companies, for ex. T-Mobile was a provider. The company also had a large celebrity network promoting their mobile app as well. -SB

Image Credit: The Verge

22 October 2020

1) Many consider the next economic crisis to be the growing profusion of empty retail space, as tenants stop paying rent and reduce their offices, leaving commercial real estate in a pinch. Commercial real estate is in trouble, the $15 trillion dollar market is threatened with decline, and the longer the pandemic persists the more ill effects on hotels, retailers and office buildings, therefore the more difficult it is for property owners to meet their mortgage payments. The widespread downgrades, defaults and eventual foreclosures, coming from companies like J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus and Pier 1 filing for bankruptcy, has retail properties losing major tenants with nothing to replace them. Motels and hotels are running below 50 percent occupancy, with the stimulus bill having no provisions to prop them up, the government hoping the commercial mortgages will just heal by themself.

2) The Justice Department is accusing the internet giant Google of illegally protecting its monopoly over search and advertising. The company is accused of building an illegal monopoly over parts of the internet. The Justice Department accused Google of building a monopoly over central parts of the internet. The main concern is Google working with other major internet companies to channel the internet to Google’s search engine, as the default search engine, by Google providing the engine to include in other company’s products through exclusive business contracts and agreements. The government contends that Google has used anti-competitive tactics to maintain and extend its monopolies in the markets for general search services, search advertising and general search text advertising which is the cornerstones of its empire. It is considered this will be a major test of the antitrust law. A victory for the government could remake one of America’s most recognizable companies and the internet economy.

3) NASA OSIRIS-REx spacecraft mission has successfully touched down on the asteroid Bennu to bring a rock-soil sample back to earth for analysis. The van-size spacecraft briefly touched down on a landing site the width of a few parking spaces. It collected a sample between 2 ounces and 2 kilograms, then the spacecraft backed away to safety. Bennu is a boulder-studded “rubble pile” asteroid shaped like a spinning top and is as tall as the Empire State Building. If everything runs smoothly, the spacecraft and its prized sample will begin the long journey back to Earth next year and land the sample on Earth in 2023.

4) Stock market closings for – 21 OCT 20:

Dow 28,210.82 down 97.97
Nasdaq 11,484.69 down 31.80
S&P 500 3,435.56 down 7.56

10 Year Yield: up at 0.82%

Oil: down at $40.00

21 October 2020

1) The drought in the western U.S. is the biggest in years and is predicted to worsen during the coming winter months. The drought is a major reason for the record wildfires in California and Colorado. Further damage can come from depleted rivers, the stifling of crops and diminished water supplies. Elevated temperatures have dried out the soil, exacerbating the drought and making fire weather conditions sever. New Mexico is also in extreme drought conditions with rivers running dramatically low, which feed the aquifers, and neighboring Arizona is also in a deep drought. The drought is extending into Wyoming, Idaho and Montana with little relief in sight for most. Human caused climate change is increasing the likelihood of precipitation extremes on both ends of the scale, including droughts as well as heavy rainfall events and resulting floods. A study in the journal ‘Science’ found that the Southwest may already be in the midst of the first human-caused megadrought in at least 1,200 years, which began in the year 2000.

2) The Federal government has indicted six Russian military officers for massive worldwide cyber attacks. The six Russian military intelligence officers have been involved in high-profile cyberattacks on the electric power grid in Ukraine, the 2017 French elections and the 2018 Pyeong Chang Winter Olympics. The 50-page indictment details the computer intrusions and malware attacks mounted over the past five years by Unit 74455 of the GRU, the Russian military intelligence agency. No other country has weaponized cyber capabilities as maliciously or irresponsibly as Russia, deploying destructive malware from November 2015 through October 2019 in efforts to undermine or retaliate against foreign nations and organizations around the world.

3) American workers are being laid off a second time as the Covid-19 again ripples through the economy. As the second wave engulfs the economy, eight months after the first hit to the economy, Americans are still being laid off en masse by companies like Disney, the U.S. airlines, retailers and MGM Resorts. Even companies such as Allstate insurance is laying off people, 4,000 getting their pink slips. But for some workers, a second layoff so soon leaves them with no benefits, while the Paycheck Protection Program has run out. The hospitality and food-service jobs were unstable before the pandemic, but with many of those jobs now gone, many face a bleak future.

4) Stock market closings for – 20 OCT 20:

Dow 28,308.79 up 113.37
Nasdaq 1,516.49 up 37.61
S&P 500 3,443.12 up 16.20

10 Year Yield: 0.80%

Oil: up at $41.31

20 October 2020

1) China has warned the U.S. that it may start detaining Americans. Repeated warnings have been made to U.S. government representatives and through multiple channels, including the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. The Chinese have warned that the U.S. should drop prosecutions of the Chinese scholars in American courts, otherwise Americans in China might find themselves in violation of Chinese law. The U.S. began arresting Chinese scientists, who were visiting American universities to conduct research, and charged them with concealing their active duty status with the People’s Liberation Army from U.S. immigration authorities. This tactic is referred to as ‘hostage diplomacy’, which China has used on other countries, such as Canada, Australia and Sweden on what officials from those governments have said are bogus allegations. In September the State Department issued a travel advisory, recommending Americans avoid China travel for a number of reasons, including a warning that the Chinese government detains other countries’ citizens “to gain bargaining leverage over foreign governments”.

2) The oil giant ConocoPhillips is doubling down on crude oil with a major acquisition. Conoco is taking over Concho Resources, a fracker in the Permian Basic with a $9.7 billion dollar ‘all-stock’ takeover. This will make Conoco the largest independent oil-and-gas company in the U.S., with daily production of more than 1.5 million barrels of oil. This will also leave Conoco more exposed to the same forces that have swiftly moved against fossil fuels, and therefore the results of next months elections. Because of the volatility , many investors refrain from the oil market, which met Conoco didn’t have to spend much on the deal. Concho is being acquired at just $10,700 per acre in the Permian Basin, much less than the $40,000 previously paid for the shale oilfield.

3) The private space company SpaceX has launched another 60 Starlink internet relay satellites into orbit, with another set due to launch in a few days. There are now 835 Starlinks in orbit for the rapidly expanding global network, which will eventually number thousands, for high speed internet to any point on the earth. Present plans are to launch at least 120 new Starlinks every month.

4) Stock market closings for – 19 OCT 20:

Dow 28,195.42 down 410.89
Nasdaq 11,478.88 down 192.67
S&P 500 3,426.92 down 56.89

10 Year Yield: up at 0.76%

Oil: down at $40.68