24 November 2020

1) The European Union warned that the United Kingdom has not moved sufficiently to overcome the main obstacles to a post-Brexit trade deal. One major point of contention is the fishing rights for EU fishermen in having access to U.K. fishing waters. Late on Thursday, the leaders of France, Belgium and the Netherlands called on the EU to make contingency plans for the failure of a deal in time. Officials on both sides privately voiced cautious optimism that a deal could be concluded as soon as next week, with talks now at a delicate stage. On fishing, the two sides still can’t agree on how much of the British catch the EU boats will be allocated, while the two sides also haven’t agreed on cross retaliation clauses, the official said.

2) Great Britain and Canada have reach a trade deal in a Brexit giving Prime Minister Johnson a boost. U.K. has agreed with Canada to maintain the trading conditions it has from their European Union membership and to begin talks on a broader deal that would pave the way for even closer links with Britain. Canada is Britain’s 12th largest trading partner. The two countries will begin negotiations next year to expand their commercial agreements to cover digital trade, the environment and women’s economic empowerment. Without the new agreement, Britain and Canada face tariffs on trade from the first of the year, when the Brexit transition period ends. Britain is Canada’s third-largest export market after the U.S. and China.

3) The CDC has released a report that counties in Kansas who complied with a mask mandate saw a decrease in cases compared to counties that didn’t. Those counties that opted out of mandatory wearing of masks saw an increase by 100%. While experts have said that masks are a key part of limiting the virus, their usage has been the subject political debate for months. The same declines has been seen in 15 states and in Washington DC. Covid-19 infections decreased in 24 counties with mask mandates but increased in 81 counties that opted out of the order. This translates into a 6% in counties with a mandate compared to an increase of 100% in counties where masks were not mandated. There have been 136,861 confirmed cases of coroniavirus throughout the state of Kansas, which have resulted in at least 1,306 deaths. With more than 35% of tests administered coming back positive, three times higher than the 10% rate nationally.
4) Stock market closings for – 23 NOV 20:

Dow 29,591.27 up by 327.79
Nasdaq 11,880.63 up by 25.66
S&P 500 3,577.59 up by 20.05

10 Year Yield: up at 0.86%

Oil: up at $42.84

PFIZER COVID-19 ANECDOTE 95% EFFECTIVE. SEEKS EMERGENCY APPROVAL TO DISTRIBUTE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

By: Economic & Finance Report

Pfizer has announced their Covid-19 study on a medication they are beta testing has come back from their lab studies; with a 95% effective accuracy rate in trial testing.

Pfizer has been working with BioNTech (German based biotechnology company) on developing a Covid-19 vaccine as fast and accurately as possible. Both companies have indicated they have met those objectives. They are seeking to attain emergency clearance from the United States and European Union, to be able to distribute the vaccine as soon as possible. -SB

Image Credit: UsaNews.com

12 November 2020

1) Biden said he’ll forgive $10,000 in student debt for all borrowers. Will it actually happen? During his campaign, Biden advocated forgiving a large portion of outstanding student loan debt. Now that Biden is the President-elect, the 42 million Americans with education loans may be wondering, will it really happen? Biden’s proposal is a scaled-down version of plans that his rivals to the left in the Democratic primary campaigned on. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, wants to cancel up to $50,000 in student debt for individuals with household incomes under $100,000, while Sen. Bernie Sanders, said he’d erase all of the country’s outstanding education debt.

2) The European Union will impose tariffs on $4 billion dollars of U.S. goods starting Tuesday. This is a tit-for-tat escalation of a transatlantic fight over illegal aid to aircraft manufacturers Boeing Co. and Airbus. The EU tariffs will be on various Boeing models of airliners with a 15% duty, as well as other goods ranging from spirits and nuts to tractors and video games, which will be subject to a 25% levy. The move comes at an awkward moment for the EU, which is contending with a surge of Covid-19 cases and its worsening recession. For the last 13 months, the EU has faced U.S. tariffs on $7.5 billion dollars of European goods after Washington won a WTO (World Trade Organization) case against market-distorting aid. In a parallel lawsuit, the EU received final WTO permission to hit $4 billion dollars of American products with duties because of unfair subsidies to Boeing.

3) EU (European Union) regulators announced antitrust charges against Amazon. The European Commission considers Amazon’s collection of non-public data on its platform is then used to benefit its own retail business because sales of third-party retailers is then used to launch Amazon’s own products and undercut its competition. This complaint is one of the most common charges against Amazon as an anti-competitive outfit. About 2.3 million third-party sellers do business on the Amazon marketplace. The EU also has a second formal investigation which has officially been opened.

4) Stock market closings for – 11 NOV 20:

Dow 29,397.63 down by 23.29
Nasdaq 11,786.43 up by 232.58
S&P 500 3,572.66 up by 27.13

10 Year Yield: down at 0.96%

Oil: down at$41.62

4 November 2020

1) The peak oil production could come in 2028 due to pandemic, a result of the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, which suppresses oil demand to such a degree that it will accelerate society’s transition from the fossil fuel. Some analysts predict oil demand will peak at 102 million barrels per day in 2028, two years earlier than predicted before the virus struck. The slow recovery will permanently affect global oil demand levels, lockdowns will stunt economic recovery in the short-term and long-term, while the pandemic will leave a legacy of behavioral changes that will also affect oil use. Right now, global oil demand is averaging about 89.3 million barrels per day, a 10 percent decline from last year, which experts say won’t rebound to those levels until 2023. Despite possible economic fallout governments in Europe and Asia, they are not backing off their clean energy goals. Electric vehicle sales are expected to reach 14 percent of total global car sales by 2025, and reaching 80 percent by mid-century.

2) Norwegian Cruise Line gives up on 2020 with Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings suspended all cruises through the end of November. Resuming cruises have each company installing labs for COVID-19 testing at sea, then put through costly cruising simulations, and then following a number of additional regulations. So getting back to business by next month isn’t feasible anymore, therefore Norwegian Cruise Line became the first of the three giant operators to officially cancel the remainder of its 2020 voyages. Normally, December sailings are lucrative as people seek to leave cold weather behind during the holiday season. The cruise lines may not be able to hold out that long. To survive, companies need protocols that allows them to return to sailing safely, even if there’s a less than ideal experience for customers as well as the companies’ bottom lines. Consumers are already starting to lose faith in this once aspirational mode of leisure travel.

3) This last week, more than 61,000 children in the U.S. were diagnosed with Covid-19, the highest number than any other week. The true number of children with Covid-19 is higher because the illness tends to be mild in kids and because they may not always be tested. A 13-year-old boy has died over the weekend from Covid-19 infection, less than two weeks after he last attended class.

4) Stock market closings for – 3 NOV 20:

Dow 27,480.03 up by 554.98
Nasdaq 11,160.57 up by 202.96
S&P 500 3,369.02 up by 58.78

10 Year Yield: up at 0.88%

Oil: up at $38.15

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

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

8 October 2020

1) Despite the economic failure of the first supersonic airliner, the French-British Concorde, there are now attempts to revitalize the supersonic airline service. Boom Supersonic has unveiled its first demonstrator aircraft called the X-B1, which is scheduled to start flight testing next year. The demonstrator is planned as a commercial stepping stone to an actual commercial supersonic airliner to transverse the Atlantic ocean in about three and a half hours- about half the present flight time. Plans called for supersonic jets that are quieter and more fuel efficient than the Concorde. Some might consider a supersonic airliner to be an optimistic endeavor considering the concerns over the airline’s industry future over the next several years.

2) Like other restaurant chains in decline, Ruby Tuesday’s decline was several years in the making, accelerated by the pandemic. Amidst speculation by industry insiders, the renowned Ruby Tuesday has filed for bankruptcy. By April, Ruby Tuesday had closed about 30% of its 470 restaurants, and with the virus crisis, restaurants continued closing. It has closed 300 restaurants in the last three years, 186 this year alone, while amassing a $43 million dollar debt plus $19 million dollars owed to landlords and vendors. The company is filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy and will continue operating about 230 restaurants in its bid to survive. Ruby Tuesday’s decline in sales was due to a major shift in consumer attention from casual dine-in to fast food and fast casual options.

3) The troubled aircraft manufacture Boeing Aircraft cuts their forecast for airplane demand due to the pandemic. Over the next decade, Boeing now expects deliveries of 18,350 commercial aircraft, which is down from its previous forecast by 10.7%. The coronavirus crisis is expected to create minimal demand for new jets during the next few years. Boeing still expects to deliver 43,110 commercial aircraft over the next 20 years, a forecast down only slightly from its previous forecast of 44,040 and so will be able to make up for lost sales in the years after the next decade.

4) Stock market closings for – 7 OCT 20:

Dow 28,303.46 up 530.70
Nasdaq 11,364.60 up +210.00
S&P 500 3,419.45 up 58.50

10 Year Yield: up at 0.78%

Oil: up at $40.06

7 October 2020

1) Ikea, the big Swedish world wide modular furniture manufacture, has experienced a surge in sales from the pandemic as people turned homes into offices and schools. Their online sales are up 45% over the last 12 months to August, with 4 billion visits to their website. Outdoor furniture is the fastest growing category, followed by office furniture. While many of their stores were forced to close from the virus, their online sales remain high even as stores reopen. The furniture retailer has added 6,000 new employees world wide to make a total work force of 217,000. Online sales account for about one fifth of total sales.

2) Job openings in America fell in August for the first time in four months, indicating a moderation in hiring as the crisis continues. Available positions slipped down to 6.49 million from July’s 6.7 million. These numbers do not include recalls from layoffs or positions that are offered only internally. However, layoffs and discharges are at a low for August, although there are still 13.6 million Americans unemployed, which means there are about 2 unemployed competing for each job opening. There are fewer vacancies in construction, retail and health care industries, while vacancies increased for manufacturing, food service and government.

3) Federal reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says America is on the long road to economic recovery from the pandemic induced recession, but still there are other problems on the horizon. There are fears of the economy shifting into reverse once again, especially if a resurgence of the virus comes with cold weather . . . the flue season. Such a resurgence could significantly limit economic activity leaving many unemployed stranded with no jobs for many more months. Powell is calling for the passing of the second stimulus bill presently being debated in the Congress. He considers the risk of pouring too much money into the economy far lower than the risk of not spending enough, despite the already sky high federal budget. While he considers the debt is on an unsustainable path, and has been for some time, but this is not the time to address it.

4) Stock market closings for – 6 OCT 20:

Dow 27,772.76 down 375.88
Nasdaq 11,154.60 down 177.88
S&P 500 3,360.95 down 47.68

10 Year Yield: down at 0.74%

Oil: up at $39.83

16 October 2020

1) There are mounting fears that a surge in Covid-19 this fall and winter could kill 2,900 people a day in America. This is reminiscent of the World War I Spanish Flu pandemic in the fall of 1918 which killed 195,000 Americans in just the month of October. With colder weather, more people gather indoors increasing the risk of coronavirus spread. There are also the risk of catching the flu and Covid-19 at the same time, with makes a person more vulnerable by overwhelming the immune system. Risk of infection spreading has increased with the opening of schools. The increase risk isn’t in just America, with infections spikes in Europe. Paris is closing its bars again trying to arrest the increasing spread of the virus. The city is also banning student parties and putting limitations on outdoor gatherings.

2) The huge movie theater chain Regal Cinemas has announced it is closing all of its locations in the U.S. and U.K. There are 536 stateside Regal Cinemas and 127 Regal and Picturehouse Cinemas in the U.K., all to close down. This is a result of two factors, the first is limited seating and hence reduced revenues in theaters. A further consequence of the pandemic is the limited cinematic offerings for customers because of film release delays. The theater chain will reopen when movie studios resume regular production. The majority of its 45,000 employees will either be furloughed or forced to take unpaid leave until then. AMC, the world’s largest movie theater chain has announced that it is generating almost no revenue and has lost as much as $2.4 billion dollars in the first quarter of 2020 alone.

3) Another result of the coronavirus is the shape increase in drug costs such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine, which are up 20 to 50% of pre-virus prices. This is largely because of restriction on the U.S. – Mexico boarder, which now restricts non-essential travel across the boarder, where most of the illicit drugs is entering the country. The virus is effecting the drug prices by also interfering with the cultivation of coca and poppies in foreign lands.

4) Stock market closings for – 5 OCT 20:

Dow 28,148.64 up 465.83
Nasdaq 11,332.48 up 257.47
S&P 500 3,408.63 up 60.19

10 Year Yield: up at 0.76%

Oil: up at $39.43

3 September 2020

1) Major American companies are extending their ‘work from home’ policy, such as Google, Uber and Airbnb, until the summer of next year. The companies Zillow, Twitter, Facebook and Square have announce that employees can work from home indefinitely. Some companies are also offering stipends to employees for home office equipment as well as a $500 quarterly credit to use specifically on Airbnbs. This at home work policy remains in effect even after offices start reopening. The work at home is even spreading across the international scene with electronic giant Hitachi having 70% of its employees work permanently from home. Nationwide Insurance plans to downsize from 20 physical offices to just four with the majority of its employees continuing to work permanently from home. It’s looking more and more like working at home is becoming the norm for the future in America.

2) In a bid to counter the competition of e-commerce, the traditional department store giant Macy’s has started opening new, smaller stores away from the malls, reflecting a growing trend in the retail industry. The retail giant will test small-format Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores outside of underperforming malls, joining a growing trend in retail. The test stores will begin operation the fourth quarter of 2021 in Dallas, Atlanta and Washington DC. Many other major retailers are turning away from the mall format of retailing, leaving many malls withering on the vine, with foot traffic on the decline even before the Convid-19 crisis. This is another indication of a shift in American culture and society.

3) Fashion retailer Old Navy has announced they will pay their employees to work at polling stations comes election day. Each employee will be paid a full days wages for their poll work. Furthermore, store employees will have up to three hours of paid time-off on election day to vote. Old Navy joins other retailers such as Patagonia, PayPal and Levi Strauss & Co. to help in the national elections.

4) Stock market closings for – 2 SEP 20:

Dow 29,100.50 up 454.84
Nasdaq 12,056.44 up 116.78
S&P 500 3,580.84 up 54.19

10 Year Yield: down at 0.65%

Oil: down at $41.78