6 January 2021

1) With the ravages of the new coronavirus, Los Angeles County has been so overwhelmed it is running out of oxygen. Arizona now has the nation’s highest rate of coronavirus hospitalizations. In the Atlanta area, nearly every major hospital is almost full, prompting state officials to reopen a field hospital for the third time. This last week, new deaths and cases have increased by more than 20 percent, for a total of more than 355,000 fatalities and 21 million infections. But the toll on hospitals is more critical. Southern California is running low on ICU beds, ventilators and morgue space. But the greatest shortage is oxygen. The sheer number of patients has placed such a strain on oxygen systems that some hospitals are struggling to provide adequate air pressure and flow into patients’ lungs. But expanding the oxygen supply doesn’t solve the problems, because of the volume being pumped, some of the pipes start to freeze up. Also you start running out of oxygen tanks that patients need to be discharged and sent home. As cases increase ICU beds get full, ER gets backed up, ambulances have nowhere to take patients. There’s severe, chronic staffing shortages, while elective surgeries get canceled so the ability to care simply degrades.

2) It is being reported that President Trump privately admits his defeat, but he wants to continue brawling for attention, so Trump has kept up a flurry of activities to pressure other Republicans to aid his effort to block Biden’s presidency. But one factor political pundits are overlooking is the state of the economy that Biden will inherit. Many are expecting the economy to make a strong quick recovery, but with the whole western economies going into massive deep debt, the likelihood of sever economic problems, that are worst than the 2008 downturn, looms large. The chances of Bidens new administration turning things around for America are very, very slim. And when there are economic problems, the President gets blamed even if it’s not his fault, so the new President will soon be in trouble with the people turning against him. Whether by design or accident, the charges of election fraud will most likely become an ‘albatross’ tied around Biden’s neck. For while the people now want to ignored the questions of voter fraud and corruption, as public opinion diminishes, that ‘albatross’ will hang heavy pulling his presidency down.

3) Communist China continues its backslide into a repressive totalitarian regime with the arrest of dozens of Hong Kong democracy activists and opposition politicians for violating the city’s controversial national security law, in what appears to be the largest roundup yet under the China imposed legislation. The Chinese justify the law which bands subversion, terrorism, secession and collusion with foreign forces, but the law has mainly been used against non-violent political opponents and dissidents.

4) Stock market closings for – 5 JAN 21

Dow 30,391.60 up by 167.71
Nasdaq 12,818.96 up by 120.51
S&P 500 3,726.86 up by 26.21

10 Year Yield: up at 0.96%

Oil: up at $49.81

16 October 2020

1) Peloton, the exercise machine maker, has recalled pedals on 27,000 of their bikes which have caused some injuries. The 27,000 bikes were manufactured between July 2013 and May 2016. The company has received 120 reports of the pedals breaking resulting in 16 injuries to users, with 5 people requiring medical care including stitches. Peloton is one of the few companies who have benefitted from the coronavirus crisis because with people staying at home for long periods, they are purchasing home exercise machines. Their stock is up 380% a year to date, while their fitness subscribers is up 113% from a year ago.

2) The investment firm BlackRock considers China’s domestic bond market to be a good investment, offering a level of returns that may be difficult to find elsewhere in the current world economy. Economic data and continued monetary policy support, point to a sustained economic recovery, with foreign investors remaining under-invested in Chinese bonds. These investors account for only about 2% of the $16 trillion dollar market. Using diversified and resilient portfolio allows investors to avoid being exposed to risk specific for a company or sector. While there are some troubling signs, such as China Evergrande Group seeking government help in meeting its debt, looking across the whole spectrum, a fairly diversified portfolio can be built to yield a reasonable income.

3) General Motors will start operating robot cars in San Francisco without any human backups in the cars by the end of this year. The company Cruise has received a permit from California’s Department of Motor Vehicles to allow them to operate robot cars, without humans, on public highways. Other companies have gotten permits for autonomous automobile operation without humans, including Waymo, but none have set a date for autonomous ride-hailing services. Cruise will start ride-hailing service first in the surround neighborhoods, one at a time, slowly working their way into the heart of San Francisco with it’s dense traffic challenges. Progress towards fully autonomous ride-hailing services was retarded in 2018 when an Uber autonomous test car ran down a pedestrian in Temple Arizona.

4) Stock market closings for – 15 OCT 20:

Dow 28,494.20 down 19.80
Nasdaq 11,713.87 down 54.86
S&P 500 3,483.34 down 5.33

10 Year Yield: up at 0.73%

Oil: down at $40.89