1) Because of the very rapid spreading of the new coronavirus variant, England will enter its toughest nationwide lock down since March. For at least six weeks schools will be closed and people can leave home only once a day for exercise. Because of the number of people in hospitals reaching a new height the British threat level has been raised to its highest level of 5. People must now only leave home for work, if it is impossible to work from home, and for essential food and medicine. School study will be online until mid-February. All non-essential retail and hospitality businesses are closed, but restaurants and other premises will continue delivery of takeaway food but not alcohol. Places of worship can remain open, including communal worship, subject to social distancing.
2) The first stimulus payments from new the coronavirus relief bill are now on the way. However, the aid won’t suffice for many. The $300 check additions to unemployment are half the amount of the old Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation pay outs, which lapsed in late July. Since then, aid recipients have been getting by on state unemployment assistance, which can pay less than the minimum wage when calculated on an hourly basis. But workers will receive just over a third of last spring’s CARES package, which paid out $600 per week for four months compared to $300 for 11 weeks now.
3) Google workers have formed their first-ever union, a rare step for the tech industry that also represents the biggest and most organized challenge yet to the company’s executive leadership. This is the first union at a major tech company and it’s for and by all tech workers. So far, 226 workers have signed union cards with the Communications Workers of America (CWA), one of the country’s largest labor unions. While the pandemic made it more challenging to hold those meetings face-to-face, the shift to remote work, in some ways, made it easier to organize. The workers could theoretically mount a strike, though that would be a challenge and there are no current plans to do so. The union’s formation comes after years of rising employee tensions over the company’s business and operational decisions, such as work with the defense sector, plans for a censored search engine in China, and the company’s handling of sexual misconduct claims.
4) Stock market closings for – 4 JAN 21
Dow 30,223.89 down by 382.59 Nasdaq 12,698.45 down by 189.83 S&P 500 3,700.65 down by 55.42
1) General Chuck Yeager, died at age 97, was remembered Monday as America’s greatest Pilot in a tweet attributed to his wife, Victoria Scott D’Angelo. After breaking the sound barrier, Yeager continued to break records and returned to combat. He was a double ace with 11.5 aircraft shot down and became an ‘ace in a day’ by shooting down 5 or more aircraft in a single day. After World War II, in 1947, he became the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound by flying the Bell X-1. In 1953 he flew more than 1,600 mph in the Bell X-1A. He also flew combat missions in both the Korean and Vietnam wars. Chuck Yeager had flown 361 different types of aircraft and flew 10,131.6 hours during his career, retiring from the Air Force in 1975.
2) With just 24 days to make a deal, the Brexit negotiators are finding the situation very gloomy for a trade deal, with talks now on a ‘knife’s edge’ again. The British and European teams are struggling to craft a free-trade agreement so the two sides can continue the orderly movement of goods and services across the English Channel. Otherwise, Britain and Europe will enforce new customs duties, tariffs, border checks, and quotas on goods, therefore increasing prices and fully ending the era of the free and frictionless trade. The major obstacle is the European access to fish in British waters, despite the fisheries accounting for just a small fraction of Britain’s gross domestic product. The Europeans are also pressing to maintain a “level playing field,” to keep Britain from undercutting worker protections or granting large state subsidies to British businesses, thus giving the U.K. firms unfair advantages.
3) Oil prices fell from a 9-month high while the dollar strengthened. Consumption in Asia remains robust, while other markets are soft or declining. Crude oil prices now look to be heavily dependent on how quickly Covid-19 vaccines can be rolled out. OPEC+ is facing more potential supply challenges, with Libya continuing to ramp up production while Iran prepares to raise oil exports with expectations that America will ease some sanctions under a Joe Biden presidency.
4) Stock market closings for – 8 DEC 20:
Dow 30,173.88 up by 104.09 Nasdaq 12,582.77 up by 62.83 S&P 500 3,702.25 up by 10.29
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
1) President Trump is slipping in the polls, and this may pose a risk to the markets. Even though the wild swings of the markets have subsided and then surged upwards, with the Democrat Joe Biden gaining in the polls, there is concerns that the markets will take a down turn as Biden becomes stronger. The President is facing criticism over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the protest from the killing of George Floyd by the police. A victory by Joe Biden and a Democratic sweep are considered more ‘market unfriendly’ outcomes. Taxes are one major area of contrast between the candidates, with taxes a major concern for American businesses. These fears are fueled by the Dow sliding downwards for the first time this month as the rally pauses.
2) Borrowing by the British government to pay for the coronavirus shutdown is soaring to levels not seen since World War II. This is on top of the financial problems from Brexit with Britain’s debt jumping five-fold to a 300 billion pound deficit ($380 billion dollars) . This could leave Britain with a 2.2 trillion pound debt and the need to raise taxes with an impact on economic growth. Britain is funding this expenditure with sales of bonds, but have fears of a Greece style loss of confidence among investors. The government is hoping for a fast recovery after restrictions are lifted, allowing the debt to quickly be paid down.
3) There are fears that the U.S. dollar is entering a bear market so may no longer be the safe haven for investors. This bear market could go for five to ten years. This would occur if the global economy really is bottoming out and thereby rebound again, while U.S. interest rates are at zero, with potential growth lower than the merging markets. The U.S. dollar is depreciating against many international peer currencies these last few days.
4) Stock market closings for – 9 JUN 20:
Dow 27,272.30 down 300.14 Nasdaq 9,953.75 up 29.01 S&P 500 3,207.18 down 25.21
1) Nigeria may become the superpower of Africa, repeating the economic miracle of China and India. While investors are not moving into Nigeria yet, they are watching. Like China and India, Nigeria was once a colony of the west, and like India, was a colony of the British, and just like India its language is English. Right now, Nigeria is economically where China was forty years ago, before Mao Zedong died and Deng Xiaoping deregulated the economy to unleash it. For many other reasons, Nigeria is set to repeat the economic miracle of China.
2) House mortgage applications has soared to its highest level in eleven years, for new homes and refinance. Applications are up 30.2% from last week, and are 109% higher than a year ago. The interest rates are under 4% , combining with a rosy economic outlook and high employment causing home buyers to rush into the market. This is causing a near record low supply of housing across America, pushing prices up.
3) Retailer giant Target didn’t have a strong holiday sales in their toy departments, less than what was expected. This is ringing alarm bells for the entire industry. While Target gained market share in toys, its toy sales were flat over the 2019 holidays compared to last year. Toy makers like Hasbro, Mattel and Spin Master are offering a smaller variety of toys and games, a result in part from the bankruptcy of Toys-R-Us. Increasingly, toy sales is going to online retailers such as Amazon.
4) Stock market closings for – 15 JAN 20:
Dow 29,030.22 up 90.55 Nasdaq 9,258.70 up 7.37 S&P 500 3,289.29 up 6.14
1) Saudi Arabia has restored 75% of its crude oil output and will have restored full production by next week. The September 14 attacks had reduced crude production to half, but promises that production will be fully restored by the end of September. The Saudis have managed to avoid a world wide oil crisis by drawing upon their stockpiles to continue supplying their customers at near pre-attack levels of crude.
2) The retailer giant Amazon plans to purchase 100,000 electric delivery vans from the company Rivian as part of its carbon neutral plan. Furthermore, Amazon announced plans to up its present 40% renewable energy to 100% by 2030. Rivian will design a custom electric delivery van for Amazon to be delivered between 2021 and 2024, who also has an agreement with Ford to develop an electric F-150 pickup truck. Amazon is also working to halt its support of the fossil fuel industry, stopping donations to climate denying politicians and think tanks, and stopping the oppression of climate refugees.
3) The British travel firm Thomas Cook has collapsed with bankruptcy, leaving about 600,000 customers stranded. The 178 year old group, which is debt plagued and struggling against fierce online competition for some time, is blaming Brexit uncertainty for the recent drop in bookings, and thus its inability to secure $250 million dollar loan to prevent collapse. This also leaves 22,000 staff members unemployed, with the British government chartering airlines to fly stranded passengers home.
4) Stock market closings for – 23 SEP 19:
Dow 26,949.99 up 14.92 Nasdaq 8,112.46 down 5.21 S&P 500 2,991.78 down 0.29
1) Threat of a ‘no deal’ Brexit has the British pound falling relative to the US dollar and euro. The new British prime minister Boris Johnson announced the annual suspension of Parliament would be extended until 14 October, just two weeks before the UK is set to leave the European Union. This suspension is considered a move to block a no-deal Brexit within the UK parliament.
2) If General Motor exits from China, it will mean billions of dollars of profit lost. President Trump’s threatening order for American business to leave China would leave GM the hardest hit of the big three American automakers. While most of GM’s profits comes from North America, it makes about 43% of it annual auto sales in China. This would also mean the loss of all future growth potential, leaving it almost a North American only company, since GM has sold off its European operations.
3) The international gold market is falling prey to a forgery crisis. Gold bars are being stamped with logos of major refineries which makes them of questionable purity. These fake bars are being used as a means to launder cash money or trafficking illegally mined gold. The fakes became apparent when gold bars were found with identical serial numbers. In 2017 and 2018 there were 655 forged bars reported. Gold Kilobars are the most common form of gold in circulation and are worth about $50,000 each
4) Stock market closings for – 28 AUG 19:
Dow 26,036.10 up 258.20 Nasdaq 7,856.88 up 29.94 S&P 500 2,887.94 up 18.78
1) The problem of student loan debt is becoming more acuate. The effects of the $1.6 trillion dollar student loan debt, which represents about 8% of national income, is a massive burden, which has doubled since the mid 2000s. The consequences for massive student loans is that young people are delaying marriage and family formation, hampering the growth of small businesses, delaying the purchases of first homes, saving for retirement and in general reducing the discretionary income of young people. For a consumer based economy, all these spell an adverse overall effect on America’s economy.
2) The consumer confidence has fallen to its lowest level in 21 months with people more pessimistic about business and labor market conditions. Worries about recent increase in trade tensions between China and the United States further erodes consumer confidence. The consumer confidence index dropped 9.8 points to 121.5 for this month, the lowest since September 2017. While the index remains high, the drop has fueled fears of a continual downward slide reflecting a reluctance for consumers to make purchases other than essentials.
3) The British fund manager H2O, which had stellar returns with surging assets from clients buying in, last week clients starting pulling their money out. The investment manager lost $3.4 billion dollars in just three days. H2O is fighting back taking measures to assure investors the company can meet redemptions, but also making it more adverse for getting out. Their goal is to avoid fund freeze that has thrown other fund managers into chaos.
4) Stock market closings for- 25 JUN 19: Stocks decline after weak consumer confidence report.
Dow 26,548.22 down 179.32 Nasdaq 7,884.72 down 120.98 S&P 500 2,917.38 down 27.97
1) British parliament voted to take control of Brexit for one day this Wednesday, to try their hand at resolving Britain’s dilemma of departing the European Union. If the division running through the British public is any indicator, then it’s rather unlikely parliament will reach any consensus on a solution.
2) Airbus of France announced a $35 billion dollar sale to China for 290 of their A320 airliners plus another 10 of their A350 wide body airliners. This is another blow to Boeing in addition to the grounding of their best seller, the 737 MAX 8, which is comparable to the A320. The grounding of the 737 MAX 8 coupled with the fallout from the US-China’s trade war is a serious impediment to Boeing. China is the world’s largest aviation market.
3) Apple sales in China has declined due to demand for domestic products. Apple products have become too expensive, so the Chinese people are turning to domestic products which now have most of the same features as Apple for much less.
4) 26 MAR 19 Stock market closings:
Dow 25,657.73 up 140.90 Nasdaq 7,691.52 up 53.98 S&P 500 2,818.46 up 20.10
1) The English pound has had its biggest single day drop because of Brexit. Brexit will be delayed until May the twenty-second if the British Parliament passes the exit deal.
2) Boeing has experience its first cancellation of its 737 MAX with Indonesia canceling a huge order of 49 aircraft. Boeing is rushing to complete its new warning system since the 737 MAX is its biggest seller.
3) Pinterest files for its IPO, releasing its prospectus this last Friday showing a $53 million dollar loss. Presently, the software has about 265 million users. Uber also plans to list its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange, the largest so far this year.
4) 22 MAR 19 Stock market closings: Dow dropped over fears of a global slowdown.
Dow 25,502.32 down 460.19 Nasdaq 7,642.67 down 196.29 S&P 500 2,800.71 down 54.17