24 March 2021

1) The CLEAN Future Act, a nearly 1,000-page piece of legislation, is meant to curb greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution that’s emitted from the petrochemical facilities that produce plastics or the raw materials used to make plastics. More significantly, the bill would impose a temporary pause on air pollution permits needed for approval of new plastics production facilities. But Republican lawmakers are raising concerns that provisions in the sweeping climate bill from top house democrats would stifle the plastics industry. The EPA regulations also require any permit for a plastics production facility to be accompanied by an ‘environmental justice assessment’, which would include consulting with the people living in the region where the facility is located.

2) Canadian Pacific Railway announced its plan to acquire the Missouri-based Kansas City Southern Lines rail company, which operates railroads in Mexico, Panama, and the United States. The new agreement will result in the first ever rail network to span the length of the North American continent to create the first rail network spanning from Canada to Mexico.
The CP values KCS at $29 billion dollars and agrees to assume $3.8 billion in outstanding debts as part of the agreement. The deal awaits final approval from the U.S. Surface Transportation Board.

3) President Biden’s economic advisers are preparing to recommend spending as much as $3 trillion dollars aimed at boosting the economy, reducing carbon emissions and narrowing economic inequality, including a giant infrastructure plan that may be financed in part through tax increases on corporations and the rich. Rather than trying to push a mammoth package through Congress, Biden has separated his plan into legislative pieces. The bill includes money for rural broadband, advanced training for millions of workers and 1 million affordable and energy efficient housing units. Additionally there is nearly $1 trillion dollars in spending on the construction of roads, bridges, rail lines, ports, electric vehicle charging stations and improvements to the electric grid and other parts of the power sector. But Republican support will depend in large part on how the bill is paid for.

4) Stock market closings for – 23 MAR 21:

Dow Jones 32,423 down by 308.05
NASDAQ 13,228 down by 149.85
S&P 500 3,911 down by 30.07

10 Year Yield: unchanged at 1.69%

Oil: down at 60.62

5 March 2021

1) For many years, there has been one report after another about the critical need to repair, replace and expand our infrastructure of roads, waterways, air travel systems, highways, dams, bridges, electric power and many other necessary parts of a modern society. The U.S. is facing a $2.59 trillion dollar shortfall in meeting its infrastructure needs. The American Society of Civil Engineers released its latest report card on U.S. infrastructure giving an overall grade of C-. That’s an upgrade from the D+ of the last report from four years ago, but leaves lots of room for improvement. America is spending about half what our infrastructure bill is, the total investment gap has gone from $2.1 trillion to nearly $2.59 trillion in over 10 years.

2) The General Motors auto company is extending its production cuts amidst the chip crisis shortage at three North American plants and added a fourth to the list of factories hit by the global semiconductor chip crisis. However, the cut did not change GM’s February forecast of a $2 billion loss in 2021. The automaker expects chip supplies to normalize by the second half of the year with no incremental losses. GM did not disclose the impact on volumes or parts affected by the chip shortage but said it intends to recover much of the lost output. Power outage in Texas further hit chip production. President Joe Biden has also pushed for $37 billion in Congressional funding to tackle the chip crisis.

3) Banning natural gas would cut carbon emissions. Cities across the country are pushing for electric only buildings, some by banning natural gas, as part of an ongoing effort to curb emissions and stall climate change. But another national push is underway in state legislatures to prevent this banning from happening elsewhere. HB 1191 is written in a way that says cities can’t put in place policies or requirements that would prioritize one fuel over another for heat and appliances in buildings. The bill is effectively a ban on banning natural gas. Advocates say it’s a necessary effort to protect consumer choice and keep energy costs low, but others are saying the gas industry is trying to protect itself by taking away local control and stifling cities’ sustainability goals. Critics question whether protecting consumers is the true aim.

4) Stock market closings for – 4 MAR 21:

Dow 30,924.14 down by 345.95
Nasdaq 12,723.47 down by 274.28
S&P 500 3,768.47 down by 51.25

10 Year Yield: up at 1.55%

Oil: up at $64.31

15 September 2020

1) The old, almost extinct vinyl record album technology for music has surpassed the newer high technology CD music media this year, by selling $129.9 million compared to $232.1 million dollars for vinyl records. This is the first time vinyl has outsold CDs since the 1980’s. About 8.8 million records were sold with 10.2 million CDs, so number wise CD’s are still ahead. Overall, the music industry now is center on digital downloads, digital subscription and streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube with revenues up 12% overall. The recorded music for the first six months of 2020 was $5.6 billion dollars so combined vinyl and CD’s are just a small fraction of the total business.

2) Amazon is hiring again expecting to fill 100,000 part time and full time openings across the U.S. and Canada. This is in addition to 33,000 technology and corporate jobs announced just a week ago, many paying six figure salaries. The 100,000 labor jobs pay at least $15 an hour with a $1,000 sign up bonuses in some cities. Amazon is opening 100 new buildings this month because of the pandemic fueled sales surge with increase home delivery, as shopping habits shift to e-commerce. Market value for Amazon is now at $1.6 trillion dollars and continues climbing.

3) Oil giant BP (British Petroleum) says the demand for oil may have peaked last year, that global market for crude oil might never recover from the coronavirus pandemic. The company considers there are three scenarios for energy demand, all of which forecast a decline in demand for oil over the next thirty years. 1) ‘Business as usual’ oil demand increases slightly after the pandemic crisis passes, then plateaus around 2025 finally it declines after 2030. 2) Governments take more aggressive steps to curb carbon emissions, 3) there are significant shifts in societal behavior, both leading to a decline in oil demand. All point to a shift in the world economic system with a significant decline in growth for many countries.

4) Stock market closings for – 14 SEP 20:

Dow 27,993.33 up 327.69
Nasdaq 11,056.65 up 203.11
S&P 500 3,383.54 up 42.57

10 Year Yield: unchanged at 0.67%

Oil: down at $37.38