23 November 20

1) When Joe Biden takes the presidential oath of office next year, he will need to address the question of his son and brother’s business arrangements with entities of foreign governments. A five-page report, with 65 pages of evidence, confirms the connections between the Biden family and the communist Chinese government, as well as the links between Hunter Biden’s business associates and the Russian government. Bidens’ global web of “consulting” and influence-mongering has created some unsavory question about conflicts of interest. Even if every past, present, or future business arrangement by Hunter and Jim Biden is technically legal, which is still an open question, plenty of difficulties can arise from financial pressure to do the bidding of those adversaries. To maintain public trust in his new administration’s diplomacy, the new president must force his son and brother to divest from many aspects of Biden family business.

2) Earlier this year, Australia was among the first countries to call for an official investigation into the coronavirus origins. China responded angrily which accusations that Australia’s highly irresponsible acts could disrupt international cooperation in fighting the pandemic. In recent months, China has imposed trade tariffs on Australia, targeted Australian journalists, and issued angry missives regarding Australia’s dealings with other regional powers. Chinese diplomats have distributed a document to Australian media listing Beijing’s grievances with Australia. These include unfairly blocking Chinese investment, spreading disinformation about China’s coronavirus response, falsely accusing Beijing of hacking, and engaging in incessant wanton interference in Xinjiang, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Yet while there may be legitimate concerns about China in a number of countries, such as the role of telecoms manufacturer Huawei in 5G networks, Australia has become more hawkish than most, but Australia could look foolish if Biden opens up partnerships with China on climate and pandemic management leaving Australia standing alone.

3) As Congress breaks for Thanksgiving, 12 million Americans may lose their jobless benefits on December 26 unless Congress can agree on a new stimulus deal in the next few weeks. More than half of the 21 million people currently collecting unemployment benefits can be effected. If lawmakers head home for Thanksgiving soon, it is even less likely they will reach a deal before they break for the year in December. As they do, millions of Americans could potentially lose their own residences when the nationwide eviction moratorium also expires at the end of the year. Tens of millions more cannot afford enough food to eat. Additionally, long-term unemployment is on the rise with the share of jobless workers out of work for 27 weeks or more, shot up from 19.1% to 32.5% in October, because there are simply not enough jobs being created to support all of the workers running out of aid before the end of 2020.

4) Stock market closings for – 20 NOV 20:

Dow 29,263.48 down by 219.75
Nasdaq 11,854.97 down by 49.74
S&P 500 3,557.54 down by 24.33

10 Year Yield: down at 0.83%

Oil: up at $42.47

16 November 2020

1) Experts predict the growth of jobs will slow during a Biden presidency, simply because the easy gains are almost gone. So the easy part of job recovery will be history by the time President-elect Joe Biden moves into the White House, leaving a particularly difficult environment for an administration seeking to right the economy. The job growth rate has decline every month since June, and this will be even worst with the resurgence of the coronavirus putting economic growth into reverse. One cause of this is companies who laid off workers at the start of the pandemic, have since gone out of business, leaving nothing for laid-off workers to return to. Over a million workers are still being laid off or fired each month, with about 3.7 million additional workers who have quit working or looking for work entirely since February. Furthermore, it takes longer for skilled workers to return to work simply because there are few jobs available to choose from.

2) Massachusetts was one of the hardest hit states by the virus last spring, and this summer was seen as a model for infection control, but now, the number of Covid-19 cases are climbing once again with confirmed deaths surpassing 10,000. So Massachusetts is having to return to restrictions approaching another shutdown. And Massachusetts isn’t the only state seeing a strong resurgence in the coronavirus. California becomes the second state to top one million cases, with Texas closely following, who hit the grim milestone earlier this week. Just five states account for about one third of new cases. Nationwide, the pandemic has killed more than 240,000 forcing states to impose measures as cases surge. Many officials attribute raising number of cases to complacency in travel and social settings such as bars and house parties.

3) Canada welcomes Hong Kong refugees amid China crackdown by easing immigration requirements for them. Canada plans to target young, educated Hong Kongers. Their plan includes the creation of a new three-year open work permit for recent graduates and shortening eligibility for permanent residency to one year. This comes at a low point in Canada-China relations, after the 2018 arrest of a top Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. executive. Hong Kongers already in Canada will now be eligible to apply for permanent residency sooner, provided they meet language and education requirements and have worked for a year in Canada.

4) Stock market closings for – 13 NOV 20:

Dow 29,479.81 up by 399.64
Nasdaq 11,829.29 up by 119.70
S&P 500 3,585.15 up by 48.14

10 Year Yield: up at 0.89%

Oil: down at $40.12

13 November 2020

1) Joe Biden will immediately face several major problems and hard decisions upon assuming the Presidency. 1) Containment of the coronavirus that has killed close to a quarter-million Americans and shows no signs of abating. 2) Addressing the nation’s bitter political divide as the divide deepens with no apparent end. 3) Regrowing a devastated economy with millions out of work and no real relief in sight. 4) The threat of growing civil unrest and open conflict as people are pushed further out of the social economic system by technology. 5) China’s growing aggressiveness, both domestically and internationally, coupled with China’s goal to be the dominate world power by 2050, making China a tender box for world conflict. 6) Russia and Iran’s trouble making in world activities, especially in the middle east, also could mean serious military conflict problems for America and the West.

2) In September, NTT announced its plan to buy out the remaining shares in NTT Docomo, in a potentially record-breaking deal. NTT currently holds 66 percent of NTT Docomo’s shares, and its chief executive argues the buy would enhance competitiveness and growth. But 28 Japanese telecom companies, including rivals SoftBank Corp and KDDI, have sent a joint letter to the communications minister protesting the purchase. Their fears of making Docomo a wholly owned company will create a powerful force that dominates the market, so they’re challenging the $40 billion dollar NTT takeover bid. The takeover of the country’s biggest mobile carrier would prevent fair competition, therefore the opposition wants to set up measures to protect an environment of fair competition and ensure compliance and implementation. With the sale, NTT may be able to push down prices quickly, forcing competitors to follow suit.

3) China’s repression of its peoples has taken another step forward with Hong Kong’s opposition lawmakers expected to formally tender resignations in protest of the oustings of four fellow supporters of pro-democracy. Their dramatic departure removes dissent in Hong Kong.
The Chinese parliament passed a resolution allowing Hong Kong authorities to expel legislators deemed a threat to national security or for not holding allegiance to Hong Kong, and without having to go through the courts. The fate of the opposition in Hong Kong has been in doubt since the government postponed September’s legislative elections by a year, in a move which critics have said was aimed at killing the pro-democracy camp’s momentum.

4) Stock market closings for – 12 NOV 20:
Dow 29,080.17 down by 317.46
Nasdaq 11,709.59 down by 76.84
S&P 500 3,537.01 down by 35.65
10 Year Yield: down at 0.88%
Oil: down at $40.92

9 November 2020

1) Missouri, in what some are calling the lawsuit heard round the world, is suing China, to hold the global heavyweight responsible for the losses of life and commerce from the COVID-19, which originated in Wuhan, China. Other states are also filing class action suits in U.S. federal courts, but Beijing is aware that sovereign nations, including the U.S., have wide immunity from such claims. Experts warn that a potential decoupling of the world’s largest economies, the United States and China, is causing further concern. Even before the pandemic, there were concerns as China took dramatic steps in recent decades to grow its reach in the world. China is part of massive shifts in the balance of global powers, with some countries reasserting themselves and others finding it difficult to keep up with technological advancements and reap their economic rewards.

2) The giant ExxonMobil has low debt, high yield, and commitment to its dividend. Chevron is like ExxonMobile having a relatively low leverage (in the industry), and long histories of annual dividend increases behind them. But then the pandemic upended the supply/demand dynamics of the oil industry which sent company’s shares tumbling. This has brought the two oil companies dividends into question, and therefore the desirability of the stock as an investment. Major foreign oil companies are facing the same dilemma. Royal Dutch Shell and BP (British Petroleum) have both said they plan to also cut their dividends because of the shift. The dividends can be supported as long as the average oil price sticks around the $40 level.

3) US government has seized a $1 billion dollars in bitcoin as the cryptocurrency rockets past $15,000 per coin, the highest value since January 2018. The organization Silk Road was the most notorious online criminal marketplace of its day, until its founder was prosecuted in 2015 leaving a billion-dollar question of where did all the money go? It remained in the digital wallet for many years before a unit within the Internal Revenue Service, that tracks digital currencies, noticed 54 new transactions from the wallet, prompting the seizure of currency. Analysts noted the movement of more than 69,000 bitcoins in a single transaction from a digital wallet tied to Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht, which held the fourth-highest bitcoin balance of any in the world. But the Silk Road founder is serving two consecutive life sentences in a maximum-security federal prison, which prompted the government to seized the money, however, the government must prove its case before it can keep the forfeited assets.

4) Stock market closings for – 6 NOV 20:

Dow 28,323.40 down by 66.78
Nasdaq 11,895.23 up by 4.30
S&P 500 3,509.44 down by 1.01

10 Year Yield: up at 0.82%

Oil: down at $37.49

JACK MA’S ANT GROUP DOES NOT GET PUBLIC IPO… YET..STOPPED BY CHINA

By: Economic & Finance Report

Jack Ma’s Ant Group IPO was supposed to be going public on the Shanghai Stock Exchange recently, but has been halted by the Chinese government for disagreements between the Chinese government and Jack Ma (AliBaba/Ant Group’s co founder).

The IPO was listed to raise over $37 billion dollars USD, making it the biggest share sale in the history of the global stock markets. Saudi Arabia’s Aramco holds the biggest share offering title; currently with its share offering last December 2019, raking 29.4 billion dollars USD. The spectators will have to wait and see, if or when the IPO will go public -SB

Image Credit: MoneyControl.com

5 November 2020

1) Even with the election stagnated, waiting on the counting of votes to find the winner, the markets were already climbing despite the final results could be days away. The Dow Jones industrial average whipsawed overnight, despite the uncertainty which usually depresses the markets. Nevertheless, the Dow climbed to a peak of over 700 points, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 index and Nasdaq also surging upward. The state of the Senate is also in doubt with neither side having a solid majority, another source of uncertainty. Voter turnout is expected to be the highest in more than a century. Experts expect volatile markets for the coming days, and maybe weeks until the election results are finalized. While bonds have dropped in their yield as expected, oil continues to gain in price. Even the foreign markets are showing an upward trend.

2) China’s new therapy for Alzheimer’s begins a much-anticipated U.S. study, the latest effort in the multibillion-dollar search for an effective treatment for the incurable disease. The drug made by Shanghai Green Valley Pharmaceutical Co. plans a $600 million dollar global Phase III trial. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave its approval in April to study whether the drug can produce lasting cognitive improvement among patients in the mild and moderate stage of the debilitating neurodegenerative disorder. The trial will have 2,046 people across China, the U.S. and Europe, the first 600 expected to start in the next six months. The first patients will begin taking the drug in four weeks.

3) Nearly 140 million votes have been cast in the 2020 elections, the most ever in a US presidential election, exceeding 2016’s record of 137.1 million. About 100 million people have voted ahead of Election Day, or about 73.4% of the total votes cast nationwide in 2016. The increased number of early votes is a result of heightened public-health concerns of coronavirus pandemic with in-person voting on Election Day. Several states have taken measures to expand early voting and access to mail-in ballots.

4) Stock market closings for – 4 NOV 20:

Dow 27,847.66 up by 367.63
Nasdaq 11,590.78 up by 430.21
S&P 500 3,443.44 up by 74.28

10 Year Yield: down at 0.77%

Oil: up at $39.11

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

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

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

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