18 January 2021

1) One Chinese province, Heilongjiang, with more than 37 million, has declared an emergency state to snuff out a handful of Covid-19 cases, as China moves decisively to contain infections. China had largely brought the coronavirus under control since its emergence in Wuhan late in 2019, however in recent weeks China has seen smatterings of cases, prompting localize lock downs, immediate travel restrictions and widespread testing of tens of millions of people. China is trying to squash the virus ahead of next month’s Lunar New Year festival, when hundreds of millions of people are due to travel across the country. Those highly anticipated annual journeys are often the only time for many migrant workers to see their families.

2) Biden has promised to extend the pause on student loan payments during his first day in office. Here are other steps the new administration could take for student debt relief. Forgiving $10,000 in student loan debt for each person, but it’s unclear of the time frame to do so. Also, it is unclear on whether Biden can use executive powers to cancel student debt or if only the Congress can do it. On day one Biden will direct the Department of Education to extend the student loan forbearance program, the first promise the president-elect has made in combating the $1.6 trillion student debt crisis. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is pushing for $50,000 to be forgiven.

3) Scientist warns that civilization is on the precipice of a ‘ghastly future’ that humanity has gravely underestimated the effects of biodiversity decline, climate change, and pollution. A review of over 150 studies finds the central problems we face are economic and political systems centered around unsustainable human consumption and population growth at the expense of all else. Biodiversity loss started some 11,000 years with the start of agriculture, which has vastly accelerated in recent centuries due to ever-worsening pressures placed on natural ecosystems. With a world population of 7.5 billion, which is expected to peak at 10 billion, that is worsening existing food insecurity, soil degradation, biodiversity decline, pollution, social inequality, and regional conflicts. Food production is sustained with the increasing use of fossil fuels and petrochemicals. Humanity is running an ecological Ponzi scheme in which society robs nature and future generations to pay for boosting incomes in the short term, all supported with petrochemicals. Half the large mammals in the world are humans, the other half are the domestic animals providing humanity with subsistence. All the other large mammals fit into just a 5% sliver.

4) Stock market closings for – 15 JAN 21:

Dow 30,814.26 down by 177.26
Nasdaq 12,998.50 down by 114.14
S&P 500 3,768.25 down by 27.29

10 Year Yield: down at 1.10%

Oil: down at $52.04

15 January 2021

1) As Joe Biden approaches taking office, the question of a third stimulus check is already open, but one point is the amount, either $2,000 or $1,400. With $600 checks already being dispersed, the question expands to having the second and third payments combined to total of up to $2,600. In turn , Biden may propose a third stimulus check for $1,400 per eligible adult, for a total of $2,000 between the two payments. But America isn’t the only nation amassing huge national debts with cash back programs to its citizens. From small third world nations to the most advance western nations, a large number of nations have stimulus payments in an attempt to salvage their economies, several paying more per person than America. There has been little to no concern of how these national debts will be paid back, leaving a growing instability of the world economic system. If one of these indebted nations should start collapsing, the other economies could then be pulled down and collapse too. Like a gaggle of standing dominos, one falls, knocks down more, who in turn knocks down more until the whole comes tumbling down resulting in disaster.

2) Even with majorities in the house and senate, the new president Biden faces a hard time getting his Covid relief bill passed. This could further be hindered if the Senate becomes embroiled in an impeachment trial of President Trump and the confirmation of Biden’s Cabinet in the early days of his administration. Typically, a new president has his first hundred days, the honeymoon time, when the Congress is most willing to support and pass the legislation the new president proposes. But continuing actions and debates against Trump will eat into that honeymoon, plus distracting by the press away from the president, leaving Biden ‘holding the bag – possibly empty’.

3) China joins the rush to driverless cars, with the Chinese startup company WeRide raising $310 million dollars in funding as the race to robot cars heats up. This funding and new investors will give the company the strategic resources to commercialize self-driving technology. The company says it will launch trial operations for their Mini Robobuses immediately. WeRide valuation is estimated to top $5 billion. Other companies including search giant Baidu, start-up AutoX and ride-hailing firm Didi, who are competing in the same space.

4) Stock market closings for – 14 JAN 21:
Dow 30,991.52 down by 68.95
Nasdaq 13,112.64 down by 16.31
S&P 500 3,795.54 down by 14.30
10 Year Yield: up at 1.13%
Oil: up at $53.80

4 January 2021

1) The prospects of approving the $2,000 stimulus checks have dimmed further. The legislation was scrambled in the final days of the 116th Congress. Democrats rapidly passed a bill with some Republican support and attempted to approve it in the GOP-led Senate. But the Senate Majority Leader blocked a vote on the checks, by eliminating Section 230 liability protections for social-media companies and reviewing purported voter fraud in the 2020 election. These contentious measures cut off Democratic support for the bill and avoided holding a vote directly on the larger checks. While a half dozen Senate Republicans have expressed support for larger checks, most have opposed additional spending on top of the $900 billion in aid.

2) There are eleven GOP senators who plan to object to certification of the election results, with Vice President Pence welcoming their move on January 6. So far, every state has certified their election results. The senators’ opposition to official certification is considered to only stall Congress by a matter of hours in finalizing the results. Nearly one-quarter of the Senate Republicans have broken with GOP leaders to join the effort to invalidate Biden’s win. Meanwhile, in the House, over half of the Republican members have said that they will vote on January 6 to block certification of the election results.

3) Nancy Pelosi has been reelected speaker of the house despite a narrow majority, for a fourth non-consecutive term, to lead the House of Representatives, despite suffering a handful of defections in a narrow vote. After serving for 17 years in charge of the House Democrats, Pelosi ran unopposed in her election. The Democrats’ had their smallest majority in decades and a pandemic that has hindered attendance. Some in her caucus have agitated for new leadership, and Republicans were unified against her. She received 216 votes, compared to House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy 209 votes.

4) Stock market closings for – 31 DEC 20:

Dow 30,606.48 up by 196.92
Nasdaq 12,888.28 up by 18.28
S&P 500 3,756.07 up by 24.03

10 Year Yield: down at 0.92%

Oil: up at $48.42

31 December 2020

1) President Donald Trump’s efforts for a $2,000 Covid-19 relief check for each American has run into a road block, which the Senate Republicans have made unsurmountable, even as pressure builds to approve the bigger checks. A growing number of Republicans oppose more spending, despite bucking Trump. The showdown over the $2,000 checks has thrown Congress into a chaotic year-end session which is preventing action on overturning Trump’s veto on a sweeping defense bill. McConnell is trying to provide an off ramp for GOP senators to avoid a tough vote. Republicans are split between those who align with Trump’s populist instincts and those who adhere to what had been more traditional conservative views against government spending. New legislation is proposing linking the president’s demand for bigger checks with repealing law suit protections for tech companies like Facebook or Twitter , as well as establishment of a bipartisan commission to review the 2020 presidential election for possible fraud.

2) There is another casualty of the coronavirus pandemic . . . the ringing in of the new year at Times Square in New York, which in the past draws millions of visitors to Midtown, but not this year. This year, the visitors are out, the traditional dropping of the crystal orb will be viewed only on television. There will still be the night performances, with disco diva Gloria Gaynor singing her “I Will Survive”, a rather appropriate anthem for 2020. Other cities across the globe are also curbing their traditional celebrations of the new year.

3) The new strain of Covid-19 virus has been discovered in Colorado and California which alarms scientists because it is a more contagious Covid-19 strain. It is expected that the new strain will quickly spread to other states. In San Diego County a 30-year-old man in the county, with no travel history, has tested positive for the new strain on Tuesday. Because there is no travel history, this is not an isolated case in San Diego County. Furthermore, on Tuesday, Southern California’s Intensive Care Unit availability is now at zero percent. Meanwhile, Colorado reported its first known case of the variant on Tuesday too, and was investigating a second possible case Wednesday. Both of the cases are National Guard soldiers who were deployed to support staffing at a nursing home in Simla, Colorado, outside Denver. While the new variant continues to spread fast in the UK, it is more contagious than previously identified strains but not more severe. The English virus spreads at a rate of 70% compared with other variants in the U.K.

4) Stock market closings for – 30 DEC 20:
Dow 30,409.56 up by 73.89
Nasdaq 12,870.00 up by 19.78
S&P 500 3,732.04 up by 5.00
10 Year Yield: down at 0.93%
Oil: up at $48.30

30 December 2020

1) With President Trump signing the COVID-19 relief bill into law, millions of Americans will again have pandemic-related benefits. The COVID-19 relief bill gives those who depend on unemployment benefits some amount of relief. In addition to enhancing unemployment benefits, there is also a $600 check for every adult making less than $75,000 a year.

2) To add to the economic woes of many Americans this year, for a second consecutive week, a massive winter storm is sweeping across the north and east. A new storm system brought heavy rain, gusty winds and thunderstorms to Southern California and will move across the country this week. The new storm system will move across the US during New Year’s Eve leaving heavy snow, winds, severe thunderstorms.

3) With President Trump’s veto of the annual military bill, the House voted to override President Trump’s veto, mustering bipartisan support to enact the legislation over the president’s objections and handing him a rare legislative rebuke in the final days of his presidency. The defense bill also takes steps to slow or block President Trump’s draw down of American troops from Afghanistan. The 322 to 87 vote is the first time a chamber of Congress has overridden one of Trump’s vetoes. The bill also authorizes a pay raise for the nation’s troops. However, the Senate, which must also get a two-thirds vote of its chamber to override vetoes, will take up the legislation later in the week. But the vote is complicated by another separate bill that would increase the size of individual stimulus checks to $2,000. For 60 years, lawmakers have used the annual military bill to bring home wins to their constituents. So far, the Congress has failed to over ride any of President Trump’s vetoes. But for the Senate to gain the two thirds vote to over ride, twelve Republicans must cross over. Other provisions of the bill are new benefits for tens of thousands of Vietnam-era veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange, a 3% increase in pay for service members and a boost in hazardous duty incentive pay. The bill also requires all federal officers enforcing crowd control at protests and demonstrations to identify themselves and their agencies, as well as directing the Pentagon to rename military bases which are named after Confederate leaders.

4) Stock market closings for – 29 DEC 20:

Dow 30,335.67 down by 68.30
Nasdaq 12,850.22 down by 49.20
S&P 500 3,727.04 down by 8.32

10 Year Yield: unchanged at 0.93%

Oil: up at $48.25

29 December 2020

1) President Trump has signed the coronavirus relief bill which includes the $600 stimulus checks. The stimulus is $900 billion dollar relief bill, which was delayed by Trump’s reluctance to sign the bill into law as the coronavirus pandemic continues to range while millions of people have lost their jobs. The stimulus legislation was flown down to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida where the President spent his Christmas holiday. But on Sunday, Trump sign the mammoth, 5,593-page product of months of congressional negotiations.

2) With President Trump public statement that he wanted $2,000 stimulus checks spurred the Republicans and Democrats to pursue a new offering with a special bill. Trump has repeatedly criticized the $900 billion bipartisan stimulus bill calling it a disgrace for only including a “measly $600” in direct payments. He tweeted Saturday “I simply want to give our great people $2000”. The president opposed the bills, but backed down on Sunday and signed it narrowly avoiding a government shutdown. However, the Republicans have agreed to a new vote on $2,000 stimulus checks with a new bill to increase payments to individuals from $600 to $2,000.

3) Star Trek’s Scotty, the chief engineer on the fictional U.S.S. Enterprise, has finally beamed up to the International Space Station. The ashes of James Doohan, the actor who portrayed the original Star Trek character Montgomery “Scotty” Scott, have been interred for a dozen years on the International Space Station (ISS). The actor died in July 2005 at age 85, and portions of the actor’s ashes had previously been officially launched into space a couple of other times. Citizen astronaut and entrepreneur Richard Garriott, who was one of the first private citizens to fly to space, smuggled Doohan’s ashes during a 12-day mission in 2008 and were left hidden on board the station. Doohan’s ashes have now traveled 1.7 billion miles in space, orbiting Earth more than 70,000 times.

4) Stock market closings for – 28 DEC 20:

Dow 30,403.97 up by 204.10
Nasdaq 12,899.42 up by 94.69
S&P 500 3,735.36 up by 32.30

10 Year Yield: down at 0.93%

Oil: down at $47.69

24 December 2020

1) Just went everyone thought the second stimulus was a done deal, President Trump has made vague threats not to pass it. The President is asking Congress to amend the bill that has passed both chambers, with Trump decrying the bill’s $600 payments and its failure to properly support small businesses. He is now urging lawmakers to boost the $600 check to $2,000 for every American earning less than $75,000 per year. Furthermore, a veto would leave the threat of a government shutdown and expiring Covid-19 protections looming over the holiday season. The President said the bill contains too many provisions unrelated to the pandemic.

2) Threats of a second stimulus bill veto was reinforced with Trump’s veto of the defense bill, in part because of the requirement for renaming bases honoring Confederates and restrictions on the executive’s ability to bring troops home from overseas. Both the House and the Senate are already making plans for a post-Christmas session during which lawmakers plan to override the veto. Congress has until noon on January 3 to do so.

3) There are emerging new signs of economic distress. With the fate of a federal aid package suddenly thrown into doubt by President Trump, economic data on Wednesday shows why the help is so desperately needed. Personal income fell in November for the second straight month, and consumer spending declined for the first time since April, with a worsening pandemic continuing to take a toll on the U.S. economy. Applications for unemployment benefits remained high last week and have risen since early November. Experts know that things are going to get worse, the question is how much more worse. Many economists view direct payments to people as among the least effective measures, because much of the money goes to households that don’t need it. Spending on restaurants and hotels fell with transportation, clothing and gasoline also in declined. The decline in spending is spilling over into the labor market, with about 869,000 people filing new claims for state jobless benefits last week. The relief bill is smaller than many economists say is needed to carry the economy through the pandemic and ensure a robust recovery.

4) Stock market closings for – 23 DEC 20:

Dow 30,129.83 up by 114.32
Nasdaq 12,771.11 down by 36.80
S&P 500 3,690.01 up by 2.75

10 Year Yield: 0.96%

Oil: up at $48.06

22 December 2020

1) Taiwan is building a state-of-the-art fleet of submarines as a means to counter any potential Chinese plans to invade the island or conduct a naval blockade. Construction of the first of eight submarines began last month the first expected to begin sea trials in 2025. This is just another sign of nations in the pacific realm with growing fears of China’s power. China claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, despite the fact that the two countries have had separate governments for more than seven decades. For several months, China’s People’s Liberation Army has been increasing military pressure on the island, but any PLA invasion flotilla must cross the Taiwan Strait, the relatively narrow body of water separating Taiwan from the mainland. Taiwan’s new submarine fleet could make a big difference in repulsing such a move.

2) Congressional leaders are nearing completion of end-of-the-year stimulus package to provide another round of checks to middle-class Americans and extend unemployment. The $900 billion dollar deal now has provision for a $600 payment to individuals, with checks promised to be sent out within a week of the bill being signed. On top of that, states, schools and local governments are clamoring for a federal bailout, facing massive budget gaps in 2021, but reports are, there are no such provisions in the 5,500 page bill.

3) The company Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp., which is China’s largest chipmaker, is included on a U.S. blacklist calculated to have a major adverse impact on the development of advanced technology. The research and development of 10-nanometer chips and more sophisticated technologies will be affected, however the blacklist isn’t expected to have significant impact on SMIC’s operations and finances in the short term. The blacklists has more than 60 Chinese firms, in addition to SMIC included, because of national security and human rights violations, while China threatens countermeasures against these U.S. sanctions. SMIC joins the likes of Huawei Technologies Co. where the list denies them access to U.S. technology from software to circuitry.

4) Stock market closings for – 21 DEC 20:

Dow 30,216.45 up by 37.40
Nasdaq 12,742.52 down by 13.12
S&P 500 3,694.92 down by 14.49

10 Year Yield: down at .94%

Oil: down at $47.86

CONGRESS FINALLY REACHES $900 BILLION STIMULUS DEAL BEFORE HOLIDAYS!!!!!!!!!!

By: Economic & Finance Report

Eureka!!!!!! Finally a resolution for the stimulus package to be garnered to the American people and American struggling small businesses; in the United States. The stimulus package reached by the Republican & Democrat Senate & House leadership; will have a full vote by the US Senate & House of Reps on Monday, December 21, 2020.

The $900 billion price tag leaves out state aid, that governors and mayors across party lines have indicated they desperately need, to revive their local economies. Local officials will have to figure out ways to attribute their fiscal budget without the aid support being provided by the federal government.

The stimulus deal was reached late Sunday night December 20, 2020 by both Republicans and Democrats. It had been in negotiations for months, as Democrats and Republicans had been jostling for superiority on what should be included for the second wave of stimulus checks to the American people and American small businesses. The package aid was desperately needed because of the collapse of the economy, caused by the coronavirus pandemic. -SB

Image Credit: Forbes.com

21 December 2020

1) There is a move in congress, lead by Rep. Ayanna Pressley, urging President-elect Joe Biden to cancel up to $50,000 per person in federal student debt. Supporters of the move consider the student debt crisis as a racial and economic justice issue encompasses the kind of bold, high-impact policy that the broad and diverse coalition, which elected Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are expecting them to deliver. The mounting student debt problem has 45 million Americans owing a total of about $1.6 trillion dollars in student loans, with one in 10 loans in delinquency or default. The typical monthly payment is between $200 and $299, with minorities experiencing the most difficulties with student debt.

2) A massive heavy snow storm continues to cross the Northeast as the season’s first major winter storm slowly moves off the East Coast, leaving as much as 4 feet of snow. There has been hundreds of vehicle crashes with some of them being deadly. The storm has left more than 50,000 customers without electricity mainly in Virginia and New York state. The interior of Pennsylvania and New York state took the brunt of the storm, the storm setting a new two-day snowfall record in Binghamton. The previous record was recorded March 2017 with 35.3 inches of snow. Airlines have canceled more than 600 flights because of the snow.

3) President Trump has issued an executive order prohibiting Americans from investing in companies tied to China’s military complex. U.S. investors are bared from buying into 35 Chinese companies the Pentagon has classified as aiding China’s defense, intelligence and security apparatus. The executive order has sparked sell offs of Chinese stocks and bonds, forced index firms to drop companies from marquee benchmarks, and pushed Wall Street to reassess risks from investing in China. There are questions at the state department whether the blacklist should include subsidiaries of the companies, or if affiliates should be included. Asset managers are now reaching out to the Biden transition team to glean how the new administration will interpret the executive order. Starting on January 11, U.S. investors are barred from the purchase or investment in stocks, with investors having until November 2021 to get rid of their Chinese securities.

4) Stock market closings for – 18 DEC 20:

Dow 30,179.05 down by 124.32
Nasdaq 12,755.64 down by 9.11
S&P 500 3,709.41 down by 13.07

10 Year Yield: up at 0.95%

Oil: up at $49.08