4 March 2021

1) Kelley Aerospace has officially launched the world’s first supersonic unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV), called the ‘Arrow’. The drone is designed with a single shell of lightweight carbon fiber that allows it to reach speeds up to Mach 2.1. The UCAV has reduced radar cross-section and infra-red signatures, and is designed for multiple combat or reconnaissance roles. Kelley has 100 pre-orders for the war machine, which costs between $9 to $16 million dollars each. It’s designed to complement manned aircraft making it a force multiplier in the aerial battlefield. A manned combat aircraft would control multiple Arrow UAVs, tasking each with a different missions.

2) There are about a thousand restaurant closures a month in Texas, a result of the coronavirus pandemic. About 11,000 restaurants have closed in Texas since the start of the pandemic. This is about a fifth of all Texas restaurants with about 150,000 Texans who have lost their jobs. Nine out of 10 of these restaurants are small businesses employing less than 50 people. Restaurants in downtown city centers have been hit particularly hard because business lunches and conventions were suspended almost immediately. Surprisingly, the more expensive restaurants have not fared as well as family dining locations.

3) The American Petroleum Institute is considering throwing its weight behind a government imposed price on carbon dioxide emissions as a way to slow global warming, making for a major policy shift by the oil industry’s top trade group. Supporters of a tax argue that a carbon tax increases the cost of energy derived from oil, natural gas and coal so it would be more effective than regulations at paring U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Exxon Mobil Corp., ConocoPhillips, BP and Royal Dutch Shell already support a carbon tax-and-rebate plan. The tax has gained momentum as international energy companies make investment decisions based on the assumption that emission limits will be imposed by regulation, tax or other mechanisms. The companies are seeking regulatory certainty on the issue, instead of environmental policies that whipsaw with every presidential election. A carbon tax could benefit producers of natural gas over coal and spur investment in renewables and nuclear power. Some environmentalists who oppose fossil-fuel development criticized the possible move, calling it little more than a public relations ploy by letting producers buy their way out of climate accountability. Several utilities have lobbied Biden administration officials to support a nationwide carbon price.

4) Stock market closings for – 3 MAR 21:

Dow 31,270.09 down by 121.43
Nasdaq 12,997.75 down by 361.03
S&P 500 3,819.72 down by 50.57

10 Year Yield: up at 1.47%

Oil: up at $61.06

2 March 2021

1) The electronics giant Best Buy, has laid off 5,000 full time staff in a move the electronic retailer says was caused by changing consumer patterns because of the coronavirus, and the result of online sales growth in the Amazon race. Driven by the pandemic, their online sales has grown by almost 90 percent in the fourth quarter compared with the previous year. With many Americans stuck at home, there has been a surge in demand for items ranging from computers, gaming consoles to kitchen appliances. But the retailer said that owing to a spike in online sales, which have more than doubled so far in 2021 compared with the same time last year, the retailer needs fewer full-time staff and so plans to add 2,000 part-time workers to their staff.

2) Newport News Shipbuilding, the largest industrial employer in Virginia, has announced the layoffs for 314 employees. In addition, they are moving about 120 managers to lower-level positions. These changes are necessary cost controls to help ensure the shipyard’s future and the afford ability of the ships it builds, while also reducing the number of management layers. The Newport News Shipbuilding company designs, builds and refuels nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and designs and builds nuclear-powered submarines, while employing roughly 26,000 workers.

3) The badly mauled U.S. shale industry is finding a resurgence in one of the most unlikely places . . . private operators that most investors have never heard of. For instance, the case of little known and closely held DoublePoint Energy. It is now running more rigs in the Permian Basin than the giant Chevron Corp. The family owned Mewbourne Oil Co. has about the same number of rigs as Exxon Mobil Corp does. Once minor players, private drillers hold half the horizontal rig count as of December. It’s the first time in the modern shale era that they have risen to the level of the supermajors. This is the result from the big guys starting to show restraint. They’ve dialed back drilling after the pandemic sent oil prices into collapse. Now that the market is on the rise again, the majors and publicly-traded counterparts are mostly sticking to the mantra of discipline, all but ending shale’s decade-long assault on OPEC for market share. But if private drillers keep expanding at their current pace, it could eventually mean that U.S. production ends up on the higher end of analyst forecasts. And that, of course, could weigh on prices. Oil’s dizzying collapse last year is still fresh in the minds of many, and shareholders are quick to punish the producers they think are getting too aggressive.

4) Stock market closings for – 1 MAR 21:

Dow 31,535.51 up by 603.14
Nasdaq 13,588.83 up by 396.48
S&P 500 3,901.82 up by 90.67

10 Year Yield: down at 1.45%

Oil: down at $60.34

5 February 2021

1) Dr. Anthony Fauci, MD has issued a new chilling warning about the Covid virus. A new strain from South African, known as the 501Y.V2 variant, is showing itself to be an even greater threat than the variant that started the pandemic. Experience shows that the South Africa virus has a very high rate of reinfection to the point where previous infection does not seem to protect you against reinfection with the South African variant. While research has shown that the current Covid vaccines may be less effective against the South African strain, there is no evidence that any of these new strains are completely resistant to the vaccines currently available. Nevertheless, the South African coronavirus mutation (B.1.351) poses a risk of reinfection to people who have already had Covid-19 and the vaccine efficacy may also be impacted. However, the number of daily coronavirus infections in the US has been dropping for a couple of weeks, but it’s still well over 100,000 per day, while the number of vaccinations is more than 32 million first dose. This isn’t enough to impact the course of the epidemic and significantly reduce transmission.

2) While the fears of a Treasury sell-off has tailed off, after the big move in the 10-year Treasury at the start of the year, the factors that led to that brief sell-off in Treasurys are very much still at hand. Chief among them are the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines, the huge fiscal stimulus already enacted with more in the pipeline, the pent-up spending power in household savings, and the easy monetary policy. Computer models say a perfect storm is being unleashed, with estimates that the 10-year Treasury yield will jump 162 basis points this year and another 160 basis points next year. This is well ahead of market estimates of roughly 17 basis points of gains in each of the next two years. The model doesn’t include the effects of any additional fiscal stimulus from the Biden administration, with its proposed $1.9 trillion dollars.

3) Experts consider gold futures are set to see a decline, which technical strategists believe may underscore a bearish trend in the yellow metal. Called a ‘death cross’, which occurs when the 50-day moving average, that many chart watchers use as a short-term trend tracker, crosses below the 200-DMA, which is widely viewed as a dividing line between longer-term uptrends and downtrends. The idea is that the cross marks the spot that a shorter-term sell-off can be defined as a longer term downtrend. The potential formation of a death cross, which reflects the recent slump in trading, comes as gold has experienced whipsawing action after the precious metal tumbled 1.6% on Tuesday.

4) Stock market closings for – 4 FEB 21:

Dow 31,055.86 up by 332.26
Nasdaq 13,777.74 up by 167.20
S&P 500 3,871.74 up by 41.57

10 Year Yield: up at 1.14%

Oil: up at $56.46

26 January 2021

1) Amid rising doubts, both with the Republicans and Democrats, of passing President Biden’s $1.9 trillion dollar coronavirus relief package, some economists call the bill a good step that will help America’s struggling economy and warning that if not passed, then the nation would likely reverted to a recession in early 2021. The $1.9 trillion dollar coronavirus stimulus proposal is designed to jump-start the nation’s sputtering economy as well as accelerate vaccine distribution to control the deadly pandemic. Presently, the plan calls for a one-time $1,400 direct payment to eligible Americans, which would be in addition to the $600 check sent out this month, making a total payment of $2,000. Additionally, there is a supplemental unemployment benefit of $400 a week, up from the present $300 a week.

2) It’s considered that President Biden’s early actions in office will have effects on oil’s outlook, both short and long term. The first actions were revoking approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline and rejoined the Paris climate agreement. Biden administration’s aim is to reduce long-term oil demand as the move away from fossil fuels accelerates. But if all the promises made by the President this first year are kept, oil demand in 2021 is expected to get a 350,000 barrel-per-day boost. The cancelling of the Keystone pipeline is likely to be muted as other world markets take up the production, because Iran and Venezuela have removed about three million barrels per day production from the current market, with other middle east producers are also cutting back on their production.

3) As the demand for fossil fuels is being limited, people are wondering if the electric car’s moment has arrived at last? While rapid advancement in electric cars and batteries is evident, a shortage of electric car chargers is one of the hurdles EVs face to displace the gas-powered vehicles. Presently, transportation accounts for more than a quarter of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Still, the popularity of EVs and hybrid vehicles is already surging. Yet, despite an avalanche of promising news, the shift away from gas-fueled cars remains stubbornly marginal with green vehicles being just 2 percent of the cars sold in the United States. There are electric Hummers, an electric Mustang, and an electric Harley-Davidson motorcycle, with car manufacturers planning to triple the number of non-gas-powered models by 2024 to 203. Ford Motor Co. plans an electric version of its popular F150 pickup. Still roughly 1.5 billion gas-powered cars and trucks are still in operation.

4) Stock market closings for – 25 JAN 21:

Dow 30,960.00 down by 36.98
Nasdaq 13,635.99 up by 92.93
S&P 500 3,855.36 up by 13.89

10 Year Yield: down at 1.04%

Oil: up at $52.88

8 Janury 2021

1) The price of oil advanced as shrinking U.S. crude inventories added to expectations of a tighter global supply outlook after Saudi Arabia surprised the markets by pledging to reduce production for the next two months. Gasoline demand is falling to its lowest level since late May, spelling trouble for refining margins as a tighter global crude balance and straggling demand crimp profits for processing a barrel of oil. Saudi Arabia has decided to reduce crude output in February and March as part of an OPEC+ supply agreement. With the outlook for crude oil supply suddenly looking tighter, the oil options markets have grown less bearish.

2) A top scientist explains why a more infectious coronavirus variant is a bigger problem than a deadlier strain, with the deadly coronavirus having now mutated. One variant, called B.1.1.7, is more infectious, and has forced the UK into national lock down, with the variant having also been discovered in several US states, as well as other countries around the world. However, the new variant does not appear to be more deadly, so existing vaccines should also work against it. A really severe disease that one person gets won’t necessarily have as much impact as a lesser disease which a huge number of people get. While not any more deadly the new mutant B.1.1.7 is much more infectious, and is to blame for the surging numbers of people infected, filling up UK hospitals that forced the national lock down. It is estimated to have a 71% higher growth rate than other variants.

3) North Korea’s supreme ruler Kim Jong Un has announced a military expansion, but it is unclear if Pyongyang plans to ramp up its nuclear program too. This could put pressure on the incoming Joe Biden administration just when it is most vulnerable. North Korea plans to boost its military capacities in defiance of international sanctions, as well as a new five-year economic plan, admitting the previous program has failed. It’s unclear just what the military expansion will involve.

4) Stock market closings for – 7 JAN 21:

Dow 31,041.13 up by 211.73
Nasdaq 13,067.48 up by 326.69
S&P 500 3,803.79 up by 55.65

10 Year Yield: up at 1.07%

Oil: up at $50.91

Oil: up at $50.48

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

5 January 2021

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

10 Year Yield: unchanged at 0.92%

Oil: down at $47.34

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

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

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