23 April 2020

1) The present unemployment rate is thought to be higher than anytime during the Great Depression, raising the question if the present day recession will last as long as the Depression, which was almost ten years. While some sever recessions have been short lived, usually they are long affairs. Lowering the interest rates is a traditional tool used by the government to counter a recession and stimulate the economy, but interest rates are already near zero when the coronavirus hit, so the government didn’t have its primary tool. Many economist are considering the strategy ‘America is back open for business’ as unlikely to create a huge surge in growth. There are three other major factors to consider- 1) the other world economies are continually pulling America’s down 2) the big mess that oil is in and 3) predictions from several different experts that in the next 15 to 25 years as much as 50% of the jobs will disappear to technology. It will be difficult for employment to return to pre-coronavirus levels if jobs are continually disappearing faster than people are being rehired. One interesting point, a financial analyst is predicting that Disney World, Disneyland and their overseas parks will not be able to reopen until January 2021, and if such a cash rich company is having so much difficulty reopening, how about the multitude of smaller companies with much more limited resources?

2) U.S. automakers are taking the first steps to bring workers back and start manufacturing operations again, but are finding it easier said than done. There are negotiations with the United Auto Workers union, for the manufactures to provide protective gear, frequently sanitize equipment and take worker temperatures to prevent infection of the virus to the union members. As much as workers want to return to a paycheck, there are real fears of catching the virus. Fiat Chrysler has announced May 4 as the gradual restart date, with General Motors and Ford expected to quickly follow.

3) Reports are building that the coronavirus may cause lasting damage to some organs such as the kidneys. There are fears from reports that the virus may cause damage to the heart, lungs and possibly the liver. Furthermore, the blood from Covid-19 patients is having unprecedented blood clotting, evident by blood clots forming while trying to insert IVs or taking blood samples. Internal blood clots can be life threatening, and autopsies are finding such internal blood clots.

4) Stock market closings for – 22 APR 20:

Dow 23,475.82 up 456.94
Nasdaq 8,495.38 up 232.15
S&P 500 2,799.31 up 62.75

10 Year Yield: up at 0.62%

Oil: up at $14.23

24 March 2020

1) The International Monetary Fund stated the global recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic could be worse than the global financial crisis of 2008-9. However, the world economic output should recover in 2021 because of the extraordinary fiscal actions already being taken by many countries and their central banks. But for a 2021 recovery, countries need to prioritize containment and strengthen health systems.

2) The U.S. is entering a recession, but the ultimate fear is a protracted malaise akin to a depression. Some prominent economy watchers are drawing comparisons to the Great Depression, although falling short of forecasting another one, based on the fact that the world has not seen a synchronized interruption in economic output in decades as was seen with the Great Depression. The U.S. will suffer a huge economic contraction as businesses close and Americans stay home, with some estimates that the economy will have the worst quarter since 1947.

3) Most U.S. small businesses have only days to stay afloat amid the coronavirus crisis. Only about half of the 30 million small businesses in America have a 15 day cash reserve needed to survive. The shelter in place orders have cut business revenues to near zero almost over night. Particularly hard hit is the service industries such as restaurants, landscaping, personal services and salons. These small businesses employ about 60 million people, or half of American’s work force. Many of the businesses were already operating on razor thin margins before the virus crisis. With so little cash reserves, they are forced to immediately reduce hours or layoff employees to survive.

4) Stock market closings for – 23 MAR 20:

Dow 18,591.93 down 582.05
Nasdaq 6,860.67 down 18.84
S&P 500 2,237.40 down 67.52

10 Year Yield: down at 0.76%

Oil: up at $24.24

14 February 2020

1) The furniture retailer Wayfair is reducing its workforce by 3% or 500 jobs. The online furniture retailer has more than 17,000 employees globally. The stock for the company has dropped more than 24% in the last twelve months. Wayfair has yet to post a profit and has been criticized for its high costs to run its business. Shipping items like sofas and coffee tables can be expensive, even more so where there’s returns.

2) Newspaper publisher conglomerate McClatchy has filed for bankruptcy. Owner of banner newspapers such as Miami Herald, Kansas City Star, Star-Telegram, News & Observer and Charlotte Observer, a total of thirty newspapers has seen its revenue slide downward for the last six years as readership of newspapers continues to decline, migrating to newer technologies for their news.

3) The U.S. national debt continues to increase at an ever increasing rate. The debt, adjusted for inflation, of 1900-1904 was $65.37 billion dollars. The debt after World War I (1919) was $329.06 billion dollars, a result of paying for the war. Then debt started dropping down to $319.35 billion dollars and by the 1929 stock market crash was down to $253.44 billion dollars, the start of the great depression. By the start of World War II, 1940, it was at $788.68 billion dollars, but at the end of the war (1945) skyrocketed to $3.69 trillion dollars, slowly drifting down to $533.19 billion dollars by 1975. But after that, it started growing again until today its now at $22.72 trillion dollars, 348 times the debt at the start of the twentieth century.

4) Stock market closings for – 13 FEB 20:

Dow 29,423.31 down 128.11
Nasdaq 9,711.97 down 13.99
S&P 500 3,373.94 down 5.51

10 Year Yield: down at 1 .62%

Oil: down at $51.52