19 October 2020

1) Another consequence of the pandemic is an estimated 8 million people have been forced into poverty. The federal Cares Act gave Americans a $1,200 stimulus check per person, plus an extra $600 in unemployment per week, which kept many people above the poverty level. But with the expiration of the act, people quickly went below that income level for poverty. The Cares Act kept an estimated 18 million people out of poverty. The poverty income level is considered a family of four earning $26,200 a year, with the total number of people in poverty are 55 million.
2) There are indications that the U.S. Convid-19 is on the increase again making for a third peak. The number of cases are climbing throughout the Midwest, Mountain West, Northeast, South and West. The first peak was on the 10th of April, the second on 19 July and now a third peak is on the increase as winter approaches, the traditional season for the flu. Increases are also evident in Europe and Britain. Presently, 38 states are experiencing increases in the number of cases with hospitalizations trending upward in 39 states, and 13 states increasing in the number of Covid-19 deaths.
3) The U.S. deficit has soared to $3.1 trillion dollars for the 2020 fiscal year, a direct result of the spending to counter the effects of the coronavirus crisis. This is the largest annual deficit in U.S. history, measured as a share of the deficit-to-GDP, with a ratio of 16%, the highest level since the last year of World War II (1945). Huge increases in federal spending coupled with decreased revenues for the last six months have resulted in the unprecedented deficits. The Federal government spent $6.5 trillion dollars in 2020 (fiscal year) compared to $4.5 trillion in 2019. Revenues for 2020 was about $3.4 trillion, which was modestly lower than 2019. The economy is already in difficulty, as winter approaches, with much of the recovery now behind us, the growth is leveling off, and hence the recovery is also leveling off.
4) Stock market closings for – 16 OCT 20:
Dow 28,606.31 up 112.11
Nasdaq 11,671.56 down 42.32
S&P 500 3,483.81 up 0.47
10 Year Yield: up at 0.74%
Oil: down at $40.78

16 October 2020

1) There are mounting fears that a surge in Covid-19 this fall and winter could kill 2,900 people a day in America. This is reminiscent of the World War I Spanish Flu pandemic in the fall of 1918 which killed 195,000 Americans in just the month of October. With colder weather, more people gather indoors increasing the risk of coronavirus spread. There are also the risk of catching the flu and Covid-19 at the same time, with makes a person more vulnerable by overwhelming the immune system. Risk of infection spreading has increased with the opening of schools. The increase risk isn’t in just America, with infections spikes in Europe. Paris is closing its bars again trying to arrest the increasing spread of the virus. The city is also banning student parties and putting limitations on outdoor gatherings.

2) The huge movie theater chain Regal Cinemas has announced it is closing all of its locations in the U.S. and U.K. There are 536 stateside Regal Cinemas and 127 Regal and Picturehouse Cinemas in the U.K., all to close down. This is a result of two factors, the first is limited seating and hence reduced revenues in theaters. A further consequence of the pandemic is the limited cinematic offerings for customers because of film release delays. The theater chain will reopen when movie studios resume regular production. The majority of its 45,000 employees will either be furloughed or forced to take unpaid leave until then. AMC, the world’s largest movie theater chain has announced that it is generating almost no revenue and has lost as much as $2.4 billion dollars in the first quarter of 2020 alone.

3) Another result of the coronavirus is the shape increase in drug costs such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine, which are up 20 to 50% of pre-virus prices. This is largely because of restriction on the U.S. – Mexico boarder, which now restricts non-essential travel across the boarder, where most of the illicit drugs is entering the country. The virus is effecting the drug prices by also interfering with the cultivation of coca and poppies in foreign lands.

4) Stock market closings for – 5 OCT 20:

Dow 28,148.64 up 465.83
Nasdaq 11,332.48 up 257.47
S&P 500 3,408.63 up 60.19

10 Year Yield: up at 0.76%

Oil: up at $39.43

31 August 2020

1) The dreaded coronavirus seems to be on the rise again in Europe, with some European countries experiencing an increase of new cases, but this time with fewer deaths. This resurgence of recent weeks, has not forced as many people into medical wards as last spring. However, the increase of Convid-19 is widespread, unsettling people who hoped the worst was behind them. So far, the rise in cases is in France, Germany and Spain, with Spain hit particularly hard. Europe had just started their schools for the new academic year.

2) The E-commerce giant Amazon has just opened its first ‘shop-in-person’ grocery store under its own name. The new store in the Los Angeles suburb of Woodland Hills, is a traditional physical store open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. PST. But the store has lots of high-tech touches such as a new feature called Dash Cart which allows you to use Alexa. This allows the customer to create a shopping list in advance then be guided around the store to those items on the list. The store uses cashierless checkout, so there isn’t any line to wait in. The customer has the option of using their Amazon account and Prime membership to order and get free delivery. Amazon is soon opening additional stores in other cities.

3) One of the most powerful storms to ever hit the US Gulf Coast, Hurricane Laura has left the usual damage and destruction, but having missed the Houston and New Orleans areas, caused far less damage than it could have. The death toll was six people and monetary damages are estimated to be between $8 billion and $12 billion dollars, most of the loss in Louisiana with only about $500 million dollars in Texas. The total economic cost from damaged structures and closed businesses is estimated to be about $20 billion dollars.

4) Stock market closings for – 28 AUG 20:

Dow 28,653.87 up 161.60
Nasdaq 11,695.63 up 70.30
S&P 500 3,508.01 up 23.46

10 Year Yield: down at 0.73%

Oil: down at $42.93

8 April 20

1) The dizzying swings in the stock market has made a mockery of efforts to forecast the market. This phenomena graphically reveals the high degree of uncertainty prevalent in the world today. One day, markets are up by one or two thousand points, next day down by the same amount as people are unable to decide if the economy will grow or contract. Market experts are unable to decide if the economic downturn is a short impulse from the coronavirus, or a long term event covering months or even years. One major component in seeing the economic future is the question of how many small businesses will fail during the shutdown, most from lack of cash. A high number of failures could drag the rest of businesses down.

2) American colleges and universities are also suffering financial problems from the coronavirus shutdown. Institutions are scrambling to close deep budget holes from loss of tuition and fees, refunds for student housing, dining and parking from students forced to leave school. Some have had a huge share of their reserves wiped out with some schools are facing financial collapse. Some face a double loss with their reserves in the stock market. To add to college’s worry, is the question of how many students will return this fall if the shut down is over. Furthermore, surveys show significant number of highschool seniors planning to take a year off before continuing their education, another loss of revenues for colleges.

3) Because of the virus shut down, demand for gasoline in America has collapsed. Sales are down 46.5% from last year. The same sharp decline in gasoline sales has been seen in Europe with demand for gasoline down as much as 85%. With big box retailers slowing and automakers shutting down, a slowdown is expected in the next few weeks.

4) Stock market closings for – 7 APR 20:

Dow 22,653.86 down 26.13
Nasdaq 7,887.26 down 25.98
S&P 500 2,659.41 down 4.27

10 Year Yield: up at 0.74%

Oil: down at $24.26

30 March 2020

1) A second virus shock wave is already hitting China’s factories as European factories are delaying orders and asking for delays in payments as the coronavirus sweeps across Europe closing their factories. These are cutting off orders to Chinese factories just as they were beginning to come back to life, a double hammer blow to China’s economy. Estimated April to May sales are expected to be down as much as 40% from last year. This is raising grave doubts about the world’s second largest economy being able to repair damage and return to its pre-virus station.

2) The Index of Consumer Sentiment dropped to 89.1 in March, the lowest level since October 2016, a three year low. It is the fourth largest in nearly 50 years. Further declines is dependent on the success of curtailing the spread of the virus and how soon households receive funds from the government stimulus. To date, there are 540,000 cases of coronavirus with America overtaking China and Italy with the most cases having a total of 85,000.

3) The Department of Justice is investigating the credit scoring firm FICO for possible antitrust violations. There are three other major credit companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. FICO is the only scoring model accredited by mortgage loan companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The DOJ investigation comes after TransUnion’s antitrust countercase against FICO. The lenders determine which credit scoring system is utilized on a loan application, not the consumer or loan applicant.

4) Stock market closings for – 27 MAR 20:

Dow 21,636.78 down 915.39
Nasdaq 7,502.38 down 295.16
S&P 500 2,541.47 down 88.60

10 Year Yield: down at 0.75%

Oil: down at $21.84

26 March 2020

1) The coronavirus crisis has also crippled the sales of automobiles with March sales down by an expected 35.5% and 15.3% decline expected for 2020. The decline poses the largest threat to the auto industry since the Great Recession which resulted in the bankruptcy of General Motors and Chrysler. Globally, auto sales are expected to drop by 12%, which is greater than the 8% of the Great Recession. Most dealers are keeping their doors open, although some are only allowed to keep their service centers open during the shutdown order.

2) The coronavirus crisis has brought negative rates to the U.S., the first time for negative yields on government debt. The yields on both one-month and three-month Treasury bills have dipped below zero on Wednesday. Negative yields have been a part of European markets for months now, with many expecting the same to come to America.

3) Many entertainment facilities and events have been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic with the closing of Disneyland and Disney World being the first world renowned closures. A long list of political events, theme parks, sporting events and leagues, cultural and concerns closures has been joined by the announcement that the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo has been postpone for a year. The economic losses, both direct and indirect, are near incalculable to make. This will add to the total economic downturn of the world with innumerable support and supply businesses suffering.

4) Stock market closings for – 25 MAR 20:

Dow 21,200.55 up 495.64
Nasdaq 7,384.30 down 33.56
S&P 500 2,475.56 up 28.23

10 Year Yield: up at 0.86%

Oil: up at $24.31

13 March 2020

1) The popular theme parks Disneyland and Disney World have been closed until April because of the threat of coronavirus. The closure commences on 14 March, but the hotel resort will remaining open until 16 March to allow guess to make travel arrangements for returning home. Walt Disney Co. will continue to pay cast members during the closure. Disney Cruise Line will suspend all new departures beginning Saturday until the end of the month. At this time, it is uncertain how adversely this will financially effect Walt Disney Co.

2) A global recession, driven by the coronavirus pandemic, may result because of the flow of goods, services and people becoming more restricted. In the past day, President Trump has restricted travel from Europe, Italy has closed almost every shop, India suspended most visas and Ireland partially shut down. Many sporting events have been closed to public spectators with major lost of revenues. Many nations fear a contraction, with China the first in decades, thus ending the 11 year expansion. The Federal Reserve’s emergency interest rate cut of March 3 failed to boost investor’s confidence.

3) The Federal Reserve has announced its plan to ease market strain and halt its downward spiral. The Feds will offer a huge injection of liquidity to the Treasury market to counter market dysfunction. Government bonds are liquid assets making them the easiest thing to sell in turbulent times when investors need to raise cash. The New York Feds have been buying Treasury bills in what is called repurchase agreements or repos. This added liquidity is intended to bring stability to the markets and arrest the downward movements.

4) Stock market closings for – 12 MAR 20: The markets continue their drastic downward spiral.

Dow 21,200.62 down 2,352.60
Nasdaq 7,201.80 down 750.25
S&P 500 2,480.64 down 260.74

10 Year Yield: up at 0.85%

Oil: down at $30.88

10 March 2020

1) Monday markets opened in a steep downward spiral from sell offs, driven by the coronavirus fears, followed by the sharp drop in oil prices. The Dow dropped 2,000 points, with a massive sell off of both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq, which triggered a key market circuit breaker that halted trading for fifteen minutes. There are widespread fears over the economic impact of low oil prices, with some experts fearing oil prices down to $20 a barrel. Gold prices crossed the $1,700 dollar an ounce, hitting the highest since December 2012. The banks are hard pressed as the interest continues to sink, cutting into their margins.

2) Experts speculate that the Feds will cut the interest rate to zero in the next few months in an effort to forestall a downturn of the economy. The entire U.S. yield curve fell below 1% for the first time in history on expectations that the Federal Reserve will cut rates to zero in the next few months. Some speculate the Feds may adopt a negative rate just as some European countries have, such as Germany’s -1%.

3) While checkout-free with cashless supermarkets is now a novelty, Amazon expects this technology to spread to other retailers. Amazon has announced it plans to license its automated checkout technology to other retailers, telling of several other companies that have already signed up for the technology. The technology has been proven with cashless convenience stores across America and with Amazon’s new Go-supermarkets. The technology represents another significant step in retail automation.

4) Stock market closings for – 9 MAR 20: The stock market is like a rectal thermometer- it’s rude and crude, but surprisingly effective in showing a sick economy.

Dow 23,851.02 down 2013.76
Nasdaq 7,950.68 down 624.94
S&P 500 2,746.56 down 225.81

10 Year Yield: down at 0.50%

Oil: down at $30.24

6 March 2020

1) The devastation that the coronavirus fears has wrought on Europe’s tourist industry is brought into glaring focus in front of the famous Mona Lisa painting in Paris. Where there would normally be a continuous surge of admiring people to view the art classic, now just vacant space. The same at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the normally long lines of waiting people to get in, are also gone. The drop in tourism is costing the EU (European Union) $1.1 billion dollars a month, just when the high season is getting under way. Expectations are that it will only get worst as the year progresses.

2) General Motors is making an all out effort to dominate the EV (Electric Vehicle) market and in the process beat Tesla at its own game. GM has developed new battery modules called Ultium that is said to reduce the cost of batteries and therefore make more affordable EVs. Plans are to offer 20 new EVs by 2023, both in America and China, with marketing plans to sell one million electric cars in the next five years. However, the UAW is concerned that EVs will hurt the union because they require less manpower to assemble. Presently, GM holds over 3,000 patents on electric automobile design.

3) Seattle area school district has closed down its 33 schools of more than 23 thousand kids for up to two weeks due to the coronavirus threat. These students will use online teaching during this time through Google Apps for Education. Students needing a device or internet connection will be provided with one. Teaching staff have been provided with a one day instruction on using the apps and how to monitor the progress of their students. ATS (Automated Teaching Systems) has been on the cusp of revolutionizing American schools, and the coronavirus may provide the impetus to open the market to wide spread commercialization.

4) Stock market closings for – 5 MAR 20: The instability of the markets continue with wild swings of the trading indexes.

Dow 26,121.28 down 969.58
Nasdaq 8,738.60 down 279.49
S&P 500 3,023.94 down 106.18

10 Year Yield: down at 0.93%

Oil: down at $46.13

3 February 2020

1) Brexit, the exit of Britain from the European Union, has been confirmed by the European Parliament with a vote Wednesday, which ratified the withdrawal agreement. The vote to ratify was 621 to 49 with 13 abstentions. For the EU (European Union) the loss of Britain represents a significant defeat, a loss of size, reach, momentum and permanence akin to the U.S. losing Texas. Potentially, the EU bloc now has less clout, although the remaining 27 countries have been drawn tighter together by the debate. Now comes the negotiations of EU’s future relationship with Britain to try and maintain the single open market.

2) Delta Air Lines and American Airlines announced they are suspending service to mainland China to counter the spread of coronavirus. It is expected that United Airlines is expected to soon follow suit. American will continue service to Hong Kong. Other world air carriers have also announced suspended or reduced services to China.

3) With the decision two years ago by the Supreme Court to widely legalize sports betting, companies are rushing in to expand sports betting operations. U.S. casino operators, fantasy apps and betting grands from Europe and Australia are in a race for American customers now that the way has been cleared for betting outside of Nevada.

4) Stock market closings for – 31 JAN 20: Fears of China’s coronavirus continue to push markets down.

Dow                   28,256.03    down    603.41
Nasdaq               9,150.94     down    148.00
S&P 500              3,225.52     down       58.14

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.52%

Oil:    down   at    $51.63