25 November 2020

1) Apple Inc is trying to limit the impact of a bill aimed at fighting child labor in China, having had meetings with government representatives in an attempt to water down the bill. Under the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, U.S. companies are required to ensure that their products are not made by forced labor in the region of Xinjiang. Many American companies, including Apple, have manufacturing sites that would be effected by this legislation, which would obligate public companies to report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and could lead to prosecutions over violations. A report by an Australian government body published in March claims that around 1,000-2,000 workers from the Chinese region were involved in Apple’s camera production.

2) Royal Dutch Shell has closed its Convent refinery in Louisiana. Convent is far from obsolete, indeed it is fairly big by U.S. standards and sophisticated. While Convent’s 700 workers are out of a job, the Convent replacement complex in northeast China is starting up. China has at least four projects underway in the country, totaling 1.2 million barrels a day of crude-processing capacity. This is just one example of a seismic shift in the global refining industry as demand for plastics and fuels grows in China and the rest of Asia. America has been the top refiner since the start of the oil age in the mid-nineteenth century, but China will dethrone the U.S. as early as next year. Oil exporters are selling more crude to Asia and less to long-standing customers in North America and Europe. China’s refiners are becoming a growing force in international markets for gasoline, diesel and other fuels.

3) The United States has officially exited the Open Skies Treaty on Sunday, six months after the Trump administration signaled it would. The reason is repeated Russian Federation violations of the treaty designed to allow unarmed aerial surveillance flights by the treaty participants in Europe, Russia, and the U.S. The treaty was negotiated in 1992 and entered into in 2002, and now has 34 participant states after the U.S. exit. Russia has consistently acted as if free to turn its obligations on and off at will by unlawfully denying or restricting Open Skies observation flights whenever it desires. For more than 20 years, Open Skies has been one of the most wide-ranging international arms control efforts to promote openness and transparency in military forces and activities. But Russia has denied flights within 6.2 miles of the Georgia-Russia border, and denying a previously approved flight over a major Russian military exercise. America’s European allies, however, value the treaty as it gives them the ability to collect aerial reconnaissance information, when lacking sophisticated satellite capabilities, that they would not have access to outside of the treaty.

4) Stock market closings for – 24 NOV 20:

Dow 30,046.24 up by 454.97
Nasdaq 12,036.78 up by 156.15
S&P 500 3,635.41 up by 57.82

10 Year Yield: up at 0.88%

Oil: up at $44.81

17 November 2020

1) Because of the worldwide pandemic, Asia has been vastly overstocked with oil distillates this year. In response, China’s biggest refiner is eyeing a creative strategy to ease the persistent diesel glut by using brand new supertankers usually reserved for crude oil. While supertankers are built to transport dirty fuels such as crude oil, they can carry cleaner products like gasoline and diesel on their maiden voyage. Therefore, China’s largest oil refiner has hired a newly-built very large crude carrier to load low-sulfur diesel in Asia for delivery to Europe. China intends to charter brand new vessels on a regular basis to transport more diesel to Europe, thereby clearing out bloated fuel stockpiles in Asia. Oil prices settle lower after a surprise climb in U.S. crude supplies.

2) An adults-only luxury resort in the Maldives is offering guests (two people max) a year’s worth of unlimited stays in 2021 for $30,000. Called the “Unlimited Stays in Paradise” package, which includes an over water bungalow, free breakfast services, discounts on dining experiences at the resort and spa services. The 5-star adult-only resort has multiple restaurants and private dining experiences, an option for private movie screenings, a spa, and offers fun excursions. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, many destinations, Bermuda and Barbados for instance, are taking advantage of people wanting to opt-out of quarantining in their homes for an isolated vacation overseas. Three Hawaiian islands, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island, considered allowing tourists to vacation in a Resort Bubble, which will allow visitors to safely roam.

3) China’s Ruler Xi Jinping has halted Ant’s record-breaking $37 billion IPO after the company’s boss Jack Ma snubbed government leaders. Jack Ma, Ant’s founder, criticized Chinese government leaders, when a week before the Chinese fintech was set to go public, Ma made incendiary comments that didn’t go down well with the president or other government officials. This is another example of how President Xi deals with any threat to his authority, such as Hong Kong, including a low tolerance for big private businesses that accumulate wealth and power. Ma also criticized the regulators who enforce a set of international banking rules as an old people’s club. The fintech had already secured over $3 trillion in orders from individual investors across its dual listings in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

4) Stock market closings for – 16 NOV 20:
Dow 29,950.44 up by 470.63
Nasdaq 11,924.13 up by 94.84
S&P 500 3,626.91 up by 41.76
10 Year Yield: up at 0.91%
Oil: up at $41.47

4 November 2020

1) The peak oil production could come in 2028 due to pandemic, a result of the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, which suppresses oil demand to such a degree that it will accelerate society’s transition from the fossil fuel. Some analysts predict oil demand will peak at 102 million barrels per day in 2028, two years earlier than predicted before the virus struck. The slow recovery will permanently affect global oil demand levels, lockdowns will stunt economic recovery in the short-term and long-term, while the pandemic will leave a legacy of behavioral changes that will also affect oil use. Right now, global oil demand is averaging about 89.3 million barrels per day, a 10 percent decline from last year, which experts say won’t rebound to those levels until 2023. Despite possible economic fallout governments in Europe and Asia, they are not backing off their clean energy goals. Electric vehicle sales are expected to reach 14 percent of total global car sales by 2025, and reaching 80 percent by mid-century.

2) Norwegian Cruise Line gives up on 2020 with Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings suspended all cruises through the end of November. Resuming cruises have each company installing labs for COVID-19 testing at sea, then put through costly cruising simulations, and then following a number of additional regulations. So getting back to business by next month isn’t feasible anymore, therefore Norwegian Cruise Line became the first of the three giant operators to officially cancel the remainder of its 2020 voyages. Normally, December sailings are lucrative as people seek to leave cold weather behind during the holiday season. The cruise lines may not be able to hold out that long. To survive, companies need protocols that allows them to return to sailing safely, even if there’s a less than ideal experience for customers as well as the companies’ bottom lines. Consumers are already starting to lose faith in this once aspirational mode of leisure travel.

3) This last week, more than 61,000 children in the U.S. were diagnosed with Covid-19, the highest number than any other week. The true number of children with Covid-19 is higher because the illness tends to be mild in kids and because they may not always be tested. A 13-year-old boy has died over the weekend from Covid-19 infection, less than two weeks after he last attended class.

4) Stock market closings for – 3 NOV 20:

Dow 27,480.03 up by 554.98
Nasdaq 11,160.57 up by 202.96
S&P 500 3,369.02 up by 58.78

10 Year Yield: up at 0.88%

Oil: up at $38.15

29 October 2020

1) One major factor in the spread of Covid-19 virus, is the portability of societies, the degree which people are moving about and interacting with each other with ease. This is a major cause of the spread of infectious disease. Now with the surge of coronavirus in Europe, Germany and France, they are planning to restrict movement of people for at least a month, coming close to the stringent lockdowns of the spring as European leaders seek to rein in a resurgent pandemic outbreak. Spain, Italy, the U.K., Greece and Portugal reported record numbers of new cases on Wednesday. Asia, Singapore and Hong Kong could start a planned ‘travel bubble’ as soon as next month. This also means restrictions of travel for migrant workers, which in turn means restricting their ability to make money, where much is sent back home to families to support their subsistence.

2) Boeing Aircraft company, a major manufacture of airliners, will cut 7,000 more jobs amid the pandemic, almost doubling its planned job cuts. The coronavirus pandemic has prolonged the grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max jet, thus dimming prospects for financial recovery. Executives are abandoning their forecast that Boeing will stop burning cash next year and so they are now forced to eliminate an additional 7,000 jobs. That will bring the expected losses from layoffs, retirements and attrition to 30,000 people, or 19% of the pre-pandemic workforce, by the end of 2021.

3) Taiwan’s microcircuit manufacture United Microelectronics Corp. has pledged its assistance to the U.S. in a high-profile trade-secrets prosecution of Chinese chipmaker Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co. UMC has pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court as part of a deal with U.S. prosecutors. Prosecutors agreed to drop serious charges of economic espionage and conspiracy for theft of proprietary information from Idaho-based Micron Technology Inc. UMC instead admitted to trade-secret theft and agreed to pay a $60 million dollar fine. Prosecutors haven’t publicly detailed the cooperation they are seeking from UMC against Fujian

4) Stock market closings for – 28 OCT 20:
Dow 26,519.95 down 943.24
Nasdaq 11,004.87 down 426.48
S&P 500 3,271.03 down 119.65

10 Year Yield: unchanged at 0.78%

Oil: down at $37.69

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