23 March 2021

1) Some analysts expect Tesla Inc. stock to hit $3,000 by 2025, up from its current price of $655. This would make the company worth almost $3 trillion dollars. This is based on expectation of a 50% chance of Tesla achieving fully autonomous driving systems within five years. This would allow the company to scale up its planned robotaxi service quickly. Additionally, Tesla’s insurance business adds value to the company, believing the offering could be rolled out to more states in the next few years with better than average margins, thanks to highly detailed driving data the company collects. Presently, their insurance is currently available only in California. Forecasts are for Tesla’s unit sales to be between 5 million and 10 million vehicles in 2025, assuming increased capital efficiency.

2) Intel made small waves by launching an ad campaign featuring none other than the “I’m a Mac guy” himself . . . Justin Long to explain why PCs are better than Macs. Intel’s five YouTube videos have racked up over a million views, but the ad campaign extends to a website extolling the benefits of PC over Mac. In the real world, a PC with an 11th Gen Intel Core mobile processor offers users more, with real research and test results to prove it. Many Apple M1 claims don’t translate to real world usage and appear questionable. When compared to a PC with the 11th Gen Intel Core mobile processor, the M1 MacBook features just don’t stack up.

3) After years of outcry about corruption and wasteful spending, Congress banned earmarks, the legislative maneuver of having special budget items that allow members to funnel money to projects in their districts. Earmark spending went away in 2011 after corruption scandals, but now it’s back on the table. Leaders in both parties are taking steps to allow limited earmarks on spending legislation, opening the door to the sort of ‘horse trading’ that Democrats hope could lead to GOP support for Biden initiatives on issues ranging from infrastructure to the annual federal agency funding bill. Republicans are leery of what type of taxes and revenue-raising devices the Democrats are considering to finance a legislative package that could top $1 trillion dollars. With $28 trillion dollars worth of debt, and on the way to a $30 trillion debt, the Congress ought to be focused on how to save money.

4) Stock market closings for – 22 MAR 21:

Dow 32,731.20 up by 103.23
Nasdaq 13,377.54 up by 162.31
S&P 500 3,940.59 up by 27.49

10 Year Yield: down at 1.69%

Oil: up at 61.47

19 February 2021

1) U.S. retail sales surged in January, the most in seven months, beating all estimates. This suggests fresh stimulus checks helped spur a rebound in household demand following a weak fourth quarter. The value of overall sales increased 5.3% from the prior month after a 1% decline in December, and was the first monthly gain since September with all major categories showing sharp advances. The jump in retail sales could further embolden Republican opposition to President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan, which the GOP considers too big. Even so, the Democrats can most likely pass the package without Republican votes, while the data might be evidence of how critical relief payments are to the economy and jobs.

2) The IRS has sent out all $600 stimulus payments, delivering more than 147 million second round stimulus checks, worth over $142 billion dollars. Some payments may still be in the mail, but otherwise, eligible Americans who did not receive the first or second payment can claim a Recovery Rebate Credit on their 2020 tax returns, which will be on line 30 of the 2020 Form 1040 or 1040-SR. The agency also noted that its ‘Get My Payment’ tool, which updated taxpayers on the status of their stimulus checks or deposits, was updated in January and will not be refreshed again for the second check.

3) The automaker Kia seems to be in quite a predicament. The automaker’s online services appear to have been severed from the outside world, with customers unable to start their cars remotely via Kia’s apps or even log into the company’s financing website to pay their bills. All signs pointed to a potential cyber attack against Kia, a ransom ware attack most likely, which is exactly what a new report is claiming. A report by information security news site Bleeping Computer seems to solidify that theory, as the publication shared a screenshot of an alleged ransom note asking Kia for the hefty tune of $20,000,000 to decrypt its files. The infection is believed to be the work of a group called DoppelPaymer by Crowdstrike researchers in 2019. Such threat actors routinely hunt big game for large pay outs, according to a security bulletin released by the FBI late last year. The note left behind mentions that the malware not only encrypted live data, but also the company’s backups, which more sophisticated attacks of this sort often prevent an easy restoration.

4) Stock market closings for – 18 FEB 21:

Dow 31,493.34 down by 119.68
Nasdaq 13,865.36 down by 100.14
S&P 500 3,913.97 down by 17.36

10 Year Yield: down at 1.29%

Oil: down at $59.79

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