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

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

16 December 2020

1) While some Covid-19 infected people required intensive care and struggle to live, others only get sick with something akin to the flu to recover without any complications. This has raised suspicions that there might be a genetic factor that makes some people much more susceptible to sever illness and threatening of life. Researchers have found five key genetic issues that might favor severe Covid-19 illness, which in turn could lead to the discovery of new therapies that specifically target the types of genetic imbalances that can lead to life-threatening complications, which include genes involved in antiviral immunity and lung inflammation. The black plague of medieval times has been found to have a genetic factor that allowed some people to survive the plague, while many others died. Scientist have discovered key differences in these five genes: IFNAR2, TYK2, OAS1, DPP9, and CCR, that may partially explain why some people become severely sick with Covid-19, while others are not affected. This research will most likely lead to better treatment programs with a higher survival rate.

2) The Japanese research capsule, which returned from the asteroid Ryugu has yielded a black sandy dust from the distant asteroid Ryugu. The black dust was found in the capsule’s outer shell, with more substantial samples expected to be found when the inner container is opened. These results comes a week after the Hayabusa-2 space probe dropped off its capsule, which entered the atmosphere to land in the Australian desert and then was transported to Japan. The black sand-like particles are believed to be derived from the asteroid Ryugu about 200 million miles from Earth. The asteroid probe collected both surface dust and pristine material from below the surface that was stirred up by firing a projectile into the asteroid. But work is not over for the probe, which now begins an extended mission targeting two new asteroids.

3) The first U.S. Covid-19 vaccinations outside of clinical trials has began, starting the most urgent mass immunization campaign since polio shots were rolled out in the 1950s. The newly authorized vaccine was developed by Pfizer and BioNTech SE. The Pfizer vaccine was shipped out Sunday, with hospitals and health departments receiving them early Monday. A total of 55 sites nationwide have received vaccine shipments Monday. A total of 636 locations are scheduled to receive vaccines by Wednesday and an additional 581 between Thursday and Sunday, for a distribution of an initial 2.9 million doses. The vaccines are given in two doses several weeks apart. Public health officials are counting on a vaccine to help bring an end to the deadly pandemic, which has killed 300,000 Americans and infected 16.25 million since the start of the pandemic.

4) Stock market closings for – 14 DEC 20:

Dow 29,861.55 down by 184.82
Nasdaq 12,440.04 up by 62.17
S&P 500 3,647.49 down by 15.97

10 Year Yield: unchanged at 0.89%

Oil: up at $46.98

7 December 2020

1) Denmark has announced it will stop offering new oil and gas licenses in the North Sea and will phase out oil production all together in 2050 as part of the country’s goal to become fossil free. The Social Democrat government reached a deal with a majority in parliament to drop Denmark’s 8th licensing round plus any future exploration plans. Conditions for the oil and gas companies currently operating in Danish waters will remain unchanged until production stops in 2050. The decision will cost the country about $2.1 billion dollars a year. Production for 2020 is 83,000 barrels of oil plus natural gas equivalent of 21,000 barrels. With Denmark being the European Union’s largest oil producer, this decision will resonate around the world.

2) Reports are that a $908 billion dollar stimulus plan has gained the support of top congressional Democrats and several senior senate Republicans, that combines many of the central priorities of congressional leaders of each party, as well as those of President-elect Joe Biden. There is funding for health officials to help with the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine, as well as aid for hospitals, the hungry, and the U.S. Postal Service. The most expensive item in the bipartisan plan is $288 billion in assistance for U.S. businesses, with lawmakers insisting that funding is geared primarily toward assisting small firms, including continuation of the Paycheck Protection Plan. There is also a range of funding for smaller measures aimed at meeting other critical needs facing the country such as schools and education funding, transportation systems, agriculture, housing and rental assistance, the vaccine program, and the U.S. Postal Service.

3) Employment picture is darkening, with the U.S. economy adding in November the fewest workers in six months, hindered by a resurgence in new COVID-19 cases that, together with a lack of more government relief money, threatens the recovery from the pandemic recession. The Labor Department reported the addition of 245,000 jobs in November, much less than the 440,000 expected, and far less than the 610,000 in October. The unemployment rate slipped from 6.9% down to 6.7%, but that was because fewer people were looking for work. With bipartisan consensus, there is hope of the $908 billion dollar aid package passing before Congress breaks for the holidays.

4) Stock market closings for – 4 DEC 20:

Dow 30,218.26 up by 248.74
Nasdaq 12,464.23 up by 87.05
S&P 500 3,699.12 up by 32.40

10 Year Yield: up at 0.97%

Oil: up at $46.09

PFIZER COVID-19 ANECDOTE 95% EFFECTIVE. SEEKS EMERGENCY APPROVAL TO DISTRIBUTE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

By: Economic & Finance Report

Pfizer has announced their Covid-19 study on a medication they are beta testing has come back from their lab studies; with a 95% effective accuracy rate in trial testing.

Pfizer has been working with BioNTech (German based biotechnology company) on developing a Covid-19 vaccine as fast and accurately as possible. Both companies have indicated they have met those objectives. They are seeking to attain emergency clearance from the United States and European Union, to be able to distribute the vaccine as soon as possible. -SB

Image Credit: UsaNews.com

18 November 2020

1) Crude oil prices and energy stocks aren’t the only things that have fallen during this oil downturn, land prices with potential oil shale have also plummeted. The average price of U.S. oil shale acreage has fallen by more than 70 percent in two years, falling from $17,000 per acre in 2018 to $5,000 per acre in 2020. The value of oil and gas assets has plunged because of the coronavirus pandemic sending crude oil demand down globally, consequently most energy companies are slashing their costs instead of purchasing new land for oil and gas drilling. Oil and gas companies are forced to sell assets to make up money lost on deals.

2) On January the first of next year, President Trump’s pause on student loan payments for 33 million Americans is set to expire, just three weeks before President-elect Joe Biden is slated to take over. The Education Department is warning borrowers this week that their monthly payments will resume. For the incoming president, the economic and administrative mess could take months to untangle, consuming the early days of his Education Department. The student loan system was not designed to start and stop at any time for 30 million borrowers. This became apparent in March when loan payments were suspending and problems for borrowers quickly arose. This is just one facet of the economic problems facing the new president in just a few months, that not only must be addressed, but addressed correcting if problems are not to get worst.

3) The United States has surpassed 11 million coronavirus cases , that’s 1 million new infections in just one week, or 2 million since the beginning of the month. Consequently, hospitals are reaching a breaking point trying to treat nearly 70,000 Covid-19 patients. Medical workers are tired . . . mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted. The stress is being felt around the nation, with the virus spreading like wildfire and the medical system having no backup. If you act early, you can save lives, but if you don’t, you’ll be swamped by a tsunami of this virus. But a Covid-19 vaccine may be in the making with Moderna announcing it has developed a vaccine that’s nearly 95% effective, capable of preventing severe illness, and it could start giving vaccinations to high-risk patients and health care workers as soon as December. A week before, drugmaker, Pfizer announced that its human trials suggest its coronavirus vaccine is more than 90% effective.

4) Stock market closings for – 17 NOV 20:

Dow 29,783.35 down 167.09
Nasdaq 11,899.34 down 24.79
S&P 500 3,609.53 down 17.38

10 Year Yield: down at 0.87%

Oil: down at $41.40

2 April 2020

1) One developing economic crisis from the coronavirus is non-payment of rents. Renters tend to have less cash reserves than home owners, and for those renters not working, a large number will not be able to pay their monthly rent. Many are calling for the federal government to suspend rent payments until the crises is over, while others are calling for a rent boycotts to force landlords into accommodations. A wave of evictions could cause large numbers of people to fall below the poverty line, and worst yet greatly increase the number of homeless Americans.

2) Tuesday, President Trump warned of a very painful next two weeks, with projections of 100,000 to as much as 240,000 coronavirus deaths in the U.S. The news caused another shock to the markets with stocks again dropping shapely. With tremendous uncertainty, the markets are very unstable and therefore subject to sharp up and down swings. Both the Dow and S & P have had their worst first quarter in history. Oil too, continues with its low prices making for its worst month and quarter in history from both the coronavirus shutdown and the Saudi Arabia-Russia price war.

3) With the sudden surge in coronavirus patients, hospitals around America are running low on drugs needed to treat those patients. Some of the drugs are officially in shortage, with use of others skyrocketing and expected to quickly become into short supply. Also in short supply are antibiotics like azithromycind and antivirals like chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. Other drugs associated with patients using ventilators are quickly becoming scarce. Non prescription drugs such as vitamin C have seen a sharp increase in purchases.

4) Stock market closings for – 1 APR 20:

Dow 20,943.51 down 973.65
Nasdaq 7,360.58 down 339.52
S&P 500 2,470.50 down 114.09

10 Year Yield: down at 0.64%

Oil: up at $21.20

OVER 3 MILLION AMERICANS ARE UNEMPLOYED BECAUSE OF THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC!!!!!!!!!

image: nytimes.com

By: Economic & Finance Report

Over 3.3 million Americans have claimed unemployment benefits because of the coronavirus, the U.S. Labor Dept has indicated this past week. The virus has taken a toll on businesses, income wages and society’s everyday way of living.

These numbers reflect a growing number of Americans who are currently unemployed and are seeking financial relief; because of what the COVID-19 virus has done to their working wages. Many people have insisted that the impact has burdened them into massive financial debt.

It also has to be noted, that the United States has now surpassed all other countries with the most infected individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. Over 85,000 people in the USA have the coronavirus, as presented by data by John Hopkins University on March 26, 2020 (US infections 85,840). SB

Sources: US Labor Dept; John Hopkins University Covid-19 Data

31 May 2019

1) Cattle producers are now using DNA testing to develop higher prime herds that produce a higher quality of beef. DNA testing allows predicting which bulls and cows have the characteristics that will improve herds to produce higher quality meat products. Where once there was only the ‘practiced eye’ of the stockman to judge which cattle would produce the product with breeding, the DNA techniques has vastly accelerated the process, with the expectation that the vast majority of U.S. herds will become high quality beef in just a few years.

2) The nation wide bus coach service Greyhound is up for sale. The holding company FirstGroup is facing demands for strategic changes by investors for a return on their investment. Greyhound is the only remaining nation wide intercity bus carrier, which carries about seventeen million passengers a year.

3) An executive order being issued by President Trump will require greater price transparency in the health-care industry, is encountering stiff industry opposition. One point of contention is a provision to slow the consolidation of medical facilities thereby maintaining competition resulting in lower cost. Health insurers and hospitals don’t want to publicly share the rates they have agree to amongst themselves.

4) 30 MAY 19 Stock market closings:

Dow           25,169.88    up    43.47
Nasdaq        7,567.72    up    20.41
S&P 500       2,788.86    up      5.84

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.23%

Oil:    down   at    $56.51