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

17 March 2021

1) One part of the U.S. infrastructure that America can invest in now is the recycling infrastructure. The recycling infrastructure and related new technologies hasn’t been updated for roughly 20 years, in particular the massive growing plastics waste problem. Several years ago, China’s National Sword policy ended its role as a recipient of western waste, leaving the west with a seriously growing waste problem. Some consider the up coming bill on infrastructure upgrade will present an opportunity to leap ahead of the plastic problem with money for developing new technologies.

2) As if the American economy hasn’t suffered enough with the pandemic and record snow storms across the land, one more massive snow and ice storm system is sweeping across the nation again. Not only is there heavy snow, torrential rain and severe weather, but also there were 14 reported tornadoes, and additionally, wind gusts reaching as high as 87 mph in the Texas Panhandle with the region experiencing baseball-sized hail. Over 6 inches of rain has been reported in southern Missouri and over 4 inches of rain reported in Kansas and Nebraska, with all three states seeing flooding due to the storm. Snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour in Colorado and Wyoming, with up to 4 inches per hour locally in the foothills and mountains, closing highways and freeways. Totals of 1 to 4 feet of snow is expected in parts of the Rockies from this storm with 6 to 12 inches from Denver to Rapid City.

3) The microchip shortage continues with GM forced to shut down its Chevy Camaro Production. The global microchip shortage will force some automakers to prioritize the production of only their most important models. For GM, this means that Chevrolet Camaro and Cadillac CT4 and CT5 production must be temporarily paused. Whatever microchips GM has access to, will be diverted to those factories remaining in production, leaving other lines to fight for what’s left. This problem comes just when automakers are trying to climb out of the financial disaster from the pandemic, when makers are needing to make every auto sale they can get, to bring in much needed revenues. Many automakers are now delaying or pausing their development programs, the debut and on-sale dates receding, thereby further aggravating long range revenues. The microchip shortage was caused by semiconductor production stoppages early in the COVID-19 pandemic. Automakers underestimated the rate at which sales would recover, and so, it left them behind all the other companies that rely on microchips. It’s unclear when the shortage will end. Many major automakers, from Honda to Mercedes-Benz have had to either pause or cut production over these shortages, so GM isn’t unique here.

4) Stock market closings for – 16 MAR 21:

Dow 32,825.95 down by 127.51
Nasdaq 13,471.57 up by 11.86
S&P 500 3,962.71 down by 6.23

10 Year Yield: up at 1.62%

Oil: down at $64.91

16 March 2021

1) The technology known as carbon capture and storage, a concept that has been around for at least a quarter century to reduce the climate damaging emissions from factories, is being pursued by major international oil companies. The idea sounds deceptively simple, just divert pollutants before they can escape into the air, and bury them deep in the ground where they are harmless. But the technology has proved to be hugely expensive, and so has not caught on as quickly as advocates hoped. Exxon Mobil, BP and Royal Dutch Shell plus lesser known Norway’s Equinor, France’s Total, and Italy’s Eni are investors in capture and storage projects.

2) Reports are, that amid all the trillion dollar spending, the White House is now starting to consider how to pay for the programs meant to bolster long term economic growth with investments in infrastructure, clean energy and education. The challenges are twofold: 1) how much of the bill is paid for with tax increases and 2) which policies to finance with more borrowing. The administration hasn’t decided whether to pursue a wealth tax. With interest rates so low, U.S. borrowing costs are manageable right now. The federal government currently collects the biggest chunk of its revenue, about half in 2019, from individual income taxes, which now tops out at 37% of income above $518,000 per year. For now, there are few signs of inflationary spiral or fiscal crisis that policy makers thought would accompany debt levels like today’s. The Congressional Budget Office this month projected that the national debt would double as a proportion of gross domestic product over the next 30 years. But the cost of borrowing is rising for the government and across the economy so the large debt could mean trouble in the future.

3) India’s foreign-exchange reserves has surpassed Russia’s to become the world’s fourth largest, as India central bank continues to hoard dollars to cushion the economy against any sudden outflows. Reserves for both countries have mostly flattened this year after months of rapid increase. India’s reserves, enough to cover roughly 18 months of imports, have been bolstered by a rare current-account surplus, raising inflows into the local stock market and foreign direct investment. India’s foreign currency holdings fell by $4.3 billion to $580.3 billion as of March 5, edging out Russia’s $580.1 billion pile. China has the largest reserves, followed by Japan and Switzerland on the International Monetary Fund table.

4) Stock market closings for – 15 MAR 21:

Dow 32,953.46 up by 174.82
Nasdaq 3,459.71 up by 139.84
S&P 500 3,968.94 up by 25.60

10 Year Yield: down at 1.61%

Oil: down at $65.29

12 March 2021

1) There are some estimated 3.2 million abandoned oil and gas well sites. To plug a well cost as much as $150,000 each. Estimates are that abandoned oil and gas wells cover more than 2 million acres in the U.S., and if that land is restored, it could deliver billions of dollars in benefit for a fraction of the cost of restoration. Cleaning up these wells and restoring the land around them would safeguard against the harmful impacts of abandoned oil and gas infrastructure such as methane leaks and groundwater contamination. Two specific ecosystem benefits are agricultural products, like food from farms, and carbon sequestration.

2) With the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, companies abruptly shuttered their offices and instructed employees to work from home indefinitely. Companies at first thought the shutdowns would last a couple months, but one year later, millions of workers are still working remotely. This has amounted to a ‘remote work experiment’ on a scale never seen before, and here’s a little of what’s been learned. Employers have become more nimble, loosening restrictions on where employees can work, and equipping them with the tools to do so. Meetings aren’t always necessary, working a standard eight-hour shift may not be the best schedule for everyone, sitting at a desk doesn’t always mean you’re being productive and perhaps you miss your coworkers more than you thought you would. Some companies plan to remain 100% remote post-pandemic, while others, including companies like Reddit and Microsoft, will take a hybrid approach, giving workers more flexibility about where they work. But companies have also found cost savings, by reducing the office space needed, which is a major cost factor for businesses.

3) Chinese imports of Iranian crude oil will hit 856,000 barrels a day in March, the most in almost two years and up 129% from last month. Crude shipments from Iran to the province of Shandong, home to a quarter of China’s refining capacity, have surged so much they’re causing congestion at ports and filling up storage tanks, according to traders and analysts. The waiting time for tankers looking to offload in Shandong is estimated to be 12 days. Most refiners and traders are reluctant to purchase Iranian crude for fear of repercussions that can include being cut off from the American banking system and having cargoes seized by the U.S. Navy. Iranian cargoes are heavily discounted due to the sanctions.

4) Stock market closings for – 11 MAR 21:

Dow 32,485.59 up by 188.57
Nasdaq 13,398.67 up by 329.84
S&P 500 3,939.34 up by 40.53

10 Year Yield: up at 1.53%

Oil: up at $65.91

5 March 2021

1) For many years, there has been one report after another about the critical need to repair, replace and expand our infrastructure of roads, waterways, air travel systems, highways, dams, bridges, electric power and many other necessary parts of a modern society. The U.S. is facing a $2.59 trillion dollar shortfall in meeting its infrastructure needs. The American Society of Civil Engineers released its latest report card on U.S. infrastructure giving an overall grade of C-. That’s an upgrade from the D+ of the last report from four years ago, but leaves lots of room for improvement. America is spending about half what our infrastructure bill is, the total investment gap has gone from $2.1 trillion to nearly $2.59 trillion in over 10 years.

2) The General Motors auto company is extending its production cuts amidst the chip crisis shortage at three North American plants and added a fourth to the list of factories hit by the global semiconductor chip crisis. However, the cut did not change GM’s February forecast of a $2 billion loss in 2021. The automaker expects chip supplies to normalize by the second half of the year with no incremental losses. GM did not disclose the impact on volumes or parts affected by the chip shortage but said it intends to recover much of the lost output. Power outage in Texas further hit chip production. President Joe Biden has also pushed for $37 billion in Congressional funding to tackle the chip crisis.

3) Banning natural gas would cut carbon emissions. Cities across the country are pushing for electric only buildings, some by banning natural gas, as part of an ongoing effort to curb emissions and stall climate change. But another national push is underway in state legislatures to prevent this banning from happening elsewhere. HB 1191 is written in a way that says cities can’t put in place policies or requirements that would prioritize one fuel over another for heat and appliances in buildings. The bill is effectively a ban on banning natural gas. Advocates say it’s a necessary effort to protect consumer choice and keep energy costs low, but others are saying the gas industry is trying to protect itself by taking away local control and stifling cities’ sustainability goals. Critics question whether protecting consumers is the true aim.

4) Stock market closings for – 4 MAR 21:

Dow 30,924.14 down by 345.95
Nasdaq 12,723.47 down by 274.28
S&P 500 3,768.47 down by 51.25

10 Year Yield: up at 1.55%

Oil: up at $64.31

22 February 2021

1) There have been many reports about the crumbling weakness of American infrastructure, something that became apparent to many people with the recent hard freeze across the country. Example- in two hours Texas’s electric grid almost came crashing down. Electric demand for heat was soaring, then three coal plants followed quickly by a gas plant dropped out. If insufficient power came in, the grid wouldn’t be able to support the energy demand from customers and the other power plants that supply them, causing a cycle of dysfunction. As many as 5 million homes and businesses were abruptly thrust into frigid darkness for nearly four straight days as the crisis continued, ensnaring more than a dozen other states as far as away as California. Wind power was the first to go, as dense fog settled over turbine fleets, freezing on contact. Their blades iced over, so wind farms completely ceased. Then gas generation began declining. As the cold deepened, demand climbed sharply, hitting and then exceeding the state’s all-time winter peak. Gas well shut-ins in West Texas caused gas supplies to dip, reducing pressure at gas plants and forcing them offline, so virtually all of the generation falling off the grid came from coal or gas plants. In the span of 30 minutes, 2.6 gigawatts of capacity had disappeared from Texas’s power grid, enough to power half a million homes. Demand kept climbing, and plants kept falling offline. To stem the plunge, operators started shedding load. Operators removed 10 gigawatts of demand, essentially cutting power to 2 million homes in one fell swoop. As blackouts spread across the state, power was cut not only to homes and businesses but to the compressor stations that drive natural gas pipelines further cutting off the flow of gas supplies to power plants.

2) Now Maersk , the world’s largest shipping line, is taking a historic step toward not using fossil fuels for propulsion. About half of Maersk’s 200 biggest customers have set science-based or zero-carbon targets for their supply chains, or are in the process of doing so. The firm wants to have net-zero emissions from its operations by 2050, and helped found a research center focused on decarbonizing the industry. Getting hold of enough carbon-neutral fuel will be Maersk’s biggest challenge, given the current lack of availability.

3) Some experts are predicting that because of the rare convergence of three economic triggers, we are about to see a massive buying frenzy into the technology sector of the stock market. No details were shared.

4) Stock market closings for – 19 FEB 21:

Dow 31,494.32 up by 0.98
Nasdaq 13,874.46 up by 9.11
S&P 500 3,906.71 down by 7.26

10 Year Yield: up at 1.34%

Oil: down at $59.01

8 July 2020

1) Online grocery shopping continues to reach higher numbers, as Americans show little inclination to return to the stores. Grocery sales hit a record $7.2 billion dollars in June, up 9% from May. There are now 45.6 million households using online grocery pickup and delivery services for a larger portion of their grocery needs. The coronavirus crisis has cause drastic increases in grocery shopping online. People are now using online for buying a few items instead of just for their major shopping trips.

2) Seattle has passed a payroll tax which targets large businesses, called the JumpStart Tax. This tax is a tiered system of taxation with the highest tax levels for companies with annual payroll expenses of more than $1 billion dollars. The tax also is grated for individual income levels starting at amounts over $150,000. The prime target for the tax is Amazon, who is expected to accelerate its move to secure office space outside of Seattle. Amazon has an expansive Seattle footprint, but in recent years has moved to establish a presence in areas outside of the city. There are fears that the tax will pin Seattle’s economic future on local businesses remaining strong.

3) New York City plans to invest $157 million dollars to expand high speed internet service to low income residents as part of its plan to offer universal broadband service to New Yorkers. To pay for the expansion, the internet service providers would be charged for using the city’s infrastructure. The financially strapped city would fund the expansion by diverting $87 million from the police budget, which is being cut. But for the long run, the city is seeking state legislation to require internet service companies to pay for the use of the infrastructure they used to do business.

4) Stock market closings for – 7 JUL 20:

Dow 25,890.18 down 396.85
Nasdaq 10,343.89 down 89.76
S&P 500 3,145.32 down 34.40

10 Year Yield: down at 0.65%

Oil: down at $40.49

1 May 2020

1) The numbers are in for the weekly jobless claims, with another 3.84 million people losing their jobs. This brings the total to over 30 million in the past six weeks. Expectations were for about 3 million, so the news was not upsetting. The claims peaked at 6.87 million so officials feel the worst is over with declines each week since, but still this has been the worst employment crisis in U.S. history. While some states are starting to bring their economies back on line, much of the key American infrastructure remains on lockdown. Predictions are for the second quarter to decline worse than anything America has ever seen. The unemployment rate is anticipated to be about 15.1%.

2) The crash of the oil market continues across the globe, with the American shale or fracking oil industry being hit the hardest. The shale oil industry had been fueled by lots of easy money, almost unlimited borrowing allowing companies to dramatically ramp up production, despite what the market demand was. Many companies had been in trouble before the coronavirus hit, and that combined with the Russian and Saudi Arabia oil dispute, oil prices have dropped by three-quarters since early January. There is $43 billion dollars of energy junk bond defaults coming in 2020 with hundreds of oil companies facing bankruptcy. The problem isn’t just American, with Shell Oil Co. announcing a cut in their dividends for the first time since World War II. Finally, the pandemic appears to be making fundamental changes to the oil market and consumption so the oil market may never fully recover.

3) The virus pandemic has adversely affected more than just traditional businesses, large and small. Dirty money from the illegal drug business is piling up in Los Angeles because the money laundering systems has also been put on hold by ‘closing orders’ of non-essential businesses. The businesses used by the drug trade to launder their money have been forced to close up, thereby ceasing operations leaving the drug dealers with growing stacks of cash that cant be used until cleaned.

4) Stock market closings for – 30 APR 20:

Dow 24,345.72 down 288.14
Nasdaq 8,889.55 down 25.16
S&P 500 2,912.43 down 27.08

10 Year Yield: down at 0.62%

Oil: up at $18.64

1 April 2020

1) To aid in economic recovery, President Trump is calling for a $2 trillion dollar spending plan to update the country’s infrastructure. Monies would be used to update the country’s roads, bridges and other parts of the physical infrastructure. This would be part of Phase 4 response to the coronavirus crisis. The President said that with interest rates at zero, this is the ideal time to address our declining infrastructure.

2) There are growing fears of the devastation that the coronavirus has and continues to wrought on America’s economy. Layoffs are coming faster than unemployment offices can accommodate, increasing fears about making mortgage and loan payments, malls and shopping centers devoid of people with only the essential commerce. Economist are now forecasting a real GDP growth of negative 9% for the first quarter and minus 34% for the second. There is expected to be 4.5 million filings for jobless benefits this week, which will be the highest in history. While there are hopes for a quick turn around, the damage may be too great to quickly return to the economic boom prior to the virus.

3) Founders of the European Union (EU) have always feared that Italy’s proliferate borrowing would ultimately become the EU’s problem. Now with Italy’s coronavirus problems, the country is having to borrow again to care for its people, in turn pushing up its debt to dangerous levels which the EU will have to cover. This is made doubly critical with other EU member’s economies shaken by the shutdowns from the virus. Presently, Italy’s debt level is approaching 150% of its gross domestic product and may well surpass that.

4) Stock market closings for – 31 MAR 20:

Dow 21,917.16 down 410.32
Nasdaq 7,700.10 down 74.05
S&P 500 2,584.59 down 42.06

10 Year Yield: up at 0.70%

Oil: down at $20.10

16 July 2019

1) Chinese economic growth has slowed to its lowest level in twenty-seven years, a result of the prolong trade war. Additionally, global growth has slowed, coupled with external uncertainties increasing. China is reporting a fall in both exports and imports for the first six months of this year. The Chinese are working on more stimulus measures to stabilize growth such as boosting infrastructure spending and interest rates cut, while also seeking loans from abroad.

2) Just like all youth, the millennials and generation-Z, have aspirations for their lives and the direction they want to go. Presently, these two groups comprise 40% of the American population, but like previous generations they disdain much about the older generation’s lives such as cars, big houses and material wealth. They want careers that make a difference even if not paying much, where they can provide some greater good to society. The fly in the ointment is their exploding student loan debt coupled with the growing obsolescence of American workers, in particular the younger ones.

3) Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant recently in the news so much, plans hundreds of layoffs in the near future. These layoffs are expected to be in Huawei’s U.S. development subsidiary Futurewei, a technology development center, which employs 850 people across several states. Blacklisted by the American government because of security risk issues, the company expects to lose $30 billion dollars in sales over the next two years.

4) Stock market closings for – 15 JUL 19: All three markets set new record highs.

Dow              27,359.16    up   27.13
Nasdaq           8,258.18    up   14.04
S&P 500          3,014.30   up      0.53

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.09%

Oil:    down   at    $59.30