3 December 2020

1) China has landed its Xinhua robotic spacecraft on the moon to spend two days gathering rocks and dirt from the lunar surface, then return those moon samples back to Earth. This is the third successful non-crewed lunar landing made by China, the first being the 2013 Chang’e-3 and its Yutu rover. Then in 2019, Chang’e-4 landed on the moon’s far side, the first spacecraft from Earth to ever do that. China will be the third nation to bring lunar samples back to earth, with first the Apollo moon landings then the Soviet Union’s Luna robotic landers. After China’s spacecraft entered orbit around the moon, Chang’e-5 was split into two vehicles, the lander went down onto the surface then other an orbiter that awaits its return. Moon samples will then be transferred to the orbiter for the journey back to Earth.

2) Further increasing the tensions in the Asian Pacific arena, while also showing its increasing militancy, Russia deploys missiles to Pacific islands, which are claimed by Japan. The deployed missiles are state-of-the-art air defense missile system designed to bring down flying aircraft. The S-300V4 air defense missile systems have entered combat duty on the Kuril Islands, adding punch to the shorter range Tor M2 missile systems deployed there earlier. This is the latest move in a continuous Russian military buildup on the islands, which has included stationing advanced fighter jets and anti-ship missiles there. The Soviet Union took the islands in the final days of World War II, and the dispute over ownership has kept the countries from signing a peace treaty ending their hostilities.

3) Negotiations for a new coronavirus stimulus package is in progress but a deal remains unclear. Plans are for Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to meet, to discuss both the effort to avert a government shutdown next week and the long-stalled stimulus package. It is reported that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will accept a plan that is just under $1 trillion dollars, which removes a major roadblock, but this bill would not include another $1,200 check for individuals.

4) Stock market closings for – 2 DEC 20:
Dow 29,883.79 up by 59.87
Nasdaq 12,349.37 down by 5.74
S&P 500 3,669.01 up by 6.56

10 Year Yield: up at 0.95%

Oil: up at $44.96

10 November 2020

1) The United States became the first nation to surpass 10 million coronavirus infections since the worldwide pandemic started. This is the feared third wave of the Covid-19 virus now surging across the nation. America has reported about a million cases in the past 10 days, the highest rate of infections since the first reporting, while worldwide, coronavirus cases now exceeds 50 million. In the United States the daily average of new deaths account for 1 in every 11 deaths worldwide. The Midwest remains the hardest-hit region based on the most cases per capital with the top five worst-affected states being North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Nebraska.

2) With Joe Biden now expected to enter the Oval Office, the American workplace is going to look much different. Biden has four decades of union leaders behind him, making him potentially the most labor-friendly president of the U.S., who won the endorsement of almost every major union in the country. Labor reform is a fundamental part of his administration with at least one union leader to be named to his Cabinet. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to drive permanent job losses and compromise worker safety, the case for structural change may be stronger than ever. A sharp turn from the Trump White House on labor policy is expected with the Democrats to reverse the present labor policies. Worker safety enforcement, progressive labor policy with a federal minimum wage of $15 per hour, boost manufacturing via trade, and a more labor-friendly National Labor Relations Board are just some of the areas for major changes to be made. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama push through a wide range of policies, only to have their plans overtaken by other agenda items like health care. But the most important factor being overlooked is AI (Artificial Intelligence) experts are predicting that up to 50% of American jobs will disappear in the next 15 to 25 years. Also, any time you raise the cost of labor, then those jobs will be replaced by automation.

3) Japan moves to reduce its fossil fuel emissions, with Japan being the fifth largest polluter, by using hydrogen fuel for its energy needs. Hydrogen offers the greatest potential to decarbonize industries like steel, cement and heavy duty transport, to achieve net-zero emissions.

4) Stock market closings for – 9 NOV 20: The Dow surged to 1,500 points on news of an effective Covid-19 vaccine trials by Pfizer with early results showing at 90% effectiveness. The Dow was briefly over 30,000.

Dow 29,157.97 up by 834.57
Nasdaq 11,713.78 down by 181.45
S&P 500 3,550.50 up at 41.06

10 Year Yield: up at 0.96%

Oil: up at $39.84

26 October 20

1) The renewable energy industry is possibly getting a boost from New York’s East River, which is set to become the testing ground for a technology that generates electricity from the tides by using tiny turbines. Verdant Power, a New York based marine energy technology company, is installing three small underwater turbines in the river that will generate electricity from the actions of the tide. The test system will feed power to Consolidated Edison Inc.’s grid. For years there has been other attempts to draw power from marine energy, but its adoption has been stymied by high costs and mechanical issues. The turbines use 16 foot diameter rotors which are expected to have 35 kilowatts of capacity each, about four times more than a typical U.S. residential rooftop solar system. The key to success is reducing the cost, but at 10 cents a kilowatt-hour, it’s still more than twice the cost of wind and solar power.

2) The oil giant Exxon Mobil, is still reeling from the massive oil bust, and so is now having to lay off workers after all. When the rounds of layoffs in the oil industry started last May, Exxon had no plans to lay off employees. But economic realities have force a reversal of that position, because other measures to control operating cost have not been sufficient to weather the downturn. Exxon’s market value has dropped by 66 percent from $418 billion dollars and has recently been removed from the Dow Jones Industrial index, a group of 30 key stocks that serves as a benchmark indicator of the U.S. stock market. Fears that the oil and gas industry will never recover fully from the pandemic are dismissed, the company saying that developing countries around the world will continue to rely on affordable and abundant fossil fuels for decades to power their economies. It’s projected that oil and gas will make up about 50 percent of the global energy mix by 2040, down from around 60 percent today.

3) China shows increasing aggressiveness with threats of retaliation, if U.S. arms sale to Taiwan proceed, sales worth more than a billion dollars. Failure to do so would “compel the Chinese side to fight back resolutely,” a Chinese statement said. America is selling 135 precision land attack missiles, plus associated equipment and training to Taiwan to improve its defense capabilities. Taiwan isn’t the only pacific neighbor fearing China’s belligerent stance, for Japan is planning to build a missile defense system at sea despite facing mounting costs. Japan’s Aegis Ashore systems is meant to intercept missile strikes from westward. Japanese officials are considering several proposals, including putting Aegis on platforms resembling oil rigs, or on converted merchant ships or naval vessels because of safety issues for civilians. Japan has also launched its first high technology submarine, one of a coming fleet, to protect Japan from China’s aggressive threats.

4) Stock market closings for – 23 OCT 20:

Dow 28,335.57 down 28.09
Nasdaq 11,548.28 down 42.28
S&P 500 3,465.39 down 11.90

10 Year Yield: down at 0.84%

Oil: down at $39.78

17 August 2020

1) Across America, schools are struggling over if and how they should open and operate amidst the Covid-19 crisis while knowing students are infected in growing numbers. Schools are opening their doors only to have to quickly backtrack as soon as infections pop up. Debates rage over using ‘remote learning’ verse ‘in class’, with a mirid of problems with either strategy. Add to this is fears of teachers and bus drivers being exposed to potentially life threatening infections. The main problem is schools just aren’t designed for social distancing, either in the classroom or hallways. There isn’t any federal standards to guide local schools in the opening and operating of schools in the shadow of the pandemic.

2) First class mail volume had declined significantly in America, especially since the pandemic, so the USPS (United States Postal Service) is removing mailboxes in parts of Oregon. The USPS has seen a significant decline in revenue, a decline that has been on going for many years as electronic billing/payment and email has become increasingly popular. This could be portends of things to come in the near future, as the USPS struggles with money to operate.

3) With China’s announcement of its latest combat drills near Taiwan, the democratic island is increasing its defense spending. China’s aggressiveness, both military and economic, in the pacific area is raising fears of surrounding countries about their safety. Japan is also concerned over what China might do with her fast growing military power. Taiwan is increasing their military budget by 10.2%. Since the early days of the cold war, Taiwan has been threatened by China, including direct military attacks, so Taiwan knows that China has to be taken seriously. The island nation is discussing acquiring sea mines to deter amphibious landings as well as cruise missiles for coastal defense. Last year the State Department approved $10 billion dollars in arms sales. Additionally, Taiwan is beginning free trade talks with the U.S., a move that would bring the two countries closer together.

4) Stock market closings for – 14 AUG 20:

Dow 27,931.02 up 34.30
Nasdaq 11,019.30 up 23.20
S&P 500 3,372.85 up 0.58

10 Year Yield: down at 0.71%

Oil: down at $42.23

23 June 2020

1) Speculation abounds over what the next stimulus package will have, such as extended income support for the unemployed and underemployed. New temporary subsidies for low wage workers. Cheap loans for small and medium size businesses with additional support for state and local governments. Cost estimates for a second stimulus program range from one to two trillion dollars. But like the first stimulus package, no one is offering ideas how this money will be paid off, especially if economic expansion doesn’t materialize.

2) The worlds fastest super computer is now Japan’s Fugaku supercomputer developed by Riken and Fujitsu with backing from the Japanese government. It has a speed of roughly 415.53 petaflops, which is 2.8 times faster than the US Summit supercomputers at 148.6 petaflops. The Fugaku was under development for six years and will start full time operation by April 2021, although it has been pressed into service in the coronavirus crisis, running simulations on how droplets would spread in office spaces with partitions. Previously, the fastest supercomputers have belong to America and China.

3) The sales of existing homes has dropped in May, a result of the coronavirus impact on the economy. The sales of existing homes in May fell 9.7% compared with April, which makes for an annual decline of 26.6%. This is the largest decline since 1982 when interest rates were 18%. There remains a shortage of housing which is helping to uplift the market, and therefore the economy as soon as the crisis has subsided.

4) Stock market closings for – 22 JUN 20:

Dow 26,024.96 up 153.50
Nasdaq 10,056.48 up 110.35
S&P 500 3,117.86 up 20.12

10 Year Yield: up at 0.70%

Oil: up at $41.13

19 August 2019

1) Home construction in America fell in July by 4.0%, in particular apartments. While a solid job market coupled with falling mortgage rates have boosted the desire to purchase new homes, the inventory shortage and rising prices have stifled sales. However, building permits issued have risen 8.4% with apartment complexes accounting for most of the increase.

2) Japan surpasses China as the largest foreign holder of American Treasury notes. Japan now holds $1.12 trillion dollars of Treasurys while China has $1.11 trillion dollars worth. Since the start of the trade war, China has bought less of the U.S. sovereign debt, with speculation that one tactic China could take in the trade war is to unload its holdings of U.S. debt. So far, there are no indications of China doing that.

3) The threat of fresh water shortages across the world is becoming more pronounced, with western America experiencing growing problems. The Colorado River, is a 1,450 mile source of water for seven states, who’s flow decreased 19% from 2000 to 2014. The river’s water is drawn off to supple cities and agriculture so almost nothing reaches the Pacific ocean. The bulk of the water is used by farmers producing a significant amount of America’s food, with almost 90% of the winter’s vegetables come from the river’s irrigation.

4) Stock market closings for – 16 AUG 19:

Dow             25,886.01    up    306.62
Nasdaq          7,895.99    up    129.38
S&P 500         2,888.68    up      41.08

10 Year Yield:    up   at    1.54%

Oil:    up   at    $54.94

29 July 2019

1) Newly released reports says that raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025 will raise the wages for 22.2% of American workers. They claim that 33.5 million workers would experience a $92.5 billion dollar increase in pay or $2,800 per worker. Currently, the minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, but it’s not expected such legislation to increase the federal minimum wage can pass through congress and not be vetoed.

2) China is looking for new markets to sell to. Presently, it has too many factories making too many goods because the trade war has diminished sales to its biggest customer America. China is seeking to create free-trade zones across the Asia-Pacific region in the hopes of opening new markets. Additionally, China is talking with Japan and South Korea to lower trade barriers. The problem is no country can absorb the volume of goods that China sells to America.

3) High tech companies are taking business to Canada and her supple of technology skilled immigrants. Canada has more relaxed controls over entry for workers having the education and skills sought by high tech companies, and therefore provides a base for such companies to expand into. Canada processes work visas for such workers in weeks, while the U.S. is noted for its long delays to grant the needed visas.

4) Stock market closings for – 26 JUL 19:

Dow             27,192.45    up    51.47
Nasdaq          8,330.21    up    91.67
S&P 500         3,025.86    up    22.19

10 Year Yield:    up   at    2.08%

Oil:    down   at    $56.16

26 July 2019

1) Tesla, the manufacture of all-electric automobiles, has suffered a worse than expected loss. Additionally, there has been another major management shakeup, all of which is casting doubts on the future of the unique automaker. While Tesla delivered a record number of cars in its second quarter, its stock dropped 14% with a loss of $1.12 per share. Nevertheless, Tesla has opened twenty-five new stores and service centers.

2) Concerns grow that the trade tensions may be pushing U.S. economic growth downwards. Fears that the gross domestic product figures due out this Friday will show business investment has weakened. Additional factors stem from slow global growth and falling oil prices. The gains in jobs and wages are preventing growth from sinking. It’s anticipated that the Federal Reserve will lower interest rates by a quarter point to check softening of the economy.

3) Nissan, the world automobile manufacture, has announced the layoff of 12,500 employees worldwide, or about 10% of its work force. Nissan is striving to rein in the costs increases incurred during the former CEO Carlos Ghosn tenure and alleged financial misconduct. Japan’s number two automaker has suffered a collapse in its quarterly profits, a result of sluggish sales and rising cost. This is another indication of the world’s depressed auto market with other renowned automakers like Ford suffering similar major financial problems.

4) Stock market closings for – 25 JUL 19:

Dow             27,140.98    down    128.99
Nasdaq          8,238.54    down      82.96
S&P 500         3,003.67    down      15.89

10 Year Yield:    up   at    2.07%

Oil:    down   at    $55.91

19 June 2019

1) The pizza giant Domino’s will test pizza delivery using fully autonomous vehicles in Houston. Domino’s has been exploring this technology for the last two years with robot cars that had standby drivers for safety, but these robots will be human free. The Silicon Valley startup Nuro, who has been working with the grocery chain Kroger testing home delivery service, will provide the automobiles. Customers will be able to make orders via their smart phones, track progress of the cars, then use their smart phone to unlock the robot car to obtain their pizza.

2) Boeing Aircraft Co., the manufacture of the grounded 737 MAX, announce they have not received one single order for new airliners at the Paris air show. Their rival Airbus recorded orders and options for 123 new planes. Overall orders for this year’s Paris air show is expected to be the lowest since 2016, with emphasis on defense spending.

3) President Trump announced he will meet with China’s Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit, raising hopes of resumption of Chinese-American trade talks and a deal which will resolve the current trade war. The President says he will have extended meetings next week at the G-20 conference in Japan. News of the meeting coupled with expectations of near future cuts in the interest rates boost confidence in the markets.

4) Stock market closings for- 18 JUN 19 Stocks rally on news of US-China trade talks.

Dow                    26,465.54    up    353.01
Nasdaq                 7,953.88    up    108.86
S&P 500                2,917.75    up      28.08

10 Year Yield:     down   at    2.06%

Oil:    up   at    $53.97

22 April 19

1) New Jeep Wranglers are being offered for as much as $9,500 dollars off list price. There is an over supply of leftover JL Wranglers, which makes for some really good deals for auto buyers wanting a traditional style SUV.

2) Panama disease is a highly contagious infection which is ravaging banana plantations across the world from Asia to Australia. The Philippines has suffered $400 million dollars in losses, where the world banana cultivation is a $44 billion dollar industry involving the livelihood of 400 million people.

3) Japan’s Mitsubishi Aircraft it about to build Japan’s first airliner in fifty years, to compete with Boeing and Airbus. The small 88 passenger airliner is for the regional air carrier business. Other small aircraft manufactures are also getting into the small carrier airline business betting they can build smaller, simpler and cheaper airliners than Boeing or Airbus.

4) 19 APR 19 Stock market closed for Easter: