24 March 2021

1) The CLEAN Future Act, a nearly 1,000-page piece of legislation, is meant to curb greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution that’s emitted from the petrochemical facilities that produce plastics or the raw materials used to make plastics. More significantly, the bill would impose a temporary pause on air pollution permits needed for approval of new plastics production facilities. But Republican lawmakers are raising concerns that provisions in the sweeping climate bill from top house democrats would stifle the plastics industry. The EPA regulations also require any permit for a plastics production facility to be accompanied by an ‘environmental justice assessment’, which would include consulting with the people living in the region where the facility is located.

2) Canadian Pacific Railway announced its plan to acquire the Missouri-based Kansas City Southern Lines rail company, which operates railroads in Mexico, Panama, and the United States. The new agreement will result in the first ever rail network to span the length of the North American continent to create the first rail network spanning from Canada to Mexico.
The CP values KCS at $29 billion dollars and agrees to assume $3.8 billion in outstanding debts as part of the agreement. The deal awaits final approval from the U.S. Surface Transportation Board.

3) President Biden’s economic advisers are preparing to recommend spending as much as $3 trillion dollars aimed at boosting the economy, reducing carbon emissions and narrowing economic inequality, including a giant infrastructure plan that may be financed in part through tax increases on corporations and the rich. Rather than trying to push a mammoth package through Congress, Biden has separated his plan into legislative pieces. The bill includes money for rural broadband, advanced training for millions of workers and 1 million affordable and energy efficient housing units. Additionally there is nearly $1 trillion dollars in spending on the construction of roads, bridges, rail lines, ports, electric vehicle charging stations and improvements to the electric grid and other parts of the power sector. But Republican support will depend in large part on how the bill is paid for.

4) Stock market closings for – 23 MAR 21:

Dow Jones 32,423 down by 308.05
NASDAQ 13,228 down by 149.85
S&P 500 3,911 down by 30.07

10 Year Yield: unchanged at 1.69%

Oil: down at 60.62

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

9 November 2020

1) Missouri, in what some are calling the lawsuit heard round the world, is suing China, to hold the global heavyweight responsible for the losses of life and commerce from the COVID-19, which originated in Wuhan, China. Other states are also filing class action suits in U.S. federal courts, but Beijing is aware that sovereign nations, including the U.S., have wide immunity from such claims. Experts warn that a potential decoupling of the world’s largest economies, the United States and China, is causing further concern. Even before the pandemic, there were concerns as China took dramatic steps in recent decades to grow its reach in the world. China is part of massive shifts in the balance of global powers, with some countries reasserting themselves and others finding it difficult to keep up with technological advancements and reap their economic rewards.

2) The giant ExxonMobil has low debt, high yield, and commitment to its dividend. Chevron is like ExxonMobile having a relatively low leverage (in the industry), and long histories of annual dividend increases behind them. But then the pandemic upended the supply/demand dynamics of the oil industry which sent company’s shares tumbling. This has brought the two oil companies dividends into question, and therefore the desirability of the stock as an investment. Major foreign oil companies are facing the same dilemma. Royal Dutch Shell and BP (British Petroleum) have both said they plan to also cut their dividends because of the shift. The dividends can be supported as long as the average oil price sticks around the $40 level.

3) US government has seized a $1 billion dollars in bitcoin as the cryptocurrency rockets past $15,000 per coin, the highest value since January 2018. The organization Silk Road was the most notorious online criminal marketplace of its day, until its founder was prosecuted in 2015 leaving a billion-dollar question of where did all the money go? It remained in the digital wallet for many years before a unit within the Internal Revenue Service, that tracks digital currencies, noticed 54 new transactions from the wallet, prompting the seizure of currency. Analysts noted the movement of more than 69,000 bitcoins in a single transaction from a digital wallet tied to Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht, which held the fourth-highest bitcoin balance of any in the world. But the Silk Road founder is serving two consecutive life sentences in a maximum-security federal prison, which prompted the government to seized the money, however, the government must prove its case before it can keep the forfeited assets.

4) Stock market closings for – 6 NOV 20:

Dow 28,323.40 down by 66.78
Nasdaq 11,895.23 up by 4.30
S&P 500 3,509.44 down by 1.01

10 Year Yield: up at 0.82%

Oil: down at $37.49

11 February 2020

1) Senator Josh Hawley (R) aims to overhaul the Federal Trade Commission to counter the power wielded by big tech companies like Google and Facebook. He proposes dismantling the current agency tasked with protecting US consumers and place it under the Department of Justice. The Missouri senator says the current FTC lacks the teeth needed to hold high tech companies accountable for data breaches or lost of consumer information as well as privacy issues.

2) The genetic testing business for consumers, which has been growing over the past decade, now seems to be slowing because of concerns for privacy and market saturation. One major company announced a 6% layoff of employees with another laying off 14% as a result of slowdown of demand over the last eighteen months. Cost for testing is becoming another factor, especially for amateur genealogical researchers.

3) The U.S. is using technologies such as drones to scout for potential rare-earths reserves at home and aborad. Presently, America is almost 100% dependent on foreign supplies for the critically needed natural resource, most coming from China. Rare-earths are used in applications such as cellphones, wind turbines and missiles. While the U.S. does mine some rare-earths, it all must be shipped overseas, principally China, to be processed. America doesn’t have any processing plants of her own.

4) Stock market closings for – 10 FEB 20:

Dow 29,276.82 up 174.31
Nasdaq 9,628.39 up 107.88
S&P 500 3,352.09 up 24.38

10 Year Yield: down at 1.55%

Oil: down at $49.65

31 December 2019

1) The automaker of electric cars Tesla has made its first deliveries of their Model 3 that were manufactured in China. The gigafactory in Shanghai is Tesla’s first outside the U.S., which is expected to significantly boost Tesla sales in China, which Tesla considers will become its largest market for the Model 3. Production will soon be 1,000 cars a week, eventually reaching an annual production of 150,000 a year.

2) The national average price for gasoline increased by 1.6 cents to $2.57 a gallon. Gas prices had been dropping for seven consecutive weeks prior to the upswing. The price increase is a result of the drop in oil inventories while oil prices are above $61 a barrel. Gas prices are above $3 a gallon in Hawaii, California, Nevada, Alaska and Washington, while Missouri, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana are the five states with the lowest priced gas states.

3) Vietnam is switching from producing and selling raw robusta beans on the commodity markets, to producing instant coffee for the burgeoning Asian market. Instant coffee brings more profit with less risk while also bringing protection from large swings in international commodity prices. Vietnam aims to overtake Nestle as Vietnam’s biggest pure instant coffee supplier in the next five years, and doubling its coffee exports to $6 billion dollars a year.

4) Stock market closings for – 30 DEC 19:

Dow              28,462.14    down   183.12
Nasdaq           8,945.99    down     60.62
S&P 500          3,221.29    down     18.73

10 Year Yield:    up   at    1.90%

Oil:    down   at    $61.68