26 March 2021

1) The U.S. Supreme Court, in a unanimous 8-0 ruling in a civil procedure case, has made corporations suffer a huge loss by making it easier to sue over defective and dangerous products. The basic thrust of the controversies is actually fairly simple in the case of Ford Motor Co. v. Montana Eighth Judicial District Court. The state court held that it had jurisdiction over Ford Motor Company in a product liability suit stemming from a car accident, since the accident happened in the state where suit was brought, and the victim was one of the state’s residents. Furthermore Ford did substantial business in the state with advertising, selling, and servicing the model of vehicle the suit claims is defective. Ford contends that jurisdiction is improper because the particular car involved in the crash was not sold in the state where Ford was sued, nor was it designed or manufactured there. The Supreme Court has essentially staked out two methods for bringing lawsuits against huge corporations: 1) general jurisdiction, and 2) specific jurisdiction. When minimum contacts are found to be sufficiently related to the cause of action, a given court may exercise jurisdiction over such claims.

2) Taiwan and the U.S. plan to deepen maritime security ties in view of China’s escalating ‘gray-zone’ threats. The Chinese government has made vast maritime claims in the South China Sea and also claims sovereignty over the Japanese controlled Senkaku Islands, which it calls Diaoyu. Until Beijing enacted its new coast guard law last month, the country relied on its myriad of armed fishing militia to harass the vessels of other regional claimants. However, China’s neighbors have raised concerns about the revised maritime police legislation, which allows coast guard ships to fire upon foreign vessels deemed to be intruding in Chinese territorial waters. Manila and Tokyo, both who are U.S. defense treaty allies with the U.S., have expressed concern at the potential consequences of the law.

3) Google’s systems infrastructure group calls their new Systems on Chip (SoC) the motherboard on a chip. The cloud computing giant, who is always in need of more computing power for its servers, until now relies on the motherboard as an integration point, where CPUs, networking, storage devices, custom accelerators and memory all come together. To gain higher performance and to use less power, workloads demand even deeper integration into the underlying hardware. With the SoC, the latency and bandwidth between different components can be orders of magnitude better, with reduced power and cost compared to traditional motherboards.

4) Stock market closings for – 25 MAR 21:

Dow Jones 32,619 up by 199.42
NASDAQ 12,978 up by 15.79
S&P 500 3,910 up by 20.38

10 Year Yields: up at 1.635

Oil: down at 61.84

6 November 2020

1) This year’s elections are revealing some interesting things about the new young voters and the society they want. Voters are backing legalized drugs, higher wages and voting restrictions. In Oregon, they have eliminated all criminal penalties for possession of hard drugs. Four other states legalized recreational marijuana. Voters continue to support higher wages with minimum wage settings in states, with Florida raising their minimum to $15 an hour. Abortion encountered more restrictions on the state level. Several states adopted measures, including constitutional amendments, to limit voting rights to U.S. citizens only.

2) The White House task force is warning that new cases of Covid-19 are increasing ‘exponentially’ despite President Trump’s claims that the pandemic would vanish on November 4. Rising case numbers, hospitalizations, and deaths nationwide are causing the task force to sound dire warnings. Recommendations are 1) Do not gather without a mask with individuals living outside of your household, 2) Always wear a mask in public places and, 3) Stop gatherings beyond immediate household until number of cases and positive tests have decrease significantly. The task force is warning states and universities/colleges of the risks during the up coming holiday season and the increase risk of spreading of the virus. States with the highest number of new cases per 100,000 are North Dakota followed by South Dakota, Wisconsin, Montana, Wyoming, Iowa, Alaska, Nebraska, Utah, and Idaho. Vermont remains the state with the lowest number of new cases.

3) Renowned investor Warren Buffett’s (Berkshire Hathaway CEO) favorite market indicator nears record high, signaling stocks are overvalued and riskier than ever for investing. His indicator takes the total market capitalization of a country’s stocks and divides it by quarterly GDP in order to compare the stock market’s valuation to the size of the economy. Currently that’s 168% which signals a record disconnect between asset prices and the economy, and a warning to investors to exercise a great deal of caution towards equities as an asset class. The stock market has never been as expensive as it is today, and not only does this mean that forward returns will likely be exceptionally poor, it means that downside risk has also never been greater than it is today. This indicator also soared before the dot-com bubble burst and surged in the months leading up to the 2008 financial crisis.

4) Stock market closings for – 5 NOV 20:

Dow 28,390.18 up by 542.52
Nasdaq 11,890.93 up by 300.15
S&P 500 3,510.45 up by 67.01

10 Year Yield: up at 0.78%

Oil: down at $38.51

21 October 2020

1) The drought in the western U.S. is the biggest in years and is predicted to worsen during the coming winter months. The drought is a major reason for the record wildfires in California and Colorado. Further damage can come from depleted rivers, the stifling of crops and diminished water supplies. Elevated temperatures have dried out the soil, exacerbating the drought and making fire weather conditions sever. New Mexico is also in extreme drought conditions with rivers running dramatically low, which feed the aquifers, and neighboring Arizona is also in a deep drought. The drought is extending into Wyoming, Idaho and Montana with little relief in sight for most. Human caused climate change is increasing the likelihood of precipitation extremes on both ends of the scale, including droughts as well as heavy rainfall events and resulting floods. A study in the journal ‘Science’ found that the Southwest may already be in the midst of the first human-caused megadrought in at least 1,200 years, which began in the year 2000.

2) The Federal government has indicted six Russian military officers for massive worldwide cyber attacks. The six Russian military intelligence officers have been involved in high-profile cyberattacks on the electric power grid in Ukraine, the 2017 French elections and the 2018 Pyeong Chang Winter Olympics. The 50-page indictment details the computer intrusions and malware attacks mounted over the past five years by Unit 74455 of the GRU, the Russian military intelligence agency. No other country has weaponized cyber capabilities as maliciously or irresponsibly as Russia, deploying destructive malware from November 2015 through October 2019 in efforts to undermine or retaliate against foreign nations and organizations around the world.

3) American workers are being laid off a second time as the Covid-19 again ripples through the economy. As the second wave engulfs the economy, eight months after the first hit to the economy, Americans are still being laid off en masse by companies like Disney, the U.S. airlines, retailers and MGM Resorts. Even companies such as Allstate insurance is laying off people, 4,000 getting their pink slips. But for some workers, a second layoff so soon leaves them with no benefits, while the Paycheck Protection Program has run out. The hospitality and food-service jobs were unstable before the pandemic, but with many of those jobs now gone, many face a bleak future.

4) Stock market closings for – 20 OCT 20:

Dow 28,308.79 up 113.37
Nasdaq 1,516.49 up 37.61
S&P 500 3,443.12 up 16.20

10 Year Yield: 0.80%

Oil: up at $41.31