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

9 March 21

1) With the worldwide push for green energy surging, the lithium-ion battery market is projected to hit $1 trillion dollars globally by just 2026. Lithium-ion batteries have been powering smaller devices for years such as smartphones and power tools, but have become paramount in every major electric vehicle, as well as many medical devices. But at this point, about 80% of all lithium-ion cell production is coming out of China. That’s why the EU is pouring in stimulus money for businesses trying to attain energy independence in the lithium powered age of technology. Producing lithium-ion batteries is needed to store renewable energy and power EVs. The rush is on to find new sources to mine high grade lithium as battery prices are climbing.

2) U.S. Steel Corp. has purchased the flat-rolled sheet patents and trademarks for advanced, high-strength steel made by The NanoSteel Co. Inc. of Providence, R.I. These patented proprietary alloys have a nanoscale microstructure, which creates a unique combination of extreme strength and the enhanced formability normally only found in low-strength mild steels. This means the NanoSteel grades can be rolled thinner than other high-strength grades and are designed for automotive and heavy industrial applications where higher strength-to-weight ratios are needed. U.S. Steel reported a loss of $1.2 billion in 2020 but predicted better things for 2021. Earlier this year, the company purchase of an ultramodern mini-mill in Arkansas.

3) The South Dakota Farmers Union is asking their lawmakers to stop the merging of the Department of Agriculture with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The South Dakota governor passed an executive order last year merging the two departments to streamline state government. The farmers content the state’s agriculture industry depends upon the Department of Agriculture remaining a stand-alone agency to best serve the many South Dakota family farmers and ranchers. They consider that invariably there will be conflicts on land use, water issues, or air quality that will involve modern agriculture. There are fears that without a check and balance, technical issues in the agriculture industry will not be fairly resolved, but rather by political influence.

4) Stock market closings for – 8 MAR 21:

Dow 31,802.44 up by 306.14
Nasdaq 12,609.16 down by 310.99
S&P 500 3,821.35 down by 20.59

10 Year Yield: up at 1.60%

Oil: down at $64.93

1 March 2021

1) The superstore Fry’s Electronics suddenly closed all of its stores overnight, ending a nearly four-decade run in business. Fry, which had 31 stores across nine states, said that it made the difficult decision to shut down its operations and close its business permanently because of changing consumer shopping habits and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The Silicon Valley retail electronics store provided a ‘one stop shopping’ environment for the hi-tech professional market. The retailer didn’t implement and expand its online operations as rapidly as larger rivals. Best Buy, for example, recently reported its best quarter in 25 years as home bound customers snapped up laptops, home theater systems and kitchen appliances. The electronic retailer had been in business for 36 years.

2) Communications giant AT&T is spinning off its DirecTV into a new company for a fraction of the $48.5 billion dollars it paid for the satellite TV service in 2015. DirecTV has lost millions of customers. The value in the deal is just $16.25 billion, including its debt. The private equity firm TPG will own 30% of the business, while AT&T holds the rest. The telecom company will receive $7.8 billion in cash, including $1.8 billion from TPG and and $5.8 billion from the new DirecTV firm, which is borrowing that sum. The new DirecTV will also take on $200 million in debt from AT&T. AT&T launched its streaming service HBO Max last year and is focused on building that business. It also owns TV networks like CNN and TBS along with the Warner Bros. movie studio in addition to its huge wireless and internet business. The new DirecTV company will include AT&T TV, a streaming version of cable TV, and U-verse, AT&T’s older cable service. AT&T will retain its Latin America DirecTV business. AT&T said it expects few to no changes for subscribers.

3) Lockheed Martin is preparing to close its Middle River facility, in Maryland, which supports small combatants and ship systems programs, including the MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS), next generation launching systems, ship controls and automation and Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) engineering and sustainment. The company will reportedly relocate the business that is located in Middle River, Maryland to other Rotary and Mission Systems facilities. In an ongoing effort to drive down costs for customers and increase efficiency and value, Lockheed Martin consolidating some operations in their Rotary and Mission Systems business to better align employees, technology and facilities to meet customer needs. The majority of employees will be offered the opportunity to relocate or, if possible, telework. Lockheed Martin currently employs more than 3,150 people in Maryland, with 32 facilities and 569 suppliers, supporting nearly 100 small businesses across the state.

4) Stock market closings for – 26 FEB 21:

Dow 30,932.37 down by 469.64
Nasdaq 13,192.34 up by 72.91
S&P 500 3,811.15 down by 18.19

10 Year Yield: down at 1.46%

Oil: down at $61.66

#EFRPodcast Ep. #38 feat. Professor Helmut Norpoth: Model Gone Wrong!!!!

By: Economic & Finance Report

www.yotube.com/Economic&FinanceReportEFRTV

www.soundcloud.com/Economic-FinanceReport

9 February 2021

1) The 141 year old Chevron Corp. has built a $170 billion dollar fossil fuels empire that has made it synonymous with the oil and gas industry. Chevron, and many other petrochemical companies, may not be ‘oil-first’ companies in 2040. The climate crisis is forcing oil companies, large and small, to rethink their once reliable business models. Facing political and shareholder pressure, BP (British Petroleum), Shell and other European oil majors see the writing on the wall, announcing plans to gradually retreat from fossil fuels. Recently BP released a report forecasting that recoverable oil reserves will be as little as one fifth of today’s levels by 2050. Oil companies are embracing clean energy including electric vehicle charging and renewable energy. But Chevron is not banking on solar and wind energy.

2) The era of gasoline powered automobiles is coming to an end faster than anyone expected. One of the questions that has long plagued automobile executives was whether motorists would be willing to switch to electric vehicles that typically require hours to charge. Automakers are forging ahead with plans to convert the majority of new car and light truck sales to electric by the 2030s. Batteries for power are so much more efficient, and there’s so many less moving parts, that there is less maintenance and repairs of cars. The only thing that holds it back is people are afraid they can’t take long road trips. But once they’ve shorten the charge to minutes and not hours, that’s a game changer. The production costs of electric vehicles are close to those of gasoline powered vehicles, and could go even lower. However, the fast chargers can cost $100,000 each. In addition, upgrading the power grid to handle the increased demand from electric vehicles is likely to be costly.

3) Technological investments has propelled Mexico in another direction giving the country a boost to being a most promising tech scene in Latin America. In turn, the US technology industry is taking advantage of this landscape to solve its shortage of qualified technological labor. Mexico has built a ‘tech hub’ of three cities- Guadalajara, Monterrey, and Mexico City, each having its own specialties and advantages that makes them unique. Mexico has several top tech universities, which is the keystone to being a tech hub. There are a lot of advantages to hiring remote workers in Mexico in addition to the savings U.S. companies will see.

4) Stock market closings for – 8 FEB 21:

Dow 31,385.76 up by 237.52
Nasdaq 13,987.64 up by 131.35
S&P 500 3,915.59 up by 28.76

10 Year Yield: down at 1.16% up by

Oil: up at $58.05

1 February 2021

1) While on the campaign trail, the new President Biden didn’t say much about space technology or projects. The space agency funding makes up just 0.4% of the national budget compared to 4% back in the mid-1960s. The Congress has not provided the funds for a earth to moon vehicle yet, so this raises the question of just how much will the new President support the space program. With Biden’s focus on the planet and global warming, concerns about worlds beyond earth appear to be diminishing. NASA already supports the earth sciences with its satellites and aircraft, and with the massive federal spending this last year, the Congress and maybe the President will seek to reduce spending so NASA may face cuts these next few years.

2) The automaker Dodge is warning that regulations are killing the V8 engine. They say the days of an iron block supercharged 6.2 liter V8 are numbered because of all the compliance costs. The Biden administration is widely expected to announce stricter emissions regulations in the near future. But electrification can help ensure muscle car enthusiasts don’t suddenly loose their passion, that we’ll start seeing battery-powered drive trains with massive horsepower for cars . . . electric muscle cars.

3) It is expected that 10,000 stores will close by the end of 2021 due to COVID-19. Consumers are increasingly favoring the convenience and safety of shopping online during the pandemic. This is a 14% jump in the retail industry closures from last year, when a record number of major vendors closing more than 8,700 stores. Businesses that sell apparel accounted for the most store closures in 2020. More than 3,000 clothing, footwear and accessories stores were shuttered last year, with Ascena Retail Group (brands Ann Taylor and Lane Bryant), closing more than 1,100 of its store locations. However, virtually no category of retail business was spared, with discount home and office retailer Pier 1 Imports filing for bankruptcy and closed all 936 of its stores. As of January 22, nearly 1,700 retailers have already closed. Other retailers are closing with 7-Eleven closing 300 stores, Family Video is closing its remaining 250 locations, ending its 42-year-old run. Ascena Retail Group will also close 195 brick-and-mortar stores in 2021.

4) Stock market closings for – 29 JAN 21:

Dow 29,982.62 down by 620.74
Nasdaq 13,070.70 down by 266.46
S&P 500 3,714.24 down by 73.14

10 Year Yield: up at 1.09%

Oil: down at $52.15

14 December 2020

1) Database-software giant Oracle is moving its headquarters out of California (Silicon Valley) to Austin Texas making Oracle the latest tech giant to flee California. The software company had been based in Silicon Valley since it was founded in 1977. High technology industries have a long history in Austin, with IBM, Dell Technologies, and Samsung setting up shop in the city. Depending on their job, many of Oracle employees can choose their office location, as well as continue working from home part- time or full time. This is yet another account of technology talent packing up and leaving the famous tech capital of Silicon Valley for Texas, with Austin, in particular, being a popular destination for relocation. Other tech companies like Hewlett Packard Enterprise, are moving to other cities in Texas, who is relocating their headquarters from San Jose, California to Houston.

2) The Senate has unanimously passed a stopgap funding measure Friday, to avoid a government shutdown for one week, while lawmakers work to close a deal on government funding. Friday evening President Trump then signed the spending bill into law, which keeps the government open at current funding levels. The longest government shut down was for 35 days in 2018, which was the longest-ever shutdown in modern U.S. history. The nonpartisan CBO (Congressional Budget Office) estimates tax revenue is down $2 billion in 2019 because the IRS had halted some operations during the 2018 shutdown.

3) The $908 billion dollar coronavirus relief proposal is going to be split into two packages by lawmakers. The plan will have a $160 billion dollar part that ties together the two most controversial elements, which is more money for state and local governments and protections against coronavirus-related lawsuits. The second part is $748 billion dollars including another round of Paycheck Protection Program funding for small businesses, unemployment benefits, and more money for vaccine distribution, testing and schools. Splitting off the two most controversial items makes it easier to at least pass a smaller coronavirus agreement as part of a government funding deal. Congress is quickly running out of time to cut a big deal on coronavirus relief, the bipartisan group having been negotiating for weeks, to try to finalize its bill after announcing a framework earlier this month.

4) Stock market closings for – 11 DEC 20:

Dow 30,046.37 up by 47.11
Nasdaq 12,377.87 down by 27.94
S&P 500 3,663.46 down by 4.64

10 Year Yield: down at 0.89%

Oil: down at $46.56

UBER SELLS ITS SELF-DRIVING UNIT TO AURORA….

By: Economic & Finance Report

Technology ride hailing company Uber has sold off its self-driving unit (ATG) to Aurora. Aurora is backed by investors such as Amazon. The sale is an all stock sale, which will make Aurora worth around $10 billion dollars.

ATG (Uber) will be worth around $4 billion dollars from the sale. Collectively ATG and Aurora will have a work force of over 3,000 employees worldwide. Uber sold ATG in order to focus on their core business models and focus on generating profits, which the tech giant has yet to achieve. -SB

13 November 2020

1) Joe Biden will immediately face several major problems and hard decisions upon assuming the Presidency. 1) Containment of the coronavirus that has killed close to a quarter-million Americans and shows no signs of abating. 2) Addressing the nation’s bitter political divide as the divide deepens with no apparent end. 3) Regrowing a devastated economy with millions out of work and no real relief in sight. 4) The threat of growing civil unrest and open conflict as people are pushed further out of the social economic system by technology. 5) China’s growing aggressiveness, both domestically and internationally, coupled with China’s goal to be the dominate world power by 2050, making China a tender box for world conflict. 6) Russia and Iran’s trouble making in world activities, especially in the middle east, also could mean serious military conflict problems for America and the West.

2) In September, NTT announced its plan to buy out the remaining shares in NTT Docomo, in a potentially record-breaking deal. NTT currently holds 66 percent of NTT Docomo’s shares, and its chief executive argues the buy would enhance competitiveness and growth. But 28 Japanese telecom companies, including rivals SoftBank Corp and KDDI, have sent a joint letter to the communications minister protesting the purchase. Their fears of making Docomo a wholly owned company will create a powerful force that dominates the market, so they’re challenging the $40 billion dollar NTT takeover bid. The takeover of the country’s biggest mobile carrier would prevent fair competition, therefore the opposition wants to set up measures to protect an environment of fair competition and ensure compliance and implementation. With the sale, NTT may be able to push down prices quickly, forcing competitors to follow suit.

3) China’s repression of its peoples has taken another step forward with Hong Kong’s opposition lawmakers expected to formally tender resignations in protest of the oustings of four fellow supporters of pro-democracy. Their dramatic departure removes dissent in Hong Kong.
The Chinese parliament passed a resolution allowing Hong Kong authorities to expel legislators deemed a threat to national security or for not holding allegiance to Hong Kong, and without having to go through the courts. The fate of the opposition in Hong Kong has been in doubt since the government postponed September’s legislative elections by a year, in a move which critics have said was aimed at killing the pro-democracy camp’s momentum.

4) Stock market closings for – 12 NOV 20:
Dow 29,080.17 down by 317.46
Nasdaq 11,709.59 down by 76.84
S&P 500 3,537.01 down by 35.65
10 Year Yield: down at 0.88%
Oil: down at $40.92

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