15 March 2021

1) Canoo of Los Angeles is offering a battery-powered truck, with a skateboard-style EV platform, having a highly modular, cab-forward, for a blisteringly quick utility vehicle. Similar to Ford’s F-150, it comes in about the height and two inches narrower, and with a wheelbase 10 inches shorter. Without a conventional drive train, its extended cab is far forward, thus giving it a larger bed than the Ford. With its battery and electric motor, it can generate 600 horsepower and 550 foot-pound of torque even down at zero rpm. These should make the Canoo a respectable tow rig, not to mention a capable crawler, what with its short wheelbase, skid plates front and rear, and integral tow hooks.

2) America has now administered over 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine (101.1 million). That equates to more than 35 million Americans fully vaccinated or 10.5% of the total U.S. population. Nearly 66 million, or almost 20% of the total population, have gotten at least one dose, while one-third of Americans age 65 and older are fully vaccinated. The first shot was given on December 14, and more doses have been administered in the U.S. than any other country in the world, although several smaller nations have vaccinated a higher proportion of their populations. The U.S. should have enough COVID-19 vaccine to immunize the nation’s entire adult population by this summer, with enough left over for some 172 million more people. The nationwide pace of vaccinations has quickened to an average of over 2 million doses a day. The majority of states have already vaccinated many of their front line essential workers and residents over 75 years old.

3) Rare earth elements are produced in various parts of the world, but primarily in China, who has been holding the U.S. and some other countries hostage under threat of a trade war by using these ‘must have’ minerals. But that is about to change with Noranda Alumina of Gramercy, Louisiana, who is proposing developing an $800-million dollar high tech refining center for extracting rare earth minerals from over 35-million tons of residual bauxite stored in Louisiana. Investing nearly a billion dollars on the new plant, it will create 2,000 construction jobs. Once in operation, the facility will employ 200 full time high paying jobs along with nearly 600 indirect jobs. This opportunity enables America to domestically produce these rare earth elements that go into a lot of green earth technologies, plus by recycling the residual bauxite, the extraction plant will be carbon neutral.

4) Stock market closings for – 12 MAR 21:

Dow 32,778.64 up by 293.05
Nasdaq 13,319.86 down by 78.81
S&P 500 3,943.34 up by 4.00

10 Year Yield: up at 1.64%

Oil: down at $65.56

5 February 2021

1) Dr. Anthony Fauci, MD has issued a new chilling warning about the Covid virus. A new strain from South African, known as the 501Y.V2 variant, is showing itself to be an even greater threat than the variant that started the pandemic. Experience shows that the South Africa virus has a very high rate of reinfection to the point where previous infection does not seem to protect you against reinfection with the South African variant. While research has shown that the current Covid vaccines may be less effective against the South African strain, there is no evidence that any of these new strains are completely resistant to the vaccines currently available. Nevertheless, the South African coronavirus mutation (B.1.351) poses a risk of reinfection to people who have already had Covid-19 and the vaccine efficacy may also be impacted. However, the number of daily coronavirus infections in the US has been dropping for a couple of weeks, but it’s still well over 100,000 per day, while the number of vaccinations is more than 32 million first dose. This isn’t enough to impact the course of the epidemic and significantly reduce transmission.

2) While the fears of a Treasury sell-off has tailed off, after the big move in the 10-year Treasury at the start of the year, the factors that led to that brief sell-off in Treasurys are very much still at hand. Chief among them are the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines, the huge fiscal stimulus already enacted with more in the pipeline, the pent-up spending power in household savings, and the easy monetary policy. Computer models say a perfect storm is being unleashed, with estimates that the 10-year Treasury yield will jump 162 basis points this year and another 160 basis points next year. This is well ahead of market estimates of roughly 17 basis points of gains in each of the next two years. The model doesn’t include the effects of any additional fiscal stimulus from the Biden administration, with its proposed $1.9 trillion dollars.

3) Experts consider gold futures are set to see a decline, which technical strategists believe may underscore a bearish trend in the yellow metal. Called a ‘death cross’, which occurs when the 50-day moving average, that many chart watchers use as a short-term trend tracker, crosses below the 200-DMA, which is widely viewed as a dividing line between longer-term uptrends and downtrends. The idea is that the cross marks the spot that a shorter-term sell-off can be defined as a longer term downtrend. The potential formation of a death cross, which reflects the recent slump in trading, comes as gold has experienced whipsawing action after the precious metal tumbled 1.6% on Tuesday.

4) Stock market closings for – 4 FEB 21:

Dow 31,055.86 up by 332.26
Nasdaq 13,777.74 up by 167.20
S&P 500 3,871.74 up by 41.57

10 Year Yield: up at 1.14%

Oil: up at $56.46

19 January 2021

1) President Trump and several of his key aids are preparing to move en masse to Florida this Wednesday just prior to the swearing in of Joe Biden as President. Trump plans to make his resident at his Mar-a-Lago estate. Staff members moving with the President are said to be White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and White House legislative aide Cassidy Hutchinson. Other aides who may work for Trump include Nick Luna, the director of Oval Office Operations and Molly Michael, a deputy assistant to Trump. Additionally, Luna’s wife, Cassidy Luna, a deputy assistant to the president, may work for the President’s son in law, Mr. Kushner.

2) There are fears that more than 90,000 Americans could die of Covid-19 in the next three weeks, with more than 38,000 Americans having died in the first two weeks of the new year from the pandemic. Presently, more than 130,000 people are hospitalized with the virus, with hospitals across the nation at or near the maximum capacity of their intensive care abilities. The US has added more than three million new infections since the start of the month. Mass vaccination centers are being opened. More than 30.6 million vaccine doses have been distributed, but only 11.1 million Americans have received their first dose, leading to out of date vaccine having to be thrown away. There are plans to press the large pharmacies chains into service to also give vaccinations.

3) Major labor unions are urging Speaker Nancy Pelosi and incoming Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer to provide $1 trillion dollars in emergency funding for states, cities, towns and schools. All of these entities have heavy union representation whose members stand to benefit from the increased monies. It is unclear how spending of this money is suppose to stimulate the economy.

4) Stock market closings for – 18 JAN 21:

Dow 30,814.26 down by 177.26
Nasdaq 12,998.50 down by 114.14
S&P 500 3,768.25 down by 27.29

10 Year Yield: down at 1.10%

Oil: up at $52.19

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

7 December 2020

1) Denmark has announced it will stop offering new oil and gas licenses in the North Sea and will phase out oil production all together in 2050 as part of the country’s goal to become fossil free. The Social Democrat government reached a deal with a majority in parliament to drop Denmark’s 8th licensing round plus any future exploration plans. Conditions for the oil and gas companies currently operating in Danish waters will remain unchanged until production stops in 2050. The decision will cost the country about $2.1 billion dollars a year. Production for 2020 is 83,000 barrels of oil plus natural gas equivalent of 21,000 barrels. With Denmark being the European Union’s largest oil producer, this decision will resonate around the world.

2) Reports are that a $908 billion dollar stimulus plan has gained the support of top congressional Democrats and several senior senate Republicans, that combines many of the central priorities of congressional leaders of each party, as well as those of President-elect Joe Biden. There is funding for health officials to help with the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine, as well as aid for hospitals, the hungry, and the U.S. Postal Service. The most expensive item in the bipartisan plan is $288 billion in assistance for U.S. businesses, with lawmakers insisting that funding is geared primarily toward assisting small firms, including continuation of the Paycheck Protection Plan. There is also a range of funding for smaller measures aimed at meeting other critical needs facing the country such as schools and education funding, transportation systems, agriculture, housing and rental assistance, the vaccine program, and the U.S. Postal Service.

3) Employment picture is darkening, with the U.S. economy adding in November the fewest workers in six months, hindered by a resurgence in new COVID-19 cases that, together with a lack of more government relief money, threatens the recovery from the pandemic recession. The Labor Department reported the addition of 245,000 jobs in November, much less than the 440,000 expected, and far less than the 610,000 in October. The unemployment rate slipped from 6.9% down to 6.7%, but that was because fewer people were looking for work. With bipartisan consensus, there is hope of the $908 billion dollar aid package passing before Congress breaks for the holidays.

4) Stock market closings for – 4 DEC 20:

Dow 30,218.26 up by 248.74
Nasdaq 12,464.23 up by 87.05
S&P 500 3,699.12 up by 32.40

10 Year Yield: up at 0.97%

Oil: up at $46.09

20 November 2020

1) The pharmaceutical company Moderna Inc. has announced its experimental coronavirus vaccine is 94.5% effective against Covid-19, the second vaccine to hit a key milestone in U.S. testing. The 30,000-subject trial, which is still underway, indicates it is effective at preventing disease that causes symptoms, while also showing signs of being safe. Moderna said it plans to ask federal health authorities to clear the vaccine by early December, and if approved, could go into distribution that month, making it one of the first Covid-19 vaccines to go into distribution in the U.S., where reported coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are surging. Earlier this month two other companies, Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE, said their experimental Covid-19 vaccine is more than 90% effective at protecting people from the virus in a large clinical trial.

2) American retail sales rose at a slower-than-expected pace last month, as spending slowed amid steady increases in weekly applications for unemployment benefits as the pandemic continues to accelerate. Retail sales for the month of October rose 0.3% to $553.3 billion, less than the forecasted 0.5% advance. Amazon, the online retail giant, is considered to be nearing its peak retail expansion in selling and delivering hard goods. Their problem is there’s really not much left to sell except maybe automobiles.

3) The spiraling COVID-19 crisis will confront president elect Joe Biden starting on day-one. But so far, there’s no indication he has any real plan and how he will get it done. He has vowed to enact a swift and aggressive national approach to combating COVID-19 with a federal mask mandate and impose similar restrictions at a local level. He wants to expanding testing and contact tracing efforts and use a more evidence-based approach in issuing guidance. But his success will partly hinge on the daunting task of controlling a spiraling pandemic that has constrained the country for nearly a year, and then repairing the economic damage it has wrought.

4) Stock market closings for – 19 NOV 20:

Dow 29,483.23 up by 44.81
Nasdaq 11,904.71 up by 103.11
S&P 500 3,581.87 up by 14.08

10 Year Yield: down at 0.85%

Oil: down at $41.58

PFIZER COVID-19 ANECDOTE 95% EFFECTIVE. SEEKS EMERGENCY APPROVAL TO DISTRIBUTE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

By: Economic & Finance Report

Pfizer has announced their Covid-19 study on a medication they are beta testing has come back from their lab studies; with a 95% effective accuracy rate in trial testing.

Pfizer has been working with BioNTech (German based biotechnology company) on developing a Covid-19 vaccine as fast and accurately as possible. Both companies have indicated they have met those objectives. They are seeking to attain emergency clearance from the United States and European Union, to be able to distribute the vaccine as soon as possible. -SB

Image Credit: UsaNews.com

6 August 2020

1) Rocket Companies Inc., the parent company of Rocket Mortgage and Quicken Loans, is trying to raise $2 billion dollars with an IPO (Initial Public Offering) after an initial capital target of $3.3 billion dollars. The reduction in the number of shares offered is believed to be because of push back from investors, who considered the valuation of the company as to high. This is based on the company being more of a consumer based company rather than a technology based company. The downsizing may signal that the IPO market’s rebound is straining as the coronavirus pandemic deepens in America.

2) Entertainment giant Disney has announced that its streaming service Disney+ (pronounced Disney plus) has surpassed 60 million subscribers, which is well ahead of Disney’s target. Disney forecasted having 60 to 90 million subscribers by 2024, fueling speculation that Disney+ has won the first stage of the streaming wars. Netflix presently has 193 million paying subscribers, but with Disney+, which was just launched last November less than a year ago, it’s clear that Disney is very rapidly gaining on Netflix, and liable to be passed by Disney in the near future. More importantly, Disney should reach profitability very soon too, something hard for new streaming services to do.

3) The ‘Services PMI’ index from the Institute for Supply Management, posted its second monthly gain in July. This indicated that despite the rising number of Covid-19 cases, the services economy keeps recovering. There is a continued weakness in the international component of services with worries of how the international economy will eventually effect America’s recovery. Investors remain focused on earnings and hopes of a vaccine to push the economy upwards more. There is still the looming question of how many of the small businesses will survive the pandemic, and therefore how much of the economy will be changed by their demise.

4) Stock market closings for – 5 AUG 20:

Dow 27,201.52 up 373.05
Nasdaq 10,998.40 up 57.23
S&P 500 3,327.77 up 21.26

10 Year Yield: up at 0.54%

Oil: up at $42.20

19 May 2020

1) The managing director Kristalina Georgieva of the IMF (International Monetary Fund) says the Fund is likely to revise downward its forecast of a 3% contraction of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) for 2020. In turn, this will most likely cause a revision of the IMF’s forecast for a partial recovery of 5.8% in 2021. This means a longer time for a full economic recovery from the virus crisis. The IMF had forecasted that the business closures to slow the virus would throw the world into the deepest recession since the 1930’s Great Depression.

2) Gold markets have risen to their highest in more than seven years, a result of the Federal Reserve saying stocks and asset prices could suffer a significant decline as a result of the coronavirus crisis. The economic recovery could go to the end of 2021, depending on the arrival of an effective vaccine. Owning gold is considered to be a safe haven in times of economic turmoil, able to retain its value when other assets are sinking in value. Other precious metals such as silver, platinum and palladium are also experiencing a swing upward in price, but since these are commodities, their value may drop in a slower economy and reduced industrial demand.

3) The price of oil is above $30 a barrel for the first time in two months as U.S. and other country producers continue to cut production in order to restore the balance of the oil market. The world wide shut downs from the virus has drastically reduced the demand for oil world wide, with the world’s storage capacity quickly filling to maximum capacity, and for a time, producers having to pay to have their oil production removed. While the price of oil is still too low to salvage the shale oil (fracking) business in America, it still bodes well for the U.S. and world economies. Nevertheless, expectations are it will be well into the next year for the oil markets to be fully restored. Oil futures contracts that are due in June, show few signs of a resulting plunge in oil prices as when the May contracts came due and investors had to pay others to take their oil away.

4) Stock market closings for – 18 MAY 20:

Dow 24,597.37 up 911.95
Nasdaq 9,234.83 up 220.27
S&P 500 2,953.91 up 90.21

10 Year Yield: up at 0.74%

Oil: up at $32.21

14 April 2020

1) The auto industry, already reeling from the new car shutdown and depressed demand, is now concerned about a possible used car price collapse, which could have far reaching effects across the economy. The used vehicle auctions are now virtually paralyzed, the same as the rest of the country, with vehicles piling up at places where buyers and sellers bid on cars and trucks, a situation which cannot go on for months. This is creating a huge level of wholesale supply in the market as inventories continue to expand. This will cause fiscal problems for in-house lending divisions, lease contracts and car rental companies from falling car values. Used car sales fell 64% in the last week of March with prices falling an estimated 10%. The auto makers credit companies are taking huge losses and looking for ways to take advantage of asset backed securities market. With car rentals way down, rental companies are fearful of having to raise cash by selling off inventory when prices are way down.

2) Mr. Neel Kashkari, the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, was on ‘Face the Nation’ television show last Sunday, considers the U.S. may be facing an 18 month shutdown based on what is happening in other countries. Fearing flare-ups, America may face shutdowns until an effective vaccine or therapy is found.

3) Economists fear poor recovery, with high unemployment through 2021, despite the trillions of dollars in cash and loans from the Federal Reserve. Nevertheless, the massive effort is likely to leave millions of additional Americans unemployed for an extended time with unemployment not just spiking, but remaining for the next year. Unemployment may jump up to 20% in the coming months then coming down into the single digit range. It’s expected that a lot of people will not be getting their jobs back as the economy shifts and reforms itself. The more specialized a design, the more brittle it is.

4) Stock market closings for – 13 APR 20:

Dow 23,390.77 down 328.60
Nasdaq 8,192.42 up 38.85
S&P 500 2,761.63 down 28.19

10 Year Yield: down at 0.75%

Oil: down at $22.71