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

18 November 2019

1) Experts question if proposals to tax the billionaires, the so call wealth taxes, really work in practice? Lawyers and advisers to the wealthy say the tax would never collect the amounts claimed by proponents, simply because a yearly determination of assets isn’t easy and straight forward. There are just too many strategies that can be used to shelter assets, including moving them off shore. Attempts to tax the wealthy in other nations have been far from successful, the Great Brain Drain of Britain is a prime example. The rich simply move somewhere else.

2) While U.S. retail sales rebounded in October, consumers cut back on purchases of big ticket household items and clothing. This could temper expectations for a strong holiday shopping season. Still, compared to October of last year, retail sales are up 3.1%. Consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of the economy.

3) NextEra Energy Inc., the world’s first utility with capitalization of $100 billion dollars plus, owes its success to clean power business. Two decades ago this Florida utility plowed some of its extra cash into a wind farm in Oregon. Then NextEra made loans to wind-farm developers, and when some ran into financial troubles, NextEra forgave debts in exchange for majority stakes in the farms. Without any master plan for renewables, NextEra grew in the industry to become the largest.

4) Stock market closings for – 15 NOV 19:

Dow             28,004.89    up    222.93
Nasdaq          8,540.83    up      61.81
S&P 500         3,120.46    up      23.83

10 Year Yield:    up   at    1.83%

Oil:    up   at    $57.93

25 September 2019

1) There are fears that the repo (repurchase agreements) market or short term funding, where banks lend to each other, is looking like it did on the 2007 market crash. The Federal Reserve Bank injected hundreds of billions of dollars into the repo system after it seized up last week when the interest rates quadruple. This has been coming about for the last several years after the Fed ended the policy of quantitative easing (QE) in order to increase liquidity to encourage banks to lend more. The squeeze like last week’s indicates there isn’t enough reserves in the financial system for the repo markets to operate. This means the government is having to buy back treasury securities.

2) Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has propose a tax that would cut billionaires’s net worth in half. This wealth tax takes Elizabeth Warren’s idea and pushes it even further, with Sanders goal to cut American billionaires’ fortunes in half over 15 years. This wealth tax would raise an estimated $4.35 trillion dollars over the next decade by targeting 0.1% of U.S. households.

3) The consumer confidence index has declined by the most in nine months. Americans’ expectations for the economy and the job market deteriorated posing a risk to the household spending that is key to growth. The index dropped from 134.2 to 125.1, the lowest level since January. The overall measure remains elevated suggesting consumers will continue to support the record long U.S. expansion via spending.

4) Stock market closings for – 24 SEP 19:

Dow               26,807.77    down    142.22
Nasdaq            7,993.63    down    118.84
S&P 500         2,966.60    down       25.18

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.64%

Oil:    $56.80