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

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

4 December 2019

1) Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal raised it’s ugly head again with the German public prosecutors raiding VW Wolfsburg headquarters looking for documents. The scandal broke in 2015, but there are still questions about newer engines which succeeded the diesel engines with fraudulent testing for emissions. So far, Volkswagen’s cheating test has cost the company about $33 billion dollars in fines, vehicle refits and legal costs.

2) Richmond California is moving to ban the export of coal through their port facilities citing coal dust pollution in parts of the town. Coming from western states such as Wyoming, the coal is shipped to China, India and other far east countries still making heavy use of coal fired electric generation plants. However, the city may be facing legal challenges against the city ban. Richmond, Stockton, Los Angeles and Long Beach are now the only major west coast ports that handle coal.

3) President Trump has suggested that the trade war with China could drag on for some time, that it might be better to wait until after the 2020 election to sign a trade agreement. The next deadline is 15 December when 15% levies on an additional $160 billion dollars in Chinese goods. The news cause another drop in the stock markets, in addition to the drop from news about metal tariffs on Brazil and Argentina.

4) Stock market closings for – 3 DEC 19:

Dow              27,502.81    down    280.23
Nasdaq           8,520.64    down      47.34
S&P 500          3,093.20    down      20.67

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.71%

Oil:    up   at    $55.99