1) Boeing Aircraft Co. has reached a $2.5 billion dollar agreement to settle the criminal charge that it defrauded the U.S. government by concealing information about the troubled 737 MAX. This is the ill-fated jet airliner involved in two fatal crashes that killed 346 people. The airline manufacturer entered into a deferred prosecution agreement and in turn, the Justice Department will dismiss the charge against Boeing. This settlement caps a two-year criminal investigation into the two MAX crashes. This settlement will have no bearing on any pending civil litigation. In addition, Boeing will pay a $243.6 million criminal penalty. With the penalty and the fund for relatives, Boeing says it expects to pay an additional $743.6 million dollars for the fourth quarter of 2020.
2) The cryptocurrency Bitcoin is at an all-time high in 2021, one coin now worth $36,000. It has doubled its value in 30 days. Bitcoin is the first and biggest cryptocurrency, which started up in January 2009, and eleven years after its invention, the total value of all Bitcoins in the world is around $359 billion. The Bitcoins are long, unbreakable codes stored in clouds or computers. Bitcoins were invented at the height of the 2008-9 financial crisis. The idea is a type of money that didn’t depend on the traditional banking systems. Cryptocurrency is popular in countries with inflation.
3) Venture capital backed companies in the United States raised nearly $130 billion dollars last year, setting a record despite the COVID-19 pandemic, up 14% from 2019, while the number of deals is down 9% to 6,022. The so-called mega-rounds, which are deals that are $100 million dollars or higher, also hit a record amount and number, with $63 billion dollars raised in 318 deals. However, there is a big drop in the very early stage investment called the seed money stage. The trend of big investments doesn’t look like it will slow in 2021 as there is a lot of capital chasing investments. It’s expected that 2021 is going to be a banner year for many tech companies.
4) Stock market closings for – 8 JAN 21:
Dow 31,097.97 up by 56.84 Nasdaq 13,201.98 up by 134.50 S&P 500 3,824.68 up by 20.89
1) American airlines are preparing to return their Boeing 737 MAXs back into service following the Federal Aviation Administration’s approval for flight service. Starting in 2021 airlines such as American Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Alaska Airlines will fly the 737 MAX in 2021, starting the first of the year. Southwest airlines operates an all-Boeing 737 fleet, so incorporating the 737 MAX into its daily flying operations, after all the FAA’s required fixes have been completed, will be straightforward. Their pilots training on the aircraft won’t be difficult at all. Southwest currently has 34 MAX aircraft in its fleet with orders for nearly 300 more aircraft.
2) Americans out of work because of the coronavirus are depending on food banks and pantries for their daily subsistence. But these food resources are being depleted of their supplies of food, raising fears of pending food shortages looming. Food banks across Texas are already preparing for expected food shortages during the coming early months of 2021. There are three key federal and state programs that enabled food banks in-state to keep up with the demand this year, but these are about to end. Food insecurity is twice as high as before the pandemic. One food bank system warns that it could face a deficit of up to 10 billion pounds of food in the months leading up to June 2021. This translates into a shortage of about 8 billion meals. Estimates are that 50 million people could experience food insecurity, which is a 50% increase from 2019. Additionally, while remote learning is preventing the spread of the coronavirus, it is also causing food insecurity for children who rely on school-provided meals each day.
3) A test flight of a SpaceX’s Starship rocket, which is expected to eventually carry passengers to the moon and Mars, exploded after launch Wednesday while trying to land, but instead it impacted with the ground. The launch and ascent were successful, but as the engines reignited for landing, the vehicle flipped back to vertical and then slammed into the ground, exploding on ground impact. The test was expected to reach an altitude of about 41,000 feet. There were a number of objectives, 1) How the three Raptor engines perform, 2) The overall aerodynamic entry capabilities of the vehicle 3) How the vehicle manages propellant transition. The SN8 also attempted to perform a landing flip maneuver, a first for a vehicle of this size.
4) Stock market closings for – 9 DEC 20:
Dow 30,068.81 down by 105.07 Nasdaq 12,338.95 down by 243.82 S&P 500 3,672.82 down by 29.43
1) Experts forecast that a rising stock market and a weak dollar will keep going hand in hand in the near future. The movements of the past month are consistent with movements between equities and the dollar observed this year, which is at its strongest level since before the global financial crisis. Additionally, the seesaw relationship between the dollar and equities is getting more intense, so a rapidly falling currency serves as fodder for stock-market bulls, who are expecting this pattern to endure for some time. Stocks saw a historic rise in November, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average logging its biggest monthly rise since January 1987, as major indexes hit all-time highs. At the same time, the dollar fell 2.3%, its worst month since a 4.2% fall in July and its worst November since 2006. A weaker dollar is often seen as supportive to equities.
2) Boeing Aircraft Co. is considering an equity sale and other ways to ease its debt burden that has soared to $61 billion this year, a result of the worst slump in aviation history. Additionally, Boeing will cut back on production of its 787 Dreamliner from six down to five planes a month by mid-2021. The company has sufficient reserves to see it through months of tumult until coronavirus vaccines are widely distributed. Boeing is prepared to speed up deliveries of 450 of its 737 MAX planes that it built but couldn’t deliver during the global grounding. Therefore undelivered aircraft are starting to stack up around Boeing’s factories and in a storage lot in the California desert, and so it will take the manufacture through 2021 to clear them from its inventory.
3) Negotiations for Britain to exit the European Union continue as the dead line nears. The fundamental differences between the two sides remain over a ‘level playing field’ of the standards the U.K. must meet to export into the bloc, how future disputes are resolved and the fishing rights for EU trawlers in U.K. waters. Ireland finds itself in a difficult place with the most to lose from a no-deal exit. Speed is now of the essence since the 27 EU member states have to unanimously support any deal. Both sides will suffer economically from a failure to secure a trade deal, but most economists think the British economy would take a greater hit. The main problem is how Britain wrests itself free of EU rules with the bloc’s insistence that no country, should get easy access to EU’s market by undercutting its high environmental and social standards.
4) Stock market closings for – 7 DEC 20:
Dow 30,069.79 down by 148.47 Nasdaq 12,519.95 up by 55.71 S&P 500 3,691.96 down by 7.16
1) The Boeing Aircraft Co. is selling new bonds to help repay its nearly $3 billion dollars of debt. Boeing announced the sale just minutes after a downgrade to the company’s credit rating. Fitch Ratings put out a report reducing Boeing’s credit rating down to BBB-, the lowest investment-grade rating, with a negative outlook. The company has burned through about $22 billion dollars of its free cash since March 2019, when the company’s best-selling jet, the 737 MAX, was grounded. It is anticipated that it will take two years until Boeing’s financial metrics return to that of a credit rating one level higher.
2) The Philippines has removed a major hurdle in advancing oil exploration with Beijing in the South China Sea, but the two nations will have to navigate their overlapping claims in the area to reach a deal. The island nation has lifted a six-year ban on oil exploration to stop activities that might annoy China. The Philippines has recently toughened its stance against China and is leaning back towards the U.S. It is estimated that 4 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves, that’s worth billions of dollars, could be found in South China Sea areas that is claimed by the Philippines and disputed by China. However an international arbitration court has ruled in favor of the Philippines in 2016. The two nations could set aside the ownership issue and proceed with joint development.
3) Exxon announces additional job cuts, that it intends to reduce its U.S. staff by around 1,900 employees. These reductions will be both voluntary and involuntary, a result of COVID-19 on the demand for oil aimed at improving efficiency and reducing costs. Amid declining oil prices, energy companies are taking drastic measures to improve their balance sheets, including reducing staff and in some cases suspending dividends, with the company’s fourth quarter dividend at 87 cents per share, although this is the first time since 1982 that it didn’t raise its dividend.
4) Stock market closings for – 29 OCT 20:
Dow 26,659.11 up 139.16 Nasdaq 11,185.59 up 180.73 S&P 500 3,310.11 up 39.08
1) With the government support ending the first of October, American and United airlines are cutting 32,000 jobs. The airlines received $50 billion dollars under the CARES Act to boost liquidity and support payroll in exchange for not laying off employees through the 30th of September. Their revenue down by more than 80% and a full recovery still years off, the industry needs to shrink, so American airlines furloughed 19,000 workers with United airlines to furlough 13,000 people. However, both airlines said they are ready to reverse their course if a new support bill is passed.
2) Red China has announce its program to go to the moon. Its new launch vehicle was unveiled on September 18th, which is designed to send a 27.6 ton spacecraft into trans-lunar injections. At liftoff, it will weight about 4.85 million pounds, which is about three times China’s present largest rocket, the ‘Long March 6′. Made up of three 16.4 foot diameter cores or stages, it is similar to America’s ‘Delta IV Heavy’ and ‘Falcon Heavy’. The new three stage rocket will be 285 feet long, but China has not announced a time frame to start testing.
3) Boeing Aircraft has built some 460 of their 737 MAX jets, whose delivery has been frozen since March of 2019. This is a $16 billion dollar inventory, that with the 737 MAX’s certification to fly approaching, needs to be sold for Boeing to stay viable. Many of these aircraft were built for clients that have since canceled their orders, or worst yet have gone out of business, and are now called ‘White Tails’ from a lack of an airline livery painting. Boeing is now looking for new customers to buy these aircraft, in particular Delta airline which is the only major U.S. carrier without any 737 MAX aircraft in their inventory. But Delta’s relations with Boeing has been poor in recent years, while they have also parked many of their jets because of the slowdown from the pandemic, so with Delta intent on not spending cash on aircraft, this makes for a hard sale.
4) Stock market closings for – 1 OCT 20:
Dow 27,816.90 up 35.20 Nasdaq 11,326.51 up 159.00 S&P 500 3,380.80 up 17.80
1) Boeing Aircraft has received its first 737 MAX orders since 2019, from Enter Air, a Polish charter airline that exclusively uses only Boeing airplanes. They have ordered two 737 MAX with an option to order two more. With the option, this would bring its MAX fleet to ten aircraft. Frzegorz Polaniecki, the general director and board member of Enter Air, said he’s convinced the 737 MAX will be the best aircraft in the world for many years to come. This order for two aircraft pales in comparison to Boeing’s July net negative order of 836 aircraft, but it’s a start in the right direction. Cancellation of Boeing aircraft sales have far outpaced new orders this year because of the pandemic. The last six months, Boeing has faced a combination of problems specific to Boeing and the pandemic.
2) The Federal Reserve is lowering their estimate for economic growth over the second half of the year. The Reserve presents its forecast at the central bank’s eight interest rate committee meetings in a year. The reduced forecast is because they expect the rate of recovery in the Gross Domestic Product and the rate for reducing unemployment to be slower than previously expected. Reduction of the unemployment depends on the reopening of businesses, which in turn is depended on the pandemic.
3) According to Bank of America, moving manufacturing out of China could cost U.S. and European companies $1 trillion dollars over five years. Companies in over 80% of global sectors have experienced supply chain disruptions during the pandemic, so many are widening the scope of their reshoring plans. The shift to return manufacturing back to home countries has been spurred on by the Convid-19 crisis. Supporting companies will also benefit with the increase of economic activity by having manufacturing return.
4) Stock market closings for – 19 AUG 20:
Dow 27,692.88 down 85.19 Nasdaq 11,146.46 down 64.38 S&P 500 3,374.85 down 14.93
1) Both Japan and China are building up their military forces for possible future contest over Pacific islands. This is another sign of China’s increasing contentious relations with neighbors, in particular Japan over disputes of several islands in the East China Sea. This is necessitating the buildup of military forces to approach, capture and defend islands. So this means a build up of Marine forces, which both countries are in the process of doing. This includes amphibious armored vehicles and self propelled artillery. U.S. intelligence consider the Chinese Marines to be fully amphibious and able to use combined arms tactics and multiple avenues of approach. This includes building a blue water navy with well over 300 vessels. In response, Japan is starting up its first Marine unit since World War II, modeled after the U.S. Marine Corps, to defend its southern islands. This buildup means massive expansions which neither country’s economies are able to tolerate with the worsening world economy.
2) Boeing aircraft manufacture’s troubles continue to get worst with the loss 737 MAX orders now over 400 and stymied shipments of its 787 Dreamliner because of the world pandemic. Last month, Boeing delivered just four jetliners while also booking zero new orders. Their total stockpile of orders was 4,496 aircraft at the end of July, which is down 1.2% from June. There is the risk that Boeing will have to halt 787 production to preserve cash. Most airline companies have grounded a significant portion of their fleets and are operating only a fraction of their pre-pandemic schedules.
3) Instacart, the young food delivery service, is partnering with Walmart, Amazon’s biggest competitor, to bring Walmart one day delivery service. This will make thousands of items, from groceries to home decor and improvement, personal care and electronics go from Walmart stores to customers’ doors as fast as an hour. This is another ratchetting up of the retail business, when many big name retailers are floundering and some going under. A fundamental change in the way Americans are buying things for their everyday lives is occurring.
4) Stock market closings for – 11 AUG 20:
Dow 27,686.91 down 104.53 Nasdaq 10,782.82 down 185.53 S&P 500 3,333.69 down 26.78
1) The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has issued a 36 page document detailing the fixes and training that Boeing needs to implement so the 737 MAX can return to commercial service. The document was in the works before the planes were grounded in the spring of 2019, a result of two air crashes. There were few requirements that Boeing management wasn’t already aware of, and it’s considered a milestone in the certification process. The document only applies to 737 MAX aircraft flying in the U.S., and it is expected the changes will be adopted by aviation regulators around the world. Once done, all 737 MAX jets will undergo an operational readiness flight prior to returning each airplane to service. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency is waiting on doing its flight test as the FAA moves ahead.
2) The oil company giant Exxon Mobil Corp., is seeking the dismissal of a climate change lawsuit brought on by the Massachusetts attorney general. The lawsuit alleges that Exxon defrauded consumers and investors by the company’s public position on climate change, that Exxon hid its early knowledge of climate change and misled investors about the projected financial impact of global warming on its business. Exxon claims the law suit amounts to improper retaliation against the company over its views on climate change. The bases for Exxon’s challenge is the state’s anti-Slapp law which prohibits the use of litigation to punish a defendant for statements on matters that are under consideration by a legislative or judicial body.
3) The Department of Labor has come down hard on social investing or EAG, proposing rules that strongly limit such activities for private pension plans covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). They consider that pension fund investing is not the place to solve the ills of the world, that it is unlawful for a fiduciary to sacrifice return or accept additional risk to promote a public policy, political or any other nonpecuniary goal.
4) Stock market closings for – 4 AUG 20:
Dow 26,828.47 up 164.07 Nasdaq 10,941.17 up 38.37 S&P 500 3,306.51 up 11.90