Tuesday, September 22, 2020

  •  Bloomberg: Less than an hour after U.S. President Donald Trump took to the virtual floor of the United Nations General Assembly and slammed China for its environmental record, China’s President Xi Jinping stunned the climate community by pledging that it would become carbon neutral by 2060. The two nearly back-to-back speeches provided a marked and powerful contrast. There are still many questions to be answered about the Chinese plan — most importantly how the country will define carbon neutrality. But the bare fact that China, by far the world's biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, has set out a net-zero pledge ahead of the U.S. shows how hard Beijing is striving to put itself at the center of global politics and the economic shift to clean energy — something Washington has been unwilling to do.

  •  The City Council of Ann Arbor, Michigan voted unanimously to decriminalize all psychedelic plants and fungi on Monday night. It’s an expansive move that will allow banned substances including ayahuasca, peyote, mescaline, and psilocybin, better known as “magic mushrooms,” in the area — and one that, like the decriminalization of cannabis in a growing number of areas, could potentially spark a showdown with federal authorities.

  •  AT&T and Microsoft are teaming up to enable enterprises to  connectivity across the globe. As part of the effort, AT&T is working with Microsoft to deliver an integrated IoT solution with Azure Sphere. This AT&T powered guardian device with Azure Sphere will help businesses transform their operations quickly through massive IoT deployments at scale.
  • The guardian device is easy to install and provides an end-to-end solution for connecting machines and equipment to the cloud, bypassing the need for public Internet.

  • If you like dividends, ATT has a dividend yield of 7.3% as of today.. However the stock has not done much over the last 20 years. But then, seamlessly connect machines and equipment to the cloud with highly secure network.. well perhaps? And who knows, perchance  they'll even manage to get HBO Max onto Roku. 

  • Regarding the other half, Microsoft, they seem to know what they are doing (most of the time.)

  • MSFT on  the above Log scale looks a bit more realistic. 

  • The U.S. government’s debt will increase over the next 30 years to double the size of the economy, raising the risk of a fiscal crisis or a drop in the value of Treasuries, the Congressional Budget Office said Monday. The nonpartisan agency, in its long-term budget outlook, projected debt will reach 195% of gross domestic product in 2050. Currently US debt to GDP is 114%. 


  • Meanwhile, it’s getting more unlikely that Congress will pass a second bailout.
  • And US covid deaths are at 204,801
  • Bloomberg: A whistle-blower at Boeing is urging aviation regulators to add additional protections to the grounded 737 Max, warning that a proposal to mandate fixes to the defective jet doesn’t address multiple hazards identified in the two Boeing Max disasters that killed 346 people.


  • Airbus has announced plans for the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircraft models that run on hydrogen and could take to the skies by 2035.


  • Just 5 years ago GE doubled down on coal when it acquired Alstom’s coal fueled turbine business. Well, GE has slowly begun to see the future and announced that it is exiting the coal power market.


  • Norway’s government has put is support behind a carbon capture and storage (CCS) project with Nkr17.1 billion ($1.8 billion) in backing to secure the world’s first full-scale CCS value chain.

  • In August Musk suggested on Twitter that Tesla may be able to mass produce batteries with 50% more energy density in three to four years, which could even enable electric airplanes.


Chart Book Is up To Date  check it out!

Sunday, September 20, 2020

After some years of neglect, InvestmentTools.com is again up to date. Expect chart book. Chart book to follow in a  couple of days. If you detect a missing, incorrect, or overlooked item - let me know.


Saturday, September 19, 2020

  •  U.S. Consumer sentiment ticked up a bit.


  • Reuters: The Commerce Department said on Friday the currentaccount deficit, which measures the flow of goods, services and investments into and out of the country, jumped 52.9% to $170.5 billion last quarter. That was the biggest gap since the third quarter of 2008 when the economy was working its way through the Great Recession.


  • The Fed said it would keep interest rates near zero for as long as it takes to get inflation back above 2%. The Fed seems to think that’ll be 2023 at the earliest.  


  • Brazil buys Argentine soybean oil as tightness persists 


  • Reuters: Trump announced a new round of pandemic assistance to farmers of about $13 billion at a campaign rally in Wisconsin on Thursday night, delivering aid to an important sector in a crucial battleground state. (Not much money in beans I suppose - see above)


  • The White House on Friday announced a $13 billion aid package for Puerto Rico, three years after the territory was hit by Hurricane Maria.


  • Copper moving right along, on hopes that China's stimulus would spur demand.


  • Reuters: Investment between the US and China tumbled to a nine-year low in the first half of 2020, hit by bilateral tensions that could see more Chinese companies come under pressure to divest U.S. operations, a research report said.
  • Bloomberg: China’s trade surplus with the U.S. has grown almost 25% since the start of the Trump presidency, exceeding $300 billion on an annualized basis.


  • How quickly, realistically, can a vaccine be produced and distributed in enough quantity to vaccinate 25 million Americans? The “super forecasters” of Philip Tetlock’s Good Judgment project see the probabilities like this.

  • More bad news for our planet, as Magazine covers are famously good contrarian indicators.


  • Economist: The director of the FBI warned that Russia is actively interfering in America’s presidential election, with the Democratic party’s nominee as its primary target. Russian agents are producing what Christopher Wray called a “steady drumbeat of misinformation” intended to undermine Joe Biden and voters’ confidence in the results. President Donald Trump has continuously downplayed Russian interference.


  • A German laboratory detected traces of Novichok on a water bottle apparently retrieved from the Siberian hotel room in which Alexei Navalny stayed before falling ill on a plane.


  • Citigroup placed a senior member of IT staff on leave after revelations that he was running a website dedicated to QAnon. This conspiracy theory holds that President Donald Trump is battling a powerful paedophile ring enmeshed in American high politics. Jason Gelinas was disciplined for running an undisclosed side business; he is thought to have earned around $3,000 a month. AND QAnon conspiracy theory gaining ground in UK, per Guardian.
  • The Guardian tracked five slogans associated with QAnon shared by UK-run Facebook..(AKA the plague on humanity)


  • COVID Plans, Game Theory, and the Problem of A**holes
  • In other words, the physicists made the same mistake as many attempts to model human behavior: they didn’t account for assholes.

  •  Deaths per 1 Million Population (reminder)
  • New Zealand    5
  • South Korea     7
  • Japan                12
  • Austria             85
  • Germany         113
  • US                     613              ( 203,000 Total - so far)


 Quick Overview is up to date

Tuesday, September 15, 2020


  • In August, a study showed that Greenland lost a record amount of ice during an extra-warm 2019, with the melt massive enough to cover California in more than 4 feet of water. 


  • Shipping orders of corn and soybean out of the US

  •  Scientific American has never endorsed a presidential candidate in our 175-year history—until now…


  • Two of BP’s latest scenarios predict 
    that crude demand will fall by half or more over the next 30 years.
  • (I am prognosticating crude demand to fall  by 80% and more over the next 30 years) 


  • Oregon GOP state senator Fred Girod was one of 11 Republicans who made headlines when they walked out of the senate – some even leaving the state – so that a quorum could not be achieved for a climate change bill. Now the wildfires have claimed his home


  • WSJ: says the FTC is prepping a  possible  antitrust suit against Facebook


  • Japans exports fell 14.8% YoY in August

  • Bloomberg: Out west of Sydney it gets hot. Really hot. Like 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) hot. Stand in a car park and the radiant heat from the tarmac can push the mercury to 80C—approaching the temperature of a slow cooker. 
  • It’s these new suburbs that the government is banking on to accommodate almost half of the 1.8 million people ..

  • The chart showing German exports to China would indicate a German need to be agreeable with China.


Sunday, September 13, 2020


The 7-day average of US Corona Virus Death is looking a bit better. Hopefully, it can take out the lower yellow line.

I have absolutely no idea as to what's going on in Venezuela,  but I find the Stock Market and the Inflation charts interesting.

 World Stock Markets (weekly) are up to date

Saturday, September 12, 2020

 Quick Overview is up to date

  • Odds of a second bailout for the U.S. economy fell due to a split over a lean deal proposed by Republicans, estimated at $500 billion. This is just a fraction of the $2.2 trillion deal supported by Democrats.


  • The U.S. budget deficit climbed by $200 billion and tops $3 trillion for the first time ever..


  • The public debt ratio of  industrialized countries is about to set a new record.


  • Biden proposed a plan that calls for a 10% tax penalty on U.S. companies that move operations overseas and a 10% tax credit for companies that create jobs in America. 

  • In August, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers rose 0.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis; rising 1.3 percent over the last 12 months, not seasonally adjusted. The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.4 percent in August (SA); up 1.7 percent over the year (NSA).
  • Notable # in the CPI: The index for used cars and trucks increased 5.4 percent in August, its largest monthly increase since March 1969.




  • Americans claiming ongoing unemployment assistance rose 93,000, to 13.4 million in the week ended Aug. 29.    


  • People are accusing Woodward of valuing book sales over public health. Nearly 200,000 Americans have died because neither Donald Trump nor Bob Woodward wanted to risk anything to keep the country informed,” wrote Esquire’s Charles P. Pierce.   


  • Microsoft found that groups from Russia, China and Iran have stepped up cyber-attacks to disrupt the U.S. presidential election.   


  • US GDP to rise 35% in Q3 so says Goldman Sachs

  • JPMorgan published a note warning that based on recent surveys, iPhone sales are "moderating substantially" ahead of the iPhone 12 launch,


  • The number of homeowners in forbearance is falling, but the July 31 expiration of extra unemployment benefits this month will provide a serious  test.


  • UK PM Johnson accuses EU of using threatening food blockade.. 

  • Johnson said on Saturday that a planned bill, which would breach a divorce treaty with the bloc, was needed to protect Britain’s integrity.                                                                                     However a no-deal Brexit would hurt the British economy a lot more than the European Union, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz responded. “Europe would be able to deal with it and there would be no particularly serious consequences after the preparations we have already made,” he added.


  • South Korea Money Supply Growth came in at 8.5%, above expectations (8.4%) in July  


  • World corn stocks fall to 306.79 mmt, down from 317.46 mmt last month and below trade at 311.11 MMT
  • World soybean stocks fall to 93.59 mmt, down from 95.36 mmt last month, but just above trade at 93.11 MM





Thursday, September 10, 2020

Keeping an eye on China food inflation (chart below), US grain exports/supply and USDA report tomorrow.

 Bond Default Rate % moving right along

Swiss National Bank has become one of largest tech investors in the world..

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Hate Social Media? You’ll Love This Documentary

 The Social Dilemma argues that humanity’s greatest existential threat is not climate change, but Facebook.

AKA The Plague on Humanity


(FT)Those boats in Texas paraded at the wrong speed

The Trump boat parade on Saturday in Texas failed to do these things, and ended up fighting an opponent more formidable than any Democrat: physics.

Tuesday, September 08, 2020


  • (Reuters) - Britain began a fresh round of Brexit trade talks by warning the European Union that it was ramping up preparations to leave the bloc without an agreement as the two sides bicker over rules that govern nearly $1 trillion in trade. Meanwhile, (FT) the UK government admits it will break international law over Brexit treaty.
  • This British regime is blatantly cheapening the concept of a rules-based international order – quite astounding!


  • Japan, the world’s third-largest economy shrank an annualized 28.1% in April-June.


  • Bloomberg: About 2.25 million mortgages were at least 90days late in July, a 450% increase from pre-pandemic levels and the biggest number since the global financial crisis, according to industry tracker Black Knight Inc.


  • General Motors Co. said it would take a $2 billion equity stake in Nikola Corp. the maker of hydrogen fuel cell electric pickup trucks (the future ?)..… Contributing to Tesla’s plunge of 21.06% its biggest daily percentage drop. The car maker was also spurned from a group of companies being added to the S&P 500.



Monday, September 07, 2020

Suggested Reading regarding  CLO's:  The Looming Bank Collapse

Unless you work in finance, you probably haven’t heard of CLOs, but according to many estimates, the CLO market is bigger than the subprime-mortgage CDO market was in its heyday. The Bank for International Settlements, which helps central banks pursue financial stability, has estimated the overall size of the CDO market in 2007 at $640 billion; it estimated the overall size of the CLO market in 2018 at $750 billion. More than $130 billion worth of CLOs have been created since then, some even in recent months. Just as easy mortgages fueled economic growth in the 2000s, cheap corporate debt has done so in the past decade, and many companies have binged on it.

Saturday, September 05, 2020

Quick Overview is up to date

  • Nonfarm payrolls rose by 1.37 million, including the hiring of 238,000 temporary Census workers. The unemployment rate fell more than expected, by almost 2 percentage points, to 8.4%. However, the # was distorted by people misclassifying themselves as being “employed but absent from work.” Without this error, the unemployment rate would have been about 9.1% last month, the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated.


  • Buffett’s  $6.2 billion expedition into Japan’s five largest trading houses may indicate that  Buffett is  expecting inflation and a weaker U.S. dollar thereby making international equities more attractive.


  • Reuters: The ISM said its index of national factory activity increased to a reading of 56.0 last month from 54.2 in July. That was the highest level since November 2018 and marked three straight months of growth.


  • Reuters: The Federal Reserve will need to roll out new efforts "in coming months" to help the economy overcome the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and live up to the U.S. central bank's new promise of stronger job growth and higher inflation, Fed Governor Lael Brainard said on Tuesday.



  • The Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 53.1 last month from July’s 52.8, marking the sector’s fourth consecutive month of growth and the biggest rate of expansion since January 2011.  …..  LME copper stocks fall to lowest since Dec 2005.


  • Economist: ..on September 2nd Germany’s government said it had proved “unequivocally” that Mr Navalny had been attacked with a military-grade nerve agent of the Novichok family—the same sort of chemical weapon used against Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy, in the British city of Salisbury in 2018. 


  • (Reuters) - Soaring corn prices are stokingfood security jitters in China, where food inflation has climbed to the highest in over a decade and President Xi Jinping made a recent high-profile plea for an end to wastage.

  • According to new research from JPMorgan analyst Stephen Tusa, GE stock -  once the classic "widows and orphans" investment - might be worth nothing at all.


Monday, August 31, 2020

A quite remarkable 60 year high chart is Real Disposable U.S. Income YoY % Change.  (working here) Cushioning the pandemic ...

However it appears not to be spent. (working here)

But saved  (working here) All 60 Year Highs / Lows

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Quick Overview is up to date

  • President Donald Trump is willing to sign a $1.3 trillion coronavirus relief bill, a top aide said on Friday, but Democratic House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the sum was not enough to meet the needs of the American people.

  • Reuters: Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, rose 1.9% last month, after jumping 6.2% in June. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast consumer spending would gain 1.5% in July. July’s increase left consumer spending about 4.6% percent below its February level.

  • “The Fed said it can allow inflation to run above its 2% target for some time seems like they are going to keep their monetary policy extremely loose”.

  • Iowa, the biggest U.S. corn-producing state, is facing its most widespread drought since September 2013, state agriculture secretary Mike Naig said on Friday.

  • In a dramatic U-turn, Brazil's Environment Ministry said on Friday it would continue to fight deforestation, reversing its position after saying hours earlier that it could not afford to continue enforcement efforts in the Amazon.

  • Reuters: The company that operates the Trump International Hotel in Vancouver said on Friday it has filed for bankruptcy, blaming the coronavirus pandemic for lost revenue and financial hardship.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Study: Black turbine blades reduced bird mortality by 72%

  • Some very long-term trends are changing for the better. First, insurance giant Suncorp says it won't insure oil or gas companies and projects. And now Exxon, the world’s biggest company as recently as 2011 is booted from the Dow Industrials.

  • Utilization rates for Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCC) fell to 44% in August, their lowest level this year according to Vortexa data. The sharp drop since the year-to-date high of 52% in May follows stymied global demand recovery for crude and a significant loss of cargoes compared to 2019 levels.

  • DJIA changes: Out go Exxon Mobil (ticker: XOM), Raytheon Technologies (RTX), and Pfizer (PFE). In come Salesforce. com (CRM), Honeywell International (HON), and Amgen (AMGN).

  • Germany’s economy shrank by 9.7% from April to June compared with the first three months of the year.

  • The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index slumped to 84.8 in August after tumbling to a downwardly revised 91.7 in July.

  • U.S. new home sales rose by 13.9 % to an annual rate of 901,000 in July after rising by 15.1 % to a rate of 791,000 in June.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Drewry’s composite World Container index increased 4.2% to $2,176.90 per 40ft container this week. More shipping here and here

Saturday, August 22, 2020

 Quick Overview is up to date
  • The National Association of Realtors said on Friday sales of existing homes rose 24.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.86 million units last month from 4.7 million in June. 

  • The average time on the market fell to 22 days in July, a record low, from 24 in June -- nearly 70% sold in less than a month. 

  • The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 2.99% for the week ending Aug. 20 is clearly helping and creating a bit of a Real Estate sugar high. However, the surge in home prices is threatening to make buying a home unaffordable once again.

  • Meanwhile across the pond, the UK housing market has had its busiest month in more than 10 years in July.

  • Americans filing a new claim for unemployment benefits rose unexpectedly back above the 1 million mark.

  • Guardian: A temperature of 54.4C – or 129.9F – has been recorded in Death Valley, CA in what some extreme weather watchers believe could be the hottest reading ever reliably recorded on the planet.
  • If you are pondering why one of the strongest commodity markets is lumber? Well, millions of Beetles Are Wiping Out Forests All Across the World.

  • The Trump administration is taking the final steps to let oil and gas companies drill in the Arctic national wildlife refuge.

  • Meanwhile, this BIG DEAL! Aussie insurance giant Suncorp says it won't invest in or insure oil or gas companies and projects.

  • Goldman Sachs cut their default forecast for the US Junk sector to 10.5% from 13% for the full year.
  • Goldman Sachs is the latest firm to boost its year-end price target for the S&P 500 to 3,600 from 3,000.

  • China drought, heavy rains spark concern over grain supply as Xi Jinping launches campaign against food waste. Concerns are mounting about China’s grain supply this year, despite government assurances that the summer harvest was at ‘an all-time high ‘Output has been hit by drought and heavy rains and many farmers are hoarding crops in expectation that prices will continue rising because of low supply, traders say.

  • The #Ebola outbreak in DRC's Équateur province has now hit 100 cases & 43 deaths. Efforts to stop it are not going well. It is evolving in a concerning way,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa.

  • Looks like a new #Solar Cycle 25 is truly underwayPerhaps providing the Fuel for a new “solar powered” Roaring twenties?