Cracking Wall Street
March 10, 2020
“I will tell you the secret to getting rich on Wall Street. You try to be greedy when others are fearful. And you try to be fearful when others are greedy.”
“If you’re in the luckiest one per cent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent.”
― Warren Buffett
Could This Be The “n” For The Dow?
Saudi Arabia’s decision to start an oil price war with Russia was apparently the stock market’s ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ — pun not intended. Experts remind us that crude prices, along with US government bond yields, are typically viewed as key barometers of economic health and confidence. “Cheap oil is one thing. Super cheap oil is another,” said one investment manager. “The stock market is looking at the oil price plunge as a canary in the coal mine….”
Ongoing panic over the coronavirus, coupled with oil prices dropping to their lowest level since 1991, fueled such selloffs when the market opened Monday that the S&P index quickly sank 7 percent, triggering a 15-minute forced halt to trading. Bank stocks plummeted right along with oil prices. The market continued to slide as investors sought shelter in government bonds, sending Treasury yields to new lows. The S&P index fell over 2,000 points; it was the Dow’s worst day since 2008.
“The 11-year bull market is over,” said the chief market strategist at a financial services firm, noting that it isn’t just about an official 20 percent drop. Over the years central banks have suppressed interest rates, which was the big narrative investors used to justify buying stocks. Analysts now see the market as convinced the Federal Reserve will drive interest rate targets down to zero percent next week. If that happens, it could land the US economy in the same boat as the rest of the world: trapped between a recession and runaway inflation should prices skyrocket while GDP falls.
- The Saudi Arabia-Russia oil war sparked by coronavirus, explained (Vox)
- Tech’s big five lost $320 billion of value in Monday’s market crash (CNBC)
- Stocks savaged, Italy on lockdown, Trump seeks to reassure as coronavirus spreads (Reuters)
- Will coronavirus cause a global recession? Why stock markets are nervous. (Vox)
- Coronavirus sufferers symptom-free for five days on average – study (Guardian)
- Coronavirus: Italy extends emergency measures nationwide (BBC)
- Coronavirus in the US: should we expect closures and shutdowns? (Guardian)
- Coronavirus: British couple on holiday ‘left infections everywhere’ (Guardian)
Ehhh Whatsapp, Doc?
- Lebanese citizens began protesting against their government in October, organizing large-scale protests and acts of “civil disobedience.” The government had originally attempted to downplay the unrest by controlling Lebanon’s mainstream media outlets, which are largely owned by the state, or political parties, but over time, more people began posting on social media sites such as Whatsapp, streaming live protests and highlighting police abuse.
- A new battleground has erupted in Lebanon – cyberspace. Many demonstrators have used WhatsApp chat groups to criticize the government, call protesters to the streets and share videos of arrests and injuries from rubber bullets, but new reports are claiming that the government has begun infiltrating Whatsapp groups in order to catch and arrest activists.
- “Social media is being used as a tool to identify protesters and to know who they are and their networks and all that,” said Mohamad Najem, executive director of the Social Media Exchange, a Beirut-based digital rights group. The measures to silence critics and activists have ramped up again following the latest protest movements. (NPR)
To Russia With Distaste
- The Russian government has been accused of hiring British politicians to “go after” Vladimir Putin’s enemies in London. Alleged insurgents include politicians belonging to both the Labour and Conservative parties, former intelligence officers and diplomats, and leading public relations firms. The network has been deemed a “western buffer network” by Bill Browder, a British financier and political activist.
- Spokesmen of the Kremlin have lashed out at Browder, stating that his claims were false and “totally groundless.” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that the accusations were “a perfect example of a maniac-style Russophobia.”
- A 14-page report by Bill Browder has been released to the public after initially being submitted to Britain’s parliament’s intelligence and security committee (ISC). This version is heavily abridged, with the original submission being 5-pages long. Downing Street cleared the abridged version, claiming that the final document contains little new information and is underwhelming, though others who have read it disagree. (Guardian)
Additional World News
- Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Had Been Lying Low. That’s Over. (NYT, $)
- After Deadly Jam on Everest, Nepal Delays New Safety Rules (NYT, $)
- Blasts in Afghanistan as presidential rivals hold oath ceremonies (Guardian)
- Sudan PM survives blast in apparent assassination attempt (Guardian)
- ‘We Hated What We Were Doing’: Veterans Recall Firebombing Japan (NYT, $) & The Man Who Won’t Let the World Forget the Firebombing of Tokyo (NYT, $)
- We’re finally living up to our name and going from Daily Pnut to Daily Peanut to celebrate National Peanut Month! Our friends at Hubs make some amazing peanuts and you should definitely know their story.
- Before diving into Hubs’s story and product we want to remind readers just how healthy and tasty peanuts are: Peanuts contain 25g of protein per 100g servings as well as other important minerals, nutrients, antioxidants, fibers, and vitamins!
- Before Dot and HJ Hubbard started cooking peanuts, no one had any idea just how good a peanut could taste. In 1954, Dot began hand picking the largest peanuts out of her father’s farm and cooking them in a special way.
- Today, Hubs’ peanuts are still home cooked under the watchful eyes of the Hubbard family (we met Dot’s grandson and so that’s how today’s sausuge, err… Daily Pnut butter is made). And the peanuts and other items are still as delicious as they’ve always been. If all of our nut puns ever make you hungry on your morning commute, Hubs’ incredible peanuts are the perfect snack to help satisfy that craving that is healthy and delicious. To celebrate National Peanut Month, Hubs is giving you 15% off your order!
Behind Every Great Man Is A Woman Who Should Be Next To Him
- Following Senator Elizabeth Warren’s announcement that she was dropping out of the 2020 presidential race, many prominent Democrats began publicly announcing that the Democratic ticket should include a woman for the position of Vice President. The calls for a female vice president have intensified as the primary has essentially narrowed to a two-man race.
- Though it would not be the historic election of a female president, electing a female vice-president would set a precedent for the future. Since George Washington’s inauguration in 1789, there have only been two females nominated for the vice president seat: Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska by the Republican Party in 2008 and Representative Geraldine A. Ferraro by Democrats in 1984.
- Both frontrunners of the Democratic Party, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, have potential female running mates were they to be elected as the Democratic representative. Potential candidates for Biden include Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Stacey Abrams (the former Georgia House minority leader), and Sally Yates (the former deputy attorney general). Bernie Sanders has stated he is seeking a running mate who supports his signature policy proposal, “Medicare for all.” (NYT, $)
Two Birds, One Super Pac
- Public records reveal that President Trump’s real estate properties have raked in mega-millions from political action committees (Pacs) and Republican figures. The Super Pac America First Action, which has raised almost $48 million since 2017, has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to host events at Trump’s Washington DC hotel.
- In December some mega-donors rented rooms at the hotel for a two-day event hosted by another Trump reelection committee. Rooms with the usual nightly rate of $500 had their rate raised to $6,719. Such lavish spending by pro-Trump political committees and their wealthy donors at his hotel and elsewhere highlights how the president and his GOP allies in Congress are using Trump properties to woo big donors for his 2020 campaign.
- “The Trump era has given birth to a whole new level of political access and influence in Washington,” said the research director at the watchdog group Crew. “Wealthy donors and special interests get access to powerful people in President Trump’s orbit, including Trump himself, and in return, the donors not only boost Trump’s campaign, but enrich him personally by spending money at properties he still profits from.” (Guardian)
- How Trump Has Filled High-Level Jobs Without Senate Confirmation Votes (NPR)
Additional USA News
- Biden joined by Booker, Harris in show of unity ahead of key Michigan vote (Reuters)
- Coronavirus: A problem unlike anything else Trump has faced (BBC)
- “He’s definitely melting down over this”: Trump, germaphobe in chief, struggles to control the Covid-19 story (Vanity Fair)
- Fissures widen between White House and health agencies over coronavirus (CNN)
- The Supreme Court Has a Special ‘Friend’: The Justice Department (NYT, $)
Loren Elliott via Getty Images
Boeing’s Reputation Is Boeing Boeing Gone
- An unmanned test flight in December of the Boeing-manufactured spacecraft Starliner, designed to carry NASA astronauts, could have ended in disaster due to lapses that allowed software errors to slip through undetected and unfixed prior to launch. On Friday a NASA-Boeing review team announced 61 recommendations for fixes and improvements.
- Some recommendations focused on specific changes to the software testing procedures, while others addressed possible blind spots in how the program was managed.
- NASA no longer builds its own spacecraft as it has in the past. Instead two private companies — Boeing and SpaceX — were hired to provide transportation to and from the International Space Station.
- SpaceX appears to be on track to launch its first mission in coming months with astronauts aboard its capsule, Crew Dragon. December’s test was supposed to have been Boeing’s last major hurdle to cross before NASA agreed to put its astronauts aboard. Now more unmanned tests may be required. (NYT)
- How to escape the tyranny of the clock (BBC)
- World’s biggest porn site under fire over rape and abuse videos (Guardian)
- Sensor Tower Secretly Owns Ad Blocker And VPN Apps That Collect User Data (Buzzfeed News)
- Dressing for the Surveillance Age (New Yorker, $)
- Japan’s ancient way to save the planet (BBC)
- His Reality Is a Mock Village Where Everybody Knows Him (NYT, $)
- Ageing population: A lack of young farmers threatens food security (BBC)
- Why lifelong learning is the international passport to success (Aeon)
- Daylight savings year-round could save lives, improve sleep and other benefits (CNN)
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