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[Markets] Streetwise podcast: Is Nasdaq Inc. a better investment than the Nasdaq-100? Streetwise podcast: Is Nasdaq Inc. a better investment than the Nasdaq-100? Published:10/30/2020 7:37:27 AM
[Markets] Outside the Box: Smaller companies aren’t necessarily being hurt more than larger ones because of the pandemic
Published:10/30/2020 7:37:27 AM
[Markets] 7 Key Corruption Questions Joe Biden Must Answer After FBI Bombshell 7 Key Corruption Questions Joe Biden Must Answer After FBI Bombshell Tyler Durden Fri, 10/30/2020 - 08:25

Authored by Tyler O'Neil via PJMedia.com,

On Thursday, a Department of Justice official confirmed that the FBI opened an ongoing criminal money-laundering investigation into Hunter Biden and his associates last year. Tim Murtaugh, communications director for President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, urged the press to ask Democratic nominee Joe Biden seven important questions involving the corruption scandal.

News of the FBI investigation came days after Tony Bobulinski, a former business partner with Hunter Biden, spilled the beans on Joe Biden’s involvement with his son’s business deals in China, Ukraine, and elsewhere in an hour-long interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson. Bobulinski first came forward before the final presidential debate, and a Senate committee has confirmed that his documents are genuine.

Bobulinski came forward after Facebook and Twitter took unprecedented action to suppress a New York Post story about Hunter Biden’s emails, which first revealed Joe Biden’s involvement.

As Murtaugh noted in the call with the press, Bobulinski claimed he had met face-to-face with Joe Biden twice, and he presented evidence that the Biden family made a concerted effort to keep Joe Biden’s involvement off the books and to ensure “plausible deniability.”

The Biden campaign has not disputed the veracity of the emails or Bobulinski’s claims that he met with Joe Biden face-to-face. Instead, they pushed the narrative that the entire scandal is “Russian disinformation” or a distraction from the real issues in the campaign.

Murtaugh noted that only The New York Times saw President Trump’s tax returns before running the story and that many media outlets ran with the story despite not having seen the documents, yet most of the legacy media seems intent on entirely ignoring Bobulinski and the Biden corruption scandal.

Given this background, Murtaugh posted seven questions to Biden:

  1. Were you aware that Hunter and his associates have been under FBI investigation since last year?

  2. Did you meet with Tony Bobulinski?

  3. Have you ever met with any of your son’s business associates?

  4. Are any of these emails not authentic?

  5. Why did Rob Walker say Bobulinski could burn all of us?

  6. Do you, Joe Biden, deny that you were making business decisions about this foreign business venture?

  7. Were you, Joe Biden, in fact, a beneficiary… to receive a 10 percent stake in the deal [with a Chinese energy company]?

“It is not believable that Joe Biden was unaware that his son was under FBI investigation since last year,” Murtaugh argued. “Now that there is confirmation that an FBI investigation is ongoing… and a credible accusation that Joe Biden was involved, there is no legitimate reason to fail to cover this story.”

Indeed, the legacy media’s attempt to bury the story despite increasing confirmation and evidence is utterly damning. In fact, Glenn Greenwald resigned from The Intercept, the online news outlet he co-founded, because his editors aimed to censor his article on the Joe Biden corruption.

Published:10/30/2020 7:37:27 AM
[Markets] Futures Rebound From Overnight Tech Wreck Futures Rebound From Overnight Tech Wreck Tyler Durden Fri, 10/30/2020 - 08:06

On Monday we presented readers with the latest observations from BofA quants  who pointed out that Q3 earnings "smacked of the tech bubble" because despite impressive beats, in many cases stocks dropped (or outright tumbled) in kneejerk response as virtually everything has now been priced to (and beyond) perfection with little chance of upside surprise. Nowhere was this more obvious than Thursday afternoon when the world's 4 biggest tech companies all reported blockbuster earnings and yet all but Google sank subsequently with the exception of Alphabet which popped after hours (while Twitter plunged as countless conservatives bailed on the ultra-partisan and liberal social network).

Nasdaq futures fell about 1%, erasing more than half of what was a 2.7% slide earlier after Apple’s iPhone sales and Twitter’s user growth both missed estimates. The two stocks sank in pre-market trading. Amazon.com fell 1.4% after it forecast a jump in costs related to COVID-19, while Facebook shed 2% as it warned of a tougher 2021. Google parent Alphabet was the only bright star among the FAAMGs with its shares jumping 7% after it beat estimates for quarterly sales as businesses resumed advertising. The dollar and Treasuries were steady.

Third-quarter earnings season is past its halfway mark and about 84.8% of S&P 500 companies have beaten estimates for earnings, according to Refinitiv data. Overall, profit is expected to tumble 13.4% from a year ago.

The broad-based weakness in the market-leading giga-tech stocks added to trader concerns about a surge in coronavirus cases, and hammered stock futures on Friday, although futures are now off their worst levels of the day.

S&P e-minis fell 25.00 points or 0.9% and Nasdaq 100 E-minis were down 121 points, or 1.1%. A longer-term chart shows the precarious positioning for the S&P, with any further declines set to take out the Sept 24 lows and open up a trapdoor to much lower levels.

Shares of tech heavyweights had jumped ahead of tech results on Thursday, helping the S&P 500 close higher. Still, the benchmark index is set to wrap up its worst week since mid-June, while Wall Street's fear gauge held at a 20-week high, also on fears of a contested election next week. Ahead of the final weekend before Election Day on Tuesday, President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden will barnstorm across battleground states in the Midwest where the coronavirus pandemic has exploded anew.

"Our short-term risk-appetite indicator is firmly in negative territory,” said Credit Agricole CIB head of global markets research Jean-Francois Paren. "The adjustment of risky asset prices to the weaker epidemic and economic outlook could continue, which is not encouraging for risk asset prices in the coming days, especially given the uncertainty regarding the U.S. elections."

European shares fluctuated amid a string of mixed earnings reports. Europe's Stoxx 600 Index erased declines of as much as 0.9%, climbing 0.3%, led by energy and banks, with E&P giants Total and Shell among biggest gainers; Total posted 3Q profit that exceeded the highest analyst estimate; Barclays raised Shell to equalweight, saying newly presented financial framework addresses main concerns. Tech stocks faltered as did Danish drug giant Novo Nordisk A/S, whose earnings underwhelmed analysts. Bank stocks advanced after Spain’s BBVA SA and the U.K.’s NatWest Group Plc reported improved pictures for soured loans.

Earlier in the session, Asian stocks fell, led by the health care and IT sectors. Trading volume for MSCI Asia Pacific Index members was 28% above the monthly average for this time of the day. The Topix lost 2%, with Takeda and Hoya contributing the most to the move. The Shanghai Composite Index retreated 1.5%, driven by China Life and Yili Industrial.

As Bloomberg notes, weakness in technology shares has added to volatility that’s likely to remain elevated heading into next week’s U.S. election. Global equities are on course for the worst weekly decline since March as lockdown measures in some countries and the lack of an agreement on U.S. stimulus dent sentiment. New U.S. coronavirus cases topped 89,000, setting a daily record.

In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index steadied after swinging between gains and losses; the euro steadied but was set for its biggest weekly drop against the dollar since September. Sweden’s krona led gains among Group-of-10 peers, though the Japanese yen remained supported on haven demand. The Australian dollar advanced on month-end flows, with a stronger yuan also spurring appetite for the commodity-linked currency.

In rates, Treasuries were unchanged with long-end supported ahead of month-end. Yields are off richest levels of the day as e-minis recouped some early losses. Treasury yields are within a basis point of Thursday’s close, slightly lower across the curve; 10-year yields around 0.82%, remain toward cheaper end of 0.74% to 0.84% weekly range and outperforming bunds, gilts by almost a basis point each. Treasuries rallied in early Asia session as Apple stock fell over 4% in after-market trading on Thursday; into early U.S. session Nasdaq e-minis remain lower by 1.2%, S&P e-minis are off 0.9%.

In commodities, oil was flat after suffering a recent rout, while spot gold headed for its third consecutive monthly decline. Crude oil was little changed in New York.

On today's calendar AbbVie, Exxon and Charter Communications are among Friday’s scheduled earnings. Personal spending, U. of Michigan sentiment are due.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures down 1.4% to 3,257.75
  • STOXX Europe 600 up 0.1% to 342.16
  • MXAP down 1.3% to 172.21
  • MXAPJ down 1.2% to 572.11
  • Nikkei down 1.5% to 22,977.13
  • Topix down 2% to 1,579.33
  • Hang Seng Index down 2% to 24,107.42
  • Shanghai Composite down 1.5% to 3,224.53
  • Sensex down 0.6% to 39,523.90
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.6% to 5,927.58
  • Kospi down 2.6% to 2,267.15
  • Brent Futures down 0.03% to $37.64/bbl
  • Gold spot up 0.2% to $1,871.30
  • U.S. Dollar Index down 0.04% to 93.92
  • German 10Y yield rose 1.4 bps to -0.622%
  • Euro down 0.05% to $1.1668
  • Brent Futures down 0.03% to $37.64/bbl
  • Italian 10Y yield fell 7.3 bps to 0.489%
  • Spanish 10Y yield rose 1.7 bps to 0.15%

 

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • Germany and the rest of the euro area’s biggest economies surged in the third quarter, in a rebound that’s now being derailed by an intensifying pandemic and new government restrictions on businesses
  • European Central Bank policy maker Robert Holzmann said it is right to assume that President Christine Lagarde signaled more monetary stimulus is coming, though not until December
  • U.K. house prices posted their biggest annual gain since 2015 this month as a revival in the housing market defied a wider economic malaise
  • Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension from the U.K. Labour Party he led until April threatened to re-open divisions in the party after six months of relative calm under new leader Keir Starmer
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of pulling a “political stunt” and holding up a new stimulus bill by refusing to offer compromises, in an escalation of acrimonious finger-pointing over stalled virus-relief negotiations
  • U.S. new virus cases topped 89,000, setting a new daily record, as the outbreak intensifies ahead of next week’s presidential election. The U.S. is seeing a jump in cases in New York and New Jersey again, and a record outbreak across the Midwest states
  • France is aiming to limit the drop in economic activity to 15% during the country’s second coronavirus lockdown starting on Friday, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said in a government briefing on Thursday
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivered a wake-up call to fellow leaders in the 27-nation European Union, saying they all failed to step in quickly enough to control the pandemic as the cost of a second lockdown begins to come into focus
  • Oil is poised for the biggest monthly decline since March as a resurgent coronavirus across the U.S. and Europe raised concerns the fragile demand recovery will be derailed.

Here's a quick look at global markets courtesy of NewsSquawk

Asian equity markets weakened heading into month-end and after US stock index futures faded the recovery seen on Wall Street amid disappointment from the big tech earnings despite Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter all beating on top and bottom lines. Apple shares declined over 4% in extended trade with investors discouraged by the miss on iPhone sales and lack of guidance, as well as a 29% Y/Y drop in its Chinese revenue which pressured its supply Chain in Asia and Twitter slumped nearly 18% after hours on slower user growth. ASX 200 (-0.6%) and Nikkei 225 (-1.5%) were weaker with industrials and tech frontrunning the declines in Australia although losses in the index were briefly pared by financials as AMP shares surged over 20% following a takeover approach by Ares Management, while the mood in Tokyo was clouded by currency effects and soft inflation data but with Panasonic shares a notable gainer on reports it is working with Tesla to build a new battery cell production line at the Gigafactory. Elsewhere, the Hang Seng (-2.0%) and Shanghai Comp. (-1.5%) remained cautious amid a plethora of large-cap earnings and with participants mulling over the initial details of the 5-year plan which seeks to build the nation into a technological powerhouse and emphasized quality growth over speed but refrained from specifying a targeted pace of growth. Finally, 10yr JGBs were lower and fell below support near 152.00 on spillover selling from T-notes as Wall Street initially nursed losses and following an uninspiring 7yr auction stateside, although the downside for JGBs was cushioned with the BoJ in the market for nearly JPY 1.3tln of JGBs with up to 10yr maturities.

Top Asian News

  • Hong Kong Economy Shows Early Signs of Revival as Exports Jump
  • Singapore Overtakes Thailand to Become Asia’s Worst Stock Market
  • BOJ Widens Buying Ranges While Cutting Frequency for Short Bonds

European equities (Eurostoxx 50 -0.1%) have trimmed opening losses throughout the session despite underpeformance of Stateside peers. After a mixed close yesterday, equities in the region initially succumbed to some of the heavy selling pressure seen after the Wall St. close in the wake of earnings from US tech mega-caps. Despite the likes of Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter recording beats on top and bottom lines, earnings (ex-Alphabet; up 5.6% pre-market) were received poorly with Apple shares currently lower by 4.5% in pre-market trade following a miss on iPhone sales and lack of guidance, as well as a 29% Y/Y drop in its Chinese revenue. Social media names Facebook (-2.4%) and Twitter (-17.5%) are seen lower ahead of the cash open, whilst e-commerce giant Amazon (-2.1%) are also lagging with some citing soft operating income guidance for December. In Europe, given the gravitational pull of the aforementioned large-caps, stocks across the continent commenced the session on the backfoot before staging a mild recovery with little in the way of clear fundamentals behind the move; as context the Eurostoxx 50 is lower by 6.4% on the week. Sectoral performance is somewhat mixed with oil & gas names the clear outperformer in the wake of earnings from Total (+2.3%) who reported a heavy beat on Q3 net income and maintained its dividend despite the likes of BP, Shell and Eni trimming theirs in 2020. Elsewhere, banking names are also performing well this morning following Q3 results from Natwest Group (+5.6%) which saw the Co. beat expectations for quarterly pre-tax profits and suggest that FY impairments are seen at the lower end of the range. IAG (+2.6%) have lent some support to the travel & leisure sector despite reporting a wider than expected loss for Q3 operating income with the CEO noting that his top priority will be reducing the Co.’s cost base. To the downside, underperformance has been observed in personal & household goods and food & beverage names. Health care names are also softer on the session following earnings from Novo Nordisk (-1.5%) with the insulin producer missing on expectations for EBIT and net profits.

Top European News

  • Spanish Banks Join EU Peers in Painting Rosier Bad Loans Picture
  •  
  • Continental CEO Degenhart to Resign, Citing Health Reasons
  • Italy in Talks With Paschi on $1.75 Billion Capital Increase
  • U.K. House Prices Jump Most in Five Years as Boom Gathers Pace

In FX, the Dollar remains relatively firm and resilient given a loss of safe-haven status or less demand amidst a fragile recovery in risk sentiment, month end portfolio rebalancing and positioning ahead of next week’s US Presidential Election. However, the index is back below 94.000 and Thursday’s 94.105 high within a 93.983-762 range as several major counterparts claw back some lost ground before another raft of data, the Chicago PMI and final Michigan sentiment.

  • JPY/AUD – Leading the aforementioned G10 recovery in spite of somewhat mixed Japanese CPI, unemployment and ip updates, the Yen is back above 104.50 and a key Fib at the half round number alongside hefty option expiry interest (2.2 bn). On the flip-side, 1.4 bn expiries at the 104.00 strike will act as a barrier and support for Usd/Jpy after the pair got to within 2-3 pips of the level yesterday, and conversely the Aussie appears to be drawing comfort from the fact that it survived an equally close shave with 0.7000 to probe 0.7050 with assistance from ANZ’s CEO arguing against an RBA ease next week on the grounds it would flood the financial system with more liquidity, impair bank profitability and only boost the economy and jobs marginally.
  • GBP – Also firmer vs the Buck after losing 1.2900+ status on Wednesday and maintaining momentum against the Euro close to 0.9000 in wake of the ECB, though wary of ongoing Brexit uncertainty and end of month Eur/Gbp cross flows that can deviate from RHS to LHS quite sporadically.
  • NZD/EUR/CAD/CHF – All narrowly mixed vs the Greenback, as the Kiwi regains hold of the 0.6600 handle in wake of another upbeat sentiment survey (ANZ consumer confidence up to 108.7 in October from 100.0 previously), and the Euro pares some post-ECB losses after basing at 1.1650. Note, this coincided with the 100 DMA, which is now 5 pips firmer and the 2 chart points also align with 1.5 bn option expiries for today’s NY cut. Perhaps predictably, market contacts tout stops on a break of 1.1650 that would expose a virtual double bottom from late September (1.1615-12). Elsewhere, the Loonie is deriving a degree of comfort from stability in oil prices and the generally less risk averse tone to retest 1.3300 from 1.3390 or so, but the Franc is still lagging below 0.9150 and hovering near 1.0700 against the Euro.

In commodities, WTI and brent are modestly firmer this morning in a pull-back from some of the overnight losses after sentiment took a hit on the earnings-spurred downside in US equities last night. Following this, the crude complex has continued to lift off lows throughout the session alongside sentiment in general; WTI and Brent are currently firmer by around USD 0.30/bbl. Turning to OPEC where the Iraq oil minister pushed back on reports that the country and others are considering a rollover of existing OPEC+ output cuts into 2021 given developments on both the demand & supply side. While the remark is interesting there is still over a month until the next OPEC+ gathering and as such a pushback on such commentary at this stage is perhaps not too surprising. Elsewhere, the BSEE report of 43-companies had just shy of 85% of oil shut-in for the Gulf given Storm Zeta; its worth noting the storm is continuing to dissipate and as such production should be restored to the Gulf over the next few days – assuming no damage occurred. Moving to metals, spot gold is modestly firmer this morning as the USD has dipped as sentiment sees a moderate pick up from a European perspective. Separately, mining updates saw Glencore confirm their FY production guidance with the exception of coal given strike action at the Cerrjeon site; additionally, their YTD copper production is -8% vs. the prior period.

US Event Calendar

  • 8:30am: Personal Income, est. 0.4%, prior -2.7%
  • 8:30am: Personal Spending, est. 1.0%, prior 1.0%
  • 8:30am: Employment Cost Index, est. 0.5%, prior 0.5%
  • 8:30am: PCE Core Deflator YoY, est. 1.7%, prior 1.6%
  • 9:45am: MNI Chicago PMI, est. 58, prior 62.4
  • 10am: U. of Mich. Sentiment, est. 81.2, prior 81.2; Current Conditions, est. 84.9, prior 84.9; Expectations, est. 78.8, prior 78.8

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

For the first 40-odd years of my life Halloween was a minor curiosity. My Dad’s dislike of trick or treaters didn’t help cement it in my social calendar as a kid. However since we’ve had kids my wife has slowly ensured it’s become a bigger and bigger event. Last night I learnt that she has gone into overdrive and bought what I thought were pretty expensive costumes ahead of us going to a pumpkin picking Halloween themed afternoon tomorrow at a local farm. Apparently I have an extravagant ghost costume and the twins have matching baby ghost costumes. My wife and Maisie have mother and daughter witch costumes and broomsticks. I’m not sure what the Halloween version of bah humbug is (maybe boooo humbug), but I’m slowly having it drummed out of me.

Over the last 24 hours we’ve gone from treat to trick as the prospect of big tech earnings first lured investors back in and then disappointed when they arrived after the bell. The S&P 500 was up over +2% late in the actual session last night prior to a sharp 70bp pullback in the last half hour of trading. It still closed +1.19%, with the NASDAQ rising a greater +1.64%.

After the close, Apple (+4.53% daily gain) fell over -4% even as its quarterly results beat estimates with record sales of Macs and services. However the largest US company also revealed that iPhone revenues fell -21% with revenue in Greater China, one of the company’s most important regions, falling by -29% to the lowest level since 2014. Amazon (+2.33% earlier) was down nearly -2% after giving up an immediate postmarket gain as revenue and earnings both solidly beat analyst estimates. The dip came after the CFO indicated that covid-related expenses will go up to $4 billion. Facebook’s (+5.75% earlier) shares were down over -2.5% in the after-market, even as revenues and user growth both beat estimates. On a more positive note, Google’s (+4.16% earlier) parent company, Alphabet, gained over +6% in after-market trading with news that the company’s digital advertising profits bounced back strongly from the previous quarter.

As a result, S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures are down -1.39% and -1.90% respectively as we type. Asian markets have also taken another leg lower with the Nikkei (-0.84%), Hang Seng ( -0.50%), Asx (-0.55%) and Kospi (-1.43%) all down. Chinese markets are more mixed with the Shanghai Comp up +0.08% while the CSI is down -0.09%. In FX, cable is down -0.18% to $1.2907 as more and more areas in England are moving to the topmost tier of restrictions. Meanwhile, yields on 10yr USTs are down -1.8bps this morning

Overnight, we also got a look into some details of China’s new five-year economic plan, which had tech in focus. The new plan elevated China’s self-reliance in technology into a national strategic pillar. Senior party officials of the Communist Party said that the nation would accelerate development of the kind of technology needed to spur the next stage of economic development with focus on bold measures to cut reliance on foreign know-how.

Back to yesterday and European stocks tried to turn positive after three straight days of declines to start the week as ECB President Lagarde outlined steps the central bank could take in December to recalibrate monetary policy in light of the worsening pandemic (more below). Her comments saw the STOXX 600 rise +1.76% off the lows of the day, however part of those gains were given back in the last half hour of trading with the index ending down -0.12% on the day. While the DAX (+0.32%) gained, other bourses such as the CAC (-0.03%) and FTSE (-0.02%) were not able to stay above water. European futures are down around -1.2% this morning.

As our economists point out (see their note here) this was a unique ECB meeting as for the first time we saw a unanimous post-dated decision to act at the next meeting (December in this case). The composition of that action remains to be determined however, and will be a function of events, both pandemic and economic, over the next six weeks. Our economists suggest that the emphasis on “all instruments” being under consideration is a message to think beyond just PEPP. The sensitivity to weak private credit implies changes to the TLTRO framework. For the time being, they hold onto their view of a composite easing strategy in December: a package of measures, including tweaks to the TLTRO framework, to complement more PEPP in one form or another to address the pandemic risk and more APP to address the persistent low inflation problem.

As they also point out, six weeks can be a long time in a non-linear pandemic. However, post-dated action is not to be confused for ECB inactivity for the next six weeks. ECB President Lagarde emphasised the flexibility of existing programmes like PEPP to respond to any downside surprises. There is still more than half the PEPP available and it is flexible enough to be deployed on an "anytime, anyplace, anywhere" basis. The pace of purchases can re-accelerate if necessary.

The euro fell -0.61% by the end of the day to one month lows but that was as much due to dollar strength as half the move occurred before the ECB meeting. 10yr bund yields fell -1.1bps to -0.64%. With the signal of added ECB support peripheral bond yields fell, with Italian (-6.2bps), Spanish (-3.4bps), Greek (-10.7bps) and Portuguese (-3.5bps) 10yr bonds all tightening to 10yr bunds. US Treasuries fell with the risk on sentiment, as yields rose +5.2bps to 0.823%, the largest one day rise in over three weeks.

In terms of data, the US economy expanded at a record 33.1% (annualised) pace off the lows of the pandemic, with business reopening and consumer spending powered by stimulus injections. The rise in GDP, which on a quarterly basis is 7.4%, slightly beat market expectations of 32.0%, and comes after Q2’s also record decline of -31.4%. Overall, GDP is now -3.5% below pre-virus (Q4 2019) levels. In terms of components, consumer services spending was -7.7% below pre-virus levels, but consumer goods spending +6.7% above. There was also initial jobless claims out of the US, where claims in regular state programs totaled 751k in the week ended Oct. 24, down 40k from the prior week. Continuing claims decreased 709k to 7.76mn in the week ended Oct. 1, having now fallen for five straight weeks. Overall these were positive data points, but the virus’s progression may impact the winter readings going forward.

With less than five full days before polls close in the US elections, former Vice President Joe Biden is currently in a strong position with the fivethirtyeight.com model giving him an 89% chance of winning, the highest so far, and a national polling average lead of +8.8. Biden holds strong polling leads in the key Midwest swing states of Pennsylvania (+5.2pts), Wisconsin (+8.4pts), and Michigan (+8.1pts), and is also leading to a smaller degree in the Sunbelt swing states of Florida (+2.1pts), North Carolina (+2.2pts) and Arizona (+2.7pts). Biden can win by just carrying the Midwest but, as has been highlighted before, we are likely to know results from the latter group of states earlier because they process mail-in ballots ahead of the election and both Florida and North Carolina will also be allowed to count votes ahead of time. A quick win there for Biden and the “Blue Wave” could materialise rapidly, but a Trump win in that part of the map and we could be waiting until the end of the week at least. The Secretary of State in Pennsylvania has said that the “overwhelming majority” of votes should be counted by next Friday, but that is still at least 3 days of uncertainty and that is before we get to any implications of Supreme Court rulings.

Staying on politics EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stated that Brexit talks are 'making good progress' and are now 'boiling down to the two topics that are the most important - Level Playing Field and fisheries'. These two issues as well as a mechanism in the final treaty for resolving future disputes are among the most important outstanding points. European Council President Michel, expressed the expectation that the state of the negotiations would probably be assessed next week with his hope being to start the ratification process in mid-November.

On the coronavirus, hospitalisation rates in some countries are approaching peak levels seen during the first wave. Belgium reported 5,924 patients currently hospitalised, surpassing its previous peak from back in April. While in Portugal, the number of ICU patients is now 269, just short of its previous peak of 271. Similarly in Italy, there are now 17,615 patients in hospitals, though capacity still remains there compared to the nearly 29,000 back in April. This is why countries throughout Europe have been enacting new restrictions to try to flatten the curve again. Yesterday Sweden, whose actions have been among the most scrutinised, announced that residents in Stockholm are to avoid shops, gyms and any other indoor venues that don’t provide essential services. This comes as the country has seen around 3,000 new cases, a record daily rise. In the US, weekly cases have hit record highs as the virus continues to spread through the Southern and Midwestern regions. However yesterday there was troubling news out of the northeast, which had been resistant to a second wave, as New Jersey’s and New York’s positivity rates of covid-19 tests hit their highest levels since May. Lastly Dr Fauci predicted yesterday that normality may not return until late 2021 even with an effective vaccine broadly distributed.

Looking ahead to today there will be readings of France, German, Italian and Euro Area Q3 GDP. As well as CPI data for France and Italy and unemployment data for Italy and the Euro Area. In the US, we will get personal spending and income data along with PCE core deflator. There is also the MNI Chicago PMI and final University of Michigan sentiment reading for October. In terms of Central Banks, the ECB’s Weidmann is expected to speak. About halfway through earnings, we will see results today from Novo Nordisk, AbbVie, ExxonMobil, Charter Communications, Chevron, Total and NatWest Group.

Published:10/30/2020 7:06:51 AM
[Markets] Market Snapshot: Dow futures down over 100 points as Big Tech guidance stokes unease over COVID impact Stock-index futures point lower Friday, with investors waving off strong quarterly results from tech heavyweights to focus on uncertain guidance that underlines unease about the outlook amid a continued surge in COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and Europe.
Published:10/30/2020 6:37:09 AM
[Markets] Biden Campaign Accuses Facebook Of Favoring Trump After 'Glitch' Takes Down 1000s Of Ads Biden Campaign Accuses Facebook Of Favoring Trump After 'Glitch' Takes Down 1000s Of Ads Tyler Durden Fri, 10/30/2020 - 07:12

Facebook announced last month that it would bar new political ads from being run on its platform during the last week of the election, part of CEO Mark Zuckerberg's effort to signal to Democratic lawmakers that the company was taking its role as a 'guardian of democracy' seriously.

Barring new ads during the final week of the campaign seemed more like a kafkaesque nuisance, rather than a sensible tactic to try and cut down on mudslinging and misinformation associated with the election. And since no half-hearted attempt at virtue-signaling goes unpunished, Facebook is facing backlash from Joe Biden's campaign, which has accused the company of favoring President Donald Trump after thousands of Joe Biden ads were inexplicably blocked.

Here's more from the FT:

Facebook has mistakenly blocked thousands of Joe Biden advertisements from appearing on its platform with just days to go until the US presidential election, according to the Democratic challenger’s campaign, as the company struggles to implement its latest policy to combat misinformation.

Mr Biden’s campaign said on Thursday night that many of its Facebook advertisements were still not appearing on the site after the social media company attempted to clamp down on new political ads in the final stretch of the campaign.

Facebook blamed the glitches on “unanticipated issues”, brushing off suggestions that they were evidence of bias towards the campaign of President Donald Trump or the Republicans.

Ironically, despite all the company's attempts to keep itself out of the media crossfire, the glitches have "once more placed Facebook at the center of a political row in the heat of a US presidential campaign." Biden campaign digital director Rob Flaherty said in a statement that "We find ourselves five days out from election day, unable to trust that our ads will run properly, or if our opponents are being given an unfair, partisan advantage."

Facebook delivered a lengthy explanation to Bloomberg, claiming that the glitch had also disrupted Trump Campaign ads as well.

Facebook Inc. revealed Thursday how internal technical glitches had disrupted the delivery of some ads from the Joe Biden and Donald Trump campaigns, but said it made changes to resolve those hiccups in the run-up to the November U.S. presidential election.

The social media giant’s admission followed complaints from the Biden camp about how thousands of its ads had been blocked. Facebook said in a blog post it spotted “unanticipated issues” affecting both campaigns, including technical flaws that caused a number of ads to be “paused improperly.”

“No ad was paused or rejected by a person, or because of any partisan consideration,” Facebook said in its post. “The technical problems were automated and impacted ads from across the political spectrum and both Presidential campaigns.”

Facebook issued a rule for this election season to prevent new ads from entering the system in the week before the vote, to make it easier to address problems with misinformation, such as candidates announcing victory prematurely. But political ads were supposed to be allowed if they were in by the deadline.

Well, now that Facebook has settled that, the Biden campaign and its Democratic allies can go back to bashing the company for allowing the 'information terrorists' Ben Shapiro and Dan Bongino to share dangerous conservative talking points.

Published:10/30/2020 6:37:09 AM
[Markets] Need to Know: Here are 5 quality ‘election-proof’ stocks with upside potential, analyst says David Trainer, founder of the independent research firm New Constructs, has put out a list of five stocks to own regardless of the election. He says all these picks have attractive risk vs. reward, large cash reserves and strong market share.
Published:10/30/2020 6:06:47 AM
[Markets] "He Assured Us He Will Get It Done" - Lil Wayne Meets With Trump On Plan To Financially Empower Black Americans "He Assured Us He Will Get It Done" - Lil Wayne Meets With Trump On Plan To Financially Empower Black Americans Tyler Durden Fri, 10/30/2020 - 06:44

Days after 50 Cent reneged on his support for President Trump in a video (where he admitted that many of his celebrity friends had reached out to pressure him to change his view), another rap super star has stepped up to give the president a vote of confidence and implicit support.

Rapper Lil Wayne and President Trump "had a great meeting" about the administration's "Platinum Plan," Trump's effort to create millions of jobs in minority communities, outflanking Democrats in the process.

Wayne also went on a limb, risking his reputation to offer praise for the Administration's efforts to help black Americans: "What he's done so far with criminal reform, the platinum plan is going to give the community real ownership. He listened to what we had to say today and assured he will and can get it done."

Rapper Ice Cube has already fended off criticism for working with Trump, while Killa Mike, an Atlanta rapper and small business owner, said on CNBC the other day that 50 Cent, after his comments about Biden's tax plan, "wasn't crazy" - suggesting that Mike at least understood where 50 Cent was coming from as a business owner. Ice Cube over the summer introduced his "Contract for Black America" demanding specific reforms to close the opportunity gap in the community.

The contract asks politicians to back banking, police and prison reform, elimination of all Confederate statues, federal funding of "baby bonds" starting with $1,000 at birth, among other reforms to support the Black community in order to earn the "support of the Black vote."

Since Kanye West launched his whisper campaign to compete as a write-in candidate, the Trump Campaign has been working to recoup Trump's support among rappers and entertainers, which makes sense given the president's close ties to the entertainment industry (and the fact that he's delivered cameos and features on dozens of rap songs over the years).

We look forward to hearing Trump's feature on "Tha Carter VI".

Published:10/30/2020 6:06:47 AM
[Markets] France Beheading Terrorist Revealed To Be Boat Migrant Who Arrived Via Italy France Beheading Terrorist Revealed To Be Boat Migrant Who Arrived Via Italy Tyler Durden Fri, 10/30/2020 - 06:30

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

The terrorist who beheaded a woman and killed two others near a church in Nice, France has been revealed to be a Tunisian boat migrant who arrived on the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa last month.

The attack followed the beheading of Samuel Paty earlier this month, a school teacher who was targeted as part of a revenge attack for showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to pupils in a class about free speech.

It’s now confirmed that the jihadist in Nice, who yelled “Allahu Akbar” during the attack, arrived in Europe as a boat migrant.

“He entered France from Italy – travelling through the southern Italian city of Bari on 9 October – after reaching the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa on 20 September,” reports Sky News.

“He was carrying an Italian Red Cross identity document, and a bag containing two unused knives was found.”

Other sources name the terrorist as 21-year-old Brahim A., saying he was rescued by an Italian rescue boat on September 20 and placed in quarantine due to COVID.

The Tunisian had apparently been subject to an expulsion order by Italian authorities but was able to travel to France via Bari.

This is at least the fourth time that migrants arriving in France as “refugees” have gone on to commit terrorism.

The Chechen teen who beheaded school teacher Samuel Paty earlier this month had been granted a 10-year residency in France as a refugee in March.

The majority of the Paris massacre terrorists exploited the refugee wave to enter Europe.

The three terrorists who went on a knife rampage in Lyon back in April were also Sudanese refugees.

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Published:10/30/2020 5:40:16 AM
[Markets] : How the nation’s eviction crisis could stop some Americans from voting People who have been displaced by evictions may need to re-register to vote — and there’s a significant chance they aren’t aware of that fact.
Published:10/30/2020 5:06:53 AM
[Markets] War Spillover: Turkish & Azeri Mobs Hit Streets "Looking For Armenians" In France War Spillover: Turkish & Azeri Mobs Hit Streets "Looking For Armenians" In France Tyler Durden Fri, 10/30/2020 - 05:45

The latest terrorist killings to rock France as tensions grow centered on the country's firm free speech traditions as a secular republic vs. Muslim immigrant outrage over negative depictions of Muhammad in French media have grabbed international headlines, but other disturbing trends which have received much less attention suggest the violence looks to grow. 

This week there have been reports of clashes between Turkish-Azeri demonstrators and Armenians on the streets of France. On Wednesday multiple videos circulated widely on social media which appear to show Muslim Turks and Azeris "hunting down" Armenian Christians as the war in Nagorno-Karabakh spills over onto the streets of Europe.

Some other European cities have also witnessed rising tensions between Turkish and Armenian neighborhoods related to conflict in the Caucasus.

Turkey is of course a close ally of Azerbaijan in the current fighting against Armenia in the breakaway Karabakh border region. Armenians as an ethnic group have also long been targets of Turkish hatred going all the way back to the Armenian Genocide of the early 20th century.

Here's how The Independent describes the below video from Lyon, France:

In one video shared by an independent Armenian outlet, people can be seen marching in Lyon with Turkish flags and chanting the phrase "allahu akbar", meaning "God is the greatest". 

In the same piece of footage, a man can be heard saying in French: “Where are you Armenians? Where are you? We are here… sons of b*****s”.

The Independent said the videos appear to confirm the angry demonstrators were "looking for Armenians"

The mob reportedly formed after a pro-Armenia demonstration blocked a motorway connecting Lyon and Marseille on Wednesday morning.

The Armenian demonstration broke out into violence after Turkish nationalists reportedly tried to disrupt the rally. Clashes resulted in at least four injured, which French police are said to be investigating.

Below shows an angry mob in Vienne, France, a commune about 20 miles south of Lyon:

France’s Independent Union of Police Commissioners said in a tweet that over 150 people had engaged in a "punitive expedition in search of Armenians" in Vienne.

Turkish flags could be seen and nationalist chants heard, as well as anti-Armenian slogans amid the mayhem, which appeared to have eventually been broken up by police.

Published:10/30/2020 5:06:53 AM
[Markets] Autotrader: The Nissan Leaf vs. the Chevy Bolt: Two EVs compared They're both at the forefront of bringing affordable electric mobility to the masses. But which one is better?
Published:10/30/2020 4:37:32 AM
[Markets] Dow Futures Tumble As Tech Earnings Underwhelm, Pandemic Cases Surge Wall Street looks set to close out its worst month since the peak of the global pandemic in March amid a resurgence in coronavirus infection rates and muted near-term outlooks from some of the market's biggest tech companies. Published:10/30/2020 4:37:32 AM
[Markets] NerdWallet: How to make sure your home renovations are properly insured If you make changes to your home, it’s smart to revisit your homeowners or renters policy.
Published:10/30/2020 4:06:29 AM
[Markets] WHO Special Envoy On COVID Reiterates Caution Against Lockdowns As Primary Virus Plan WHO Special Envoy On COVID Reiterates Caution Against Lockdowns As Primary Virus Plan Tyler Durden Fri, 10/30/2020 - 05:00

Authored by Joseph Jankowski via PlanetFreeWill.com,

As the nations of Germany and France brace to hunker-down under fresh new lockdown measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, a Special Envoy of the World Health Organization has reiterated previous caution of using lockdowns as a primary method of combating the virus.

WHO’s special envoy on COVID-19, Dr. David Nabarro, cautioned in a Thursday interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today that full national lockdowns should be used only as a “reserve” measure to control the coronavirus, describing such actions as very extreme.

Nabarro, who was appointed in February as one of six special envoys tasked to deal with the corona virus response, warned that national lockdowns are “a very extreme restriction on economic and social life” that temporarily “freezes the virus in place.”

“You don’t want to use those as your primary, and I stress that, primary, means of containment. Because in the end living with the virus as a constant threat means maintaining the capacity to find people with the disease and isolating them,” Nabarro said.

The British doctor went on to recommend a robust test, trace and isolation system as the priority for government response with lockdown being “the reserve that you use to take the heat out of the system when things are really bad.”

In early October, Nabarro also cautioned against lockdowns in an interview with the Spectator, saying, “we in the World Health Organization do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus.”

“The only time we believe a lockdown is justified is to buy you time to reorganize, regroup, rebalance your resources, protect your health workers who are exhausted, but by and large, we’d rather not do it.”

Perhaps the most jarring part of his warning was when he described the economic impact of imposing strict lockdowns.

“Lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never, ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer,” he said.

The Special Envoy’s warning came as the World Bank detailed how the disruptions caused by COVID-19 could push an additional 88 million into extreme poverty.

It appears Nabarro’s words have fallen on deaf ears with some world leaders as French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel announcing fresh lockdowns measures on their citizens on Wednesday.

France will head into a nationwide lockdown on Friday under which citizens can only leave home to go to work, to go to school, for a medical appointment, to give assistance to loved ones, for essential shopping or for physical exercise.

In Germany, Chancellor Merkel announced a four-week shutdown of bars, restaurants and theaters.

“We must act, and now, to avoid an acute national health emergency,” she said.

Published:10/30/2020 4:06:29 AM
[Markets] UK Cops Will Raid Lockdown-Rule-Defying Christmas Celebrations; Fear Move Could Spark Civil Unrest UK Cops Will Raid Lockdown-Rule-Defying Christmas Celebrations; Fear Move Could Spark Civil Unrest Tyler Durden Fri, 10/30/2020 - 04:15

As local mayors battle with the UK's central government over the terms of anti-coronavirus lockdown measures, local police chiefs are warning that Britons may be in store for a holiday season distinctly reminiscent of the "Red Terror".

Several police chiefs warned that family Christmas celebrations could be broken up by intruding officers if households are found to have violated the lockdown rules.

David Jamieson, commissioner of the West Midlands police, said officers will be compelled to investigate reports of rule-breaking over the festive period, since the West Midlands is currently under Tier 2 restrictions, meaning people can't mix with anyone outside their own household or bubble.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Jamieson said "if we think there's large groups of people gathering where they shouldn't be, then police will have to intervene. If, again, there's flagrant breaking of the rules, then the police would have to enforce."

"It's not the police's job to stop people enjoying their Christmas. However, we are there to enforce the rules that the Government makes, and if the Government makes those rules then the Government has to explain that to the public."

But seeing that the UK is, after all, a multicultural society, it's not just Christmas that will be affected by the latest COVID-19 restrictions: Hanukkah and Diwali celebrations will face strict enforcement as well.

As we reported earlier this month, Johnson's new system could be in place for as long as six months. It divides England into three tiers (the other constituent nations are handling their own restrictions. Wales recently imposed a 2-week "firebreak" lockdown).

Here's a quick breakdown of restrictions across England courtesy of the Daily Mail.

Jane Kennedy, the top cop in Merseyside, another Tier 3 region, said she would investigate reports of illegal gatherings over Christmas, affirming the trend across the Tier 3 areas. Jamieson, meanwhile, said he fears unrest as the new restrictions arrive just as the furlough scheme for workers is ending, leaving many broke, desperate and depressed as we head into the holiday season.

“We’re sitting on a time bomb here,” he said.

“We’re getting very near the stage where you could see a considerable explosion of frustration and energy.”

Just like we've seen in the US, any rioting caused by the restrictions could be exacerbated by criminals taking advantage of the chaos.

As of now, the PM "hopeful" that the UK could start to move back to normal before the Christmas holiday.

Published:10/30/2020 3:38:17 AM
[Markets] Russian Blitz In Syria Warns Turkey To Back Off In Caucasus Russian Blitz In Syria Warns Turkey To Back Off In Caucasus Tyler Durden Fri, 10/30/2020 - 03:30

Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

In an unprecedented show of strength, Russian warplanes this week reportedly launched devastating attacks on a Turkish-backed militant stronghold in northern Syria, killing up to 100 fighters. It was a stunning blow to Ankara’s proxy military assets in the Arab country.

The airstrikes marked the end of a seven-month ceasefire which Russia had negotiated with Turkey to maintain a de-escalation zone in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province. The Russian-brokered truce was seen as a brake on an offensive by the Syrian army to rout retreating militants in the border region with Turkey whom Ankara has sponsored during the nearly decade-long war in Syria.

In the attacks this week, it was reportedly a joint operation between Syrian armed forces and their Russian ally. That suggests that Moscow is giving Damascus a green light to resume its offensive to reclaim all its territory from Turkish-backed rebels. The gloves are coming off again, it seems.

The target was reportedly the main training camp of Islamist group Faylaq al Sham, which is also known as the Sham Legion. The Western media refer to the group as “moderate rebels” but it is in league with known terror affiliates, such as Ahrar al Sham and Jaysh al Islam. It is also associated with the Jihadist propaganda outfit, the so-called White Helmets.

The Sham Legion is reportedly Turkey’s go-to Islamist group in Idlib through which it networks with other militants. It is therefore a lynchpin in Turkey’s illicit covert operations in Syria.

For Russia and Syria to launch such a pulverizing blitz against an important Turkish asset can only be seen as an emphatic warning to Ankara.

A warning over what? It doesn’t seem to have been triggered by anything happening in Syria of late. Rather, the shock-and-awe attack seems to have been Moscow’s way of telling Ankara to stop pushing aggression in the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia in Russia’s South Caucasus region.

The eruption of the Azeri-Armenian war on September 27 over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory has been an alarming security concern for Russia. Hundreds if not thousands have been killed in the past four weeks in what is the worst episode of violence since the two sides ended a six-year war in 1994 which saw a death toll of some 30,000.

There is little doubt that Turkey’s support for Azerbaijan is fueling the conflict. Ankara’s belligerent rhetoric about liberating Nagorno-Karabakh from ethnic Armenians has emboldened Azerbaijan to pursue a military solution.

Turkey has armed its historic ally Azerbaijan with advanced weaponry, such as missiles and drones, as well as supplying F-16 fighter jets. There are credible reports that Turkey has transferred thousands of its mercenary assets from northern Syria to fight alongside Azeri forces.

There are also reports that Turkey has deployed over 1,200 of its own special forces to the mountainous Karabakh region.

Ankara’s upping of the ante in the conflict could explain why three attempts to broker a ceasefire by Russia over the past month (and latterly involving the United States as a mediator) have foundered despite vows from the Azeri and Armenian sides to commit to honoring the truces.

There is a suggestion that Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan is seeking revenge for Russia’s assisted defeat of Ankara’s plans for regime change in Syria by making trouble for Moscow in its immediate southern neighborhood. If the Azeri-Armenian war escalates, Russia could be dragged into the conflict because of a defense pact it has with Armenia. That is something Russia would be loath to do since it also has friendly historic relations with Azerbaijan.

Moscow has repeatedly urged for a diplomatic solution to the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh and for external actors to back off, meaning Turkey.

Ankara did not seem to have heeded Russia’s stern message – up to now. It is pushing Azerbaijan on a mission to reclaim Nagorno-Karabakh by force and with maximalist rhetoric dismissing Armenian rights.

Rather than confronting Turkey head-on in the South Caucasus, it seems Moscow has decided to hit Ankara with a knock-out blow to its assets in Syria. Ankara might just take heed now.

Notably, the day after the Russian air strikes in Syria, Turkey’s Erdogan initiated a phone call October 27 with Putin “to discuss Nagorno-Karabakh and Syria”.

According to the Kremlin press service: “The Russian side expressed deep concern about the ongoing military action [in Nagorno-Karabakh], and the growing involvement of terrorists from the Middle East,” reports Tass agency.

Looks like Erdogan got the memo.

Published:10/30/2020 2:35:43 AM
[Markets] Melbourne Parties As 112-Day COVID-19 Lockdown Comes To An End Melbourne Parties As 112-Day COVID-19 Lockdown Comes To An End Tyler Durden Fri, 10/30/2020 - 02:45

After 112 days and countless arrests, fines and protests, Australia's second-most-populous state is finally free from lockdown.

The city of Melbourne, the capital and largest metro center of Australia's coronavirus-hammered Victoria state, exited lockdown on Wednesday, leaving businesses and residents to cope with the aftermath of months of forced closures for an virus that has so far killed fewer than 1,000 people in the entire country.

One resident told the SCMP about going to "an end of lockdown party" at a popular bar in the city to ring in the end of lockdown. She said the vibe at the event was "electric" and everybody was "giddy" about the restrictions finally coming to an end.

What began as a six-week stretch in lockdown ultimately left Melbourne's 5 million residents shut up inside for months, depriving them of the cultural attractions like bars, cafes and live music.

Victoria premier Daniel Andrews said more than 16,000 shops, 5,800 cafes and 1,000 beauty salons reopened on Wednesday, though he acknowledged that the restrictions had taken their toll on the city and its economy.

The lockdown comes to an end more than 2 months after Melbourne's 'peak' of more than 700 new daily cases in a day.

Some restrictions remain in place: Gyms in the city won't be able to reopen until Nov. 8. Melbourne residents must also continue to comply with restrictions on movement that bar them from visiting towns outside the city, a measure that had led many to complain that Melbourne and Victoria had been "cut off" from the rest of Australia.

In total, Australia has recorded about 27,500 cases, with 20,344 in Victoria, and 907 deaths, compared with a population of 25 million. Total active cases in the state have fallen to just 76, almost all of which are within the city limits of Melbourne.

 

Published:10/30/2020 2:09:58 AM
[Markets] Europe Markets: Dow futures slide 500 points and European stocks drop as Big Tech earnings, COVID-19 and election worries weigh Equities show little chance of ending the week on a positive note, after Apple and Amazon.com shares fell on results late Thursday. A week of increasing concerns over COVID-19 and restrictions have takena toll.
Published:10/30/2020 1:38:01 AM
[Markets] Neo-Ottoman Nights Of Armenian-Azerbaijani War Neo-Ottoman Nights Of Armenian-Azerbaijani War Tyler Durden Fri, 10/30/2020 - 02:00

Submitted by SouthFront.org,

Turkish Sultan-in-Chief Recep Tayyip Erdogan has come up with a justification for the deployment of Syrian militants to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone to support the war against Armenia. According to him, at least 2,000 fighters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) are supporting Armenian forces there.

During the meeting with the ruling Justice and Development Party parliamentary group, Erdogan claimed that during the phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin he allegedly told him that Turkish authorities “have identified, through intelligence sources, that there are some 2,000 PKK terrorists fighting for Armenia at the moment for $600. Mr. President said he was not aware of that.” “I have told Putin that if our red lines are crossed, we would not hesitate to take action,” he added. Apparently, these non-existent PKK and YPG members in Karabakh are to justify direct Turkish involvement in the conflict on the side of Azerbaijan and somehow neutralize the mounting evidence showing Turkish-backed al-Qaeda-linked militants moving to Karabakh.

Meanwhile, the Armenian side revealed radar data confirming the involvement of the Turkish Air Force in the Armenian-Azerbaijani war. The released tracks show that Turkish warplanes deployed in Azerbaijan provide air cover for Bayraktar TB2 drones striking Armenian positions, while the Turkish aerial command post circulating in Turkish airspace, near the conflict zone, coordinates the entire aerial operation. The entire operation, according to Armenia, was planned and carried out with the deep involvement of Turkish military specialists.

Under the pressure of evidence, the Azerbaijani side has already admitted the presence of Turkish specialists and military equipment on its territory. The last step towards reality would be to confirm that they are involved in combat.

On October 28 and 29, forces of the Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc were conducting intensive strikes on Shushi and Stepanakert, the largest towns in Nagorno-Karabakh. Several airstrikes even hit the maternity section of the hospital in Stepanakert. Some sources even speculated that these strikes were delivered by F-16 warplanes. On the other hand, the Armenian side demonstrated that it is not much better and shelled the Azerbaijani town of Barda killing at least 21 people and wounding 70 others. The Turkish-Azerbaijani shelling of settlements and towns in Nagorno-Karabakh is a logical result of its attempt to remove Armenians from the region. Therefore, their strikes are aimed not only at military targets, but also at civilian ones in order to displace the local population. Meanwhile, the Armenian retaliation in a similar manner rarely has real military goals, rather it helps Ankara and Baku to gain some ‘evidence’ to confirm its propaganda narrative about ‘Armenian terrorism’. Moreover, these actions of the sides contribute to the further escalation of the conflict and undermine any weak hopes for escalation via diplomatic channels.

On October 29, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported that it continues combat operations in the Khojavend, Fizuli, and Gubadli directions of the front calling its offensive ‘retaliatory measures’ to contain Armenian ceasefire violations. According to Baku, the Armenians lost two T-72 tanks, two BM-21 “Grad” MLRS, 14 different types of howitzers, and 6 auto vehicles in recent clashes. Earlier, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev announced that his forces had captured 13 more settlements in the districts of Zangilan, Fuzuli, Jabrayil and Gubadli.

In their turn, the Armenian military claimed that it has repelled an Azerbaijani attack in the direction of the towns of Kapan and Meghri in southern Armenia inflicting numerous casualties on the ‘enemy’. Armenian forces are also counter-attacking in the district of the Gubadli, aiming to retake the district center. However, this attack reportedly was repelled. As of October 29, Armenian forces have contained Azerbaijani attempts to reach and fully cut off the Lachin corridor linking Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. Nonetheless, the situation in the area remains instable and the Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc still continues its offensive operations in this direction.

Published:10/30/2020 1:06:25 AM
[Markets] As Italy tightens COVID-19 restrictions, Venice plunges back into ‘victorious solitude’ Some residents reflect on the pandemic and costs of globalization, and say it’s not too late to turn this medieval city’s fortunes around.
Published:10/29/2020 11:40:10 PM
[Markets] Plutocrat Violence And Election-Night Horror: Marxian Analysis Shows That Antifa Is Fascist Plutocrat Violence And Election-Night Horror: Marxian Analysis Shows That Antifa Is Fascist Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 23:45

Authored by Joaquin Flores via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

“When fascism comes to America, it will be called antifascism” 

– Huey Long (misattributed)

Antifa’s fascist violence will return on election night. That’s why it’s important to understand their fraudulence and fascism, and reject the politics of plutocrat-contrived violence. Perhaps strangely, Marxian analysis itself is best suited to communicate this point to the radical left.

This is because at the root of Marxian analysis are not self-declarations, nor definitions based in superstructural manifestations, but rather the material relationship between base and superstructure.

In layman’s terms this boils down to two things in practice: follow the money’, and ‘watch what they do and not what they say’.

The real existing financial motives and the socio-economic class behind those motives is what we will find driving the base, even while at the superstructural level we find an ideology which only nominally, only apparently, appears at odds with the real motives at the base. Antifa, at its class and financial base (i.e., its objective and material base) is a plutocrat supported and controlled operation against the republic.

“Unlike the old left, rooted in radically independent organized labor, Antifa’s leadership and activities, to the contrary, are financed through billionaire oligarchs both directly and indirectly, like George Soros and Michael Bloomberg.”

In the simplest possible terms, Antifa is fascist because while they use some of the talking points and imagery of the old left, they actually work towards a plutocratic coup (or counter-revolution) against the republic. This is not to say there is a system-wide fascist threat, for reasons we will explain in an upcoming installment. In short, the coming coup against republican norms will not establish ‘fascism’ as historically understood, but a new kind techno-industrial repressive society within the rubric of post-modernity, which has hitherto not been contemplated rigorously outside of small circles of futurists and science fiction authors.

Antifa and BLM protests have generally disappeared from the simulated reality of the controlled media lens, because these riots did not have the intended effect of delegitimizing the Trump administration, instead working against Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Antifa Explosion – What the Week of November 2nd Will Look Like

Once Trump declares victory at around 11:30 pm on November 3rd, right as social media bans, blocks, and censors Trump’s announcement of victory, we will see the start of mass Antifa violence in key cities in swing states. As the French Marxist Baudrillard would have explained, an entire media simulation will ensnare (within its simulacra) whole portions of the population, which will be encouraged to send in their late ballots, following a last minute strategic ballot harvesting ploy targeted at key locations.

The disastrous ruling of the Supreme Court allowing three-day late ballots to be counted, will encourage a whole post-election drive to harvest ballots precisely in those precincts where the known data is already in from election night. The push to throw the election for Biden post facto will focus largely on those precincts within particular communities, within swing states. The problem for Biden has been the lack of a ground campaign and any sort of excitement.

This means we should expect a very big controlled-media scandal to captivate headlines right after the election. Whether or not this will actually motivate post facto ‘voting’ is beside the point. It most only be a semi-credible narrative that will explain why hundreds of thousands of voters turned out starting November 4th to cast their late ballots organically, even as in fact these will have been the result of targeted ballot harvesting.

Why Antifa’s ‘Communists’ Are Actually Fascists

1. It Doesn’t Matter What You Call Yourself

Many Antifa members, as well as the BLM leadership, call themselves Marxists, and because this self-declaration is also convenient for their conservative opponents, these self-descriptions go unchallenged.

Likewise in terms of its membership, fascist movements a hundred years ago were largely drawn from workers and small business owners who saw themselves as socialists and liberal-progressives. People do not fit into easy categories, and besides socialism and liberal-progressivism were a mix of both enlightenment and romantic ideas relating to both myth and utopia.

What defined them as fascists in Marxian terms was not the self-professed utopian, futurist, religious, socialist, or reactionary beliefs of this or that member of the movement, but by the objective material and financial reality of being backed by the plutocracy against the public, itself. All the while posing as guardians of the public.

Marxian analytic tools demonstrate that the same as true of Antifa in the U.S. today. The conservative right has long enjoyed throwing around the term ‘socialist’ and ‘Marxist’, especially ‘cultural Marxism’, to denounce their opponents within the Democrat Party, and this has the inverse effect of drawing elements of the populist and radical left who have no relation to the ruling plutocracy within the DNC, towards down-ballot DNC politics and Antifa protest-riots.

We cannot characterize a party or movement by the plurality socioeconomic class of its members in a vacuum. Otherwise both the Democrats and Republicans are ‘labor parties’.

2. We Already Proved That Antifa Is Financed by the Plutocracy

Indeed, Antifa in the U.S. has become a plutocrat-financed fascistic movement if we are using any Marxian metric. This seems counter-intuitive, for after all they profess themselves to be antifascist, and the fascists they are opposed to are allegedly the ‘basket of deplorables’ that back Trump. This means we need to set aside the institutionally approved (Eco, Griffin, et al) definitions of fascism, ultimately liberal ones in service of the status quo, to arrive at any meaningful definition of any utility. The academic institutions themselves are compromised with regard to these matters.

This is why in our piece ‘How Can the Deep State’s Antifa Organization Be Stopped?’ we showed the plutocrat financed NGO industrial complex through organizations like Democracy Alliance, was the defining base of Antifa activism – what Marxian analysis has always held, far and above, as defining the objective nature of a movement, and not its self-professions nor characterizations by their opponents.

Marxian analysis requires that we assess a movement by a.) Its material base, meaning which class empowers it and makes it possible (finances it) and b.) In whose class interest they work to empower. The answer for both here is the plutocracy. Because they pose as ‘revolutionary left’ but are in fact plutocratic, means they are fascist.

Marxian analytic tools must be salvaged from today’s ‘Marxists’, as these are as prescient as they are timely. They go farther to explain the 4th Turning, the 4th Industrial Revolution, the declining rate of profit, the internet of things and 3D printing, and the potential for a future economy based on the natural right of liberty and human dignity, both in the world and of the soul. But its vulgar misrepresentation as the ideology of Antifa and BLM serves the purpose, perhaps intentionally, of turning-off tens of millions of Americans who could otherwise see what is useful within the analytic framework of class and economic development through history.

3. Their Tactics Are Taken From Fascism

Of course the fascism of Antifa is visible to many, because of its gang-stalking and arson, the mob intimidation of citizens and small businesses to support this nascent totalitarian movement. To force passersby to raise the fist just as eighty-five years ago, Germans and Italians were identically forced to give the Roman salute, is only a corroborating piece of anecdata, and not the root of the reasoning that Antifa is fascist in nature.

But insofar as the Antifa mob and BLM leadership situates itself ostensibly in Marxism, this is perhaps even more dangerous for the reasons we’ve explained. And yet it is Marxian analysis itself which is best suited to demonstrate that even at a theoretical level, Antifa is fascist.

The owning class weary of radical economic changes and a rising ‘right-wing’ populist movement which itself is fixated on economic issues historically associated with the left, deploys the very same ‘victims of modernity’ (war veterans, permanently unemployed of all ages, workers, vagabonds, indebted students, adventurers, petty thieves and released criminals) to bring its definition of order out of chaos by operationalizing the chaos and the chaotic tendencies of its minions.

Unlike the old left, rooted in radically independent organized labor, Antifa’s leadership and activities, to the contrary, are financed through billionaire oligarchs both directly and indirectly, like George Soros and Michael Bloomberg.

Likewise we cannot characterize something as ‘fascist’ by its explicit beliefs or by views that may be projected onto them, but rather by the class that operationalizes them, and towards what end. Race, nationality, ethnicity, religion – these are but superstructural permutations of the givens of a time and place. Here is, among many other places, where Umberto Eco and Roger Griffin and those in their image are critically errant in understanding fascism. Fascism is a matter of methods, of tactics, and of financing – not of symbols, explicit ideology, or specific positions on culture-war (wedge) issues.

That said, Griffin’s point that fascism no longer has the ability to mobilize a mass movement in the way it did prior to WWII, but that it can carry on as a smaller phenomenon that can inspire terrorism, is agreed. Many of his reasons for stating so are incorrect, even if this conclusion is apt.

4. Antifa Punches Down, the Historic Labor Left Punches Up

Both the traditional radical left and fascist right were proponents of violence towards political goals, even if in self-defense, but the traditional radical left used to focus on ‘punching up’: Attacking capital, the ruling class, the banks, big land owners.

But historic fascism in its late-nascent stage is more similar to Maoism during the Cultural Revolution (there’s a strong New Left orientation to Maoism as well). It organizes and concentrates power by ‘punching down’.

This dangerous fascistic trend among what has come to be known as ‘the left’. At the level of universities, it began in the late 90’s when coastal university classrooms became ‘call-out sessions’. It moved into mass culture through venture-capital funded click-bait websites like Buzzfeed and Jezebel. Of course all of these antics would have been unrecognizably alien to militant rank-and-file labor union members in decades past.

That Antifa punches down and that mainstream media echoes their talking points, and that public service announcements are increasingly indistinguishable from Antifa propaganda, is a clear sign of its fascist essence. Punching down is always from a position of power, and its appropriation by the overt sections of power is a clear sign that their ideas have become what the French Marxist Althousser called the Ideological State Apparatus: That anything and everything outside of nebulous, ever-changing shibboleths (i.e. ‘community standards’) can potentially be called ‘fascist’ as a justification for ‘cancel culture’ and black-listing, is precisely that which the growing ‘illiberal liberalism’ of the plutocrats indeed flourishes on.

Pro-systemic propaganda punches down. Anti-systemic propaganda punches up. It’s an equation as simple as it is true.

5. Like Fascists, Antifa Relies on Support from Local Law Enforcement, Local Business, and an Entrenched Local Political Class to Place Them ‘Above the Law’

Perhaps you’ve seen old film reel of Nazis in the 1920’s in paramilitary uniform, long before they had official power in the governmental sense, seemingly able to physically attack those they wanted at whim, without local authorities intervening. From a position of power, from local friendly police departments, business interests, and politicians who at the very least ‘look the other way’, Antifa – like its fascist counterpart – is able to get away of enforcing its power on a down vertical. Road-blocks, riots, home-burnings, against the general public – all with local official support. Their aim is to coerce from the public a fear-based passivity and conformity to the politics of their program.

It matters very little in this sense, that they call themselves Antifa. While history moves in one direction, and historical parallels are fraught with contradictions, Antifa today in the most simple terms is recruited and built from that disenfranchised and permanently unemployed hodgepodge of people of various socioeconomic backgrounds, along with thrill-seeking youth (in that age-old quest for meaning, purpose, and identity) which formed the bulk of fascist mobs in the teens and twenties a hundred years ago in Europe.

When we understand that their ability to operate ‘above the law’ in many cases, find large groups of philanthropically minded lawyer’s groups (like the National Lawyers’ Guild) to work to have their charges dropped, district attorneys who are lenient, and the media industrial complex including monopoly social media, all work in coordinated fashion to enable the Antifa organization.

6. Their Violence Has Not Once Been in Defense of Labor Strikes and Pickets

Their methods and tactics are entirely uninvolved in labor ‘general strike’ type strategies that would more correctly characterize them as traditionally leftist. As seen above, rather, their methods are taken solely from the rise of fascism. Their material financial base, as well as their methods and tactics are fascist, as we have shown. Legitimate left-wing movements arise from, and are materially (financially) rooted in organized labor at its base. The various superstuctural manifestations along the ideological plane, whether nationalist, fascist, social-democratic, communists, anarchist, etc., are not – in the final analysis – determinative of the class and socio-economic nature of its (conscious or not) ‘leftism’ in terms of its relation to organized labor.

7. Their Cancel-Culture and Voter Disenfranchisement Campaign is Against Democracy

This critical in separating Antifa from historical bourgeois-democratic movements. In Marxian terms, in the transition from feudal modes of production to capitalist modes of production, the plutocracy helped arm and organize workers and peasants, the poor and disenfranchised, to overthrow the feudal nobility and usher in an history period characterized by bourgeois-democratic liberties and freedoms, which have come to characterize the ‘western tradition’ in modernity. Antifa is not a bourgeois-democratic movement because the U.S. is not a feudal, nor semi-feudal country, and also because their actions work against the existing rights to association and speech (cancel-culture), and work against enfranchisement as they have been operationalized towards a ballot harvesting scheme.

Concluding Commentary

The views of Griffin and Eco focus overwhelmingly upon the superstructural manifestations of the fascism of a century ago, so much so that Eco’s attempt to uncover an ‘Ur-fascism’, or generalized theory of identifying fascism, is an utter failure. Rather, Marxian analysis demonstrates that both historical fascism regardless of name as well as contemporary movements of the same essence are defined not by these superstructural manifestations (ideology, aesthetics, etc.) but rather by its driving base in terms of socio-economic class (economic foundation, private property, capital.

Election night and the weeks to follow will be met with a wave of violence larger than seen before. It will be difficult for those remaining on the left to understand that the Antifa foot soldiers are agents of capital, and not of labor. This is largely because of the gradual takeover of the left by new-left identity politics which crept slowly, and then rapidly, with May of 1968 and the Situationist moment being a key signifier.

We know that the FBI’s field offices which historically have infiltrated radical left-groups are also compromised, because we would otherwise see these FBI agents – whose work is often to act as agents provocateurs – to act as de-escalating agents urging calm from within the ranks of these fascistic Antifa outfits. We have not seen this, which is a key sign that the FBI at the very top is wrought with complicit activity, which incidentally is another piece of evidence in 5., above.

Perhaps it is ironic that Marxian analysis itself is best able to demonstrate that Antifa – whose members often describe themselves as Marxists (socialists, communists, etc.) – is in fact fascist.

The defense of the republic, of the bourgeois-democratic revolutionary gains of 1776-89 which were expanded in 1865, today rests upon election integrity, voter enfranchisement, and in a strange twist of fate, the Justice Department under AG Barr.

Published:10/29/2020 11:00:33 PM
[Markets] White Castle To Automate Kitchens As Contactless Shift Will Accelerate Job Loss  White Castle To Automate Kitchens As Contactless Shift Will Accelerate Job Loss  Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 23:25

As restaurants across the country adjust for a post-pandemic world, driven mainly by the shift to a contactless environment via the adoption of automation and robotics, fast-food restaurant operator White Castle announced Tuesday morning additional robot deployments were nearing in the pursuit to automate kitchens.

White Castle, who announced a partnership with Miso Robotics' Flippy, a robotic chef, in July, which we've highlighted for years (see here & here), released a statement, announcing ten White Castle locations will soon receive robotic chefs. 

"The move will accelerate the adoption of artificial intelligence and robotics in the restaurant industry, critical technologies needed to tackle new pandemic challenges such as social distancing in kitchens, takeout and delivery demand, and higher standards for health and safety via contactless solutions," the press release read. 

Miso released a new Flippy earlier this month, called Flippy Robot-on-a-Rail (ROAR), that will speed up the production time of meals and improve quality and taste. 

ROAR Inside White Castle 

"Artificial intelligence and automation have been an area White Castle has wanted to experiment with to optimize our operations and provide a better work environment for our team members," said Lisa Ingram, the CEO of White Castle, in a statement. "This pilot is putting us on that path – and we couldn't be more pleased to continue our work with Miso Robotics and pave the way for greater adoption of cutting-edge technology in the fast-food industry."

The robots have so far been helpful during late-night shifts for the 24-hour restaurant, with job slots difficult to fill. Despite the virus pandemic, the company said customers are coming in. Flippy's robots prepare upwards of 360 baskets of fried foods per day.

The virus pandemic, forcing companies to limit interaction between customers and employees, has accelerated the trend of robots replacing humans in the workplace, which will lead to more job loss and rising wealth inequality for the poor

"Policymakers need to rethink how to improve the safety net for workers abruptly displaced by the pandemic, who also face an imminent risk of being replaced by technology, as well as how to prepare for the complex workforce transitions ahead," the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said in a report released in September. 

Suppose the virus crisis becomes more prolonged, as it appears in late October. In that case, as companies struggle to survive, many could turn to robotics and fire human workers, a move that would make customers feel more comfortable as there is no proven or commercially available vaccine for COVID-19, but ultimately will delay a labor market recovery.

Published:10/29/2020 10:33:29 PM
[Markets] "This Isn't Human!" - The 'Unseen' Perils Of COVID From "A Faceless Number In Melbourne" "This Isn't Human!" - The 'Unseen' Perils Of COVID From "A Faceless Number In Melbourne" Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 23:05

Authored by Thomas E. Woods, Jr. via The Mises Institute,

The Seen And Unseen Of COVID-19

[From the 2020 Supporters Summit, presented at the historic Jekyll Island Club Resort on Jekyll Island, Georgia, on October 9, 2020. Read and see the full lecture.] 

This is the intellectual level of the conversation [around covid-19]: You just want people do die.

How do you talk to somebody like that? So, in order to do that, I’m going to appeal to the above midwit-level population and I’m going to remind people of the important lesson in Henry Hazlitt’s great book Economics in One Lesson. This is a book that’s sold millions of copies and Hazlitt’s one lesson, as we all know in this room, is that if you’re going to evaluate an economic policy, it’s not enough to evaluate the short-term consequences for one earmarked group. Any blockhead can do that. If you want to know the long-term consequences or the real consequence of it, you look at the long-term effects on everybody, not the short-term effects on an earmarked group.

For example, suppose the government taxes the public to build a stadium. Well, the midwit will simply point to the stadium and say, “Hey, look at this wonderful thing that the government did. It’s a stadium.” And yes, we can all see with our physical eyes that there’s a stadium there, but they think that’s the entirety of the analysis: a stadium has somehow appeared. There’s no thought of costs, opportunity costs, where the money came from, where it would have gone otherwise—none of that is even considered, because those things can’t be seen with your physical eyes. To understand the fullness of the policy, you have to be able to think and see with your mind’s eye.

Likewise, with rent control people think, You impose rent control and people get lower rents, and that’s the entirety of the analysis as far as they’re concerned. There’s nothing further we need to consider. We just take these fat cats and just force them to lower rents, and then everybody gets lower rent and that’s, as far as the midwit is concerned, that’s the end of the discussion, because that’s what he sees with his physical eyes. But, for people capable of seeing with their mind’s eye, they ask other questions like, How many people are going to start building low-cost rental housing if they know that this ceiling has been imposed? There will obviously be far less housing built, which will make the problem of housing people worse. We also know that at these particular rates, you have a million people and surfeit of demand, so if you’re a landlord, you can be a jerk, you don’t have to fix that leaky pipe, you don’t have to do any maintenance, because if somebody’s upset about it, you got 8 million other people who would be very happy to take that person’s place.

So, in other words, if you see with your mind’s eye, you understand that rent control is a lot more complicated than just Duh, we forced them to lower the rent and it’s low for everybody. And in fact, if, for some reason, you wanted to lower rents through the means of government impositions, you would actually want to do the exact opposite of rent control. You would want to control every single price in the entire economy except rents, because that would make entrepreneurs not want to go into the production of anything other than rental property because everything else would be unprofitable. The one thing they could produce would be rental property, which would lead to a collapse in rental prices, which would be great for everybody. So, literally the opposite of what these people recommend would be the best thing. But the point is, we have to think about all the consequences for everybody.

Well, the same thing goes for public health, because my talk could be called “Public Health in One Lesson.” Because yes, if you simply focus monomaniacally on one virus, you might be able to say, Look at what we did for this one virus. You might be able to say that. I’m not even sure they can say that, but they might be able to say, Look what we’ve done for people with this one virus, and then, being midwits, they leave the discussion right there. They don’t bother to investigate the seventeen other aspects of health that have catastrophically collapsed because of that one thing they did. All they say is, look at what they did in the short run for this targeted group instead of saying, Look at the long-run consequences for everybody. And because they don’t look at that, it’s not even mentioned.

When was the last time Dr. Fauci, who is viewed superstitiously by everybody, even acknowledge that there are collateral damages from lockdowns, even mentioned them? Nothing. And so they’re, therefore, able to turn around and say, You just want people to die. Okay, well, let’s play that game. They want to play it, let’s play it. How about this? We know, for example, coming out of the UK, that there will be more likely to be at least as many, if not more, preventable cancer deaths than covid deaths because of the diversion of resources into covid and the panicking of everybody about it. And so we read Richard Sullivan, professor of cancer and global health at King’s College London, director of its Institute for Cancer Policy, saying “The number of deaths due to the disruption of cancer services is likely to outweigh the number of deaths from the coronavirus itself. The cessation and delay of cancer care will cause considerable avoidable suffering. Cancer screening services have stopped, which means we will miss our chance to catch many cancers when they are treatable and curable, such as cervical, bowel and breast. When we do restart normal service delivery after the lockdown is lifted, the backlog of cases will be a huge challenge to the healthcare system.”

We read on October 6 in the Daily Mail coming out of the UK, that health secretary Matt Hancock says, “Cancer patients may only be guaranteed treatment if COVID-19 stays under control.” How about that? This is the Daily Mail, which is much more honest than the American press. “Almost two and a half million people missed out on cancer screening, referrals or treatment at the height of lockdown—even though the NHS was never overwhelmed.” They had the honesty in the UK to say that. “Experts now fear the number of people dying as a result of delays triggered by the treatment of coronavirus patients could even end up being responsible for as many deaths as the pandemic itself.” Now, we won’t see that kind of effect right away. It’s not like a huge number of cancer patients are going to die immediately in 2020, but it does mean that people who might have lived an extra fifteen to twenty years, may live just another three or four, and we’ll see those numbers in the coming years.

Then we heard a United Nations report in April saying that “economic hardship generated by the radical interruptions of commerce could result in hundreds of thousands of additional child deaths in 2020.” UNICEF later increased that number to 1.2 million child deaths, and at Oxford University Professor Sunetra Gupta has reminded us several times, in recent weeks and months, of the UN’s prediction that as many as 130 million people could be at risk of starvation because of the lockdown, because of the possibility of famine in several dozen places around the world. Now who are the ones who don’t care about human life?

But, that’s not all, because in the United States in Oakland, California, we have Benjamin Miller of the Well Being Trust who tells us, as coauthor of a study on deaths of despair—so that’s drug or alcohol abuse or suicide—that an excess—that is to say, above what would normally occur—of 75,000 deaths will occur as a result of all this. Not to mention the CDC itself estimates that in the United States alone, there will be more than 93,000 excess noncovid deaths this year because of what’s been going on, including over 42,000 from cardiovascular conditions, over 10,000 from diabetes, and 3,600 from cancer. A recent UK study just out found that the risk of death was increased because of lockdowns by 53 percent among seniors with dementia and another 123 percent among seniors with severe mental illness. For four decades, India Nobel Peace laureate Kailash Stayarthi rescued thousands of children from slavery and human trafficking and he fears that that’s going to be reversed. He says the biggest threat is that millions of children may fall back into slavery, trafficking, child labor, child marriage. Well, with millions of families being pushed into poverty, they’re being pressured to do something, to put their children to work to make ends meet. So this is being done.

They’re trying these lockdowns even in the developing world, where people live hand to mouth. When you live hand to mouth, it means that every day you earn enough money to feed yourself for that day, and they’re being told to stay home for weeks and months. I think we see where this is going. Now, the people of Malawi, one of the poorest countries in the world, when they got wind of their government’s lockdown plans, they rose up and said, We’re not abiding by this. There will be no lockdown. And so there wasn’t. We could learn from them.

Even The Atlantic had to admit, “When you ask them to stay home, in many cases, you’re asking them to starve.” In the UK, The Telegraph says, “The absurd demand that developing countries adopt economically disastrous lockdowns is driving untold misery.” How often is that mentioned in the US? Ever? Any of our people ever mention that? No, it’s You want to kill people, because you want to live your life. Or because you don’t want two years of your kids’ lives taken away from them. Because now we’re being told, Maybe you can have your life back in the spring of 2022. Not fifteen days to flatten the curve, probably spring of 2022 you can start getting back all these pleasurable things that make life worth living. Okay. So, it seems to me that the crazies who think that public health should mean a monomaniacal fixation on one virus and then pretending that none of the other stuff is happening should have to answer for this a little bit more.

Now, some of this stuff that I’m talking about now appears in—wait for it—the free e-book I wrote on this subject: Your Facebook Friends Are Wrong about the Lockdown. They’re even wronger than you thought—wrong as wrong can be if you value human life and flourishing. So, in the United States, you can get this free book by just texting the word lockdown to the number 33444, and you’ll like it because it smashes these SOBs completely. Or you can get it at wrongaboutlockdown.com. Yes, I bought that domain, I was so happy to nab that one.

Not to mention that of course over the course of this people’s life savings have been depleted, their livelihoods have been destroyed and things that give their lives meaning and fulfillment abruptly removed. So, we’re supposed to believe that all that matters is just biological existence. And this prompts some interesting philosophical questions. If I could live to be 120 and enjoy robust health for all those years, but the price was we would destroy all the architectural treasures of Europe, we would abolish music altogether, and we would restrict social life to 5 percent of its formal level, would I choose that? Who would? Human happiness is not some optional extra. These things, like close, intimate relationships or so-called large gatherings, like concerts, theater, lectures, church, sporting events, the arts in general—if you think these are merely dispensable adjuncts to human life and flourishing, you have no business being in charge of anything. These are life itself, and as I’ve said in a previous talk, for anybody who performs in front of an audience—and particularly think about your children, dancers, musicians, athletes, magicians, comedians, singers, actors, whatever—they’re basically being told, Maybe you can never have this. Maybe you can never ever do what brings your soul happiness. And yeah, maybe we can’t have these until we have a vaccine, said Dr. Zeke Emanuel. “We may have to give up cherished things for a long time,” he says—things like schooling and income and contact with our friends and extended family for at least eighteen months. Maybe this talk could also be called “Get Bent.”

Well, another terrifying statistic came out recently, showing the grim if entirely predictable effects all this inhuman regimentation has been having on the young, particularly those between 18 and 24. Now, the federal government has a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. And they, among other things, look at percentages of people who have considered suicide within the previous twelve months.

Now typically, before all these lockdowns occurred, in the 18–25 group, it fluctuates between just under 7 percent and 11 percent of those people have contemplated suicide in the previous 12 months. What we now know is that just in June—not twelve months, just one month—it’s now over 25 percent of them have contemplated suicide in just one month.

Now why is that?

We’ve taken away everything they love, deprived them of the opportunity to socialize and to experience those irreplaceable moments of youth and demanded they accept this dystopia as the new normal and tell them there’s something wrong with them if they long for normal human life, the kind that is lived by humans. Yeah, that’s selfish, that right there. That’s selfish.

One of my friends has a friend in Melbourne, Australia, which is under a severe lockdown. Here’s what this friend wrote:

It’s been three months since I saw another human face besides [my partner’s].

Seven months since [my partner] and I had a little break together in the form of going and having a coffee down the street.

Over a year since I last sat out in nature. Sitting staring at the wall for two hours, again, unable to move.

Despair

Horrible negative emotions virtually all day.

Awake and tired nights, distress.

I can’t think of anything to look forward to because I don’t know when we will be allowed to do anything.

Just go for a drive, go to the forest.

Just go somewhere together, far from all this.

We are not allowed.

The police could enter our homes at any point and arrest us if we say the “wrong” thing online. That has happened.

This doesn’t feel human.

I don’t smile.

I don’t laugh.

I worked out the other day and I felt nothing, no pain.

Nothing would register as pain.

I couldn’t feel anything.

I feel far away from myself.

Sometimes I forget how long the day has been going for.

Does it matter?

You’re not allowed to leave, even if family members are terminally ill. They could die before we are let out of Melbourne. We got told it isn’t a good enough reason to be let out.

You aren’t allowed more than five kilometers from your house.

You aren’t allowed to buy a takeaway coffee and sit under a tree or on the ground anywhere that isn’t your house.

This isn’t human.

This isn’t human.

This isn’t human.

This isn’t human.

There is no empathy here.

No price is too high.

Suicide is not too great a price to pay.

Self-harm is not too great a price to pay.

Structural brain changes in large portions of the population is not too high a price to pay.

Do you know what prolonged social isolation does to the brain?

We are made to feel it does not matter because all we are, are numbers.

We are not people; we are the masses without a say

Without a time period to look forward to when we can hug again

I am sharing my experience because you should know the truth.

Sincerely,

A faceless number in Melbourne.

Published:10/29/2020 10:08:08 PM
[Markets] Key Words: Russia is ‘the New England Patriots of messing with elections,’ says Dan Coats, Trump’s ex-intel chief "We have full confidence that the Russians are going after our elections," Coats told CBS News on Thursday.
Published:10/29/2020 9:40:17 PM
[Markets] Smith: A Biden Presidency Will Mean A Faster US Collapse Smith: A Biden Presidency Will Mean A Faster US Collapse Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 22:25

Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.us,

The election of 2020 is perhaps the most bizarre affair in modern American history; not since the post Civil War turmoil of reconstruction and the election of 1876 have we seen the nation divided so completely along ideological lines. Questions of states rights vs. federal power were at the forefront at that time, and the presence of federal troops in the American south was a primary voting concern. The Democrats were the party of the Confederacy, the Republicans were the party of the Union. Though they had lost the war, southerners were finding ways to strike back during the elections.

With the Republican party suffering from corruption allegations and public sentiment shifting against the federal occupation, the Democrats were gaining massive ground and a Democratic sweep was thought to be imminent. However, there were reports of ballot box fraud on BOTH sides of the aisle; in many voting districts the counted number of votes exceeded the number of people (often on the side of Republicans). Republicans sought to challenge poll results in closely contested states to stop the Democrats and former confederates from taking political power, a situation they considered to be a “potential national disaster”.

The election became a stalemate of legal battles and fraud investigations. Ultimately a deal was struck – The Republicans would take the White House and in exchange federal troops would be removed from the South (the Republicans knew that voting fraud on their side would be exposed and that another civil war could erupt in response). Ultimately, the votes did not matter in the case of a contested election; what mattered was which outcome was the most convenient for the stability of the day and the election result was maneuvered to that end.

(Special Note: If you try to learn more about the 1876 election, I recommend searching for articles and books that are more than 5-10 years old. Anything written in the past few years on the subject is rife with spin and disinformation. Just check out this article from Time Magazine and try to swim through the propaganda! The part where they attempt to explain why democrats used to be the party of the confederacy is especially hilarious – basically, the democrats of the past were more like the “racist republicans” of today. The communist penchant for rewriting history is on full display.)

Today, we have a different dynamic and a different priority for the establishment: Which outcome will lead to the biggest disaster, and who will take the blame? In contrast to 1876, I believe that in 2020 the elites are seeking to INCREASE the level of instability, not calm the waters. The mainstream media has launched a massive fear campaign hinting at a contested election and both sides of the aisle are accusing the other of encouraging ballot fraud. I have no doubt that whichever way the election goes, millions of Americans will refuse to accept the results.

To be clear, I don’t really view modern elections from the perspective of “winning” and “losing”. It’s hard for me to say exactly what was going on behind the curtain in 1876, but today I think it is foolish to engage in election analysis without first accepting the reality that the game is rigged. Biden is a full blown globalist and is proud of it; Trump is surrounded by globalists and banking elites in his own cabinet. Regardless of who loses the election, the elites win. The only question I am here to ask is, which candidate serves the globalist agenda most effectively right now?

My original prediction for the 2020 election this past summer was that the White House would go to Donald Trump, but under sharply contested conditions. I predicted Trump’s win in 2016 based on the premise that the establishment needed a conservative scapegoat for the impending collapse of the US economy as we know it along with the civil unrest and calamity this event would inspire. I stated unequivocally on numerous occasions that Trump would preside over America’s rapid decline and that conservative ideals and principles would be blamed by extension.

And behold, in 2020 this is exactly what is happening, with a pandemic and the implosion of the “Everything Bubble” now in full swing and the media placing it all in the lap of Trump and conservatives.

Now, whether or not people believe this tripe is another matter. As it stands, the worst hit states economically are states controlled by leftist politicians that are enforcing draconian lockdown restrictions on the public. States populated predominantly by conservatives are fairing much better overall.

The bottom line is, which outcome serves the establishment narrative? Do the elites need Trump in office longer in order to crash the system completely on his watch? I believe this is the case. Like Clinton, Biden represents one of the worst possible candidates that could have been chosen as a believable opponent for Trump if the intent is to remove Trump from the Oval Office. His odd mental breaks, embarrassing gaffs, his habit of being creepily over-familiar with women and young girls and his exposure to corruption through foreign ties make him a poor contender.

To be sure, democrats and leftists will vote for him anyway out of spite, but I have a hard time seeing him rallying a wide cross section of Americans that would give him an edge. If the establishment wanted to be rid off Trump, they could have chosen better.

But what if I’m wrong and a Biden presidency is forthcoming? What if ballots are rigged to one side, as they were in 1876? What if a contested election leads to an “agreement” in which Trump steps down? What would it mean to have Biden in the White House?

Well, the US system as we know it is going to fall either way, at least in terms of the economy. This is a process that was initiated many years ago, with the impetus of financial bubbles hitting disaster proportions in 2008. Nothing has improved since then; in fact, the central bank bailouts and stimulus measures only INCREASED the likelihood of a collapse event by inflating corporate and national debt levels while simultaneously diminishing the buying power of the dollar. The only difference between Trump and Biden in this regard is how fast the collapse will happen.

With Trump, the crash will most likely happen slower and more methodically as the establishment takes its time building the narrative that conservative ideals, nationalism, sovereignty movements, etc. “caused” the calamity.

They need time to condition the masses to the idea that such philosophies are “inherently selfish” and destructive. Meaning, at least with Trump, we have a little more time to prepare for the inevitable.

With Biden in office the time frame changes completely and the crash must move faster. Why? Because the globalists cannot allow a Biden Administration (and by extension the globalists themselves) to be labeled as the culprits behind the crash. They would have to expedite the downturn in the early months of Biden’s first term so that the media can claim the crisis is an aftereffect of Trump’s presidency.

If Biden does enter the White House in 2021, expect a hard plunge in economic fundamentals almost immediately.

Another factor of a Biden presidency would be the near certainty of federally enforced pandemic lockdowns similar to those now being implemented in countries like France and Germany. Forget about the current state-by-state lockdown orders and nuances; Biden WILL attempt a national lockdown mandate because he is not held back by a need to appeal to a conservative and liberty minded constituency like Trump is. Biden will go for broke, and the economy will take another massive hit as more businesses go into bankruptcy at breakneck speed. And again, this would have to be implemented quickly so that Trump and conservatives can be blamed. They will claim harsh lockdowns “have to be pursued” because conservatives refused to accept them during the early stages of the pandemic.

In light of a Trump “win”, it is obvious that a second term would be used as an invitation for mass demonstrations and riots by extreme leftists, but, this threat doesn’t go away with Biden in office. Actually, the riots may become worse under Biden. The social justice cult will see Biden as a “malleable” and easily controlled political figure who will do anything to appease them. Biden will placate the hard left; not because he fears them, but because he has a role to play in this great Kabuki theater and it serves the interests of the globalist agenda at the moment.

Finally, if the establishment puts Biden in the White House it means they want national gun restrictions or outright confiscation within the first couple years of his term. Biden’s anti-2nd Amendment views are hardly ambiguous. With Trump, the chances of a gun grab are much slimmer (though he has voiced support for Red Flag laws in the past). Under Biden, the gun grab attempt will be swift. This threat along with Level 4 lockdowns on a national level would elicit the only logical response for conservatives – armed rebellion.

I do not think this is what the globalists want at this point in time. I do not think they have the capacity to handle it, and I do not think they would be able to get a majority of law enforcement and the military to go along with such policies. This is why I continue to believe they prefer Trump in office and that they will use economic decline and the “failure” of conservative policies as a false rationale for the “global reset” the elites seem to be so excited about.

Be warned, however, that if Biden ends up in office, this should be treated as a sign that a high speed collapse is on the way.

*  *  *

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Published:10/29/2020 9:40:17 PM
[Markets] Welcome To COVID-World Welcome To COVID-World Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 21:45

Authored by Ian James Kidd and Matthew Ratcliffe via TheCritic.co.uk,

On 8 September, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned of a deadly condition that is likely to kill around 11 million people worldwide every year.

This includes 2.9 million deaths among children, most of which are preventable. Given these awful projections, it is surely clear that urgent action is needed: social distancing; facemasks; lockdowns; unprecedented investment in vaccine development.

But that wouldn’t address the problem, because we’re talking about sepsis, something that affects 49 million people annually and also leaves many survivors with long-term health problems.

While its press release about sepsis received little media attention, the WHO’s subsequent warning that Covid-19’s global death toll could reach 2 million, even if a vaccine is found, was awarded a prominent position on the BBC News website and elsewhere.

So which should we be more worried about and where should our efforts be invested so as to minimise suffering, long-term illness and deaths?

The emphasis has been placed firmly on prevention of Covid-19 deaths, most of which involve elderly people with significant comorbidities. Forget about sepsis. Forget about numerous other serious and preventable diseases.

And while we’re at it, let’s also set aside the enormous and wide-ranging collateral damage caused by lockdowns and other measures: deaths due to other diseases that were left undiagnosed or untreated; widespread mental health problems; the health and well-being costs of unemployment and poverty; massive disruption of education; countless precious life-moments lost that can never be recovered; traumatic birth experiences; increased domestic abuse; and many people living out the last few months of their lives in isolation and misery, after which friends and relatives feel unable to grieve properly due to social distancing measures. And that’s without even looking beyond the UK.

Perhaps, when the costs of responding to Covid-19 by doing nothing or doing less are considered carefully, it will become clear that the emphasis is appropriate and the costs justified. Nevertheless, there is surely room for public disagreement and debate. How great a risk does the disease pose, compared to other risks that are routinely accepted? Is locking down entire populations a proportionate or morally justifiable response? These are some of the questions important to a robust public debate.

Academic philosophers, such as us, like to question assumptions, consider alternative perspectives and find holes in arguments. However, in questioning the orthodox Covid-19 narrative (according to which there is an unprecedented threat, best dealt with via extreme social restrictions), we are rarely met with careful consideration and counterarguments. More often, we get awkward looks, expressions of discomfort or disapproval, and a steadfast refusal to even contemplate the possibility of certain claims being mistaken or certain actions misguided.

Sometimes, there is the feeling of being estranged from it all, watching — with detached curiosity — the dedicated social-distancing and confident virtue-signalling of those evidently immune from doubt. They know what is happening; they know what is right; they know what to do. How easy it would be to set aside any remaining doubts, immerse oneself fully in these performances, and — with time — recover a sense of solidarity and certainty.

That said, there must be a place for honest, high-quality, critical debate, especially at a time like this, involving considerable uncertainty and extremely high stakes. So, rather than falling in line, we instead want to offer a diagnosis of others’ confidence. Why do so many people appear reluctant to even consider the possibility that lockdowns might be ineffective or inappropriate responses to the situation, that the widespread imposition of non-medical facemasks is based on inadequate evidence, and that the costs of certain measures, in terms of lives lost or blighted, may turn out to be higher than the gains?

We could point to an assortment of reasoning biases at work here, some of which play an especially prominent role in situations of uncertainty and threat. Think of the availability bias, for instance: the prospect of being attacked by a shark while swimming may be considerably more worrying than that of being run over while crossing the road to the beach, although the latter is more likely.

However, there is also an overarching shortcoming that unites various biases, one that we see time and time again: a failure to consider things in their wider context. Granted, the virus is a serious problem, but how does it compare to other threats we face? Perhaps we do need to lock down our societies to slow the rate of transmission, but are such radical steps consistent with how various other kinds of risks are appraised? It is clear that non-medical facemasks reduce the spread of large droplets, but simple interventions can have complex effects in the context of actual social environments. Is it really so obvious that the various behavioural changes they elicit will collectively serve to reduce transmission?

it is difficult to address such questions when Covid deaths are reported without any reference to all-cause mortality, when mask-wearing is presented as obviously right, and when calls for cost-benefit analyses are met with quiet disapproval or blunt charges of callousness, as though this were a straightforward matter of deciding to save lives or instead to protect the economy.

Sometimes, it can feel as though one’s interlocutors live in another world, a place where different rules and standards apply, where different things seem obvious, and where certain facts are not up for debate at all. They operate with different sets of certainties, in ways that lock out the possibility of critical discussion. We think this may actually be what is happening: there really is a way in which many people have come to inhabit a different world. Let’s explore the idea further.

Back in 1889, the philosopher and psychologist William James suggested that, during the course of our lives, we slide between different “worlds” or “sub-universes”, including the worlds of “sense”, “science”, “the supernatural”, “individual opinion”, and “sheer madness”. These worlds are connected to varying degrees, although immersion in one can lead one to lose sight of others. According to James, all of us place the flag of truth in one or another of these worlds, taking it to be our “world of ultimate realities”. It is not something we seek evidence for or subject to critical scrutiny. Rather, it is a context we take as given when thinking through matters and weighing up evidence.

Consider how, during the course of daily life, some things appear more salient than others — they light up for us, stand out, grab our attention. These things also matter to us in different ways: maybe they excite us, threaten us, comfort us, draw us in, or repel us. Whether and how we find various things salient or significant depends on our projects, commitments, and values, which become engrained over many years and operate as a lens through which we see and think about everything. But there is more to having a world than having such a lens, and recognising this takes us closer to understanding certain reactions to the pandemic.

For James, what is most fundamental is an underlying, inarticulate feeling of how things are. This includes a deeply-felt sense of the essential character of the world, whether it is fundamentally good or bad, what is up for debate and what is to be accepted without question. Also included is a sense of the kinds of people we should take seriously in our personal efforts to understand things. For instance, writing a few years earlier, James describes his philosophical opponent, the rationalist, as inhabiting a world that is too crisp, clean, simplified, and abstract — “too buttoned-up … and clean-shaven” to capture “the vast slow-breathing unconscious Kosmos”.

We suspect that many people have slipped into a sort of “Covidworld” and moved the flag of truth to that world, via a process that resembles religious conversion more than it does the adoption of new beliefs that remain open to critical scrutiny. As the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein once put it, some people get converted to a very different “picture of the world”, complete with its own certainties, practices and ways of speaking.

To understand how this could have happened, consider the swift and profound effects that the March lockdown had on our practically meaningful worlds. Intricate webs of well-established projects and pastimes were suddenly suspended or lost. Work stopped or changed radically. Over the ensuing months, our everyday habits of life were replaced with something new and unfamiliar.

More usually, our efforts to cope with profound life-disruptions and negotiate instability involve turning to other people for advice, guidance, and support. When this works, our interrupted sense of what is compelling or reasonable is renewed and our sense of stability returns. Lockdown reduced this kind of support, as we were all affected by it and cut off from many of our usual social interactions. Constantly subjected to the mantra, “stay at home; protect the NHS; save lives”, the variety and spontaneity of our collective social life was replaced by the clapping, the rainbows, the daily government briefings, the charts of new cases and deaths, the burgeoning signage telling us all to keep our distance, the arrows on the pavements, and the social media bombardment. Then came facemasks, the threat of Long Covid, socially distanced classrooms, ominous predictions of a “second wave”, an increasingly elaborate set of new restrictions, a tier system, and calls for circuit-breakers.

Along with all of this, there has been a subtler and more pervasive alteration in many people’s sense of how things are with the world. It is no longer homely in the way it once was. Everything is shrouded in danger and distrust. A world that was once a theatre of possibilities is now suffused with an air of dread. People we might once have passed on the street with a smile or a nod are now experienced as potential disease carriers, to be met with suspicion or avoided.

In the context of this altered way of finding ourselves in the world, a new system of rules, projects, practices and pastimes has taken hold. Fear of the virus is the single fulcrum around which everything now turns, shaping our attention, concerns, conversations, and activities. For many, the world feels altogether different, like the inevitable onset of a winter that must be endured with grim resignation.

Over time, Covidworld tightens its grip, eclipsing all other concerns. It reminds us of Wittgenstein’s example of a culture dominated by belief in a Last Judgment, a conviction expressed “not by reasoning or by appeal to ordinary grounds for belief”, but through its role in “regulating” all aspects of life. Similarly, Covidworld offers a simple, internally coherent substitute for the messier and more complicated reality we once inhabited.

A reluctance on the part of many people to engage in serious debate can be understood in terms of the transition into this different world, a place complete with its own foundational beliefs and performances. Lockdowns work; masks lessen transmission; the second wave is an unacceptable threat and must be suppressed.

Since all of this is beyond doubt, questions about the adequacy of evidence are often reinterpreted in moral terms and dismissed as irresponsible acts of “covidiocy”. Many of those who would more usually insist on examining alternative possibilities or challenge the party line now fall strangely silent. Lack of critical reflection is further fuelled by a distrust of those who do not belong to Covidworld.

Granted, there are conspiracy-mongers who fail to grasp that 5G masts cannot spread viruses, but there are also those who ask questions that really ought to be seen as sensible, like whether a range of social restrictions are proportionate, in view of their human, social, and economic costs. For those firmly embedded in Covidworld, however, such questions may seem no less far-fetched than that of someone who seriously wonders whether the world is just a dream. The flag of truth now flies in Covidworld; it is not a place to be questioned, but the place within which questioning takes place.

Could something like this really be happening? We think so. It would certainly explain a curious detachment of the standards applied to Covid-19 from standards normally applied elsewhere, especially concerning attitudes towards risk. The world has always been a tough place to live in. Our sense of safety and security could be shattered at any time by accident, serious illness, loss of abilities, bereavement, mistreatment at the hands of others, unemployment, failure, or humiliation. And, whatever else happens, death will catch up with us eventually.

Ordinarily, most of us don’t pay much attention to the risks we face, instead sleepwalking past them until they strike. Yet we still know, in a sort of detached way, that more than 10,000 people die most weeks in the UK, that many of those deaths are preventable, that influenza kills thousands of people every winter, and that many human lives are constantly marred by disease, poverty, neglect and cruelty. The Covid-19 pandemic has shone a light on the death and suffering caused by the virus, but at the same time eclipsed other concerns. Yes, this is really horrible, but things have always been horrible. Shine the light more widely and you will find much more of the same.

Even allowing that Covid-19 is a significantly greater risk to many people than, say, influenza, there remains a curious disconnection between attitudes towards risk in the two cases. Winter flu deaths have been an accepted part of life for many years, while Covid-19 takes centre-stage. What seems different now is that the rules, standards, practices, values, and attitudes internal to Covidworld have become cut off, to varying degrees, from the wider context of human life.

One might respond that we should have been more concerned about influenza all along and that we should have taken more care with easily implementable hygiene measures long ago. That is right and there are lessons to be learned. Similarly, there are good grounds for suggesting that more should be done to tackle sepsis.

But what would happen if we eliminated all of the inconsistency by taking the standards applied to Covid-19 and applying them to every other form of risk?

The social world would come to present itself as an all-enveloping threat, a harsh realm within which life would be intolerable.

Human life is replete with risks, but we manage them by making judgments shaped by a sense of salience and proportionality, rooted in the wider context of our social world. That is why it is important to understand and challenge the widespread decontextualisation that attends Covid-19. However, the extent of this challenge should not be underestimated. When the gulf seems somehow too vast for critical debate to get off the ground, when you are struck by the uncanny feeling of encountering a perspective that is quite alien, maybe that’s because they really are from another world.

Published:10/29/2020 9:00:28 PM
[Markets] MarketWatch First Take: Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google all produce record sales amid Big Tech backlash In a repeat from last quarter, tech's Big Four reported record revenue amid further regulatory scrutiny, a congressional grilling and the coronavirus pandemic. But investors got the jitters by cautious comments, lack of revenue outlook by some, and higher expenses related to COVID-19.
Published:10/29/2020 8:31:25 PM
[Markets] WeWork CEO Says Company Will Give IPO Another Shot After Anticipated Return To Profitability In 2021 WeWork CEO Says Company Will Give IPO Another Shot After Anticipated Return To Profitability In 2021 Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 21:25

Earlier today, the FT reported on new discovery evidence showing that SoftBank's Masayoshi Son essentially ordered WeWork's CEO to postpone a $3 billion tender offer for shares held by WeWork founder Adam Neumann and a group of early WeWork investors. For months now, WeWork related news has consisted mostly of back-and-forth related to the lawsuit, and musings about how the coronavirus couldn't have arrived at a worse time for the company.

A week ago, Fitch projected that even though WeWork's cash burn rate had been cut by nearly 40% between 2019 and 2020 under the new management team, the ratings agency still downgraded the company, arguing that the virus and its aftermath could threaten the company's ability to continue making debt payments for bonds that are due to be paid back in 2025.

While those bonds have repriced substantially lower over the past year, there's been whispers about SoftBank planning a SPAC, possibly with the intention of giving WeWork another go at it.

Well, in the most telling sign yet that SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son might be coming back to give WeWork another shot, the Telegraph is reporting that WeWork is considering making a second attempt at an IPO in the not-too-distant future as it projects to finally become "profitable" in 2021.

Sandeep Mathrani, who joined the office space rental business in February, told Bloomberg that the business is on track to become profitable next year after it laid off around a third of employees.

"I’m a big believer in one step at a time so let’s hit profitable growth first, and we’ll then revisit the IPO plan,” he said.

Mr Mathrani said the company does not have any plans to lay off more staff, saying that WeWork is "100pc done with rightsizing.

The business saw occupancy rates of 66pc in the first three months of 2020, according to its chief executive. "With the cost cuts that would be where we see cash coming in," he said. "We will get to that level by next year."

To be sure, the Telegraph didn't specify if this "profitability" metric would be net profit, or some kind of "community adjusted" profitability that aims to project how profitable WeWork would have been if it the virus had never hit - or something like that (for more on this topic, see this interview with Berkshire Hathaway's Charlie Munger from earlier this year).

Mathrani also said he's still in contact with his predecessor, despite the ongoing and increasingly acrimonious lawsuit mentioned above. "We chitchat twice a month and the conversation is about the business," Mathrani said. "He wants to know how I'm doing".

Of course, if Neumann loses his lawsuit and gets stuck with his WeWork shares, a miraculous turnaround would be the only way for him to ever that third comma back to his net worth. As of now, the company's executive chairman, Marcelo Claure, is insisting that the business won't go bankrupt.

We must admit, the notion of a WeWork comeback sounds pretty unlikely considering the shellacking the company took in the business press. But as the last few years have taught us, anything is possible in this wacky world. Especially if the Fed's money taps are still running when the dust has settled.

Published:10/29/2020 8:31:24 PM
[Markets] "A Long Slog" - NYC Recovery Lags Rest Of Country As Downturn Could Last Years "A Long Slog" - NYC Recovery Lags Rest Of Country As Downturn Could Last Years Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 20:45

While the virus pandemic depression is over, the conventional recession could be nearing as economic growth falters. The fiscal cliff will soon enter the third month; high unemployment is rampant and small and mid-sized businesses remain in financial distress as daily virus caseloads hit new record highs.

For some economic realities, one that is far from President Trump's "V-shaped" recovery narrative, Mark Zandi, the chief economist for Moody's Analytics, told NYT the US economy "is going to be a long slog" from here, with estimates of a downturn lasting until 2023. 

A multi-year downturn comes as no surprise following one of the steepest economic contractions in history. Zandi also examined NYC, the largest municipal and regional economy in the US, only to discover a recovery might not be seen until 2025:

"This is an event that struck right at the heart of New York's comparative advantages," Zandi said. "Being globally oriented, being stacked up in skyscrapers and packed together in stadiums: the very thing that made New York the pandemic undermined New York, was upended by it." 

Zandi said NYC's recovery could take two years longer than the rest of the country as the virus-induced downturn has severely damaged five key industries - restaurants, hotels, the arts, transportation, and building services - most of which heavily rely on travel and tourism. 

For more color on the recovery, high-frequency data from Opportunity Insights shows the percentage change in all consumer spending on a national level is still below March levels, even though the federal government helicopter dropped stimulus checks to tens of millions of Americans. 

Percent change in small business revenue on a national level shows a muted recovery. 

The national employment picture is not a good one, as well.

Employment claims could be ready to turn up as a double-dip recession could be nearing. 

What's happening now is the awesome recovery narrative touted by President Trump and Wall Street are quickly fading as stimulus hopes collapse. 

Published:10/29/2020 8:05:07 PM
[Markets] : Apple to launch its subscription bundle, Apple One, on Friday Prices for Apple One will range from $15 a month to $30 a month, with a 30-day free trial for new services.
Published:10/29/2020 7:29:37 PM
[Markets] Von Greyerz: "Get Ready For The Biggest Collapse In Human History" Von Greyerz: "Get Ready For The Biggest Collapse In Human History" Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 20:25

Authored by Egon von Greyerz via GoldSwitzerland.com,

Liftoff & Collapse

Get ready for the biggest collapse in the history of mankind. It will be devastating and reach all parts of society, economic, financial, political & social.

But wait, it won’t happen just yet. Because before that the world will experience a LIFTOFF in markets of gigantic proportions. This will be the grand finale of this financial era. It will involve inflationary liquidity injections of proportions never seen before in history and lead to a massive explosion in many asset markets.

Most investment assets will benefit as the disconnect between markets and reality grows to distortionary proportions.

TRUMP – YOU WIN! BIDEN – YOU WIN!

So there we have it. For investors the outcome of this election is totally irrelevant. In four years time, the difference for the economy and markets between a Trump or Biden victory will be insignificant.

Either one of them only has one choice. They are both facing a bankrupt country which has been running budget deficits since 1930 with four years of exception in the 1940s-50s. The Clinton surpluses were fake. Also, the US has had trade deficits for almost 50 years. The consequence has been an exponentially surging debt which was under $1 trillion when Reagan became President in 1981 and is now $27t. In the next four years, a $40t debt is guaranteed as I forecast four years ago but as the financial system implodes, the debt could easily run into $100s of trillions or $ quadrillions when the derivative bubble bursts.

The global financial system should have collapsed already in 2006-9 but the central banks managed to delay the inevitable demise for over a decade.

SUPER CYCLE BULL MARKETS END IN EUPHORIA

What we must understand is that the end of an economic supercycle doesn’t happen quietly. No, the conditions need to be uber-euphoric with maximum bullishness for the economy and stocks. This means that before this era is over, markets must surge in the final months, even double over a 9-18 months period.

Multiple factors are now in place for this to happen. Firstly both presidential candidates will need not just fistfuls of dollars but quantum computers that can print the required trillions and quadrillions of dollars.

The convenient excuse they have is of course Covid. Individuals not working need money, companies need money, municipalities, states and the Federal government need money.

But we mustn’t forget how the end of the final phase of this economic era started. This was back in Aug-Sep 2019 when the Fed and the ECB shouted out from the roof tops that were going to do what it takes to save the system. They didn’t tell us what the problems were, but it was clear to some of us who understood the fragility of the financial system that it was in dire straits. When the last crisis started in 2006, the Fed’s balance sheet was $830b. At the end of the Great Financial Crisis in 2009, the balance sheet had grown to $2t.

But no one must believe that the problem had been solved by 2009. All it was, was a temporary stay of execution. Why otherwise would the Fed’s balance sheet have grown by another $5t since 2009. Just looking at the predicted budget deficits in the next 4 years, plus accelerating problems in the financial system the Fed’s balance sheet is likely to explode in coming years.

LIQUIDITY INJECTIONS WILL GIVE SHORT TERM BENEFIT TO THE ECONOMY

So the conditions are in place for the biggest liquidity injection in financial history. For many years we have experienced a total disconnect between economic reality and markets. The coming acceleration in money printing and liquidity injections in to the financial system will be so overwhelming that it will not just fuel markets but also give a short term, albeit artificial, boost to the economy.

This is a typical course of events at the beginning of an inflationary phase which leads to hyperinflation as the currency collapses.

The paralysation of the world economy due to Covid will probably peak with the current second wave and therefore add to the optimism in markets. But no one must believe that the pandemic is the cause of the problems in the world economy. No, it has just been a very vicious catalyst which hit an already fragile financial system.

When Covid gradually slows down, the initial optimism combined with the flooding of the system with printed money might last for a year or so. But as the world realises that you cannot solve a debt problem with more debt, the real difficulties in the economy and the financial system will reemerge with a vengeance.

FROM BOOM TO BUST

So let us look at a possible scenario of events following the election:

New president will flood the economy with money & boost stocks

Initial market volatility will settle down quickly and investors will respond optimistically to the new president’s promises of support to every corner of the economy.

Stock markets will surge and could double over a 9-18 month period. No cash will be left on the sidelines. Both institutions and retail investors will throw all the cash they have at the stock market. There will be a frenzy which will surpass the tech stock boom in the 1990s. There will be fanfares and blazing guns as the market seems unstoppable.

But after the likely short-term boom, there will be tears as markets fall by over 90% in real terms. And sadly most investors will ride the stock market all the way down. The big difference this time is that central banks will not and cannot save them.

COMMODITIES WILL BOOM

The biggest beneficiary of this coming boom will be commodity markets which are at a 50 year low versus stocks. Looking at the chart below, the minimum target would be commodities outperforming stocks by 4 to 1. Eventually a new high in commodities against stocks is likely. This would mean commodities outperforming stocks by 20x. The first part of this outperformance will come as stock markets rise. But the final phase will be when general stock markets collapse and commodities continue to strengthen. Goldman Sachs expect commodities to rise 28% in 2021. They expect inflation plus a commodities deficit will drive prices higher. And this is of course what the chart below tells us.

PRECIOUS METALS WILL SHINE

Gold, silver and platinum will vastly outperform stocks. The Dow – Gold ratio will initially reach 1 to 1 where it was in 1980 when gold was $850 and the Dow index 850. Eventually the ratio will reach at least 0.5 to 1 which means that the Dow will lose 97% against gold in the next five years.

Goldman Sachs expects gold to reach $2,300 in 2021 but I believe that target is too conservative. Before gold breaks out above the August high at $2,074, a correction down to $1,800-20 is possible and would not change gold’s unstoppable rise. In this latest phase, gold is in a bull market or more correctly, the currencies are in a bear market since 1999. The continued debasement of the currencies is guaranteed by the central banks since they only have one option – TO PRINT AND PRINT AND PRINT until money dies.

We must remember that gold is the king of the metals and therefore the safest precious metal to hold. But initially at least, silver and platinum will strongly outperform gold but with massive volatility.

Vital to hold physical metals stored in safe vaults in the investor’s name, outside the banking system. It is important not to forget that the risks in the financial system will be at a maximum for the next few years and a failure can happen at any time.

PRECIOUS METALS MINING STOCKS

For the smart investor, this is where more money will be made than in any area of stocks or other investments. Especially the juniors will really shine. But this is a market for specialists. So either best to follow some of the smartest investors in this area or to buy an index of these stocks. There will be many 10-20 baggers and even some 100 baggers but obviously also some losers. So important to have a spread.

The biggest risk with mining stocks is that they are normally held within the financial system. So even though they are a terrific investment opportunity, they are not the best form of wealth preservation. Therefore it is safer to have a much bigger allocation to the physical metals which, even though they will underperform the mining stocks, will see massive capital appreciation.

The chart below shows XAU gold – silver index against the Dow since 1983 when the XAU was introduced. Since then the XAU has lost 95% against the Dow. This fall is likely to be reversed in the next few years with the XAU going up 20x against the Dow . For Dow investors this means losing 95% against mining stocks.

And sadly, this is what will happen to 99% of investors as they stick to their ordinary stocks and miss the most incredible opportunity.

DOLLAR

Printing unlimited amounts of money always has consequences. Since 1971 the dollar has lost 98% in real terms which means against gold since gold is the only money that has survived in history.

The dollar is now starting its final journey to ZERO and as the table shows, even a weak and artificial currency like the euro will outperform the doomed dollar.

A falling dollar will accelerate US inflation until it leads to hyperinflation.

INTEREST RATES

Interest market is probably the most contrarian of all trades today. The whole investment world, including the Fed and the ECB believe that rates will stay at zero or below for years to come. Normally when consensus is that strong, the opposite is more likely to happen.

Also, rising a weaker dollar will cause higher inflation which will put upward pressure on rates. As investors start selling the long end of the bond market, short rates will eventually follow.

Precious metals normally benefit from negative real rates which means that inflation is higher than interest rates. Gold can still rise strongly with high nominal rates as long as inflation is higher. We saw this happen in the 1970s to the early 1980s when rates reached 20% and gold went from $35 to $850. During that time, inflation remained higher than rates.

I remember this period well as I experienced it in the UK with my first mortgage reaching 21%.

FROM BOOM TO BUST

So there is now an opportunity for all investors to double their money in the stock market in the next 9-18 months as ever more liquidity will fuel stock markets.

But a Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware) warning is in place here. Asset markets are already in a major bubble and the financial system is so fragile that it could break at any time.

So rather than chasing the last leg of this bull market which most investors will do, it will be much better to look at safer alternatives.

I have outlined them above. Physical precious metals and precious metals stocks will outperform all other markets. And these all present the best risk. Both the metals and the metal stocks will boom in the final phase of the stock market boom. And as stock markets top and then crash, the precious metals sector will continue to perform extremely well as currencies are debased.

As I stated above, the general stock market is likely to lose at least 95% against the precious metals sector in the next five years.

There has probably never before been such a clear choice in investment markets but sadly most investors will miss it. They will instead stick to their conventional portfolio which will include a lot of the already overvalued tech stocks.

Holding gold and silver stocks will be the investment opportunity of a life time. But since they are held within a vulnerable financial system, we believe that a these holdings should represent a much smaller percentage than physical metals.

To hold physical gold, silver and platinum outside the fragile banking system is the ultimate form of wealth preservation and insurance against a debt infested and unsafe financial system.

With a portfolio of some precious metals stocks and physical metals, investors will be able to ride out the coming storm and volatility in markets and also benefit financially. Of course there will be volatility also in the metals market but the trend in the next 5+ years is virtually guaranteed.

So better to avoid the coming boom and bust in the general stock markets and stick to metals.

Published:10/29/2020 7:29:36 PM
[Markets] Nine COVID Controversies Nine COVID Controversies Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 19:45

Authored by Jeff Harris via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity,

Ever since the alleged pandemic erupted this past March the mainstream media has spewed a non-stop stream of misinformation that appears to be laser focused on generating maximum fear among the citizenry. But the facts and the science simply don’t support the grave picture painted of a deadly virus sweeping the land.

Yes we do have a pandemic, but it’ a pandemic of ginned up pseudo-science masquerading as unbiased fact. Here are nine facts backed up with data, in many cases from the CDC itself that paints a very different picture from the fear and dread being relentlessly drummed into the brains of unsuspecting citizens.

1) The PCR test is practically useless

According to an article in the New York Times August 29th 2020 testing for the Covid-19 virus using the popular PCR method results in up to 90% of those tested showing positive results that are grossly misleading.

Officials in Massachusetts, New York and Nevada compiled testing data that revealed the PCR test can NOT determine the amount of virus in a sample. (viral load) The amount of virus in up to 90% of positive results turned out to be so miniscule that the patient was asymptomatic and posed no threat to others. So the positive Covid-19 tests are virtually meaningless.

2) A positive test is NOT a CASE

For some reason every positive Covid-19 test is immediately designated a CASE. As we saw in #1 above up to 90% of positive Covid-19 tests result in miniscule amounts of virus that do not sicken the subject. Historically only patients who demonstrated actual symptoms of an illness were considered a case. Publishing positive test results as “CASES” is grossly misleading and needlessly alarming.

3) The Centers for Disease Control dramatically lowered the Covid-19 Death Count

On August 30th the CDC released new data that showed only 6% of the deaths previously attributed to Covid-19 were due exclusively to the virus. The vast majority, 94%, may have had exposure to Covid-19 but also had preexisting illnesses like heart disease, obesity, hypertension, cancer and various respiratory illnesses. While they died with Covid-19 they did NOT die exclusively from Covid-19.

4) CDC reports Covid-19 Survival Rate over 99%

The CDC updated their “Current Best Estimate” for Covid-19 survival on September 10th showing that over 99% of people exposed to the virus survived. Another way to say this is that less than 1% of the exposures are potentially life threatening. According to the CDC the vast majority of deaths attributed to Covid-19 were concentrated in the population over age 70, close to normal life expectancy.

5) CDC reveals 85% of Positive Covid cases wore face masks Always or Often

In September of 2020 the CDC released the results of a study conducted in July where they discovered that 85% of the positive Covid test subjects reported wearing a cloth face mask always or often for two weeks prior to testing positive. The majority, 71% of the test subjects reported always wearing a cloth face mask and 14% reported often wearing a cloth face mask. The only rational conclusion from this study is that cloth face masks offer little if any protection from Covid-19 infection.

6) There are inexpensive, proven therapies for Covid-19

Harvey Risch, MD, PhD heads the Yale University School of Epidemiology. He authored “The Key to Defeating Covid-19 Already Exists. We Need to Start Using It” which was published in Newsweek Magazine July 23rd, 2020. Dr. Risch documents the proven effectiveness of treating patients diagnosed with Covid-19 using a combination of Hydroxychloroquine, an antibiotic like azithromycin and the nutritional supplement zinc. Medical Doctors across the globe have reported very positive results using this protocol particularly for early stage Covid patients.

7) The US Death Rate is NOT spiking

If Covid-19 was the lethal killer it’s made out to be one would reasonably expect to see a significant spike in the number of deaths reported. But that hasn’t happened.

According to the CDC as of early May 2020 the total number of deaths in the US was 944,251 from January 1 – April 30th. This is actually slightly lower than the number of deaths during the same period in 2017 when 946,067 total deaths were reported.

8) Most Covid-19 Deaths Occur at the End of a normal Lifespan

According to the CDC as of 2017 US males can expect a normal lifespan of 76.1 years and females 81.1 years. A little over 80% of the suspected Covid-19 deaths have occurred in people over age 65. According to a June 28th New York Post article almost half of all Covid suspected deaths have occurred in Nursing Homes which predominately house people with preexisting health conditions and close to or past their normal life expectancy.

9) CDC Data Shows Minimal Covid Risk to Children and Young Adults

The CDC reported in their September 10th update that it’s estimated Infection Mortality Rate (IFR) for children age 0-19 was so low that 99.97% of those infected with the virus survived. For 20-49 year-olds the survival rate was almost as good at 99.98%. Even those 70 years-old and older had a survival rate of 94.6%. To put this in perspective the CDC data suggest that a child or young adult up to age 19 has a greater chance of death from some type of accident than they do from Covid-19.

Taken together it should be obvious that Covid-19 is pretty similar to typical flu viruses that sicken some people annually. The vast majority are able to successfully fight off the virus with their body’s natural immune system. Common sense precautions should be taken, particularly by those over age 65 that suffer from preexisting medical conditions.

The gross over reaction by government leaders to this illness is causing much more distress, physical, emotional and financial, than the virus ever could on its own. The bottom line is there is NO pandemic, just a typical flu season that has been wildly blown out of proportion by 24/7 media propaganda and enabled by the masses paralyzed by irrational fear.

State and local governments in particular have ignored the rights of the people and have instituted outrageous attacks on freedom and liberty that was bought and paid for by the blood and sacrifice of our forefathers.

Slowly the people are recognizing the great fraud perpetrated on them by bureaucrats and elected officials who have sworn to uphold rights and freedoms as spelled out in the US Constitution. The time has come to hold these criminals accountable by utilizing the legal system to bring them to justice.

Either we act now to preserve freedom and liberty for our children and future generations yet unborn, or we meekly submit to tyrants who crave more power and control. I will not comply!

Published:10/29/2020 6:59:29 PM
[Markets] China Reveals First Glimpse Into Its Economic Plans For Next Five Years China Reveals First Glimpse Into Its Economic Plans For Next Five Years Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 19:25

On Thursday, the Fifth Plenum of China's 19th Party Congress which was held to discuss the proposals for the 14th Five-Year Plan, concluded after 4 days of discussions and China unveiled the first glimpse of Beijing's economic plans for the next five years, promising to build the nation into a technological powerhouse as it emphasized quality growth over speed.

The post conference communique released today provided a brief summary of the proposals. The summary reiterated the direction towards higher quality growth, laid out non-numerical goals over the long term, and particularly highlighted the importance of innovation and a push for market reform. A more detailed report on the 14th Five-Year Plan will be released during the National People's Congress (NPC) in March 2021

As previewed on Monday, the Communist Party’s Central Committee Thursday stressed the need for sustainable growth and also pledged to develop a robust domestic market. Of note: the communique released by state media following a four-day closed-door meeting did not specify the pace of growth policy makers would target, a first for a nation which in past was obsessed with its goalseeked GDP number.

Yet even though the plan doesn’t mention a specific rate of growth for gross domestic product, analysts said the government remains ambitious in its outlook: "The leadership still expects the size of the economy, household income as well as GDP per capita to reach a ‘new milestone’ by 2035," said Raymond Yeung, chief greater China economist at Australia and New Zealand Banking Group quoted by Bloomberg. "China did not abandon GDP targeting, it’s just expressed in a more subtle way."

Below are the main points from the plenum, via Goldman Sachs:

  1. The summary reiterated the increasingly challenging environment for development and rising uncertainties in external conditions, and highlighted major problems at the current phase of development, including development still unbalanced and insufficient, the lack of innovation, still substantial income inequality, and further room for improvement in environment protection.

  2. In contrast to the 13th Five-Year Plan where a “doubling income” goal was emphasized, the summary of the 14th Five-Year Plan today didn't mention any specific numerical goal, and re-emphasized the direction towards “higher quality growth." Regarding key economic goals for the 14th Five-Year Plan, the proposals particularly highlighted the importance of innovation and a push for market reform, facilitation of internal circulation through expanding domestic demand strategy and supply-side structural reform, significant improvement in household income and narrower income inequality in urban and rural areas, and “high-quality opening up” (trade and financial liberalization). The summary also mentioned long-term goals through 2035, for instance, GDP per capita reaching the level of middle-income developed economies and expansion in middle-income population.

  3. The key elements highlighted in the summary are not new and have been mentioned previously by policymakers. From an economic perspective, this means boosting total factor productivity and rebalancing economic development across sectors/regions. Although the Chinese government has been calling for a transition in the development model for a number of years, given that the broad external and domestic environment has changed, we think the government is likely to accelerate the pace of relevant reforms in the next five years, to achieve sustainable, balanced and high quality growth and enter the high income group from the upper middle income group.

  4. Over the coming months, the National Development and Reform Committee (NDRC) will consult specialists and other government ministries to prepare a more detailed draft of the 14th Five Year Plan. It will be submitted to the National People’s Congress (NPC) for final approval during the “Two Sessions” in March 2021, which would be the next key event to watch out for. Detailed plans on a sectoral level from ministries will likely be released several months after the “Two Sessions”.

Published:10/29/2020 6:31:22 PM
[Markets] New Research Points To The People's Liberation Army Hospital In Wuhan As Origin For Global Coronavirus Pandemic New Research Points To The People's Liberation Army Hospital In Wuhan As Origin For Global Coronavirus Pandemic Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 18:45

A paper published on Zenodo (DOI 10.5281/zenodo.4119263) by Dr. Steven Quay, M.D., PhD., head of two COVID-19 therapeutic programs at Atossa Therapeutics, illuminates new scientific observations and conclusions documenting that the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic began at the General Hospital of Central Theater Command of People’s Liberation Army (PLA Hospital) in Wuhan, China, located at 627 Wulon Road, Wuchang District, Wuhan.

According to the paper, international biospecimen data repositories indicate as early as December 10, 2019 COVID patient records were being created by PLA personnel, weeks before the Chinese government informed the WHO of the pandemic.

The paper documents four patients from the PLA Hospital that have the earliest genetic signature of direct human-to-human coronavirus transmission. It also includes the patient whose coronavirus is genetically closest to a bat virus from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) that WIV scientists call “the closest relative of 2019-nCoV.”

The PLA Hospital is three kilometers from WIV and both are located on Line 2 of the Wuhan Metro System. The paper documents an analysis of the hospitals where the earliest COVID patients were seen, between December 1, 2019 to early January, and shows that all these hospitals were also located on the Metro Line 2.

This is the first paper in the world to observe that Line 2 is uniquely positioned to have been the worldwide human-to-human COVID pandemic conduit as it carries five percent of the population of Wuhan every day, allowing rapid spread throughout Wuhan and the entire Hubei Province; it includes the high-speed rail station, allowing rapid spread throughout China; and it terminates at the international airport station, allowing rapid spread throughout the world.

Line 2 also services the Hunan Seafood Market, previously suggested to be associated with the origin of the pandemic.

The full paper can be read below (pdf link)

Published:10/29/2020 6:02:06 PM
[Markets] Earnings Results: Apple’s resurgent Mac sales make up for iPhone shortfall Even without any new iPhones to provide a boost, Apple Inc. beat fiscal fourth-quarter expectations amid surging demand for devices that facilitate remote work and schooling.
Published:10/29/2020 5:32:06 PM
[Markets] Stock market news live updates: Stock futures trade lower, giving back gains after tech earnings Stock futures traded lower Thursday evening to give back some gains after the three major indices rallied during the regular session. Published:10/29/2020 5:32:06 PM
[Markets] 'ALICE' Doesn't Work Here Anymore 'ALICE' Doesn't Work Here Anymore Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 18:25

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

What the political class and the Financial Nobility don't yet grasp is that ALICE will never go back to her insecure, low-wage job, ever.

Meet ALICE: Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, at least she was employed until the pandemic presented impossible choices between taking care of her children and their education, and her aging parents, and keeping her demanding, low-wage job.

Though it doesn't fit in with the cute mythology of "capitalism" that apologists love to promote, ALICE wasn't working to get ahead--she was working to barely survive in an economy where wages have stagnated for decades and recently lost ground at an alarming rate as costs for everything from rent to childcare to utilities have soared while her hours have been cut.

This is the neofeudalism I've often described here: the modern-day equivalent of the landless (i.e. owns no capital) serf is a landless (i.e. owns no capital) debt-serf with student loans, an auto loan and credit card debt and income that is constrained by globalization, financialization and the scarcity of high-paying work that isn't reserved for insiders and the privileged few who chose their wealthy, well-educated, socially connected parents wisely.

Lacking capital and any realistic means of acquiring any, the debt-serf has only labor to sell, and in a globalized world in which everyone selling their labor is competing globally for work producing tradable goods and services, ordinary labor has lost purchasing power for the past 45 years.

The dominance of Big Tech monopoly platforms has created new fields for the exploitation of ordinary labor in the low-paid gig economy and fulfillment centers. The traditional neofeudal fiefdoms (retail outlets, hospitality and restaurants) have been hit by the pandemic pullback in consumer spending, and the other low-wage fiefdoms (fast food and domestic service) have been in structural decline for years.

Meanwhile, the owners of the Financial Nobility's fiefdoms and Big Tech monopolies have enjoyed unprecedented gains in income and wealth as wages' share of the economy has declined for decades, in effect transferring trillions from labor to the Financial Nobility.

This neofeudal arrangement is about to change as Universal Basic Income (UBI) or its equivalent becomes the accepted status quo solution to neofeudalism's soaring inequality. Since there's no limit to how much currency can be created by the Federal Reserve, then why not distribute enough "free money" to the serfs to tamp down the brewing revolt?

What the political class and the Financial Nobility don't yet grasp (due to their complete disconnect from neofeudal daily life) is that ALICE will never go back to her insecure, low-wage job, ever. No matter how meager the UBI, permanent unemployment, stimulus or whatever the political class calls the distribution of "Fed free money," ALICE will find a way to escape the bonds of neofeudal serfdom.

As I've noted here many times, the cash / informal economy beckons. All sorts of labor arrangements can be made on ALICE's terms, not the Big Tech monopolies' terms. No wonder the Financial Nobility is so desperate to eliminate cash. But other currencies may fill the need if the Neofeudal Overlords try to eliminate cash dollars.

Liberty and freedom are not just lofty academic abstractions; what matters is being freed of the neofeudal chains of Big Tech monopoly platforms and the Financial Nobility's other fiefdoms.

*  *  *

My recent books:

A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet (Kindle $8.95, print $20, audiobook coming soon) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World
(Kindle $5, print $10, audiobook) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($5 (Kindle), $10 (print), ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF).



If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.

Published:10/29/2020 5:32:06 PM
[Markets] Chicagoans Categorically Reject Progressive/BLM Demands To Defund The Police Chicagoans Categorically Reject Progressive/BLM Demands To Defund The Police Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 17:45

By Ted Dabrowski, John Klingner and Julie Schmidt of Wirepoints

While Chicagoans share many concerns over the city’s policing practices, 79% want the police to spend the same amount of time or more in their neighborhoods. That’s one of the key findings of a new Wirepoints/Real Clear Opinion Research poll that looked at a range of attitudes in Chicago on policing, race and Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s performance.

The desire for more police holds true across the city’s North (76%), South (80%) and West Sides (85%), as well as across whites (79%), blacks (77%) and Hispanics (87%).

Only 15% of blacks and 10% of Hispanics citywide said they want the police to spend less time in their neighborhoods.

The Wirepoints/RCOR poll surveyed 895 registered voters in Chicago from September 26th through October 4th using a mixed phone and online methodology. The margin of error is +/- 3.28 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

Although Chicagoans overwhelmingly indicated they want more police, they were also very clear in their desire for better-quality policing. Half (51%) of all Chicagoans polled said they believe the Chicago Police Department is currently handling its job badly. More than six out of ten black residents (63%) held that view.

More than a third (35%) of all respondents felt they would not be treated respectfully in an encounter with police, a percentage that jumps to 54% among black residents.

The polling also finds that while 61% of residents approve of the job that Mayor Lightfoot is doing, some of her lowest issue performance ratings come in how she is dealing with police reform, gun violence and violent crime.

Chicagoans support both BLM and more policing

George Floyd’s death and the subsequent protests expanded the influence of Black Lives Matter across the country, including in Chicago. Unsurprisingly, more than three-quarters (76%) of surveyed Chicagoans reported they strongly support or somewhat support BLM. Black Chicagoans maintained the highest support for BLM (86%), followed by whites (74%) and then Hispanics (61%). Geographically, South Side support of BLM is the highest (83%).

But when Chicagoans were asked directly if they support defunding the police, only 39% said they were in favor, while 51% were opposed. Opposition to defunding exceeded support in every region, with North Side residents expressing the most opposition (57% oppose / 36% support).

Along racial/ethnic lines, opposition exceeded support slightly among blacks (46% oppose / 45% support) and most strongly among Hispanics (55% oppose / 30% support).

The support for BLM has also failed to translate into political support for wholly disbanding the CPD. Only 26% of Chicagoans polled would be more likely to vote for city council members that support disbanding the police, while 37% would be less likely to vote for them. Even fewer South Siders (21%) would be more likely to vote for members supporting disbanding.

By race, whites and Hispanics were most opposed to politicians supporting disbanding the CPD, with 43% and 41% saying they would be less likely to vote for a council member that pushed disbanding, respectively. Black residents were at 27%.

Instead of less police presence, most Chicagoans polled want more officers on the street. A vast majority (79%) of voters indicated they wanted police to spend more or the same amount time in their neighborhood.

The desire for additional policing was strongest on the South and West Sides, with more than half (57%) of residents in both areas wanting more police presence in their neighborhoods despite their concerns about current CPD practices. The number of Chicagoans polled who want police to spend less time amounted to less than 15% of those surveyed. On the West Side, only 9% of those polled wanted less police.

Chicagoans want better-quality policing

When questioned on a variety of topics, including job performance, systemic racism, police behavior, general safety and more, a majority or sizable minority of Chicagoans showed they have negative opinions of and/or have suffered negative encounters with Chicago officers.

Chicagoans’ overall negative rating of the CPD (51%) varied widely by geography. More than half of citizens from the North Side (54%) and the West Side (51%) said the CPD was doing a good or excellent job, while only 32% of voters from the South Side said the same.

When asked what needs to be reformed in the department, systemic racism or a few bad apples, nearly half of all those polled (45%) chose systemic racism. Hispanic residents were least likely to say systemic racism (33%) while black residents were the most likely (57%).

When asked how they thought they would be treated by officers, more than a third of Chicagoans (35%) said they were not very or not at all confident they would be treated with courtesy and respect. And in a similar vein, one in five of those surveyed (19%) said that seeing a police officer made them feel less safe.

In summary, while white and Hispanics ultimately have a mixed view of the city’s police force, black residents report more negative opinions/experiences:

  • 63% of black residents think the Chicago Police Department is handling its job badly, while only 48% of Hispanics and 39% of whites feel the same way. 
  • More than half (57%) believe reforms should focus on systemic racism in the Chicago Police Department, while only 33% of Hispanics and 41% of whites believe the same.
  • More than half (54%) aren’t confident they’ll be treated with courtesy and respect by officers, while only 38% of Hispanics and 16% of whites aren’t confident.
  • Nearly a third (31%) of blacks feel less safe in the presence of an officer, while only 11% of Hispanics and 13% of whites feel less safe. 

Mayor Lightfoot has her work cut out for her on race and public safety

Of the 61% of respondents who approve of the job Mayor Lightfoot is doing, Chicago’s white residents gave her the highest marks (68%), followed by blacks (63%) and then Hispanics (48%).

Her biggest support came from the West Side, where 69% of responders approved of her performance. South Side residents favored her performance the least, giving an approval rating of 57%.

On individual issues, Mayor Lightfoot achieved her best ratings on her handling of the Coronavirus (58% excellent or good; 39% not so good or poor) and economic development (50% excellent or good; 37% not so good or poor). However, her ratings on those related to race relations and public safety are lower.

Lightfoot’s handling of public safety has an approval rating of 46%. Her overall approval on racial justice is 44%. On police reform, 39%. And just 31% on gun violence.

Her lowest approval ratings come from black Chicagoans. Just 26% approve of the way the mayor is handling both violent crime and gun violence.

Published:10/29/2020 5:02:08 PM
[Markets] Stock Market Wrap-Up: Netflix Hikes Prices; Apple Reverses Lower After Earnings Report Among the top stocks posting gains in Thursday's regular trading session were tech giants Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL). Netflix's move came after an intraday announcement that many investors had been anticipating for a long time. Unfortunately for Apple, however, its share-price gains reversed lower after the close of regular trading as the iPhone maker reported quarterly financial results that didn't live up to investors' high expectations. Published:10/29/2020 5:02:08 PM
[Markets] : Amazon has already had its most profitable year ever, and the holidays are still on the way Amazon.com Inc. reported record quarterly sales Thursday and has already reached a record profit total in 2020 amid ramped up pandemic spending, and it still has another three months to go that include Prime Day as well as the traditional winter holidays.
Published:10/29/2020 4:31:49 PM
[Markets] DoubleLine: Digital Currencies Will End The Dollar's Status As The World's Reserve Currency DoubleLine: Digital Currencies Will End The Dollar's Status As The World's Reserve Currency Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 17:25

We most recently described the Fed's stealthy plan to deposit digital dollars to "each American" during the next crisis as an unprecedented monetary overhaul, but more importantly, a truly stealthy one: there has barely been any media coverage of what may soon be a money transfer by the Fed - a direct stimulus to any and all Americans - bypassing the entire Legislative branch in an attempt to spark inflation after years of losing the war with deflation.

That's why two weeks ago we we delighted to read that none other than Jeff Gundlach's DoubleLine, one of the highest profile asset managers today, published a paper authored by fixed income portfolio manager Bill Campbell exposing what it called "The Pandora's Box of Central Bank Digital Currencies", in which it echoed our claims, writing that "such a mechanism could open veritable floodgates of liquidity into the consumer economy and accelerate the rate of inflation. While central banks have been trying without success to increase inflation for the past decade, the temptation to put CBDCs into effect might be very strong among policymakers. However, CBDCs would not only inject liquidity into the economy but also could accelerate the velocity of money. That one-two punch could bring about far more inflation than central bankers bargain for."

Alas, that was not enough to bring the topic of central bank digital currencies into the mainstream financial media, which is perhaps understandable for two reasons: i) everyone's attention is glued to the outcome and the implications of the election and ii) most media members think of CBDCs as some useless version of bitcoin, when nothing could be further from the truth.

So perhaps in hopes of attracting much needed attention to just how profound the monetary overhaul that is quietly taking place behind the scenes, Doubleline's resident digital currency expert, Bill Campbell has penned a follow up note to his original report, in which he explains in stark and vivid clarity what is about to happen. In a nutshell, "the world’s central banks and the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) envision a network of multiple cross-border payment systems featuring direct bilateral exchanges in the world’s different currencies. Such a regime would discard the decades-long mediation through the world’s reserve currency, the U.S. dollar." In short, central banks are preparing to launch cross-border payment systems which represent a new global order which poses a "major threat to the dollar and its status as the world’s reserve currency."

Below we republish the full note in whole due to its accurate and succinct assessment of how profoundly CBDCs will change the existing monetary architecture once they are launched in a few years (or earlier):

* * *

Bilateral Digital Currency Payments and the Twilight of the Dollar

by Bill Campbell, fixed income Portfolio Manager at DoubleLine (link)

If launched, central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), as I have recently warned, will put at risk the independence of monetary policy and what little is left of fiscal discipline within their borders of circulation.1 Central banks are not stopping at the replacement of money as we have known it. In conjunction with their developmental work on digital currencies proper, monetary authorities are devising a new structure for electronic payments to sweep aside the decades-long framework for payment settlements, both domestic and international. The world’s central banks and the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) envision a network of multiple cross-border payment systems featuring direct bilateral exchanges in the world’s different currencies. Such a regime would discard the decades-long mediation through the world’s reserve currency, the U.S. dollar. This paper examines implementation plans for cross-border payment systems and the threat this new global order would pose to the dollar and its status as the world’s reserve currency.

King Dollar: A Brief History

The dollar has stood as the world’s reserve currency since taking that crown from the British pound in 1944. In July of that year, delegates from 44 nations met in Bretton Woods, N.H., convening the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference, where they reached a series of agreements for the post-WWII international monetary system. The dollar formed the monetary linchpin of the new order. Participating nations pegged their currencies to the U.S. dollar and in exchange received the privilege to redeem dollars in gold from the U.S. (the world’s largest holder of gold reserves) at the congressionally set rate of $35 an ounce. This started a period of “exorbitant privilege” for the U.S., to quote former French Presidents Charles de Gaulle and Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. Ever since then, thanks to the dollar’s reserve status, the U.S. can run a balance-of-payments deficit without the need to adjust domestic policy in order to settle its international trade bill. Because most international trade is transacted in dollars, which I explain in more detail below, in the most-extreme cases, the U.S. can print dollars to settle its balance of payment needs.2 All other nations must purchase dollars to fund their imports, and one way to attract foreign capital is with high real interest rates (interest rates above the domestic rate of inflation). On the margin, tighter monetary policy slows growth and compresses imports while attracting foreign capital. The U.S. doesn’t face that trade-off thanks to the dollar’s privileged status as the world’s reserve currency.

By the end of the 1960s, rising inflation and a surplus of overseas dollars had made dollar-gold convertibility unsustainable, and President Richard Nixon unilaterally canceled it on Aug. 15, 1971.3 The “closing of the gold window” effectively doomed the system of fixed currency exchange rates elaborated at Bretton Woods. By 1973, the regime of fixed exchange rates gave way to free-floating exchange rates. Despite de facto nullification of Bretton Woods, the U.S. dollar has remained unquestioned as the world’s reserve currency. Most of the world’s trade is transacted in dollars, with the majority of commodities traded in dollars. According to the International Monetary Fund, the dollar plays a dominant role in global invoicing. Through April 2020, the BIS reported, “The US dollar retained its dominant currency status, being on one side of 88% of all trades. The share of trades with the euro on one side expanded somewhat, to 32%.” The Japanese yen ranked third, with the currency being used on one side of 17% of all trades.4

The grumblings of French heads of state and other critics notwithstanding, a reserve currency is useful. (Figure 1) It facilitates global transactions, investments and international debt issuance, and interest payment and repayment by acting as a common denominator accepted by all countries. However, new conditions might be converging to depreciate the dollar in the forex markets and even one day topple its crown as the world’s reserve currency. In that event, the past of the British pound might not be prologue for the dollar. If central banking and the BIS dethrone King Dollar, I suspect no single currency will seize the crown of reserve currency. Instead, cross-border payments would be mediated by a conglomeration of bilateral arrangements.

Admittedly, for countries outside the U.S., such a system offers a very positive, even compelling feature: All countries would be able to settle their import bills in their own currencies, a privilege afforded predominantly to the United States and, to a lesser but noteworthy extent, the 19 countries constituting the eurozone and Japan. Even these countries, however, are obliged to settle payments for certain non-U.S. imports, notably oil and other commodities, in dollars.

SWIFT and Usurpers in the Wings

A key to the longevity of the dollar’s reign as the world’s reserve currency is its occupation as the principal medium of exchange by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), the dominant provider of cross-border payment settlements. On May 3, 1973, which is to say, around the time fixed-rate forex regimes gave up the ghost, SWIFT was founded in Brussels with the support of 239 banks in 15 countries. Today, according to its website, the company connects more than 11,000 banks, securities organizations, market infrastructures and corporations in 200 countries. With the propagation of blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies, SWIFT faces fair and inevitable competition from new players in the private sector as well as older competitors in the business of the settlement of cross-border payment orders.5 SWIFT has been updating its infrastructure as well. In January 2017, the company rolled out its global payments innovation (gpi). In 2019, cross-border transfers via gpi exceeded $77 trillion, accounting for 56% of all cross-border payments for that year and 65% of SWIFT’s total cross-border payments, making gpi by far the most-used messaging system for international payment in the world.6

Whatever its resilience or vulnerability to private-sector challengers, SWIFT’s dominance faces a serious threat from outside the private sector – namely, the central banks, coordinated by the BIS. In a recently issued paper, the BIS and cosignatories, including the U.S. Federal Reserve Board of Governors and the European Central Bank, stated, “Central bank innovation is an opportunity for cooperation. Simultaneous research and exploration of CBDC by central banks could inform ways to improve cross-border payments.”7 The BIS has been spearheading research into “faster, cheaper, more transparent and more inclusive cross-border  payment services [which] would deliver widespread benefits for citizens and economies worldwide, supporting economic growth, international trade, global development and financial inclusion.”8 The BIS has acknowledged that, despite technological advances in creating a new cross-border payments infrastructure, some of these central bank initiatives “are still in their design phase and others remain theoretical.”9 In a working paper published by the BIS, authors Raphel Auer, Giulio Cornelli and Jon Frost wrote, “Central banks are considering multiple technological options simultaneously, current proofs-of-concept tend to be based on distributed ledger technology (DLT) rather than a conventional technological infrastructure.”10 However, the landscape is quickly changing as more central banks scale up research into payment systems.

We have already started to see movement on these initiatives. China and Russia have already rolled out competing settlement systems to SWIFT, and both are looking into more bilateral settlement capabilities with their trading partners. In 2014, Russia implemented an alternative to SWIFT called the System for Transfer of Financial Messages (SPFS). SPFS was seen as a response to the U.S. using its dominance in the global financial system to implement sanctions on Russia, its companies and individuals. In 2015, China launched its Cross-Border Interbank Payments System (CIPS). Stung like Moscow by U.S. financial sanctions, Beijing is encouraging its financial sector to make the switch from SWIFT. As more central banks work on their own settlement systems, Russia and China have shown that implementation can be a realistic goal.

“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”

I foresee several big implications of the implementation of a new global payments system based on the bilateral regimes, all of which would put structural pressure on the dollar.

First, such a decentralized global payments system would take the world a big step toward removing the need for the dollar, or for that matter any other currency, to remain as the world’s reserve currency. Cross-border counterparties would settle payments in bilateral transactions in their own currencies, bypassing the dollar as an intermediary. The U.S. imports much more than it exports. These large current-account deficits create the need to have foreigners put their excess savings into U.S. assets to help stabilize the dollar. If foreign savings cease flowing into the U.S., the dollar will depreciate unless the import-export imbalance is corrected. (Figure 2)

Second, global central banks would no longer need to stockpile dollars and instead could diversify their foreign exchange (FX) reserves to a mix more commensurate with the countries with which they trade and conduct financial transactions. Dollar debt remains a large source of financing for many countries around the globe, but sovereign, corporate and other institutional borrowers have already begun to move some of this external financing into other denominations such as the euro and the yen.

Third, disintermediation of the dollar in cross-border payments could erode the greenback’s central role in pricing commodities and invoicing global trade. This would reduce a structural buyer of dollars. Outside the U.S., central banks have been forced to build up their dollar FX reserves in order to prevent a disorderly sell-off if exporters do not repatriate their dollar profits. In addition, in a reversal of norms in place since Bretton Woods, non-U.S. central banks might look to increase their holdings of gold relative to their dollar reserves.11 Central banks might increase the portion of their reserves allocated to gold, whose finite supply could help reduce debasement fears with respect to infinitely creatable CBDCs.

The End of a Single World Reserve Currency?

With the exception of two world wars in the first half of the 20th century, the world’s financial systems since 1815 have calibrated their international payments and banking reserves to a single reserve currency, first the British pound and the U.S. dollar since 1944. The nearly 80-year absence of viable alternatives has left Americans complacent about the dollar’s perpetuity as the world’s reserve currency. Outside the U.S., however, central banks and governments appear to foresee a future untethered from the dollar. The technology for such a delinking is here or soon will be. Central banks will possess the infrastructure to match their FX reserves to the currency mix and weightings of their balance of payments – and one day displace the dollar without the need to crown a new reserve currency.

Policymakers continue to steer intently into the uncharted waters of central bank digital currencies and decentralized global payment systems. Despite most of these initiatives still being in their theoretical design phase, global coordination among central banks will speed up their development and potential implementation. Armed with these currency and payment technologies, the world could rescind the exorbitant privilege the U.S. has enjoyed as printer of the world’s reserve currency and place structural pressure on the dollar to depreciate.

*  *  *

Citations:

1    Bill   Campbell,   “The   Pandora’s   Box   of   Central   Bank   Digital   Currencies,”   DoubleLine.com,  Oct.  6,  2020.  https://doubleline.com/dl/wp-content/uploads/The-Pandoras-Box-of-CB-Dig…

2  The balance of payments includes all transactions made between entities in one country and the rest of the world over a defined period of time.

3    “Foreigners’  liquid  gold  claims  on  US  dollars  increased  tenfold  from  around  $7 billion in 1953 to around $70 billion in 1971. Over the same period US gold reserves  fell  from  over  $22  billion  to  less  than  $11  billion.  The  inescapable  decision facing the US authorities was taken on 15 August 1971 when the convertibility of the dollar at the fixed price of $35 per ounce of gold was ended,”  Glyn  Davies,  A  History  of  Money (4th edition: revised by Duncan Connors; 2016), pp. 465-466. University of Wales Press

4  Triennial Central Bank Survey, p. 3, Monetary and Economic Department, Bank for International Settlements (BIS), Sept. 16, 2020. https://www.bis.org/statistics/rpfx19_fx.pdf

5  See, for example, Martin Arnold, “Ripple and Swift slug it out over cross-border  payments,”  Financial  Times,  June  5,  2018.  https://www.ft.com/content/631af8cc-47cc-11e8-8c77-ff51caedcde6

6  “SWIFT gpi Transferred Over $77T In 2019,” Global Payments, February 11, 2020. https://www.pymnts.com/news/international/global-payments/2020/swift-gp…

7  “Central bank digital currencies: foundational principles and core features,” Oct. 9, 2020, p. 3. Bank of Canada, European Central Bank, Bank of Japan, Sveriges Riksbank, Swiss National Bank, Bank of England, Board of Governors Federal Reserve System and the Bank for International Settlements. https://www.bis.org/publ/othp33.pdf

8  “Enhancing cross-border payments: building blocks of a global roadmap,” Committee on Payments and Market Structures, BIS, July 2020. https://www.bis.org/cpmi/publ/d193.pdf

9  Ibid, page 4.

10  Raphael Auer, Giulio Cornelli and Jon Frost, “Rise of the central bank digital currencies: drivers, approaches and technologies,” BIS, August 2020, p. 5. https://www.bis.org/publ/work880.pdf

11   See  Bill  Campbell,  “The  Pandora’s  Box  of  Central  Bank  Digital  Currencies,”  DoubleLine.com,  Oct.  6,  2020.  https://doubleline.com/dl/wp-content/uploads/The-Pandoras-Box-of-CB-Dig…

Published:10/29/2020 4:31:49 PM
[Markets] Twitter shares tank as profit, user gains fall short of expectations Twitter shares tank as profit, user gains fall short of expectations Published:10/29/2020 4:04:27 PM
[Markets] NewsWatch: Apple posts best September sales in history despite late iPhone debut, but stock dips Even without any new iPhones to provide a boost, Apple Inc. was able to sport record September-quarter revenue.
Published:10/29/2020 4:04:27 PM
[Markets] Columbia Prof Says American Flag Is A "Symbol Of Genocide" Columbia Prof Says American Flag Is A "Symbol Of Genocide" Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 17:05

Authored by Ben Zeisloft via Campus Reform,

A Columbia University School of Social Work adjunct lecturer said that the American flag is a symbol of genocide.

Responding to a tweet stating that “the hammer and sickle is a symbol of genocide” and comparing the communist emblem to the swastika, Anthony Zenkus placed the American flag in the same category.

“The American Flag is a symbol of genocide,” said Zenkus.

“Unless centuries of slavery and the vanquishing of Native American nations doesn't figure into your equation.”

Zenkus’ faculty profile explains that he is an “activist on issues of racial justice, income inequality, and climate justice.” He was additionallytrained by Vice President Al Gore as a presenter in his Climate Reality Project, and has been an organizer with Occupy Wall Street, the fight for a $15 minimum wage, and an ally in the Movement for Black Lives.”

Similarly, a postdoctoral researcher at Brown University, Carycruz Bueno, tweeted that vacation rental company Airbnb “doesn’t understand the trauma” of Trump signs for a Black person, as previously reported by Campus Reform. A Virginia Tech professor also recently suggested that Vice President Mike Pence's use of the phrase "the American people," during the vice presidential debate was also racist.

The researcher even said that the American flag can be “used in many places to scare Black people."

Campus Reform reached out to Zenkus to ask for additional comments but did not receive a response in time for publication. 

Published:10/29/2020 4:04:27 PM
[Markets] Facebook reports earnings, revenue that top estimates; stock falls 2% Facebook reports earnings, revenue that top estimates; stock falls 2% Published:10/29/2020 3:31:57 PM
[Markets] Earnings Results: Alphabet stock surges as resurgent Google ad sales deliver big earnings beat Google parent Alphabet Inc. shares surged in the extended session Thursday after the tech giant returned to rising ad sales and topped Wall Street estimates with a quarterly earnings report.
Published:10/29/2020 3:31:57 PM
[Markets] US STOCKS-Wall Street rebounds as market eyes tech results, strong U.S. data U.S. stocks closed higher on Thursday, with the technology heavyweights rallying ahead of major earnings reports and upbeat domestic economic data calming investor jitters about surging coronavirus cases. The rebound came after a more than 3% slide a day earlier in Wall Street's main indexes, underscoring heightened market volatility ahead of the presidential election next week and growing fears of another COVID slowdown. Stocks rallied as investors anticipated strong results from a line-up of the biggest names in the U.S. corporate universe - Apple Inc, Amazon.com Inc, Google parent Alphabet Inc and Facebook Inc - due after market close. Published:10/29/2020 3:31:57 PM
[Markets] 'Massive Traffic Jams' Across Paris As People Flee Ahead Of Second COVID Lockdown  'Massive Traffic Jams' Across Paris As People Flee Ahead Of Second COVID Lockdown  Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 16:32

On Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that France would enter a full lockdown from midnight on Thursday until the end of November due to the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. 

With hours to go before the month-long national lockdown takes effect, videos have surfaced on Twitter, showing massive traffic jams of people trying to escape the city as lockdowns go into effect. 

"Traffic is barely moving in every direction as far as the eye can see. Lots of honking and frustrated drivers," said one Twitter user. 

Another Twitter user suggests "traffic jams around Paris tonight" could be due to "people leaving the capital before lockdown."

Using real-time data to confirm, that, in fact, the videos posted by citizen journalists in Paris are accurate - TomTom traffic data shows much of the city is in serious gridlock. 


TomTom real-time data shows a massive spike in Traffic Thursday night, the highest congestion so far this week, as lockdowns are only a few hours away. 

While people flee Paris ahead of lockdowns, it wouldn't be shocking if anti-lockdown protests flared up across the city this weekend. 

Published:10/29/2020 3:31:57 PM
[Markets] What's Worth Streaming: ‘The Crown’ and ‘The Mandalorian’ return: Here’s what’s worth streaming in November 2020 Netflix and Disney+ will be worth watching for those shows alone, and if you're getting a new iPhone, give Apple TV+ a test drive
Published:10/29/2020 3:01:13 PM
[Markets] US STOCKS-Wall Street rebounds as market eyes tech results, strong U.S. data U.S. stocks closed higher on Thursday, with the technology heavyweights rallying ahead of major earnings reports and upbeat domestic economic data calming investor jitters about surging coronavirus cases. The rebound came after a more than 3% slide a day earlier in Wall Street's main indexes, underscoring heightened market volatility ahead of the presidential election next week and growing fears of another COVID slowdown. Stocks rallied as investors anticipated strong results from a line-up of the biggest names in the U.S. corporate universe - Apple Inc, Amazon.com Inc, Alphabet Inc and Facebook Inc - due after market close. Published:10/29/2020 3:01:13 PM
[Markets] Stocks, Dollar, & Bitcoin Jump; Bonds & Black Gold Dump After Record GDP Stocks, Dollar, & Bitcoin Jump; Bonds & Black Gold Dump After Record GDP Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 16:00

A better than expected record rebound in GDP prompted traders to buy the 'rumor' ahead of tonight's explosive set of earnings from FB, TWTR, AAPL, & AMZN with stocks running stops through gamma pivot levels, technical levels, and rolling over... At around 1315ET, the algos went wild...but a weak close as month-end looms...

As investors rushed in for FOMO...

But no bounce in Europe...

Source: Bloomberg

S&P Futs ran above the 3300 pivot and then took out yesterday's opening ledge stops before rolling over...

Small Caps cluing to their 50DMA, S&P bounced off its 100DMA, Dow bounced off its 200DMA, Nasdaq remains below its 50DMA...

Momentum faded today as value rose marginally...

Source: Bloomberg

XOM held its dividend steady for the first time in decades (but didn't cut it) leaving its yield (in absolute and spread terms) at record highs...

Source: Bloomberg

FANG Stocks soared ahead of tonight's earnings extravaganza...

Source: Bloomberg

As opposed to yesterday's "Sell it all" day, today saw bonds dumped as stocks pumped...

Source: Bloomberg

But bonds made the headlines as an ugly 7Y Auction and reports of a big offering from Boeing (~$5bn) which would require rate-locks sparked a considerable spike in yields, basically erasing the week's yield drop...

Source: Bloomberg

10Y pushed back above 80bps but we can't help but a sense of deja vu all over again as after Boeing's issuance, we will see this pressure unwind...

Source: Bloomberg

Real yields soared higher today (gold largely shrugged it off) to its highest since July (still negative though)...

Source: Bloomberg

The Dollar jumped to 3-week highs before rolling over a little...

Source: Bloomberg

10Y Yields reversed at their 200DMA once again...

Source: Bloomberg

As the Euro tumbled on ECB promises of more money-printing...

Source: Bloomberg

EURUSD's drop stalled perfectly at the 100DMA however...

Source: Bloomberg

Cryptos were mixed today with ETH and BTC higher...

Source: Bloomberg

Bitcoin bounced higher off $13,000 once again...

Source: Bloomberg

WTI crashed to a $34 handle - 5 month lows...

Gold futures extended their losses below $1900...

 

Finally, we note that the market's fear of a contested election has subsided significantly...

 

Published:10/29/2020 3:01:12 PM
[Markets] Nio stock soars on NYSE-leading volume as EV makers rack up strong gains Nio stock soars on NYSE-leading volume as EV makers rack up strong gains Published:10/29/2020 2:28:30 PM
[Markets] Netflix Shares Soar As Company Capitalizes On COVID-19, Hikes Prices Netflix Shares Soar As Company Capitalizes On COVID-19, Hikes Prices Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 15:20

Just in time for the next round of lockdowns, Netflix is raising prices for its standard and premium plans, sending its shares surging more than 4% during the last hour of the trading day.

The company's share price broke back above $500, which it lost after its disappointing Q3 earnings report earlier this month.

Here's the Verge with more:

The new pricing for the standard plan is a $1 price increase (from $13 a month), while the new premium tier cost is a $2 increase (from $16 a month). New subscribers will have to pay the updated monthly fees, while current subscribers will see the new prices over the next few weeks as they roll out with customer’s billing cycles.

Industry insiders have long anticipated another round of price hikes at Netflix, which last increased subscription fees in the United States in January 2019. Recently, Netflix increased the cost of some plans in Canada. Netflix rolls out price changes on a country-by-country basis and the change “in the US does not influence or indicate a global price change,” a Netflix spokesperson told The Verge.

The hikes are only for US subscribers, and it comes on the heels of a price hike in Canada. Netflix told the Verge that it rolls out price changes on a country-by-country basis, and this latest hike "in the US does not influence or indicate a global price change."

Netflix wasn't the only stock to move on the news; Disney also moved higher, presumably on the notion that it the price hikes make the price of Disney's 'Disney+' streaming service even more competitive.

Published:10/29/2020 2:28:30 PM
[Markets] Stocks are now solidly higher, with the Dow up about 350 points Stocks are now solidly higher, with the Dow up about 350 points Published:10/29/2020 2:01:14 PM
[Markets] The Margin: Michael Moore just fell for this viral clip poking fun at the Trump supporters stranded in Omaha Blaire Erksine has a big social-media hit on her hands.
Published:10/29/2020 2:01:14 PM
[Markets] US STOCKS-Wall Street rebounds ahead of tech earnings, upbeat U.S. data helps U.S. stocks advanced on Thursday as investors piled into technology heavyweights ahead of their earnings reports, while upbeat domestic economic data calmed widespread concerns about surging coronavirus cases. The rebound came after a more than 3% slide a day earlier in Wall Street's major indexes, underscoring heightened market volatility ahead of the presidential election next week. Apple Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc rose before their results, due after the closing bell. Published:10/29/2020 2:01:14 PM
[Markets] Glenn Greenwald Resigns From The Intercept After Editors Refuse To Publish Biden Criticism Glenn Greenwald Resigns From The Intercept After Editors Refuse To Publish Biden Criticism Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 14:45

The Intercept co-founder Glenn Greenwald resigned from the outlet on Thursday, after 'editors censored an article I wrote this week, refusing to publish it unless I remove all sections critical of Joe Biden, the candidate vehemently supported by all Intercept editors involved in this effort at suppression.'

Greenwald writes at his new home (greenwald.substack.com):

The censored article, based on recently revealed emails and witness testimony, raised critical questions about Biden’s conduct. Not content to simply prevent publication of this article at the media outlet I co-founded, these Intercept editors also demanded that I refrain from exercising a separate contractual right to publish this article with any other publication.

I had no objection to their disagreement with my views of what this Biden evidence shows: as a last-ditch attempt to avoid being censored, I encouraged them to air their disagreements with me by writing their own articles that critique my perspectives and letting readers decide who is right, the way any confident and healthy media outlet would. But modern media outlets do not air dissent; they quash it. So censorship of my article, rather than engagement with it, was the path these Biden-supporting editors chose.

Apparently he's also blocked from publishing the article elsewhere, though he's "asked my lawyer to get in touch with FLM to discuss how best to terminate my contract."

What did The Intercept do in response to Greenwald leaving? They're attempting to raise money off of it!

Greenwald has found support across the political spectrum for his decision to walk.

Published:10/29/2020 2:01:14 PM
[Markets] Election Countdown: Biden, Trump hold Florida rallies hours apart, as Democrat retakes lead in crucial state’s polls The presidential campaign focused on Florida on Thursday, as both President Donald Trump and challenger Joe Biden made in-person plays for the critical battleground state’s voters with just five days remaining until the election.
Published:10/29/2020 1:27:40 PM
[Markets] Dow Rises 300 Points Ahead of Earnings From U.S. Tech Giants Stocks were higher Thursday following the S&P 500's 3.5% drop in the previous session, the biggest lost since June 11, as economic growth in the U.S. was higher than estimates and jobless claims declined. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 302 points, or 1.14%, to 26,822, the S&P 500 rose 1.74% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq was up 2.07% ahead of earnings from Amazon.com , Apple , Alphabet and Facebook . Published:10/29/2020 1:27:39 PM
[Markets] Disney Just Laid Off Thousands Of Additional Workers Disney Just Laid Off Thousands Of Additional Workers Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 14:15

It was less than a month ago that we reported Disney was laying off 28,000 employees as a result of continued economic pressure and lockdowns resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Now, "thousands of cast members" - which include workers in Entertainment, Transportation, Merchandise, and Food & Beverage - are being hit with "another wave of layoff emails", according to Walt Disney News Today

“As heartbreaking as it is to take this action, this is the only feasible option we have in light of the prolonged impact of Covid-19 on our business,” Josh D’Amaro, the chairman of the parks division, said in a memo to workers in late September.

The late September cuts spanned across the company’s various businesses including theme parks, cruise ships and retail businesses. While the layoffs also include executives, they were focusing on part-time workers: 67% of those getting a pink slip are part-time workers.

As part of its farewell package, Disney offered benefits to the workers being cut, including 90 days of severance. The 28,000 layoffs followed the furloughing of a massive 43,000 workers in April, when the company was first impacted by the pandemic. 

In July, Disney triumphantly reopened several of its shuttered parks, including in Florida, although visits were a fraction of their pre-pandemic levels. Disney still hasn’t received clearance to restart operations at its two theme parks in Anaheim, California.

Before the pandemic, Disney’s domestic parks alone employed more than 100,000. And, as we noted back in September, while one can "understand" the plight of management, which is scrambling to boost cash flow after it saddled the company with record debt in recent years...

...it probably would make all those soon-to-be-laid off workers feel a little bit better if most of that newly issued debt hadn't gone to pay for stock buybacks the benefited upper management.

"Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park remain closed and will reopen at a later date, pending state and local government approvals," the website says as of October 29, 2020. 

Meanwhile, Disney had restored the salaries of its senior executives back in August, while thousands of employees remained furloughed.

Published:10/29/2020 1:27:39 PM
[Markets] : Exxon to cut 1,900 U.S. jobs as pandemic gives new urgency to cost-cutting Exxon Mobil Corp. will cut its workforce in the U.S., mostly in Texas, as it seeks to reduce costs amid the pandemic.
Published:10/29/2020 1:05:45 PM
[Markets] Stocks Rise Ahead of Earnings From U.S. Tech Giants Stocks were higher Thursday following the S&P 500's 3.5% drop in the previous session, the biggest lost since June 11, as economic growth in the U.S. was higher than estimates and jobless claims declined. Gains were held back, however, by a worrying rise in coronavirus cases in the U.S. and Europe and concerns that measures to mitigate the spread of the virus could derail an economic recovery. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 154 points, or 0.58%, to 26,674, the S&P 500 rose 1.24% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq was up 1.79% ahead of earnings from Amazon.com , Apple , Alphabet and Facebook . Published:10/29/2020 1:05:45 PM
[Markets] Americans Are Super-Gloomy About Holiday Spending, But Industry Ramps Up For Blockbuster Christmas Americans Are Super-Gloomy About Holiday Spending, But Industry Ramps Up For Blockbuster Christmas Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 14:00

Authored by Wolf Richter via WolfStreet.com,

Something is afoot here. And someone is going to be wrong...

That would be embarrassing: There has been the massive surge in shipments to and within the US, amid warnings of shipping capacity shortages, as companies are stocking up for the holiday shopping season because they don’t want to run out of merchandise, following record retail sales over the past few months, along with supply shortages.

Americans were spending their extra unemployment money and stimulus checks, and spending money on stuff that they didn’t spend on services such as vacations, flights, and hotels, and spending money they made working from home and in the stock market. The expectation in the industry is that this surge in retail spending would continue and lead to blockbuster holidays sales.

But now there’s the second major survey of consumer intentions that throws cold water on this thesis. Gallup asked consumers, as it does every year at this time, “Roughly how much money do you think you personally will spend on Christmas gifts this year?” The response on average was $805. That was down 17% from what folks told Gallup at the same time last year ($942), and the lowest since 2016 (there was no survey data for 2012), and the biggest year-over-year drop in the data going back to 2006:

This comes after the National Retail Federation had said last week, based on its annual October survey, that consumers on average expect to spend about $998 on gifts, holiday food and decorations, and additional “non-gift” purchases. This was down nearly 5% from the October 2019 survey.

The amount these folks said they’d spend on gifts was down just a tad from last year, and most of the decline in spending intentions came from non-gift items they’d buy for themselves or their families.

This 5% decline in consumer spending intentions for the holidays is in stark contrast to the 4% increase that the National Retail Federation found a year ago in its October 2019 survey.

Gallup came up with similar results as the NRF in 2019: In its survey in October 2019, Gallup found that spending intentions were up 4% from the prior year. But now consumers’ spending intentions dropped 17% from October 2019.  Something is afoot here.

Gallup’s current survey, taken between September 30 and October 15, found that concerning holiday gifts:

  • 28% said they’d spend less than in 2019 (highest % since 2014).

  • Only 12% said they’d spend more than in 2019 (lowest % since 2010)

  • 59% said they’d spend about the same (lowest % since 2014).

“A strong tilt toward less spending, as is seen now, is typical of consumer intentions during recessions and slow economic times,” Gallup said, adding that its annual question about holiday spending intentions – particularly the forthcoming November survey – “has been a reliable harbinger of annual retail sales in most years.”

So we’re looking forward to the November survey to shed more light, so to speak, on these gloomy spending intentions.

“Holiday sales typically increase year-over-year, rising 3.3% on average since 2000, with sales up more than 5% in strong years and around 2% in weak years, according to figures compiled by the National Retail Federation,” Gallup said.

“Since 2000, holiday sales have been worse than that only twice: in 2008, during the global financial crisis and December 2007-June 2009 recession, and in 2009, when the economy was still recovering from these events,” Gallup said.

If consumer spending intentions on gifts translate into some sort of reality, total retail spending may rise only 2% from a year ago, Gallup said but cautions that “consumers’ mindset is fragile and can change quickly in the event of economic or political shocks.”

And there are some biggies this year on Gallup’s list of uncertainties:

And so “the chances are high for a shift in consumers’ spending intentions on discretionary items like holiday gifts.”

Looking back at its prior October-and-November survey pairs, Gallup found that spending intentions declined from the October survey to the November survey in 10 out of the past 13 years. And if this repeats itself this year, “retailers should brace for even weaker sales.”

But wait… In one out of those 13 years, in 2011, spending intentions increased “significantly” from October to November, so maybe that’ll happen this year as well.

More realistically… Concerning retailers, Gallup said, “The best they might reasonably hope for is stability.”

So clearly, no one has any idea how much money consumers will spend over the holidays, and consumers may not either, but consumers are gloomy while the industry is acting like there is going to be a huge surge in holiday spending. If Congress decides after the election to trigger another tsunami of stimulus checks and extra unemployment benefits that arrive in bank accounts before the end of November – however impossible that may seem – well, then, maybe the wildest dreams may come true because in this weirdest economy ever, everything depends on free money.

*  *  *

Enjoy reading WOLF STREET and want to support it? Using ad blockers – I totally get why – but want to support the site? You can donate. I appreciate it immensely. 

Published:10/29/2020 1:05:45 PM
[Markets] : Aircraft orders slump to record low as COVID pandemic and quarantines hit travel Plane makers saw zero aircraft orders in September, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate the industry.
Published:10/29/2020 12:23:38 PM
[Markets] Trump Blasts SCOTUS Decision On Pennsylvania Ballots As "A Disaster For Our Nation" Trump Blasts SCOTUS Decision On Pennsylvania Ballots As "A Disaster For Our Nation" Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 13:20

Update 1315ET: While it took a little time, President Trump has chimed ion on SCOTUS' decision on Pennsylvania ballots.

How long until this tweet is banned by Twitter?

*  *  *

With freshly-confirmed Amy Coney Barrett standing ready on the sidelines, the already-supposedly-conservative-leaning Supreme Court dealt a double-blow to Republicans tonight over mail-in-ballot cases in two key states.

First, the Supreme Court said that it will not intervene before the election to stop Pennsylvania officials from receiving mail-in ballots up to three days after Election Day, refusing a Republican request that the high court expedite review of the issue.

While this is a "loss", WaPo reports that there is a modest silver-lining in that three conservative justices indicated the votes ultimately might not be counted and signaled they would like to revisit the issue after the election.

"There is a strong likelihood that the State Supreme Court decision violates the Federal Constitution," wrote Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., who was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil M. Gorsuch.

"The provisions of the Federal Constitution conferring on state legislatures, not state courts, the authority to make rules governing federal elections would be meaningless if a state court could override the rules adopted by the legislature simply by claiming that a state constitutional provision gave the courts the authority to make whatever rules it thought appropriate for the conduct of a fair election."

As a reminder, Pennsylvania was critical in President Trump's success during the election four years ago and is once again considered a key battleground state.

Second, as AP reports, the Supreme Court voted 5-3 to allow absentee ballots in North Carolina to be received and counted up to 9 days after Election Day, in a win for Democrats.

The justices on Wednesday refused to disturb a decision by the State Board of Elections to lengthen the period from three to nine days, pushing back the deadline to Nov. 12. The board's decision was part of a legal settlement with a union-affiliated group.

Under the Supreme Court’s order, mailed ballots postmarked on or before Election Day must be received by 5 p.m. on Nov. 12 in order to be counted.

Three conservative justices, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas, dissented.

Trump said earlier that he was depending on courts to keep states from counting ballots received after Election Day.

"Hopefully the few states remaining that want to take a lot of time after Nov. 3rd to count ballots, that won't be allowed by the various courts," the president said.

So far things are not going that way.

Published:10/29/2020 12:23:38 PM
[Markets] Get the inside scoop on 5G at the latest Barron's Investing in Tech panel: Live Get the inside scoop on 5G at the latest Barron's Investing in Tech panel: Live Published:10/29/2020 12:05:08 PM
[Markets] ETF Wrap: ETF Wrap: Rise of the robots, and leveraged ETFs are here to stay ETF Wrap is a briefing of what investors need to know in the exchange-traded fund sector, including exclusive commentary and interviews on the industry from MarketWatch
Published:10/29/2020 12:05:08 PM
[Markets] E-Commerce Explodes Into Holiday Shipping Season E-Commerce Explodes Into Holiday Shipping Season Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 12:55

By Eric Kulisch of American Shipper,

Peak season e-commerce sales, turbocharged by an accelerated shift to online buying as consumers shy away from crowded stores during a pandemic, are expected to hit all-time highs this year, putting additional pressure on express delivery networks.

Retail and logistics analysts say the unprecedented level of digital commerce has pulled forward 10 years of expected growth in the span of six months. 

The flood of new orders, especially early in the coronavirus crisis when so many stores were closed, impacted express carriers’ delivery times, leading them to eliminate on-time guarantees, implement package surcharges and throttle volume available to some retailers.

The current gap between demand and supply is about 2.6 million packages a day, for a seven-day week, which will rise to 7.2 million during the upcoming peak season, according to data from Pittsburgh-based ShipMatrix. 

“It doesn’t mean those packages won’t get moved, but they will be affected in terms of the number of days for transit. So, the on-time performance will be challenging for the carriers because they are operating way beyond their capacity,” said Satish Jindel, president of the parcel analytics and benchmarking company.

“Even though the parcel delivery companies will add temporary drivers and warehouse personnel, the demand will increase in the meantime,” he said in an interview. 

On-time performance for ground services during the week of Oct. 4 -10 was 95.2% for FedEx (NYSE: FDX) and 98% for UPS (NYSE: UPS). He attributed the difference to the fact that FedEx Ground is also delivering its SmartPost packages, whereas UPS relies on the U.S. Postal Service for final delivery of about two-thirds of its SurePost economy ground service — freeing up resources for other deliveries.

The ground performance figures for both express carriers, as well as Amazon (NASDQ: AMZN) and the Postal Service, have improved since earlier this year, when they were first hit by the surge in e-commerce demand. 

Jindel noted that express services, which have time-definite standards, have a lower on-time performance. 

Insatiable demand

On Monday, DHL Express said it expects e-commerce shipments to grow more than 50% from last year’s peak leading up to the holidays, with a similar spike in inbound volumes to the Americas — most of it in the U.S.

Mexico is DHL’s second-largest growth market after the U.S., followed by Canada.

The international parcel carrier, part of integrated logistics provider Deutsche Post DHL (LSE: DPDHL), said e-commerce volumes in its network are already up 35% this year over 2019 and predicted online sales will increase further with popular blowout shopping days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday in November, and ongoing gift-buying for Christmas.

Online sales from late November to Christmas are also expected to generate more than 20% greater outbound volume in the region, with the U.S. alone exporting about 30% more parcels, DHL said.

The U.S. Department of Commerce reported that second-quarter domestic e-commerce sales grew by almost a third from the previous quarter and 44.5% from the same period a year ago.

eMarketer forecasts U.S. e-commerce sales will jump 36% to $190.5 billion during the holiday season, while brick-and-mortar retail will decline 4.7% to $823 billion. The research firm estimates Cyber Monday sales will increase 38% to $12.9 billion. It expects e-tail to represent 18.8% of total retail sales, up from 15.9% in 2017. 

Prior to the pandemic, analysts projected holiday e-commerce sales to increase 13% to $155.5 billion, roughly on par with the compound annual growth of the past three holiday seasons. In a recent report, Berkeley Research Group said it believes digital sales could go even higher, to $200 billion. 

The coronavirus pandemic has created a number of conditions that are driving people to shop online, including a desire to avoid potential infection in stores, local laws and health guidelines limiting indoor capacity, and stay-at-home precautions that are leading to more purchases for home offices and recreation rather than spending on services that involve more person-to-person contact. The research groups said the relatively short calendar between Thanksgiving and Christmas and store closures stemming from bankruptcies will also affect holiday shopping dynamics. 

Online deliveries during the holidays will also be boosted by large retailers shifting sales promotions online, where shoppers may find better deals than in physical stores, said Michiel Greeven, executive vice president of global sales for DHL. 

DHL’s peak plan

DHL Express said it is prepared for the surge in volume, thanks to regular investments of about $1 billion per year in its network. For 2020, it has hired more than 10,000 permanent employees, including 3,000 in the U.S. A third of those positions are at DHL’s hub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), with 500 others taking customer service roles and 1,500 jobs for ground pickup and delivery couriers around the country.

DHL has increased daily cargo flights this year to handle the extra demand for e-commerce and COVID medical supplies, partially alleviating ongoing transport shortages associated with the grounding of passenger flights.

It also has added four Boeing 777 freighters to its fleet and said two more will join next month. The six additional aircraft enable the company to carry out more than 3,000 additional intercontinental flights per year.

Earlier in 2020, DHL began a new Hong Kong-Los Angeles-Miami flight five times per week with 45 tons of capacity per flight and a daily flight from the Americas hub to Singapore with space for 55 tons of goods. It also added a weekly freighter flight from Los Angeles to East Midlands, U.K https://www.freightwaves.com/news/dhl-adds-flight-from-la-to-uk-hub.

DHL Express said it has invested about $20 million in several projects to expand U.S. facilities, including the addition of about 80,000 square feet of warehouse space at service centers in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. The Los Angeles, CVG and New York gateways also received a combined $3.7 million for ground support equipment. 

The company is also moving into a larger facility at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport so it can bring goods directly from Asia and Europe, instead of transshipping them at CVG or New York’s JFK airport, according to reporting by Cathy Roberson, who runs a logistics market research firm. The direct flights are expected to begin a year from now. 

DHL has invested $58 million in the CVG hub during the past two years.

Published:10/29/2020 12:05:08 PM
[Markets] Trump maintains 'rounded the corner' insistence even as COVID-19 cases surge Trump maintains 'rounded the corner' insistence even as COVID-19 cases surge Published:10/29/2020 11:24:40 AM
[Markets] Outside the Box: Thomas Jefferson has a clear message for the Supreme Court about the Constitution and ‘originalism’ As a founding father, Jefferson had a lot to say --- and some of it is inscribed on the walls of the Jefferson Memorial.
Published:10/29/2020 11:24:40 AM
[Markets] Fears Of Another February Are Gripping The Market Fears Of Another February Are Gripping The Market Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 12:25

By Michael Msika and Jan-Patrick Barnert, Bloomberg market commentators

The mood in the market is decidedly anxious. Worries are mounting that risks from tightening restrictions in Europe to U.S. election uncertainty will snowball, pushing stocks over the edge in a repeat of February’s selloff. Strong gains at the start of October have given way to losses, and previous winners such as tech shares are signaling a shift in sentiment.

The Stoxx 600 has already lost 2.7% this week and futures are signally another sharp drop today. After months of going nowhere, the momentum in the market is now to the downside. The proportion of stocks with MACD sell signal has been rising steadily this month and is highest since August.

Instead of the V-shaped economic revival many had hoped for, the final months of the year may bring more turmoil. New lockdowns are threatening Europe’s nascent recovery, U.S. election uncertainty is reaching fever pitch and the country’s fiscal stimulus talks are dragging on. Meanwhile, the ongoing earnings season has brought little relief.

For the first time since June, technology isn’t the leading industry in Europe this year. While the sector had faced challenges in recent weeks, SAP’s dismal outlook was the final blow that triggered Monday’s worst slump since March. All Stoxx 600 sector gauges are in the red for 2020, with the exception of the personal care, drug and grocery stores index.

“If this situation remains, investors are likely to increase their trading exposure towards safe havens like the yen, the dollar, or even treasuries while equities will continue their bearish correction,” says ActivTrades technical analyst Pierre Veyret. Technically, Euro Stoxx 50 futures look vulnerable, with the June low support being tested.

The earnings season will offer clues on corporate health. Sectors such as tech carry the load of high expectations, and therefore bigger potential for disappointment, while the value part of the market has so far fared better than expected, with positive updates from banks and energy stocks.

Germany’s DAX Index, which had outperformed the broader Stoxx 600 and even the U.S. S&P 500 in the market rebound, was hammered on Monday because of the rout in SAP, which has an almost 10% weight in the benchmark. “Investors have been caught on the wrong foot,” says Comdirect Bank strategist Andreas Lipkow. Tech stocks were seen as a safe bet, he says, but now investors and analysts alike need to adjust their projections.

“The sell-off looks like a downshift in the cyclical rally sparked by developments in Europe,” says Nomura quantitative strategist Masanari Takada, noting that the “unbroken rally” in cyclicals in the U.S. and Europe since late June may have finally run out of steam. The strategist says the rally may not get going again unless a catalyst triggers a pick-up in economic growth.

Takada sees the recent downtrend in sentiment as a “reversion to reality” after “overdone optimism,” driven by the drop in the economic surprise indexes for major economies. Additional selling pressure on cyclicals may have arisen from hedge funds liquidated their long positions on European stocks, he said.

“To some extent, October feels like February all over again as the solid growth picture could once more be derailed by lockdown measures,” says Florian Ielpo, Head of Macroeconomic Research and Multi-Asset Portfolio Manager at Unigestion, raising the odds of a “W” recovery scenario. While it’s so far limited to Europe, a similar situation extending to the U.S. would be a game changer, he says.

Published:10/29/2020 11:24:40 AM
[Markets] U.K.'s Labour Party suspends former leader Corbyn U.K.'s Labour Party suspends former leader Corbyn Published:10/29/2020 10:53:10 AM
[Markets] US STOCKS-Wall St recovers on Big Tech gains, upbeat economic data U.S. stocks gained ground on Thursday after a sharp pullback a day earlier as investors piled into technology heavyweights ahead of their earnings reports, while upbeat economic data overshadowed worries about surging coronavirus cases. Apple Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc , which have seen a surge in demand for their products and services from people staying at home during the pandemic, rose between 0.6% and 2.3% ahead of their results after the closing bell. Communication services, materials and technology rose the most among major S&P sectors. Published:10/29/2020 10:53:09 AM
[Markets] 'Mid-Level Douche Bag': Miles Taylor Blasted After 'Anonymous' Reveal 'Mid-Level Douche Bag': Miles Taylor Blasted After 'Anonymous' Reveal Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 11:54

Former Department of Homeland Security chief of staff Miles Taylor, a recent CNN hire, has been branded a "two-faced liar" after coming out as Anonymous - the supposedly "senior official in the Trump administration" behind a damning New York Times opinion piece and best selling book.

His 2018 article - promoted as if written by Mike Pence himself - claimed there was a resistance movement within the Trump administration which was actively working to undermine the president.

After Taylor revealed himself as the author on Twitter Wednesday afternoon before an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, critics on both sides slammed the former low-level staffer (who wasn't yet DHS Chief of Staff when he wrote the anti-Trump screeds) - with liberals salty that a grifter got rich by masquerading as a high-level official, and conservatives generally laughing over yet another failed scheme against the president.

"This is everything people hate about Washington — two-faced liars who push their own agendas at the expense of the People," wrote White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany over Twitter. "This is the epitome of the swamp!"

"How many other "senior officials" who we’ve been reading about for years are just mid-level douche bags who think they're Spartacus?" tweeted Breitbart EIC Alex Marlow.

"Anonymous was another media hoax!" tweeted former acting Director of National Intelligence, Richard Grenell.

Former Hillary Clinton staffer Yashar Ali suggested that the left was "pissed because he remained anonymous for so long" and that "The book and cable news deal also pisses people off."

Also hilarious is the full-throated defense of Anonymous's surely impeccable credentials by CNN's Chris Cillizza when the Op-Ed came out.

"In short: If some midlevel bureaucrat in the Trump administration came to the Times -- or has an intermediary reach out to the Times -- asking to write a piece like that one without their name attached to it, the answer would be an immediate "no." Contrary to what Trump says on his Twitter feed, media organizations are very wary of giving anyone and everyone anonymity to make attacks." -Chris Cillizza

CNN, meanwhile, is keeping Taylor on staff despite the fact that he repeatedly lied on air about being Anonymous.

Published:10/29/2020 10:53:09 AM
[Markets] Coronavirus update: U.S. continues to set new case records and Trump remains insistent that U.S. has ‘rounded the corner’ The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus illness COVID-19 edged closer to 228,000 on Thursday and more than 81,000 new infections were recorded in a single day, pushing the seven-day tally to record highs.
Published:10/29/2020 10:22:43 AM
[Markets] Dow Up on Record U.S. Growth but Virus Rise Makes Outlook Murky Stocks were higher Thursday following the S&P 500's 3.5% drop in the previous session, the biggest lost since June 11, as economic growth in the U.S. was higher than estimates and jobless claims declined. Gains were capped, however, by a worrying rise in coronavirus cases in the U.S. and Europe and concerns that measures to mitigate the spread of the virus could derail an economic recovery. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 118 points, or 0.45%, to 26,638, the S&P 500 rose 0.89% and the Nasdaq was up 1.11%. Published:10/29/2020 10:22:43 AM
[Markets] "This Was A Terrible Mistake": Apollo's Black Regrets Giving Epstein A "Second Chance" "This Was A Terrible Mistake": Apollo's Black Regrets Giving Epstein A "Second Chance" Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 11:15

In the aftermath of the widespread blowback amid Apollo clients, many of whom have frozen their new capital allocations to the private equity giant in response to recent reports that co-founder Leon Black had paid "suicided" pedophile Jeffrey Epstein $50 million after he was released from jail, during a conference call on Thursday morning discussing Apollo’s third-quarter results, Black said he regretted doing business with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, even though other prominent people had done the same.

"Like many people I respected, I decided to give Epstein a second chance," Black said Thursday during a conference call to discuss Apollo’s third-quarter results.

"This was a terrible mistake", the former Drexel banker added pointing out the obvious, although it still remains unclear just what "second chance" services Epstein provided to Black that was worth a whopping $50 million in compensation, but we are confident we will find out soon enough.

And in what may be the greatest example of "whataboutism" in modern history, Black said that Epstein worked with many prominent individuals after he was released from jail, and that "the distinguished reputations of these individuals gave me misplaced comfort."

Laughably, Black - who is surrounded by the most brilliant financial minds of his generation 24/7 - has said he sought advice from Epstein for matters such as taxes, estate planning and philanthropy.

Apollo hired law firm Dechert LLP to conduct a review that’s expected to take 60 to 90 days, according to people familiar with the matter.

That said, we doubt their reputations will be just as "distinguished" once it emerges just what "services" underage girls Epstein was providing them.

Also on the call we learned that despite the posturing, Apollo's clients were not really turned off by the ongoing scandal, and the PE giant raised another $4 billion in the third quarter even though it expects fundraising to slow, co-founder Joshua Harris said on the call.

Published:10/29/2020 10:22:43 AM
[Markets] Girl Scouts take back congratulatory Amy Coney Barrett message Girl Scouts take back congratulatory Amy Coney Barrett message Published:10/29/2020 9:54:10 AM
[Markets] Market Snapshot: Dow swings over 100 points higher Thursday as investors parse U.S. GDP’s record third-quarter rise U.S. stock gauges on Thursday try to claw back at least a portion of yesterday's skid for the broader market, as investors digest a preliminary reading of the health of the U.S. economy that indicated a rebound in growth from the recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic, albeit off an economic base that had shrunk considerably.
Published:10/29/2020 9:54:10 AM
[Markets] "Large Lot" Stock-Sellers Surge As 'VaR-Shock' Forces Major De-Grossing Flows "Large Lot" Stock-Sellers Surge As 'VaR-Shock' Forces Major De-Grossing Flows Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 10:35

Despite the scary stock market headlines, there was no real panic yesterday, as the selling felt fairly mechanical and controlled as the marked was pulled down through 3300 in the S&P 500...

However, "large lot" sellers were very evident as Nomura's Charlie McElligott notes, as Asset Managers reduce their exposure from the 93rd %-ile since 2006 creating an "additional source of supply" into this move.

Additionally, McElligott warns that off the back of this "VaR shock" thought - and in a market structure where volatility acts as your exposure toggle - the multi-day jump in realized volatility (“crashing UP” to ivol)...

...means that systematic rules-based investors will mechanically generate “de-grossing” flows, because positions (in light of volatility) are now too large and have to be sized-down.

Finally, the Nomura strategist notes that index options dealers vs spot as rather significantly short gamma (with spot deeply below the “gamma neutral” level in ES at 3371 today and $283.67 in QQQ), while leveraged ETFs were approx $6B of implied selling on their end of day rebalances across SPX, NDX and RTY products yesterday - both in-turn generating a vicious feedback loop and dictating the horrific price-action into the close seen yesterday.

...for every 1% move, there is ~$700mm additional Delta to either “buy” (into an up move) or “sell” (into a down trade) - which means we’ll continue to be very jumpy in both directions out through those expirations, particularly into said deeply illiquid markets into the election event-risk “VaR-down".

As SpotGamma notes, for today 3300 is the “pivot” strike and we are anticipating a volatile day. Implied volatility is the key signal here, if it breaks down we could see a snap back rally up into the 3360 area. To the downside we see 3265 as support but note that negative gamma keeps building with lower SPX prices.

Published:10/29/2020 9:54:10 AM
[Markets] Pinterest's stock on track for best day ever as analysts laud earnings report Pinterest's stock on track for best day ever as analysts laud earnings report Published:10/29/2020 9:23:49 AM
[Markets] Market Extra: ECB signals it’s likely to boost stimulus in December The European Central Bank says it's prepared to “recalibrate” its monetary stimulus efforts in December, noting risks to the economic outlook are “clearly tilted to the downside.”
Published:10/29/2020 9:23:49 AM
[Markets] Van Full Of Explosives Discovered In Philly On Third Night Of Rioting Van Full Of Explosives Discovered In Philly On Third Night Of Rioting Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 10:15

Authored by Steve Watson via Summit News,

Police in Philadelphia discovered a van packed with explosives and other “suspicious equipment” as a third night of rioting and looting gripped the city on Wednesday.

ABC 6 reported that “police recovered propane tanks, torches and possible dynamite sticks from the van.”

The report adds that “The bomb squad is on the scene at this hour.”

The development comes after President Trump claimed police were told to “stand back” and not stop looting and rioting.

“People are breaking into stores and walking out with washing machines and walking out with all sorts of things and it shouldn’t be allowed,” Trump noted, adding “The police were told to stand back, and maybe that’s not so but that’s what I was told upon very good authority.”

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney blasted the crime wave Wednesday, noting that “The looting that has taken place is distressing.”

“It is clear that many of these folks are taking advantage of the situation, harming our businesses and communities, and doing a great disservice to those who want to protest the death of Walter Wallace, Jr.,” Kenney added.

“We cannot allow others to destroy property. I have requested the assistance of the PA National Guard. Their role will be to safeguard property, prevent looting, and provide operational and logistical assistance to @PhillyPolice and other departments,” Kenny also announced.

The mayor has also put a city-wide curfew in place:

Published:10/29/2020 9:23:48 AM
[Markets] Nasdaq clinging to Thursday gain as Dow's decline accelerates Nasdaq clinging to Thursday gain as Dow's decline accelerates Published:10/29/2020 8:49:24 AM
[Markets] Tax Guy: What a win for Donald Trump could mean for your taxes: possible payroll tax cuts and lowering rates on long-term capital gains Tax Guy explains Donald Trump's proposals for federal incomes taxes.
Published:10/29/2020 8:49:24 AM
[Markets] Stocks Mixed as Economy Surges but Sharp Virus Rise Makes Outlook Murky Stocks were mixed Thursday following the S&P 500's 3.5% drop in the previous session, the biggest lost since June 11, as economic growth in the U.S. was higher than estimates and jobless claims declined. The U.S. economy grew the most on record during the third quarter as trillions of dollars of coronavirus relief from Congress and the Federal Reserve supported household and business spending. Third-quarter GDP growth was 7.4%, a quarterly gain that translates to an annual pace of 33.1%, a reversal from the second-quarter's 31.4% decline following Covid-related shutdowns. Published:10/29/2020 8:49:24 AM
[Markets] Global COVID-19 Cases Near 45 Million After Another Record Day: Live Updates Global COVID-19 Cases Near 45 Million After Another Record Day: Live Updates Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 09:50

Summary:

  • Global cases near 45 million
  • New records in Romania, Poland
  • Greece announces 1-month lockdown
  • Belgium hospitalizations hit record as nonessential medical patients delayed
  • Italy will decide on new measures after another week
  • UK rate of spread surges as BoJo faces pressure for national lockdown
  • India tops 8 million cases
  • Singapore lifts travel restrictions with China
  • Moderna gets billion-dollar deposit

* * *

After Germany and France unveiled their plans to return to the most restrictive 'partial lockdown' conditions since the springtime quarantine period ended yesterday, a group of smaller European nations are following suit with Greece introducing a one-month lockdown after two days of record new cases.

"Tomorrow I will announce a new one-month action plan," said Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Elsewhere in Europe, more restrictions are likely coming, with many looking toward Italy, where PM Giuseppe Conte has said he wants to use the next week to assess the efficacy of the most recent set of restrictions before deciding whether to take further action. But as things stand, with Italy reporting another record jump in new cases yesterday, many expect it to follow France and Germany into quasi-lockdown, while Spain sticks to a nationwide emergency order allowing local officials to manage their own restrictions.

Poland reported 20,156 new COVID-19 cases in the past day, a 7% jump from the prior record set one day earlier, and the third all-time record reached this week. Another 301 deaths were reported, bringing the total to 5,149, according to the Polish health ministry.

Source: Bloomberg

Romania also reported another record jump in cases, while Belgium reported a record number of virus hospitalizations.

With 5,924 COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized for COVID-19, Belgium has surpassed its springtime peak from April 6, as a record 743 patients were admitted on Wednesday, following a revised 690 on Tuesday.

Of those, 993 were in the ICU, which is still 20% below the peak of the first wave. Belgian health officials reported more than 100 deaths for the second day in a row.

In response, Brussels has ordered all nonessential hospital work to be postponed as the country's health system struggles to deal with the influx of patients. Croatia, in the Balkans, is asking doctors to come out of retirement to help treat the sick.

In the UK, where pressure is growing on the government to tighten restrictions even further, the number of new cases being reported daily is doubling every nine days or thereabouts. An estimated 960,000 people are carrying the virus on any given day in England. British health authorities said that the reproduction rate climbed to 1.6, from 1.2 when these figures were last published on Oct. 9. BoJo is trying to unveil a mass screening plan relying on rapid saliva tests to try and arrest the spread without resorting to another lockdown, but the pressure is growing nonetheless, led by government scientists with predictions showing untrammeled spread by December.

Globally, the world is on the cusp of topping 45 million confirmed cases, with 1,174,007 deaths confirmed as of Thursday morning in the US. The world saw more than 530k new cases confirmed during the 24 hours to Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins data.

Here's some more COVID-19 news from Thursday morning and overnight:

Although daily case numbers have slowed from the peak seen in September, India has passed 8 million total cases after adding 49,881 confirmed cases in the past 24 hours, according to government data. The country has suffered the largest outbreak in the world after the US, and its death toll of 120,527 trails only the US and Brazil. However, talk about India surpassing the US as the worst-hit country in the world has subsided as US cases have surged once again, pushing the US close to the 9 million case mark as of Thursday morning (Source: Newswires).

China's biggest COVID-19 outbreak in months has reportedly been contained, according to Caixin. The outbreak in Kashgar, part of the northwestern Xinjiang region, where China's mass-detention program for million of ethnic Ughyer Muslims has been carried out. The infections were linked to a local garment factory, and authorities have ruled out the possibility of further spread (Source: Caixin).

South Korea confirms 125 new cases, down from 103 a day earlier. Total infections reach 26,271, with 462 deaths (Source: Nikkei).

Australia's COVID-19 hot-spot state Victoria reports only one new infection on Thursday, a day after it lifted a four-month lockdown in the city of Melbourne (Source: Nikkei).

China reports 47 new confirmed cases for Wednesday, up from 42 a day earlier and the highest daily increase in more than two months (Source: Nikkei).

Taiwan marked its 200th consecutive day without local transmission (Source: Newswires).

Singapore will lift border restrictions for visitors from mainland China and Victoria State in Australia from Nov. 6 as both regions “have comprehensive public health surveillance systems and displayed successful control over the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” according to a statement from the city-state’s civil aviation authority (Source: Bloomberg).

Moderna received $1.1 billion in customer deposits for the shots during the third quarter, which were booked as deferred revenue. The company is only slightly behind Pfizer Inc. and its partner BioNTech SE in the race for a Covid vaccine and has completed enrollment its 30,000-patient trial (Source: Bloomberg).

Published:10/29/2020 8:49:24 AM
[Markets] UK Labour Party Suspends Former Leader Corbyn Over Anti-Semitism Report Comments UK Labour Party Suspends Former Leader Corbyn Over Anti-Semitism Report Comments Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 09:16

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been suspended from the parliamentary Labour party and has had the whip removed.

Mr Corbyn had reacted to a damning report into antisemitism by saying complaints made during his tenure were "dramatically overstated".

A party spokesman said:

"In light of his comments made today and his failure to retract them subsequently, the Labour Party has suspended Jeremy Corbyn pending investigation. He has also had the whip removed from the Parliamentary Labour Party."

More problematic was the fact that the report found Corbyn's office interfered in the report...

Sky News reports that Corbyn gave a press conference in which he repeated his previous "overstated" comments and insisted "I'm not part of the problem".

Published:10/29/2020 8:22:08 AM
[Markets] Premarket stock losses narrow after GDP, consumer spending, jobless claims data Premarket stock losses narrow after GDP, consumer spending, jobless claims data Published:10/29/2020 7:53:03 AM
[Markets] : France and Germany order lockdowns — but is France too late and facing another economic shock? Europe’s two largest economies will go into strict one-month lockdowns to fight the severe spike of COVID-19 that threatens to engulf their national health systems.
Published:10/29/2020 7:52:55 AM
[Markets] US Economy Sees Record Growth In Q3 on COVID Re-Openings, But Gains Unlikely to Continue as Second Wave Accelerates The world's biggest economy notched a record growth rate over the three months ending in September, but rising coronavirus infection rates mean the gains won't be repeated over the final months of the year. Published:10/29/2020 7:52:33 AM
[Markets] 1.7 Million Without Power As Zeta Batters Gulf Coast  1.7 Million Without Power As Zeta Batters Gulf Coast  Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 08:45

Zeta made landfall Wednesday afternoon in Louisiana as a powerful Category 2 hurricane, weakened into a tropical storm as it batters the Southeast US Thursday morning. 

According to power outage.us, by 0553 ET Thursday, more than 1.7 million customers were without power across four states. Georgia 708k, Louisiana 508k, Alabama 273k, and Mississippi 231k. 

Zeta has picked up momentum, racing through central Alabama and northern Georgia this morning and then the Mid-Atlantic by evening. 

"On the forecast track, the center of Zeta will move across portions of the southeastern US this morning, across the mid-Atlantic states this afternoon, and emerge over the western Atlantic by tonight," the National Hurricane Center said.  

CNN Meteorologist Michael Guy said Zeta's fast track suggests the storm won't lose much energy as it traverses the Southeast today and Mid-Atlantic by evening.  

"This will allow Zeta to keep tropical storm intensity with strong winds throughout its course to the Atlantic," Guy said. 

Zeta is the 11th named storm and 6th hurricane to make landfall in 2020. "Both are seasonal records (the six hurricane landfalls ties with 1985 and 1886). Louisiana is the first state with five named storm landfalls in a season," said Aon PLC.'s meteorologist and head of catastrophe insight Steve Bowen

Bowen also said the super active hurricane season has already cost more than $30 billion in damage. 

Published:10/29/2020 7:52:27 AM
[Markets] Earnings Results: Pinterest’s pandemic surge continues, stock jumps more than 25% toward fresh record highs Pinterest Inc. continued to experience a surge in new users during the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to larger-than-expected profit and revenue growth this summer, according to a Wednesday earnings report that sent shares on another ride toward fresh record highs.
Published:10/29/2020 7:33:34 AM
[Markets] Dow Futures Turn Lower As Earnings Fail To Distract From COVID Woes; Apple, Amazon and Google In Focus Wall Street suffered its biggest one-day decline in four months yesterday as COVID infections swept across Europe and the United States, but earnings and GDP data could provide modest relief in a busy Thursday session. Published:10/29/2020 7:33:11 AM
[Markets] Rabobank: Opinion Polls Are Saying Whatever *You* Want Them To Say, To A Tragicomic Degree Rabobank: Opinion Polls Are Saying Whatever *You* Want Them To Say, To A Tragicomic Degree Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 08:26

By Michael Every of Rabobank

Always blindingly obvious

France is partially locked down from tomorrow until 1 December; super-efficient Germany has a limited lockdown for a month too; Italy may follow imminently; and Ireland has had one for a while. In the UK pubs are either open but can’t serve alcohol, or are open if they put a lettuce leaf next to a Cornish pasty on a plate, because that obviously controls the virus completely, or are closed; and the threat is being bandied about that the British police could even come into homes and arrest families over Christmas if more than six people are gathered together for a slice of Xmas pudding. Is it any wonder that the UK’s three virus ‘tiers’ were recently dubbed by its tabloid press as “stuffed”, “nearly stuffed”, and “soon to be stuffed”. Meanwhile, US cases are spiking up again, in the Mid-West this time.

Of course, Covid-19 has been rampaging across swathes of the developing world for months, such as India with its 8m cases. Yet that didn’t seem to matter at all to ebullient markets at all until this week, and yesterday in particular. Suddenly it all does matter, however. I mean, just imagine a European not being able to go to a restaurant on a Wednesday night and having to cook at home! Imagine a skiing holiday being cancelled! Thus risk is now off and sentiment has turned and equities have tumbled.

Should we be surprised? After all, whoever said markets were either rational in the short term or moral? They love to ignore the blindingly obvious until it is literally right in their own faces.

This is in no way to underplay the serious economic hardship and real physical and psychological damage that is being wrought in developed economies by Covid-19, which in many ways is only just getting started: how many small businesses and jobs are going to be able to survive another lockdown? How many are going to be able to cope with a potential future of rolling biannual lockdowns? As this report shows, one in seven adults with kids in the US is already going short of food; and nearly one in four renters with kids is behind on rent payments.

However, the suffering in many emerging markets has been very high for a long time too, and is still rising. Scientists made clear a second wave would arrive with autumn. Markets just weren’t that interested. All that supposed economic muscle in EM still pales in comparison to DM when push comes to actual shove, it seems. As does’ following the science’.

So let’s now follow on to scientifically focusing on the travails of some of the richest countries with the best public health systems in the world: yes, it’s ECB day.

As our ECB team note, the Governing Council meets amidst a resurgence of Covid-19 across Europe. Many Council members have expressed their support for new or prolonged easing as the outlook for the economy and inflation remains weak, but there has still been some pushback on the timing. (Could they not wait until inflation is firmly negative y/y, cynics might ask?)

Last week, the team’s view was that considering calm markets and the stimulus still being provided by previous measures, they did not think that the downside risks warranted immediate ECB intervention, but they openly acknowledged there was a substantial risk of an announcement today. Will Europe back in partial lockdown and markets falling this week have changed a few minds? Or will the majority of the ECB still favour the December meeting as more propitious to take the next step on the ongoing journey of not meeting its inflation target?

In terms of policy expectations, they expect interest rates on hold for the foreseeable future. There are only risks of a cut, which would be effective in weakening EUR. However, they think EUR/USD would still need to be closer to 1.20 before the ECB sees it as restrictively strong and acts in that regard. They still foresee a higher tiering multiplier, but expect the ECB to wait until more of the PEPP has been implemented (or a rate cut does materialise). A rate cut, if seen, may also require a tweak in the TLTRO modalities to limit the potential downside. On the once-unthinkable and now life-is-unthinkable-without-them Asset Purchase Programmes, they expect no changes or PEPP just yet, but still call for an extension of PEPP to end-2021 in December, paired with a EUR ~250bn increase in the envelope.  

In short, Europe is seemingly heading for a very difficult winter on multiple fronts: and the ECB is not going to be providing much light or heat, just the usual acronyms. The EU’s fiscal-Rubicon-crossing virus spending measures might even need review, one might imagine, before the ink is dry on the document and a single Euro flows out.

Similar sentiments of course apply to Japan, where retail sales dipped 0.1% m/m in September vs. a projected 1.0% rise and are still -8.7% y/y, but where the BOJ did nothing new at its monthly meeting. Apart from raising its forecast for growth next year to 3.6% to 3.3% y/y.

Meanwhile in US news, the opinion polls are still saying whatever *you* want them to, to a quite tragicomic degree – but somebody is going to be tragically wrong, however, and soon; new Supreme Court rulings mean we could indeed have a post-election delay for late-arriving ballots in a few key states after all – or that mail in votes in Pennsylvania could be discarded after Election Day; Tech CEOs testified to Congress again over the contentious Section 230 issue, which included Mark Zuckerberg having to delay because he couldn’t get a decent Wi-Fi Signal(!), and the Twitter CEO’s view being that if they don’t like his communication channel, all 300m users can always use alternatives to get their political messages out; that as Fox News’ Tucker Carlson claimed on TV that important Biden-related documents sent to him by a courier service simply disappeared - a story which, like so many others recently, it is equally worrying if it is or isn’t true.

And regardless of the election, some things don’t seem to change in the US. The Senate has seen a bill introduced “that would prohibit malign Chinese companies — including the parent, subsidiary, affiliate, or a controlling entity — that are listed on the US Department of Commerce Entity List or the US Department of Defence list of Communist Chinese military companies from accessing US capital markets.” It would prohibit such firms listing and trading on a US securities exchange; the use of federal funds to deal with such entities; all investments by insurance companies in them; all IRAs from investing in them; and remove the tax-exempt status for qualified trusts that invest in them. Notably, there is still no reference to stopping US capital flowing into Chinese bonds or Chinese government bonds, but given that a share of public spending in every country goes into the military that this bill rails against, one wonders how long until that loophole is also closed.

Something else for markets not to worry about, no doubt, until the blindingly obvious --like the fact that this Covid second wave would happen in DM too-- suddenly looms ahead ad ski-trips have to be postponed.

Published:10/29/2020 7:32:47 AM
[Markets] Earnings Results: Comcast stock rises after earnings top expectations Shares of Comcast Corp. headed higher in premarket trading Thursday after the media giant topped revenue expectations across all three of its business segments for the third quarter.
Published:10/29/2020 6:48:56 AM
[Markets] Dow Futures Attempt Rebound As Earnings, GDP Data Distract From COVID Woes; Apple, Amazon and Google in Focus Wall Street suffered its biggest one-day decline in four months yesterday as COVID infections swept across Europe and the United States, but earnings and GDP data could provide modest relief in a busy Thursday session. Published:10/29/2020 6:48:29 AM
[Markets] Stocks Struggle To Stabilize After Worst Rout Since June Stocks Struggle To Stabilize After Worst Rout Since June Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 07:43

US equity futures, European stocks and commodity markets rebounded after Wednesday's rout which send the S&P lower by 3.5%, the biggest one day drop since June 11, but they struggled to stabilize after a return to national lockdowns in Europe's biggest economies.

“What I think has changed in the last few days is the significant spikes in the virus in Europe and the U.S, especially the U.S.” said Kempen Capital Management’s Chief Investment Officer Nikesh Patel. As a result, "the W-shaped scenario for the economy has now become consensus in the market" rather than one where economies broadly stabilize.

Global stock markets lost nearly $2 trillion yesterday, with volumes on the New York Stock Exchange up almost 40% to their highest level since September. In addition to 2nd and 3rd covid wave fears, investors are also increasingly wary of a contested U.S. election result that could unleash a wave of risk-asset selling. The VIX surged on Wednesday to its highest level since June and implied currency volatility indicates that a wild ride is expected. Marvell declines after it’s said to near a deal to acquire Inphi for about $10 billion.

"Market sentiment is turning, with investors buffeted by U.S. election uncertainty and now economic worries from rising Covid-19 cases across Europe," said Kerry Craig, global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management. “These short-term forces are well beyond the control of individual investors, underscoring the need to maintain balance through the immediate uncertainty.”

Ahead of today's ECB meeting, European stocks got an earlier boost after earnings for telecoms firm BT Group, oil producer Royal Dutch Shell Plc and drinks giant Anheuser-Busch InBev all beat expectations, pushing their shares higher while Credit Suisse slipped after profit missed analyst estimates. Hopes that the ECB will signal it has more support to offer helped stemmed the rout that had wiped nearly 5% off European stocks on Wednesday, but the Stoxx 600 remained jittery and faded all early gains, trading unchanged at last check. Frankfurt’s DAX was up 0.5% in early trading, it was firmly on course for an 8% weekly drop which will be the steepest since the initial COVID panic of March.

Earlier in the session, Asian stocks were moderately lower, with the MSCI Asia Pacific Index down 0.3%. MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares ex-Japan fell 0.6%, led by Australia, down 1.6%, and South Korea, down 1%. Japan’s Nikkei fell just 0.3%, while Chinese blue chips rose 0.5% and the yuan led a gentle bounce in Asian currencies against the greenback. Overnight, the Bank of Japan had made no changes to monetary policy settings as expected overnight, though it trimmed its growth forecasts to reflect sluggish services spending during summer.

“Asia is not really partaking in this second or third wave story because it’s got its COVID largely under control,” said Rob Carnell, chief economist in Asia at Dutch bank ING. “As a result, domestic economies look reasonable.”

As if to illustrate, Taiwan, which boasts Asia’s best-performing currency, marked its 200th straight day without local transmission on Thursday, while France and Germany prepared for lockdowns and as the virus sweeps across the U.S. Midwest.

In FX, the U.S. dollar edged up slightly and riskier currencies remained subdued. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rebounded after droppping in the Asia session; the greenback traded mixed against its Group-of-10 peers as sentiment remained fragile, while the euro slipped for a fourth day. The pound strengthened versus the euro as European Union and U.K. negotiators made progress toward resolving some of the biggest disagreements, raising hopes that a Brexit deal could be reached by early November.

Elsewhere, the Aussie held up, despite paring an earlier gain, as local companies continued to buy the currency against the greenback to top up month-end hedging needs. The Norwegian krone swung from a gain to a loss as oil prices resumed their slump. The yen followed the dollar higher in early European trading. The Bank of Japan stood pat though Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said he stands ready to act if needed amid heightened uncertainty over a resurgence in the pandemic, though he still doesn’t see a pressing need to extend or change existing virus-response measures.

The euro hit a 10-day low on the dollar and a hundred-day low on the yen on Wednesday, before recovering slightly. It last traded at 1.1710 against the euro. Investors expect the ECB to similarly hold off on new measures, but to instead hint at action in December, which is likely to keep a lid on the euro.

“Given what is happening in France and Germany I think the ECB will talk about more stimulus even if they don’t deliver it today,” added Kempen’s Patel, referring to new COVID-19 restrictions announced this week.

In rates, benchmark U.S. 10-year yields had ticked up overnight to 0.7760, fading earlier losses as month-end extension flows may begin to support Treasuries. Treasury yields cheaper by up to 1bp across long-end of the curve, steepening 2s10s, 5s30s by 1.4bp and 0.3bp with front-end trading slightly rich. Treasury auctions conclude with $53b 7-year sale Thursday, after solid results from 2- and 5-year auctions so far this week. German government bonds were still in strong demand, with yields near seven-month lows.

In commodities, the rout continued, as WTI crude extended its decline to the lowest since the middle of June. Futures in New York slid as much as 3.4% to $36.11, the lowest intraday level since June 15. Brent also declined, falling as much as 3.3% to $37.82, also lowest since June. Gold was hammered as the dollar surged continued.

Economic data, including what is expected to be a blockbuster GDP report, and the ECB meeting are the main focus, with gathering uncertainty about Tuesday’s U.S. election also keeping investors on edge. Investors face a busy earnings day, with more than 70 S&P 500 members reporting, including Tech giants Apple, Amazon.com, Facebook and which are all scheduled to post results after the close.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures up 0.9% to 3,291.50
  • STOXX Europe 600 up 0.3% to 343.01
  • MXAP down 0.3% to 174.52
  • MXAPJ down 0.5% to 577.78
  • Nikkei down 0.4% to 23,331.94
  • Topix down 0.1% to 1,610.93
  • Hang Seng Index down 0.5% to 24,586.60
  • Shanghai Composite up 0.1% to 3,272.73
  • Sensex down 0.7% to 39,656.97
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 1.6% to 5,960.34
  • Kospi down 0.8% to 2,326.67
  • Brent Futures down 0.7% to $38.85/bbl
  • Gold spot up 0.1% to $1,879.06
  • U.S. Dollar Index up 0.1% to 93.50
  • German 10Y yield rose 0.4 bps to -0.621%
  • Euro down 0.1% to $1.1731
  • Brent Futures down 0.7% to $38.85/bbl
  • Italian 10Y yield rose 6.4 bps to 0.562%
  • Spanish 10Y yield rose 2.3 bps to 0.201%

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • European Central Bank officials must decide on Thursday whether the renewed wave of coronavirus infections and lockdowns on the continent require an immediate dose of extra monetary support
  • Germany and France will clamp down on movement for at least a month -- coming close to last spring’s stringent lockdowns -- with Germany’s daily caseload surpassing 20,000 for the first time amid a resurgence of Covid-19 across Europe
  • Chancellor Angela Merkel defended her decision to once again severely limit movement in Germany, saying the country is in a “dramatic situation” as the rapid spread of the coronavirus stretches health-care services to their limit
  • Coronavirus measures in England are failing to control the spread of the disease, scientists warned, adding pressure on U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson to introduce another national lockdown
  • Italy sold benchmark bonds at the lowest average rate on record as support from the euro zone’s institutions and newfound political stability fueled demand for the securities
  • Central banks became gold sellers for the first time since 2010 as some producing nations exploited near-record prices to soften the blow from the coronavirus pandemic
  • For fragile oil markets, the outcome of next week’s U.S. election poses yet another risk: the prospect that major producer Iran may regain its role in international trade

A quick look across global markets courtesy of NewsSquawk

Asian equity markets traded mostly lower amid jitters following the bloodbath on Wall St where all major indices declined more than 3% and the DJIA fell over 900 points as risk appetite was decimated by concerns regarding lockdowns in France and Germany, whilst heavy losses were also observed in the tech sector. In addition, pre-election caution and comments from NIH's Fauci that a vaccine won't be available until January at the earliest added to the downbeat tone, although US stock index futures nursed some losses overnight after encouraging updates from both Regeneron and Eli Lilly regarding their COVID-19 treatment trials and with the US said to provide Huawei a lifeline by allowing more companies to supply the Chinese tech giant with components as long as it is unrelated to 5G. Nonetheless, Asian bourses weakened with tech and commodity-related sectors the underperformers in the ASX 200 (-1.6%) and financials were also pressured after ANZ Bank reported a 42% decline in full-year profit and Westpac reached an agreement to settle a BBSW class action in US. Nikkei 225 (-0.4%) was subdued following weak retail sales data and as participants awaited the BoJ policy announcement, which proved to be a damp squib as the central bank maintained policy settings as expected and continued to signal a lack of urgency for immediate support, although some of the losses have been pared amid mild currency outflows and as earnings supported the likes of Sony and Hitachi, while the KOSPI (-0.8%) suffered after Samsung Electronics failed to benefit from its final Q3 results which despite printing an increase from the prior year, it also flagged a decline in chip and mobile profitability for Q4. Hang Seng (-0.5%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.1%) were cautious ahead of several blue-chip earnings including the first of the big 4 banks and with participants looking out for details of the 5-year plan when the 4-day plenum concludes today. Finally, 10yr JGBs failed to benefit from the broad risk-aversion and instead tracked the recent declines in T-notes with demand constrained amid the BoJ policy announcement in which the central bank provided a somewhat balanced tone that suggested it was likely to remain on the fence on future measures.

Top Asian News

  • BOJ Stands Pat But Paints Gloomier Picture of Economy This FY
  • India to Prioritize Covid Vaccine for Front Line Health Workers
  • China’s Busiest Earnings Day to Shed Light on Economy
  • Takeda to Supply Japan With 50m Doses of Moderna Vaccine

European equities (Eurostoxx 50 flat) have been relatively choppy thus far with regional indices unable to stage any meaningful recovery from yesterday’s heavy losses. Ahead of the cash open, futures at one stage suggested that European equities would look to claw back some of the declines seen yesterday, however, this has failed to materialise thus far as market participants fret over the economic impact of recent nationwide lockdown measures taken by France and Germany. It has been an exceptionally busy morning of earnings in Europe with divergences between different industries mostly a by-product of large-cap corporate updates. Tech has been one of the top performers thus far in the wake of yesterday’s tech-heavy losses on Wall St, with sentiment for the sector also aided by earnings from ASM International (+4.1%) who subsequently raised Q4 guidance amid strong demand. Capping gains for the tech sector is Nokia (-16.6%) after Q3 results fell short of analyst estimates and the Co. cut its FY profit outlook amid declining market shares in certain regions. Despite losses in the crude complex, oil & gas names have seen support throughout the session amid Q3 earnings from Shell (+2.1%) which saw the Co. exceed estimates for adjusted earnings and lift its dividend. Banking names are lower on the session amid losses in Credit Suisse (-6.0%) after Q3 profits missed analyst expectations, overshadowing the Co.’s decision to increase its dividend by 5% for 2020 and schedule CHF 1.5bln of share buybacks for next year. Lloyds (+3.7%) have provided some reprieve for the sector after the Co. beat on Q3 profits and noted a surge in the demand for mortgages. Volkswagen (+3.1%) are higher on the session after Q3 profits were bolstered by increasing auto demand from China, offsetting losses elsewhere. Of note for telecom names, (asides from Nokia who are also in the Stoxx 600 tech index), BT (+5.4%) and Orange (+4.6%) are firmer post-earnings, whilst Telefonica (-4.5%) are a laggard in the sector after Q3 results underwhelmed. Finally, AB Inbev (+2.9%) have acted as a source of support for the food & beverage sector after Q3 revenues beat estimates and the Co. stated that H2 performance will be better than H1.

Top European News

  • Janus Henderson Sees Investor Withdrawals Slow in Third Quarter
  • Germany, France Impose Month-Long Curbs to Rein in Virus
  • BT Lifts Profit on Pandemic, Sheds Jobs to Cut Costs
  • German Pig Backlog May Cram 1.2 Million Extra Hogs on Farms

In FX, far from all change in terms of the general market tone that remains suppressed and highly contingent on daily coronavirus developments, but a comparative air of calm has returned following Wednesday’s FTQ. As such, the so called cyclical, activity or high beta currencies are on a more even keel, albeit still precarious and prone to any headline bearing bad news on the COVID-19 front that could have adverse economic implications on top of the obvious social and human cost. Aud/Usd is modestly firmer and straddling 0.7050, Nzd/Usd is pivoting 0.6650 with some independent traction via improvements in NBNZ business confidence and especially the outlook for activity, while Usd/Cad has pared back from post-BoC highs to rotate around 1.3300 even though crude prices remain depressed. Next up for the Loonie, Canadian average weekly earnings and building permits, while the Aussie might be mindful of a decent 1 bn expiry option in the Aud/Jpy cross at 73.20.

  • JPY/GBP/CHF/EUR - All narrowly mixed against the Dollar, as the Yen continues to fend off pressure below 104.50 that coincides with a key Fib level and has capped the pair for the last 2 trading sessions. However, 104.00 remains elusive and Usd/Jpy may remain supported into the round number given expiry interest at the strike in 1.8 bn. For the record, nothing new from the BoJ overnight, but top tier Japanese data looms in the form of CPI, jobs and IP. Elsewhere, Sterling continues to encircle 1.3000 on hopes of a key Brexit breakthrough and the Pound is outperforming vs the Euro just shy of 0.9000 compared to 0.9050 at the other extreme even though latest reports on UK-EU trade talks appear less positive than yesterday. Perhaps the proximity of 1.1 bn expiries between 0.9050-60 are impacting, or the fact that Eur/Usd is treading cautiously into the ECB within a 1.1758-26 range and flanked by expiry interest (1.3 bn from 1.1750-55 and 1.5 bn from 1.1725-15). Meanwhile, the Franc is largely tracking Buck moves on the 0.9100 axis as the DXY meanders from 93.560 to 93.237 in the run up to advance US Q3 GDP, weekly IJC tallies, pending home sales and more heavyweight corp earnings.
  • SCANDI/EM – The aforementioned recoil in oil has hit the Nok back below 11.0000 vs the Eur and beyond recent lows, while in contrast the Cnh and Cny are both paring losses after another weaker PBoC midpoint fix and reports of Chinese bank selling of the onshore Yuan against the Greenback in spot and forward terms. However, the Try is struggling again just off sub-8.3200 record lows vs the Dollar and Brl looks set for catch-up declines after the BCB held rates last night, as expected, but acknowledged strong upside inflation pressure in the short term that requires close attention.

In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures have come under pronounced pressure this morning as the complex was unable to partake in the European-earnings fuelled bounce in the equity futures around the cash equity open on the back of a number of well-received European earnings. As such, throughout the European morning the crude benchmarks have continued to deteriorate moving below the psychological USD 37/bbl & 36/bbl and USD 39/bbl for WTI and Brent respectively; and most recently in proximity to the USD 36/bbl & USD 38/bbl marks. Updates throughout the session explicitly for the crude complex have been sparse after the BSEE report showed further oil outage within the Gulf of Mexico but Storm Zeta is now forecast to continue weakening throughout the day and as such, assuming no damage occurred, platforms should begin returning to service in the near-term. Elsewhere, on the OPEC+ front Energy Intel reports indicate the cartel are considering extending oil output cuts at their current levels through to the end of March; reports which will likely garnering more focus as we approach the next JMMC and full OPEC+ gathering next month. Moving to metals, spot gold is essentially flat on the day perhaps as it struggles to garner clear direction from sentiment this morning which is choppy and diverging somewhat amongst asset classes thus far. Price-wise, the precious metal is little differed on the session around the USD 1875/oz mark.

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • 8:30am: Initial Jobless Claims, est. 770,000, prior 787,000;  Continuing Claims, est. 7.78m, prior 8.37m
  • 8:30am: GDP Annualized QoQ, est. 32.0%, prior -31.4%
  • 8:30am: Personal Consumption, est. 38.9%, prior -33.2%
  • 8:30am: GDP Price Index, est. 2.9%, prior -1.8%
  • 8:30am: Core PCE QoQ, est. 4.0%, prior -0.8%
  • 9:45am: Bloomberg Consumer Comfort, prior 46.6
  • 10am: Pending Home Sales MoM, est. 3.0%, prior 8.8%; Pending Home Sales NSA YoY, est. 23.0%, prior 20.5%

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

Its been a pretty sobering week so far for life as we knew it and for markets even if futures are a little more buoyant this morning. Risk assets buckled yesterday under the weight off fresh restrictions, especially those in the two largest European economies.

As we previewed 24 hours ago German Chancellor Merkel has reached a deal with leaders of the country’s 16 states over a one-month partial lockdown. Starting on Monday, and through to the end of November at least, restaurants, bars and nightclubs will be closed. Leisure facilities such as gyms, event venues, cinemas and amusement parks will also be closed. Residents will only be allowed out with those in their own household and one other, while gatherings will be limited to 10 people. Private travel and visits to relatives are discouraged. However unlike last Spring, schools and day cares shall remain open as well as hairdressers. As we also previewed yesterday French President Macron also announced tougher restrictions including the shuttering of bars and restaurants, banning domestic travel and public gatherings, closing non-essential retailers and encouraging work-from-home if possible. As in Germany, schools will remain in session. The measures are currently in place until at least 1 December which will gives some hope for the Xmas holiday season.

In Germany these restrictions are probably less severe than they could have been and probably sound more extreme than they are but the direction of travel is going to wrong way with perhaps 5 months of the peak flu/cold/virus season still ahead of us unlike the first wave when we only had a month or so of the normal peak period left when it struck. Our German economists expect that the lockdown measures should result in a Q4 GDP decline of at least -0.5% qoq. The hospitality industry and cultural institutions will suffer most again under the new restrictions. That contraction would still be consistent with a -5.6% FY20 GDP drop predicted by our economists, assuming that the upside risks to their Q3 call (+6%) materialises. See here for more of their thoughts and here for the immediate thoughts of our French economist.

There’s an inevitability that other countries will go down the same path soon. A new study from Imperial College London and Ipsos Mori has indicated that the infections in England are doubling every nine days and an estimated 960,000 people are carrying the virus on any one day. In better news, the Guardian has reported overnight that the UK government has asked local health officials to deploy 30-minute saliva kits for coronavirus testing to accelerate the mass screening plan. The test plan is to cover as many of 10% of England’s population for coronavirus every week. Also overnight, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals said that data from a late stage trial indicated that its antibody cocktail therapy significantly reduces virus levels and the need for further medical care. Lastly, European Union leaders are planning to discuss adopting a singular approach to the practice of rapid antigen tests, which are faster than the PCR counterpart and could therefore allow for a more open economy. For more on how the virus is spreading see the table below.

Given the negative direction of restriction travel, US equities had their worst day since 11 June, with the S&P 500 down -3.53% and the VIX up +6.9pts to over 40 for the first time since the same day. That was when there was the original outbreak of covid-19 cases throughout the US Sunbelt. While the VIX is still considerably lower than we saw during the worst of the pandemic-induced selloff in March of this year, you have to go back to 2015 to see the equity volatility index at this level outside of the pandemic. The selloff was very broad with 97% of the S&P lower and the decline was led by Transportation (-4.86%) Software (-4.47%), Tech hardware (-4.45%) and Energy (-4.22%). The tech losses saw the NASDAQ fall -3.73%, the most since early September. It’s a big day for FANG earnings today with Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Alphabet all reporting.

Asian markets are seeing some respite this morning. The Nikkei (-0.33%), Hang Seng (-0.77%), Shanghai Comp (-0.12%) and Kospi (-1.05%) are mildly lower but with futures on the S&P 500 up +1.11% and those on the Stoxx 50 up +0.58%. Yields on 10y USTs are back up +1.2bps. Elsewhere, the BoJ kept it monetary policy unchanged at today’s meeting even as it further trimmed the growth forecast for the year ending in March to -5.5% yoy (from -4.7% yoy previously). In terms of overnight data, Japan’s September retail sales came in at -8.7% yoy (vs. -7.6% yoy expected).

In other overnight news, the FT has reported that the US is allowing a growing number of chip companies to supply Huawei with components as long as these are not used for its 5G business. If true, this will likely offer respite to Huawei’s smart phone arm. Separately, the FT has also reported that Tiffany’s board has approved the sale to LVMH at a lower price. Elsewhere, Standard Chartered beat earnings estimates overnight as loan losses eased. The bank also said that it has ample room to fund growth and pay dividends next year, pending approval from regulators. Boeing has said that it will eliminate an additional 7,000 jobs bringing the expected losses from layoffs, retirements and attrition to 30,000 people (19% of the pre-pandemic workforce) by the end of 2021.

Before all this, European equities fell to their lowest level in just over five months yesterday, with the STOXX 600 retreating -2.95% as 97% of the index also trading lower. Here it was led by cyclicals such as Autos (-4.81%), Chemicals (-3.71%) and Banks (-3.56%). The DAX (-4.17%) and CAC 40 (-3.37%) fell further on their shutdown lite news.

Sovereign yields in Europe declined for a third straight day after much of the focus last week was on their recent sharp rise. However the rally was relatively minimal given the large risk off. Gilts were down -1.9bps to 0.21% and 10yr bunds were down -1.0bps to -0.625%, steadily approaching 7 month lows. Whereas US Treasuries yields were actually up +0.3bps to 0.771% as there may have been some deleveraging of positions. Meanwhile the US dollar rallied +0.50%, the most in over a month. This partly led to gold (-1.61%) having its worst day in 2 weeks.

On the US Election, much of the focus remains on the Presidency, where former Vice President Biden remains an 88% to 11% favourite over President Trump in the fivethirtyeight model. The Democrats also remain favourite to gain control of the Senate (75% chance), though the number of seats is more uncertain. Republicans currently control the upper chamber 53-47 and considering that Democrats are very likely to lose a seat in Alabama, Democrats will need to win 4 seats and the Presidency to win control (the Vice President is the tie breaker). Using a mix of polls and past voting behaviour of the states Colorado (84% chance of Democrats winning according to fivethirtyeight) and Arizona (79%) are the Democrats best bets to turn blue. After that it is Maine (61%) and North Carolina (63%), which have tightened in recent days but in Maine the Democratic challenger has not lost a poll in weeks. In NC the challenger has only lost one in the last 3 weeks. After that the attention should be on Iowa (57%) and Georgia (33% and 64%), where the latter has a pair of Senate elections this year, in one of which the Democratic candidate is slightly favoured.

One interesting wrinkle this year is clearly the large number of early and mail-in votes. In states like Florida they have already seen 70% of the number of voters from 2016, Texas is at 91% (with little mail-in), North Carolina at 76.1% and Georgia at 76.8%. If current polling holds or the polling error happens to go in the Democrat’s favour – as happened in 2012 – it could be a quick night with North Carolina and Florida announcing fairly quickly, on the other hand a Trump win in those states and we could be waiting a week to hear the outcome out of the Midwest, namely Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Given the historically divergent views on economic policy between the two candidates, our chief US economist Matt Luzzetti, considers the implications of the various election outcomes on the economic outlook in a new podcast which you can listen to here. He and his team have also refreshed their 2020 Election chartbook (found here) which contains sections on updated polling, projections, battleground states, and Congressional races.

Today we will hear from the ECB and our European economists (preview here ) expect the policy stance to be left unchanged, but that the ECB will also warn of growing downside risks amid an already weak outlook for inflation. This is likely to open the door to a further easing of policy in December. By then, there’ll be far more information on the status of the pandemic, the effect of the recent spate of shutdowns and the ECB staff will have updated their macroeconomic projections. These include the publication of the first estimates for growth and inflation for 2023.

Outside the ECB, today’s highlight’s include German October unemployment and CPI, along with Italian and Euro Area consumer confidence. In the US there is weekly initial jobless claims, Q3 GDP, personal consumption core PCE, and pending home sales. Lastly we will have Japan’s jobless rate and industrial production. In earnings we have the big ones with Apple, Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook along with Comcast, Sanofi, AB InBev, American Airlines.

Published:10/29/2020 6:48:26 AM
[Markets] Inphi shares surge 31% after agreeing to be bought by Marvell Inphi shares surge 31% after agreeing to be bought by Marvell Published:10/29/2020 6:21:05 AM
[Markets] Outside the Box: These savvy companies know that doing this one thing well is the secret to attracting long-term, stable shareholders High-quality shareholders and the smartest CEOs have the same priority: effective capital allocation, writes Lawrence Cunningham. 
Published:10/29/2020 6:20:59 AM
[Markets] Chemicals giant DuPont surpasses earnings expectations Chemicals giant DuPont surpasses earnings expectations Published:10/29/2020 5:49:23 AM
[Markets] Here are all the reasons COVID-19 cases are surging again Experts attribute the record-breaking number of coronavirus cases to growing weariness among Americans to keep up with pandemic practices like social distancing and wearing masks.
Published:10/29/2020 5:49:16 AM
[Markets] "I've Never Spent A Year So Completely Baffled By The World As This..." "I've Never Spent A Year So Completely Baffled By The World As This..." Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 06:30

Authored by Raul Ilargi Meijer via The Automatic Earth blog,

Try 2021

Had a little email exchange with Dave Collum this week. We go way back, more than two weeks even. It’s been a while though, Twitter cut me off from Dave’s tweets ages ago for some reason, and that’s just one person I know they did that with; how many others, no clue. My Twitter followers, @AutomaticEarth, have been just below the same certain number for years.

Regularly a few hundred are shaved off, and then they slowly revert back to just below that number. I don’t even care anymore. No more than I care about Facebook shutting down our account without any explanation. Let them be. We should not depend on these people, that’s just a bad idea.

Anyway, so Dave was reacting to a mail I sent him of the October 26 Debt Rattle -he’s always remained on one of my mailing lists- and that’s how we started talking again. Dave:

I have never spent a year so completely baffled by the world as this year. Nothing makes sense to me without invoking some seriously bizarre thinking (which I am not averse to doing.)

My reaction:

The game hasn’t even started yet. We’re still just warming up. Still, baseball is not the right analogy, that’s a civilized sport, this will feel much more like gladiators in the Forum fighting to the death. Biden has neither the energy not the -killer- instinct for that.

Yes, Dave, like Jim Kunstler, and like me, and many other people, have changed our views and positions on American politics quite a bit over the past 4-5 years. Mostly independently of each other. We just recognize the same patterns.

I think it’s fair to say that we all realize that there may be a million things wrong with Donald Trump, but there’s a lot more wrong with collusion to unseat a fairly elected president.

And that is what we all have faced. The FBI, and Robert Mueller, opening a years-long investigation based on a report that they already knew was fake, paid for by the DNC and Hillary campaign, relentlessly edged on by the -former- “media” sympathetic to that same campaign, and ending in absolute crickets, trying to save face by accusing Julian Assange and 13 Russians.

We have reached whole new depths with Robert Mueller and Andrew Weissmann. So, yes, sure, we all feel a bit vindicated when it turns out that the collusion was not on the Trump side, but on the DNC one, and very much on the Biden family’s one.

That the DNC media refuse to report on that hardly matters anymore.

They’ll have huge problems if Biden wins, because their day-to-day coverage has been based exclusively on Trump and scandal and intrigue for 5 years now, and they don’t remember how they used to make money without that, with just reporting honestly on what is going on. Trump is their golden goose. What will they do, report on Joe hiding in the White House basement? “Today, Joe slept only 12 hours!” Truman Show.

They will have even bigger problems if Trump wins, since that means his supporters will come after the entire DNC/FBI etc. cabal, including the media. I’ve often said that Michael Flynn lawyer Sidney Powell will not be satisfied anymore with a full exoneration of her client, and her legal team is sure to have accumulated an entire library of fabricated media pieces against him on top of FBI and Judge Sullivan “mishaps”.

And whatever side of politics, or even the law, you’re on, and no matter who wins the election, the judicial system will still churn on. She won’t stop, she won’t wave a white flag, guaranteed. Trump must have offered Flynn a full exoneration many times, but every one of his refusals of the offers must have been more stern than the last one.

And now, 6 days before the election, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, and Google’s Sundar Pichai testified in front of a congressional committee. While, from what I’ve seen, half of US eligible voters have already cast their vote. 50% of the social media job is done. And no-one on Capitol Hill will dare touch them. Because they are the new arms and tools of US intelligence, and you don’t mess with that.

Trump wins, we’ll see a huge increase in the violent street parties dressed up as “peaceful protests” we’ve become accustomed to over the past 6 months. Just last night, like it’s some kind of warning shot, things got way out of hand in New York and Philadelphia.

Biden wins, the right wing will come looking for what’s been taken away from them over the past 4 years, with the president they elected under constant investigation based on nothing other than party political gossip – and that’s putting it nicely. The Hunter and Joe Biden files that have been revealed so far give them ample reason to do just that.

To get back to Collum’s “Nothing makes sense to me without invoking some seriously bizarre thinking”, I think we should all prepare for just that. Unless there’s a landslide win for either side, which looks impossible, there doesn’t seem to be any way to know who will win in six days, before the new year. While the “peaceful protests” rage on.

And then we end up in the Supreme Court and Amy Handmaid Barrett casts the deciding vote. That’s not her fault, it’s everybody else’s. Everything about American politics has gotten out of hand, on all sides of all aisles. We don’t want the most qualified judges anymore, or the most qualified presidents, we instead want people in all these positions who agree with everything we think is right, which we know because our media has told us.

Collum: “I have never spent a year so completely baffled by the world as this year.”

My friend, you’re in for a treat. Try 2021.

*  *  *

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Published:10/29/2020 5:48:54 AM
[Markets] The Conversation: The best reason to dump the whole ‘fall back” and ‘spring forward’ routine: your sleep-deprived self Drop daylight saving time and boost your health.
Published:10/29/2020 5:22:27 AM
[Markets] At Least 2 Killed In 2nd French Terror Attack This Month; Victim Reportedly Decapitated At Least 2 Killed In 2nd French Terror Attack This Month; Victim Reportedly Decapitated Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 05:51

In what appears to be the second major French terror attack in two weeks, at least two have been killed and one critically injured in a brutal knife attack that occurred during the morning service of a local Catholic church - Notre Dame basilica - in Nice.

In an echo of the brutal attack on a schoolteacher that recently galvanized the French government to launch a major anti-terror crackdown, reports claimed that at least one of the victims had been decapitated, like the teacher was.

The incident is believed to be terror-related according to the city's mayor. The suspect is reportedly alive, and has been taken into custody by police. A security perimeter has been set up around the church the city said, and it's almost completely empty except for armed guards.

Witnesses on social media reported hearing shots fired as armed police responded to the incident, one reported hearing at least seven shots. The national police in France have urged the public to avoid the area, while cautioning that there's no need to panic.

He wrote on Twitter: “I am on site with the @PoliceNat06 and the @pmdenice who arrested the perpetrator of the attack. I confirm that everything suggests a terrorist attack in the Basilica of Notre-Dame de #Nice06.”

Estrosi told reporters that "Islamofacism" is at the heart of these attacks, and that the attacker reportedly shouted "Allah Akbar" - or "God is Great" in Arabic.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said he was convening a crisis meeting at the ministry in Paris.

In the aftermath of the most recent French terror attack on Samuel Paty, the high school teacher who was decapitated for sharing cartoons from Charlie Hebdo in class, President Emmanuel Macron launched a major crackdown on Islamic terror in France, which has been the worst-hit of Europe's major countries by Islamic terror, largely due to its 6 million-plus Muslim population.

Earlier this month, some leaders of Muslim countries denounced Emmanuel Macron's comments on Islamic Terror as "racist".

Of course, these same leaders do nothing when China imprisons and tortures millions of Muslims.

This latest attack, we suspect, will only serve to further galvanize public support for an aggressive dismantling of terror networks, while also directing more support to Marine Le Pen and the French right.

Published:10/29/2020 5:22:27 AM
[Markets] The Moneyist: I filed for bankruptcy after rehabbing my husband’s home. Now he wants an open marriage and says I own nothing. I feel trapped and bamboozled ‘I don’t pay bills, which has left me pondering the idea of just staying with him out of convenience, but at what cost to me mentally?’
Published:10/29/2020 4:48:48 AM
[Markets] Dow Futures Rebound As Earnings, GDP Data Distract From COVID Woes; Apple, Amazon and Google in Focus Wall Street suffered its biggest one-day decline in four months yesterday as COVID infections swept across Europe and the United States, but earnings and GDP data could provide modest relief in a busy Thursday session. Published:10/29/2020 4:48:48 AM
[Markets] Trump Organization Selling Iconic Helicopter As Pandemic Hammers Business Trump Organization Selling Iconic Helicopter As Pandemic Hammers Business Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 05:45

President Trump's Sikorsky S-76B helicopter is now for sale on aircraft broker site Jet Edge Partners. The sale of the luxury helicopter comes as the virus pandemic has hammered businesses within The Trump Organization as large debt payments loom

The S-76B still flies under the U.S. civil registration code N76DT, an apparent reference to "Donald Trump," The Drive said. The helicopter is parked at an undisclosed hanger in Trenton, New Jersey, waiting for a new owner. 

There was no clear indication at what price Jet Edge Partners listed the helicopter, though, on its website, it said: "Deal Pending." In 2015, CNBC estimated a pre-owned "S-76's usually sell for $5 million to $7 million." 

Manufactured in 1989, the helicopter came off the Sikorsky line, now a Lockheed Martin subsidiary. The airframe has a little under 6,300 hours, and it appears the cockpit and cabin were modernized in the last decade. Here are some of the amenities the helicopter has to offer:

  • Cabin Seats covered in Ecru/Almond Leather with Gold Seatbelt Fittings

  • Six-Place Executive Cabin Interior with Panelling & Soundproofing System

  • Headliner & Window Panels in Cream Ultra Suede

The sale of the helicopter comes around the time the virus-induced downturn has battered The Trump Organization. Trump's empire is primarily built around golf courses, hotels, commercial and residential real estate, shops, and restaurants, mainly segments of the economy that have been hard hit

We may never know the exact reason why The Trump Organization has decided to sell its multi-million dollar helicopter. Still, the financial pressures we noted above suggest the company may need to raise cash ahead of loan payments due over the next couple of years. 

If so, does that mean Trump's Boeing 757 could be liquidated next? 

Published:10/29/2020 4:48:48 AM
[Markets] NerdWallet: Countries that will give you a remote-work visa, and how to get to them Here’s what to know about how to take advantage of this unique opportunity and how to travel there on points and miles.
Published:10/29/2020 4:29:20 AM
[Markets] Scottish Hate Crime Bill Would Criminalize Offensive Dinner Table Conversations Scottish Hate Crime Bill Would Criminalize Offensive Dinner Table Conversations Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 05:00

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

Scotland’s new odious hate crime bill would go so far as to criminalize dinner table conversations if their ‘offensive’ content is reported to police.

“Conversations over the dinner table that incite hatred must be prosecuted under Scotland’s hate crime law,” reports the Times.

Such conversations were previously protected under the Public Order Act 1986, which includes a “dwelling defense” that shields conversations that take place in private homes from being prosecuted, however that would be removed under the new law.

The new bill would add an additional crime of “stirring up hate” against a protected group by “behaving in a threatening or abusive manner, or communicating threatening or abusive material to another person,” as well as the crime of possessing “inflammatory material.”

Critics have argued that the vague term “stirring up hate” could be broadly interpreted and could lead to people like JK Rowling facing criminal charges and up to seven years in prison for expressing views about transgender issues.

It also has dire implications for comedy and freedom of speech, given that anyone could choose to take offense to anything and complain that they have experienced “hate.”

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said journalists, writers and theater directors could also be dragged into the courts if their work is deemed to have stirred up “prejudice.”

To get an idea of Yousaf’s mentality, he previously gave a speech to the Scottish Parliament in which he complained that the vast majority of senior positions in Scottish authorities were filled by white people.

Demographically, Scotland is 96% white.

*  *  *

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Published:10/29/2020 4:29:20 AM
[Markets] Outside the Box: The best 5G pure-play investment is in cellphone-tower operators Start with Crown Castle International and American Tower in the U.S. and Cellnex Telecom in Spain.
Published:10/29/2020 3:49:01 AM
[Markets] European stocks rise after ending Wednesday at 5-month lows European stocks rise after ending Wednesday at 5-month lows Published:10/29/2020 3:49:01 AM
[Markets] Europe Markets: European stocks crawl off five-month lows as traders await ECB, U.S. GDP and earnings wave European stocks stabilized Thursday after ending the previous session at a five-month low, with investors awaiting the latest European Central Bank decision, a flood of corporate earnings and a reading on how the world's largest economy performed in the third quarter.
Published:10/29/2020 3:23:27 AM
[Markets] Top UK Scientists Warn "Many, Or All" COVID-19 Vaccine Projects Could Fail, First Gen "Likely To Be Imperfect" Top UK Scientists Warn "Many, Or All" COVID-19 Vaccine Projects Could Fail, First Gen "Likely To Be Imperfect" Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 04:15

MSM outlets seized on groundbreaking research produced by the Imperial College of London yesterday, claiming that the study's findings that COVID-19 antibodies degrade during the months following infection to bash the Great Barrington Declaration, arguing that herd immunity would be virtually impossible to establish without the help of a vaccine that can provoke a stronger immune system response.

Well, on Wednesday morning, as the US government struck a deal to buy $375 million worth of an experimental Eli Lilly COVID-19 antibody drug following questionable trial results, a team of leading scientists in the UK warned that the quest for a vaccine could be complicated by an "imperfect" initial round of tests.

In fact, members of the UK's Vaccine Taskforce warned in an article published in the Lancet that a fully effective vaccine might never be developed, and that early versions of approved vaccines might not work for all people.

The letter is clearly an effort to temper people's expectations as a growing body of research shows that COVID-19 immunity is more complicated than many would suspect, while President Trump continues to insist that a vaccine will be available within weeks as he battles for reelection. Recently, Pfizer, the current US frontrunner, saw its CEO delay the release of trial data that was expected by the end of the week.

Importantly, the team warned that there might never be a working vaccine: "However, we do not know that we will ever have a vaccine at all. It is important to guard against complacency and over-optimism," said Kate Bingham, the chair of the UK Vaccines Taskforce.

"The first generation of vaccines is likely to be imperfect, and we should be prepared that they might not prevent infection but rather reduce symptoms and, even then, might not work for everyone or for long." The taskforce added that "many, and possibly all" of the vaccine projects currently in the works could fail.

Readers can find the letter below in its entirety (text courtesy of the Lancet).

* * *

No vaccine in the history of medicine has been as eagerly anticipated as that to protect against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Vaccination is widely regarded as the only true exit strategy from the pandemic that is currently spreading globally.

The UK is at the forefront of a huge international effort to develop clinically safe and effective vaccines. The Vaccine Taskforce was the brainchild of Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK Government's chief scientific advisor, who saw the need for a dedicated, nimble private-sector team of experts embedded in the Government to drive forward the development of vaccines for the UK and internationally. The Vaccine Taskforce was set up under the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in May, 2020, and I was asked to chair the taskforce, reporting directly to the prime minister, and working alongside Deputy Chair Clive Dix. The Vaccine Taskforce aims to ensure that the UK population has access to vaccines as soon as possible, while working with partners to support equitable access for populations worldwide, whether rich or poor.

However, we do not know that we will ever have a vaccine at all. It is important to guard against complacency and over-optimism. The first generation of vaccines is likely to be imperfect, and we should be prepared that they might not prevent infection but rather reduce symptoms, and, even then, might not work for everyone or for long.

Our strategy has been to build a diverse portfolio across different formats to give the UK the greatest chance of providing a safe and effective vaccine, recognising that many, and possibly all, of these vaccines could fail. We have focused on vaccines that are expected to elicit immune responses in the population older than 65 years: over three-quarters of deaths caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection are in this older population,1, 2 so it is essential that any vaccine is able to protect this group. Scalability of vaccine manufacture was also a key criterion, with the goal being to manufacture in the UK, if possible, to secure supply and create long-term resilience. We considered only vaccines that have the potential for approval by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and European Medicines Agency and for vaccine delivery as early as the end of 2020 or, at the latest, in the second half of 2021.

The Vaccine Taskforce has now secured access to six vaccines (from more than 240 vaccines in development) across four different formats: adenoviral vectors, mRNA, adjuvanted proteins, and whole inactivated viral vaccines, which are promising in different ways. The most advanced vaccines, such as those developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, BioNTech and Pfizer, and Janssen, are based on novel formats for which we have little experience of their use as vaccines, although the initial immunogenicity and safety data are encouraging.3, 4, 5 Vaccines based on frequently used vaccine formats, such as adjuvanted protein vaccines developed by Novavax, and by GSK and Sanofi, and inactivated whole viruses developed by Valneva, will not be available until late in 2021.

We also have an agreement with AstraZeneca to supply a neutralising antibody cocktail as a prophylactic treatment once clinical trials are completed and it is approved by regulators. This treatment will be provided in the short term for people who cannot receive a vaccine, such as people who are heavily immunosuppressed and cannot mount an immune response, or people who need immediate protection, such as health-care workers.

The Vaccine Taskforce has options to purchase sufficient doses of each vaccine type to vaccinate the appropriate UK population. Following the interim advice by the UK's Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisations,6 vaccination would be recommended for adults older than 50 years, health-care and social-care workers on the front line, and adults with underlying comorbidities. The precise dose required will be determined as part of the clinical trials and by the decisions made by the UK Government on the basis of the advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. We anticipate that most vaccines will require two doses, and we are also investigating whether annual or biannual revaccination booster shots might be required to maintain durable protection.

Developers of COVID-19 vaccines range from small biotechnology companies to big pharmaceutical companies, each with different commercial objectives and with different amounts of funding to support manufacturing scale-up and clinical trials. In some cases, the Vaccine Taskforce is investing at risk to support these activities before we know whether the vaccine is safe and effective, and, in other cases, we have negotiated an advanced purchase agreement. In both instances, government funding is usually linked to reaching clinical, regulatory, and other milestones. If a vaccine is not going to work, then we will stop funding.

Some of the developers, such as AstraZeneca, GSK and Sanofi, and Janssen, are pursuing the development of a vaccine on a non-profit basis, at least for the pandemic period; whereas others view the resources and risk that they are assuming as justification for seeking a profit.

The first phase 3 efficacy data from the leading vaccine candidates are due by the end of 2020, subject to accruing sufficient rates of infection within the clinical trial cohorts to show the vaccines' efficacy. The primary endpoint is to show that the vaccine can protect against SARS-CoV-2 infection and reduce symptom burden. Two phase 3 efficacy clinical trials are now underway in the UK; the Oxford AstraZeneca adenovirus-vectored vaccine (NCT04400838) and the world's first phase 3 study for Novavax's protein-adjuvant vaccine (NCT04368988), both occurring at various sites across the UK. Numerous phase 3 studies are in preparation to start in the UK in 2020 and 2021 with US, European, Australian, and possibly Chinese vaccine developers, reflecting the UK's strong reputation for running clinical trials and postauthorisation pharmacovigilance of high quality.

To help to accelerate the development of successful vaccines, we launched the National Health Service COVID-19 vaccine registry7 and have enrolled over 295?000 volunteers,8 with a focus on populations who are at high risk of severe infection and mortality from COVID-19. We plan to accelerate recruitment in disease hotspots with mobile research teams informed by robust PCR testing, and have provided funding for clinical trials of crucial importance, including Janssen's two-dose Ad26 protocol (NCT04505722), Imperial College London's self-amplifying RNA (ISRCTN17072692), and Valneva's whole inactivated vaccine. We are also exploring the potential for future controlled human challenge studies, dependent on ethics and regulatory approvals. These studies have the potential to assess the efficacy of vaccines more quickly and with far fewer participants than a standard phase 3 trial. The Vaccine Taskforce is also supporting the development of heterologous boost clinical protocols, through the National Institute for Health Research, to explore whether different vaccine combinations can increase immunity or durability of protection.

To harmonise results from the various clinical trials, and to help to define immune correlates of protection, we have supported development of standardised, accredited assays, including quantitative high-throughput spike-protein ELISAs, live viral-neutralisation assays, and T-cell assays, which will be available to all vaccine developers.

A major challenge is that the global manufacturing capacity for vaccines is vastly inadequate for the billions of doses that are needed, and the UK manufacturing capability to date has been equally scarce. The Vaccine Taskforce has provided funding for flexible and surge production in several new UK sites for vaccine manufacture to provide the UK population with a new vaccine in less than 9 months from the identification of the pathogen. We also plan to bring new vaccine technologies and capabilities to the UK for future pandemic preparedness.

No-one has ever done mass vaccination of adults anywhere in the world before and the two-dose regimen, plus cold-chain restrictions for some vaccines, adds to the complexity of this deployment operation. National Health Service England has flexible deployment plans to start the vaccination of prioritised cohorts as soon as the vaccines are approved by the regulatory authorities, currently not to be coadministered with the influenza vaccination (although clinical trials are exploring coadministration of influenza and COVID-19 vaccines). Deployment plans have been developed for a range of settings from mass vaccination sites to large and small mobile (eg, pop-up) sites, general-practitioner surgeries and pharmacies, and even roving teams to visit people in care homes and people who are housebound or shielding.

We cannot, however, protect the UK without working with our international partners to protect the world. SARS-CoV-2 is a global pandemic with a toll of over 1·1 million deaths.9 No one is safe until we are all safe. Pandemic viruses do not respect national borders. There will not be one successful vaccine, or one single country, that is able to supply the world. We urgently need international cooperation to pool risks and costs, address barriers to access, and scale up the manufacturing capacity to produce sufficient doses to protect everyone at risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection globally.

The UK is committed to ensuring that everyone at risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection, anywhere in the world, has access to a safe and effective vaccine. The COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility, to which the UK has committed £548 million, will deliver vaccines for the UK population and provide access to vaccines for lower income countries: initially 2 billion doses for 1 billion people worldwide. Working with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, WHO, and a broad alliance of 180 nations, this pooling of resources maximises the chances of securing access to a vaccine and making it available to all who need it. But we now need to make this global facility a permanent one: ready to respond to future pandemics quickly in the future and to control COVID-19.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus is likely to evolve, and other zoonotic pathogens are likely to pose future risks. China, Europe, the USA, and the UK need to work together. If we establish international collaboration right now, then we will be better prepared to control future pandemics without causing the largest global recession in history and the biggest threat to lives in living memory.

* * *

Source: The Lancet

Published:10/29/2020 3:23:27 AM
[Markets] : Europe is now closing its doors, but its recovery had been running ahead of the U.S. Current headlines aside, the European recovery has been faster than the U.S.
Published:10/29/2020 2:48:08 AM
[Markets] Has Britain's Top Ambassador Been Caught By A Democratic Party 'Honey Trap'? Has Britain's Top Ambassador Been Caught By A Democratic Party 'Honey Trap'? Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 03:30

Authored by Martin Jay via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

CNN is arguably the most corrupt, tainted and unethical news organisation on the planet. It’s also the most successful. Those two sentences shouldn’t really sit comfortably together but the times we are living in are making such news giants go to remarkable lengths to stay on top. And it’s not just the network which follows the doctrine do whatever it takes to stay number one. It’s also CNN reporters.

Recently, mainstream media made a song and dance about an attractive blonde CNN staffer called Michelle Kosinski who is accused of both having an illicit affair with Britain’s most important ambassador in the world and extracting information out of him about Trump and key decisions the administration was about to make – leading to a number of ‘scoops’.

Kim Darroch is a particularly controversial ambassador, previously based in Washington DC and at the heart of the swamp.

Darroch quit his prestigious Washington post in July last year after leaked cables revealed he had branded Trump ‘incompetent’ which made him immediately hated by the U.S. president.

Darroch also claimed the president ‘radiates insecurity’, telling British officials they need to ‘start praising him for something he’s done’ when they meet him.

Kosinski meanwhile left her post at CNN just five months later, according to her LinkedIn profile although it’s unclear whether CNN fired her, or she resigned.

Both Kosinski and Darroch were recently investigated by Department of Justice officials who, in the event, couldn’t prove the pillow talk allegations which started at the beginning of 2018.

Darroch really should be investigated though by the British government as the alleged love affair should have rung alarm bells in the Foreign Office in London, presenting a security threat not entirely dissimilar to the Profumo Affair in the 60s involving Christine Keeper, a call girl who slept with both the war minister and a senior Russian diplomat.

It’s alleged with the Kosinski-Darroch affair that a number of highly sensitive decisions taken by the U.S. and NATO about Russia were leaked to the CNN staffer who naturally denies the sex-for-scoops allegations.

In many ways though we shouldn’t be surprised by the scandal as British diplomats behaving badly is almost becoming so common that it might as well be a soap opera. In my personal experience, I have found the Foreign Office to be a rotten institution which protects its own and lies, cheats and feeds disinformation to UK newspaper editors to protect its own. Consequently, a new generation of ambassadors is starting to make the headlines for incompetence, buffoonery and serving their own interests and needs.

Did the UK government know about the affair? Almost certainly. Was it a security breach which could have led to British soldiers in hotspots around the world being compromised? Probably.

Keeping the British end up

But the story is really nothing new. CNN journalists offering sexual favours to important figures is certainly nothing out of the ordinary. In fact it is positively encouraged and worn by some reporters as a badge of honour.

Kosinski rants in her tweets that she was “doing her job” but this needs some context. As a former contracted freelance journalist working for CNN, I have seen the extraordinary lengths failing journalists will go to in the cutthroat world of Atlanta, just to stay relevant. In 2011, I worked with one such struggling producer who came to Morocco with clear intent to make up a story about the King here “clinging on to power”. When I refused to go along with the ruse, I was threatened. Eventually I was fired for being “difficult to work with” – which is coded CNN management jargon for “you’re a good journalist, so we can’t work with you and your annoying fact checking”.

Not only did “Lisa” (we shall call her) want to make up a story here in Morocco which was entirely false, but her protestation when I objected was quite revealing about the CNN ethos. She explained to me that it was entirely normal practice for the big names in Atlanta to make up “all their foreign reports” when they worked abroad, naming Cooper Anderson and CNN VP Parisa Khosravi as well as the khaki legend Christina Ammanpour.

Yet perhaps even more shocking was how the loud New Yorker proudly told me that she was sleeping with a UAE diplomat in Rabat, who was helping her no end with her Morocco report, while providing embassy car and other perks like food and perhaps even cash.

Indeed, providing sexual services to diplomats, it was explained to me, was really not a big deal. And it came with a number of benefits to help wannabe journalists like her. In Morocco she virtually had no expenses at all, which was both a benefit to her and Atlanta who finally ran her story which was littered with errors.

Weeks later she was actually promoted to become a fully fledged foreign correspondent on the strength of her ‘showreel’ report from Morocco.

Lisa was investigated, to my knowledge three times by CNN bosses for ‘unethical journalism’ until she was finally fired in December. She has been despatched to the lonesome world of DC obscurity of speaking events and the occasional interview on TV.

Bang Bang Club of CNN

Kosinski’s disgrace also probably led to her departure from CNN. According to her Linkedin profile, she is currently presenting a web TV show.

When she writes she was “doing her job” in getting scoops one has to wonder what she meant. Was she referring to this old practice of CNN staffers who can’t make the grade of joining the bang-bang club and doing the rounds on the diplomatic circuit? Just as Lisa was stung by a number of clumsy, unethical journalist stunts (like offering to help Hillary Clinton with a ruse) which finally caught up with her, Kosinski is never going to get over a 2005 one which showed her doing a live report in a canoe reporting on a flooding in New Jersey – which featured two individuals walking across her camera line in just a few centimetres of water as she sits in the boat. Oops.

Apparently, the stunt which massively backfired, only propelled her into the dizzy orbit of CNN, which, presumably, was impressed with her zeal to fake stories. Dirty diplomats and slutty female journalists ready to use their bodies as a dump zone for men twenty years their senior is the new norm.

Kosinski left CNN to present a web TV show called The Perfect Scam with Frank Abagnale, who was the real-life inspiration for the film ‘Catch Me If You Can’ played by the handsome Hollywood heartthrob Leonardo DiCapprio.

Has Britain’s own top Ambassador been caught by a Democratic Party ‘honey trap’?

Published:10/29/2020 2:48:07 AM
[Markets] : The ECB is meeting — here’s what analysts say to expect The eurozone economy seems destined to contract in the fourth quarter, as a spike in COVID-19 cases has caused governments to once again tighten restrictions on activity. But the European Central Bank is not seen as riding the rescue with more stimulus --- at least not at Thursday's meeting.
Published:10/29/2020 2:16:44 AM
[Markets] France's Charlie Hebdo Sparks Turkish Fury With Cartoon Of "Erdogan In Private" France's Charlie Hebdo Sparks Turkish Fury With Cartoon Of "Erdogan In Private" Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 02:45

A new satirical cartoon from the French weekly Charlie Hebdo has sparked fury in Turkey and is worsening the diplomatic spat between Turkey and France after Paris already recalled its ambassador when President Erdogan questioned Macron's mental health while accusing the French president of attacking Islam over remarks made in the wake of the horrific beheading of a middle school teacher Samuel Paty on October 16.

The latest edition of the newspaper, first released online Tuesday night, features a front page cartoon mocking President Recep Tayyip Erdogan - he's in his underpants, holding a can of beer and gazing up a skirt of a hijab wearing woman

"Ooh, the prophet!" the character says in the French speech bubble, with the title reading: "Erdogan: in private, he's very funny".

It has set off outrage among the Turkish public especially after Erdogan shot back Wednesday saying the "worthless" cartoon had nothing to do with free speech but is in reality an attack on Islam. He accused European countries of wanting to "relaunch the Crusades". There's also been growing demonstrations in other parts of the Middle East over charges of France's "anti-Islamic" stance.

Erdogan's top press aide, Fahrettin Altun, additionally said in a tweet: "We condemn this most disgusting effort by this publication to spread its cultural racism and hatred."

"French President Macron's anti-Muslim agenda is bearing fruit! Charlie Hebdo just published a series of so-called cartoons full of despicable images purportedly of our President," he added.

On Monday Erdogan called for a Turkish boycott of all French goods over what he called France's 'anti-Islamic' stance towards Muslims and the Turkish people. Erdogan had said during a televised speech in Ankara: "As it has been said in France, 'don't buy Turkish-labelled goods', I call on my people here. Never give credit to French-labelled goods, don't buy them."

Meanwhile Erdogan is threatening to sue every European leader that posts or defends the cartoons, as is happening with a Dutch politician:

Macron has emphasized a freedom of speech message, vowing that the French "not give up our cartoons" - in reference to both the latest row but also the events and controversy surrounding the January 7, 2015 Charlie Hebdo massacre, which left 12 people dead after the newspaper published a series of cartoons perceived as mocking the founder of Islam Muhammad.

According to Reuters, Turkey has launched an investigation into the French newspaper, saying it will take "all necessary legal, diplomatic steps against Charlie Hebdo caricature on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan."

Published:10/29/2020 2:16:44 AM
[Markets] : A Biden win could be good news for Europe, and these stocks will benefit the most, say strategists A win for Joe Biden in the presidential election is likely to be beneficial for European stocks, strategists said, with a number of sectors set to stand out.
Published:10/29/2020 1:25:22 AM
[Markets] The Armenian-Azerbaijani War After One Month The Armenian-Azerbaijani War After One Month Tyler Durden Thu, 10/29/2020 - 02:00

Submitted by SouthFront.org,

After a month of war, the Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc continues to keep the initiative in the conflict, exploiting its advantage in air power, artillery, military equipment and manpower. The coming days are likely to show whether Ankara and Baku are able to deliver a devastating blow to Armenian forces in Karabakh in the nearest future or not.

If Armenian forces repel the attack on Lachin, a vital supply route from Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh, they will win the opportunity to survive till the moment when the ‘international community’ finally takes some real steps to pressure Turkey and Azerbaijan enough to force them to stop the ongoing advance. If this does not happen, the outcome of the war seems to be predetermined.

Meanwhile, Azerbaijani forces continue their advance in the region amid the failed US-sponsored ceasefire regime. Their main goal is Lachin. In fact, they have been already shelling the supply route with rocket launchers and artillery. The distance of 12-14km at which they were located a few days ago already allowed this. Now, reports appear that various Azerbaijani units are at a distance of about 5-8 km from the corridor. Armenian forces are trying to push Azerbaijani troops back, but with little success so far.

The advance is accompanied by numerous Azerbaijan claims that Armenian forces are regularly shelling civilian targets and that the ongoing advance is the way to deter them. Baku reported on the evening of October 27 that at least four civilians had been killed and 10 wounded in Armenian strikes on Goranboy, Tartar and Barda. On the morning of October 28, the Armenians allegedly shelled civilian targets in Tovuz, Gadabay, Dashkesan, and Gubadl.

On the morning of October 28, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry claimed that in response to these Armenian violations its forces had eliminated a large number of enemy forces, an “OSA” air-defense system, 3 BM-21 «Grad» rocket launchers, 6 D-30, 5 D-20, and 1 D-44 howitzers, 2 2A36 «Giatsint-B» artillery guns, a 120 mm mortar, a “Konkurs” anti-tank missile and 6 auto vehicles.

On October 27, Azerbaijani sources also released a video allegedly showing the assassination of Lieutenant General Jalal Harutyunyan by a drone strike. Azerbaijani sources claim that he was killed. These reports were denied by the Armenian side, which insisted that the prominent commander was only injured. Nonetheless, the Karabakh leadership appointed Mikael Arzumanyan as the new defense minister of the self-proclaimed republic.

On the evening of October 27 , the Armenian Defense Ministry released a map showing their version of the situation in the contested region. Even according to this map, Armenian forces have lost almost the entire south of Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijani forces are close to the Lachin corridor. An interesting fact is that the Armenians still claim that the town of Hadrut is in their hands. According to them, small ‘enemy units’ reach the town, take photos and then run away.

Al-Hadath TV also released a video showing Turkish-backed Syrian militants captured during the clashes. Now, there is not only visual evidence confirming the presence of members of Turkish-backed militant groups in the conflict zone, but also actual Syrian militants in the hands of Armenian forces.

Experts who monitor the internal political situation in Armenia say that in recent days the Soros-grown team of Pashinyan has changed its rhetoric towards a pro-Russian agenda. Many prominent members of the current Pashinyan government and the Prime Minister himself spent the last 10 years pushing a pro-Western agenda. After seizing power as a result of the coup in 2018, they then put much effort into damaging relations with Russia and turned Armenia into a de-facto anti-Russian state. This undermined Armenian regional security and created the conditions needed for an Azerbaijani-Turkish advance in Karabakh. Now, the Pashinyan government tries to rescue itself by employing some ‘pro-Russian rhetoric’. It even reportedly asked second President of Armenia Robert Kocharyan to participate in negotiations with Russia as a member of the Armenian delegation. It should be noted that the persecution of Kocharyan that led to his arrest in June 2019 was among the first steps taken by Pashinyan after he seized power. Kocharyan was only released from prison in late June 2020. Despite these moves in the face of a full military defeat in Karabakh, the core ideology of the Pashinyan government remains the same (anti-Russian, pro-Western and NATO-oriented). Therefore, even if Moscow rescues Armenia in Karabkah, the current Armenian leadership will continue supporting the same anti-Russian policy.

Published:10/29/2020 1:25:22 AM
[Markets] Tax Guy: Just sold your home? Here’s how to take advantage of one of the most valuable personal income tax breaks on the books A refresher on the home-sale gain exclusion tax break
Published:10/28/2020 11:22:26 PM
[Markets] Will They Really Get Away With It? Will They Really Get Away With It? Tyler Durden Wed, 10/28/2020 - 23:45

Authored by Chris Farrell via The Gatestone Institute,

Obama administration officials committed crimes against the constitution. They engaged in a seditious conspiracy to overthrow the government of the United States.

Will they really get away with it?

Forty government officials were indicted or jailed as a result of Watergate. White House staffers H.R. Haldeman and John Erlichman went to jail. White House counsel John Dean went to jail. Attorney General John Mitchell went to jail. Howard Hunt, G. Gordon Liddy, Charles Colson and James McCord – all jailed. Nixon Press Secretary Ronald L. Ziegler called Watergate a "third-rate burglary." It toppled a president.

"Obamagate," or the "Russia Hoax" is a political and criminal scandal exponentially more serious and damaging to the constitution. Like the Richter Scale measurements of earthquakes, Obamagate can be measured in "orders of magnitude" greater seriousness than the third-rate burglary. Obamagate is the First American Coup. Not from the militaristic right, as fantasized by liberal Hollywood. Oh, no – from the "fundamental transformation" artists of the Bolshevik Left.

Writing in the New York Post on October 24, 2020, columnist Michael Goodwin listed his reasons for voting for Donald Trump, again. His reasoning included:

"The other side must not be rewarded for its efforts to sabotage and remove a duly-elected president.

"Russia, Russia, Russia was a scam that ruined lives and put a cloud over the White House for nearly three years. The sequel was partisan impeachment, a clumsy coup attempt orchestrated by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Trump haters in Congress, the deep state, and the media.

"The press corps' bias of 2016 has morphed into full-blown partisanship on a daily basis at print, digital and broadcast outlets. FacebookTwitter and other platforms openly use their power to censor pro-Trump news and opinion while promoting anything that makes the president look bad.

"It's not the algorithms; it's the people behind them.

"Their decision to block The Post's groundbreaking reports on Hunter Biden's business deals and Joe Biden's involvement should scare anyone who treasures the First Amendment. To censors, Orwell's nightmare is their dream.

"All fairness has been abandoned in a frenzy to destroy Trump and everything he represents. This culture war extends backward, too."

This is all very important stuff. It is still defective in one key area: it ignores (largely) the crime. The details of the criminal seditious conspiracy to overthrow the government of the United States.

How are we still missing this?

The (awesome and formidable) law enforcement and intelligence powers of the United States were perversely twisted and abused to advance a partisan political agenda by the sitting president (Barack Obama); his paid political operatives; and officers, agents and employees of the United States Government against Candidate Trump, President-elect Trump and President Trump.

There are handy references to keep track of the cast of characters involved in the coup plot. The Epoch Times has a resource, as does the Capital Research Center. One hopes John Durham has a reference, file or graphic that is something close to those analytical pieces. He seems to need some sort of help, since he apparently is unable to move past the anemic, pathetic Clinesmith indictment.

Seasoned investigators and attorneys can take the publicly available records and assemble sufficient facts, documentation and evidence to meet the legal threshold ("probable cause") for successfully presenting a bill of indictment to a grand jury.

Why is there reluctance today? How is it that Attorney General William Barr and John Durham are consumed with prosecutorial ennui when the crimes and cover-ups are so painfully obvious? One is left to conclude that it really all comes down to political will. Do Barr and/or Durham have the stomach to seek the indictment of people like James Comey, John Brennan, Andy McCabe and (many) others?

Granted, Lindsey Graham is certainly no Sam Ervin; and Richard Burr abdicated the running of the Senate Intelligence Committee to Mark Warner years ago – but AG Barr and Prosecutor Durham do not need committees of Congress for "cover" to pursue the criminality of the Obama administration and their operatives in the Department of Justice, FBI, CIA and State Department.

Just remember: 40 jailed for Watergate.

Published:10/28/2020 10:56:56 PM
[Markets] Why the Nasdaq, with its ‘WFH’ tech giants, just posted its worst day in 7 weeks Why the Nasdaq, with its ‘WFH’ tech giants, just posted its worst day in 7 weeks Published:10/28/2020 10:16:36 PM
[Markets] U.S. Stock Futures Rebound After Worst Selloff in Four Months (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stock futures climbed as investors looked for positive catalysts after concern over coronavirus infections and tougher lockdowns Wednesday spurred the market’s worst decline in more than four months.S&P 500 futures contracts expiring in December were up 1% as of 10:41 a.m. in Tokyo. Contracts on the Nasdaq 100 rose 0.8% while those on the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1%.The S&P 500 Index fell 3.5% Wednesday, the biggest drop since June 11, amid a surge in Covid-19 hospitalizations, especially in the Midwest. European stocks also tumbled, as France imposed a new nationwide lockdown and Germany moved to implement one-month partial restrictions.Asian stocks emerged less scathed as trading opened Thursday, with the MSCI Asia Pacific Index falling 0.6% as U.S. futures turned higher.With news about Europe’s stricter virus measures “digested,” the market “will switch back to the election,” said Ben Emons, head of global macro strategy at Medley Global Advisors. “The blue wave remains priced in, which means the market will refocus on stimulus.”House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she hopes the current selloff in U.S. stocks will prompt President Donald Trump to agree to Democratic demands in stalled stimulus talks and end a three-month stalemate that has added to tension ahead of the Nov. 3 vote. Polls predict Trump will be defeated by Joe Biden, whose Democratic Party is also expected to win control of Congress.Positive news from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s late-stage trial of an antibody cocktail therapy for Covid-19 and possible measures from the European Central Bank should add “positive momentum” heading into the U.S. equity market open Thursday, according to Medley’s Emons. Investors will also be looking toward earnings reports due after the close from major tech companies including Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Facebook Inc.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P. Published:10/28/2020 10:16:36 PM
[Markets] MarketWatch First Take: The pandemic has sent people flocking to Pinterest and Snap, which could be a bad sign for Facebook Pinterest Inc. is seeing a boom in new users as shut-in DIYers looked for new home improvement projects during the pandemic, and its revenue benefitted from a boycott by many large advertisers of Facebook.
Published:10/28/2020 10:16:35 PM
[Markets] Hunter Biden Documents Mysteriously Vanish From Overnight Envelope, Tucker Carlson Says Hunter Biden Documents Mysteriously Vanish From Overnight Envelope, Tucker Carlson Says Tyler Durden Wed, 10/28/2020 - 23:05

Authored by Ivan Pentchoukov via The Epoch Times,

A collection of confidential documents related to the Biden family mysteriously vanished from an envelope sent to Fox News host Tucker Carlson, the host said on Wednesday night.

Carlson’s team allegedly received the documents from a source on Monday. At the time, Carlson was on the West Coast filming an interview with Tony Bobulinski, the former business partner of Hunter Biden and James Biden. Carlson requested the documents to be sent to the West Coast.

According to Carlson, the producer shipped the documents overnight to California using a large national package carrier. He didn’t name the company, saying only that it’s a “brand name company.”

“The Biden documents never arrived in Los Angeles. Tuesday morning we received word from our shipping company that our package had been opened and the contents were missing,” Carlson said. “The documents had disappeared.”

The company took the incident seriously and immediately began a search, Carlson said. The company traced the package from when it was dropped off in New York to the moment when an employee at a sorting facility reported that the package was opened and empty.

The company’s security team interviewed every employee who touched the envelope we sent. They searched the plane and the trucks that carried it. They went through the office in New York where our producers dropped the package off. They combed the entire cavernous sorting facility. They used pictures of what we had sent so that searchers would know what to look for,” Carlson said.

“They far and beyond, but they found nothing.”

“Those documents have vanished,” he added.

“As of tonight, the company has no idea and no working theory even about what happened to this trove of materials, documents that are directly relevant to the presidential campaign just six days from now.”

Executives at the shipping company were “baffled” and “deeply bothered” by the incident, Carlson said.

Carlson’s interview with Bobulinski aired on Tuesday night. In the interview, Bobulinski opined that Joe Biden and the Biden family are compromised by China due to the business dealings of Hunter Biden and James Biden. Joe Biden has not publicly responded to Bobulinski’s allegations, but during a presidential debate on Oct. 22 said he had “not taken a penny from any foreign source ever in my life.”

Bobulinski provided more than 1,700 pages of emails and more than 600 screenshots of text messages to Senate investigators and handed over to the FBI the smartphones he used during his business dealings with the Bidens. The documents detailed a failed joint venture between a billionaire tied to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and a company owned by Hunter Biden, James Biden, Bobulinski and two other partners.

While the corporate documents don’t mention Biden by name, emails sent between the partners suggest that either James Biden or Hunter Biden held a 10 percent stake for the former vice president. In the email, the stake is assigned to “the big guy,” who Bobulinski says is Joe Biden.

Published:10/28/2020 10:16:35 PM
[Markets] GE shares climb over 6% after earnings, revenue beat forecasts GE shares climb over 6% after earnings, revenue beat forecasts Published:10/28/2020 6:57:02 AM
[Markets] : Harley-Davidson has eliminated discounts, markets and product models on the road to a turnaround Harley-Davidson stock soared more than 23% in Tuesday trading after earnings beat expectations
Published:10/28/2020 6:57:02 AM
[Markets] Futures Tumble, European Stocks, Oil Plummet As Europe Imposes Partial Lockdowns Futures Tumble, European Stocks, Oil Plummet As Europe Imposes Partial Lockdowns Tyler Durden Wed, 10/28/2020 - 07:56

U.S. futures continued their slump, hitting a three-week low as shares in Europe and crude oil tumbled after tighter covid restrictions in Germany and France sparked fear of even broader lockdowns. European stocks dropped to a 5 month low with  all 20 sectors were in the red, while safe havens such as the dollar and Treasuries rose. Oil and gold slipped, while Bitcoin surged to the highest since January 2018. The VIX Index climbed to the highest level since June, rising as high as 37 overnight.

With hopes for a new fiscal stimulus deal before the election dead and buried and all attention shifting to covid, Wynn Resorts and United Airlines Holdings, companies sensitive to restrictions, dropped more than 1% in premarket trading. Energy firms such as Occidental Petroleum Corp fell 2.8% on concerns over fuel demand. Microsoft’s quarterly results smashed analysts targets, benefiting from a pandemic-driven shift to working from home and online learning. However, its shares fell 2% after rising 35% so far this year after its sales forecasts in key units missed estimates, overshadowing a revenue beat on cloud demand. The other Big Tech companies - Apple, Alphabet, Amazon and Facebook - which are due to report results on Thursday, fell between 0.9% and 1.6%. GE jumped in early trading after posting a surprise profit and positive industrial free cash flow.

Spiraling pandemic, elevated unemployment levels and U.S. lawmakers failing to strike a deal on fresh fiscal stimulus before the Nov. 3 election sent the S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq to their lowest close in three weeks on Tuesday.

"We’ve been warning investors over the last few days in particular to maybe pare back a little bit of their strong risk position,” Laura Fitzsimmons, JPMorgan Australia’s executive director of macro sales, said on Bloomberg TV. "As you see the odds start to wane a little bit more for Biden, maybe that continues a bit more. We all remember four years ago when markets were very much surprised.”

Meanwhile, surging new cases and hospitalizations set records in the U.S. Midwest, while in Europe, concerns over a national lockdown in France hammered risk appetite. Overnight Germany proposed closing bars and restaurants for a month, while France reportedly favors a one-month lockdown from midnight tomorrow. Turkey barred doctors and nurses from taking leave, resigning or retiring.

Europe's Stoxx 600 Index fell as much as 2.7%, before trimming its decline to 2%. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks fared better. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was almost flat on Wednesday, and markets in South Korea and Shanghai posted modest gains. In China, indicators tracked by Bloomberg showed the recovery continued to display mixed signals while remaining broadly steady in October.

On the political front, Trump plans 11 rallies across 10 states in the final 48 hours of campaign travel, CBS reported. The president is also considering issuing an executive order requiring an economic analysis of fracking as he tries to woo Pennsylvania and Ohio.

China’s yuan depreciated as local banks abandoned inclusion of a key factor used to calculate the currency’s fixing. The offshore yuan weakened 0.1% to 6.7211 per dollar.

As reported yesterday, some banks stopped using the counter-cyclical factor in their formulas for the fixing recently, according to an official statement released Tuesday. The removal of the factor, which was first introduced in 2017 to rein in depreciation, suggests Beijing hopes to slow a rapid advance in the currency since May. “The change could increase renminbi volatility ahead,” Citigroup Inc. strategists led by Sun Lu wrote in a note, using the yuan’s official name. “We think the risk-reward for bullish offshore yuan exposure may start to look attractive again” when the currency edges close to 6.75-6.80.

In rates, Treasuries extended this week’s gains with yields as much as 1.5bp richer across 5- to 30-year sectors as S&P futures touch fresh three-week lows. Treasury 10-year yields around 0.753%, lagging bunds by ~1bp as risk-off backdrop supports European fixed income; gilts also slightly outperform. Bunds outperform with euro-area stocks plunging almost 3% amid rising coronavirus infections and toughening lockdowns. Auctions resume Wednesday with $55b 5-year note sale.

In FX, the dollar rose with the yen and Treasuries, amid broad based risk aversion. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose to its highest level in more than one week and the Treasury curve bull-flattened as a continued rise in coronavirus infections and an approaching U.S. election boosted demand for havens. The euro slipped to a session low of $1.1743, and was set for its steepest three-day decline versus the dollar in five weeks, as Europe’s governments prepared to tighten restrictions due to the rising virus count, which may aslo fuel more dovish rhetoric from the European Central Bank at Thursday’s review. The yen advanced to a five-week high, and was the only Group-of-10 currency to rise versus the dollar while Sweden’s krona and Norway’s krone led losses among peers. The Australian dollar gave up an Asia-session gain which followed a rebound in the nation’s quarterly consumer prices.

Elsewhere, oil retreated back below $38 a barrel in New york after an industry report pointed to a bigger-than-expected increase in U.S. crude stockpiles. Brent plunged 4%, dropping below $40 for the first time in a month on slowing global demand concerns.

Economic data include mortgage applications, wholesale inventories. Visa, Mastercard and Amgen are among the highlights of a busy earnings day. Earnings season continues, with Visa, Mastercard, United Parcel Service, Amgen, Boeing, GlaxoSmithKline, Ford Motor Company, General Electric and Nomura all reporting.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures down 1.5% to 3,333.75
  • MXAP down 0.2% to 175.60
  • MXAPJ down 0.2% to 583.26
  • Nikkei down 0.3% to 23,418.51
  • Topix down 0.3% to 1,612.55
  • Hang Seng Index down 0.3% to 24,708.80
  • Shanghai Composite up 0.5% to 3,269.24
  • Sensex down 1.8% to 39,790.97
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.1% to 6,057.74
  • Kospi up 0.6% to 2,345.26
  • STOXX Europe 600 down 2.6% to 343.47
  • German 10Y yield fell 2.1 bps to -0.636%
  • Euro down 0.4% to $1.1753
  • Brent Futures down 3.1% to $39.91/bbl
  • Italian 10Y yield fell 3.8 bps to 0.498%
  • Spanish 10Y yield rose 2.3 bps to 0.181%
  • Brent Futures down 3.1% to $39.91/bbl
  • Gold spot down 0.2% to $1,903.48
  • U.S. Dollar Index up 0.4% to 93.32

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel proposed closing bars and restaurants for a month and French President Emmanuel Macron prepared to announce tougher restrictions that may include a lockdown as hospitals fill up across Europe
  • As the European Union seeks to disburse funds from its 750 billion-euro ($888 billion) recovery program as soon as next year, some of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic are struggling to work out how to best keep their finances in check once they take on billions of euros of new loans
  • Data due Thursday are forecast to show U.S. gross domestic product surged an annualized 32% in the third quarter, almost double the previous high. That figure will reflect activity switching back on across the country after Covid-19 fears and government stay-at-home orders ground the economy to a halt in April
  • China’s economic recovery displayed mixed signals while remaining broadly steady in October, with small businesses turning more cautious and the property market weakening even as car sales soar. The aggregate index combining eight early indicators tracked by Bloomberg was unchanged from the previous month

A quick look at global markets courtesy of NewsSquawk

Asian equity markets lacked firm direction following the mixed performance of stateside peers as earnings season and the upcoming election provided a cautious setting, while US stock index futures were further pressured after-hours on European shutdown concerns after reports stated that France and Germany were both mulling nationwide lockdowns. ASX 200 (+0.1%) was indecisive with initial declines due to underperformance in the energy sector amid weaker oil prices and with financials also subdued after ANZ Bank flagged a AUD 528mln hit to earnings, although the losses in the index were eventually pared by ongoing tech resilience. Nikkei 225 (-0.3%) and KOSPI (+0.6%) were varied as participants reflected on quarterly results and with the BoJ kickstarting its 2-day policy meeting where no major fireworks are expected. Hang Seng (-0.3%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.5%) conformed to the choppy price action amid earnings and with Hong Kong resuming the underperformance against the mainland, despite the continued rally in tech heavyweight Tencent which extended on record highs and flirted with the HKD 600 level after it having recently averted a US WeChat ban. Finally, 10yr JGBs mildly extended above the psychological 152.00 level as prices benefitted from the cautious risk tone in Japan and following recent upside in T-notes, but with gains capped as the BoJ began its 2-day policy meeting where the central bank is widely expected to hold off from any policy tweaks.

Top Asian News

  • The Pessimist’s Guide to Jack Ma’s Record-Breaking Ant IPO
  • Bharti Airtel Jumps After 14 Million New Users Boost Sales
  • Korea Consumer Confidence Jumps Most Since 2009 as Virus Eases
  • Nomura’s Overhaul Pays Off With Help From Traders, Dealmakers

European equities (Eurostoxx 50 -2.5%) trade with heavy losses as the prospect of further lockdown restrictions in the Europe triggers investor concern over the region’s recovery prospects. In Germany, the DAX (-2.7%) is enduring significant downside amid reports that German Chancellor Merkel is pushing for tougher restrictions which would see the closure of restaurants and bars and limit people’s movements until the end of November. Losses for the index have also been exacerbated by Beiersdorf (-6.2%) and BASF (-4.0%) post-earnings with the former unable to reassure investors despite posting an encouraging performance in Q3. Delivery Hero (+4.4%) are the only gainer in the DAX after Q3 orders reached a new record, with the Co. also likely to benefit from any restrictions that limit seated restaurant bookings. CAC 40 (-2.7%) is also lagging its peers amid reports that the French government may impose a month-long national lockdown to combat the COVID pandemic which could take effect from midnight on Thursday. From a sectoral standpoint, losses are hitting some of the more cyclically exposed sectors hardest with laggards comprising of autos, banking and oil & gas names. Of note for the banking sector, Deutsche Bank (+1.9%) have seen shallower losses than peers after posting a Q3 profit of EUR 128mln (vs. a prior Y/Y loss of EUR 942mln) amid strong performance in its investment banking division with the Co. also upgrading its FY20 revenue outlook. Elsewhere for the industry, Danske Bank (-1.1%) raised its FY20 net profit outlook alongside Q3 earnings with the Co. citing more favourable market conditions. In what has been a particularly downbeat session thus far, bucking the trend are the likes of Next (+4.4%), Carlsberg (+1.6%) and Morphosys (+0.8%) post-earnings.

Top European News

  • Aston Martin Soars After Securing Mercedes’s Help Out of Crisis
  • Novachuk, Kim Agree to Buy KAZ Minerals for 640 Pence/Share
  • European Stocks Dive Again With More Lockdowns Piling Up
  • Johnson’s Unhappy Tories Fight Each Other Over U.K. Virus Plans

In FX, the Buck has reclaimed its safe-haven mantle and is firmer vs all G10 peers, bar the Yen amidst a severe downturn in risk sentiment on heightened concerns about the exponential 2nd coming of COVID-19 that is threatening to shutdown several European economies, while forcing others to reimpose stricter measures to combat the pandemic. The index has duly rebounded above 93.000 after an agonisingly close test of Monday’s low yesterday, and has registered a fresh w-t-d peak at 93.401 to expose half round number resistance at 93.500 that is arguably only being protected by the fact that Usd/Jpy has retreated further from recent highs and further towards 104.00.

  • AUD - Aside from the generally deteriorating tone, fractionally firmer than forecast q/q inflation in Q3 has partly countered more dovish overtones from the RBA to keep the Aussie afloat on the 0.7100 handle, albeit some distance from 0.7150+ highs due to headwinds from weaker PBoC midpoint Cny fix without the counter-cyclical quotient (6.7195 vs 6.6989 previously).
  • GBP/NZD/CAD/EUR/CHF - Sterling has finally succumbed to what seemed like the inevitable as clearly substantial support and bids around the 1.3000 mark in Cable has yielded to a breach of DMAs sitting on top of 1.2990 stops that have now been triggered to a circa 1.2964 trough. Similarly, the Kiwi has relinquished 0.6700+ status vs its US counterpart, while running into offers in Aud/Nzd ahead of 1.0600 and the Loonie has lost underlying support from crude prices as the clock ticks down to the BoC, as Usd/Cad rebounds from around 1.3178 to 1.3240. Elsewhere, the Euro is sub-1.1750 as the coronavirus cases mount, but could yet be drawn back to decent option expiry interest between 1.1750-60 (1 bn) and the Franc has fallen beneath 0.9100 following a near miss on Tuesday.
  • SCANDI/EM – No shock that the Nok is also tracking the reversal in oil and unwinding outperformance vs the Eur from 10.8000+ at best this week so far to under 10.9000 again, but the Sek has gleaned some encouragement from relatively upbeat Swedish retail sales, in contrast to Norway’s much weaker than expected consumption, plus improvements in consumer and industrial sentiment, with Eur/Sek holding below 10.3500 and well away from very large expiries at 10.4000 (2.2 bn). Conversely, not even a rise in Turkish economic confidence to compliment an upturn in consumer morale or the CBRT flagging a V-shaped GDP rebound in Q3 have rescued the Try from more pronounced depreciation as President Erdogan sticks to a tough line on defending its border with Syria. Hence, the Lira continues to sink and is now eyeing 8.3000 vs 8.2920 at worst, so far.

In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures succumbed to the early pressure in sentiment around the European equity cash open (see equity section); fresh fundamental drivers were lacking but the move was seemingly driven by intensifying COVID-19 concerns with various areas considering/to implement lockdowns. Alongside having a broad sentiment effect such newsflow would have directly impacted crude prices given the demand-side implications that further lockdowns would likely entail. At present, WTI and Brent Dec’20 & Jan’21 respectively are posting losses in excess of 3% and are in proximity to session lows with Hurricane Zeta unable to offset the decline via its supply-side implications; particularly as a number of rigs have indicated they will continue operations through the storm. The most recent BSEE update showed just shy of 50% of oil production shut-in for the Gulf of Mexico, with the survey encapsulating a much more representative 38 companies compared to the 7 in the initial report for Hurricane/Strom Zeta. Data wise, the private inventories showed a build of 4.58mln last night and expectations for today’s EIA’s are for a slightly more modest build of 1.23mln. Moving to metals, spot gold is subdued this morning in-spite of the risk tone as the metal succumbs to pressure from the DXY which has continued to print highs throughout the morning; at present, spot gold is in proximity to the USD 1900/oz mark.

US Event Calendar

  • 8:30am: Advance Goods Trade Balance, est. $84.5b deficit, prior $82.9b deficit
  • 8:30am: Wholesale Inventories MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.4%
  • 8:30am: Retail Inventories MoM, est. 0.5%, prior 0.8%

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

The pandemic has interfered with my once in every five year trip to the theatre. We were going to see Hamilton this past weekend but of course it was cancelled some time ago. However after buying a subscription to Disney+ for the children we stumbled across their exclusive film recording of the show over the last two nights (too long for one sitting). I must admit for someone who doesn’t really like musicals I was seriously impressed.

Given the mounting covid restrictions our family may be getting good value out of our Disney+ subscription over the coming weeks. France and Germany look set to move towards some form of “lockdown lite” over the next 24-48 hours with more info likely today and tomorrow. For France it was reported that this could be based around a new one-month lockdown starting midnight on Thursday, though it will be more flexible than the initial one from last Spring. We’ll find out more tonight from President Macron’s address to the nation. Meanwhile, German Chancellor Merkel, according to reports out of Germany, is aiming for tough restrictions of her own that will be released to Germany’s 16 state premiers at a meeting tomorrow. While schools and daycares will remain open, restaurants will be shuttered and all major events would be cancelled as of tomorrow if reports on Bloomberg are correct. Germany's Bild newspaper has confirmed this theme this morning adding that Merkel wants to close fitness studios, casinos, bars and cinemas with restaurants only offering take-outs.

So the virus news doesn’t get much better and I suppose the problem with the second wave is that although we are far better prepared than we were for the first wave the reality is that the first wave occurred late in the traditional flu/cold/virus season. The second wave still hasn’t even hit November or December yet and we’re still seeing cases soar in many places.

More on the virus later but in terms of markets, US equities moved between gains and losses most of yesterday before the S&P 500 settled down -0.30%. Technology stocks gained as chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices announced a $35bn stock deal for competitor Xilinx. The massive deal boosted sentiment across the industry and saw tech (+0.52%) help lead the S&P, though the overall index was not able to overcome losses in the Energy (-1.38%) and Industrials (-2.18%) sectors. With the tech outperformance the Nasdaq rose +0.64%, rebounding after Monday’s large losses. The VIX rose just under one point to 33.25, its highest level since September 3rd.

Asian markets are mixed this morning with the Shanghai Comp (+0.36%) and Kospi (+0.30%) up while the Nikkei (-0.45%) and Hang Seng (-0.18%) are down. Futures on the S&P 500 are also down -0.56%. In FX, the US dollar index is up +0.18%. Elsewhere, WTI crude oil prices are down -2.20% and Microsoft was down -1.74% in after hours trading as forecast for revenue in some divisions fell short of the highest analysts’ projections.

Earlier European equities gave ground for the second straight day as worries over rising case numbers and the ensuing restrictions continued to take hold. The STOXX 600 closed down -0.95% to its lowest level since 29 May. The overall negative sentiment bled through markets and pulled down European Banks (-3.27%), even as HSBC rose +5% initially (+3.37% at the close) after signaling it could resume dividends, while Spain’s Santander initially rose +3.8% (-1.46% at the close) after beating earnings expectations. Other bourses saw deeper loses with the IBEX (-2.14%), CAC 40 (-1.77%), FTSE 100 (-1.09%), and FTSE MIB (-1.53%) falling further.

The fading risk sentiment globally saw sovereign yields decline once more. US 10yr Treasury yields came in -3.3bps while 10yr gilt yields were down -4.3bps and bund yields down -3.5bps. There was a slight amount of widening in peripheral spreads to bunds, except for Italy where the possible passage of a €5bn fiscal stimulus bill may have helped the spread of 10yr BTPs to bunds to tighten (-0.4bps) slightly. Other havens were mixed, as the dollar ticked slightly lower (-0.11%) and gold rallied +0.31% to $1908/oz.

With regards to the election this time next week we will be waking up to the morning after the night before. It is not yet clear that we will have a winner at this time as many State Secretaries and voting commissions are hedging their bets that they will indeed be able to project the winner by next Wednesday morning. We are likely to have some states counted though, particularly from those who are able to process and count mail in ballots ahead of November 3. Former Vice President Biden remains +9.1pts and +7.4pts ahead in the fivethirtyeight and realclearpolitics polling averages respectively, while the former’s model gives him an 88% chance of winning – the highest yet - even if the poll lead has fallen from the recent peaks. Florida is likely one state to pay close attention to next Tuesday night as the state has experience with large numbers of mail ballots, polls close fairly early in the night, and without that state President Trump’s paths to victory dwindle precipitously. Realclearpolitics has the race effectively tied in the state now, with Mr Trump technically edging ahead for the first time by +0.4pp, though fivethirtyeight, which weights polls on quality, has Mr Biden up by +2.0pps.

Rising covid-19 cases continue to be in focus. Russia, which is seeing record highs in newly confirmed cases and deaths in recent days, is not expected to reintroduce new mobility restrictions. However, as of today, mask-wearing will be mandatory in some public places and the country may look to limit restaurant hours. Much of Eastern Europe which largely missed the first wave is currently seeing record numbers of weekly cases per 10k including the Czech Republic (81.3), Romania (15.2), Hungary (14.1) and Bulgaria (13.7). While testing has been a clear differentiator, the latter three still trail the sharp rise seen in parts of Western Europe that are seeing the virus for the second time including Belgium (89.2), France (41.1), Netherlands (39.4), Switzerland (47.2) and the UK (22.9). Meanwhile, France reported 530 fatalities yesterday, the largest one day jump since April 22.

In the US, Covid-19 hospitisations are up at least 10% in the last week in 32 states as the current case spike is translating into hospital visits. Illinois, which has been a hot spot in recent weeks announced that indoor dining will be suspended in Chicago starting Friday, as hospital admissions have doubled in the last month. Similarly positivity rates for tests have doubled since early October there. Denver, Colorado also expanded restrictions by limiting business capacity to 25% as of yesterday, with stay-at-home orders being considered.

We got some vaccine news as Novavax announced they would need to delay their late-stage study of its Covid-19 vaccine until late November. Competitor Pfizer indicated that its late-stage trial had not yet conducted an interim efficacy analysis as fewer than 32 cases of Covid-19 have occurred among the trial’s participants. Once that level is reached, in a trial that currently has over 42,000 patients, the first of four efficacy analysis can be conducted. This pushes back the vaccine timeline slightly as there were hopes we would have their efficacy data this week. There was some talk about it being delayed to avoid it being politicised this close to the election although this was only speculation. The company remains “cautiously optimistic” that the vaccine will work though based on the robust immune response from early trials. Overnight, Pfizer’s CEO has reiterated that the company may know by the end of October whether its vaccine is effective.

There was a slew of US data yesterday that showed that the recovery still had momentum, with most data points beating estimates. The preliminary September durable goods orders outperformed (1.9% vs 0.5% expected) while nondefence capital goods orders ex-air came in above expectation as well (1.0% vs 0.5). It was a good sign for manufacturers who have seen steady recent demand. August’s FHFA house price index was +1.5%, well above the +0.7% expected and July’s +1.0% reading. The Richmond Fed manufacturing index was up to 29 (vs 18 expected), the largest reading for the index since September 2018. Lastly, October’s Conference Board consumer confidence reading just missed at 100.9 (vs 102.0 expected) and down a touch from last month’s 101.3 reading.

Data today will include France’s October consumer confidence as well as the US’s weekly MBA mortgage applications and preliminary September wholesale inventories. From global central banks there will be monetary policy decisions from the Bank of Canada and the Central Bank of Brazil. Earnings season continues, with Visa, Mastercard, United Parcel Service, Amgen, Boeing, GlaxoSmithKline, Ford Motor Company, General Electric and Nomura all reporting.

Published:10/28/2020 6:57:02 AM
[Markets] Europe stocks slide, Dow futures drop over 400 points on COVID-19 lockdown fears Europe stocks slide, Dow futures drop over 400 points on COVID-19 lockdown fears Published:10/28/2020 5:00:54 AM
[Markets] The Moneyist: I offered my son $30K for a down payment on a home. His fiancée wants a written agreement for my gift to be split 50/50 ‘My son had already agreed that any house they buy would be split 50/50 in case they divorced. She is still paying off student debt and has little savings.’
Published:10/28/2020 5:00:54 AM
[Markets] Dow Futures Plunge as Coronavirus  Infection Surge Spooks Markets: Boeing and GE Earnings in Focus Wall Street looks set to erase all of its gains for the month Wednesday as markets retreat amid a record rise in coronavirus infection rates and volatility spikes ahead of next week's Presidential elections. Published:10/28/2020 5:00:54 AM
[Markets] US Vows To Blow Up Any Iranian Missile Shipments To Venezuela US Vows To Blow Up Any Iranian Missile Shipments To Venezuela Tyler Durden Wed, 10/28/2020 - 05:45

The United States has warned both Iran and Venezuela that it will not tolerate any attempt of the Islamic Republic to ship long-range missiles to the Maduro government

"We will make every effort to stop shipments of long-range missiles, and if somehow they get to Venezuela they will be eliminated there," White House Special Representative for Iran and Venezuela Elliott Abrams said.

"Every delivery of Iranian arms destabilizes South America and the Caribbean and is especially dangerous to Venezuela’s neighbors in Brazil, Columbia, and Guyana," he added.

Source: Reuters

"Iran has announced its intention to engage in arms sales, and Venezuela is an obvious target because those two pariah regimes already have a relationship," Abrams alleged.

"Venezuela is paying in gold to buy gasoline from Iran, and there is an Iranian presence in the country. Venezuela’s economy has collapsed, so every bar of gold for Iran is tens of thousands of dollars the Venezuelan people need for food and medicine."

Though there's no evidence that it's happened yet, Maduro - himself long targeted for US-backed regime change - is indeed naturally the first country to likely pursue Iranian weapons purchases. Recently it's become clear there's been some significant advances in the Islamic Republic's domestic production capabilities, which the country ramped up as it found itself so isolated under sanctions. 

Following the expiration of the Oct.18 UN arms embargo on Iran, its Ministry of Defense indicated it is ready and willing to sell weapons to "countries despised by the US" - as one state media headline read at the time. And as another report emphasized, "The end of the embargo means Iran will legally be able to buy and sell conventional arms, including missiles, helicopters and tanks."

Via Middle East Monitor

It's widely believed that for years Iran was already covertly shipping ballistic missiles to Yemen's Shia Houthi rebels, considered a game-changer in terms of ability to strike deep in side Saudi territory, as happened with the Aramco Abqaiq–Khurais attack involving small drones but also likely missiles. 

The potential for Iranian ballistic missiles to be in Venezuela would raise the question of such advanced weapons actually being able to reach the US mainland and locations in the Caribbean. Abrams comments at the start of this week emphasized the US military would likely take them out once they reached Venezuelan soil.

Published:10/28/2020 5:00:54 AM
[Markets] Stock Market Today: Bearish Tone Remains as COVID Picture Worsens America's seven-day average of new cases hit a new high, and with stimulus still in limbo, investors saw little to get cheery about Tuesday. Published:10/28/2020 3:00:54 AM
[Markets] Dodgers win World Series as MLB finishes season with over $3 billion in losses Dodgers win World Series as MLB finishes season with over $3 billion in losses Published:10/28/2020 3:00:54 AM
[Markets] : Zuckerberg, Dorsey, Pichai to defend key law at Senate hearing Wednesday Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter Inc. CEO Jack Dorsey, and Alphabet Inc. CEO Sundar Pichai will mark their cases Wednesday to protect a crucial internet law that protects their social media sites from being held liable for the content posted by their users. Zuckerberg, however, is open to change.
Published:10/28/2020 3:00:54 AM
[Markets] Mindlessness Fuels Tyranny Mindlessness Fuels Tyranny Tyler Durden Wed, 10/28/2020 - 03:30

Authored by Barry Brownstein via The American Institute for Economic Research,

It’s no surprise that Dr. Anthony Fauci, with a vested interest in perpetuating the current Covid-19 narrative, has called the Great Barrington Declaration “nonsense and very dangerous.” Just as angry and closed-minded are the social media reactions from some ordinary people. 

We will lose many lives, they warn, if we give credence to the Declaration. The fearful are sure only they, not the signers of the Declaration, care about the lives of others. 

As Don Boudreaux writes, “Much of humanity today appears to perversely enjoy being duped into the irrational fear that any one of us, regardless of age or health, is at the mercy of a brutal beast categorically more lethal than is any other danger that we’ve ever confronted.” 

Those reacting against the Declaration seem to be stuck in time, living in March 2020 when ignorance of the virus’s virulence was peaking. There is so much more we now know about Covid-19, yet the fearful will not consider new information or alternative theories.

The Covid-19 Context Has Changed 

In Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s parable The Little Prince, the prince meets a lamplighter who is continuously lighting and putting out the streetlamp.

The prince asks, “Why have you just put out your lamp?” The lamplighter replies, “These are the instructions,” and then, “he lighted his lamp again.” 

A few more rounds of lighting and putting out the lamp go on. “I do not understand,” said the puzzled prince. 

“’There is nothing to understand,’ said the lamplighter. ‘Instructions are instructions.’”

Then the lamplighter explained his dilemma to the prince. Once, he had a “reasonable” job lighting the lamp in the morning and putting it out in the evening. but then the planet “turned more rapidly and the orders have not changed.” 

As the length of the day changed, the context of a lamplighter’s job changed, yet the lamplighter’s instructions did not.  

Famed Harvard psychology professor Ellen Langer, in her book Mindfulness writes, “A context is a premature cognitive commitment, a mindset.” We think we know, and we miss a lot. Langer continues, “Context depends on who we are today, who we were yesterday, and from which view we see things.”

If we see the world as something to be controlled by big government, it was natural to applaud the March lockdowns. 

Initially, many of those skeptical of big government solutions were also frightened by Covid-19, and then a new context emerged. We know now that Covid-19 death rates are much lower than feared and policies placing Covid-19 patients in nursing homes fueled many deaths. We now know that lockdowns are “overly blunt and costly.” We know now “that children infrequently transmit Covid-19 to each other or to adults.” We know now that we successfully reacted differently to past pandemics.

We know now, as Matt Ridley writes, “the virus spreading among younger people, mostly without hitting the vulnerable, is creating immunity that will eventually slow the epidemic.” Ridley continues,

“If you cannot extinguish an epidemic at the start, the best strategy is for the healthy to get infected first. Lockdowns ensure that the vulnerable and the healthy both get infected with similar probability. School closures, concluded a recent paper in the British Medical Journal, can paradoxically lead to more deaths by prioritising the protection of the least vulnerable.”

Then, why did so many governments adopt the same destructive policies about Covid-19? Why are those same governments refusing to adjust? Fear drives herding behavior, Jeffrey Tucker points out, and leads to political leaders copying each other’s “ignorance and stupor.” Politicians “don’t want to be seen as reversing course on the most catastrophic policies in modern history.”

But enough about politicians who behave like the lamplighter and won’t change even when the context has. A more important question to consider is why won’t your well-meaning neighbor, family member, or colleague consider new information?

Understanding Mindlessness

Mindfulness training is fashionable in personal development. Mindfulness “is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally,” says Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn.

If mindfulness is being present to reality, what is mindlessness? 

Mindlessness is filtering reality through mental biases. Mindlessness is attending to the transitory noisy thoughts in your head without pausing for a reality check.   

Langer writes, “When mindless, people treat information as though it were context-free—true regardless of circumstances.” To advocate policy towards Covid-19 based on changing circumstances is not to deny the reality of the virus; instead it allows for a more nuanced and responsible response. 

Here is a simple test to self-assess mindlessness. When you are certain your anger is righteous, your anxiety is being generated from the world, or a one-size policy fits all, you may have gone mindless.

In a state of mindlessness, one does not take responsibility. Trump is at fault for Covid-19 deaths. Your partner is at fault for your low mood. The other driver is at fault for your anger.

Take the scenario of a driver who is cut off in highway traffic. Anger swells. His heart races. Mindlessly the driver floors his accelerator. He tailgates the offending driver. 

In an instant, the angry driver sees what he is doing. He remembers a time he was distracted and accidentally cut off someone. He wonders what distracted the driver he is following. 

As the context changes from how dare you cut me off, to a realization of a shared humanity, normalcy returns. Before angry thoughts were placed in a broader context there seemed to be just one option, anger leading to a road-rage conflict. The angry driver had been certain his feelings were caused by the behavior of the other driver, but then he mindfully changed his perspective.

Langer observes that in the grip of mindlessness, “One important way in which we limit our options is to attribute all our troubles to a single cause.” Langer continues:

“Such mindless attributions narratively limit the range of solutions we might seek. In research on divorce… people who blame the failure of their marriages on their ex-spouses suffer longer than those people who see many possible explanations for their situation. 

Similarly, alcoholics who see the cause of their problem as purely genetic seem to give up the control that could help their recovery.”

Importantly, “When we have a single-minded explanation, we typically don’t pay attention to information that runs counter to it.” We claim our goal is to save lives, but then ignore the hundreds of millions that are pushed into dire poverty and starvation by the Covid-19 policies we advocate. We claim we are more empathetic than others and ignore millions who have lost their businesses and careers. 

Why We Want to Be Mindless

Many don’t want to hear theories and facts counter to the conventional narrative. 

Why don’t they want to know? New information would change the context of their personal choices. If they knew, they would have to take responsibility for health decisions for not only themselves but for others. Should I take a Covid-19 vaccine? Should my children? Should I get on an airplane and visit an aging parent? The decisions are endless, and there is no one sure answer.

In her book Counterclockwise, Langer writes,

“When faced with a diagnosis and the medical options for a treatment, the patient is caught in a very difficult dilemma. The impulse to surrender our future treatment wholly to the professional hands of medical practitioners is understandable. Leaving the doctors to make all the choices relieves the existential fear of being responsible for a decision that could in the end hurt us. But not to be involved may hurt us more.” 

Responsibility and freedom go hand in hand. Life is risky and scary. Some would rather not be free. Better to pretend Dr. Fauci and other media-anointed “experts” know best. If something goes wrong, the experts are to blame. 

Importantly, those who want to turn over responsibility to experts often deny the freedom of others to choose. When others make different decisions and stay healthy, they are reminded they have a choice. Since they don’t want to know they have a choice, they will insist that government violently force you to follow their way. And to justify their support for coercive actions, they will mindlessly dehumanize those who don’t follow the instructions. 

Covid-19 policy decisions are impacting the Orthodox Jewish community in NYC. Recently, the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, claimed the fear of his constituents is driving his policy decisions:

“This is not a highly nuanced, sophisticated response. This is a fear-driven response. You know, this is not a policy being written by a scalpel. This is a policy being cut by a hatchet. It’s just very blunt. I didn’t propose this. It was proposed by the mayor in the city. I am trying to sharpen it and make it better. But it’s out of fear. People see the numbers going up—‘Close everything! Close everything!’”

Cuomo has a history of dodging responsibility for his decisions, but his claim that he can’t adopt a nuanced approach because of fear of New Yorkers has some truth. Tyranny is fed by fear. Fear is fed by a mindless refusal to adopt to changing circumstances.

From Mindlessness to Mindfulness

In her book The Power of Mindful Learning, Langer points out how to go beyond living mindlessly on autopilot:

“A mindful approach to any activity has three characteristics: the continuous creation of new categories; openness to new information; and an implicit awareness of more than one perspective. Mindlessness, in contrast, is characterized by an entrapment in old categories; by automatic behavior that precludes attending to new signals; and by action that operates from a single perspective. Being mindless, colloquially speaking, is like being on automatic pilot.”

Schools, Langer observes, “teach us to be mindless” by teaching “us to seek or accept information as if it were absolute and independent of human creation.” 

Resisting the temptation, Langer advises to move quickly from problem to solution by mindlessly drawing on preconstructed categories. The more relevance we give to our preexisting thinking, the less mindful are our actions:

“Rather than moving directly from problem to solution, a person in a mindful state remains open to several ways of viewing the situation. This flexibility allows us to draw on newly available information rather than to rely exclusively on preconstructed categories that tend to overdetermine our behavior. In other words, we have to maintain what some have called intelligent ignorance to make the best of any situation.”

One of the main authors of the Great Barrington Declaration is Harvard’s Martin Kulldorff. Dr. Kulldorff sees beyond either-or categories. He doesn’t favor doing nothing or general lockdowns. Instead, he says developing a policy of “focused protection” will “drastically reduce mortality.”

“Preconstructed categories” mislead people every day. Over the months, more tests have been administered. Positive Covid-19 test results are reported as cases, even when the individual is not ill. Daniel Greenfield writes, “The daily coronavirus reports have become the equivalent of Soviet harvest reports. They sound impressive, mean absolutely nothing and are the pet obsession of a bureaucracy that… has no understanding of the problem.”

This fall on college campuses across the country, students and faculty are being tested frequently. As of October 5, 2020, of 70,000 positive test results on 50 college campuses, there have been three hospitalizations and no deaths. Yet for those with a “premature cognitive commitment” towards evaluating case numbers, rising cases set off alarm and increase fear.  

The Great Barrington Declaration demonstrates a willingness to consider new information and broaden the context for setting policy. Those who want to sell us centralized “hatchet” solutions prefer a public lulled to mindlessness by one narrative. The mindless will follow instructions. If many people continue to look towards one perspective only, without broadening the context, the natural consequence is that experts and politicians on “automatic pilot” will lead us further down the road to tyranny.

Published:10/28/2020 3:00:54 AM
[Markets] Washington finally abandons economic stimulus plan until after the election Washington finally abandons economic stimulus plan until after the election Published:10/26/2020 9:58:45 PM
[Markets] : House Republicans taunt Hillary Clinton after Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation Some House Republicans celebrated Monday night's Senate confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court by taunting Hillary Clinton, whose loss to Donald Trump four years ago opened the door to three conservative appointments to the nation's highest court.
Published:10/26/2020 9:58:45 PM
[Markets] What 1930 Thought About 1929 What 1930 Thought About 1929 Tyler Durden Mon, 10/26/2020 - 22:45

By Nicholas Colas of DataTrek Research

We recently picked up an original copy of then-NYSE president Edward Simmons’ 1930 report on the 1929 stock market crash. In recognition of that event’s upcoming anniversary, we have a summary of Simmons’ key observations. The comparisons to 2020 are remarkable, ranging from uncertainty on how technology might change business, to questions regarding sustainable corporate earnings, and even a sudden rush of retail investors.

We want to introduce you to Edward Henry Harriman Simmons. Born in 1876, he was the nephew and namesake of the famed US railroad magnate. He trained to be a doctor at Columbia University, but switched from the healing arts to finance in 1900. Simmons became a member of the New York Stock Exchange in that year and was named president of the institution in 1924.

The reason for this introduction is that we recently acquired a copy of Simmons’ May 1930 annual report to the NYSE’s Governing Committee, which includes his detailed analysis of the October 1929 stock market crash. Since we are coming up on the 91st anniversary of the event next week, this week’s story is his near-contemporaneous review of that event.

As a starting point, here is a brief description of what sorts of companies were listed on the NYSE at the time of the October 1929 Crash, as listed in the Appendix to Simmons’ report. At the time there were 821 companies on the Big Board, with 1,261 issues (common, preferred, etc.) between them.

Half of all NYSE stocks were in eight capital-intensive industry sectors:

  • Railroads: 11.1 percent of all listed companies
  • Autos: 7.1 pct
  • Machinery and metals: 6.9 pct
  • Foods: 6.3 pct
  • Chemicals: 6.0 pct
  • Petroleum: 5.8 pct
  • Mining: 5.0 pct
  • Steel and Iron: 4.1 pct

Despite the Roaring 20’s reputation for rampant consumerism, outsized Wall Street profits, and the growth of innovative technologies like telephony and mass market radio, industries related to these trends were not heavily represented on the NYSE:

  • Chain stores/department stores: 6.7 percent combined of all listings
  • Finance: 2.9 pct
  • Cable, Telegraph, Telephone and Radio: 1.1 pct

This brings us to our first observation: unlike the world today, the stock market of 1929 wasn’t just “the economy”; it represented the highest fixed cost, most operationally levered parts of America’s economic output, employing millions of workers.

Moving on to Simmons’ own thoughts about the 1929 Crash, 3 quotes from his report and our thoughts.

Pages 3 and 4, where he lays out his analysis of what has just occurred in American capital markets:

“… it is particularly difficult to draw comprehensive and at the same time positive conclusions upon the business and financial developments of 1929, for the very fact that the period in American economic history since 1924 or 1925 has so largely been one of almost universal change and flux.”

“In the field of manufacturing, the steady installation of quantity production and standardization methods had in recent years wrought a transformation in industrial earnings power which astonished the economists and business men of the whole world; at the same time, newly invented products superseded old ones so rapidly as to render accurate estimation of corporate earnings power highly speculative.”

“Some students, bewildered by these and other novel changes in business, declared that we were living in a ‘new era’. This phrase … has been much ridiculed after the 1929 stock market collapse… Nevertheless … it is an equally serious error to disregard these momentous changes occurring through American business and economic life.”

Our take: the comparisons to today are clear. Just as now, the 1920s saw dramatic advances in the use of technology. What Simmons failed to appreciate in that upbeat final sentence was that a severe economic contraction could, and did, reverse adoption rates for technologies like the telephone and companies could, and did, cut their workforces in response to economic conditions regardless of technological advancement. Thanks to fiscal and monetary stimulus, the 2020 recession has not created the same negative feedback loop.

Page 21, where Simmons discusses US stock market valuations through the lens of dividend payouts:

“While it seems apparent that low yields in the summer of 1929 constituted an important reason for the readjustment of stock prices the following autumn, at the same time it is not equally certain what should be considered normal share yields, particularly under the many complicated circumstances of that extraordinary financial year.”

“While security buyers should undoubtedly consider this factor of yields more carefully in the future, at the same time dogmatic formulas in this regard are also capable of producing much misunderstanding.”

This is the chart opposite the page where that text appears:

Our take: price earnings ratios and other more modern valuation approaches make no appearance in Simmons’ 112-page analysis, but his thoughts on dividend payouts capture the right message. 1929/1930 saw a large dislocation in the US economy, and he was right to question the validity of using historical yield analysis as it did not capture uncertainty about future cash flows. There is much the same debate about 2021 earnings at the moment, of course.

Page 52, where Simmons outlines an explanation for why the American public suddenly embraced stock investing in the 1920s, which had been considered a rich person’s game before:

“The vast spread of security investment in this country which followed the gigantic Liberty Loans fundamentally altered this situation. Where previously American security buyers had been few and – supposedly at least – fairly well posted as a class in regard to Stock Exchange technique, now millions of small and often quite experienced investors appeared as a permanent factor with which American finance and the American security market must reckon.”

Explanation/Our take: the US issued 4 tranches of Liberty Bonds in 1917/1918 to fund World War I, and the first 3 were partially/fully repaid in the 1920s. These were very large issues, the first 3 amounting to $92/person for every US citizen, or $1,585 in today’s dollars. Simmons’ point is that it was this capital, often held in brokerage accounts, that when redeemed for cash ignited public interest in equity investing. The similarities to 2020’s stimulus checks and the recent increase in retail investing is, needless to say, uncanny.

Summing up: whenever we do one of these historical retrospectives, we can’t help but think there’s literally nothing new under the sun and policy makers in many ways still look at the 1929 Crash and Great Depression as their “don’t do this” playbook. Simmons, as both a member of a powerful family and NYSE Chair, could and should have been ringing the alarm bell in his 1930 review but his report is nothing more than a detailed recitation of fact and figure. He did not see 1929 as a historical turning point. While his name is mostly lost to history now, no policy maker wants to replicate his error. They may end up doing too much (we’ll see if that proves to be the case in 2020), but they never want history to judge them as doing too little.

Published:10/26/2020 9:58:44 PM
[Markets] Student Newspaper Condemns Harvard Republicans For Endorsing Trump Student Newspaper Condemns Harvard Republicans For Endorsing Trump Tyler Durden Mon, 10/26/2020 - 22:05

Authored by John Hanson and Adam Sabes via Campus Reform,

The Harvard Crimson Editorial Board condemned the Harvard Republican Club in an editorial for endorsing President Donald Trump, drawing a contrast to the Republican club's position in 2016. 

While noting that the group has "every right to endorse the candidate of their choosing," The Crimson's editorial board harshly criticized the group for endorsing the president for re-election after the "shameful debate showing" of September 29.

"The Republican Club has every right to endorse the candidate of their choosing; free country and all. But how they could possibly come to this conclusion - the day after Trump’s shameful debate showing, when their predecessors left them a blueprint on how to denounce Trump last election cycle - evades us," the editorial board wrote.

The board further accused the club of striking a "nerve on campus," since President Donald Trump failed to denounce the Proud Boys. Because of this, the editorial accuses the Harvard Republican Club of partially endorsing white supremacy.

"Not only is it impossible to separate an endorsement of Trump from tacit approval of white supremacy, it’s impossible not to see this endorsement as a provocation that willfully belittles other students’ identity and disregards their safety," the editorial reads.

The editorial noted the group's different stance in the last general election, pointing to a 2016 statement by the Harvard Republican Club where the group chose not to endorse then-candidate Donald Trump because of his "authoritarian tendencies."

“His authoritarian tendencies and flirtations with fascism are unparalleled in the history of our democracy,” the Republican Club said in a statement to The Harvard Crimson.

“He hopes to divide us by race, by class, and by religion, instilling enough fear and anxiety to propel himself to the White House.”

Based on the group's endorsement of Trump, the editorial board said that it's evidence that President Trump is "consolidating his support among young conservatives."

"Polling evidence suggests that Trump is consolidating his support among young conservatives. 21 percent of 18-29 year olds backed him against Hillary R. Clinton, while 27 percent have backed him this cycle. These trends suggest Trumpism may well persist in elite conservative circles for a good while," the editorial board wrote.

Harvard’s incoming freshman class was overwhelmingly supportive of Joe Biden, with 90.1% of the class supporting the former Vice President, while just 7.1% of them expressed support for Trump.

Campus Reform reached out to the Harvard College Republicans and the Harvard Crimson but did not receive a response.

Published:10/26/2020 9:26:27 PM
[Markets] US State Department Halts All Diversity Training After Trump's Exec Order US State Department Halts All Diversity Training After Trump's Exec Order Tyler Durden Mon, 10/26/2020 - 21:45

A US State Department cable, obtained by Reuters, shows "all training programs for employees related to diversity and inclusion" have been halted after President Trump directed the federal agency in September to end the programs. 

"Beginning Friday, October 23, 2020, the Department is temporarily pausing all training programs related to diversity and inclusion in accordance with Executive Order ... on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping," the cable said.

"The pause will allow time for the Department and Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to review program content," it said.

Reuters said the order comes nearly two months after a White House Office of Management and Budget's memo advised federal agencies that taxpayer dollars were no longer allowed to fund "un-American propaganda sessions" that taught critical race theory, white privilege, and or "taught that the United States is an inherently racist or evil" country. 

Trump signed the executive order suspending the diversity training program on September 22. The order forbids any teaching by federal agencies of "divisive concepts," implying that the US is "fundamentally racist or sexist."

And the move to stop the spread of diversity training doesn't just stop with the Trump administration. The UK's equalities minister has warned schools against teaching some aspects of critical race theory. 

MP Kemi Badenoch said the rise of critical race theory was a "dangerous trend in race relations."

"We do not want to see teachers teaching their white pupils about white privilege and inherited racial guilt," she said.

"Any school which teaches these elements of critical race theory or which promotes partisan political views such as defunding the police, without offering a balanced treatment of opposing views, is breaking the law."

Notably, Badendoch also warned against importing the rhetoric on race from America.

Our history of race is not America’s history of race. Most black British people who have come to our shores were not brought here in chains, but came voluntarily due to their connections to the UK and in search of a better life. I should know. I am one of them.

But, as Tucker Carlson recently discussed, the ideology is nothing but "divisive," reiterating President Trump's recent warning that "this ideology is rooted in the pernicious and false belief that America is an irredeemably racist and sexist country; that some people, simply on account of their race or sex, are oppressors; and that racial and sexual identities are more important than our common status as human beings and Americans."

 

Published:10/26/2020 8:58:58 PM
[Markets] The Wall Street Journal: Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands may sell its holdings on Strip Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp. is considering a sale of its Las Vegas Strip operations, including two resorts and a huge convention hall, a company spokesman said.
Published:10/26/2020 8:26:32 PM
[Markets] Russian Airstrikes Obliterate Turkish-Backed 'Rebel' Camp In Idlib, Killing Over 60 Russian Airstrikes Obliterate Turkish-Backed 'Rebel' Camp In Idlib, Killing Over 60 Tyler Durden Mon, 10/26/2020 - 21:05

Though Syria has long fallen out of featured coverage in international media, it appears the war to take back Idlib province is heating up once again. Recall that on prior occasions over the past few years Washington has threatened some level of military intervention each time Syria and Russia prepared to finally liberate the northwest region from al-Qaeda and Turkish-backed jihadists (especially connected with 'rebel' claims of chemical weapons usage by government forces). 

On Monday Russian jets pounded a camp full of Turkish-backed militants in Idlib, killing at least 60. Some media sources are reporting possibly over 70 killed and 100+ injured, making it one of the single deadliest airstrikes of the entire almost decade long war.

Russian Ministry file image: Russian jets over Idlib

"The strike targeted the group Faylaq al-Sham, whose base is near several refugee camps in the heavily populated province of Idlib," The New York Times reports.

And further according to the report, it's likely to escalation tensions with Turkey, given not only Faylaq al-Sham works closely with Turkey's military and intelligence, but also given the strike happened so near the border

The fighters’ camp was at Kafr Takharim, near the Turkish border. The attack was the most violent breach of a cease-fire agreement that Russia and Turkey reached in March. Russia has occasionally made smaller strikes on militant groups, but such a large strike so close to the Turkish border is unusual.

The earliest reports put the death toll at over 34, which continued to rise through the day. The NY Times notes further that "Video footage from the scene showed the bodies of at least a dozen fighters wrapped in blankets on the floor of a clinic."

Previous Russian-Turkey ceasefire agreements related to Idlib have been conditioned on Turkey rooting out clearly designated terrorist groups. However, groups which Turkey and the West have dubbed "moderate" are often seen by Russia and Damascus as terrorists. 

In this case the Western allies that have been covertly involved in Syria have long thought of Faylaq al-Sham as supposedly moderate. Russia clearly thought otherwise.

Currently, some analysts are speculating that Russia could be sending a message to Turkey at a moment Ankara appears to be getting more deeply involved supporting its ally Azerbaijan against Armenia in the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Published:10/26/2020 8:26:32 PM
[Markets] : Charles Schwab to lay off 1,000 workers following TD Ameritrade merger Just weeks after closing its acquisition of TD Ameritrade, Charles Schwab Corp. announced Monday it will lay off about 1,000 employees, or 3% of its combined workforce.
Published:10/26/2020 7:58:32 PM
[Markets] NYPD Officer Suspended Without Pay For Blaring "Trump 2020" On Loudspeaker NYPD Officer Suspended Without Pay For Blaring "Trump 2020" On Loudspeaker Tyler Durden Mon, 10/26/2020 - 20:45

The New York Police Department is investigating an incident Saturday evening where a police officer in a patrol cruiser in Brooklyn blared "Trump 2020" through the loudspeaker - and urged bystanders to film it, reported RT News

"Trump 2020," the officer said several times. Multiple videos show the incident, which appears to include at least three officers. By Monday morning, the video uploaded to Twitter has a little more than 2 million views, sparking backlash from officials and residents.

The NYPD tweeted Sunday morning they were aware of the incident and said, "it is under investigation by our Brooklyn South Investigation Unit." 

"Police officers must remain apolitical," the department said.

In another tweet, the NYPD said the officer who used the "vehicle's loudspeaker for political purposes had been suspended, effective immediately." 

A second video, recorded by a passerby, told the officer in the car to "do it again," referring him to use the loudspeaker to tout "Trump 2020." Sure enough, the officer did, blaring "Trump 2020," causing the passerby, presumably a liberal, to ignite in hate and called the officer a "f**king fascist." 

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said the incident was "one hundred percent unacceptable. Period." 

"Law Enforcement must remain apolitical, it is essential in our role to serve ALL New Yorkers regardless of any political beliefs," Shea said. "It is essential for New Yorkers to trust their Police."

While some commend the NYPD for immediately suspending the officer, critics, or mainly liberals, went berserk, saying City Hall and NYPD were not doing enough to enforce division in policing and politics. 

"My tax dollars did not pay for NYPD officers to broadcast Trump 2020 from their cruiser," one resident tweeted. 

"Meanwhile, NYPD is using taxpayer dollars to blast 'Trump 2020' from their loudspeakers," activist Matt Sutton said.

This is not the first time a police department has launched a similar investigation. Last week, the Miami Police Department investigated one of its officers wearing a "Trump 2020" face mask while in uniform. 

Published:10/26/2020 7:58:32 PM
[Markets] : Amy Coney Barrett elevated to the Supreme Court following Senate confirmation The Senate voted Monday evening to confirm Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, overcoming fierce, bipartisan opposition to the vote and marking the third justice President Trump has appointed to the nation's highest court in just four years.
Published:10/26/2020 7:25:54 PM
[Markets] Amy Coney Barrett elevated to the Supreme Court following Senate confirmation Amy Coney Barrett elevated to the Supreme Court following Senate confirmation Published:10/26/2020 7:25:54 PM
[Markets] How The DoJ's Anti-Trust Lawsuit Against Google Could Hammer Apple At A Critical Time How The DoJ's Anti-Trust Lawsuit Against Google Could Hammer Apple At A Critical Time Tyler Durden Mon, 10/26/2020 - 20:25

The DoJ's push to punish Google in the first of what's expected to be a flurry of civil actions against the Big Tech players could have seriously negative repercussions for a third party: Apple.

As the Wall Street Journal highlighted in a recent story highlighting commentary and research recently produced by Toni Sacconaghi, a longtime tech analyst at A.B. Bernstein, Apple and Google have a special link - and it's one of the elements of Google's business that's come under the microscope as a key element of the government's case.

The government says Google's arrangement to pay Apple billions of dollars to set Google's search engine as its default has been essential in maintaining its market dominance, and preventing another rival search engine from rising up to challenge Google.

"There’s a risk, if you play it out, that there actually could be more financial impact to Apple than there is for Google," said Toni Sacconaghi, an analyst for Bernstein. He estimates that Apple’s stock could fall as much as 20% if the deal with Google were to be eliminated entirely. At the same time, he and others say, any damage could be far less if Apple is able to offset it through other deals involving Google and its competitors, as many investors and analysts say could happen.

The two companies first struck a deal in 2005, when Steve Jobs was still Apple’s CEO, to make Google the default in Apple’s Safari web browser on Mac computers. The deal expanded with the arrival of the iPhone two years later, according to the government’s lawsuit.

But back in 2016, details about the agreement were revealed in an unrelated court battle. It showed Apple received a cool $1 billion in 2014 as part of the deal to default its products to Google's search engine. When the deal was first struck in 2005, back when Steve Jobs was still CEO, Google paid Apple to default Safari to Google's search engine. That default setting was later included on iPhones, iPads etc. At that time, Apple booked nearly $200 billion in sales during the 2014 fiscal year.

While $1 billion back then might not have seemed like such a large chunk, Wall Street analysts believe the amount Google has been paying Apple for the privilege has likely expanded significantly, with some projecting that Google might be paying as much as $12 billion annually for the arrangement across all of Apple's products and services. 

Since the costs associated with licensing something like a default browser setting are negligible for the company that controls the browser and the devices, losing out on $12 billion in pure profit would be equivalent to a 20% hit to annual profits (Apple reported $55.26 billion in profits for fiscal 2019).

With so many close links between Google and Apple, disrupting this relationship could also hurt Apple's service business in other ways, but as another analyst pointed out, there's more than enough standing to argue that what Apple and Google are doing is no different than every supermarket's relationship with the brands that it sells.

Apple is expected to report its fiscal 2020 results Thursday. We suspect Tim Cook & Co, will have some more to say about the DoJ/State AG legal antitrust push, which threatens to upend the big tech status quo.

Of course, as Sacconaghi points out, Google has just as much to lose. Should the arrangement unravel, Apple could scoop up a small competitior, say DuckDuckGo, and start to muscle in on Google's search traffic, which supplies much of the data that the company repackages for resale to its clients.

As far as American courts are concerned, this isn't the first time a lawsuit or civil action has exposed collusion between the biggest American tech firms in the area of personnel (informal no-poaching agreements). It's reasonable to expect that while Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook are nominally "competitors", when it comes to this antitrust action, they're all in the same boat.

Published:10/26/2020 7:25:53 PM
[Markets] CDC Reaffirms Warning Against Nonessential Travel, Including Cruises CDC Reaffirms Warning Against Nonessential Travel, Including Cruises Tyler Durden Mon, 10/26/2020 - 19:50

By Evan Gove of Porthole Cruise

The CDC has updated a level 3 warning to avoid nonessential travel, citing cruises in particular as a known spreader of COVID-19.

The update on the CDC website doesn’t leave any room for interpretation: 

Cruise passengers are at increased risk of person-to-person spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19, and outbreaks of COVID-19 have been reported on several cruise ships.

It goes on to say the following: 

Recent reports of COVID-19 on cruises highlight the risk of infections to cruise passengers and crew. Like many other viruses, COVID-19 appears to spread more easily between people in close quarters aboard ships and boats. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, there remains a risk of infected passengers and crew on board cruise ships.

With the CDC’s no-sail order scheduled to end at the conclusion of this month, the updated warnings against traveling by cruise ship send mixed messages about whether or not the agency will truly lift the order in six days time. At the very least, it’s the CDC reaffirming their position that it’s too early for cruising to come back.

According to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the suspension of the industry has cost more than 160,000 jobs and billions in lost revenue since it began in March. 

Optimism for 2020 Cruises

At Seatrade Cruise Virtual earlier this month, cruise line brass expressed optimism that America would see ships sailing again by the end of the year. Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald even said he had a 4.9 out of 5 confidence level that it could be done.

Since then, nothing has gone right for an industry relegated to inactivity for the better part of this year. A call scheduled with the Whitehouse Coronavirus Task Force, including Vice President Michael Pence and CDC Director Robert Redfield, had to be postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak among those at the highest levels of government.

While the call did happen a week later, news broke over this past weekend that five people close to the Vice President, including his chief of staff Marc Short, have tested positive for the virus. From a sheer optics standpoint, it looks bad when the head of an infectious disease task force is struggling to protect his own team from said disease.

While we know you want to cruise, public perception around the industry is at an all-time low and that could potentially hamstring any sort of restart for the rest of this year. Many cruise lines have already pushed their start date back well into December with others already looking ahead to 2021

Published:10/26/2020 6:56:54 PM
[Markets] Your Personal Gold Standard Your Personal Gold Standard Tyler Durden Mon, 10/26/2020 - 19:10

Authored by James Rickards via The Daily Reckoning,

Elites are extremely hostile to the idea that gold should have any role whatsoever in the monetary system. To them, gold is truly a barbarous relic, as John Maynard Keynes was supposed to have said. You might as well propose bringing back the horse and buggy.

Except Keynes never said gold was a barbarous relic.

What he did say was more interesting. In his 1924 book Monetary Reform, Keynes in fact wrote “the gold standard is already a barbarous relic.”

Keynes was discussing not gold, but the gold standard. There might not seem to be a difference, but there is. In the 1924 context, he was right.

The classical gold standard ended in 1914 with the outbreak of WWI. To pay for the war, combatants printed massive amounts of money.

After the war many wanted to return to the pre-war gold standard. In 1925, for example, the British Exchequer was Winston Churchill. He wanted to return to the old gold price, ignoring the fact that the wartime money printing demanded a much higher gold price. He in effect overvalued the pound.

Keynes told Churchill this would be a deflationary disaster. If Britain was to go back on a gold standard, it would have to set the gold price higher. But Churchill ignored his advice.

The result was massive deflation and depression in Great Britain, years before depression struck the rest of the world.

The notoriously flawed gold exchange standard that prevailed until 1939 should never have been adopted, and should have been eliminated before WWII did the job.

These days, there isn’t a central bank in the world that wants to go back to a gold standard. But that’s not the point. The question is whether they will have to.

I’ve had conversations with several Federal Reserve Bank presidents. When you ask them point-blank, “Is there a theoretical limit to the Fed’s balance sheet?” they say no. They say there are policy reasons to make it higher or lower, but that there’s no limit to the amount of money you can print.

That is completely wrong. That’s what they say; that’s how they think; and that’s how they act. But in their heart of hearts, some people at the Fed know it’s wrong. Luckily, people can vote with their feet…

I always tell people who say we’re not on the gold standard that, in a way, we are. You can put yourself on a personal gold standard just by buying gold. In other words, if you think that the value of paper money will be in some jeopardy, or confidence in paper money may be lost, one way to protect yourself is by buying gold. And there’s nothing stopping you.

The typical response is, “What’s the point of owning gold? They’re just going to confiscate it, like Roosevelt did in 1933?” I find that extremely unlikely.

In 1933, we’d just come through four years of the Great Depression, and Roosevelt was new in office. People talk about the first hundred days, but he closed the banks right after he was sworn in. And he confiscated gold only a few weeks later.

And it wasn’t as if Elliot Ness was going door to door, breaking into your house and taking gold. They wanted to get a small number of people who had 400-ounce bars in bank vaults. And they got those people because they were able to close the banks and use them as intermediaries to confiscate that gold.

But now, gold is far more dispersed, and there’s far less trust in government.

If the government tried to confiscate gold today, there would be various forms of resistance. The government knows this. So they wouldn’t issue that order, because they know it couldn’t be enforced, and it might cause various kinds of civil disobedience or pushback.

As long as you can own gold, you can put yourself on your own gold standard by converting paper money to gold. I recommend you do that. I’m not suggesting you convert all your dollars to gold. Not at all.

But I do recommend having 10% of your investable assets in gold for the conservative investor, and maybe 20% for the aggressive investor — no more than that.

Those are very high allocations relative to what people have. Most people own no gold.

If demand spiked suddenly, there’s not enough gold in the world — at current prices — to satisfy that demand. Gold prices would have to rise dramatically to bring them in line with demand.

If some scenarios play out, you are going to see the price of gold rocket to the moon. And it may happen in a very short period of time. You shouldn’t expect a steady, gradual increase. Gold may to drift along sideways, going nowhere for a period. Then you’ll see a spike, then another spike, and then a super-spike. It could happen within months.

At that point, gold becomes a major force. Ultimately I expect gold to reach $10,000-$15,000 an ounce or more. Those figures are not made up. I didn’t come up with them to be provocative. They’re a product of the actual math. They’re the numbers you get when you simply divide the money supply by the amount of gold in the market.

When the super-spike happens, you’re going to have two Americas. You’re going to have one America that was not prepared. Paper savings will be wiped out; 401(k)s will be devalued; pensions, insurance and annuities will be devalued through inflation. That’s because it’s not just the price of gold going up. It’s the dollar going down. Gold is an indicator.

It’s like taking the temperature of a patient with a fever and blaming it on the thermometer when it reads 104. The thermometer’s not to blame for the fever; it’s just telling you what’s going on.

Likewise, the price of gold is not an economic object or aim in itself; it’s a price signal. It tells you what’s going on in the economy. And gold at the levels I’m talking about would mean that you’ve now verged into hyperinflation, or something close to it, because nothing happens in isolation.

It seems unlikely now, but once expectations shift towards inflation, it can be dramatic. Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), for example, is now big in Democratic circles. MMT is basically a recipe for massive money printing. If it ever comes into being, expectations could shift dramatically towards inflation.

Still, central banks will never voluntarily return to a gold standard. But if gold is such a barbarous relic, if gold has no role in the monetary system, if gold is a “stupid” investment, then why are the Russians and Chinese stockpiling gold hand over fist? Are they stupid?

Well, I’ve spoken with many of them and I can assure you they’re not stupid.

But if there’s a run on paper currencies (which is entirely possible) or borderline hyperinflation (also possible), central banks may have to go to a gold standard. Not because they want to, but because they find it necessary to calm the markets.

I suggest you buy your gold at current levels — around $1,900 — and ride the wave up to much higher levels. It’ll protect your wealth in the days ahead.

Like every market, it will fluctuate. Nothing goes up in a straight line. But you want to focus on the longer term picture. And it looks very bright for gold.

So I invite you to go on your own personal gold standard. One day, the rest of the world may join you.

Published:10/26/2020 6:28:27 PM
[Markets] Did the New Bear Market Just Begin? The stock market finally remembered it was October and gave investors an early Halloween scare on Monday. Declines were steepest for the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES: ^DJI), but the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC) and Nasdaq Composite were still down between 1.5% and 2%. The Dow had been down more than 900 points at times during Monday's trading session. Published:10/26/2020 5:56:17 PM
[Markets] 67 Million Ounces: World's Biggest Gold Reserves Discovered Deep In Siberia 67 Million Ounces: World's Biggest Gold Reserves Discovered Deep In Siberia Tyler Durden Mon, 10/26/2020 - 18:50

Last week the world's largest stockpile of gold was revealed when Russia’s largest gold producer, Polyus PJSC, said its untapped Sukhoi Log deposit in Siberia holds the world’s biggest reserves.

A company audit showed Sukhoi Log has 40 million ounces of proven reserves as measured by international JORC standards, with an average gold content of 2.3 grams per ton, according to Chief Executive Officer Pavel Grachev. Additionally, the estimated Mineral Resources for Sukhoi Log stand at 1,110 million tonnes, with an average grade of 1.9 g/t Au and containing 67 million ounces of gold as at 31 May 2020. This means that the monetary value of the estimated gold holdings is just over $127 billion at today's prices.

That means the field - accounting for more than a quarter of Russian gold reserves - is bigger than Seabridge Gold Inc.’s KSM Project in Canada and Donlin Gold in Alaska.

"The estimate of the reserves is an important milestone in development of the field," Grachev said in interview in Moscow.

Sukhoi Log, located in the isolated Irkutsk region deep in the heart of Siberia, was discovered by Soviet geologists in 1961 and studied in the 1970s. The government had long considered offloading the deposit, and in 2017 sold the field in an auction to Polyus and a state partner, which the mining company later bought out.

Some more details on Sukhoi Log:

  • The audit shows that as well as economically mineable reserves, the deposit has 67 million ounces of total resources, up from 63 million ounces previously estimated.
  • That figure may rise after more drilling and studies.
  • Main investment is due to start in 2023. Polyus has already started spending on infrastructure for the project, including co-investing with the government on the reconstruction of a local airport.

The world's biggest gold deposits will likely remain untouched for the foreseeable future. According to Bloomberg, Polyus said earlier this year that it would focus on smaller projects and reducing its debt ratio in the coming years before developing the giant field. The company plans to announce details on expected production and investment at Sukhoi Log once a pre-feasibility study is ready by year-end. It previously said that costs could reach $2.5 billion, with annual output totaling about 1.6 million ounces, or just over $3 billion at current gold prices.

While developing giant deposits is typically a lengthy and costly process, the field may allow Polyus to boost annual output by at least 70%. Gold prices have rallied about 60% since the company purchased it, and reached a record in August as vast amounts of stimulus were pumped into economies to curb the damage from the coronavirus pandemic.

"We want to show that a project of this quality and scale can and should be carried out, taking into account the best environmental standards, despite the hard-to-reach location," Grachev said.

Published:10/26/2020 5:56:17 PM
[Markets] : Crisco to be sold to Baker’s Joy maker in deal worth $550 million The J.M. Smucker Co. has agreed to sell its oils and shortening business under the Crisco brand to B&G Foods Inc. for about $550 million.
Published:10/26/2020 5:28:45 PM
[Markets] Daily Briefing - October 26, 2020 Daily Briefing - October 26, 2020
Tyler Durden Mon, 10/26/2020 - 18:10
Senior editor, Ash Bennington, joins managing editor, Ed Harrison, to talk through the social, political, and economic ramifications of the various U.S. presidential election outcomes in tandem with the risk of a more forceful and perhaps lethal second wave of COVID-19. Ash and Ed discuss how the policy outcomes in a Biden administration are more limited than what a Trump administration would be such as the fate of FAANG and Trump’s recent executive order regarding the dismissal of civil servants. They also consider what would happen to stimulus after the election, how markets have priced in a blue wave and how the outcome could be deviations away from expectations, and what the policy response might be to a rise in hospitalizations. Ed also explains what the hysteresis effect would be on the economy and consumers and how that could lead to more durable consumption changes post-COVID. Real Vision reporter Haley Draznin analyzes China’s Ant Group raising $34 billion, making it the largest IPO in history.
Published:10/26/2020 5:28:45 PM
[Markets] Stock market news live updates: Stock futures tick higher after Dow's worst drop in nearly two months Stock futures opened flat to slightly higher Monday evening after a selloff on Wall Street pushed the Dow and S&P 500 to their biggest one-day drops in more than a month. Published:10/26/2020 5:28:45 PM
[Markets] Stock Market Today: Stocks Retreat as COVID's Second Wave Grows Investors let go of stimulus hopes and embraced COVID fears on Monday as cases surged both in the U.S. and abroad. Published:10/26/2020 4:55:36 PM
[Markets] Are We Going To Witness The Worst National Emotional Breakdown In History Once The Election Is Over? Are We Going To Witness The Worst National Emotional Breakdown In History Once The Election Is Over? Tyler Durden Mon, 10/26/2020 - 17:38

Authored by Michael Snyder via TheMostImportantNews.com,

Right now we are experiencing the calm before the storm.  Many Biden supporters believe that a Trump victory would literally be the worst thing that could possibly happen to our country, but at the moment most of them are quite confident that Biden will win.  Likewise, many Trump supporters are absolutely convinced that we will plunge into a horrifying socialist abyss if Biden wins, but for now most of them are convinced that the polls are wrong and that Trump will pull out another victory in November. 

So with just a little over a week until Election Day, most Americans that really care about politics are pacified because they believe that a positive outcome is right around the corner.

But soon that will change, and tens of millions of Americans will simultaneously melt down emotionally right in front of our eyes.

I think that just about everyone realizes that this national temper tantrum is coming.  It is just that most of those that deeply care about politics assume that it will happen to the other side.

At this point, even Facebook is preparing for the worst.  In fact, they are getting ready to implement “emergency measures” that are usually reserved for the most “at-risk” countries…

As the U.S. braces for election-related unrest next month, Facebook executives are implementing emergency measures reserved for “at-risk” countries in a company-wide effort to bring down the online temperature.

The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that the social media giant plans to limit the spread of viral content and lower the benchmark for suppressing potentially inflammatory posts using internal tools previously deployed in Sri Lanka and Myanmar.

So what would those “emergency measures” look like?  Well, that could potentially even include manipulating your news feed to alter what sort of content you are allowed to see…

Facebook has a number of options it could take including “slowing the spread of viral content and lowering the bar for suppressing potentially inflammatory posts” and “tweaking the news feed to change what types of content users see,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

Of course Facebook has already been manipulating our news feeds for a very long time, but that is a topic for another article.

Personally, I absolutely detest all of the censorship that the big social media companies have been doing, and I am not surprised that they are preparing to go even further.

According to Facebook, these new “emergency measures” will be implemented if there is “election-related violence”

However, the social media colossus only plans to put these restrictions in place in the event of election-related violence (something many others are fearful of and preparing for). However, during a staff meeting CEO Mark Zuckerberg said “a decisive victory from someone” could “be helpful for clarity and for not having violence or civil unrest after the election” which would reduce Facebook’s need to step in.

Considering the fact that we are seeing election-related violence almost constantly now, I would say that there is a pretty good chance that Facebook will actually proceed with these emergency measures.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post is also deeply concerned about what this election may do to our nation.  In a very long article that they just published, they discussed the fact that both sides are convinced that “the wrong outcome will bring disaster”…

One week before Americans choose their path forward, the quadrennial crossroads reeks of despair. In almost every generation, politicians pose certain elections as the most important of their time. But the 2020 vote is taking place with the country in a historically dark mood — low on hope, running on spiritual empty, convinced that the wrong outcome will bring disaster.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Frank Luntz, a Republican political consultant who has been convening focus groups of undecided voters for seven presidential cycles. “Even the most balanced, mainstream people are talking about this election in language that is more caffeinated and cataclysmic than anything I’ve ever heard.”

Emotions were definitely running high in 2016, but we have never seen anything quite like this.

Most Democrats believe that Trump and his supporters are deeply evil, and likewise most Republicans believe that Biden and his supporters are deeply evil.

And of course there are also many that are entirely convinced that all of them are deeply evil.

When you have a nation that is this deeply divided, how is anyone ever going to be able to bring us together in unity?

It has been said that a house divided with surely fall, and at this point our divisions have brought us to the verge of national collapse.  Here is more from the Washington Post

But now, the worry on the right that a Democratic win would plunge the nation into catastrophic socialism and the fear on the left that a Trump victory would produce a turn toward totalitarianism have created “a perilous moment — the idea that if the other side wins, we’re in for it,” said Peter Stearns, a historian of emotions at George Mason University.

“The two sides have come to view each other not as opponents, but as deeply evil,” he said. “And that’s happening when trust in institutions has collapsed and each group is choosing not to live near each other. It seems there’s no middle ground.”

But as I pointed out at the beginning of this article, for now both sides are relatively calm because they both believe that they are going to end up winning.

In 2016, the big national polls were dead wrong and Trump pulled out a close victory when the mainstream media had assured everyone that it was inevitable that Hillary Clinton would win.

And once again this year there are indications that the big national polls may be flawed and that Trump may be doing significantly better than the mainstream media is telling us.

On the other hand, Hillary Clinton never came close to the 50 percent mark in most national polls in 2016, and Joe Biden has consistently been above that level in recent weeks.  Democratic operatives would have us believe that indicates that there are far fewer undecided voters this time around.

So I guess we will just have to wait until the real results start coming in to see who was right and who was wrong.

Because so many Americans are voting by mail, it is going to take a lot longer than usual to count all the votes, and a number of key swing states are likely to be very close.  If the results are close enough, it may take weeks before we have an official winner.

Once an official winner is finally declared, there will be tens of millions of Americans in deep emotional pain.

When all of those deeply hurting people start lashing out, you won’t want to be anywhere around.

*  *  *

Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.

Published:10/26/2020 4:55:36 PM
[Markets] Former Trump advisor Gary Cohn: Markets are down on the '100% probability' that stimulus deal won't pass before the election A big reason for Monday's stock selloff, according to Gary Cohn, is the “100% percent probability” that we are not going to have fiscal stimulus before an election. Published:10/26/2020 4:55:36 PM
[Markets] 'You'll Bury Everyone Involved': Bobulinski Recorded Biden Operatives Begging Him To Stay Quiet, Set To Release Tues 'You'll Bury Everyone Involved': Bobulinski Recorded Biden Operatives Begging Him To Stay Quiet, Set To Release Tues Tyler Durden Mon, 10/26/2020 - 17:15

Former Biden insider Tony Bobulinski allegedly has a recording of Biden family operatives begging him to stay quiet, or he will "bury" the reputations of everyone involved in Hunter's overseas dealings.

According to The Federalist's Sean Davis, Bobulinski will play the tape on Fox News' "Tucker Carlson Tonight" on Tuesday, when Carlson will devote his show 'entirely' to an interview with the Biden whistleblower.

As The Federalist notes:

The Federalist confirmed with sources familiar with the plans that Bobulinski, a retired Navy lieutenant and Biden associate, will be airing tapes of Biden operatives begging Bobulinski to remain quiet as former Vice President Joe Biden nears the finish line to the White House next week.

Bobulinski flipped on the Bidens following a Senate report which revealed that they received a $5 million interest-free loan from a now-bankrupt Chinese energy company.

According to the former Biden insider, he was introduced to Joe Biden by Hunter, and they had an hour-long meeting where they discussed the Biden's business plans with the Chinese, with which he says Joe was "plainly familiar at least at a high level." 

Text messages from Bobulinski also reveal an effort to conceal Joe Biden's involvement in Hunter's business dealings, while Tony has also confirmed that the "Big guy" described in a leaked email is none other than Joe Biden himself.

Of course, aside from the corruption allegations, Hunter Biden's laptop allegedly contained child porn, which the FBI sat on for nine months after a Delaware computer repair shop owner turned it over to them, only to approach Congress - and finally Rudy Giuliani, when nobody else would take action.

And while we take no position on the "Q" phenomenon - we would be remiss if we didn't point out that the MSM is panicking to cover up what appears to be yet another elite pedophile who may have had an incestuous relationship with his niece - whose mother (his brother Beau's widow) Hunter was intimately familiar with.

What's going on with these people?

Imagine if Donald Trump Jr. was smoking crack while getting footjobs from potentially underage family members, whose pornographic photos were found on his laptop.

Published:10/26/2020 4:28:43 PM
[Markets] The Margin: When bond billionaire Bill Gross had problems with his neighbors, he allegedly blasted the ‘Gilligan’s Island’ theme on loop Sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of two obscenely wealthy neighbors whose outsized bank accounts can't buy a peaceful co-existence in one of America's highest-priced ZIP Codes.
Published:10/26/2020 3:55:59 PM
[Markets] Is Disney Stock A Buy As Key Theme Park Faces This Major Hurdle? Disney stock is trying to rebound after coronavirus closures took a toll. Here's what fundamental and technical analysis says about buying Disney now. Published:10/26/2020 3:55:59 PM
[Markets] "Can I Change My Vote": Voter's Remorse Sets In As Google Searches For Do-Over Spike "Can I Change My Vote": Voter's Remorse Sets In As Google Searches For Do-Over Spike Tyler Durden Mon, 10/26/2020 - 16:40

As politicians pushed the constituents throughout the summer to vote early, and by mail - driving early vote totals to exceed 2016 levels nine days before Election Day, some people are having second thoughts.

According to Google Trends, searches for "can I change my vote" have spiked following the second presidential debate, and the Hunter Biden laptop scandal.

The last time searches to change votes surged like this was October 30 - November 5, 2016 - followed by midterms, however the recent search trend suggests longer, more sustained interest in the topic.

By state, West Virginia, New Mexico and Idaho are the top three regions interested in changing votes.

And aside from Florida Republicans crushing Democrats in early voting, Democrats accounted for the lion's share of some 52 million votes cast so far this year.

Published:10/26/2020 3:55:59 PM
[Markets] Dow ends down 650 points, suffering worst day since early September Dow ends down 650 points, suffering worst day since early September Published:10/26/2020 3:28:29 PM
[Markets] : ‘It’s about midnight’ for stimulus deal, key GOP senator says Whatever embers of hope remained for a last minute pre-election deal on a coronavirus stimulus package from Capitol Hill cooled Monday as senators planned their departure from Washington.
Published:10/26/2020 3:28:29 PM
[Markets] How Decades Of Media And Faculty Bias Have Pushed America To The Left How Decades Of Media And Faculty Bias Have Pushed America To The Left Tyler Durden Mon, 10/26/2020 - 16:20

Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute,

It’s been clear for decades that national news organizations such as CNN and the New York Times tend to be biased in favor of social democracy (i.e., “progressivism”) and what we would generally call a “left-wing” ideology. Journalists, for instance, identify as Democrats in far higher numbers than any other partisan group. And political donations by members of the media overwhelmingly go to Democratic candidates.

This is why even as far back as the 1940s, libertarian and conservative groups felt the need to found their own news sources, publishing houses, and other outlets for the distribution of information.

Similarly, in recent decades, higher education faculty have been shown to be overwhelmingly in favor of the Democratic Party, both in affiliation and in donations. In addition to providing instruction at colleges and universities, these people are the ones who write textbooks, history books, and the scholarly publications that influence other faculty members, secondary school teachers, and current students.

It would be shocking if the net effect of this clear bias were not to push the public—at least those members of the public who view news media broadcasts, read textbooks, and attend college classes—in the direction of the ideology favored by the journalists and professors.

But the means for manufacturing an ideological bias don’t end there. In recent years we have increasingly been seeing other institutions—outside newsrooms and universities—that are taking an active role in shaping the public’s ideology. These include social media firms, and even online sources of information once considered relatively outside the reach of political controversies.

This is what is to be expected when a single ideological group controls educational institutions and major media outlets over a period of several decades. Under these conditions—and unless other institutions provide an effective alternative—the ideology that is dominant within schools and newsrooms will spread to become the ideology of the larger general public. Thus, we should expect to see more and more doctrinaire ideological activism in the larger society, in Silicon Valley and beyond.

Controlling the Message outside the Media and Academia

We’ve seen a few examples of this over the past week.

The first example is Twitter’s concerted and admitted effort to hide the NY Post’s exposé on potentially damaging emails from Joe Biden’s son. Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, first claimed that the company’s efforts to prevent Twitter users from sharing the story were a “mistake” and offered some rather implausible explanations. After the Post and a variety of right-leaning groups expressed outrage over the affair, the company backed down. This is just the latest of many cases of media companies making efforts to edit, curate, and control the information being communicated on their websites.

Another example comes from Wikipedia, where—in spite of the apparent veracity of the Post’s story on Hunter Biden—the claims against Hunter Biden are casually dismissed as “debunked.” No evidence has been presented to support this claim, and the Biden campaign has not denied the claims made in the Post’s story.

A third example comes from the editors at Merriam-Webster (continually updated online). After US Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett used the phrase “sexual preference,” she was denounced for using “offensive” language by US senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii. This was confusing to many observers, since the term has long been used as a nonpejorative term and has even been used in recent years by both Joe Biden and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

However, by a startling “coincidence,” editors at Merriam-Webster apparently modified the definition of the phrase “sexual preference,” adding the word “offensive” in reference to use of the term following the spat between Barrett and Hirono. Use of the Wayback Machine shows that two weeks earlier the word “offensive” had not been included in the definition.

These examples likely illustrate a growing role for left-wing ideologues outside official news media in shaping and manipulating public opinion for purposes of promoting one political faction over another.

These examples are certainly not the only evidence that companies that deal in internet-delivered data have very clear political preferences. Studies have shown that political donations coming out of Silicon Valley overwhelmingly favor Democrats. At Twitter, from the company’s founding to 2012, 100 percent of political donations made by company employees were to Democrats. In 2016, 90 percent of political donations coming out of Google went to Democrats.

The Natural Outcome of Years of Educational Bias

None of this should surprise us. For decades, the public’s predominant source of information about the nation’s history and political institutions has been the establishment “mainstream” media, public schools, and America’s higher education system.

This has a sizable effect on the public’s views and ideology. Staffers at tech companies, dictionary editors, and managers at Google are all part of this public.

Moreover, the sorts of people who work at Silicon Valley companies, and who work as editors and website designers, tend to have degrees obtained from colleges and universities. These are the same colleges and universities that today’s journalists and pundits attended. They’re the same colleges and universities that public school teachers attended, and which today’s attorneys, corporate CEOs, and high-level managers attended.

Moreover, over time, the share of the public attending these colleges and universities has grown. Fifty years ago, only around 10 percent of Americans completed college. Today, the total is around one-third.

Also not surprising: more schooling apparently tends to translate into more left-wing political views. Data from a wide variety of sources has shown that Americans with more schooling tend to self-identify as “liberal” more often. According to the Pew Research Center, from 1994 to 2015, the percentage of college graduates who were “mostly liberal” or “consistently liberal” increased from 25 percent to 44 percent. At the same time, those who were “mostly conservative” or “consistently conservative” remained almost unmoved, from 30 percent to 29 percent. In other words, the number of college graduates with ”mixed” views has shifted overwhelmingly to the left. This trend is even stronger among Americans who have attended graduate school.

This would seem to be only natural. After all, the faculty has shifted to the left in recent decades. In 1990, according to survey data by the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) at UCLA, 42 percent of professors identified as ”liberal” or ”far-left.” By 2014, that number had jumped to 60 percent. Journalists have moved in the same direction.

So if it seems to you that corporate employees, college grads, and the media-consuming public is moving to the left, you’re probably not imagining things.

Why It’s So Important to Build Institutions That Offer an Alternative

More astute observers of the current scene have long recognized that politics is downstream from culture.” In other words, if we want to change politics, we have to change the worldviews of political actors first. For example, if we want a world which reflects a Christian worldview, we need a large portion of the population to actually believe in that worldview. If we want a world where voters and legislators support private property rights, we need a world where a sizable portion of the population was raised and educated to believe private property is a good thing. There are no shortcuts around this.

Unfortunately, the activists who often get the most traction are those who take exactly the opposite position. They offer a ”solution” that involves nothing more than closing the barn door long after the horse has escaped. Yet this position is nonetheless often popular because it offers a quick fix. This position takes this basic form: ”If we can get the right people into political office for the next couple of elections, then everything will be fixed.” Never mind the fact that the ”wrong” people got into office precisely because the voting public had been educated in such a way that they find those politicians’ ideas and positions attractive.

Perhaps the most recent purveyor of this futile and shortsighted view is one-time Trump advisor Steve Bannon. Bannon embraced the idea that ”culture is downstream from politics,” insisting he could deliver a ”permanent majority” in political institutions in opposition to the Left-controlled zeitgeist. All that was necessary, we were told, was to vote for Bannon’s favorite politicians for a few years. Then the public would magically start adopting Bannon’s preferred conservative views. Bannon, however, never offered a strategy any more sophisticated than buying off voters with even bigger welfare programs and crushing government debt. Bannon apparently missed the fact that the votes he needed for this vision had to come from millions of Americans who have already imbibed decades’ worth of major media content and left-wing faculty lectures.

It’s easy to see how Bannon might have thought the message could resonate. After all, we live in a country where millions of self-described ”conservatives” willingly send their children to sixteen years of public schooling and then are mystified when little Johnny comes home and announces he’s a Marxist. Apparently these people are very slow learners.

But Bannon’s more insightful colleague Andrew Breitbart knew better. As noted in a profile of Breitbart for TIME magazine in 2010:

As [Breitbart] sees it, the left exercises its power not via mastery of the issues but through control of the entertainment industry, print and television journalism and government agencies that set social policy. “Politics,” he often says, “is downstream from culture. I want to change the cultural narrative.” Thus the Big sites devote their energy less to trying to influence the legislative process in Washington than to attacking the institutions and people Breitbart believes dictate the American conversation.

Although I often disagreed with Breitbart’s editorial and ideological positions, he was certainly right about how political institutions are changed.

But to accomplish this goal, it is necessary to create organizations and institutions that can offer an alternative to the ”entertainment industry, print and television journalism and government agencies that set social policy.” This requires research, writing, podcasts, and videos. It requires educational institutions (like the Mises Institute’s graduate school) that offer views that go against what is usually taught in universities. It requires revisionist historians and scholars who can write books that counter the views pushed in the endless stream of books and articles churned out by professional academics at state-supported institutions. It requires cultural institutions like churches that provide a compelling intellectual vision that can compete with what’s taught in the colleges.

Until that happens, expect institutions like social media, Wikipedia, the mainstream media, and even corporate America to keep moving left and doing it at an increasingly fast pace. And expect the people who control those institutions to be increasingly hostile to those who disagree with them.

Published:10/26/2020 3:28:29 PM
[Markets] Dow Closes Off 650, 2.3%, on Virus Surge and Stimulus Doubt Stocks end sharply lower, with the Dow off 2.3%, as coronavirus infections surge and stimulus negotiations remain stalemated. Published:10/26/2020 3:28:29 PM
[Markets] : Europe tightens restrictions in desperate race against second wave of COVID-19 The local and regional lockdowns in most European countries now threaten the region with another devastating economic blow.
Published:10/26/2020 2:56:01 PM
[Markets] Iconic Barbershop In NYC's East Village Closes After 73 Years In Business Due To COVID Iconic Barbershop In NYC's East Village Closes After 73 Years In Business Due To COVID Tyler Durden Mon, 10/26/2020 - 15:50

Today in "the solution can't be worse than the problem" news...

Astor Place hairstylists is closing down after 73 years of doing business in the East Village. The iconic hair salon has become the latest victim of both the coronavirus pandemic and the draconian shutdown measures that New York City has had to endure for months. 

The shop has counted people like Robert de Niro, Kevin Bacon and Andy Warhol has clients over the years, according to the New York Post. But now, the shop is closing for good just before Thanksgiving. 

Michael Saviello, the shop's manager, told The Post: “We’re down 90% of our business. We’ve been open every day since reopening in June, but we’ve reduced our hours.”

The decision affected 40 stylists that work at the shop, including one named "Big Mike" who has been working at the shop for over 40 years. He said: “A lot of people cried when we told them the news. Some of our customers cried because they came here as kids and now bring their kids to get their hair cut.”