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Market comment 2020
Quote:Humans may never develop immunity against Covid-19, according to new research on antibodies by Chinese and American scientists. Their conclusion was based on a study looking at whether hospital workers in Wuhan who were directly exposed to infected patients at the early stage of the outbreak had developed antibodies. The deadly new disease was first detected in the Chinese city late last year. At least a quarter of the more than 23,000 samples tested could have been infected with the virus at some stage, according to the scientists. But only 4 per cent had developed antibodies as of April.
 There may be no immunity against Covid-19, new Wuhan study suggests | South China Morning Post
  • If immunity is only very temporary this is extraordinary bad news..

Quote:Our best data sources about the economy are wildly out of date: Unemployment data comes out just once a month, and GDP data only four times a year. However, a new data source put together by a research group at Harvard, drawing on a variety of corporations’ private data, now allows economists to track what has happened to the economy in real time. The data they collated shows that the economic crash has been driven disproportionately by the actions of high-income Americans, whose consumer spending has crashed more than that of poorer Americans, devastating low-income workers and small businesses in rich areas.

The data also suggests that economic relief measures have done little for small businesses: Stimulus spending tended to go to Amazon or Walmart, not small local stores, and small businesses eligible for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans are generally not any better off than ones that were not eligible. And researchers who developed the data found official orders “reopening” states do not increase economic activity, and so appear to endanger public health without any economic benefitThe picture that emerges in a new working paper based on the economists’ findings is of an economy frozen in place. Simply declaring the economy “reopened” does not seem to do anything to spur high-income people to spend more, and it’s not clear that anything can until the real threat passes..
Stimulus check, the Paycheck Protection Program, and “reopening” can’t rescue the economy - Vox

Quote:The stock market had just gone through what was termed the “greatest 50-day rally in history.” The S&P 500 index had skyrocketed 47% from the intraday low on March 23 (2,192) to the close on June 8 (3,232). It was a blistering phenomenal rally. Since June 8, the market has gotten off track but not by much. It’s still a phenomenal rally. And it came during the worst economy in my lifetime. There are now 29.2 million people on state and federal unemployment insurance. There are many more who’ve lost their work who are either ineligible for unemployment insurance or whose state hasn’t processed the claim yet, and when they’re all added up, they amount to over 20% of the labor force. This is horrible. But stocks just kept surging even as millions of people lost their jobs each week. The more gut-wrenching the unemployment-insurance data, the more stocks soared.
I, Who Hates Shorting, Just Shorted the Entire Stock Market. Here’s Why | Wolf Street

Quote:Those betting against this “absurdly overvalued” stock market are about to get paid, if Kevin Smith, Crescat Capital’s chief investment officer, has it right in his gloomy assessment. “Speculation is rampant and being championed by a bold new breed of millennial day traders,” he said. “The mania is based on a widespread hope in Fed money printing. The catalysts for reckoning are numerous as a major cyclical economic downturn has only just begun.”
‘La la land?’ The stock market is ‘insanely disconnected’ and due for a ‘reckoning,’ Warren Buffett buff warns - MarketWatch

Quote:People who have blood Type A were “associated with” a 45% “higher risk of acquiring COVID-19” compared to people with other blood types, according to a study published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed New England Journal of Medicine by a team of European scientists. Meanwhile, people with blood Type O, the most common blood type, less likely to get coronavirus as people with other blood types.
Your blood type may determine your odds of contracting the coronavirus, study finds - MarketWatch

Quote:The discovery of antibodies that block the most infectious elements of the coronavirus is helping Bay Area scientists unlock the many mysteries of human immunity, and could be crucial in the development of a vaccineEpidemiologists have found “neutralizing antibodies” in fewer than 5% of COVID-19 patients, but the ones they are now attempting to isolate are unique in their ability to prevent SARS-CoV-2 — the specific coronavirus that causes the illness — from entering human cells. It means anyone with these antibodies would almost certainly be immune to the disease and that their blood plasma could potentially be used to inoculate others, according to several studies published over the past month by research laboratories in the United States and China..
Rare, super coronavirus antibodies likely to yield vaccine, say Stanford, UCSF experts -

Quote:Investors are making the biggest bet in the futures market since 2011 that the stock market is going to sell off. There’s been a net short position in E-mini S&P 500 futures building since April. Some strategists believe when a lot of investors take the same position,  there’s a herd mentality at work and investors are actually sending a contrarian signal. In this case, that would be positive for stock market gains. But Peter Boockvar, chief investment strategist at Bleakley Advisory Group, disagrees that stock futures investors are necessarily representing a contrarian call.
Some investors are making the biggest bet against the stock market in nine years

Quote:The final day of June is a week away, and Wall Street is already speculating that there’s the potential some asset allocators, like pension funds, could take the big gains from the stock market and move them into bonds. There’s a wide range of views about how much selling could hit the stock market, but some strategists say the resulting market move may not be that big after all because of prior selling and action in the derivatives market. The amount of pension fund rebalancing is estimated in a wide range, with some estimates from $35 billion to $76 billion. Wells Fargo estimates the rebalance into bonds could be the largest in six years.
There's a wave of selling estimated to be in the billions that's about to hit the stock market

Quote:Tens of millions of Americans who lost their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic have been able to collect an extra $600 in weekly federal unemployment benefits over the past few months on top of the standard amount given by their state. For many households, the enhanced benefits have been a financial lifeline amidst record job loss and a burgeoning recession. But on July 31, that enhanced benefit will end — and that could have dire consequences for millions of households. Coupled with other coronavirus relief measures, the extra $600 in enhanced benefits has helped many Americans stay afloat — and even save more than usual — throughout the pandemic, with some economists calling it the “best” part of the economic response to the coronavirus. The $600 increase has been “one of the most effective parts of the CARES Act on both humanitarian and economic grounds,” writes Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank. 
Millions face 'income cliff' next month when extra $600 in UI ends

Quote:Economist Richard Wolff told Hill.TV’s “Rising” Wednesday that the coronavirus pandemic could lead to a housing crash worse than the Great Depression. “Really, you can’t equate it to anything,” Wolff said. “This is the worst crash that we have experienced, now even in comparison to the Great Depression, partly because it came so quickly and cut so deeply into our economy.” Wolf noted that before the pandemic, which led to massive unemployment and economic decline, half of Americans were not prepared to handle an unexpected $1,000 expense. The professor said that mass homelessness is inevitable as eviction moratoria expire and tenants who are months behind on rent are kicked out of their homes...

“Yes, an avalanche is coming,” Wolff said. “But it is also a sign of a breaking down in our normal capitalist relationships. Renters cannot pay their rent, landlords cannot pay off their debts. Everybody is gearing up to go to court… It is a tsunami in economic terms.” Wolff said that the current economic crisis reveals how "unsustainable" the current U.S. system is.  “We’re going to have this spectacle — on top of everything else happening to us — of that American situation in which we have homeless people sitting on the curb, across the street from unoccupied apartments and homes," he said.
 Economics professor Richard Wolff warns housing crash would be worse than Great Depression | TheHill

Quote:At the end of the month, the extra $600 per week of unemployment insurance benefits put in place under the CARES Act is set to expire, which could affect some 33 million workers. In the coming weeks and months, eviction moratoriums and mortgage and student loan forbearance programs will wind down. Small businesses continue to struggle to stay afloat, and many of those that got loans have used them up already. State and local governments are still in dire need of financial assistance. These issues aren’t ones that only plague the parties that are directly affected; they also have knock-on effects across the economy. Not being able to pay rent isn’t just a problem for the tenant — it’s also a problem for the landlord. It’s an urgent situation, but many people in government aren’t treating it that way. We’re sleepwalking toward catastrophe..
If Congress doesn’t act, massive unemployment and a ruined economy may come soon - Vox

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