Blog: History

Original Sources

Original Sources:

  • Ibn Hawqal, author of the risala (account) Surat al-Ard or 'The Face of the Earth,' 900s
  • Ibn Fadlan and the Land of Darkness, Arab Travellers in the Far North, 900s ***
  • Narir Khusraw's 'Safarnama,' 1000s
  • Ibn Battuta Travels In Asia And Africa 1325-1354 ***
  • The Travels of Marco Polo, 1200s ***
  • Narrative of the Embassy of Ruy Gonzalez de Clavijo to the Court of Timour, 1300s
  • Pedro Tafur's travels in Europe, Morocco and Near East, 1400s
  • Babur-nama, memoirs, 1400s and 1500s
  • Letters of Cortez, early 1500s ***
  • Colombus Fourth Voyage Letter, 1502 ***

Close enough:

  • Vasco Nunez de Balboa by Frederick Ober, 1906, events early 1500s ***

*** means I've read it


The World in 2020, Q2

It's May 29 and the Coronavirus event seems to have started to blend in with world events of the regular sort, and it's now more our environment than new things coming up, and some world events are coming to the fore in importance. I'm going to leave off the log about talk of a recession and Coronavirus (Part 1, 2, 3, 4) which I started February 25 until now, and write under the broad subject of things emerging in global events, and how those might impact economies and also anywhere they seriously affect human rights.

The biggest story of the days this week are with China. Most of my news is US Economics and Markets news, so naturally everything there is from a US business standpoint. Partly this continues from what I wrote in 2019 about what I thought was the biggest story of the year then, the Hong Kong protests.

China is facing opposition from the US and other countries because it has been a shitty country for so long, and has been growing and becoming an internationally important country that is active in other countries for the past decade or two. It hasn't let up with it's shitty actions like what it's been doing in Tibet, which is currently not among the issues people are talking about, with the Uighurs in Northwestern Muslim China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, it's tech spying and stealing, ongoing attempts to steal islands and sea property by building new islands with military muscle, huge numbers of death sentences, laws against protests and other laws against human rights, treatment of religious groups like Falun Gong. Also, while tons of Chinese have for the past 10 or 20 years of economic success been traveling, this has hurt people's perception of Chinese because they are rude and inconsiderate, famous for doing messy personal care in public, cutting lines, cramming, yelling or talking very loudly, rushing buffets and taking all the food, trying on clothes and messing up stores. They're one of the only types of travelers that I would guess has globally people have a strong negative impression of.

On the other hand China has shown the world that it's population, it's culture, is hardworking and serious. It has become the factory of the world not just because it's people wanted the money. It's hard to find people who are capable of being serious and working, but Chinese are just that. For this reason, they've made good business partners and good, successful companies. On top of that they're very obedient and unobtrusive, so it's easier to deal with them than more individualistic peoples, which is also probably why Canada seems to have like them for selling their cities to. Like the West, China has become rich because it has a population serious about being workers. China is more industrious than the West though, it seems, because more Chinese people think about starting and running businesses, it seems, and becoming wealthy, while in the West most people seem to be workers or employees in their minds. Perhaps this has something to do with the strict and idiotic laws in the West that make starting or running businesses extremely difficult. Canada, for example, is widely considered a bad place to try to do a business because the laws make it very difficult to enter, navigate, and succeed. The US reduced it's corporate tax rate from about 30% to about 20% to be more globally competitive, since many countries have rates in the teens, although right now there is talk of restoring the higher rate for companies that make over $400,000k per year. There's also talk, and has been for years, about somehow making pay taxes the giant companies that are displacing smaller companies, notably Amazon but we might also mention Google, Walmart, Target. Amazon, which is being talked about now, has been portrayed as a sort of hero, delivering goods while stores have not been open, employing large numbers of people with good wages, but as everyone knows it does this by economies of scale and it's scale is one where it eclipses smaller companies which would otherwise be part of the community and economy, and also perhaps the tax situation with 100 small stores would be different from one large one per town.

That was sort of a preamble but it seemed more of a ramble since most of that stuff is well-discussed and understood. I'll draw a line and start with news and developments.

Trump faces a reelection challenge in so-far Joe Biden, who it seems impresses no one in any way. The economy is down but might recover. I'm not sure how much credit Trump can take for the US government's moves to prop up the economy, or how it will appear in retrospect when people are measuring how the emergent US compares with other countries, although right now basically everyone says what they did was the correct thing and the only thing they could have done. I don't know how much of it was layed out by internal policy planning as part of what they learned from the 2008 09 financial crisis.

Some say the only issue Trump really has is being tough on China. Biden is viewed as friendly toward China, and they're trying to put the name Beijing Biden on him, although I suspect Trump will come up with much more creative and potent characterizations in the world wrestling style he's master at.

Issues Trump is focussing on include Beijing's alleged cover-up of early Coronavirus. Trump and some people in probably every country around the world blame China for the virus and for the things the virus is doing in their countries. Most countries are having it very difficult right now, and that probably breeds a lot of resentment at whatever they can target. It doesn't help that there was a bio research plant that does just this kind of work about half a mile from the seafood market where the outbreak is thought to have started, as I mentioned in the talk of recession and Coronavirus log. This is being investigated by the US and UK governments it seems. China for it's part is trying to focus blame and resentment on other nations and nationalities, suggesting the virus originated in US service members, saying new cases come from people flying in from overseas, and that cutting off flights from China was racist, while doing it themselves inside their country, cutting off Wuhan to stem contagion.

China formally approved yesterday a new stricter security law for Hong Kong which criminalizes most types of political protest, using a blanket concept of 'sedition' and 'subversion.' We've seen this in Tibet and Xinjiang for decades.

US politicians are taking the position that Hong Kong is now under the power of China and doesn't have a high degree of autonomy any more. This shift also may change Hong Kong's trade relations. It has enjoyed an absence of the trade tariffs that Trump put on China in the trade war. This change, if it is what's going to happen, as will be announced today by Trump, will have an affect on markets, particularly Hong Kong companies and ones that do business with HK. This would be a bit of a new development in that since the economic issues that started in March, Trump has been signing a ton of things to help the economy and probably doesn't want to sign anything that would hurt it.

People talk about the negative consequences of problems with China. The US doesn't make it's own PPE or medicine, and it might take time to rearrange things, but maybe not. It seems the Trump government can be pretty quick to move and has displayed determination in doing things.

Congress this week approved a bill for the government to make reports identifying Chinese government individuals responsible for the forced detention of 2m Uighurs. The State Department is going to conduct an investigation of the human rights violations in Xinjiang. It seems to me this all might be from a political motivation though, as China has been shitty in Tibet for decades and Xinjiang for years and the governments of the US, Canada, and other countries have been purposefully silent on this, as well as the human rights abuses in the Mainland. US and Canada etc. politicians have consistently avoided having the issues brought up in front of them, so they don't have to take a stand when the only stand possible for them would be against the Chinese government. Now there seems to be a lot of action, but I wouldn't say it's likely to contribute to better human rights because the governments involved don't care about human rights. There is also rising anti-China sentiment in the US, although there has been significant anti-China sentiment before. I'm not sure in Canada. From what I've seen, Canada avoids this information becoming public since Canadian politicians probably depend on heavy investments based on Chinese house buying, etc in the cities it has sold to China and India. I wouldn't join the camp that says Well, whatever it's for, it's a good move, a step in the right direction,' because we've seen how Western government involving themselves in this way never create real good outcomes. Sometimes it leads to them doing other harmful things themselves.

India is also going to be an interesting issue. India already hates China, and they have border disputes and things, blocked rivers. India houses Tibet's government in exile by the way. India has been passing really terrible laws over the past years. Right now it's overcrowded and unsanitary population is facing a health challenge. How will it's leader want to appear?

Friday morning, the morning Trump is scheduled to talk about China and Hong Kong, after the announcement of his talk before the close yesterday, which sent markets down, the markets opened all in red. Only a very few on my watchlists were green, and none of the ones I'm holding. Yesterday also they almost all went down, although OLP went up probably because news that house sales were up for single family dwellings, etc. I didn't read or watch much on it but it seems property sales aren't really down that much or are up, just less houses were for sale, and this meant little bidding wars for those available.

Yesterday's market downs followed the Tuesday and Wednesday after Memorial Day and all stocks were green for two days. I got caught up in and increased and invested in a few new stocks.

Late Friday, when people were worried about the US-China trade deal and the value of stocks, which were largely down, the relief of not having Trump say anything brutal about Chinese trade caused a sharp last-hour rise in stocks, maybe most in Alibaba and similar. This may mean that Trump might not be ever going to jeopardize US money when it comes to Chinese companies.


Social Media is an issue this month, as Twitter put little advisory notes on some of Trump's tweets 'fact-checking' them. Zuckerburg actually commented on this, the headlines saying that he said that social networks should not be fact-checking political speech, 'Political speech is one of the most sensitive parts in a democracy, and people should be able to see what politicians say.' Facebook has fact-checkers too, but he said it was to 'really catch the worst of the worst stuff.' 'In terms of political speech, again, I think you want to give broad deference to the political process and political speech' and not 'try to parse words on is something slightly true or false.' The company has decided to continue to allow political campaign ads even when they include misinformation. Zuckerberg said there were 'clear lines' for what content should be allowed, framed in terms of causing violence or harming people's selves, and misinformation that could lead to voter suppression. Facebook, Google and others continue to use the concepts of 'hate speech' and 'racism' and other concepts to censor content. This has been most prevalent over the past year or two on YouTube where many content creators have had videos demonetized, removed, etc., although they contain nothing really of that sort, because the content caused a flag for the algorithms that check content. This week people are talking about YouTube finally facing a challenger in Slack, although Slack doesn't have any better privacy protections that YouTube.

Markets are trading at a 21 stock market multiple. It might be that the Fed has pulled forward years of returns in the last few months, taking it away from future results. In 1999 the multiple in the Nasdaq was in the 40s.

During the trade deal, China showed how it could do lots of unofficial action, like slowing down shipments and gumming up the works.

Headlines included a $850,000 bill for a 2-week intensive care stay in a hospital for Coronavirus. And lots of comments mentioning similar incredible rates for stays for various things, and the US fear of hospitalization. However, I've heard the US has the highest rates of good outcomes for it's services although they are expensive, because they are private. In Canada, there is first rate heath care but if you want it you're going to get in a long line up. Also, a lot is not covered, like a lot of medicine. Overall, I think I prefer Canada's system as long as you can also fly somewhere else if you can afford it to pay for private service. The reason is that the costs can be devastating if you can't and also if you can afford them. But preferring Canada's system doesn't mean I'd advocate trying to put it in anywhere else, because it's grown up with Canada and Canada's tiny, European-origin population, policies, education, and taxation, whereas that's not the case in private health care countries. I have no answers for health care systems in general, and haven't given them enough thought to really comment.

In April in the US, personal income went up 10% partially due to government stimulus checks, and spending went down 15%. Personal savings jumped a record-high 33%.

Trump said the US would terminate it's relationship with the corrupt WHO.

SpaceX launched two astronauts to the ISS for the first time, all live on YouTube, although they 'had technical difficulties' and lost signal, black screen, when the rocket stage landed again on it's drone platform in the ocean, and just cut the feed back to show an already landed rocket. You can't invest in SpaceX. You can invest in Alphabet which is an investor in SpaceX but that's pretty far removed.

Some businesses that are reopening seem to be raising prices, which may or may not be inflationary. However many businesses aren't raising prices, so maybe dis-inflationary, although on the other side the smaller supply for demand might lead to companies then raising prices.

2018 more money finding its way into investing in San Francisco and maybe that technology going back to China

after years of looking the other way on Chinese companies, it may be a bit messy but we've gotta find a new way of doing this

IP theft, imbalance in the trade, if China gets the upper hand in 5G or other tech, are they going to use that against the US, or if they get the upper hand in technology.

what is classified research and what is not, and what is tech transfer and what isn't?

where did the gains from globalization go?

China doesn't need to be the cheapest labor market to still be the cheapest to produce since it controls trade rates, taxes, environmental policy, etc. It has invested in other countries where factories are cheaper, a portfolio of countries, building ports, factories and modern farms in Senegal, Pakistan, Nigeria, Zimbabwe. Chinese state run banks loan money to countries to develop as China sees fit, with the stipulation Chinese companies do the building. Belt and Road, potentially the largest economic network, loans in Chinese currency. It can claim securities back if not paid by countries with poor records for paying back it's low 1% interest debt, like Mombassa Port in 2019 Kenya, the largest trading port in Africa, some consider it debt trap diplomacy. A center of wealth in China without having to produce anything in China. Giving those countries the economies of scale to compete with Canada and Australia which have infrastructure, what makes rich countries rich producing more with less making people more wealthy, in exporting natural resources although with lower wages so maybe cheaper than Canada, plus a guaranteed customer in China.

China has large currency reserves and can buy up nations if prices go down in a global recession.

China has been damming it's rivers over the decades until they're all basically dammed, reportedly, and maybe now they're going to look at damming Tibet's rivers, which nourish half of the world's people, and China can dictate terms better dealing with those nations who want water. If the dams were high, above where animals live in the rivers, I don't see how it would be a problem, but I don't think any of the dams are up there. They have three dams on the Brahmaputra for example. There are no international agreements between the countries that share the rivers, so China has run of the road, exercising it's territorial jurisdiction. Over the next couple decades of global warming, along with Asian peak population projections, some rivers around the world will diminish while others will grow. There are no legal restictions on China which literally has the power to flood and draught places like Bangledesh. Asian countries prioritize their relationships with China over opposing Chinese dams though.


Tuesday, June 2 Recovery is one of the main subjects of talk. The jobless claims were I think 4m more the last report, so people expect this is peak unemployment and numbers will improve. US GDP is expected to shrink according to a report today, about 60% and then go up 10 or 20% in Q3 and then slowly increase. Others think the markets are telling us, by their 30% recovery, there will be a V-shaped recovery after all. This guess has been improving from a U or L, to a swoosh, to now maybe the V. No one knows. After the report was published stocks went down a few percent, including ones I just increased. I got rid of Vale, right before it went up a bit, which wasn't doing that impressively. I don't understand the stock. I increased in Norwegian, Spirit, and Carnival, buying them at around their highpoint today this morning. I'm almost 100% in equities right now.

A little talk about retail stores and if they have to look at private security if cities aren't going to protect their businesses, ie side with the protesters.

Trump made a ban Chinese passenger airlines from flying to the US, in response to China not allowing US carriers to resume flights there yet. A day or two later China opened up more flights in from foreign airlines or something.

Social media platforms are themselves becoming politically affiliated. Zuckerburg has said he won't remove Trump or other posts. reportedly, due to the 'factualness' of Trump's tweets. Slack is also on the Democrat side. Facebook will block ads from state-controlled media outlets, whatever that means. Twitter got a new CEO reminiscent to me of when that happened at Google, and Twitter's owner made a new rule for the president,

Zoom's CEO said he wants to 'work together' with law enforcement in regards to encryption. Zoom has been criticized for privacy concerns because it's Chinese owned, so people assume the Chinese government has basically full access. Does working together mean Zoom will share the info it has about people not only with China but with the US too?

Job losses and private payrolls. Mortage demand with record-low interest rates.

Insurrection Act signed for the George Floyd protests. This is a highly political issue.

AMC isn't sure if it can continue. I first heard of AMC because they made Mad Men, and was surprised they had theaters. Why don't they make more shows like Mad Men?

Amwell IPO, a tele-health IPO is going forward confidently because of what markets are doing. In past months there was talk IPOs wouldn't be launched. I think it was the second or so IPO to launch.

May unemployment expected to be 20%.

Biden reportedly has a lead in the polls.

Lots of companies making headlines for producing or possibly producing millions of doses by a month a few months ahead.

The other three officers in the George Floyd death have been charged with abetting the alleged murder, and the main officer's manslaughter charge was elevated to second-degree murder.

NBA made headlines to resume in August.

Fiscal movements are happening in Europe, for the first time analysts say. Talk of an integrated basis for financing, and in EU bonds. Valuations are thought to be very low in Europe like banks and stuff compared with the US in terms of valuations, price to book or multiple of earnings, although US ones are stronger, healthier and better capitalized.

Stragesists think a six-month recovery and a three-month cloudiness because of a second wave possibility. USD and Yen are seen as uncertain. There has been a lot of good news for the dollar over the past months and some think it hasn't had that strong an effect on the value of the dollar, while now with a Europe economy strengthening, seen as bad news for the dollar, maybe it'll go down.

Brent is up to $42. No one is adding rigs at $40. $45 or $50 is needed for adding rigs, according to drilling business top men, although investers might push for growth. Many companies are going to add new cash flow to repair balance sheets because the equities markets are closed. Most shale producers have an average decline rate of 35-40% per year, so if new wells aren't drilled production can slump in 6 to 9 months. Predictions include that US shale will be below 11m barrels a day in 2021 because of 'natural decline' that they can't keep it growing. If the countries open up oil will be OK but stagnate until something happens with the airlines like a vaccine, since airlines consume 8m barrels per day. Most of the job layoffs have been in the service industry. Overlevered companies have laid off because of debt. They're asking it they'll be in a $40 world or a $50 world or return to a $60 world. The US is down around 2m per day, to around 11m, but we'll see only one month of curtailment.

Banks and insurance companies are becoming more interconnected and intertwined with their governments in the US and Europe, implementation of Fed programs, willingness of regulators to raise or lower capital. May never reverse completely. Larger institutions have more concentrated risk than before and more correlation of risk with the underlying economy.

Friday, June 5 there were some green days this week, and one started out red but turned green slowly and then greened more. A lot has to do with jobs reports, there was a bad one Thursday but then there was a good one Friday. The Friday jobs report confirmed the growth hypothesis, although the numbers on the report that 2m jobs have been added are doubted. Most of those jobs are in retail, leisure and hospitality, and construction too. Hardly any data points confirm the report, reportedly, so it might be a bit doubted. Fake it till you make it? Also Thursday morning or Wednesday JPM downgraded Norwegian before markets opened and cruises went down, but throughout the day they went a few percent above. I think I mentioned last week Credit Suisse upgraded Norwegian. Airlines made headlines this week. I still have cruises but I actually feel less confident about the industry than in weeks past but I'll hold. They put in airline-grade air filtration and will have a CDC guideline thing where ships with cases of Coronavirus will be yellow, orange, red or green. This move is something airlines I suspect won't have nor busses. I'm not sure how it will play out, or if they meant that was just for the CDC and the cruises, or if it was to be a public thing. The Fed may be less supportive of markets now because of the numbers claim. Relief may not be continued, thinking the economy and market are doing the lifting now. We're seeing how powerfully the Fed moves have been, where some analysts look at it for the market as win-win, where if the job numbers are correct it's a win because the economy is improving, and if they're not it's a win because the Fed will do more. In a tug of war between liquidity and fundamentals. The Fed build a foundation we can move off of, some analysts say. Bailing out ETFs directly buying some of the credit market concerns that people were so worried about, the JNK, OQD. In the jobs report although employed whites and hispanics went up employed blacks went down. Would like to see a real drill down of how this happened. Although part of it might be that owners and bosses of companies identify or prefer people along those generalized lines. That's even less than what I would call a guess. Something I'm curious about.

Some say we'll see more of a distinction between monetary which serves the markets mainly, and fiscal which serves the real economy mainly.

There was also indications of panic buying upward in the VIX, where usually panic transactions are for selling.

There is a lot of talk about racism.

There's also something about mortgage rates going up. I didn't understand it yet. .25% for most, higher or lower for people depending on their credit situation.


2/3ds of people unemployed are receiving a little more than they were before. Disposable income in the US is going to be higher than it was last year. Minimum wage workers are receiving double their paycheck value. $25 dollars plus the stimulus. That program cuts off in July. Unemployment right now is predominantly low wage and in services.

Some price deflation pressure because of reduced demand, but when cyclical demand returns we may see goods price increases lead the way, which is different from what we were looking at the last 2 cycles. Wages for service workers will maybe not increase quickly because of the large supply of workers and difficulty reintegrating supply chains, whereas we've before seen services wage-led inflation, and may now see a goods-led inflation.

Some say 20% of the market needed significant corporate design change inside, and companies will redesign to match what they've learned from the companies that were more successful. Many companies had supply lines that ran 10,000 miles through many single points that could be points of failure and had big issues during this, and no one will do this again, everyone will make sure they have multiple suppliers and that there's flex in their supply chain. And the redesign will give a whole new structured supply chain.

It's June 8 now, but looking back at a fund manager from two months ago some of the things he was looking at were that a recovery is often a mirror of a drop, sharp or gradual, that usually in a drop half of wealth recovers in half the time it took to lose it, which in this case would have been at the $2800 level for the S&P which is currently at $3200, in prior market bottoms, stocks bottom before jobless claims peak, in 2002 it was 6 weeks, in 2009 it was 3 weeks roughly, and in prior bottoms GDP takes another year to recover but stocks are already deep into recover. The analyst who said these things has in his record predicted wrong at other times.

Bitcoin is at almost $10,000. It's low was $5,000. Gold is at $1700. It's low was a dip to $1500 from around $1600 for the first part of the year.

Other things to add to the list of companies that experienced changes during the pandemic. Anything with a drive through was doing well.

Without the vaccine, the population is divided and some feel safe going out and doing normal things while others are petrified to go outside. For normality the majority or supermajority would have to feel safe.

Institutions devoted to this sort of thing. why were they not able to be effective? WHO made a statement that asymptomatic spread was unlikely the other day, and the US health officials said that wasn't true. Headlines that science says facemasks necessary to curb second wave.

South Korea and Taiwan knew almost exactly what to do almost the moment they got wind something unusual was happening.

The Federal Reserve is doing what it set out to do, pushing people into risk assets.

Data in air travel, turnstiles in public transport, weekly gas demand, consumer signals. Real hard data may come in June and July and test the market.

Tuesday, June 9 New Zealand has no cases they report. Does that mean New Zealand will be cut off from the rest of the world until further notice?

In the Netherlands they're looking at killing 4m mink, milk farming is big there it seems, because some have confirmed infections. They figured out the family caught it from the mink by looking at the viral strain. Denmark and Spain also have mink farms.

Some dogs are able to detect Coronavirus from armpit sweat. Dogs varied in the tests, but a couple were 100% successful in 70 tries.


Deaths in Sweden and other Nordic countries:


Deaths per 100k population:

  • 55 UK
  • 42 France
  • 39 Sweden
  • 10 Denmark
  • 6 Finland

Italy's debt level will be 160% GDP after this. EU countries are thinking about how to figure out loans and things.

Consumer prices are falling but food prices are up 5% from a year ago. Beef and veal up 18% due to shortages the highest of the foods. Retailers are not doing promotions because they want to keep food on the shelves, and higher shipping costs are being passed on.

In bonds, money is flying up the curve from 2-years to 5s. 5s are the new 2s because the Fed said they'll keep rates at 0 through 2022, creating a sort of date-dependent forward guidance, underwritten, because the 2-year is going nowhere because they've just locked it down, the 2-year is linked to money, and the 5-year in 2 years will be a 3-year piece of paper. People are saving, lots of demand surge for bonds, because they're worried about the future.

Talk about dividend yield being the new sought-for yield. Analyists don't expect yielf from fixed income as it had produced over the past 5 or 10 years.

A mix of supercompanies and new small companies.

Household net worth declined $6.5t in Q1 and equities $7.8t. Offset by 400b increase in value of real estate. Fed debt rose by 14.3% and business debt rose by 19%. In 2018 there was a V and net worth returned. In 2008 it took about 5 years.

$5t in money market funds is expected eventually to find its way into equities is uninvested.

Low interest rates have propped up the housebuying market, particularly milenials, and particularly if jobs return. May be a bias to new versus possibly renovating. Sales are up 17% or something versus last May. The most popular age to be in the US right now is 29, seen as good for house starts.

UAE's Dubai, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Quatar are seeing a big expat flight, as companies have cut jobs and wages. Population in UAE could shrink 10%.

Friday, June 12 the markets this week have been swinging. Last week there were a few days of ups. I expected a correction down a bit, and JPM downgraded Norwegian that morning, and most of those stocks, cruises and airlines, were down 4% and 2%, but after open the started up. Over the weekend, too stocks went up. Monday stocks went up. I went to bed Monday night quite calmly seeing afterhours up another 5 or 7% on the most volatile stocks, but by morning when I woke up an hour or two before markets they were down fluctuating between 10 and 15%. I didn't sell that day, and they stayed around that level. I usually will use the number for the most volatile stocks I hold, so when I say 15% for Norwegian or Spirit, that means 12 for Carnival and 6 or 7 for Delta and less for Southwest, and a few percent for Canadian Tire. That night stocks also went down after hours and I closed on the morning down a bit more. I closed everything except Canadian Tire and OLP (and the two way down stocks I hold just for psychological reminders and bookmarks from a year ago). My US portfolio was up almost 50% at the height Monday when the markets closed, but when I closed I think it was up maybe 30 or 35%. I closed Canadian Tire and OLP down the next open and the Canadian side was up maybe 15%. I wasn't sure if there was going to be another crash. Stocks went down the next day. The market had it's worst day since March, with the Dow down like 7% and the S&P down about 3% I think. After hours Thursday stocks began to rise though, and continued to rise. They were up (again the most volatile) between 10 and 15% by the morning. I did not expect that. I thought maybe some small bounce back or further down. However, no economist, host or guest or anyone I've seen, is doing any better predicting. I suspect the machines are doing great, that can monitor the fluctuations of interest in buying, the volumes and amounts of cash still uninvested for those people, etc. There's quite a bit of talk about the retail investor, who knows nothing and doesn't analyze for actual value, causing unexpected investments and harder swings in both directions. I wondered this week if the markets were going to become gambling markets entirely. So much liquidity, lots of cash left in investors accounts, lots more players, and no good pricepoints, gambling and sports events shut down and people say stocks are the new sports gambling. Some say it's a special time with huge upside and a downside that is capital debilitation. The markets continue up this morning and it's 9am. I'm still wary of another smaller crash. With so much money left, it does make sense we won't retest lows, but could see some very jagged action. I'll let the weekend pass and see how things go. There's also a disadvantage in that some people are able to trade after hours better. 24 hour trading I'm not sure is a good thing in general, as who can sleep with that going on? Another thing people are talking about now and they say it's been controversial for a while is organizations who place trades. Apparently they don't actually buy and sell the shares. Instead they buy them from some other entity. They take half a penny for each time or something. But they're also able to see when people are buying and selling and in what volumes, mearsured against the buyers accounts I'd guess, and so they can themselves sort of be 'tipped off' to what people are going to do a second before it happens, and can buy 1,000,000 shares instead of the 1000 people are ordering. This drives prices up higher and lower in these swings.


Some speculate that Wall Street pros might be buying Robinhood favored stocks in the premarket and then selling them to retail investors during market hours. So the time to buy is 9:30 they think. I've been watching also for the good morning time and 9am seems too early sometimes. I guess they could be doing the other side too, where after a green day they sell everything after hours, causing morning panic selling to below value which they can buy the next day.

The social media story continues this week. Twitter closed down a bunch of Chinese propaganda accounts and accounts meant to boost those accounts comments, mostly written in Chinese. Zuckerberg, who has faced a lot of liberal backlash for not removing Trump's post, said alongside his Chinese origin wife they were disgusted by Trump's posts. Slack's CEO kid in an interview said they were within their constitutional rights of speech to remove comments and content they didn't want on their platform, taking the take that the platform and everything on it is their's rather than the users. The Trump tweet in question is everywhere said to be inciting violence, but the language of it is this: 'When the looting starts, the shooting starts.' A reddit CEO or something resigned 'because of his half black little daughter' saying that when she asked him what he did at this time he would be able to tell her this, advising reddit to hire a black CEO. They did, hiring a guy from hackernews. These things, sex, race, drugs, speech, privacy, make me glad I don't have to live in the West. It's like a land 60% full of that kid who always complains to the teacher about every little thing anyone else does. I don't think it's entirely the prudish, entitled culture though. It's also the complete lack of experience and understanding caused by the sheltered condition almost all Westerners grow up and live in. Their experience is extremely small, limited and similar.

I'm not sure if I wrote this already but the market turndown was a response to a huge ramp up and also new fears about a resurgence of the virus as states now starting to open are seeing new highs in hospitalizations. The day before I sold everything was down a bunch and my options were hold through whatever as I still had lots of room to go down before I broke even and thing's come up eventually, sell some until the point where I feel comfortable like I had waded in, just sell everything and not worry about it for a few days and take some gains. I eventually thought to just man up and take the losses and go for larger long-term profits and was basically decided on that. Then more relaxedly I opened some of my email updates on the companies, and the cruises really didn't have much going for them in the projected future, and ports will be closed. NZ will be totally shut off I take it. Australia when it has 0 cases will be open with NZ. Latin America is under quarantine and people talk about the month of December. Airlines like Delta were opening and seeing returning customers increase but they were having to take airports off their list because of resurgences it seemed, and their reopening was at a fraction, and their planes were only permitted a fraction. This lined up with what people were saying about the companies, like JPM who downgraded Norwegian, although CreditSuisse had upgraded it. All this seemed to me to propose a decent possiblity of further downside as more people accepted possible negative futures for business, and a possible crash. So I thought about it and then decided to sell and did sell in the morning before open. However, when markets all bounce back the idea of a crash almost evaporates, but the possibility I still think is real or some kind of real downside based on fundamentals which are currently ignored to some degree.

I wasn't the only one who thought of Warren Buffet, the Oracle of Omaha, who sold all his airlines, which he'd over the years always said he'd basically never sell. He sold them at their lows. They've rebounded about 100% some of them I think.

People are talking about a swoosh shaped recovery now, with volatility. JPM and others said the drop wasn't a new crash, just some consolidation after a massive upramp in an overall still bullish trend.

More things that are up in Q2: staycations,

Despite being a buyers market, Hilton isn't buying or building new hotels. China hotels are reopening at like 40 or 50% with most of that in leisure travel, but the rest of Asia is in the low single digits.

Japan is lifting it's state of emergency.

It's expected that when more resurgences happen hospitals will be better able to treat Coronavirus, so less deaths although the same amount of hospitalizations.

Antibody cocktails prevent mutants from evading treatment.


This week the market seemed to start as it had been the last few weeks, but then it seemed to slow down, and the trend was downwards while slowing down. I went in at the end of Thursday into one stock, Spirit, for 2.5% of my portfolio. when stocks were mostly down a few percent. For weeks there's been between green and red days. I sold on the open when it was a couple percent up and the market looked like it wasn't going to be bullish, and it wasn't.

Funny the experts on CNBC and others have been almost 100% wrong. I've sometimes wondered if you did exactly the opposite of what they said (in terms of approach to the market , not always individual stocks since they always liked the top 20 stocks) if you'd have made a good return. They maybe should stick to what they can do, which is explain after it happens what happened.

Innovations in care: remdesevere, don't intibate aggressively, hydrate patients early, anti-coagulation with low molecular-weight heprin (?) as well as direct-acting anti-platelet drugs. Coronavirus, US experts currently think, seems to make platelets sticky and cause blood clots. Higher capacity and stockpiled PPE in hospitals.

Camping World stock keeps going up. I suspect people might think it's a stock that does Camping, and are piling into it for that reason, like people did with Zoom or something early on, thinking one stock was another stock. I at first saw Camping World Holdings and thought the same thing and wanted to invest in camping, a year or more ago. I found out they just make motorhomes and RVs, and I invested anyway in them, maybe a different day. I sold when they bounced higher than entering March, but it continues up. It's low was like $4 something, and I was watching them. Insiders were buying, at like $9 on the way down. RVs sales are up, and the stock went up to over $20 when I sold and now it's over $25 I think.

25% of companies are benefiting because of changes in demand patterns

people who dont want to go back to work because theyre making more on unemployment, and businesses shutting down because they didnt get the stimulus they could have passed on to their employees.

A couple more notes on Cuban: he seems like a bro, and not strict or a tightass, but also he's experienced the range of being poor, partying, entrepreneurs, growing big businesses, and staying involved the whole time which isnt what everyone does once they get some position and paycheck. Also he reads a ton. hes looking for things to do. But my question would be if he took the White House would he continue to read an hour or three or whatever it is every day. However I saw him in a casual friend-like interview and his views on some things seemed kind of limited. I could be wrong though. Maybe he in his broad experience with employees saw something I didn't see in my experience of employees. But anyway that doesn't matter too much, presidents always are weak in some areas.

Headlines that Apple is looking to ditch intel chips, the same week Intel says its going to 'bake in' 'anti-malware' into their chips. About a year or two ago we learned that I think both AMD and Intel had been building their chips with backdoors which were found out as 'vulnerable to hacking.' Are we entering a world where it's not enough to have a safe OS, because the hardware has government-friendly backdoors that unsecures our data? That is definitely what governments would like so the answer is yes I guess. Who will make secure chips though?

The more stocks go up, the more experts leave the bear camp and switch to the bull camp. The same thing keeps happening by the day. Red day, green day. Swings about the same level, with Norwegian swinging 15% down and up. I'm not sure if any of the stocks are up to where I sold at yet, except like Canadian Tire I think, but it could go up more.

Most economists seem to think this market is totally liquidity-driven. My guess would be the same. Money is there, so what are you going to do with it except invest. S

Desynchronization and desynchronized reopening.

Total savings in US banks have gone up 15% since March 9, to $11.4t. Money market funds are up 30% in 2020 to $4.7t.

18% of fidelity retail accounts (largest brokerage firm in the US $7t) sold all the stocks they had. 1/3 of retired or older age people sold all their stocks between Feb 20 to May 15. Markets calmed down in a couple months, but they were 40% higher. The buy back in opportunity was missed by many, and they would have to buy back in much higher.

US banks are up $2t in deposits since January. Partly it's because all the stimulus and lines of credit made its first stop in banks. Personal savings hit a record 33% in April. Personal income went up 10% last month thanks to $1200 stimulus checks and unemployment benefits. Checking accounts with less than $5000 had up to a 40% increase in funds last couple months. Banks don't know what to do with all the money.

Friday, June 26


There might be a thing in the markets as discussed on some market news broadcasts, people who had money in the market and lost a ton in March, or people who finally stopped holding off and went into the market in the past 6 months, and lost a ton of money, psychologically would not want to go into stocks again. Couldn't bring themselves to do it. So they're holding cash. They missed out on the surprise rebound, and now prices are all seemingly overpriced, so there's no entry point they want to make. That money is sitting outside the market. On the other hand, I suspect there is also a bunch of investors who came in when it crashed, and lots of retail investors have reportedly been actively trading. Anyone who came in after March would probably have made significant gains, some people who came in early a 100% increase or more in some cases, but probably lots with 20 to 50 or 70% increase. Those people probably feel comfortable gambling a little more and taking the chance of losing some for the chance to gain more. If that's the case, then only continued market jaggedness and downward progression would discourage them as they occasionally lost sums as well. Market bulls. The economy now is getting a regular bad news and maybe the depressed global outlook is entering people's consciousness and they might start being less bullish. As markets go down more, and some people lose money (anyone in them except a few people who really can time things maybe), the markets might become less volatile and more down. Things might lay like that and people might forget the optimistic future of business for some time, until things start looking positive based on news and then people holding cash would probably want to come in.

The thing now is many people want to come in. There's lots of cash and willing buyers. As long as they can remain bullish the market will fluctuate, although perhaps not increase now because prices seem so high.

People have since before been talking about how prices of popular stocks are driven by news rather than PE, and some commenters say that is like the dot com bubble. One thing both have in common is rising stock market and rising prices for tons of stocks, making people want to make money in the market. The dot com bubble didn't have any recession background though, so we might expect it to be a much larger bubble, although perhaps the bubble relative to size of the economic outlook could be closer in scale.

The Fed has been putting in a floor for markets, so that people who want to sell can sell without devastating the value of companies or spooking or devaluing the investments of other people. Zoom, despite being rife with privacy concerns and basically subject to the Chinese government, keeps going up, even on red days, which makes me wonder if the asset is too valuable to the Chinese government and they have investers propping up it's value. If I'd have thought of that months ago I might have bought stock in this terrible company. Will this move by the Chinese government have the same effect as the moves by the US Fed? to prop up investor sentiment? 'Look even on red days Zoom goes up, let's invest in it.' Today literally no stocks I have on my lists are up except Gold, Clorox a bit, and Zoom. Amazon and a couple others went into the green a couple times but is in the red. The markets are down over a percent. Later on, everything was red, I think even both gold options, except Zoom. Zoom went down .2% at one point but then went back up to +.80.

Wednesday and Thursday I think were the days, maybe Tuesday, when the broader market started going down a bit. Whereas before many stocks were going down in the indexes, but the indexes were going up because of handful of large-cap tech and medical stocks. Then sentiment about reopening went positive and reopening stocks went up also, sometimes making quarantine stocks go down simultaneously, but this week the market was all red a few times. Thursday the market was up and down all day, not just in value, but green and red, green and red, all day. I went into Ford about 2.5% I think Monday or Tuesday, partially to put a toe in which for me 1) makes me feel I made less of a mistake if the market goes up, and also puts me involved into the market in a real way which I think is better for feeling it, and also when it goes down tempers my mind so I'm not always thinking of going into this or that stock. It went down a few percent Thursday, and then Friday a few percent and I sold it. What we also saw was that while in past weeks the Dow had many red days the Nasdaq and often S&P were green at the same time. But this week they were all three red, and by 1 or 2 percent each. Some respected investors are still sitting on the sidelines waiting for a better time to invest.

The news this week has been more and more hospitalizations. In news segments people talk about better ability to treat it than before. Some states that opened or were opening scaled back or stopped reopening. The World Bank or IMF I forget which made a lower projection for global GDP. They've been thought of by market analysts as optimistic in their numbers before and still. Big famous companies are in headlines for lower sales, layoffs, downsizing, closing stores. Consumer spending eased upwards a little in May. Employment numbers are lower again, and mortage bailouts 'suddenly' swelled. In July the stimilus checks stop, unless they're renewed. Polls have Biden leading in everything except the economy, and headlines say investing experts are preparing for a Biden win in some cases. The same stories say the Democrats might flip the Congress as well, or maybe it would be Biden with still a Republican Congress. The big banks had restictions put on their dividends because the Fed thinks they could be stressed. These banks may slash dividends. Analysts are clueless on earnings and it's expected to continue, since there's no guidance now. Unions are seeking more funding to extent payrolls. Entry level job postings are down 70%.

Kanye West is partnering with Gap. How can he think he'll be viewed as anything but lame for this? However, the money might interest him more and also Kanye is somewhat I think immune to that because he's always done his own thing more or less whether it's popular and profitable or not. Plus, perhaps the effect of this kind of thing is less when your market audience is black pop culture, which seems to be a lot more about money is the main thing, and is itself a part of credibility because it has such real value, compared with for example the grunge or hippie music movements where anything like that would be defined as selling out real value for the dubious value of money. That this even occurs to me may be because I have a background in European culture and these movements in it, whereas if I came from a lot of other places Kanye's move would probably seem undoubtedly pure.

There was a headline the other day the Fed is responsible for no one being able to invest in low-income housing because of what the Fed is doing. For a long time, lower-income housing has been very difficult or kind-of impossible to build. In cities land value is the main cost, and there's not enough houses at all for demand and real estate investment at all levels, so if you buy a piece of land to build apartments or houses, you can build an expensive one that will fill up right away or a cheap one that will fill up right away. However, I'm starting to wonder if the Fed with it's liquidity might make it impossible for the investor to invest in any actually valuable stocks. The liquidity propped up the market and made prices go up, but now those stocks are priced beyond value, although some investment authorities upgrade this one or that one higher than they are valued, like Amazon, PayPal, etc. So it might get to the point no one CAN invest in them because the price is too high, and they can't invest in the other companies because their future as businesses isn't certain, so everyone might end up holding cash. Bonds are so devalued, and short-term bonds, as I mentioned above, are par with money because the Fed said they'd keep interest rates at 0 for a couple years.

Social media platforms increasinly are being politicized. The politicized part isn't in the discussion yet, just that Twitter, Slack, etc are censoring the president, Facebook isn't censoring anything except like hate speech and things that would suppress voting. There's been lots of headline backlash against FB for this from employees and there's a movement where giant companies are pulling advertizing from FB and Insta in response, most recently Verizon, Unilever. You might expect these companies are all Democrat. Maybe they want to cut advertising anyway because of the situation, and they can look good with the Democratic party by doing it in a way where they look like they're joining this movement.

A new platform, actually years old but not much used, went from 1 million to 1.5m users last week because Republicans don't like Twitter sensoring the President. Unilever in their statement said they were withdrawing from all social media platforms due to the polarizing nature of them. At first I thought Unilever was boycotting Facebook like the other Democrat companies, because I'd just read the headlines and first paragraphs of the articles on my mainstream news app, but in the fineprint later on I learned that wasn't true. Other big companies are doing the same, but also saying they were going to cut spending anyway due to what's going on. Even in CNBC news the headlines and most of the article refers to companies as joining the boycott of Facebook when they clearly stated they were withdrawing from all social media including Twitter, but in the articles it sounds like they're joining the anti-Republican movement when they're not. The new app is called Parler and in statements the CEO says 'anything you can say on the streets of NY you can say on Parler' but then when you read what's prohibited it's exactly the same as Facebook and Twitter, which is not free speech and definitely not everything you can say on the street. For Zuckerberg who it looks like doesn't want to take a side in this and actually be open to R and D both unlike Twitter it's tough because Democrats are all mounting an offense against him, which includes the current BLM wave which is calling on them to do more things with 'hate speech.' This is really what you get though if you don't stand for freedom of speech which isn't qualified or limited in this area and that area as the owners see fit to change or implement. If you go that route, I mean actual free speech, first of all you couldn't do it with a US (or Canada or European etc) domain or server, because those places don't allow free speech on their internet, and you'd have to go through a less famous country, but besides that you'd have to fend off initially a mass of people disliking you because they don't like what other people are saying. However, it might be able to pass through this to the point where people actually accept free speech as a thing on a platform.

And when I say 'that's what you get,' I mean not only that your platform is weak and that you support a country that doesn't have human rights. Speech, thought, and belief in this case. But you also get a situation, maybe unavoidable, where your platforms will be fractured because political power groupings will dominate them through the control of speech, driving the less powerful opposing groupings off the platform to their own platform. Divisive along clear lines of dominance battles, just like tribal politics in Africa.

Everyone had expected that the virus would have a second wave or a possible second wave when the northern hemisphere gets cold again in September, October, November. This was a consideration for markets. What happened though was at least in the US states quarantined a bit and then as things looked better everyone got euphoric about things going to be better and better and states all reopened and hospitalizations spiked to new highs within a couple weeks of reopening. So rather than a second wave, the first wave continues. That was a surprising development to analysts and myself.

Biden is the Democratic candidate after Bernie and the others dropped out amid depressing probabilities for them. This is evidence the lessons from Trump's election haven't turned into actual changes in the party. Biden is so unimpressive and besides smiling nicely doesn't seem to have much to bring. Why couldn't they in 4 years bring out a new, exciting, competent candidate? From their massive pool of Democratic people? Maybe someone not before involved in politics, like Trump and Trudeau. Biden is currently, according to headlines in news, which is mostly written by liberals and Democrats, leading in almost everything, but I haven't heard him talk yet anywhere. And when it gets to the debate I suspect Trump is going to destroy him. Even though Trump could easily be destroyed also by a competent adversary, he hasn't faced one in the R and D career politicians he went up against on TV, Trump has the ability to attack a person in a public way to put fear in them, and so far none of those guys knew how to fight back the same way. Cuban would be exciting to watch in debate with Trump, but I don't think Cuban is ready to run for president yet. But the next term is 4 years from now, and it would be time for a probably change to D if Trump keeps office, just given that they seem to switch every term or two. He'll be 65 in 2024. He seems so much younger, like in his 40s, sometimes almost 50, but he's three years older than Obama.

This is a really fast paced market. Reading this, you have to keep in mind that any given day during these months you could only consume news from that day or a day before. News from three days ago was outdated to irrelevance. News from 6 or 12 months ago was talking about expectations that were completely changed, which may be different from the past many years of steadily rising markets with somewhat segmental events like the China trade war affecting parts of it and overall in a lesser way, but news from analysts from 6 months or a year earlier were still relevant as talking about expectations for the future that were still the model. Now, the expectations change every 24 hours. In other words, there is no certainty. Every day we look at what's happened in the past 24 hours compared with the past four months, contrasted with the past 10 years and the 2008 09 crisis and the dot com bubble and the Great Depression of the 1930s, and try to make new predictions based on that, as if it were going to continue as a trend tomorrow or next week.

Broadly, people still think the markets and economies will resume as they had been going for the past 10 years and for the past 100 years maybe, after this whole virus thing has passed, when there's a vaccine or something. But that's not certain. The current actions of the Fed pumping liquidity is unprecedented, and economists were already projecting a recession based on the market cycle and economic circumstances. It seems therefore possible that there could be a new turn. If past recessions were beaten without liquidity and artificial market bottoms and other supports by the Fed, and had to actually restrengthen and wealth was lost and had to be rebuilt, and this time we have tons of perhaps-artificial liquidity and an perhaps-artifical market, something different could happen, different from past recoveries. The liquidity could lead to inflation, which could be combined with less production and less employed and less actually earned money, and then other events would trigger other events. Who knows. Personally I'd really enjoy getting into a room or even these days a video room with a few other people who know either about history or economics or are creative in terms of thinking of unthought of things, and working out possible projections, but I don't know people who are either educated or willing to do that sort of thing.

In a couple days it'll be Q3.





2020 and On

Venezuala: Towards a No-Man's Land Oil no one wants, and when the US refining plant is built no one will use, but what about the continent? Everyone with money has already left. Calories will go down like 90%.

SA: A New King

SS: After Tribal War

China: Holding Together While Doing Harm

India: After Call Centers

Russia: A Purpose and a President

US: The Globe

US: The Only Currency That Matters No Where to Go But Up for 5 Decades

Europe: Another Old Stage

France: New France

Nigeria: A Nigeria Without Oil

Iran: Persia

Japan: Developments

Greece: Economy

Cognitive Science, Communication, Hard-science Psychology, Social Sciences, Imagination

Ecology and Animal Science

New Language


World Rap, Poetry, Haiku

Master of Interviews

WHO, UN, corruption, effects


The Line: Human Rights

Amnesty, EFF,

To be continued ...


Talk of Recession and Coronavirus, 2020 (PART I)

In 2019 I wrote that I considered Hong Kong the biggest story of the year. It's almost March and I think the story of the year, barring any large event, will be the "talk of recession." We don't know if we'll have one. No one does. Every economist I've seen says there must be one, but has been saying that for a long time. Saying it picked up last summer. There have been a few big dips in the indexes, but they're rebounded each time to new highs. (A week later, that this story would be the biggest - Coronavirus more than the recession, perhaps - became globally obvious.)

February 24 and 25 the indexes lost big. Gold had been going up over the week, perhaps as people anticipated a close proximity to a regular cyclical recession, but it went down on the 25th also. All (except one, of those I was watching) of the gold mining and silver mining, etc. stocks went down, after going up for a few days.

The talk is about the Corona Virus. It's a type of economic event no one had considered. The hardest hit stocks were those to do with travel and being in public, like airlines, hotels, and concert event promotion (energy is also said to be a bad investment), but all stocks were down except for a few. Mostly around 2% - those hard-hit ones around 8 or 9%. The idea of this type of market influence wasn't talked about before. The coming recession was going to come, everyone was saying, because it had to and always does as part of a cycle. And that once interest rates went to a certain point (they're very low), something would happen. However, a recession won't start while the consumer is still spending, and he didn't stop.

No one ever can predict stocks or the markets. No one ever has. Well-known investors were either in the right thing at the right time, or have been doing it for a long time and have just held good stocks. Over time most stocks go up. If they've held stocks for 20 or 30 years, those will be way up. If among their stocks they have something that had a huge growth, and people talk again and again referencing that particular one story.

So I don't say that a recession will be the 2020 story, but the event is the talk about what no one knows, that everyone is watching, that is a significant event for all of us, the 'talk of the recession.'

I was about to invest in YUM and gold. YUM performed in the 2008 recession, and has shown a steady increase since before it. It includes Taco Bell and a popular pizza chain. I was thinking about a recession, but not about this type of recession, where people aren't spending because they don't want to be in public places. Word is Corona Virus will stay through summer (whereas other types of viruses abate in summer), but at some point will run its course, unless something changes (a mutation or something unexpected). Reduced spending I guess could compound as businesses have less to spend as a result etc. Or it could bounce back. Unknowable for most of us. I expect that'll be a better time to invest in anything. People have also talked about certain gyms being good investments if the recession came, because these gyms are really cheap, like $8 a month, and they thought people would be unlikely to give up their memberships even in an economic downturn, but the socialization factor refocuses this. It's something our stock market hasn't seen before. Dollar stores also did well because they were cheap, but same story here. Also consumer staples did well SINCE the 2008 recession in which they dropped too. I'm not sure how to think about them in the light of Corona Virus. During recession people in large select retailers (well-known) with the lowest prices possible.

What companies don't rely on people interacting with each other? Even food delivery would be something you'd want to avoid, I think, because who knows what's going on in the kitchen there. Canned food? Utilities? I heard that rich people are hoarding cash right now. Entertainment like NFLX? Video games like EA? Telecom? Is there a prepping stock? News and news distribution services? Corona Virus-related stocks and Clorox are among half a dozen stocks higher this week. A company that delivers supplies to houses that is sanitary in its procedure? Ibuprofen and other anti-inflamatories? Telecommunications (video conferencing). Semi conductors and software are doing the least poorly. Robots are not disease-carriers generally, and could do delivery. Semis and software. Home gyms. Family games and puzzles.

Sometimes after a virus (usually, I heard) there is a bounce back because of pent-up demand.

2 days with huge index losses are rare. What will happen tomorrow?

February 27, markets continue a sharp decline..


"Unfortunately they have Hong Kong exposure, they have Asia exposure," a very interesting phrase I heard about CPRI which is way down and otherwise would be a more appealing investment. For the past 5 or 10 years the concern for companies has been "How can I get into China? How can we expand in China?" but having assets in China is currently a liability for businesses.

For markets, the issue is uncertainty/doubt. The "problem" stops once the government convinces the public the problem is containable. The Fed can/will attenuate the spillover effects from confidence demand by altering rates," one economist noted, likening the situation to 911 where people wanted to be sure there wouldn't be another terrorist attack.

Volatility is very high, so investors are making money off of calls, setting their buy price and sell price as value jumps around.

From a watching perspective, the event is interesting. No one knows what is happening at the moment or what will happen in the future. They don't even know a little bit. The round tables of economists and stock market newscasters are divided and no one is offering any confident assertions. If anyone did they'd be lying or wrong. It's like the beginning of a drama, where things go wrong or badly from an initially good, basically stable-seeming position. For the economy that was a steady recovery for the past 10 years from a serious recession, the rise of a huge new market of China, and tons of money to invest in the past couple years with the massive stock market bull. That might have been it's own drama, but I don't know how interesting of one, just watching and benefiting from profits. It's a healthy, undisturbed environment where not much changes or challenges. Here we're seeing a vigour which accompanies these types of economic times, and it's apparent in everyone - the round tables, the economic scientist commentators, the investors themselves I think. Everyone is moving in the situation. Perhaps not going to work, because that's something that's prohibited by the virus in China at least. Japan is going to not open schools for a couple weeks. We don't understand the virus yet. It's novel. At some point, perhaps there will be a low point, a solution or solutions, heros, and a change and positive movement.

There have been 80,000 confirmed cases, and almost 3000 deaths. The following statistics I don't think should be taken as descriptive since our knowledge of the disease is really limited, and our access to real facts from countries is also really flawed and limited.

The death rate for Coronavirus is considered (for now) to be 2.3%, basically set by Chinese events which is where the majority of cases have been so far. The death rate for the flu in the US is 0.1%. Part of this difference must be due to it's novelty. No one has any immunity to this new virus. The basic reproduction number is between 2-3 right now.

The older a person is, and the more health issues they have (heart, lungs, diabetes), the more dangerous it is. "The [Chinese CDC] study showed that ... among those ages 80 and older, the death rate was 14.8%, compared with 8.0% for those ages 70 to 79; 3.6% for those ages 60 to 69; 1.3% for those ages 50 to 59; 0.4% for those ages 40 to 49, and 0.2% for those ages 10 to 39. No deaths have been reported among children from birth to age 9."

Some suspect children are only getting subclinic (asymptomatic) cases is that their immune system is not developed as much as adults', so whereas adults immune response is causing problems children aren't having that response.

According to later data, it seems men are much more likely to require treatment (70% men), and death (3% men, 1.5% women). Also that underweight people were less likely to get severe reactions to the disease (less than 1% of cases). Regular weight and overweight people were much more likely, where regular weight people were only slightly less likely than overweight and quite overweight people).

Later reports from England's chief medical officer stated that the total Case Fatality Rate would be around 1%, higher for older people.

Some experts expect most people everywhere will have/have had COVID before a year passes. They expect it will be the 5th type of virus that will just go around every year (there are like 200 types of "the cold," which I guess belong to 4 types or something).

Now, US doctors test for it, but initially they were encouraged to not test for it unless someone came from China.

Symptoms appear usually around 5 days after infection (2 days to 2 weeks being the range). It is a respiratory disease, beginning and ending in the lungs, passing between people through the air, like the flu, generally through coughing and sneezing. To fight the infection in the lungs, the body floods them with immune cells to clear and repair damage from the infection, but the problem starts when in some people this immune response goes awry and the immune cells start killing a bunch of regular cells, causing a buildup of debris, worsening pneumonia. People can die from this. Some people who survive it have permanent lung damage, having holes in their lungs (a similar thing happened with SARS infections) as the lungs scar (which both protects and stiffens lung tissue). Lungs can fill with fluid to the point people can't breathe, also, because inflammation makes the membranes between the air sacs and blood vessels more permeable, which can fill the lungs with fluid and affect their ability to oxygenate blood. The body's immune response can also cause problems in other parts besides just in the lungs.

Looking at our long-time companion the seasonal Influenza bug:

Flu is a respiratory illness, but it is also a gastrointestinal illness, and an illness of headache, malaise, myalgia, cough, sore throat, and rhinitis.

Incubates 1-3 days. Viral shedding 1 day before symptom onset and persists for 5-7 days after symptom onset, high communicability through large particle droplets, aerosol transmission, surfaces, half of people have limited or no symptoms (although they can transmit the bug). Onset of symptoms is abrupt, last 3-5 days, recovery often prolonged, sometimes can have complications like pneumonia (viral) and bacterial issues. Worse with cardiovascular, pulmonary or other health issues. Generally comes and leaves rapidly, in a few months of the winter in the north and south (what about tropical latitudes?). 5-20% of the population carries it during its visit. There is a high morbidity, including around 36,000 influenza-related deaths in the US's 330m population each year, with about 90% of those deaths occurring in people over 90 years of age. Economic toll about $90b in US per year, including 200,000 hospitalizations. The vast majority of infections of flu run their course and all is well.

Major dissemination of flu are children and health care workers. Usage of antivirals has caused influenza to become immune (resistant) to our antivirals. Some are now worthless, others (Tamiflu and Zanamivir) are still effective, but being used so much though that experts expect resistance will increase soon.

Back to Coronavirus now. A person is most contagious around the time of the first symptoms (first starts to feel ill), so if people first start to feel ill, then go to work because they want to see how it'll pan out or don't want to think about it just yet, that's when they'll be shedding the most virus. Less infectious after 7 (this is doubted and could be a bit longer) days. However, a recent study in the Lancet by Chinese doctors reported they found a max of 37 days for the virus remaining in the lungs, with a median 20 days (varies by severity with 24 day median for those with severe disease status), so quarantine periods might be extended when this information becomes distributed. Also, some of the people who have no symptoms or very mild symptoms (maybe just feeling a little bit ropey) can be highly infectious, and we don't understand this part of the virus.

From a person who recovered, he first had a cold, then the cold was subsiding, then he got a flu which was the worst flu he'd had, then he got pneumonia (he said you feel like only 20 percent of your lungs are working and you hear a crackle when you breathe).

It kills people through Acute Respiratory Distress (not enough air in the blood, because the lungs are inflamed and the air sacks are full of fluid ie pneumonia). People are put on ventilators to make sure there's oxygen in the lungs and to breathe for the patient.

To treat Pneumonia, doctors have found over the past 20 years that they have to ventilate with low Tidal Volume (so they don't put a lot of sheer stress on the air sacks but forcing them open and closed), by inducing paralysis so the patient doesn't try to breathe over the ventilator because they're uncomfortable with the low level of carbon dioxide), and by putting patients on their stomachs for 17-18 hours per day.

For lung infections, for the past decades doctors have treated them sitting up (not lying flat) as long as blood pressure can support it. Also, plenty of liquids under the supposition it keeps the lung mucus thin so it can be carried up the trachea by the cilia and expelled.

Update: last on surfaces for up to 3 days, particularly on warm surfaces. Feces and bodily fluids up to 5 days. Can linger in the air for 30 minutes. Later update they say hard surfaces up to 3 days, cardboard 3 hours, and that it doesn't do well on food. I don't think I buy that though, about not doing well on food. Also, a cruise ship had said it found active virus 17 days after contact with a surface.

The immune system relies on white blood cells. Vitamin C is thought by many people to help, and it isn't produced or stored by the body, but can be obtained from pills or from red bell peppers (lots of Vitamin C) grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, lemons, limes, and clementines. While there isn't any proof out there it seems, there are doctors and others who say it really helps. Yogurt (the ones with "live and active cultures" like Greek Yogourt, can stimulate your immune system, and it also has Vitamin D, which is scientifically proven to nurture the immune system. Vitamin E supplements, but E requires fat to be absorbed, and for that reason it's nice to get it from Almonds (a half cup per day), which have fat too.

Apparently (from a good amount of quality science) Vitamin D reduces likelihood of getting respiratory / respiratory tract infections (viral and bacterial) and can make infections less severe. It increases the immune response. Vitamin D comes from fatty foods (fishes, egg whites, cheese, beef liver, and its been added to some orange juices, soy milks, dairy products), but we get most of ours from skin exposure to the sun (faster produced in lighter skin). Adjusted odds ratio if taken daily/weekly: 0.81, ie a 19% protective effect overall, or put another way 19% less chest infections. Daily dosage for Vitamin D is 25mg (1000iu), with a safe upper limit of 100mg. Vitamin D can be overdone, as it's fat-soluble so the body stores it, and it can get to toxic levels. The best way to know the right amount is to get tested by your doctor, because many people are deficient in Vitamin D and require more than other people who aren't deficient.

People do better in warmer environments too, because the immune system is more active, as well as a bit more humidity.

Zinc in some studies showed to decrease the time of a cold by half. But the type of ZInc matters: Zinc Gluconate lozenges that provide 13mg of Zinc lessened the duration of colds while Zinc Acetate lozenges of 5-11mg did not. Excessive Zinc consumption can lead to copper deficiency and can impair the absorption of antibiotics.

Vitamin C hasn't been proven to help, except in some studies that weren't able to be replicated. Vitamin C isn't stored, but can cause stomach aches etc in some people when they consume a lot.

With coronaviruses, heat destabilizes them. A small amount of microwaving kills them. Cold they're OK with though, and some species can live up to 2 years frozen.

February 29 (Saturday) and the markets kept going down for the week. The only companies that are doing well have to do with predictions of a stay-at-home, work-at-home lifestyle, such as semiconductors (video games, computers), teleconferencing, watching tv, etc).

New cases everywhere, including a couple in the US, elderly people where they have no idea how they contracted Corona Virus because they seem to have had no contact with the existing budding pandemic. Cases reported in 50 of our around 195 countries.


(Note: although point numbers are historically high, percentage of market value is much lower)

Countries continue to increase measures to inhibit the spread (travel restrictions, people in hazmat suits spraying public areas, cell phone apps that alert you when you enter areas with confirmed cases). US has done around 500 tests, and don't have test kits to really do more.

Will virologists and the study come to the fore this year? A longstanding project is the universal flu vaccine, which people say may come in 10 or in 50 years. How this study works is they take existing viruses (Spanish flu, avian flu) and allow/create mutations, to see how it might change in the wild by itself, then study those mutations and create vaccines. They also take non-human existing flus and study those and how they change and how they might be if they mutated to adapt to human hosts. This would be a benefit, because viruses are a serious risk to every person here, and its just a matter of time before the next serious one in the long historical string of them wraps around the world, like Spanish Flu did, killing 40m people in the first 18 months after it began and eventually affecting around 60% of people everywhere in period bouts over the next 30 or 40 years. Pandemic influenza gets forgotten completely (the Spanish Flu killed 675,000 Americans but left no trace on the national culture) and then "falls out of the sky" and the world is suddenly experiencing it, not just thinking about it, like it did in 1958 or 2009, depending on how old you are.

Viruses have huge potential for change (antigenetically, clinically, epidemiologically, antiviral or susceptibility). There is a huge immunologic pressure for them to change. This is what flu DOES. Potential for co-circulation with other flus. Potential for re-assortment (mixing and matching of components with other flus that have different age predilections and illness severities). The longer the flu is among us, the more chance there is of this occurring. (words of Dr Shult of UW School of Medicine). Vaccines can allow us to damp down succeeding waves of infection, but they can also force a disease to adapt/mutate more quickly.

Interspecies flus: The flu isn't very successful in passing from birds to people, but it passes from birds to swine and from people to swine more easily, so swine is a useful intermediary vessel between us and birds, and this is how we've gotten a few serious strains of flu recently. Another way is when the bugs have escaped from our virology labs to infect the public.

Comparison of Coronavirus with H1N1 (a novel subtype, to which the overall population had no immunity, of Influenza A virus) in 2009. The first cases of H1N1 were announced April 15 and a global pandemic was declared just over 2 months later. It was the first experience of a new, dangerous flu for basically everyone of working age. Response efforts increased dramatically, partly due to successful "flu surveillance" (reporting and monitoring of incidence, hospitalization, death, etc). The CDC and other organizations share a lot of information. There was no time to really prepare for much. H1N1 was controlled. H1N1 was very different from Coronavirus in that sick were obviously so, presenting symptoms in all cases.

With H1N1, children (usually hard hit) and young to middle age adults were particularly hard-hit. In Spanish Flu also it was young adults who were hard hit in terms of hospitalization and mortality. With seasonal influenza, usually the elderly suffer 90% of the mortality, as I mentioned already.

Stocks are considered to be priced above value. I've heard that over 90% of a stocks value is based on the company's profits over the next 12 months. That means that if stocks have dropped 10%, that should cover a consideration that there won't be profits for the next 12 months but then profits will return to normal. The stock market has been momentum-driven, and stock prices had gotten significantly above values based on potential profits. Some argue it's really the federal reserve that's been propping up asset prices. There have been many bulls and the market has been despised/hated by some. After the week of drops, economists are saying that prices had become reasonable. As long as the expectation, despite uncertainty, is that things will return to normal in 2021, the current events should be considered a "wobble," "a sell off," but something that doesn't destroy the fundamental values of equities. Economists compare it with the Lehman crisis, where afterwards credit was frozen for years and damaged the viability of the financial system as a whole. They say there might be a 20-30% drop at worst, for a year, compared with an 80-90% drop in the Financial Crisis.

Bitcoin and other crypto are also down, as is gold, for the week. They were for a long time thought to be safe havens, and over the past year have evinced that, like when Greece had problems, etc., because its money that's not in the bank. Gold was up in the first part of the week, but then dropped. Personally I suspect that's because people were early this week talking about a regular recession more, and I think it might have been actually catching hold of some people (including myself) that it was about time, and then a Coronavirus scare/dip, which then everyone hyped Coronavirus, as well as it actually becoming serious and widespread in reality too. Mid-week people were talking about the numbers showing China's cases were plateauing and not many new cases elsewhere. Coronavirus was small and known only in China for a month or two. Isolated cases on cruise ships and the odd country. Then numbers shot way up (in accordance, I suspect, with the transmission-incubation ratio of 2 or 3 to one, which is peanuts for the first couple multiplications but then becomes a dramatic explosion. Rich people were hoarding cash, I had heard. If things continue as they have started the past week, this is the smart strategy, as emotion drives investment in the current market (more than financial analysis and investment on such a basis), and currently there is a ton of doubt, a lot of negative outlooks, not really any reassurances or assurances. There is also some fear. Lineups and unavailability of face masks and the threat of unavailability of medication is a serious thing to see. Cash is only smart if everything else is going to not grow or is going to shrink, since cash of course loses 2% per year due to inflation. But cash on hand can be invested when low points come.

China: Swine flu, bird flu, now Coronavirus? During SARS China was 4% of the global economy, and its contribution to global growth was maybe 20%. Today China is 20% of the global economy and it accounts for half of global growth. Now globalization is deeper than then. Now China is key for global supply chains. All over the world, companies are shutting down because key supplies aren't coming out of China. Markets are expecting close to 6% growth of China's economy this year, but best case will be 4% and worst case 2.5%, according to some economists. Italy was already in recession, Germany close.

Markets plummeted dramatically in Brazil after news of one case. What happens when there are a few hundred in Germany? Perhaps the panic is in part to do with the denial by leaders. This reminds me of Ebola and the denial and dangerous downplaying. But if leaders had said "Prepare yourselves, this is what's going to happen. This is what we're going to do to create the best possible outcome. This is what you need to do, and this is what we are going to do for you (take care of supply and security needs)." panic would be less. But instead we get "Everything will be OK. It's not very serious," followed by conflicting reports of actual facts.

Monday, March 2 and the markets all went back up around 5%, the biggest bounce up or something. I sold my profitable stock this morning (when it was just a bit up, although it went up over 5% for the day) and am holding only stocks I've lost a lot on and don't want to sell at a loss, plus they do have a dividend.

Apparently Buffet's Berkshire is also hoarding a large stack of cash, I heard today, and recently explained it to his shareholders. He's holding 112b in cash plus 20b in bonds.

Tuesday, March 3 and the markets went back down again, about 2 or 3%. Most stocks went down. A few went up though, ones you might expect. Etsy is doing quite well (note: it shot way down the week after) and joined other stocks). The stock I sold yesterday morning and then went up went down today, losing most of the gains from yesterday. Losing stocks I held went down even more. Most gold stocks went up today.

It's thought of as a "true shock" in the sense it wasn't anticipated (and nothing was priced in) at the beginning of 2020 or even a month ago. Uncertainty is very high because we don't know yet much at all about the virus, it's severity, even if numbers aren't that scary right now. People watching stocks are thinking about supply chains and economic activity disruption, and also about demand effects from people not wanting to go to busy locations.

The US Fed cut rates 50 points (usually it's 25 apparently). Commenters now are saying it was a mistake, a sign of panic that won't fix the problem because the problem has to do with health and fear of going to public places, unlike 2008. Last week though commenters were some saying they wanted the cut, and I didn't really hear any saying they were opposed to it. At least one, though, said rate cuts would HELP, even if it doesn't FIX anything. Also a talking point is that the Fed doesn't have much room to go because rates are already so low.

March 6 (Friday). The markets went down again yesterday a few percent, and another percent today. Commenters and investors are uncertain and divided whether to say it's a blip or the beginning of a recession. I get the impression they're talking half to their investors when they're giving their opinions about what they're doing with the money they're holding in terms of investing, and seem happy whenever anyone makes a hopeful point. One made the point that it's a triumph for a diversified portfolio (50 percent stocks, 50 bonds) because these would be down about 2 percent from the beginning of the year. Which seems just silly to say.

I'm basically out of investing for the time being. I have no idea or any educated guesses other than that probably all markets and stocks will go down for a while, and that stocks that won't suffer from the Coronavirus (semiconductors, medicines, gold maybe) have shot way up during the past week and may be highly overvalued. I'll just stay liquid until some actual information is available.



100,000 confirmed cases was reached yesterday (in actually, there would have been 100,000 cases a week or two ago). Several thousand deaths.

The Chinese people, all of society, have been mobilized in a fight against the virus, and their reported numbers have gone way down. Some doubt the veracity of these reports, others believe them, considering how China (and Korea) have taken the virus very seriously, locked down travel, confined people to their houses, done a lot of testing.

Theoretically, if for 10-14 days everyone cut off contact and stayed home, and if food was delivered and if there was a vehicle driving around with test kits for anyone who called them, the virus would be contained and ended (not counting possible animal infections).

The US and Europe have shown, people say, are taking it more lightly, even thinking they won't get it (a Korean was quoted "You have to experience it personally to be able to understand."). Educated people in those same countries believe they'll get it themselves in a couple weeks, and that 60-80% of people everywhere will get it, and it will now be with us perpetually, and for this reason a virus made soon would be best (soon means 18 months to 2 years). The US government is starting to use "social distancing" to talk about how people should start behaving. "workplace continuity" is the tradeoff, with businesses trying to find ways to keep going. Some strategies include 2 shifts of workers who never meet and working from home.

An interesting point raised by an expert: That the young and generally healthy won't perceive personal risk and will govern their behaviour accordingly, based on personal risk and not on social risk.

South Africa has 7m (20% of the population) has HIV, some using strong suppressants and some not. We don't know how they will be affected.

Jeffrey Gundlach has also said staying in cash is better than 10 year bonds, because the rate with bonds has gone down to the point you won't make any money with them (you just won't lose money through inflation). He advocated gold, which is what I started moving on today in terms of how to get it. Crypto is another cash / investment alternative, and although it sometimes goes up, sometimes down, during economic uncertainty, I think there's at least a decent chance it will become more used, and a decent chance it will be valuable if ever cash became severely disvalued (like Venezuela, which now uses USD).

For a recession, he said he looked to the unemployment rate, which is almost definitional of recession, and also reflects consumer confidence (which has been very resilient and very high recently, although more recently the view of 12 or 18 months into the future has been dismal). That when the view of the present joins the view of the future in weakening that is also sort of definitional of a recession. Jolts figures (employment) have been very weak which may forshadow an uptick in employment.

The two falling knives, he said, are financials, which are being trashed by interest rates (low interest rates and low tenure rates banks can't make any money), and transport, which I've already written about above.

As to negative interest rates (a complete disaster for the financial system in whatever country does it, such as already has done Japan and Europe, which hasn't been catastrophic because rates remained in the US), talked about a lot among investment commenters, Jay Powell has said repeatedly that he favors doing large-scale asset purchases to negative interest rates. Quantitative easing.

Monday, March 9, the markets dropped around 7 percent. Saw a few headlines about the prices having priced in now a recession.

China has reported under 50 new cases in Wuhan on the latest update, no new cases outside of Hubei Province except 3 backflow cases. WHO says so too. We're really seeing the contrast of different political systems this year. Usually we just see how terrible China is, but now we're seeing it's still terrible (massive fullscale monitoring and information about everyone with no choice to opt out, and human rights seemingly a foreign idea) but good as well, as they've used their social monitoring tools to stop movement and association. People comment regularly that that may not be possible in the US or other Western countries, but from what I've seen what has worked in China hasn't been just the abusive state control, but technology and will. The will to impose restrictions on movement, and use of technology to guide people in doing it. They built a SEPARATE hospital in 10 days for infections from the novel virus, and were building a bigger one I think that would take a bit longer. They offer apps that tell where confirmed cases are, and where those people have travelled (a bit of use of monitoring data here). They use drones to scold people who go outside and do unsafe things like not wear masks or associate with others. Any country, even one that respects human rights, could do these things and contain a social virus in about a week if they wanted to.

People who have recovered could be the ones to immediately fill jobs in doing deliveries, testing, and other interpersonal communication and services.

Yesterday Italy (the most affected of Europe, with thousands of cases, which Germany and France now have over 1000 cases each) imposed strict measures.

In market commenting, rhetoric has changed in the past weeks, it seems to me, from more of the same (for years) general lazy optimism because everything's going up still anyway, to excitement but debating whether it's a blip, and investors saying they're going to buy / hold still, to now full on talk of recession, criticizing past government moves, etc.

Talk of how the lower the markets go, the less stocks are worth because of sell-off, the more people have to sell off. I'm not sure if I buy that, because I don't really understand for sure what they mean.

Talk of the 2020's economy: deglobalization, which to me I don't know but might be good. I was generally strongly against and believed against globalization since it started, and I'm not sure I've seen anything to change my mind in the last 15 years. Deglobalization will be a focus on countries that don't need other countries, cheap countries, oil-IMPORTING countries (because the oil price keeps settling lower). All the world economies are now well on their way to slowdown and stopping (China finally, Germany, etc).

Yen is up. It's been said the USD will go up against other currencies, and the Yen against the US dollar. (The funding currencies.)

Last week Russian and SA had some kind of falling out over oil, a price war, and SA said they were going to increase production (we already have shrunken demand). Might be oil companies closing soon. 10m jobs in the US fracking industry, oil has fallen to pretty much their cost of production ($32.5 per barrel today). Prices dropped 33%, their biggest drop since the Gulf War (29 years ago). Russia, with it's $7 per barrel oil (SA is $3 per barrel), no debt (SA does have debt), and their gold stores (they've been buying gold), very well positioned to go into a very long oil market battle, thinks they can thrive and put some competitors out of business (just when the US reached energy independence). Creates stress in US market and emerging markets. Others say most US companies will be OK until around $26 (a previous low), while less successful/good US companies will fail or sell their best assets to bigger companies (ie bigger companies could thrive in part). Commenters say that's good, though, because it's needed to be done for a long time. They have a lot of debt, and there are about 50 companies in the US supplying oil, and their costs are around $55 per barrel overall, whereas if you take out the smaller, more indebted (paying it off I guess) companies, average cost goes to $45 per barrel. Commenters think that the US shale market will need a massive government bailout but still won't survive.

SA announced it's production for April will be 12.3m barrels per day (an extra 2m barrels per day). Commenters say that means there's potential for a $20 barrel of oil in the coming months.

Theoretically, Russia could last longer because the Russian fiscal break even is $45 per barrel while the SA is $90, although both have stockpiled about a half trillion dollars. Russia has for the last few years stockpiled that amount in its sovereign wealth fund reserves, foreign reserves and gold reserves.

New age energy producers (windmills, solar energy, Tesla) just became much less competitive, and won't be able to compete, say commentators, meaning the fossil fuel industry might be even better positioned in a year.

I think investors, who have been in what has basically been a passive investment mode in the stock markets for the last few years, have made great returns since 2008, and had a few huge periods over the past couple years. Basically buying every dip and watching the stock rebound. Probably they are saying well I made a lot, I can take it out now. They're thinking I want to go back in when stocks hit rock bottom, and watch values rise again.

Because of the passive investing in the stock market thing, combined with cut rates by the Fed, volatility is crazy right now.

I suspect it's largely an emotional, uneducated investment body (excepting some real value investors who have been complaining recently about how overvalued the stocks are and keep rising, being "valued" at way past their value based on future profits. Emotional going up, emotional going down.

BP PLC dividend: 9.71%. Exxon Mobil div: 8.22%. Chevron div: 6.20%. Again Capital founding partner John Kilduff said by his math they should be able to keep paying even these lofty dividends, based on his math on some of the machinations Exxon and Chevron have been doing lately and if they stop doing buybacks.

Tuesday Brent went up to $38 today (up 13 percent).

Talk of Chloroquine (older Malaria treatment) with Zinc treatment that has been used in Korea (other option is an HIV disease). Zinc if it gets inside the cell can shut down viral infections of those cells (Zinc shuts down RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, blocking viral replication inside of the cells), but Zinc can't get through the cell wall (Chloroquine somehow opens up the ion gate to let Zinc through).

Medical bloggers are talking about Korea, who have very few new cases. They compare Korea with Italy, which has similar infection numbers but an order of magnitude more deaths. Two things: one is that Italy's known/recorded number is just the tip of a much bigger iceberg. Other one is that Korea's testing (they've done around 200,000 tests, so their number of cases at around 7,500 might actually be the actual number of infections) has helped. Korea is actively going out and looking for people to test, and they do a lot of testing (as much per day as the US has done period).

Wednesday, March 11. Leadership wasn't there in China at first (coverup, downplay), but later was there strongly, and with leadership and enforcement effort their cases are way down. Korea also. Italy just recently took strong measures. Commenters have noted that in epidemics and outbreaks leadership makes a big difference. When you have no vaccine and no proven cure, you rely on public trust. Understanding, trust, cooperation, and it has to be what's appropriate for a place at a particular setting.

Times (after WWII began, Polio epidemic of the 50s) of collective national sacrifice. Everybody is in it together. Everyone is at risk. A time of terror. A time when the pandemic fear gets going, people who went into it thinking they were going to be good soldiers and help people, stop seeing each other, they stop caring about each other, stop volunteering. People ashamed of how they behaved. Hospitals overwhelmed. People screaming and crying.

Governments in other countries (Italy) are looking to China as a model for how to handle the outbreak. To have the numbers stop increasing.

It's crazy. A coordinated effort of just 2 weeks could basically stall the virus, but no one wants to do that, and countries funnily don't seem to be prepared with ways to handle any type of emergency.

Markets, gold, and Brent down.

Bitcoin down almost 30%. Speculative/alternative asset like gold, but more volatile. People want cash. People are looking around and saying what can I sell? "Cut all your positions." High risk assets in a volatile market. With less liquidity, high yield, there's no bid.

Korea had another set of cases at a factory. I think about 100 people.

Thursday, March 12. Medellin had a fourth test positive last night. The first was about a week ago I think, a women in her 50's who returned from Spain. Colombia has a handful of positive test cases in about 4 large cities. It has since closed international flights, and when people can enter on a flight they must self-quarantine for 14 days in their house or hotel. Funny if they had done the same thing a week or two earlier, they would probably not have any cases in the country.

A letter from a Chinese to a European medical vlogger:


It seems the WHO's delay of declaring Coronavirus a "pandemic" is that there is now community spread in many countries around the world.

$9 trillion of world's economy is travel and travel-related. If 50 or 60% goes away in the market for 2 quarters, that's 5% of world GDP.

Stock markets went down 10% today, triggering the stop (it triggers a market pause of 15 minutes). Gold and Brent also down, Brent to $33.

US closed air travel from Europe. All sporting events are cancelled. Disneyland closed, and Disney postponed releases of it's new theater movies.

At this point there are three examples to look at. China acted within weeks in a completely repressive and authoritarian way, and it worked (directionally under control). South Korea acted in a very different way but with aggressive broad-based testing, and it worked. Italy recently acted with a broad-based federally instituted top-down shutdown of everything, and we don't know yet if that works.

Assessing pneumonia chart:


Stages of an outbreak:

-Containment: This includes testing to find out who has it, to isolate them and try to keep the infection from the general public. This stage may not contain the virus but may still be useful, may buy time, provide information, etc.

-Delay: Institute social distancing to delay numbers and push the epidemic peak back and reduce the peak high so the health system is less overburdened, to build more health system capacity, and to control when the peak happens (avoiding winter sometimes when people already have chronic pulmonary disease obstruction exacerbation as in winter months, plus winter influenza, plus lowering the peak means less people will be off work and society can continue to function normally). It includes masks, washing hands, not gathering together and socializing, etc. At this point or later, there's less point testing people at random because we know the community has and is passing around the disease. After "containment" has passed you call for medical assistance if you feel you are deteriorating. The test is used as an aid to clinical decision-making at this point. Travel history is also at the "delay" phase irrelevant, which might explain why US airports don't do much or even question about Coronavirus when people arrive from anywhere.

-Research and Treatment: Including a vaccine and what treatments might benefit someone who's affected

-Mitigation: Making complications less damaging, such as low levels of oxygen and secondary bacterial infection

Things countries did well:

China, once it took the virus seriously, built rapidly separate health centers JUST FOR the novel virus. Hospitals are locations regular people obviously need, and treating Coronavirus there exposes the vulnerable (20% of healthcare workers in Lombardy, Italy (the country's epicentre) have been infected), the community, and healthcare workers to the disease. A separate location isolates a novel and still-developing virus. Specific special precautions, tools, and isolation architecture can be implemented (negative pressure ventilation, masks, isolated rooms that don't have much medical equipment, ventilator rooms). China built it's centers away from town on an existing transport highway. It's easy to get to and far from everything else. They also flew in 50,000 health care workers from other places. (Compare with video footage of Italy's overburdened advanced health care system general hospitals and 20% infection rate of health care workers in Lombardy).

China, President went on TV and declared war against the virus and led the people in taking it very seriously and everyone doing their part and not being irresponsible.

China, used drones to move around the streets to scold people who were out of doors without masks or congregating with other people,

China, used an app to notify people of the danger/safety of locations they travel to.

Korea, daily livestreamed community briefings by the US base there's garrison and installation commanders, with questions and answers, as well as multiple virtual town halls with their senior commanders.

Korea, immediately set about seriously manufacturing and using tests, testing aggressively and broadly. They have drive-through tests. You drive into a parking lot in your car, they test you through the window, it's free and takes 10 minutes, and you get results in 2-3 days. "You must find these people quickly. And you must not be frugal about the costs. It's the State's basic duty to support the lives of it's people," said one Korean mayor.

Italy, shut down country and closed international travel (although if it had done so sooner it could have contained the spread or at least limited it).

However, a Chinese official recently stated that the consensus among health care professionals seems to be that travel bans are not effective in containing contagious illnesses, and can make things worse by fuelling a sense of complacency."

El Salvador, with no confirmed cases and despite bordering three other countries, El Salvador placed the country under quarantine March 11, which would last 21 days, with schools closed and large gatherings prohibited. “How much would Italy give to be in our position and be able to declare a quarantine before having thousands of cases," said the president in his address. All foreign travel into El Salvador is banned (except residents and diplomats and nationals, who will be isolated for 30 days). “I know this will be criticized, but let’s put ourselves in Italy’s shoes. Italy wishes they could’ve done this before. Our health system is not at Italy’s level. It’s not at South Korea’s level," said the president.

“Why would a country declare quarantine without any confirmed cases?” asked epidemiologist Gerardo Chowell-Puente, chair of the department of population health sciences at Georgia State University. He wondered whether Salvadoran authorities had seen factors that indicate trouble ahead. “It gives the impression they are seeing a surge in hospitalizations and that may be overwhelming the system. I don’t think someone would declare a quarantine suddenly without evidence of a substantial outbreak.”

But in the president's speech that week he said, “And not because it hasn’t been detected. The necessary tests have been conducted and they’ve been negative.” The government did have 56 people under quarantine at the time.

“He feels free to take tough-looking measures, which are often troubling to civil libertarians,” said Geoff Thale, president of the Washington Office on Latin America. “And he takes steps, like closing schools for three weeks, which aren’t necessarily the most appropriate measures in a country without any confirmed cases.” Thale said the measures could be the president’s way of appearing “proactive and forceful” but could add to the impression “he’s willing to take pretty authoritarian steps. He’s gambling on what this will do to his international image. And this may have more to do with that than with whether health authorities would recommend these steps.” - as reported by The Washington Post

Part of the reason Korea did so well as they had coincidentally just performed a national exercise in virus management (I think in December).

Friday, March 13.

The USA is taking a lot of criticism because it isn't responding to Coronavirus (finally only closed international flights from Europe only, has done only 11,000 tests when Korea has been doing 20,000 per day, and today announced more recoveries than new infections for the first time), and now expects very broad infection. However, I don't know how the US could contain the virus with it's combination of travellers from China, Korea, Italy and other countries that had already entered, and it's unprotected border with Mexico (Mexico is recording cases as "influenza.") (along with perhaps their social science advisors understand what possibly could be (I don't believe it is, even if it's beyond the ability or will of most people/leaders) an impossible task of causing Americans to respond seriously to the virus, even if the government did). The same goes for Canada. Although this doesn't excuse the Canadian leader's lack of seriousness or care for the population, they share a border with an America which isn't trying to contain or even really limit the virus it seems. The US keeps promising tests will come in the week and not delivering. Also, the USA is a bigger location than Korea, where it is easier to distribute tests, which doesn't excuse the supposedly most powerful country. The USA and other Western countries seem very weak in terms of health response ability compared with the Asian countries we've seen (China, Korea, North Korea, Japan), and if it ever got into a war a health attack would be potent against the West (which may have been what happened, according to some conspiracy theorists). In the US (I read a message board on this), people over 60 are largely laughing it off, continuing to go to casinos, not withdrawing from public, meeting in dollar stores talking loudly about how unafraid of the virus they are, proudly going to amusement parks and concerts with work groups, saying "if it's my time ..." etc., even with existing health conditions, and their younger relatives are worried about them but they won't listen. The other reason the US may not be doing testing is that once a country enters the "delay" phase, they know the virus is there and they don't need to go around and test you each time you call them, and they probably knew the extent of the spread already and that it was past "containment." Similar reasons for not screening incoming arrivals, as I wrote above.

Italy is also been kicked around for it's poor handling of the virus. However, it was the first and hardest hit. And other countries, even with the benefit of having viewed Italy, don't seem to be taking any more serious measures.

Chinese billionaire Jack Ma donated 1m masks to South Korea, Japan, Italy and Iran, and 500,000 diagnostic kits to the USA. Chinese doctors arrived in Italy to help there, with their experience with the virus. Actually, it seems it was a group from China, the Chinese Red Cross, 31 tons of lung fans, respirators, monitors, tens of thousands of suits and masks.

70,000 people have now recovered from Coronavirus around the world.

People are getting into trouble for selling fake Coronavirus cures.

Markets went up late in the day about 9%, 7% 25 minutes before the close during a press conference by Trump announcing a federal emergency declaration (which frees up $10s of millions in federal aid and unleashes some regulatory red tape for doctors etc.) in which he took a "CEO-focused" approach, referencing CEOs of Target, Walgreens, Google, taking a more serious approach than the downplaying he's been doing up till now (saying he might do some minor things, and do thing if he HAD to do them), and that the US government would take measures to mitigate the Coronavirus impact. Individual stocks basically all went up similarly significantly, between 4 and 11%. For the day, gold stocks went down, as did the price of gold, down 4%. Oil went up 7% to $35 The VIX calmed down for the first time in a while, although its still very high compared to previous to the last couple weeks. Although the market went up, it still doesn't look like there is a bottom because there doesn't seem to be a base of people who want to enter the market. There is more people who want to get out. The bounce might have allowed more people to get out. Because there is almost no liquidity in the market, you get massive moves up and down. Some of the biggest up days in history were during bear markets, like 08 and 09. Bitcoin also bounced up along with everything else, from $4800 to $5600 (was $8000 two days ago).

People talked about the 25 minute 7% being "there's something wrong here" but I suspect it might have to do with people/investors watching for a bottom (who maybe don't have much information on the virus and think the outcome will be much shorter term) and once some people started buying, many jumped in thinking it was going to shoot up suddenly (which it did for the day).


A question economists are asking is after the global recession, when the economy restarts, how is it gonna restart? When we get taken out of our comfort zone, we become more risk averse. Some say it will be about the critical mass, circuit breaker, having faith in the plans of policy makers (a plan of stage 1, stage 2, stage 3).

The bond market closed at 1%, record volatility. A historic move, and the bond move is telling us something awful, commenters think.

We don't know where credit is right now.

Corporations are taking out their entire lines of credit, like Boeing did yesterday. Bringing the cash in house, in case you need it as there is a sales and cashflow squeeze in an economic slowdown. As equity prices draw down, companies become less credit worthy. Uncertainty about whether a company will be able to pay its short-term debts. What if firms that rely on short-term borrowing in order to meet their many cash needs, are able to continue because the good they need delivered them can't be delivered to them cause the firm that makes them can't. There's a lot of debt in the system.

Economists are monitoring whether the shock will flow into the CREDIT system, or whether it will have a second order impact of creating credit problems. If it does flow through the credit system, they're thinking about two sides of it. One side is that never before have central banks been more plugged in to provide liquidity where its needed anywhere in the world. This is an ecosystem created by the problems of the 08 09 Financial Crisis. On the other side, there are high levels of debt and interest rates are low and there is a lot of liquidity already, so the impact of monetary policy is limited in its ability to offset a major shock.

The key to the virus is quarantine in our homes, say many. Countries shutting down.

John Chambers (former Cisco CEO who went through 5 economic crises and 5 health crises in his time) gave some advice on how corporations should weather the storm. 1)Don't hide, be very transparent, say what you know and what you don't know. 2)Outline what you're going to do, how much of the thing was internal-inflicted and how much was an external issue. Give your 3-5-7 action plans, whether you're a small company or a country. 3)Paint the picture for what you'll look like a year from now and two years ago. 4)Be open with all constituencies/stakeholders and give them regular quarterly updates, and make one move/change at a time and move on it aggressively.

In 1997, during the Asian Financial Crisis, everyone was pulling out of Asia and his company doubled down there, and a year later they had number one market share. In 2001 they got surprised, outlined a plan in 51 days, in day 52 gained market share.

He also said that problems usually will last longer than you think and be deeper than you think, and is thinking 3-5 quarters for the current issue.

The UK MP make an announcement the virus had a hold and he thought it would get worse, and they were moving to a "limiting stage" as I wrote about above. If someone feels ill they should self quarantine at home for 7 days. The issue apparent to them is that there will not be enough beds.

The WHO has said Europe is the new epicentre of the pandemic. China had 8 new cases and in Europe it's doubling every 4 or 5 days.

Without city lockdown and containment efforts it's thought there would now be 67 times the amount of infected that there was when they stopped doing coverup and the government took the issue seriously. There are 80,000 cases, up about 10,000 or more since they took it seriously, and now there are 115,000. It's guessed that otherwise it would be 115,000 x 67 = 7.7m. It's also guessed if China had acted 3 weeks earlier (no coverup) there would be 95% less cases.

People everywhere seem to be looking for leadership and a concrete plan that they can coordinate with everyone else through. Usually we don't want or need the government in our lives or businesses. Since governments impose so much, and harm people so much through this, we develop strong opposition and despise governments and resist anything they do. When we actually need leadership, perhaps they can't provide what people want/need and people don't want to receive it.

The uselessness or maliciousness of the WHO, with all their medical expertise and access to information, was shown in this pandemic. Those countries who followed along with WHO recommendations are highly infected. Only those who did the unpopular thing and closed off borders earlier have no cases. Any country that references the WHO in justifying or giving reasons for it's actions in the future must be idiots. Later on, the WHO (now advocating quarantine) is criticizing countries that "aren't doing enough."

Saturday, March 13 Guatemala had it's first confirmed case, a man who returned from Italy just a few days earlier. If they had closed their flights a week ago, probably not have any cases. All the president there did was expand the travel ban to Canada and the US.

"I feel a bit frustrated this month, but Ive become so much more aware of how precious our outside world is." - Wuhan 6 weeks into the pandemic quarantine.

After two months, they think, they will have quarantine measures lifted and can move around inside the community if the whole community has no symptoms for 14 days. They log into WeChat and get a health code (Health Code Online) and report if they have or still don't have symptoms.

They don't know how serious their neighbours will be about it, but it is warned that if a community hides any cases it will be punished. If they stay healthy the community will be rewarded with money.

El Salvador has no confirmed cases. Haiti also has no confirmed cases, but hasn't imposed strong measures.

Companies and bankers are meeting with private equity firms that don't usually lend to companies ("shadow leaders / shadow banking system"). Half the market vanishes in a pinch, and people want to shore up their liquidity. Corporate officials are rattled and want to make sure they have cash on hand to outlast the downturn.

Gold down 4%, Brent at $34 (Im not sure if my last couple days were right for Brent, it looks like the page I was using wasn't changing with reloading it). Bitcoin around the same.

According to Western news, a Chinese tycoon who criticized Xi's response to Coronavirus vanished.

Kijiji banned listings for toilet paper, hand sanitizer, face masks, and other items. People have been driving trucks up to large retailers and filling them with these items and selling them online for markups. Other people are stocking up bigtime.

Coronavirus is a scientific challenge and a social challenge. It could be either or both. In it's frame, countries are appearing great or poor in their ability to deal with it. Currently, countries are praising South Korea for its handling, China for buying other countries time, criticizing Italy and the US.

Possible the reason people seem so unconcerned and lassais-fair about the outbreak in China was that the past several serious disease outbreaks (over the past 20 years, several serious Influenzas, Ebola, and Zika), although threatening, were contained and didn't threaten most people, and people probably are accustomed to this outcome to the point they don't feel threatened by new viruses.

Continued as (PART II) :

Most recent (PART III):


When people stop hoarding. When people stop worrying about having enough.

Related reading: and