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Money Daily has been providing business and financial market news, views, and coverage on a nearly continuous basis since 2006. Complete archives are available at moneydaily.blogspot.com.
The World Has Been Hoaxed; Hydroxychloroquine Works; Rent Strike, Mass Protests On Tap for May 1
Friday, May 1, 2020, 8:03 am ET
April is over and done. The month that saw the WuHan Flu, coronavirus, COVID-19, SARS-COV II, or whatever you prefer calling it spread like wildfire throughout the United States and the world also produced the best performance in the S&P 500 since 1987.
As if the stock market's miraculous rebound off the March lows wasn't enough, the Fed's balance sheet, thanks to sopping up trillions in debt of all varieties - from corporate issuance to high yield (junk) to munis to the usual nasty mortgage=backed securities (MBS) and low-yielding treasuries - increased by some $2.23 trillion to a record amount of more than $6.6 trillion.
Also showing up on the national radar are people who are refusing to go back to work because they are making more on unemployment, states reopening businesses with some restrictions and precautions, Florida opening beaches while California closes them down, a GDP for the first quarter of -4.8%, and various misdirections, untruths, fabrications, and outright lies due to conflicts of interest by doctors (including the CDC's Dr. Anthony Fauci) promoting Gilead Science's remdesivir as a primary treatment of COVID-19 with little to no evidence that it does anything more than shorten the length of hospitalizations.
All the while, evidence continues to pile up showing hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as a drug with a wide range of uses in not only diminishing the severity of coronavirus symptoms, but possibly acting as a preventive treatment, i.e., Lupus patients, who are prescribed Plaquenil (the brand name for HCQ), do not contract coronavirus.
Various studies from countries around the world have shown early use of HCQ is highly effective in combating the coronavirus, though the mainstream media refuses to report any positives about the drug, preferring to bombard the public with questionable research on remdesivir, a drug that can cost as much as $100 per dose, where HCQ can be produced in massive quantities for about a dime per dose.
Peak Prosperity's Chris Martenson, who has been doing incredible daily reporting on the crisis, has details in his latest video:
While the US continues to lurch toward some degree of normalcy at the end of a six-week near-nationwide lockdown, many questions linger, not the least of which being how badly the American public has been hoodwinked by the wealthy elite and their cohorts in government. From all appearances, it seems the public has been royally screwed this time around.
The economy is in tatters, more than 30 million lost their jobs, but what is likely going to be worse, are the millions of small businesses which have been severely hampered or outright destroyed by government overreach. Many of these businesses will not come back in the summer, or the fall. They are gone forever, and with them, their owners facing financial ruin. It will take years to undo the damage wrought by the government response to a virus that essentially affects people over 50 or those with pre-existing serious medical issues.
Friday, May 1, will offer some pushback agains the federal tyranny. There's a nationwide rent strike being waged in big cities and small, along with a May Day work stoppage promoted by employees of some of the multi-national companies that were not forced to shut down for the past six weeks, including Wal-Mart, Amazon, Target, and others. Protests will be very visible, as will the outrage expressed in Michigan, where governor Gretchen Whitmer is extending the lockdown until May 28.
Protesters there have already been storming the Capitol, and some were actually armed inside the Capitol building on Thursday, though that received scant notice on the evening TV news. This explosive situation merits closer attention, as what happens in Lansing, Michigan's capitol, may serve as a template for popular uprisings in places like Virginia, California, New York, Massachusetts, and any other state that believes they can keep the general population under lock and key indefinitely.
With warmer weather and a weekend ahead, some payback may be forthcoming from an angry, frustrated American public.
In other markets, gold and silver were beaten down as they usually are at the end of the month, though the dislocation between spot, futures, and actual prices for acquiring physical metal has completely blown up. Silver especially is out of whack, with premiums over the futures price of anywhere from 30 to 100% now commonplace. Gold premiums are still in the 10-15% range, though dealers have been and continue to impose minimums with lengthy shipping delays.
Oil markets continue to fluctuate wildly as the supply glut and demand collapse refuse to abate. Beyond giants Russia and Saudi Arabia, countries which produce oil as a primary revenue source are going to be devastated, while in the US, rig counts are plummeting as shale drilling operations are being shut down. They're unable to make money at the current prices and investors are being wiped out along with the lenders who financed operations. WTI crude, as of Friday morning is hovering just under $19 a barrel, though it's been as low as $10.64 earlier this week. The June futures contract is beginning to look like another disaster - as was the May contract - in the making.
Treasuries have been relatively unmoved during the week, though the 30-year bond has increased yield from 1.17% last Friday to 1.28% Thursday. The curve has steepened slightly, though not in any statistically meaningful way. 118 basis points covers the entire complex.
Equity futures are pointing to a very ugly open Friday, with Dow futures down more than 450 points.
Could this be the "sell in May and go away" signal? Possible, but the real fallout may not occur until late July or August when earnings and the first reading of second quarter GDP will shock the markets, not just in the United States, but globally. The Greater Depression is ramping up.
At the Close, Thursday, April 30, 2020:
More Stock Fakery As Indices Jump On Remdesivir Hope, Fading -4.8% GDP; Dividend Cuts Continue
Thursday, April 30, 2020, 9:01 am ET
Stock market fakery took on a whole new dimension Wednesday, as news of a potential treatment breakthrough for coronavirus (Gilead' Science's remdesivir) was released just before an incorrect reading on first quarter GDP - of 4.8% growth rather than the actual -4.8% contraction - was released.
Together, the two news breaks fueled a jump in stock futures an hour prior to the opening bell. The
The remdesivir announcement came from the familiar face of Dr. Anthony Fauci, who now says he let the news out somewhat early because he was concerned about the possibility of the news leaking out from elsewhere.
Rubbish. Fauci is deeply entrenched within the government COVID-19 team. His very own "leak" was timed to front-run the damaging news of contraction in first quarter GDP. He, along with tag-team partner, Dr. Deborah Birks, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, are all in on the big con, keeping the pandemic narrative alive and well, avoiding any kind of actual progress that could be made, obfuscating useful information, offering bad advice, and generally keeping the public as much in the dark as possible with a huge assist from mainstream media, which now reports almost exclusively on coronavirus-related stories all the time, every-day, ad nauseum.
There's little doubt that the orchestrated, concerted effort to extend lockdowns, provide conflicting and misleading information, scare people into irrationality, and keep the United States in a crippled condition is a White House operation. President Trump and Vice President Pence have to know what's what, and they are either complicit or playing a long game that should result - if they're just playing along for now - in revelations (and hopefully, charges) this summer of corruption at the CDC and elsewhere in the government.
While there's little clear-cut evidence to suggest that the president isn't in on the entire scam, he remains somewhat solid amongst his base of supporters, but there are troubling signs that he's not been completely honest throughout the crisis. In case the crisis persists through the summer, Trump is going to have a difficult time winning re-election, even though his opponent, Joe Biden, is a very weak choice for the Democrats.
Getting back to the timing of the Wednesday morning announcements, the GDP release was almost immediately corrected, from a positive 4.8% to negative 4.8%, though there's no mention of the fake +4.8% announcement which was banged out first in order to trick the algorithms, and it worked, but overall, the remdesivir story overshadowed the dire GDP numbers and the FOMC policy announcement and press conference later in the day. The effective result was good for more than a two-percent gain in the Dow, S&P and NYSE Composite and a 3.57% rise on the NAASDAQ.
As far as remdesivir being a panacea for controlling, containing, and/or defeating coronavirus, the indefatigable (and reliably honest) Chris Martenson explains:
Thus, in a nutshell, fake news triumphs over reality, and stocks soar as the US economy is now firmly into a recession, along with many other countries, including Spain, France, South Korea, Indonesia. One might be persuaded into admitting that the Global Depression has begun in earnest and that somehow encourages investors to buy more stocks.
As the stock market gains are a matter of record, the sad reality is that share prices didn't go up on buys by the likes of Goldman Sachs or JP Morgan or any of the big banks' trading units. The purchases on Wednesday will most assuredly be credited into the accounts of weakened pension funds, which will take more severe losses in the next round of selling.
The game is rigged completely against the public.
On the dividend front, from where this blog hastily retreated Wednesday morning, the overnight news that Royal Dutch Shell slashed its dividend for the first time since World War II, supplies more evidence of the depth of this downturn.
"Investors risk putting money into the markets in order to stand a chance of achieving a better return than cash in the bank. While rates on cash savings accounts have been drifting down for a while, investment dividends were widely considered to be much more reliable.
Alongside the British companies, stand the 81 (as of Monday morning... there are more now) US companies which either reduced their dividend or eliminating it altogether.
Taking a quick look at the Dow components, we see that Boeing (BA) has already suspended its dividend earlier this year, which was a whopping $8.22 a share. The stock has fluctuated wildly since, but has collapsed from a 52-week high of 391.00, to close yesterday at 139.00. When a stock loses 64% of its share price, eliminates its dividend, lays off workers, and faces numerous lawsuits, that stock should be trading in single digits. It's almost worthless or could actually be tallied in the liability column. The outlook for Boeing is grim, though Wall Street investors have seen fit to boost it recently from 89 to its current price, which is likely to be hammered in the next downturn. Boeing is not a buy or even a hold. The time to sell this dog was months ago.
A few other candidates for dividend cuts or suspension include the obvious, ExxonMobil (XOM), which has missed three of its last four earnings estimates and reports for the first quarter on May 1 (Friday). The current dividend is $3.48, offering a yield of 7.33%. With the price of oil having cratered over the past two months, this company is likely to miss its earning targets again and the likelihood of cutting the dividend is very high.
On Wednesday, Chevron (CVX) announced a dividend of $1.29 a share to investors of record through May 19, payable June 20. whether this will be the last of the 5.45% yielding dividend remains to be seen. While it may be enticing to hold CVX through its first quarter earnings report (May 1) until the ex-dividend date, a drop in the price of the stock of less than 1.5% (about 1 1/2 points) would render that gamble a moot point. And, if the company announces a dividend cut and the stock goes down more, it turns into a major loss.
Among the companies on the Dow that have already reported first quarter earnings is Johnson & Johnson (JNJ). The company raised its quarterly dividend to $1.01 per share from 95 cents per share, as it announced earnings on Monday. Comparatively, this company looks rock-solid.
Merck (MRK) and Pfizer (PFE) each reported earnings on Tuesday of this week. Merck beat big, posting 1.50 per share against estimates of 1.34, keeping its annual dividend of 2.44 intact (3.02% yield), but cutting guidance.
Pfizer (PFE) also beat, retaining its annual dividend of 1.52 (3.99% yield). The company may be one to produce or share in the creation of some COVID-19 treatments or vaccines, though those potentialities go with an undue level of risk.
Intel (INTC) recently reported first quarter earnings at 1.45 per share over estimates for 1.28. The tech firm sports a dividend of 1.32 (2.25% yield) and is probably a safe bet to keep paying that out. However, here's where the math becomes important. If Intel tanks again - it fell to 42.86 in March from a high of 69.29, the paltry sum garnered from the dividend will be little consolation with the stock down 30 percent or more.
One of the worst plays of dividend-bearing Dow stocks going forward could be Apple (AAPL). The darling of Wall Street and the Swiss National Bank (a major shareholder), Apple's 3.08 annual dividend yields just 1.07%. with the stock trading with a multiple of 20-24 recently, even a minor downturn wipes out any gain from the dividend. Apple is unlikely to cut the dividend, as it is flush with cash. This one could go either way.
That's a snapshot look at a number of Dow stocks. We'll be examining more of them on Friday morning and over the weekend in the WEEKEND WRAP.
Just in, the U.S. Labor Department released its weekly jobless claims figures Thursday morning, and another 3.839 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits during the week ending April 25. That boosts the number of jobless in America to 30 million, unofficially putting the unemployment rate at 20%, the highest since the Great Depression.
This time, it appears that Wall Street won't be celebrating. Futures have been eroding all morning, with Dow futures off nearly one percent with the opening bell less than an hour away.
At the Close, Wednesday, April 29, 2020:
Recession Arrives as First Quarter GDP Contracts By 4.8%; Companies Cutting Dividends at Record Pace
Wednesday, April 29, 2020, 9:22 am ET
Dispensing with the usual diatribe over coronavirus and the botched government response, today's edition of Money Daily will focus on stocks that pay out quarterly dividends, the mother's milk of investing, as Larry Kudlow might phrase it.
But first, US first quarter 2020 GDP was just announced at 8:30 am ET, and the result was as Money Daily predicted, a decline of 4.8%. A few weeks back, various analysts from the likes of Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs were making projections for second quarter GDP losses, somewhat overlooking what we considered obvious: a negative number for 1Q GDP. While the corporate analysts were busy downplaying the effect of a nationwide lockdown on business activity, they were missing an existential point.
Assuming that the second quarter was going to be in the red, a decline in first quarter GDP would satisfy the textbook requirement for a recession, which is two consecutive quarters of declining GDP growth. The definition is something of a non sequiter because nothing in nature actually grows at a negative rate. A truer definition might be worded as "two consecutive quarters of contraction," and that's now in play meaning one might as well assume that there's already a recession, and it started roughly the second week of February, when the world started to become focused on coronavirus and how to halt its spread.
Thus, we have the first quarter contraction of 4.8%, which will be revised twice, in late May and again in late June, though the number is so far into the red that there's no practical probability of it being revised into the positive. Second quarter GDP will be an outright train wreck. Figure on something on the order of -40% just for openers. That kind of number will have even the most ardent equity investor seeking safe harbor and scurrying away from stocks. Even today's figure should give everyone pause, and, in normal times, stocks would be falling into the ocean, but, thanks to the generosity of the Federal Reserve, the major indices will likely post more gains.
Underscoring the absurdity of the Fed's fool's errand - one in which they will bankrupt themselves - stock futures all soared higher on this morning's GDP announcement. How's that for in-your-face obstinance and stupidity?
Along with higher stock prices (unbelievable), the political ramifications are stupendous. This places the economy and a recession as front-and-center issues for the election season. Second quarter results will be in place come late July, and they will be undeniably ugly, since April was a complete washout and May isn't going to look much better. There are still vast swaths of the economy that are not operating at even 50% of optimal productivity and others that are not operating at all. Small businesses were shut down across the country for roughly six weeks to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars in lost revenue and GDP, to say nothing of the lack of velocity in the economy. From late March through all of April and into May, velocity was basically stalled out.
What this means in terms of elections is the very real possibility of a President Biden and a takeover by the Democrats of the Senate, which would give the socialist movement firm footing in the three important branches of the federal government, the presidency, the House, and the Senate, which spells doomsday for America because socialist ideology will only exacerbate the already horrid condition of money-printing and profligate spending. It's doubtful that any of this has been factored into the Wall Street calculations. Current prices on the major indices and in "recovering" individual stocks reflect that, glowingly.
With the opening bell just minutes away, Money Daily will wrap here for Wednesday morning, cutting a little short the look at dividend stocks.
Wolf Richter of WolfStreet.com penned a noteworthy post on Tuesday, titled, Dividend Massacre in This Crisis is Already Breaking Records, But it Just Started, within which he details the number of companies which have already slashed or canceled their dividend payouts and how 2020 compares to other recent years in which dividends were targeted, 2001, 2008, and 2009.
What investors often lose sight of in times of financial turmoil is how mathematics deceives and often leads to false conclusions when considering buying a particular stock.
Picking up this theme on Thursday, along with the latest unemployment figures, the 30 stocks that comprise the Dow Jones Industrial Average - all of which pay dividends - will be examined, with considered opinion on whether or not these companies will maintain, increase, reduce or cancel their normal dividend payouts.
For today, the recession has arrived, though many in the know already think we're at the beginning of what is being hailed as "The Greater Depression."
At the Close, Tuesday, April 28, 2020:
Bailout Nation: Careening Toward the Zombie Apocalypse
Tuesday, April 28, 2020, 8:14 am ET
Beneath the superficial aspects of the coronavirus - the hospitals, the deaths, media deflection, Presidential dithering, lockdowns, social distancing, and the state-by-state re-openings - there exists a subculture of cash, credit, debt, default, and the eventuality of a global depression.
The question is not whether there's going to be a recession - there will be, without a doubt - it's how long the depression will last and how deeply affected will be various segments of the economies of nations and those nations themselves.
This is an extremely complex scenario that will not be evenly distributed. Some people will prosper while others decline. Some will go broke. Others will simply give up and die. It's an absolute certainty that there will be more losers than winners, many many more. Knowing that, the federal government, in conjunction with the Federal Reserve, has set about the process of bailing out everybody, or, nearly everybody. The problem is, they've not gone about the process with much foresight, they have no comprehensive plan, and the result has been a sloppy patchwork of band-aids, unkept promises, imbalances, and knee-jerk, short-term remedies.
Wall Street got their money right away, small business got shafted, twice, wage-earners, especially those in low-wage jobs, got a bonanza to the extent that the $600 extra unemployment benefit doled out by the Fed has in some cases doubled the take home pay of a huge chunk of the workforce. Anybody making minimum wage or anything less than $15 per hour has experienced a tangible benefit. The unfortunate part of this is that the additional unemployment benefit vanishes in about four months, or, for most people, sometime during August. Whether the federal government will step in again at that point to provide more relief is, at this juncture, a speculation.
Meanwhile, most seniors receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits, haven't seen a dime, despite the late March pledge from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that they would have their money ($1200 per person plus $500 for each qualifying dependent) within two weeks. It's going on six weeks and the money still hasn't arrived. The latest promise is that direct deposits would be made this week. Don't count on it. Mnuchin has proven that his priorities lie mainly with big business and Wall Street banks, not with the people who matter, the citizens, the taxpayers, the consumers. He's effectively relayed the message to seniors that they don't matter at all.
All the time, but especially during times of crisis, people should be judged by their actions, not their words. If there's a judgement to be made on Steven Mnuchin, he would be deemed an awesome character by the one-percenters and upper crust, and a outright liar and scoundrel by just about everybody over the age of 62.
The problems with the quick-fixes that have come out of the Fed and the federal government are multiple. They're temporary. They solve nothing. They're largely unfair. They won't work long term. Not for the stock market, not for the banks, not for states and cities, not for pension plans, and especially for the backbone of society, small businesses and the people they employ, or, rather, employed, because most small businesses in the United States are dead men walking. If they haven't already closed their doors forever, never to return, they're on the verge of collapse, as is the rest of the country, despite nobody in government or the media actually leveling with the people.
Next up on the list of bailouts are cities, counties and states, which have experienced massive losses to their revenue base and will see those losses multiply over time. They are coming to the federal government with outstretched arms, awaiting their turn at the feeding trough of unlimited capital. A business owner who doesn't pay property taxes because his business has been shut down for a month or six weeks or longer is one thing. The loss of sales tax revenue is another, and one that will continue long into the future. Again, the feds can only do so much. It's up to the local and state managers of their various governmental units to take action, and sooner rather than later.
Cutting back on services and employment should have been happening in March and April, but it hasn't. Teachers get paid. Cops and firemen get paid. Sanitation workers get paid. Clerks and paper shufflers get paid. All the while the cities and counties are bleeding revenue. Their collapse is imminent and they have only themselves to blame for decades of living high on the hog that is the taxpayer, without regard to emergencies, without planning for even a slowdown from the stock buyback, free money largesse of the past decade. Their demise, along with the platinum health care plans and pension, are at extremely high risk of being insolvent and overdue for a significant haircut. They're counting on the federal government to bail them out, but at issue is which ones get bailed out first and for how much? Will red states get more than blue states? Will big cities get a better piece of the pie than rural communities?
It's likely, actually, it's not only probable, but a near-certainty that any government bailout of cities, counties, and states will be as uneven as the handling of the first few rounds of government aid to private business and citizens. It's going to be a disaster of magnificent proportion because not only will the federal government take too long to deliver, they'll almost certainly deliver less than is necessary, and the help will be only temporary. There is no good way out. Like the companies who are being propped up by the Fed via purchasing of their commercial paper, the Fed can't stop at buying up muni bonds; it has to come in with actual cash to keep the lights on in every city, town, and village across America.
In the end, everything goes dark. While trying desperately to not sound like a broken record, Wall Street firms will fail, banks will fail, governments will fail, companies will die, people will die, but not until there's a massive outbreak of civil unrest, the first springs of that having already been seen in the "reopen" protests that have flourished at state capitols and elsewhere around the country.
As the coronavirus has proven to be less of a threat to human existence than previously thought, the feds and state governments continue to respond as though it is a return of the Bubonic Plague or Spanish Flu. It's not, and the response has been a massive overreach that has destroyed the economy and people's already wavering confidence in leadership and government. It has only just begun and the levels of protest, unruliness, incivility, lawlessness, and violence will only increase over time. When the extra unemployment insurance runs out in August and there are still 12-15 million people out of work, the cat will have come out of the bag, and it will be not a tame household kitty, but a hungry, untamed lion, set out to ravage the nearest prey, and that prey will be neighborhoods, local governments, and the unprotected. The resultant destruction to the social fabric will be devastatingly real and not just close to home, at your home or your neighbor's home or in it.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but it isn't COVID-19 that is screwing the country and the world, but the government reaction to it. As has already been made evident, government is not only not the solution, it is the problem itself.
Presently, the Fed has managed to keep the stock markets from imploding and possibly from shutting down altogether. They've actually managed to boost prices for many companies that should be heading to the bankruptcy courts rather than to the Fed's liquidity spigot. Since April 8, all the major indices have traded in a well-defined range, an overt signal that the Fed is in charge, keeping the markets stable while the VIX remains elevated. It's a manipulation and a thorough destruction of capital markets. Stocks and bonds are effectively controlled by government now, and thus, are DOA.
While stocks were reaching for yet another giddy day in their make-believe land of rich and plenty, General Motors (GM), at one time a bastion of industry and a beacon of capitalism, a company the taxpayers bailed out a decade ago, announced on Monday that it was suspending its 38 cents quarterly dividend, halting the buyback of its own stock and bolstering its lines of credit. Gee, thanks, GM. Please turn the lights out before you close the door. GM should have been allowed to fail in 2008. Now they will just burn more cash, screw their investors and permanently dis-employ hundreds of thousands of workers in the auto business and its suppliers.
GM has about 164,000 full time employees including Chairwoman of the Board and CEO Mary Barra, whose pay last year was $7.36 million, not including stock options and other bonuses and benefits. Not only has she managed to completely decimate the company's balance sheet, but she's managed to raid the company coffers to her benefit. The company is likely to survive for a few more years, but, after bankruptcy proceedings, within four or five years, the number of full time employees will be zero, and Ms. Barra and all her hourly and salaried workers can compliment her on the bang-up job she'd done throughout the coronavirus crisis, culminating in the wholesale looting and destruction of the company.
With that news as a backdrop, GM tacked on half a point Monday, closing at 22.45 a share. The company publicly disclosed assets of 228 billion and liabilities of 182 billion. With the expectation that the assets are overvalued and liabilities on the rise, it won't be long until GM is permanently upside down. Give it six months before all hell breaks loose.
GM is not alone. Most companies are going to slash dividends, workers, expenses and tap into their lines of credit as the quarterly reports flow this month and next, but Wall Street seems to like the idea, rallying on Monday with futures ramping higher into Tuesday's opening.
This is what a dysfunctional market looks like.
On the day, treasuries acted as though the recovery had already begun, with the 30-year upping its yield from 1.17 to 1.25%, the 10-year note up seven basis points to 0.67% and the curve steepening to 114 basis points. When the curve falls to below 100 basis points (one percent), that will be the signal that the crisis is deepening.
Oil got whacked again on Monday, WTI crude dropping from its Friday close of $16.94 per barrel to $10.76. Gold and silver were up early down late on futures trading, but that doesn't matter since physical is still elusive and premiums are through the roof, up to $135 on an ounce of gold, as much as $7.00 or more on silver.
Dominoes are falling. Get out of the way. Within six months, there will be more zombie companies, zombie banks, zombie governments and zombie people, all kept alive by the Federal Reserve. Unlike vampires, which can be killed with silver bullets or stakes to the heart, the only sure way to kill zombies is to blow off their heads.
At the Close, Monday, April 27, 2020:
WEEKEND WRAP: COVID-19 A Massive Scam Perpetrated At the Highest Levels, Media, Industry, Finance Complicit
Sunday, April 26, 2020, 3:12 pm ET
Just about everything being shoved down the throats of Americans (and, we can safely assume, the rest of the world) about the coronavirus by the mainstream media (MSM) is either questionable, being drawn into question, refuted, or outright bunk. Examples will be given in this installment of the WEEKEND WRAP.
The United states is approaching one million confirmed cases of the virus, and has already surpassed 50,000 deaths. The actual number of cases of the virus is orders of magnitude higher, as preliminary antibody studies from New York and California have shown.
The California study, undertaken in Santa Clara county, home to San Francisco, shows that "prevalence estimates represent a range between 48,000 and 81,000 people infected in Santa Clara County by early April, 50 to 85-fold more than the number of confirmed cases," the authors wrote. Published on April 17, the number of confirmed deaths in Santa Clara County was 99, meaning that the true mortality rate is somewhere between 0.12 percent and 0.2 percent, meaning that roughly one or two people in every thousand would die from the virus, a number very close to that of the ordinary seasonal flu.
The same kind of results are shown in New York, where 13.9% of people in New York's first antibody study tested positive, meaning they had the virus and recovered; that means up to 2.7 million people could have been infected statewide and the mortality rate would have been roughly 0.5 percent, not the 4.5 to 6 percent that the media has been touting. There are also widespread reports of the numbers being artificially inflated, throwing in all deaths of people who tested positive for COVID-19, regardless of the underlying cause.
The federal government has been doling out billions of dollars to states via the CARES act which, through Medicaid, pays hospitals $13,000 for COVID-19 patients, upping the bounty to $39,000 if one is put on a ventilator.
As many as 80% of people put on ventilators die, and many doctors are refusing to use them in treatment of severe cases, though hospital administrators - in dire need of funding - continue to push for their use, despite the findings that prove a suspiciously-poor recovery rate.
The ongoing controversy over hydroxychloroquine, in conjunction with zinc and sometimes, arithromycin, which Money Daily has already covered on Thursday, April 24 continues to rage between the truth and the mainstream media's fear angle.
Here's Laura Ingraham with an expert cardiologist explaining why the media shouldn't be running around with their hair on fire over the FDA's warning about hydrochloroquine:
...and then there's the complete nonsense about "flattening the curve" through stay-at-home orders, lockdowns, staying six feet apart that has decimated the global economy.
The effect of the lockdown was to keep the hospitals from being overrun. In the entire United States, few hospitals have been overrun with COVID-19 patients, mostly in New York City, Boston, and a few other hotspots. Most hospitals have treated very few coronavirus sufferers. It wasn't about saving lives because the disease will still spread, albeit at a slower pace. Additionally, the vast majority of people who die from coronavirus are elderly and/or suffering from other maladies (co-morbidities).
According to statistics out of New York City, 95% of the deaths due to coronavirus were from 45-75+ years of age.
Moving on to testing, all that testing is going to do is probably enrich the companies that make the tests and confirm that a lot more people than previously assumed had contracted COVID-19 and are now immune.
Instead of shutting down the entire economy, the rational approach would have been to quarantine seniors and people with pre-existing conditions - primarily diabetes, high blood pressure, heart-related ailments - but that wasn't considered. Instead, we've trashed more than 200 years of capitalism over an infectious disease that's barely more deadly than the seasonal flu. It will rank as one of the greatest blunders (or planned event) in the entire history of the planet.
The conclusion is that all developed nations were in on the coronavirus scam (or, as some are calling it, the plandemic) because the elites already had a plan in place to disrupt national economies, destroy governments, enslave people, and usher in a new world currency while covering up the imminent crash of stock markets and, eventually, all fiat currencies. The entire process will take years - it's been underway for decades - but this was a major part of the overall effort, and it seems to be succeeding.
The main casualties so far:
Bah! You've been had, and the after-effects are going to be even worse.
Now, on to the markets, or, what's left of them.
Stocks had an up and down week, but ended down with all but the NASDAQ finishing with losses of just under two percent. The darling NASDAQ was nearly flat, losing just 15 points (-0.18%). This was just the second weekly loss of the last five, since the Fed stepped in last month with massive funding programs.
Despite trillions being thrown at banks and what are now zombie corporations, the major indices are still in bear markets, though they are all resting right about at their 50-day moving averages.
If anything, they seemed to have plateaued for the time being. Another downdraft could be coming, but, with all the Fed currency behind them, shorting this market is strictly for those who can afford massive losses. Being in this market for any reason is simply a fool's errand. Stocks are headed toward a massive crash, which has only been prevented by the Fed. Eventually, fundamentals matter, and many major corporations, since stock buybacks are now frowned upon, have resorted to leveraging up with debt, conveniently purchased by the Federal Reserve and their unlimited currency campaign.
Oil magically rebounded after posting negative numbers upon the maturity of May futures. June futures for WTI crude are resting comfortably at $16.94 a barrel. It's a bonanza for drivers, with prices at the pump the lowest in a generation. Gas hoarding, once people get back on the road, could be a real thing. It's cheap, why not?
Treasury bonds are a graveyard. The curve flattened out to a mere 107 basis points as the long end collapsed. Yield on the 30-year fell to 1.17%, while one-month bills ended the week yielding 0.10%. The 10-year note finished out the week with a yield of 0.60%. Since demand for treasuries is shrinking rapidly, the curve and steepness or flatness of it will hardly matter any more. The Federal Reserve will be buying most, if not all, of the issuance within months as monetization takes flight fully. The disaster in capital funding, like most of the rest of the monetary and fiscal weirdness, has only just begun.
Bonds are screaming that the condition of the economy is one of being on a deathbed with Dr. Fauci overseeing the patient. It's sure to continue a downward spiral, leading to death. Getting people back to work won't alleviate the condition since many small businesses will not reopen. The onrush of bankruptcies and credit defaults are about to accelerate. Many renters - commercial and residential - are planning on not paying their rents come May 1, which is this coming Friday, suggesting that this week may look like a picnic compared to the carnage caused by the realization that a good third of the country is going broke the first full week of May.
Gold and silver made gains on the COMEX, and were little changed, though lower on eBay, where buyers can actually get physical precious metals delivered on a reasonable time basis (1-4 days). Dealers are still placing premiums on both gold and silver, and delivery times remain weeks off with many of the more popular items still out of stock.
Here are this week's figures from sales on eBay:
To close out this edition of the WEEKEND WRAP, a final word about the lockdown and states "opening up" as it were: We should not have been in lockdown in the first place. The coronavirus, or COVID-19, is not a killer disease for more than 90% of the population. It now appears, after blowing out all the hyperbole and media spin, that the state-by-state lockdown was pre-planned at the highest levels. It was completely unnecessary, as evidenced by the results out of Sweden, which was one country which chose not to torpedo their economy. The Swedes have experienced the same or fewer cases of infection per capita and fewer deaths than their counterparts. Their example is the one which should have been followed.
Additionally, as part of the plan to bail out Wall Street and next, the states themselves, economic conditions are more likely to continue deteriorating over the near term. Accumulating hard assets is advisable, whereas investing should be regarded as gambling in a rigged casino, unless you are ultra rich and have inside information. Most of us do not.
Go out and hug somebody. COVID-19 is a massive psy-op designed to demoralize and dehumanize. Don't let them win.
For the Week: