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Stimulus Stalemate Continues, What That Means For The Economy

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Stimulus Stalemate Continues, What That Means For The Economy

Yesterday while testifying before Congress, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell urged politicians to set aside their differences. He asked them to approve another round of stimulus checks for Americans and the economy. Powell believes this will help ensure that the economic recovery doesn’t stall.

“Many borrowers will benefit from these programs, as will the overall economy,” Powell said. “But for others, a loan that could be difficult to repay might not be the answer, and in these cases, direct fiscal support may be needed.”

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin also testified before Congress. He was questioned about his support for another round of stimulus checks.

Mnuchin said that the White House was in favor of another round of direct payments. “The administration does support another stimulus payment,” he stated. When questioned by Michigan Democrat Rep. Rashida Tlaib about why the payments haven’t been approved, he added, “We obviously can’t pass a bill in the Senate without bipartisan support. Our job is to continue to work with Congress to try to get additional help to the American public.”

Here are what four market analysts had to say when asked how another round of stimulus checks being approved – or not – will affect the economic recovery.

Eugene Profit

Eugene Profit serves as the president, CEO and managing director of Profit Investment Management. He says he doesn’t see the likelihood of bipartisan support to pass another bill before the election. He says without stimulus checks, the idea of a “v-shaped” recovery could disappear.

“We don’t believe that there’s going to be much support before the election due to the fact that the Congress’ attention is focused elsewhere, especially with the unfortunate passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” said Profit.

“For most of the pandemic, investors have been very optimistic about the market and thinking that we’re going to have a straight-line, V-shape-type recovery, and that’s the way we’ve invested, or that’s the way most of the market is invested. We don’t think that’s going to continue,” he added.

Glenn Hutchins

Glenn Hutchins is the chairman of North Island and a co-founder of Silver Lake. He says everyone’s expectations for the market recovery assume another $1 trillion of stimulus. Hutchins warns that it would be a “significant issue” if we don’t get another relief bill passed.

“One example of the politics getting in the way of all this right now is that we can’t get another stimulus package, which we clearly need, which both sides think we need. There’s a fair amount of debate about how big it should be, how it should be targeted, but there’s nobody saying we can’t have it and we don’t need it and we’re not going to have it because of the politics of the season we’re in right now,” said Hutchins, “By the way, these projections that we’re looking at right now … all assume at least $1 trillion or more of stimulus. So, if we don’t have that, that will be a very significant issue.”

Dan Niles

Dan Niles, founding partner and portfolio manager at Alpha One Capital Partners, said he expected a bill to be passed. However, nobody is going to compromise on a stimulus bill. This comes as both sides now digging in over the Supreme Court nomination. If we do manage to get one, Niles thinks it will boost the market as much as 10%.

“I felt like it would take the market really going down hard for politicians to be forced to act like grown-ups and come together with something that’s good for the country, and I felt like we were almost there. Now, with the Supreme Court fight on, I think you’re back to both sides not wanting to compromise. But… I think it could be good for easily a 5% to 10% move on the upside, potentially, if we get it.”

Ed Yardini

Ed Yardini, president of Yardeni Research, thinks that the government can spread enough money around in the next few months. He believes this stimulus distribution will keep things going until the economy can stand on its own.

“I reckon that there’s still enough of this government stimulus that it’ll keep the economy growing probably through September, October, maybe November. And hopefully along the way, we’ll see employment continue to pick up so that the economy can grow on its own without necessarily needing another or at least another big stimulus package.”

What are your thoughts? Will we get another round of stimulus checks before the election? Or will Democrats refuse to negotiate in good faith? Leave your comments below.

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Moderna Vaccine ‘Actively Preparing’ for Distribution

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In light of advanced stages in its clinical trial, a Moderna vaccine is actively preparing for distribution. One of the Covid-19 vaccine leaders, Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccine is expecting trial results by November. An independent data monitoring committee will conduct an interim review in November. This involves sifting through data from  30,000 volunteers.

RELATED: Multiple COVID-19 Vaccines Could Be Ready by Fall

Also, by the end of 2020, Moderna aims to produce 20 million doses, with another 500 million to 1 billion doses by next year.

Phase III Trial Infection Rates Meet Expectations

Moderna reported that trial infection rates were on track with expectations. Chief Medical Officer Tal Zaks said that they are “following the ZIP codes and the counties from which these participants come, we have pretty sophisticated models of what to expect.” He added that “I think we’re on track for those expectations.”

During Thursday’s results call, CEO Stephane Bancel said they hope for FDA approval soon. A U.S. regulatory green light for Moderna’s vaccine would endorse the biotech’s vaccine platform.

In a press release, Bancel wrote: “We are actively preparing for the launch of mRNA-1273 and we have signed a number of supply agreements with governments around the world. Moderna is committed to the highest data quality standards and rigorous scientific research as we continue to work with regulators to advance mRNA-1273.”

How does the Moderna vaccine work?

mRNA-1273 uses synthetic messenger RNA (mRNA) to mimic the surface of the coronavirus. It then “teaches” the immune system to recognize and attack it. This technology is the same used by Pfizer and BioNTech to create a rival COVID-19 vaccine. The method has yet to produce an FDA-approved vaccine.

The Phase III trials, which involve 30,000 participants, expects to end by early November.  Moderna’s board will conduct its analysis only after there are 53 diagnosed cases of Covid-19.

The FDA will require a two-month safety data follow up after the final trial. So, Modena will have to file for emergency use authorization. This can happen as early as mid-November, upon completion of the trial review.

Moderna vaccine Getting Supply Deals Ready

This early, Moderna is readying its supply deals to its early customers. This includes governments of the US, Japan, Canada, and Israel. The US pre-ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine valued at $25/dose. They also have an option to buy an additional 400 million doses. All in, Moderna holds $1.1 billion in deposits from its customers. This includes grants and performance payments.

The most recent deal came via Takeda of Japan. Moderna announced earlier today that they will supply Takeda with 50 million doses. Pending local approval, this batch will arrive during the first half of 2021.

More inquiries are coming in. The company is in talks with the European Union for possible supplies to its members. It is also negotiating with the World Health Organization group COVAX. Discussions include vaccine distribution and scalable pricing.

Moderna Shares Up by 13%

Moderna stock prices rose as much as 13% in Thursday trades as investors warmed up to a potential vaccine. Shares traded higher by as much as 13%, as it reiterated that it is “actively preparing” for its vaccine launch.

During the earnings call, Moderna reported a 3rd quarter loss of $233.6 million, or 59 cents a share. This is greater than Refinitiv’s prediction of 43 cents per share. Moderna generated $157.9 million in revenue. This is more than double the expected $77.5 million.

Watch this as Yahoo! Finance reports that pharmaceutical firm Moderna is getting ready to distribute its vaccine across the globe:

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Stocks Post Its Worst Day in A Month

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Wall Street took a beating Monday as stocks posted its worst day in a month. Rising coronavirus cases and a fading stimulus relief led investors to sell-off.

RELATED: A Stock Market Rally On New Stimulus Bill Could Be ‘Short-Lived’

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 2.3% lower. It fell down 935 points during the day before settling 650 points lower. All Dow stocks closed in the red except Apple, which eked out a .01% gain. It was the Dow’s worst day since September 3.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 closed for the day at 1.9%, marking its worst day since late September. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite, which bounced back from its lows in the morning, finished lower at 1.6%.

While all sectors across the board experienced losses, some got crushed more. These include energy, industrials, and financials.

Higher Cases of Coronavirus

With eight days remaining before the elections, investors are starting to get jittery. Despite lots of talks, Congress has yet to approve a stimulus package. Cases of coronavirus are jumping in all states, and it recently hit a daily high average of 68,767 last Sunday.

Meanwhile, big tech companies are set to report earnings later this week. This lot includes Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook, and Twitter.  Fawad Razaqzada of Think Markets noted that the reports can inject further volatility. In the note, Think Markets believed that “on a more macro level, ongoing US stalemate over US fiscal stimulus and the rapidly spreading Covid-19 is going to determine the direction for the wider markets.”

Tom Lee, head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors, thinks Covid is a big influence over the market. He said “It’s almost as important as the Fed right now. Covid is suppressing the economy, and it’s essentially offsetting easy money. If we didn’t have Covid, people would be going out and spending money. It’s acting as a huge headwind.”

No Relief in Sight

Brad McMillan, CIO of Commonwealth Financial Network, thinks the reality hit investors hard. He told CNN business: “I think a big difference this time around [is]…there’s been a tremendous amount of hope baked into the market for quite a while, and we saw some things over this weekend that hit those assumptions hard.” The negotiations for a new relief package is gone at least until after the elections. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel adjourned the Senate after confirming new Chief Justice Amy Coney Barrett. They will resume their session on November 9, or six days after the elections.

Without a clear stimulus plan, the US economy could start to double-dip. And if the rise in coronavirus cases continues, the business will shut down again. This nightmare scenario is haunting the market at present. Steven Wieting, the chief strategist at Citi Private Bank, sees dimmer prospects. “The ability to fight the virus further right now is very much in question, and it’s a political question.” Wieting believes that Washington could take months before anything gets done. This made investors tentative.

Tom Lee added that “We have a lot of things to be anxious about in the next couple of weeks. That’s why this is a pre-election market. But post-election, I think a lot of things that make people nervous turn into a tailwind. The post-election stimulus is a when not an if. Even if it’s a mixed Congress, I think there’s still some common ground. It’s just the scope that’s different. It would be a smaller package.”

Eight Days Remaining

The final eight days before the elections usually brings good vibes for Wall Street. This year, the bulls will need some extra running following Monday’s selloff spree.

Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist history, observed this bull phenomenon. Since 1944, the S&P 500 rose on average 2.5% in the eight days before elections. The index is up 17 out of 19 times, or 89%. The biggest rise came during the recent financial crisis, with the S&P 500 roaring back 18.5% in a bear market rally. That year, Democrat Barack Obama won over the GOP’s John McCain. The market sunk back to new lows after the election. It bottomed out four months later. The first decline in 1968 (-0.8%), happened as Richard Nixon won over Democrat Hubert Humphrey. The other was in 1988 when Republican George H.W. Bush won against the Dems’ Michael Dukakis.

Wall Street needs to get its act together with eight days remaining. A short, decisive victory by either party can help uplift America’s image. And with all the drama removed, maybe the market can go back to its winning ways.

Watch this as Stocks fall sharply at open amid Covid-19 resurgence:

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US Housing Sales Boom Will Last Until 2021

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Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman told CNBC on Thursday that he sees the US housing sales boom will last until 2021. Total US Home sales increased 9.4% in September, surpassing estimates. Meanwhile, median prices went up 15% year over year. This is according to data provided by the National Association of Realtors.

RELATED: Biden Is Latest Dem to Support Ridiculous Free Housing Proposal

Shares of Redfin, a real estate brokerage firm, were higher by 1% Thursday to $45.60. The stock more than doubled during this year. It now has a market cap of $4.5 billion. 

Why do people buy houses during a recession? 

During this time when the economy is reeling and jobs are tight, people buy homes. Why? There are a couple of reasons.

The bigger acceptance for remote work freed many people from living in the city. The opportunity to leave cramped apartments and expensive city living. The pandemic gave enough reason for workers to pack up and head for greener pastures. Next, interest rates are going down hard. From 3.7%, 30-year mortgage rates are now 2.9%, the lowest rates ever. Despite higher prices, people know this is the best time to buy on the cheap. 

The intent is there. The pandemic allowed you to work anywhere. And interest rates allow you to pay the lowest interest rates. People are taking the plunge and buying. So what’s the problem? We’re running out of houses to buy. 

Demand coming from the rich 

Rich professionals who can work from home are the reason for the uptick in housing demand. Kelman said that many remote workers moved from major cities to distant suburbs. Kelman said these workers began “taking a permanent vacation where they’re working from those homes.”

People are taking advantage of low-interest rates to snap up homes. Kelman noted that “part of what is fueling this boom is that the economy has just split into two and rich people are able to access capital almost for free.” The opportunity to buy homes for cheap may be too much to resist. “Of course, they’re going to use that money to buy homes,” he added.  

Meanwhile, there’s another group of people who would like to buy but can’t. Kleman said:  “There’s just another group of Americans who are still struggling, who can’t access the credit because we’ve raised credit standards, and you have high unemployment. I just think those two trends, at some point, have to collide.” 

Kelman foresees demand to continue until 2021 at least. Many undecided buyers will buckle down next year and take the plunge. He said: “There’s no way it can last forever. This level of demand is absolutely insane. I would expect it to last into 2021, at least.” Why 2021? “There are so many people now who have decided they’re not going to be able to buy a home by year-end,” he said. Kelman expects them to buy next year, “as their kids shift school districts. I do think we’re going to see this for some time.”

Shrinking inventory of houses for sale

With homes fast disappearing from the market, higher purchase prices are coming back. Based on data from the National Association of Realtors data, only 2.7 months’ supply of houses is available last month. This represents the lowest level since 1982 when the NAR began tracking data. 

Kleman expects supply to increase after the elections. Uncertainty will decrease after voters elect a new president. Listing and selling a home can take months to process. That’s why sellers have a lower risk tolerance than buyers. “Buyers, when they see a house they love, they pounce,” he said. “I think the sellers are just looking long term in the economy and still feeling some anxiety. Many of them are going to put their homes on the market in January and February.”

Demand won’t last forever  

The Wall Street Journal’s Justin Lahart thinks not everybody can live outside the big cities. A remote job in a vacation spot may pose difficulties for some. Winter conditions may also make some remote workers rethink their strategy. He also believes that the housing boom now made people buy houses sooner than later. He thinks many of the workers who moved to the suburbs would’ve done so in a few years. When the pandemic subsides, a smaller group might follow the exodus out of big cities. 

The number of people who can afford houses will shrink as well. Many workers’ careers derailed during the year. Many millennials got burned during the financial crisis in the early 2000s. Now, a new career-threatening crisis is in full swing. The post-coronavirus landscape may depend on how well the economy rebounds. We’ll have next year to find out.

Watch this as CNBC reports on the US housing sales boom. Redfin CEO Says “people are buying vacation homes, then taking a permanent vacation:

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