- Vacation is Over and a New Stimulus Package is on the Way
- Vaccine Produces “Promising” Immune Response (and Hopefully Nothing Else)
- Teens Own Up to Unprecedented Twitter Security Breach
- The Bears Failed
Vacation is Over and a New Stimulus Package is on the Way
Lawmaker’s return to Washington today with only one thing on their mind: it’s pizza day at the Capitol Hill cafeteria!
Oh, and the country is plunging into a pandemic-induced recession unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetime. But that can wait until after lunch. Maybe tomorrow. Pizza makes the representatives sleepy.
With new virus cases hitting record breaking numbers, and hospitalizations reaching those April highs, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the virus, like my nephew Daryll, is here to stay.
“It’s not going to magically disappear,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, struggling to nail the disappearing coin trick in his new magic kit.
The government is under mounting pressure to pass a fifth coronavirus stimulus bill before the end of the month, when the $600 boost to unemployment and the federal ban on evictions run out.
McConnell is expected to unveil a trillion-dollar package before the end of the week, though he says he’s aware that it’s probably just going to make folks mad.
Each of the previous stimulus packages passed unanimously in the House and Senate, as Republicans and Democrats came together in a time of crisis. But now that “a time of crisis” has become the new normal, it’s back to business as usual.
And like that one guy who only knows three cords but insists on playing the guitar every time you hang out, McConnell’s bill is wildly unpopular in every camp.
Reportedly, the White House is requesting major changes to the bill. Republicans are divided on whether or not they should be passing a bill at all. And Democrats, who attempted and failed to pass their own $3 trillion stimulus package, say it doesn’t do enough.
We won’t know the exact contents of the bill until it lands later this week. But the word on the Hill is that the cafeteria is thinking of cancelling Taco Tuesdays, which is ridiculous because it’s healthy and delicious.
Oh, and also the bill will include another round of $1,200 direct payments to Americans and up to $75 billion for schools, with an emphasis on in-person teaching.
We’ll know more later this week, when the bill is unveiled closer to Chicken Finger Friday.
Teens Own Up to Unprecedented Twitter Security Breach
Hackers seized control of dozens of high-profile Twitter accounts last week, including those of former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, and child-like Meme Wizard Elon Musk.
And like all great criminals, the masterminds behind the cyberattack went straight to the New York Times to tell them their story.
“Does that guy Bret Stephens still work here?”
Four people connected to the attack came to the NYT with their radical story of leet hackitude. The paper was able to confirm their involvement by matching their cryptocurrency accounts to those involved in last week’s attack.
Allegedly, one of the hackers slipped into Twitter’s internal Slack messaging channel, where they peeped all the information they needed to access the company’s servers and take control of anyone’s Twitter account.
According to the hackers, they’re not an elite group of cyber criminals or spies acting in the interest of foreign power. They’re just a bunch of nerds ding dongoing about the internet.
One of the hackers, codename “ever so anxious”, said he was 19-year-old boy, living in the south of England with his mother.
Twitter says its investigation is still underway, but all this stupid stuff seems to line up with what they’ve found so far.
Vaccine Produces “Promising” Immune Response
(and Hopefully Nothing Else)
A coronavirus vaccine developed by Oxford University has produced a promising immune response in a large trial and if they can end this thing soon, I’ll take back every joke I made about the British in One Last Thing.
The researchers combined the genetic material from the coronavirus with a chimpanzee virus and, hold on, THIS IS EXACTLY HOW YOU GET A PLANET OF THE APES SITUATION. (I take back everything I said about taking back my jokes.)
“The immune system has two ways of finding and attacking pathogens — antibody and T cell responses,” said Oxford Professor Andrew Pollard, essentially the James Franco character in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
“This vaccine is intended to induce both, so it can attack the virus when it’s circulating in the body, as well as attacking infected cells. We hope this means the immune system will remember the virus, so that our vaccine will protect people for an extended period.”
The researchers say the vaccine was well-tolerated by participants, with the most common side effects being fatigue and headaches. Other side effects included muscle ache, chills, fever, and a mild case of talking chimpanzees.
Adrian Hill, director of Oxford’s Jenner Institute, told CNBC the immune response means the vaccine will likely shield patients from the virus, though nothing is guaranteed.
Hill said researchers will begin human trials in the United States in a few weeks, as soon as Oxford University reclaims the English Department from a mysterious environmental activist rereferring to himself as Dr. Zaius.
In Other News
ONE LAST THING
The Bears Failed
By Money & Crisis Editor Graham Summers
The bears threw what they had at the market last week. And all they managed to accomplish was a chop-fest – nothing more.
A chop-fest is when stocks chop around without actually going anywhere. I simply can’t think of a better description for the market last week. And it doesn’t say much for the bearish case for stocks.
The NASDAQ traded within a small box formation (red square in the chart below) within the confines of its uptrend. Pretty much nothing was accomplished here.
At time of writing, we’re still in an uptrend. And we’ve managed to hold support, despite the bears’ best efforts. Again, this was a chop-fest.
The situation is even more pronounced in momentum stocks. You would think the bears would be able to muster enough selling power to make a company like Shopify (SHOP) – which is trading at 100x sales and up over 200% from its March lows – lose its uptrend.
You’d be wrong.
Even the VIX, which serves as a volatility index, failed to make a breakout this week. If this is the best the bears can do, it won’t be surprising to see stocks rise to new all-time highs in the next few months!
The Bullish Case Remains Intact
Look I get it, stocks are up a lot. And much of this movement has been based on the Fed pumping trillions of dollars into the financial system. So, this huge rally in stocks feels “fake” to many investors.
However, if the bears are unable to commit enough selling pressure to force stocks to correct even 5% at this point, it’s difficult to see how stocks won’t continue to rise, no matter how ridiculous if feels.
Put simply, the bears failed last week. End of story. This means the bullish case remains intact for now.
Closing Data for today:
Disney has substantially cut ad spend on Facebook amid a growing boycott from companies. Disney was Facebook’s top US advertiser for the first half of 2020.
- New Jersey regulators approved Eldorado Resorts’ acquisition of Caesars Entertainment Corp., creating the world’s biggest casino company.
- American oil giant Chevron will acquire Noble Energy, an American oil and gas explorer.
Editor, One Last Thing