Yes, I know it's my job to explain this BS but sometimes I'm like Leornard Nimoy at the end of "In Search Of" when he would say "That is some strange sh*t" – or at least that's how I remember it ending…
Speaking of ending, Trump is sending everyone back to work and wanted to disband the Coronavirus Task Force (people freaked out, so that's off for now) and, as usual, it takes less than 24 hours for his BS to be exposed as YESTERDAY the US once again led the World with 24,245 new infections, bringing our total to 1,228,457 so that's a 2% increase for the day which (doing the math for our Fox viewers) is a rate of 60% more per month, which would bring us to just under 2M infections in the next 30 days WITH THE LOCKDOWNS.
But nooooooooooooooooooooo!, we're not going to continue the lockdowns are we? Lockdowns are for pussies and we're Americans and Donald Trump says (literally, he actually said this) that we should be good soldiers and march back to work and many of us will be injured and some of us will die (more than Vietnam already) but the virus is our enemy and the way Trump wants to defeat it is by throwing American lives at it until it gives up!
Trump didn't fight in Vietnam (bone spurs) but perhapse one of our Republican readers can explain to the President that, when a soldier is injured or killed in a war, he doesn't come home and infect his family and friends as well. If that were the case – I think we would have less wars. Telling a father of 2 young children to leave his home and commute back to New York City to shuffle papers "for the good of the economy" doesn't just put his life in danger but the life of his wife, his children and their entire community. That's not just irresponsible of the President – it's reprehensible!
Without testing and protective equipment it's ridiculous to conduct an experiment on the entire US population to see if we can get back to work. Yes, other countries are getting back to work – but they are doing it with testing, tracking and PPE in place to make sure there are no new outbreaks. We haven't even contained the original outbreak yet...
As you can see from that 1995 trailer, there's no way the Administration could have been prepared for something like this to happen. SARS came along in 2002, MERS was 2012 and Corona 2020. I guess whoever is President in 2030 (if there's still a country by then) will say "No one could have seen this coming" when we have the next major virus too.
The Federal Reserve is doing a study and, so far, with 600 public companies reporting earnings, 42% of American non-financial public companies are discussing slashing investments and 17% are focused on drawing down on credit lines. At the peak of the last recession the figures were 25% and 7%, respectively.
“The dramatic increase in the share of firms taking these actions indicates that financing concerns amid the Covid-19 outbreak are even more severe than they were in 2008,” the Fed wrote.
According to a new survey from the Society for Human Resource Management, 52% of small businesses expect to be out of business within six months. The survey of 375 firms was conducted between April 15-21 and doesn’t account for improved business conditions as some U.S. states reopen this month. “SHRM has tracked Covid-19’s impact on work, workers, and the workplace for months,” said SHRM Chief Executive Officer Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., “but these might be the most alarming findings to date. Small business is truly the backbone of our economy. So, when half say they’re worried about being wiped out, let’s remember: We’re talking about roughly 14 million businesses.”
Just over a third of small firms expect that they can continue to operate more that 6 months, while 14% are uncertain, according to the survey. About one quarter of firms have seen revenues rise or remain unchanged in recent months. Among employees, hourly workers were hit hardest with eight in 10 firms cutting those positions, while 60% of surveyed businesses laid off salaried workers. A third of the companies polled by the advocacy group expected their payroll reductions to be permanent.
While we have been bullish from the late March bottom, we're already at our recovery goal on the S&P 500 at 2,850 and so we've begun to lighten up on our longs as the evidence is mixed – at best. There are currently more people out of work than there were at the height of the last Financial Crisis and, although the Fed and the Government have quickly come to the table with epic stimulus – it's going to be a long, slow road to recovery yet many stocks are trading at record highs.
We were already trading at record high valuations against forward earnings estimates before this crisis hit but now we are 10% higher than that – THAT'S INSANE! There's really no rationality to justify this – you have a Government that's lying to you and telling you things are going to be fine when they very likely will not be but, clearly, we have proven that you can indeed fool some of the people ALL of the time and even all of the people some of the time and this is clearly a reflection of that.
We have been lightening up on our long positions and we're very well-hedged but that's still no reason to risk too much so, if we can't hold 2,850 on the S&P – we are very likely to lighten up some more. Tomorrow we will get a horrific Non-Farm Payroll number and indications are that 22M Americans (14% of the workforce) is out of work and we're certainly on the way to 30M or more (20%) – numbers we haven't seen since the Great Depression.
Still, $6,500,000,000,000 is a lot of money and, though the stimulus has clearly been misapplied, there's still bound to be some effect so the real wildcard is how fast does infection spread as we re-open America, because the absolute worst thing we can do is open too early and then realize we have to shut down again for 3 months.
We're 6 weeks into a lockdown with 6 weeks to go per the original recommendation and we're about to toss those 6 weeks out the window to roll the dice on the future of our country. I HOPE Trump is right and I HOPE things work out fine – but it's certainly not a gamble I would take with other people's lives.