Metal Rocket Men

Hey Influence Traders,

Apparently, when really rich guys are bored, they quit their jobs and … go to space.

That got me thinking …

Rockets need metal.

And so does green energy.

While the current infrastructure proposal is light green (at best), some metals will flourish.

Rocket Men

Jeff Bezos started Amazon (Ticker: AMZN) 27 years ago.

On Monday, the richest man on the planet stepped down as CEO and announced that he is leaving Earth. 

(This is not the plot of a new Superman movie, by the way.)

Bezos will remain as executive chairman, and his long-time lieutenant, Andy Jassy, will take the helm.

Jazzy has been at AMZN since 1997, and has been the head of Amazon Web Services, AMZN’s most profitable division.

The transition comes at a pivotal time for the company …

AMZN is an antitrust target and it is the subject of probes from Congress, the Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission and regulators in Europe.

Meanwhile …

Bezos plans to fly into space (or at least close to space) on July 20 aboard a rocket made by his space company, Blue Origin.

Not to be outdone, Virgin rich guy Richard Branson announced that he will fly into space first, on July 11, aboard his Virgin Galactic Holdings (Ticker: SPCE) spacecraft the VSS Unity.

My sources confirm that neither Elon Musk nor Option Pit CEO Mark Sebastian will not be part of this latest space race.

Ah, to be uber-rich and bored!

Infrastructure Dealing

A fight is looming over the bipartisan infrastructure deal worked out between a group of senators and President Biden.

Some influential Senate Democrats don’t like proposed methods to pay for the $973-billion deal …

Those included redirecting unused unemployment insurance funds and repurposing $125 billion in untapped COVID-19 relief funding previously designated for state and local governments.

Some senators believe that higher corporate tax rates should pay the bill. (I’m as shocked as you!)

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has stated that he will not vote for the bipartisan framework because of a lack of “progressive" revenue sources.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) wants to raise $1 trillion from corporations and $300 billion by taxing unrealized capital gains.

Wyden believes that corporations that will benefit from infrastructure spending should foot the bill for such spending.

Wyden and others argue that the recent Labor Department statistics showing unemployment inched up to 5.9% is proof that redirecting unemployment insurance is a mistake.

But many GOP-led states are itching to cut off additional jobless benefits, arguing that such spending is encouraging people not to seek employment.

Some prognosticators believe that Wyden and others will back down if directed by Biden, although they will have input into the final bill.

The other Democrat objection is that the proposal does not spend enough on green energy infrastructure.

Many Republicans have also found fault with the bill — from its ability to pay for spending to the $40 billion it has earmarked for the IRS.

Green Metals

Tech companies started the year strong, but oil drillers and metal miners are making a comeback.

Recent announcements of potential spending from inside the Beltway are causing ripples in old-fashioned sectors that are seeing a rebound.

Energy stocks have been leading the rise of the S&P 500.

Some of the worst performing stocks of 2020 have led a first half charge in 2021.

Marathon Oil (Ticker: MRO) saw a drop of almost 50% in 2020, but has seen a doubling so far in 2021 thanks to oil moving back over $70 a barrel.

Green initiatives, such as windmills, require a substantial amount of petroleum to meet the plastic needs for the turbine blades.

Meanwhile, lithium production will have to increase to meet EV car and battery needs, 

In the first three months of 2021, U.S. lithium miners have raised nearly $3.5 billion from Wall Street (seven times the amount raised in the prior 36 months).

And industry analysts estimate that lithium demand is going to increase tenfold by 2030.

Lithium Americas Corp. (Ticker: LAC) is preparing to start digging a mine in Nevada, which will be the first large-scale domestic lithium project in over a decade …

But the project is drawing heavy protests from members of a Native American tribe, ranchers and environmental groups because of its expected impact on groundwater.

I like LAC, and will be keeping an eye on it …

But the protests make me nervous — particularly since the new mine is on leased federal land and the Biden Administration has shown a willingness to pull permits.

One metal that spans both brick and mortar and green infrastructure is copper. It’s used in everything!

I like Freeport-McMoRan (Ticker: FCX) for copper mining.

The company is expanding several US copper mines to meet demand and capture infrastructure capital.

And I like that the company is highly focused – its CEO Richard Adkerson recently reiterated that FCX is committed to copper, and will avoid lithium, rare earths and other EV metals that are getting more media attention.

FCX knows its core competency and is positioned to execute on it.

By the way, look for big #PowerMoves Portfolio news coming soon …

Cutting Through the Noise for You, 

Frank

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