Weekly Roundup – Stimulus, Crypto, COVID and Trading

Hey Influence Traders,

Its the weekend, which means its time for the Weekly Roundup.

I had a busy week — after returning from the slopes I made a #PowerMove to DC to see some of my inside sources face-to-face …

The Highlights

  • The weather has calmed down … the fallout from GameStop has not.

  • Bonds were on the move; stocks were flat.

  • Cryptos did an about face from the prior week.

  • And Friday was a busy news day:

    • Johnson & Johnsons (Ticker: JNJ) vaccine was greenlit by F.D.A. advisers.

    • The SEC suspended trading in 15 securities because of questionable trading and social media activity.”

DC Action

This week was not as slow as last week on the confirmation front.

Folks in DC actually got to work … if only slightly.

Confirmations

  • Secretary of Energy: Jennifer Granholm was confirmed. She is a former two-term governor of Michigan who has experience in dealing with the auto industry. She should help Biden’s push to rollout electric vehicles and EV charging stations.

  • Secretary of Agriculture: Tom Vilsack was confirmed. He is a DC insider, having served as Agriculture secretary for eight years under Obama. Biden views him as instrumental to tackle the hunger and farm crises that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

  • US Ambassador to the United Nations: Linda Thomas-Greenfield was confirmed. She is a 35 year foreign service veteran.

The nomination of Neera Tanden, Biden’s pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget, is in deep peril after Democratic Sen. Manchin and a slew of Republicans signaled they wouldn’t support her.

Contentious Upcoming Confirmation Hearings
Interior Secretary nominee Deb Haaland’s confirmation hearing is coming up this week, which will be contentious given her opposition to fossil fuels.

Department of Health and Human Services nominee Xavier Becerra’s confirmation is in jeopardy, given his support of Obamacare.

COVID Relief Bill
Some substance … a lot of pork!

The House Budget Committee unveiled the details of its $1.9 Trillion COVID relief bill, which includes:

  • $422b in direct payments: $1,400 per person, with the payments phasing out for those with higher incomes ($75,000 for a single person and couples making more than $150,000).

  • $246b in additional jobless assistance: the bill will extend jobless benefits until the end of August and boost the weekly amount received by workers through state unemployment programs by $400.

  • $120b in support for parents: parents of children under the age of 18 will get monthly benefits worth $250-$300, depending on age, for one year.

  • $70b for Covid-19 tests and vaccines.

  • $170b in school reopening funds.

  • $110b in business support, including grants for small businesses.

  • $55b for paid leave and health insurance.

The bill immediately drew fire for some questionable spending priorities unrelated to COVID relief:

  • $350b for local governments, which the Republicans immediately branded as a handout to primarily Democratic states.

  • $300 million for the Agriculture Department to “conduct monitoring and surveillance of susceptible animals for incidence of SARS–CoV–2."

  • $135 million to the National Endowment for the Arts, $135 million to the National Endowment of the Humanities and $200 million to the Institute of Museum and Library Services

  • $750 million for “the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to combat SARS–CoV– 2, COVID–19, and other emerging infectious disease threats globally.

  • $500 million “to support public health data surveillance and analytics infrastructure modernization initiatives at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

  • $15 billion to the airlines industry, which was controversially bailed out in the first stimulus.

One thing that did not make it into the bill was the raising of the minimum wage. A Senate arbiter ruled it must be removed from the COVID package for procedural reasons.

US Critical Supply Chains

President Biden signed an executive order requiring his administration to review critical supply chains with the aim of bolstering American manufacturing, including for semiconductors and critical rare earth.

Automakers have been forced to halt production because of a lack of computer chips.

Health care workers are short masks.

Pharmaceutical executives have voiced concerns that critical drugs could dry up because foreign countries are stockpiling key ingredients.

China has been vocal about using its rare earth dominance as an economic weapon against other nations.

Power Mover of the Week

My winner is Johnson & Johnson (Ticker: JNJ) because its COVID vaccine was greenlit by the FDA and distribution is expected within days.

It will be the third shot made available to the United States and the first vaccine to require just one dose instead of two.

JNJ’s stock price got a nice little after-hour’s pop on Friday.

Power Loser of the Week

The 18%+ drop in the price of BTC this week made it a contender, particularly since many people piled in over the past few weeks!

But my Power Loser(s) of the week are velocity day traders.

On Friday, SEC suspended trading in 15 securities because of questionable trading and social media activity”:

  • Bebida Beverage (Ticker: BBDA)

  • Blue Sphere (Ticker: BLSP)

  • Ehouse Global (Ticker: EHOS)

  • Eventure Interactive (Ticker: EVTI)

  • Eyes on the Go (Ticker: AXCG)

  • Green Energy Enterprises (Ticker: GYOG)

  • Helix Wind (Ticker: HLXW)

  • International Power Group (Ticker: IPWG)

  • Marani Brands (Ticker: MRIB)

  • MediaTechnics (Ticker: MEDT)

  • NetTalk.com (Ticker: NTLK)

  • Patten Energy Solutions Group (Ticker: PTTN)

  • PTA Holdings (Ticker: PTAH)

  • Universal Apparel & Textile (Ticker: DKGR)

  • Wisdom Homes of America (Ticker: WOFA)

The SEC has the power to suspend trading for up to 10 days in any security.

The agency said it did so as part of its continuing effort to respond to potential attempts to exploit investors during the recent market volatility.”

The SEC is trying to prevent the artificial inflation of stock prices through social media.

While the SEC and other regulators did not come down on the little guys who moved GameStop, they don’t have an appetite to see such #PowerMoves in the future.

Cutting Through the Noise for You.

Frank

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