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  1. #976

    Re: The Failing Economy

    Funny that despite the dire economic news the stock market has had one of the best months in a decade.
    Roger forever

  2. #977

    Re: The Failing Economy

    Quote Originally Posted by suliso View Post
    Funny that despite the dire economic news the stock market has had one of the best months in a decade.
    Stocks are headed for their best month in decades, yet most of Wall Street hates this rally
    Yun Li

    Rising hopes for a coronavirus treatment and a partial reopening of the economy sparked a steep rebound this month, with the S&P 500 popping more than 10%, on track for its best month since 1987.

    However, a lack of an all-clear on the pandemic front, coupled with worrisome technical and sentiment indicators, lead many Wall Street pros to believe the market is getting ahead of itself.

    “Beware of the oddity in this bear rally,” said Andrew Lapthorne, global head of quantitative research at Societe Generale. “The dramatic reversal of global markets after the pandemic lows is more puzzling.”

    As encouraging as the market comeback this month has been, Wall Street has little faith in it.

    A leveling out of coronavirus hospitalizations, rising hopes for a treatment and a partial reopening of the economy sparked a steep rebound this month, with the S&P 500 popping more than 10%, on track for its best month since 1987 and its third-best month ever since World War II.

    However, a lack of an all-clear on the pandemic front, coupled with worrisome technical and sentiment indicators, lead many Wall Street pros to believe the market is getting way ahead of itself.

    “Beware of the oddity in this bear rally,” Andrew Lapthorne, global head of quantitative research at Societe Generale, said in a note Thursday. “Given the overall negative undertone from the economic challenges ahead, the dramatic reversal of global markets after the pandemic lows is more puzzling.”

    The economic fallout is still unfolding on a daily basis. Stocks dropped Thursday after the latest data showed more than 30 million Americans filed for unemployment over the last six weeks. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy shrank 4.8% in the first quarter, marking the biggest decline since the worst of the financial crisis.

    Based on an exhaustive analysis of bear markets in the past 150 years, Societe Generale expects the S&P 500 to end this year at 2,715, a 7% decline from here. The equity benchmark has bounced more than 30% off its March 23 low to 2,939 at Wednesday’s close.

    “We do believe as we get closer to the opening of the economy, the various areas of credit – such as the US Treasury Yield Curve and Bank Lending – suggest the market may be getting ahead of itself as hope may be offset by reality,” Tony Dwyer, chief market strategist at Canaccord Genuity, said in a note. Dwyer has suspended his S&P 500 year-end target due to the unprecedented volatility.

    ‘Odds of another deep decline are very, very high’

    From a technical standpoint, the market seems poised for a pullback again, they argue. The S&P 500 has reached a key 61.8% retracement level, according to Fibonacci analysis, a gauge technical analysts use to predict inflection points.

    “As we all know, no market moves in a straight line,” Matthew Maley, chief market strategist at Miller Tabak, said in a note Thursday. “The damage that was done in the first (37%) decline…and the recession that is upon us…could cause another round of selling before too long ... History tells us that the odds of another deep decline are very, very high.”

    Also worth noting is that investor darling Amazon experienced an “outside-down” day on Tuesday, where the high for the day is higher than the previous day’s high and the low of the day is below the previous day’s low. The phenomenon often signals an exhaustion of a rally.

    Another voice, Jeffrey Gundlach, CEO of DoubleLine, believes a retest of the low is “very plausible” as investors are too optimistic about the economic recovery from the pandemic. The so-called bond king revealed Monday that he just initiated a short position against the stock market.

    Sentiment turning sour

    Under the surface, investor sentiment has in fact turned bearish on multiple fronts, Maneesh Deshpande, head of equity derivatives strategy at Barclays, pointed out.

    Institutional positioning represents the most pessimistic in nearly four years, as measured in the net open interest in S&P 500 futures, Deshpande said, adding it’s mainly driven by asset managers decreasing equity exposure. Meanwhile, AAII Bull-Bear indicator, a proxy for retail sentiment, is at lowest levels since the coronavirus crisis began, he added.

    Deshpande also cited an increase in short interest in exchange-traded funds recently and a more bearish positioning in options markets, which indicates increased hedging demand.

    “The rebound has been legitimate but is also fragile,” Lori Calvasina, head of U.S. equity strategy at RBC Capital Markets, said in a note Thursday. “We expect US equities to remain choppy in the coming months.”

    — CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  3. #978

    Re: The Failing Economy

    I can see lots of folks wanted to do this - Disney without the crush of people. I know it will still be crowded, but relatively...

    Long lines, lots of kids, and plenty to touch: How does Disney reopen its parks?
    (Reuters) - For a glimpse at how Disney recovers from the coronavirus pandemic, look no further than Shanghai, where the entertainment giant has staged a limited reopening of Shanghai Disney Resort. Adults, kids and senior citizens wear masks while wandering among staff and security guards who carry contact-less thermometers and hand sanitizer.

    As some U.S. states lift stay-at-home orders, investors and park fans are watching to see how Walt Disney Co — which makes a third of its revenue from parks, experiences and products — reimagines the “happiest place on earth” for a world altered by the coronavirus.

    The high-touch, high-volume, kid-centered nature of the parks, and Disney’s need to prevent damage to a brand synonymous with safety and families, will make reopening difficult, experts said.

    Disney’s ability to reopen its parks in Asia, the United States and France will also be a powerful signal about how the world can get back to a semblance of normal as it deals with COVID-19.

    “This is the greatest challenge that the industry has ever faced,” said Phil Hettema, founder of The Hettema Group, which designs theme park rides and other experiences.

    Disney, which has not announced any plans to reopen the parks, declined to comment for this story.

    Executive Chairman Bob Iger recently said checking guests’ temperature could become routine at Disney park entrances. Among other plans under consideration, according to a source briefed on Disney’s thinking: Rides like the Space Mountain roller coaster could stagger guests in each “rocket” to enforce social distancing. Guests could be notified via app or another technology when they can go on a ride or in a restaurant to eliminate lines.

    Staffers, known as cast members, and guests could be required to wear masks. But in true Disney fashion, employees’ masks would be fun, not scary, the source said.

    Disney on Thursday began online sales of face masks featuring Mickey Mouse, Baby Yoda and other characters and said up to $1 million in profits would go to charity.

    Masks, now worn commonly across China, are ubiquitous in the shopping district outside Shanghai Disney, where workers disinfect a playground for 5- to 12-year-olds at noon and 3 p.m. daily. Temperature checks are mandated by local regulations, according to Shanghai Disney’s website.

    Business and political leaders in Florida, home to Walt Disney World, have floated ideas such as limiting capacity at all theme parks during an initial re-opening phase.

    The question that health experts and financial analysts are asking is whether any of these measures will be enough to protect employees, guests or Disney’s bottom line.

    Social distancing could come at a steep price.

    In April, UBS downgraded its rating on Disney and lowered its division profit estimates to $500 million in fiscal 2020 and just $200 million in 2021 compared to $6.8 billion in 2019.

    Disney parks need to be running at roughly 50% of capacity to be profitable, according to the firm.

    Investors will see a fuller impact of coronavirus when Disney releases its second-quarter results on May 5; Comcast said on Thursday that if its Universal Studios parks remain closed for the entire second quarter, the company would suffer an earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization loss of roughly $500 million.

    Financial analysts have predicted reopen dates for Disney ranging from as early as June to Jan. 1. Guidelines will be set by governors in California and Florida, where Iger and Walt Disney World Resort President Josh D’Amaro sit on state reopening task forces. The rest is up to Disney.

    Although Disney and other large venues face an unprecedented challenge protecting guests from an easily spread airborne virus, experts and a former executive pointed to its experience handling crowds.

    More than 157 million people visited Disney parks in 2018, according to the Themed Entertainment Association.

    “If anybody can figure it out, Disney will,” said Dave Schmitt, founder of MR-ProFun, a consultant to theme parks.

    Safeguards have limits. Temperature checks will not catch everyone infected, and most vaccines are not 100% effective, said Dr. Megan Murray, a global health professor at Harvard Medical School.

    Even so, a vaccine would provide some reassurance for park-goers, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted from April 15-21. While a fifth of respondents said they would attend an amusement, theme or water park whenever they reopen, about 30% would go if a vaccine was available. The poll, which surveyed 4,429 American adults, noted that a vaccine might not be available for more than a year.

    Loyal fans are counting on Disney to get this right. Chicago resident Kelly Alexis, 50, has been to Disney resorts 35 to 40 times and plans to go to Disney World with her family in October if the park is open.

    “It’s just the feeling that they do things so perfectly and they will take every precaution,” Alexis said. “They’re not going to want to have an epidemic where everyone gets sick at Disney. They would never let that happen.”
    "And for my next fearless prediction..."

  4. #979

    Re: The Failing Economy

    Mother Jones @MotherJones

    A congressional oversight panel wants to know why the Trump administration and the Federal Reserve are no longer requiring businesses seeking coronavirus relief loans to attest that the pandemic was the source of their financial woes.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  5. #980

    Re: The Failing Economy

    Will the coronavirus pandemic open the door to a four-day workweek?

    Miriam Berger
    May 24, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. EDT

    The world is watching New Zealand.

    Decisive early action, along with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s empathetic style of leadership, quashed the country’s coronavirus outbreak in fewer than 50 days, earning it a place on the short list of nations the rest of the world is looking to for guidance — not just on how to fight the initial wave of the pandemic, but on what could come next.

    So, when Ardern uploaded a video to Facebook last week floating the idea of a four-day workweek, an audience outside New Zealand took notice, judging by the headlines. Amid the flexibility companies have had to show in response to the novel coronavirus crisis, what once in many quarters would have come across as a fringe notion no longer seemed so unthinkable.

    Ardern said she was looking for creative ways to stimulate domestic tourism, to help the industry recover as the country begins to reopen with strict border measures still in place. But she couched the idea in the context of broader changes to the workplace wrought by the pandemic.

    “I’ve heard lots of people suggesting we should have a four-day week,” she said. “Ultimately, that really sits between employers and employees.”

    “I’d really encourage people to think about that, if you’re an employer and in a position to do so,” Ardern said, “if that’s something that would work for your workplace.”

    A preexisting trend

    Long before the coronavirus pandemic upended life on every continent, the four-day workweek was gaining a global cohort of converts, according to Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, the author of “Shorter: Work Better, Smarter, and Less — Here’s How.”

    For his research, Pang spent time in offices that had implemented the policy in Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea the United Kingdom, the United States and Scandinavian countries to track why they were making the shift. “It’s not just touchy-feely social democracies that are doing it,” he said, but also countries where “overwork is the norm.”

    Some studies show workplace productivity and satisfaction go up under a shorter, more compressed schedule.

    Finland’s prime minister has touted the idea, the U.K.’s Labour Party has campaigned on it, and companies including Microsoft in Japan and Shake Shack in the United States have succeeded in trying out versions of it. While not all have ultimately stayed, one study in the U.K. last year found 64 percent of leaders of businesses with four-day workweeks saw an increase in staff productivity, while 77 percent of workers linked it to a better quality of life. The same study cited bureaucratic hurdles like contracts as among the major limitations.

    That’s in part why before the pandemic, Karen Jansen, a researcher on organizational behavior in the U.K., estimated a major shift toward the shorter workweek wouldn’t happen before 2030. Now, she said, the coronavirus is “accelerating” that timeline.

    “It used to be that flexible work arrangements were a bit stigmatized,” she said. “Those negatives I think are going away. Covid has had a leveling effect.”

    “This experience has taught us that we don’t have to have a one-size-fits-all model for everyone,” Jansen added. “The question, I think, is who is going to go back to the old way.”

    Labor bubbles

    Many of the benefits of a four-day workweek overlap, in theory, with the pros of working from home that extend beyond safety during the pandemic, Jansen said. “It’s that ability to have work-life balance, to help save the environment in terms of your commuting and footprint on the Earth.”

    Much like remote work, four-day weeks, even if they gained widespread traction, would not likely be available to all workers evenly. There are different models for the shortened week, some of which envision the same output condensed into fewer hours while other simply imagine longer hours spread over fewer days.

    The pandemic has already exacerbated divides between those with professions that can be done remotely and the workers in health care, retail, delivery, food-processing and other sectors who cannot stay home and face elevated risk. The crisis has also amplified inherent inequalities between workers in formal jobs, with set contracts and hours, and those in the gig and informal economy.

    The four-day workweek can’t fix these labor “bubbles,” said Jansen. Instead, she said, the three-day weekend would become a “bubble” like remote work, encompassing a growing number of people and professions while excluding others.

    Andrew Barnes, a businessman and leading proponent of the four-day workweek in New Zealand, said the model, if implemented, could serve to redress gender imbalances.

    Initial studies have shown women worldwide bear the brunt of child care and other domestic responsibilities under lockdowns and work-from-home orders, which exacerbate preexisting dynamics. In contrast, he argued, a four-day workweek could normalize a pattern in which people of all genders split their time more evenly between home and the workplace, removing an entrenched barrier to female professional advancement.

    “You’re never going to get women at the top unless you get the guys out of the office,” Barnes said. “It makes it okay [for men] to spend time at home, to look after kids, to have care responsibilities.”

    Barnes is the CEO of Perpetual Guardian, New Zealand’s largest estate planning company, and his employees, who were already working four-day weeks before the outbreak, easily transitioned to remote work, he said. They would prefer a mix of office and remote work moving forward, according to surveys he has conducted.

    For companies that need to scale back, Barnes urged management to consider switching to four-day weeks, as one fewer day could be a way to reduce office-related costs.

    “Pay them what they are worth,” Barnes said. “Not how much time they spend in the office.”
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  6. #981

    Re: The Failing Economy

    One of the employment problems in Colombia (I think) is that the legal working week there is 48 hours. And people in Bogota will not work that. They will work more. So companies hold the power to pretty much enslave you.
    4-day work week? Fat chance down there.
    Face it. It's the apocalypse.

  7. #982
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    Re: The Failing Economy

    My current employer and my previous employer both have flexible work weeks for staff who request it. So I've seen this since 1999. I'm glad others are catching up to the companies I have worked for (both of which are/were owned by women, I might add).
    Winston, a.k.a. Alvena Rae Risley Hiatt (1944-2019), RIP

  8. #983

    Re: The Failing Economy

    One of the issues I have with looking for work is that I like my rotations. I usually do 5 weeks ON 5 weeks OFF (5/5). So for a bit over one month I have to bust my back. We do 24/7, with usual workdays around 12 hours, with days lasting 14 hours not unusual.
    But then I get 5 weeks off. The GF and I can travel, I can bring my Mom over for a visit. I play tennis during the week, I train, I read (more than when I am working). So I like that sort of deal.
    The point, I guess, is that there is no need to have that 5/2 ratio (days on/ days off). The economy can handle that.

    And with more and more automation and AI coming * we will have to review our work patterns. Because we are going to need to split work in order for all of us to have jobs.

    * Currently reading HUMAN COMPATIBLE, another book about AI and how it will affect us. Not good. More detailed analysis of how unprepared we are for this new technology and a very good explanation how new technologies lead to a temporary increase in jobs and then a permanent drop in the same jobs. Not what a person facing employment challenges needs to read at the moment.
    Face it. It's the apocalypse.

  9. #984

    Re: The Failing Economy

    I think it's safe to say that most of us here either worked or are working white collar jobs. The problem is going to be what happens to those who aren't? There are already check yourself out aisles at supermarkets. Many are going the grocery delivery route. Uber is trying to buy Grub Hub so that its drivers perform two services. Are manufacturing jobs coming back to the US or just moving to another bastion of low wages?

    This is all happening in slow motion but the lack of communication infrastructure away from large urban hubs which will result in residents there having less access to education as well as work is already biting us in the rear. This is why you have a group of people who work on pandemics. Yes you have the ones out front like Dr. Fauci and others, but you need the group in that small office talking about these issues and potential solutions to them as well as how to get started on those solutions.

    All we have is Tiny and Jared.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

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