Daily Digest 8/13 – Dow Jones Tumbles 400 Points, Forest Animal Populations Plummeted Since 1970

Economy

Dow Jones Tumbles 400 Points, But These 3 Blue Chip Stocks Are Holding Up (Thomas R.)

The Dow Jones index has been stuck under its 50-day moving average now for a full week. It tested the 200-day early last week and is now 1% above the long-term support line. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq regained their 50-day lines on Thursday. They remain a respective 3% and 4% above their 200-day lines.

Lowe’s spent billions on share buybacks, zero on severance for laid-off workers (Sparky1)

Yet when thousands of those workers recently got the boot, they received no notice and no severance. Instead, Lowe’s — a profitable company that spends billions buying back its own stock — offered the equivalent of two weeks “transition” pay to full-time workers, some with the company more than a decade. Laid-off workers were also invited to re-apply for jobs at Lowe’s, though not necessarily for the the same pay.

Photos: Hong Kong protesters took over the city’s airport (tmn)

The airport plays an outsize role in Hong Kong’s economy, accounting for 5% of the city’s GDP, according to the government. And as one of the world’s busiest airports, any disruption there has widespread global implications. It’s not just passenger flights that are affected, either. The airport funnels more freight by volume than any other airport, and while air freighters were able to take off last night, a lot of cargo is typically carried on passenger planes, according to the Guardian. The city’s secretary of transport and housing said yesterday that the protests and flight cancellations “seriously harmed the reputation of Hong Kong as well as the Hong Kong International Airport,” and urged demonstrators to “leave peacefully as soon as possible.”

New rules to deny green cards to many legal immigrants (TS)

Under the new rules, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will now weigh whether applicants have received public assistance along with other factors such as education, income and health to determine whether to grant legal status.

The rules will take effect in mid-October. They don’t apply to U.S. citizens, though immigrants related to the citizens may be subject to them.

Why Gold Prices Are About To Skyrocket Even Higher (Michael S.)

“Governments around the world are becoming increasingly wary of the dollar’s hegemony in international trade,” says Moore. “And they’re doing their best to distance themselves from it by using their gold reserves to buy more gold instead.”

Rare Earths Crisis in Retrospect (Thetallestmanonearth)

The U.S. Congress convened a hearing on “China’s monopoly on rare earths: Implications for U.S. foreign and security policy,” with Rep. Donald Manzullo (R-IL) declaring, “China’s actions against Japan fundamentally transformed the rare earths market for the worse. As a result, manufacturers can no longer expect a steady supply of these elements, and the pricing uncertainty created by this action threatens tens of thousands of American jobs.” Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) argued that “Chinese control over rare earth elements gives them one more argument as to why we should kowtow to China,” while a report by the Government Accountability Office warned that “rebuilding a U.S. rare earth supply chain may take up to 15 years.”

Russian failed nuclear test hints at Putin’s dangerous plans to beat U.S. defenses (Thomas R.)

Experts said this vague, technical wording hinted that the facility was likely testing the same experimental weapon announced in March 2018 by Russian President Vladimir Putin. He revealed that Russia was developing a cruise missile with “unlimited range” that could carry a nuclear weapon to any point on the globe.

Vodka From Chernobyl Is Perfectly Safe, Say the Scientists Who Made It (tmn)

“I think this is the most important bottle of spirits in the world because it could help the economic recovery of communities living in and around the abandoned areas,” Jim Smith, a professor of environmental science at the University of Portsmouth, said in a statement announcing the project.

Trump’s Secretary of Agriculture Tells Joke About Whining Farmers to Room Full of Farmers, Gets Boo’d (Don R.)

“I had a farmer tell me this in Pennsylvania,” Perdue said at a farm show in Minnesota last Wednesday, according to Agri-Pulse. “He said, ‘What do you call two farmers in a basement?’ I said ‘I don’t know, what do you call them?’”

Perdue said the farmer said: “A whine cellar.”

Trump Administration weakens U.S. wildlife protections, states and conservationists to sue (Sparky1)

“These changes crash a bulldozer through the Endangered Species Act’s lifesaving protections for America’s most vulnerable wildlife,” Noah Greenwald, the Center for Biological Diversity’s endangered species director, said in a statement. “For animals like wolverines and monarch butterflies, this could be the beginning of the end.”

The changes would end a practice that automatically conveys the same protections for threatened species as for endangered species, and would strike language that guides officials to ignore economic impacts of how animals should be safeguarded.

Forest animal populations have plummeted by half since 1970, report warns (Adam)

That is because creatures such as primates and large birds perform an important role in the regeneration of forests through dispersing tree seeds, eating plants and other activities – helping woodland thrive and absorb carbon.

But a global assessment by WWF and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), of 455 populations of 268 species of wildlife that live only in forests, reveals they have declined by 53% on average since 1970.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 8/12/19

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