Tag Archives: Covid-19

IT IS NOT AN OCTOBER ‘SURPRISE’ – IT IS A KNOWN FACT!

August 25, 2020 – As of July, we knew that in October we will have one or more vaccines for COVID-19.

I had my semi-annual doctor visit this week and my doctor said that the UK AstroZeneca Oxford vaccine appears to be the bee’s knees, as they say.  Very effective with minimal side effects.

He also indicated there are 7 vaccines in their final 3rd stage/phase and they will be ready in October, too.

The point I am trying to make is that the Fake News Media will be saying that this is all political when the announcements are made in October.  That is impossible, and not relevant anyway.  Trump and Congress have nothing to do with the companies and people working on the vaccines.  But, since July we have known that the vaccines will be approved in October.  This cannot be an October ‘surprise.’

The Fake News Media will also say the vaccines have been rushed and lives are being put at risk.  Even if we waited the old way of 4-5 years to get a vaccine approved there would still be side effects!  So, do we keep the world on hold for 4 more years and endure millions of deaths (and economic destruction) to end up with basically the same side effects risk?  How stupid would that be.

My doctor said science has really come thru and we likely will have a permanent improvement in getting new vaccines.  That is good.

I am sure that the few deaths that will occur from people having reactions to the vaccine (which occurs with all vaccines anyway) will be negligible in comparison to the number of lives we will save.

I will be first in line to get the vaccine:)  I am not about to wait.  I love chemicals:)  I prefer tap water over that weird tasting spring water:)

October is going to be full of great news (is this why the market started a huge bull market last April/May….it forecasts 6 months out).  Ignore the Fake News Media bullcrap.  They would prefer to have Americans die just to win an election.  Just be happy that we are going to be able to help all Americans and get us past this crisis….finally.

Stay safe.

The Mann

ELECTION UPDATE

UPDATED AUGUST 3, 2020 – A few polls I have found to be most accurate came out this past week.  In the National poll it appears that the contest is a tossup now.  As I have thought about things, I believe my analysis that Biden has an automatic 7% lead in National polls might be a bit high as Trump will probably have an excessive lead in one or two states.  Obviously, not to the degree Biden will have in CA and NY and IL.  So, I am thinking Biden probably has an automatic 5%-6% lead in National polls.  Thus, any such polls you see you can adjust downward by that amount to know what the real difference is in the states that will be somewhat closer.  At a quick glance, I am not seeing any change in the Electoral count from that noted below.

UPDATED JULY 17, 2020 – I had a few minutes this evening to analyze all of the polls state-by-state.  At this time, it looks like Trump has about 213 to 220 votes in the Electoral College.  That means Biden is over 300 at this time.  As a reminder, it takes 270 to win.

Also, as I mentioned in prior posts, the stock market is forecasting events 6 months in advance.  As such, it is showing zero concern that the Socialists will win everything and be able to implement their programs.

I won’t spend time on the argument that the stock market no longer reflects reality and is simply a place that the trillions of dollars pumped into the system by The Fed have disconnected the V-shaped recovery in stocks from the likely W-shaped (or Verizon swoosh) recovery in the economy.  I won’t argue against this hypothesis.

But, having played at the World’s Largest Casino for almost 50 years now, I have seen many events occur that were thought to change the relationship of stocks and the economy forever (e.g. options in the late 1970’s…followed by futures in the 1980’s….and even futures on options (!)….then computer trading…..on and on).  I will wait to see how things play out over the next 1-2 years to see where we stand.

JULY 14, 2020 – With less than 4 months to the Election, it is time to start looking at various indicators to see what they are forecasting.  Of course, these indicators will change over the next few months.

As I mentioned in earlier posts, a study going back 200+ years says that if the DOW 30 is above 23,377 on Election Eve, Trump has the odds in his favor to be re-elected.  New information from this study indicates that if the DOW 30 is above 28,200, then Trump is basically a lock to win.

If you listen to the Fake News Media, then you would conclude Biden has already won.  This is the norm for polls as the Socialists use them to try to demoralize the opposition.  This has zero chance of occurring among Trump supporters.  I have never seen a stronger group.

Besides people on the Right refusing to participate, the national polls are not relevant as we do not elect our President based on popular vote.  Regardless of who wins the Election, Biden will win the popular vote.  That is  a done deal.

Biden is up 8%-10%+ in the national polls.  However, California, New York, and a few other large states that Biden will win huge in will give him around 10 million votes (this is significantly larger than Clinton won by in 2016) more than Trump.  Assuming voter turnout increases to say 140 million (was 136 million in 2016), then right there Biden has a 7% advantage.  Thus, the real difference between the participants is about 1%-3% with Biden ahead right now.

Bettors (58% chance of Biden winning, 38% chance of Trump winning) indicate that Trump bottomed out in late June and has been gaining ground slowly since then.  As usual, this Election will come down to 8-10 states and within those states it probably comes down to a few dozen counties.  For the rest of us, our vote doesn’t make a big difference.  But, please do go out and vote.  Like 4 years ago, our country’s existence is literally at stake.

I will delve more into the Electoral count over the next few months.

That’s it for the Election for now.

As an aside, it would be nice if the country would just accept we are going to have 20 or 50 or 100 million people get infected by The ‘Vid and stop talking about it.  But, that surely won’t happen.  The stupid blame game will continue ad nauseum.

It sure would be nice if we would flight the flu this hard this Winter.  It would be even nicer if we don’t have to hear on the news about every athlete or celebrity or politician getting a cold or the flu:)  I care less which famous person gets The ‘Vid or flu or a cold.  Just get it, get well, and live on.

Everyone stay safe.  Godspeed.

The Mann

LAST UPDATE ON REAL ESTATE AND STOCK MARKETS FOR AWHILE

MAY 29, 2020 – We have come a long way since the stock market bottomed on March 23rd and the Fed released an infinite amount of liquidity.  For 6+ weeks, the stock market traded in a narrow 10% range.  Then this week it finally broke above 25,000 on the DOW and has achieved the higher end of the rally targets.

Public sentiment has gone from the world ending in late March to bullish extremes that exceed the February all-time highs.  As I noted in March, the rally would wipe away all fears and it has.  Even Millennials have been turned on to day trading.  Gamblers with no sports to bet on but horse racing have also turned to day trading.  Robinhood is trending as they say nowadays.  Heck, even yours truly opened a Robinhood account to buy bitcoin with.  In a matter of minutes I owned some bitcoin.  Amazing how easy it is nowadays to open an account an invest.  Er, gamble.

I am glad I am on the sidelines still.  Corporate earnings will continue to decline the rest of this year.  Economic recovery will be in the shape of a Verizon swoosh that will take 2-3 years to see us get back to within say 20% of the prior peak.  But, with QE Infinity, asset prices might continue higher.

In the major 1973-1974 Bear Market, stocks dropped 45% while corporate earnings went up.  Regardless of what the Fake News Media tells the masses, there is no relationship between stock prices and underlying corporate earnings.  So, there is a chance this time around while earnings fall, stock prices may continue higher.  We shall see.  I am content holding my dividend stocks that are yielding 5%-8%.  If the prices go up, great.

As for real estate, it will be in to next year before we have an ample number of transactions to analyze.  Price discovery was made in April.  The market is just waiting for sellers to face reality and buyers to realize they won’t be getting major steals.  There is already some evidence that the price declines have begun to shrink.  As we move along the Verizon swoosh, we get closer and closer to recovery and thus prices slowly rise.

Also, there is talk that investors seeking any kind of yield in a zero percent interest rate environment will see that real estate cap rates of 4% and 5% and 6% and higher are exceptional.  There is literally TRILLIONS of dollars on the sideline waiting to be invested.  If some of it pours into real estate, cap rates will decline and prices increase.

The last 7 months of this year will be interesting to watch.

One last thought is in regard to what the stock market is forecasting.  As it projects out 6 months into the future, what has it told us.  First, something MAJOR is to occur around September.  What will that be is the question we should be focused on.  Possibilities I can think of…..the USA and IRAN get into a military conflict…..VP Biden drops out of the race due to a scandal or there being a true mental health issue (I am not saying there is one…..brainstorming things that would be a major shock is all)….or Trump dropping out for any reason (health or political).  We shall see what happens at the end of the Summer.

Also, six months out puts us past the November Election and the market is apparently happy as can be with the result of that event.  A Trump victory is the most obvious explanation for the stock market rising over the past 2 months.  If Trump loses, the market appears to be saying the two houses of government will remain split between the parties and thus gridlock will remain.  The stock market does not seem to give any chance to the Dems sweeping everything.

As a reminder, the DOW figure to watch is 23,377.  A close above that on October 31st suggests Trump wins.  Below that, he loses.  In February, when we were above 29,000 this figure didn’t seem pertinent.  Then we got down to 18,100 or such and again this figure was out of range.  But, now it has been in play constantly.  We are 5 months away from decision time.  A LOT will happen in that time.

I will close with my newest pet peeve:)  I must have a million of them by now, lol.  I am so, so sick of companies airing commercials about how great they are for helping people out during this crisis.  People hate people that brag about themselves.  Companies need to STFU and just give back as they can and they will get recognition from those that receive their generosity and word-of-mouth will take care of the rest.  But, we’re Amazon and we are so great for giving this amount and we’re Apple and blah blah blah.  Save the money you spend on commercials patting yourselves on the back and spend it on the people and entities that need help.

On the subject of commercials.  Do people actually buy something because they see a commercial?  I have never done that.  Do people actually click ads that pop up on a website?  I have never done that!  In fact, I cannot remember ever seeing an ad on Amazon or Facebook or Youtube or Dropbox or anything.  I have used every website for free for 20+ years now and never once clicked an ad or really I cannot even recall seeing an ad.  I have always wondered how Facebook and Twitter and YouTube make money.  Oh well, label me clueless:)

ADD JUNE 4 – Oh gaws, does every company and organization need to put out a public memo saying they aren’t into racism.  Geez, I didn’t know that.  I was certain that Apple and others have in their Personnel Handbook that that are into being racist.  This news is truly shocking to me.  I am so glad they made this announcement.  Time to go to the porcelain altar.  What a bunch of loser lemmings.

Oh, one other item.  Please do not listen to the Fake News Media and politicians that will be saying this Fall and Winter that the increase in COVID-19 cases is because we opened too early.  When you hear such, just say BS!  Those increases will surely happen.  Our re-opening (I am so happy to be in South Carolina – we were last to close and first to open….you don’t mess with our liberties in the South!) is well planned and needed and will not be the cause of the second wave …or possibly a third wave next Spring.  But, I guarantee the Fake News Media and let’s just say it out loud, the Dems, will blame any increases on reopening too early.  Of course, they won’t be talking about the majority of cases now and then being in their jurisdictions.

I would place a bet that in 5 or 10 years there will be evidence that more people will have died from the lockdown than from the virus itself.  The damage to the income and wealth generation of Gen Y will far exceed what the virus cost us.  Poor Millennials/Gen Y, they just weren’t meant to have a good existence on this rock.  But, when you are the first years of The Dark Ages II, you know you will have a brutal time of it.  But, not near as bad as generations 100 and 200 years from now.

I will talk about real estate and stocks down the road as things perk up.  We are just past the period of chaos.  Now we live out the long, slow recovery.  Which can still have some downside here and there in various sectors and markets.  Not everyone is going to be seeing improvement.

Thanks again to everyone that is sharing information with me.  I really appreciate it.  It has been very beneficial over the past 3 months for sure.

Please stay safe.  Over 330 million Americans have NOT got COVID-19!  Quoting the title of one of my favorite rock songs by Halestorm, Here’s To Us!

The Mann

HOW FAR HAVE REAL PROPERTY VALUES DROPPED?

UPDATE MAY 11 – I think I mentioned in a prior post that about 1/3 of all restaurants are expected to close and stay closed.  Alternative use for those will be interesting.  Also, the expectation is that 20% of hotels may not reopen.  The almost unanimous alternative use is affordable housing.  That is probably a win-win for the housing industry (more supply in the much needed lower price range) and hospitality industry (lower supply in a future world of lower demand).

APRIL 30 – Although it will likely be 3-6 months before we have closed transactions that were negotiated during the COVID-19 crisis, that doesn’t mean real property values haven’t already declined.  Key indicators are available that provide an indication of how much prices have likely declined.  Reduced asking rents, increased vacancies, increased cap rates, and lowered list prices are among the indicators that we can analyze.

Based on my analysis of these key indicators, I believe prices have already DECLINED as follows:

5%-10% for residential, 10% for apartments, 50% for golf courses, 30% for hotels (economy 20%), 5%-10% for industrial, 20%-30% for office, and 25%-35% for retail.  Obviously, these are general figures and specific properties can be doing better or worse.  It is likely another 5% to 10% decline over the next year will occur.
One exception exists to the above…A flight to quality is occurring worldwide.  U.S. Treasury Bonds and the U.S. Dollar have been beneficiaries during this crisis.  In real estate, Net Lease properties appear to be the only property immune to a decline in value.  However, the Net Lease market appears to be bifurcated.  Most of the investor interest is directed towards corporate tenants that have top tier credit ratings (Moody’s – A3 and better; S&P – A- and better).  These properties are experiencing cap rate compression and thus higher prices.  At the other end of the spectrum are corporate tenants with credit ratings in the B’s.  Analysts are forecasting that 40% of corporate bonds rated investment grade will be lowered to junk status.  These properties are subject to negative price adjustments as credit ratings are lowered and cap rates rise accordingly.
Hopefully, appraisers are applying Market Condition adjustments to all sales and adjusting the various factors in the Income Approach accordingly.  It is no longer acceptable to use a 0% Market Conditions adjustment or the excuse that transactions aren’t available so it is not possible to know what has occurred.
As I have preached for 10+ years, Germany has performed Mortgage Lending Value appraisals for 120 years without using sales transactions.  When the American appraisal industry started in the 1930s it didn’t base Market Value on sales transactions either.  Appraisers do not need comparable sales to know what Market Value is currently.
Best of luck out there.  Stay safe.
The Mann

WEEKLY UPDATE RE REAL ESTATE AND STOCKS

UPDATE APRIL 24 – Nothing new re the markets.  A quick note regarding VIs – Virus Incubators.  A report says that 3% of the counties in the USA account for 50% of GDP and 61% of COVID-19 cases.  Until we empty the large cities and distribute our populations throughout the country, we will have disastrous societal problems.  Less density is naturally better than high density.

That is it for this week.  Have a great weekend and stay safe.

UPDATE APRIL 22 – Well, the talk of the week was Oil futures hitting -$40 per barrel earlier this week.  I wish they would pay me to take some oil:)  I am confident we can say this week saw the conclusion of a 110-120 year cycle for Oil.  The next phase will see Oil soar past its prior high just below $150.  I believe this will be more due to the US Dollar’s devaluation and surging inflation than supply/demand factors.  BTW, June 2021 Oil Futures have stayed around $35.  This gives us an indication of where the market thinks we will be in a year.  That is still cheap.

A few other experts I follow (not to insinuate I am an expert….they are though) have also mentioned standing aside to watch who wins this battle between the bulls and bears.  The stock market should decline significantly from these levels.  But, when the world is implementing QE Infinity it is tough to overcome trillions of Dollars and Euros in buying activity.  It is comforting to know others are watching this unfold from the sidelines, too.

NOTE:  Next week I will post how far I believe real estate prices have declined.  These are being published in Mr. Wirgler’s next Broker Log Report so I want to let that get disseminated first.  I have analyzed several key indicators in a variety of ways and the data is fairly consistent.  So, I am confident enough in the indications to publicize them.

My side commentary this time is about the public and how they usually get things bass ackwards.  When gas prices are low, like now, I ask why aren’t people complaining about C-Store operators gouging them now?  Why do people think C-Store operators are ripping them off when gas prices hit $3 or $4 per gallon?  The operators have virtually no control over gas prices!  When gas prices are high, they still make the typical 20 cents or less per gallon.  As a percentage, their profit declines as gas prices go up!  I read that right now many operators are making up to 80 cents (!!!!!!!) per gallon.  Even if they were only making the normal 20 cents, the percentage would be 10%-15% versus 5% when prices are high.  The time for the public to scream about C-Store operators is when gas prices are low….not high.  But, no one has ever listened to this argument….so nothing will change.  But, I do feel better venting:)

Some Baby Boomer humor in this regard….today is like it was when I was 16 years old – gas prices are low, but I am grounded at home:)

Make a note to come back to my blog next week to see where I think real estate prices are today.

Stay safe.

The Mann

APRIL 19 – First, I hope everyone is well.  Continue to stay safe.

Stocks have been in a trading range for a few weeks.  This has helped many indicators get out of extreme oversold levels.  As I forecast, many analysts are taking credit for going bullish at the March lows and claiming a V-shape recovery is underway.  Admittedly, we are at that point where there is some support for us being in a new Bull Market versus the Wave Theory still calling for the next wave down to be worse than what we saw in March.

The bullish case has some solid support.  Amazingly, during the initial crash from near 30,000 to about 18,000 in the DOW, over 100% of the decline occurred during the gap down openings!  What occurred in this time frame was extreme buying by the professionals while the public was selling.  I have to admit it is tough to bet on the downside when the pros have bought while the public was throwing in the towel.  Also, very difficult to fight unlimited QE.  I am going to stand aside and see which way this goes.  There is no stress if you are on the sidelines.

I mentioned the ETF VNB in March.  It has recovered from about a 7% discount to NAV to being above NAV now.  This suggests bonds have been repriced to the market’s satisfaction.

Real estate markets are starting to gel regarding forecasts.  Hotels appear to be the first to show a value decline around 30%.  This applies to the mid-level to upper-end hotels, especially those that have closed down.  Economy hotels along interstates have not been hurt as bad.  Contractors and travellers (who are those people! lol) need a place to stay.

The forecast for office buildings has very divergent opinions.  One side believes that people have learned to work at home and many will not go back to the office.  The positive side sees the amount of space per employee increasing drastically due to a desire for some distancing.

I have always, and continue, to disagree with the at-home work movement being successful and significant.  In 1995 when I was getting my MBA, the prediction was by 2000 most people would be working from home.  25 years later this has not come to fruition.  And it won’t because of this virus.  Why, you ask:)

For the same reason as in 1995, humans are a social animal and we prefer to be together.  Also, people like to look you in the eye when decisions are being made.  What I found with email (and the blackberry, remember those) is it was a way for companies to bring work in to your personal life.  Of course, they don’t want you bringing your personal life into the work day.  But, having you work at home in the evenings is ok.

Employers want to have control over their employees.  They want you in the office.  It is not the employees choice how this plays out (Millennials will of course disagree as they think they can dictate to employers what working conditions should be….that is for sure dead now.).

Zoom and such is not a reason to expect more people to work from home.  Zoom is simply a conference call.  We have been able to communicate in groups for 30+ years.  I had my first Zoom meeting with about 20 people last week.  My observations were I am looking at a Brady Bunch intro for an hour and I am distracted by watching the faces of 20 people looking at their computer screen looking at 20 people looking at their computer screen.  Not a thing has been added to the phone conference call.  ((Side note….the meeting was fruitful regarding the information we all shared. But, a phone conference call would have accomplished that, too.))

Where I see videoconferencing having an effect is on business travel.  I see there being two types of company meetings – IntraOffice and InterOffice (both copyrighted, April 2020).    Per above, IntraOffice is not going to change.  Employers are going to make their employees come in to the office.  What might change is a movement back to the Baby Boomer way of doing things – having private offices and less of this common area stuff for employees to gather around and chat and whatever.  You can go back to doing that at the water cooler:)  So, the trend towards less square footage per employee could reverse.  Maybe we will go back to needing 250-300 square feet per employee.

Obviously, I believe executive suites (temporarily known recently as shared work areas…e.g. WeWorks) are dead for another 20 years.  The concept has always been on the fringe and that won’t change.  I think ‘hoteling’ (I recall that starting back around Y2K with accounting firms initiating such) will be adversely affected, too.  I sure wouldn’t want to go into an office that someone else has been in for the last few hours.  Or at least not until someone comes in and decontaminates it!

Where I do think a permanent change is occurring is what I term InterOffice – travelling to other corporate locations around the nation or world.  The current crisis has made it very difficult in the future to justify to your manager that your staff needs to go to New Orleans to have a sales meeting and brainstorm and plan for the upcoming year et al.  All of that travel cost and time away from the office is going to be hard to justify in comparison to a Brady Bunch, er Zoom, meeting.  This doesn’t hurt the office market.  But, it does hurt the airline, rental car, taxi, hospitality, and restaurant markets.

One last argument for the plus side and one for the negative side as I write this and listen to various experts speaking (I must spend 5-8 hours a day right now just listening to various experts that predicted this crisis….can’t wait for things to calm down so I don’t have to listen to all of this every day!).

Positive – I was very surprised to hear that a survey of Millennials showed that 77% prefer learning in a classroom to online.  For a generation raised on technology, this certainly shows that the human species prefers in-person interaction.  Also, with my wife being a former teacher, she points out that only in-person learning will account for all the different ways individuals learn.  That cannot be accomplished online.  This supports the argument for an increase in office demand as employees remain in the office, but require more private space.

Negative – A demographer I was listening to said that worldwide the number of professional workers is going to decline 8% to 10% over the next decade.  This directly reduces the need for office space.

As of today, that is all I know about the office and hotel markets.  I always encourage you to gather all of the information you can and make your own decisions and forecasts.  Do not blindly listen to the Fake News Media and the pundits they bring on.  Think for yourself.

I have absorbed information on other real estate property types.  But, this is already a long post.  I will address the other types over the next few weeks.  Hopefully, I will obtain even more information by then.

Thanks again for all that send me information they come across.  I truly appreciate it and I try to digest it and put it here on my blog.

I look forward to seeing which side wins the Bear/Bull stock battle.

Lastly, one of the experts I subscribed to did a lot of math and predicts a 16.5% unemployment rate when the May 8th report comes out.  I like when someone shows the math and the reasoning for a projection.  We shall see how that turns out.

Stay safe and well.

The Mann

Facilitating Real Estate-Related Transactions Affected by COVID-19

Summary

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (collectively, the agencies) issued an interim final rule (IFR) that allows institutions supervised by the agencies to defer obtaining an appraisal or evaluation for up to 120 days after the closing of certain residential and commercial real estate loans. The agencies, with the National Credit Union Administration and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, in consultation with the state financial regulators, also issued an Interagency Statement on Appraisals and Evaluations for Real Estate Related Financial Transactions Affected by the Coronavirus (Statement). The Statement outlines existing flexibilities provided by industry appraisal standards and the agencies’ appraisal regulations and highlights temporary changes to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac appraisal standards to facilitate real estate transactions.

Statement of Applicability to Institutions under $1 Billion in Total Assets:

This Financial Institution Letter (FIL) applies to all FDIC-supervised institutions.

Suggested Distribution

FDIC-Supervised Banks

Highlights:

The agencies recognize that the National Emergency declared in connection with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) presents challenges for individuals performing appraisals and evaluations to perform inspections and complete valuation assignments in a timely manner.

  • The IFR:
    • Defers the requirement to obtain an appraisal or evaluation for up to 120 days following the closing of a transaction for certain residential and commercial real estate transactions, excluding transactions for acquisition, development, and construction of real estate
    • States that the agencies are providing this relief to allow regulated institutions to expeditiously extend liquidity to creditworthy households and businesses in light of recent strains on the U.S. economy as a result of COVID-19.
    • Indicates regulated institutions should make best efforts to obtain a credible valuation of real property collateral before the loan closing, and otherwise underwrite loans consistent with the principles in the agencies’ Standards for Safety and Soundness and Real Estate Lending Standards.
    • States that this temporary change to the appraisal rules expires on December 31, 2020.
  • The Statement:
    • Outlines existing flexibilities in the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice and the agencies’ appraisal regulations.
    • Advises that there are temporary changes to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac appraisal standards that can assist lenders during this challenging time.

 

ENDING MARCH AND INTO APRIL WE GO

UPDATE APRIL 3 (EVENING) – Thankfully, a calmer week in the books.  Nothing has changed regarding my market forecasts.

I did want to congratulate Morgan Stanley on correctly forecasting the 700,000 job losses that was reported this morning.  That was an extremely difficult forecast to make and to nail it is impressive.

Oil was up 40% in two days.  We will let it play out a bit more to see if a final low is in place or not.

It is becoming apparent that there will be some major changes in our world going forward.  Hopefully, AirBNB and Uber are dead.  Dining in at restaurants might be forever changed, too.  How do we know that someone in the kitchen area doesn’t have the virus?  Plus, the virus can stay around 2-3 weeks after a place has been thoroughly disinfected (per the Diamond Princess experience).

Grocery delivery will finally succeed.  25+ years in to its existence, telecommuting will finally go mainstream.  Executive offices (now called shared worked areas, .e.g. WeWorks) should go back away.  They are simply VIs as I have termed them – Virus Incubators.

Other VIs are apartment complexes (especially mid- to -high rise buildings) and large cities like New York and San Francisco.  The denser the population the higher the rates of crime, disease, and numerous other issues.  If people truly want healthy lifestyles, move to the suburbs or rural areas.

The changes will be interesting to observe.  Everyone continue to be safe.  Maybe next week will be more interesting regarding the markets.

Godspeed

The Mann

UPDATE APRIL 1 (EVENING) – You know you are becoming immune to the chaos when 1000 point days in the stock market are no longer shocking.   Not much to add this evening.  Stocks might be starting their next significant downturn, but it isn’t a certainty.

One thing to note is that all of the stimulus acts that are being passed are only trying to replenish what has been lost.  There is no pent-up demand.  Wealth and Output have been permanently lost.  It is a misnomer to call these stimulus packages.  No stimulus is going to occur.  The money handout is simply trying to make as many people and companies as whole as possible.

I will say that it is about time that an infrastructure act is being considered.  $2 trillion at this time.  We missed the opportunity to do that in the last crisis.  With an expected 45 million people being unemployed over the next month, it would be good to put people to work to build our versions of the Hoover Dam and TVA and so on.

I won’t bore you as there isn’t much to add to what I have already said.  It is truly tragic that we will start seeing 3000 and 4000 Americans die each day.  Amazing we will likely hit 100,000 deaths by the end of this month.  And we just surpassed 4000 today.

Hopefully, we have learned a lot from this experience.  The sad thing we have learned is that some people are plain stupid and some just don’t care about others.  But, that is nothing new for the human species.  A lot of the virus spreading is due to plain selfishness.

The upside is we have seen how good most people are.  How we help each other out.  It would be great if we continued that after this pandemic is gone.  But, well before Election Day I am sure we will be back to a hateful 50/50 split country again.  Tragic.

I will post Friday evening.  As the markets are starting to calm down (well, to me they are getting boring already), I will likely post less frequently.

I did want to thank everyone that has been sharing information with me.  The more I can absorb the better.

Please stay safe!

The Mann

MARCH 30 (EVENING) – As expected, our essential shelter in place recommendation has been extended thru the whole month of April.  April has been projected to be the month where we finally peak in cases and start to see the curve flatten and rollover, hopefully.

I am confident the shelter in place will be extended to at least May 15th.  Maybe until Memorial Day weekend.

Trump is right when he says people in this country want to live a normal life.  Colds and the flu have never gone away.  We live normal lives with them coming and going thru the population and seasons.  I guess that will be the way with Covid-19, also – when we have a vaccination.  That is supposed to be 12+ months away.

There is a point where we just have to get back to normal and deal with the Covid-19 cases and deaths.  There is no choice.  But, we had to do this Social Distancing in this initial phase so as to avoid the 2,000,000+ deaths that were projected if we did nothing.

Continue to be safe.  And take advantage of the world being on a long time out.  I always wanted things to slow down.  To stop.  Time to stand still so we could relax and smell the roses.  Now is that time. This likely will not happen again in our lifetime.  Take advantage of this.  Reduce your stress, permanently.  Learn that things do not need to be rushed.  Do all of those things you stacked up to do when you finally had some time to do them.  You have that time now!

As for the stock market, today was up a bit.  I still cannot rule out a move above last week’s high of 22,595.  Whether or not that occurs, the expectation of a 25%+ decline remains.  I took advantage of the rally last week to get out of some oil stocks I stupidly got in too early.  We all make mistakes eh:)  But, best to cut your losses than let them ride.

Oil broke below $20 today.  I believe we are seeing the final down wave to what might well be the end of a 120-year combined bull and bear market.  I haven’t followed up on the timing issue mentioned last week.  So, just sitting on the sideline and watching the crash continue.

Gold and silver didn’t do much.  Significant declines are still expected.  That is a bit longer-term view so this isn’t a day-to-day forecast.

Everyone went crazy about the US Dollar being so strong.  So last week, I believe, was one of the worst weeks ever for the USD.  The markets love to get everybody to one side of the ship before sinking them.

So, nothing has changed re my forecasts.  The markets are starting to trade in a bit of a range.  This helps alleviate all of the record oversold readings for technical indicators.  We can’t go straight up to infinite nor straight down to zero.  More Wednesday evening when I post next.

I will drop this after one more mention of it….I don’t recall firefighters and police whining after 9/11.  Those people were proud of the fact that their peers ran straight into those towers to save as many people as possible.  I don’t recall them saying they were like lambs being led to the slaughter.  They were true heroes.  They know every day they go to work could be their last.  They don’t ask for sympathy.

So, I just don’t get it, and am truly disgusted by, the doctors and nurses in New York complaining about everything…we are risking our lives, we are overworked, whine whine.  They are truly ruining the appreciation they would get and deserve.  Maybe they just aren’t as tough as firefighters and police officers.  That isn’t in doubt really.  If you didn’t think you were going to be in many situations where you could become very sick or die by helping others, you shouldn’t have become a healthcare provider.  Thanks to the majority that do their job proudly and don’t whine in hopes of getting pity.

And as to us real estate appraisers arguing that what we do is essential….really?  An appraiser friend in Puerto Rico said they ruled it wasn’t essential.  I agree.  Albeit, I was happy the appraiser came out and appraised my daughter’s farm today so hopefully her closing will still occur in 2 weeks:)  But, truthfully, this isn’t an essential service.  Closings can be pushed back 2-3 months like everything else.

Enjoying life on the 5/3 Farm…..til Wednesday evening….be safe and stay well.

The Mann