COVID-19 Virus losing Steam?

COVID-19 Virus losing Steam?

COVID-19, Formerly known as the coronaviruses may be losing steam. according to the Chinese government there were only 2015 new cases which Which implies that the growth rate for new infections is actually falling. This also implies that the virus is being somewhat contained, if you believe data out of China. A couple of factories have re-opened including Apple’s iPhone factory after being shut down due to the threat of infection, so China better be telling the truth. If they’re not, that means that they’re risking the lives of people in order to keep the economy stable. We are now up to more than 44,500 people infected and over 1100 people dead. Those numbers aren’t that bad compared to something like flu season, which we are right in the middle of now. But the unknowns and the unpredictability of a new virus make it a much more serious issue to tackle.  In terms of actual economics there’s not a really good choice here for China, but in terms of the way the world looks at China, they shouldn’t guess, they should probably make sure COVID-19 is contained before they send everybody back to work.

Internet – Facebook Paying Reuters to fact-check

Reuters news wire is joining The Associated Press, PolitiFact, Factcheck.org And for others as fact checkers for Facebook, Inc (NASDAQ:FB). As the US ramps up to an election, Facebook clearly wants to avoid any perceived independent use of their platform to influence election outcomes as they spend freely on fact checking services. Reuters wouldn’t say how much they’re getting paid, but they did confirm that they are charging Facebook for this service. It will be very interesting to see how they use their scale of false, partially false, and true to downrank videos through Facebook’s algorithm. Also, since Facebook has its own internal policy of not fact checking political ads, it stands to reason that this only applies to independently generated “news type stories”. Many people don’t understand the political ad policy, but by the scale that Reuters is using, literally every political ad would be labeled as fake news by and taken down by Facebook. So, if candidates buy an ad in lie in it, they get a pass. Social media is a mess during election season. 

Biotech

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Zogenix Inc (NASDAQ:ZGNX) stock cratered on results Last Friday that were good but not good enough. The stock fell 39% and the chart has stayed beaten down but there’s a huge gap to the upside that need to be filled. Zogenix has been testing a seizure drug and while it did reduce seizures with a high dose, up to 26%, a low dose didn’t reduce a statistically significant percentage of seizures. Even with this kind of news, the stock still has quite a bit of upside. Goldman Sachs slashed their target price from $62 down to $48 but $48 is about where that technical gap would be filled. The stock has been up the last 2 days and Wednesday’s up moving was on decent volume. So, while the performance of the trials weren’t great, the anticipation of potential adjustments to the drug might drive the stock up a good $12 to $16 from here.

Celebrities Love Pot…Stocks

The list of celebrity investors in marijuana companies continues to grow. One specific company, Acreage Holdings which happens to be the largest Marijuana company in the US has put together a diverse and odd set of board members and investors 3 old white politicians and a current NBA superstar. Former speaker of the house John Boehner who wasn’t really known for being a drug legalization advocate is one of the highest profile members of acreages board. Sitting alongside him is current NBA superstar Kevin Durant Although he is part of a related company called Canopy Rivers. Al Harrington and Jr Smith, also NBA veterans, have lobbied for the legalization of weed and Harrington owns a company called Viola that sells marijuana and vape pens. Also, on Acreage’s board is Brian Mulroney the former Prime Minister of Canada and Bill Weld, the former governor of Massachusetts and presidential candidate who also ran as the vice-presidential candidate on a libertarian ticket in 2016. Of those 2, pot is a better fit with Weld considering that Gary Johnson, who was the presidential candidate on the libertarian with Weld, admitted to smoking pot during the campaign but promised he would stop if elected. Pot is definitely going mainstream but more than that there’s money to be made, which brings the former politicians out of their holes. 

Emotional Health

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104-year old marine and veteran of World War 2 name William White, has received 70,000 Valentine’s cards and counting. White lives in an assisted living facility and a fellow resident started a campaign on social media to honor Major White called “Operation Valentine”. The resident asked people to send Valentine’s cards and the goal was to get to 100. They are now at 70,000 and counting and family members have had to solicit them neighbors to help read the cards to White. The major said he never really celebrated Valentine’s Day even when his wife of 42 years was still alive which doesn’t sound much like a World War II marine, does it? (said with an eye roll). But now he’s overcome by the support not just for him, but for fellow veterans no longer here. He said the emotions he feels from all the cards hit him like a ton of bricks. I’ll bet he took the hit just fine. Semper Fi.

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