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-    The Notable Events List    -

November 2020

“Your Guide to Relevant Recent Events”

By: Joseph R. Tranchini, CFA


Monetary

  • In his speech at the annual NABE conference, Fed Chair Jerome Powell reiterates the unexpected strength of the Post-COVID expansion so far. In addition, noted the need for further fiscal stimulus in order to combat the potential risks associated with a slowing of the Post-COVID expansion1
    • (Powell) “The recovery has progressed more quickly than generally expected. The most recent projections by FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) participants at our September meeting show the recovery continuing at a solid pace. The median participant saw unemployment declining to 4 percent and inflation reaching 2 percent by the end of 2023.”1
    • (Powell) “Too little support would lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship for households and businesses.”1 “… By contrast, the risks of overdoing it seem, for now, to be smaller. Even if policy actions ultimately prove to be greater than needed, they will not go to waste.”1
  • Federal Reserve’s latest Beige Book release noted improved economic activity across all reporting districts. Also noted the pace of growth to be slight to modest across most districts. Additionally, most districts reported generally optimistic outlooks12
    • Noted areas of strength included Manufacturing, Residential Real Estate, and Automobile sales12
    • Employment also increased across the country with most districts reporting some degree of wage growth to entice workers to return to the labor force12
      • Increased schedule flexibility has also been a cited as an extended benefit to lure workers back into the labor force12

Fiscal

  • Talks on the next round of COVID-19 stimulus have stalled, with expectations that a deal will not be reached before the election13,14
    • Market has generally been seen as being open to a Democrat sweep of Congress and the White House due to the expectation for further outsized stimulus, despite the implications of higher taxes in that scenario13,14
    • Additionally, market sentiment would also been seen as positive in the event of a Republican victory in the general election, as this would still provide a backdrop for a moderate amount of fiscal stimulus, in addition to removing the possibility of a tax hike13,14

Geopolitics

  • Over 3,500 companies file suit against the U.S. Government in the Court of International Trade alleging that the U.S.’s Section 301 China Tariffs (List 3 & List 4a tariffs) do not comply with administrative procedures relating to timing of the tariffs2
    • Initial lawsuit came from HMTX Industries on Sept 10, and since then many more companies have also filed suit2
    • Legal experts and trade analysts do not expect these suits to be successful, only ascribing a roughly 10% chance of success2
  • European Union said to be planning to implement tougher regulations on a list select tech companies aimed at curbing market power within their respective industries3
    • Finer details of the list of effected companies are said to still be in the works, however; new regulations would likely require larger tech firms to share data with smaller competitors3
    • Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Alphabet are rumored to be included3
  • The World Trade Organization rules that the European Union may impose tariffs on up to $3.99B on Boeing jets, as well as other U.S. goods in the latest development of the Boeing V. Airbus trade saga5
    • Last October, World Trade Organization gave the U.S. the right to impose tariffs on up to $7.5B of Airbus jets and other European goods5
    • EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis indicated on Twitter immediately following the ruling that the EU has a strong preference for a negotiated resolution to avoid actual implementation of the allowed tariffs5

Vaccine

  • Johnson & Johnson temporarily pauses its Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial due to an unexpected illness in a study participant4. It is not known yet if the participant was initially given the vaccine or the placebo in the study4
    • Company reiterates the significant distinction between a study pause and a regulatory hold. Study pauses are voluntary measures taken by the sponsoring company, whereas regulatory holds are mandatory requirements administered by the FDA4
  • Pfizer estimates that it may know whether or not its vaccine is effective by the end of October, and may apply for Emergency Use Authorization by the third week in November6
    • The delay between October and November is to satisfy the FDA’s recently adopted requirement that companies must submit 2 months of safety data on half of the study participants following each specific individual’s final dose6
  • Moderna expecting to have its late-stage study results for its vaccine candidate by late November. Moderna’s study started in July with a target enrollment of 30,0007
    • The company has projected that if its vaccine is proven safe and effective in November it will likely file for the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization immediately thereafter. This would suggest an estimated vaccine rollout around December7
  • FDA approves Gilead’s Remdesivir (now known as Veklury) for use in adults, as well as pediatric patients over the age of 128
    • Veklury is now the first FDA approved treatment for COVID-198
    • The drug is primarily used in the treatment of COVID-19 cases that require hospitalization8
  • Both AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson are set to resume their respective late-stage vaccine trials after each was halted due to suspected adverse side effects of the vaccine candidates9,10
    • Prior to the trial pause, AstraZeneca was on pace to roll out its vaccine by the end of 202011
    • Johnson & Johnson was previously on pace to distribute its vaccine in early 202111

[See Below for Disclosures & Annotations]



Disclosure

Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly.

The economic forecasts set forth in this material may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.

The companies presented here are for illustrative purposes only and are not to be viewed as an investment recommendation.

 

Annotations

  1. Federal Reserve. “Recent Economic Developments and the Challenges Ahead”. October 6, 2020
  2. Supply Chain Dive. “Home Depot, Tesla, thousands more file suits seeking China tariff refunds”. October 1, 2020
  3. Reuters. “EU planning tougher regulation for 'hit list' of big tech firms – FT”. October 11, 2020
  4. Johnson & Johnson. “Johnson & Johnson Temporarily Pauses All Dosing in Our Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate Clinical Trials”. October 12, 2020
  5. The Wall Street Journal. “Boeing Subsidies Merit EU Tariffs on $4 Billion in U.S. Goods, WTO Rules”. October 13, 2020
  6. Pfizer. “An Open Letter From Pfizer Chairman And CEO Albert Bourla”. October 16, 2020
  7. The Wall Street Journal. “Moderna CEO Expects Covid-19 Vaccine Interim Results in November”. October 19, 2020
  8. FDA. “FDA Approves First Treatment for COVID-19”. October 22, 2020
  9. AstraZeneca. “DA authorises restart of the COVID-19 AZD1222 vaccine US Phase III trial”. October 23, 2020
  10. Johnson & Johnson. “Johnson & Johnson Prepares to Resume Phase 3 ENSEMBLE Trial of its Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate in the U.S.”. October 23, 2020
  11. The Wall Street Journal. “Pivotal Studies of Covid-19 Vaccines From AstraZeneca, J&J Resuming”. October 23, 2020
  12. Federal Reserve. “The Beige Book: Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions”. October 21, 2020
  13. The Washington Post. “Pelosi and Mnuchin, once Washington’s Odd Couple, publicly disavow economic relief talks - and each other”. October 29, 2020
  14. The Wall Street Journal. “Bets on Biden-Led Stimulus Fuel Outperformance by Small Stocks”. October 29, 2020