May 22, 2020
Publisher’s note: If you lost money in March, you must tune in for a special event next week.
You’ll learn about a way of timing the markets with a specific kind of software that is so precise it would have alerted you to sell your stocks weeks before the crash…
And for thousands of users, that’s exactly what it did.
And now, this piece of computer code is predicting the exact day to buy back into some of the biggest and most widely held stocks in the market – including Netflix, Visa, Tesla, popular exchange-traded funds, and even gold companies.
When you reserve your seat to the Recovery Investing Event by clicking here, you’ll receive an exclusive invitation to learn…
1. Where stocks are headed next. Will the stock market continue to recover? Or will we soon see another crash?
2. The exact day to buy back into the world’s most popular stocks. You’ll learn a proven strategy for determining the perfect time to reenter your favorite stocks.
3. And what to buy right now. Including a stock that could soar as the financial markets recover. You’ll get the name and ticker symbol, absolutely free.
So whether you lost money in March, and want to recoup your losses as safely as possible… Or if you’ve bought a few stocks recently, and want to confirm you made the right choices… Or if you simply want to know where stocks are headed next – so you’re NEVER blindsided again. Simply click here to add yourself to the list.
And now, here’s Kim Iskyan with his latest Chaos Chronicles dispatch from the other side of the globe…
Meet the New Global Coronavirus Hotspot
Guess the country…
It’s in the top 10 of total number of coronavirus cases… For now it’s still trailing contenders in terms of cases per million inhabitants. But it’s catching up fast, and hospitals in this country’s financial capital are “near collapse.” (My old friend Ernie – not a fan of pandemic hotspots – just left the big city for calmer turf… see below.)
U.S. President Donald Trump said the U.S. may bar airplane flights originating from this country because of the spread of COVID-19 there.
Mystery country’s president has consistently played down the deadliness of the coronavirus, calling it “a little flu.” “People are going to die,” but “we can’t stop a car factory because there are traffic accidents,” he said in late March. He joined protests against stay-at-home orders issued by governors who are resisting the president’s pressure to ease the lockdown in their states.
(Hint No. 1: No, it’s not Russia.)
The country’s latest health minister, who lasted a month, quit because of the president’s support of unproven – and potentially dangerous – antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine to treat the coronavirus. The previous health minister, who lasted three months, was fired after clashing with the president over social isolation measures. Earlier this week, the president gamely waded into a crowd of supporters, posing for photos as if there were no bats in China.
(Hint No. 2: No, it’s not a trick question… This isn’t China.)
Some of the president’s closest aides – including one of his four sons – publicly blamed China for the coronavirus. The Chinese embassy in the country responded that the president’s son may be suffering from a “mental virus.”
Mystery country is now No. 6 in terms of world deaths due to the coronavirus. The government’s reaction to COVID-19 “deserves the accolade for most incompetent response of a democracy to coronavirus,” said Ian Bremmer, head of global political risk consulting company Eurasia Group.
Turkey? No. And not South Africa… Canada? Hahaha.
I’m talking about Brazil.
The South American giant – Brazil is a bit bigger than the continental U.S. – has been called “the country of the future” for so many decades that it’s a bitter national joke. And it has a lot in common with the U.S. today.
Not, unfortunately, in the “global superpower, engine of global growth, home of innovation, magnet of global talent” kind of way… But rather, in applying the “downplay and distract and it will go away” approach to pandemic management by a leader who follows his gut.
Trump – who said that he’s taking hydroxychloroquine – recently explained that in the U.S., “If we didn’t do any testing, we would have very few cases.” In Brazil, coronavirus testing per 1 million inhabitants is less than one-tenth the level of the U.S. (and just double that of India). Still, Brazil has overtaken the U.K. and Italy in total documented cases, and passed Spain earlier this week.Brazil has climbed the coronavirus charts as Brazilian President Jair (pronounced “jah ear”) Bolsonaro, like Trump, has put his hands where his mouth is by ignoring the advice of his own epidemiological experts – for national pandemic policy, as well as his own personal hygiene.
Bolsonaro has encouraged his followers to ignore the mandates of the pro-quarantine governors of the states where they live – as Trump did when he tweeted for the “liberation” of some states under lockdown restrictions last month. Both presidents have strident sons who make outlandish claims that even their no-filter fathers don’t dare utter.
When it’s not a coronavirus hotspot, Ernie McCrary – who I met in New York 25 years ago – lives in São Paulo, the money (and now, coronavirus) center of Brazil. It’s Ernie’s second stint in Brazil, after living there in the 1980s – following a decade in Argentina – most of the time as a journalist for Businessweek and other publications. Afterward, he returned to the U.S. but stayed close to Latin America and Brazil in particular. He moved back to São Paulo three years ago.
The shelter-in-place rules and the shutdown of non-essential businesses in São Paulo – which has more than four times the population of Chicago – since mid-March were inconvenient, Ernie said, but no big deal. “For some people, it was more risk of boredom than hardship,” he told me.”My first time in Brazil, the problems were hyperinflation and a military dictatorship,” he told me earlier this week over a patchy cellphone connection. “Today, it’s coronavirus and incompetence. I’m not sure which is worse.”
It’s a different story in the slums, called favelas. “The local media don’t report much about what is happening there,” Ernie said. Entire families often live in a single room, and health care and sanitation are poor, so infection and mortality rates from the coronavirus are expected to be higher there. As in India and lots of other developing countries, social distancing isn’t easy if you live in poverty.
At the other end of the socio-economic spectrum, Paulistanos with second homes at beaches, in the mountains, or farms left the city. Earlier this week, Ernie drove close to 600 miles – flights were canceled – to join his wife at her family’s farmhouse near the city of Dourados, in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul, in the western part of Brazil near the border with Paraguay.
During his retreat from São Paulo, Ernie passed hundreds of miles of ranches and rich farmland that produce beef, pork, soybeans, and other agricultural products destined for China. It’s Brazil’s biggest trade partner and buys twice as much from Brazil as the U.S., which is No. 2. Brazil was a big beneficiary of the U.S.-China trade war, as China looked elsewhere to fuel its hunger for imported protein.
But if Bolsonaro (like Trump) continues to pick a fight with China, he could risk tipping Brazil – which is facing the biggest economic contraction in history – even further into the red. Perhaps, as Trump famously tweeted in March 2018, “trade wars are good, and easy to win” – but they don’t usually boost economic output.
Bolsonaro, who wants to deflect the blame for what’s happening to China, takes easily to blaming others. In November, he pointed an accusing finger at none other than Titanic‘s Jack Dawson for the fires that destroyed a big chunk of the Amazon rainforest last year. “This Leonardo DiCaprio is a cool guy, right? Giving money to torch the Amazon,” he baselessly claimed.
A former army captain, Bolsonaro came in to office pledging a “historical cleansing” of the left, and to ban or imprison his political opponents. He supported broader gun ownership and accelerated lethal police action, in a country with a murder rate six times that of the U.S. according to the United Nations. During the presidential campaign in 2018, Bolsonaro was widely condemned for misogynistic, homophobic, and racist rants.
But he was also seen as a pair of clean hands to drain the swamp in Brasilia, Brazil’s political capital, in the aftermath of an epic scandal. The ongoing criminal investigation Operation Car Wash played a hand in bringing down the past three Brazilian presidents – one is in prison, another was impeached, and the third was arrested after leaving office.
It also “spurred a wave of other investigations around Brazil and Latin America… rattling global firms in sectors from oil trading to medical equipment,” Reuters reported in September. “Is this the biggest corruption scandal in history?” The Guardian asked back in 2017, when Operação Lava Jato was only just hitting its investigatory stride.
Bolsonaro isn’t going through the car wash himself, but he’s in a different kind of trouble that intensifies the pressure on his coronavirus mismanagement. As the Washington Post explained in late April,
Brazil’s supreme court has authorized an investigation of alleged corruption and obstruction of justice by President Jair Bolsonaro after the country’s outgoing justice minister accused him of attempting to interfere with federal police probes…
Brazil’s popular justice minister, Sérgio Moro, resigned last week after saying Bolsonaro had fired the country’s top police commander to hinder investigations of his supporters and gain access to classified information.
A poll showed that 57% of Brazilians were in favor of impeaching Bolsonaro, both for abuse of power as well as for his policy response to COVID-19. In a country where impeachment means something, Bolsonaro’s days may be numbered.
But if the past is any prologue – and in Brazil, history has been rhyming pretty closely for the past few generations – that won’t change much.
“I keep looking for the political sunshine, but I don’t see it,” Ernie told me. “I started looking 32 years ago, and I’m still waiting.”
May you find your way through the chaos…
P.S. Our offices are closed on Monday, May 25 for the Memorial Day holiday. Your next American Consequences Daily will hit your inbox on Tuesday, May 26.
Now here are some of the stories we’re reading…
This 2020 presidential forecast says Trump faces historic defeat due to terrible economy
Oxford Economics predicts Trump would lose to Democrat Joe Biden by a margin of 65% to 35%.
Everyone you know uses Zoom. That wasn’t the plan
“Our company that used to be a 100% enterprise-focused, is now powering the world. It’s powering governments, education, social activities…”
‘We’ve never seen this’: wildlife thrives in closed US national parks
The return of antelope to Death Valley and the quadrupled bear population at Yosemite are just two of the many stories of wildlife thriving on public lands since the coronavirus closures went into effect a month and a half ago.
The Day Coronavirus Nearly Broke the Financial Markets
March 16 was the day a microscopic virus brought the financial system to the brink. Few realized how close it came to going over the edge entirely…
Andlet us know what you’re reading at [email protected].
Chaos Chronicles Editor, American Consequences
With P.J. O’Rourke and the Editorial Staff
May 22, 2020