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Post by thelivyjr » Tue Sep 15, 2020 1:40 p


"LA hospital treating ambushed deputies inundated by protesters: ‘We hope they die’"

By Lee Brown

September 13, 2020 | 9:45am | Updated

Anti-police protesters descended on a Los Angeles hospital where two deputies were fighting for their lives after being ambushed and shot in the head — chanting, “we hope they die,” according to officials.

The sick chants came outside as the two rookie officers — one a 31-year-old mother of a six year-old boy — were still fighting for their lives after being “critically injured” as they sat in their patrol car in the caught-on-camera ambush in Compton.

“To the protesters blocking the entrance & exit of the HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOM yelling ‘We hope they die’ referring to 2 LA Sheriff’s ambushed today in #Compton: DO NOT BLOCK EMERGENCY ENTRIES & EXITS TO THE HOSPITAL,” Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department tweeted early Sunday.

“People’s lives are at stake when ambulances can’t get through.”

Officers branded the protest an unlawful assembly, and arrested two people who refused to move — including a reporter without credentials who “ran towards the deputies, ignored repeated commands to stay back” and “interfered with the arrest,” the department said.

LAist identified the reporter as its own Josie Huang, who said she was released early Sunday and would address the sheriff’s office claims soon.

The ambushed cops were not named, but were revealed to be officers who had served just over a year in the department.

One was a 31-year-old female officer, the other a 24-year-old male, the Los Angeles Times said.

They were “ambushed by a gunman in a cowardly fashion,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said at a press conference, calling it “a somber reminder that this is a dangerous job.”

“Every week across the nation someone is losing their life in the line of duty,” he said.

“This is just another grim reminder of that.”

Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer caught it an “unprovoked cowardly act.”

A tense situation developing in Lynwood as a handful of protesters on sidewalk shout at deputies outside St. Francis medical center where 2 deputies are recovering from surgery after being shot tonight in Compton

— Josie Huang (@josie_huang) September 13, 2020

“We must come together and pray for the officers because they are heroes,” he said at the same press conference.

LAPD Chief Michael Moore tweeted his prayers that the “two guardians” survive.

“I recognize and acknowledge we live in troubled times."

"But we must as a community work thru our differences while loudly and resoundly condemn violence,” he tweeted.

“Blessed are the Peacemakers.”

The FBI is assisting in the investigation.

There have yet to be any arrests and it was not immediately clear if any suspects have been identified, the L.A. Times said. ... rotesters/

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Post by thelivyjr » Wed Sep 16, 2020 1:40 p

MARKETWATCH Market Snapshot

"Stocks end mostly lower after Fed holds interest rates steady near zero, but underscores risks to economic recovery"

By Joy Wiltermuth and Andrea Riquier

Published: Sept. 16, 2020 at 4:34 p.m. ET

U.S. benchmark stock indexes closed mostly lower Wednesday, after the Federal Reserve said it would likely hold interest rates near zero until at least 2023 given the outlook for inflation and employment in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, but also indicated risks to the economy remain.

Initially, good earnings from the likes of FedEx provided some support, as did talk of coronavirus vaccine distribution plans by the White House, and upbeat sentiment about the latest batch of IPOs, including the cloud software company, Snowflake.

How did equity benchmarks perform?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 36.78 points, or 0.1%, to finish at 28,032.38, while the S&P 500 index shed 15.71 points, or 0.5%, closing at 3,385.49.

The Nasdaq Composite index fell 139.85 points, or 1.3%, after flipping between positive and negative territory in the session.

The Russell 2000 Index of small-capitalization companies, rose 14.18 points, or 0.9%, to close at 1,552.33.

On Tuesday, the Dow rose 2.27 points to finish at 27,995.60, while the S&P 500 gained 17.66 points, or 0.5%, to trade at 3,401.20, marking its third straight increase.

The Nasdaq finished up 133.67 points, or 1.2%, at 11,190.32, logging back-to-back gains.

What drove the market?

Stocks gave up earlier gains to close mostly lower Wednesday, after the Fed indicated it will keep rates near zero through at least 2023, but also warned of risks to the economy without additional fiscal stimulus during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Dow initially climbed 300 points in afternoon trade, after the Fed’s rate-setting committee indicated that future rate hikes will hinge on at least two things: labor market conditions return to the “maximum employment” and inflation has risen to 2% and “is on track to moderately exceed 2% for some time.

But those gains faded after Fed Chair Powell reiterated that the economic downturn resulting from the pandemic is “the most severe in our lifetime,” in an afternoon news briefing.

To that end, the central bank expects to keep up its “full range” of support up for some time, including its current $120 billion monthly pace of assets purchases in the form of government Treasurys and mortgage bonds until the economy is “far along in its recovery.”

Kathy Jones, Charles Schwab’s chief fixed-income strategist, said it boils down to the Fed confirming, once again, that it’s committed to doing all it can to support the economy, but that it wants to see Congress do more to blunt the pandemic’s carnage.

“I’ve never in my career heard so many Fed officials basically pleading for fiscal policy,” Jones told MarketWatch.

“I think every time it comes up, and we realize it’s not happening yet, it weighs on the risk asset.”

Further, the Fed’s outline for a future where interest rates likely stay at zero for at least the next three years “is not a positive signal for the economy,” Jones said.

Powell said the economy likely risks ongoing unemployment stress, as well as an uptick in evictions and foreclosures, “things that will scar the economy,” without additional fiscal support from Congress, during his briefing.

It was the first policy statement and updated economic forecasts under the Fed’s new flexible inflation target strategy announced last month.

Investors have come to expect a prolonged period of support from the Fed, which has helped bolster the U.S. stock market since its lows during the coronavirus crisis in March, but many also have been waiting on Congress to pass an spending package.

In U.S. economic data, a reading on retail sales in August just missed the MarketWatch consensus forecast, rising 0.6% for the month.

Sales topped pre-crisis levels during the month, but the rate of growth is slowing.

“The consumer has performed well so far given the health and economic impact from Covid, but there is still a long way to go in the recovery story,” said James Knightley, ING’s chief international economist, in written commentary, underscoring obstacles such as high unemployment, slim chances of “meaningful fiscal stimulus in the next few months” and the “clear threat that a fractious election” that endanger consumer sentiment and spending.

Findings from a Bankrate survey conducted in June found that 36% of Americans were putting off at least one major milestone — finding a new job, marriage, having a child, buying a home or retiring — because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The OECD’s latest forecast for global growth published Wednesday shows the global recession may not be as bad as expected.

The Paris-based organization said it now expects the world economy to shrink 4.5% this year, less than its June prediction for a 6% decline, reflecting a slowly improving U.S. labor market and China data.

Which stocks were in focus?

Shares of Southwest Airlines Co. rose 3.7% Wednesday, after the air carrier updated its financial guidance trends, including and upbeat outlook for load factor and reducing its third-quarter outlook for daily cash burn.

Eventbrite Inc. shares gained 8.1% after the online ticketer said it saw 17% growth in paid tickets in August compared with July, and 26% growth in paid tickets to in-person events.

But August’s paid-ticket volume is still 65% lower than a year ago.

Unity Software Inc. on Wednesday raised the expected pricing of its initial public offering to $44 to $48 a share from $34 to $42 a share, putting it on pace to raise $1.2 billion.

Facebook Inc. shares fell 3.3% after a report said that the Federal Trade Commission is preparing to file an antitrust lawsuit against the social-media giant.

Shares of FedEx Corp. closed 5.8% higher after the delivery and logistics company reported better-than-expected profit and sales for its fiscal 2021 first quarter, saying that its workers’ effort had kept “the world’s health care, industrial and at-home supply chains moving despite the challenges of the global pandemic.”

DraftKings Inc. shares gained 5.9% after the company announced it would be the exclusive online betting platform for the New York Giants.

Shares of Adobe Inc. ended 4.4% lower despite a price target increase, to $550, from JPMorgan.

Boeing Inc. shares gained 2.4% even after a congressional committee released a report blasting the company for failing to take action that would have saved lives, despite knowing about flaws in the design of its 737 Max jets.

Eastman Kodak Company shares soared 36.6% Wednesday, after a special committee, hired by the digital imaging and printing systems company to investigate how it disclosed a U.S. government loan, found that no laws were broken.

Snowflake Inc.’s stock debuted with a bang Tuesday, with the software company’s stock closing its first day of trade on the NYSE at $253.93, a 111.6% gain, according to FactSet data.

How did other markets fare?

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose less than 1 basis point to 0.686% after the Fed’s decision.

Bond prices move inversely to yields.

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index, which tracks the performance of the greenback against its major rivals, gained 0.1% at 93.16.

Gold futures rose 0.2% to settle at $1,970.50 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The U.S. crude oil benchmark finished 4.9% higher at $40.16 a barrel as investors continued to watch Hurricane Sally move toward the Gulf Coast.

Global equities closed mixed, with the Stoxx Europe 600 index up 0.6%, and the U.K.’s benchmark FTSE 100 down 0.4%.

In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed fractionally lower and the Shanghai Composite lost 0.4%.

Japan’s Nikkei closed 0.1% higher.

Mark DeCambre contributed reporting ... latestnews

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Post by thelivyjr » Wed Sep 16, 2020 1:40 p


"Oil prices rally as U.S. crude supplies post a weekly decline and Hurricane Sally curtails production"

By Myra P. Saefong and William Watts

Published: Sept. 16, 2020 at 2:55 p.m. ET

Oil futures rallied on Wednesday, with U.S. prices ending above $40 a barrel after U.S. government data that showed an unexpectedly large weekly drop in U.S. crude inventories, while production curtailments in the Gulf of Mexico caused by Hurricane Sally worsened.

U.S. crude inventories fell by 4.4 million barrels for the week ended Sept. 11, according to the Energy Information Administration on Wednesday.

That was larger than the average forecast from analysts polled by S&P Global Platts for a decline of 1.8 million barrels, but on Tuesday the American Petroleum Institute, a trade group, had reported a drop of 9.5 million barrels.

The EIA also reported that crude stocks at the Cushing, Okla., storage hub edged down by about 100,000 barrels for the week.

Total oil production, however, climbed by 900,000 barrels to 10.9 million barrels per day last week.

Traders took in the latest data that “reflect the state of affairs as of last Friday, while there are now [production] shut-ins due to Hurricane Sally,” said Marshall Steeves, energy markets analyst at IHS Markit.

“So this is a fast changing market.”

Even taking into account the crude stock draw, the “impact of Sally is likely more significant at the moment and that is the reason prices are rising,” he told MarketWatch.

“That could be short-lived if we start to see offshore [output] resumptions soon.”

West Texas Intermediate crude for October delivery rose $1.88, or 4.9%, to settle at $40.16 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, with front-month contract prices at their highest since Sept. 3.

November Brent, the global benchmark, added $1.69, or 4.2%, to $42.22 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

Hurricane Sally hit the Alabama coast early Wednesday as a Category 2 storm, carrying maximum sustained winds of 105 miles an hour.

It has since been downgraded to a tropical storm, but “catastrophic and life-threatening flooding” is happening along portions of Florida Panhandle and southern Alabama, the National Hurricane Center said Wednesday afternoon.

The Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement on Wednesday estimated 27.48% of current oil production in the Gulf of Mexico had been shut in because of the storm, along with approximately 29.7% of natural-gas production.

“This has been the most active hurricane season since 2005 so we may see the Greek alphabet soon,” said Steeves.

Each year, Atlantic storms have set names based on the alphabet, but once those have been exhausted, they are named based on the Greek alphabet.

“There could be further Gulf impacts yet,” Steeves said.

Petroleum product prices Wednesday also moved higher.

Gasoline supply fell by 400,000 barrels, while distillate stockpiles rose by 3.5 million barrels, according to Wednesday’s EIA report.

The S&P Global Platts survey had shown expectations for a supply drop of 7 million barrels for gasoline, while distillates were expected to rise by 500,000 barrels.

On Nymex, October gasoline rose 4.5% to $1.1889 a gallon, while October heating oil added nearly 1.6% at $1.1163 a gallon.

October natural gas lost 4% at $2.267 per million British thermal units, easing back after Tuesday’s climb of more than 2%.

The EIA’s weekly update on supplies of the fuel is due Thursday.

On average, it’s expected to show a weekly supply increase of 77 billion cubic feet, according to an S&P Global Platts survey.

Meanwhile, contributing to concerns about the potential for weaker energy demand, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on Wednesday forecast global domestic product will contract 4.5% this year, and rise 5% next year.

That compares with a more dire picture pained by the OECD in June, when it projected a 6% contraction this year, followed by 5.2% growth in 2021.

In separate reports this week, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and International Energy Agency reduced their forecasts for 2020 oil demand from a month earlier.

OPEC and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, aren’t expected to make any changes when members of a joint committee meet Thursday to discuss an existing program of output cuts. ... cle_inline

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Post by thelivyjr » Wed Sep 16, 2020 1:40 p


"U.S. Treasury yields bounce off lows after Fed signals willingness to keep rates low"

By Sunny Oh

Last Updated: Sept. 16, 2020 at 3:42 p.m. ET
First Published: Sept. 16, 2020 at 8:37 a.m. ET

Long-term Treasury yields came off their session lows on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve indicated it would keep interest rates at current levels until the end of 2023.

What are Treasurys doing?

The 10-year Treasury note yield was up 0.8 basis point to 0.686%, after trading as low as 0.658%, while the 2-year note was virtually unchanged at 0.137%.

The 30-year bond yield rose 1.6 basis points to 1.447%, after touching an intraday nadir of 1.405%.

Bond prices move inversely to yields.

What’s driving Treasurys?

The Fed’s policy statement said the central bank would keep interest rates near zero until inflation overshot 2% for a sustained period and the U.S. hit maximum employment.

The Fed also released its economic projections through 2023.

Along with those forecasts, the Fed’s so called “dot plot” of likely interest rates showed that most officials anticipate rates will remain near zero until the end of 2023.

After the statement, long-term Treasury yields rose faster than their shorter-term peers, steepening the yield curve.

Investors said the bond-market reaction could reflect disappointment about hopes that the Fed would shift its asset purchases towards longer-dated maturities which would have anchored those yields.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, however, did hold out the possibility of tweaking those purchases in the future.

In economic data, U.S. retail sales rose 0.6% in August, slightly shy of the consensus estimate of 0.7%.

Stripping out for auto sales, retail spending grew 0.7%.

What did market participants’ say?

“Even if the economy starts to show some more life, there’s clearly a lower for longer and even sedentary bias to their policy,” said Scott Kimball, a portfolio manager at BMO Global Asset Management, in an interview. ... cle_inline

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Post by thelivyjr » Wed Sep 16, 2020 1:40 p


"U.S. retail sales climb in August for third straight month, but momentum is slowing"

By Jeffry Bartash

Published: Sept. 16, 2020 at 10:07 a.m. ET

The numbers:

Sales at retail stores across the country rose in August for the third month in a row in another display of the economy’s resilience, but the momentum appears to be waning after a big burst of demand earlier in the summer once the U.S. reopened for business in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

Retail sales increased 0.6% last month, the government said Wednesday, a tick below the forecast of economists polled by MarketWatch.

Yet the pace of sales has slowed from earlier in the summer, when the economy reopened and many retailers experienced a sharp rebound in customer traffic.

Sales gains are likely to be harder to come by in the months ahead, especially after the end of generous federal aid for the unemployed and businesses struggling to survive.

Retail sales are a big part of consumer spending and typically increase when the economy improves and Americans feel more confident to spend.

Sales have exceeded pre-crisis levels since June, a turnaround that few economists would have predicted early in the pandemic.

What happened:

Sales rose 0.2% at auto dealers, which account for about one-fifth of all retail spending.

Gas station receipts also increased 0.4%, largely reflecting an increase in the cost of gasoline.

Yet it still costs a lot less to fill a tank than it did last summer.

People aren’t driving as much because of ongoing economic restrictions and tens of millions of people working from home.

If autos and gas are excluded, retail sales rose a slightly higher 0.7%.

Sales rose 4.7% at bars and restaurants as people went out to eat more or ordered more takeout food.

Higher spending at restaurants even in the face of ongoing limits on indoor seating is a good sign.

People tend to spend less at restaurants when they are more worried about the economy.

Sales rose more modestly at home centers, pharmacies, electronic and appliance stores and clothing outlets.

Internet retailers saw basically no change in sales levels, though receipts are up 22% from a year earlier.

Online sales have soared during the pandemic with most people working at home and limiting their trips out of the house.

Sales fell last month at department stores and groceries.

Grocery sales are still up 9% from a year earlier though.

Big picture:

Retail sales are about 2% higher now compared to pre-pandemic levels in February, but they would almost certainly be higher still had there been no viral outbreak.

While some retail segments have performed surprisingly well, many still have a long way to go.

Sales at restaurants are down 15% from a year earlier, for example, and receipts at clothing stores are off 20%.

These businesses simply can’t get back to normal until the coronavirus fades.

The end of federal benefits, meanwhile, could make it harder for retailers to keep up the momentum.

The massive infusion of federal aid gave a boost to consumer spending after the economy reopened.

Now it’s gone.

What they are saying?

“The recovery is still on track,” said senior economist Jennifer Lee of BMO Capital Markets.

“It is swaying a little, from left to right, but it is still on track.”

“The big picture is that the expiry of the enhanced unemployment benefits at the start of the month did not have the catastrophic impact on spending that some analysts were predicting,” said senior U.S. economist Andrew Hunter of Capital Economics.

Market reaction:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 rose in Wednesday trades. ... 2020-09-16

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Post by thelivyjr » Wed Sep 16, 2020 1:40 p


"Fed sees interest rates near zero until end of 2023, sets new economic conditions to be met before raising rates"

By Greg Robb

Published: Sept. 16, 2020 at 4:07 p.m. ET

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday said it doesn’t expect to raise rates until the end of 2023 at the earliest and it set out new economic conditions that must be met before it will raise them.

In a statement, the Fed said it decided to keep its policy interest rate at near zero and expects this will be appropriate until two things happen: labor market conditions return to the “maximum employment” and inflation has risen to 2% and “is on track to moderately exceed 2% for some time.”

Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at, said this language means investors should “get used to the low rates because they are here to stay.”

However, Seth Carpenter, economist at UBS, said the Fed guidance was “vague.”

“The guidance means they need their own forecast for inflation to be above 2%, but they are not tying it to the realized level of inflation,” Carpenter said.

Powell defended the guidance as “powerful” and “durable.”

There were two dissents to the Fed forward guidance.

Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan seemed to favor the prior guidance and wanted the Fed to retain greater flexibility once the economy was on track to meet its two goals.

Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari proposed a much more streamlined guidance that the Fed would maintain rates close to zero until core inflation has reached 2% on a sustained basis.

Josh Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at MFR Inc. said it was “a bit unseemly” to have two dissents so soon after the committee adopted a new policy framework, but Powell said the dissents were a sign of a healthy debate.

“We’re the first major central bank to adopt this framework."

"There is no cookbook."

"And so of course there would be a wide range of views,” Powell said.

He said the Fed would work to earn credibility.

The Fed decision was something of a surprise as most economists thought the Fed would hold off on its forward guidance until November or December.

The Fed said again that the path of the economy will depend on the course of the coronavirus pandemic though.

Separately, the Fed released its economic forecasts to 2023.

The central bank’s so called “dot plot” of likely interest rates projects no hike through the end of 2023, with only 4 of 17 of the policy making officials penciling in a rate hike.

The Fed also said it will continue to purchase at least $120 billion per month of Treasurys and agency mortgage-backed securities to help smooth markets and help “foster accommodative financial conditions.”

The Fed statement reflects the central bank’s decision in August to adopt a new strategy to hit its 2% inflation target over time and not every year.

So if inflation under-performs, as it has for the past several years, the Fed will tolerate higher inflation for a time.

Stocks gave up most of their gains after the Fed announcement.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 43 points after being up by 200 points prior to the Fed decision. ... od=the-fed

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Post by thelivyjr » Wed Sep 16, 2020 1:40 p


"Hurricane Sally creeps toward coast, threatening 'a ridiculous amount of rain'"

By Elisha Fieldstadt and The Associated Press

Sept. 15, 2020, 9:27 AM EDT / Updated Sept. 16, 2020, 1:03 AM EDT

Slow-moving Hurricane Sally was dumping heavy rainfall over parts of the Gulf Coast on Tuesday, hours before the storm was expected to bring an even greater deluge when it makes landfall as a Category 2 hurricane or strong tropical storm near Mobile, Alabama.

The National Hurricane Center warned of "extreme life-threatening" and "historic" flash flooding along the northern Gulf Coast.

Sally was upgraded to a Category 2 hurricane at midnight, and the center said it had sustained winds of 100 mph.

The storm Tuesday night was 65 miles south of Mobile, whipping up maximum sustained winds of 85 mph.

Landfall was expected between Mobile and Gulf Shores, Alabama, between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. Wednesday, according to NBC News meteorologist Bill Karins.

The storm was only moving at 2 mph and wasn't expected to speed up much before making landfall with lingering rainfall that could last up to two days.

In an update Tuesday night, the center described the hurricane's progress as "creeping."

Some areas from the western Florida Panhandle to far southeastern Mississippi could see up to 30 inches, according to the NHC.

The center predicts water heights of 6 to 9 feet from Ocean Springs, Mississippi to Dauphin Island, Alabama, if peak surge coincides with high tide.

Rain fell sideways and rain began covering roads in Pensacola, Florida, and Mobile, Alabama.

A curfew was ordered in the coastal Alabama city of Gulf Shores.

President Donald Trump approved Florida's request for a federal disaster declaration, which will allow taxpayer assistance to go to victims in impacted counties.

Up to a foot of rain had fallen already on the coast by Tuesday night and Sally’s lumbering pace meant there would likely be extended deluges.

More than 60,000 homes and businesses also lost power in coastal Alabama and western Florida Panhandle as conditions deteriorated.

“A hurricane moving at 2 mph is stalled for all intents and purposes,” said Brian McNoldy, a hurricane researcher at the University of Miami.

“If they aren’t moving along and they just kind of sit there, you’re going to get a ridiculous amount of rain.”

“This is the real deal, and it deserves your attention,” Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves wrote on Twitter.

“Be smart."

"Prepare for worst."

"Pray for the best."

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards on Tuesday said New Orleans was no longer a direct target of Sally.

"Good news to report today as it relates to hurricane Sally, and that is that the track has continued to shift eastward," he said.

"That really has been the case, since Sunday morning when it looked like the Greater New Orleans metro area was in for a direct hit from Sally."

The city of New Orleans said in a statement, "Significant impacts from Hurricane Sally are no longer anticipated in the local area."

President Donald Trump tweeted late Monday that he was closely monitoring “extremely dangerous Hurricane Sally."

Trump urged residents to “be ready and listen to State and Local Leaders!”

Earlier Monday, the president issued an emergency declaration for parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, an action that authorizes federal emergency officials to coordinate disaster relief efforts and provide emergency assistance to the affected areas.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey thanked the president "for approving our request so quickly."

"We will continue closely monitoring the developments today, and I urge everyone in the coastal areas south of I-10 and in low-lying areas to take all precautions and heed advice from weather experts and local officials."

"Please stay vigilant, Alabama," Ivey said.

"I urge you in the strongest way possible to evacuate and seek shelter as this storm makes landfall tonight," she urged residents Tuesday.

Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson pointed out that the grounds were already saturated from weeks of rain, which would increase flooding.

He said damage from wind "is going to be unbelievable" since the languid storm would essentially be parked over areas.

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency in the Panhandle's westernmost counties, Escambia and Santa Rosa, as the hurricane's outer bands began to lash the area.

Eric Gilmore, head of Escambia County's Division of Emergency Management, said evacuations in Pensacola Beach and other low lying areas were voluntary for now.

"Do what you need to do now to get out of harm’s way," he said at news conference on Tuesday afternoon.

"We’re expecting 3 to 5 feet of storm surge now."

Escambia was one of 13 counties newly covered by the governor's expanding emergency declaration.

The Florida Department of Transportation closed Pensacola Bay Bridge, which connects Gulf Breeze to Pensacola, after a barge struck the crossing, according to state and local officials.

State inspectors were expected to assess the damage when it's safe to do so.

Sally has lots of company during what has become one of the busiest hurricane seasons in history — so busy that forecasters have almost run through the alphabet of names with 2 1/2 months still to go.

For only the second time on record, forecasters said, five tropical cyclones swirled simultaneously in the Atlantic basin at one point on Monday.

The last time that happened was in 1971.

Elisha Fieldstadt is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.

The Associated Press

Bill Karins and Dennis Romero contributed. ... t-n1240117

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Post by thelivyjr » Wed Sep 16, 2020 1:40 p


"Smoke from Western wildfires causing hazy skies on East Coast, even reaches Europe"

By Associated Press

Published: Sept. 16, 2020 at 6:02 p.m. ET

The smoke from dozens of wildfires in the western United States is stretching clear across the country — and even pushing into Mexico, Canada and Europe.

While the dangerous plumes are forcing people inside along the West Coast, residents thousands of miles away in the East are seeing unusually hazy skies and remarkable sunsets.

The wildfires racing across tinder-dry landscape in California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington are extraordinary, but the long reach of their smoke isn’t unprecedented.

While there are only small pockets in the southeastern U.S. that are haze free, experts say the smoke poses less of a health concern for those who are farther away.

The sun was transformed into a perfect orange orb as it set over New York City on Tuesday.

Photographs of it sinking behind the skyline and glinting through tree leaves flooded social media.

On Wednesday, New Jersey residents described a yellow tinge to the overcast skies, and weather forecasters were kept busy explaining the phenomenon and making predictions as to how long the conditions would last.

On the opposite coast, air quality conditions were among some of the worst ever recorded.

Smoke cloaked the Golden Gate Bridge and left Portland and Seattle in an ashy fog, as crews have exhausted themselves trying to keep the flames from consuming more homes and even wider swaths of forest.

Satellite images showed that smoke from the wildfires has traveled almost 5,000 miles to Britain and other parts of northern Europe, scientists said Wednesday.

The current weather system, which favors a westerly wind across the higher levels of the atmosphere, is to blame for the reach of the smoke, experts explained.

“We always seem, at times, to get the right combination of enough smoke and the upper level jet stream to line up to bring that across the country, so we’re just seeing this again,” said Matt Solum with the National Weather Service’s regional operations center in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“It’s definitely not the first time this has happened.”

There could be some easing of the haze this weekend as a storm system is expected to move into the Pacific Northwest and could affect the conditions that helped the smoke travel across the country.

But Solum said there’s always a chance for more smoke and haze to shift around.

“Just due to all the wildfires that are going on, this is likely going to continue for a while,” he said.

“You might have ebbs and flows of that smoke just depending on how the upper level winds set up.”

Kim Knowlton, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council in New York City, said she woke up Wednesday to a red sunrise and more haze.

She said millions of people who live beyond the flames can end up dealing with diminished air quality as it’s not uncommon for wildfire smoke to travel hundreds of miles.

Although the health impacts are reduced the farther and higher into the atmosphere the smoke travels, Knowlton and her colleagues said the resulting haze can exacerbate existing problems like asthma and add to ozone pollution. ... latestnews

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Post by thelivyjr » Thu Sep 17, 2020 1:40 p

MARKETWATCH Market Snapshot

"Dow snaps four-day winning streak as stocks finish day with modest losses"

By Mark DeCambre, MarketWatch and Sunny Oh

Published: Sept. 17, 2020 at 4:42 p.m. ET

U.S. stocks finished Thursday with losses, but were well off the session lows, as investors digested Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s dour economic outlook along with lackluster U.S. economic data.

How did equity benchmarks perform?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 130.40 points, or 0.4%, lower at 27,901.98, after touching a low of 27,647.93.

The S&P 500 index fell 28.48 points to end at 3,357.01, a decline of 0.8%, following a momentary dip below its 50-day moving average at around 3,339.

The Nasdaq Composite Index retreated 140.19 points, or 1.3%, to 10,910.28.

On Wednesday, the Dow added 36.78 points, or 0.1%, to finish at 28,032.38, while the S&P 500 index shed 15.71 points, or 0.5%, closing at 3,385.49.

The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 139.85 points, or 1.3%.

The Russell 2000 index of small-capitalization companies, rose 14.18 points, or 0.9%, to close at 1,552.33.

What drove the market?

The Fed’s warning Wednesday about a slow economic recovery that may need additional fiscal help, along with its expectation that near-zero interest rates will remain in force for a minimum of three years, created some uncertainty for investors hoping for further gains.

“We’re at a point where we’re wondering what’s going to drive the next leg up, without an ongoing flow of positive developments,” said Yung-yu Ma, chief investment strategist at BMO Wealth Management, in an interview.

A day after the Fed released its most recent policy update, investors said the U.S. central bank Chairman Jerome Powell may have unsettled the stock market by emphasizing the challenges facing the U.S. economy due to the pandemic.

The Fed’s “dot plot” showed policymakers expect interest rates to stay near zero until at least 2023, despite the run-up in equity values this year, as the U.S. deals with millions of people who still are unemployed.

However, some analysts view the overall tone of the Fed’s Wednesday statement as a positive for the market’s future prospects.

“It is proof the Fed reaction function has changed."

"And it is bull fuel for the longer run,” wrote Evercore ISI analysts Krishna Guha and Ernie Tedeschi in a note.

On U.S. fiscal policy, the prospects for another coronavirus aid package remain confused after news reports said Senate Republicans were unmoved by Trump’s call for more spending.

Market participants also watched a reading of the health of the U.S. labor market.

Weekly initial jobless benefit claims showed 860,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits, lower than the estimated 870,000, with continuing claims at 12.63 million, but still reflecting very elevated unemployment levels.

Separately, the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index fell to 15 in September from 17.2 in prior month, suggesting a slowing pace of the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In other U.S. economic reports, U.S. home builders started construction on homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.42 million in August, representing a 5% decrease from the previous month, but a 3% uptick from a year ago, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Thursday.

There also were conflicting statements on vaccine development from the government.

The director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Redfield, said a vaccine would be in “very limited supply” at the end of the year.

President Trump claimed one would be ready for immediate use by the general public soon, potentially causing some downward momentum in equities.

Which stocks were in focus?

Shares of Quest Diagnostics Inc. ended 1.7% lower on Thursday after the company said it would sell a COVID-19 diagnostic test directly to consumers to use at home.

The test, which requires nasal swab collection, previously received an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.

Delta Air Lines Inc. said Thursday that the debt offering planned with its SkyMiles IP Ltd. subsidiary was upsized to $9.0 billion from previous plans for a $6.5 billion offering.

Shares fell 1.8%.

The Michaels Cos. Inc. is planning to offer $500 million of 7-year bonds as the arts and crafts retailer joins the many companies issuing record levels of debt during the coronavirus pandemic.

The company’s stock shed 0.8%.

Shares of Tesla Inc. closed 4.2% lower Thursday, putting them on track to extend the pullback started in the previous session.

MetLife Inc. announced Thursday a deal to buy managed vision care company Versant Health for $1.68 billion in cash from an investor group led by Centerbridge Partners and including FFL Partners.

Shares rose 4.5%.

Vitru Ltd. disclosed Thursday that its downsized initial public offering is now expected to price between $16 and $18 a share, down from previous expectations of $22 to $24 a share.

Moderna Inc. CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a news release Thursday that the drug company plans to start developing a seasonal flu vaccine soon.

“We are increasing our investment in vaccines and we will develop a seasonal flu vaccine given the unmet need for highly effective vaccines.”

Moderna shares fell 1.4%.

Oracle and China-owned ByteDance accepted revised terms from the U.S. Treasury that pave the way for a strategic partnership with social-media platform TikTok, Bloomberg reports.

Oracle’s shares were off 0.4%.

How did other markets fare?

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell 0.4 basis point to 0.682%, the day after the Fed’s decision.

Bond prices move inversely to yields.

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index, which tracks the performance of the greenback against its major rivals, was off 0.3% at 92.90.

Gold futures tumbled 1% to $1,949.90 an ounce on Comex.

Futures for the U.S. crude oil benchmark gained 2% to settle at 40.97 a barrel after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies stressed the importance of complying with output cuts during their monthly meeting.

Global equities traded lower, with the Stoxx Europe 600 index ending down 0.5%, and the U.K.’s benchmark FTSE 100 closing 0.5% lower.

In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed 1.6% lower and the Shanghai Composite lost 0.4%.

Japan’s Nikkei closed 0.7% lower. ... latestnews

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Post by thelivyjr » Thu Sep 17, 2020 1:40 p


"Oil prices finish higher as OPEC+ stresses full compliance with output quotas"

By Myra P. Saefong and William Watts

Published: Sept. 17, 2020 at 3:20 p.m. ET

Oil futures finished higher on Thursday as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies stressed the importance of full compliance with output cuts during their monthly meeting.

“Feeling OPEC+ has their back, market participants hiked oil prices, with boosted confidence that if things do not get better, OPEC+ might step in to the rescue,” said Bjornar Tonhaugen, head of oil markets at Rystad Energy, in emailed commentary.

The oil producers, collectively known as OPEC+, held a joint committee meeting via videoconference Thursday to discuss their existing program of output cuts.

The group had previously pared record production cuts of 9.7 million barrels per day to 7.7 million barrels per day starting in August, but also said that countries that failed to previously meet their quota limits would be compensating for their overproduction.

In a statement, the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee said it will recommend that the OPEC Conference approve an extension of the compensation mechanism, which was set to end in September, until the end of December.

The committee also pegged overall conformity among participating OPEC+ countries in the output cut agreement at 102% in August, including Mexico, citing secondary sources.

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, who is also chair of the JMMC, stressed the need for all countries to full confirm to their production adjustments, in his opening statement.

He also said that not fully conforming and then compensating at a later date should not become the norm.

Once again, OPEC+ has met “against a worrying backdrop of soft global oil prices and an uncertain demand outlook,” said Cailin Birch, global economist at The Economist Intelligence Unit.

The International Energy Agency this week reported that OPEC+ reached an overall compliance rate of 97% with the higher August supply targets versus 89% on the lower supply targets in July.

“This implies that Saudi Arabia’s effort to crack down on countries that had previously been exceeding their production targets, including Iraq and Nigeria, has worked,” Birch told MarketWatch.

“Both countries cut their output more deeply in August to compensate for earlier excesses.”

With the committee observing an uneven global economic recovery, Prince Abdulaziz emphasized that participating countries are prepared to take necessary measures as needed and will be “proactive” and preemptive” in their actions on oil.

The JMMC will hold its next monthly meeting on Oct. 19.

The next scheduled meetings of the OPEC Conference and OPEC+ will be held on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.

On Thursday, West Texas Intermediate crude for October delivery climbed by 81 cents, or 2%, to settle at $40.97 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

November Brent crude added $1.08, or 2.6%, to end at $43.30 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

Oil’s relative resilience contrasted with broad weakness in global equities Thursday.

U.S. benchmark stock indexes moved lower on Wall Street.

Investors were also monitoring developments in the Gulf of Mexico in the aftermath of Hurricane Sally, which made landfall on the Alabama coast Wednesday as a Category 2 storm.

The Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement on Thursday showed that more oil production was offline compared to a day earlier.

It estimated 30.69% of current oil production in the Gulf of Mexico had been shut-in, compared with 27.48% on Wednesday.

It also said 24.73% of natural-gas production was shut in, down from 29.7% Wednesday.

“Several factors will continue to put downward pressure on prices in the near-term,” said Birch.

“For one, U.S. crude oil production will inch up in September, after having fallen in August as severe storms forced shut-ins.”

“On the demand side, the global coronavirus caseload remains high, which will maintain the need for social distancing measures in the winter months,” she said.

“As a result, we expect the recovery in oil consumption to plateau in the fourth quarter of 2020, in line with our forecast for the global economy.”

Back on Nymex, October gasoline rose 3% at $1.2244 a gallon, while October heating added 3.9% to $1.1598 a gallon.

October natural gas, however, dropped 9.9% to $2.042 per million British thermal units, extending its losses after losing 4% Wednesday.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported Thursday that domestic supplies of natural gas rose by 89 billion cubic feet for the week ended Sept. 11.

That was larger than the increase of 77 billion cubic feet forecast by analysts polled by S&P Global Platts. ... cle_inline

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