On Monday, the price of oil dropped to -$38 per barrel. Yes, negative thirty-eight. With the economy drastically slowing, oil reserves are building up and storage facilities are running out of room. Even though producers have cut production, it is not enough to offset the drastic drop in demand. So, this week when the current monthly oil contracts were expiring, the owners of the contracts were paying over $30 per barrel for someone to take possession of the oil and store it. As of midweek, the oil markets had recovered to positive territory in the low teens. The next monthly oil contract is set to expire on May 18th and the price may go negative again. Unfortunately, for those still driving, filling up your tank may be a little cheaper, but those negative prices will not be showing up at your local gas station any time soon. CNN WSJ
Stocks had been rallying the past couple of weeks, but the oil price shock on Monday set them back. Stocks stabilized by midweek though there are concerns about the economic fallout in regions with large energy sectors and the government may step in to help. WSJ CNBC Over the coming weeks, markets will be attuned to how states will reopen their economies and those announcements are expected soon.
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- Another Stimulus Bill Close to Done: Congress is close to completing another stimulus package, this one for almost $500B. It is expected to pass and will include additional funding for small business loans, hospitals, and coronavirus testing. This would be the fourth stimulus bill to pass Congress in response to the virus and together they total $3T. Reuters
- Virus More Widespread Than Previously Thought? As the U.S. approaches one million confirmed cases we are learning the virus may have been in the U.S. earlier than first expected. The first known fatality was pushed up three weeks and there are also reports surfacing which may indicate the virus is more widespread than thought as well. The reports certainly highlight the need for more testing to help make decisions about reopening the economy. SF Gate NYT CNBC
- Your Quick Hit Articles for the Week:
- Will quitting caffeine help you sleep? (no, please don't take my coffee away!) WSJ
- John Krasinski and David Ortiz deliver good news to hospital workers. Boston.com
- Stephen King is sorry you feel like you're stuck in one of his novels. 😊 NPR
- Smartwatches are ubiquitous, but are you ready for the smart toilet? Statnews
- The rise of the robots – will automation increase because of the virus – probably. Brookings
- House hunting in rural areas booms. CNBC
- Stockholm Sweden may be approaching "herd immunity" for the virus CNBC
- Celebrate Earth Day by Planting a Tree: What's good for the earth can be very good for us. Trees are great for air quality, cooling neighborhoods, reducing noise pollution, and combating global warming. Why not celebrate Earth Day this week by planting a tree – and you won't have to leave the house. If you buy a $10 membership to the Arbor Day Foundation they will ship you ten free tree saplings! I have ordered trees from them many times and it's hard to believe some of the big trees in my yard came in the mail about twenty years ago. PBS Arbor Day Foundation
- How the Plague Changed History: I stumbled across this article on how the plague changed history. It weakened the church and feudal system, raised wages and improved working conditions for those that survived, and helped usher in the Renaissance. Thankfully, the coronavirus is nowhere near as deadly as the black plague, but it is possible it will force changes that we would not have imagined just a short time ago. Medium
- NFL Draft: In what is surely going to be the highest-rated sports programming this spring, the NFL Draft is this week. For us Browns fans, this is our Super Bowl and our moment of hope (it quickly fades in the fall). There is always plenty of drama, such as will the Patriots draft a QB? Enjoy the show. CBS Sports Mock Draft
- The Benefits of Walking: I have found one of the primary disadvantages of working out of the home is the lack of walking and movement. My commute is now ten steps from my kitchen. This article highlights how walking stimulates proteins that repair the brain and muscles, reduce inflammation, increase creativity and productivity, plus other benefits. Time for me to get moving! WSJ
Be well, stay safe, and thank you for reading. Have a very enjoyable weekend. Go Browns!