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Tuesday Already?

January 19th already, too.

This new year is flying by and maybe that's because 2020 seemed to take forever.  Even though we are still locked down, there is, hopefully, light at the end of the tunnel but before we start to take off the masks and party like it's 2019 (remember the good old days), let's keep in mind that there's still a lot of work ahead of us and, according to the CEO of vaccine-maker, Moderna, this Covid virus is in it for the long haul.

On Friday, the World Health Organization urged more effort to detect new variants. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said a new version first identified in the United Kingdom may become dominant in the U.S. by March. Although it doesn’t cause more severe illness, it will lead to more hospitalizations and deaths just because it spreads much more easily, said the CDC, warning of “a new phase of exponential growth.”

Of course, that's good news for Biotech.  

A couple of weeks ago, Moderna's CEO, Bancel said that the "nightmare scenario" where mRNA-1273 provided protection for only a few months was now "out of the window." He added that the slow decay of antibodies generated through the vaccine indicates that the duration of protection of mRNA-1273 could be up to two years.  That news was certainly encouraging for people across the world and for investors. Two years of immunity would mean that Moderna could at least see substantial revenue from its vaccine every other year.  But in an interview with CNBC last week, Bancel gave investors even more reason to be excited. He stated, "I think this will become a market like flu." The flu, of course, is seasonal, with vaccines administered on a yearly basis.

While it's a little goulish betting on the downfall of humanity – it's also realistic as, while we've been distracted, more than 60% of all US Covid-19 cases have been reported SINCE Election Day – just two months!  40% of the deaths have occurred in the last 60 days as well.  The US now has over 24M cases, 14.5M of which came in the last 60 days, 7.5M in the last 30 days.   

Across the US, more than 12 million people have received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and more than 31 million doses have been distributed, according to CDC data.  The ratio of doses administered to doses delivered sits at roughly 39% — but the metric varies wildly across different states.  About nine states, and Washington, DC, have administered more than 50% of the vaccine doses that were distributed, according to CDC data. Those are Colorado, Connecticut, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas and West Virginia.  Two states have administered less than 25% of their doses: Alabama and Georgia.

Meanwhile in Florida, of course, more than 40,000 people who received their first vaccine dose are overdue for their second shot, according to the latest report from the state's health department.  "Overdue" individuals are defined as "those who have received their first dose and have passed the recommended time frame to receive their second dose."
It's unclear why the residents are overdue.  Both vaccines that have been authorized for the US market are a two-dose series. The second dose should be administered 21 days after the first dose for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and 28 days after for the Moderna vaccine.

Moving day approaching at the Trump White HouseToday the US Death Toll from the Virus will pass 400,000 and, by the time Trump finally leaves the White House tomorrow, more Americans will have died from his negligence and incompetence than died in all of World War II yet there is no V-Day celebration ahead of us for the virus – it's getting worse, and Joe Biden has a very tough job to do before this war will end.

34% of our fellow Americans STILL approve of the President's performance.  Similarly, only 63% of our fellow countrymen realize the virus is getting worse – probably the same group of people who don't approve of the President, perhaps?  To be fair, only 18% actually think it's getting better but those 18% are a very loud minority who almost overthrew our Government last week.

They are the ones who won't get vaccinated and won't wear masks and don't think it's important to enforce or follow safety regulations where they work.  That 18% is the reason it's going to be very, very hard for the other 82% of us to get our lives back to normal in 2021 – that's going to be a problem.  Another problem we'll look at this week is confidence – we don't have a lot of it, economically.

That's why our new Treasury Secretary and old Fed Chairwoman, Janet Yellen is going to issue MORE FREE MONEY, urging lawmakers in her confirmation hearing today to “act big” to avert a protracted economic downturn and put aside concerns about the mounting national debt.  “Economists don’t always agree, but I think there is a consensus now: Without further action, we risk a longer, more painful recession now—and long-term scarring of the economy later,” Ms. Yellen says in the text of remarks to the Senate Finance Committee as reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. 

“Neither the President-elect, nor I, propose this relief package without an appreciation for the country’s debt burden. But right now, with interest rates at historic lows, the smartest thing we can do is act big.”

Ms. Yellen on Tuesday also is expected to affirm the U.S.’s commitment to market-determined exchange rates. And she will make clear the U.S. doesn’t seek a weaker dollar for competitive advantage, according to Biden transition officials familiar with her hearing preparation.  Republicans, of course, now argue that the programs are no longer needed and pushed to include language in the latest stimulus bill that curtails the Fed and Treasury’s ability to resurrect them. 

Times, they are a'changing as the Trump Error comes to a close.  It's been a magical four years and, hopefully, one day we can look back at all this and laugh – but, so far, it's still not very funny….

We still thought it was funny back in November of 2017 (poor John Oliver aged a lot in 3 years!).  

Stay safe!



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  1. Good Morning.

  2. Good morning!

    Big pre-market pop on Yellen expectations but we'll see if we hold up after.

    Not much data this week but lots of earnings:


  3. Wow! The greetings for the 20s! "Stay safe, be careful, stay healthy" – Wow!

  4. MMM I see my poor mans leg  I recommended and played 1/15 is up by 223$ per option. Hope some of you took the hint.???? Still holding back selling any short term calls. 

  5. Barron's had a positive comments on MMM over the weekend

  6. stockbern

    That is how you catch the early bird

  7. MMM/Yodi, Stock – Mandatory masks should help the bottom line.  Something similar to our last play should work:

    Top Trades for Thu, 21 May 2020 14:13 – MMM


    Sell 5 MMM 2022 $130 puts for $18 ($9,000) – now $5.65 ($2,825)

    Buy 15 MMM 2022 $130 calls for $29 ($43,500) – Now $40 ($60,000)

    Sell 15 MMM 2022 $160 calls for $14.50 ($21,750) – Now $19.25 ($28,875)

    Sell 5 MMM July $150 calls for $5.40 ($2,700) – Expired at $5.38

    That's net $10,050 on the $45,000 spread and we'll sell more premium along the way but the upside is about $35,000 (350%) as it stands so a great way to get started on a Blue Chip industrial.    

    That's net $28,300 now so very nice and I'd just go with a 2023 set so there's more time to sell.

  8. A friend just posted on Facebook a selfie with a covid19 vaccine certificate, a "COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card". I can foresee something like this being needed for admission to, say, airports, foreign countries, restaurants – but it's on paper and would be ridiculously easy to forge in its current incarnation. Korea uses phone apps, of course, (for exposure because they don't have much vaccine yet) – but something like 98% of Koreans have smart phones, so it works better there than here. Anyway, something like the old WHO yellow vaccination books that used to be needed for international travel back in my Peace Corps days in the 70s will likely make a return.

  9. Forgot to mention – it's an official CDC form, mentions the date, type of vaccine and batch number.

  10. Snow, I grew up overseas and vividly recall the yellow vaccination books.  We called them "shot records".  They piled up like passports!  TWA (long gone) used to fly in a medical team every year to innoculate us against cholera, typhoid, typhus, yellow fever, tetanus, small pox.  Your arm(s) would swell up and be super tender.  That's when your older brothers would punch you in the arm.  Oh what "fond" memories.  Suspect there weren't a lot of "anti vaccers" since you'd probably be dead in short order.

  11. snow- a question you maybe able to answer. I'm trying to get a blood test to see if I have the antibody's to covid since both members of the household got a severe case and now are recovering (slowly) but I didn't get it. Can an antibody certificate be used in place of of the vaccinations? The vaccinations are so slow getting rolled out and I would like to travel. And if someone has already had covid is it necessary to get a vaccine? I know a PCR test needs to be done 3 days b4  a flight and is good for a number of days afterwards. TIA

  12. Jeddah – yeah, typhoid shot in particular was painful. We also got the Japanese b encephalitis shot (because it's endemic in Korea) and had to sign a waiver because it was a Japanese vaccine, not FDA approved.

    Pirate – I don't think anyone is requiring these shot certs for anything yet, just the PCR test AFAIK, and that checks for current viral RNA crud in your throat/nose only. The antibody cert sounds like a good idea, though. Whether people who've had the bug should get vaccinated is currently one of those unknowns, but policy is leaning to caution and recommending it. It'll likely mean a feistier reaction from your immune system, though……so, ouch.

  13. Morning Phil / PETS,

    They are down 12% on earnings to near support around $29.  Their earnings didn't seem awful.  Most everything was up slightly from a year ago except new order sales decreased by 7%.  They have a new website (still rolling out) and are pushing a new "ask a vet" service which may add some future revenue.  I'm looking to sell more puts but wanted to get your perspective first.  TIA.

  14. Certificate/Snow – We have to do something like that, even if it is a bit unpleasant.  

    International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis as Approved by the  World Health Organization (Package of 100) | U.S. Government Bookstore

    It's just one more:

    Resources for Parents, Patients, and HCPs

    PETS/Jeddah – That's a shame as we played both (Dividend Portfolio and Earnings Portfolio) aggressively.  I'm not inclined to do anything on the first day.  If a lot of earnings are doing this, there could be a lot further to fall.  I don't have an issue owning PETS in the Dividend Portfolio at net $16.60 (if $22.50 puts are assigned) and I don't intent to sell the stock – ever – so as long as they pay their 3% dividend, we're good.  

    The Earnings Portfolio is a different animal as we just have the bull call spread:

    PETS Long Call 2023 20-JAN 25.00 CALL [PETS @ $30.58 $-4.15] 20 10/27/2020 (731) $20,000 $10.00 $0.30 $10.00     $10.30 - $600 3.0% $20,600
    PETS Short Call 2023 20-JAN 35.00 CALL [PETS @ $30.58 $-4.15] -20 10/27/2020 (731) $-14,000 $7.00 $0.40     $7.40 - $-800 -5.7% $-14,800

    What we want to do here (Earnings Portfolio) is sell the 2023 $22.50 puts for $5.50 or more (net $17) and let's say we sell 10 of those and use that $5,500 to roll the 20 2023 $25 calls, now $10 to the $20s, now $13 for $6,000.

  15. here comes /nq 13000 and /es 3800

  16. Plunged into virus ‘dark winter,’ Biden must lead US out

  17. Phil/Change of govt.

    They are talking about a big/military send off for their leader.

    if I were in Biden's place, I would arrest him tomorrow and have a trial….choose any crime you wish…there are dozens of and more crimes committed. take your pick. Too complacent, this country! We already saw what happened in 1939 with complacency in another country where he came back from 5 years in prison to incite and kill.

  18. My Wife and Daughter volunteer at a local blood bank (San Diego)


    They were given the Pfizer vaccine yesterday  :)

  19. Sucks to be GameStop

  20. I'm O positive and ornery. Looks like I will enjoy the back of the line, by myself…. ;)

  21. 1020/vaccine

    any side effects?

  22. Half of the nurses that have been offered the vaccine, have denied it – I wonder why. Also, I disagree with mandatory vaccination. THis vaccine hasn't been tested on large scale nor do we know anything about the long term damage of a DNA altering vaccine – first of its kind. And if you are vaccinated you are safe right? So you don't have to force someone else to take it if they want to take the gamble.

  23. There is a T cell test for the virus available now which is supposed to be more accurate than the antibody test.  Not sure if a positive result will be allowed instead of the vaccine, but it should be.  

  24. This was nicely done. Q&A related to the vaccine.



  25. Maya1 – A sore arm is about it.

  26. wolf, I pretty much disagree with everything you have said.

    1. There is no evidence that nurses have declined the vaccine.  There were some early reports of such in sporadic locations because of a wait and see approach.  Now that the vaccines have been out for a month,  not much news on the subject.

    2.  The vaccine is NOT mandatory, at least not yet.

    3. The vaccine does not alter your DNA.  You eat genetically modified foods all the time, but it does not alter your DNA. A sample internet search will prove your suspicions are unfounded..  If you read something otherwise, most likely its a conspiracy theory like the one that said you were being injected with a microchip.

    4. If you are vaccinated you are safe, right? Yes and No. The vaccines are 90-95% effective. So, theoretically one in 10 to 20 could still get Covid.  If you go to a restaurant that has 50 patrons inside, even if everyone there was vaccinated you could still encounter 2, perhaps 5 sick people. Same goes for any type of indoor gathering.


    So, mask up, and continue to social distance, but who is forcing you to gamble?

  27. S.Wolf.

    Please share the data that suggests 50% of nurses have declined it. I'd like to read that. 

    FWIW, the vaccine doesn't alter the recipients DNA. 

    Vaccination programs are effective  when large percentages of the population are innoculated. Perhaps Snow can elaborate better. The number I'm aware of is around 70% (close to the herd immunity numbers). So yes, most people DO need to be vaccinated in order for it to have its intended impact.


  28. Nearly everyone at my facility has been vaccinated. No serious adverse events that I'm aware of. My wife and I have had both doses and both went fine, no issues or concerns. 

  29. I think people hear "messenger RNA" and the average person thinks "Oh wow, it will send messages to my DNA and alter it".  This is a marketing issue and I think the folks in charge have to make it clear that it is simply a novel way of producing a "safe version" of the virus' particles in order to stimulate the human immune system to make antibodies.  Nothing to do with the recipient's DNA at all. 

    An online campaign on Youtube and Facebook would be a good start.

  30. Kinki, I agree. To date the information campaign surrounding this vaccine rollout has been non-existent. With the exception of the rampant misinformation from largely uniformed individuals. 

    It's remarkable technology and has been characterized in every way but that to the general public.