Repo Commentary-01/16/19


I announced in my 12/24/18 Repo Commentary that I am honored to have been selected to be the Chairperson of the upcoming 25th (Silver Anniversary) IMN Beneficial Owners’ International Securities Finance & Collateral Management Conference 2/5-2/6 in Fort Lauderdale at the Ritz-Carlton, and to add my disruptive touch to make it fresh again.

We are already shaking it up and including many more sectors of clients to participate, including pension funds, municipalities, money funds, hedge funds, asset managers, and GSEs. If you have not yet registered, you need to do so soon! I am hoping to see many of my clients there.

The focuses will be on alternative repo efforts, fintech, repo reinvestment AND securities lending, and women in the securities financing industry. Did you see that Citigroup became the first US bank to publish an “unadjusted” gender pay gap, showing that its female employees earn 29% less than men do? I hope to see all of you there and I’ll be reaching out to many of you to participate, as it is less than a month away!

I am very interested in adding 3 hedge fund panelists to join a large Pension Plan to a panel being moderated by a prime broker, to discuss the demands in the hedge fund industry for borrowing securities from third-party lenders and their beneficial owners (like Pension Plans).

My Repo Commentary is posted on my website: http://www.repocommentary.com. It also pops up on LinkedIn, the Global Investors Group (ISF Magazine) website, and on CentralBanks.com as an op-ed.

If you need to reach me, my cell is still 646-753-1300, my email for work is jeffkidwell82@gmail.com, and you can also hit me up on LinkedIn.

Since its inception in 1982, the Repo Commentary does not represent the views of any of my former firms and reflects only my opinion and includes only publicly available information. I make a strong effort to attribute any quotes or thoughts that are not my own, I do not make any marketing spiels, and I really am more interested (70-80%) in entertaining you than boring (20-30%) you with too much market info. Feel free, as always, to send me information or pictures. Also, please send me feedback, as I want to make it better all the time.

01/16 Holidays or Events:

• National Religious Freedom Day in the US
• Teacher’s Day in Myanmar
• Teachers’ Day in Thailand (they must have better English teachers)
• National Fig Newton Day (love ‘em)
• Book Publishers Day
• International Hot and Spicy Food Day
• National Good Teen Day
• National Nothing Day
• Appreciate a Dragon Day
• National Without a Scalpel Day
• Psychiatric Technician’s Day
• Prohibition Remembrance Day

Some Famous People Born 01/16 in History:

• 972-Sheng Zong, emperor of the Liao Dynasty
• 1853-Andre Michelin, French businessman, co-founded the Michelin Tyre Company
• 1878-Harry Carey-American actor, director, producer, screenwriter
• 1882-Margaret Wilson, American author
• 1894-Irving Mills, American publisher
• 1900-Edith Frank, German-Dutch mother of Anne Frank
• 1901-Fulgencio Batista, Cuban colonel and politician, 9th President of Cuba
• 1908-Ethel Merman, American actress and singer
• 1917-Carl Karcher, American businessman, founded Carl’s Jr.
• 1932-Dian Fossey, American zoologist and anthropologist
• 1933-Susan Sontag, American novelist and critic
• 1934-Bob Bogle, American rock guitarist and bass player
• 1935-A.J. Foyt, American race car driver
• 1942-Rene Angelil, Canadian singer and manager/husband of Celine Dion
• 1942-Barbara Lynn, American singer-songwriter, guitarist
• 1943-Ronnie Milsap, American singer and pianist
• 1944-Jim Stafford, American singer-songwriter and actor
• 1948-John Carpenter, American director, producer, screenwriter, and composer
• 1950-Debbie Allen, American actress, dancer, and choreographer
• 1950-Robert Schimmel, American comedian, actor and producer
• 1952-Fuad II, King of Egypt
• 1952-L. Blaine Hammond, American colonel, pilot and astronaut
• 1959-Sade, Nigerian-English singer-songwriter and producer
• 1962-Maxine Jones, American R&B singer-songwriter and actress
• 1966-Jack McDowell, American baseball player
• 1969-Roy Jones Jr., American boxer
• 1974-Kate Moss, English model and fashion designer
• 1980-Albert Pujols, Dominican-American baseball player
• 1985-Joe Flacco, American football player
• 1986-Mark Trumbo, American baseball player

This Day in History (01/16):

• 27 BC-Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus is granted the title Augustus by the Roman Senate, marking the beginning of the Roman Empire.
• 378-General Siyaj K’ak’ conquers Tikai, enlarging the domain of King Spearthrower Owl of Teotihuacan. I later usurped that title.
• 550-Gothic War: the Ostrogoths, under King Totila, conquer Rome after a long siege, by bribing the Isaurian garrison.
• 1120-the Council of Nablus is held, establishing the earliest surviving written laws of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem.
• 1362-a storm tide in the North Sea ravages the East coast of England and destroys the German city of Rungholt on the island of Strand.
• 1412-the Medici family is appointed the official banker of the Papacy.
• 1492-just as Columbus lands elsewhere, the first grammar of the Spanish language is presented to Queen Isabella I. It is Castillian, by the way.
• 1547-Grand Duke Ivan IV of Muscovy becomes the first Tsar of Russia, replacing the 264-year-old Grand Duchy of Moscow with the Tsardom of Russia.
• 1556-Philip II becomes King of Spain.
• 1572-Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, is tried for treason for his part in the Ridolfi plot to restore Catholicism in England.
• 1605-the first edition of El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha (Book One of Don Quixote) by Miguel de Cervantes is published in Madrid, Spain.
• 1707-the Scottish Parliament ratifies the Act of Union, paving the way for the creation of Great Britain.
• 1757-forces of the Maratha Empire defeat a 5,000-strong army of the Durrani Empire in the Battle of Narnia, sorry, Narela.
• 1780-American Revolutionary War: Battle of Cape St. Vincent.
• 1786-Virginia enacts the Statute for Religious Freedom authored by Thomas Jefferson.
• 1809-Penisular War: the British defeat the French at the Battle of La Coruna.
• 1847-John C. Fremont is appointed Governor of the new California territory.
• 1862-Hartley Colliery disaster: 204 men and boys killed in a mining disaster, prompted a change in UK law which henceforth required all collieries to have at least two independent means of escape. I learn something new every day, I never knew this term for coal mine.
• 1878-Russo-Turkish War: Battle of Philippopolis: Captain Aleksandr Burago with a squadron of Russian Imperial army dragoons liberates Plovdiv from Ottoman rule.
• 1883-the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act, establishing the United States Civil Service, is passed.
• 1900-the United States Senate accepts the Anglo-German treaty of 1899 in which the United Kingdom renounces its claim to the Samoan islands.
• 1909-Ernest Shakleton’s expedition finds the magnetic South Pole. Quite a story!
• 1919-the United States ratifies the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution, requiring Prohibition in the United States one year after ratification.
• 1920-Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc was founded on the campus of Howard University.
• 1920-the League of Nations holds its first council meeting in Paris, France.
• 1942-crash of TWA Flight 3, killing all 22 aboard, including film star Carole Lombard.
• 1945-Adolf Hitler moves into his underground bunker, the so-called Fuhrerbunker.
• 1964-okay this is freaky! I bet you didn’t know this when you heard that Carol Channing had died yesterday? “Hello, Dolly!” opened on Broadway, beginning a run of 2,844 performances, with Carol Channing as the lead. Perhaps, she has another opening night tonight in Heaven.
• 1969-Soviet spacecraft Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 perform the first-ever docking of manned spacecraft in orbit and the first-ever transfer of crew from one space vehicle to another, and the only time such transfer was done by a space walk.
• 1979-the last Iranian Shah flees Iran with his family for good and relocates to Egypt.
• 1991-Coalition Forces go to war with Iraq, beginning the Gulf War.
• 1992-El Salvador officials and rebel leaders sign the Chapultepec Peace Accords in Mexico City, Mexico, ending the 12-year Salvadoran Civil War that claimed at least 75,000 lives.
• 2001-US President Bill Clinton awards former President Theodore Roosevelt a posthumous Medal of Honor for his service in the Spanish-American War.
• 2002-the UN Security Council unanimously establishes an arms embargo and the freezing of assets of Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, and the remaining members of the Taliban.
• 2003-the Space Shuttle Columbia takes off for mission STS-107 which would be its final one. It disintegrated 16 days later on re-entry, killing all on board.
• 2006-Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is sworn in as Liberia’s new President. She becomes Africa’s first female elected as head of state.
• 2016-33 out of 126 freed hostages are injured and 23 killed in terrorist attacks in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso on a hotel and a nearby restaurant.

Fun Fact of the Day:

There are more possible moves in a game of chess (Claude Shannon estimate) than the number of atoms in the observable universe.—Victor Allis

Daily Affirmation/Thought/Pun/Quote:

“Without deep reflection, one knows from daily life that one exists for other people.”—Albert Einstein

International and Commodity Markets:

Oil prices closed at $74.34/barrel on 10/5, $47.66/barrel on 12/23, $48.63 on 01/07, and $52.31/barrel on 01/16 (yesterday). The price of gasoline at my new West Palm Beach station moved from $1.86/gallon on 01/07 to $1.97/gallon on 01/16. The USD has been taking a beating versus other currencies, due to the budget impasse and current US government shutdown. versus the Yen was trading at $112.20 on 12/24, was $108.60 on 01/07, and now is up a bit to 109.07 on 01/16. The USD was at $1.1426 versus the Euro on 12/24, but on 01/07 was at $1.1478, and a bit stronger on 01/16 at $1.1396. The USD was at $1.2655 against the British Pound on 12/24, but on 01/07 was at $1.2770, and is now even weaker on 01/16 at $1.2880. The USD versus the CAD was $1.3442 on 12/24, but at $1.3297 on 01/07, and now at $1.3255 on 01/16. Gold closed 10/5 at $1204.10/ounce, 12/24 at $1256.70/ounce, 01/07 at $1288.85/ounce, and 01/16 at $1293.50, reflecting the continued uncertainty of the markets and flight to gold. Bitcoin was trading at $8,185.21 on 7/25, at $6,350 on 10/5, and $3,774.97 on 12/24. On 01/07 it was at at $3,7774.97. On 01/16, it took some more of a beating, down to $3,598.90. Litecoin founder is stoking a debate over ‘Bitcoin Extremists’ Tweets. UK Crypto Exchange Coinfloor will launch trading of physically delivered Bitcoin Futures. Somehow, that strikes me as ironic. Argentina says the NEM Foundation will develop a blockchain-powered copyright system for journalists. In India, a fourth suspect has been arrested following an alleged $71.6 million crypto scam. A Paris “Treasure Hunt” has a Bitcoin prize worth $1000 up for grabs in a wall mural. A Hong Kong entrepreneur has been accused of cheating investors in a crypto mining investment scheme. The CEO of Epic Games, which owns Fortnite, said the Fortnite store’s acceptance of altcoin Monero was accidental. Japan is gauging interest in a Bitcoin ETF. Nevada has issued almost 1,000 digital Marriage Certificates on Ethereum, proactively using blockchain technology, but government acceptance varies across different agencies. In 2017, Nevada became the first state to exempt blockchain transactions from tax obligations. Yesterday, cryptocurrency hardware wallet firm, Ledger, unveiled a new Bluetooth-based wallet. The FBI and Department of Homeland Security reportedly raided the office of a Michigan-based science and tech center last month during a crypto-related investigation. So, it appears that PM May is now facing a potential historic defeat on Brexit and the EU is telling her that “time is almost up.” EU has expressed horror that UK Parliament defeated the Brexit deal agreed to by May in a new Brexit vote and has refused to renegotiate the deal. Analysts and the EU fear that the likelihood of the UK just ‘tumbling’ out of the EU without a negotiated deal is a higher prospect now.

Global Financial News:

PG&E, responsible for providing power to the San Francisco area, says it will file Chapter 11 bankruptcy, to avoid scores of lawsuits being filed against them, claiming faulty equipment caused many of the wildfires, like the Paradise devastation. The State has already said they will not step in to bail the company out. Several banks have released their Q4 earnings and Bank of America announced record profits, up 25%, on interest rate increases and corporate tax benefits, sending the stock soaring already 5% this morning. It was the firm’s highest annual profit, $28.1 billion, since 2006, when it was up $21.1 billion. Citigroup kicked off the banks that were reporting, when is announced a profit of $4.3 billion, compared with a loss of $18.9 billion a year ago, when it took a charge for the corporate tax reduction. This morning, Wells Fargo announced that it had a $6.1 billion profit, down 1% from a year ago, as it continues to struggle with the unauthorized accounts scandal. It also disclosed which types of jobs it will cut next at the bank. As I reported in the last Repo Commentary, Morgan Stanley is set to cut sales & trading jobs soon. At the same time, they are in the midst of announcing bonuses and promotions to the rest of their staff. They announced that they were promoting 145 people from Executive Director to Managing Director today. Today, JPMorgan Chase reported record profits of $7.1 billion, up 67% from a year ago. The biggest surprise, besides BOA’s and JPMorgan’s earnings, though, was probably news that Bank of NY was cutting some 10% of the workforce globally, along with a tough earnings call today. EPS was down 22%, but due in part to “a series of notable items.” Total revenue was up 7%. Goldman Sachs reported that M&A fees were up 56%, to the highest in more than a decade, in the dealmaking boom, and that that offset poor results in trading, worse results since the Global Financial Crisis. Fixed income trading, in particular, was down 18%, worse than analysts expected. Although revenue fell 1% at the bank, the firm cut its compensation costs by 11%. Four Chinese tycoons just transferred $17 billion of their money to trusts. Fiserve bought First Data for $22 billion. Moody’s said that the partial US government shutdown could create problems for the bond market, causing “liquidity strains.” The People’s Bank of China has injected a record $83 billion into the nation’s economy through reverse repurchase transactions, according to Reuters. Banco Santander is no longer hiring Andrea Orcel as CEO.

US Market News:

The Dow Jones closed at 26,656.77 on 9/20, closed at 26,447.05 on 10/5, closed at 21,792.20 on 12/23, closed at 21,712.53 on 12/26. When we last chatted, on 01/08, it was nearing 24,000. On 01/16, it closed at 24,207.16, still roaring back. S&P 500 also gave up its all-time high on 9/20 of 2,930.66, closing on 10/5 at 2,885.58, then on 12/26 at 2,467.70, in bear market territory. Yet, as of 1/7, it had rebounded to 2,549.69 close. It closed on 01/16 at 2,616.10. Nasdaq too gave up its 8/28 high of 8,030.04, closing 10/5 at 7,788.45, then 12/26 at 6,554.36. Yet, as of 01/07, it too had rebounded to close at 6,823.47. On 01/16, it closed at 7,034.70.

US Treasury yields had gotten much higher on 9/20, in advance of the 9/26 FOMC meeting, rose still higher after the meeting and then plummeted with the drop in Equities, and have continued to drop and even invert since. On 10/5, 2years closed at 2.88%, closed 12/18 at 2.65%, closed 01/07 at 2.53%, and closed 01/16 at 2.55%; on 10/5, 3years closed at 2.99%, closed on 12/18 at 2.64%, and closed 01/07 at 2.47% (inverted to 2years), and then closed 01/16 at 2.53%, still inverted; on 10/5, 5years closed at 3.07%, closed on 12/18 at 2.65%, closed 01/07 at 2.49%, and closed 01/16 at 2.54%; on 10/5, 7years closed at 3.18%, closed at 2.74% on 12/18, and closed on 01/07 at 2.60%, and 01/16 at 2.62%; on 10/5, 10years closed at 3.23%, closed at 2.82% on 12/18, closed on 01/07 at 2.70%, and closed 01/16 at 2.73%; and on 10/5, 30years closed at 3.40%, closed at 3.07% on 12/18, closed at 2.99% on 01/07, and closed at 3.07% on 01/16.

Housing News:

By all measurements, the housing market cooled in 2018, and 2019 looks like it may be a difficult year for both buyers and sellers, according to analysts. Most analysts are predicting higher interest rates (although as we just saw above with Treasury yields, they have dramatically dropped since October, some down nearly ½%) and higher home prices, mainly because of less supply and higher labor and material costs. Both of those would be difficult for the housing market, but expected continued economic growth and increase in employment are supposed to prop up demand. I guess, if the housing market gets too unpredictable, that probably helps the renovation of existing homes and the various industries that support that. Analysts say, despite the delay following the Great Recession, the Millenials are now the biggest homebuyer group, particularly for entry-level homes, although supply is very limited. One thing homebuyers should be considering, says the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is that they have a total debt-to-income ratio below 43%, when all is said and done. I think one thing to watch is the continued move from ownership to renting, houses and condos, as home price increases are likely to advance faster than wage growth. As 2018 ends, with lower existing and new home sales, as well as home prices, analysts still see the slowdown stopping short of a crash. Figures released Wednesday by the US Census Bureau show that almost 2.5 million people have moved to the state of Florida since 2010, up 13.3% in population. Florida remains the country’s 3rd most populous state. Florida’s growth rate in the last year was 1.5%, only surpassed by Nevada, Idaho, Utah, and Arizona.

US Home Sales plummeted in December by almost 11% and the annual price growth rate showed the smallest increase in 6 years, according to data from Redfin. Inventories are starting to increase and buyers are taking more time and clearly now have the upper hand. One possible silver lining which could help going forward, is that 30-year mortgage rates peaked in November at 4.94%, up a full percentage point since the beginning of 2018, but have since fallen to 4.45%. Perhaps, with lower mortgage rates, affordability will increase and lead to higher demand.

“Canada’s commercial property market is set for another blockbuster year.” National Post

Repo News:  

When I last wrote before Christmas, the repo market was showing resilience after yet another Fed tightening, with GC Overnight trading well-below the expected 2.60% rate, probably due to some GSE cash still being in the system. At the time, we were heading into year-end and were seeing some minor year-end balance sheet and funding pressures. Scott Skyrm saw the Turn at the time as 12/31-1/2 at 3.10%/3.00%.

Well, things didn’t TURN out that way at all. Liquidity, which everyone said was in abundance, shriveled up. Somehow, it shriveled up BOTH ways. Broker/dealers had difficulty financing and the O/N GC rate went north of 6.00%, and collateral providers struggled to find balance sheet at broker/dealers. But, somehow, at the same time, cash providers couldn’t find enough collateral at the broker/dealers and were forced to absorb rates that were so low, hundreds of bp away from 6.00%, that they actually went to the Fed’s dormant RRP program (averaging $11 billion and frequently near zero) and took down a hefty $43 billion at sub-repo rates. We haven’t seen such a disjointed year-end in years. And, it’s ironic that it came right after the regulators and the media went on about how liquidity had returned to the Repo market and everything was fine now.

Remember, on 12/24, I wrote this in the Repo Commentary, which now is prescient of what happened at year-end, and possibly what now actually exists:

“I will say that I saw a provocative piece by my old friend, Steve Malekian, regarding Liquidity Assumptions in the Repo Market. I have been seeing several articles about how 10 years now from the events of the Financial Crisis or Great Recession, we have now returned to some kind of ‘normalcy’. The banks are much better capitalized, forced to be so by over 300 regulations slapped on them and forced deleveraging to all market participants. Many people have been remarking how liquidity has returned to the market and is in abundant supply now. Now, I don’t know about you, but I see deleveraging and increased liquidity as an issue in semantics and timing. If you force people to slash their use of liquidity by as much as 60%, and it is still technically there, then there’s sort of more liquidity.

On the counterparty credit risk side, regulators certainly got things more transparent and eased questions about bank solvency, although the ‘too big to fail’ thing still lurks. There are less participants and the larger ones have crowded out some of the smaller ones. But, at what price was counterparty credit risk at banks reduced? Concentrating that risk into one, two, or three CCPs, may have reduced one counterparty credit risk, just to increase credit risk and concentration risk among only a few institutions. I remember one of the smartest money funds had told me that they now look at the CCPs’ membership lists and their waterfall provisions very carefully.

Anyway, Steve points out that bank balance sheets were slashed and client coverage was culled. As bank capital has been reallocated now back to the Repo Desks, for their smooth revenue stream, its allocation among clients is very different than it used to be. So, if you happened to be a client in the rare category of platinum (in terms of size and doing many of the product lines of that bank), you now are seeing more liquidity from that bank. But, if you are smaller or only doing repo or only doing thinner bid/offer spread repo, you are not receiving the prior liquidity or you are seeing much wider bid/offer spreads.

Remember that liquidity and balance sheet are fickle things that can change pretty suddenly. So, is liquidity overall up? Or, is this time different?

Anyway, I’ve paraphrased Steve, perhaps not perfectly, and added some of my own thoughts just to provoke discussion.”

Well, that’s scary, even to me! The problem seems to be that the Fed added all of these tools to provide liquidity but only to take cash out of the system with their RRP, not ADD cash to the system to keep rates down and to provide liquidity to collateral providers or to broker/dealers. Maybe, the liquidity really has moved to just the Platinum customers. I would also like to know more about how SOFR, a median of Triparty Repo rates from broker/dealers to cash providers missed by so much the actual average repo rate of the market? Is it because it missed the bilateral trades or is it because it only focuses on the Offer Side of the market, or both?

I’m hearing from several sources that the sponsored repo program at FICC, Direct Repo at AVM, Elixium electronic platform, GLMX electronic platform, EUREX CCP, peer-to-peer OTC financing, and BONY’s DBVX are all making headway and volumes are up, although still below 5% of the overall European and US repo markets. I’ll give you more of my thoughts on all that in the next Repo Commentary (otherwise, I’ll never finish this and all the other news will be old!). But, in the meantime, Risk ran an interesting article on a survey of banks that were hesitating to sign on to vendors who offered connections to electronic trading platforms because they don’t want additional services, such as order routing and analytics, which are often bundled in. Bloomberg had an interesting article about the video game Fortnite, saying that “huge multiplayer games are true economic exchanges.” I think that is very interesting, seeing the video game as a digital exchange for the future of global trading. Ah, I keep thinking of a Repo Exchange…

I see the Repo and Securities Lending market as having changed in many permanent ways. We traditionally had a credit intermediator, the broker/dealers (originally just the primary broker/dealers) and later prime brokers, who were the pipeline through their respective repo matched books for collateral providers to trade with cash providers, without the two sides ever knowing about each other or facing each other. That lack of knowledge of the other side of the repo matched book came at a couple of costs, first, the bid/offer spread that went to the dealers and second, the defaults of the Financial Crisis and the impact on some of the dealers that then cost their clients. Clearly, with that pipeline becoming severely crimped by post-Financial Crisis regulatory reforms, consolidation and bankruptcies, and the resulting drop of about 60% in balance sheets being used for broker/dealer respective repo matched books, new pathways/pipelines needed to be found for cash provider and collateral provider clients. AVM’s Direct Repo™ was the first of one of such pathways. Since then, other pathways to these markets have been created, including: the Federal Reserve’s RRP program with cash providers, peer-to-peer financing as reported on Treasury OFR’s website between MMFs and Insurance Companies, As Agent repo through seclending agents and now some prime brokers, direct lending from beneficial owner to hedge funds who are short, indemnified As Agent repo, buyside to buyside Triparty Repo through two international clearing organizations, electronic all-to-all repo on a few electronic trading platforms like Elixium and BNY DBVX, FICC’s sponsored repo and cleared repo products to entice certain sectors of the buyside into that CCP, and other Repo and/or Seclending CCPs (several still being worked on, particularly in Europe). I believe this evolution will continue and eventually we will see all of these pathways used, including the traditional pathway (to probably a lesser than historical degree) through the broker/dealers and prime brokers.

Upcoming Repo Industry Conferences:
 

• Finadium will hold a webinar on moving to SOFR, SONIA, and ESTER, the three principal LIBOR alternatives, on 1/15.
• IMN 25th Beneficial Owners International Securities Finance and Collateral Management Conference will be held in Fort Lauderdale, FL on 2/5-2/6. I have been chosen as the Chairperson.
• Finadium will hold a new conference on the Business of Collateral Trading in Frankfurt, Germany on 2/21.
• IMN will hold its annual Fixed Income Investor Network in Las Vegas on 2/24.
• iMoneyNet will hold its annual MMExpo in Middleburg, VA 3/4-3/6.
• RMA will hold its 16th annual PASLA/RMA Conference on Asian Securities Lending in Sydney, Australia on 3/5-3/7.
• GIOA will hold its 15th annual conference in Las Vegas 3/20-3/22.
• Finadium will hold its 3rd annual Investors in Securities Lending Conference in NYC on 5/2-5/3.
• IMN will hold its annual Global ABS conference in Barcelona, Spain on 6/11-6/13.
• Worldwide Business Research will hold its annual Fixed Income Leaders USA Summit in Philadelphia, PA on 6/18-6/20.
• Worldwide Business Research will hold its annual Fixed Income & FX Leader Summit in Singapore on 9/17-9/19.
• IMN will hold its annual ABS East conference in Miami Beach, FL on 9/22-9/24.
• Finadium will hold its 3rd annual Investors in Securities Lending Conference Europe in London on 9/24.
• National Association of State Treasurers will hold its annual conference in Naples, FL on 10/6-10/9.
• Worldwide Business Research will hold its Fixed Income Leaders conference in Barcelona on 10/7-10/9.
• RMA will hold its 37th annual Repo & Securities Lending Conference in Boca Raton, FL in October.
• American Financial Professionals (AFP) will hold its annual conference in Boston, MA on 10/20-10/23.
• Risk.net will hold its 25th annual Risk USA conference in NYC in November.
• SIFMA will hold its annual Meeting in Washington, DC on 11/18-11/20.

Federal Reserve News:

Fed Funds, which trade mostly between some banks and GSEs, opened today at 2.50%, where it had been set on 12/13 FOMC meeting tightening of 25bp.

The next FOMC meetings are: 1/30/19, 3/20/19, 5/1/19, 6/19/19, 7/31/19, 9/18/19, 10/30/19, 12/11/19, 1/29/20 (reflecting the Fed’s just announced tentative schedule for 2019).

The Federal Reserve’s Reverse Repo Facility (RRP), which has over 300 approved participants (16 banks, 14 GSEs, 101 money market funds from various fund families), is now set at the rate of 1.75%. The Fed is currently only repoing out US Treasuries from its portfolio and typically only Overnight. Remember when RRP was trading at year-end for $465 billion? Well, on 5/15, there was only $20 million in bids submitted. MMF cash and GSE cash has moved out of the Fed’s RRP and into the Repo market, but it hasn’t really brought down the GC repo rate, which is strange.

If you are wondering about RRP, it is nearly extinct. In July, excluding month-end, volume averaged only $2.8 billion per day. It has just become a mechanism for the Fed to supply collateral when its scarce for money market funds on month-ends and quarter-ends, as dealer balance sheets dry up at those times.

According to FOMC members, the Federal Reserve signaled that it would raise the benchmark Fed Funds rate to 2.50% at the December FOMC meeting, 3.00% in 2019, and 3.50% in 2020. If you are keeping score, the Federal Reserve raised the Fed Funds target rate on these dates so far:

12/15/15 to 0.50%
12/14/16 to 0.75%
3/5/17 to 1.00%
6/14/17 to 1.25%
12/13/17 to 1.50%
3/21/18 to 1.75%
6/13/18 to 2.00%
9/26/18 to 2.25%
12/13/18 to 2.50%

Quantitative Easing was ‘tapered off’ in 2013. The Fed still had $4 trillion of debt in 2017 on its books from that QE. In October 2017, it began allowing those holdings to gradually decline. For fun, the Fed Funds target rate was 5.25% before the Fed cut of 9/18/2007.

The Federal Reserve will propose a rule this year to simplify the stress tests for regional banks and to reduce their frequency, per Randal Quarles. The rule would apply to banks with $100 billion-$250 billion in assets. Nellie Lang, a former economist at the Fed, has withdrawn from consideration to be a governor at the Fed.

“Kansas City Fed’s Esther George Says Central Bank Can Pause Rate Increases: One of the Federal Reserve’s most consistent supporters of raising interest rates said the central bank could refrain from more increases for the time being while it studies the effects of its previous steps to withdraw economic stimulus.” Wall Street Journal

Earthquakes and Volcanoes:

The USGS updated its 2005 rankings of the 161 volcanoes that pose the most threat to American lives. Since 2005, that total number has dropped by 8. The 18 very highest threat volcanoes are in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington. 39 other volcanoes are high threat, 49 are moderate, 34 are low, and 21 are very low threat. The United States is one of Earth’s most volcanically active countries. Since 1980, there have been 120 eruptions and 52 episodes of notable volcanic threat at 44 US volcanoes. Using 24 factors to determine the threat to people and evaluate the US volcanoes, the USGS came up with the entire list. Here are the 18 very highest threat volcanoes:
• Akutan Island-Alaska
• Augustine Volcano-Alaska
• Makushin-Alaska
• Redoubt Volcano-Alaska
• Mount Spur-Alaska
• Mount Baker-Washington
• Glacier Peak-Washington
• Mount Ranier-Washington
• Mount St. Helens-Washington
• Crater Lake-Oregon
• Mount Hood-Oregon
• Newberry Volcano-Oregon
• Three Sisters Volcano-Oregon
• Lassen volcanic center-California
• Long Valley Caldera-California
• Mount Shasta-California
• Kilauea-Hawaii
• Mauna Loa-Hawaii

I was looking at the USGS latest map on the largest earthquakes since 01/08, and they have mostly occurred in a ring around the Pacific Ocean. The latest earthquakes:

1/17/19 5.3 133km WSW of La Libertad, Mexico
1/17/19 5.1 Carlsberg Ridge
1/17/19 5.2 57km SSW of Sola, Vanuatu
1/17/19 5.4 133km ESE of Moehan, India
1/16/19 5.1 215km NNE of Tobelo, Indonesia
1/16/19 5.4 205km NNE of Tobelo, Indonesia
1/16/19 5.1 Southern Mid-Atlantic Ridge
1/16/19 5.0 101km NNE of Hihifo, Tonga
1/16/09 5.4 111km E of Tadine, New Caledonia
1/16/19 5.1 158km ESE of Tadine, New Caledonia
1/15/19 5.2 51km W of Puerto Santa, Peru
1/15/19 5.8 98km SE of Pondaguitan, Philippines
1/15/19 6.6 96km NW of Sola, Vanuatu
1/15/19 5.3 56km SSW of Masachapu, Nicaragua
1/14/19 5.0 77km SW of Kaktovik, Alaska
1/13/19 5.0 168km SSE of Ohonua, Tonga
1/13/19 5.0 15km NW of Anchorage, Alaska
1/13/19 5.3 72km WNW of Kirakira, Solomon Islands
1/13/19 5.1 225km NNE of Tobelo, Indonesia
1/12/19 5.0 238km WNW of Saumlaki, Indonesia
1/12/19 5.3 164km S of Kokopo, Papua New Guinea
1/12/19 5.1 153km SSW of Kotaagung, Indonesia
1/12/19 5.0 43km E of Petropavlovsk, Kamchatka
1/12/19 5.2 South of Tonga
1/12/19 5.3 39km NW of Kashi, China
1/11/19 5.4 116km WNW of Bengkulu, Indonesia
1/11/19 5.2 105km E of Ohonua, Tonga
1/10/19 5.0 75km SSE of Palaikastron, Greece
1/10/19 5.8 South of Tonga
1/10/19 5.2 172km ESE of Raoul Island, New Zealand
1/08/19 6.3 16km SSE of Nishinoomote, Japan

Weather:

The Atlantic Hurricane Season began Friday, June 1st and ended November 30th. For 2018, Colorado State University experts had predicted that this season would be a busy, above average hurricane season. They had predicted 14 named Tropical Storms, of which 7 would become Hurricanes. Both are above the averages of 12 and 6, respectively. There were 15 named Tropical Storms, of which 8 were hurricanes, and 2 of them major. In 2017, they were way off the wrong way as well, with way more storms. They had predicted 11 Tropical Storms, of which 4 would be Hurricanes. Instead, we had 17 Tropical Storms and had 10 Hurricanes. Here were the 2018 Storm names:

Alberto done
Beryl done
Chris done
Debby done
Ernesto done
Florence done
Gordon done
Helene done
Isaac done
Joyce done
Kirk done
Leslie done
Michael done
Nadine done
Oscar done
Patty
Rafael
Sara
Tony
Valerie
William

The Pacific Hurricane Season started 5/1/18 and ended 11/1/18. Okay, that’s the last Repo Commentary with the hurricane data, because even I get tired of seeing it.

As for the weather, we have a cool front in Florida, with sunny days and temperatures in the 60s in the morning and 70s in the afternoon, dropping to the 50s at night. We are likely to get some rain this weekend, as temperatures begin to climb. There is a national weather alert for a major storm which will pound California, with the last and strongest in a week-long period of Pacific storms hitting California with heavy rainfall, mountain snow, and flooding near recent wildfire regions. Meanwhile, a weaker, progressive system may produce light snow from the Ohio Valley into the northern Mid-Atlantic region into the early weekend. For the weekend, expect a major winter storm to develop from an upper level trough over the western US, which will move eastward over the High Plains by Friday, then take freezing rain, heavy snow, and heavy rain through the central US and eastern US over the next few days. The Gulf Coast region is likely to see heavy thunderstorm activity. After this large storm, an arctic surface high will plunge down from Canada and bring frigid temperatures across the Plains and the Upper Midwest, bringing temperatures down 15-25 degrees below normal.

Sports News:

MLB:

The MLB regular season ended in November with the Boston Red Sox winning the World Series over the Los Angeles Dodgers. But, fear not baseball fans, as the MLB has announced the earliest Opening Day ever for 2019, with all 30 teams playing on 3/28/19. They are not counting the first game of the season, between the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics, that will occur in Tokyo on March 20-21. The World Series Champion Boston Red Sox will play the Yankees in London, for the first-ever MLB games in Europe, on 6/29-6/30. Spring Training will begin 2/21 with the first game between the Mariners and the A’s in the Cactus League. The Grapefruit League kicks off 2/22 with a game between the Rays and the Phillies. The World Champion Red Sox will be visiting the White House, as a complete team, on 2/15. Yankees’ beloved Mel Stottlemyre has died at age 77.

Sporting News announced its MLB Player of the Year as Red Sox Mookie Betts. The Red Sox promptly agreed to extend his contract another year in arbitration for $20 million. LHP Derek Holland is re-signing with the Giants. The offseason Free Agency Hot Stove has begun in full force. The two biggest star free agents and likely largest contracts are Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. Manny Machado has reportedly received an 8-year contract offer from the White Sox. The Phillies are still hoping to sign him though. The Yankees were also interested. Rumor is that if Machado signs elsewhere, the White Sox and Phillies would be interested in Mike Moustakas. The Phillies are leading the sweepstakes for Bryce Harper, after meeting with him, although the White Sox are also competing with them on him. Rockies’ Nolan Arenado reportedly turned down $24 million in arbitration. He wanted $30 million for the 2019 season. The record arbitration was $23 million that Josh Donaldson received with the Blue Jays in 2018. The Padres have reportedly explored a 3-team trade, which would send Indians’ ace Corey Kluber to the Reds. D-Backs’ ace Patrick Corbin has signed a mega deal of 6years/$140 million with Nationals. The Giants are shopping 28-year-old infielder Joe Panik. The Brewers are supposedly interested. The Yankees are still discussing trading starter Sonny Gray to at least 6 teams. The Yankees are reportedly close to a 2-year/$24 million deal with DJ LeMahieu. The Yankees re-signed reliever Zach Britton. The Braves are interested in A.J. Pollock. The Phillies signed former Yankees reliever David Robertson as a ‘relief ace’ for 2years/$23 million. The Mariners landed Japan baseball starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi for 3years/$43 million. The Twins signed slugger Nelson Cruz for one year/$14 million. The A’s signed reliever Joakim Soria for 2years/$15 million. The Cardinals are reportedly close to signing reliever Andrew Miller. Don’t get me started on Miller, who pitched horrendously for the Red Sox, but terrifically for the Yankees and Indians. Starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez, also a former Red Sox, reportedly will stay in the NL East, with the Nationals, signing a 2year/$19 million deal. The Angels added starter Trevor Cahill to the t Lowrie for 2years/$20 million. 33-year-old former star, Daniel Murphy, will be joining the Rockies for 2years/$24 million. Controversial starter, Matt Harvey, will go to the Angels for one year/$11 million. Meanwhile, another former Met, Jeurys Familia, will return to the Mets for 3years/$30 million. The Nationals and Brian Dozier reportedly agreed to a 1-year deal/$9 million. The Brewers signed Yasmani Grandal for one year/$18.25 million. The Yankees re-signed 36-year-old J.A. Happ for 2years/$34 million. The Mets signed catcher Wilson Ramos for 2years/$19.5 million. The Rays added starter Charlie Morton for 2years/$30 million. Brian McCann returned to the Braves, after lackluster stints with the Yankees and Astros, for one year/$2 million. The Braves also signed 3B Josh Donaldson for one year/$23 million. Former MLB closer John Wetteland has been arrested on child sex abuse charges.

Many people are wondering whether Oklahoma QB and Heisman Trophy winner, Kyler Murray, will choose MLB or NFL, after the A’s chose him with the No.9 overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft and gave him a signing bonus of almost $5 million. Well, yesterday, he declared for the NFL Draft. I think he’s making a big mistake, as baseball players tend to have longer careers and less concussions. Unless, he becomes a Tom Brady, Brett Favre, or Drew Brees and plays into his 40s.

Astros’ 3B Alex Bregman has undergone elbow surgery. Anaheim and Angels hope to buy more time for stadium-lease talks.

Golf:

The PGA Tour season began with its swing through Hawaii. They played the Sentry Tournament of Champions event at Kapalua in Maui. It was won by Xander Schauffele, with an astounding 62 on Sunday. This past weekend they played the Sony Open in Oahu in Honolulu at the Waialae CC, and it was won by Matt Kuchar, who ran away with it, 4 strokes ahead of Putnam. Now, the PGA moves to the Desert Classic this week at PGA West and La Quinta, with first round tomorrow. If you are wondering when Tiger Woods is playing, since he had such a successful 2018 comeback (ranked No.13 in world now, won the Tour Championship, finished 2nd in the FedEx Cup, and contended in 2 major championships), the 43-year-old said he is still trying to figure that out. We can already guess that he will play all 4 majors, if able, since he has won majors at 3 of the courses: Augusta National (Masters), my old Bethpage Black (PGA), and Pebble Beach (US Open). He will probably play a little less, not the 18 official worldwide events he played in 2018, the most he had played since 2013, since you could tell he was pretty worn out by the Ryder Cup. He played in the Sentry Tournament of Champions, which he hadn’t played since 2005. He will likely play in the Farmers Insurance Open next week, since it was always his launching point. His foundation runs the Genesis Open at Riviera 2/14-17, so he has to play there. I think he will play the Honda Classic here in Palm Beach Gardens, since it’s right down the street from his house, but analysts think he won’t. If he doesn’t play the Honda Classic, he may play the WGC-Mexico Championship (2/21-2/24), since he now qualifies for WGC events and there is no cut. It’s hard to imagine that he would skip the Arnold Palmer Invitational (3/7-3/10) since he has won at Bay Hill 8 times and tied for 5th in 2018. Then, it will be the Players Championship (3/14-3/17), as this was moved up from May to March. That’s all I’m guessing so far. I truly hopes he plays the Honda in his hometown, so we all can get to see him here. The European Tour is arguably the most innovative golf tour, trying out everything from night golf to shot clocks to even a rooftop tee box in recent years. But, this week, may top the innovations, as the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship has a landfill hole! It probably wasn’t the original plan, but the 5th hole has a large landfill with plenty of household junk and furniture thrown in it, that players will have to navigate. Do you take a stroke penalty from a drop from patio furniture? Ian Poulter grabbed the early lead on Wednesday with a blistering 66 after 34 hours of travel. The Web.com tour season is underway in the Bahamas and Zecheng Dou is leading by 3. I actually watched some of that Great Exuma Classic tournament yesterday being played at the Sandals Emerald Bay Resort. Over on the LPGA, the season is also starting, at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions in Hawaii, where Rolex World No.1 Ariya Jutanugarn will actually be playing against her sister.

NCAA Basketball:

The college basketball season is nearly at its halfway point, about 15-17 games in. Friday, Maryland shocked No.22 Indiana. On Saturday, more upsets occurred, with No.12 UNC getting crushed by unranked Louisville, Kansas State edged No.20 Iowa State, No.14 Mississippi State fell to unranked rival Ole Miss, No.1 Duke eked by No.13 FSU with a 3-pointer at the buzzer to win by 2pts, No.16 Ohio State was stunned by unranked Iowa, No.24 St. John’s was upset by old rival DePaul, and No.18 Kentucky had trouble with unranked Vanderbilt. Sunday, saw no upsets, with No.6 Michigan State crushing Penn State and No.2 Michigan crushing Northwestern. But, Monday, was the real shocker, when unranked Syracuse defeated No.1 Duke in OT. Unranked Pitt also upset No.11 FSU and No.25 Indiana was crushed by unranked Nebraska. Last night, the shockers were: No.11 NC State lost to unranked Wake Forest, No.4 Virginia crushed No.9 Virginia Tech, No.16 Ole Miss lost again this time to unranked LSU, and No.10 Nevada squeaked by by a point over unranked Boise State. Duke guard Tre Jones is out indefinitely after suffering shoulder injury against Syracuse. Duke star Zion Williamson missed the entire second half of the Duke vs FSU game. Star USC freshman Kevin Porter Jr. has ben suspended indefinitely, future is unclear. The son of Scottie Pippen, Scotty, has committed to Vanderbilt. Here is the AP Poll as of 01/13/19 (which does not include Monday’s upsets and has no movement in Top 10):

1. Duke (14-2)
2. Michigan (17-0)
3. Tennessee (14-1)
4. Virginia (15-0)
5. Gonzaga (16-2)
6. Michigan State (15-2)
7. Kansas (15-2)
8. Texas Tech (15-1)
9. Virginia Tech (14-1)
10. Nevada (16-1)
11. FSU (13-4) up from No.13
12. Kentucky (12-3) up from No.18
13. UNC (12-4) down from No.12
14. Auburn (12-3) down from No.11
15. Marquette (14-3) up from No.21
16. Buffalo (15-1) up from No.19
17. NC State (14-2) down from No.15
18. Mississippi (13-2) up from unranked
19. Maryland (15-3) up from unranked
20. Oklahoma (13-3) up from No.23
21. Houston (16-1) down from No.17
22. Villanova (13-4) up from unranked
23. Iowa (14-3) up from unranked
24. Mississippi State (12-3) way down from No.14
25. Indiana (12-5) down from No.22

On the women’s side, UConn women fell to Baylor in their first regular-season loss since 2014.

NCAA Football:

College football season kickoff was on 8/25 and is finally over with last night’s upset in the CFP Championship by No.2 Clemson over No.1 Alabama, 44-16. Alabama was just no match for the offense of Clemson and Alabama’s QB Tua threw 2 crucial interceptions that led to 14 points. I watched the game and many of the bowl games. Most of the bowl games were actually boring, low-scoring affairs.

AP finally released the final poll on 1/7/19:

1. Clemson (15-0) up from No.2
2. Alabama (14-1) down from No.1
3. Ohio State (13-1) up from No.5
4. Oklahoma (12-2)
5. Notre Dame (12-1) down from No.3
6. LSU (10-3) up from No.11
7. Georgia (11-3) down from No.6
8. Florida (10-3) up from No.10
9. Texas (10-4) up from No.14
10. Washington State (11-2) up from No.12
11. UCF (12-1) down from No.7
12. Kentucky (10-3) up from No.16
13. Washington (10-4) down from No.9
14. Michigan (10-3) down from No.8
15. Syracuse (10-3) up from No.17
16. Texas A&M (9-4) up from No.21
17. Penn State (9-4) down from No.13
18. Fresno State (12-2) up from No.19
19. Army West Point (11-1) up from No.22
20. West Virginia (8-4) down from No.15
21. Northwestern (9-5) up from unranked
22. Utah State (11-2) up from unranked
23. Boise State (10-3)
24. Cincinnati (11-2) up from unranked
25. Iowa (9-4) up from unranked

Here were the results of your 2018-19 College Football Playoff and Bowl schedule:

12/29 4:00pm College Football Playoff Semifinal
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
No.2 Clemson vs. No.3 Notre Dame

12/29 8:00pm College Football Playoff Semifinal
Capital One Orange Bowl
No.1 Alabama vs No.4 Oklahoma

01/07 8:00pm College Football Playoff National Championship
Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA

12/15
Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl
North Carolina A&T 24
Alcorn State 22

New Mexico Bowl by Progressive
Utah State 52
North Texas 13

AutoNation Cure Bowl
Tulane 41
Louisiana 24

Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl
Fresno State 31
Arizona State 20

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
Georgia Southern 23
Eastern Michigan 21

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Appalachian State 45
Middle Tennessee 13

12/18
Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl
UAB 37
Northern Illinois 13

12/19
DXL Frisco Bowl
Ohio 27
San Diego State 0

12/20
Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl
Marshall 38
South Florida 20

12/21
Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl
FIU 35
Toledo 32

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
BYU 49
Western Michigan 18

12/22
Jared Birmingham Bowl
Wake Forest 37
Memphis 34

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
Army 70
Houston 14

Dollar General Bowl
Troy 42
Buffalo 32

SoFi Hawai’I Bowl
Louisiana Tech 31
Hawaii 14

12/26
SERVPRO First Responder Bowl
Boston College vs. Boise State
CANCELLED BECAUSE OF LIGHTNING

Quick Lane Bowl
Minnesota 34
Georgia Tech 10

Cheez-It Bowl
TCU 10 (OT)
California 7

12/27
Walk-On’s Independence Bowl
Duke 56
Temple 27

New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Wisconsin 35
Miami 3

Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl
Baylor 45
Vanderbilt 38

12/28
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
Auburn 63
Purdue 14

Camping World Bowl
Syracuse 34
West Virginia 18

Valero Alamo Bowl
Washington State 28
Iowa State 26

12/29
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
No.10 Florida 41
No.7 Michigan 15

Belk Bowl
Virginia 28
South Carolina 0

NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl
Nevada 16 (OT)
Arkansas State 13

CFP Semifinal Cotton Bowl
No.2 Clemson 30
No.3 Notre Dame 3

CFP Semifinal Orange Bowl
No.1 Alabama 45
No.4 Oklahoma 34

12/31
Military Bowl by Northrop Grumman
Cincinnati 35
Virginia Tech 31

Hyundai Sun Bowl
Stanford 14
Pittsburgh 13

Redbox Bowl
Oregon 7
Michigan State 6

AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Oklahoma State 38
Missouri 33

San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl
Northwestern 31
Utah 20

TaxSlayer Gator Bowl
Texas A&M 52
NC State 13

O1/01
Outback Bowl
Iowa 27
Mississippi State 22

VRBO Citrus Bowl
Kentucky 27
Penn State 24

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl
No.11 LSU 40
No.8 UCF 32

Rose Bowl presented by NWML
No.6 Ohio State 28
Washington 23

Allstate Sugar Bowl
No.15 Texas 28
No.5 Georgia 21

01/07
CFP National Championship
No.2 Clemson 44
No.1 Alabama 16

NFL:

The 99th NFL regular season is nearing its end, as we just completed the Wild Card playoffs last weekend, which weren’t very exciting, frankly. Then, we had the Divisional Playoffs this past weekend, which were more exciting.

On Saturday, the Chiefs fairly easily beat the Colts in blizzard conditions 31-13. Later that day, the Rams and Cowboys played a sloppy game, and the Rams managed to hold on to beat the Cowboys 30-22. On Sunday, the Patriots dominated the Chargers on all fronts 41-28, and the Saints battled for a win over the Eagles 20-14.

Coming up this Sunday:

For the AFC Championship, the Patriots will visit the Chiefs, and Chiefs are 3 point favorites.

For the NFC Championship, the Saints will host the Rams, and the Saints are 3 ½ point favorites.

Winners of the two games will face each other in Super Bowl 53.

There were 8 NFL head coaches that lost their jobs this season. Patriots OC Josh McDaniels says he is staying in New England this time. Jags’ Jalen Ramsey mocked the Panthers hiring of former Jags coach Perry Fewell. Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome has decided to retire. The Cardinals have already hired a new head coach in Kliff Kingsbury. The Bucs are focused on Bruce Arians as next head coach. A report says that Freddie Kitchens has “good chance of being Browns’ next coach. The Broncos have narrowed their coach search down to 2 candidates. The Jets stole coach Adam Gase from the Dolphins as their new head coach. Apparently, they were intrigued by his 23-25 record with the Dolphins. But, the Jets aren’t done there, also finalizing a contract with former Browns’ interim coach, Gregg Williams, to be their Defensive Coordinator. The Eagles continue to say that they are committed to Carson Wentz as their starting QB, despite the fact that last year QB Nick Foles led them to, and won the Super Bowl (Wentz was out with a torn ACL) and won Super Bowl MVP, and this year into the playoffs (Wentz out with stress fracture in back). In fact, the Eagles head coach bizarrely decided to announce, yesterday, that Wentz will be the starting QB in 2019 season, way ahead of when they needed to disclose that. This may lead to Nick Foles becoming the staring QB for another team in 2019, who values the work he has done. So, where is superstar WR Antonio Brown going to play in 2019? It looks like the 49ers and Broncos may be among the possibilities. The NFL players voted Saquon Barkley as Sporting News rookie of the year for 2018. Don’t forget, there is still a Pro Bowl to be played, the NFL’s version of the All-Star Game, but not in the middle of the season like the other 3 major sports, and not featuring the best players, but at least the 3rd and 4th best teams’ players. Because of the potential for injuries in this dangerous sport, the 2 teams vying for the Super Bowl will not send players the week before to the Pro Bowl and possibly lose them before the bigger game. Also, because of injuries, several players who were chosen for the Pro Bowl rosters are being replaced. The Chargers lead with 7 Pro Bowl players and the Chiefs and Steelers are tied for second with 6 players each. However, if the Chiefs beat the Patriots this weekend, they will not be sending QB Patrick Mohomes to the Pro Bowl. If it goes the other way around, the Pats will not send QB Tom Brady, who has been named to his 14th Pro Bowl, tying him with Peyton Manning, Bruce Matthews, Merlin Olsen, and Tony Gonzalez. If the Pats go to the Super Bowl, it would be Brady’s 9th time in the Super Bowl, so that means he would have missed all but 5 of those 14 Pro Bowls. The AFC was supposed to have at QB, Patrick Mahomes, Philip Rivers, and Tom Brady, but as I said, either Mahomes or Brady won’t be there, and now Rivers is nursing an injury, so Andrew Luck of the Colts will be replacing him. On the NFC side, at QB, Aaron Rodgers will play, but either Rams Jared Goff or Saints Drew Brees won’t be there. Colts GM said that a trade offer for backup QB Jacoby Brissett, former backup for the Patriots, would have to “blow me away”. Saints RB Mark Ingram said he is “not looking just to leave”.

Okay, without thinking too much ahead or counting chickens that haven’t even hatched yet, since Saints QB Drew Brees turned 40-years-old on Tuesday, IF the Saints happen to face the Patriots in the Super Bowl, yet another record will fall, the total ages of the two QBs, at 81-years-old combined.

NHL:

The puck dropped on the regular season, for some teams, on 10/3. We are just past the halfway point now, 47/48 games out of 82. The Sharks are seeking their 8th straight victory tonight, playing the Coyotes. The Bruins will try to continue their dominance of the Flyers tonight, as they are 6-0-2 against Philly in last 8 games, and 12-1-3 in the last 16 games against Philly. Predators Viktor Arvidsson and Sharks Tomas Hertl were the latest hat trick scorers, the 54th and 55th hat tricks of the 2018-19 season, the most through this point in the season since 1992-93, when there were 65. The Senators get Duchene and Chabot back today of DL. Pettersson may be returning to the Canucks. Canadiens Paul Byron will have a hearing with the NHL over his actions against the Panthers. Harrison Browne, the first transgender athlete in professional hockey (NWHL), dropped the ceremonial puck as the New York Rangers celebrated Pride Night. The NHL has revealed the All-Star Game rosters for 1/26 game in San Jose. Veteran Cogliano has been traded by Ducks to the Stars for Shore. The Ducks have lost 11 straight games. Joe Thornton scored in his 1,000th game with Sharks in win over Penguins. Here is how the standings look so far: in the Eastern Conference, the Lightning lead the NHL with 74 points, way ahead of Blue Jackets (59), Capitals (59), Leafs (58), Bruins (57), and Canadiens (57), with the Senators in the cellar at 17-24-5; and in the Western Conference, the Flames (64) have a close battle with the Sharks (63), Jets (62), Predators (60), and Knights (60), with the Kings in the cellar at 18-25-4.

NBA:

The NBA season officially began on 10/3 as well. We are around 43-45 games in of the 82-game season. Nike unveiled their newest self-tying laces basketball sneakers, which you can adjust with your smartphone, and cost ONLY $350/pair. This was supposed to be the season of new Laker, LeBron James, and it certainly has an impact on the team he left, the Cavaliers, and their dreadful season, in dead last place. But, James im pact on the Lakers has been underwhelming, as he is on the disabled list with a major groin injury. Former teammate on the Heat, Dwyane Wade says he is “enjoying the process” in his final season of his career. Turkey is seeking an arrest warrant for Knicks’ Enes Kanter, for his outspoken criticism of Turkish President Erdogan. They are accusing Kanter of membership in a terror organization. I guess the Knicks have been called worse. Celtics in-fighting seems to be getting worse, as they seem to be underperforming, despite their cornucopia of talented players. Despite going 7 games in the NBA Finals last year, they are among 5 teams vying for the top 4 spots in the East.

The current standings are: in the East, the Raptors still have first place clenched in their Jurassic jaws, 1 game ahead of the Bucks, 3 games ahead of the Pacers, 4 games ahead of the Sixers, and now 7 games ahead of the Celtics, with LeBron’s old team the Cavs in the cellar at 9-35, 23 ½ games back; in the West, the Warriors are leading by ½ game over the Nuggets, 3 ½ games over the Thunder, 4 ½ games over the Rockets and Blazers, with the Suns in the cellar at 11-34, 19 ½ games back.

Tennis:

The first Grand Slam of the season has begun down under, with the Australian Open. Serena and Venus won their first matches.

Racing:

Last year’s champion, his first, for the NASCAR Cup Series was Joey Logano, who beat Martin Truex Jr. in the final 15 laps of the final race at Homestead. Truex Jr. won the crown in 2017. NASCAR’s 2019 season is about to start with Daytona 500 to kick it off, as it does every year. Stewart-Hass Racing has signed Daniel Suarez to drive No.41 car. Dale Earnhardt Jr. still has “the itch to race.” Kurt Busch signed with Chip Ganassi Racing after leaving Stewart-Haas. Here is the schedule of races just released for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup in 2019 (they don’t have the sponsors or formal names of all of them yet):

2/17 Daytona 500 at Daytona International in Florida
2/24 Atlanta
3/3 Las Vegas
3/10 ISM Raceway
3/17 Auto Club
3/24 Martinsville
3/31 Texas
4/7 Bristol
4/13 Richmond
4/28 Talladega
5/5 Dover
5/11 Kansas
5/18 All-Star Open Charlotte
5/26 Charlotte
6/2 Pocono
6/9 Michigan
6/23 Sonoma
6/30 Chicago
7/6 Daytona
7/13 Kentucky
7/21 New Hampshire
7/28 Pocono
8/4 Watkins Glen
8/11 Michigan
8/17 Bristol
9/1 Darlington
9/8 Indianapolis
9/15 Las Vegas playoff
9/21 Richmond playoff
9/29 Charlotte playoff
10/6 Dover playoff
10/13 Talladega playoff
10/20 Kansas playoff
10/27 Martinsville playoff
11/3 Texas playoff
11/10 ISM Raceway playoff
11/17 Miami-Homestead final playoff

Formula One begins with F1 Car Launch Dates for the various teams from 2/12 through 2/15 for Renault, Racing Point, McLaren, and Ferrari. That is followed by Pre-Season Testing schedule 2/18-2/21 and 2/26-3/1, both in Catalunya, Spain. Here is the 2019 Formula One 21 Race calendar:

3/17 Australia Grand Prix in Melbourne
3/31 Bahrain Grand Prix in Sakhir
4/14 China Grand Prix in Shanghai (this will be the 1000th Grand Prix)
4/28 Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku
5/12 Spain Grand Prix in Barcelona
5/26 Monaco Grand Prix in Monaco
6/9 Canada Grand Prix in Montreal
6/23 France Grand Prix in Le Castellet
6/30 Austria Grand Prix in Spielberg
7/14 Great Britain Grand Prix in Silverstone
7/28 Germany Grand Prix in Hockenheim
8/4 Hungary Grand Prix in Budapest
9/1 Belgium Grand Prix in Spa
9/8 Italy Grand Prix in Monza
9/22 Singapore Grand Prix in Singapore
9/29 Russia Grand Prix in Sochi
10/13 Japan Grand Prix in Suzuka
10/27 Mexico Grand Prix in Mexico City
11/3 USA Grand Prix in Austin, TX
11/17 Brazil Grand Prix in Sao Paulo
12/1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in Yas Island

Then, there is the IndyCar Racing circuit and its 2019 calendar (Indy cars are generally considered faster than F1 car along straight lines, mostly because their races are on oval tracks, while F1 tracks are more intricate, requiring better brakes and more aerodynamic grip than Indy cars):

3/10 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
3/24 Circuit of the Americas
4/7 Grand Prix of Alabama
4/14 Grand Prix at Long Beach
5/11 Grand Prix of Indianapolis
5/26 Indianapolis 500
6/1 Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Race 1
6/1 Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Race 2
6/8 Texas Grand Prix
6/23 Road America
7/14 Honda Indy Toronto
7/20 Iowa 300
7/28 Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio
8/18 Pocono Grand Prix
8/24 Gateway Grand Prix
9/1 Grand Prix of Portland
9/22 Grand Prix at Laguna Seca

Travel News:

Tuesday marked the 10th anniversary of the “Miracle on the Hudson”, when Captain Sullenberg saved 155 lives by landing his airplane in the Hudson River. US Airways hosted a party for the passengers and the Captain complete with champagne. A scary moment at the world’s busiest airport in Atlanta yesterday, as a Delta passenger accidentally managed to get a loaded pistol on an airplane to Tokyo. He realized it in-flight and reported it to the crew. But, the major concern, of all of us, is that the government shutdown, which is hitting TSA hard, may lead to breaks in security. These are just the sort of breaks that terrorists are likely closely watching for. Atlanta has now closed 6 security lines due to the government shutdown, so I would plan at least another half an hour to clear security there. In related news, Delta CEO said that the government shutdown has cost the airline $25 million. He also said that the shutdown may delay Delta’s first Airbus A220 flights. Allegiant is adding 16 new routes, including its first-ever Alaska flights. United Airlines’ new Polaris Lounge at LAX is basically a spa, but with tacos and wine. Palau’s famous lake filled with thousands of Golden jellyfish has finally reopened and tourists are allowed to swim with them again. I know you are wondering, so I’m here to help. You want to know how long you can keep up the Christmas decorations, given what a nightmare they were to put up. Most people would say that the 12 Days of Christmas, actual feasts in orthodox forms of Christianity, are a good guideline. But, then there is the Panhandle of Florida, where in many cases, Christmas lights stay up year-round. So, if it helps, Queen Elizabeth leaves her Christmas decorations up until February. WOW Air has launched its most affordable flights to Europe, with flights as low as $49 one-way. However, the airline has reduced its US cities to just 4. Spirit is making Raleigh-Durham its newest destination. Richard Branson, fresh after selling Virgin America to Alaska Airlines and buying a stake in Brightline Trains, is embarking on a cruise line with massive suites. Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, with 561 passengers (and 31 crew) sick from norovirus has returned home to Port Canaveral. And, that was just after the cruise industry released figures on how norovirus was down this year. Oceania Cruises has ordered 2 new ships. Carnival is now delaying plans to cut free room service. Southwest Airlines had to cancel and delay flights amid Baltimore computer glitch for 4 hours at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport. A 16-year-old passenger apparently slipped off Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas (sister ship to Oasis) ship’s balcony and fell on to a pier in Haiti. The French teenager apparently didn’t have his room card and attempted to enter his 8th-floor room from an adjacent balcony, slipped, and fell to his death. Scientists have created bendable concrete, which could be coming to building in an earthquake zone or to a road with severe winters.

Health News:

A biotech company’s pig vaccine is leading to a new Alzheimer’s disease approach. In Ohio, Mason schools will start 30 minutes later next school year, to boost students’ mental health. New measles outbreaks are putting kids at risk in many states and doctors are urging parents to vaccinate younger kids. There’s a growing amount of evidence that shows exercising in cold temperatures can burn more calories. Researchers say blood pressure and cholesterol drugs are showing promise in the treatment of Bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses. In a new hormone replacement therapy study on blood clot risks, HRT tablets showed significantly more risk for women, than patches or gels. A recent study found that 1 in 10 adults have a food allergy, but more than 2 in 10 think that they do. This might be good for me: surgeons say a Calypso device may help relieve pain for people with osteoarthritis in their inner-knee region and eliminate the need for some knee replacement surgery. Researchers looking at “slow-wave sleep” said that its lack may cause a buildup of tau proteins in the brain and that the risk of Alzheimer’s may be higher in older adults with such sleep problems. The FDA, who is back at work, at least here in Florida, recently found one fifth of the avocados they tested were contaminated with dangerous bacteria. Experts say that children can suffer serious side effects from antipsychotic medications. Cervical cancer screening rate is low and experts believe that the screenings need to be made more convenient. Researchers are investigating an alpha-lipoic acid to see if it can help multiple sclerosis patients with gait and balance. Another one for me, possibly, a gel eye drop under development could reduce potentially sight-damaging scarring of the cornea caused by infection or injury. Eating breakfast every day can lower your risk for Type 2 Diabetes. There is a way you can help science, by becoming an “Immortal Corpse”—the Visible Human Project is looking for volunteers to donate their bodies to be sliced up into thousands of digital images for research. Tuberculosis kills 1.6 million people every year, more than HIV/AIDS and malaria, combined. But because other diseases keep grabbing the headlines, the chief scientific officer at Johnson & Johnson is helping drive an effort to change that.

Animal News:

Disney World’s Animal Kingdom has welcomed a new baby giraffe. In Charleston, SC, 10 German Shepherds rescued from an animal cruelty case have been adopted. Scientists are surprised by the complete fossil of Orobates pabsti found in Germany. The creature, about the size of a small dog, roamed Earth 300 million years ago. What is weird is that they have well-preserved fossil skeletons and fossilized footprints, so scientists have been able to re-create through computer simulation and using a real-life robot, what the animal’s gait would have been, and are astonished to find that it walked upright, like a caiman, very differently from the way other animals of this time walked more like salamanders. So, this represents advanced locomotion that has been for decades associated only with animals evolving millions of years later. The Animal Welfare Institute points out that shark fin is banned in 12 US states, but it’s still on the menu.

Entertainment News:

There are something like 36-40 major entertainment awards shows and I think we are in the middle of it, having just had the Golden Globes, the BAFTAs, and the Peoples Choice Awards. When did they ever have so many ties? I said the exact same thing about this year’s NFL season. Alicia Keys was just named the host of the upcoming Grammy Awards. Maroon 5 finally committed to being the lead act at the Super Bowl halftime show. Broadway legend Carol Channing died 1/15 at age 97, 16 days before her 98th birthday. Famous for her Tony-award winning role in “Hello Dolly!”, which she portrayed almost 5,000 times, she was often on TV and in nightclubs, and for a long time partnered with comedian George Burns on national tours. She won 3 Tony Awards. Steven Spielberg has found a 17-year-old singer to play the role of Maria in his remake of WEST SIDE STORY. Former ESPN President, John Skipper, wants to build the Netflix of Sports and beat his old company at its own game. NBC’s star sportscaster, Bob Costas, announced that his NBC career is over, after reaching an agreement with the network, according to the NY Post. He intends to continue doing work for the MLB Network. In 2016, Costas stepped down from his iconic role as host of Olympic Game coverage, giving way to Mike Tirico, who joined NBC from ESPN. Costas has also stepped away from his role in NBC’s NFL coverage in Football Night in America. Saying that his role with NBC was “no longer a fit”, Costas negotiated out of the contract that ran through 2021. Michael Strahan says he wants to treat the National Champion Clemson football team to lobster, after President Trump served them fast food at the White House. Paris Jackson says she’s “feeling better than ever” after entering a treatment facility. Julia Roberts said she will not be returning for Season 2 of Homecoming. Ewan McGregor’s daughter Clara is calling him out on Instagram for leaving her mom Eve Mavrakis. Katharine McPhee is trying on wedding dresses, as she is engaged to David Foster. Kim Kardashian’s 1-year-old daughter, Chicago, just received a Mercedes G-Class that matches her mom’s, as a birthday gift from Aunt Kourtney Kardashian. Are these people for real? The Tonight Show heads to Puerto Rico with Lin-Manual Miranda and performances of “Hamilton”. Chris Pratt is engaged to Katherine Schwarzenegger. This is just weird, the former To Catch A Predator host, Chris Hansen, has been ARRESTED for a bounced $13,000 check.

The 50th Anniversary New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival announced its lineup for 2019, on Tuesday. It begins on 4/25-28 and ends on 5/2-5/5. It’s a SICK list of entertainers:
• The Rolling Stones
• Dave Matthews Band
• Katy Perry
• Jimmy Buffett & The Coral Reefer Band
• Chris Stapleton
• Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
• Pitbull
• Van Morrison
• Al Green
• Logic
• Earth, Wind & Fire
• J Balvin
• Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue with Nevilles
• Glady Knight
• The Revivalists
• Leon Bridges
• John Fogerty
• Chaka Khan
• Herbie Hancock
• Tank and the Bangas
• Tom Jones
• Bonnie Raitt
• Ciara
• Alanis Morissette
• Irma Thomas
• Gary Clark Jr.
• The O’Jays
• The Head and the Heart
• The Doobie Brothers
• Jimmy Cliff
• Ziggy Marley
• Aaron Neville
• Boz Scaggs
• Galctic
• Jerry Lee Lewis
• Indigo Girls
• Rebirth Brass Band
• Mavis Staples
• Los Lobos
• Ellis Marsalis Family with Wynton, Branford, Delfeayo, and Jason with Ellis
• Big Freedia
• Kamasi Washington
• Rita Coolidge
• Buddy Guy
• Preservation Hall Jazz Band
• Better Than Ezra
• Taj Mahal & the Phantom Blues Band
• Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk
• Maze
• Ani DiFranco
• The Radiators
• Hurray for the Riff Raff
• Jonathan Butler and Gerald Albright
• Shirley Caesar
• Little Feat
• Gregory Porter
• Anders Osborne
• North Mississippi Allstars
• Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe
• The Mavericks
• The Robert Cray Band
• The Subdudes
• Samantha Fish
• Jupiter & Okwess of Congo
• Kermit Ruffins & The Barbecue Swingers
• Big Sam’s Funky Nation
• Sweet Crude
• Naturally 7
• The Dirty Dozen Brass Band
• The Rance Allen Band
• Boyfriend
• Regina Carter’s Southern Comfort
• Terrence Blanchard
• The Bahamas Revue Band
• Cecile McLorin Salvant
• Marc Broussard
• And about 60 others

Tom Cruise’s latest MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: SKYFALL movie has made $791 million, so it’s no surprise that he announced that there will be another one coming out in Summer 2021, but it was a surprise that he announced another one will also be coming out in Summer 2022. The franchise has totaled globally $3.57 billion.

This week’s box-office was weak, perhaps due to the holiday at $102.4 million, down from last year’s $168.1 million. THE UPSIDE debuted and unseated AQUAMAN, making $20.4 million on a budget of $37.5 million; AQUAMAN, in its 4th week, managed to stay in the No.2 spot, making another $17.4 million (total now of an astounding $288 million); No.3 was the debut of A DOG’S WAY HOME (I must see this), which made $11.3 million (not bad for a budget of $18 million); No.4 was a return to the top 4 by SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE, in its 5th week, with another $9 million (total $147.8 million on budget of $90 million); followed by No.5 ESCAPE ROOM, tumbling from No.2, with just $9 million in its 2nd week (but it has made $32.4 million on a $9 million budget).

The number of movies coming out this week is much lower, despite the holiday weekend: GLASS (which I want to see), AN ACCEPTABLE LOSS, ADULT LIFE SKILLS, DRAGON BALL SUPER: BROLY, THE HEIRESSES.

Technology & Space News:

According to NASA, 1/21 will be one of the sky’s “most dazzling shows, as the moon will be full and be at its closest point to Earth, making it a “Supermoon” (about 20% larger than normal). But, more importantly, it will also be a full lunar eclipse, something we haven’t seen in about 3 years, and because of the closeness to earth, it will appear reddish. Add to that, that it’s the full moon of January, which means it’s referred to as a “wolf moon”, and you have all the ingredients of a good Stephen King novel, a Super Blood Wolf Moon Eclipse. The spectacular event will be visible at 12:12 ET to people in North and South America, as well as people in western parts of Europe and Africa. Figures for overall sales this holiday season were just released and set a six-year high. US online gambling which seemed like a ‘sure bet’ a few months ago, hit a bad string of luck, as the Justice Department just reversed its 2011 interpretation of Federal law. Lotteries and online gambling companies are now being forced to handicap the impact. The US DOJ now says that the 1961 U.S. Wire Act bars all internet gambling that involves interstate transactions, reversing its call in 2011 that only sports betting was prohibited 50 years ago. So, how would an online gambling company know whether payments were routed through banks in another state? This will likely impact states that sell lottery tickets online and casinos that offer online gambling. And, we still haven’t gotten to the sports betting that seems to be a popular political topic in each state. Uber and other tech companies may have some issues with issuing IPOs, with the new state rules. What’s the next big thing…foldable smartphones! What? It has been about 10 years since the Razr was a popular device, but it is having a resurgence and now costs…$1500! Uh, oh…a medium-sized black hole actually casually wandered through the Milky Way galaxy?

US News:

Navajo Code Talker, Alfred K. Newman, has died at age 94, in New Mexico. President Trump has ordered thousands of federal employees, of the more than 800,000 impacted, back to work without pay to blunt shutdown disruption, representing about 25% of all US government workers. Congress is looking at blocking that by using the Amendment prohibiting “Indentured Servants”. The shutdown is having monumental ripple effects, including food banks being set up for Coast Guard bases and TSA employees at airports. Canadian air traffic controllers have been sending pizza to American air traffic controllers who aren’t getting paid. If you are keeping ‘score’, the shutdown began on 12/22, when the US Congress and President Trump could not agree on an appropriations bill to fund the operations of the Federal government for fiscal year 2019, or agree on a temporary resolution that would extend the deadline for passing such a bill (see ‘kicking the can down the road’). President Trump demanded $5.6 billion in federal funds to build a US/Mexico border wall. In December, Republican-controlled Senate passed an appropriations bill unanimously without Wall funding, and the bill appeared like it would be approved by then Republican-controlled House of Representatives. However, the House passed an appropriations bill, instead, with Wall funding, but the Senate never voted on it, with not enough support. Then, in January, the now Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed the appropriations bill without Wall funding that the Senate had passed in December, but President Trump maintains that he will veto any bill without funding for the Wall. So, the Senate is not even considering the bill, even though it had originally passed it. We are now in our 26th day of shutdown, surpassing the 21-day shutdown of 1995-96, becoming the longest shutdown in US history.

International News:

Four Americans were reportedly killed in Islamic State attack in Syria. Yes, we have not yet pulled out of Syria. At least 14 people were killed in a terrorist attack within a Nairobi hotel by the militant group Al-Shabaab. In Poland, Gdansk Mayor Pawel Adamowicz died after being stabbed on stage at a charity concert. 15 people were killed when a Saha Airlines B-707 crashed on landing at Fath Air Base in Iran. In the midst of an ongoing constitutional crisis in Venezuela, the National Assembly is disputing incumbent President Nicolas Maduro’s victory in the May 2018 election and is declaring Juan Guaido as the acting President. Cape Town still has a major water crisis, one year later, as the underlying problems remain.

Florida:

Accused Parkland, FL school mass shooter was in court today. A Boca Raton woman called in a mass shooting threat for the K-9 Cigo memorial service attended by hundreds of police officers. The Breakers of Palm Beach is celebrating its 123rd birthday. If you are interested in seeing more famous bands or solos in concert than my Generation Gap or Elvis Presley performances, there are many coming to Florida, perhaps when you will be visiting (I’ve added a lot of concerts since the last Repo Commentary):

Air Supply-Pompano, FL, January 11
Franki Valli and the Four Seasons-Fort Myers, January 11
New Order-Miami Beach, January 12
Englebert Humperdinck-Fort Myers, January 15
Bernadette Peters-Naples, January 16
Memories of Elvis-Fort Myers, January 17
Righteous Brothers-Fort Lauderdale, January 17
Rick Springfield-Coconut Creek, January 18
Cher and Chic-Sunrise, January 19
Arlo Guthrie-Fort Lauderdale, January 19
Andrea Bocelli-Miami, February 14 (saw it, was awesome)
Fleetwood Mac-Sunrise, February 20
Tony Orlando-Stuart, January 23
Gladys Knight-Fort Lauderdale, January 24
America-Fort Lauderdale, January 24
Smokey Robinson-Hollywood, January 25
Peter Cetera and Blood, Sweat, and Tears-Miami, January 26
Marc Anthony-Orlando, January 27
Toni Braxton-Hollywood, January 29
The Temptations-Fort Lauderdale, January 31
Don McLean-Immokalee, January 31
Michael Bolton-Fort Lauderdale, February 2
The Four Tops and the Temptations-West Palm Beach, February 2
Melissa Manchester-Aventura, February 8
Michael Bolton-West Palm Beach, February 8
The Commodores-Miami, February 9
Patti LaBelle-Fort Myers, February 11
Duran Duran-Miami Beach, February 12
Franki Valli & the Four Seasons, Hollywood, February 14
Andrea Bocelli-Miami, February 14
Dave Mason-Fort Lauderdale, February 15
Little River Band-Fort Myers, February 15
Michael Buble-Sunrise, February 16 (I would like to go)
Alan Parsons Project-Fort Lauderdale, February 18
Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes-Bonita Springs, February 20
Art Garfunkel-Fort Lauderdale, February 20
Fleetwood Mac-Sunrise, February 20
Sarah Brightman-Hollywood, February 20
PGA Honda Classic-PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, February 28-March 2
Pink-Sunrise-March 1 (I might have to go)
Sara Mclachlan-March 1, West Palm Beach
Paul Anka-Fort Lauderdale-March 4
Elton John-Sunrise, March 16
Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band-Sunrise, March 17
Steve Miller Band-Hollywood, March 17
Palm Beach International Boat Show-West Palm Beach, March 28-March 31
Jackson Browne-West Palm Beach, April 3
The Rolling Stones-Miami, April 20
Ariana Grande-Orlando, May 29
Train & Goo Goo Dolls-West Palm Beach, July 6
Queen & Adam Lambert-Sunrise, August 17

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