Repo Commentary-9/11/19

IMG_4537IMG_1950IMG_4536IMG_4535IMG_2655IMG_1966IMG_1972IMG_1973IMG_2020IMG_2021IMG_1943IMG_1949IMG_1951IMG_1954IMG_1957IMG_1933IMG_1934IMG_1938IMG_1940[1]IMG_1942IMG_1868IMG_1917IMG_1922IMG_1930IMG_1830IMG_1835IMG_1932IMG_1935IMG_1701IMG_1817IMG_1821IMG_1822IMG_1829IMG_1898

I sang my 150th MLB game last Wednesday night in Jupiter, FL. I’m also still singing Elvis gigs with my 6-part harmony group, Generation Gap, all over Palm Beach County. I have graduated to a performance wig due to thinning hair.

I have also been interviewing for jobs, consulting with a few folks, finished with the memoir I ghost-wrote, chaired a conference and attended a few others, and wrote some articles. I am still looking to re-enter the Securities Financing Market, so if you hear of anything… I will be seeing many of you here in Boca Raton at the RMA Conference in October.

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. I’m trying to make it more frequent, but I’ve been swamped.

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. I’m trying a new format for historical data, so let me know what you think. As many of you know, it used to be a daily Repo Commentary back in the 80s and for a long time.

Holidays or Events (9/10):

• Blame It On The Large Hadron Collider Day
• I’m On Top Of It Day
• International Creepy Boston Dynamics Robotic Horse Day
• International Make-Up Day
• National Boss/Employee Exchange Day
• National Swap Ideas Day
• National Hot Dog Day
• Sew Be It Day
• The Beginning of Rosh Hashanah (Judaism)
• TV Dinner Day
• World Suicide Prevention Day
• Amerindian Heritage Day in Guyana
• Children’s Day in Honduras
• Gibraltar National Day
• Saint George’s Caye Day in Belize
• Teachers’ Day in China

On September 10, 2001, the night before, I, along with about 17,000 fellow New Yorkers, attended the Jackson Five reunion, a star-studded event held at Madison Square Garden. Little did we all know that our lives would be forever changed the next morning. I lost many friends, colleagues, clients, and 6 golf partners when the World Trade Center towers collapsed from a ruthless attack by terrorists who commandeered 2 commercial aircraft and flew them into the Towers. It had been almost 60 years since the last time foreigners attacked US soil (Pearl Harbor 12/7/1941).

Precisely, on the morning of 9/11/2001, coordinated terrorist assaults occurred at the World Trade Center in NYC, at the Pentagon, and a foiled attack on Washington, DC that was brought down by brave passengers who sacrificed themselves in a field in Pennsylvania. Terrorists had hijacked 4 US commercial passenger planes and flown them, along with their passengers, into the Twin Towers, the wall of the Pentagon, and in that field. 2,997 civilians, 8 EMTs/paramedics, 60 police officers, and 343 firefighters were killed, and more than 6,000 others injured. 265 of the deaths were passengers and crews on the 4 planes. Many of us lost family members, co-workers, and friends in the attacks. Many people are still struggling with the after-effects of the terrorist attacks, not just because of emotional loss, but also physical harm, as over 7,500 first responders at each of the sites has come down with some form of cancer, many dying. Doctors believe the cancers were caused by the toxic dust and toxic chemicals from the attacks. Recently, President Trump signed into law a bill that would continue the expiring benefits for those first responders and victims of 9/11 until the year 2090.

I was working at Morgan Stanley at the time of the attacks and we had recently merged with Dean Witter Reynolds, so we were the largest occupant of the World Trade Center towers, with some 3500 workers spread over 28 floors. Our hero Security team of 12 were the only Morgan Stanley fatalities, thanks to their valiant efforts to keep employees OUT of the towers, after officials had given the All Clear. I lived next door to St. Patrick’s Cathedral where they held the memorial services for each of the first responders and played “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes daily for months. It has an effect on you.

I will never forget 9/11. I have been forever changed. In 2004, I joined Cantor Fitzgerald, who had lost 658 of its employees in Tower 1, to rebuild its Repo Desk, and read the names of those colleagues at the annual memorial service.

May we never forget the tragedy of 9/11/01, the victims and their families, our first responders (many of whom now endure their individual tragedies), and those who fight to protect us ever since.

Some Famous People Born 09/10 in History:

• 920-Louis IV of France
• 1839-Isaac K. Funk, co-founder of Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia
• 1925-Roy Brown, American singer/songwriter
• 1927-Johnny Keating, Scottish trombonist/composer/producer
• 1929-Arnold Palmer, golfer/designer
• 1933-Karl Lagerfeld, German-French fashion designer/photographer
• 1934-Roger Maris, MLB
• 1940-Roy Ayers, American singer/songwriter/musician
• 1941-Gunpei Yokoi, Japanese video game designer, invented Game Boy
• 1945-Jose Feliciano, Puerto Rican singer/songwriter/guitarist
• 1946-Don Powell, English rock drummer (Slade)
• 1947-Larry Nelson, golfer
• 1948-Bob Lanier, NBA
• 1948-Charlie Waters, NFL
• 1949-Barriemore Barlow, English rock drummer/songwriter (Jethro Tull)
• 1949-Bill O’Reilly, American journalist/author
• 1950-Rosie Flores, American singer/guitarist
• 1950-Joe Perry, American singer/songwriter/guitarist
• 1951-Bill Rogers, golfer
• 1953-Amy Irving, American actress
• 1957-Carol Decker, English singer/songwriter (T’Pau)
• 1960-Colin Firth, English actor/producer
• 1963-Randy Johnson, MLB
• 1968-Guy Ritchie, English director/producer/screenwriter
• 1972-James Duval, American actor/producer
• 1974-Ryan Phillippe, American actor/producer
• 1974-Ben Wallace, NBA
• 1983-Joey Votto, MLB
• 1985-Neil Walker, MLB
• 1987-Paul Goldschmidt, MLB

This Day in History (9/10):

• 506-the bishops of Visigothic Gaul meet in the Council of Agde.
• 1419-John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, is assassinated by adherents to the Dauphin, the future Charles VII of France.
• 1509-an earthquake known as “The Lesser Judgment Day” hits Constantinople.
• 1547-the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh, the last full-scale military confrontation between England and Scotland, resulting in a decisive victory for the forces of Edward VI.
• 1570-Spanish Jesuit missionaries land in present-day Virginia to establish the short-lived Ajacan Mission.
• 1608-John Smith is elected council president of Jamestown, Virginia.
• 1776-American Revolutionary War: Nathan Hale volunteers to spy for the Continental Army.
• 1798-at the Battle of St. George’s Caye, British Honduras defeats Spain.
• 1813-the United States defeats the British Fleet at the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812.
• 1823-Simon Bolivar is named President of Peru.
• 1846-Elias Howe is granted a patent for the sewing machine.
• 1897-Lattimer massacre: a sheriff’s posse kills 19 unarmed striking immigrant miners in Lattimer, PA.
• 1898-Empress Elisabeth of Austria is assassinated by Luigi Lucheni.
• 1918-Russian Civil War: the Red Army captures Kazan.
• 1919-Austria and the Allies sign the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye recognizing the independence of Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia.
• 1936-the first World Individual Motorcycle Speedway Championship is held at London’s Wembley Stadium.
• 1939-WWII: the submarine HMS Oxley is mistakenly sunk by the submarine HMS Triton near Norway and becomes the Royal Navy’s first loss of a submarine in the war.
• 1939-WWII: Canada declares war on Germany, joining the Allies (Poland, France, United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia).
• 1942-WWII: the British Army carries out an amphibious landing on Madagascar to re-launch Allied operations in the Madagascar Campaign.
• 1943-WWII: in the course of Operation Achse, German troops began their occupation of Rome.
• 1960-Summer Olympics in Rome, Abebe Bikila becomes the first sub-Saharan African to win a gold medal, winning the marathon in bare feet.
• 1961-in the Italian Gran Prix, a crash causes the death of German Formula One driver Wolfgang von Trips and 13 spectators who are hit by his Ferrari.
• 1967-the people of Gibraltar vote to remain a British dependency rather than becoming part of Spain.
• 1974-Guinea-Bissau gains independence from Portugal.
• 1976-a British Airways Hawker Siddeley Trident and an Inex-Adria DC-9 collide near Zabreb, Yugoslavia, killing 176.
• 1977-Hamida Djandoubi, convicted of torture and murder, is the last person to be executed by guillotine in France.
• 2000-Operation Barras successfully frees 6 British soldiers held captive for over two weeks and contributes to the end of the Sierra Leone Civil War.
• 2001-the Michael Jackson 30th Anniversary Celebration concert was held September 7th and September 10th in NYC’s Madison Square Garden, hosted by Michael Jackson. I was actually there on 9/10/2001. The star-studded shows not only featured MJ and a reunion of The Jacksons, but also featured performances by Samuel L. Jackson (narrating), Usher, Mya, Whitney Houston, Marlon Brando (speech), Billy Gilman, Shaggy, Monica, Al Jarreau, Jill Scott, Deborah Cox, James Ingram, Gloria Estefan, Marc Anthony, Liza Minnelli, Destiny’s Child, Ray Charles, Cassandra Wilson, Elizabeth Taylor (introduction), NSYNC, Britney Spears, Chris Tucker, Dionne Warwick, Gloria Gaynor, 98 Degrees, Luther Vandross, Missy Elliott, Nelly Furtado, Aaron Carter, and Gladys Knight. Several of the stars were actually staying at the downtown Marriott Vista hotel, which was destroyed during the following day’s terrorist attacks.
• 2002-Switzerland, traditionally a neutral country, becomes a full member of the United Nations.
• 2007-former PM of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, returns to Pakistan after 7 years in exile, following a military coup in October 1999.
• 2008-the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, described as the biggest scientific experiment in history, is powered up in Geneva, Switzerland.
• 2017-Hurricane Irma makes landfall on Cudjoe Key, Florida as a Category 4, after causing catastrophic damage throughout the Caribbean. Irma will result in 134 deaths and $64.76 billion in damage.

Daily Weird Facts:

On any given workday, up to 50,000 employees worked in the World Trade Center twin towers before 9/11/01.

Daily Affirmation/Thought/Pun/Quote:

“Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her. But once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.”–Voltaire

Currency and Commodity Markets:

Oil prices closed at:

$74.34/barrel on 10/5
$47.66/barrel on 12/23
$48.63 on 01/07
$52.31/barrel on 01/16
$55.26/barrel on 2/3
$55.41/barrel on 2/26
$73.77/barrel on 4/29
$63.28/barrel on 5/17
$54.07/barrel on 6/18
$55.96/barrel on 7/24
$58.31/barrel on 9/10

The price of gasoline at my new West Palm Beach station has fallen again since Hurricane Dorian (although we have very strong laws against price gouging) to $2.29/gallon. Most of the other stations in the area are 30-60 cents more per gallon.

One USD versus the Yen was trading at (these are all Repo Commentary dates):

112.20 on 12/24
108.60 on 01/07
109.07 on 01/16
103.18 on 02/03
104.86 on 2/25
103.86 on 5/17
102.59 on 6/18
102.43 on 7/24
101.72 on 9/10

One Euro was trading on:

12/24 at $1.1426
01/07 at $1.1478
01/16 at $1.1396
02/03 at $1.2047
02/25 at $1.1955
05/17 at $1.1761
06/18 at $1.1825
07/24 at $1.1740
09/10 at $1.1623

One British Pound was trading on:

12/24 at $1.2655
01/07 at $1.2770
01/16 at $1.2880
02/03 at $1.3758
02/25 at $1.3728
05/17 at $1.3427
06/18 at $1.3157
07/24 at $1.3070
09/10 at $1.2959

One USD versus the CAD at:

1.3442 on 12/24
1.3297 on 01/07
1.3255 on 01/16
1.2492 on 2/03
1.2492 on 2/25
1.2800 on 5/17
1.2740 on 6/18
1.2480 on 7/24
1.2520 on 9/10

Gold closed on 7/24 at $1425.60/ounce. On 9/09, it closed at $1504.90/ounce.

Bitcoin was trading at (Repo Commentary Dates):

$8,185.21 on 7/25
$6,350 on 10/5
$3,774.97 on 12/24/18
$3,7774.97 on 01/07
$3,598.90 on 01/16
$3,421.10 on 02/06
$3,826.44 on 02/26
$8,100.00 on 05/16
$7,215.79 on 05/17
$9,088.59 on 06/18
$11,919.30 on 06/25
$9,790.37 on 07/24
$10,183.90 on 09/10

After rebounding dramatically since the beginning of the year, although certainly not to its $19,000 highs, Bitcoin had a reversal in the summer, but has advanced again recently.

Global Financial News:

Ahead of its IPO roadshow this week, WeWork is slashing its valuation by more than half, per Bloomberg. The money-losing startup, which leases office space, was valued at $47 billion earlier this year. They based their new analysis on other disappointing IPOs of losing-startups, like Uber. WeWork’s IPO would be the second biggest this year. My former AVM colleague, Garth Friesen, has written a macro update about the plunge in global long-term bond yields. Volcker rule revisions are drawing criticism from Paul Volcker himself. He told current Fed Chairman Jerome Powell that a proposal that would ease restrictions on banks’ stakes in private equity funds and hedge funds and that would narrow banks’ trading limits would weaken the rule’s core concepts. He believes the new rule would truly show the risk in the financial system and highlights conflicts of interest. The White House is defending its plan to revamp Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, by privatizing the organizations and taking them out from under government control, which has been implicit and then explicit after the Financial Crisis. Critics say that this plan would increase the cost of homebuying and would ignore the needs of low-income homeowners. JPMorgan Chase’s CEO Jamie Dimon says the bank is discussing a plan for zero interest rates (or lower). A group of large mortgage lenders and a long list of other organizations are asking the CFPB to eliminate the debt-to-income ratio required under the Qualified Mortgage rule. Some loans, like those of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, don’t need to meet the requirements, creating an uneven playing field. BOE Gov Mark Carney says the inversion of US and UK yield curves should not be read as a positive sign for the global economic outlook. He also says GBP volatility has hit “emerging-market levels”. During the Financial Crisis, major central banks cooperated to prevent a global depression. In today’s economy, however, the Fed, ECB, and BOJ might be forced to make decisions that hurt other jurisdictions, according to Reuters. EC President-elect Ursula von der Leyen has nominated Phil Hogan, an ally of Ireland’s PM, to become EU trade commissioner. Hogan has been a harsh critic of a no-deal Brexit and would likely be a key figure in negotiations between the UK and EU. European banks spent $77 billion for technology this year, outmatched by their US peers, who plan to spend $105 billion on tech. The US Treasury says that all cryptocurrencies must meet US rules that combat money laundering and financing of terrorism, including Facebook’s libra and other cryptocurrencies that may be based outside the US. Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEx) has made a surprise bid to purchase London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) of about $36.6 billion. One contingency is that LSEG much abandon it plan to purchase dat provider Refinitiv. Membes of the CFTC advisory committee are urging CME Group and LCH to resolve a 3-month difference in the date of adopting the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) discounting. Some participants disagree between the CME’s July 2020 date and LCH’s October 2020 date. GE looks to sell as much as $3 billion in shares of Baker Hughes, which would bring its stake in the oilfield-services company below 50%. Charles Schwab announced a plan to lay off about 600 workers. Vanguard ETF reportedly saw an outflow of $177 million due to Brexit concerns. The WSJ reports that the share of female board members in US companies reached 20% in Q2. A Federal Reserve study is suggesting that there is a rising liquidity risk in some mutual funds, due to significant increases in holdings of illiquid assets during the past 10 years and an increase in borrowings in response to rising redemptions.

US Market News:

The Dow Jones (global stocks as well), along with other stock indices, were enjoying record or near-record highs in late July 2019 (feeding off of earnings reports, US budget progress, and the Fed switching to easing monetary policy) but then corrected some 10% in August 2019, due to global political unrest and tariff/trade wars. Since August, equities have regained half (Dow) of what they lost.

The Dow Jones closed at (Repo Commentary Dates):

26,656.77 on 9/20/18
26,447.05 on 10/5/18
21,792.20 on 12/23/18
21,712.53 on 12/26/18
24,207.16 on 01/16/19
25,063.89 on 2/06/19
26,106.47 on 2/25/19
25,862.68 on 5/16/19
26,465.54 on 6/18/19
27,269.97 on 7/24/19
26,793.09 on 9/10/19 down 42 points as I write this

S&P 500 also gave up its all-time high on 9/20/18 of 2,930.66, then marched back up to a new high on 7/24/19, only to correct to nearly 2,800 three times in August, before rising again to near the highs, closing on:

10/5/18 at 2,885.58
12/26/18 at 2,467.70
01/07/19 at 2,549.69
01/16/19 at 2,616.10
02/06/19 at 2,706.53
02/25/19 at 2,799.34
05/16/19 at 2,876.32
06/18/19 at 2,917.75
07/24/19 at 3,019.56 new all-time high
09/10/19 at 2,969.04

Nasdaq too gave up its 8/28/18 high of 8,030.04, closing on:

10/5/18 at 7,788.45
12/26/18 at 6,554.36
01/07/19 at 6,823.47
01/16/19 at 7,034.70
02/06/19 at 7,263.87
02/25/19 at 7,561.87
05/16/19 at 7,898.05
06/18/19 at 7,953.68
07/24/19 at 8,321.50 new all-time high
09/10/19 at 8,043.58

US Treasury yields have been in free-fall since hitting highs in October 2018.

2 YEAR NOTES closed on:

10/5/18 at 2.88%
12/18/18 at 2.65%
01/07/19 at 2.53%
01/16/19 at 2.55%
02/06/19 at 2.52%
02/22/19 at 2.48%
05/16/19 at 2.20%
06/18/19 at 1.86%
07/24/19 at 1.83%
09/09/19 at 1.58% Wow!

3 YEAR NOTES closed on:

10/5/18 at 2.99%
12/18/18 at 2.64%
01/07/19 at 2.47% (inverted to 2years)
01/16/19 at 2.53%
02/06/19 at 2.50%
02/22/19 at 2.46%
05/16/19 at 2.15%
06/18/19 at 1.80%
07/24/19 at 1.79%
09/09/19 at 1.52%

5 YEAR NOTES closed on:

10/5/18 at 3.07%
12/18/18 at 2.65%
01/07/19 at 2.49%
01/16/19 at 2.54%
02/06/19 at 2.51%
02/22/19 at 2.47%
05/16/19 at 2.18%
06/18/19 at 1.83%
07/24/19 at 1.82%
09/09/19 at 1.49%

7 YEAR NOTES closed on:

10/5/18 at 3.18%
12/18/18 at 2.74%
01/07/19 at 2.60%
01/16/19 at 2.62%
02/06/19 at 2.59%
02/22/19 at 2.55%
05/16/19 at 2.28%
06/18/19 at 1.93%
07/24/19 at 1.93%
09/09/19 at 1.57%

10 YEAR NOTES closed on:

10/5/18 at 3.23%
12/18/18 at 2.82%
01/07/19 at 2.70%
01/16/19 at 2.73%
02/06/19 at 2.70%
02/22/19 at 2.65%
05/16/19 at 2.40%
06/18/19 at 2.06%
07/24/19 at 2.05%
09/09/19 at 1.83%

30 YEAR BONDS closed on:

10/5/18 at 3.40%
12/18/18 at 3.07%
01/07/19 at 2.99%
01/16/19 at 3.07%
02/06/19 at 3.03%
02/22/19 at 3.02%
05/16/19 at 2.84%
06/18/19 at 2.55%
07/24/19 at 2.58%
09/10/19 at 2.11%

US Treasury yields have virtually disappeared in the last 2 months and market participants are expecting another 25bp rate cut at the 9/18 FOMC meeting. Timing is perfect for record issuance by the US Treasury, so it will pay less interest on its debt, and as it’s mulling over issuing much longer maturities at these cycle low interest rates. But, there is a ‘Catch-22’: the rates are low, so great for issuance and great for Treasury; but who will buy the securities if they have too low a yield versus other investments?

Housing News:

Homebuyer statistics have changed drastically in 20 years. White Americans made up 66% of first-time homebuyers in 2017, a 5% drop since 1997, according to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. Meanwhile, homebuyers identifying themselves as Asian and others have increased from 5% to 11%, in the same time period, the largest gain of any groups. The proportion of married buyers dropped the most, from 61% in 1997 to 50% in 2017.

Repo News:

EquiLend/MarketAccess is touting their SFTR solution NGT with a centralized portal for UTIs.

I hear there may be some upcoming consolidation in the financial industry conference space, as some firms are trimming sponsorship and there are a lot of conferences. Meanwhile, there has been considerable movement in the all-to-all, peer-to-peer, CCP, electronic platform space for Repo & Securities Lending. One firm has been going gangbusters on Total Return Swaps for their electronic platform, another has had to lay of some people, another electronic platform shut down its London effort and trimmed US marketing, Sponsored Repo is reportedly running into a constraint of now some $100 billion in CCLF obligation, while one electronic platform is rumored to be having issues, and another one has suddenly popped up for collateralized loans. Meanwhile, peer-to-peer between the insurance companies and money funds is increasing, and peer-to-peer within the pension fund peer group and within the hedge fund peer group may be gaining some traction. Month-end repo rates have been hairy lately, as has liquidity, and unusual setting of SOFR rates to the dealer offer-side of triparty repo. It makes sense that any solution that can net or reduce or eliminate use of capital and balance sheet for broker/dealers would be of greater importance now, with yields at multi-year lows and any savings a higher percentage of those nominal yields. On the same token, any solution that can help buyside save any of the bid/offer spread being captured by broker/dealers, which also is a higher percentage of the current low nominal yields, also increases in importance in this environment. As I look at job opportunities, I am exploring funding for broker/dealers, funding for asset managers, electronic platforms, newer solutions, CCPs, and maybe even consulting for multiple solutions. So far, I am ruling out being an insurance agent or PWM rep, but ya never know!

I still 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 ALL 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 dealers’ repo matched book came at a couple of costs, first, the bid/offer spread that went to the dealers, which has been volatile but certainly widened since the Financial Crisis, and second, the defaults of the Financial Crisis, which not only subjected clients to dealer defaults and wider spreads, but in many cases directly impacted clients by making them suddenly the outright traders of repo collateral. Some of that collateral, on top of it, was very illiquid. Not knowing who the other clients were on the other side of the dealers’ repo matched book, and who could potentially bring down those intermediary dealers was costly for many clients. Clearly, with that pipeline of is intermediation becoming severely crimped by post-Financial Crisis regulatory reforms, consolidation and bankruptcies, and the resulting drop of about 60% in balance sheets (which has recovered partially with new entrants to the market and international banks’ increases due to regulatory arbitrage) being used for broker/dealer respective repo matched books, new pathways/pipelines needed to be explored for cash provider and collateral provider clients. My former baby, AVM’s Direct Repo™, was the first of one of such pathways, over 10 years ago. Since then, many other liquidity 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 Agented repo through seclending agents and some prime brokers to buyside clients, direct lending from beneficial owners to hedge funds who are short via their agents, indemnified As Agent repo, buyside to buyside Triparty Repo through two international clearing organizations of their custodial clients, electronic all-to-all repo on a few electronic trading platforms like (Elixium, BNY DBVX, State Street’s Cash Cross), FICC’s sponsored repo and cleared repo products for certain sectors of the buyside into that CCP, dealer to dealer and some clients electronic trading platforms (like GLMX, HQLA, and Tradeweb), other Repo and/or Seclending CCPs (particularly in Europe, like Eurex, LCH, OCC, CME, etc.), total return swaps platforms (like WeMatch.com), and collateralized loan exchanges like AFX/CBOE. There have still been other firms that have created some king of product that mimics a repo, but yet doesn’t show up on dealers’ balance sheets (so helps them), and/or provides better credit counterparties (so helps clients), and can take many forms. I believe this overall evolution will continue and eventually we will see all of these pathways used in some part, including the traditional pathway (to probably a lesser than historical degree) through the broker/dealers and prime brokers. Some of that balance sheet has returned, as I mentioned above, but maybe for only select ‘platinum’ clients and may come at a higher bid/offer spread or in specific, more profitable products/securities, as other market observers/experts have said.

Securities Finance Industry Conferences:
 

• Deutsche Borse/Clearstream held its annual conference this week in Luxembourg, which I attended last year.
• IMN 25th Beneficial Owners International Securities Finance and Collateral Management Conference was held in Fort Lauderdale, FL on 2/5-2/6. I was chosen as the Chairperson.
• Finadium held a new conference on the Business of Collateral Trading in Frankfurt, Germany on 2/21.
• IMN held its annual Fixed Income Investor Network in Las Vegas on 2/24.
• iMoneyNet held its annual MMExpo in Middleburg, VA 3/4-3/6.
• PASLA/RMA held its 16th annual Conference on Asian Securities Lending in Sydney, Australia 3/5-3/7.
• GIOA held its 15th annual conference in Las Vegas 3/20-3/22.
• Crane Data held its annual Bond Fund Symposium in Philadelphia on 3/25-3/26.
• Finadium held its 3rd annual Investors in Securities Lending Conference in NYC on 5/2-5/3.
• GFOA held its 113th annual conference in Los Angeles on 5/19-5/22.
• Securities Lending Times held its annual Securities Finance Technology Symposium in London on 5/9.
• IMN held 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.
• ISLA held its Securities Finance and Collateral Management conference in Madrid this week.
• Crane Data held its annual Money Fund Symposium on 6/24-6/26 in Boston.
• Hedge Fund Association held its Rooftop Social in NYC on 6/27.
• Worldwide Business Research will hold its annual Fixed Income & FX Leader Summit in Singapore on 9/17-9/19.
• IHS Markit in conjunction with Opal Group will hold a Securities Finance Forum in NYC on 9/17.
• IMN will hold its annual ABS East conference in Miami Beach, FL on 9/22-9/24.
• IMN will hold its annual European Securities Finance conference in London on 9/25-9/26.
• Crane Data will hold its annual European Money Fund Symposium in Dublin, Ireland on 9/23-24.
• 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 Conference on Securities Finance and Collateral Management in Boca Raton, FL on October 14-17, as they just announced.
• American Financial Professionals (AFP) will hold its annual conference in Boston, MA on 10/20-10/23.
• Finadium will hold its Rates & Repo conference in New York on 11/4
• Risk.net will hold its 25th annual Risk USA conference in NYC on November 5-6.
• SIFMA will hold its annual Meeting in Washington, DC on 11/18-11/20.

Federal Reserve News:

The Fed Funds rate, which is still the target rate of Federal Reserve monetary policy and changes to which are made by and announced by the FOMC at regularly scheduled meetings, is currently set at 2.25%, after the FOMC lowered it on 7/31/19. However, the Effective Fed Funds Rate (EFFR), as reported by the NY Fed on its website, has drifted lower to 2.13% on 9/09/19, averaging about 12bp below the actual target rate. Now, Fed Funds don’t TRADE much like they used to, just between some regional banks and GSEs.

The Overnight Bank Funding Rate (OBFR), also published by the NY Fed to capture the volume-weighted median of overnight federal funds transactions, Eurodollar transactions, and the domestic deposits reported by banks. That rate on 9/09/19 was 2.11% and has been very constant throughout this month.

The Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) is supposed to be a broad measure of the cost of borrowing cash overnight collateralized by US Treasury securities. It is also reported by the NY Fed on its website. It has been controversial and has been considered as a possibly replacement for LIBOR. SOFR includes trades in the Broad General Collateral Rate of Repo plus bilateral Treasury Repo transactions cleared through the DVP services at CCP FICC, ostensibly filtering out issues trading Special. However, critics (and I am one) say that it only picks up the Offered Side of Repo (not a median), that it only picks up the small amount of DVP transactions cleared at FICC and Triparty Repo done at Bank of NY, ignoring the growing amount of bilateral (non-Triparty) repo being done peer-to-peer, dealer-to-dealer, and client-to-dealer, outside of FICC. It is a good representation of where Money Funds (except for a few savvy ones who trade peer-to-peer) are paid on their cash versus US Treasuries in Repo each day by broker/dealers. It almost completely ignores other sectors, particularly buyside clients with collateral. That all being said, the current SOFR reported by the Fed for 09/09/19 was 2.12%.

The next FOMC meetings are: 9/18/19, 10/30/19, 12/11/19, 1/29/20.

The Federal Reserve’s Reverse Repo Facility (RRP), which has over 300 approved participants (mostly banks, GSEs, and MMFs) is used as a tool by the Federal Reserve, along with its Fed Funds target-setting monetary policy, and OER for depository institutions, to help control short-term interest rates. 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 5/15/19, 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. So, if RRP is not extinct, it is certainly now dormant, occasionally coming out of hibernation for year-ends and quarter-ends, when liquidity becomes very strange.

In December, at the FOMC meeting, 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%

But, then the Federal Reserve paused. Suddenly, on 7/31/19, the Fed eased the Fed Funds target rate to 2.25%, and is likely to cut another 0.25% to 2.00% on 9/18/19.

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 reference, the Fed Funds target rate was 5.25% before the Fed cut of 9/18/2007, at or near the beginning of the Financial Crisis.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell spoke in Zurich on Friday 9/6 and said that the most likely case is for continued moderate growth in the US and the rest of the world. But, the Fed is still monitoring “significant risks”. He said that the US labor market strength continues, despite the soft Nonfarm Payrolls report. He said the Fed will act as needed to “sustain expansion”. The market has priced in about a 90% chance of a 25bp rate cut at this month’s FOMC meeting. Thanks to my former MS colleague, Harvey Flax of ICE, for the synapsis.

Earthquakes and Volcanoes:

Globally (US Northwest, Japan, Iran, Venezuela, China, Greece, Italy, Armenia, etc.) the Earth’s crust has been very active. Thses are just the earthquakes over the last 3 days! Latest strong earthquakes (4.5 magnitude and above):

9/10 4.7 11km W of Tashir, Armenia
9/10 4.9 52km SSW of Puerto El Triunfo, El Salvador
9/10 4.8 Northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge
9/10 5.0 East of the South Sandwich Islands
9/10 5.6 23km SE of Bobon, Philippines
9/10 4.6 45km E of Austin, Nevada
9/09 5.4 161km ESE of Amatignak Island, Alaska
9/09 4.6 Northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge
9/09 5.5 18km WSW of Araya, Venezuela
9/09 4.9 1km NE of Puerto Galera, Philippines
9/09 5.5 SE of Easter Island
9/09 5.2 88km W of Isangel, Vanuatu
9/09 4.9 East of Bhadarwah, India
9/09 4.7 24km WNW of Itbayat, Philippines
9/09 5.3 45km NE of Amatignak Island, Alaska
9/09 4.5 42km WSW of Cetraro, Italy
9/09 4.8 66km SE of Lata, Solomon Islands
9/09 4.9 293km ESE of Iwo Jima, Japan
9/09 4.5 94km S of Hachijo-jima, Japan
9/08 4.6 Reykjanes Ridge
9/08 4.5 22km WNW of Megalopolis, Greece
9/08 5.1 56km WSW of Panguna, Papua New Guinea
9/08 5.0 15km ENE of Suyan, Philippines
9/08 4.6 62km W of Queshm, Iran
9/08 4.6 200km E of Namie, Japan
9/08 4.5 75km NW of Yakutat, Alaska
9/08 5.2 Indian Ocean Triple Junction
9/08 4.9 7km SSW of Yanling, China
9/08 4.8 43km ENE of Bhadarwah, India
9/07 5.1 1km S of Neijiang, China
9/07 4.7 278km NW of Longyearbyen, Svabard and Jan Meyen
9/07 4.5 52km ENE of Chazuta, Peru
9/07 5.3 11km NW of Briston Island, South Sandwich Islands
9/07 4.6 177km WNW of Zambezi, Zambia
9/07 4.5 S of the Fiji Islands
9/07 4.7 99km NNE of Chichi-shima, Japan
9/07 5.1 79km ENE of Mutsu, Japan
9/07 5.3 Southern Mid-Atlantic Ridge
9/07 4.7 Kuril Islands

Weather:

The Atlantic Hurricane Season began June 1st and ends November 30th. For 2018, Colorado State University experts had predicted an above average season of 14 named Tropical Storms, of which 7 would become Hurricanes. Both are above the averages of 12 and 6, respectively. But, there were 15 named Tropical Storms, of which 8 were hurricanes, and 2 of them major. So, they were wrong, but this time, not in a good way.

Hurricane officials are warning Floridians to prepare in advance of the upcoming storm season. There are several national meteorological services and scientific agencies that forecast how many named storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes (above Category 3). TSR, CSU, and The Weather Company were similar numbers, while NCU was higher. CSU has been the most used and they forecast for 2019 a near-average season of 13 named storms, 5 hurricanes, and 2 major hurricanes.

The Hurricane names for the 2019 North Atlantic season are:

Andrea-x
Barry-x
Chantal-x
Dorian-x
Erin-x
Fernand-x
Gabrielle-x
Humberto
Imelda
Jerry
Karen
Lorenzo
Melissa
Nestor
Olga
Pablo
Rebekah
Sebastian
Tanya
Van
Wendy

The Pacific Hurricane Season started 5/1/18 and ends 11/1/18.

Hurricane Dorian came into the Bahamas, particularly the Abacos (where I visited last year), as a monster Category-5 hurricane, devastating the region. To make matters worse, the storm stalled over the Bahamas for days, flooding the region with some 30 inches of rain. It wiped out most of the Abacos, tearing off every roof, destroying buildings, leveling the airport and wharfs. At least 50 people are currently known to be dead, but that number is expected to increase dramatically. The Bahamas government now lists 2500 people missing. Unfortunately, the government there had no evacuation plan in place and has been ineffective with relief efforts. So, luckily other countries have committed resources and money, particularly through charity organizations and private citizens lending boats and aircraft to deliver supplies. The cruise line here out of the Port of Palm Beach has been bringing supplies TO the Bahamas and bringing BACK thousands of Bahamian refugees. Desperation is, however, mounting in the Bahamas, as shelters are turning some evacuees away. Everyone here in Florida is praying for their neighbors in the Bahamas and starting their own relief efforts. The Bahamas is a short flight from Florida and just a couple hours’ boat ride. So, it is a popular destination for Floridians. For the third year in a row, Florida dodged a major Category-5 Hurricane, this time by about 30 miles and last year by about 10 miles. Dorian was right off the coast of West Palm Beach, where I live. Dorian eventually made its way up eyeing the Florida coast and hitting the Outer Banks of the Carolinas, where it unleashed flooding and a 7-foot storm surge. Over 800,000 people were ordered to evacuate South Carolina, ahead of the storm. It has continued on to Nova Scotia. We have 4 more storms in the Atlantic to be watching over the next 6-18 days. NOAA sees Gabriella as an Extratropical Cyclone with 50mph winds, so no longer worried about.

There is currently no tropical cyclone activity expected during the next 48 hours in the Atlantic, Eastern North Pacific, and the Central North Pacific.

As for the weather, the daily deluge of record-setting temperatures and horrific afternoon thunderstorms here in Florida has finally stopped after about 3 weeks. After last week’s high temperatures and heat index of 105-110 degrees, we have cooled off 5-10 degrees and become less rainy. I would say drier, but humidity has remained 70-90%, so I can’t say drier. Meanwhile, a strong cold front is bringing cooler air from Canada and combining it with Monsoon moisture to impact the US. There will be significant damaging winds, very large hail, isolated tornadoes, and heavy rain in the Midwest. Flash flooding will hit the Southwest and snow could hit areas above 8,000 feet in the North and Central Rockies. Meanwhile, the heat from the South will move into the Midwest and Northeast towards the weekend, bringing temperatures back up from the 50s and 60s to 80s and 90s.

Sports News:

MLB:

The MLB regular season began 3/28 this year and will end sometime in November, and 8-month long season, about double the seasons of the other 3 major sports. the 2018 World Series Champion Red Sox did not start well and continue not to do particularly well, with a slim chance at the Wild Card. Their rival Yankees are burning up the field and the standings this year, just the way the Red Sox did last year. David Ortiz, having recovered from gunshots and 3 surgeries, threw out the first pitch in Monday’s game between the Red Sox and Yankees and thanked the Fenway fans. It didn’t help, as the Red Sox lost again. On Monday, the Red Sox fired their highly touted President Dave Dombrowski, who couldn’t keep the team on the path to the playoffs, after orchestrating some trades and inheriting a young talented roster that brought them the World Championship in 2018. Joe Maddon’s job may be on the line with the Cubs’ run for the Division or the Wild Card. Yankees Mike Tauchman is likely out for season with a calf injury. The Astros scored 21 runs in a blowout win over the Mariners. Overlooked was that Astros ace Gerrit Cole became the second pitcher ever to strike out 14+ (he struck out 15 Mariners) in three straight starts. Cubs IF Addison Russell was hit by a pitch in the head and had to leave the game.

With about 17 games left in the season, let’s take a look at the standings and Wild Card races: AL East-Yankees are solidly in first place, 9 games ahead of the Rays and 18 ½ games ahead of the Red Sox. The Orioles are no longer the worst team in baseball though, although 48 games behind the Yankees and 46-97. AL Central-Twins are still clinging to first place, 5 games ahead of the Indians, but everyone else has fallen off the charts. The Tigers now have the worst MLB record at 42-100. AL West-Astros are in first place, 10 ½ games ahead of the A’s. NL East-the surprising Braves (without the big splashes their rivals made in free agency) are in first place, 9 1/2 games ahead of the Nationals. NL Central-Cardinals are in first place, but tenuously 4 games ahead of the Cubs and 6 games ahead of the Brewers. NL West-Dodgers are in first place by a mile, 17 ½ games ahead of Giants and 15 ½ games ahead of Diamondbacks. Except for the NL Central, the focus will be on the Wild Card races. In the AL, it’s between the Rays, A’s, and Indians (in that order) for the 2 spots. In the NL, it’s between the Nationals, Cubs, Brewers, D-Backs, Phillies, and Mets (in that order) for the 2 spots.

The MLB announced the class of the six 2019 inductees into the Hall of Fame and they are: Harold Baines, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez (finally), Mike Mussina, Mariano Rivera, and Lee Smith. The ceremony will be on 7/21 in Cooperstown, NY. Baines and Smith were elected to the Hall of Fame by the Today’s Game Era Committee. Baines, an ESPN analyst, will go in as a White Sox, Halladay will go in without a logo, Martinez will go in as a Mariner (kind of insuring that his fellow DH, David Ortiz, will make it too), Mussina will go in without a logo (I’m surprised), Rivera (the greatest reliever of all-time) will go in as a Yankee, and Smith (one of the greatest relievers of all-time) will go in as a Cub.

Golf:

The FedEx Cup finally ended with Rory McIlroy winning the $15 million check. The PGA Tour took a 15-day break after that, but is ready to resume the Fall season, with 11 tournaments. World No.10 Bryson DeChambeau headlines the field this week in the Fall season of the PGA Tour with Greenbrier. A back injury is forcing Stacy Lewis to withdraw from the Solheim Cup. The European Open has some weird rules incidents. It would be Arnold Palmer’s 90th birthday today. Tiger Woods had arthroscopic surgery on that knee, which surprised everyone. He will have had two months off before flying to Japan to play in the inaugural Zozo Championship. But, he will be busy on 11/4 picking the four captain’s picks for the US Presidents Cup, to be held at Royal Melbourne. He could name himself and make history as a playing captain. The PGA Tour is set to implement a new club-testing program which will now test drivers pulled directly from players’ bags.

NFL:

The 99th NFL regular season ended with the New England Patriots beating the Los Angeles Rams in a defensive battle 13-3 in the Super Bowl. The 100th NFL season began Thursday night, with another defensive battle between the longtime rivals Packers and Bears, with the Packers upsetting the Bears, who were picked by 6, 10-3. At least the new Bears placekicker made his Field Goal attempt (unlike his predecessor who famously donked both uprights and the crossbar in 3 attempts in the same playoff game last year. It was QB Tom Brady’s 6th Super Bowl victory. NFL training camps have opened for the 100th NFL season. So, Antonio Brown, who left the Steelers for free agency and was gobbled up by the Raiders, refused to play with the new more protective helmet. Then he got into an altercation with the GM, after getting fined. Then, they had enough and cut him. Within minutes, the Patriots, who were already fully up on star wide receivers, snatched him up with a 1year/$15 million contract. Well, on Tuesday he practiced with the Pats for the first time and then was accused of a rape two years ago. Could spell more trouble for AB.

Week 1 regular season results (winner highlighted in yellow and line prior to gametime):

Thursday
Green Bay Packers 10 @ Chicago Bears 3, Bears were favored by 3, but lost their 6th out of last 7 games versus their ultimate rivals.

Sunday
LA Rams 30 @ Carolina Panthers 27, Rams favored by 3, Super Bowl runner-up Rams eked out the victory over a game Panthers, just as expected.

Tennessee Titans 43 @ Cleveland Browns 13, much hyped Browns favored by 6, which was a trap!

Kansas City Chiefs 40 @ Jacksonville Jaguars 26, Chiefs favored by 4 and blew out the Jags. It was a very costly game for both teams, as new super QB Nick Foles of Jags suffered a broken clavicle on his throwing arm as he threw his first TD as a Jag. He may come back during the season, after surgery Monday. On the other side of the ball, the dominating chiefs had their star receiver Tyreek Hill taken to the hospital for an emergency, as he suffered a rare “sternoclavicular dislocation”, which I read as similar to Foles’ broken clavicle, but broken off of the sternum instead of in the middle. He could come back during the season.

Baltimore Ravens 59 @ Miami Dolphins 10, Ravens favored by 7, made a mockery of the Dolphins with their new QB. The Dolphins don’t get a break either, as they face the Patriots in Week 2.

Atlanta Falcons 12 @ Minnesota Vikings 28, Vikings favored by 4 because of home field advantage, so it was supposed to be close, but wasn’t.

Buffalo Bills 17 @ NY Jets 16, Jets favored by 3 with Le’Veon Bell and home field, but the Jets snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Washington Redskins 27 @ Philadelphia Eagles 32, Eagles favored by 10, were down 17 points at halftime, but rallied to win.

Indianapolis Colts 24 @ LA Chargers 30, Chargers favored by 7, as Colts QB Luck just retired, but the Colts made it go to OT and messed up the Line.

Cincinnati Bengals 20 @ Seattle Seahawks 21, Seahawks favored by 9, became another expected blowout that was really close in the end.
Detroit Lions 27 @ Arizona Cardinals 27, Lions by 2.5, one that was supposed to be close and didn’t disappoint (except maybe Lions’ fans), ending in a tie in OT.

NY Giants 17 @ Dallas Cowboys 35, Cowboys favored by 7, wasn’t even close.

San Francisco 49ers 31 @ Tampa Bay Bucs 17, even odds, the one game that was supposed to be real close and it was a blowout.

Pittsburgh Steelers 3 @ New England Patriots 33, SB champs favored by 6 as Steelers lost Antonio Brown (who ironically then wound up on Pats) and Le’Veon Bell to free agency. Most people thought this would be close and could be an upset. Most people were wrong.

Monday
Houston Texans 28 @ New Orleans Saints 30 Saints favored by 7, but turned out to be a great battle, with the Saints kicking a 58-yard field goal at the end to win for an exciting finish.

Denver Broncos 16 @ Oakland Raiders 24, even odds, but right from the start, the Raiders out-muscled the Broncos at won fairly easily.

The AAF, which was co-founded by Charlie Ebersol, and supported by the NFL as a developmental league, was folded by the NFL just 6 games into the Spring season this year. It is not to be confused with the XFL, which was launched 17 years ago, by Dick Ebersol of NBC, Charlie’s father. The XFL will re-launch in 2020.

Let’s look at the new NFL Hall of Fame class, which includes Tony Gonzalez, Ed Reed, Kevin Mawae, Champ Bailey, Johnny Robinson, Pat Bowlen, Gil Brandt, and Ty Law.
In case you are already looking forward to Super Bowl LIV, which will be held here in Miami, tickets and TD club package start at $5000 per person. Other packages start at $10,000 per person. So, much for me driving down there to see who the Patriots play…

NCAA Football:

College football has finally returned! In fact, we have now played 2 weeks of the 15-week regular season. It was really weird starting out without Alabama on top of the AP Top 25 poll, where they perennially start at No.1. But, since Clemson won the BCS National Championship last year, they were No.1 to start the season. Some serious excitement already, as No.7 Michigan nearly lost in their own house to unranked Army and needed 2 OTs and referee help to finally win 24-21. Most of the rest of the Big 10 was solid and won some blowout games in Week 2. In fact, most ranked teams had blowouts in Week 2: No.19 Iowa beat Rutgers 30-0, No.21 Maryland beat Syracuse in a school record 63-20, No.14 Wisconsin beat Central Michigan 61-0, No.3 Georgia beat Murray State 63-17, No.11 Utah beat Northern Ilinois 35-17, No.6 Ohio State beat Cincinnati 42-0, No.2 Alabama beat NM State 62-10, No.18 Michigan State beat up Western Michigan 61-17, No.17 UCF beat up on poor FAU 48-14, Oklahoma beat up South Dakota 70-14, No.13 Penn State beat Buffalo 45-13, and No.24 USC beat Stanford 45-20. Exceptions were: No.22 Boise State barely beat Marshall 14-7, No.1 Clemson beat No.16 Texas A&M 24-10, No.8 Auburn had some trouble with Tulane 24-6, No.4 LSU won a wild game against No.12 Texas 45-38. No.23 Washington was upset by California 20-19.

The current AP Top 25 Poll:
1. Clemson
2. Alabama
3. Georgia
4. LSU
5. Oklahoma
6. Ohio State
7. Notre Dame
8. Auburn
9. Florida
10. Michigan
11. Utah
12. Texas
13. Penn State
14. Wisconsin
15. Oregon
16. Texas A&M
17. UCF
18. Michigan State
19. Iowa
20. Washington State
21. Maryland
22. Boise State
23. Washington
24. USC
25. Virginia

NHL:

The puck dropped on the regular season, for some of the 31 teams, on 10/3. It ended in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals on 6/12, when the St. Louis Blues beat my Bruins 4-3 in the Finals. The Blues were in last place in their division in January and wound up winning it all. The NHL is finishing up free agency signings. Blue Jackets signed Zach Werenski to a 3year/$15 million deal. Capitals named Brooks Orpik to Player Development Department. Of the top 50 unrestricted free agents, the ones left are: No.17 Patrick Marleau (Maple Leafs), No.26 Dion Phaneuf (Kings), No.41 Thomas Vanek (Red Wings), No.48 Jason Pominville (Sabres). Of the top 20 restricted free agents, the one available are: No.1 Mitch Marner (Maple Leafs), No.3 Mikko Rantanen (Avalanche), No.5 Brayden Point (Lightning), No.6 Patrik Laine (Jets), No.7 Kyle Connor (Jets), No.8 Brock Boeser (Canucks), No.10 Mathew Tkachuk (Flames), No.14 Charlie McAvoy (Bruins), No.16 Ivan Provorov (Flyers), No.19 Travis Konecny (Flyers).

NBA:

The NBA season officially began on 10/3 as well. It officially ended with the underdogs, the Toronto Raptors ousting the favorite Golden State Warriors in six games. Michael Jordan pledged $1 million to Hurricane Dorian relief in Bahamas. The Grizzlies refused to buy out Andre Iguodala’s contract and want him back at camp. NBA is planning to ban ‘ninja-style’ headbands next season. 76ers’ Mike Scott got into a fight with Eagles fans. Kawhi Leonard’s sister has been charged with rober and death of an elderly woman. A Duke investigation found no evidence that Zion Williamson was paid by Nike during his short college tenure. Nike will open a LeBron James building on Portland campus.

Olympics:

The hype for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo has officially begun. You may have already heard that there will be some new sports added and some sports returning. Many USA Olympic stars will be returning, including the World Cup Champion USA Women’s soccer team. The team will include their goalie, who is planning on putting off her debut in the NFL, as a placekicker, breaking the sex barrier in the NFL, until after the Olympics.

Tennis:

At Wimbledon, in July, Serena Williams was upset by Simona Halep in the Final. Serena had another opportunity to win that elusive record-breaking 24th Grand Slam title, in the US Open. However, she was totally dominated by Bianca Andreescu in 2 sets in the Final (although she had a magnificent 5 game rally in the second set that fell short). On the Men’s side, Rafael Nadal won his 19th Grand Slam title. He is now just one behind Roger Federer, who holds the all-time Men’s record for most Grand Slam titles. Federer also holds the record for most Grand Slam Finals at 31, but Nadal is now at 27. Nadal is just the 5th man in the Open Era to win 4 or more US Opens. Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer each won 5 and John McEnroe won 4. Okay, I had to really dig up these last facts: he’s now 209-1 at Grand Slams after he wins the first 2 sets, it was the longest Grand Slam Final he ever won at 4:51 against Medvedev, He’s now won 27 of his last 28 matches, and he’s spending his 750th straight week in the Top 10 (currently No.2 and closing on Djokovic). Did you know that the top 3 (Djokovic, Nadal, Federer) have won 51 of the last 59 Grand Slams?

Horse Racing:

Los Angeles could soon be the first major city to ban horse racing. The Breeders Cup will be at Santa Anita Park 11/1 and 11/2.

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. The 2019 regular season has just completed and the Playoffs begin this week. Here is the complete schedule of races for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup in 2019 and the results:

2/17 Daytona 500, won by Denny Hamlin
2/24 Atlanta, QuickTrip 500, won by Brad Keselowski
3/3 Las Vegas-Joey Logano
3/10 ISM Raceway-Kyle Busch
3/17 Auto Club-Kyle Busch
3/24 Martinsville-Brad Keselowski
3/31 Texas-Denny Hamlin
4/7 Bristol-Kyle Busch
4/13 Richmond-Martin Truex Jr.
4/28 Talladega-Chase Elliott
5/5 Dover-won by Martin Truex Jr.
5/11 Kansas-won by Brad Keselowski
5/18 All-Star Open Charlotte-won by Austin Dillon
5/26 Charlotte, Coca-Cola 600-won by Martin Truex Jr.
6/2 Pocono, Pocono 400-won by Kyle Busch
6/9 Michigan, Firekeepers Casino 400-won by Joey Logano
6/23 Sonoma, Save Mart 350-won by Martin Truex Jr.
6/30 Chicago, Camping World 400-won by Alex Bowman
7/7 Daytona, Coke Zero 400-won by Austin Haley
7/13 Kentucky, Quaker State 400-won by Kurt Busch
7/21 New Hampshire, Foxwoods Resort Casino 301-won by Kevin Harvick
7/28 Pocono, Gander RV 400-Denny Hamlin
8/4 Watkins Glen, GoBowling at The Glen-Chase Elliott
8/11 Michigan, Consumers Energy 400-Kevin Harvick
8/17 Bristol, Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race-Denny Hamlin
9/1 Darlington, Bojangles’ Southern 500-Erik Jones
9/8 Indianapolis, Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard-Kevin Harvick
9/15 Las Vegas playoff-South Point 400
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 began with F1 Car Launch Dates for the various teams from 2/12 through 2/15 for Renault, Racing Point, McLaren, and Ferrari. That was 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 and results (it might be easier to just say which races were not won by Lewis Hamilton):

3/17 Australia Grand Prix in Melbourne-won by V. Bottas
3/31 Bahrain Grand Prix in Sakhir-won by Lewis Hamilton
4/14 China Grand Prix in Shanghai (this will be the 1000th Grand Prix)-won by Lewis Hamilton
4/28 Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku-won by V. Bottas
5/12 Spain Grand Prix in Barcelona-won by Lewis Hamilton
5/26 Monaco Grand Prix in Monaco-won by Lewis Hamilton
6/9 Canada Grand Prix in Montreal-won by Lewis Hamilton
6/23 France Grand Prix in Le Castellet-won by Lewis Hamilton
6/30 Austria Grand Prix in Spielberg-won by Max Verstappen
7/14 Great Britain Grand Prix in Silverstone-won by Lewis Hamilton
7/28 Germany Grand Prix in Hockenheim-won by Max Verstappen
8/4 Hungary Grand Prix in Budapest-Lewis Hamilton
9/1 Belgium Grand Prix in Spa-Charles Leclerc
9/8 Italy Grand Prix in Monza-Charles Leclerc
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

Here is the IndyCar Racing circuit and its 2019 calendar and results (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). There is only one race left this season:

3/10 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg-Josef Newgarden
3/24 Circuit of the Americas-Colton Herta
4/7 Grand Prix of Alabama-Takuma Sato
4/14 Grand Prix at Long Beach-Alexander Rossi
5/11 Grand Prix of Indianapolis-Simon Pagenaud
5/26 Indianapolis 500-Simon Pagenaud
6/1 Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Race 1-Josef Newgarden
6/1 Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Race 2-Scott Dixon
6/8 Texas Grand Prix-Josef Newgarden
6/23 Road America-Alexander Rossi
7/14 Honda Indy Toronto-Simon Pagenaud
7/20 Iowa 300-Josef Newgarden
7/28 Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio-Scott Dixon
8/18 Pocono Grand Prix-Will Power (I love that name!)
8/24 Gateway Grand Prix-Takuma Sato
9/1 Grand Prix of Portland-Will Power (that’s all it takes)
9/22 Grand Prix at Laguna Seca

Travel News:

Massachusetts State Police are searching for a couple captured on toll cameras on the Mass Turnpike near Boston, as they were both asleep in their Tesla, travelling under auto control at 55 mph. Talk about ‘being asleep at the wheel!’ An American Airlines mechanic deliberately sabotaged a flight, overriding onboard computer, so he could get more overtime. Luckily, the pilot was able to return the plane safely. Aer Lingus has round-trip flights to Ireland for as low as $399. A never-before-seen “Zipline Roller Coaster” just opened in Pigeon Forge, TN, at Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud Show and Adventure Park). It is named the Flying Ox. Millennials are not going on vacation much, according to a new study by DepositAccounts. 55% of Millennials said they did not go on vacation in the past year for financial reasons, as opposed to 49% of Gen Xers and 35% of Baby Boomers. Millennials are stressed, overworked, underpaid and have budgets that include student debt and pricey rentals. A Nevada plane crash killed two people and injured three, including Good Samaritan who pulled over to help. Nashville has a boutique hotel chain which is also a Contemporary Art Museum. An Australian journalist accidentally paid $100,000 for a beer during a trip to England. An off-duty pilot on vacation with his family saved an entire flight from major delays by offering to fly the EasyJet plane himself. A generous 6-year-old boy used his entire Disney World savings to help Hurricane Dorian evacuees. You can now winery hop through Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley in a vintage VW bus. The Northern Lights are finally visible again. A woman was spotted taking her miniature service horse on an American Airlines flight to Chicago. A flight attendant caused a panic, when she yelled for an evacuation at Newark Airport on Labor Day. New research found that many electronic scooter riders who have been injured were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Health News:

CVS, Wegmans, Kroger and Walgreens have banned customers from openly carrying in their stores, even in states that allow ‘open carry’. The decisions come after a shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, TX that left 22 people dead. A Kansas resident has become the 6th person nationwide to die from a vaporing-related illness. Several states and the CDC have urged the Americans to stay away from vaping devices, until authorities can figure out what has caused a rash of over 471 hospitalized people, suffering severe respiratory issues from vaping. The FDA has tested 120 product samples, and so far has been unable to identify any one brand, ingredient or substance that could explain the illnesses. Although E-cigarettes have been around for more than a decade, reports of vaping-related illnesses only started showing up in July 2019. President Trump is weighing a ban on flavored e-cigarettes. In separate research, experts say vaping can bring on dental diseases such as gingivitis, tooth decay, and even oral cancer. For you pumpkin spice people, Jose Andres mobilized World Central Kitchen in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian. Costco’s famous pumpkin pies are officially back in stores, as is pumpkin spiced latte at Starbuck’s. Oh no, even Krispy Kreme added 2 pumpkin spice doughnuts to its menu. Not kidding, pizza candy canes are coming for you this holiday season. Did you know that you can now apply to be an ‘NFL Food Taster’ and eat at football stadiums across the country? Scientists say left-handed people may have better verbal skills. A new study by University of Michigan suggests that hearing aids can reduce depression and dementia risk. A new UK study suggests that protein shakes ingested after a workout do not do much for your muscles. Facebook and Pinterest are now fighting back against anti-vaccine content and erroneous health information being shared online, given the more than 1,200 measles cases in the US. Researchers say the higher the use of antibiotics, the higher the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Another study say that red wine is better than white wine for gut health. Researchers say treating high blood pressure in older adults can slow cognitive decline. The CEO of Whole Foods doesn’t think much of plant-based meat alternatives, citing that Beyond Burger and the Impossible Burger can be high in sodium and saturated fat. Researchers say that after a heart attack, all clogged arteries should be repaired. A new study finds that Vegetarian and Vegan diets may increase stroke risk, although they reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. In the Bahamas, the survivors will now face many health challenges in the coming weeks. There is no clean water, except bottled water. There have already been two cases of cholera reported.

This will serve as sort of a Public Service Announcement for the more experienced of our industry:

Keep in mind that deals may vary at participating locations and can change without notice.
• McDonald’s: discounts on coffee and beverages (55+)
• Whataburger: free drink with purchase of a meal, depending on location (55+)
• Wendy’s: give free coffee or other discounts depending on location
• Piccadilly Cafeteria: 10% discount with “Prime Time for Seniors” card
• IHOP: 10% discount (55+) and a menu for people aged 55 and over at participating locations
• Krispy Kreme: 10% off (50+) (age and discount varies depending on location)
• Subway: 10% off (60+) varies by location
• The Old Spaghetti Factory: Spaghetti Factory “Senior Menu” offers discounted list of menu items
• Uno Pizzaria & Grill: “Double Nickel Club” 25% off on Wednesday (55+)
• Sizzler: Offers “Honored Guest Menu” (60+) varies by location
• Old Country Buffet: Daily discounts for seniors (55+)
• Friendly’s Restaurants: 10% off meal w/ free coffee at breakfast or free small sunday during non-breakfast hours
• Fazoli’s: Join “Club 62” for special senior menu items (62+)
• KFC: free small drink with any meal depending on location (55+)
• Country Kitchen: Great Senior Menu (55+)
• Burger King: 10% discount on purchase depending on location (60+)

Also, those similarly wizened, can save an average of $3252/year in mortgage payments with the new Government “Enhanced Relief” Program, stop paying for home appliance repairs with new Home Warranty Programs, save up to 70% on car insurance, and take advantage of these shopping deals:

• Bealls Outlet Senior Discounts: 15% off every Tuesday 50+
• Belk: 15% off first Tuesday of every month 62+
• Bon-Ton Department Stores: 15% off on senior discount days; 20% if you use the store’s proprietary credit card 55+
• C.J. Banks/Christopher Banks: 10% off every Wednesday 60+
• Clarks: 10% off 62+
• Dressbarn: 10% off Tues and/or Wed call ahead-varies by location – 55+
• Goodwill: 10% – 20% off one day a week date varies by location – 55+
• Hallmark: 10% off one day a week date varies by location; age may vary depending on the product
• iParty: 10% senior discount every day; ask for discount as soon as you get to the checker
• Kohl’s: 15% off on Wednesdays 60+
• Michael’s: 10% off every day with AARP card – 55+
• Modell’s Sporting Goods: 10% off every day 65+
• Ross Stores: 10% off every Tuesday 55+
• The Salvation Army Thrift Stores: Up to 50% off , days vary 55+
• SteinMart: 20% off red dot/clearance items first Monday of every month 55+
• TJ Maxx Senior: 10% on Mondays FLORIDA only at this time – 55+
• Walgreens: 20% off once a month, “Balance Rewards” card required. 65+ and AARP

La Colombe and MillerCoors have joined the alcohol coffee game with their own Hard Cold Brew. By getting around 6-9 hours of sleep per night, most people can substantially reduce their risk of having a heart attack, according to the latest research. However, too much or too little sleep can increase that risk. Researchers say drinking 2 soft drinks (sweetened by sugar or by artificial ingredients) per day can increase your risk of an earlier death.

Animal News:

A Florida woman found a manatee in her backyard during Hurricane Dorian. North Carolina’s wild horses rode out Hurricane Dorian, as they have hurricanes for 500 years. Okay, I studied animals most of my childhood and I never knew this, polar bears are left-handed (pawed)? The lovely mosquitoes, famous for passing on bad diseases to humans, are now passing on a rare but deadly disease, known as Triple E (Eastern equine encephalitis), which attacks the brain. There have been 7 cases reported so far in the US (MA, MI, FL). Fatality rate is about 30%. Mosquitoes, why did Noah put 2 of them on the Ark? In happier news, hundreds of wild parrots are now thriving in Campo Grande, Brazil, where decades ago, the blue-and-gold macaws arrived, fleeing drought and wildfires. The 18th meeting of the global treaty on cross-border wildlife trade was contentious, but more than 130 species newly received protections. International leaders have instituted a near-complete ban, in which African elephants will no longer be caught in the wild and sent to faraway zoos. Pangolin scale medicines are no longer covered by Chinese health insurance. Scientists have tagged the deepsea shark, bluntnose, hundreds of feet underwater for the first time. Recent studies suggest that Australia’s beloved duck-billed platypus is not as widespread as thought, in part to centuries of hunting and habitat loss. Only 2 northern white rhinos are left in the world and both are female. To preserve their subspecies, scientists are making a bold effort which has completed a critical step. The over 9,000 Amazon jungle wildfires, which were set by humans, are permanently altering the wildlife and vegetation of the area. The fires are now raging in forest in Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, and Bolivia. 10% of the Earth’s animal species live there and many have either died, are retreating to other areas, or are fleeing the area. Once the land is no longer tropical forest, there will be encroachment likely by human settlements, further altering the habitat. For those that think burning forests is Nature’s way of maintaining healthy ecosystems, that is true of some US wildfires and there, animals have adapted to cope with it. However, it is so infrequent in the lush tropical rainforest of the Amazon, that animals are not adapted to cope with it. In fact, that ecosystem is so rich and diverse, precisely because it doesn’t really burn due to natural causes. Constant rains and damp air inhibit fire. The most powerful electric eel has been discovered, capable of giving an 860-volt shock!

Entertainment News:

The Hallmark Channel just released its new Christmas movie schedule and the first one will air in October. Alex Trebek has returned to Jeopardy! After 5 months of treatments for stage-4 pancreatic cancer. He is an inspiration! Matthew Broderick and wife Sarah Jessica Parker are reuniting in Broadway revival of Neil Simon’s “Plaza Suite”. A Very Brady Renovation had the highest-rated premiere in HGTV history. Lisa Kudrow says she struggled playing character Phoebe on Friends. Katey Segal has closed a deal to return to The Connors in Season 2. The show dropped Roseanne Barr. Christian Bale did not agree with Robert Pattinson’s BATMAN casting. Speaking of BATMAN, there is another JOKER movie coming out, starring Joaquin Phoenix. Chance the Rapper has postponed his imminent tour after birth of his daughter. Former American Idol star, Antonella Barba, is facing an arrest after warrant issued. A-Rod said that exes will be invited to his wedding to Jennifer Lopez. Sophia Grace and Rosie are all grown up now, reunited 8 years after appearing many times on Ellen. Bachelor couple has renewed vows in impromptu Las Vegas ceremony. Kevin Hart is back in the news with a back injury suffered in a car crash involving his vintage Barracuda, driven by a friend. The car is now being inspected by CHP. Amanda Bynes has joined Instagram. Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott will be in Playboy. Mila Kunis pranked Ashton Kutcher into growing a terrible mustache. Chris Cornell’s ex-wife is suing his widow over child support. Taylor Swift is showing off her dance moves in new CATS teaser. Wendy Williams is reportedly playing nice so ex will sign divorce papers. Hallmark Channel host Cameron Mathison has revealed his renal cancer battle. Eddie Murphy has reunited with the young star from THE GOLDEN CHILD. Murphy is also planning to return to stand-up comedy in 2020. Joe Guidice from Real Housewives of New Jersey is in ICE custody, awaiting deportation. Orlando Bloom says he turned down a spot on Saturday Night Live because of his dyslexia. Anthony Michael Hall is engaged to Lucia Oskerova. The Weeknd is debuting a new look. Rosario Dawson is dating two senators, one in her upcoming series Briarpatch, the other Sen. Cory Booker, who is running for President. Pierce Brosnan has endorsed the new female James Bond. Jenny Slate and boyfriend Ben Shattuck are engaged. Johnny Depp is defending his Dior ad, amid backlash. Holly Marie Combs married longtime boyfriend Mike Ryan. Sean Connery reportedly rode out Hurricane Dorian in his Bahamas home. Britney Spears’ father has stepped down as her conservator. Bobby Brown was kicked off an airplane after an alleged altercation.

Hollywood’s (and Wall Street’s) billionaire friend and Palm Beach and NYC resident, Jeffrey Epstein, who was accused of operating a sex-trafficking ring involving dozens of victims, was found dead in his cell of an apparent suicide. The details are still a little fuzzy whether he committed suicide or was silenced before what would have been a high profile trial.

Since my last Repo Commentary (7/25), we lost actress Valerie Harper (famous as Rhoda on the Mary Tyler Moore Show, and then her own spinoff sitcom Rhoda) on August 30th. Project Runway star Chris March died 9/5 at age 54. Kylie Rae Harris, “Twenty Years From Now” singer died in a car crash on 9/4 at age 30. Photographer Peter Lindbergh died on 9/3 at age 74. Spanish singer Joana Sainz Garcia died at age 30 while performing on stage in Spain, in September. A pyrotechnics explosion hit her in the stomach while she was singing. American Idol alum Haley Smith died at age 26 in an August motorcycle incident. Peter Fonda of EASY RIDER fame, died on 8/16 at age 79.

The Fall (almost Fall) box-office started off strong this past weekend. Debuting at No.1 was IT: CHAPTER TWO, ad adaptation of Stephen King’s original novel, which made $91 million. 2017’s IT remains the only horror movie ever to top $100 million in its first weekend. IT and IT TWO are not only the No.1 and No.2 openings for horror movies all-time, but also the No.1 and No.2 openings for any movies in September of all-time. No.2 at the box-office was ANGEL HAS FALLEN, which took in $6 million (total now $53 million), in its 3rd week. No.3 at the box-office was GOOD BOYS, with $5.4 million (total now $66.8 million globally), in its 3rd week. No.4 at the box office was THE LION KING, which made only $4.2 million, but now for global total of nearly $1.6 billion! It is now No.7 all-time both globally and internationally. No.5 at the box office was OVERCOMER, which made just $3.75 million, in its 2nd week.

Opening this week in theaters is a trove of movies: the widely-anticipated HUSTLERS (with Jennifer Lopez), THE GOLDFINCH, GANG LEADER, FREAKS, DREAM GIRL, OUT OF LIBERTY, YOU ARE HERE: A COME FROM AWAY, THE FAVORITE, SECTiON 375, BLINK OF AN EYE, PAILWAN, MONOS, FAGARA, HAUNT, 3 DAYS WITH DAD, CHASING EINSTEIN, DEPRAVED, CHAINED FOR LIFE, CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET, RIOT GIRLS, DESOLATION CENTER, THE SOUND OF SILENCE, IRIS: A SPACE OPERA BY JUSTICE, IMPRISONED, HOW TO SAY GOODBYE, ARTIK, A FAMILY SUBMERGED, D-DAY, and THE HARVESTERS. I’m still way behind on movies, although catching up slowly through On Demand. I’m currently confused about whether I’ve seen all the DOG’S purpose, way home, life, etc. franchise.

Technology & Space News:

Separate antitrust investigations will be launched into Facebook and Google’s parent, Alphabet, according to the WSJ. More than half the US state attorneys general have joined to investigate Google’s impact on digital advertising, while the probe into Facebook will focus on its “control” of personal data. Water has been discovered for the first time in atmosphere of habitable exoplanet. Electric cars are dominating the Frankfurt Auto Show. New technology is now taking aim at the $74 billion real estate broker commissions. In a new poll of Americans, the majority asked say they trust the Government to use facial recognition technology responsibly.

US News:

More than half of US workers don’t believe they have the skills required to compete in their industries 10 years from now, according to a survey by Prudential. The survey also shows that workers want to stay with their employers longer than previously suggested. Michael Dell says that “The person who can understand data, explain it to the business and make it actionable will become the most valuable employee of the future.” Did you know that I started in IT (actually MIS) at Morgan Stanley almost 37 years ago? Bernie Sanders says we should pay college athletes, as “they are workers too”. Actually, it is their hard work and performance which has a major impact on endowments, alumnae funds, and investments for colleges. US rural counties are showing higher rates of suicide, due to poverty and low employment. Washington DC is now considered to be one of the safest US cities. University of Washington’s medical school is working with 4 states to bring more doctors to their rural communities. We are in a major shortage of physicians in the rural communities. Some hospitals are getting creative in the ways they compensate and attract new doctors. Here in Florida, we are full up on lawyers (over 10,000) and real estate brokers (over 10,000). Elizabeth Warren has topped poll of Democrats. Some veterans with PTSD are turning to beekeeping for relief from anxiety. President Trump has suggested tracking mentally ill by their phones, to try to reduce mass shootings. Newsrooms across America have had their staffs cut by 33,000 this year. Retail store bankruptcies are on the rise and store closures are skyrocketing across the US.

International News:

Israeli Defense Force has struck Gaza after rocket sirens force PM Netanyahu off stage. A Dutch doctor was acquitted in a landmark euthanasia trial. Arab nations have condemned Israeli annexation plan. Barcelona soccer player, Anda Turan, has received a suspended sentence for firing a gun in a hospital after a fight with a singer. PM Justin Trudeau has called a Canadian general election. A toddler has testified in a Myanmar ‘nursery rape’ case. Iran’s ‘blue girl’ has died after setting herself on fire. US airstrikes are targeting an island “infested” with ISIS. North Korea says it test-fired a “super large multiple rocket launcher” on Tuesday. The projectiles landed in the Sea of Japan. The test-firing occurred just hours after a top North Korean diplomat working on nuclear negotiations with the US said Pyongyang would be open to resuming talks with Washington.

Florida:

I am usually singing a National Anthem and doing an Elvis gig each week here in Palm Beach County, FL. I think I have 6 gigs in the month of September and I did finally break down and buy a performance wig, because of the receding grey hair. If you were interested in seeing much more famous bands or solos in concert than my Generation Gap or Elvis Presley performances, there were many acts which came to Florida, perhaps when you were visiting:

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 (it was fantastic!)
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
Tony Bennett-Miami, March 21
Palm Beach International Boat Show-West Palm Beach, March 28-March 31
Jackson Browne-West Palm Beach, April 3
Abba The Concert-Miami Beach, April 4
The Rolling Stones-Miami, April 20
Whitesnake-Fort Lauderdale, April 25
Slayer-West Palm Beach, May 11
Rascal Flatts-West Palm Beach, May 23
Ariana Grande-Orlando, May 29
Ozzie Osbourne & Megadeth-Sunrise, May 31
Hootie & the Blowfish-West Palm Beach, June 8
Florence and The Machine-Miami, June 9
Train & Goo Goo Dolls-West Palm Beach, July 6
Hugh Jackman-Sunrise, July 6
Jeff Lynnes’ Electric Light Orchestra-Sunrise, July 9
New Kids on the Block, Salt N Pepa, Naughty by Nature-Sunrise, July 14
Iron Maiden-Sunrise, July 18
Dave Matthews Band-West Palm Beach, July 26
Jennifer Lopez-Miami, July 26
Korn & Alice in Chains-West Palm Beach, July 28
Shawn Mendes-Miami, July 28
Queen & Adam Lambert-Sunrise, August 17
Florida Georgia Line-West Palm Beach, August 29
Peter Frampton-West Palm Beach, September 6
Dane Cook-Fort Lauderdale, September 28

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s