March 19, 2020 Newsletter
Tangents: Happy first day of Spring!
It’s the Spring Equinox tonight.
Matthew Cappucci wrote the following article for The Washington Post this morning, which I found interesting:
An unusually early spring equinox arrives late Thursday night, as days continue to grow longer as sunsets arrive later.
The shifting seasons are marked by the vernal equinox. Equinoxes occur twice a year — once to usher in fall, and once to herald the arrival of spring.
During most years, the spring equinox falls between March 20 and 22. But for those in the United States, that’s not the case this year. In fact, space.com reports that the March 19 equinox is earlier than any in the past 124 years.
When and what is the vernal equinox?
The vernal equinox isn’t a day; it’s a precise moment that strikes at 11:49 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday night. In that instant, the sun’s most direct rays will cross the equator from the Southern Hemisphere into the Northern Hemisphere. And after that, they’re ours for the taking over the next six months.
And with that, spring will arrive — spelling an end to a winter that for many on the East Coast was over before it began.
Earth’s tilted axis is the reason for the season. Our planet is 23.5 degrees off kilter from the vertical, meaning that at certain times of the year some of us receive more direct sunlight than others.
During the spring and summer months, the Northern Hemisphere leans toward the sun. That allows us to soak up the most intense sunlight, with increasing temperatures as we approach June, July and August.
We experience the greatest solar heating in June around the time of the summer solstice, but because of a phenomenon known as “seasonal lag” many of us don’t experience our warmest temperatures until July.
Once we pass the autumnal equinox in September, our tilt, combined with Earth’s position amid its annual orbit around the sun, means our lean is now away from the sun. It’s the Southern Hemisphere’s turn to soak up extra vitamin D.
It’s also why Christmas is a summer holiday in Australia.
Equal day and equal night? Not so fast.
Despite the term “equinox,” originating from Latin words that translate to “equal night,” the length of day vs. night is not in balance on the equinox. Sunrise is defined as the moment the upper limb of the sun pokes over the horizon — the first hints of sunlight. Sunset occurs when the last glimmers of sunlight disappear below the horizon. Because we’re taking the first-up, last-down approach to defining day length, rather than tracking when a single point on the sun is above the horizon, our day is a couple of minutes longer than 12 hours.
Moreover, our day can sometimes be stretched a bit by mirages. No, mirages don’t only occur in the desert. When the air’s temperature (and therefore its density) and amount of bending light change significantly in various levels of the atmosphere, we can sometimes see the sun even after it has set below the horizon.
The result? Some folks could experience a day as much as 12 hours 20 minutes long on the equinox if they lived near the North Pole.
The days are lengthening rapidly
The spring equinox also marks the point at which day length is growing the fastest. It’s kind of like a pendulum; with one extreme representing winter and the other summer, the pendulum is moving the fastest as it swings past the center point — the spring equinox.
In the nation’s capital, the days are growing longer by 2 minutes 32 seconds every day. In Boston, that figure jumps to 2 minutes 52 seconds. In Miami, the shift is a little less impressive — only about 90 seconds daily.
Areas closer to the equator experience the least day-to-day variation. As you go poleward, it’s more extreme. That’s why the Arctic Circle is sunlit all night in the summertime, but you can see two months of straight darkness as “polar night” settles in each winter.
The position of sunrise and sunset change
The spring and fall equinoxes are the only times when every place on Earth should experience a sunrise that is due east, as well as a sunset perfectly west.
Over the coming three months, sunrise and sunset positions in the Northern Hemisphere will continue to scoot to the north as the sun traces a longer path throughout the sky. During the winter, the sun retreats farther south, and so do the points at which it’s visible over the horizon.
The bottom line?
Spring has sprung! Summer is just a few short months away.
An ode to snowmen.
As we officially say goodbye to winter today, our Surfacing team spoke with an artist obsessed with photographs of that season’s most ephemeral friend. Eric Oglander’s collection contains
contains hundreds of antique photographs of snowmen and their creators.
“Seeing one of these photographs is neat. Seeing 300 creates a thread through human history that ties us together,” he said. “That might sound sappy, but that’s OK.”
Happy spring! -The New York Times.
PHOTOS OF THE DAY
David Hockney has created a cheering artwork to boost spirits while he is in self-isolation in France
CREDIT: TELEGRAPH, MARCH 19, 2020
An osprey swoops down to catch a meal after returning from their African migration, Horn Mill, Rutland, UK
CREDIT: RUSSELL PARSONS/SWNS
Participants swing a burning thatch sheaf attached at one end of rope creating a mystical ring of fire during the “Hiburi-Shinji’ ritual at Aso Jinja Shrine in Japan
CREDIT: THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
Market Closes for March 19th ,2020
|Bonds||% Yield||Previous % Yield|
10 Year Bond
10 Year Bond
30 Year Bond
|WTI Crude Future||25.22||20.37|
On this day in 1720, shares in the South Sea Co., the hot new seller of speculative annuities, took off on the sharpest upswing the British stock market had ever seen, rocketing from 218 to 320 by March 21 on rumors of financial chaos in France. By year-end the shares were nearly worthless, and investors nearly beat several stockbrokers to death.
By Michael Bellusci
(Bloomberg) — Canadian equities rose Thursday as investors continue to digest global stimulus plans while also on the lookout for buying opportunities.
After sliding as much as 3.1% at the open, the S&P/TSX Composite erased that slump, rising to close 3.8% higher. All eleven sectors rose, with cannabis and energy producers among some of the biggest gainers.
Pot stocks rallied after Bank of America said that people cooped up at home has spurred higher demand for marijuana. Hexo Corp. was the No. 1 stock on the benchmark with a 56% surge. Oil and gas stocks joined the rally in crude after U.S. President Donald Trump said he could get involved in the standoff between Saudi Arabia and Russia that had roiled the commodities market.
The Canadian government has taken steps to stave off a recession and is already indicating it will do more. But its federal deficit will likely blow past C$100 billion ($69 billion) this year, according to one economist. Scotiabank’s Rebekah Young said in an interview with Bloomberg News that the stimulus package will probably need to double in order to stabilize the economy.
Meanwhile, investors may be assessing potential buying opportunities after fears of a recession and the oil price sent the S&P/TSX Composite through a key support level to the lowest since 2012 on Wednesday. “People were basically selling anything that they could” ahead of today, Mark Wisniewski, senior portfolio manager of Toronto-based Ninepoint Partners said. Liquidity in the market also may not have been as strong as it should have been, he added.
* Western Canada Select crude oil traded at a $13.50 discount to West Texas Intermediate
* Spot gold fell 0.8% to $1,474 an ounce
* The Canadian dollar weakened 0.1% to C$1.4518 per U.S. dollar
* The 10-year government bond yield fell 4.7 basis points to 1.001%
From Bloomberg Automation:
(Bloomberg) — The S&P/TSX Composite rose 3.8 percent at 12,170.46 in Toronto. The move follows the previous session’s decrease of 7.6 percent.
TC Energy Corp. contributed the most to the index gain, increasing 9.8 percent. Hexo Corp. had the largest increase, rising 55.8 percent.
Today, 188 of 230 shares rose, while 41 fell; all sectors were higher, led by financials stocks.
* In the past year, the index had a similar or greater gain once
* So far this week, the index fell 11 percent
* This quarter, the index fell 29 percent, heading for the biggest decline in at least 10 years
* The index declined 25 percent in the past 52 weeks. The MSCI AC Americas Index lost 17 percent in the same period
* The S&P/TSX Composite is 32.3 percent below its 52-week high on Feb. 20, 2020 and 7.1 percent above its low on March 19, 2020
* The S&P/TSX Composite is down 2.7 percent in the past 5 days and fell 32 percent in the past 30 days
* S&P/TSX Composite is trading at a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.2 on a trailing basis and 11.7 times estimated earnings of its members for the coming year
* The index’s dividend yield is 4.3 percent on a trailing 12-month basis
* S&P/TSX Composite’s members have a total market capitalization of C$1.79t
* 30-day price volatility rose to 73.75 percent compared with 72.33 percent in the previous session and the average of 30.82 percent over the past month
| Index Points | |
Sector Name | Move | % Change | Adv/Dec
Financials | 105.1666| 2.8| 17/9
Energy | 102.0529| 7.6| 28/1
Materials | 65.0841| 4.6| 39/8
Industrials | 46.4795| 3.2| 24/7
Communication Services | 45.0692| 5.8| 8/0
Consumer Discretionary | 30.8492| 8.3| 15/1
Utilities | 23.8506| 3.6| 15/1
Information Technology | 12.6877| 1.6| 9/1
Health Care | 11.1320| 10.2| 10/0
Consumer Staples | 6.3802| 1.1| 8/3
Real Estate | 0.3457| 0.1| 15/10
By Vildana Hajric and Claire Ballentine
(Bloomberg) — U.S. stocks edged higher as investors gave a tepid vote of confidence to the battery of economic and financial measures from global policy makers aimed at easing the market turmoil. Oil soared and the dollar extended its rally.
The Nasdaq Composite Index led gains as bargain hunters snapped up tech shares, with Tesla Inc., Twitter Inc. and Netflix Inc. all up at least 5%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed back above 20,000. Crude surged the most on record as Middle East producers began to show signs of strain and President Donald Trump said he would get involved in the oil price standoff at the “appropriate time.” “Investors are digesting the coming fiscal tsunami and the implication of central banks pulling out all the stops,” said Ed Campbell, a portfolio manager and managing director at QMA.
“We’re seeing some stabilization today. I would definitely hesitate to call a bottom.” Treasury yields dipped. Stocks gained in Europe after falling across most of Asia. Sovereign bonds soared in Italy, Spain and Portugal after the region’s central bank boosted its efforts to stabilize the economy and capital markets. The yen, so often a haven amid market stress, slumped in a sign of the extraordinary demand for the greenback, which strengthened for an eighth day to its highest in at least 15 years. WTI oil jumped as much as 36% after a plunge that had taken it to almost $20 a barrel on Wednesday.
Investors took a break from what has been a wave of selling to evaluate the unprecedented policy actions taken to fight the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Trump sought to reassure skeptical Republicans that he’s aiming to help workers through the crisis, not necessarily corporations, a priority made all the more urgent after data showed U.S. jobless claims came in higher than expected.
The latest efforts to mitigate the damage include the Bank of England cutting its bank rate and increasing its bond buying program, the European Central Bank launching a 750 billion euro ($815 billion) debt-buying plan, and the Federal Reserve’s support for money-market mutual funds. South Africa cut interest rates and Germany may authorize emergency debt issuance.
But looming over everything is the question of how long the economic downturn will last as coronavirus cases surged in the U.S. and Europe. The number of dead in Italy has surpassed those in China.
“There’s a lot of panic, but there are buyers on Wall Street looking for opportunities,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist for the Leuthold Group. “The issue is we don’t know where this is going to be in two months.”
* The S&P 500 Index rose 0.5% as of 4 p.m. New York time; the Nasdaq Composite added 2.3%.
* The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 2.9%.
* The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 3.1%.
* The MSCI Emerging Market Index fell 2.4%.
* The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index gained 1.3%.
* The euro sank 2.2% to $1.0677.
* The British pound fell 0.6% to $1.1534.
* The Japanese yen weakened 2.4% to 110.78 per dollar.
* The yield on 10-year Treasuries declined three basis points to 1.16%.
* Germany’s 10-year yield rose four basis points to -0.20%.
* Britain’s 10-year yield fell 7 basis points to 0.72%.
* Japan’s 10-year yield climbed three basis points to 0.08%.
* West Texas Intermediate crude rose 25% to $25.43 a barrel.
* Gold weakened 0.4% to $1,479.78 an ounce.
–With assistance from Gregor Stuart Hunter, Cormac Mullen, Adam Haigh, Todd White, Andrew Cinko and Sophie Caronello.
Have a great night.
Achilles wrath to Greece the direful Spring
Of Woes unnumber’d, heavenly Goddess, sing!
The Wrath which hurl’d to Pluto’s gloomy Reign
The Soul of mighty Chiefs untimely slain.
-Homer, c. 8th century BCE, The Illiad, l
Carolann Steinhoff, B.Sc., CFP®, CIM, CIWM
Senior Investment Advisor
Queensbury Securities Inc.,
St. Andrew’s Square,
Suite 340A, 730 View St.,
Victoria, B.C. V8W 3Y7
Toll Free: 1.877.430.5895