Market Morning: Moderna Miracle? Autos Fly On Lockdown Easing, NY Governor Sued

Market Morning

Moderna Makes Waves With Possible Vaccine From Small Trial

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Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) is making waves as the latest company to claim positive results from a possible COVID-19 vaccine it is trialing. A total of 8 patients that trialed the vaccine were reported to have antibodies to the virus about 6 weeks after initial administration of the vaccine. The levels of antibodies were found to be similar or greater than recovered patients with natural immunity to the virus. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the vaccine works or is even safe, and a much larger trial will be needed. In the meantime, everybody is buying the stock today and it is one of the catalysts for stocks trading much higher on the day.

Ford, GM Outperform On Vaccine Hopes

One sector that is really flying higher today is car manufacturers. Ford (NYSE:F) and General Motors (NYSE:GM) were up over 7% on hopes that a coronavirus vaccine would get people to drive in cars again and actually go places. Problem is, even if they do, it’s going to take a lot of time to get people back into their old travel habits, given that so many millions have already lost their jobs, and many permanently. Rental companies like Hertz (NYSE:HTZ), meanwhile, have already canceled their car orders, and rental car companies are still near all time lows despite the positive move higher. The silver lining here, if there is one, is that car insurance costs are way down, given the demand for driving cars has plummeted, and DUIs have plummeted as well since the outbreak.

Those last two statistics may be a double-edged sword, since lower insurance costs could enable previous DUI offenders to obtain SR-22 insurance at cheaper rates and get back on the road, one of the requirements for driving again after being convicted of a DUI.

New York Governor Cuomo Sued for ‘Gross AbMuse of Power’

The lockdown opponents are going to court. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is being sued, along with Attorney General Letitia James, for gross abuse of power by ordering law firm HoganWillig PLLC to cease and desist on April 20th despite the law firm being deemed essential. “Defendants, in a disturbing and gross abuse of their power, have seized the COVID19 pandemic to expand their authority by unprecedented lengths, without any proper Constitutional, statutory, or common law basis therefore.” The suit continued, “Plaintiff thus brings this lawsuit to assert challenges to the ultra vires actions taken by Defendants in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The significance in this is not necessarily in a law firm suing the governor of New York, but rather in a precedent it would set for others who have fiercely resisted lockdowns to sue their respective governments for forcing them not to move around, which is not exactly constitutional. We could end up seeing a flurry of cases against many state and local governments regarding lockdown enforcement and its unconstitutionality. So far, the federal government has stayed out of it.

A Whole Bunch of Countries Are About to Default

CNN featured a piece combining the worlds “debt” and “disaster” together, indicating there may be something of a mainstream media wake up call about global debt levels being completely out of control. Fitch has downgraded 29 countries so far this year. Only 14 countries have defaulted outright since the 1990s, though some of them more than once, because the total for defaults is actually 23. Argentina, Ecuador, and Lebanon have already defaulted this year, though the big ones in the most debt are Japan, and the weak Eurozone countries including Greece and Italy, neither of which have extricated themselves from their repective debt holes in the slightest. And then there’s the United States itself, so we’ll see what happens there as the economy gets back into gear.

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