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Market Morning: Solar Breakthrough, Hong Kong Bill, Alibaba Win, Pimco Sees Deal By Christmas

ME Staff

Bill Gates Saves World, Maybe, With AI-Powered Mirrors

One of those billionaires that Democratic Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren believes should not exist may have just found a way to reduce global carbon emissions by up to 75%, assuming every company in the world involved in industrial production gets rid of their fossil-fuel based production methods and buys Gates’ new solar oven instead. Heliogen, a Gates-backed private company that was kept secret until today, uses an array of mirrors and software powered by artificial intelligence to concentrate all the mirrors on the same spot and generate temperatures upwards of 1,000oC, or about a quarter of the temperatures on the surface of the sun.

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These are the sorts of temperatures required for the industrial production of cement, steel, and other basic materials that account for about 75% of all carbon emissions on the planet. Also, you don’t have to dig the sun out of the ground, which could come in handy. The Warren campaign hasn’t commented on the breakthrough, other than to continue railing against billionaires and how unfair it is that they exist.

Hong Kong Human Rights & Democracy Act Awaits Senate Approval

The Hong Kong Human Rights & Democracy Act is the latest attempt by politicians in Washington to use sanctions to solve a problem that will most likely backfire, says the South China Morning Post. The bill has passed the House and the Senate has fast-tracked the bill for approval as of November 14, towards what will almost certainly be its passage. Speaking to the post about the bill, Susan Thornton, President Trump’s former envoy to east Asia, said, “I don’t think they think about it much, but they just have this one bill that has Hong Kong in it, and they’re wielding it like a club, and they don’t seem to understand that the club is basically going to whack the Hongkongers upside the head, and the Beijingers will be dancing in the streets.” The bill would allow the US to place sanctions on Chinese officials deemed to have harmed Hong Kong’s (NYSEARCA:EWH) semi-autonomous status.

More importantly though, the bill would require “certification” once a year that Hong Kong is still autonomous enough to enjoy the special trade status it receives from the US as a financial hub. Obviously, this means that if it doesn’t get “certified” it will lose that status and the very people protesting now will be effectively punished with tariffs and whatever else. However, since the title of the bill has the words “Human Rights & Democracy” in it, nobody seems to consider the problems here.

Further, if the bill passes, it would have negative consequences on the trade war, probably pushing Beijing to harden its stance and refuse a deal.

Alibaba Hits Home Run in Hong Kong

Speaking of Hong Kong, investors there don’t seem to be sweating the ongoing protests and ensuing chaos boiling over at Polytechnic University where protesters continue to be besieged by police for a third day. Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), which just went public in Hong Kong, is actually closing its books to institutional investors early due to overwhelming demand for its secondary IPO. The offer will be closed to institutional investors by 12pm EST today. That is half a day earlier than scheduled. The final price will be set on November 20th, and shares will start trading on November 26th.

Pimco Sees Phase One Trade Deal By Christmas

Pimco, the bond fund giant, is confident enough to make a public prediction about the timing of the signing of a Phase One trade deal with China. “There are obviously issues remaining about agricultural purchase targets, forced technology (transfer) and broader enforcement issues. But I think the view would be to try to resolve something … by the beginning of December and sign it before Christmas,”said John Studzinski, Vice Chairman of Pimco. Even so, signing a so-called Phase One deal will not solve all the problems between the world’s two largest economies. The issue of Hong Kong and how possible legislative meddling by Congress could trump (no pun intended) any progress in trade talks between the two sides was not mentioned. (NYSEARCA:FXI)

Home Depot Plunges Despite Beating Earnings

Home Depot (NYSE:HD),  a component of the Dow 30, plunged this morning despite beating earnings estimates by a penny a share because it fell short on revenue by about $300 million. Comparable sales rose 3.6% instead of the expected 4.8%. Growth for 2019 was revised down to 1.8% from 2.3%. Still, Home Depot is up 39% this year while the S&P is up only 23%. The disappointment came from certain timing aspects of its One Home Depot strategic investments portfolio. Nothing too alarming here, just less than ideal timing, though traders clearly didn’t like it.

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