News Roundups

Utility stocks getting crushed, critical deadlines loom for Congress, and more

Daily stimulus and recovery news headlines from September 1, 2020.

Recovery Money Spent On Fossils Is Twice As Much As Has Been Spent On Renewable Energy

While delivering the 19th Darbari Seth Memorial Lecture this year on “The Rise of Renewables: Shining a Light on A Sustainable Future,” the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made a worrisome remark.

He said that as per recent research on G20 recovery packages, twice as much recovery money has been spent on fossil fuels as clean energy.

The International Institute for Sustainable Development recently reported on the spending of public money on energy-specific areas. As per the analysis, between the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 and July 3, 2020, G20 countries have committed at least $135 billion to fossil fuels and at least $68 billion to clean energy in their stimulus and recovery packages. Another $26 billion could not be categorized.

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Critical deadlines loom for highways, airlines and transit

With just weeks left in the legislative year, Congress faces two big transportation deadlines on Sept. 30, a transportation to-do list and potentially dire consequences if it does not act.

Without congressional involvement, airlines have signaled they will lay off thousands of workers this fall. State highway departments could grind projects to a halt, and transit agencies could slash services.

With the economy already teetering, analysts fear inaction on these crises, all caused or made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, could hinder eventual recovery.

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Bank Stocks Are Getting Crushed. Utilities Are Too. That’s Not Supposed Happen.

Utilities and bank stocks are telling conflicting tales about the outlook for the U.S. economic recovery. And the accuracy of each sector’s pricing could be determined by what happens in Washington in coming weeks.

Both utility and financial stocks have underperformed the S&P 500 this year. Utilities are down nearly 9% and banks are down 18%, compared with the large-cap index’s 8.5% advance.

That isn’t the way things normally work, as Morgan Stanley points out in a Monday note.

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COLUMN: The 800-Lb Gorilla Between U.S. Shale Producers And A Big Comeback

It’s been a rough year for US shale producers.  Prices collapsed, investment collapsed, the rig count collapsed, jobs collapsed.  And production collapsed: Indeed, in recent months we’ve seen the fastest oil production drop in US history.  

But things are looking up.  Prices have recovered, with the US benchmark of WTI now near $43…the highest since the Saudi-Russia price war that followed the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The rig count has stabilized; the frac count is increasing.  Moreover, the economy is recovering, stimulus programs have been adopted and Interest rates are at record lows.

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