E Three Governments In Trouble

Happy Friday! Three countries are now in an interregnum: the USA, Italy, and The Netherlands. We know why the Trump government is defanged. The Dutch one fell because of a scandal in childcare benefits when parents were accused of fraud and not allowed to defend themselves in 2019, and then were forced to repay the money by the socialist ministers who now have resigned. Holland was to have faced elections only in March but in the interim the existing caretaker government is not allowed to take any controversial decisions. The Italians in theory are more used to these matters and the pundits think that despite the resignation of Matteo Renzi's party from the coalition, PM Guiseppe Conte will cobble together a new coalition. The outcome of a new poll would probably favor the right-wing opposition party or lead to no majority at all.

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So while we are suffering still from Trumpian coup attempts, we are not the worst off. Retail sales fell 0.7% in Dec., whereas analysts expected break-even from last year, the 3rd drop in a row. As expected, future President Biden offered more stimulus—and the risk of more inflation. To fight the slack, Biden is proposing a $1.9 bn stimulus budget. He also wants to up the minimum wage to $15/hour, double its current level. This led to warnings that inflation will make a comeback.US indexes were down from yesterday. The market fell Thurs. after I posted my blog. US market will shut Martin Luther King day.

North America

*Alimentation Couche-Tard is now fractionally positive despite its offer to take over French supermarket chain Carrefour, mainly because it looks like the need for food security will lead the Macron govt to block the sale. ANCUF trading at 11.5x earnings and paying out ~1% in annual divies is being very heavily traded but right now is up 2.%+. It is among the rare gainers today.

*Mexican Cemex is up 6%. CX Ventures bought a stake in Modulous, a startup in modular design and construction. CX is up 9% in the last 2 days to $5. It was recommended by Barclays with a TP of $7.

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I wrote a paper about closed end fund risks for my renewal market but it is hidden now behind the great wall of Blue Host.

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