E Market Briefing For Monday, Jan. 4

In certain sectors such as clothing including shoes, an obvious advantage for in-person shopping exists, as most buyers want to touch and try-on products. Alas, this past year some consumers reallocated portions of what typically is spent for dining out, clubs, travel or outdoors excursions, toward shopping or virtual experiences online. This does nothing for a community's businesses.

A reversal in 2020, as vaccines become widely deployed, will occur. I know it because the few people I know already vaccinated are running around before even their 2nd shot, and while I think that's a bit cavalier, I get the pent-up sort of mood. And these are not only 20-somethings; and they could be carriers as this virus is a beast. It's all part of why I thought 'vaccine euphoria' excessive. Plus none of them contemplate getting only a few months protective benefit.

As to e-commerce growth rates, it probably peaked already. According to the credit-card spending data, online sales have materially slowed over these last few weeks regardless of Amazon's stock price continuing to amaze. So what if continuation of this pattern poses a challenge for players such as Amazon, Shopify, Peloton or similar. E-commerce would keep growing, but disappoint relative to elevated expectations next year.

How can I tell? Tired of online (not surprising as on the computer all day so it seems), I tended to hit A&F, Express, Macy's physical stores; even Apple's. And I don't like buying clothes online, unless an exact match to what I already know I like (repeat buying when a bit worn .. ladies, it's sort of a guy thing; if we find an item we like, we buy 5 of them or replace it with the identical item fairly often). And I have friends carefully booking 2022 cruises (my caution as 2021 doesn't look so promising for global traveling; though hope I'm wrong).

The inescapable conclusion: herd immunity is wishful thinking for now at least and perhaps for years. Rapid test diagnostics plus easily administered lower dose (than the President got) effective therapeutics are likely solutions plus of course vaccines for those who get them; but it won't near universal adoption.

Once realistic (low dose or nasal drops/spray) therapeutics become available and vaccine shortcomings are grasped (especially lack of durable protection), the scientific community and the public will demand the efficient prophylactic or early-symptom responses we're talking about, and Sorrento claims (among others) to be working-on (hence that dreaded term: pending). Wait a couple of months when or if thousands of vaccine recipients catch covid 'anyway', and it may be that it triggers a stampede to mAB therapeutics (like STI-2020 etc.).

Will these low-dose outpatient monoclonal antibodies be available in quantity then? Hopefully. Perhaps officials 'know this' or that's why they grudingly offer the Regeneron IV treatment and know what is needed but isn't here yet; and that's the Sorrento IM shot (or they want one from Merck or Pfizer or others; they are all scrambling). Sorrento either has had 'inertia', or something else is going on. All we know is that 'if' they have it; this needs to be known; and it's a long time since they proclaimed recruiting for trials; with no logical explanation of the delay having been forthcoming; even though DARPA funding for Phase 2 tests suggests that more is going on than we know of yet. Surprise ahead?

So, the last two overly enthusiastic periods ending in the dot.com 2000 bubble I warned of at the time or the 'Epic Debacle' I called for ahead of Bear Sterns and Lehman in early 2007, were followed by the heaviest S&P bear markets in decades; with both basically halved from their peaks. While a replay surely is reasonable to occur one day; this is not that day.

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