What Will Happen After COVID-19 Pandemic Goes Away?

Although COVID-19 is still running rampant in the West, especially in the United States, I think when the dust is settling, everything will be amazing again. Why am I so positive like this even though we don’t even yet have a mass vaccination for the COVID-19 pandemic? Just let’s say I believe in the effects of human nature, and certain effects of human nature will never change even if the world is going to end tomorrow!

Right now, people are not going to movie theaters, eating out, shopping at luxurious malls, and whatnot, but believe me I think when COVID-19 is over — you can believe that people will do all of that and even more than they have had ever done in their entire life! I think the feelings of being pampered and served are so amazing that people want to feel something like that again! After all, they are being cooped up indoors for so long during the pandemic — once COVID-19 is gone — isn’t it obvious that there will be a revenge of massive consumerism on the service sector?

Currently, malls and other public physical consumerism/service spaces are not being favored by everyone for obvious reasons — DUH! — not getting infected by COVID-19… So, let me tell you why am I being Mr. Obvious(!) — well, let’s say it’s common sense folks! Let me ask you this, do you want to go out and having a fun dinner with your best friends in various delicious restaurants that you used to go out before COVID-19? I would! So, for me being optimistic about how things would return to normal or things would turn out to be even better than how things were before the whole COVID-19 thing is rather Mr. Obvious(!)…

One small problem though! I think my prediction could be a little off from the bulls-eye because of the negative effects of the COVID-19 aftermath. Although we’re not out of the wood yet and I still could imagine that the people — who are losing jobs due to the massive shutdown of various restaurants and other service businesses — may not be able to get back into the same job career that they had enjoyed before the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies that are being badly affected by COVID-19 may not be able to survive even if COVID-19 is going away. Many retail stores may have to file for bankruptcy! Survivable companies may have to employ more robots and automation to recuperate the costs that they lost during the COVID-19 pandemic, thus these companies may hire fewer human employees.

The negative effects of the COVID-19 aftermath could be so huge that it could push down the market prices for unfavorable real estate areas. For example, several real estate areas could see people walk away from their mortgage payments since they could not afford the mortgage payments any longer for not having to be able to find a new job. When the real estate sector turns negative — depending on how bad it could become — it could also affect the businesses in such neighborhoods. Local businesses could see a huge loss in revenues. It’s like a chain of effects or chain of reactions, and the negativities could multiply throughout the economy.

Nonetheless, I feel that the economy is a strange beast because it could contain both the negatives and the positives all at the same time. I could see a scenario of people will go hungry and yet some people go out and spend money like crazy to make up for the time that they were forced to be indoor for so long during the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps, we could see the unbalance of the income quality thus we could have huge inequality in income after the COVID-19 is going away. Some people will be able to do more and enjoy their life more during the COVID-19 aftermath, and other people will have to go hungry and become homeless. I just pray that everyone would be able to do better and feel better after this horrendous COVID-19 pandemic — but we all know praying might not be enough. Let’s hope I could be so wrong, and everything will be super-duper after the COVID-19 goes away.

An Honest Opinion: Can the West Decouple from China?

I have a feeling that even though the West is trying to decouple from China, with job loss increases during an ongoing pandemic, I don’t see how a country like the United States can bring jobs home since unemployment is going to be high still. By this, I feel that with more people are relying on the government to create jobs and whatnot, bring jobs home mean companies in the United States have to hire more and spend more to produce anything. Meanwhile, China is once again increasing the output of their manufacturing, albeit that wages are increasing in China, the living costs in China are still way cheaper than the West, and so I think their wages won’t be rising to a point that foreign companies want to shift their manufacturing bases away from China faster. After all, producing in China does save on the costs of shipping and exporting.

Producing at home means that local companies have to be able to produce things cheaper than their foreign imports. Usually, import stuff should be more expensive than locally made since there are import costs and shipping costs that would add on to the top of the costs of the goods that are being made elsewhere. Unfortunately, it’s also depending on how productive a local manufacturing base is and other variables such as how cheap are the local wages and whatnot. Furthermore, we also have to worry about how is the local economy is doing. To add salt to the already infected wound, the COVID 19 pandemic is still an ongoing thing. So, I don’t see how decoupling from China is easy at all.

When we are trying to decouple from China, we should be prepared for China’s backlash such as how China would ramp up their distaste for foreign products even though most of these products are being produced in China. For an instance, China could ramp up the investigation into foreign companies that are actively opened for business in China, and by doing this China could persuade its people to trust less on foreign imports. By doing this China could also support their local economy through local made, and so in the long run China would be less exposed to foreign imports. I also see that China is producing much more stuff for foreign countries than foreign countries produce stuff for them — in a way why would China import more stuff when they could make everything at home?

As the United States tries to ramp up the pace of decoupling with China, China could see itself ramp up the pace of relying less on foreign imports. Meanwhile, China could also make it a lot harder for foreign companies to operate in China. At home, Western companies are facing the uglier local economy, and so these companies may not be able to produce higher revenues from local markets. Now, through geopolitical conflicts between China and the United States, it would make a lot harder for Western companies to make profits in China. Of course, Asia is a big place, and so Western companies should be able to ramp up their marketing elsewhere! The question is can other places replace the loss of the Chinese market?

Can New Energy Vehicles Win The Race Against ICE?

Why do I think new energy vehicle makers such as Tesla will be the biggest winners in the race of selling more cars in the near and longer future? Just think about it! Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) has had been around forever, and it’s as good as it gets! Before Tesla introduced EVs (Electric Vehicles), a self-driving car wasn’t even a big deal until Tesla pushed hard on introducing self-driving levels onto its own EVs. As new energy vehicle makers eager to compete against ICE, they want to prove that their vehicles are more modern, longer-lasting, faster, stronger, and smarter — thus innovation is going to be unstoppable in the new energy vehicle sector which is a sub-sector of the auto industry. Eventually, this sub-sector could overtake ICE one day for good because after all — driving EVs and other new energy vehicles helps the world stops the global warming phenomenon.

Disclaimer: I have an investment in a stock that belongs to an EV maker. Thus, I tend to be more biased with a positive attitude toward the EV industry.

Nio’s Battery Swap Technology Is One Great Way In Producing More Jobs

I think Nio’s battery swap technology is one great way to produce jobs. For those who don’t know what is Nio — Nio is a company that is currently specializing in producing luxury electric vehicles (EVs) for Chinese consumers in China’s mainland only. Although Nio is only producing EVs for Chinese consumers, Nio so far had only listed its stock in the United States (surprisingly not yet in China). People like to compare Nio with Tesla and thinking that Nio is a Chinese Tesla, but I think Nio is uniquely different than Tesla besides the point that both of them are producing luxury EVs. Vaguely summing my gist, besides producing EVs, Nio is trying to promoting a lifestyle which caters to Chinese consumers in which Nio knows best — this means besides selling luxurious EVs, Nio is probably trying to provide other luxurious venues that complimentary with Nio EVs. Tesla is just concentrating on producing awesome EVs.

Back to the main point in which I had raised in the first paragraph. I think Nio’s battery swap technology is great for producing more jobs! I imagine that it would require more jobs to produce even more EV batteries for the expansion of battery swap stations. As battery technology improves, Nio has to scale up newer types of EV battery output to fill up each battery swap station — this means even more jobs. As consumers see that their EV isn’t stuck with just one old battery, they can feel confident in getting out to buy an EV since they know their Nio will always be able to swap an improved battery into their EV as each time they go to a battery swap station. As Nio set the standard for battery swap station and battery swap technology, a newer chain of supply for battery swap technology would spring up which creates even more jobs. Each presence of a Nio battery swap station is like a permanent advertisement that drivers would see on the road, and so this could boost Nio’s image in long term — this could allow Nio to grow and prosper which creates even more jobs. I mean I could go on and on…

Disclaimer: I do invest a little bit of my money in Nio. Thus, I do have a favorable outlook (bias) when writing on Nio. Nonetheless, I believe Nio is a great EV automaker in the making, and this is why I have invested some of my money into Nio’s stock.

My little dance with Luckin Coffee Inc Stock.

I was using an app to buy partial shares of Luckin Coffee Inc. (LK), and before I could heavily invest into LK the news broke out that there was a financial fraud report occurred for awhile while the chairman of the company was encouraging such a behavior — nonetheless, the whole incident pushed the stock price of LK way down. Luckily, I bought only around $300 worth of shares of the company since I was testing the water before I would see if I want to heavily go into LK — the loss wasn’t big at all and since then I didn’t even take a look at how much I had lost with the app I bought the partial shares of LK with.

Fast forward today, LK share price jumps 21% since I last checked, and all because there is a rumor that China’s Yum brand (if I remembered correctly) is intending to purchase LK’s China assets. I don’t know what are these assets, and now I’m curious. Whether this rumor is true or not, LK share price is now way higher than since their last drop. Last Friday they were at $1.41 per share, but today LK share price is closing at $2.59 per share.

Investors who are investing in LK are probably now worrying about LK is going to be delisted too since the news last broke that LK’s stock exchange had notified them about their decision of going to delist LK. Furthermore, the United States is trying to pass the law in which to delist all Chinese companies that do not report transparently to the United States’ whatever authorities (I think it’s SEC but I could be wrong). LK could be one of these companies that will get delist from the U.S. stock exchanges.

Personal opinion: I think I’m more confident with LK now since they fired their CEO/Chairman or whoever that got the most saying and was running the company fraudulently. Still, I won’t buy any more shares from LK since the delisting possibility is still there for LK. I also see LK won’t file bankruptcy and still be OK if they don’t sell any asset to Yum or whichever corporation (else) because LK is quite popular in China. Furthermore, LK got a lot of locations that they can easily raise the coffee price per cup just a bit and will make money like a bandit.

I won’t invest any more money into LK share unless LK got delisted from the U.S. and then relist elsewhere. Only when LK relist elsewhere that I could have more confidence in my decision in giving LK another chance. Perhaps then, I might heavily invest in LK, but obviously, I will wait and see how all of this will turn out for LK before I’ll try to do anything rash on LK. This means, even when LK relists elsewhere, I’ll wait a bit before I go strong on LK.

In The Face of Fraud Allegation Against GE by Harry Markopolos, Is It OK to Short GE’s Stock?

Harry Markopolos came out with a damning report which suggests there are some irregularities with GE’s accounting that have led him to believe GE is cooking the book. I haven’t read his report and so I don’t know the details, but this news has made many rounds in the mainstream media. Since the news broke, GE’s share price has dropped a bit too. As I’m writing this, GE’s share price is now $7.97 a share. Short interest in GE’s stock is climbing too.

The big question is what is going on with GE that has led a famous fraud investigator Harry Markopolos to stake his reputation on a report that alleges GE is a fraud? Even if GE is cooking the book, do you want to be brave and short GE’s stock? According to Statista.com, GE has employed about 283,000 people worldwide from 2005 to 2018. I don’t know how many employees GE is currently employed though. With so many employees are being employed by GE, will the government dare to throw GE under the bus even if the allegation may come true?

Whether the market is up or down, I think traders don’t care because they can make money either way. They can buy into the bull and they can also short into the bear. With the current trade war atmosphere that is going on between the U.S. and China, the market is having a seizure. It behaves erratically. It could spike 300 points in a day or it could also plunge into the abyss such as down 700 points in a day for the Dow. In this current atmosphere, I can see the temptation for shorting GE stock since Harry Markopolos’ report came out. Nonetheless, in this atmosphere, I could also see GE has a chance to weather the storm unless GE is unable to meet its financial obligations on all fronts.

GE is a veteran when it comes to weathering the storm since it’s a 127 years old company. Nonetheless, nothing could last forever, and so GE could be on its last leg. You never know, right? As I mentioned GE is employing a lot of people, and so I’m wondering even though Harry Markopolos may be right about GE is cooking the book — GE could very well be cruising along just fine throughout this storm since it’s a big company and may have the means to connect to the government and the right people to calm down the storm in coming days. When a big company like GE goes bankrupt, I could imagine a lot of people will lose jobs. This could negatively affect the company’s host country in a very big way!

As of writing this, I have not shorted GE’s stock. I’m thinking about shorting GE’s stock but fearing that Harry Markopolos’ report won’t affect GE’s stock price that much. Harry Markopolos said it’s impossible to make sense of GE’s balance sheet, and so I don’t know how much sense for one to go to take a deep look at GE’s balance sheet. Harry Markopolos is famous because he was very early in condemning Bernie Madoff for being a fraudster and he was proven to be very accurate. This man now stakes his reputation on GE is cooking the book, and he compares GE with Enron’s scandal. I think when there is smoke, there may be a fire. It’s just that how brave can you be when there is an opportunity which just appears right in front of you, right?