For this week’s post, we thought it would be worthwhile to go through a few charts and statistics that caught our attention over the past couple weeks. In an effort to keep it different, we’ll try to stick to main street trends as opposed to security specific data (“try” being the operative word here).
Airports Are Ghost Towns
I created the above chart from data provided by the Transportation Safety Administration. It shows the daily number of travelers going through TSA airport checkpoints. The grey line shows 2019 numbers, while the blue line is 2020. On April 29, 2020 there were 119,629 travelers. The same day in 2019 had over 2.25 million. While it’s no surprise airport travel has ground to a halt, seeing the actual data is pretty shocking.
Bankruptcies Picking Up
Through the end of April, bankruptcies for public and private companies with liabilities greater than $50 million are roughly half of what they were in 2019 and are on pace to top 2008 levels. This is certainly a lagging indicator, so the acceleration in filings during the second half of the year will be something to keep an eye on.
Given the collapse in the price of oil, the energy space will undoubtedly be contributing to these figures in a material way.
US Manufacturing is Struggling
Like many industries, manufacturing is struggling. The above chart shows the historical readings for the ISM’s Manufacturing Report on Business Production. It’s basically a monthly survey of manufacturing leaders across the major product sectors. Today’s release of 27.5 marks the lowest reading since they began the survey in 1948.
Care to guess the only two sectors that actually grew in April? “Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products” and “Paper Products.”
Retail Foot Traffic Has Vanished
This chart shows the year-over-year change in weekly foot traffic across a broad swath of North American retail stores. The idea that retail traffic has plummeted is pretty obvious, but down -98%?! Brutal. Put the above two charts together and the takeaway is that almost no one is going into a store, and if they are, they’re buying booze and toilet paper.
Treatments & Vaccines
How about some positive news? The Milken Institute keeps track of the all the treatments and vaccine candidates for COVID-19 – click here to check out the site, it’s pretty fascinating.
As of this writing, there are 182 different treatments under consideration and 99 vaccines in various stages of development. While the timeline is uncertain, these numbers provide a sense of hope that at some point we’ll have an effective way to treat this illness.
Does The NASDAQ Know We’re In A Pandemic?
While the S&P 500 and Dow are still showing double digit losses for the year, the NASDAQ is creeping towards positive territory! As of about 11pm today, it’s only 3.7% from being flat for the year. Given how volatile things are, that could happen in a day!
Rather Be Lucky Than Good?
I said I’d try to stay away from specific securities data, but I couldn’t resist sharing this one.
I’m sure most of us have been on at least one Zoom call over the past few months. The service has exploded in popularity since the virus lockdown took hold, but during the initial few weeks of the crisis there was some major confusion about which Zoom was the right one.
The above chart shows Zoom Technologies Inc. (ticker: ZOOM/ZTNO) peak at a nearly +1,890% year-to-date return (as of March 20th). A huge number, but maybe it’s justified given the increase in popularity? The problem is that it’s the wrong Zoom!! Zoom Video Communications Inc (ticker: ZM) is actually the company supplying the video conferencing service we’ve all come to know. The “correct” Zoom was only up +92% when Zoom Technologies hit its peak.
On March 26th, the SEC stepped in to halt trading in the “wrong” Zoom:
Since trading resumed in the stock, shares have plummeted resulting in Zoom Technologies being down -38% YTD through yesterday’s close – down from +1,890%! Meanwhile, Zoom Video Communications has kept its gains: +98% YTD. Just another example of how wild these times are…
Have a safe and healthy weekend.
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