|Dow||-238.19 to 16,804.71|
|S&P 500||-26.13 to 1,946.16|
|Nasdaq||-71.30 to 4,422.09|
|10-YR Yield||-.105 to 2.403%|
|Gold||+3.70 to 1,215.30|
|Crude Oil||-0.22 to 90.94|
The deadly Ebola virus has struck home!
That’s the word out of the Centers for Disease Control, which confirmed the first U.S.-diagnosed case of the virus late yesterday.
Here’s what we know: The patient flew from Liberia in West Africa to Texas, arriving Sept. 20. He went for treatment, was sent home, then returned two days later and was isolated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas on Sept. 28.
The man came into contact with family members, fellow airline passengers and emergency responders who took him to the hospital. Health officials are racing to identify anyone who might have been exposed. But they say that people on his plane shouldn’t have a problem because the virus would not yet have been contagious at that point. It’s transmitted through bodily fluid contact, not through the air like the common cold.
Ebola symptoms include everything from diarrhea to fever to nausea to muscle pain, and the virus can kill anywhere from 50-90 percent of the people who contract it. A lot depends on the quality of the health care systems in place. That’s an obvious challenge in impoverished countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Congo, where outbreaks have been reported.
[Editor’s note: If you want to educate yourself further about Ebola, consider this more detailed article explaining how you can get it, what detailed symptoms it causes, and why (encouragingly) it’s actually not as easy to spread as other diseases.]
So should you be concerned? Well, the CDC says it’s confident it can contain the virus. The U.S. system is in far better shape than its counterparts in Africa. And as long as you’re not traveling to high-risk locations, I think you should be OK.
|The CDC is confident it can contain the Ebola virus.|
Another reason for optimism: Several world health scares, such as the Avian Flu and SARS, have grabbed headlines over the past several years. They’ve killed people. They’ve disrupted regional economies. But ultimately, officials have brought them under control and life has gone on.
When it comes to the markets, an Ebola-driven drop in air travel or regional economic spending could be a challenge. Several Asia markets and economies got whacked by the drop in travel and trade that occurred thanks to SARS and the bird flu. But ironically, the Ebola threat (along with the expanded Middle East conflict, the Ukraine tensions, and other geopolitical problems) could just be another factor driving money out of foreign markets and in to ours!
So what are your thoughts on Ebola? Is this another in a long line of health threats that will lead to unfortunate deaths, but no out-of-control global catastrophe? Or is it something much worse?
Will the arrival of Ebola on our shores lead you to think twice about traveling within or outside the U.S.? Or will it be business as usual for you? And what kind of market impact will the ongoing outbreak have? As always, I encourage you to put your comments here and weigh in!
|Our Readers Speak|
Is the U.S. winning the “least ugly” contest among world economies? Or is it still a mess itself? That’s a constant theme that runs through the comment section of the website.
To cite just one example, Reader James M. said: “Mike, I understand what you’re saying. However it seems based upon acceptance of U.S. government information. So when you quote a U.S. GDP growth rate of 4.6 percent, it doesn’t address the fact that the U.S. redefined how they measure GDP. When you quote employment, you don’t countenance the Shadow Stats numbers showing unemployment of north of 20 percent.
“It seems to me that a country with almost 50 million people on food stamps isn’t truly a growing economy. Although other countries may be disasters economically, it seems the figures they quote are a bit more accurate, at least that is the information I’ve been told … The people I talk to in the U.S. aren’t bullish on how well the economy is performing.”
Reader Ganesh commented along the same general line, saying: “Even though the USD is going up against most currencies, one should view that change as one currency being weaker than another. U.S. government + Fed on a consolidated basis are living beyond means. Deficits continue to be massive.”
First of all, thanks for sharing your opinions. I read as many of them as I can and truly appreciate the feedback. Second, I have never EVER proclaimed that the numbers from the U.S. government or Fed or anyone else are 100 percent accurate. Of course they’re not.
But to simply say, “I don’t believe the data is even halfway or even partially right” — when every single release or news item points in the same direction — makes no sense. Sure, our recovery isn’t as robust as it could be. This isn’t a 1980s-style or 1990s-style boom.
|“We may start seeing a slowdown soon, and that means taking some profits could be a smart move.”|
But are things as bad now as they were five or six years ago? When the whole financial world was falling apart? No, they’re not! And are things better off here than in Europe right now? Yes, they are! The euro wouldn’t have plunged 14 cents against the dollar in a virtual straight line if not.
That doesn’t mean we’re immune to what’s happening overseas. We may start seeing a slowdown soon, and that means taking some profits could be a smart move. But don’t forget that we’ve dramatically outperformed other markets for a reason, and that presents investment opportunities you shouldn’t ignore!
Any other thoughts are always welcome. Click here to add your comments.
|Other Developments of the Day|
• The U.S. economy created 213,000 jobs in September, according to ADP. That was up from 202,000 in August and slightly above estimates. Investors largely ignored the strong U.S. news thanks to lousy data out of Europe overnight.
• China’s National Day holiday brought out tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters again in Hong Kong. They’re threatening to occupy government buildings if China won’t back down on its plan for the 2017 election, which would allow a public vote for potential Hong Kong leaders but would appoint a candidate selection committee to screen applicants.
But so far, we haven’t seen a Tiananman Square-style move to drive the protestors out with force.
• Germany just sold 10-year debt at a yield of less than 1 percent. If that doesn’t tell you how weak conditions are in Europe, I don’t know what does! We will have to see what rabbit European Central Bank President Mario Draghi tries to pull out of his hat at Thursday’s policy meeting.
• The U.S. Secret Service is coming under fire for yet another security breach. A security contractor at the CDC in Atlanta was able to get into an elevator with President Obama while carrying a firearm. He had three past convictions for assault and battery. The troubling lapse took place just three days before Omar Gonzalez vaulted a White House fence and got into the main building before being apprehended.
Until next time,
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