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Smith's Research & Gradings
Volume: 
XXVIII
Issue: 
6
Author: 
April 20, 2020

Smith's Research & Gradings

Smith's Q3 2020 Index

Malls and Retail Shopping

"The American Dream Mall was a nightmare to begin with and it is never going to work in the new normal," according to a senior portfolio manager in Boston.

Indeed. The American Dream Mall is the poster child for what went wrong during the last bull market in high-yield municipal bond: Excessive amounts of debt; Bloated feasibility studies; Revenue streams that are thin and tenuous.

Moreover, there is a case being made that retail shopping centers and malls were never going to work. "If there is any lesson from the COVID-19 crisis it's that people are shifting to shopping on the internet," a portfolio manager from New York said. "Amazon is doing a record business."

Online Shopping Spree

Overall, demand for retail delivery is booming with shopping app global downloads hitting 106 million during the week of March 29 and April 4, 2020, according to App Annie, which provides App Intelligence. App Annie says online shopping at the beginning of April was up 15% from the weekly average in January 2020. Downloads in the U.S. alone were 14.4 million — up 20% from the same period.

The big winner was Walmart Grocery, which jumped  a whopping 460%.  Amazon saw a 20% growth in average daily downloads from January.

The record demand for online grocery shopping amid the COVID-19 pandemic has sent the apps for grocery pickup and delivery services up the charts. Walmart Grocery, as a result, has now hit an all-time high in downloads — grabbing the No. 1 ranking position across all Shopping apps in the U.S. on April 5, 2020, and surpassing Amazon by 20%, according to App Annie.

Take notice

Stay on top of the latest global news that can impact your investment strategy.

Clean Energy Needs Reliability Requirement

Clean energy needs to include reliability requirement as new technology advances. Transformation of the energy mix used in electricity generation globally has been focused on development of renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar, but the major stumbling block has remained reliability.

La Niña and Arctic Oscillation Bring Winter Storms

Extreme winter weather hit 44 states and caused power outages for millions of Americans. Texas reported 10 deaths due to the cold temperatures. Smith's ESGradings has conducted decades of research on climate change. This year's events are due, in part, to La Nina.

Treasury Secretary to Close COVID-19 Lending Facilities

On Thursday, November 19, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin sent a letter to Fed Chair Powell indicating that he would be allowing most of the Fed's 13(3) emergency lending facilities to expire at year-end, and requesting that the Fed "return unused funds to the Treasury" in order for Congress to "re-appropriate $455 billion, consisting of $429 billion in excess Treasury funds for the Federal Reserve facilities and $26 billion in unused Treasury direct loan funds."

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