Sage Leopard News Read Roundup: Coronavirus, Corona Beer and the Taliban

Blaming the messenger. Ever notice the media takes a drubbing whenever there is bad news? The media is not responsible for markets reacting to the coronavirus. As a former financial news writer, I can attest that it is very rare for a news story itself to move a market. The markets are reacting to reality, in this case, a scary virus that is moving across the globe. Take a brief look at Twitter and you’ll see a silly sentiment that the media in the U.S. is ginning up a pandemic scare to hurt President Trump’s reelection chances by tanking the stock market. No, that’s not the real scenario. People are not cancelling events, closing schools and shuttering entire cities in foreign countries because the media is reporting on COVID-19. The virus is a real problem, period, full stop. If people slow down their movements and trade slows down as well, then guess what? Demand for everything slows and then, prices for certain commodities drop and revenues for services and products drop. So, guess what? Stock markets around the world are reacting to that – the value of many companies is dimmed because it is anticipated they will lose money when consumers stop putting money into the economy. Add to that, trading programs that automatically sell off such sentiments, which can accelerate a downspin. Those trading programs push lower and that can inspire other investors to sell, spawning a vicious cycle. None of that has anything to with anyone disliking Trump politically. Nothing. This is how markets work and play out. To be fair, the media tends to focus on a story and won’t talk about much else for days or weeks at a time. And, they should pay attention. The key is how people react to the news, not the news itself. Remember, it’s not what’s happening to you, but how you react to it.

Buy Corona. Beer that is. A public relations firm survey found that 38% of people canvassed wouldn’t buy Corona beer due to the coronavirus spreading. In other news, not all people are very bright. This might inspire me to go to a local Mexican bar for Friday night happy hour and get a michelada with Corona beer. My point is participate in the economy as you normally would. Give pause when prudent. For instance, I might hold off on booking flights for a bit and see how things are going. Who knows? I might get a great deal on cheap tickets. On the other hand, if COVID-19 becomes a major threat in the U.S., I could wait on flying. Or, I can drive somewhere. Bottom line: this is not going to turn out like The Walking Dead.

What else is going on this weekend? Well, the United States might enter a peace deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan, over the objections of a set of House Republicans led by Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney. The VP when the 9/11 terrorist attacks happened. That is to say when the Taliban was harboring the mastermind of 9/11, Osama bin Laden. The 22 lawmakers are not convinced we’re reached any real realm of peacemaking with the Taliban. “Our withdrawal would then allow terrorist groups in Afghanistan to grow stronger and establish safe havens from which to plot attacks against us. Any promises the Taliban may have made to the U.S. related to counterterrorism cannot be trusted, not least because the group is a long-time ally of al-Qaeda.” My question is how come there are only 22 Republicans signing this letter to the Trump administration?

What fun is starting this weekend? The Houston Rodeo! Today is Go Texan Day too, which means if you’re in downtown Houston, you’re likely to see office workers in Western wear. Today’s Houston Chronicle includes a piece on how the rodeo embodies Houston’s friendliness and inclusion. Howdy!

The Sage Leopard, thesageleopard@gmail.com