Shadowy Stats

A reader quotes something we said Wednesday: “[China’s missteps] include not informing the public that earliest cases of the pneumonia-like coronavirus actually cropped up as early as October — instead of the commonly-held December.”

“You quote Vox’s start date for the coronavirus in October and ask if holding back notification was a misstep, but for your countdown you use the official December start date.

“If Vox is correct we may be at the end of this outbreak. Who can you trust today?”

The reader speaks to our comparison of the timeline for a typical flu season — 13 weeks — and how the COVID-19 outbreak officially stands at about 6 weeks. If Vox is correct, however, it’s more like 16 to 18 weeks.

“If this outbreak is as bad as the news is saying it is, why aren’t researchers putting all of their energy into a cure instead of wasting time renaming a virus?”

We’re sure researchers across the globe are putting in the hours to find a cure/vaccine. And the company that cracks the code… Well, that’s a goldmine of notoriety and profits.

Your Rundown for Friday, Feb. 14, 2020

It’s the Consumer, Stupid

The average interest rate on credit card accounts was 16.9% at the end of 2019, according to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors’ consumer credit data.

This after having reached an average 17.1% earlier in 2019 — and that’s one for the record books, going back to data sets from 1994.

We thought this was interesting…

The following chart shows the separation between average junk bond yields (B-rated; blue line) that cratered to record lows even as credit card interest rates (green line) surged to record highs.

“They should move roughly in the same direction with some gap between them, but they’re moving in the opposite direction,” says a post at the website Wolf Street.

Here’s the rub: Average credit card interest rates are sky-high while the Fed’s suppressed interest rates to record-lows on just about everything else. And for everyone else… except the consumer.

The chart shows “the extra interest credit card holders are paying over somewhat equivalent corporate borrowers.”

The takeaway? “Consumers are increasingly willing to borrow at usurious rates, despite near record low rates elsewhere in the economy.”

Market Rundown for Friday, Feb. 14, 2020

S&P 500 futures are fractionally down to 3,373.

Oil’s added 1.4% to its price of $52.13 for a barrel of WTI.

Gold is up $6.20 to $1,585 per ounce.

Bitcoin is up $40.79 to $10,243.01.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Enjoy your weekend.

For the Rundown,

Aaron Gentzler

Aaron Gentzler

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Aaron Gentzler

Aaron Gentzler is the publisher of Seven Figure Publishing. He is also the editor of The Rundown and has been with Agora Financial / Seven Figure Publishing since 2005. He's been covering technology and markets for over a decade.

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