Three-Letter Agency Failures

Another opinion about the president’s response to the COVID-19 crisis…

“Overall, I think the president has gone above and beyond. He’s been communicating daily and extensively. (For my personal taste, a little too extensively, but better a little too much than not enough.) And he’s brought together a group of impressive experts.

“The big misses have been from the CDC and FDA. They’ve proven conclusively that they have no understanding of the urgency of the situation or their roles. They should have learned from Taiwan, South Korea and others; instead, they delayed the U.S. response by at least two months.

“The lack of testing is an obvious problem and we are still not testing even 10% of cases. We will never reach the other side of the curve if we do not implement adequate testing. This is also linked to inadequate ‘contact tracing’ that you mentioned Monday.

“Only Dr. Birx seems to understand this; even Dr. Fauci completely misses the need for adequate testing and follow-up since he’s only interested in suppression. And they and Mike Pence completely miss the mark when it comes to resuming the economy.

“Eventually, the attention will shift from flattening the curve to rescuing the stalled economy; it’s already the elephant in the room.”

Our reader left out the WHO when dinging three-letter agencies, but the president didn’t overlook the organization when he said he was considering cutting their funding. Fair or unfair?

Again, we’ve received an overwhelming number of responses over the last few days. Since the market is closed Friday, we’ll devote the entire issue to your feedback. Be sure to check back… and keep writing.

Your Rundown for Wednesday, Apr. 8, 2020

Update: Dollar General

If you’ve been a Rundown reader for any length of time, you know one of our favorite stocks is Dollar General (DG). We’ve sung the company’s praises multiple times in the past — for good reason.

Here’s why we like Dollar General: Among discount retailers, DG continues to deliver the goods. One reason is the company caters to an underserved market.

Last spring, Forbes reported: “By serving the bottom of the nation’s economic pyramid, Dollar General has generated one of the top performance records in retail.

“In 2018, the company reported its 29th straight year of same-store sales growth—despite minimal e-­commerce.” Make that 30th straight year, including 2019.

“That’s a streak no other major U.S. retailer can match: Even mighty Walmart endured nearly two years of comparable-­sales declines earlier this decade.”

Well, that was then and this is now, you say….

While DG stock’s pulled back 0.6% in the past three months, compare that with a 23.4% draw down for the S&P 500 index. Not to mention the S&P 500 Retailing index dropped 13% in the same period.

According to Citigroup analyst Paul Lejuez: The company has “proven to have a consistent model through good times and bad, and it seems that all of their initiatives are working, which should lead to continued market share gains.”

And guess who’s hiring? Last week, Dollar General said it’s practically doubling its hiring rate by adding up to 50,000 employees by the end of April.

Price target? $190 per share, according to Mr. Lejuez. The stock closed just under $170 per share yesterday. Yep, we’ve still got a thing for Dollar General stock.

Market Rundown for Wednesday, Apr. 8, 2020

The S&P 500 Index is up 30 points to 2,690.

Oil’s rallied 4% to $24.58 for a barrel of WTI (still ridiculously low).

Gold is up $4.70 to $1,688.40 per ounce.

Bitcoin is up $107.77 to $7,282.29.

Send your comments and questions to,

Don’t miss our Friday issue when we give the floor to our readers. We’ll catch up then.

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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