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The Market Likes the Dollar and the Loonie even More

US rates and the dollar hardly responded to the disappointing jobs report.  The 194k rise in the nonfarm payrolls was the least this year, but of course, it is subject to revisions the way the August series was revised by more than 50% to 366k. One…

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US rates and the dollar hardly responded to the disappointing jobs report.  The 194k rise in the nonfarm payrolls was the least this year, but of course, it is subject to revisions the way the August series was revised by more than 50% to 366k. 

One critical problem was that hiring by local governments for the start of the school season was less than usual, and with the seasonal adjustment, it turned into a decline. On the other hand, the private sector added 317k, the third consecutive month of more than 300k after the August series was revised to 332k from 243k.  The household survey reported a 526k increase in jobs, and even if one adjusts for some definitional confusion, around 480k, it is still more than twice the establishment survey estimate. Average hourly earnings rose by 0.6%, though the August increase was revised to 0.4% from 0.6%.  

Not only were there more workers that were getting paid a little more, but they also worked more.  In August, the average workweek increased to 34.8 hours from a downwardly revised 34.6 hours (from 34.7). Unfortunately, the most disappointing element of the report took some of the shine from the best part of the report.  The unemployment rate fell to 4.8% from 5.2%, much larger than expected, but some of the decline stemmed from the reduced participation rate, which slipped to 61.6% from 61.7%.  

The market could look past the employment data because there is little doubt that the report was sufficiently strong to allow the Federal Reserve to go forward with plans to reduce its bond purchases starting next month. The incremental contribution to the information was minor.  In fact, the December 2022 Fed Funds futures contract implied a slightly greater chance of two hikes next year after the report. The dollar softened a little response to the jobs report.  With the help of an unambiguously strong jobs report, the Canadian dollar extended its recovery to two-month highs and leading the majors last week with a nearly 1.5% gain.  With the US 10-year yield probing its best level since June, it is little wonder that the yen was the weakest of the major currencies, with the greenback rising to new highs for the year.  

Dollar Index:   The Dollar Index peaked on September 30 near 94.50.  After backing off to nearly 93.65 at the start of the week, it bounced back to test the previous high.  It held.  A consolidative or corrective phase has begun.  What can morph the former into the latter would be a break of 93.65, which would mark the double top and project toward 92.80, which is a little below the (61.8%) retracement target of last month's rally.  Alternatively, a triangle or flag pattern could be unfolding, often thought of as continuation patterns.  The MACD and Slow Stochastic appear to be rolling over.  

Euro:  Selling pressure pushed the euro to a new low for the year in the middle of last week, near $1.1530.  It remained within Wednesday's range (~$1.1530-$1.1605) for the following two sessions. In fact, it was unable to resurface above $1.1600, even after the weakest US jobs growth this year.  Nevertheless, the momentum indicators are that the late shorts may be vulnerable.  The MACD looks poised to turn higher, while the Slow Stochastic is maybe turning higher.  A move above $1.1600 would help, but the $1.1640 area must be overcome to signify anything more than consolidation.  On the downside, the next important area is around $1.15, which also holds the (50%) retracement of the rally since the March 2020 low is closer to $1.1490. 

Japanese Yen:  The rise in US yields after the employment report helped lift the dollar almost JPY112.25, matching last year's high. The 2019 high was near JPY112.40.   Often it seems that when the yen appears to be trending, it is moving to a different trading range.  If the last range was JPY109-JPY111, the new one might be JPY111-JPY113.  In 2017 and 2018, it looked as if the range was JPY105-JPY115.  The MACD is headed higher, and Slow Stochastic pulled back in from overbought territory and is turning higher again.  Unlike in late September, when the dollar was testing JPY112 and was outside the Bollinger Bands, this time, the upper Bollinger Band is higher near JPY112.45.  

British Pound:  Sterling rose in four of last week's five sessions to snap a four-week slide.  After spending the week in choppy activity between around $1.3550 and $1.3650, it made a marginal new high before the weekend.  We suspect sterling is correcting the drop from the second half of September that took it from almost $1.3915 to nearly $1.3410.  The halfway mark is about $1.3665, a little above the 20-day moving average (~$1.3655).  The next retracement target (61.8%) is near $1.3720.  The momentum indicators have recently turned up and are trending higher.  The implied yield of the March 2022 short-sterling interest rate futures contract jumped 7 bp before the weekend, nearly half of the week's gain and the fifth consecutive weekly increase.  It has risen by about 35 bp over this span.   

Canadian Dollar:  A unexpectedly strong employment report helped lift the Canadian dollar ahead of the weekend.  It was the 11th gain in the past 15 sessions.  Canada grew nearly 194k full-time jobs.  Given the relative size of the economies, it would be as if nonfarm payrolls jumped by 2 mln in the US.  While the US participation rate is 1.3 percentage points lower than before the pandemic struck, Canada has fully recovered at 65.5% with the September report.  We have suggested that the US dollar appears to have traced a head and shoulders topping pattern.  The neckline is around CAD1.26, and the pattern projects to about CAD1.23.  The caveat is that the move is getting stretched.  The lower Bollinger Band will start the new week slightly below CAD1.2500.  The MACD has been trending lower since the second half of July and is now at its level in more than three months.  The Slow Stochastic is oversold, though it is still trending lower.  This suggests there may be some limited scope for additional near-term US dollar losses, and a break of CAD1.2550 could see CAD1.25, which looks to be more important support.  Lastly, with the Bank of Canada's rhetoric turning more hawkish, the implied yield of the June 2022 Banker Acceptances rose every day last week for the fifth consecutive weekly rise.  It has increased by a cumulative of nearly 20 bp, and at 85 bp, it is the highest in three months.  

Australian Dollar:  Although the Australian dollar rose to new three-week highs before the week a little above $0.7335, the momentum faded, and it settled on a soft note in the lower half of the session's range.  Still, it held on to a modest gain for the week, its first after four weeks of declines.  The momentum indicators are still pointing higher.  The week-and-a-half-long trendline comes in near $0.7265 to start the new week.   A break signals a retest on the $0.7170-$0.7200 area.  Australia reports its September jobs figures early in Canberra on October 14.  Another sharp loss of jobs is expected after August's 146k drop.  September may be the nadir as the virus and lockdowns crest.    Meanwhile, the Australian dollar has continued to recover against the New Zealand dollar. Recall that it trended lower from mid-June through mid-September, falling nearly 5%.  It has rebounded to test the halfway mark (~NZD1.0550).  The next retracement (61.8%) is a little above NZD1.06.  In September, the New Zealand dollar was the weakest of the majors, depreciating by slightly more than 2%.  The market has unwound some of its aggressive hawkish positions.  

Mexican Peso: The peso, like other emerging market currencies, remains out of favor.  Consider that the JP Morgan Emerging Market Currency Index did not just fall every day last week, but it has dropped 12 of the past 15 sessions.  The greenback reached six-month highs last week, slightly above MN20.8865.  Above there, a band of resistance is seen between MXN20.90 and MXN21.00.  The MACD is trending higher but stretched, while the Slow Stochastic slipped over-extended conditions but appears to be about to turn higher again.  Recall that the dollar's high so far this year was set in March around MXN21.6360.  With September CPI rising to 6.0%, Banxico has little choice but to hike rates again when it meets next month.  The swaps market has a little more than 50 bp of tightening discounted over the next three months. 

Chinese Yuan:   The US dollar settled slightly below CNY6.4450 on the eve of the Golden Week holiday.  Mainland markets re-opened for the first time before the weekend, and lo and behold, that exchange rare was steady, unimpacted by the myriad of developments.  The dollar finished slightly below CNY6.4440, a change of about 0.02%.  The NASDAQ Golden Dragon Index that tracks Chinese companies that trade in the US gained 3.8% while the mainland was on holiday and extended those gains by another 1% ahead of the weekend.  The 10-year premium China pays to borrow above the US has fallen to about 130 bp, down nearly 100 bp since the start of the year, and the lowest in around 18 months.  The dollar recorded a three-month low in September near CNY6.43. There may be conflicting influences, but on balance, we suspect Chinese officials are content with a broadly stable dollar-yuan exchange rate. Still, the PBOC also monitors the yuan against a trade-weighted basket.  It appears willing to accept some appreciation against the CFETS but limited. 


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Biden Suffers Worst Approval Ratings Plunge Of Any President Since World War II 

Biden Suffers Worst Approval Ratings Plunge Of Any President Since World War II 

President Biden’s job approval rating has fallen the most since the start of his term than any other president since World War II. 

A new Gallup poll was…

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Biden Suffers Worst Approval Ratings Plunge Of Any President Since World War II 

President Biden's job approval rating has fallen the most since the start of his term than any other president since World War II. 

A new Gallup poll was released Friday, polling Americans between Oct. 1-19 shows Biden's approval rating plunged from 56% in Q1 to 44.7% in Q3, a whopping 11.3 percentage points that any president hasn't seen in over 75 years. 

"Biden began his term with relatively solid approval ratings, ranging between 54% and 57% from January through June. His approval dropped to 50% in July and 49% in August as coronavirus infections surged in the U.S. The chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in late August, which included the deaths of more than a dozen U.S. military personnel in a terrorist attack at the Kabul airport, was likely the reason Biden's September job approval rating fell further to 43%," Gallup said. 

We noted in June that Gallup data showed Biden's "honeymoon period" was over and said if the president cannot "tame inflation" could result in further rating declines. And, oh boy, were we right...

Biden also faces an increasing disillusionment among Americans that he can't fix the border crisis, snarled supply chains, high gas prices, soaring inflation, consumer goods shortages, and the coronavirus pandemic, among a whole list of other things. 

His ratings suggest no improvement in Democrat support, declining support among Independents, and only 4% of Republicans polled approve of the job he's done - that figure is likely to go to zero if things don't turn around for the president. 

The 88% partisan gap in job approval is extraordinarily high considering Biden campaigned on "unity." During his inauguration, he said: 

"We can join forces, stop the shouting and lower the temperature. For without unity there is no peace, only bitterness and fury. No progress, only exhausting outrage. No nation, only a state of chaos. This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge, and unity is the path forward."

While Democrats are desperately trying to salvage their $3.5 trillion Build Back Better infrastructure plan, Americans are increasingly becoming confused about what exactly that means and how that will affect them. Repbulicans have requested the president to fix broken supply chain before more social spending. 

Souring support suggests Democrats could be on track to lose big in next year's midterms. 

Tyler Durden Sat, 10/23/2021 - 14:00

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Government

Fauci Funded ‘Cruel’ Puppy Experiments Where Sand Flies ‘Eat Them Alive’; Vocal Cords Severed

Fauci Funded ‘Cruel’ Puppy Experiments Where Sand Flies ‘Eat Them Alive’; Vocal Cords Severed

While recent attention has been focused on Dr. Anthony Fauci’s National Institutes of Health funding the genetic manipulation of bat coronaviruses..

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Fauci Funded 'Cruel' Puppy Experiments Where Sand Flies 'Eat Them Alive'; Vocal Cords Severed

While recent attention has been focused on Dr. Anthony Fauci's National Institutes of Health funding the genetic manipulation of bat coronaviruses in the same town as the bat coronavirus pandemic emerged, a bipartisan group of lawmakers have demanded answers over 'sick' experiments on drugged puppies, according to The Hill.

"Our investigators show that Fauci’s NIH division shipped part of a $375,800 grant to a lab in Tunisia to drug beagles and lock their heads in mesh cages filled with hungry sand flies so that the insects could eat them alive," writes nonprofit organization the White Coat Waste Project. "They also locked beagles alone in cages in the desert overnight for nine consecutive nights to use them as bait to attract infectious sand flies."

As The Hill's Christian Spencer writes:

The White Coat Waste Project, the nonprofit organization that first pointed out that U.S. taxpayers were being used to fund the controversial Wuhan Institute of Virology, have now turned its sights on Anthony Fauci on another animal-testing-related matter — infecting dozens of beagles with disease-causing parasites to test an experimental drug on them.

House members, most of whom are Republicans, want Fauci to explain himself in response to allegations brought on by the White Coat Waste Project that involve drugging puppies.

According to the White Coat Waste Project, the Food and Drug Administration does not require drugs to be tested on dogs, so the group is asking why the need for such testing. 

White Coat Waste claims that 44 beagle puppies were used in a Tunisia, North Africa, laboratory, and some of the dogs had their vocal cords removed, allegedly so scientists could work without incessant barking. -The Hill

The concerned lawmakers are led by Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), who said in a letter to the NIH that cordectomies are "cruel" and a "reprehensible misuse of taxpayer funds." Mace is joined by reps Cindy Axne (D-Iowa), Cliff Bentz (R-Ore.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Rick Crawford (R-Ark.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Scott Franklin (R-Fla.), Andrew Garbarino (R-N.Y.), Carlos Gimenez (R-Fla.), Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.), Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), Fred Keller (R-Pa.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Lisa McClain (R-Mich.), Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.), Brian Mast (R-Fla.), Scott Perry (R-Pa.), Bill Posey (R-Fla.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), Maria E. Salazar (R-Fla.), Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) via The Hill.

How will Fauci spin this?

Tyler Durden Sat, 10/23/2021 - 15:00

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COVID-19 pandemic shifted patient attitudes about colorectal cancer screening

Key takeaways Credit: American College of Surgeons Key takeaways A survey of adults eligible for colorectal cancer screening patterns found a preference for at-home fecal occult blood testing (FOBT) versus colonoscopy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Survey.

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Key takeaways

Credit: American College of Surgeons

Key takeaways

  • A survey of adults eligible for colorectal cancer screening patterns found a preference for at-home fecal occult blood testing (FOBT) versus colonoscopy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Survey respondents reported less use of colonoscopy during the pandemic compared to pre-pandemic levels, with factors related to both COVID-19 infection concerns and the financial strain of having copays.
  • FOBT shows potential as an alternative to screening colonoscopy to improve access to colorectal cancer screening in the context of COVID-19 safety and economic concerns.

CHICAGO: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on patients’ willingness to keep appointments for non-COVID-19 illnesses has been well documented, but a team of researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University report that for people hesitant to come into the hospital or an outpatient center to get a colonoscopy, home-administered fecal occult blood tests (FOBT) may provide a useful workaround tool. About 30 percent more survey respondents completed home-based test during the pandemic than before.

Kristine Kenning, MD, MS, presented findings from a survey of adults age-eligible for screening at the virtual American College of Surgeons (ACS) Clinical Congress 2021. “The key message from our findings is that barriers to screening have increased during the pandemic, and we have to find a way to work with the community to increase those rates,” said Dr. Kenning, chief general surgery resident at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Medicine, Richmond. “Our study found that people are compliant with, and willing to do, home-based fecal occult blood testing. This test provides a very important way for us to increase screening for colorectal cancer.”

The American College of Gastroenterology clinical guidelines recommend colonoscopy for colorectal cancer evaluation and following a positive FOBT with a colonoscopy.1 About 148,000 cases of colorectal cancers are newly diagnosed in the United States each year, the American Cancer Society reports, and they account for 53,000 deaths.2

About the survey

The cross-sectional survey involved 765 people age 50 years and older. Dr. Kenning and colleagues found that their respondents reported a higher completion of stool tests pre-COVID than the American Cancer Society reported,2 32 percent vs. 11 percent. During the pandemic, 50 percent of respondents said they completed the FOBT. By contrast, 44 percent of survey respondents who said they had colon screening during the pandemic underwent a colonoscopy. This practice appears to demonstrate substitution of stool-based testing for colonoscopy, Dr. Kenning noted. 

“Our study looked at attitudes toward colorectal cancer screening and how they were impacted during the pandemic, both related to concerns about the pandemic as well as to economic impacts,” senior author Emily B. Rivet, MD, MBA, FACS, said. “What we learned is that fecal occult blood testing was seen by patients as a viable alternative to conventional screening colonoscopy.” Dr. Rivet is an associate professor in the department of surgery, division of colorectal surgery, and an affiliated professor of internal medicine at VCU School of Medicine.

Patient concerns about copays

Notably, a greater percentage of respondents indicated being unemployed during the pandemic than the year prior: 7.4 vs. 2.6 percent. In addition, 41 percent of respondents expressed concerns about copays; 57.6 percent of those respondents said this was a factor for delaying screening. Dr. Kenning noted that she is working with Carrie Miller, PhD, MPH, the principal investigator of the larger survey, on a follow-up assessment of the pandemic-related impact on attitudes toward colorectal cancer screening. Dr. Miller is post-doctoral fellow with VCU’s department of health behavior and policy.

Other screening delays

Copays were not the only deterrent to getting scheduled colorectal screenings during the pandemic, the study found. Almost two-thirds of respondents—65.9 percent—confirmed concerns about COVID-19 exposure when scheduling colonoscopies; and 59 percent of them said this caused them to delay their screening. 

To address those concerns, respondents endorsed that being offered protective equipment (gloves and masks), visits to smaller offices, or weekend screening appointments would increase their likelihood of following through with the colonoscopy; respectively, 30.7 percent for each of the two former factors and 19.7 percent for weekend screening. However, 48.1 percent of respondents said they were willing to do an at-home FOBT as an alternative to colonoscopy, among whom 93 percent indicated they would be willing to undergo a follow-up colonoscopy if the FOBT was positive. 

Lessons learned from the pandemic

“Even pre-pandemic, the rates for colorectal screening in the United States were very far from 100 percent, so I think the lessons that we are learning from this pandemic and working with patients to find alternatives to what the conventional approaches have been in the past are going to be applicable to care moving forward. This approach applies even if we do eventually enter a post-pandemic state, which is, of course, what we are all hoping for,” Dr. Rivet said.

Dr. Kenning said the survey results show that there is still much work to do to improve colorectal screening. “Colorectal cancer screening has decreased significantly during the pandemic and still hasn’t improved to the rate that it was before,” Dr. Kenning said. “Making sure that we’re offering all of the options to patients is very important so that, whatever form of screening they’re comfortable with, they’ll start down that pathway in order to get the screening they need.”

The survey results also underscore the need to tailor colorectal cancer screening to each patient’s concerns and needs, Dr. Rivet said. “It’s important to have a conversation about all of these different alternatives and what the different positives and negatives are,” she said.

Study coauthors are Dr. Miller and Bernard F. Fuemmeler, PhD, MPH, also with the department of health behavior and policy at VCU; and Jaime L. Bohl, MD, FACS, with the department of surgery at VCU.

“FACS” designates that a surgeon is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

The study authors have no relevant financial relationships to disclose. The survey was funded as part of a larger survey led by Dr. Miller on colorectal cancer and funded, in part, through support of an institutional training grant awarded by the National Cancer Institute (T32CA093423).

Citation: Kenning K. et al, COVID-19 Pandemic Impact on Colorectal Cancer Screening. Scientific Forum Presentation. American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress 2021.

______________ 

  1. Shaukat A, Kahi C, Burke CA, Rabeneck L, Sauer BG, Rex DK. ACG Clinical Guidelines: Colorectal Cancer Screening 2021. Amerc J Gastroenterol. 2021;116(3):458-479. doi: 10.14309/ajg.0000000000001122
  2. American Cancer Society. Colorectal Cancer Facts & Figures 2020-2022. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2020:22. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/cancer-org/research/cancer-facts-and-statistics/colorectal-cancer-facts-and-figures/colorectal-cancer-facts-and-figures-2020-2022.pdf 

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About the American College of Surgeons
The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and improve the quality of care for all surgical patients. The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery. Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 84,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. For more information, visit www.facs.org.


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