Tuesday, April 20, 2021

No New Permits -- April 20, 2021

Covid-19: our school district -- elementary, middle school, and high school -- is fairly large. The three principals e-mail all those with a stake in the district every time there's a student or staff member, on-campus or off-campus, who tests positive for the virus, completely anonymous, of course. 

But highly targeted contact tracing and notification follow. Earlier during the year we were averaging, I suppose, one notification each from at least two of the schools every four or five days. Recently, it seems we have gone almost a month with no notifications. Today, we finally got the first notification in a long time: a second-grader tested positive. The student had last been on campus April 10, about ten days ago.

All three of our granddaughters continue remain-at-home schooling. Sophia will not see the inside of her school during her entire first grade.

Conned: Foxconn shrinks plans for Wisconsin plant. Talk about an understatement for a headline! The original "promise": $10 billion investment by Foxconn. Where it stands now: $672 million. Link at WSJ

Foxconn, the world’s biggest electronics contract manufacturer, now plans to invest as much as $672 million and create 1,454 jobs by the year 2025 to qualify for $80 million in incentives, according to the contract.

What happened? Foxconn, a supplier of screens for Apple, Inc, has previously said fast-changing LCD technology complicated plans in Wisconsin. In a recent report, Foxconn said the project was also slowed by “cultural assimilation, changing business demands, tariffs, a pandemic, and a presidential election year.”

It's always the first thing in a long list of things that is most important.

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site.  Do not make any investment, financial, job, career, travel, or relationship decisions based on what you read here or think you may have read here

Best utility stocks for 2021, link to Investopedia, April 20, 2021, link here:

  • best value utilities stocks
    • Sempra Energy
    • Vistra Corp
    • UGI Corp
  • fastest growing utilities stocks
    • Essential Utilities
    • Edison International
    • American Electric Power Company
  • utilities stocks with most momentum
    • The AES Corp
    • UGI Corp
    • CenterPoint Energy
    • Russell 1000
    • Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF

Netflix: 1Q21 earnings report -- huge miss.

  • revenue: $7.16 billion vs $7.14 forecast;
  • EPS: $3.75 vs $2.98 forecast
  • paid subscriber additions (PSA): 3.98 million vs 6.29 million expected

A reader sent me the earnings link above. My not ready-for-prime-time reply:

Yes, I was thinking about that today while watching the Apple Special Event.

Disney, Apple, Hulu, Netflix, Roku —- just to name a few of the hundreds. Netflix had their day. I think Apple is making the same mistake. 
I lost interest in the Apple Special Event when Tim Cook started into television / movie content promos. Give me a break. It seemed very, very infantile. And he started those promos early in the special event.  
After the "My Find" AirTags segment the rest of the "special event" went quickly downhill.
Back to Netflix. Hard to make sense of this. Revenue beat estimates by a tad, but look at the earnings beat. The company must be doing something right. Whatever.

Back to the Bakken

DAPL: if, in fact, "they" made a conscious decision, that is verifiable with an impeccable audit trail, to "locate" the pipeline south of Bismarck for the very reasons stated by the opposition, this becomes a very difficult pill to swallow.  [Later: I'm clearly wrong on this. I never should have written this, but it did generate a great explanation. See this post. Again, I was very, very, very wrong regarding this note.]

Legacy Fund deposits for March, 2021, posted April 20, 2021, link here:

  • April 20, 2021: $38,551,304.08

Back to the Bakken

Active rigs:

Active Rigs1532635949

No new permits

Three producing wells (DUCs) reported as completed:

Covid-19 Vaccination Data As Provided By The CDC -- April 20, 2021






Doses of vaccine distributed to health facilities

Change from day before

Vaccinations given

Change from day before

Percent of distributed vaccine that is actually administered

Doses received in past week, current Monday from previous Tuesday

Average number of doses given / day in past seven days


April 19, 2021









April 18, 2021







April 17, 2021







April 16, 2021







April 15, 2021







April 14, 2021







April 13, 2021







April 12, 2021









April 11, 2021







April 10, 2021







April 9, 2021







April 8, 2021







April 7, 2021







April 6, 2021









April 5, 2021








For the archives: the JNJ vaccine was pulled off the US market a week ago last Tuesday, April 13, 2021, and that might account for some of the decrease in vaccine delivery to health facilities last week. 

The prior week, over seven days, almost 30 million doses were distributed to US health facilities. This past week, just shy of 27 million doses were distributed.

KSU Spikes -- April 20, 2021

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site.  Do not make any investment, financial, job, career, travel, or relationship decisions based on what you read here or think you may have read here


Wow, wow, wow: CN makes rival bid for KSU. 

Link here

KSU just spiked: up $38 /share; up 15%; now trading at almost $300.

Tea leaves: all for naught. Regulators won't let it happen. 

Big story here: again, this reminds us how incredibly brilliant Warren Buffett was when he bought BNSF lock, stock, and barrel, some years ago.

Apple: special event today. Whoo-hoo. Will stream on Safari at noon, CDT. On a down day for the market, AAPL is trading flat, down 10 cents on a $135 stock following a recent breakout.

IBM: up 4% on a down day for the market; up $5.60 / share; trending toward $140.

Fire? What, me worry? Tesla recovers nicely. Up 2.5% on a down day for the market; up $17/share; trending toward $735.

Travelers: beats 1Q21 earnings estimates. raises dividend

  • $2.73/share vs $2.44 estimate;
  • bottom line increased 4% year-over-year;
  • total revenue: increased 5.1% from the year ago quarter, to $8.3 billion vs estimate of $8.2 billion;
  • shareholder value: 
    • the company returned $613 million in the reported quarter;
    • bought back almost $400 worth of company's shares
    • the board approved a $5 billion share repurchase program, in addition to the $800 million that remained from previous authorization:
    • dividend: increased by 4%; to 88 cents/share;

Dividends: the tea leaves suggest we are going to start seeing dividend increases "across the board" over the next few months. 


Are we going to see another "build" in EIA's weekly data tomorrow?

WTI drops in early morning trading the day before that data is released. 

WTI drops 2.5%; drops about $1.60/bbl and is now trading below $62 but there's nothing wrong with that. I'll take $60-oil over negative-$40-oil any day, which is where WTI was at one year ago. 

Speaking of which, could Bakken light sweet go negative if the DAPL is shut down?

West Coast Ports

Wow, how many times have we posted this story on the blog? 

Port of Los Angeles logs busiest first quarter on record

Consumer spending surge as we come out of the pandemic lockdowns.

Port of Los Angeles shares the San Pedro harbor with Port of Long Beach. If it weren't for the signage, one really can't tell where one port ends and one port begins.

Earth Day And Coal -- April 20, 2021

Today's theme: coal

Earth Day: April 20, 2021. Three days of scheduled activities and Dionysian festivals begin today. Will lead off with Greta testifying before Congress. 

And, then, of course, the elephant in the room: coal

  • global CO2 emissions are set to jump by 1.5 gigatonnes in 2021 -- led by a reboune in coal demand mainly from the power sector. Link here.
    • India is the big story this week, re: coal. Previously posted. 
      • India says it will use super-dooper ultra-clean critically clean coal to minimize emissions. I can't make this stuff up.
    • this will be the second largest rise in emissions ever -- I guess -- except during the age of dinosaurs
  • by the way, as CO2 levels increase, the effect of warming exponentially falls off -- obscure little factoid; if I find the source again, I will link it -- if I understand it correctly, the theory is that increasing atmospheric CO2 leads to warming, but the rate of increase actually declines as the concentration increases; not unlike a lot of things we see in biology; 
  • the fact that Chinese coal demand is still increasing, rather than having peaked nearly a decade ago, puts into perspective Beijing's climate change challenge (and its 2060 net zero ambition)
    • John Kerry: the Chinese are doing really well when it comes to talking about climate change;
    • oh, by the way, Chinese oil demand continues to increase, also -- link here;

The Anthesteria festival of Dionysus, one of many, like our present day Earth Day celebration, was also three days, but took place a bit earlier, at the end of February. Earth Day activists moved the celebration to a more spring-friendly date so we could enjoy warmer weather in which to celebrate. 

The Greeks were looking forward to a good grape-growing season, and, of course, Earth Day participants are appeasing the climate gods. Or something like that.  


Link here

McCormick's Old Bay Seasoning appears to be the continued flavor of choice for home chefs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Oh my gosh, the demand for Old Bay has been extraordinary, and we've been hard-pressed to keep up with it. And even now, it's one of those items that we are still struggling with to keep in stock. The demand is just high for favorites like that." -- McCormick Chairman and CEO Lawrence Kurzius.

Kurzius said McCormick is working hard to bring back supplies of products it decided to cut at the height of the pandemic in 2020, when it focused on getting its top-selling items such as Old Bay seasoning to grocery-hoarding customers. [?}

"We hired 1,400 additional people mostly in our supply chain and we have added roughly the equivalent of an entire new factory by changing shift patterns and bringing in human resources. [As opposed to robotic resources and/or non-human animal resources.]

And so today, we are finally beyond the worst of the allocation time, and are rapidly closing in on the remaining 50% of all the items that we had on suspension. You should see that shelf position really accelerate," Kurzius explained.

That Yahoo!Finance story will drive panic buying at Target today. Well played, Mr Kurzius.

My wife says she will substitute McCormick spices with other brands with one exception: she never, never, never substitutes any other brand for McCormick pure vanilla extract -- currently slightly more expensive than gold on a per-ounce basis.

Our older daughter favors Penzeys spices. Penzeys has an interesting political backstory. Sort of like Ben and Jerry's.

Penzeys BBQ 3000 is my go-to rub for Cornish hen.

Cornish hen is one of the easiest fares to prepare.

  • pre-heat oven to 350°; most ovens have a default to 350° so it's just two buttons to push (bake, start)
  • open the Cornish hen in a deep sink to prevent splashing issues and wash with running cold water
  • lift hen from deep sink with paper towel wrapped completely around hen; dry off hen 
  • wash hands often
  • truss -- this is the best part; one can feel like Julia Child for a few minutes;
  • wash hands often
  • vegetable oil
  • Penzeys BBQ 3000; liberally applied;
  • wrap one very long slice of thick-cut bacon around the Cornish hen (very, very, very optional)
  • place chicken on bed of rosemary (not so optional)
  • bake for one hour; add fifteen minutes if a particularly large bird; fail-proof? I've never over-cooked a Cornish hen; seems even better with that one slice of thick-cut bacon;
  • turn off oven before removing chicken
  • remove from oven, and let it rest for twenty minutes under foil
  • heavy industrial scissors to literally cut the hen in half; one-half hen for each guest


  • one-half hen for each guest;
  • a full hen seems a bit gauche for most of us;
  • a half hen will not be nearly enough for a teenage football player (male, female or other)
  • American restaurants: one-half chicken with a huge amount of sides
  • French restaurant: one leg only, but it will look really, really nice sitting next to three spears of asparagus

No Wells Coming Off Confidential List; Rig Count Drops To Fifteen; WTI Trends Toward $64 -- April 20, 2021

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site.  Do not make any investment, financial, job, career, travel, or relationship decisions based on what you read here or think you may have read here

Whoo-hoo! JNJ increases dividend by almost 5%, from $1.01 to $1.06/share. Link here. Beats on top, bottom line; high-end guidance slightly higher than analysts. Shares down slightly.

  • sales: $22.3 billion vs $21.82 expected; and $20.7 billion one year earlier;
  • EPS: $2.59 vs $2.31 forecast
  • guidance, high end, for full year 2021:
  • EPS: $9.57 / share on sales of $91.6 billion
  • analysts: $9.48 / share on sales of $91.3 billion

The Miocene: I had seen this story earlier but it didn't interest me enough to post it. Then a reader sent it to me this morning and I saw something in the article I had not seen before. The BP discovery in the Gulf of Mexico is in a very "recent" geologic reservoir, the Miocene. How recent: it was during the Miocene that apes and humans were diverging. 

It is generally agreed that the taproot of the human family shrub is to be found among apelike species of the middle Miocene epoch, roughly 15 mya or the late Miodene epoch, roughly 10 mya. -- Britannica.

Links to come back to when I have time:

Back to the Bakken

Active rigs:
Active Rigs1532635949

No wells coming off confidential list.   

RBN Energy: a year like no other -- negative crude oil prices, an anemic rebound, and a deep freeze.

Well, it’s been 365 days since the unthinkable happened: the price of WTI at Cushing went negative last April 20, and by a solid $37.63 a barrel at that.

The insanity didn’t end there, though.

The pandemic that many thought would be behind us in a season or two at most had a second wave, then a third and, some say, a fourth. U.S. refinery demand for crude oil, which plummeted by more than 3 MMb/d last spring, still has only recouped only half that loss. E&Ps, who shut in thousands of wells when oil demand and prices tanked, still are only producing 11 MMb/d — 2 MMb/d less than they were pre-COVID. LNG exports took a big hit too, another victim of demand destruction.

As if all that weren’t enough, a couple of months ago, just as new vaccines were providing hope that everything would soon be returning to normal, the Deep Freeze put the Texas economy on ice and slowed production and refining once again. Strange times indeed. But we’re learning from it all, right? Today is the one-year anniversary of oil price Armageddon, so we take a look back at 12 months of market madness that no one could have predicted.