Dow Jones Futures Fall: Apple Hits New Buy Point; 4 Tech Giants In Or Near Buy Zones

Dow Jones futures, along with S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures, were lower early Wednesday after the stock market rally set more record highs. Dow Jones leader Apple hit a new buy point, while Tesla neared all-time highs. Chinese EV leaders Nio and Xpeng Motors dived over 10% each, while Nikola plunged nearly 15%.

Tech giants Advanced Micro Devices, Facebook, PayPal and Taiwan Semiconductor are in or near buy zones.


The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.6%, or 185 points. The S&P 500 rallied 1.1%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite moved up 1.3%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq notched more all-time highs.

Among the Dow Jones leaders, Apple (AAPL) rose 3.1%, while Microsoft (MSFT) advanced 1%.

Dow Jones stock (CRM) tumbled after reporting earnings and announcing the acquisition of Slack Technologies (WORK) late Tuesday. Meanwhile, Veeva Systems (VEEV) topped Q3 estimates late, but shares fell over 2.5%.

Tesla (TSLA) advanced 3% on S&P 500 addition news and is just shy of Monday’s record high. Chinese EV leaders Nio (NIO) and Xpeng Motors (XPEV) dived despite reporting strong monthly delivery numbers. Meanwhile, Li Auto (LI) is expected to report monthly figures this week as well.

Stocks in or near buy zones in the stock market rally are Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Facebook (FB), PayPal (PYPL) and Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM).

Apple, Microsoft, PayPal and Tesla are IBD Leaderboard stocks. AMD and Facebook were featured in this week’s Stocks Near A Buy Zone column.

Dow Jones Futures Today

Early Wednesday, Dow Jones futures fell 0.4% vs. fair value, while S&P 500 futures moved down 0.2%. Nasdaq 100 futures traded down 0.1% vs. fair value. Remember that trading in Dow Jones futures and elsewhere doesn’t necessarily translate into actual trading in the next regular stock market session.

Among exchange traded funds, Innovator IBD 50 (FFTY) rose 0.8% Tuesday. The Nasdaq 100-linked Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ) ETF traded up 1.3%. Meanwhile, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) climbed 1.1%.

Amid the coronavirus stock market rally, the tech-heavy Nasdaq is up 37.7% for the year through Tuesday’s close. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 is up 13.4%, while the DJIA is up 4.5% year to date, through the Dec. 1 close.

U.S. Stock Market Today Overview

IndexSymbolPriceGain/Loss% Change
Dow Jones(0DJIA)29823.52+184.88+0.62
S&P 500(0S&P5)3662.41+40.78+1.13
Nasdaq(0NDQC )12355.11+156.37+1.28
Russell 2000 (IWM)182.63+1.61+0.89
IBD 50 (FFTY)39.82+0.32+0.81
Last Update: 4:48 PM ET 12/1/2020

Coronavirus Updates

According to the Worldometer data tracker, the cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. topped 14 million on Tuesday. Total virus-related deaths rose past 276,000.

The cumulative total of worldwide Covid-19 cases confirmed since the start of the outbreak topped 64 million Tuesday, with more than 1.48 million virus-related deaths.

Coronavirus Stock Market Rally

November became a key month for the stock market, after IBD’s The Big Picture noted the market had returned to a new uptrend following a bullish follow-through day on Nov. 4.

Monday’s Big Picture commented, “So, technically speaking, the S&P 500 added a fresh distribution day to its count over the past 25 trading sessions. Yet it’s far more meaningful to compare Monday’s turnover with other full-day trading sessions in recent days.”

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Dow Jones Earnings: Salesforce

Dow Jones stock Salesforce reported better-than-expected Q3 results late Tuesday.

The company also announced the acquisition of Slack Technologies in a deal valued at $27.7 billion. Salesforce will use a combination of cash and stock to pay for the deal: For one share of Slack, Slack shareholders will receive $26.79 a share and .0776 shares of Salesforce.

Salesforce stock tumbled more than 4% in extended trade.

The cloud software company is the No. 2-performing stock on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, advancing 48.4% year to date.

Apple Stock Hits New Buy Point

Dow Jones stock Apple broke out above an aggressive entry at 122.09. Shares rallied 3.1% Tuesday and are just above the early entry. Another aggressive entry exists at 125.49 while the conventional buy point, for now, is 138.08, according to MarketSmith chart analysis.

The blue-chip giant is the No. 1-performing Dow Jones stock for 2020, with a 66.6% advance through Tuesday.

Stocks In Or Near Buy Zones: AMD, Facebook, PayPal, TSMC

Friday’s IBD Stock Of The Day, Advanced Micro Devices, is in the 5% buy zone above an 88.82 buy point in a double bottom, according to MarketSmith chart analysis. Shares eased less than 0.1% Tuesday. The 5% buy area goes up to 93.26.

According to IBD Stock Checkup, AMD stock boasts a perfect 99 IBD Composite Rating. The Composite Rating — an easy way to identify top growth stocks — is a blend of key fundamental and technical metrics to help investors gauge a stock’s strengths.

FANG stock Facebook continues to trace a cup with handle, which shows a 297.48 buy point. Shares rallied 3.5% to move within 4% of the entry. A key flaw is the stock’s lagging RS line. It remains far from its old highs despite Tuesday’s advance.

PayPal broke out and closed in the 5% buy zone above a 215.93 buy point in a cup base. Shares gained 1.1% Tuesday. The buy zone tops out at 226.73.

Taiwan Semiconductor tried to break out past a new 102.54 buy point Tuesday, but closed about 2% below the entry. Shares briefly cleared a buy point in a rare ascending base.

IBD Live: A New Tool For Daily Stock Market Analysis

Nikola Stock

Nikola plunged for a fourth straight session Tuesday, plunging nearly 15%. The stock closed more than 80% off its 52-week high. This week, the stock is already down 37.8%.

On Monday, Nikola scrapped plans to build the Badger electric pickup truck in a drastically scaled-down partnership deal with General Motors.

Nio, Xpeng Tumble; Li Auto Deliveries On Tap

Early Tuesday, Chinese EV leaders Nio and Xpeng reported monthly delivery numbers. Monthly figures from Li Auto are expected later this week as well.

Nio delivered 5,291 electric vehicles in November, up 109% vs. a year earlier. The Chinese Tesla rival tumbled 10.2%, adding to Monday’s 6.4% skid.

Xpeng Motors delivered 4,224 electric vehicles, up 342% vs. a year earlier. The company’s smart sports sedan, the P7, led the gains. The P7 competes against the made-in-China Tesla Model 3.

Shares dived nearly 11%, following Monday’s 8.6% fall, and are about 30% off their 52-week high.

Li Auto stock fell 3.1% Tuesday, ending more than 25% off its 52-week high. Shares remain well above a 21.96 buy point in a cup with handle.

Tesla Stock

IBD Leaderboard stock Tesla advanced 3% Tuesday after the S&P Dow Jones Indices decided to add the stock to the S&P 500 index in a single step. Tesla stock will join the S&P 500 before the open on Dec. 21.

On Nov. 18, shares broke out above a 466 buy point in an awkward cup with handle and are already more than 20% from the buy point. On Monday, Tesla stock set a record high at 607.80 before reversing lower.

Stock Market Earnings: Veeva Systems

Veeva Systems reported third-quarter results late Tuesday above Wall Street estimates. The company reported adjusted earnings of 78 cents per share on revenue of $377.5 million. Wall Street expected earnings of 68 cents on revenue of $361.9 million.

Shares fell about 2.5% in extended trade. The stock is tracing a short cup base with a 314.09 buy point.

Dow Jones Leaders: Microsoft

Among the top Dow Jones stocks, software giant Microsoft moved up 1% Tuesday. Shares are moving further above the 50-day support level.

Year to date, Microsoft is one of the top Dow Jones stocks, advancing 35.7% through the Nov. 30 close.

Stock Market Rally: What To Do Next

Investors should continue to use the stock market’s strength to buy breakouts. Be patient and wait for powerful breakouts instead of chasing extended stocks. If new breakouts work, then add more exposure. But if breakouts start to fail, then you can back away.

In particular, focus on stocks with strong relative strength. Find them by using the relative strength line. The RS line measures a stock’s price performance vs. the S&P 500. If the stock is outperforming the broader market, then the RS line angles upward. If a stock is performing worse than the broad market, then the line will point lower.

Stocks to watch include IBD Long-Term Leaders, companies with stable earnings growth and price performance. Fair Isaac (FICO) is the most recent addition to the list, added on Nov. 13. Shares are extended after they cleared resistance around 450.

Be sure to follow Scott Lehtonen on Twitter at @IBD_SLehtonen for more on growth stocks and the Dow Jones futures.


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Car hits pedestrians in Germany: two killed, 15 injured

A car has driven at high speed into a pedestrian zone in the southwestern German city of Trier, killing at least two people and seriously injuring 15 others before being stopped by police.

The driver, identified as a 51-year-old German man from the area, was arrested at the scene and the vehicle was impounded, Trier police spokesman Karl-Peter Jochem said, according to news agency dpa.

Footage from the scene showed people outside a shop apparently helping someone on the ground lying among scattered debris.

A square is blocked by the police in Trier, Germany, December 1, 2020. German police say two people have been killed and several others injured in the southwestern German city of Trier when a car drove into a pedestrian zone. Trier police tweeted that the driver had been arrested and the vehicle impounded. (AP)

“It was simply terrible,” Mayor Wolfram Leibe told n-tv television after visiting the site.

Mr Leibe said the perpetrator “drove through the pedestrian zone, clearly at high speed, and killed several people and injured several, some of them seriously”.

The driver is being questioned by police, he said.

“I don’t want to speculate, but all of us are asking ourselves … what drives a person to do something like this?” Mr Leibe said.

“Of course I don’t have an answer to this question.”

Police and rescue crews were on the scene and authorities told people to avoid the city centre.

Trier, Germany
A square is blocked by the police in Trier, Germany, December 1, 2020. (AP)

The area was being kept shut down until at least Wednesday morning local time (Wednesday night AEDT) for police to collect evidence, but there was no longer any danger, Mr Leibe said.

“There are shocking and harrowing images that reach us after the alleged rampage from Trier. Our thoughts now are with the injured and the families of the dead,” the official Twitter account for Prime Minister Malu Dreyer’s Social Democratic Party posted.

Ms Dreyer is on her way to the scene and expected to speak shortly.

In a video posted by a local media outlet purportedly showing the arrest, police could be seen pinning a man down on the sidewalk next to a car with Trier licence plates. The authenticity of the video could not immediately be verified and it was taken down shortly after police tweeted a request that people do not share photos and videos of the scene.

Steffen Seibert, a government spokesperson and press office chief, called the incident “staggering”.

“Our thoughts are with the relatives of the victims, with the numerous injured and with everyone who is currently on duty to care for those affected,” he wrote on Twitter.

Trier, Germany
A car was driven into a pedestrian zone in the town of Trier, Germany, police said. (CNN)

Trier is about 200km west of Frankfurt, near the border with Luxembourg. The city of about 110,000 people is known for its Roman gate, the Porta Nigra, which is near the scene of the crash, and as the birthplace of Karl Marx.

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Saskatchewan driller hits ‘gusher’ with ground-breaking geothermal well that offers hope for oil workers

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Deep is also responsible for the deepest vertical well ever drilled in Saskatchewan, after announcing in Nov. 2018 it had drilled a 3,530-metre well.

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Governments in Alberta and Saskatchewan have been revamping regulations for drilling and for power generation in an attempt to stimulate geothermal power investment in their provinces partly because the geothermal industry uses many of the same skills as the existing oil and gas industry.

This week, Alberta MLAs passed legislation that will allow the province’s energy regulator to develop a new framework for geothermal wells to be licensed and drilled in the province. The bill is considered a way to keep oilfield services workers, such as drillers, working as investment in renewable energy is projected to rise in the coming years.

Everything we’re doing is figuratively and literally on the backs of these highly skilled oilfield workers. We couldn’t do this without this expertise in this part of the world

DEEP Earth Energy CEO Kirsten Marcia

While other geothermal wells have been drilled in Canada previously to channel heat directly from the earth, Deep and a handful of other companies are among the first in the country to use the earth’s heat to generate electricity.

In Alberta, Calgary-based oil and gas producer Razor Energy Corp. is working on a geothermal project north of Edmonton that would retrofit existing wells to produce 3MW to 5MW of geothermal power.

Near Fort Nelson, B.C., a natural gas-rich town, a non-profit research association called Geoscience BC is undertaking a feasibility study of the Clark Lake Geothermal project that would repurpose a gas field to produce geothermal power.

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Canberra house prices continue to climb throughout COVID-19 pandemic, as supply hits five-year low

Jared Dent’s tenants were moving out of his investment property and he was thinking about selling.

When he saw what was happening to the market in Canberra, his mind was made up for him. 

According to CoreLogic data, house and unit prices in the ACT have increased by 3 per cent since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. 

It came as a surprise to Mr Dent, who was thinking about selling his investment property in Downer in Canberra’s north which he bought a decade ago. 

“We looked at the prices in our suburb and it is almost like the pandemic had not existed,” Mr Dent said. 

“It is not something we planned to do but the opportunity arose because we had tenants moving out and we pushed forward because COVID did not seem to be having an effect.”

Jared Dent decided to sell after realising the pandemic had not impacted house prices.(ABC News: Nick Haggarty)

Mr Dent’s house is going to auction, but he said in the time it had been on the market he had already received two offers that exceeded his expectations. 

According to CoreLogic’s head of Australian research Eliza Owen, Canberra’s housing market has continued to grow at a relatively strong pace throughout 2020.

“The typical house value has risen to $740,000 when we were sitting at $670,000 a year ago,” Ms Owen said.

Why are prices climbing in a global pandemic? 

According to CoreLogic, there are some growth drivers that are unique to the ACT. 

“The migration data is showing us that the ACT has typically had very low levels of overseas migration exposure, so the shock of international border closures have not affected the market as much,” Ms Owen said.

Jobs have also remained stable in Canberra’s higher-paid sectors and in the public sector — where employment dropped by less than 1 per cent.

Steady employment, combined with record low interest rates and government schemes to stimulate the economy and construction industry, mean Canberra’s house prices were only destined to head in one direction — up. 

Supply is scant, and going fast

Homes up for sale in the national capital are not only selling for more, they are going quickly too.

“The preliminary clearance rate has averaged about 83 per cent in the past four weeks and the final clearance rate is settling around 78 per cent ,” Ms Owen said. 

Many of those houses are currently going up for auction, which is unsurprising given the competition. 

CoreLogic data shows about 2,050 dwellings for sale in the past month, about 30 per cent fewer than the same time last year.

In fact, total stock levels of property for sale in the ACT are currently at a five-year low, putting a spanner in the works for many potential buyers hoping to bag a bargain during the economic downturn.

Ms Owen said Mr Dent had bucked the trend of people willing to sell in the midst of a pandemic.

Mr Dent said while his circumstances meant he was lucky to be in his position, he sympathised with those on the other side of the bidding.

“I will take it on the upside when we are selling, but I am not going to jump straight back into the market because prices are high,” he said.

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Victoria hits 28 days with no new coronavirus cases or deaths

Victoria has recorded no new coronavirus cases or deaths for 28 consecutive days.

It means the state has achieved what is widely considered to be the official benchmark for eliminating COVID-19 from the community.

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) said 9,828 coronavirus tests had been received since yesterday’s update.

The last active case in Victoria was cleared and discharged from hospital on Monday.

More to come.

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Ski-In/Ski-Out Home In Utah Hits The Market For $38 Million

Nestled among mature forests on Park City Mountain in Utah is a ski-in/ski-out home unlike any you’ve ever seen. Listed by Engel & Völkers for $38 million, Monitor’s Rest is a stunning compound nestled into the mountainside at the base of Monitor Bowl in the exclusive gated enclave of The Colony at White Pine Canyon. 

Who wouldn’t want this one-of-a-kind luxury property? The grandeur is evident the moment you pull up to the spectacular landscape on five acres incorporating massive granite boulders, tailored plantings, water features, fire elements and wraparound snow melted terraces. The horticultural palette offers a seasonal display of the region’s native species. 

Ultra luxe might be an understatement in describing the home. Enter the private and discreet compound down the winding drive between massive mature evergreens, through the imposing porte-cochère and into the elegant central motor court with parking for up to 20 cars.

Offered fully furnished, the idyllic seven-bedroom compound capitalizes on the broad panorama of the Wasatch Front and surrounding ski slopes. The property unfolds in a number of rectangular volumes that take in picturesque vistas and natural light, all contained under simple and expansive roof forms that provide relief against the dramatic skyline and backdrop of mature aspen and fir trees.

Timeless architecture pairs with the finest materials and craftsmanship, including Italian steel windows and doors, Croatian limestone, Shou Sugi Ban charred cypress and a full copper roof, set in a seamless flow throughout 18,500 square feet. 

Cultivating a healthy living environment was vital to the development of the estate, particularly in light of the current global health crisis. Monitor’s Rest is a wellness-based home, featuring Delos’ DARWIN Home Wellness Intelligence Network, which regulates circadian rhythm lighting, monitors and calibrates indoor air quality, filters pollutants and removes pathogens from the air, and improves water quality by removing impurities.

“Wellness was a top priority throughout the design of Monitor’s Rest,” said Sarah Kennedy, associate at CLB Architects. “Our goal was to promote a healthy living environment and an active lifestyle, which has become even more valuable in light of the pandemic. Situated on the slopes of Park City, the homeowners will have easy access to skiing, panoramic mountain views and abundant natural light. An entire wing of the house is devoted to wellness and includes everything from a Himalayan salt room to an indoor bowling alley to a 60-foot indoor/outdoor pool.”

Other wellness amenities include a spa with a world-class gym, a cold plunge pool, hot tub, steam bath, ice fountain, infrared sauna, massage room and indoor sports court with a climbing wall, golf simulator and bowling alley. 

A collection of outdoor living spaces extends from the interiors, creating a seamless transition for mountain living, according to Mike Albert, principal at Design Workshop, a landscape architecture, planning and urban design firm.

The main level club room includes a full bar, billiards and ping-pong tables, a floating fireplace and massive motorized retractable walls of floor-to-ceiling glass.

Recreational amenities — including a heated lap pool that extends from the primary corridor in the home, a play lawn, dog run, an oversized spa and custom fire feature — have been designed with all-season use in mind. With the slopes just steps away, a “ski beach” connects to the home’s ski locker room to exclusive ski access in the winter and mountain biking in the summer.

The definition of luxury, the home will most likely meet the needs of future generations.

And as Albert pointed out, “The tranquil setting of this one-of-a-kind property, combined with exceptionally designed spaces and unparalleled amenities, create a once-in-a-lifetime legacy retreat.”

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AppsFlyer Hits $2 Billion Valuation With Investment from Salesforce – Jewish Business News

AppsFlyer Hits $2 Billion Valuation With Investment from Salesforce

AppsFlyer offers a suite of comprehensive measurement and analytics solutions.

In yet another milestone for Startup Nation, AppsFlyer has hit the $2 billion valuation mark. The Israeli startup has developed software which app creators can use to track which users are the most profitable to their businesses.

Startup Nation is kind of like the Energizer Bunny – it just keeps going and going and going…

First Cato Networks hit a $1Billion valuation just one week ago, then just a few days later Israeli E commerce startup Forter hit $1.23 billion and now AppsFlyer is worth $2 billion.

A valuation is determined by how much someone is willing to pay for a share of a company which is privately held. So if someone agreed to pay $10 million for just 1% of a firm then the company is worth $1 billion.

But this is based on what investors believe a company will be worth in the future. A company which is already publicly traded has a total value based on its stock price. And every company has a real bottom line value based on its assets and revenues minus any debt.

However, the continued high investments are a true sign that people believe in Israeli startups even during the Corona crisis.

The valuation of AppsFlyer came after Salesforce Ventures joined in an extension of a $210 million Series D round of funding begun in January. The round itself was led by General Atlantic.

AppsFlyer helps marketers to grow their business and innovate with its suite of comprehensive measurement solutions. AppsFlyer boasts that it is built around privacy by design and that the firm takes a customer-centric approach to help more than 12,000 brands.

The company’s current customers include brands such as Macy’s, Minecraft, Nike, NBC Universal, Tencent, US Bank, Wayfair, and StitchFix. AppsFlyer’s marketplace of over 8,000 partners includes Facebook, Google, Apple Search Ads, Twitter, TikTok Ads, Pinterest, Snap, Salesforce, Adobe, and Oracle. It was recently named to the Forbes 2020 Cloud 100 list for the 2nd year in a row.

“AppsFlyer has been the driving force in mobile marketing attribution and has demonstrated true, long-term commitment to represent the app developers within the ecosystem,” said Nowi Kallen, Principal at Salesforce Ventures.

“Through a customer centric approach, 8,000-partner strong marketplace and privacy by design, AppsFlyer’s innovative technology enables marketers to delight their end-users with a great user experience, while protecting their privacy.”

“We’re incredibly excited to deepen our integration with Salesforce and Salesforce Ventures, as we take another step towards ensuring that marketers, app developers, and the entire ecosystem is armed with the best marketing tech stack for the challenges of tomorrow.” said Oren Kaniel, CEO and Co-Founder, AppsFlyer.

“The secret sauce for our success over the last nine years has been prioritizing our customers and their end-users, putting them at the center of every decision we make. We’ve earned the unwavering trust and confidence of the market by enabling app developers to not only delight the end-user with a seamless user experience, but to also protect their data security and privacy.”

Read more about: Appsflyer, Salesforce, Salesforce Ventures, startup nation

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Paisami more than big hits says Test coach

The Wallabies have high hopes for youngster Hunter Paisami emerging as a “triple threat” as he develops his Test game.

Wallabies attack coach Scott Wisemantel is excited by what Paisami can offer, saying there’s a lot more to the 22-year-old’s game than bash and barge.

Wisemantel says he’s not surprised by Paisami’s impact in the No.12 jersey despite only making his Super Rugby debut this year with Queensland.

While his hard-hitting defence is obvious, Wisemantel believes there’s a lot more to Paisami’s game.

“Certain players get pigeon-holed at certain times in their lives,” Wisemantel said.

‘Hunter is aggressive and we know he can hit in defence and we know that he can run hard so people see that and then he gets pigeon-holed as a hard-running hitter.

“He’s actually got a lot of subtlety to his game – he can kick off both feet and has got a nice passing game, good tempo – so really we want to evolve him into a triple threat where he can run, pass, kick.

“That’s where we see Hunter’s future.”

Paisami’s partnership with another star talent, 20-year-old Jordan Petaia, is continuing to blossom and while they are no Tim Horan-Jason Little combination just yet, could become another great Reds centre pairing.

“They are a combo but Matt (Toomua) will come back and let’s hope that next year with Super Rugby we find a couple of other shining lights,” Wisemantel added.

“It’s about competition … and we will pick whoever is in form, but they’re going really well as a centre pairing at the moment.”

Despite missing the past three games through injury James O’Connor is continuing to train with the team in Sydney, giving hope that he may return for the final match of the Tri Nations match against Argentina on December 5 at Bankwest Stadium.

With the three teams locked on six points and Australia last on points differential, the Wallabies will be hoping that there’s no blowout in Saturday’s clash between New Zealand and the Pumas in Newcastle.

Reece Hodge has worn the No.10 jersey in the past two Tests and despite his lack of previous game time there has been one of the Wallabies best performers as they’ve notched a win and a draw.

Despite Australia’s lack of depth Wisemantel said the Wallabies wouldn’t mandate that Melbourne coach Dave Wessels play Hodge at five-eighth.

“Dave and I will have a chat but at the end of the day that’s their decision,” he said.

“That’s his program and as the Wallabies staff, our job when Super Rugby is on is to support the Super Rugby franchises.

“We are a resource for them; we’re not going to be telling them that they must play Reece Hodge at 10.”

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High North Dakota COVID-19 death rate hits home for Canadian family

Tony Loeppky was hoping to visit his family in Manitoba at Christmas. Instead, they’re trying to get his ashes sent home so they can mourn his death.

“I find it,it hurts a lot, that he would have passed by himself. I think that’s the hardest part,” Loeppky’s sister, Marlow Fraser, said through tears from her home in Inverness, N.S.

Fraser still can’t believe Loeppky, her otherwise healthy, 58-year-old brother, has become part of a horrible statistic — one of nearly 260,000 people in the United States who have died of COVID-19.

“If this virus hadn’t been here, he would still be alive,” she said.

Loeppky moved years ago from Altona, Man., to North Dakota — first Grand Forks, then Fargo — where he worked as a truck driver.

His family said he was taking precautions at work and when he went grocery shopping; wearing a mask and physically distancing.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a close ally of U.S. President Donald Trump’s, has opposed mask mandates. (Briana Sanchez/The Argus Leader via AP)

But that wasn’t enough to protect him. Though it has half the population of Manitoba, which it borders, North Dakota has ten times the infection rate.

“COVID, it’s no joke. It’s a serious, serious virus that we really need to get under control because I don’t want to lose another family member to this,” Fraser said.

North and South Dakota are strong Republican states that have resisted mandating public health measures, saying they should be a personal choice. 

Infections started spiking after large gatherings on Independence Day in July and continued as university and college students returned to school in the fall.

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum didn’t make masks mandatory until Nov. 13, when hospitals were becoming overwhelmed.

South Dakota still has no mask mandate.

“The only reason you know who I am today is because the liberals have been busy kicking me in the head for all the decisions I’ve made for my people in South Dakota,” Gov. Kristi Noem said a few weeks ago at a rally for U.S. President Donald Trump. 

“But let me tell you, my people are happy. They’re happy because they’re free.”

Noem has also refused to ban large gatherings, including the huge Sturgis motorcycle rally in August, which is believed to have been a super-spreader event.

Now, South Dakota’s seven-day positivity rate is alarmingly high — nearly 60 per cent according to the COVID Tracking Project — higher than any other state in the U.S.

An analysis of data last week by the Federation of American Scientists suggests the states’ death rates due to coronavirus are among the highest in the world; North Dakota leads the list with 18.2 deaths per one million people. South Dakota’s is 17.4 deaths per million, making it third-worst in the world.

American Thanksgiving, which is on Thursday, and Black Friday are raising concerns as people travel, gather and shop — increasing their risk of exposure to the virus.

“Our governor has been misleading her constituents from the start,” said Dr. Shannon Emry, a pediatrician from Sioux Falls, S.D.

“She has downplayed the dangers of the virus, downplayed the importance of wearing a mask and its really undermined the people’s trust in their medical community, and that’s actually putting more people in danger.”

Back in Canada, Marlow Fraser doesn’t think COVID-19 should be a political issue.

“I really find people are reaching when they say it’s a hoax and it’s a government trying to control you. And you know what? The government controls us in so many different ways. So if you have to wear a mask, wear a mask. That’s not a control,” she said.

Thousands of bikers rode through the streets for the opening day of the 80th annual Sturgis Motorcycle rally on Aug. 7 in Sturgis, S.D. Masks were not required. (Stephen Groves/The Associated Press)

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GM hits reverse on Trump effort to bar California emissions rules

FILE PHOTO: Mary Teresa Barra , Chairwoman and CEO of General Motors Company attends the unveiling its redesigned mid-engine C8 Corvette, the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, in Tustin, California,U.S., July 18, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo/File Photo

November 23, 2020

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – General Motors Co said on Monday it was reversing course and will no longer back the Trump administration’s effort to bar California from setting its own emissions rules in an ongoing court fight.

GM Chief Executive Mary Barra said in a letter to environmental groups it was “immediately withdrawing from the preemption litigation and inviting other automakers to join us.”

The about-face came as GM sought to work with President-elect Joe Biden, who has made boosting electric vehicles (EVs) a top priority. The Detroit automaker has laid out an ambitious strategy to boost EV sales and last week said it will increase spending on EVs and autonomous vehicles by 35% from previously disclosed plans.

The announcement reflects Corporate America’s move to engage quickly with the incoming Democratic administration.

Barra said she believes “the ambitious electrification goals of the president-elect, California, and General Motors are aligned, to address climate change by drastically reducing automobile emissions.”

The White House and Justice Department declined to comment. Environmental Protection Agency spokesman James Hewitt said of GM’s announcement, “it’s always interesting to see the changing positions of U.S. corporations.”

In October 2019, GM joined Toyota Motor Corp, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and other automakers in backing the Trump administration in its bid to bar California from setting its own fuel-efficiency rules or zero-emission requirements for vehicles.

California and 22 other states and environmental groups challenged the Trump administration’s determination that federal law bars California from setting stiff tailpipe emission standards and zero-emission vehicle mandates.

Barra was among corporate and labor leaders who met virtually last week with Biden.

Speaking on Monday, Barra said she was “confident that the Biden Administration, California, and the U.S. auto industry, which supports 10.3 million jobs, can collaboratively find the pathway that will deliver an all-electric future.”

Biden said in a statement: “GM’s decision reinforces how shortsighted the Trump Administration’s efforts to erode American ingenuity and America’s defenses against the climate threat truly are.”

The Trump administration in March finalized a rollback of fuel-efficiency standards to require 1.5% annual increases in efficiency through 2026, well below the 5% yearly boosts in Obama administration rules it discarded.

Other automakers, such as Ford Motor Co, Honda Motor Co and Volkswagen AG, which announced a deal with California in 2019 on emissions requirements that was finalized in August, did not intervene on the administration’s side in the California fight.

GM’s announcement on Monday that it was withdrawing from the lawsuit caught off-guard automakers that had joined with GM in backing Trump, as they only learned of the decision minutes before the company made it public.

Toyota said on Monday that “given the changing circumstances, we are assessing the situation, but remain committed to our goal of a consistent, unitary set of fuel economy standards applicable in all 50 states.”

Other automakers backing the Trump administration include Hyundai Motor Co , Mazda, Nissan Motor Co, Kia Motors Corp and Subaru Co.

GM had drawn the ire of many California officials and environmental groups.

Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Transport Campaign, said, “GM tried to prevent California from protecting its people from tailpipe pollution. They were wrong. Now the other automakers must follow GM and withdraw support for (President Donald) Trump’s attack on clean cars.”

In September, California Governor Gavin Newsom said the state planned to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered passenger cars and trucks starting in 2035 in a bold move to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

California is the largest U.S. auto market, accounting for about 11% of all U.S. vehicle sales, and many states choose to adopt its green vehicle mandates.

(Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Tom Brown and Matthew Lewis)

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