Week InReview
Friday | Mar 13, 2020
Recipe of the week.

  • 1 cup of 99% isopropyl alcohol
  • 1 tablespoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • 1 teaspoon of 98% glycerin
  • ¼ cup, 1 tablespoon, and 1 teaspoon (or 85 milliliters) of sterile distilled or boiled cold water

The World Health Organization has  a comprehensive guide  on how to make your own hand sanitizer. The only problem is, if you follow these instructions, you’ll end up with a lot of it. Like, exactly 2.6 gallons of it. If you want to make enough to last you, your family, and all your friends through a pandemic, you definitely can. But here it is on a smaller scale.

in case you missed it...
Coronavirus-induced market mayhem has pushed so much liquidity out of U.S. Treasuries that the true value of more than $50 trillion in assets around the globe is in doubt. Yields in the world’s largest debt market have been on a mind-bending, three-week roller-coaster ride. This volatility is happening as trading-platform order books thin out to a degree last seen during the 2008 financial crisis, making it harder to use Treasuries as a gauge of investor anxiety. (Bloomberg Markets | Mar 12)

In the third upsizing of its repo schedule this week, the Federal Reserve ramped up the amount of cash it’s prepared to inject into funding markets over the next month, promising a cumulative total above $5 trillion, in a signal that officials will do whatever it takes to keep short-term financing rates from spiking. (BNN Bloomberg | Mar 12)

Sharp stock moves are punctuating the final minutes of the trading day, exacerbating what has already been  one of the rockiest stretches  of the past decade for financial markets. Major U.S. stock indexes peaked in mid-February and have since dropped at least 19%, with t he  Dow Jones Industrial Average  entering a b ear market, reflecting worries that the coronavirus epidemic will halt growth and eventually  tip the economy into a recession . (The Wall Street Journal | Mar 11)

Whether trader or investor, analyst or observer, Monday in markets looks like one to tell the grandchildren about. An oil price war has broken out in the middle of a worsening global virus outbreak, and it has triggered asset moves around the world that in some cases have never been seen before. Crude itself at one point dropped by a third. Treasury yields fell to unprecedented levels across the curve. U.S. stocks dropped so swiftly trading was halted. (Bloomberg Markets | Mar 9)

Brokerages in the U.S. are getting a break from their main regulator as the spreading coronavirus poses major compliance headaches across Wall Street. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority said Monday that it would give firms more flexibility in supervising employees working remotely and in relocating personnel to temporary locations. The industry-backed regulator also said it would consider granting extensions for firms that need more time to respond to inquiries, filing deadlines or investigations. (Bloomberg Markets | Mar 9)
Highly leveraged firms threaten U.S.
(Mar 10) — Markets on Tuesday recovered some of what they lost Monday, but it’s becoming clear that the coronavirus has exposed a dangerous weakness in the U.S. economy: heavily leveraged companies. Business debt now exceeds that of households  for the first time  in almost three decades. Moreover, borrowing has been concentrated in riskier companies with fewer financial resources to ride out the current crisis. A wave of defaults could intensify the economic impact of the global epidemic. According to  Bloomberg Economics , the chance of a downturn in the next 12 months  just rose to 53% , its highest level since the Great Recession ended some 11 years ago. See also: Fears of corporate debt bomb grow as coronavirus outbreak worsens (The Washington Post | Mar 10)
the cyber cafe
Security researchers are warning of a major new security flaw inside Intel processors, and it could defeat hardware-based encryption and DRM protections. The flaw exists at the hardware level of modern Intel processors released in the last five years, and could allow attackers to create special malware (like keyloggers) that runs at the hardware level and is undetectable by traditional antivirus systems. Intel’s latest 10th Gen processors are not vulnerable, though.
— The Verge

How easy is it for cyber security firms to dig up online dirt from our digital past? To provide “digital risk protection,” IT security experts analyze the public digital footprint of companies and their top executives to establish if any of that information could be leveraged by potential hackers — and if so, to lock it down so that it is no longer accessible.
— Financial Times

The European Central Bank has warned banks to prepare for a possible jump in the number of cyber attacks as part of the fallout from the coronavirus. The watchdog urged banks in a  letter  this week to test the capacity of their technology systems, suggesting the ECB is concerned criminals may seek to take advantage of the chaos caused by the virus.
— Bloomberg Markets
binge reading disorder
The amazing feats achieved by computers demonstrate our progress in coming up with algorithms that make the computer do valuable things for us. The computer itself, though, does nothing more than it ever did, which is to do whatever we know how to order it to do — and we order it to do things by issuing instructions in the form of elementary operations on bits, the 1s and 0s that make up computer code.
— The American Scholar

Yes, working from home has its perks. But you also have to contend with the Scylla and Charybdis of isolation and distraction. Loss of productivity feels less urgent in the time of coronavirus. Spend enough time working alone, though, and you may start to lose your sense of self.
— Wired

Is your phone covered in germs? Absolutely. Should it be cleaned? Depends on who you ask. If it makes you feel better, here are the best (and worst) ways to do it.
— The Wall Street Journal
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