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Wall Street Brunch- September 1

Sep. 01, 2020 9:21 AM ET20 Comments
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Let's start with a little history, shall we?

On September 1, 1972, in what’s billed as the “Match of the Century,” American chess grandmaster Bobby Fischer defeats Russian Boris Spassky during the World Chess Championship in Reykjavik, Iceland.  In the world’s most publicized title match ever played, Fischer, a 29-year-old Brooklynite, became the first American to win the competition since its inception in 1866. The victory also marked the first time a non-Russian had won the event in 24 years.  Played during the Cold War, the Reykjavik match also carried political undertones. Fischer had already accused the Soviets of rigging the tournament system and didn’t mince words in his feelings about them, saying the match was “really the free world against the lying, cheating, hypocritical Russians … They always suggest that the world's leaders should fight it out hand to hand. And that is the kind of thing we are doing.”  Fischer missed the competition’s July 1 opening ceremony, after demanding more money, as well as a cut of TV and film rights. After a two-day delay—and a doubling of the prize purse by British millionaire Jim Slater—Fischer finally showed. A call from Henry Kissinger, national security assistant for President Nixon at the time, may have helped persuade him to compete, as well. “America wants you to go over there to beat the Russians,” he reportedly told Fischer.  Spassky took the first game (Fischer blamed the TV cameras and ordered them to be removed). Fischer then forfeited the second game after some of his other demands weren’t met. Following much quarreling, the match resumed July 16 with a win by Fischer. Over 21 games, Fischer won seven, Spassky won three, and 11 were draws. Spassky resigned after 40 moves on the 21st game via telephone, with the final score set at 12.5 to 8.5-  Fischer lost his world title by forfeit in 1975, when he refused to play against Soviet Anatoly Karpov in Manila after the competition’s governing body failed to meet all his demands.  

On September 1, 1939, German forces under the control of Adolf Hitler bombard Poland on land and from the air. World War II had begun.  Germany invaded Poland to regain lost territory and ultimately rule their neighbor to the east. The German invasion of Poland was a primer on how Hitler intended to wage war–what would become the “blitzkrieg” strategy.  Germany's blitzkrieg approach was characterized by extensive bombing early on to destroy the enemy’s air capacity, railroads, communication lines and munitions dumps, followed by a massive land invasion with overwhelming numbers of troops, tanks and artillery. After the German forces had plowed their way through, devastating a swath of territory, infantry moved in, picking off any remaining resistance. The Polish army made several severe strategic miscalculations early on. Although 1 million strong, the Polish forces were severely under-equipped and attempted to take the Germans head-on, rather than falling back to more natural defensive positions. 

The outmoded thinking of the Polish commanders coupled with the antiquated state of its military were simply no match for the overwhelming and modern-mechanized German forces. And, of course, any hope the Poles might have had of a Soviet counter-response was dashed with the signing of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Nonaggression Pact.

On this day in 1807, former U.S. vice president Aaron Burr is acquitted of plotting to annex parts of Louisiana and Spanish territory in Mexico to be used toward the establishment of an independent republic. He was acquitted on the grounds that, though he had conspired against the United States, he was not guilty of treason because he had not engaged in an “overt act,” a requirement of the law governing treason. Nevertheless, public opinion condemned him as a traitor, and he fled to Europe. In 1805, Burr, thoroughly discredited, concocted a plot with James Wilkinson, commander-in-chief of the U.S. Army, to seize the Louisiana Territory and establish an independent empire, which Burr, presumably, would lead. He contacted the British government and unsuccessfully pleaded for assistance in the scheme. Later, when border trouble with Spanish Mexico heated up, Burr and Wilkinson conspired to seize territory in Spanish America for the same purpose.  In the fall of 1806, Burr led a group of well-armed colonists toward New Orleans, prompting an immediate U.S. investigation. General Wilkinson, in an effort to save himself, turned against Burr and sent dispatches to Washington accusing Burr of treason. In February 1807, Burr was arrested in Louisiana for treason and sent to Virginia to be tried in a U.S. court. On September 1, he was acquitted on a technicality. Nevertheless, the public condemned him as a traitor, and he went into exile to Europe. He later returned to private life in New York, the murder charges against him forgotten. He died in 1836. 

Now for some stock and investing news-

Futures may be just bright enough for shades today! 

Shares of Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) are up another 7.5% to $533 premarket, adding to the 12.5% rally seen yesterday after the company split its stock 5-for-1. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares are meanwhile ahead by 2.6% to $132 in early trade, following their 3.4% advance on Monday (the two stocks are up 34% and 81%, respectively, since announcing the splits just a month ago). In fact, the high trading volumes of the "Retail Bros." appear to be taking down popular brokerages like Robinhood and TD Ameritrade, with outages reported for many users at the market open on Monday.

Walmart (NYSE:WMT) is finally going head to head with Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) via a nationwide membership program, though the retailer says the new service is "really about doubling down with the customers we have and getting more share of wallet and more share of mind." The program, which costs $98 annually, or $12.95 a month, will launch on Sept. 15. Biggest difference: Walmart+ customers will have to spend a minimum of $35 for each online order to avoid fees, while rival Amazon Prime touts free two-day (and some same-day) shipping on every item.

Eastman Kodak (NYSE:KODK) +20% after hours after D.E.Shaw discloses 5.2% passive stake, representing 3.9M shares. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes!

Striking while investor demand is red-hot, Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) enters into an equity distribution agreement with Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Barclays, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, SG Americas Securities, Wells Fargo and BNP Paribas to sell up to $5.0B worth of shares.

Off to Google Finance and Market Watch!-

Back from Google Finance and Market Watch! with nothing to report.

Where is Jon Corzine and will MF Global cancel their Robin Hood account?

Where is Marissa Mayer and will her online sports betting company ever get the recognition it deserves?

Where is Elizabeth Holmes and how can football be played in college but she can't go into the courtroom?

Have a great day everyone. Stay safe out there.

This is the day The Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

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