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Wall Street Brunch- September 3

Sep. 03, 2020 8:25 AM ET16 Comments
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Let's start with a little history, shall we?

The American Revolution officially comes to an end when representatives of the United States, Great Britain, Spain and France sign the Treaty of Paris on September 3, 1783. The signing signified America’s status as a free nation, as Britain formally recognized the independence of its 13 former American colonies, and the boundaries of the new republic were agreed upon: Florida north to the Great Lakes and the Atlantic coast west to the Mississippi River.  The events leading up to the treaty stretched back to April 1775, on a common green in Lexington, Massachusetts, when American colonists answered King George III’s refusal to grant them political and economic reform with armed revolution. On July 4, 1776, more than a year after the first volleys of the war were fired, the Second Continental Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence. Five difficult years later, in October 1781, British General Charles Lord Cornwallis surrendered to American and French forces at Yorktown, Virginia, bringing to an end the last major battle of the Revolution. 

On this day in 1777, the American flag is flown in battle for the first time, during a Revolutionary War skirmish at Cooch’s Bridge, Delaware. Patriot General William Maxwell ordered the stars and strips banner raised as a detachment of his infantry and cavalry met an advance guard of British and Hessian troops. The rebels were defeated and forced to retreat to General George Washington’s main force near Brandywine Creek in Pennsylvania.  Three months before, on June 14, the Continental Congress adopted a resolution stating that “the flag of the United States be thirteen alternate stripes red and white” and that “the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.” The national flag, which became known as the “Stars and Stripes,” was based on the “Grand Union” flag, a banner carried by the Continental Army in 1776 that also consisted of 13 red and white stripes. According to legend, Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross designed the new canton for the Stars and Stripes, which consisted of a circle of 13 stars and a blue background, at the request of General George Washington. Historians have been unable to conclusively prove or disprove this legend.  On June 14, 1877, the first Flag Day observance was held on the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the Stars and Stripes. As instructed by Congress, the U.S. flag was flown from all public buildings across the country. In the years after the first Flag Day, several states continued to observe the anniversary, and in 1949 Congress officially designated June 14 as Flag Day, a national day of observance. 

On September 3, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson embarks on a tour across the United States to promote American membership in the League of Nations, an international body that he hoped would help to solve international conflicts and prevent another bloody world war like the one from which the country had just emerged—World War I. The tour took an enormous toll on Wilson’s health.  The First World War, which had begun in 1914, grimly illustrated to Wilson the unavoidable relationship between international stability and American national security. In January 1919, at the Paris Peace Conference that ended World War I, Wilson urged leaders from France, Great Britain and Italy to come together with leaders of other nations to draft a Covenant of League of Nations. Wilson hoped such an organization would help countries to mediate conflicts before they caused war.  Having successfully broached the plan with European leaders, Wilson returned home to try to sell the idea to Congress. The plan for a League of Nations met with stiff opposition from the Republican majority in Congress. Wary of the international covenant’s vague language and legal loopholes regarding America’s sovereignty, Congress refused to adopt the agreement and did not ratify the Treaty of Versailles. Still, Wilson was undeterred.  At a stalemate with Congress, Wilson embarked on an arduous tour across the country to sell the idea of a League of Nations directly to the American people. He argued that isolationism did not work in a world in which violent revolutions and nationalist fervor spilled over national borders. He stressed that the League of Nations embodied American values of self-government and the desire to settle conflicts peacefully, and shared his vision of a future in which the international community could preempt another conflict as devastating as the First World War.  The tour’s intense schedule—8,000 miles in 22 days—cost Wilson his health. During the tour he suffered constant headaches and, in late September, collapsed from exhaustion in Pueblo, Colorado. He managed to return to Washington, but suffered a near-fatal stroke on October 2. He recovered and continued to advocate passage of the covenant, but the stroke and Republican Warren Harding’s election to the presidency in 1921 effectively ended his campaign. The League of Nations was eventually created, but without the participation of the United States. America would not join a multinational league until after an even larger and more destructive world war forced the League to be reinvented as the United Nations

Now for some stock and investing news-

Futures looking cloudy today. No shades are needed.

DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG) pops after the company announces that Michael Jordan joined the company as a special advisor to the board.  Jordan will also take an equity interest in DraftKings in exchange for providing guidance and strategic advice to the board of directors on key business initiatives undertaken by the company. 

The SEC is in the advanced stages of a civil fraud investigation into Robinhood (RBNHD) for failing to fully disclose until late 2018 its sale of client orders to high-speed trading firms.  Until October 2018, the section of Robinhood's website called "How We Make Money" disclosed only that it profits from margin trading services and interest earned on customers' deposits. It failed to mention that it also makes money from selling customers' orders for stock and options trades to high speed trading firms, know as payment for order flow. More than half of Robinhood's profits came from payment for order flow in 2018.  Robinhood is not the only firm which sells client orders to high speed trading firms. Schwab, E*Trade and Ameritrade also receive payments for order flow. However, according to Piper Sandler's analysis of SEC filings, Robinhood gets paid more per 100 shares traded than the other firms, receiving $0.17 per 100 equity shares and $0.58 per 100 options, versus $0.11 / $0.37 for Schwab, $0.15 / $0.46 for E*Trade, and $0.15 / $0.58 for Ameritrade.  Because payments for options orders are significantly higher, brokers are incentivized to get their clients to trade options. One of the criticisms of Robinhood has been that it encourages inexperienced investors to trade options, and that options trading is generally detrimental to individual investors.  

Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) has signed a production deal with Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, after they stepped away from the British royal family and moved to California. They have a multi-year agreement to produce nature series, documentaries and children's programming, however, Markle, who most recently starred in Suits, will not be acting. The deal is of a piece with the one Netflix struck with former president Barack Obama and wife Michelle, which established a slate of programming the Obamas would produce for the streaming giant.

Nio (NYSE:NIO) deliveries grew 104.1% to 3,965 vehicles in August.  The company delivered 21,667 vehicles YTD, +109.9% Y/Y. 

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) scoots lower in early trading to put more distance between the current price and the split-adjusted all-time high of $502.49 struck earlier in the week.

Off to Google Finance and Market Watch!-

U.S. debt has reached its highest level compared to the size of the economy since World War II and is projected to exceed it next year, the result of a giant fiscal response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Where is Jon Corzine and is MF Global buying shares of $NIO today?

Where is Marissa Mayer and why didn't her online sports betting company hire Michael Jordan?

Where is Elizabeth Holmes and why don't masks work inside a 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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