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Wall Street Brunch- September 18

Sep. 18, 2020 7:08 AM ET29 Comments
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  • This Day in History brought to you by www.history.com.

Let's start with a little history, shall we?

On September 18, 1793, George Washington lays the cornerstone to the United States Capitol building, the home of the legislative branch of American government. The building would take nearly a century to complete, as architects came and went, the British set fire to it and it was called into use during the Civil War. Today, the Capitol building, with its famous cast-iron dome and important collection of American art, is part of the Capitol Complex, which includes six Congressional office buildings and three Library of Congress buildings, all developed in the 19th and 20th centuries. As a young nation, the United States had no permanent capital, and Congress met in eight different cities, including Baltimore, New York and Philadelphia, before 1791. In 1790, Congress passed the Residence Act, which gave President Washington the power to select a permanent home for the federal government. The following year, he chose what would become the District of Columbia from land provided by Maryland. Washington picked three commissioners to oversee the capital city’s development and they in turn chose French engineer Pierre Charles L’Enfant to come up with the design. However, L’Enfant clashed with the commissioners and was fired in 1792. A design competition was then held, with a Scotsman named William Thornton submitting the winning entry for the Capitol building. In September 1793, Washington laid the Capitol’s cornerstone and the lengthy construction process, which would involve a line of project managers and architects, got under way. n 1800, Congress moved into the Capitol’s north wing. In 1807, the House of Representatives moved into the building’s south wing, which was finished in 1811. During the War of 1812, the British invaded Washington, D.C., and set fire to the Capitol on August 24, 1814. A rainstorm saved the building from total destruction. Congress met in nearby temporary quarters from 1815 to 1819. In the early 1850s, work began to expand the Capitol to accommodate the growing number of Congressmen. In 1861, construction was temporarily halted while the Capitol was used by Union troops as a hospital and barracks. Following the war, expansions and modern upgrades to the building continued into the next century. Today, the Capitol, which is visited by 3 million to 5 million people each year, has 540 rooms and covers a ground area of about four acres.

On September 18, 1981, the 20,000-car parking lot at Canada’s West Edmonton Mall makes the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest parking lot in the world. The mall has held other records, too: At one time or another it’s been the World’s Largest Shopping Mall (5.2 million square feet, or about 48 city blocks), the World’s Largest Indoor Amusement Park and the World’s Largest Indoor Water Park (which includes the World’s Largest Indoor Lake and the World’s Largest Indoor Wave Pool). The West Edmonton Mall has more than 800 stores, 100 restaurants, and 19 movie theaters. It also has a full-size ice-skating rink, where the Edmonton Oilers occasionally practice; two hotels, one of which boasts elaborately themed rooms (the Hollywood Room, the Polynesian Room, the Igloo Room, the Canadian Rail Room, the African Room, and the Arabian Room, for example); a chapel; and a sizeable handful of nightclubs. The mall is arranged in a series of wings, also themed: There is an opulent 19th-century European boulevard, a faux Bourbon Street, and a Chinatown wing arranged around a koi pond. A replica of Christopher Columbus’ famous Santa Maria shares a lagoon with real submarines and exotic fish. When the mall opened in 1981, its developer offered this dedication: “What we have done means you don’t have to go to New York or Paris or Disneyland or Hawaii,” he said. “We have it all here for you in one place, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada!”

On this day in 1976, more than one million people gather at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing for the funeral of Mao Zedong, the leader of the Chinese Communist Party and chairman of the People’s Republic of China since 1949. Mao, who died on September 9, 1976, at the age of 82, was born on December 26, 1893, to a peasant family in the Hunan province of central China. Trained to be a teacher, he helped found the Chinese Communist Party in 1921. After they claimed victory in a civil war with the nationalist party following WWII, Mao founded the People’s Republic of China and became its leader. During an eight-day mourning period after his death, more than 1 million people paid their respects, as Mao’s body, in a flag-draped coffin, lay in state. At the start of the 30-minute public funeral in Tiananmen Square, a three-minute moment of silence was observed in honor of the leader, with reports that nearly all of China’s 800 million residents stood in silent tribute.

Now for some stock and investing news-

National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt says proposed safety upgrades for Boeing's (NYSE:BA) 737 MAX are "positive progress" toward meeting cockpit and systems recommendations it made last year, possibly paving the way for the Federal Aviation Administration to lift a ban on the jet before the end of the year. (I have to wonder if it was any other airline not named Boeing, would they still be in business?)

Natural gas futures (NG1:COM) fell the most in nearly two years, with the October contract settling -9.9% to $2.042/MMBtu after a larger than forecast increase in stockpiles surprised analysts and revived concerns that the natural gas glut will increase. (With a high temperature of 53 degrees on Saturday in my neck of the woods, it appears that it will be a long season of having the heat on)

Duke Energy (DUK -0.3%) announces a deal with rooftop solar installer Sunrun (RUN -4.5%) and renewable energy advocates in North and South Carolina over how to compensate customers with rooftop solar panels for power they provide to the grid.

U.S. equity futures held up overnight following another selloff on Wall Street that was led by major tech names. Contracts tied to the Dow and S&P 500 are hugging the flatline, while Nasdaq futures pared recent losses by climbing 0.6%.

General Motors unveiled its Ultium Drive system Wednesday. It is part of GM’s push to become a serious player in the electric-vehicle market. That’s potentially good news for GM investors—but it might be bad news for existing suppliers of powertrain parts.  Ultium Drive brings GM one degree closer to being not only an EV maker but an EV supplier as well. That could be “potentially disruptive” for existing players, according to Deutsche Bank analyst Emmanuel Rosner. Independent powertrain providers, including American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings (AXL), BorgWarner (BWA), Magna International (MGA), and Delphi Technologies (DLPH), might face new competition down the road. 

New York state’s Department of Financial Services is filing civil charges against Johnson & Johnson (JNJ, -0.8%), for “actively creating a dangerous market for opioids for chronic pain treatment”.  The charges accuse of the company of, among other things, targeting elderly patients and characterizing “opioid addiction as a dangerous myth” and advancing “the idea of ‘pseudoaddiction’”. 

Where is Jon Corzine and is MF Global buying $GM today?

Where is Marissa Mayer and will Yahoo look to bring her back and get the comments boards running again?

Where is Elizabeth Holmes and is mental disease a defense for "massive" fraud?

Have a great day and a wonderful weekend 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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