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Wall Street Brunch- May 20

May 19, 2021 8:35 PM ET90 Comments
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Let's start with a little history, shall we?

On May 20, 1873, San Francisco businessman Levi Strauss and Reno, Nevada, tailor Jacob Davis are given a patent to create work pants reinforced with metal rivets, marking the birth of one of the world’s most famous garments: blue jeans. In San Francisco, Strauss established a wholesale dry goods business under his own name and worked as the West Coast representative of his family’s firm. His new business imported clothing, fabric and other dry goods to sell in the small stores opening all over California and other Western states to supply the rapidly expanding communities of gold miners and other settlers. By 1866, Strauss had moved his company to expanded headquarters and was a well-known businessman and supporter of the Jewish community in San Francisco. Jacob Davis, a tailor in Reno, Nevada, was one of Levi Strauss’ regular customers. In 1872, he wrote a letter to Strauss about his method of making work pants with metal rivets on the stress points—at the corners of the pockets and the base of the button fly—to make them stronger. As Davis didn’t have the money for the necessary paperwork, he suggested that Strauss provide the funds and that the two men get the patent together. Strauss agreed enthusiastically, and the patent for “Improvement in Fastening Pocket-Openings”–the innovation that would produce blue jeans as we know them–was granted to both men on May 20, 1873. Strauss brought Davis to San Francisco to oversee the first manufacturing facility for “waist overalls,” as the original jeans were known. At first they employed seamstresses working out of their homes, but by the 1880s, Strauss had opened his own factory. The famous 501 brand jean—known until 1890 as “XX”—was soon a bestseller, and the company grew quickly. By the 1920s, Levi’s denim waist overalls were the top-selling men’s work pant in the United States. As decades passed, the craze only grew, and now blue jeans are worn and beloved by men and women, young and old, around the world.

May 20 1873 – Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis Receive Patent for Blue Jeans |

On this day in 1489, Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama becomes the first European to reach India via the Atlantic Ocean when he arrives at Calicut on the Malabar Coast. Da Gama sailed from Lisbon, Portugal, in July 1497, rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and anchored at Malindi on the east coast of Africa. With the aid of an Indian merchant he met there, he then set off across the Indian Ocean. The Portuguese explorer was not greeted warmly by the Muslim merchants of Calicut, and in 1499 he had to fight his way out of the harbor on his return trip home. In 1502, he led a squadron of ships to Calicut to avenge the massacre of Portuguese explorers there and succeeded in subduing the inhabitants. In 1524, he was sent as viceroy to India, but he fell ill and died in Cochin.

Vasco da Gama - Ages of Exploration

Now for some stock and investing news-

Wall Street’s main indexes closed lower on Wednesday after minutes from an April Federal Reserve meeting showed participants agreed the U.S. economy remained far from the central bank’s goals, with some considering discussions on tapering its bond buying program. The S&P 500 added to losses after the release of the minutes revealed a number of Fed policymakers thought that if the economy continued rapid progress, it would become appropriate “at some point” in upcoming meetings to begin discussing a tapering of the Fed’s monthly purchases of government bonds, a policy designed to keep long-term interest rates low.

Iron ore prices reversed their recent rebound, as Chinese steel prices extended declines on the back of additional government restrictions and BHP (BHP -4.4%) prepares to launch operations one of the world's biggest new mines. The Tangshan steelmaking hub in China announced fresh curbs, including ordering sintering units to stop work for 10 hours starting from midnight during May 18-20. China will strengthen its management of commodity supply and demand to curb "unreasonable" increases in prices, the country's cabinet said overnight.

Bitcoin crashed to just over $30,000 Wednesday morning, then rebounded sharply, but it was still down significantly from Tuesday. Bitcoin tumbled over the past week after Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk turned on the biggest digital asset, but Musk offered some fresh support on Wednesday. Coinbase (COIN), which suffered an outage Wednesday morning, hit a fresh low. Microstrategy (MSTR), Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) and other Bitcoin plays sold off before paring losses

Target (TGT), Facebook (FB), Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL), Maravai LifeSciences (MRVI) and Trip.com (TCOM) flashed buy signals. But the current market environment hasn't been favorable for new buys.

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.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

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