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Americas’ Economic Winner Is Landlocked Nation Helped by Farming

(Bloomberg) -- Paraguay has so far outperformed all main American nations during the pandemic with an economic contraction that has been cushioned by strong results in the agriculture and construction sectors.

The landlocked South American nation recorded a 6.5% decline in gross domestic product in the second quarter from a year ago, the central bank reported on Friday. Farming expanded 17.5% while construction grew 9% in the same period.

Outperforming Peers © Bloomberg Outperforming Peers

“The results have surprised to the upside,” Central Bank Chief Economist Miguel Mora said in a live webcast on Friday, adding that there’s upside bias to the bank’s forecast for a 3.5% contraction this year.

Policy makers are expected to update their 2020 outlook October 28.

The pandemic has triggered deep recessions across the globe, with the International Monetary Fund warning Latin America faces a lost decade. Paraguay’s decision to adopt a strict lockdown and close its borders early in the pandemic helped it weather the crisis better than many other countries. It has the third lowest mortality and infection rates from Covid-19 in South America, after Guyana and Uruguay, according to the World Health Organization.

Read More: Paraguay Central Bank Cuts Key Rate to 0.75% to Aid Economy

Fiscal and monetary stimulus have also helped shield Paraguay’s economy from the worst of the pandemic, Mora said.

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©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Source: Americas’ Economic Winner Is Landlocked Nation Helped by Farming

Why Lithium Americas Stock Just Popped 16%

a sandy beach next to a body of water: Why Lithium Americas Stock Just Popped 16% © Provided by The Motley Fool Why Lithium Americas Stock Just Popped 16% What happened

Tesla's (NASDAQ: TSLA) Battery Day event earlier this week was not good news for lithium mining stocks like Lithium Americas (NYSE: LAC). (It wasn't terribly good news for Tesla stock, either, for that matter.)

After Tesla CEO Elon Musk voiced his intentions to try his hand at mining lithium from the Nevada desert -- in-house, as a vertical integration of raw materials into battery production -- shares of Lithium Americas (and other lithium mining stocks) tumbled on fears Tesla might not need them anymore.

From last week's close to the end of trading yesterday, Lithium Americas stock fell 30%. But today, some of those losses are being reversed. As of noon EDT, shares of Lithium Americas stock are up a strong 15.9%.

So what

Why might that be? Curiously, we may find the answer in a negative note about Lithium Americas, which investment banker BMO Capital Markets put out on Wednesday.

As the analyst explained (in a note covered by, it is unlikely that the lithium mining rights that Musk mentioned on Tuesday referred to any deal with Lithium Americas to share use of the latter's Thacker Pass clay project. Instead, BMO believes Tesla has acquired rights to "another Nevada land package" -- doing an end run around Lithium Americas.

Now what

That sounds like bad news for Lithium Americas -- and it may be bad news in the long run. That being said, BMO noted that there is "technology risk" in the way Musk plans to extract lithium from the Nevada clay (by mixing lithium-laden clay with salt water and precipitating out the lithium metal).

Calling Musk's statement, and the underlying technology, "speculative," BMO notes further that it could be several years -- if ever -- before Tesla actually gets its extraction technology to work. In the meantime, Tesla still needs a dependable supply of lithium for its batteries. Companies like Lithium Americas (once it begins producing, at least), can be expected to fulfill that need.

I suspect today's bounce back in Lithium Americas' stock price can be attributed to investors betting Tesla's independence from Lithium Americas, and other third-party lithium suppliers, is something that will come later rather than sooner.

Rich Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Tesla. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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Source: Why Lithium Americas Stock Just Popped 16%

Two Americas: How Fox and MSNBC Spin the News for Their Audiences

Courthouse News examined how two news programs sharing a time slot — “Fox News at Night” and MSNBC’s “The 11th Hour” — compared in their presentation of the news of the day. On Wednesday evening at least, the comparison was like night and day.

(CN) — “Fox News At Night” and the MSNBC’s “The 11th Hour” each started their Wednesday evening episodes talking about the Louisville protests, but the images chosen by each to illustrate the event stood in stark contrast to one another.

The protests that erupted Wednesday in Louisville and a number of other cities across the United States began in response to a Kentucky grand jury decision not to pursue murder charges against the three officers responsible for the death of Breonna Taylor.

The officers busted into Taylor’s home in the middle of the night under the auspices of serving a warrant. Taylor’s startled boyfriend fired his gun and the officers returned fire, killing Taylor.

One of the officers, Brett Hankinson, was indicted on charges of wanton endangerment, a class D felony with a minimum sentence of one year, for firing his weapon into adjacent apartments.

During Wednesday’s protest, two on-duty Louisville police officers were shot. Both are expected to make a full recovery.

Fox’s version of the evening news gleefully played clips of protesters throwing objects at and fighting with the police. The news program focused repeatedly on the burning piles of debris strewn throughout Louisville’s streets. The picture the network wanted to paint came through clearly enough — it wasn’t a protest, it was a riot.

Compare that with MSNBC’s coverage, and one would be hard-pressed to believe it was the same event. Its version showed crowds of completely peaceful demonstrators marching down the same streets with nary a blaze in sight. A group of understandably angry, yet completely benign Americans exercising their right to peaceful assembly. And that more or less set the tone for the rest of the evening’s broadcast.

Shannon Breem, host of “Fox News At Night,” started her show describing a standoff between police and protesters in Louisville complete with an FBI roadblock, while noting the demonstrators were flouting curfew. She moved on to the fires and the shooting of the two officers before playing footage of protests in other cities.

“Right now, it’s generally peaceful, but unfortunately two police officers were shot here tonight, so overall, not a peaceful night in Louisville,” said Matt Finn, a Fox News correspondent in the city.

Breem’s guests for the night were James Butts, mayor of Inglewood, California, and a former Santa Monica police chief, and Ted Williams, a former detective in Washington, D.C. Each man said the officers involved in the allegedly no-knock warrant raid on Taylor’s home made several errors. While both men agreed that the warrant, obtained months before the raid, was stale, should have been rescinded and was poorly served, neither guest believed the officers involved should have been charged with a crime.

“This was not a situation that should have been resolved with charges. They had a lawful warrant; the officer was fired upon,” Butts said. “With that said, there were a lot of mistakes made. The charging of this one officer with reckless endangerment is just an appeasement. He should be fired, but the charge is an appeasement.”

Williams added: “Once they entered, meaning the officers, and if Kenneth Walker, the boyfriend of Ms. Taylor, fired upon them as we’ve been told by the attorney general, then they had a right to return fire. If you shoot at the police, they’re going to shoot back at you.”

Both men also believe Hankinson, the sole officer involved to be charged with a crime, will be acquitted — a verdict that will inevitably prompt further violence.

A later segment of Breem’s show detailed an oft-touted conspiracy involving Hunter Biden, son of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, alleging his father’s influence as vice president bought him a lucrative seat on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma. Democrats have dismissed the Senate report which prompted the allegations as both a sham and a waste of tax dollars.

On MSNBC’s “The 11th Hour,” the nights’ events took on a decidedly different tone. Gone was the apocalyptic inuendo. In its place, President Donald Trump.

Ali Velshi, filling in for host Brian Williams, began the evening’s broadcast with a question: Has Trump made more money since becoming president than he would have as a private citizen?

Velshi asked Dan Alexander, author of the book “How Donald Trump Turned the Presidency Into a Business”, who said it’s been a mixed bag.

Alexander said some of Trump’s properties have suffered as a result of his “alienating half the country,” while his commercial leases — the kind of long term 15-20-year deals not subject to the whims of the moment — have prospered. According to Alexander, foreign governments and others seeking influence have been flocking to Trump properties while liberals have fled his golf clubs, so it’s a wash.

MSNBC’s coverage of the Louisville protests differed greatly from that of Fox News as well. MSNBC was far quicker to criticize the three officers responsible for killing Taylor, and far slower to condemn the protesters for expressing their outrage over her killing. There were no fiery images intended to portray chaos. No protesters battling with police in the streets. No mayhem.

Velshi asked Philip Rucker, White House bureau chief for the Washington Post, what kind of picture the Trump administration is trying to paint of the protests.

“I would fully expect that the president and the White House are going to try to play up what happened to those two officers in Louisville because it fits the narrative that they have been trying to present to the American people in the run up to the election,” said Rucker. “That these Black Lives Matter protests are somehow unruly and unsafe and endangering the lives of law enforcement.”

Two networks, two narratives. Apt, since these days it feels like there are two Americas.

Source: Two Americas: How Fox and MSNBC Spin the News for Their Audiences

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