Global markets shaken by Omicron variant worries

Various analysts have warned that volatility may abound in the coming weeks, but urged investors to stay the course and retain focus on the unchanged long-term fundamentals.

“Despite this uncertainty there remains a strong TINA trade in play – “there is no alternative” (to buying equities). We don’t believe the arrival of a Covid-19 strain which may or may not be more virulent will be enough to derail this TINA theme into Christmas,” said James Penny, U.K. chief investment officer at TAM Asset Management.

Penny noted that markets are in a different place now to where they were when the delta variant hit earlier this year, with inflation running hot and investors prepared for monetary policy tightening. He suggested this may be having a knock-on effect on how aggressive the current “buy the dip” mentality is among investors.

“We maintain the direction of travel is to continue to add to equity positions rather than run for the hills, but more on the depth of this positive sentiment will be uncovered on Friday when U.S. job numbers for November are released and the virological blueprint of Omicron is laid out,” Penny said.

Bill Gates 5 books I loved reading this year

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with science fiction. Paul Allen and I would spend countless hours discussing Isaac Asimov’s original Foundation trilogy. I read every book by Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert Heinlein. (The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress was a particular favorite.) There was something so thrilling to me about these stories that pushed the limits of what was possible.

As I got older, I started reading a lot more non-fiction. I was still interested in books that explored the implications of innovation, but it felt more important to learn something about our real world along the way. Lately, though, I’ve found myself drawn back to the kinds of books I would’ve loved as a kid.

By Bill Gates| November 22, 2021 

What is Cop26?

COP26 is the 2021 United Nations climate change conference

For nearly three decades the UN has been bringing together almost every country on earth for global climate summits – called COPs – which stands for ‘Conference of the Parties’. In that time climate change has gone from being a fringe issue to a global priority.

This year will be the 26th annual summit – giving it the name COP26. With the UK as President, COP26 takes place in Glasgow.

In the run up to COP26 the UK is working with every nation to reach agreement on how to tackle climate change. World leaders will arrive in Scotland, alongside tens of thousands of negotiators, government representatives, businesses and citizens for twelve days of talks.

Not only is it a huge task but it is also not just yet another international summit. Most experts believe COP26 has a unique urgency. 

Glasgow is the moment for countries to update their plans 

The run up to this year’s summit in Glasgow is the moment (delayed by a year due to the pandemic) when countries update their plans for reducing emissions. 

But that’s not all. The commitments laid out in Paris did not come close to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, and the window for achieving this is closing. 

The decade out to 2030 will be crucial. 

So as momentous as Paris was, countries must go much further than they did even at that historic summit in order to keep the hope of holding temperature rises to 1.5 alive. COP26 needs to be decisive.  

These are a few helpful sources of information to get you started:

Why There are Now So Many Shortages?

A shortage of shipping containers is worsening a shortage of shipping capacity, which is worsened by a shortage of port capacity, which is worsening the shortage of shipping containers, which itself is worsened by a shortage of truck drivers, all of which is causing a shortage of retail products and raw materials. This is a vicious cycle that is worsening as economies reopen. Why did this happened to begin with? The “just in Time” manufacturing concept is the one that was just not compatible with pandemic economies been halted and then re-started. Or to be more accurate to push inventory so low that is risky, and you end up losing resilience on your supply chain.

Global Toy Shortage This Holiday Season

Top toymakers say their products will be harder to find and more expensive this holiday season.

New York (CNN Business)The makers of some of the most popular toys in the United States sounded the alarm this week about the global shipping crisis and labor shortages limiting their ability to keep stores stocked throughout the fall holiday shopping season.Two leading toy company CEOs who recently spoke with CNN Business said they fear their supply chain woes and the resulting inflated prices will mean many children won’t get the toys they want for Christmas. That’s why they’re warning parents to get their holiday shopping done early.”There is going to be a major shortage of toy products this year,” MGA Entertainment CEO Isaac Larian told CNN Business. “The demand is going to be there. What is not going to be there is the product to fill the demand.”

Larian’s privately held company owns and distributes Little Tikes, Rainbow High dolls, Bratz dolls and LOL Surprise!, one of the hottest toy brands of the last few years and the top toy of 2020, according to NPD Group, a leading market research company.

He admitted to being “very frustrated” this week with shipping container companies such as Maersk, who he and other toy industry insiders accused of taking advantage of the global shortage on freight containers by dramatically raising their prices.”The container that cost $3,200 last year is now $22,000,” Larian said. “The installation of raw material and labor has gone up exponentially. We’ve seen a 23% increase in cost of product in China without the logistics. That is going to translate to higher prices with retail.”

Even after paying more to get his products to US shores, Larian said a trucker shortage is preventing him from getting his toys into warehouses and ultimately onto store shelves.”We’ve had hundreds of containers on 46 ships sitting in the ocean at the port of LA and Long Beach for the past 30 days,” he said. “There are people to unload it, but there are not enough trucks to pick it up.”

Food shortages could be permanent, warns industry body

Labour shortages in the food industry means consumers may not be able to find the products they like in supermarkets. The farm to fork supply chain is missing around half a million of the four million people that usually work in the sector, caused in part by EU nationals leaving the UK as a result of coronavirus and Brexit, an event hears.

The pandemic sent food prices skyrocketing amid a slew of supply chain disruptions, but food costs have been steadily rising over the past five years. The rise in prices can have serious consequences for the most vulnerable Americans. According to the USDA, 13.8 million Americans qualified as food insecure in 2020. Watch the video to find out how much food prices have risen, what’s driving the increase and how businesses and policymakers can fix it.

Climate change, labor issues, transportation concerns and other supply chain disruptions have been contributing to the rising costs over the past several years. The pandemic disruptions then sped up the rate of growth in prices.

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones Great book by James Clear

It is so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis. Too often, we convince ourselves that massive success requires massive action. Whether it is losing weight, building a business, writ­ing a book, winning a championship, or achieving any other goal, we put pressure on ourselves to make some earth- shattering improvement that everyone will talk about.

Meanwhile, improving by 1 percent isn’t particularly notable—sometimes it isn’t even noticeable—but it can be far more meaningful, especially in the long run. The difference a tiny improvement can make over time is astounding. Here’s how the math works out: if you can get 1 percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done. Conversely, if you get 1 percent worse each day for one year, you’ll decline nearly down to zero. What starts as a small win or a minor setback accumulates into something much more.

Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement. The same way that money multiplies through compound interest, the effects of your habits multiply as you repeat them. They seem to make little dif­ference on any given day and yet the impact they deliver over the months and years can be enormous. It is only when looking back two, five, or perhaps ten years later that the value of good habits and the cost of bad ones becomes strikingly apparent.

This can be a difficult concept to appreciate in daily life. We often dismiss small changes because they don’t seem to matter very much in the moment. If you save a little money now, you’re still not a million­aire. If you go to the gym three days in a row, you’re still out of shape. If you study Mandarin for an hour tonight, you still haven’t learned the language. We make a few changes, but the results never seem to come quickly and so we slide back into our previous routines.
Unfortunately, the slow pace of transformation also makes it easy to let a bad habit slide. If you eat an unhealthy meal today, the scale doesn’t move much. If you work late tonight and ignore your family, they will forgive you. If you procrastinate and put your project off until tomorrow, there will usually be time to finish it later. A single decision is easy to dismiss.

But when we repeat 1 percent errors, day after day, by replicating poor decisions, duplicating tiny mistakes, and rationalizing little ex­cuses, our small choices compound into toxic results. It’s the accumu­lation of many missteps—1 percent decline here and there—that eventually leads to a problem.

The impact created by a change in your habits is similar to the effect of shifting the route of an airplane by just a few degrees. Imagine you are flying from Los Angeles to New York City. If a pilot leaving from LAX adjusts the heading just 3.5 degrees south, you will land in Washington, D.C., instead of New York. Such a small change is barely noticeable at takeoff—the nose of the airplane moves just a few feet—but when magni­fied across the entire United States, you end up hundreds of miles apart.

Similarly, a slight change in your daily habits can guide your life to a very different destination. Making a choice that is 1 percent better or 1 percent worse seems insignificant in the moment, but over the span of moments that make up a lifetime these choices determine the differ­ence between who you are and who you could be. Success is the prod­uct of daily habits—not once‑in‑a‑lifetime transformations.

That said, it doesn’t matter how successful or unsuccessful you are right now. What matters is whether your habits are putting you on the path toward success. You should be far more concerned with your cur­rent trajectory than with your current results. If you’re a millionaire but you spend more than you earn each month, then you’re on a bad trajectory. If your spending habits don’t change, it’s not going to end well. Conversely, if you’re broke, but you save a little bit every month, then you’re on the path toward financial freedom—even if you’re mov­ing slower than you’d like.

Your outcomes are a lagging measure of your habits. Your net worth is a lagging measure of your financial habits. Your weight is a lagging measure of your eating habits. Your knowledge is a lagging measure of your learning habits. Your clutter is a lagging measure of your cleaning habits. You get what you repeat.

If you want to predict where you’ll end up in life, all you have to do is follow the curve of tiny gains or tiny losses, and see how your daily choices will compound ten or twenty years down the line. Are you spending less than you earn each month? Are you making it into the gym each week? Are you reading books and learning something new each day? Tiny bat­tles like these are the ones that will define your future self.

Time magnifies the margin between success and failure. It will multiply whatever you feed it. Good habits make time your ally. Bad habits make time your enemy.

Habits are a double-edged sword. Bad habits can cut you down just as easily as good habits can build you up, which is why understanding the details is crucial. You need to know how habits work and how to design them to your liking, so you can avoid the dangerous half of the blade.