Home Improvement Market Sees Surge During Pandemic

Financialnewsmedia.com Market Commentary

PALM BEACH,  Fla., Oct. 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Analysts expect home improvement spending to reach $439.9 billion in 2020 – In the time of a global pandemic, there is indeed no place like home. As millions of Americans practice social distancing while working and learning remotely, the home has become the focal point of our lives. The desire to make residences safer, more comfortable and more enjoyable has led to a home improvement boom.   Mentioned in today’s commentary includes:  NeoVolta (OTCQB: NEOV), Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA), Home Depot (NYSE: HD) and Lowe’s (NYSE: LOW).

The Home Improvement Research Institute predicts Americans will spend $439.9 billion on home improvement products in 2020. The online home remodeling platform Houzz reports that demand for kitchen and bath remodeling was up 40% year over date in June 2020, while home additions increased 52% and fencing projects jumped 166%. Pool and hot tub installations are seeing a wave of strong demand across the country. 

Home renewable energy is also seeing a surge as storage batteries are being installed in more households. According to the U.S. Energy Storage Monitor, the energy storage industry saw record-breaking deployments during the second quarter of 2020, and rapid expansion is expected to continue. A total of 168 MW and 288 MWh of energy storage was deployed in the quarter, second only to Q4 2019 as the highest on record, according to the joint report by Wood Mackenzie and the U.S. Energy Storage Association.

With Americans nesting like never before, four of the companies active in-home improvement are: NeoVolta (NEOV), Tesla (TSLA), Home Depot (HD) and Lowe’s (LOW).

NeoVolta (OTCQB: NEOV) – San Diego based NeoVolta, whose stock is trading around $4 per share, is the only pure-play energy storage company on this list. Recently NeoVolta announced an exclusive distribution agreement with Nevada-based PMP Energy. In exchange for making minimum purchases of up to $15 million, PMP Energy can secure specific geographic exclusivities for distribution over the three-year term of the agreement.

NeoVolta has significantly expanded its distribution network in recent months. In addition to Southern California, installations are now available in Northern California and Nevada. The company has doubled its production in 2020 and plans to quadruple capacity by the end of this year. NeoVolta’s NV14 storage system was named one of Solar Power World’s Top Solar Storage Products of 2019.    

Read more about NEOV and recent news developments by visiting: https://www.neovolta.com/news/

Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) – Tesla, the carmaker whose stock is trading about $415 per share, is also a major player in home energy storage. Since its 2015 launch, the Powerwall has been Tesla’s flagship residential storage product. It has a lithium ion battery and a storage capacity of 13.5 kWh. The Powerwall can be added to a system with a backup generator connected through an external automatic transfer switch (ATS) or manual transfer switch (MTS). Because the Powerwall and generator are not directly integrated, the Powerwall cannot

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As White House approves vaccine guidelines, Trump sees conspiracy

It was two weeks ago today when Donald Trump first raised the prospect of rejecting strict FDA guidelines on possible coronavirus vaccines. “That has to be approved by the White House,” the president said. “We may or may not approve it.”

Around the same time, the Republican suggested FDA officials were conspiring against him, “delaying” the vaccine as part of a pre-election “political hit” against him.

It was against this backdrop that the public learned this week that White House officials were, in fact, blocking the tougher federal vaccine guidelines. That is, until yesterday, when the White House relented and released the stricter standards.

The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that manufacturers of Covid-19 vaccines will need to follow tens of thousands of study participants for at least two months to look for any possible safety issues before the agency would consider authorization…. The FDA will require two months of follow-up for at least half of the study participants after they receive their last doses of vaccine. The vaccine candidates furthest ahead in phase 3 clinical trials, from Moderna and Pfizer, each require two doses, given about one month apart.

This will, among other things, make it impossible for a vaccine to be available before Election Day, which had been a presidential priority.

With this in mind, Trump returned to Twitter last night, writing, “New FDA Rules make it more difficult for them to speed up vaccines for approval before Election Day. Just another political hit job!”

Just so we’re all clear, Trump believes FDA officials are only pretending to care about vaccine safety, and the agency has actually issued strict guidelines as part of a political scheme. The president also apparently believes that his own White House is part of the “hit job,” since it was White House officials who yesterday cleared the new standards for public release.

I can’t say whether Trump’s medications are affecting his judgment or not, but I can say it’s weird to see a sitting president denounce a public-health decision made by his own team.

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IKEA Sees Strong Demand for Work Desks and Kitchen Gear

IKEA reported a drop in annual sales blaming store closures early in the coronavirus pandemic but said consumers have flocked to its stores since lockdowns lifted to buy desks, chairs and kitchens.

About 75% of the furniture retailer’s stores were closed for between seven to 10 weeks because of coronavirus lockdowns. That resulted in visits to IKEA stores falling nearly 16% for its fiscal year, and lower revenue from its restaurants, which typically make up about 5% of sales.

Overall, Ingka Group—the largest IKEA franchisee and operator—on Tuesday reported sales of €35.2 billion, equivalent to $41.5 billion, for the 12 months to Aug. 31, down from €36.7 billion a year earlier. It didn’t disclose profit figures.

Chief Executive Jesper Brodin said in an interview that consumption trends around the world had been similar through the pandemic. Early on, shoppers bought desks, office chairs and cooking equipment. Interest then moved toward home organization items such as shelving and baskets. Demand for kitchens was also high, with people taking advantage of time at home to install them.

IKEA said online sales make up 18% of the company’s overall revenue. A company’s store in Shanghai in July.



Photo:

alex plavevski/Shutterstock

“Lately, we see a lot of interest in beautification,” said Mr. Brodin. “A lot of people are taking the opportunity to update their homes.”

The comments echo those from rival

Home Depot Inc.,

which in August posted its strongest quarterly sales growth in nearly 20 years, saying the home had never been more important to consumers than during the pandemic.

IKEA said online sales grew 60% and now make up 18% of the company’s overall revenue, up from 11% a year ago.

To meet surging online demand, IKEA repurposed its stores to act as fulfillment centers, rolled out click-and-collect at new locations and offered drive-through collection.

It also acquired Geomagical Labs, a startup whose imaging technology allows consumers to decorate and furnish 3-D representations of their homes. In China, IKEA began making its products available on

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

’s Tmall online marketplace—the first time they were sold on a third-party online platform.

IKEA said it had benefited from efforts under way before the pandemic to make its products more accessible to people living far away from its stores or who may not have the means to travel to them. Those include opening smaller, city-center stores and investing in improving its online delivery and click-and-collect services. Mr. Brodin said such efforts “suddenly became a survival line” once Covid-19 hit.

However, IKEA ran into trouble in the U.S., where online customers complained of struggling to place, track and receive orders. The company also said it had been caught off guard by level of demand, resulting in some products being temporarily unavailable.

In response, IKEA said it was working to make more products and speed up the time it takes to get these to stores.

Mr. Brodin said he expects people’s focus on their homes to continue, with the company forecasting sales for both

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Mnuchin Sees One More Chance for Stimulus, as House Readies Vote

(Bloomberg) — U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he sees “one more serious try” at securing a deal with Congress on another fiscal stimulus package and suggested he’ll offer Democrats a proposal for roughly $1.5 trillion in pandemic relief.

Mnuchin said Wednesday on CNBC that the administration’s counter-offer to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is similar to a plan put forward by a bipartisan group of House members — which included an escalation in spending up to $2 trillion if the coronavirus pandemic persists. That’s still short of a $2.2 trillion relief package that Democrats unveiled Monday and are preparing to bring to a House vote.

Mnuchin said he hopes to have an “understanding” worked out by Thursday.

Pelosi has asked Democrats to deliver a “strong vote” for the party’s latest package, which is smaller than the $3.4 trillion they passed in May but rejected by Republicans. In a letter to colleagues, she described it a “proffer” in talks. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told fellow Democrats Wednesday his intention is to send the bill to the floor Wednesday or Thursday if there is no deal with Mnuchin.

Mnuchin and Pelosi will talk Wednesday afternoon, the Treasury chief said. Renewed optimism on the potential for a compromise saw U.S. stocks open to gains, after futures had earlier tipped another down day.

“Whether we get this fiscal deal done or we don’t, I am confident we will continue to have economic growth and rebound,” Mnuchin said. “I’m confident we can get something done, and if we don’t, we will come back and work on it after the election.”



Nancy Pelosi wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: House Speaker Pelosi Holds Weekly News Conference


© Bloomberg
House Speaker Pelosi Holds Weekly News Conference

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Photographer: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg

He also underscored that more support for airlines is critical, as carriers face the risk of a wave of layoffs. Mnuchin said that he doesn’t expect a stand-alone bill for airline aid, and that he’ll update top executives on the talks after he confers with Pelosi.

The negotiations between the Trump administration and congressional Democrats are at a critical juncture. Either Pelosi can cut a deal with the White House or the Democratic-led House will vote on her $2.2 trillion plan without Republican support, allowing members leave town for pre-election campaigning.

If no deal is reached, Democrats could vote by Thursday. Timing will depend on the result of Pelosi’s talks with Mnuchin. House Republican leaders have already rejected the proposal.

While the legislative text adds clarity to the Democratic offer, the top-line spending level is no closer to what Republicans say they’ll support. President Donald Trump has indicated he could agree to as much as $1.5 trillion in aid — but even that is more than the $650 billion put forth in a “skinny” aid package by Senate Republicans earlier this month.

Officials in both parties privately questioned whether the differences could be bridged. Pessimism about reaching a deal was one of the factors that helped push stocks lower on Tuesday. Private economists have increasingly abandoned

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Prairie House sees 6 new employee coronavirus cases

Published


Six more cases of the coronavirus were reported among employees at the Prairie House Living Center in Plainview.

According to the latest numbers provided by the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, which were last updated on Sept. 3, Prairie House has reported 27 total cases of the virus among its employees. Six of those cases were still active through Sept. 3.

Ten of the 58 total reported cases among residents were active through the latest reporting day. Fifteen residents have died and 32 have recovered from the virus in the facility.


The Plainview Healthcare Center had no active cases of the virus with 19 total reported cases.

No active cases were reported for Castro, Floyd or Swisher County nursing facilities as of Sept. 3.

Zero cases of the virus have been reported at either Beehive Homes of Plainview or Santa Fe Place as of the latest reporting date.



The Beehive Homes of Shepherd’s Meadow in Floydada had 12 total active cases of the virus – seven among employees and five among residents.

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