Dallas Federal Reserve President Robert Kaplan said on Thursday he sees no need to expand the central bank’s asset purchases to bolster the economic recovery and instead signaled support for winding stimulus down when the coronavirus crisis eases.

“I’d be skeptical about the benefits of doing more,” Kaplan told Bloomberg Radio. Long-term interest rates are already low, and trying to push them down further by adding to the $120 billion in bonds the Fed is already purchasing each month would do little to help the real economy.

CORONAVIRUS WILL DICTATE U.S. ECONOMY’S PATH: FED’S WILLIAMS

Kaplan added “the bond-buying needs to curtail, the Fed balance sheet growth needs to curtail,” when the crisis starts to lapse.

“I don’t think it’s healthy for the markets to be addicted, or too reliant, on Fed presence … it engenders fragilities.”

Robert Kaplan, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, is seen in Ruston, La., April 11, 2016. (Getty Images)

That view may be unpopular with investors, who have come to see the Fed’s balance sheet as expanding without limits even as Congress and the White House have reached an impasse on fiscal stimulus.

The Fed has bought about $3 trillion in bonds since the start of the crisis to help stabilize financial markets and boost the economy, and has pledged since June to continue to buy “at least” at its current pace for the coming months. Some investors see that language as signaling a readiness to expand its $7.1 trillion balance sheet at an even faster clip to further support the economy.

It’s unclear how widely shared Kaplan’s desire to limit the expansion of bond buying is, but several of his colleagues have also addressed

Lowe’s Companies Inc. LOW has been recognizing the efforts of its frontline workers, who have worked tirelessly during the pandemic, through special payments and bonuses. In April, the company scaled up the payment for full-time, part-time and seasonal associates by $2 per hour. Taking this further, it has now committed to pay an additional $100 million of discretionary bonuses to its frontline hourly workers across U.S. stores, distribution centers and store support centers.

The company plans to pay $300 to all full-time hourly associates and $150 for the part-time and seasonal associates. The bonus will be distributed to all associates in the United States on Oct 16. This will match the payments of all hourly associates in March, May, July and August.

So far amid the pandemic, the company has provided more than $675 million in incremental financial support to associates. With the payment of the aforementioned additional bonus, its total commitment for associates and communities during the pandemic reaches more than $775 million.

Additionally, in a separate release, Lowe’s Canada revealed plans to reward frontline workers with additional discretionary bonuses. The company stated that all eligible full-time and part-time associates at Lowe’s, RONA or Reno-Depot corporate stores, contact centers, and supply-chain facilities in Canada will receive the aforementioned bonuses in the latter half of October. This is incremental to the discretionary bonus paid in March and August as well as the special premium wage of $2 per hour paid in April, May, June and July.

Apart from this, Lowe’s Canada revealed that it plans to hire more than 650 people for various positions in Quebec, including more than 625 full-time and part-time regular jobs at RONA and Reno-Depot corporate stores, and about 30 positions at the Boucherville distribution center. The positions offered are that of Sales Specialists, Lumber Yard

Re-Affirms Plan to File IND Application by the End of 1Q21, Begin Phase 1 Study in Early 2Q21

Oragenics, Inc. (NYSE American: OGEN) (“Oragenics” or the “Company”) announced receipt of feedback to its Type B Pre-IND Meeting Request from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) that it is in broad agreement with the Company’s planned approach to clinical development of its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, Terra CoV-2. As a result, the Company believes its timelines for both filing an Investigational New Drug (“IND”) application and the commencement of the Phase 1 study will proceed on schedule. Oragenics expects to file the IND by the end of the first quarter of 2021 and commence patient enrollment in the Phase 1 clinical study early in the second quarter of 2021.

“We are very pleased with the FDA’s response to our Type B Pre-IND meeting request as it permits us to maintain an aggressive development timeline for our Terra CoV-2 vaccine,” said Alan Joslyn, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Oragenics. “Important points that are supportive of our planned approach received favorable feedback.”

Dr. Joslyn added, “The FDA’s response is an important step as we work to provide a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 that is focused on the stabilized prefusion spike protein, with a potential profile that may include lifetime immunity to COVID-19, and storage and distribution at refrigerated temperatures. We believe the commercial opportunity for Terra CoV-2 is robust, and that our vaccine will find its place in the global fight against this deadly virus.”

The FDA has requested additional preclinical animal data for inclusion in the IND filing and plans to provide final comments upon reviewing that data and the Phase 1 trial protocol. Oragenics believes that generating the additional data will not impede the overall development timeline.

About Terra CoV-2

In

Dina Helen Essoka (right) launched her private security business last year, finding it difficult to secure a loan to cover the start-up costs. During COVID-19, she continues to struggle as the CEBA loan is unable to cover the costs of employing staff.
Dina Helen Essoka (right) launched her private security business last year, finding it difficult to secure a loan to cover the start-up costs. During COVID-19, she continues to struggle as the CEBA loan is unable to cover the costs of employing staff.

On any given day, Dina Helen Essoka balances a corporation dealing in both private security services and African food products. Essoka described a challenging debut for the business created just last year, finding difficulty in securing funding to cover the start-up costs. Essoka relied on her own out-of-pocket funds and soon, the business found its footing.  

“It was going really well until the pandemic came in,” Essoka told Yahoo Finance Canada, “Then everything just went down completely because I couldn’t have anybody come in anymore to pick up [foodstuff] and even the construction sites that we had promises to provide security services for had stopped work.”

Essoka was able to take advantage of the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), though she explained how the funding was insufficient for her to employ staff. This left her doing most of the work by herself and covering the costs of moving her food business to an e-commerce platform. In the face of a second wave in Canada’s major cities, costs like PPE and plexiglass are added expenses that businesses like Essoka’s will have to fund.

The federal supports for Black business owners, including a $53 million National Ecosystem Fund and Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund providing loans between $25,000 and $250,000, announced at the beginning of September give Essoka optimism.

“I will personally benefit from that because honestly it’s not been easy as a Black business owner,” Essoka said. “I think I have had some kind of restriction as a Black business owner. I’ve had several cases where I will be

By Robert Hughes

Personal income fell 2.7 percent in August, according to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Personal income data over the past six months have been sharply distorted by lockdown policies which caused massive layoffs, and government stimulus programs that sent transfer payments skyrocketing. As those payments fade, measures of personal income and components are returning to trend.

Disposable personal income fell 3.2 percent after a 0.3 percent increase in July. The personal savings rate fell in August, coming in at 14.1 percent of disposable income following rates down from 17.7 percent in July and a peak of 33.6 percent in April (see first chart).

The drop in personal income consisted, in part, of a 1.3 percent increase in wages and salaries. Wages and salaries, which typically account for about half of personal income, rose as some employees went back to work after lockdown policies were eased. However, wages and salaries are still down 3.9 percent since February (see second chart). Supplements to wages and salaries (primarily employer contributions to pension and insurance funds and government social-insurance programs) which typically account for another 12 percent of personal income also posted a gain, rising 0.8 percent in August but are still down 2.1 percent from February.

Proprietors’ income jumped 2.7 percent for the month following a 1.2 percent rise in July while income on assets (interest and dividends) rose 0.2 percent in the latest month. Since February, these two components are still off 5.7 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively (see second chart).

Personal transfer payments fell 14.8 percent in August, the fourth consecutive decline after a massive 100.5 percent gain in April. Personal tax payments rose 1.3 percent in August, leaving disposable income with a drop of 3.2 percent. Since February, transfer payments are still up 29.9 percent