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Tuesday notes

Apr 21, 2020 By Steven R. Peck, Publisher

Tuesday notes

Appealing April

We still are early enough into the warmer-weather months in Wyoming that it's possible to identify the nicest weather day of the year so far.

Monday was it. Sunny, calm, dry, warm, greening. Beautiful.

Better yet, we're do for more of the same for most of the next two weeks, if forecasters are reading Mother Nature's tea leaves correctly. The one interloper could be Thursday or Friday, but the interruption won't last much more than a day.

Newspaper housekeeping

In order to conserve paper during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which has affected production at the paper mill that supplies us, we are continuing this week with our "online Thursday" publishing schedule.

Thursday's Ranger, dated April 23, will not be published on paper, but will be posted instead at 4 p.m. that day at our established website: dailyranger.com.

Access will be free of charge for 24 hours.

Frunday

In the same vein, we will be publishing one so-called "Frunday edition" each month through September. The next of those comes this weekend, when our regular Friday and Sunday papers will be combined in one edition to be printed Friday afternoon. It will contain the Sunday comics, coupons, circulars, news quiz and other regular Sunday features.

We don't like these concessions to the business downturn forced upon us by the virus outbreak, but they are necessary during these difficult circumstances that are affecting almost everyone.

Per barrel

How bad was the news from the global oil market Monday? So bad that the odd combination of factors related to market changes and the mathematical means of figuring the price of oil morphed in such a way that the calculated price fell to less than zero.

No, it doesn't mean Exxon-Mobil will be paying us to fill our gas tanks, but it does mean this cornerstone industry of the world's economy is reeling right now.

Wyoming will feel the pain. More to come on this issue in a day or two.

Aspen Avenue standoff

It turned out that the initial account of last Wednesday's tense and, ultimately, fatal standoff in east Riverton wasn't exactly the way things happened. Significant details of the incident that eventually took the life of James Hinman of Riverton were changed after early reporting had taken place.

It's not all that unusual forinitial accounts of an emergency response to change once the facts and timeline are examined from all sides and in greater detail.

This often is what happens -- and some minor changes are no big deal if those changes are in the interest of accuracy as an investigation goes on.

Just for the record, though, The Ranger's initial report of the shooting came from the Riverton Police Department -- just as the revised one did on Friday.

DJ 100

Never before in our five investments experiments dating to the early part of the new century has there been a wild period such as the one happening now. Within the past few weeks the Dow Jones Industrial Average and its sister indexes have seen their biggest crash in history-- followed by some of the greatest upsurges ever recorded.

On balance, the markets still are stunningly lower than they were at the end of February, and it's hard to see how the ongoing coronavirus crisis and accompanying economic stress (see "oil," above) could permit any kind of sustained rally for a while.

As for our continuing exercise called DJ 100, it's still far below where it started last August, when we invited readers to join us in pretending to invest $100 in a simple Dow index fund and leave it alone through election day later this year.

Here's the update: Had you actually put $100 in a DJIA index fund on Aug. 6

and left it untouched since then, as of Tuesday morning it would have been worth$91.55, up 99 cents from we week earlier.

Stay sensible

Remember, the experts largely have been proved right on the coronavirus. First, they predicted seriousness of the outbreak, and the corresponding danger. Second, they predicted the pandemic could be lessened if we did the right, smart things. They've been right about both.

Let's keep listening to the public health experts. The last thing we'd want is to take the brakes off too early and have to go through all of this again.

Here's to a good week.

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2020-05-28

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