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Markets are building on yesterday’s big rally… risk appetite is higher as investors focus on huge central bank stimulus coupled with the easing of the pandemic, while turning a blind eye to rising U.S.-China tensions.  This morning the European Commission seems to have made a major step forward in fighting the downturn by proposing €500 billion in grants to member states hardest hit by the outbreak and a further €250 billion in loans.  Japan is also set to unveil a new stimulus package worth more than $1 trillion, its second such measure in a month. Additional stimulus in the US is still on hold, but New York City is seeking authority to borrow as much as $7 billion to make up for the revenue lost due to the pandemic. (Bloomberg)
 
U.S. ambitions to reclaim independence as a spacefaring nation will be on display this afternoon as astronauts - Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken - are sent into space from American soil for the first time since 2011. SpaceX's Crew Dragon beat Boeing's Starliner to the finish line for today's afternoon liftoff in a chance to become the first private company to fly humans into orbit. Besides NASA's Commercial Crew program, the mission to the ISS could herald an upcoming era of space travel in which private businesses ferry humans to low-Earth orbit and beyond. (SA)
 
It’s not as if the coronavirus pandemic has gone away, but after a sharp pullback, homebuyers are now piling back into the housing market much faster than expected. Mortgage applications to purchase a home rose 9% last week from the previous week and from a year earlier, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s index.  It was the sixth straight week of gains and a 54% recovery since early April.
 

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Josh Fenili

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