Good morning, it's Paul here with the placeholder article for Thursday morning's readers comments.

Estimated timings today - should be mostly done by 1pm, but I expect to carry on until c.3pm. Edit at 13:52 - I'm going to leave it there for today. Today's report is now finished.

Lockdown - this is starting to become tiresome, but I understand the need for it. I'm going to have to dodge the over-zealous megaphone wielding rozzers, and get some exercise this weekend. A month of lockdown has meant an expanding waistline, driven by too frequent deliveries from Dominos pizza, and too much ice cream. We'll certainly be a nation of bloaters once this is all over.

Italian tech - one news item which amused me, was that an Italian Govt website for people to claim support money, crashed due to a huge surge in online applications. This prompted the website Pornhub to offer its technical expertise to the Italian Govt, since Pornhub's servers were also experiencing an unprecedented rise in traffic but had managed to continue operating as normal. It seems that Italians are using the lockdown to do more than just eat pizza!

US markets - I can't believe how much the US market has rallied. I think in terms of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, just because it's what I'm used to over the last 20 years. This peaked around 29,500 earlier this year. It then plummeted to about 18,500 in the coronavirus sell-off. It's now about 23,500. That's an 11,000 point drop, followed by a 5,000 point recovery - almost half! That makes no sense to me whatsoever, when reports from the US are that the country is in economic meltdown - something which could take a long time to recover from.

It may be the case that CV-19 is getting close to a peak, and that some economic activity may be able to resume (end May, perhaps?). What worries me is the unprecedented economic damage that the shutdown is going to leave behind. Can bureaucratic, poorly designed, rushed, Government schemes get money out there quickly enough? When have civil services ever managed to get massive projects done fast & efficiently? Never. When you think through the enormity of the UK schemes, where the Govt is basically paying the payrolls for vast numbers of companies, it's impossible to imagine how such a scheme could be administered effectively. I…

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