Author Archive for ilene

Lighten the Darkness

 

Lighten the Darkness

How dark money is subverting democracy in the UK.

By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 17th May 2017 (Dark money is pushing democracy in the UK over the edge)

How is this acceptable? A multimillionaire City asset manager has pledged to spend up to £700,000 on ousting Labour MPs who campaigned against Brexit. Jeremy Hosking will use his money to ensure that there is as little parliamentary opposition to a hard Brexit as possible. Why should multimillionaires be allowed to try to buy political results?

Allowed? That’s too soft a word. It is enabled by our pathetic, antiquated and anti-democratic rules on political spending. Hosking claims he wants to secure “the sovereign future of this independent-minded democracy”. But there is no greater threat to sovereignty, independence or democracy than the power money wields over our politics.

There are three categories of concern here. The first is transparent political funding, such as Hosking’s. Then there is opaque funding, that the Electoral Commission has so far failed to prevent: a shocking example has been uncovered by Peter Geoghegan and Adam Ramsay of openDemocracy.

We already know that a vast payment was made by Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist party (DUP) for a newspaper advertisement urging people to vote for Brexit. Remarkably, this ad was not circulated in Northern Ireland, but only in England and Scotland.

This might suggest that someone was making use of Northern Ireland’s secrecy regime. Political donations there remain hidden from view. Funders wishing to disguise their identities can use Northern Ireland as a back channel into UK politics. After sustained pressure, the DUP revealed that the money came from a donation of £425,622, passed through an organisation called the Constitutional Research Council.

But the original source remains a mystery. Though electoral law in Great Britain states that “a donation of more than £500 cannot be accepted … if the donation is from a source that cannot be identified”, the DUP claims that it doesn’t need to know who provided this money. All we know about the Constitutional Research Council is that it’s run by a man called Richard Cook, who lives in a small house outside Glasgow. He…
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Fun with Dow Stocks!

 

Fun with Dow Stocks!

Courtesy of Joshua Brown

This past week was the anniversary of Charles Dow’s creation of his Dow Jones Industrial Average in 1896. Love it or hate it, the average has persisted for some 120 years as our most popular gauge of the health of Corporate America.

The original index was comprised of just 12 stocks, many of which were railroad companies – the tech stocks of their day. The first big change to the index came in 1916 when it was expanded, and then again in 1928. There was a major replacement of component companies in 1932 during the Depression. In 1997, stalwarts Bethlehem Steel, Westinghouse Electric, Woolworth and Texaco were replaced with Johnson & Johnson, Wal-Mart, Hewlett-Packard and Travelers, to better reflect the world we live in today.

Just for fun, I send you now over to this great interactive graphic from the Wall Street Journal. You can trace all of the ins and outs of the DJIA and even trace the history of inclusion on a company basis.

Have a blast!

The Ins and Outs of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (WSJ)





Investigating Trends in Median Home Prices: When Did Price Acceleration Start?

Courtesy of Mish.

Fed Chairs Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen re-blew the Alan Greenspan initiated housing bubble.

However, the trend towards higher and higher home prices started well before that dynamic trio made a mess of everything.

The following picture shows the true origin of escalating home prices.

Median Home Prices 1963-Present

To be fair, homes have gotten larger, with more features, better windows, etc. However, it is safe to say the explosion in credit that started when Nixon closed the gold window, ending convertibility of dollars for gold accounts, coupled with inane policies of the last three Fed Chairs accounts for nearly all of the price acceleration.

However, it is safe to say the explosion in credit that started when Nixon closed the gold window, ending convertibility of dollars for gold accounts, coupled with inane policies of the last three Fed Chairs accounts for nearly all of the price acceleration.

Real Homes of Genius

Dr. Housing Bubble provides an excellent example in Real Homes of Genius, including pictures of tiny homes listed for close to $500,000 in the Los Angeles area.


Continue reading here…





Saudi Arabia To Trim Oil Exports To US To Force Inventories Lower

Courtesy of Zainab Calcuttawala, OilPrice.com

Riyadh plans to purposely reduce exports to the United States to force a reduction in the latter’s sizeable inventories, which are preventing a greater rise in global oil prices, according to Saudi Oil Minister Khalid Al-Falih.

Just one day after OPEC announced a nine-month extension to its November production cut deal, the top oil official told reporters on Friday that “exports to the U.S. will drop measurably.”

Two sources close to the matter told Bloomberg that starting next month, Saudi crude supplies to American importers will be reduced to below one million barrels a day next month – a 15 percent decrease from the monthly average so far in 2017.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) deal does not set limits on the amount any member country can export to its customers. This is why Saudi cargoes to the U.S. in recent months have totaled 1.21 million barrels a day – the highest rates since 2014, the year of the oil price crash. As the de facto leader and largest producer of OPEC, Saudi Arabia has cut its production the most of any member of the bloc. But stubbornly high fossil fuel inventories – which have been maintained worldwide, but are most readily measured in the U.S. due to open customs data – have prevented the measures from buttressing oil prices in a lasting way. Importer nations have opted to take advantage of low oil prices to stock up for the future.

The Energy Information Administration reports that American crude inventories have been on a downward trajectory in recent weeks, so the lower shipments may have a magnified impact as they are doled out.

Bloomberg also noted that Saudi Arabia generally has less oil to supply to the U.S. in summer months due to amplified domestic demand for cooling needs during the scorching desert summer.





The Deep State

 

What is "The Deep State"? According to Wikipedia, "The concept of a deep state is that there exists a coordinated effort by career government employees and others to influence state policy without regard for democratically elected leadership." Originally, the term referred to entrenched shadow governments of countries like Turkey and Russia.

Conspiracy theorists and Trump supporters often use "deep state," with conspiratorial undertones, to refer to intelligence officers and government officials who use covert tactics, such as leaking information, to undermine the president (or control the world, depending on the purpose). 

In the article below, David Brin discusses the concept of "deep state" and how the term has been co-opted by Trump and the far-right to malign "every profession in U.S. society that deals in facts and knowledge." 

The Deep State

Courtesy of David BrinContrary Brin

[David Brin is an astrophysicist whose international best-selling novels include The PostmanEarth, and Existence. Dr. Brin serves on advisory boards (e.g. NASA's Innovative and Advanced Concepts program or NIAC) and speaks or consults on a wide range of topics. David Brin's nonfiction book about the information age – The Transparent Society – won the Freedom of Speech Award of the American Library Association.]

"Deep State" is a buzz phrase being used by the confederacy to explain the hostility they face, from every profession in U.S. society that deals in facts and knowledge. Their narrative is that these professions — the same ones that were maligned for decades in right wing media, from science, teaching, economics, skilled labor and journalism to the civil service, law professionals, medical doctors and judges — have colluded to create a truth-bending, Orwellian cabal. And now, note two of the last knowledge castes have been added — members of the Intelligence Community (IC) and the U.S. Military Officer Corps (MOC).  

This Deep State – the story goes – has been responsible for both liberal tyranny and American decline from greatness. (See Is Michael Flynn the first casualty of a “deep state” coup? It’s not unthinkable.) 

Never mind that these are the same professions that empowered the great burst of creativity and invention and entrepreneurial drive that multiplied our wealth a…
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Manchester, or Innocence Long Lost

Courtesy of The Automatic Earth



Herbert Draper Lament for Icarus 1898

There are times when you have to talk about things when it appears most inopportune to do so because they’re the only times people might listen. Times when people will argue that ‘this is not the right moment’, may be the only moment.

A solid 99% of people will have been filled, and rightly so of course, with a mixture of disgust, disbelief and infinite sadness when hearing of yet another attack on civilians in Europe, this one in Manchester. [But many may] have failed to recognize that while the event was unique for the city of Manchester, it was by no means unique for the world, not even at the time it happened.

Though the footage of parents desperately trying to find their children, and the news that one of the dead was just 8 years old, touches everyone in more or less the same place in our hearts, by far most of us miss out on the next logical step. In a wider perspective, it is easy to see that parents crying for missing children, and children killed in infancy, connects Manchester, and the UK, and Europe, to parents in Syria, Libya, Iraq.

What’s different between these places is not the suffering or the outrage, the mourning or the despair, what’s different is only the location on the map. That and the frequency with which terror is unleashed upon a given population. But just because it happens all the time in other places doesn’t make it more normal or acceptable.

It’s the exact same thing, the exact same experience, and still a vast majority of people don’t, choose not to, feel it as such. Which is curious when you think about it. In the aftermath of a terror attack, the mother of a missing, maimed or murdered child undergoes the same heartbreak no matter where they are in the world (“I hope the Russians love their children too”). But the empathy, the compassion, is hardly acknowledged in Britain, let alone shared.

Not that it couldn’t be. Imagine that our papers and TV channels would tell us, preferably repeatedly, in their reports in the wake of an attack like the one in Manchester how eerily…
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Ben Carlson on Market Breadth

 

Ben Carlson on Market Breadth (Video)

Courtesy of Joshua Brown, The Reformed Broker

Ben had a hit on Bloomberg TV last night talking about his recent piece on market breadth and why it’s perfectly normal to see the market being led higher by some very big winning stocks. His research shows that this is always the case during bull markets and that broader measures of the internals are healthy, not sick.

Check this out:

…and you can read his expanded thoughts on the topic here:

A Few Big Stocks Don’t Tell the Whole Market Story (Bloomberg View) 





Chicago Population Shrinks Most of Any City in US

Courtesy of Mish.

Illinoisans continue their exodus, with Chicago having the dubious distinction of the highest population loss in the nation.

High taxes are the number one reason people and businesses leave the state.

What follows is a guest post by Michael Lucci, Vice President of Policy, Illinois Policy Institute.

CHICAGO ONLY MAJOR U.S. CITY TO LOSE POPULATION FROM 2015 TO 2016

The majority of major cities in Illinois are shrinking as the Land of Lincoln depopulates due to massive out-migration to other states.

But while most of Illinois’ cities and towns are continuing to shrink, the majority of cities and towns in Illinois’ bordering states are growing, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.


When Illinoisans are polled on why they are leaving, taxes are the No. 1 reason they cite. Yet Illinois politicians continue to raise taxes, showing that political leaders have not yet heard the message of the state’s residents.

Chicago shrank more than any other U.S. city, but Berwyn, Cicero and Peoria are shrinking faster on a per capita basis

Chicago’s population declined by 8,638 people from July 2015 to July 2016, a larger loss than any other major American city. Illinois has 29 cities with 50,000 people or more, and 21 of those cities also shrank in total size.


Continue reading here…





Why Montana just elected Greg Gianforte, a man charged with assault, to Congress

 

Why Montana just elected Greg Gianforte, a man charged with assault, to Congress

Courtesy of Lee Banville, The University of Montana

Until just about 24 hours before the polls closed, the race for Montana’s sole congressional seat seemed to be focused on health care, Donald Trump and gun rights. Republican businessman Greg Gianforte appeared to be headed for a likely victory in the race against another political newcomer, musician and Democrat Rob Quist. The Conversation

Then came Wednesday night.

As most people seem to now know, Gianforte lashed out at Ben Jacobs of the Guardian when the reporter pressed him for his stand on the House Republican health care proposal. Jacobs’ phone was recording audio that has since ricocheted around the internet.


Within 24 hours nearly one million people had watched the YouTube video posted of the audio – a total about equal to the entire population of Montana.

The result was a firestorm of media coverage and social media bile. And yet Thursday night Montana elected the millionaire software entrepreneur and the nation was left to ask: Why?

Well, as a former political reporter and someone who wrote an encyclopedia about the media and politics (and, yes, I didn’t know people did that, either), I will try to explain what happened under the Big Sky.

Voting early often

Key to the Gianforte win is one simple fact: The incident came after some 250,000 Montanans had already cast ballots in the race. That means 69 percent of voters ended up casting their ballots before the assault. In fact, Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock had pressed for the entire vote to be done by mail, in an effort to reduce costs and potentially increase voter turnout.

Republicans, led by the state party chairman and legislator Jeff Essmann, fought the measure and in the end, the state opened polling places on Thursday. This created the opportunity for voters to weigh in on Gianforte’s behavior.

One of the big questions was: Had too many people already cast their ballots? Unlike some states, Montana does not allow people to change their minds or retract their votes after they are…
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Dueling GDP Estimates: GDPNow vs. FRBNY Nowcast

Courtesy of Mish.

Both the Atlanta Fed GDPNow and the New York Fed Nowcast updated their models today. Let’s take a look at where they stand for second-quarter GDP.

GDPNow Latest forecast: 3.7 percent — May 26, 2017

GDPNow 2nd Quarter Evolution

Nowcast Latest forecast: 2.2 percent — May 26, 2017

Nowcast Highlights

  • The New York Fed Staff Nowcast stands at 2.2% for 2017:Q2.
  • News from this week’s data releases reduced the nowcast for 2017:Q2 by 0.1 percentage point as the positive impact from wholesale inventories data was more than offset by the negative impact from the advance durable goods report and new home sales data.

Mish Estimate?

I have no estimate yet, other than to suggest GDPNow is way too high and Nowcast is likely high as well.


Continue reading here…





 
 
 

Phil's Favorites

Market Moving News

 

Financial Markets and Economy

Oversold: Oil traders punish OPEC for promising too much (Reuters)

VIENNA As OPEC's latest meeting wrapped up in Vienna on Thursday night, ministers congratulated each other on its rare spirit of amity and consensus. The talks were, without a doubt, a success.

Here’s what Trump’s head of the FDA wants to do about high drug prices (Business Insider)

Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb has a plan to tackle high drug prices. 

"Simply put, too many patients are priced out of the medicines they need," Gottli...



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ValueWalk

Student debt rose to a record $1.44T in March, ~$33K per borrower, over double the level in 08

By The Conversation. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Poor and middle-income families need a better way than 529s to save for college Rilsonav / Pixabay

Robert H. Scott III, Monmouth University and Steven Pressman, Colorado State University

A college education is increasingly necessary for su...



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Zero Hedge

Believing The Russian "Hacking" Claim

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by David Swanson via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Government lies are common when seducing a population to support a war, but the Russian “hacking” claims are unusual in that U.S. officials supply no evidence while the “fact” is just assumed,

When the U.S. public was told that Spain had blown up the Maine, or Vietnam h...



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Digital Currencies

Visualizing The Expanding Universe Of Cryptocurrencies

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

Bitcoin is the original cryptocurrency, and its meteoric rise has made it a mainstay of conversation for investors, media, and technologists alike.

In fact, as Visual Capitalist's Jeff Desjardins details, the innovation of the blockchain is changing entire markets, while causing ripples with central banks and the financial industry. At time of publication, the bitcoin price now hovers near US$2,200, a massive increase from this time last year.

But the true impact of Bitcoin is actually far more reaching than this – it’s a...



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Market News

Market Moving News

 

Financial Markets and Economy

Hedge Fund Billionaire Paul Singer: If Trump Agenda Fails, a Recession Could Follow (Fortune)

Market watchers who thought the stock market would drop if Donald Trump were elected were burned following his win: markets rose to new highs instead.

U.S. inflation path since 2012 is worrisome, policymaker says (Reuters)

The current level of U.S. prices is noticeably lower than what it would be if the Federal Reserve had delivered on its 2-percent inflation target, St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said, calling the trend "worrisome."

...



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Chart School

S&P Breakout on Higher Volume Accumulation

Courtesy of Declan.

While I expected the Dow Jones to be the breakout flyer, instead it was the S&P which led the charge on higher volume accumulation.  Technicals are all in the green with a return of the MACD trigger 'buy'.



The Dow did manage to break past 21,000 with a MACD trigger 'buy' but it's still contained by all-time high resistance at 21,200. The index is still well positioned for a larger breakout, but this is the sixth day of consecutive gains for the index so some pullback can be expe...

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Members' Corner

Robert Sapolsky: The biology of our best and worst selves

Interesting discussion of what affects our behavior. 

Description: "How can humans be so compassionate and altruistic — and also so brutal and violent? To understand why we do what we do, neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky looks at extreme context, examining actions on timescales from seconds to millions of years before they occurred. In this fascinating talk, he shares his cutting edge research into the biology that drives our worst and best behaviors."

Robert Sapolsky: The biology of our best and worst selves

Filmed April 2017 at TED 2017

 

p.s. Roger (on Facebook) saw this talk and recommends the book ...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of May 22nd, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Biotech

Beyond just promise, CRISPR is delivering in the lab today

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Beyond just promise, CRISPR is delivering in the lab today

Courtesy of Ian HaydonUniversity of Washington

Precision editing DNA allows for some amazing applications. Ian Haydon, CC BY-ND

There’s a revolution happening in biology, and its name is CRISPR.

CRISPR (pronounced “crisper”) is a powerful technique for editing DNA. It has received an enormous amount of attention in the scientific and popular press, largely based on the promise of what this powerful gene e...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Brazil; Waterfall in prices starting? Impact U.S.?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Below looks at the Brazil ETF (EWZ) over the last decade. The rally over the past year has it facing a critical level, from a Power of the Pattern perspective.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

EWZ is facing dual resistance at (1), while in a 9-year down trend of lower highs and lower lows. The counter trend rally over the past 17-months has it testing key falling resistance. Did the counter trend reflation rally just end at dual resistance???

If EWZ b...



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Mapping The Market

Bombing - Right or Wrong?

Courtesy of Jean-Luc

I am telling you Angel – makes no sense… BTW:

Republicans Love Bombing, But Only When a Republican Does It

By Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

A few days ago I noted that Republican views of the economy changed dramatically when Donald Trump was elected, but Democratic views stayed pretty stable. Apparently Republicans view the economy through a partisan lens but Democrats don't.

Are there other examples of this? Yes indeed. Jeff Stein points to polling data about air strikes against Syria:

Democr...



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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

·       How 2017 Will Affect Oil, the US Dollar and the European Union

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: Harlan is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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FeedTheBull - Top Stock market and Finance Sites



About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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