Author Archive for ilene

Neil deGrasse Tyson on the impact of climate change

 

Neil deGrasse Tyson on the impact of climate change

 





Can cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin survive scrutiny from central banks?

 

Can cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin survive scrutiny from central banks?

Courtesy of Nafis AlamUniversity of Reading

File 20170918 8258 11gwwar

William Potter/Shutterstock

The future of money looks very different in the world of cryptocurrencies. There is a growing consensus among businesses, investors and countries (Venezuela in particular) that these alternative forms of online money are going to dominate payments in the next decade. There may be agreement on the potential, but quite how regulators and central banks will respond is still up in the air.

The combined market value of all cryptocurrencies in circulation reached US$170 billion by the end of August 2017, 850% higher than at the beginning of the year, according to CoinMarketCap, a leading cryptocoin prices and market capitalisation tracker website. It is no surprise that this kind of growth sparked much hand-wringing among regulators and central banks, who are still undecided whether cryptocurrencies should be classified as a commodity, an asset or a form of currency.

That might seem like an odd discussion to be having. But one of the basic functions of currency is to facilitate transactions in a timely manner. And to protect the security of the blockchain (the technology behind cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin), the processing of Bitcoin transactions is sometimes very slow.

Due to restrictions on the limit of Bitcoin transactions which can be completed in a day, it may take a few days to complete a single transaction, rendering the cryptocurrency unable to fulfil the basic function of money at times. Private blockchains can speed up transactions but they are not popular and availability is limited.

In the chain gang? NicoElNino/Shutterstock

Money worries

The call to better regulate cryptocurrency gained momentum after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) issued a staff discussion note stating that banks should consider investing in cryptocurrencies:

Rapid advances in digital technology are transforming the financial services landscape, creating opportunities and challenges for consumers, service providers and regulators alike.

Any wholesale adoption by the banking sector would clearly establish a huge market for cryptocurrencies, but the traffic isn’t moving entirely…
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Balance Sheet Reduction Starts October: Like “Watching Paint Dry”

Courtesy of Mish.

As expected the Fed will begin balance sheet reduction in October. The Fed penned in one more rate hike in December as its FOMC statement shows the hurricanes will have no lasting effect on anything.

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria have devastated many communities, inflicting severe hardship. Storm-related disruptions and rebuilding will affect economic activity in the near term, but past experience suggests that the storms are unlikely to materially alter the course of the national economy over the medium term.

Higher prices for gasoline and some other items in the aftermath of the hurricanes will likely boost inflation temporarily; apart from that effect, inflation on a 12-month basis is expected to remain somewhat below 2 percent in the near term but to stabilize around the Committee’s 2 percent objective over the medium term. Near-term risks to the economic outlook appear roughly balanced, but the Committee is monitoring inflation developments closely.

The Committee expects that economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant gradual increases in the federal funds rate; the federal funds rate is likely to remain, for some time, below levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run. However, the actual path of the federal funds rate will depend on the economic outlook as informed by incoming data.

In October, the Committee will initiate the balance sheet normalization program described in the June 2017 Addendum to the Committee’s Policy Normalization Principles and Plans.

Dot Plot Shows One More Hike

For the rest of the year, the Dot Plot shows four FOMC participants expect no more hikes, one expects two more hikes, and eleven expect one more hike.

Dot Plot April 2017

In April,  7 participants thought rates would be 2.25% or higher by the end of 2018. Today,  only 5 participants think so. The top expectation for 2018 was 3.25% to 3.5%, today it’s 2.5% to 2.75%.

In April, the top expectation for 2018 was 3.25% to 3.5%. Today it’s 2.5% to 2.75%.

Watching Paint Dry


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De Facto State of Emergency: Spanish Police Storm Catalonia Government Office

Courtesy of Mish.

The Independent reports Spanish police storm Catalan government buildings to stop independence referendum.

The Catalan president described the raids as a “co-ordinated police assault” and a “de facto state of emergency”.

Spanish national police have stormed ministries and buildings belonging to Catalonia’s regional government to put a stop to the region’s independence referendum.

In the early hours of the morning armed officers arrived at various Catalan ministries, including the economy department, foreign affairs department, and social affairs department, Spanish media reports.

At least twelve Catalan officials are said to have been arrested, including the chief aide to Catalonia’s deputy prime minister, Josep Maria Jové. The arrests come as the mayors of Catalan towns who back the referendum were yesterday questioned by state prosecutors.

Pro-independence crowds have formed outside the regional ministries in support of the provincial government and in protest against the raids and searches.

Speaking at lunchtime Carles Puigdemont, the president of the Catalonian government, said the Spanish government had “de facto suspended” home rule in the province.

Spanish Assembly Rejects Use of Force

The tactics of prime minister Mariano Rajoy have not won him any popularity contests.

The Spanish national assembly on Wednesday rejected a motion to support the Spanish government’s heavy-handed response to the the referendum by 166 votes against to 158 in favor, after the centre-left opposition party PSOE teamed up with left-wingers Podemos and smaller separatist parties in the parliament.

After news of the raids broke on Wednesday, separatist political parties, as well as Podemos, cancelled all their planned political events for the rest of the day.

“It is unacceptable for there to be political prisoners in a European democracy. The Partido Popular leads us to an authoritarian regression that cannot be tolerated,” a spokesperson for Podemos said on social media.

Government Suspended

The Guardian reports Catalan president says Madrid is suspending region’s autonomy.

The Catalan president has accused the Spanish government of effectively suspending the region’s autonomy and declaring a de facto state of emergency. Police officers raided Catalan government offices on Wednesday and arrested 12 senior officials in a bid to stop an independence referendum being held in less than two weeks’ time.

Carles Puigdemont described the raids as a “a co-ordinated police assault” that showed that Madrid “has de


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China’s crackdown on cryptocurrency trading – a sign of things to come

 

China’s crackdown on cryptocurrency trading – a sign of things to come

Courtesy of Andrew GodwinUniversity of Melbourne

File 20170920 25319 7zvkim

An illustration photo of Bitcoin (virtual currency) coins Reuters

The Chinese government’s decision to order several Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies exchanges to close shows how much of a threat they are perceived to be to financial stability and social order in China.

The decision to also ban initial coin offerings altogether (the unregulated means by which funds are raised for a new cryptocurrency venture) has taken traders and analysts by surprise. China is the world’s largest cryptocurrency market with around 80% of Bitcoin transactions taking place in yuan.

The blockchain (a digital ledger in which digital currency transactions are publicly recorded) is poised to have a massive impact on the future of finance. This recent crackdown suggests the Chinese government is determined to cement its place as a leading rule maker and power-broker in the quickly emerging area of cryptocurrency transactions and exchange.

Chinese relationship with bitcoin

The Chinese government released a list of 60 initial coin offering trading platforms and instructed local agencies to make sure all platforms were listed and closed down. The delayed crackdown is in line with previous practice in China.

The Chinese government often adopts a wait-and-see approach to activities that are largely unregulated until the magnitude of the activity becomes clear. The extent of speculative investment and the risk of losses to investors if the bubble bursts motivated the government to intervene in cryptocurrency trading.

In China, the popularity of cryptocurrencies has been boosted by the tightening of controls on money moving out of the country over the past two years. This has lowered the value of the China’s currency, the renminbi, as investors seek assets in different denominations and chase higher yields. Cryptocurrencies are also popular because they can be used to transfer funds offshore and circumvent foreign exchange controls.

The government is particularly concerned with the use of cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings to perpetrate and disguise fraudulent activity, including money laundering and ponzi type investment schemes.

Chinese authorities are anxious to avoid…
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How Many of 2017′s Retail Bankruptcies Were Caused by Private-Equity’s Greed?

Courtesy of Pam Martens

According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, there have been 35 retail bankruptcies this year, almost double the 18 retail bankruptcies of last year. The filing by Toys ‘R’ Us this week was the latest.

What many of these retailers have in common is that they were taken private in leveraged buyouts (LBOs) by private equity (PE) firms. Toys ‘R’ Us, Payless ShoeSource, The Limited, Wet Seal, Gymboree Corp., rue21, and True Religion Apparel were all LBOs. Gander Mountain can also be included in this list if you reach back to its 1984 LBO. Far too many LBOs are simply asset stripping operations by Wall Street vultures who load the company with enormous debt, then asset strip the cash from the company by paying themselves obscene special dividends and management fees.

On June 12 of this year, the official committee of unsecured creditors to Payless, consisting primarily of Payless stores’ landlords and vendors, alleged in a filing in U.S. bankruptcy court that the private equity firms involved in the Payless LBO in 2012, Golden Gate Capital and Blum Capital, had “siphoned over $400 million out of Payless. Lawyers for the unsecured creditors wrote the following in their objection:

“The Sponsor Group [Golden Gate Capital and Blum Capital] acquired the Debtors [Payless, et al] in October 2012 through a leveraged buyout (the ‘2012 LBO’) which increased the Debtors’ debt from approximately $125 million as of the fiscal year end immediately prior to the leveraged buyout to approximately $400 million.  After the 2012 LBO, the Sponsor group siphoned over $400 million out of the Debtors…

“In connection therewith, the Committee engaged one of the nation’s foremost valuation experts – Dr. Israel Shaked and the Michel-Shaked Group as an expert witness.  Dr. Shaked worked closely with the Committee professionals to analyze the Sponsor Claims and produced the 160-page Shaked Report which has been provided to counsel for the Debtors, Cremens, certain Term Loan Lenders, and the Sponsor Group, and to the Court under seal.  In the Shaked Report, Dr. Shaked has concluded (among other things) that (i) as of February 27, 2013, immediately following the 2013 dividend recapitalization, the Debtors’ equity value was negative by a substantial margin, and therefore the Debtors were…
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Existing Home Sales Unexpectedly Decline 1.7 Percent: Fourth Drop in Five Months

Courtesy of Mish.

The Econoday consensus expected a small increase in existing home sales in August.

Instead, sales decline a substantial 1.7%. The August decline follows a 1.3% decline in July.

Fourth Drop in Five Months

MarketWatch reports Existing Home Sales Fall in August for the Fourth Time in Five Months.

Existing home sales in August dropped for the fourth time in five months as real-estate agents continue to blame a lack of available homes to buy.

The National Association of Realtors said existing home sales fell 1.7% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.35 million. Economists polled by MarketWatch expected a 5.44 million pace.

The median existing-home price in August was $253,500, up 5.6%.

Total housing inventory at the end of August declined 2.1% to 1.88 million existing homes available for sale, and is now 6.5% lower than a year ago.

Harvey Impact

The Wall Street Journal reports A sharp drop in sales in Houston, which was racked by Hurricane Harvey, accounted for most of the overall decline.

Existing-home sales fell 1.7% from a month earlier to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expected a rate of 5.45 million sales in August.

Sales have risen just 0.2% over the past year.

A sharp drop in home sales in Houston, which was racked by Hurricane Harvey last month, accounted for most of the overall decline in home sales, NAR economist Lawrence Yun said. He estimated overall sales would have been flat from the prior month without the hurricane effects.

Housing Starts Down Again

Yesterday, the Census Bureau New Residential Construction report shows housing starts declined again in August but July starts were revised substantially higher. Still, starts have lost momentum and are only up 1.4% from a year ago.


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In Wake of Slumping Car Sales, Ford Will Idle 5 North American Plants: What? No Hurricane Bounce?

Courtesy of Mish.

As initially reported by the Census Department, motor vehicle sales were 1.2% in July following a 0.9% gain in June. At the time, I commented, “This is unbelievably bizarre in the face of actual auto sales reports.”

The Census Bureau revised sales estimates much lower in September as noted in Retail Sales Unexpectedly Decline, Huge Negative Revisions in June and July: Reflections on “Bizarre” Sales Reports.

Today we learn Ford to cut production at five North American vehicle plants due to rising inventory and slumping sales.

Ford Motor Co said on Tuesday it plans to idle five North American vehicle assembly plants for a total of 10 weeks to reduce inventories of slow-selling models.

The plants affected include three assembly plants in the United States and two in Mexico, the company said in a statement. The vehicle models include the Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ midsize sedans, the Ford Focus compact car, the Lincoln Continental and Ford Mustang, Ford Fiesta and the Ford Transit van.

The factories involved employ more than 15,000 people, according to Ford’s website. The company did not say how many of those workers would face temporary layoffs.

Ford Inventory Numbers

  • 111 days’ supply of unsold Mustangs
  • 87 days’ supply of Fusions
  • 103 days’ supply of Transit vans
  • 162 days’ supply of Lincoln Continentals

Automakers aim for 65 to 70 days of inventory of most models.

Note that production cuts are on the way despite the expected bounce in sales due to hurricane damage.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock


Original article here.





Ray Dalio on CNBC

 

Ray Dalio on CNBC

Courtesy of , The Reformed Broker 

Hedge fund legend Ray Dalio generally despises doing media and doesn’t make much of a secret about it. Fortunately for us all, though, he really wants his new book, Principles: Life and Work, to reach a big audience. And it should.

Anyway, Ray made a rare TV appearance this morning on CNBC’s Squawk Box. Obviously, podcasts are better for this sort of thing, so don’t miss the two hour Tim Ferriss interview if you want all of the background and detail that went into Dalio’s life’s work.

Okay, the Squawk clips below in case you missed it:

Ray Dalio: Promoting meritocracy – where the best ideas win out from CNBC.

Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio: We have two economies now from CNBC.

Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio: Bitcoin is a bubble from CNBC.





Hypocrites All Around as Senate Republicans Reach a Budget Deal

Courtesy of Mish

Senators Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) and Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) reached a mutual agreement to set parameters for a tax overhaul.

If you think the deal will do anything about the deficit, you are mistaken.

Senate Republicans reached a deal Tuesday that would allow tax cuts over the next decade, bridging party divides over trade-offs between tax cuts and budget deficits and taking an important step toward tax-overhaul legislation.

Sens. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) and Bob Corker (R., Tenn.), representing opposing fiscal-policy viewpoints in the Senate Budget Committee, said Tuesday that they struck the agreement, which senators said could lead to a committee vote as early as next week.

Mr. Toomey had been seeking tax cuts that might reduce revenues by as much as $2 trillion over a decade. Mr. Corker, more wary of budget deficits, had been arguing for a smaller number. The number could be up to $1.5 trillion in revenue-reducing tax cuts, but neither senator would confirm the figure in advance of a formal announcement.

Democrats accused Republicans of abandoning their claims of fiscal probity in a country with $20 trillion in debt, about $10 trillion in projected additional deficits over the next decade and the prospect, eventually, of rising interest rates.

Hypocrites All Around

Since when are Democrats concerned about deficits? Since when are Republicans unconcerned about deficits?

There is plenty of hypocrisy to spread around on this deal. But to answer the two questions:

  • Democrats are only concerned about deficits when Republicans are in power.
  • Republicans are only concerned about deficits when Democrats are in power.

It’s hard to say if the compromise is a step in the right direction because details are nonexistent as is typically the case.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock





 
 
 

Zero Hedge

Prosecutors Unveil Full Details Of Anthony Weiner's Pedophilia

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Earlier today we reported that as part of the government's sentencing memorandum (published at the bottom), federal prosecutors asked that disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner, and the man Hillary Clinton has quietly added to the nearly infinite list of reasons why she lost the presidential election, be sentenced to about two years in prison for engaging in sexting with an underage, 15-year-old girl. Prosecutors filed paper in Manhattan Federal Court on ...



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Digital Currencies

Can cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin survive scrutiny from central banks?

 

Can cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin survive scrutiny from central banks?

Courtesy of Nafis AlamUniversity of Reading

William Potter/Shutterstock

The future of money looks very different in the world of cryptocurrencies. There is a growing consensus among businesses, investors and countries (Venezuela in particular) that these alternative forms of online money are going to dominate payments in the next decade. There may be agreem...



more from Bitcoin

ValueWalk

Tagging Fake Articles Is Failing To Combat Fake News

By Rupert Hargreaves. Originally published at ValueWalk.

So-called “fake news” and not in form of The Onion (which is obvious satire) has been around in one form or another for hundreds of years. The world’s first daily newspapers, which were printed in London’s Fleet Street in the early 1700s, were full of stories and hearsay designed to influence readers and drum up sales. However, the readership of these papers was relatively limited compared to the size of the audience available to online publications today.

]]> Get The Timeless Reading eBook in PDF

Get the entire 10-part series on Timeless Reading in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues.

  • ...


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Insider Scoop

Wall Street Weighs In On Adobe's Mixed Earnings Report

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related ADBE 15 Biggest Mid-Day Losers For Wednesday 5 Biggest Price Target Changes For Wednesday ...

http://www.insidercow.com/ more from Insider

Chart School

Minor Changes: Yesterday's and Weekend Comments Remain Valid

Courtesy of Declan.

I don't want to overplay today's action as little changed in the broader scheme of things. Days like today are welcomed and help shape up swing trades for those trading in near term timeframes.

The tight doji in the S&P could be used for a swing trade; buy a break of the high/short loss of low - stop on flip side. High whipsaw risk but look for 3:1 risk:reward and maybe trail stops if deciding to go with partial profits.


Tech averages are still set up for a breakout. While not an ...

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Members' Corner

"Citron Exposes Ubiquiti Networks" But TNN Says "Not So Fast"

What do you think? (There's a comment section below )

"CITRON EXPOSES UBIQUITI NETWORKS" 

Does Ubiquiti Networks (NASDAQ:UBNT) actually have real products that sell to consumers? Of course! So did Valeant and WorldCom, but that does not stop its financials from having every indication of being completely fraudulent.

Citron will detail a series of alarming red flags and detail how Ubiquiti Networks is deceiving the investing public.

Read the full report here.

******

Rebutal by The Nattering Naybob, ...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 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

Can low doses of chemicals affect your health? A new report weighs the evidence

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

 

Can low doses of chemicals affect your health? A new report weighs the evidence

Courtesy of Rachel ShafferUniversity of Washington

Assessing the data. LightField Studios/shutterstock.com

Toxicology’s founding father, Paracelsus, is famous for proclaiming that “...



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Mapping The Market

The App Economy Will Be Worth $6 Trillion in Five Years

Courtesy of Jean-Luc

This would be excellent news for AAPL and GOOG to a lesser extent although not inconsequential:

The App Economy Will Be Worth $6 Trillion in Five Years 

In five years, the app economy will be worth $6.3 trillion, up from $1.3 trillion last year, according to a report released today by app measurement company App Annie. What explains the growth? More people are spending more time and -- crucially -- more money in apps. While on average people aren't downloading many more apps, App Annie expects global app usership to nearly double to 6.3 billion people in the next five years while the time spent in apps will more than double. And, it expects the...



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Promotions

NewsWare: Watch Today's Webinar!

 

We have a great guest at today's webinar!

Bill Olsen from NewsWare will be giving us a fun and lively demonstration of the advantages that real-time news provides. NewsWare is a market intelligence tool for news. In today's data driven markets, it is truly beneficial to have a tool that delivers access to the professional sources where you can obtain the facts in real time.

Join our webinar, free, it's open to all. 

Just click here at 1 pm est and join in!

[For more information on NewsWare, click here. For a list of prices: NewsWar...



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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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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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