Author Archive for ilene

Three Critical Steps to Making America Great Again Are Not on Trump’s Agenda

Courtesy of Pam Martens

US IPOs by Year - 1996 to 2016

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: August 23, 2017

In 1996 the U.S. had 845 Initial Public Offerings. Last year, after twenty passing years of research and budding new technologies should have fueled growth in the IPO market, the U.S. had a paltry 98 IPOs. According to a study by the law firm, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, gross proceeds from IPOs in 2016 were $18.54 billion while the “average annual gross proceeds for the 12-year period preceding 2016 were $35.73 billion — 93 percent higher than the corresponding figure for 2016.”

Not only has the U.S. seriously lost ground in IPOs but the total number of publicly traded companies in the U.S. is down by almost half in the same 20 year span. Last September, Jim Clifton, the Chairman and CEO of Gallup, the polling company, explained why he thinks this is happening. Clifton wrote:

“The number of publicly listed companies trading on U.S. exchanges has been cut almost in half in the past 20 years — from about 7,300 to 3,700. Because firms can’t grow organically — that is, build more business from new and existing customers — they give up and pay high prices to acquire their competitors, thus drastically shrinking the number of U.S. public companies. This seriously contributes to the massive loss of U.S. middle-class jobs.”

Let’s also not forget that quite a number of those 7,300 companies that were listed in 1996 failed in the great crash of 2000 because Wall Street’s minions pumped out bogus buy recommendations on new companies that didn’t have a prayer of making it as an ongoing business. The real motive behind the listing was to fuel fat bonuses for themselves.  The largest investment banks were calling the startups they were peddling to the public “dogs” and “crap” behind closed doors while lauding their virtues in “research” released to entice the public to buy.

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Despite Sanctions, Qatar Is Still Outpacing Saudi Arabia In Economic Growth

Courtesy of Zainab Calcuttawala,

Despite the torrent of reports attesting to the non-impact of the Saudi Arabia-led diplomatic boycott of Doha, new estimates by Bloomberg’s economic survey predict that 2017 will be Qatar’s slowest year of GDP growth since 1995.

A previous study in June forecasted 3.1 percent and 3.2 percent growth for this year and next, respectively. New figures reduce those numbers to 2.5 percent for 2017 and 3.2 percent for 2018. The deficit figures jump to 5.1 percent for the current period, compared to previous estimates at 4.6 percent.

The current feud between Gulf monarchies began on June 5th, when Saudi Arabia expressed its indignation at an insubordinate Qatar.

Energy interests, most notably Doha’s shared custody of the South Pars gas field – the largest of its kind – prevent Qatar from cutting relations with Shiite Iran, the Sunni Saudi government’s main rival in the Middle East.

“Even before the diplomatic crisis with regional powers, it looked like Qatar’s non-energy economy would slow,” William Jackson, of Capital Economics told World Oil.

“The early signs are that the sanctions dealt a damaging blow to Qatar’s economy in June. The impact appears to be temporary, but it will still result in weaker growth."

To be clear, Qatari exports of natural gas have not been affected by the diplomatic row.

The biggest casualty has been GCC-funded projects, namely food-processing and port facilities, that now face an uncertain future.

“The illegal actions of our neighbors have been the catalyst for us to accelerate our economic plans and renew our commitment to diversification and sustained growth,” said Sheikh Tamim bih Hamid at Thani.

“We fully expect to see a strong return of the Qatari economy this year and growth over the years to come.”

Qatar Petroleum also guarantees an increase in oil equivalent output topping one million barrels per day between the next five to seven years.

Doha’s unbeatable diplomatic flexibility plays a large role in carving out its niche in the region. The variety in its alliances will prove its immunity from the disciplinary tendencies of Saudi Arabia over the next 12 months.

"We expect

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Investing podcasts with Patrick O’Shaughnessy


Business vs. Investing, w/ Jason Zweig and Morgan Housel – [Invest Like the Best, EP.50]

My guests this week are both veterans of the podcast, Jason Zweig and Morgan Housel. They are two of the best in the world at making the complicated simple, and in that spirit, I’ll keep this introduction short. Morgan shifted from public markets to the private markets a year ago when he joined the Collaborative Fund, so we begin with what he has learned about venture capital in his first year on the job. ~ Patrick O’Shaughnessy

Notes and references here. 


Buying Companies With Economic Moats, w/ Pat Dorsey – [Invest Like the Best, EP.51]

My guest this week is Pat Dorsey, who was the longtime director of equity research at Morningstar, where he specialized in economic moats: sources of sustained competitive advantage that allow a few companies to deliver huge returns over time. Several years ago he left Morningstar to form his own asset management firm, Dorsey asset management, and build a portfolio of companies with wide moats like those he studied at Morningstar. And while moats are critical, equally important is how companies allocate the capital generated–or made possible–by the existence of the moat. ~ Patrick O’Shaughnessy

Notes and references here.

Find more podcasts in this series at Investor's Field Guide. 

Bombastic Trump Threatens to Shut Down Government if Congress Does Not Approve the Wall

Such an idiot. Health care we do need. Wall we don't need.

Courtesy of Mish

In a fiery speech tonight, President Trump demanded funding for a wall, threatening to shut down the government if he does not get his way.

In the same speech, he proclaimed he would likely terminate NAFTA.

President Trump at #PhoenixRally: "Believe me, if we have to close down our government, we are building that wall"

— CNN (@CNN) August 23, 2017

President Trump: "I think we'll end up probably terminating NAFTA at some point" http:

— CNN (@CNN) August 23, 2017

This is absolutely crazy stuff.

By the way, whatever happened to the idea that Mexico would pay for the wall?

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Original article here.

SoftBank’s big plan for a smarter internet is brilliant

Courtesy of Vitaliy N. Katsenelson

Note: I was on Bloomberg Radio with Cory Johnson and Carol Massar, discussing my latest article on Apple’s electric car and its consequences. Here is a link to listen.  

Watercolor is by my father, Naum Katsenelson

SoftBank’s big plan for a smarter internet is brilliant

By Vitaliy Katsenelson, CFA

Masayoshi Son doesn’t do anything small nor does he do things in a simple way.

A few months ago SoftBank Group announced that it would be raising $100 billion to invest in Son’s vision of the singularity. (That is more than the capital of the entire venture capital industry.)

Singularity is the point when computer intelligence surpasses human intelligence, and Son, SoftBank’s founder and CEO, believes we are just 30 years away from it. It easy to rule out that much interest in singularity as the whim of an eccentric Japanese billionaire, but Son became the richest person in Japan by getting the future right consistently right for almost 40 years. He was never afraid to look crazy for a while and, more importantly, to support his vision with large bets. He foresaw the rise of personal computers in the ’80s, the internet in the ’90s, and the mobile internet in the ’00s.

Son’s investment track record is second to none — compounding at 44% a year over two decades. It is easy to single out Alibaba as his single-best investment; but Son built SoftBank from absolutely nothing, and it turned him into billionaire even before his investment in Alibaba. There are few people on this planet who can raise $100 billion on their reputation (other than Warren Buffett).

The exact ETA of the singularity is unknown even to Son — his 30-year forecast is just a guess. But from our perspective it is the journey to singularity that will matter. Just as dumb phones became smart thanks to Steve Jobs, a lot of otherwise dumb objects will become smart over the next few decades, including toasters, clothes, street lights, cars.

Miniaturization of sensors and processors and connectivity to the internet will lead to the explosion of the “internet of things.” This will result in

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For many in Puerto Rico, ‘energy dominance’ is just a new name for US colonialism


For many in Puerto Rico, 'energy dominance' is just a new name for US colonialism

Courtesy of Catalina M. de OnísWillamette University

File 20170703 32566 1axwfm9

This 1899 drawing depicts Uncle Sam disciplining his newly acquired pupils/possessions, including Puerto Rico, following the Treaty of Paris. Library of Congress

The Trump administration has made “achieving American energy dominance” a central policy goal. President Trump asserts that “energy dominance” requires expanding nuclear development, increasing coal and natural gas exports, building transnational pipelines and accessing offshore oil and gas deposits. These efforts, Trump contends, will maximize the nation’s “boundless capacity” for energy production, including spreading U.S. fossil fuels around the globe, to showcase its independence from foreign oil.

My research studies how expansionist efforts play out in the U.S. unincorporated territory of Puerto Rico. For centuries, Spanish and U.S. colonial governments and corporations have practiced what could be called “energy dominance” by harnessing human labor and fossil fuels to exploit local resources through mining, coffee and sugarcane development, and other industries. Puerto Rico’s history makes clear that Trump’s policy, which benefits corporations and their political allies to the detriment of local communities, promises more of the same.

Fueling energy colonialism

The United States seized control of Puerto Rico in 1898. Like other imperial powers, the United States justified exploiting other people and places by portraying them as backward and promising to modernize them.

Many U.S. government officials, legal experts, researchers and artists assumed that colonized peoples were inferior. In their view, African and indigenous ancestries and prior colonization by Spain marked people who lived in the newly acquired “possessions” as primitive, childlike and weak.

In his 1899 book “Our Islands and Their People,” writer and diplomat José de Olivares stated,

“Without our fostering benevolence, this island [Puerto Rico] would be as unhappy and prostrate as are some of the neighboring British, French, Dutch, and Danish islands.”

During this same period, Supreme Court justices described U.S. colonies as home to “uncivilized” and “savage” “alien races.” Racist claims of U.S. superiority and goodwill drove colonial policy and relationships of dependency.

Locked into fossil fuel

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Courtesy of 

People ask me “What is this Evidence-Based Investing” thing you’re always going on about. I have a million different ways to explain it, which probably isn’t great. There should be a one or two sentence description I can deliver in a breath or two. I’m going to work on that. Maybe I’ll unveil it at the 2nd annual EBI Conference we’re throwing in NYC this fall, which is sure to be a blockbuster, sold out event (more on that here).

In the meantime, I came across the below graphic that I absolutely love. It most definitely gets the job done:

Google memo completely misses how implicit biases harm women


Google memo completely misses how implicit biases harm women

Courtesy of E. Anne YorkMeredith College

File 20170818 22783 fr99ny

Bias at work?, CC BY

Workplace biases are back in the national conversation, thanks to the recent memo by a Google employee. The memo’s author challenges the company’s diversity policies, arguing that psychological differences between men and women explain why fewer women work in tech.

He also minimizes the effect that unconscious biases have on women in the workplace. Even though most of us believe that we value others equally and don’t discriminate, research shows that our unconscious beliefs show up in our actions.

I am a professor of economics at a women’s college, focusing on issues that women face in the labor market. To me, the evidence is clear that implicit bias is still prevalent in today’s workplace, even after years of federal and state laws that make discrimination illegal – and that bias often leads to actual economic harm.

One recent analysis by the Organisation of Economic Co-Operation and Development states that gender based discrimination has decreased global income by 16 percent, or US$12 trillion. Since research documents that women will devote more of their financial resources to spending on the needs of children than do men, it is especially important to families that women have economic empowerment and their own earnings.

Giving men the credit

A good definition of implicit bias comes from the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University. Implicit bias “refers to the attitudes and stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions and decisions in an unconscious manner.” These biases are involuntary – we can be totally unaware of how they affect our assessments of others.

For example, people must work in teams in many jobs. It can be hard for an outsider to accurately assess the effectiveness and competency of each team member. Are women seen as “free riders” on the work that their male collaborators do?

One recent study explored how this can affect economics professors. It found that male and female professors had similar rates of being approved for…
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Afghanistan is now officially James Mattis’ war


Afghanistan is now officially James Mattis’ war

Courtesy of Simon ReichRutgers University Newark

File 20170822 21526 1ap8dv5

How will U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis handle America’s “Forever War’? Jonathan Ernst/Pool Photo via AP

Donald Trump’s speech on his administration’s strategy in Afghanistan – in which he announced the introduction of an unspecified number of new combat troops, without a mission and without a specified end date, in a strategy that abandoned nation building but entailed war-fighting – clearly contravened the principles of his “America First” isolationist election campaign promises.

But for academics like me who spend their time studying American strategic policy, it provided few real surprises. Rather, it merely signaled the latest stage in the cycle of the longest-running war in U.S. history – what journalists and pundits have christened America’s “forever war.”

The beginning of the ‘forever war’

The origins of the war, of course, date to the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

U.S. intelligence traced a link between al-Qaida operatives who had carried out the attacks and Afghanistan’s Taliban. In response, four weeks after those attacks, the United States, with NATO’s support, launched Operation Enduring Freedom against the Taliban and the al-Qaida fighters sheltering in Afghanistan.

As George W. Bush ambitiously asserted, even years after the war had begun,

“Our goal in Afghanistan is to help its people defeat the terrorists and establish a stable, moderate, and democratic state that respects the rights of its citizens, governs its territory effectively, and is a reliable ally in this war against extremists and terrorists.”

The United States went to war in Afghanistan after 9/11. 16 years later, we’re still there. AP Photo/Rahmat Gul

Britain’s lesson

In articulating these goals, the George W. Bush administration had obviously failed to learn the lessons of the British Empire.

The British may have effectively ruled most of the globe for almost three centuries. But they often ineffectively wrestled with controlling what…
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Transformation of Trump is Complete: Hello President Hillary

But there are many ill-informed ideas, baseless beliefs, and harmful actions that Trump engages in that Hillary would not have. The Wall, pandering to racist groups, daily Twitter-dramas, counterproductive measures ignoring climate change, to name a few. 

Courtesy of Mish

The phrase “President Hillary” has a strange sound to it.

But other than Supreme Court appointments, we may as well elected her.

Let’s count the ways.

  1. Hillary would be going after Russia
  2. Hillary would be going after China
  3. Hillary would send more troops to Afghanistan
  4. Hillary would not scrap Obamacare, but neither did the Republicans
  5. Hillary would not overhaul the tax code and it appears neither will Trump
  6. Hillary would want to take away gun rights, but it would never pass Congress.
  7. Hillary would want more of your tax dollars, but huge tax hikes would not pass Congress either.
  8. Hillary would have scrapped the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (at least she claims she would have).

Let’s hone in on point number 3.

Hillary Clinton, Senator John McCain, and Senator Lindsey Graham are three of the biggest warmongers on the planet. Yesterday, Trump joined the group.

Candidate Trump said, “After 16 years – the longest war in US history – no one even remembers what we are fighting for in Afghanistan. The war is over. Not another American (or innocent Afghan) life for one of the most convoluted and idiotic wars in history!

After 16 years, and trillions of dollars wasted, today Trump says “a few thousand more troops would help the US break the current stalemate against the Taliban.”

Trump also stated US support “is not a blank check.” Really? What else do you call perpetual war?

This is sadly funny: CNN reports: Trump argued his plan has a key difference from that of his predecessor: no timelines on the withdrawal of US troops.

Continue reading here…


Phil's Favorites

What's Hot and What's Not: Retail Trade Employment vs Food Services and Drinking Places

Courtesy of Mish.

Inquiring minds may be interested in how the retail sector employment is performing vs food services and drinking places employment. Let’s take a look.

Retail Trade vs Food Service and Drinking – Thousands of Employees

Retail Trade vs Food Service and Drinking – Percent Change from Year Ago

Retail trade is not where you want to be right now, and it will get worse when the next recession hits.

Related Articles

  1. ...

more from Ilene


New Study Examines How RIAs Select Actively Managed U.S. Equity Funds

By Advisor Perspectives. Originally published at ValueWalk.

BOSTON, MA. August 21, 2017. A new study reveals how large registered investment advisors (RIAs) select actively managed U.S. equity mutual funds. Among its key findings were that advisors are relatively insensitive to expense ratios on those funds – and that most fund companies should not be pressured to reduce fees. The study also found that wholesalers have little influence getting advisors to select their funds.

]]> Get The Full Ray Dalio Series in PDF

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

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Zero Hedge

So You Wanted To Be "Long Electricity" Into The Eclipse?

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Energy traders who had hoped to make an easy profit by betting that spot electricity prices would climb around midday on Monday – an idea they may have found on this website - were bitterly disappointed when, instead of spiking, prices tumbled because of an unexpectedly large drop in demand.

Utilities and grid operators had contingency plans ready to compensate for the expected drop in solar. But even with utilities’ backup grids humming, supplies were still widely expected to drop. Instead, energy providers encountered something that they hadn’t anticip...

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Chart School

Transports- Global bulls market needs this support to hold!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Below looks at the Dow Jones Transports ETF (IYT) that remains in a long-term bull market.


more from Chart School

Insider Scoop

Earnings Scheduled For August 23, 2017

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Companies Reporting Before The Bell
  • Lowe's Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW) is estimated to report quarterly earnings at $1.62 per share on revenue of $19.54 billion.
  • American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE: AEO) is expected to report quarterly earnings at $0.16 per share on revenue of $823.66 million.
  • Express, Inc. (NYS... more from Insider


Will CRISPR fears fade with familiarity?

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


Will CRISPR fears fade with familiarity?

Courtesy of Patricia StapletonWorcester Polytechnic Institute

With all these ‘test-tube babies’ grown up, how have our reactions to the technology evolved? AP Photo/Alastair Grant

The first “test-tube baby” made headlines around the world in 1978, setting off intense debate on the ethics of researching human ...

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Digital Currencies

Cryptocurrency Hedge Fund Returns 2,129% YTD

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

We'll preface this post by saying we have never heard of the Alternative Money Fund - which "Specializes in Returning Freedom and Value" - and very well may never hear of it again, however it is notable for two things: i) it is a "hedge fund" invested entirely in cryptocurrencies and ii) it has allegedly generated a 2,129% return YTD, making it the best performer in hedgeco's ranking of asset managers YTD.

The "fund's" own description is similar to what one would find in any traditional asset manager, with one...

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Swing trading portfolio - week of August 21st, 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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Members' Corner

Why we need to act on climate change now


Why we need to act on climate change now

Interview with Jan Dash PhD, by Ilene Carrie, Editor at Phil’s Stock World

Jan Dash PhD is a physicist, an expert at quantitative finance and risk management, and a consultant at Bloomberg LP. In his thought-provoking book, Quantitative Finance and Risk Management, A Physicist's Approach, Jan devotes a chapter to climate change and its long-term systemic risk. In this article, Ilene interviews Jan regarding his thoughts on climate change and the way it can affect our futu...

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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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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.


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...

Learn more About Phil >>

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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.

Market Shadows >>