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Author Archive for Zero Hedge

The “Cashless Economy” Is A Myth

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Via ConvergEx's Nick Colas,

The “Cashless economy” is myth.  Forget what you think you know about credit and debit cards, PayPal, bitcoin, Apple Pay and any other modern conveniences meant to displace physical currency.  The truth is that transactional currency ($1 through $20 bills) in circulation per capita today in America is essentially where it was, inflation adjusted, in 1994: $661 then and $649 today. Moreover, the Federal Reserve’s orders from the U.S. Treasury for small bills have grown faster in the last five years than the 20 year average: 4.5% annually versus a 3.5% long run growth rate.  This year should be no different, with the Fed ordering $49.9 billion of “small bill” currency, the largest amount since 2010. One bit of good economic news in terms of transactions: $1 bills wear out fastest, and the Fed’s 2015 order of 2.5 billion bills is higher than 2014 (2.3 billion) and 2013 (1.8 billion). That’s growth and relevance any startup online payment company would be happy to see. 

*  *  *

As a New York City resident, the “Fast Cash” button at ATMs in other U.S. cities always amuses me. The most typical offering is $20. That doesn’t even buy you a 7 day unlimited MetroCard in Gotham ($30) or a sandwich at the Carnegie Deli (the Reuben is $29.99).  If you want to see “Fifty Shades of Grey” at the Ziegfeld you’ll get a Lincoln back for your Jackson, but you’ll have to choose between a drink or popcorn. You won’t be able to afford both.
 
And yet there is actually some good data behind that $20 Fast Cash option.  According to the Diary of Consumer Payment Choice, a 2012 survey done by three regional Federal Reserve branches, the average adult American carries $56 and the median observation is $22. Only 5.2% of Americans carry a $100 bill, and a Boston Fed paper from November 2014 estimated that 65% of those notes actually circulate overseas. So a $20 bill from the ATM in Des Moines or Charlotte is actually enough to replenish the average American’s wallet. Just don’t try that in NYC.
 
All this got me to thinking about how many small bills – $1 through $20 notes – it takes to keep the U.S. economy in business. The Federal Reserve issues paper…
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The Law, as given to Moses by The God of Abraham, The God Israel, The God of Christianity, and The God of Islam

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by hedgeless_horseman.

Recently, here on Zero Hedge, I posted an article titled, “Law suit? Porn addict? Divorcing? Seeking investment ideas? Worried about the world?” In the article, I state:

Below is an English translation of one of Jesus’ very famous outdoor lectures, which was widely shared by his disciples that were present, and eventually written down circa 70-90.

If you take 5-10 minutes to read this sermon, then you will know what being a Christian is actually supposed to mean. 

On many other occasions, on Zero Hedge, I have also recommend this very good book.

Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths, P.S. Edition
Bruce Feiler, $    10.39
In today’s world where all sides try to dehumanize the enemy, we should understand that Jews, Christians, and Muslims pray to the same God

Today, I was reading this article on RT, ‘100yrs to repair Gaza’: Oxfam says blockade remains, aid almost non-existent.

Oxfam’s statement outlines how “the situation in Gaza is becoming increasingly desperate” and calling for the lifting of the eight-year blockade, as well as a continuation of peace talks.

“Only an end to the blockade of Gaza will ensure that people can rebuild their lives,” Regional Director Catherine Essoyan said. With it in place, the flow of construction materials in and agricultural produce out is having a crippling effect on the lives of Palestinians.

According to the NGO, new figures reveal a drop last month in construction materials, which are vital to the efforts. “Less than 0.25 percent of the truckloads of essential construction materials needed have entered Gaza in the past three months,” the statement also said.

   

In pure figures, over 800,000 truckloads of such materials are still required to repair the infrastructure damaged in last summer’s operation alone – Israel’s bloodiest in years – which claimed 2,200 Palestinian lives, most of them civilians.

About 100,000 of these people still live in shelters and other makeshift or temporary accommodation because of this lack of materials.

“Tens of thousands more are living in badly damaged homes,” Oxfam ads.

“Families have been living in homes without roofs, walls or windows for the past six months. Many have just six hours of electricity a day and are without running water. Every day that people


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$1,000/oz For Silver (Today): A Starting Point

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Sprott Money.

Jeff Nielson for Sprott Money

Regular readers are well aware of an unresolved problem/issue which has permeated these commentaries for (especially) the past three years: the lack of any rational or objective means for pricing assets, most notably precious metals themselves. There are two enormous obstacles facing any analyst, in attempting to resolve this issue.

First of all; our economies are now operated with currencies which are not only worthless, but are absurdly fraudulent and worthless. With all asset prices denominated in one form or other of this worthless paper; this makes the absolute price for all hard assets “infinity” – with no means of differentiating between asset classes.

Compounding this enormous practical difficulty; the relative price of assets (in relation to each other) has also been skewed well beyond the slightest connection with “reality” (i.e. the economic fundamentals particular to each asset class) through endless, systemic, market manipulation.

Previous commentaries have frequently noted that “we no longer have markets”, just rigged casinos. Thus the ridiculous prices generated through this systemic fraud have no relevance or legitimacy whatsoever.

Boiled down; the conundrum facing us in attempting to estimate (current) rational prices for assets is two-fold. Not only do we lack any obvious starting point for where to begin this process; we have no visible parameters to guide us in how we begin this process. How do you begin to estimate rational “prices”, in a totally fraudulent system, denominated in worthless currencies?

Rob Kirby

Enter Rob Kirby. In a recent interview for Sprott Money News; Mr. Kirby was in fact asked this specific question: how do we engage in the relative pricing of assets, with asset prices “skewed so severely through manipulation”? Here was his response:

I take the last 3,000 years, roughly. I put it on a yardstick. I ask myself for the greatest amount of that yardstick, what served as money? If you take the last 3,000 years and you put it on a yardstick, for about 32 inches of that yardstick somewhere between 40 and 60 ounces of silver was a solid upper middle class wage.

My question back to you is tell me exactly what you consider to be a solid upper middle class wage today? If you’re like me, you’re going to probably say that it’s around $50 to $60 thousand
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CLouD NeiN…

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by williambanzai7.


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This pointed-ear bastard won’t pay

He won’t let the PIIGS laugh and play

How dare he say “Nein”

When everything’s fine

Growth will be here any day!

The Limerick King

 

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Ach du Bieber!

A limerick for Das Bieber Frau

Her hair-do leaves people in awe

Although she looks fine

She still shouts out “Nein”

And may from the Euro withdraw

The Limerick King

 

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The Greek’s desperate tactics are moot

And Nothing will change if they shoot

When Merkel says “Nein”

They best get in line

Or Merkel will give them the boot

The Limerick King





UMich Consumer Sentiment Tumbles Most In 16 Months

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Despite modestly beating the flash print earlier in the month, it appears consumers are less enamored with how awesome everything is in America. Printing 95.4 against January’s 98.1 – this is the biggest MoM drop since Oct 2013. Both current conditions and future expectations dropped from January with fewer people expecting higher incomes, and a plunge in favorable business expectations over the last few months.





Chicago PMI Crashes Most Since Lehman To Lowest Since July 2009

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

January's brief 'hope' bounce following 3 months of weakness is long forgotten as February's Chinago PMI crashes to 45.9 (missing expectations of 57.5) – its lowest since July 2009. This is the biggest MoM drop since Lehman in Oct 2008. New Orders suffered the largest monthly decline on record, leaving them at the lowest since June 2009. Seems like it is time to blame the weather… PMI says it is "difficult to gauge magnitude of weather and port strike" but blames it nonetheless.

The biggest drop since Lehman (and 2nd biggest since 1980)…

*  *  *

  • Forecast range 55 – 59.6 from 43 economists surveyed
  • Prices Paid rose compared to last month
  • New Orders fell compared to last month
  • Employment fell compared to last month
  • Inventory rose compared to last month
  • Supplier Deliveries rose compared to last month
  • Production fell compared to last month
  • Order Backlogs fell compared to last month
  • Business activity has been positive for 11 months over the past year.

Commenting on the Chicago Report, Philip Uglow, Chief Economist of MNI Indicators said,

“It’s difficult to reconcile the very sharp drop in the Barometer with the recent firm tone of the survey. There’s some evidence to point to special factors such as the port strike and the weather, although we’ll need to see the March data to get a better picture of underlying growth.“

*  *  *

"The West Coast port strike and the harsh winter probably had a negative impact in February, although it is difficult to gauge the magnitude."

Here – let us help – Snow Impact here and Port Strike Impact here…

*  *  *

Sure enough the "fault" lies on the weather…. (but didn't the economists know it was cold? and know about the port strikes?)

And cue the GDP downgrades and demands from the sell-side that Yellen delay rate hikes…

  • *HATZIUS SEES `GOOD ARGUMENT' FOR FED MOVE AFTER SEPT.

Charts: Bloomberg





Conflicting Reports Suggest Major Greek Bank May Have Run Out Of Cash

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

UPDATE: *PIRAEUS BANK CFO DENIES SPECULATION OF CASH SHORTAGE

It appears the worst fears of many Greeks may be coming true following a Stratfor report that Piraeus Bank ATMs in downtown Athens appear to have run out of money – telling “customers that there is no cash and the situation will last through the weekend.” However, locals, reporting on Twitter, claim this is false. Greek stocks (especially banks) are down hard, as is the EURUSD.

Stratfor reports Piraeus is out of cash…

It seeems not everyone is so sure…

Of course, the mere fact that this is possible is likely to spark some fear into The Greek people as they watch their newly elected government ‘negotiate’ their futures away.

While the Stratfor report may or may not be accurate, the reason why Greek risk is selling off today is that as we reported last night, out of left field Greece decided to lob a grenade across the Troika bow when it threatened that it may “delay” its repayment of one of the seveeral IMF loans due for repayment as soon as one week from today…





Here Is What Americans Spent Their “Gas Savings” On

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Last quarter, in “This Is What Americans Spent The Most Money On In Q4” we showed that according to the first estimate of Q4 GDP data, the American consumer spent a whopping $20.4 billion in nominal dollars on healthcare, which also resulted in the biggest consumption contribution to GDP in years.

Today, following the first revision of consumer spending, we learn that in the fourth quarter Americans spent even more on healthcare, pushing the total up by $1 billion more, to a whopping $21.4 Bn, or 18% of all spending on goods and services in Q4.

This upward revision on healthcare, of which Obamacare was the primary source of mandatory spending, takes places even as the bulk of the key spending line items were revised lower following the revision.

In any event, the math is clear – the next time anyone asks you what Americans spent their so-called “gas savings” on in Q4, and why retail sales in the end of 2014 (and the start of 2015) were so weak, show them this chart.

Source: BEA





EM Euro Issuance Will Be Highest In A Decade On QE

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Pivotfarm.

FEAR & GREED INDEX – What Emotion dominates the market?

NOW:78/100 GREED

1 WEEK AGO: 77/100 GREED

1 MONTH AGO: 28/100 FEAR

1 YEAR AGO: 56/100 GREED

SAFE HAVEN DEMAND – GREED - Stocks have outperformed bonds by 8.43 percentage points during the last 20 trading days. This is close to the strongest performance for stocks relative to bonds in the past two years and indicates investors are rotating into stocks from the relative safety of bonds.

STOCK PRICE STRENGTH – GREEDThe number of stocks hitting 52-week highs exceeds the number hitting lows and is at the upper end of its range, indicating extreme greed.

CBOE VOLATILITY INDEX (VIX) = 13.91 – NEUTRALMarket Risks appear low according to this measure

PUT AND CALL OPTIONS - GREEDDuring the last five trading days, volume in put options has lagged volume in call options by 41.84% as investors make bullish bets in their portfolios. However, this among the lowest levels of put buying seen during the last two years, indicating greed on the part of investors.

MEME OF THE DAY - STOP FOOL?! 

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PIVOT POINTS

EURUSD | GBPUSDUSDJPYUSDCADAUDUSD | EURJPY | EURCHFEURGBPGBPJPYNZDUSDUSDCHFEURAUD | AUDJPY

S&P 500 (ES) | NASDAQ 100 (NQ)DOW 30 (YM) | RUSSELL 2000 (TF) Euro (6E) | Pound (6B)

EUROSTOXX 50 (FESX) | DAX 30 (FDAX)BOBL (FGBM) | SCHATZ (FGBS) | BUND (FGBL)

CRUDE OIL (CL) | GOLD (GC)

HEADLINES

German Bundestag Votes 542 In Favour Of Greek Extension Vs 32 Against

Greek FinMin Varoufakis: Says Greece Is


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German Parliament Approves Greek Bailout After Schauble Makes It Clear Germany Remains In Charge

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

If Bild’s expectation that its “Nein to more Greek bailout” campaign would lead to a near unanimous vote in the Bundestag for a Greek bailout, then it achieved its goal when a massive majority of lawmakers, some 542 of them, voted in favor of giving Greece the prenegotiated 4 month extension to its current bailout. Still, as many pointed out, of the 32 votes against, a record margin for a euro vote, or 29, came from Merkel’s own CDU/CSU block. This was up from 13 voting against the second Greek bailout. Indeed, as the Guardian’s Ian Traynor summarizes “Merkel’s biggest majority on Greece but also biggest rebellion in her ranks while linke votes for Syriza pals, also a 1st.”

As a result, FT described the post-vote situation as one where Merkel has suffered “substantial rebellion” within her own ranks:

Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel faced dissent over her eurozone rescue policy on Friday after 32 legislators voted against extending Greece’s bailout.

While the four-month extension passed with a comfortable majority of 542 out of 587 lawmakers in the Bundestag who voted, there was a substantial rebellion within Ms Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and sister party the Christian Social Union. There were 13 abstentions.

Dissent in the Bundestag has swelled since the vote over the passage of the second Greek bailout in 2012, when 13 members of her Christian Democratic bloc and four members of coalition partners, the Free Democrats, voted against.

In any event, perhaps some lubrication to the strong Yes vote came from the German finance minister who made it very clear that despite all the pompous rhetoric from Varoufakis, Germany remains in charge:

  • SCHAEUBLE: GREEK PAYMENTS WON’T BE MADE WITHOUT GERMAN APPROVAL

… just in case there was any doubt if Greece may be on route to finally regaining its fiscal sovereignty. He continued, taking a poke at the Op-Ed written by Varoufakis two weeks ago, and the reference to Immanuel Kant:

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble had earlier told MPs that he was not asking for a “change” to Greece’s bailout programme, but an extension “to successfully bring it to an end”. He added that while there was flexibility in the programme, Greece could not make changes without the consent of its European partners.


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Zero Hedge

The "Cashless Economy" Is A Myth

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Via ConvergEx's Nick Colas,

The “Cashless economy” is myth.  Forget what you think you know about credit and debit cards, PayPal, bitcoin, Apple Pay and any other modern conveniences meant to displace physical currency.  The truth is that transactional currency ($1 through $20 bills) in circulation per capita today in America is essentially where it was, inflation adjusted, in 1994: $661 then and $649 today. Moreover, the Federal Reserve’s orders from the U.S. Treasury for small bills have grown faster in the last five years than the 20 year average: 4.5% annually versus a 3.5% long run growth rate.  This year should be no different, with the Fed ordering $4...



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Phil's Favorites

Recession is On the Way: Questioning One's Sanity; Beat the Crowd, Panic Now!

Courtesy of Mish.

In 2006-2007 I called for a recession. We got a big one. I called for another one in 2011, as did the ECRI. That recession never happened.

50% is not a very good recession predicting track record except in comparison to consensus economic opinions that have never once in history predicted a recession. Consensus opinion is batting a perfect 0.00%

Investigating the Record

By the way, the ECRI was late in calling the recession of 2007. They still deny it. And questions regarding the 2001 recession and ECRI have still not been answered.

I have talked about all of this before, and it's worth a recap, if for no other reason than to note the difficulty of calling recessions in real time.

February 24, 2012: ...



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Chart School

NYSE Margin Debt Declined in January

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Note from dshort: The NYSE has released new data for margin debt, now available through January. I've updated the charts in this commentary to include the latest numbers.

The New York Stock Exchange publishes end-of-month data for margin debt on the NYXdata website, where we can also find historical data back to 1959. Let's examine the numbers and study the relationship between margin debt and the market, using the S&P 500 as the surrogate for the latter.

The first chart shows the two series in real terms — adjusted for inflation to today's dollar using the Consumer Price Index as the deflator. I picked 1995 as an arbitrary start date. We were well into the Boomer Bull Market that began in 1982 and approaching the...



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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: David 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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Market Shadows

Kimble Charts: Coal

Kimble Charts: Coal

By Ilene 

Chris Kimble's chart for KOL shows a recently beaten down ETF struggling to pull itself up from the ashes. As the chart shows, KOL has recently drifted down to levels not seen since the financial crisis of 2008-9.

Bouncing or recovering with energy in general, coal prices appear to have stabilized in the short-term. Reflecting coal prices, KOL has traded between $13.45 and $19.75 during the past year. Bouncing from lows, KOL traded around 2% higher yesterday from $14.26 to $14.48 on high volume. It traded another 3.6% higher in after hours to $15, possibly related to ...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of February 23rd, 2015

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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Sabrient

Sector Detector: Sector rankings stay neutral with few bullish catalysts on horizon

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

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Stocks are hitting new highs across the board, even though earnings reports have been somewhat disappointing. Actually, to be more precise, Q4 results have been pretty good, but it is forward guidance that has been cautious and/or cloudy as sales into overseas markets are expected to suffer due to strength in the US dollar. Healthcare and Telecom have put in the best results overall, while of course Energy has been the weakling. Still, overall year-over-year earnings growth for the S&P 500 during 2015 is expected to be about +8%.

In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 cha...



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Digital Currencies

MyCoin Exchange Disappears with Up To $387 Million, Reports Claim

Follow up from yesterday's Just the latest Bitcoin scam.

Hong Kong's MyCoin Disappears With Up To $387 Million, Reports Claim By  

Reports are emerging from Hong Kong that local bitcoin exchange MyCoin has shut its doors, taking with it possibly as much as HK$3bn ($386.9m) in investor funds.

If true, the supposed losses are a staggering amount, although this estimate is based on the company's own earlier claims that it served 3,000 clients who had invested HK$1m ($129,000) each.

...



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Pharmboy

2015 - Biotech Fever

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

PSW Members - well, what a year for biotechs!   The Biotech Index (IBB) is up a whopping 40%, beating the S&P hands down!  The healthcare sector has had a number of high flying IPOs, and beat the Tech Sector in total nubmer of IPOs in the past 12 months.  What could go wrong?

Phil has given his Secret Santa Inflation Hedges for 2015, and since I have been trying to keep my head above water between work, PSW, and baseball with my boys...it is time that something is put together for PSW on biotechs in 2015.

Cancer and fibrosis remain two of the hottest areas for VC backed biotechs to invest their monies.  A number of companies have gone IPO which have drugs/technologies that fight cancer, includin...



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Stock World Weekly

Stock World Weekly

Newsletter writers are available to chat with Members regarding topics presented in SWW, comments are found below each post.

Here's this week's Stock World Weekly.

Click here and sign in with your user name and password. 

 

...

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Option Review

SPX Call Spread Eyes Fresh Record Highs By Year End

Stocks got off to a rocky start on the first trading day in December, with the S&P 500 Index slipping just below 2050 on Monday. Based on one large bullish SPX options trade executed on Wednesday, however, such price action is not likely to break the trend of strong gains observed in the benchmark index since mid-October. It looks like one options market participant purchased 25,000 of the 31Dec’14 2105/2115 call spreads at a net premium of $2.70 each. The trade cost $6.75mm to put on, and represents the maximum potential loss on the position should the 2105 calls expire worthless at the end of December. The call spread could reap profits of as much as $7.30 per spread, or $18.25mm, in the event that the SPX ends the year above 2115. The index would need to rally 2.0% over the current level...



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Help One Of Our Own PSW Members

"Hello PSW Members –

This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible.  Feel free to contact me directly at jennifersurovy@yahoo.com with any questions.

Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts.  After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.)  Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/help-get-shadowfax-out-from-the-darkness-of-medical-bills-/126743

Thank you for you time!




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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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