Author Archive for Zero Hedge

US Olympians Are Turning To Bitcoin To Offset Competition-Related Costs

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

As many college athletes know all too well, funding for more niche sports like – for example – luge is often lacking, and securing more often requires hours of fundraising by the team's boosters.

Which is why, ahead of the Winter Games in PyeongChang, some teams started getting creative. For instance, fundraisers for the US luge team have started accepting donations in bitcoin. Indeed, the team has raised several thousand dollars worth of bitcoin.


The team is hoping crypto donations will eventually comprise a substantial portion of its funding, according to Bloomberg.

"Both know all about speed, crashes, risk management, and holding on. Which is maybe why the US Luge Team and Bitcoin are made for each other," the team wrote on its website, which features images of athletes lying on top of a flat sled speeding down a curvy ice track. "Funds historically have been scarce, but the sport of luge has always been one to reward innovation and technology."

Ty Danco, a former 1980 luge Olympian and now an angel investor, pushed the idea for accepting bitcoin. He eventually became the first to make a donation to the team in crypto.

"There’s no doubt in my mind that the luge team needs a whole lot more money," Danco said.

USA Luge started accepting cryptocurrency donations in December in the run-up to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. As of Feb. 9, the day of the opening ceremony, the team had collected 0.673 Bitcoins, which at the time was worth about $5,400. As of Feb. 20, the value of the Bitcoin donations had risen to about $7,300.

The donations are not only tax deductible, but "from a tax point of view, donating bitcoin to USA Luge gives donors the benefits of not paying taxes on any appreciated Bitcoin" – which could be a huge incentive for potential donors who've been long-term holders.

The team received an influx of coins after Chris Mazdzer won silver on Feb. 11, the first-ever US Olympic medal in men’s singles luge. Within hours, three Bitcoin donations worth about $25 as of Feb. 20, came in. The donations haven't been as promising as the team has hoped, but…
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Gartman: “Bloomberg Has Damaged Our Reputation”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

One day after we reported that “Dennis Gartman Blows Up With Investment In Riot Blockchain“, Bloomberg followed up with a virtually identical article, titled “Risky crypto bet blows up Dennis Gartman’s retirement account.

And yet, oddly, despite being one of the most read features on Bloomberg this morning, the title was surprisingly changed, to the more bland “Risky crypto bet dents Dennis Gartman’s retirement account.”

The reason for the change to the title can be found in Dennis Gartman’s latest investor letter, in which he slams the Bloomberg reporter for “miss-representations” [sic] that “we were materially and dramatically damaged perhaps to the point of insolvency, let us be quite clear: That is far, far from the truth. We did indeed lose money on Friday on a “block-chain” related equity that we had owned for the previous several days. However, the reporter told the story that we would be required to work several more years because of the losses suffered.

Here Gartman takes offense because the “world-renowned commodity guru”, who two months after saying that “Bitcoin is nonsense and I’ll never buy any!” bought stock in a fake blockchain company that was exposed as a fraud and dropped 33% in a single day, hardly suffered “material losses.”

Commodities expert: “Bitcoin is nonsense and I’ll never buy any!”

2 months later: “I bought stock in a fake blockchain company that was exposed as a fraud and dropped 33% in a single day.”

— Jameson Lopp (@lopp) February 21, 2018

And while “the reporter in question has indicated in a phone conversation yesterday that she will repair the tenor of the article she wrote” which explains the title change from “blows up” to “dents“, Gartman then laments that “that shall not repair the damage done to our reputation. Time only shall do that and we do indeed have time on our side.

Indeed you do Dennis, and we look forward to observing all the exciting twist and turns of your “retirement account” for a long time to come.

here is the full section from Gartman’s letter in question:

Regarding our retirement account, and regarding the serious miss-representations made by a reporter for yesterday suggesting

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Loonie Tumbles As Canadian Retail Sales Crashed In December

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

But, but, but… it was Christmas!!

Canadian retail sales have come out and they are shockingly low – even after bad weather and higher rates on big ticket items had kept surveys particularly low for December.

The headline print was -0.8% MoM (expectations were for no change)

Worse still, sales ex autos plunged 1.8% MoM (against expectations of a 0.3% gain) – the biggest drop since Jan 2015…

As Citi notes, these numbers, while often volatile, were not expected to be a big mover, but the extent of the miss has triggered some activity in USDCAD, which has jumped up to 1.2736 already and may have more to run.

Loonie is at its weakest vs the dollar since 12/21…

European Stocks Suffer ‘Death Cross’ As Rebound Rolls Over

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Following dismal PMIs across Europe yesterday, the region’s equity market rebound is rolling over today and has triggered the dreaded ‘death cross’, last seen in September 2015 before stocks legged notably lower.

European economic data has been dramatically disappointing recently (weakest since Sept 2016)…

The 50-day moving-average has crossed below the 200-day moving-average just as the dead-cat-bounce in European stocks rolls over…

Notably, while US equities managed to retrace around 61.8% of its drop…

European equities only managed around 38.2%…

Bitcoin Drops Back Below $10k, Catches Down To Nasdaq

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

After its 100% bounce off the early Feb lows, Bitcoin has slipped back below $10,000 this morning…

Catching down to Nasdaq's flatline from Friday…

Bitcoin is back to unchanged for February…

ECB Minutes Reveal Fears About Currency Wars, Euro Slides

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

There were two distinct reactions in the Euro to today’s ECB Minutes, released this morning.

At first, the EUR jumped following initial headlines that the ECB acknowledged that revisiting the guidance would be “part of a the regular reassessment” going forward, but noting that any changes are premature at this stage.

 In this context, it was remarked that communication on monetary policy would continue to develop according to the evolving state of the economy in line with the ECB’s forward guidance, with a view to avoiding abrupt or disorderly adjustments at a later stage. However, changes in communication were generally seen to be premature at this juncture, as inflation developments remained subdued despite the robust pace of economic expansion.

* * *

The language pertaining to the monetary policy stance could be revisited early this year as part of the regular reassessment at the forthcoming monetary policy meetings. In this context, some members expressed a preference for dropping the easing bias regarding the APP from the Governing Council’s communication as a tangible reflection of reinforced confidence in a sustained adjustment of the path of inflation. However, it was concluded that such an adjustment was premature and not yet justified by the stronger confidence.

Predictably, this hawkish take prompted a kneejerk move higher in the EUR as algos bought the EUR.

However, what traders focused on next was a rather explicit ECB concern over the weakness of the dollar, as the statement once again highlighted fears that the US administration was deliberately trying to engage in currency wars, something which Mario Draghi famously remarked on during the Q&A in the last ECB press conference, when asked for his response to Mnuchin’s statement.

Recall that toward the end of Draghi’s Q&A on January 25, the head of the ECB took a direct swipe at recent US dollar jawboning, accusing Mnuchin, Ross, and essentially the entire Trump administration of verbally manipulating the USD, for not “complying” with the “agreed terms” which have led to euro gains due to comments from “someone else.”

As Citi said at the time, it is “fairly remarkable for a central banker of Draghi’s standing to speak out like this to criticize another bloc’s foreign exchange policies or practices.”

Fast forward to today, when the minutes of the January ECB meeting showed Draghi’s…
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China Shuts Down Its VIX To Halt Market Turbulence

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

While most of the world saw regional equity markets covered in red overnight, China’s Shanghai Composite rebounded, rising 2.2% for two reasons: i) a delayed reaction to global equity prices after the country’s 5-day Lunar New Year holiday and ii) China’s latest crackdown on anything that can precipitate a selloff, like a high VIX for example.

And so, just like on August 24, 2015 when the US market crashed so hard in the pre-market, the VIX briefly “went offline” as input signals went haywire, China also decided to stop updating its local version of the VIX Index, taking its latest step to discourage speculation in equity-linked options after authorities tightened trading restrictions last week.

As Bloomberg first reported, China’s state-run Securities Index Co. didn’t publish a value for the SSE 50 ETF Volatility Index on its website Thursday. An employee who answered a Bloomberg phone call said the company stopped updating the measure to work on an upgrade, however according to “people familiar”, the move was designed to curb activity in the options market.

It’s unclear when the index will resume.

Just like the US VIX, the SSE 50 volatility index is the most widely-followed indicator of Chinese investor anxiety. Which is a problem because also just like the VIX, the index doubled in the span of a few days earlier this month. And the last thing Beijing wants is nervous investors thinking that other investors are nervous… and selling in a blind panic. 

So what to do? Why shut it down of course, just like all global equity markets will be shut down once the real selling begins.

According to Bloomberg, the decision to stop publishing the index forms part of a broad effort by Chinese officials to contain market turbulence.

Other measures this month have included volume limits on active options traders and informal directives encouraging some major stockholders to purchase more shares. Chinese leaders have in the past faced criticism for meddling too much in markets, particularly during the nation’s 2015 equity crash.

The VIX blackout follows tighter curbs on options traders unveiled from Feb. 12, people familiar with the matter said last week, in part because they were alarmed by a gain of as much as 2,250 percent in the price of one bearish contract on the SSE 50 ETF (also known as the China 50
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Bullard Calms Market Nerves: “Everything Needs To Be Perfect” For Fed 4 Rate Hikes

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Yesterday, what many strategists had believed would be a quiet release of minutes from the Fed’s Jan. 31 meeting was, in reality, anything but. Once the market had deemed that the Fed had released another batch of neutral “goldilocks” minutes, the Dow powered higher, climbing 300 points before, upon closer reading, investors abruptly changed their minds and decided that four interest-rate hikes in 2018 (with Goldman even saying 5 are possible) – one more than the central bank had anticipated in December – was the most likely scenario. This sent stocks spiraling lower during the last 90 minutes of trading, forcing another close in the red.

So perhaps it’s unsurprising, given the events of yesterday, that St. Louis Fed President (and FOMC non-voter in 2018) James Bullard appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box this morning to try and talk the market back from the ledge. Bullard is one of the most – if not the most – dovish regional Fed presidents, and is best known for casually hinting that QE4 is just around the corner any time stocks suffer a sharp selloff.

Granted he could not do that this time, but he did push as far as he could, and futures traders, desperate for good news after Goldman Sachs anticipated last night that the Fed could even hike rates five times this year, bid the market higher after the regional Fed president said that “everything would need to go perfectly” for the central bank to hike rates four times this year.


Bullard told CNBC that the central bank needs to be careful raising interest rates this year, lest a policy mistake choke off economic growth and trigger the beginning of the next (long overdue) downturn. He cautioned that the Fed must continue to take its cues from the economy, which, despite the inflation furor triggered by signs of rising wages earlier this month, is still exhibiting only minimal price gains.

The Fed should shift from “reactive” to “proactive” only if inflation reaches or surpasses its 2% target with further price gains expected. The inflation story still has “a way to go”, Bullard added.

Market-implied expectations for the number of rate-hikes in 2018 surged to new cycle highs (2.82 hikes) shortly before yesterday’s minutes were released.

To Bullard’s credit, the Fed still is…
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S&P Futures Rebound As Dollar Rally Ends, Yields Drop

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Global stocks took another leg down during the early part of Thursday’s session, sliding to one-week lows in the wake of Wednesday’s unexpectedly market-moving FOMC minutes which confirmed the Fed was on track to raise interest rates several times this year, sending bond yields to new multi-year highs amid prospects for 4 rate hikes on deck (and according to Goldman, even 5 possible).

However, after sliding initially, S&P futures have since staged a rebound, rising as much as 20 points from session lows, and are currently back in the green, modestly above 2,700.

The rebound was helped by the end of the USD rally, as the dollar’s boost following the Fed minutes proved short-lived as the U.S. currency struggled to gain for a fifth day. Meanwhile, the euro was unfazed by a miss in German IFO data, finding support from broad dollar selling after the London open in a rather slow session. The dollar weakness sent EURUSD back to 1.23, while GBP underperforms after a disappointing GDP revision and the ongoing Brexit saga

In other key FX pairs, per BBG:

  • USD/JPY declines 0.4% as a slide in local stocks spurs demand for haven assets
  • EUR/USD edges up; premium to hedge political risks rising, with two-week smile flattening as demand for low-delta puts remains strong amid higher volatility in the front end
  • GBP/USD resumes its slide, trades 0.2% lower, after data showed that the U.K. economy expanded less than previously estimated in 4Q as consumers and businesses absorbed faster price increases

Three rate rises are now almost fully priced in for 2018, compared with two as recently as December, and some analysts are even contemplating the possibility of as many as five rate hikes in 2018.

And while 10Y TSY yields have traded rangebound within 2 bps of 2.93%, German bunds have unwound the sell-off seen post-FOMC Minutes, following disappointing German IFO data after Wednesday’s weaker-than-forecast European PMIs.  The “transatlantic spread” between German and U.S. 10-year borrowing costs widened to near a year high at 220 bps, reflecting the diverging monetary policy expectations between the two countries.

The 3% level on 10Y TSY yields is seen as a huge psychological milestone for bulls and bears alike. In the meantime though the yield, which hit four-year highs around 2.96 percent after the minutes, retreated to…
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Meet The Deutsche Bank Mortgage-Bond Trader Who’s Writing The Next “Hunger Games”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

The former head of Deutsche Bank’s mortgage bond desk has made a notably unorthodox mid-career pivot: He’s taken up writing young-adult fiction, hoping to ride the wave of dystopian novels to a multimillion dollar movie deal a la the Hunger Games.

Chris Babu ran the government-backed mortgage-bond trading at Deutsche Bank AG until 2016 before leaving to try his hand at writing novels. He says he’s gotten used to funny looks when people hear about his career change, according to a short profile published by Bloomberg.

“You’re nuts,” Babu says old colleagues sometimes tell him. “Get a job that’s going to pay you a lot of money.”

Of course, as he tells BBG, he hopes he’s done just that: Investing a “not insignificant” amount of his own money in marketing his series. The first book, “the Initiation” is set to be published this month by Permuted Press, which specializes in sci-fi and dystopian fiction.


Chris Babu, soaking up some inspiration for his novels in New York City’s subway.

He describes the series as “the Hunger Games” for nerds – noting that his books have more of a hard sci-fi bent. The story was inspired by Babu’s formerly hellish commute on New York City’s subways.

The novel was partly inspired by what Babu called his “daily hellish commute” from Manhattan’s Upper West Side to Wall Street on the 2/3 subway line. The main character is a 16-year-old math geek who, along with five other kids, has to undergo a series of tests in the abandoned subway tunnels of Babu’s post-apocalyptic New York. You fail, you die.

Despite the instant relatability of his premise, many of his friends and former colleagues questioned Babu’s sanity, he says.

“The general reaction was, ‘That’s a cool thing you’re doing,’” Babu said, despite the occasional questioning of his sanity. “A lot of people didn’t take me seriously. They were surprised that I stuck with it.”

Babu, 42, had always been a voracious reader. He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a degree in mathematics, and worked at Bank of America Corp. before landing at Deutsche Bank in 2005, eventually rising to oversee 35 mortgage-bond traders and an $18 billion balance sheet.

However, during the post-crisis era, fixed-income trading eventually got boring, as the Federal…
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George Soros: General Theory Of Reflexivity

By VW Staff. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Open Society Institute chairman and founder George Soros shares his latest thinking on economics and politics in a five-part lecture series recorded at Central European University, October 26-30, 2009. The lectures are the culmination of a lifetime of practical and philosophical reflection.

]]> 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

This short video provides an overview of the five-part series of lectures by George Soros, discussing his latest thinking on economics and politics.

George Soros: The Lecture Series: Introduction


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Phil's Favorites

Defeating Nonsense with Evidence


Defeating Nonsense with Evidence

Courtesy of 

Most of the market commentary you come across, including a lot of mine, is nonsense – even if it’s well meaning nonsense.

Of course we’re trying to interpret things as they happen – it’s human nature to want to understand what’s going on. The thing is, it’s probably best to use evidence as a starting point, rather than just repeating old wives tales, rules of thumb and opinions you hear in the media that sound better than they actually are.

At least, that’s what we try to do.

I want to make sure you don’t miss either of these ...

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Zero Hedge

US Olympians Are Turning To Bitcoin To Offset Competition-Related Costs

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

As many college athletes know all too well, funding for more niche sports like - for example - luge is often lacking, and securing more often requires hours of fundraising by the team's boosters.

Which is why, ahead of the Winter Games in PyeongChang, some teams started getting creative. For instance, fundraisers for the US luge team have started accepting donations in bitcoin. Indeed, the team has raised several thousand dollars worth of bitcoin.


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Digital Currencies

US Olympians Are Turning To Bitcoin To Offset Competition-Related Costs

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

As many college athletes know all too well, funding for more niche sports like - for example - luge is often lacking, and securing more often requires hours of fundraising by the team's boosters.

Which is why, ahead of the Winter Games in PyeongChang, some teams started getting creative. For instance, fundraisers for the US luge team have started accepting donations in bitcoin. Indeed, the team has raised several thousand dollars worth of bitcoin.


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Chart School

'Bull Trap' in Dow Jones Industrial Average

Courtesy of Declan.

Starting to see evidence that the February bounce in markets is fading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished with a 'bull trap' as it ducked below breakout support despite finishing above yesterday's close. Volume dropped as relative performance against tech indices took a marked step lower. Troubling times for the 'flight-to-safety' route.

The Semiconductor Index had looked like it was ready to mount a challenge of the January 'bull trap' but the last couple of days have seen a second attempt at a reversal ...

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Insider Scoop

5 Biggest Price Target Changes For Thursday

Courtesy of Benzinga.

  • BMO Capital raised the price target for Home Depot Inc (NYSE: HD) from $191 to $213. Home Depot shares closed at $183.06 on Wednesday.
  • KeyBanc boosted Synopsys, Inc. (NASDAQ: SNPS) price target from $106 to $110. Synopsys shares closed at $88.46 on Wednesday.
  • Imperial Capital increased Qualys Inc (NASDAQ: QLYS) price target from $62 to $83. Qualys shares closed at $72.15 on Wednesday.
  • KeyBanc boosted the price target for GrubHub Inc (NYSE: ... more from Insider


What is 'right to try,' and could it help?

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


What is 'right to try,' and could it help?

In this March 18, 2011 photo, Cassidy Hempel waved at hospital staff as she was being treated for a rare disorder. Her mother Chris, left, fought to gain permission for an experimental drug. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Morten Wendelbo, Texas A&M University and Timothy Callaghan, ...

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Mapping The Market

The tricks propagandists use to beat science

Via Jean-Luc

How propagandist beat science – they did it for the tobacco industry and now it's in favor of the energy companies:

The tricks propagandists use to beat science

The original tobacco strategy involved several lines of attack. One of these was to fund research that supported the industry and then publish only the results that fit the required narrative. “For instance, in 1954 the TIRC distributed a pamphlet entitled ‘A Scientific Perspective on the Cigarette Controversy’ to nearly 200,000 doctors, journalists, and policy-makers, in which they emphasized favorable research and questioned results supporting the contrary view,” say Weatherall and co, who call this approach biased production.

A second approach promoted independent research that happened to support ...

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Members' Corner

An Interview with David Brin

Our guest David Brin is an astrophysicist, technology consultant, and best-selling author who speaks, writes, and advises on a range of topics including national defense, creativity, and space exploration. He is also a well-known and influential futurist (one of four “World's Best Futurists,” according to The Urban Developer), and it is his ideas on the future, specifically the future of civilization, that I hope to learn about here.   

Ilene: David, you base many of your predictions of the future on a theory of historica...

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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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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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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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