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The US-Iran “Misunderstanding”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Lost in translation?

Source: Investors.com





3 Things: No Money, Wall Street’s Big Scam, Bottom 80%

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Lance Roberts via STA Wealth Management,

Much of the commentary from the more liberal leaning media has continued to tout that the rise in asset markets over the last few years are clear evidence of economic prosperity in this country. However, is that really the case?

In order for rising asset prices to be reflective of overall economic prosperity, the "wealth" generated by those rising asset prices should impact a broad swath of the American populous. Let's take a look to see if that is the case.

"Mo Money" Or No Money

In September of last year, I discussed the Federal Reserve's 2013 Survey of household finances which showed a shocking decline in the median value of net worth of families across all age brackets.

While the mainstream media continues to tout that the economy is on the mend, real (inflation-adjusted) median net worth suggests that this is not the case overall.

Fed-Survey-2013-NetWorth-091014

However, Shane Ferro from Business Insider posted a stunning piece on what has happened to American families as asset prices have surged higher. To wit:

"Nearly half of American households don't save any of their money.

If it isn't obvious, this has a broad range of implications. People who don't save won't have any buffer should the economy turn, and they lose their jobs. Longer term, people who don't save won't have the capacity to retire. It's not good."

Households-Zero-Savers

What is clear is that rising asset prices, which have been induced by the Federal Reserve's monetary policy and suppression of interest rates, has indeed benefitted those that have assets to invest.

The findings are strikingly similar to the U.S. Federal Reserve survey from last year.

"'Savings are depleted for many households after the recession,' it found. Among those who had savings prior to 2008, 57% said they'd used up some or all of their savings in the Great Recession and its aftermath. What's more, only 39% of respondents reported having a 'rainy day' fund adequate to cover three months of expenses and only 48% of respondents said that they could not completely cover a hypothetical emergency expense costing $400 without selling something or borrowing money."

In other words, the rich have gotten richer as rising asset prices have been a major benefit to stock-option based executives…
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It’s The End Of March And 99.85% Of California Is Abnormally Dry Already

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

With NASA scientists warning about California only having one year of water left, it appears The Kardashians and March Madness continue to distract Americans from the ugly looming reality of water shortages. With summer around the corner, the US Drought Minitoring service reports today that a stunning 99.85% of California is "abnormally dry," and 98.11% of the state is in drought conditions leaving over 37 million people in harm's way.

As we concluded previously,

Right now the state has only about one year of water supply left in its reservoirs, and our strategic backup supply, groundwater, is rapidly disappearing. California has no contingency plan for a persistent drought like this one (let alone a 20-plus-year mega-drought), except, apparently, staying in emergency mode and praying for rain.

In short, we have no paddle to navigate this crisis.

Several steps need be taken right now.

First, immediate mandatory water rationing should be authorized across all of the state's water sectors, from domestic and municipal through agricultural and industrial. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is already considering water rationing by the summer unless conditions improve. There is no need for the rest of the state to hesitate. The public is ready. A recent Field Poll showed that 94% of Californians surveyed believe that the drought is serious, and that one-third support mandatory rationing.

Second, the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 should be accelerated. The law requires the formation of numerous, regional groundwater sustainability agencies by 2017. Then each agency must adopt a plan by 2022 and “achieve sustainability” 20 years after that. At that pace, it will be nearly 30 years before we even know what is working. By then, there may be no groundwater left to sustain.

Third, the state needs a task force of thought leaders that starts, right now, brainstorming to lay the groundwork for long-term water management strategies. Although several state task forces have been formed in response to the drought, none is focused on solving the long-term needs of a drought-prone, perennially water-stressed California.

Our state's water management is complex, but the technology and expertise exist to handle this harrowing future. It will require major changes in policy and infrastructure that could take decades to identify and act upon. Today, not tomorrow, is the time…
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Building Explodes, Collapses In Manhattan, Multiple Injuries Reported – Live Webcast

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

While it is unclear at this moment if this is merely the latest casualty of below normal Capex (or was the result of a gas leak), or if there was foul play involved, moments ago the NYC scanner was lit up with reports that a building had collapsed, following an explosion, on 7th street and 2nd avenue, in the East Village in Manhattan.


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Despite “Worst Since Lehman” Data, President Obama Explains How Great The Economy Is – Live Feed

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

The market economy is good…

President Obama is due to speak at 1630ET…





CSX Cuts Outlook Despite CEO Saying “Expects No Impact From Low Oil Prices”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

When CSX CEO Michael Ward arrogantly strode onto CNBC six weeks ago and proclaimed, he has "not seen any changes," suggesting everything's fine down to $30-35 oil and "expected no impact on crude shipments," we carefully suggested he was being a little careful with the truth. So, when today, the company issued the following statement:

  • *CSX DOESN'T EXPECT TO REACH HIGH END OF CRUDE-BY-RAIL FORECAST

We could not help but wonder just how rapidly the deterioration had occurred or if, once again, a CEO had come on business media and lied through his teeth.

CSX CEO Michael Ward giving the all-clear 6 weeks ago…rail freight transportation company CSX's CEO Michael Ward stated 'unequivocally' that as far as the movement of crude by rail he has "not seen any changes," suggesting everything's fine down to $30-35 oil and "expected no impact on crude shipments."

And last week's tumble in rail loadings…

And now CSX cuts the 2015 outlook…

  • *CSX DOESN'T EXPECT TO REACH HIGH END OF CRUDE-BY-RAIL FORECAST
  • CSX had forecast avg daily crude trains of 4-4.5 in 2015 vs 3.5 in 2014 “given pricing pressure in the global crude oil market,” spokeswoman Melanie Cost says in e-mailed statement.

*  *  *

And this follows KSU's slashing its outlook.





Government Report Finds DEA Agents Had “Sex Parties” With Prostitutes Hired By Drug Cartels

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

Although some of the DEA agents participating in these parties denied it, the information in the case file suggested they should have known the prostitutes in attendance were paid with cartel funds. A foreign officer also alleged providing protection for the DEA agents’ weapons and property during the parties, the report said. The foreign officers further alleged that in addition to soliciting prostitutes, three DEA SSAs [special agents] in particular were provided money, expensive gifts, and weapons from drug cartel members.

* A deputy U.S. Marshal “entered into a romantic relationship” with a fugitive’s spouse and would not break off the relationship for more than a year, even after being told by supervisors to end it.

* An ATF “Director of Industry Operations” had “solicited consensual sex with anonymous partners and modified a hotel room door to facilitate sexual play.” The ATF employee even disabled a hotel’s fire detection system, and when caught by the hotel, said he had done it before.

– From the Politico article: DEA Agents Had ‘Sex Parties’ with Prostitutes, Watchdog Says

There’s no agency in government more vehemently opposed to ending the immoral and counterproductive “war on drugs” than the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Now we know why.

From Politico:

Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration reportedly had “sex parties” with prostitutes hired by drug cartels in Colombia, according to a new inspector general report released by the Justice Department on Thursday.

In addition, Colombian police officers allegedly provided “protection for the DEA agents’ weapons and property during the parties,” the report states. Ten DEA agents later admitted attending the parties, and some of the agents received suspensions of two to 10 days.

Suspensions of two to ten days. That’ll teach ‘em.

The Oversight panel is also investigating allegations into the Secret Service that agents there hired prostitutes in Colombia while advancing a trip for President Barack Obama.

Moreover,the report states that DEA, ATF and the Marshals Service repeatedly failed to report all risky or improper sexual behavior to security personnel at those agencies.

“The foreign officer allegedly arranged ‘sex parties’ with prostitutes funded by the local drug cartels for these DEA agents at their government-leased quarters, over a period of several years,” the IG report says.

“Although some of the


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MoSSaD MaDNeSS 2015…

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by williambanzai7.





Putin Says Attempts To Tip Nuclear Balance Don’t Scare Russia, Moscow Will Uncover “Schemes”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Russia is once again ratcheting up the rhetoric, this time to a fever pitch. Just a day after Putin’s Security Council posted a remarkably accurate and amusingly concise assessment of US foreign policy aims on its website, a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry as well as President Putin himself are out with strong condemnations of both the NATO presence in Eastern Europe as well as US plans to arm Kiev. 

The comments come on the heels of a House vote which showed overwhelming support for the provision of lethal aid to Kiev and just a day after the first batch of American humvees received a warm welcome from President Petro Poroshenko. As a reminder, here’s what both sides had to say about Congress’s willingness to maybe start an all out proxy war in the Baltics: 

The prepackaged spin is already ready: “sending weapons to the Kiev government would not mean involvement in a new war for America”, claimed the abovementioned Eliot Engel who sponsored the document. “The people of Ukraine are not looking for American troops,” Engel said. “They are just looking for the weapons.”

So the only question is how Russia will responds to this escalation: according to RT, “Washington’s decision to supply Ukraine with ammunition and weapons would “explode the whole situation” in eastern Ukraine and Russia would be forced to respond “appropriately,” Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said at the end of February.

While it’s not immediately clear what constitutes an “appropriate” response, and while the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Alexander Lukashevich contends that an outright military confrontation between the West and Russia “isn’t something anyone wants,” that’s where the ambiguity and niceties end. Here’s more via Bloomberg: 

NATO drills in Europe are buildup of U.S. forces.

Russia says NATO members on Russian border planning to deploy planes capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

Airforce drills in Estonia are buildup of U.S. presence; U.S. jets may reach St Petersburg from Estonia w/in mins.

U.S. is heavily deploying weaponry in eastern Europe.

U.S. arms supplies to Ukraine are threat to Russia, won’t scare Russia.

The Estonia reference refers to the “bilateral training” being conducted by the Estonian air force and 14 F-16s from the US. As The Aviationist notes, “the purpose of the deployment is to enhance interoperability
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Thank You, Fed – Warren And Jorge Are Thrilled By Another Play Day In The Casino

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by David Stockman via Contra Corner blog,

Kraft shareholders woke up $12 billion richer this week and for that they should thank their lucky stars—–or at least send a case of Cristal to Janet and her merry band of money printers. Having passed-out free money to carry traders for 75 months running and after inserting a liquidity and verbal “put” under every market dip since March 2009, the money printers had generated downright giddiness (as of Tuesday night!) in the Wall Street casino.

And when it came to the shares of Kraft, the casino was indeed giddy even before the deal was announced. A few months ago when it was trading about $55/share, the company was already valued at 31X its $1.75 per share of net income for the year then ending.

So now those fast money traders who somehow “got wind” of the deal early are just plain tickled pink. At $83 per share they are up 50% on their cash position and several hundred percent on their call options. That’s quite the pay day, amounting to about 47X last year’s earnings on Jell-O, Kool-Aid, Lunchables, Maxwell House, Oscar Mayer, Philadelphia cream cheese, Planters peanuts and Velveeta spreads.

Setting aside the Kool-Aid, you might wonder how hot dogs, peanuts and sliced cheese are really worth such a snappy valuation multiple. Actually, however, that’s not the complete wonder of it. In the year just ended, Kraft posted an hardly impressive $2.9 billion of adjusted EBITDA less CapEx. Yet the casino is now pegging its total enterprise value (TEV) at $58 billion—-including about $9 billion of net debt.

Can you say 20X free cash flow? Well, Warren Buffet can. Gushing away in a statement accompanying the deal, the Oracle of Omaha said:

“I am delighted to play a part in bringing these two winning companies and their iconic brands together. This is my kind of transaction, uniting two world-class organizations and delivering shareholder value. I’m excited by the opportunities for what this new combined organization will achieve.”

We will get to Jorge (Jorge Paulo Lemann of 3G Capital) next, but here’s where the Fed and its casino come in. Kraft is a dead in the water financial engineering plaything of Wall Street. It was spun-off from its parent company in 2012 purportedly to unlock hidden value, but the only thing it has unlocked is a torrent of cash payments to its shareholders.

That started with a $7.2 billion “goodbye” dividend gifted to its parent company (Mondelez International) in conjunction with the spin-off. Including dividends and share repurchases since then, Kraft…
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Zero Hedge

The US-Iran "Misunderstanding"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Lost in translation?

Source: Investors.com

...

more from Tyler

Promotions

Watch Phil on Money Talk on BNN Now!

Kim Parlee interviews Phil on Money Talk. Be sure to watch the replays if you missed the show last night. As usual, Phil provides an excellent program packed with macro analysis, important lessons and trading ideas. (And get this, Obama - the President - is following Phil on Twitter.) ~ Ilene

 

The replay is now available on BNN's website. For the three part series, click on the links below. 

Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here.   ...

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Phil's Favorites

For Robots Only: Amazon Sponsored Contest; Soft Fingers Needed

Courtesy of Mish.

Amazon is sponsoring a robot warehouse automation contest to see to who can pack the most boxes in the least amount of time without dropping any packages or crushing anything delicate such as cookies.

In the contest, in which human workers are not eligible to apply, the robots will have to work without any remote guidance from their creators.

Please consider the MIT Technology Review, Amazon Robot Contest May Accelerate Warehouse Automation.
Packets of Oreos, boxes of crayons, and squeaky dog toys will test the limits of robot vision and manipulation in a competition this May. Amazon is organizing the event to spur the development of more nimble-fingered product-packing machines.

Participating...



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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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Insider Scoop

Stifel, Bank Of America Are Talking About Apollo Education

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related APOL Stocks Hitting 52-Week Lows Morning Market Losers Apollo falls on sales, outlook (Investor's Business Daily)

On Thursday, Stifel issued a report on Apollo Education Group Inc (NASDAQ: APOL) as the stock's volume has not recovered. Stifel lowered its target price from $35 to $25, but still rates Apollo Education as a Buy.

"Our Buy thesis which ...



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Chart School

Gasoline Volume Sales, Demographics and our Changing Culture

Courtesy of Doug Short.

The Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA) data on volume sales is over two months old when it released. The latest numbers, through mid-January, are now available. However, despite the lag, this report offers an interesting perspective on fascinating aspects of the US economy. Gasoline prices and increases in fuel efficiency are important factors, but there are also some significant demographic and cultural dynamics in this data series.

Because the sales data are highly volatile with some obvious seasonality, I've added a 12-month moving average (MA) to give a clearer indication of the long-term trends. The latest 12-month MA is 8.2% below the all-time high set in August 2005 and fractionally off the interim low set in August 2014.

...

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Sabrient

Sector Detector: Bulls retake the wheel, with a little help from their friends at the Fed

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

Courtesy of Scott Martindale at Sabrient Systems

Well, it didn’t take long for the bulls to jump on their buying opportunity, with a little help from the bulls’ friend in the Fed. In fact, despite huge daily swings in the market averages driven by daily news regarding timing of interest rate hikes, the strength in the dollar, and oil prices, trading actually has been quite rational, honoring technical formations and support levels and dutifully selling overbought conditions and buying when oversold. Yes, the tried and true investing clichés continue to work -- “Don’t fight the Fed,” and “The trend is your friend.”

In this weekly update, I give my view of the cur...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of March, 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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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin vs. Uber: Bitcoin Lovers Respond to Mish

Courtesy of Mish.

I recently commented that it would not surprise me if bitcoin plunged to $1.00. That was not a prediction, it was a comment.

Still, I still feel a collapse in bitcoin is likely.

For discussion, please see Cash Dinosaur: France Limits Cash Transactions to €1,000, Puts Restrictions on Gold; Bitcoin End Coming?

In response, reader Creighton writes ...

Hello Mish

While I'm not going to argue the point about the possibility that Bitcoin drops to $1, or less, (that could happen yet, but not for the reasons you propose) I felt it necessary to point out something you seem to have overlooked.

While it's likely that the US government watching Bitco...



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Market Shadows

Kimble Charts: South Korea's EWY

Kimble Charts: South Korea's EWY

By Ilene 

Chris Kimble likes the iShares MSCI South Korea Capped (EWY), but only if it breaks out of a pennant pattern. This South Korean equities ETF has underperformed the S&P 500 by 60% since 2011.

You're probably familiar with its largest holding, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, and at least several other represented companies such as Hyundai Motor Co and Kia Motors Corp.

...



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Option Review

Cypress Semi Draws Bullish Option Plays

Bullish trades abound in Cypress Semiconductor options today, most notably a massive bull call spread initiated in the July expiry contracts. One strategist appears to have purchased 30,000 of the Jul 16.0 strike calls at a premium of $0.89 each and sold the same number of Jul 19.0 strike calls at a premium of $0.22 apiece. Net premium paid to put on the spread amounts to $0.67 per contract, thus establishing a breakeven share price of $16.67 on the trade. Cypress shares reached a 52-week high of $16.25 back on Friday, March 13th, and would need to rally 4.6% over the current level to exceed the breakeven point of $16.25. The spread generates maximum potential profits of $2.33 per contract in the event that CY shares surge more than 20% in the next four months to reach $19.00 by July expiration. Shar...



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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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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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