Author Archive for Zero Hedge

Syria Summit Kicks Off In Russia With Some Anti-Saudi Trolling

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

While in Sochi, Russia for trilateral talks between Russia, Iran, and Turkey over the future of Syria, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has taken to Twitter for some serious trolling. As the first day of the summit concluded – a day preceded by a rare 4-hour visit to Russia by Syrian President Bashar Assad who met with Putin on Monday – Zarif stated, "No need for empty words or gimmicks – including glowing orbs – when you're actually working for peace and against terror."

The Iranian FM was of course referring to the unforgettable photo op which lit up the internet from Trump's inaugural visit to Saudi Arabia last May wherein Trump along with Saudi King Salman and Egypt's Sisi laid their hands on a strange glowing orb upon the opening of something called the "Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology" (no one knows what the center has accomplished since then).

In the lead up to the summit, Zarif explained that the Iranian delegation headed by President Rouhani would be "working with Turkish & Russian counterparts to build on ceasefire we achieved in Syria & preparing for inclusive dialog among Syrians. Irony is KSA accuses Iran of destabilization, while itself fuels terrorists, wages war on Yemen, blockades Qatar & foments crisis in Lebanon."

And the other irony is that along with the continuing war of words between the Iranians and Saudis, parallel summits are happening at the same time over Syria. On Wednesday a Syrian opposition conference kicked off in Riyadh which aims to unite fragmented opposition groups ahead of next week's UN-backed Syria talks in Geneva next week.

But statements from Sochi appeared more triumphant, with a many analysts and media pundits interpreting the ongoing summit between presidents Putin, Erdogan, and Rouhani, as a victory lap of sorts which will involve discussion of the fate of post-war Syria, driven by the victorious Russians and Iranians with reluctant Erdogan in tow, perhaps clawing for the geopolitical scraps.

And the Russian embassy in the UK decided to take the opportunity to rub it in, with the following tweet:

Why so jealous, @thetimes? Britain


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Taxes: Here’s What’s Going To Stay The Same

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Simon Black via SovereignMan.com,

On October 3, 1913, US President Woodrow Wilson signed the Underwood-Simmons Act into law, creating what would become the first modern US income tax.

The legislation (at least, the income tax portion) was only 16 pages and imposed a base tax rate of just 1%.

The highest tax rate was set at 7%– and it only applied to individuals earning more than $500,000 per year, which is about $12.6 million today according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

And individuals earning less than $3,000 (about $75,000 today) were exempt from paying tax.

Tax rates moved up and down over the years– the government raised rates to fund World War I, then lowered them in peacetime.

In fact, taxes were cut at least four separate times during the 1920s alone, reaching a low in 1929 of just 0.375% for the bottom tax bracket.

Back then, making major changes to tax law was pretty simple. Today, thanks to heavily vested interests on all sides, it takes a miracle to make any serious modifications to the tax code.

That’s why there hasn’t been any significant tax reform in the Land of the Free since Crocodile Dundee was the #1 movie in America (that’s 1986, by the way).

There are now two versions of legislation that will make major changes to the US tax code– one in the Senate and one in the House of Representatives.

I spent most of the nearly 30 hours of travel time during flights over the past week from Santiago to Sydney, Sydney to Bangkok, and Bangkok to Singapore, reading the proposals’ 400+ pages.

The media is touting these bills as a ‘major overhaul’ and ‘comprehensive reform,’ and financial markets have been treating this legislation as if the second coming of capitalism is walking across the water.

It’s not.

Sure, there are a few significant changes.

They’re scrapping the idiotic Alternative Minimum Tax, which ensnares more and more people each year.

Tax rates on certain business profits are going down substantially.

And they’re making tax reporting a lot


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Fusion GPS Founder Told Congress That Russians Had Infiltrated The NRA

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Chuck Ross via The Daily Caller,

The co-founder of the opposition research firm behind the Trump dossier testified to Congress earlier this month that he believed Russian operatives have infiltrated the National Rifle Association.

Glenn Simpson, a founding partner of Fusion GPS, casually suggested in an interview with the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that the gun rights group had been breached, a source familiar with the matter told The Daily Caller.

Fox News first reported about Simpson’s testimony on Tuesday night.

TheDC’s source said that Simpson suggested the NRA-Russia connection in response to a line of questions from committee Democrats who asked whether any conservative groups have been infiltrated by Kremlin agents.

No evidence has been made public supporting Simpson’s allegations, and it was not clear from Simpson’s testimony what links he believes there are between the NRA and Russian agents.

The dossier, which was funded by the Clinton campaign and DNC, makes no mention of the NRA or any other conservative groups. The document, written by former British spy Christopher Steele, alleges that the Trump campaign cooperated with the Russian government in order to help Trump win the election.

News articles attempting to link Russians to the NRA have appeared with increased frequency over the past year.

The articles have keyed in on Aleksander Torshin and Maria Butina, two Russian nationals who have developed a close relationship to the pro-Second Amendment group.

The pair are lifetime members of the NRA and frequently attend the group’s events. In 2011, Butina founded a Russian gun rights group called The Right to Bear Arms. Some NRA officials have visited Russia to attend that group’s functions.

It is not clear if Simpson was referring to Torshin, the deputy chairman of Russia’s central bank, and Butina during his House committee interview.

Torshin and Butina entered the news again last week after the Senate Judiciary Committee cited an email sent to the Trump campaign offering a “Russian backdoor overture and dinner meeting” with Donald Trump.

The email, sent from a Christian values advocate named Rick Clay to Rick Dearborn, a


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A Swarm Of Earthquakes Beneath The San Andreas Fault Is Making Scientists Nervous

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Warner Bros Pictures might want to rethink the shooting of San Andreas II – the sequel to the 2015 blockbuster about a massive earthquake striking the San Francisco Bay Area that starred the Rock, Paul Giamatti and a host of other A-list actors.

Because if the US Geological Survey’s worst fears are confirmed, the seismic devastation depicted in the film might hit a little too close to home. According to the Daily Mail, 134 earthquakes have hammered a three-mile stretch around Monterey County on the San Andreas fault over the last week – a pace that’s making seismologists nervous.

The San Andreas fault stretches 750 miles north to south across coastal California, forming the boundary of the Pacific plate and North American plate.

Of those earthquakes, 17 were stronger than 2.5 magnitude and 6 of them were stronger than 3.0. And experts at the USGS warn that more tremors are expected in the coming weeks.

The rumblings are amplifying fears raised last week that the 'Big One' – the mythical quake depicted in the movie ‘San Andreas’ – could be about to hit. In another sign of impending disaster, ten 'mini quakes' struck the same area last week. That swarm included one 4.6-magnitude quake that was felt in San Francisco more than 90 miles away.

“This one has been a quite productive aftershock sequence,” said Ole Kaven, a US Geological Survey seismologist.

“We suspect there will be aftershocks in the 2 to 3 [magnitude] range for at least a few more weeks,” he said.

Fortunately, nobody was injured in the quake storm.   

Last week's swarm hit California's Monterey County on Monday at 11:31 am ET about 13 miles northeast of Gonzales, near Salinas.

It dramatically increases the likelihood of a major quake in California, at least temporarily, experts claimed.

The initial 4.6-magnitude quake was followed by nine smaller aftershocks.

The largest of the tremors measured magnitude 2.8, according to Annemarie Baltay, a seismologist with the US Geological Survey in Menlo Park.

The quake happened at a depth of around 4 miles directly on top of the fault, close to a region where the Calaveras Fault branches off.

Experts have previously warned that any activity on the fault line is cause for concern.





11 Charts Exposing The Madness Of The Stock Market Crowd

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Liabridge Economic Research's Atle Willems,

Summary

  • There’s more to stock market valuations than the current level of interest rates.
  • In this article, 11 charts are presented which expose the extraordinary level to which stock prices have dislocated from a range of economic aggregates.
  • The height of these charts should send shivers down the spine of anyone concerned with minimizing losses.

One of the very few good reasons left to buy equities now is historic low interest rates. Broadly speaking, this is not a recent phenomena as it has been the case, from a valuation standpoint applying a more “normal” level of interest rates, for at least the last three years. Many are not making decisions based on hopes and dreams are aware of this fact, but nonetheless maintain a relatively high allocation toward equities out of necessity.

The necessity of a decent return in this historic low interest rate environment has resulted in a desperate chase for yield, often motivated by the current spread between earnings and bond yields.

The chase for yield also demonstrates a lack of investment opportunities since newly printed money has acted more to drive up prices in the secondary market rather than fueling additions to capital goods. This has doubtlessly helped prolong the bull market in stocks as it has had a dampening effect on the business cycle.

But there is more to stock market valuations than the current level of interest rates. Further declines in nominal interest rates are limited, while the upside potential is tremendous in percentage terms. The best one can hope for is perhaps that rates remain near historical lows for a long period of time. Placing your bets solely on interest rates remaining low however requires a portion of delusion.

The nominator in any prudent appraisal of stock prices also matters, though it appears to play a minimal role these days as exposed in the charts below. Most of these charts have one thing in common – they compare stocks to a range of economic aggregates related to corporate sales and with it earnings. After all,


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Dollar Dives To 6-Week Lows As Fed Fears Market ‘Partying Like Its 1999′

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

1999-like parties are breaking out everywhere across financial markets…

First things first, US Financials Conditions are partying like its way easier than 1999…

The Philly Semiconductor index is partying like its 1999…

But what happens next? Meltup time?

S&P 500 Valuations are partying like its 1999…

The spread between German and US bond yields is partying like its 1999…

And the US Treasury curve is partying like its 1999…

*  *  *

The Fed Minutes spooked markets a bit today – USD down, gold, stocks, and bonds unch

On the day, The Dow & S&P were joined late on by Small Caps in the red (but the Dow was worst, Trannies were best)

VIX ended modestly higher but still below 10…

Another day, another short-squeeze…

This is now the biggest short squeeze since the election…

And before we leave stockland, remember CHF-Solutions…

High yield bond prices ralied once again – almost back to their 200DMA…

Treasuries rallies across the curve today (but for a change the short-end outperformed the long-end – 2Y -4.5bps vs 30Y -1.5bps)

Quite a significant reversal today in yields after bond weakness overnight suddenly reversed this morning and then extended after the dovish FOMC…

Stocks and bonds remain notably decoupled this week…

The Dollar Index extended its losses after FOMC Minutes. Today is the worst day for the dollar index since Sept 7th…

However, stocks remain decoupled from FX carry…

Bitcoin rallied once again today but failed to make a new record high…

NOTE the interest patterm starting to develop intraday

WTI rallied, bouncing back from disappointing inventory data and RBOB leaked lower…

Gold and Silver gained as the dollar drooped – Gold and silver  surged back above its 50- and 100DMA





JPMorgan: Every Investor Class Is Now All-In Stocks

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

A funny thing happened as the so-called experts were looking for signs of retail euphoria (and repeatedly were unable to find it): everyone got all-in equities… and not just retail investors and US households, but mutual funds, hedge funds, pensions, systematic, and sovereign wealth funds.

As JPMorgan calculated when looking at the equity positioning of the main types of investors, "allocations are near historical highs, not leaving much room for further increases." How historic?

Starting with retail investors one can notice that margin debt (measured as percentage of market capitalization) is at its highest point ever, which includes the 2000 tech bubble episode. The percentage of US household wealth in equities is in its 94th percentile and above its 2007 peak, but slightly below 2000 levels. Sovereign wealth funds and US mutual funds are also near record levels. Pension Fund allocations appear to be in the 88% percentile, although there is some uncertainty around this number in adjusting for private asset and HF holdings. Global Hedge Funds’ allocation (as measured by equity beta) are also near record highs, and Equity Hedge funds’ allocation in their 93rd percentile (since 2005).

Why does this matte? Because with everyone already long stocks, there is no marginal buyer left, or as JPM puts it, "there is only so much the market can rally if equity investors are already near maximal allocations."

And with increasingly more traders and momentum-chasers shifting away from the manipulated arena of stock trading, and on to cryptocurrencies, one can understand why both commercial and central banks – in addition to Jamie Dimon of course, who is "richer than you äre" only as long as you trade those instruments in which he makes markets – hate the best performing asset class of 2017.





Gold Jumps, Dollar Dumps After Dovish Fed Minutes

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

The dollar index had been falling in early trading – extending its freefall from the Nov 1st Fed statement – but legged down on the dovish minutes to the lowest in 5 weeks. Gold is extending its gains, above key technical levels and while the curve is steady, long-end bond yields are sliding modestly.

Today is the worst day for the dollar index since Sept 7th…

And Gold has erased its plunge from Monday…

Early weakness in bonds has been entirely reversed…

For now the machines have not figured out how to kick stocks higher…





FOMC Signals Dovish Inflation Concerns, Warns “Sharp Reversal” In Markets Could Damage Economy

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

With a dumping dollar and collapsing yield curve since November's FOMC, all eyes are on the Minutes for any signals of The Fed hawkishly ignoring inflation concerns but instead a few Fed officials opposed near-term hikes (on the basis of weak inflation). Furthermore, several Fed officials warned of the potential for bubbles, "in light of elevated asset valuations and low financial market volatility, several participants expressed concerns about a potential buildup of financial imbalances."

Bloomberg's Brendan Murray highlights the key aspects of The Fed Minutes

Consistent with their expectation that a gradual removal of monetary policy accommodation would be appropriate, many participants thought that another increase in the target range for the federal funds rate was likely to be warranted in the near term if incoming information left the medium-term outlook broadly unchanged. Nearly all participants reaffirmed the view that a gradual approach to increasing the target range was likely to promote the Committee’s objectives of maximum employment and price stability.

A few other participants thought that additional policy firming should be deferred until incoming information confirmed that inflation was clearly on a path toward the Committee’s symmetric 2 percent objective.

Several participants indicated that their decision about whether to increase the target range in the near term would depend importantly on whether the upcoming economic data boosted their confidence that inflation was headed toward the Committee’s objective. A few participants cautioned that further increases in the target range for the federal funds rate while inflation remained persistently below 2 percent could unduly depress inflation expectations or lead the public to question the Committee’s commitment to its longer-run inflation objective.

In light of elevated asset valuations and low financial market volatility, several participants expressed concerns about a potential buildup of financial imbalances. They worried that a sharp reversal in asset prices could have damaging effects on the economy.

Several participants expressed concern that the persistently weak inflation data could lead to a decline in longer-term inflation expectations or may have done so already; they pointed to low market-based measures of inflation compensation, declines in some survey measures of inflation expectations, or evidence from statistical models suggesting that the underlying trend in inflation had fallen in recent years.


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Bahamas Prime Minister Blasts US Cable News

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Over the weekend, Bahamas Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis addressed the Third Annual Press Club Awards Banquet, where he blamed the collapse of journalism standards on 24-hour cable news shows in the United States. He said, the declining of standards “would not have been allowed in previous times” and urged local journalist not to be  “champions of any political party, business, group or interest in a country”.

While addressing the Third Annual Press Club Awards Banquet Munnis said,

This is not a practice that would be allowed by journalists in other countries. I am not speaking here of editorial writing. A journalist and a columnist are distinctly different roles.

The 24-hour cable news shows in the United States have in a number of ways led to a lessening of standards that would not have been allowed in previous times. There has been a considerable blurring of reporting and commentary.

It is telling when certain standards have been breached, that some in the press do not even realize that a standard has been breached.

Journalists are not supposed to be champions of any political party, business, group or interest in a country.

Minnis noted that journalist must report news on a fair and balance perspective while avoiding conflict of interests, adding “the best journalism criticises, celebrates and inspires”. In the United States, that is certainly not the case with 24-hour cable news networks waging an informational war against the American people flooding them in a DDOS style attack of misinformation. The constant bombardment of Russia/Trump collusion stories have sent the trust in television news to record lows.

The Jamaican Observer ends the report by saying,

Minnis said, adding that the press has an essential role in promoting good governance, transparency and accountability.

“By pressing public officials for accurate and timely information, the press helps citizens to learn about the decisions being made by a government on their behalf,” he told the awards ceremony.  

It seems as Bahamas Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis and the American people have something in common and it’s the distrust of the mainstream media. The one question we ask mainstream media execs: Was the fake news in the last election cycle worth the credibility loss?





 
 
 

Zero Hedge

Chinese Stocks Plummet: Shanghai Tumbles Most In 17 Months As Bond Rout Spreads

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

The euphoria from the year-end melt up in Europe and the US failed to inspire Chinese traders, and overnight China markets suffered sharp losses, with the Shanghai Composite plunging 2.3%, its biggest one day drop since June 2016, over growing fears that the local bond rout is getting out of control. Both the tech-heavy Chinext and the blue chip CSI 300 Index dropped over 3%, as the sharp selloff accelerated in the last hour, as Beijing's "national team" plunge protection buyers failing to make an appearance. There were sixteen decliners for every on...



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Phil's Favorites

The way we tell the story of Hollywood sexual assault and harassment matters

 

The way we tell the story of Hollywood sexual assault and harassment matters

Courtesy of Sarah L. CookGeorgia State University

Hollywood women who have spoken out against sexual harassment.

Reporter Paula Froelich claims she once observed Harvey Weinstein assault a woman at a book party. Her editor responded with, “Maybe it’s not really a story.”

As it turns out, Weinstein and others are becoming a never-ending story, as more women reveal experiences with powerful men – not just in Hollywood, but across multiple industries. Thi...



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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin: An Unknowable Bubble?

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

"Whatever [Bitcoin] is, I missed it... It looks and smells like all the bubbles I have seen throughout history." - billionaire investor Jim Rogers

Authored by Constantin Gurdgiev via True Economics blog,

There is a much-discussed in the crypto-sphere chart making rounds these days, plotting Bitcoin price dynamics against the historical bubbles of the past:

...



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Insider Scoop

8 Stocks To Watch For November 22, 2017

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related CRM 9 Stock's Moving In Tuesday's After Hours Session Salesforce Falls Despite Q3 Beat The Vetr co...

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Chart School

Russell 2000 and Semiconductor New Highs / S&P Breaks

Courtesy of Declan.

The S&P broke higher to confirm a 'bear trap' and also closed at a new all-time high. Volume climbed to register an accumulation day but there were further losses in relative performance and continued losses in the MACD.


The Nasdaq posted a gap-driven 1% gain to bring it ever closer to channel resistance. It hasn't yet tagged resistance but it looks well placed to do so by the end of the week. Technical are all bullish.

...

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Biotech

The two obstacles that are holding back Alzheimer's research

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

 

The two obstacles that are holding back Alzheimer's research

Courtesy of Todd GoldeUniversity of Florida

Family members often become primary caregivers for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease. tonkid/Shutterstock.com

Thirty years ago, scientists began to unlock the mysteries regarding the cause of Alzheimer’...



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ValueWalk

Robert Mugabe Under House Arrest, Military Takes Control Of Zimbabwe

By Andjela Radmilac. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Zimbabwe’s head of state, 93-year-old Robert Mugabe, has been placed under house arrest after what seems to be a military coup took place in the nation’s capital.

By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jesse B. Awalt/Released [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsRobert Mugabe is safe

Following numerous reports on social media late Thursday night about the increased military presence in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, the country’s military took...



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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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Mapping The Market

Puts things in perspective

Courtesy of Jean-Luc

Puts things in perspective:

The circles don't look to be to scale much!

...

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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

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

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Promotions

NewsWare: Watch Today's Webinar!

 

We have a great guest at today's webinar!

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

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

Just click here at 1 pm est and join in!

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Brazil; Waterfall in prices starting? Impact U.S.?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Below looks at the Brazil ETF (EWZ) over the last decade. The rally over the past year has it facing a critical level, from a Power of the Pattern perspective.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

EWZ is facing dual resistance at (1), while in a 9-year down trend of lower highs and lower lows. The counter trend rally over the past 17-months has it testing key falling resistance. Did the counter trend reflation rally just end at dual resistance???

If EWZ b...



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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

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

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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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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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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