by ilene - January 9th, 2017 10:04 pm
It’s time to wade into the swamp — or alternate universe — of right-wing media to really understand the twisted “truths” they report.
Courtesy of Todd Gitlin
I spent most of 2016 doing my duty as citizen, writer and educator aghast at the favors done for the unprincipled, incoherent, vicious, dangerous ignoramus Donald Trump by the business known as “the media,” formerly known as “the press” — an enterprise accorded privileges by the US Constitution on the quaint 18th-century belief that if the people are informed, they will make better judgments than if they are less so. Detailing the incomprehensions, incapacities, failures, inadequacies and airbrushings over the course of many months was not, for me, a feel-good exercise, but I judged it preferable to sitting at home griping, ranting and snarling to my family and friends while my mind exploded in the knowledge that the rudder was coming off the ship of state even if some last-minute reprieve might be granted.
The media licensed the mountebank for his latest star turn, upgraded him, credited His Fraudulence with a talent for lying when they were not marveling at his blunt originality. They presidentialized him, accorded him their most fulsome praise (interesting!), oo-ed and ah-ed at the spectacle of his shiny performances, surely (you have to admit!) a little bit different from the boring same-old-same-old policy proposals (and wasn’t that refreshing!). There were the favors of commission, like granting him a wad of unpaid broadcast time greater than that received by all the other candidates put together; the puffball “interviews” which he deigned to phone in to slavering “news” personnel; their fascination with his appearances even as their cameras showed — Breaking News! — crowds staring at empty platforms.
But I will not here review the manifold ways in which these dog-and-pony shows called “news” helped him hold a (for him) fortunately distributed 46 percent of American voters in thrall; the rapt attention they paid…
by ilene - January 9th, 2017 7:57 pm
Intro by Tom of TomDispatch
Just whom Donald Trump will appoint to various key posts in his future administration has an unbearably enticing set of moving targets for the media (until, as at a recent rally in Cincinnati, dramatic announcements are made at unexpected moments, or released in other ways). And give The Donald credit: if he has a genius for anything, it’s for dominating the news cycle in ways — from his pre-crack-o’-dawn tweets to those rallies — that simply haven’t been seen here before. And be suitably amazed that, as during the election campaign, he continues to have an uncanny knack for flooding the screens of our world with that larger-than-life figure of his dreams, Donald Trump, nearly 24/7. He's the media-made man of our — and his — (endless) moment.
Until each appointment is announced, the speculation goes on endlessly about which billionaire or multimillionaire will be included in the latest round of The Chosen. In some ways, those officially or unofficially being considered, whether appointed or not, offer us a strange window into the future Washington world of Donald Trump. Take, for instance, two oily selections touted recently as possibilities for the man who has committed himself to elevating fossil fuel extraction to a high art. Trump has, after all, already promised to make a future Saudi America independent of oil imports from the actual Saudi Arabia or any other “foe” or member of the “oil cartel,” come — if you’ll excuse a phrase that, in the context of climate change, is all too apt — hell or high water.
In such situations, it undoubtedly makes a certain sense to think about going directly to the trough. If you want someone to oversee the Department of Energy, why not, for example, consider Harold Hamm, the Oklahoma oil tycoon and 60th richest person on the planet, whose fortune, according to Forbes, rose by $1.7 billion to $14.7 billion in the wake of Trump’s election victory? (On the subject of such a possible appointment, Hamm himself has been diffident.) Or if it’s the State Department you’re thinking about and global energy policy is on your mind, why not put aside the thought of frog legs and Mitt Romney for a second and at least consider — as…
by ilene - January 9th, 2017 2:20 pm
“Quantity is being confused with abundance and wealth with happiness.”
– Tom Waits
“The shift from sailing ships to telegraph was far more radical than that from telephone to email.”
– Noam Chomsky
One might think that all our newfangled technology would make forecasting the future a little easier. I read just last week that scientists have devised electrical wires only three atoms thick. Imagine how powerful a computer chip made with that wiring will be. Yet all our computing horsepower still can’t predict worth a darn what Washington or Wall Street will do to us this year. In fact, there is convincing evidence is that every model that forecasters us is really bad at forecasting, beyond giving us a vague sense of direction.
This is a bigger problem than simply not knowing which way to go. In that situation, you can at least stop and consult your map. Today’s reality is you don’t have a map, and you can’t stop because you are on one of those airport-style moving sidewalks. Unlike the one at the airport, this one has no breaks. You will go all the way to wherever it takes you. Going backwards is not an option, either.
Projecting 2017 is a bit like that. As we’ll see, a great deal will happen in the first third of the year that could (and likely will) radically change the course of events in the last two-thirds. Furthermore, the possible outcomes are in the hands of inherently unpredictable individual humans otherwise known as politicians (and not just in the US, thank you very much!) instead of dispassionate market forces. Fancy quantitative models will be of little help.
Now, don’t take this to mean that I’m pessimistic. I’m not. I ran into Steve Forbes in New York last month, and he asked how I felt about the economy now. I thought for a moment and said, “I’m skeptically optimistic.” He laughed and said that was the perfect answer.
by ilene - January 7th, 2017 9:15 pm
Courtesy of Robert Reich
Republicans are preparing to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and have promised to replace it with something that doesn’t leave more than 20 million Americans stranded without health insurance.
But they still haven’t come up with a replacement. "We haven’t coalesced around a solution for six years,” Republican Senator Tom Cotton admitted last week. “Kicking the can down the road for a year or two years isn’t going to make it any easier to solve.“
They won’t solve it. They can’t and won’t replace Obamacare, for three big reasons.
First, Republicans say they want their replacement to be “market-based.” But Obamacare is already market based – relying on private, for profit health insurers.
That’s already a problem. The biggest health insurers – Anthem, Aetna, Humana, Cigna, and United Health – are so big they can get the deals they want from the government by threatening to drop out of any insurance system Republicans come up with. Several have already dropped out of Obamacare.
Even now they’re trying to merge into far bigger behemoths that will be able to extort even better terms from the Republicans.
Second, every part of Obamacare depends on every other part. Trump says he’d like to continue to bar insurers from denying coverage to individuals with preexisting conditions.
But this popular provision depends on healthy people being required to pay into the insurance pool, a mandate that Republicans vow to eliminate.
The GOP also wants to keep overall costs down, but they haven’t indicated how. More than 80 percent of Americans who buy health insurance through Obamacare receive federal subsidies. Yet Republicans have no plan for raising the necessary sums.
Which gets us to the third big reason Republicans can’t come up with a replacement. Revoking the tax increases in Obamacare – a key part of the repeal – would make it impossible to finance these subsidies.
The two biggest of these taxes – a 3.8-percentage-point surtax on dividends, interest and other unearned income; and a 0.9-percentage-point increase in the payroll tax that helps fund Medicare – are also the most progressive. They apply only to
by ilene - January 6th, 2017 11:17 am
Courtesy of Dana Lyons
One of the few indices yet to break out, the NYSE Composite is threatening its all-time highs.
One of the characteristics of the “Trump Rally” has been its breadth of participation. Sure, there have been a few sectors that have lagged badly. However, from a market cap standpoint, most indices, from micro-caps to mega-caps, have scored new all-time highs. It isn’t unanimous, though. A few broad market gauges have not quite made it to new high ground. The Value Line Geometric Composite is one that we mentioned last month. The NYSE Composite is another.
As the chart shows, the NYSE topped in May 2015 at the 11,240 level. After a tumultuous 19 months, the index finally returned to that level in December. And after a couple weeks of a pullback, it is back testing that level again, closing yesterday at 11,246.
A couple observations: First, we do not ever want to anticipate a breakout. That is, don’t buy something with the assumption that it will break out in case the resistance is too much to overcome. Think about the whole “Dow 20,000″ focus that seemed like an inevitability. Sure, it may still happen but the Dow has spent 4 weeks within inches of the level without yet attaining it. Rest assured that if a security or index does finally break out, there will be plenty of time and profits to reap should it indeed prove to be a successful breakout.
On the other hand, there is reason to be optimistic that the NYSE will indeed breakout. That optimism may partially be fueled by a potential cup-&-handle formation on the NYSE chart. As we’ve discussed on several occasions, this is considered to be a bullish pattern. What does it look like and why is it bullish? The pattern involves 2 parts, generally showing the following characteristics:
The Cup (May 2015-December 2016): This phase includes an initial high on the left side of a chart followed by a relatively long, often-rounded retrenchment before a return to the initial high.
The Handle (December 2016-January 2017): This phase involves a shorter, shallower dip in the security and subsequent recovery to
by clarisezoleta - January 5th, 2017 1:30 pm
PhilStockWorld.com Weekly Trading Webinar – 01-04-17
For LIVE access on Wednesday afternoons, join us at Phil's Stock World – click here
00:01:46 Checking on the Markets
00:19:14 Crude Oil
00:23:16 Petroleum Status Report
00:29:03 Gold Charts
00:31:31 ABX Charts and Trade Ideas
00:37:01 WMT CHarts and Trade Ideas
00:42:19 WMT on the Butterfly Portfolio
00:44:50 GILD on the Long-Term Portfolio
00:46:49 GILD Trade Ideas
00:49:19 WYNN on the Butterfly Portfolio
00:53:36 Ford Trade Ideas
00:56:31 Checking on the Markets
01:03:15 NKD and DX on Active Trader
01:04:19 FOMC Minutes
01:10:27 5% Rule
01:12:37 S&P 500 Chart
01:17:33 5% Portfolio
01:20:44 Butterfly Portfolio
01:22:17 Short-Term Portfolio
01:22:47 Long-Term Portfolio
01:26:17 Trades and other Ideas
01:33:34 Checking on the Markets
01:34:56 Italian and Deutch Banks
01:39:55 Checking More Trades
Phil's Weekly Trading Webinars provide a great opportunity to learn what we do at PSW. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and view past webinars, here. For LIVE access to PSW's Weekly Webinars – demonstrating trading strategies in real time – join us at PSW — click here!
Michael Mauboussin: Since the end of 2006, investors have withdrawn nearly $1.2 trillion from active
by ValueWalk - January 5th, 2017 9:24 am
Originally published at ValueWalk.
Michael Mauboussin: Looking for Easy Games: How Passive Investing Shapes Active Management
Michael Mauboussin is the author of The Success Equation: Untangling Skill and Luck in Business, Sports, and Investing (Harvard Business Review Press, 2012), Think Twice: Harnessing the Power of Counterintuition (Harvard Business Press, 2009) and More Than You Know: Finding Financial Wisdom in Unconventional Places-Updated and Expanded (New York: Columbia Business School Publishing, 2008). More Than You Know was named one of “The 100 Best Business Books of All Time” by 800-CEO-READ, one of the best business books by BusinessWeek (2006) and best economics book by Strategy+Business (2006). He is also co-author, with Alfred Rappaport, of Expectations Investing: Reading Stock Prices for Better Returns (Harvard Business School Press, 2001).
Visit his site at: michaelmauboussin.com/
Michael Mauboussin: Looking for Easy Games: How Passive Investing Shapes Active Management
“As they say in poker, ‘If you’ve been in the game 30 minutes and you don’t know who the patsy is, you’re the patsy.’” – Warren E. Buffett
- Investors are rapidly shifting their investment allocations from active to passive management. This trend has accelerated in recent years.
- The investors leaving active managers are likely less informed than those who remain. This is equivalent to the weak players leaving the poker table. Since the winners need losers, this can make the market even more efficient, and hence less attractive, for those who remain.
- Active management provides price discovery and liquidity, valuable social goods. However, the fees are higher for active managers than passive ones, identifying skill ahead of time is not easy, and there is a cost to assessing skill.
- Passive management has lower costs and hence higher returns per dollar invested than active management does in the aggregate. But passive management introduces the possibility of market distortions.
- Active managers have to constantly ask, “Who is on the other side?” The unrelenting objective is to find easy games, where differential skill pays off.
by ilene - January 4th, 2017 4:40 pm
Courtesy of Michael Batnick
The S&P 500 is about to wrap up its eight consecutive year of positive returns. If this continues into next year, it would match the longest streak of all-time. For some context, in the nine years from 1991-1999, the S&P 500 gained 450%. In the recent 8 year period, the S&P 500 is up 193%. In addition to strong performance from U.S. stocks, you’ve probably noticed that international stocks haven’t been keeping up. The S&P 500 has outperformed foreign developed markets during 7 of the last 9 years, gaining 85% over this time, while developed stocks around the world lost 4%.
After such a strong run, it’s easy for U.S. focused investors to get lulled into a false sense of security, that we’re in a stable environment. Do not be fooled.
I’m wrapping up 2016 with one of the best books I’ve read this year, Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales. The book is about, as you might have guessed, how humans survive. There are so many parallels between the stories he tells and the markets, because survival is one of the most important goals for investors.
“Perrow’s Normal Accidents, first published in 1984, is a work of seminal importance because of its unusual thesis: That in certain kinds of systems, large accidents, though rare, are both inevitable and normal. The accidents are a characteristic of the system itself, he says. His book was even more controversial because he found that efforts to make those systems safer, especially by technological means, made the systems more complex and therefore more prone to accidents.”
The stock market is a system where we can and should expect to experience normal accidents. I read a lot of market history, not because I think it gives me any better insight as to what the future will look like, but rather as a constant reminder of one thing, pain. For all the wealth that’s been created in the stock market, an equal amount of financial lives have been ruined. Take a look at the 16-year period where investors earned nothing and were rewarded with yo-yo like returns. Investors are promised nothing, be humble.
by ilene - January 4th, 2017 4:17 pm
Courtesy of Joshua M Brown
Jonathan Krinsky, MKM Partners’ technician, starts the year off with a “bull market checklist” looking at trend, momentum, breadth and sentiment for the overall US stock market (Russell 3000, S&P 500) and determines that there are no current warning signs of a decline – although sentiment could be coming close.
Constructively, Jon points out that the big-picture trend is very much intact and indeed it is actually accelerating…
After a brief negative crossover in early 2016, the S&P 500’s 10-month moving average is back above its 20-month moving average, and both are firmly rising. The last time we saw a false bearish crossover was in 1994. Notice that the bearish crossovers in 2001 and 2008 that were followed by bear markets did not look back once the crossovers occurred. As long as the 10-month is above the 20- month and both are rising, we believe the benefit of the doubt remains with the bulls.
2017 Bull Market Checks Are Healthy + Dogs of the Dow, Healthcare, and Europe
MKM Partners – January 2nd, 2017
by ilene - January 4th, 2017 3:16 pm
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