Archive for the ‘High Mailing Priority’ Category

Welcome To 1984

By Chris Hedges, originally posted at TruthDig.com

(Cross-posted at ZeroHedgehere. Bolding by ZH.)

The artifice of corporate totalitarianism has been exposed. The citizens, disgusted by the lies and manipulation, have turned on the political establishment. But the game is not over. Corporate power has within its arsenal potent forms of control. It will use them. As the pretense of democracy is unmasked, the naked fist of state repression takes its place. America is about—unless we act quickly—to get ugly.

“Our political system is decaying,” said Ralph Nader when I reached him by phone in Washington, D.C. “It’s on the way to gangrene. It’s reaching a critical mass of citizen revolt.”

This moment in American history is what Antonio Gramsci called the “interregnum”—the period when a discredited regime is collapsing but a new one has yet to take its place. There is no guarantee that what comes next will be better. But this space, which will close soon, offers citizens the final chance to embrace a new vision and a new direction.

This vision will only be obtained through mass acts of civic mobilization and civil disobedience across the country. Nader, who sees this period in American history as crucial, perhaps the last opportunity to save us from tyranny, is planning to rally the left for three days, from May 23 to May 26 at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., in what he is calling “Breaking Through Power” or “Citizen’s Revolutionary Week.” He is bringing to the capital scores of activists and community leaders to speak, organize and attempt to mobilize to halt our slide into despotism.

“The two parties can implode politically,” Nader said. “They can be divided by different candidates and super PACs. But this doesn’t implode their paymasters.”

“Elections have become off-limits to democracy,” he went on. “They have become off-limits to democracy’s fundamental civil community or civil society. When that happens, the very roots shrivel and dry up. Politics is now a sideshow. Politics does not bother corporate power. Whoever wins, they win. Both parties represent Wall Street over Main Street. Wall Street is embedded in the federal government.”

Donald Trump, like Hillary Clinton, has…
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Donald Trump – Sovereign Debt Genius

 

Donald Trump – Sovereign Debt Genius

Courtesy of The Banker

USA_Debt_to_GDPOne of The Donald’s great strengths is that he latches onto a partial truth – or an unspoken but widely held belief – and then expands upon it for his own purposes. Obviously this can veer into disgusting territory, when it comes to expressing sexually insecure men’s feelings about women, or insecure workers’ feelings about economic threats from China or Mexico. As Matt Taibbi eloquently expressed, he effectively uses this same talent of partial truth-telling to bash government and media elites who do, in fact, disdain, misunderstand, or ignore ‘regular Americans.’ Trump scores these points against Establishment elites because really, we sense some truth in what he says, that others before him won’t say.

Earlier in the week Trump stepped in a pile of it when he expressed truths about US sovereign debt which political leaders cannot openly discuss. Unconstrained by good taste, judicious character, or political consistency – he can pop off in any direction, occasionally hitting on an important point that more people should understand.  The Donald said:

“I’ve borrowed knowing that you can pay back with discounts. I’d borrow [as President, on behalf of the US] knowing that if the economy crashed, you could made a deal.”

This is so crazy that he said it – as a person running for President – that you kind of have to laugh at his gall. On the other hand, he’s right. This is what happens when countries borrow too much. And also, we don’t really know – or have any kind of open discussion in this country – about what constitutes too much national borrowing.

trump_fingers

Those fingers tho…

When I worked as an emerging market bond salesman in the late 1990s – slinging bonds from places like Pakistan, Ukraine, Ecuador, Argentina, Russia, and Ivory Coast – we used to put out economic research for our clients that pointed out that a 70% Debt/GDP ratio marked a kind of scary ‘Do Not Cross’ line. If the total amount of sovereign debt exceeded 70% of the economic output of country, you might have to start worrying about whether that country could reliably pay back its bonds. Once you hit 100% Debt/GDP,


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Life on the Edge

 

Life on the Edge

By John Mauldin, Thoughts from the Frontline

“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”

– Frederick Douglass

“I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion about the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.”

– Benjamin Franklin

Like many of you, I’m trying to understand an economic landscape that’s changing by the day – and rarely for the better, at least from the standpoint of the middle and lower classes. I am also trying to understand how in the world the two great US political parties have conspired to give us a choice, as Peggy Noonan has said, of “Crazy Man vs. Criminal.”

I think these two questions are related, and not just in the United States. Populist angst is taking hold around the world. Like all anger, it isn’t necessarily rational and may not bring the desired changes, but the anger and frustration are real. People have real problems, and increasingly they don’t trust traditional leaders to solve them.

Last week I had the privilege of meeting first privately and then publicly with Peggy Noonan. For those who don’t know, she was President Reagan’s speech writer and is now aWall Street Journal columnist and celebrated author. As a writer, she is one of my heroes, perhaps the greatest essayist of my generation – a true wordsmith.

Back in February, with the presidential campaign in full force, Peggy wrote a column that has been on my mind ever since. She titled it “Trump and the Rise of the Unprotected.” Everyone should read it, preferably several times. It is that good.

Whatever you think of Donald Trump, he is a symptom…
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Weekend Reading: Going Nowhere Fast

Courtesy of Lance Roberts of Real Investment Advice

Another week of choppy market action and the end result was a move to “nowhere.” As I stated previously, the current action is either a consolidation process or a topping process:

“First of all, it is worth noting that despite all of the recent excitement of the markets advance, it remains extremely confined in a sideways trading range. This can either be good or bad news.

The Good: Sideways consolidations during bullishly biased markets provides the ability to work off excesses built up during the previous advance to provide the “fuel” necessary for the next leg higher.

The Bad: However, sideways consolidations can also mark the end of the previous bullish advance and the beginning of a bearish decline.

How do we know the difference? Normally, fundamentals tell the story. When earnings are still rising, market consolidations tend to resume to the upside. However, declining earnings have historically marked market topping processes much as we see today.”

SP500-Chart2-042616

While this time could certainly be different, historically such has not been the case.  At this juncture, the market has yet to confirm whether the recent price action is just part of a broader topping process or if the now somewhat well-aged bull market is setting up for a final advance. The most interesting aspect is the similarity between the current market action and that seen prior to the beginning of this year.

SP500-MarketUpdate-051216

With summer fast approaching, the markets still appear to be very fragile exposing investors to a similar “swoon” in the months ahead. This is particularly the case with both the economic and fundamental underpinnings still showing signs of deterioration. 

The inherent problem of “eternal bullishness” is the “willful blindness” to the underlying data in an effort to chase short-term returns. This leads to the unfortunate problem of being “all-in” on every hand which has a devastating consequence when a mean reverting event occurs.

In the end, it does not matter IF you are “bullish” or “bearish.” The reality is that both “bulls” and “bears” are owned by the “broken clock” syndrome during the full-market cycle. However, what is grossly important in achieving long-term investment success is not necessarily being…
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PhilStockWorld.com Weekly Trading Webinar 05-11-16

 

PhilStockWorld.com Weekly Trading Webinar 05-11-16

Major Topics:
 
00:01:48 Checking on the Markets: CL, NASDAQ, DX, RUSSEL, NKD, NG
00:11:13 Natural Gas: Futures, Trade Idea
00:19:10 Seeking Alpha News: Amazon, Nikkei, Retail Sales, Apple, Fed Hike, Boeing’s Buybacks, Disney, Grubhub
00:31:57 Checking on the Markets: CL, NKD
00:32:40 AAL: PE, Puts and Calls, Trade Idea
00:41:16 COGO: Puts, Trade Idea
00:46:25 Disney: Bull Calls Spread, Trade Idea
00:56:10 “Retail is Dead”
00:58:35 EIA
01:06:17 Petroleum Status Report
01:10:28 Checking on the Markets: CL, RB, DOW
01:15:10 Goldman: No Fed Hike Until December
01:16:42 Checking on the Markets
01:20:14 Trade Idea
01:21:54 RB: Shorts
01:24:26 Options Opportunity Portfolio
01:25:54 Butterfly Portfolio
01:26:15 Short-Term Portfolio
01:26:36 Long Term Portfolio
01:27:37 Checking on the Markets
01:30:50 More Trade Ideas…

Don't miss next week's webinar in real-time. Get LIVE access to Phil's Weekly Webinars by joining us at Phil's Stock World — click here!)





Phil on Trader TV

 

Phil was interviewed by Robert on Trader TV earlier today. Watch below:

(Cross-posted at YouTube here.)





Capitalism’s Operating System Has Gone Off the Rails: An Interview with Douglas Rushkoff

 

CAPITALISM’S OPERATING SYSTEM HAS GONE OFF THE RAILS: AN INTERVIEW WITH DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF

Courtesy of Richard Metzger at Dangerous Minds

Douglas Rushkoff

In his latest book, Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity (Portfolio/Penguin), media/technology theorist and PBS documentarian, Douglas Rushkoff asks “Why doesn’t the explosive growth of companies like Facebook and Uber deliver more prosperity for everyone? What is the systemic problem that sets the rich against the poor and the technologists against everybody else?”

Rapid technological improvements have created unforeseen societal chaos and this change is just starting to pick up speed. Our economic operating system—the “program” at the heart of Capitalism itself—is deliriously out of control. The economy no longer serves the human race, just a tiny elite sliver of it. The rest of us, whether we realize it or not, to a certain extent toil on their behalf. Think about it: How did the Waltons become the richest family in America, amassing a collective fortune of around $150 billion, if not by siphoning off a micropayment from every single gallon of milk, bottle of shampoo or box of Hostess Ding Dongs sold there? Bud and Sam Walton might have started Walmart, but all their offspring did was win the lottery at birth.

If you think that sounds predatory—and it should—just wait until you get a load of what the big technology firms have in mind for us…

I asked my friend of some twenty years some questions over email.

Richard Metzger: You write how the operating system of capitalism is obsolete, creating vast spoils for a select group of lucky human beings who are more or less basically leeching off the rest of mankind’s activities, and in a world of increasing automation to make things even worse. What’s the new book’s diagnosis of the modern economy?

Douglas Rushkoff: That sounds like a pretty good diagnosis to me. Or I suppose those are the symptoms? The underlying problem is not a disease, however. It’s not that corporate capitalism has been corrupted by greed or even by the startup economy of digital businesses. The system is working precisely as it was designed to.

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The Repudiation Phase of the Bubble

 

The Repudiation Phase of the Bubble

Courtesy of Joshua Brown, The Reformed Broker

I’ve read many books on the history of financial markets (like more than four dozen) over the last 20 years. I eat, sleep and breathe this stuff. One of the common threads of every financial or asset bubble throughout human history is that they all have a repudiation phase – a moment where all the lies that had been built up alongside the excess are aired out in public. Even reputable companies and players get caught up in it.

As Jeff Lebowski said, “New shit has come to light, man.” In the repudiation phase, belief is nowhere to be found. Skepticism becomes the order of the day.

We’re there now. New shit is coming to light every five minutes. Every reputation you thought was untouchable and every omission you’d accepted because it was already accepted by the crowd – all back on the table for discussion (dissection?).

Witness the brick-by-brick dismantling of the Theranos mythology – the latest chunk of debris chipped from the edifice here:

The Secret Culprit in the Theranos Mess (Vanity Fair) 

…or the outing of Zenefits, would-be destroyer of the health insurance underwriting biz, as a rogue entity cheating on licensing exams:

Zenefits Co-Founder Sold Stock Months Before Scandal (Buzzfeed) 

…and the magnifying glass now being taken to startup valuations; the way in which public investors are inventing their own prices:

This Hedge Fund Has Bizarrely High Valuations on Dropbox and Other Unicorns (Fortune) 

There will be more of this sort of forced unveiling. The grand facade, so soon will burn. It was fun for awhile, though.

I’d argue this is healthy for the startups that were actually built for a purpose other than selling stock. There are many of them. Their ownership will revert to professionals and employees. Neophyte interest is declining for just about anything that isn’t called Uber (and stay tuned on that one). Real VCs ought to be glad, even if 2016 is a bust.

Skepticism is a force for good, not evil. Incredulousness is even better.

In the repudiation phase, every question will…
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China Stops Trying To Fool The World; World Is Sorry

 

China Stops Trying To Fool The World; World Is Sorry

Courtesy of John Rubino of Dollar Collapse

Something interesting has happened. China earlier this year responded to falling stock prices by borrowing a trillion dollars and spending it on commodities, boosting the prices of iron ore, oil, copper, etc., and giving the global economy a patina of recovery.

Nothing unusual so far. China did the same thing in response to 2008’s Great Recession, and the world breathed an appreciative sigh of relief, ignoring the massive new leverage that the policy required.

Which is why the past month has been so interesting. Instead of just accepting China’s largess and blithely assuming that all was once again well, the global financial media have chosen (for perhaps the first time ever outside of a full-on crisis) to focus on the negative aspects of rising leverage. They’re now anticipating trouble for China, with titles like:

China’s debt problem is bigger than you think

Chinese banks grappling with ‘crisis level’ bad debts

CLSA Sees China Bad-Loan Epidemic With $1 Trillion of Losses

The $571 Billion Debt Wall That Points to More Defaults in China

To call this unusual is a huge understatement. And it seems to have made a difference. Yesterday China announced a fairly radical course change:

Even China’s Party Mouthpiece Is Warning About Debt

(Bloomberg) – China’s leading Communist Party mouthpiece acknowledged the risks of a build-up of debt that is worrying the world and said the nation needed to face up to its nonperforming loans.

High leverage is the “original sin” that leads to risks in the foreign-exchange market, stocks, bonds, real estate and bank credit, the People’s Daily said in a full-page interview with an unnamed “authoritative person” starting on page one and filling the second page on Monday.

China should put deleveraging ahead of short-term growth and drop the “fantasy” of stimulating the economy through monetary easing, the person was cited as saying. The nation needs to be proactive in dealing with rising bad loans, rather than delaying or hiding them, the report said.

“Overall,


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This Is Why Biotech Stocks May Explode Again

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members.

Here's an interesting article from Investor's Business Daily arguing that biotech stocks are beginning to recover from their recent declines, notwithstanding current weakness.

This Is Why Biotech Stocks May Explode Again

By 

Excerpt:

After a three-year bull run that more than quadrupled its value by its peak last July, IBD’s Medical-Biomed/Biotech Industry Group plunged 50% by early February, hurt by backlashes against high drug prices and mergers that seek to lower corporate taxes.

[...]

The group was up by even more before taking some hits over the past two weeks on negative earnings news from several industry players. But fund managers tell IBD the rebound is here. 

Why? For one, they say, the spate of bad news has already been factored into stock prices. But more than that, they see a climate favoring rejuvenated M&A, hot drugs in the new-product pipeline and pricing power for innovate products.

Bottom line: The positive factors that drove the runup never went away, they say. They just got drowned out by the noise.

“A very key point is that this group is a very high-beta group — particularly the small- to midcap stocks. Since they don’t have sales, they don’t have earnings,” said Tom Vandeventer, portfolio manager at Tocqueville Asset Management.

“The history of this group is that elevated macro uncertainty definitely hits (it),” Vandeventer said. “My own opinion is this group trades more on sentiment than on fundamentals during those time periods.”

Full article here >





 
 
 

Zero Hedge

A Chinese Mask Factory Has Already Picked The Next US President

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

There's no masking the facts. As Reuters reports, one Chinese factory is expecting Donald Trump to beat his likely U.S. presidential rival Hilary Clinton in the popularity stakes..."I think in 2016 this mask will completely sell out," said factory manager Jacky Chen, indicating a Trump mask.

At the Jinhua Partytime Latex Art and Crafts Factory, a Halloween and party supply business that produces thousands of rubber and plastic masks of ev...



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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World

 

FInancial Markets and Economy

Fed reaction to data barrage is focus for stocks (Business Insider)

Data on inflation and employment, two of the economic indicators most important to a "data-dependent" U.S. Federal Reserve are expected next week.

Here’s one really obvious way to boost the US economy (Quartz)

If you’re confused about why American economic growth has been so disappointing, consider this: US government investment in capital, research and development, and education and training is at its lowest point in 45 years. In 2014, feder...



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Phil's Favorites

Breaking News And Best Of The Web

Courtesy of John Rubino.

US debt becomes an issue. Bill Gross starts shorting corporate bonds. Great interviews with James Rickards and Helen Chaitman. Yesterday’s strong US economic reports are called into question. China plans to borrow even more. Oil stabilizes and gold continues to correct. Look for next week’s COT report to be a lot less bearish. Bitcoin gets a serious cryptocurrency competitor. Trump clinches the nomination.

Best Of The Web

Here’s why all pension funds are doomed, doomed, doomed… – OfTwoMinds.com
Dominic Frisby interviews James Rickards – Frisby’s Bulls & Bears
...



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ValueWalk

Billionaire Stephen Schwartzman How To Spot the Trends that Other Miss

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Billionaire Stephen Schwartzman How To Spot the Trends that Other Miss

Published on Mar 27, 2016

Billionaire Stephen Schwartzman How To Spot the Trends that Other Miss [HD]

Stephen Allen Schwarzman (born February 14, 1947) is an American business magnate and financier. He is the chairman and CEO of the Blackstone Group, a global private equity and financial advisory firm he established in 1985 with former US Secretary of Commerce Pete Peterson. His personal fortune is estimated at $12.9 billion, according to Forbes.As of 2015, Forbes ranked Schwarzman at 100th on its World’s Billionaires List.

The post ...



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Chart School

Market Recap May 27, 2016

Courtesy of Blain.

Another solid day for the bulls as we had yet another pop at the open and then another round of buying into the close.  The S&P 500 gained 0.43% and the NASDAQ 0.65%.  This despite some mildly (not overly) hawkish comments from Janet Yellen.  “It’s appropriate for the Fed to gradually and cautiously increase our overnight interest rate over time,” Yellen said at a high-profile visit to Harvard University on Friday. That means a move could be appropriate in coming months, she said.

U.S. first-quarter economic growth was revised up to 0.8% from a previous reading of 0.5%, based on a fresh estimate that shows somewhat stronger home construction and restocking of war...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Gold Mining Stocks- Most dangerous time to own them in years?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

The rally in mining stocks since the first of the year has been very impressive.

The rally has taken Gold Miners ETF GDX up to test the 23% retracement of the collapse over the past 5-years. At the same time it is hitting the 23% level, two other resistance lines are being put to a test, with momentum at the highest levels in the past 5-years.

Joe Friday Just The Facts...



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Insider Scoop

Graham Media Group To Buy WCWJ, CW affiliate In Jacksonville, NBC Affiliate in Roanoke

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Graham Media Group, Inc., a Graham Holdings Company (NYSE: GHC) subsidiary, said it struck a deal with Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc. and Media General, Inc. to purchase WCWJ, a CW affiliate television station in Jacksonville, Florida and WSLS, an NBC affiliate television station in Roanoke, Virginia for $60 million in cash and the assumption of certain liabilities.

The agreement to acquire Nextar Broadcasting included pension obligations. Graham Media Group, Inc. would continue to operate both stations under their current network affiliations.

Graham Media said the acquisition is subject to approval by the FCC, other regulatory appr...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of May 23rd, 2016

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

The Biggest Bitcoin Arbitrage Ever?

Courtesy of Chris at CapitalistExploits

Do you remember when you were growing up and all your friends were allowed Atari game consoles but you weren’t?

Well, I do and the things seemed as foreign to me as Venus. Mostly because the little time I managed to spend on the gaming consoles when my friends weren’t hogging them I found it all a bit silly. I never “got” computer games, and to this day still have poor comprehension of things like Angry Birds.

I suspect that many people around the world view Bitcoin in the same way as I view Angry Birds: with mild amusement and a general lack of understanding as to what the hell all the fuss is about.

I was thinking of this since a buddy of mine recently started ...



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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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Biotech

This Is Why Biotech Stocks May Explode Again

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members.

Here's an interesting article from Investor's Business Daily arguing that biotech stocks are beginning to recover from their recent declines, notwithstanding current weakness.

This Is Why Biotech Stocks May Explode Again

By 

Excerpt:

After a three-year bull run that more than quadrupled its value by its peak last July, IBD’s Medical-Biomed/Biotech Industry Group plunged 50% by early February, hurt by backlashes against high drug prices and mergers that seek to lower corporate taxes.

...



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Mapping The Market

About that debate last night

Although we try to stay focused on finding and managing promising trade ideas, the comments in the comment section sometimes take a political turn (for access, try PSW — click here!). So today, Jean Luc writes,

The GOP debate last night was just unreal – are these people running to be president of the US or to lead a college fraternity! Comparing tool size? The only guy that looks semi-sane is Kasich. The other guys are just like 3 jackals right now. 

And something else – if Trump is the candidate, that little Romney speech yesterday is probably already being made into a commercial. And all these little snippets from the debate will also make some nice ads! If you are a conservative, you have to be scared now. 

Phil writes back,

I was expecting them to start throwing poop at each other &n...



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Promotions

PSW is more than just stock talk!

 

We know you love coming here for our Stocks & Options education, strategy and trade ideas, and for Phil's daily commentary which you can't live without, but there's more!

PhilStockWorld.com features the most important and most interesting news items from around the web, all day, every day!

News: If you missed it, you can probably find it in our Market News section. We sift through piles of news so you don't have to.   

If you are looking for non-mainstream, provocatively-narrated news and opinion pieces which promise to make you think -- we feature Zero Hedge, ...



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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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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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