Archive for the ‘Topic’ Category

Government By Goldman

By Gary Rivlin and Michael Hudson via The Intercept, in partnership with The Investigative Fund

As posted at Zero Hedge

Steve Bannon was in the room the day Donald Trump first fell for Gary Cohn. So were Reince Priebus, Jared Kushner, and Trump’s pick for secretary of Treasury, Steve Mnuchin. It was the end of November, three weeks after Trump’s improbable victory, and Cohn, then still the president of Goldman Sachs, was at Trump Tower presumably at the invitation of Kushner, with whom he was friendly. Cohn was there to offer his views about jobs and the economy. But, like the man he was there to meet, he was at heart a salesman.

On the campaign trail, Trump had spoken often about the importance of investing in infrastructure. Yet the president-elect had apparently failed to appreciate that the government would need to come up with hundreds of billions of dollars to fund his plans. Cohn, brash and bold, wired to attack any moneymaking opportunity, pitched a fix that would put Wall Street firms at the center: Private-industry partners could help infrastructure get fixed, saving the federal government from going deeper into debt. The way the moment was captured by the New York Times, among other publications, Trump was dumbfounded. “Is this true?” he asked. Was a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan likely to increase the deficit by a trillion dollars? Confronted by nodding heads, an unhappy president-elect said, “Why did I have to wait to have this guy tell me?”

Within two weeks, the transition team announced that Cohn would take over as director of the president’s National Economic Council.

Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn arrives for a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York,  Nov. 29, 2016. Photo: Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images

1. GOLDMAN ALWAYS WINS

Goldman Sachs had been a favorite cudgel for candidate Trump – the symbol of a government that favors Wall Street over its citizenry. Trump proclaimed that Hillary Clinton was in the firm’s pockets, as was Ted Cruz. It was Goldman Sachs that Trump singled out when he railed against a system rigged in favor of the global elite — one that “robbed our working class, stripped our country


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Ray Dalio on CNBC

 

Ray Dalio on CNBC

Courtesy of , The Reformed Broker 

Hedge fund legend Ray Dalio generally despises doing media and doesn’t make much of a secret about it. Fortunately for us all, though, he really wants his new book, Principles: Life and Work, to reach a big audience. And it should.

Anyway, Ray made a rare TV appearance this morning on CNBC’s Squawk Box. Obviously, podcasts are better for this sort of thing, so don’t miss the two hour Tim Ferriss interview if you want all of the background and detail that went into Dalio’s life’s work.

Okay, the Squawk clips below in case you missed it:

Ray Dalio: Promoting meritocracy – where the best ideas win out from CNBC.

Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio: We have two economies now from CNBC.

Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio: Bitcoin is a bubble from CNBC.





Hypocrites All Around as Senate Republicans Reach a Budget Deal

Courtesy of Mish

Senators Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) and Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) reached a mutual agreement to set parameters for a tax overhaul.

If you think the deal will do anything about the deficit, you are mistaken.

Senate Republicans reached a deal Tuesday that would allow tax cuts over the next decade, bridging party divides over trade-offs between tax cuts and budget deficits and taking an important step toward tax-overhaul legislation.

Sens. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) and Bob Corker (R., Tenn.), representing opposing fiscal-policy viewpoints in the Senate Budget Committee, said Tuesday that they struck the agreement, which senators said could lead to a committee vote as early as next week.

Mr. Toomey had been seeking tax cuts that might reduce revenues by as much as $2 trillion over a decade. Mr. Corker, more wary of budget deficits, had been arguing for a smaller number. The number could be up to $1.5 trillion in revenue-reducing tax cuts, but neither senator would confirm the figure in advance of a formal announcement.

Democrats accused Republicans of abandoning their claims of fiscal probity in a country with $20 trillion in debt, about $10 trillion in projected additional deficits over the next decade and the prospect, eventually, of rising interest rates.

Hypocrites All Around

Since when are Democrats concerned about deficits? Since when are Republicans unconcerned about deficits?

There is plenty of hypocrisy to spread around on this deal. But to answer the two questions:

  • Democrats are only concerned about deficits when Republicans are in power.
  • Republicans are only concerned about deficits when Democrats are in power.

It’s hard to say if the compromise is a step in the right direction because details are nonexistent as is typically the case.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock





Cryptocurrency Concentration – Just 4% Own Over 95% Of Bitcoin

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Bitcoin has been making a lot of news lately. The cryptocurrency shot up in value by over 200% in 2017, making many people fear that the market is in a bubble. Last week, China decided to close its bitcoin exchanges, which caused investors around the world to panic about the currency’s long-term viability. But HowMuch.net asks, how many people own bitcoin, and how is the currency distributed around the world? Check out our new visualization.

Source: HowMuch.net

Our graph represents the entire bitcoin market, which has a value of around $60 billion. For comparison, that’s bigger than several well-known companies, like Fed-Ex and General Motors. We then divided the value of the bitcoin market by address. As you can see, over 95% of all bitcoins in circulation are owned by about 4% of the market. In fact, 1% of the addresses control half the entire market. 

There are a couple limitations in our data. Most importantly, each address can represent more than one individual person. An obvious example would be a bitcoin exchange or wallet, which hold the currency for a lot of different people. Another limitation has to do with anonymity. If you want to remain completely anonymous, you can use something called CoinJoin, a process that allows users to group similar transactions together. This makes it seem like two people are using the same address, when in reality they are not. 

So it’s a complex situation. but let’s try to break bitcoin down as simple as possible. Bitcoin is just a type of money, like dollars and euros. The main difference is that there isn’t a sovereign government backing the currency, and it instead lives online. This is possible thanks to something called the blockchain. Banks and companies must keep detailed records of where they send money, marking it possible to detect fraud and criminal activity. The blockchain works differently because it breaks each transaction into tiny components, routes the pieces through a computer network, and directs them to a recipient who can then re-assemble the code together. If you don’t have the right key, you can’t own a bitcoin. And if you aren’t at the right digital address (think


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Spanish Government Fearmongering: “Catalonia Faces Brutal Impoverishment If Leave Wins”

Courtesy of Mish.

On October 1, Catalans head to the polls to vote yes or no on separation from Spain.

The Spanish government and constitutional court claim the referendum is illegal but 700 Catalonia mayors say the vote will take place.

Today Madrid launched a major fearmongering campaign: Catalonia Faces ‘Brutal’ Impoverishment If It Leave, Spain Warns.

“The general impoverishment of the society would be brutal. GDP could fall between 25 and 30 percent and unemployment double,” Economy Minister Luis De Guindos said in an interview with radio Cope.

An independent Catalonia would find itself outside of the eurozone so 75 percent of its products would be slapped with tarifs, banks would have to relocate, and the region would have to set up its own currency, he added.

“The independence of Catalonia would be absolutely irrational from an economic point of view,” the minister said.

Divided Catalonia

The Guardian reports Catalonia divided as controversial poll on independence sparks conflict with Madrid

In two weeks, Catalans will go to the polls to vote in a referendum on whether to secede from Spain and form an independent republic. Or will they?

If the Catalan government’s strategy has been to provoke a reaction from Madrid, it has succeeded. While refusing to discuss the issue, the Spanish government has lashed out with a series of threats, including taking control of Catalonia’s finances by 18 September and abolishing its regional autonomy. It has threatened to bar Catalan leaders from holding office and even warned them that they could face jail. The attorney general has also said that any mayor who allows local authority buildings to be used as polling stations could face prosecution.

Last Wednesday the Civil Guard shut the official referendum website, but within 24 hours Puigdemont had published a new link to the site on his Twitter account. WikiLeaks’s Julian Assange says he has been helping to defend the website.

Critics of the referendum, including Ada Colau, the mayor of Barcelona, say it lacks the necessary guarantees and has set no minimum level of participation. However, she has reached an agreement with Puigdemont to facilitate the vote in the capital.

n a last-ditch effort to break the deadlock, Colau and Puigdemont have sent a joint letter to the prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, and the king


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Can the world’s megacities survive the digital age?

 

Can the world's megacities survive the digital age?

Courtesy of Christopher H. Lim, Nanyang Technological University and Vincent Mack, Nanyang Technological University

Today, megacities have become synonymous with economic growth. In both developing and developed countries, cities with populations of 10 million or more account for one-third to one-half of their gross domestic product.

Many analysts and policymakers think this trend is here to stay. The rise of big data analytics and mobile technology should spur development, they assert, transforming metropolises like Shanghai, Nairobi and Mexico City into so-called “smart cities” that can leverage their huge populations to power their economies and change the power balance in the world.

As technology researchers, however, we see a less rosy urban future. That’s because digitization and crowdsourcing will actually undermine the very foundations of the megacity economy, which is typically built on some combination of manufacturing, commerce, retail and professional services.

The exact formula differs from region to region, but all megacities are designed to maximize the productivity of their massive populations. Today, these cities lean heavily on economies of scale, by which increased production brings cost advantages, and on the savings and benefits of co-locating people and firms in neighborhoods and industrial clusters.

But technological advances are now upending these old business models, threatening future of megacities as we know them.

Manufacturing on the fritz

One classic example of a disruptive new technology is 3-D printing, which enables individuals to “print” everything from ice cream to machine parts.

As this streamlined technique spreads, it will eliminate some of the many links in the global production process. By taking out the “middle men,” 3-D printing may ultimately reduce the supply chain to just a designer on one end and a manufacturer on the other, significantly reducing the production costs of manufactured goods.


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As a warming climate changes Kodiak bears’ diets, impacts could ripple through ecosystems

 

As a warming climate changes Kodiak bears' diets, impacts could ripple through ecosystems

Courtesy of William Deacy, Oregon State University

File 20170901 26064 ngq7af

A brown bear snags a sockeye salmon in Alaska. In warm years, red elderberries ripen early and Kodiak bears leave streams full of salmon to eat them. Jonathan Armstrong, CC BY-ND

After several years of studying brown bear ecology on Alaska’s Kodiak Island, I grew used to walking up streams into scenes of carnage. Where bears had killed and eaten spawning sockeye salmon, streambeds were littered with fish heads, jaws and whole carcasses, and plants on the stream banks were flattened. But at the peak of the stream spawning run in 2014, I was puzzled to find no bears or salmon parts. Salmon were dying naturally after spawning and piling up in streams, intact.

I’ve spent the last three years trying to solve this ecological puzzle. After extensive field and lab work along with researchers from Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, Flathead Lake Biological Station and Oregon State University, we arrived at a fascinating conclusion.

In warm years, another favorite bear food – red elderberries – ripened early enough to overlap with the salmon season. This forced bears to choose between the foods. Surprisingly, almost all bears opted for berries over salmon. This choice has likely altered food webs, and will become increasingly common with expected climate warming.

Our team was struck by the bears’ seemingly counterintuitive switch. Why would bears stop eating a high-protein food loaded with energy? Quickly, though, we realized that our work was an example of a more global concern: What happens when climate change alters nature’s schedule?

Female bear eating a salmon, Kodiak, Alaska. Caroline Deacy, CC BY-ND

Timing is everything

Among the most apparent consequences of a warming climate are shifts in phenology – the timing of key biological events like hatching, blooming or migration. Researchers have found that timing is changing in all types of organisms, but some species are more sensitive to temperature…
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AfD In 3rd Place in German Election Polls: Unhappy Political Marriages

Courtesy of Mish.

German federal elections are Sunday, September 24. The most likely outcome of the election is another “Grand Coalition” but it will be a much-weakened coalition.  And If that coalition forms again, the rightwing AfD party is poised to become the largest opposition party.

Rightwing Turning Point

The Wall Street Journal reports Nationalist AfD Party Moves Into Third Place in German Election Polls

A last-minute surge in the polls has put a far-right party that wants to dial down German remembrance of the Holocaust within striking distance of becoming the country’s biggest opposition force.

The four-year-old Alternative for Germany, or AfD, has moved into third place and double digits in recent polls. If those numbers hold up until the Sept. 24 election and German Chancellor Angela Merkel repeats her current governing coalition with the center-left Social Democrats, the AfD would become the biggest opposition party in parliament.

No matter how exactly the results shake out, Sunday’s election seems assured to represent a turning point in postwar German history. Ms. Merkel’s center-right Christian Democrats are set to finish first, and she is expected to remain chancellor. But the AfD, polls show, is very likely to become the first far-right party in more than half a century to win seats in parliament.

“If the AfD in fact gets into the Bundestag, Nazis will be speaking in the Reichstag [building] for the first time in more than 70 years,” Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel recently told German magazine, Der Spiegel.

Political scientists say while the AfD isn’t a neo-Nazi party, it includes a right-wing-radical wing that appears to be strengthening. And without question, the anti-immigrant party breaks taboos in a country that has resisted right-wing populism for decades in the shadow of the Nazi era.

In parliament, AfD lawmakers would receive state financing to hire new staff and to set up offices in their districts, increasing the party’s nationwide reach. They would hold key seats on legislative committees, make nationally televised speeches, and be able to send official inquiries to the government, which ministries are required to answer.

Polls suggest the AfD draws voters from across the political spectrum who are unhappy with mainstream politics, particularly on immigration. A strong showing by the AfD could complicate things for Ms. Merkel by preventing her from being able


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Toys ‘R’ Us Bankruptcy: Another Wall Street Debt Slave Falls

Courtesy of Pam Martens.

Toys R UsThe year 2017 is likely to be remembered for devastating hurricanes and storm surges, waves of retail bankruptcies amidst record-setting household debt and a stock market that carelessly sailed through these dangerous waters to record highs.

Toys ‘R’ Us was the latest in a growing string of retail bankruptcies to hit the mat last evening. Its bonds have been telegraphing trouble for some time, with one bond due next year careening from 97 cents on the dollar to 22 cents in a little more than two weeks. On September 6, Wolf Richter at WolfStreet.com provided the short narrative of how Toys ‘R’ Us found itself driving toward the ditch. Citing its leveraged buyout in 2005 by private equity firms Bain Capital, KKR & Co. and real estate firm Vornado Realty Trust, Richter wrote:

“So here’s what the three PE firms did to Toys R Us: they stripped out cash and loaded the company up with debt. And these are the results: At the end of its fiscal year 2004, the last full year before the buyout, Toys R Us had $2.2 billion in cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments. By Q1 2017, this had collapsed to just $301 million. Over the same period, long-term debt has surged 126%, from $2.3 billion to $5.2 billion…It takes a lot of expertise and Wall Street connivance to pull this off.”

If the name, Bain Capital, sounds familiar to you, it’s because it’s the private equity firm that was co-founded by Mitt Romney in 1984 and overseen by him in the 80s and 90s. In his book, Turnaround, Romney writes that he owned 100 percent of the shares of Bain Capital. Romney went on to become the Republican Party’s nominee for President in 2012 and his varnished version of just what Bain Capital did for a living came under close scrutiny.

In 2012, Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone penned an in-depth report on the dubious history of Bain Capital in the demise of companies. Taibbi wrote:

“And this is where we get to the hypocrisy at the heart of Mitt Romney. Everyone knows that he is fantastically rich, having scored great success, the legend goes, as a ‘turnaround specialist,’ a shrewd financial…
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Bubble Fortunes

Courtesy of The Automatic Earth



Wynn Bullock Child on a Forest Road 1958

A few days ago, former Reagan Budget Director and -apparently- permabear (aka perennial bear) David Stockman did an interview (see below) with Stuart Varney at Fox -a permabull?!-, who started off with ‘the stock rally goes on’ despite a London terror attack and the North Korea missile situation. His first statement to Stockman was something in the vein of “if I had listened to you at any time after the past 2-3 years, I’d have lost a fortune..” Stockman shot back with (paraphrased): “if you’d have listened to me in 2000, 2004, you’d have dodged a bullet”, and at some point later “get out of bonds, get out of stocks, it’s a dangerous casino.” Familiar territory for most of you.

I happen to think Stockman is right, and if anything, he doesn’t go far enough, strong enough. What that makes me I don’t know, what’s deeper and longer than perennial or perma? But it’s Varney’s assumption that he would have lost a fortune that triggered me this time around. Because it’s an assumption built on an assumption, and pretty soon it’s assumptions all the way down.

First, that fortune is not real, unless and until he sells the stocks and bonds he made it with. If he has, that would indicate that he doesn’t believe in the market anymore, which is not very likely for a permabull to do. So Varney probably still has his paper ‘fortune’. I’m using him as an example, of course, of all the permabulls and others who hold such paper.

Presumably, they often also think they have made a fortune, and presumably they also think that means they are smart. But that begs a question: how can it be smart to put one’s money into paper that is ‘worth’ what it is today ONLY because the world’s central banks have been handed the power to save the ailing banks that own them with many trillions of freshly printed QE? And no, there can be no doubt of that.

And there are plenty other data that tell the story. The world’s central banks have blown giant bubbles all over the place. That’s where the bulls’ “fortunes” come from. They are bubble…
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Phil's Favorites

Government By Goldman

By Gary Rivlin and Michael Hudson via The Intercept, in partnership with The Investigative Fund

As posted at Zero Hedge

Steve Bannon was in the room the day Donald Trump first fell for Gary Cohn. So were Reince Priebus, Jared Kushner, and Trump’s pick for secretary of Treasury, Steve Mnuchin. It was the end of November, three weeks after Trump’s improbable victory, and Cohn, then still the president of Goldman Sachs, was at Trump Tower presumably at the invitation of Kushner, with whom he was friendly. Cohn was there to offer his views about jobs and the economy. But, like the man he was there to meet, he...



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Zero Hedge

Government By Goldman

By Gary Rivlin and Michael Hudson via The Intercept, in partnership with The Investigative Fund

As posted at Zero Hedge

Steve Bannon was in the room the day Donald Trump first fell for Gary Cohn. So were Reince Priebus, Jared Kushner, and Trump’s pick for secretary of Treasury, Steve Mnuchin. It was the end of November, three weeks after Trump’s improbable victory, and Cohn, then still the president of Goldman Sachs, was at Trump Tower presumably at the invitation of Kushner, with whom he was friendly. Cohn was there to offer his views about jobs and the economy. But, like the man he was there to meet, he...



more from Tyler

Digital Currencies

Cryptocurrency Concentration - Just 4% Own Over 95% Of Bitcoin

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Bitcoin has been making a lot of news lately. The cryptocurrency shot up in value by over 200% in 2017, making many people fear that the market is in a bubble. Last week, China...



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Chart School

Minor Changes: Yesterday's and Weekend Comments Remain Valid

Courtesy of Declan.

I don't want to overplay today's action as little changed in the broader scheme of things. Days like today are welcomed and help shape up swing trades for those trading in near term timeframes.

The tight doji in the S&P could be used for a swing trade; buy a break of the high/short loss of low - stop on flip side. High whipsaw risk but look for 3:1 risk:reward and maybe trail stops if deciding to go with partial profits.


Tech averages are still set up for a breakout. While not an ...

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ValueWalk

FBN Beats CNBC Even During Delivering Alpha Week

By VWArticles. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Fox Business Network ratings for the week of September 11th – September  15th.  FBN beat CNBC even during their big annual Delivering Alpha Conference which is one of the biggest investment conferences of the year with Lou Dobbs leading the pack – another big win for FBN – see more details below

FOX BUSINESS NETWORK SWEEPS CNBC IN BUSINESS DAY FOR EIGHTH TIME THIS YEAR

]]> Get The Full Ray Dalio Series in PDF

Get the entire 10-part series on Ray Dalio in PDF. Save it to your de...



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Insider Scoop

Considering Implications For Hasbro And Mattel From The Toys 'R' Us Bankruptcy

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related HAS Toy Stocks Mostly Lower After Toys 'R' Us Confirms Bankruptcy Watch These 8 Huge Put Purchases In Tuesday Trade ...

http://www.insidercow.com/ more from Insider

Members' Corner

"Citron Exposes Ubiquiti Networks"

What do you think?

"CITRON EXPOSES UBIQUITI NETWORKS" 

Does Ubiquiti Networks (NASDAQ:UBNT) actually have real products that sell to consumers? Of course! So did Valeant and WorldCom, but that does not stop its financials from having every indication of being completely fraudulent.

Citron will detail a series of alarming red flags and detail how Ubiquiti Networks is deceiving the investing public.

Read the full report here.

...

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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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Biotech

Can low doses of chemicals affect your health? A new report weighs the evidence

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

 

Can low doses of chemicals affect your health? A new report weighs the evidence

Courtesy of Rachel ShafferUniversity of Washington

Assessing the data. LightField Studios/shutterstock.com

Toxicology’s founding father, Paracelsus, is famous for proclaiming that “...



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Mapping The Market

The App Economy Will Be Worth $6 Trillion in Five Years

Courtesy of Jean-Luc

This would be excellent news for AAPL and GOOG to a lesser extent although not inconsequential:

The App Economy Will Be Worth $6 Trillion in Five Years 

In five years, the app economy will be worth $6.3 trillion, up from $1.3 trillion last year, according to a report released today by app measurement company App Annie. What explains the growth? More people are spending more time and -- crucially -- more money in apps. While on average people aren't downloading many more apps, App Annie expects global app usership to nearly double to 6.3 billion people in the next five years while the time spent in apps will more than double. And, it expects the...



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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!

[For more information on NewsWare, click here. For a list of prices: NewsWar...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

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

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

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

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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