“Spaniards should be aware that it is physically impossible that they can pursue policies that meet the national interest, within the euro as it is designed. The euro was conceived as a real trap, but nowhere is it written that people have to accept it .“
Forced military conscription (slavery is a better word) imposed on citizens of Ukraine has reached new heights recently.
The government in Kiev now demands those forced into slavery to hand over their cars for military use. As one might expect, avoidance of needless military slaughter has also reached new heights.
Before we get to those stories, I have a video to share. It is in Russian, but with English subtitles. I am told by reader Jacob Dreizin the translation is essentially correct, but a couple things were translated too literally.
I do offer this warning. The video is graphic and it does contain a lot of harsh language. The video is about captured Ukrainian POWs on a fool’s mission to retake the Donetsk airport. After about 12 minutes or so it gets gruesome, the beginning is not so bad.
Warning aside, I recommend watching the video, entirely. Watch the scenes where locals confront the Ukrainian POWs. The video accurately portrays Ukrainians fighting Ukrainians, not Ukrainians fighting Russians.
Ukrainian POW’s Face NAF Commander Givi and the Fury of Donetsk Residents
Say you are a socialist, and you have intervened heavily in the economy. Suddenly, things don’t work as you thought they would. Somehow, economic laws seem to refuse to bend to your will. However, you cannot really believe that since according to your convictions, wealth is a byproduct of government plans and decrees. Moreover, your predecessor (also a socialist revolutionary) had the best advice oil money can buy – even from people who are now advising socialist parties over in good old Europe. So the solution to the unintended consequences of the initial intervention is to intervene further, in an attempt to refine the plan, so to speak.
You may have heard about a certain proverb attributed to Einstein about insanity, but you can’t quite recall what it was. So you try again. And again. And again. Chances are, your name is Nicolas Maduro. But eventually, you quit trying – sort of.
Image via diyconfessions.com
As Bloomberg reports, Maduro wants to fix the dollar shortage in Venezuela by introducing the fifth parallel currency market in 12 years – Venezuela will end up with three different official exchange rates as a result, one of which should actually track what was hitherto the black market rate (i.e., the real market exchange rate):
“Venezuela will create its fifth parallel currency market in 12 years to boost U.S. dollar supplies as plunging oil revenue worsens food and medicine shortages and pushes the nation deeper into recession.
The new market will allow private companies and individuals to trade the greenback through brokerages, President Nicolas Maduro told Congress in a televised address Wednesday night. The government will continue importing essential products at the primary exchange rate of 6.3 bolivars a dollar, while combining two other existing currency auctions into one, he said.
“This is the decision I have taken: a system of three markets,” he told lawmakers after being welcomed by live salsa, ceremonial cannon shots and chanting supporters. “This exchange system is a transitory system to attend the country’s development needs” while oil prices stabilize, he said.
Maduro has preferred tighter currency controls to ease economic strife as he seeks to avoid cuts to social spending. A
Nick Murray says “The ability to distinguish between volatility and loss is the first casualty of a bear market.”
I turned to one of my favorite passages of his masterpiece Simple Wealth, Inevitable Wealth this morning as turmoil from overseas and the commodity markets made its way through the headlines. Nick relays a great anecdote about how much money one investor personally “lost” during the last Russian Ruble crisis in the summer of 1998…
Yes, that’s right, it’s six billion two hundred million dollars. A very large sum of money, wouldn’t you say? Now what, you ask, does it represent?
It is roughly how much Warren Buffett’s personal shareholdings in his Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. declined in value between July 17 and August 31, 1998. And now for the six billion dollar question. During those forty-five days, how much money did Warren Buffett lose in the stock market?
The answer is, of course, that he didn’t lose anything. Why? That’s simple: he didn’t sell.
In July and August of 1998, I was doing time at a brokerage firm on Long Island as a summer intern. The brokers were panicking and the partners began yelling at them to get off margin and help maintain order in the Asia Pacific technology stocks in which the firm made markets. It wasn’t working, from what I could surmise. The simultaneous meltdown of several Far East currencies and then the toppling of the Ruble proved too much for US markets and eventually the contagion found its way here.
People forget that, in the midst of the massive late 1990’s bull market, we had this two-month bear market episode in which the S&P 500 dropped by a quick 25 percent. The giant Nobel laureate-run hedge fund, Long Term Capital, imploded as a result and Greenspan was
On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve made their latest monetary policy announcement. Janet Yellen, the current Chairwoman, made several statements that led the markets to believe that they remain on course for increasing the overnight lending rate this year.
*FED SAYS ECONOMY HAS BEEN `EXPANDING AT A SOLID PACE'
*FED CITES `STRONG JOB GAINS' AND LOWER UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
*FED SAYS INFLATION EXPECTED TO DECLINE FURTHER IN NEAR TERM
However, the real state of economic expansion, as discussed yesterday, is highly questionable as the global deflationary forces have already begun to wash back onto domestic shores. While the Federal Reserve stated they were not worried about the decline in oil prices, as it boosts disposable household incomes, it is a point that they should reconsider since there is little evidence supporting that claim.
In addition, the strong job gains, as examined earlier this week are also quite suspect. Given that the employment numbers are likely extremely overinflated, which accounts for the extremely low labor force participation rates and declining wage growth, the negative feedback loop to employment could occur very quickly.
The real concern for investors and individuals is the actual economy. There is clearly something amiss within the economic landscape, and the ongoing decline of inflationary pressures longer term is likely telling us just that. The big question for the Fed is how to get out of the potential trap they have gotten themselves into without cratering the economy, and the financial markets, in the process.
It is my expectation, unless these deflationary trends reverse course in very short order, that if the Fed raises rates it will invoke a fairly negative response from both the markets and economy. However, I also believe that the Fed understands that we are closer to the next economic recession than not. For the Federal Reserve, the worst case scenario is being caught with rates at the "zero bound" when that occurs. For this reason, while raising rates will likely spark a potential recession and market correction, from the Fed’s perspective this might be the “lesser of two evils.”
Alexis Tsipras, now prime minister of Greece, sent this letter to Handelsblatt:
Most of you, dear Handesblatt readers, will have formed a preconception of what this article is about before you actually read it. I am imploring you not to succumb to such preconceptions. Prejudice was never a good guide, especially during periods when an economic crisis reinforces stereotypes and breeds bigotry, nationalism, even violence.
In 2010, the Greek state ceased to be able to service its debt. Unfortunately, European officials decided to pretend that this problem could be overcome by means of the largest loan in history on condition of fiscal austerity that would, with mathematical precision, shrink the national income from which both new and old loans must be paid. An insolvency problem was thus dealt with as if it were a case of illiquidity.
In other words, Europe adopted the tactics of the least reputable bankers who refuse to acknowledge bad loans, preferring to grant new ones to the insolvent entity so as to pretend that the original loan is performing while extending the bankruptcy into the future. Nothing more than common sense was required to see that the application of the 'extend and pretend' tactic would lead my country to a tragic state. That instead of Greece's stabilization, Europe was creating the circumstances for a self-reinforcing crisis that undermines the foundations of Europe itself.
My party, and I personally, disagreed fiercely with the May 2010 loan agreement not because you, the citizens of Germany, did not give us enough money but because you gave us much, much more than you should have and our government accepted far, far more than it had a right to. Money that would, in any case, neither help the people of Greece (as it was being thrown into the black hole of an unsustainable debt) nor prevent the ballooning of Greek government debt, at great expense to the Greek and German taxpayer.
The headline, fictional, seasonally adjusted (SA) number of initial unemployment claims for last week came in at 265,000, which blew out the Wall Street conomist crowd consensus guess of 301,000. The pundits had shaved 1,000 off their guess after missing on the low side last week. My, my! Such pessimists!
But my interest is not in the silly expectations game of pin the tail on the number. My interest is in the actual, unmanipulated data. Analyzing that is the only way to be sure that you are seeing what’s really going on.
The Department of Labor prominently reports the actual unadjusted data clearly and illustrates it in comparison with the previous year. As it does with virtually all government economic data releases, the mainstream financial media crowd chooses to ignore reality by not reporting the actual number. In the case of this report, the DoL also reports exactly how messy the seasonally adjusted data is by reporting what the seasonal adjustment had forecast based on the arbitrary mathematical calculation of what’s normal.
According to the Department of Labor the actual, unmanipulated numbers were as follows. “The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 280,237 in the week ending January 24, a decrease of 102,358 (or -26.8 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected a decrease of 57,297 (or -15.0 percent) from the previous week. There were 357,806 initial claims in the comparable week
Initial Claims and Annual Rate of Change
The actual week to week change last week was a drop of 102,000 (rounded). This is a greater decline than the 10 year average decrease for that week, which was a decrease of 88,000 (rounded). This year’s drop was also larger than the comparable weeks of 2014 and 2013 which fell by 58,000 and 68,000 respectively.
Actual first time claims were 21.7% lower than the same week a year ago. This is at the extreme of the normal range, which since 2010 years has mostly fluctuated between -5% and -15%. There have only been a few weeks where the year to year decline was more than 20%. But that’s the 4th instance since last September.
In the past 5 months, businesses have been unusually reluctant to cut workers. In fact, these are all time record lows…
Alan Greenspan, Former Fed Chairman, Testifying to the House Oversight Committee on How He Got It Wrong, October 23, 2008
There is growing unease in stock and bond markets around the world that the current Chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, has retrieved former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan’s blinders out of the mothballs in some musty old closet at the Fed, thus setting the U.S. economy up for more epic convulsions.
Yesterday, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) released its policy statement and rattled markets here and abroad overnight. The statement contained a number of economic absurdities. The first sentence argued that “economic activity has been expanding at a solid pace” while a few sentences later we are told “inflation has declined further below the Committee’s longer-run objective.” A solid expansion simply does not correlate with declining inflation in the U.S. and mushrooming deflation among our trading partners.
Later in the statement the Fed tells us that inflation will be heading back toward the goal of 2 percent once “the transitory effects of lower energy prices and other factors dissipate.” There is no evidentiary basis offered to support the idea that the historic collapse in oil prices will be “transitory.” The “other factors” remain vague because to enumerate the other factors – slack demand around the globe creating a monster surplus of supply – would destroy the argument that the oil price collapse will be transitory. (And remember, it’s not just energy prices that are swooning, it’s a broad range of industrial commodities which the Fed conveniently fails to mention.)
Bond markets around the world, including the U.S. Treasury market, think Yellen is full of it. Shortly after the FOMC statement was released, the 30-year Treasury hit an historic record low yield of 2.295 percent. The yield on our longest dated Treasury bond reflects two elements: the long-range outlook for inflation and a perceived safe-haven to weather a looming economic upheaval.
Yesterday, the yield on the 30-year Treasury also represented one more thing: a no confidence vote that the U.S. Fed knows how to read the global tea leaves.
Two days ago, Zero Hedge first, and shortly thereafter everyone else, pointed out something stunning: the biggest surprise to emerge so far out of the new anti-Troika/austerity Greek government was not so much its intention to proceed with the first test of "Odious Debt" – this was largely known in advance – but its dramatic pivot away from Germany and Europe, and toward Russia.
As we noted before, not only has Greece already blocked all ongoing privatization processes, a clear snub of Merkel and the Troika which demands the piecemeal blue light special sale of Greece to western buyers as part of the "bailout", but is also looking at plans to reinstate public sector employees and announce increased pensions for those on low incomes: further clear breaches of the Troika's austerity terms.
But the most important message that Tsipras is sending to Europe is that (after meeting the Russian ambassador first upon his election) Greece is now effectively a veto power when it comes to future Russian sanctions!
This was first hinted when the Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, who arrives in Brussels today to discuss possible additional sanctions on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine, said a few days ago that the Greek government disagreed with an EU statement in which President Donald Tusk raised the prospect of “further restrictive measures” on Russia. As Bloomberg observed before, in recent months, Kotzias wrote on Twitter that sanctions against Russia weren’t in Greece’s interests. He said in a blog that a new foreign policy for Greece should be focused on stopping the ongoing transformation of the EU “into an idiosyncratic empire, under the rule of Germany.”
And Europe, shocked that one of its own has dared to question its "unanimous" policy toward Russia, a policy driven by the US foreign state department whose opinion of Europe is best captured by the hacked and intercepted "Fuck the EU" outburst by Victoria Nuland in February 2014, has been forced to backtrack. From DPA:
The European Union denied Wednesday that it ignored Greek objections when it issued
Here is an advance preview of the monthly moving averages I track after the close of the last business day of the month. At this point, before the open on the last day of the month, three S&P 500 strategies are now signaling "invested" -- unchanged from last month. Two of the five of the Ivy Portfolio ETFs, Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US ETF (VEU) and PowerShares DB Commodity Index Tracking (DBC), are signal "cash" -- also unchanged from last month.
If a position is less than 2% from a signal, it is highlighted in yellow.
Note: My inclusion of the S&P 500 index updates is intended to illustrate a popular moving moving-average timing strategy. The index signals also give...
In spite of the Charlie Hebdo murders that raised the popularity of French president Francois Hollande and his staff, Les Echos reports than in the 2017 presidential election anti-euro candidate Marine Le Pen in the 1st Round Lead With Nearly 30% of the Vote. According to an IFOP 2017 presidential poll released Thursday, Marine Le Pen would come out clearly in the lead if the first round of presidential elections was held on Sunday.
Le Pen would get 29 to 31% of the vote. No rival would exceed 23%. Nicolas Sarkozy, Manuel Valls, and Alain Juppé, eac...
(ETFTrends.com by Todd Shriber): "Betting on insider buying is again proving to be an efficacious strategy as the Direxion All Cap Insider Sentiment Shares (NYSEArca: KNOW) has been noticeably less bad than the S&P 500 to start 2015. Add to that, investors are warming to the merits of KNOW's insider sentiment strategy." [Editor's note: KNOW tracks the Sabrient Multi-cap Insider/Analyst Quant-Weighted Index (SBRQAM)]. Read article
Suppose you had the technical ability and raw materials to print up counterfeit dollars, euros or yen that were identical to the real things. Assume you could spend them as fast as you could create them with no fear of any repercussions.
Would you prudently print up only as much fresh currency as you needed for your current lifestyle? Would you create just a bit more than that to help relatives or those in need?
It is most likely you’d have your printing press running 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Becoming the richest person in the world would confer great power upon you.
You could rationalize this action because you plan to use the money for good purposes. Imagine the warm feeling you’d get by giving every person in America one million do...
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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.
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So as I was saying yesterday (Bitcoin: The Biggest Clown Show In History?), Bitcoin has several obstacles on the path to potential success as an alternative currency. But I forgot to mention hacking and theft at Bitcoin exchanges and other technical problems. This is related to the lack of government backing and the fact that the value of Bitcoins is based entirely on confidence.
Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.
PSW Members - well, what a year for biotechs! The Biotech Index (IBB) is up a whopping 40%, beating the S&P hands down! The healthcare sector has had a number of high flying IPOs, and beat the Tech Sector in total nubmer of IPOs in the past 12 months. What could go wrong?
Phil has given his Secret Santa Inflation Hedges for 2015, and since I have been trying to keep my head above water between work, PSW, and baseball with my boys...it is time that something is put together for PSW on biotechs in 2015.
Cancer and fibrosis remain two of the hottest areas for VC backed biotechs to invest their monies. A number of companies have gone IPO which have drugs/technologies that fight cancer, includin...
Stocks got off to a rocky start on the first trading day in December, with the S&P 500 Index slipping just below 2050 on Monday. Based on one large bullish SPX options trade executed on Wednesday, however, such price action is not likely to break the trend of strong gains observed in the benchmark index since mid-October. It looks like one options market participant purchased 25,000 of the 31Dec’14 2105/2115 call spreads at a net premium of $2.70 each. The trade cost $6.75mm to put on, and represents the maximum potential loss on the position should the 2105 calls expire worthless at the end of December. The call spread could reap profits of as much as $7.30 per spread, or $18.25mm, in the event that the SPX ends the year above 2115. The index would need to rally 2.0% over the current level...
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 email@example.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.
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considered to be reliable. However, neither PSW Investments, LLC d/b/a PhilStockWorld (PSW)
nor its affiliates
warrant its completeness, accuracy or adequacy and it should not be relied upon as such. Neither PSW nor its affiliates are responsible for any errors or omissions or for results obtained from the use of this information. Past performance, including the tracking of virtual trades and portfolios for educational purposes, is not necessarily indicative of future results. Neither Phil, Optrader, or anyone related to PSW is a registered financial adviser and they may hold positions in the stocks mentioned, which may change at any time without notice. Do not buy or sell based on anything that is written here, the risk of loss in trading is great.
This material is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or other financial instrument. Securities or other financial instruments mentioned in this material are not suitable for all investors. Any opinions expressed herein are given in good faith, are subject to change without notice, and are only intended at the moment of their issue as conditions quickly change. The information contained herein does not constitute advice on the tax consequences of making any particular investment decision. This material does not take into account your particular investment objectives, financial situations or needs and is not intended as a recommendation to you of any particular securities, financial instruments or strategies. Before investing, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and, as necessary, seek professional advice.
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