That title wouldn’t make for much of a campaign slogan, and yet, it’s the natural outcome of one particular politician’s promise. As the editor of a retirement-focused newsletter, most of the notes I receive about the Affordable Health Care Act, or Obamacare, are first-person accounts of how a reader’s change in coverage or cost is affecting his finances. These (mostly sad) stories prompted several discussions with Andy Mangione, vice president of government relations of the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC). Andy serves as the lead legislative and government contact for AMAC in Washington, DC. He’s also responsible for national grassroots outreach and developing strategic partnerships.
Andy is AMAC’s man on the scene in Washington, and he kindly agreed to sit down for an interview on the significant budget cuts to home health care that have been made as a result of Obamacare. I’ll let Andy get into the details.
Dennis Miller: Welcome, Andy. Thanks for taking the time to educate our readers on the latest goings-on in Washington.
Andy Mangione: My pleasure, Dennis.
Dennis: Andy, let’s get right to it. I know you’re very concerned about how cuts to home health care will impact seniors. This is no longer a theoretical problem. I’d like to ask a two-part question: Can you tell our readers a bit about your organization and how these budget cuts will affect “mature American citizens?”
Andy: Dan Weber, a private citizen, founded AMAC as an alternative to and competitor of AARP. AMAC is a right-of-center, conservative member benefits and senior advocacy organization for Americans age 50 and older. AMAC offers many of the same benefits and services as AARP. The biggest difference, though, is our approach to advocacy. AMAC is a member-driven organization. We do not sit in a boardroom and determine our stance on issues unilaterally. We take our marching orders from our members. They determine the issues that I bring to Washington, DC and help us to determine our policy and issues positions.
We have over 1.2 million American members living in all 50 states. We add approximately 1,000-2,000 new, dues-paying members each week.
§ 156.140 Levels of coverage. (a) General requirement for levels of coverage. AV, calculated as described in § 156.135 of this subpart, and within a de minimis variation as defined in paragraph (c) of this section, determines whether a health plan offers a bronze, silver, gold, or platinum level of coverage. (b) The levels of coverage are: (1) A bronze health plan is a health plan that has an AV of 60 percent. (2) A silver health plan is a health plan that has an AV of 70 percent. (3) A gold health plan is a health plan that has an AV of 80 percent. (4) A platinum health plan is a health plan that has as an AV of 90 percent. (c) De minimis variation. The allowable variation in the AV of a health plan that does not result in a material difference in the true dollar value of the health plan is +- 2 percentage points.
Outside of the video, the above obscure government doc was the only place I found an accurate discussion of bronze, silver, gold, and platinum ranges.
Since I did not have the term "de minimis variation" in my search, it took me a while to find that doc.
As Typically Presented
Most sites offer woefully inadequate explanations. For example Medical Mutual accurately defines Actuarial Value (AV) as "the percentage of total spending on Essential Health Benefits (EHBs) that is paid by the health plan," yet, falls woefully short in describing the various metals as follows.
When the value of the US dollar rises, US goods become more expensive in overseas markets. General, a weaker local currency is good for economies that are driven by exports and maintain big trade surpluses.
"Conventional wisdom holds that a stronger exchange rate is likely to be a headwind for stocks as US products become less competitive abroad," RBC Capital Markets' Jonathan Golub writes in a new note to clients. "Our research suggests this is not the case: (1) the economy and the dollar tend to move in tandem, which means that a stronger economy should result in dollar strength; (2) a rising dollar is supportive of higher multiples, as shown below."
Higher multiples means that investors are willing to pay a higher premium for stocks during periods of dollar strength.
In July I showed talked about the Russell 2K index and how it was underperforming the broad market. I explained what it likely meant for the US stock market this fall. The outlook was negative, just in case you were wondering.
This week I will discuss two sectors that have often lead the broad market in rallies and corrections over the years. These sectors have underperformed the broad market much like small cap stocks. This does not bode well for investors going into fall.
In the analysis below I use Bollinger bands and trendlines. Using only these tools keeps the charts clean and easy to understand. In short, a broken trendline is the first early warning that a trend may be coming to an end. The second is the break of a Bollinger band.
A combination of these can be taken as a trend reversal and the likely start of a multi-week or month correction, depending on your chart's time-frame. I use a similar method to identify trends with my automated futures trading system.
INTERNET INDEX FUND ANALYSIS
SOCIAL MEDIA INDEX FUND ANALYSIS
My outlook on exactly what these two charts are pointing to is as follows:
Because we have seen the support trend lines broken to the downside this month, and the fact that price has pushed more than two standard deviations from its norm, the odds favor more downside.
Based on years of experience trading price patterns and breakouts, I've learned that when price breaks to the downside and triggers fear among investors, it is typically the best time to sell short and profit from falling prices. Fear is the most powerful force in the stock market and it must be traded much differently than "greed"--which is in action when prices are rising.
Although the broad market is still within its uptrend, the two underperforming sectors, social media and internet, may continue to sell lower. Once the broad market rolls over, these sectors should fall even faster to the downside. Until then, they could chop around and grind their way down.
Emerging markets are about to get hit by a whopper of a double whammy. And if I were you, I wouldn’t be too surprised if it takes on epic proportions.
The exposure that emerging markets, countries in the less wealthy parts of the globe, Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America, have to the west has grown at a very rapid clip since, let’s say, Lehman. These countries were hit hard by the western crisis, but found what looked like a sugar mountain afterward when western interest rates plunged to zero and beyond, which provided them with both of the seemingly beneficial sides of what will now become their double whammy.
First, western money flowed, make that flooded, into their economies at unparalleled levels, driven by a chase for yield instigated by the difference between ultra low interest rates in the west and much higher rates beyond. For emerging countries, this has been a boon beyond belief. No matter how corrupt or poorly organized they may have been or still are, most showed nice growth numbers for a few years. It wasn’t really a carry trade in the literal sense of the word, but it was close. And it’s now coming to an end.
Second, and likely to work out even much worse, the ‘emerging governments’ borrowed those cheap US dollars using anything not bolted down, including their national treasures, as collateral, and they now face a doubling, tripling, quadrupling etc. of the interest rates they have to pay on those loans. Which looks about like this (and something tells me this could well underestimate reality by a considerable margin):
Janet Yellen is about to announce rising rates, and whether it’s tomorrow or in 6 months is not that relevant in all this, it’s expectations that rule the day. Emerging markets will first be hit by outflows of western investment – or rather casino – capital, just because of the fear in the markets of what Yellen will do, and then get the second whammy when rates move from 0.25% to 1.25% and then some.
We see the initial jitters today. Or rather, they’re not the initial ones, just the first ones to come from people other than western…
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist says that’s a good thing because “first-time buyers have a better chance of purchasing a home now that bidding wars are receding and supply constraints have significantly eased in many parts of the country.”
While I agree it’s a good thing that bidding wars stopped, the fact of the matter is home prices are once again in la-la land, especially for cash-strapped millennials loaded up with student debt, in low-paying jobs.
Pent Up Demand?
Yun states, “As long as solid job growth continues, wages should eventually pick up to steadily improve purchasing power and help fully release the pent-up demand for buying.”
There is arguably a pent-up demand for homes by millennials if wages do catch up, but that assumes millennials have the same value-set and attitudes towards debt as their parents.
In reality, median wages have not gone up much but home prices have. More importantly, attitudes of millennials are not the same as that of their boomer parents.
Millennials Leave Their Parents’ Basements, But Not For Homes
Here’s a really key insight from my friend Ari Wald, technical analyst at Oppenheimer Asset Management…
You’re hearing a lot about divergences right now because the internals on the S&P 500, here at all-time highs again, are blatantly bad. The same is going on market-wide. Only 65 percent of the S&P 1500’s stocks are above their 200-day moving averages (or, in strong uptrends) vs the 80 percent reading we saw during the July high.
1. We’ve seen this divergence before this year, it’s resolved itself to the upside each time as the “market of stocks” eventually caught up with the stock market in the end. Guys fading the market’s price this year because of its internal signals have been repeatedly burned. In some cases, a plunge in stocks above their 200-day moving averages has even been a buy signal, rather than a sign of imminent breakdown!
2. Upon closer inspection, it’s really two sectors driving the weakness – as Ari reveals, oil stocks and commodity names are the reason why there are significantly less stocks currently in an uptrend. He looks at the S&P 1500 below to capture the mid/small markets as well here, but the same applies for the big caps.
Here’s what’s really going on:
We use the % of stocks above their 200-day m.a. as a proxy for the % of stocks in an uptrend, and unconfirmed readings are a concern. For instance, the S&P 500 is out to a new all-time high, but the % of stocks in an uptrend (S&P 1500) has dropped to 65% vs. 80% in July. On closer inspection, Energy (32% fewer stocks in an uptrend since July) and Materials (22% fewer stocks) have been chief sources for this decline in participation as a strong US dollar has weighed on these commodity-related sectors.
Josh here – as you can see, the 15 percent drop-off in uptrending stocks is being skewed much higher by a handful of sectors. These sectors are being largely impacted by the strong dollar trend. I’d throw in the industrials into this as well – they have to
In his book The Postcatastrophe Economy,iTulip’s Eric Janszen notes that financial bubbles don’t repeat. That is, yesterday’s bubble is never tomorrow’s because hot money likes to chase the next big thing, not the last big thing. Which explains how US equities, government bonds, fine art, and trophy properties like London penthouses can all be sizzling while US houses, the epicenter of the previous decade’s financial orgy, just sit there.
To summarize the first three charts, overall sales have declined year-over-year for ten straight months, prices are barely up from a year ago, and near-term trends imply more of the same. The fourth chart explains why: All the positive action is in high-end properties while the entry level part of the market is imploding.
There are several reasons for this:
1) Today’s college students are graduating with so much debt that many can’t even conceive of buying a house. Instead, their choice is between a cheap apartment or a bedroom in their parents’ home.
2) US consumers, after a few years of deleveraging, are once again borrowing, but in large part this is to pay for necessities like gas and food. When they buy something discretionary, it’s now likely to be a new car. Auto loans are rapidly approaching the $1 trillion milestone achieved by student loans a couple of years back.
3) Back in 2004-2007, banks handed out home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) to pretty much anyone with a house and a heartbeat (heartbeat frequently optional). Those loans generally require only interest payments for the first ten years and then begin demanding repayment of principal. So the loans made during the housing bubble are now starting to step up, hitting their owners with hundreds of dollars of extra monthly payments at a time when they’re already strapped. For more see Why the Real Estate Market Remains Fragile.
Rich folks, meanwhile, own the stocks and bonds that have soared lately, so they’re ready and able to diversify out of financial assets and into real stuff like million-dollar houses. Take these extravagant buyers out of the equation and the housing market for the rest of us…
On Friday Alibaba gained $65 billion of market cap in 5 minutes! And that was on top of the $170 billion IPO price—-a valuation that was not all that shabby to begin with. In fact, BABA weighed in for the opening bell at 20X its $8.6 billion in sales.
Well, the above red hot multiple was not actually with reference to the company’s results, but to its drop-box financials. That is, before the day was over it was trading at 27X the LTM sales posted for a shell in the Cayman Islands—-an entity on the word processor of a law office located there which may or may not receive actual cash dividends and honest accounting statements from a myriad of entities that do countless things in China.
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.
That title wouldn’t make for much of a campaign slogan, and yet, it’s the natural outcome of one particular politician’s promise. As the editor of a retirement-focused newsletter, most of the notes I receive about the Affordable Health Care Act, or Obamacare, are first-person accounts of how a reader’s change in coverage or cost is affecting his finances. These (mostly sad) stories prompted several discussions with Andy Mangione, vice president of government relations of the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC). Andy serves as the lead legislative and government contact for AMAC in Washington, DC. He’s also responsible for national grassroots outreach and developing strategic ...
The Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA) data on volume sales is over two months old when it released. The latest numbers, through mid-July, are now available. However, despite the lag, this report offers an interesting perspective on fascinating aspects of the US economy. Gasoline prices and increases in fuel efficiency are important factors, but there are also some significant demographic and cultural dynamics in this data series.
Because the sales data are highly volatile with some obvious seasonality, I've added a 12-month moving average (MA) to give a clearer indication of the long-term trends. The latest 12-month MA is 8.8% below the all-time high set in August 2005, a new interim low.
As we predicted an hour ago when the USDJPY was 50 pips lower, today's aggression against stocks would not stand. So, lo and behold, one or more central banks decided to aggressively collect 6J (USDJPY) liquidity rebates from the CME and have bought the pair in a straight line since this morning. And sure enough, after it dropped notably just a few hours ago, the NASDAQ and S&P is now back in the green, where it belongs in a "market" as rigged as this one.
The FX rigging will continue until futures are green
Stocks were able to leverage some optimistic news and dovish words from the Fed to take another stab at an upside breakout attempt last week. Although readers have sometimes accused me of being a permabull, I am really a realist, and the reality is that the slogans like “The trend is your friend” and “Don’t fight the Fed” are truisms. And they have worked. Nevertheless, I am still not convinced that we have seen the ultimate lows for this pullback, especially given the weak technical condition of small caps.
In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart, review our weekly fundamentals-based SectorCast rankings of the ten U.S. business sectors, and then offer up some actionable trading ideas, including a sector ...
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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).
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Investors are dumping shares in Yahoo, sending the stock down 5.0% to $40.08 after shares in Alibaba made their debut on the floor of the NYSE just before midday. Shares in BABA for their part initially traded up to a high of $99.70, a near 47% increase over the IPO price of $68.00. Typically, one would expect put options that are 5% out of the money with roughly 4-hours left to trade to see waning implied volatility. But, at the start of the trading session and ahead of the first trade for BABA, the Sep 19 ’14 40.0 strike put options were trading with 271% volatility or $0.30 per contract amid uncertainty as to how the start of trading for Alibaba would take shape.
Administradora de Fondos de Pensiones Provida S.A. (PVD) shares will not be trading on the NY Stock Exchange after today. Tomorrow, shares will be harder to sell. Strangely, I wasn't able to find information on the internet, but Paul just sent me a copy of the email he received from Interactive Brokers.
We're selling PVD out of the Virtual Portfolio today at $87.18.
From: Interactive Brokers dated July 18, 2014
Holders of AFP Provida S.A. American Depository Receipts (ADR) are advised that the Company has elected to terminate the Deposit Agreement effective 2014-09-18.
Despite the various opinions on Bitcoin, there is no question as to its ultimate value: its ability to bypass government restrictions, including economic embargoes and capital controls, to transmit quasi-anonymous money to anyone anywhere.
Opinions differ as to what constitutes "money."
The English word "money" derives from the Latin word "moneta," which means to "mint." Historically, "money" was minted in the form of precious metals, most notably gold and silver. Minted metal was considered "money" because it possessed luster, was scarce, and had perceive...
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Well PSW Subscribers....I am still here, barely. From my last post a few months ago to now, nothing has changed much, but there are a few bargins out there that as investors, should be put on the watch list (again) and if so desired....buy a small amount.
First, the media is on a tear against biotechs/pharma, ripping companies for their drug prices. Gilead's HepC drug, Sovaldi, is priced at $84K for the 12-week treatment. Pundits were screaming bloody murder that it was a total rip off, but when one investigates the other drugs out there, and the consequences of not taking Sovaldi vs. another drug combinations, then things become clearer. For instance, Olysio (JNJ) is about $66,000 for a 12-week treatment, but is approved for fewer types of patients AND...
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