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Posts Tagged ‘economic crisis’

Preserve and Protect: Mapping The Tipping Points

Preserve and Protect: Mapping The Tipping Points

Courtesy of Gordon T Long of Tipping Points

The economic news has turned decidedly negative globally and a sense of ‘quiet before the storm’ permeates the financial headlines. Arcane subjects such as a Hindenburg Omen now make mainline news. The retail investor continues to flee the equity markets and in concert with the institutional players relentlessly pile into the perceived safety of yield instruments, though they are outrageously expensive by any proven measure. Like trying to buy a pump during a storm flood, people are apparently willing to pay any price.  As a sailor, it feels like the ominous period where the crew is fastening down the hatches and preparing for the squall that is clearly on the horizon. Few crew mates are talgking as everyone is checking preparations for any eventuality. Are you prepared?

What if this is not a squall but a tropical storm, or even a hurricane? Unlike sailors, the financial markets do not have the forecasting technology for protection against such a possibility. Good sailors before today’s technology advancements avoided this possibility through the use of almanacs, shrewd observation of the climate and common sense. It appears to this old salt that all three are missing in today’s financial community.

Looking through the misty haze though, I can see the following clearly looming on the horizon.

Since President Nixon took the US off the Gold standard in 1971, the increase in global fiat currency has been nothing short of breath taking. It has grown unchecked and inevitably has become unhinged from world industrial production and the historical creators of real tangible wealth.

Do you believe trees grow to the sky?
Or, is it you believe you are smart enough to get out before this graph crashes?

Apparent synthetic wealth has artificially and temporarily been created through the production of paper. Whether Federal Reserve IOU notes (the dollar) or guaranteed certificates of confiscation (treasury notes & bonds), it needs to never be forgotten that these are paper. It is not wealth. It is someone else’s obligation to deliver that wealth to the holder of the paper based on what that paper is felt to be worth when the obligation is required to be surrendered. It must never be forgotten that fiat paper is only a counter party obligation to deliver. Will they?…
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Naked Capitalism and My Scary Minsky Model

Naked Capitalism and My Scary Minsky Model

Courtesy of Steve Keen at Debtwatch

I met with Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism on the weekend, at a superb Japanese restaurant that only New York locals could find (and I’ll keep its location quiet for their benefit–too much publicity could spoil a spectacular thing). Yves was kind enough to post details of my latest academic paper at her site in a post she entitled “Steve Keen’s scary Minsky model“.

Yves found the model scary, not because it revealed anything about the economy that she didn’t already know, but because it so easily reproduced the Ponzi features of the economy she knows so well.

I have yet to attempt to fit the model to data–and given its nonlinearity, that won’t be easy–but its qualitative behavior is very close to what we’ve experienced. As in the real world, a series of booms and busts give the superficial appearance of an economy entering a “Great Moderation”–just before it collapses.

The motive force driving the crash is the ratio of debt to GDP–a key feature of the real world that the mainstream economists who dominate the world’s academic university departments, Central Banks and Treasuries ignore. In the model, as in the real world, this ratio rises in a boom as businesses take on debt to finance investment and speculation, and then falls in a slump when things don’t work out in line with the euphoric expectations that developed during the boom. Cash flows during the slump don’t allow borrowers to reduce the debt to GDP ratio to the pre-boom level, but the period of relative stability after the crisis leads to expectations–and debt–taking off once more.

Ultimately, such an extreme level of debt is accumulated that debt servicing exceeds available cash flows, and a permanent slump ensues–a Depression.

There are 4 behavioural functions in the model that mimic the behaviour of the major private actors in the economy–workers, capitalists and bankers. Workers wage rises are related to the level of employment and the rate of inflation; capitalists investment and debt repayment plans are related to the rate of profit; and the willingness of banks to lend is also a function of the rate of profit.…
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Will Thousands Of Police Layoffs Unleash Chaos And Anarchy Across America?

Law enforcement is, or at least was, considered one of the (few, for libertarian-types) legitimate functions of government. Just saying. – Ilene

Will Thousands Of Police Layoffs Unleash Chaos And Anarchy Across America?

Courtesy of Michael Synder at The Economic Collapse 

 

Thousands of police officers have been laid off all across America since the current economic crisis began.  Thousands more are getting ready to be laid off.  So could we be on the verge of a new era of chaos and anarchy in America as crime runs wild and there are just far too few police to respond to it all?  That is the message that one blood-smeared billboard in Stockton, California is trying to get across.  Paid for by the Stockton, California police union, the message of the billboard is chillingly clear: "Welcome to the 2nd most dangerous city in California. Stop laying off cops."  As state, city and local governments across the United States continue to be devastated by the ongoing economic crisis, budget cuts are becoming much deeper and police forces have suddenly become a very popular target.

Officer Steve Leonesio, the president of the Stockton Police Officers Association, has announced that the police union plans to spend approximately $20,000 on at least 20 more billboards.

Why is the union putting up all of these billboards?

Well, it turns out that Stockton has been considering a plan to lay off 53 police officers in an effort to eliminate a $23 million budget deficit.

But law enforcement in Stockton has already been cut to the bone.  Recently, the Stockton Police Department dropped this bombshell….

"We absolutely do not have any narcotics officers, narcotics sergeants working any kind of investigative narcotics type cases at this point in time."

Do you think drug dealers will be flocking to Stockton after they hear that?

But the truth is that so many of these local governments around the nation are just flat broke at this point. 

Even major cities are having to admit that they have accumulated such large debts that they cannot even afford to provide the most basic services any longer.

In Oakland, California the battle over police layoffs has made national headlines over the past couple of weeks.  Oakland has laid off 80 police officers, and now the police chief says that there are some crimes that his department simply will not be able to…
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Irony: Our Huge Military Is What Made Us an Empire… But Our Huge Military is What Is Bankrupting Us, Thus DESTROYING Our Status as an Empire

Irony: Our Huge Military Is What Made Us an Empire … But Our Huge Military is What Is Bankrupting Us, Thus DESTROYING Our Status as an Empire

Courtesy of Washington’s Blog

As I’ve previously pointed out, America’s military-industrial complex is ruining our economy.

And U.S. military and intelligence leaders say that the economic crisis is the biggest national security threat to the United States. See this, this and this.

As RT points out, it is ironic that America’s huge military spending is what made us an empire … but our huge military is what is bankrupting us … thus destroying our status as an empire:

No wonder people from opposite ends of the political spectrum like Barney Frank and Ron Paul are calling for a reduction in military spending.


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CONGRESSMAN BRADY ASKS GEITHNER TO STEP DOWN

CONGRESSMAN BRADY ASKS GEITHNER TO STEP DOWN

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

This relatively boring hearing suddenly turned exciting when Congressman Kevin Brady asked Tim Geithner to step down.   The economic team that President Obama put in place (primarily Geithner and Summers) has been largely responsible for the current predicament.  This is not to imply that the Republicans and President Bush did not play an equal (or greater) role in the economic crisis, but it’s truly astonishing that the people who helped cause this crisis are the same ones who are attempting to steer us out of it:

 


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THE 7 MOST IMPORTANT QUESTIONS TODAY….

THE 7 MOST IMPORTANT QUESTIONS TODAY….

questionsCourtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

A recent piece of research from JP Morgan touches on some frequently asked questions by investors.  I’ve provided their responses along with my own:

1) Is the crisis over?

The financial crisis is largely over. The economic crisis, only half so. The recession is over but the recovery has just started. Even the above-trend growth pace that we project for this recovery will require years to get us back to trend levels of activity. This means high unemployment and disinflationary pressures over the next two years.

TPC Response:

I have to agree with JP Morgan here.  The crisis and the days of 700 point Dow drops are long gone.  But the recovery is going to feel a lot like a recession.  In other words, jobs are going to be slow to come back, the consumer is going to be sluggish while stocks and the housing market are likely to be range bound for years.  What JP Morgan doesn’t mention is that most of our long-term structural problems still exist.  Wall Street is back to their old tricks while the consumer struggles under a mountain of debt, job losses and stagnant wages.  The Fed is trying their best to keep the boom/bust market alive and well.  More likely than not, they are simply inflating the economy in preparation for the next bust.  Two years is likely a generous timeframe for the end of our secular problems.

2) Is the recovery sustainable?

Yes, odds are it is given unprecedented and synchronized global policy stimulus, low funding costs, a repaired financial system, and the massive need for inventory rebuilding into next year.  What are the main risk factors we should monitor? For the recovery in the world economy and in risky assets to be sustained, the private sector will need to take the baton from the public sector. Corporates are in the driver’s seat here. We need to see them move from a precautionary into an expansionary mode. That means capital spending, jobs, and income creation. Watch these.

TPC Response:

This is very much in doubt.  Thus far, the recovery has been largely driven by government stimulus.  Even with the massive stimulus the economy remains very weak considering the duration of the recession.  Without an extension of the home buyers tax…
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SP Futures Hourly Chart

SP Futures Hourly Chart at 2:30 PM EDT

Courtesy of Jesse’s Café Américain

A potential Head and Shoulders top has formed. It will be a valid formation but the objective will not be activated until and unless the neckline is broken.

Volumes remain light, with lots of technical gamesmanship that contributes to quite a bit of volatility in the short term, aka a ‘daytrader’s market.’

There is quite a bit of ‘tension’ in the market ahead of the GDP report tomorrow. The consensus is for growth of 1.5%. We are still a couple of weeks short of the timeframe we have projected for a top and the beginning of a leg down in markets, but some data or exogenous surprise could accelerate this.

There is a de facto partnership between the government and the banks with regard to the financial system and the economy which is spilling over to the equity markets. This is a similar arrangement that brought us the housing bubble and the credit crisis after the tech bubble and crash of 2001, which itself was a reaction to the Asian and Russian currency crisis of the late 1990′s.

The financial engineers will likely not abandon their efforts until they either succeed, or finally shake the real economy apart and destroy the US financial system and currency. How they define ‘success’ is likely to be stability at the price of freedom, a classic oligarchy with ‘enlightened despots.’ Their financial engineering will require ever greater control over policy and priorities to maintain its artificial equilibrium.

The banks must be restrained, the financial system reformed, and the economy brought back into balance before there can be a sustained recovery.


 

 

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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!

 
 

Zero Hedge

Meanwhile In Hong Kong "Tonight Is Going To Get Messy"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

While overnight the massive student protest crowd swelled to as much as 200,000 according to eyewitnesses as today's deadline for their demands that HK Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying resign arrives, the gathering was surprisingly peaceful. That may change at any moment.

BREAKING: Hong Kong police warn of serious consequences if protesters charge government buildings

— The Associated Press (@AP) October 2, 2014

As ...



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Phil's Favorites

Federal Judge Smacks CalPERS on Sanctity of Pensions; CalPERS Liens Null and Void

Courtesy of Mish.

Exceptionally good news from California today: A federal judge ruled CALpers claim of "Sanctity of Pensions" is invalid. Today's ruling went even further than the bankrupt city of Stockton originally sought in court.

For details, please consider the New York Times article In Ruling on California Town’s Bankruptcy, Judge Challenges Sanctity of Pensions. A federal bankruptcy judge on Wednesday upended the widely held belief that public workers’ pensions have a special status in California that makes them impossible to cut, further chipping away at the idea that pensions are sacrosanct in a municipal bankruptcy.

The ruling, which came du...



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Chart School

S&P 500 Snapshot: October Opens with a Selloff

Courtesy of Doug Short.

When it comes to monthly market volatility in the S&P 500, October tops the list, ranging from its 16.3% surge in 1974 to its 21.8% plunge in 1987. How will October 2014 stack up on the volatility scale? Time will tell. But the month certainly opened on a weak note, dropping 1.32%, the sixth largest one-day decline so far this year. The index closed a bit off its -1.52% intraday low at the start of the final hour of trading. The intraday range was at the 96th percentile of the 189 market days of 2014.

The selloff in equities was matched by a rally in Treasuries. The yield on the 10-year Note closed at 2.42%, down 10 bps from yesterday's close.

Here is a 15-minute chart of the past five sessions

As we see on the daily chart, today's selling came on increased volume.

...

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Digital Currencies

The Mexican Libertad: The Currency Solution?

Better than a Bitcoin? The Mexican Libertad is a real coin made out of silver or gold whose value is based on the price of silver or gold. It's tangible, like our coins and paper money, but the value is pegged to its weight in previous metal. 

The Mexican Libertad: The Currency Solution?

By Jeff Thomas of The International Man

The Libertad is a Mexican coin that was first issued in 1981 in .999 fine gold and then in silver in 1982. Beginning in 1991, the Libertades became the only coins in the world that were issued in the convenient sizes of 1/20, 1/10, 1/4, 1/2, and 1 ounce—again, in both gold and silver. This made them very practical if they were to be used as currency.

But of course, gold and silver coin...



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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: David 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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Insider Scoop

Mixed Economic Data, Ebola Scares Rattle Markets

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related ALL The Allstate Corporation Is Now Historically Overbought And Nearing Resistance: Time For A Pullback? Marchex, Inc. Loses Third-Largest Customer, Cuts FY14 Outlook

U.S. stocks declined sharply as investors digest reports of a confirmed case of Ebola in the United States. In addition, economic data relea...



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Option Review

VIX Call Spreads Trade

The CBOE Vix Index topped 17.0 and the highest level since early-August on Monday morning amid declines in U.S. equities to start the trading week. The volatility index is off its earlier highs to trade 5.0% higher on the session at 15.65 as of 11:30 am ET. Options volume on the VIX is hovering near 360,000 contracts, or just more than 50% of the average daily reading of around 660,000 contracts. Calls are far more active than put options, as evidenced by the call/put ratio up above 4.2 in morning trading, perhaps as some traders position for volatility to stick around.

Large call spreads traded on the VIX today caught our attention as one big optio...



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Sabrient

Sector Detector: Stocks fight off predictable weakness, but expect more downside

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Yes, the market showed significant weakness last week for the first time in quite a while. In fact, the Dow Jones Industrial Average moved triple digits each day. But it was all quite predictable, as I suggested in last week's article, and certainly nothing to worry about. Now the market appears to be poised for a modest technical rebound, and longer term, U.S. equities should be in good shape for a year-end rally. However, I still believe more downside is in order before any new highs are challenged. Moreover, market breadth is important for a sustained bull run, so the challenge for investors will be to put together broader bullish conviction, including the 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, re...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 29th, 2014

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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Market Shadows

Ebola vs. Us

Ebola vs. Us

By Ilene 

Ebola is spreading too quickly for Ebola-vaccine makers to conduct typical studies of safety and efficacy on experimental vaccines. Instead, vaccines will be tested for basic safety, but then deployed with protocols devised now in order to test for efficacy essentially on the field. Testing has to be expedited because the situation in West Africa gets worse every day while there are no approved vaccines or other treatments.

The chart below is from a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine showing estimates of the virus's trajectory projecting out to November 1, 2014. If current trends continue...



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Stock World Weekly

Stock World Weekly

Newsletter writers are available to chat with Members regarding topics presented in SWW, comments are found below each post.

The latest issue of Stock World Weekly is now available. Please sign in with your PSW user name and password. Or simply take a free trial to try out our weekly newsletter. 

...

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Promotions

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Pharmboy

Biotechs & Bubbles

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

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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