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Posts Tagged ‘government services’

TLP: Sometimes, the Lowest Bidder is Low For a Reason

TLP: Sometimes, the Lowest Bidder is Low For a Reason

Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant 

private prisons

Privatization of government services has it place. Trash pickup? Sure. IT? Makes sense. State prisons? Eh, maybe not so much.

FORTUNE:

Early this month, three convicted murderers escaped from a prison in Kingman, a small town along Route 66 in northwest Arizona. According to reports, the inmates had broken free from the facility by using a pair of wire cutters. They’d escaped from a medium-security facility operated by Utah-based Management & Training Corp, a private corrections company.

The incident set off a political furor, not over the fact that the three violent criminals were being held in a medium-security prison, but over the security of the facility itself, and, ultimately, over Arizona’s widespread use of private correctional facilities.

Arizona’s attorney general, Terry Goddard, a Democrat running for governor against incumbent Republican Janice Brewer, took the opportunity to indict the state’s infatuation with privatization.

"I believe a big part of our problem is that the very violent inmates, like the three that escaped, ended up getting reclassified [as a lower risk] quickly and sent to private prisons that were just not up to the job," Goddard told a local TV news station.

In recent years, the trend toward privatization, both among state governments and at the federal level has been part of an attempt to address serious budget troubles and crisis-level prison overcrowding by outsourcing more and more corrections operations to private companies.

The move has translated into big business for industry leaders like Corrections Corporation of America (CXW), The Geo Group (GEO) and Cornell Companies, Inc. (CRN) (just last week, The Geo Group and Cornell finalized a merger valued at $730 million).

According to research firm IBISWorld USA, private corrections is a $22.7 billion industry with an annual growth rate in the last half-decade of 4.7%. While growth slowed from 2009 to 2010, projections for the industry remain largely optimistic.

"The prison population continues to grow regardless of what the economic conditions are," says George Van Horn, senior analyst at IBISWorld.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the number of federal inmates housed in private facilities jumped nearly 14% between 2000 and 2007, and nearly 6% between 2007 and 2008.

Of course, there are ways government can deal with this problem. Make an…
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Emergency Press Conference on Newark Budget Gap; Massive Service Cuts; No Toilet Paper for City Offices; Newark is Bankrupt

Emergency Press Conference on Newark Budget Gap; Massive Service Cuts; No Toilet Paper for City Offices; Newark is Bankrupt

Courtesy of Mish

Newark Mayor Cory Booker and the city council are fighting over ways to balance a $70 million budget hole. Literally everything is under discussion except the one thing that needs to be done: declare bankruptcy.

Please play this video. It is pretty enlightening.

CNN Money reports Newark mayor: No toilet paper for city offices

In a desperate attempt to fill a $70 million budget hole, Newark’s mayor is taking a chainsaw to the town’s budget — even going so far as to cut toilet paper from the 2010 budget.

"Every single contract that does not go to the core function of our city in providing safe streets, providing fire protection, or other things to keep our city afloat will now be cut," Booker said during an emergency press conference Wednesday.

The reductions include not buying toilet paper for city offices, cutting the work week to four days for non-uniformed city workers, which is equivalent to a 20% pay cut, scrapping city holiday decorations, and closing city pools. These extreme measures, most of which will take effect beginning in August, are expected to save the city between $10 million and $15 million.

The city came to this impasse after the city council deferred a vote to create a Municipal Utilities Authority, a key component of Booker’s method of balancing the budget. Because Newark could issue bonds on the Authority, it would have cash inflow to cover the immediate deficit. Without that infusion, the mayor said they can’t make ends meet.

Municipal Utilities Authority Idea is Sheer Madness

I applaud the decision by the council to reject Mayor Booker’s Municipal Utilities Authority.

It is time for cities and states to address issues now, not raise taxes and not float more bonds that cannot and will not be paid back unless sugar daddy Congress steps in with taxpayer sponsored guarantees.

The Blame Game

As you might expect, finger-pointing is now running rampant. Please consider Newark council slams Mayor Booker for ‘savage’ proposed budget cuts.

Donald Payne Jr., Newark’s council president, and four of his colleagues today put up a united front to counter Mayor Cory Booker’s roll out of "savage" budget cuts, accusing him of political gamesmanship for trying to thrust responsibility on the


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Option Review

Short Term Bearish Options Trade On Las Vegas Sands

A roughly quarter of a million dollar play in the 17Apr’14 expiry $74 strike put options on Las Vegas Sands Corp (Ticker: LVS) caught our eye this morning, as just one full trading session remains in the life of these contracts in this holiday-shortened week. Shares in LVS are up more than 2.0% on the session at $74.90 just before 11:30 am ET and off an earlier session high of $75.44. Like many of the relative outperformers of 2014, shares in LVS have declined substantially since the beginning of March, down around 15% at its current level from a high of $88.28. Recent sessions have been volatile in this and other high-beta names, and perhaps this environment is just what the morning’s put trader is looking for ahead of expiration.

...

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Phil's Favorites

Has inflation in the US bottomed out?

Has inflation in the US bottomed out?

Courtesy of SoberLook.com

Some analysts are beginning to suggest that inflation in the Unites States may have bottomed. As discussed earlier this years (see post), US inflation indicators were pointing to the lowest rate since 2009. Are the global disinflationary pressures going to push the rate of price increases in the US to new lows or have we hit the bottom?

First of all, what is the market telling us? Market expectations of future inflation remain subdued, with the so-called breakeven (implied from TIPS) rates still near the 3-year low.

...

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Zero Hedge

About That "Strong" March Retail Sales "Bounce": Good Thing Summer's Coming!

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by David Stockman via Contra Corner blog,

What would we do without the Wall Street Journal? Do people actually pay for this lame-brained noise?

Retail Sales Surge as Consumers Rev Up Growth Indicator Posts Best Monthly Growth Since September 2012

In fact, we are now entering the fifth season of head-fakes about “escape velocity” acceleration in as many years. Yet the Wall Street stock peddlers and their financial media echo boxes are so fixated on the latest “delta”—that is,&nbs...



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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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Chart School

The Big Four Economic Indicators: Real Retail Sales and Industrial Production

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Note from dshort: This commentary has been revised to include March Real Retail Sales (adjusted with yesterday's CPI report) and today's release of March Industrial Production.

Official recession calls are the responsibility of the NBER Business Cycle Dating Committee, which is understandably vague about the specific indicators on which they base their decisions. This committee statement is about as close as they get to identifying their method.

There is, however, a general belief that there are four big indicators that the committee weighs heavily in their cycle identification process. They are:

  • Industrial Production
  • Real Personal Income (excluding transfer payments)
  • Nonfarm E...


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Sabrient

What the Market Wants: Positive News and Stocks at Bargain Prices

Courtesy of David Brown, Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Last week’s market performance was nasty again, especially for the Small-cap Growth style/cap, down 4%.  Large-caps faired the best, losing only 2.7%.  That’s ugly and today’s market seemed likely to be uglier today with escalating tensions over the weekend in Ukraine. 

But once again, positive economic trumped the beating of the war drums. Retail Sales jumped up 1.1% over a projected 0.8% and last month’s tepid 0.3%, which was revised up to 0.7%.  While autos led, sales were up solidly overall.  Business inventories were about as expected with a positive tone.  Citigroup (C) handily beat estimates to add to the morning’s surprises.  As a result, the market was positive through most of the day, led by the DJI, up 0.91%, and the S&P 500, up 0.82%.  NASDAQ had a less...



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Digital Currencies

Facebook Takes Life Seriously and Moves To Create Its Own Virtual Currency, Increases UltraCoin Valuation Significantly

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Reggie Middleton.

The Financial Times reports:

[Facebook] The social network is only weeks away from obtaining regulatory approval in Ireland for a service that would allow its users to store money on Facebook and use it to pay and exchange money with others, according to several people involved in the process. 

The authorisation from Ireland’s central bank to become an “e-money” institution would allow ...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of April 14th 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

Winning: Defined as Losing Less

By Paul Price of Market Shadows

Market Shadows Excelled – With a 1.36% Weekly Decline

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is King. Our Virtual Value Porfolio took on that role this week as we lost a modest 1.36% of our value while the DJIA, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite dropped from 2.35% - 3.10%.

We remain bullish despite the shaky end of week sentiment. Our original $100,000 now totals $145,058 including our 2.8% cash reserve.

 ...



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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.

Here is the new Stock World Weekly. Please sign in with your user name and password, or sign up for a free trial to Stock World Weekly. Click here. 

Chart by Paul Price.

...

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Promotions

See Live Demo Of This Google-Like Trade Algorithm

I just wanted to be sure you saw this.  There’s a ‘live’ training webinar this Thursday, March 27th at Noon or 9:00 pm ET.

If GOOGLE, the NSA, and Steve Jobs all got together in a room with the task of building a tremendously accurate trading algorithm… it wouldn’t just be any ordinary system… it’d be the greatest trading algorithm in the world.

Well, I hate to break it to you though… they never got around to building it, but my friends at Market Tamer did.

Follow this link to register for their training webinar where they’ll demonstrate the tested and proven Algorithm powered by the same technological principles that have made GOOGLE the #1 search engine on the planet!

And get this…had you done nothing b...



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Pharmboy

Here We Go Again - Pharma & Biotechs 2014

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

Ladies and Gentlemen, hobos and tramps,
Cross-eyed mosquitoes, and Bow-legged ants,
I come before you, To stand behind you,
To tell you something, I know nothing about.

And so the circus begins in Union Square, San Francisco for this weeks JP Morgan Healthcare Conference.  Will the momentum from 2013, which carried the S&P Spider Biotech ETF to all time highs, carry on in 2014?  The Biotech ETF beat the S&P by better than 3 points.

As I noted in my previous post, Biotechs Galore - IPOs and More, biotechs were rushing to IPOs so that venture capitalists could unwind their holdings (funds are usually 5-7 years), as well as take advantage of the opportune moment...



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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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