Archive for July, 2015

Highway Trust Fund: The latest government trust fund to go bankrupt

By Sovereign Man. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Highway Trust Fund: The latest government trust fund to go bankrupt

July 31, 2015
Lausanne, Switzerland

On June 6, 1932, President Herbert Hoover imposed the first ever national gasoline tax in the United States, initially set at 1 cent per gallon.

It was a major success for the federal government; the tax on gasoline alone was responsible for over 15% of their 1933 tax revenue.

What’s curious is that the Senate Finance Committee issued a report the following year stating that the federal gasoline tax should be repealed. But that never happened.

Instead it went up.

Under President Eisenhower, the tax increased to 3 cents per gallon. Under Reagan, 9 cents.

It’s risen steadily through the years to a level of 18.4 cents for every gallon of unleaded fuel, and 24.4 cents per gallon of diesel.

All of this tax revenue is –supposed– to go to the Federal Highway Trust Fund, something established back in the 1950s to finance the care and maintenance of the nation’s highways.

And now it, too, is insolvent.

Earlier this week I told you about Social Security’s Disability Insurance Trust Fund (DI), which will become insolvent in a matter of months.

The DI problem (just like the rest of Social Security) has been a long time coming.

But rather than form some meaningful solution, Congress has instead opted to commit financial fraud by commingling DI monies together with the other Social Security funds.

Now comes the Highway Trust Fund.

The difference between DI and the Highway Trust fund is that this one won’t be insolvent in a matter of years or months. Their own data shows that it may very well be toast… today.

Once again- Congress to the rescue.

Having waited until almost quite literally the last minute, their solution is to… wait for it… kick the can down the road.

Congress has now passed a 90-day stay of execution for the Highway Trust Fund, which only delays the inevitable.

Over the next three months they’ll sit down to the task of figuring out who to steal from.

They’re either going to raise taxes on you.

Or they’ll raise taxes on someone else, the costs of which will ultimately be passed on to you.

Or they’ll simply default on their obligations to the residents


continue reading





Kazakhstan: Central Bank Steps In To Prop Up Cash-Strapped Oil Giant

By EurasiaNet. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Kazakhstan: Central Bank Steps In To Prop Up Cash-Strapped Oil Giant by EurasiaNet

Stubbornly low oil prices and delays on a mammoth offshore project have prompted Kazakhstan’s national wealth fund to sell a 10 percent stake in the state energy company to the National Bank, the country’s top fiscal institution.

The sale – ordered by government decree on July 29 – amounts to the state selling itself shares for $4 billion in cash and is sparking questions about how well Kazakhstan is coping with a slowdown in economic growth.

“The share acquisition is a highly unorthodox move for a central bank, although the National Bank does already control the state pension fund,” Alex Nice, a Kazakhstan analyst at the London-based Economist Intelligence Unit, told EurasiaNet.org. “The National Bank’s primary role is to set monetary policy and maintain financial stability.”

The transaction is ostensibly intended to help energy company KazMunayGaz (KMG) reduce its $20 billion debt portfolio, which has been exacerbated by low oil prices. The global oil benchmark stood at around $53 per barrel on July 31.

On top of that, KMG is experiencing protracted delays at the super-giant Kashagan oilfield. The project has long been touted as a driver of prosperity, but the field is now not expected to come on line until 2017. “KMG is planning to buy back some of its historical debt issuance, hence it needs cash,” Anuar Ushbayev, managing partner at Kazakhstan’s Tengri Partners investment firm, told EurasiaNet.org.

The sale will also generate funds for a separate $4.7 billion bailout deal announced in early July. That agreement will see KMG selling half of its 16.8 percent stake in Kashagan to Kazakhstan’s Samruk-Kazyna sovereign wealth fund. Samruk-Kazyna is KMG’s own parent company. KMG will use $2.2 billion from that deal to reduce its loan portfolio.

“To allow KMG to do this, Samruk-Kazyna is planning to acquire a part of KMG’s stake in the Kashagan project,” Ushbayev explained. “Now, the sale of 10 percent of KMG by Samruk-Kazyna to the National Bank is aimed precisely at raising the necessary cash to finance the [bailout].”

Ultimately, the National Bank is stumping up financing for the deal, as the Almaty-based Halyk Finance investment bank pointed out. “Samruk-Kazyna will finance the purchase of the stake in Kashagan from the funds to be


continue reading





Paying In A Broken World

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Tom Chatham via Project Chesapeake,

It is a common reaction to ask, how much is that, when we see something we want or need. The question is answered with some monetary figure that people will recognize and use to determine if they can afford it. But what happens when the monetary system we know becomes so dysfunctional that common monetary values mean little.

This could happen due to massive inflation, currency collapse or a frozen banking system that prevents you from accessing your funds. If you have no way to pay for something, it does not matter how much or little it costs. It will be out of your reach unless you have some means to pay.

Some people keep cash on hand for just such a problem. They know they will be able to pay cash when everything else stops working. That will work for a time but eventually paper currency will be looked on as a diminishing asset as physical goods become more valuable to those that need them. Paper currency is not much different than a check you write on your account. If the account is empty your check is no good.

The same can be said for those entities that issue paper money. If they are bankrupt or shut down, the value of their printed certificates will be worth the same as the bad check. Nobody will want to accept it after they realize it may not be honored for the value it supposedly holds. While a local store may accept it out of habit, eventually businesses will figure out the truth.

In times like this alternative forms of money may become more viable to local individuals such as gold and silver. But, that may take some time and most people will not own any of these precious metals for trade. Some may resort to direct barter with some of the things they have amassed over the years to get the necessities they need and under these circumstances values will be variable and disconnected from reality at times.

Some people have stored barter items for this eventuality rather than precious metals and there is nothing wrong with that if it gives them the feeling of safety they desire. One of the reasons they desire goods instead of metals is…
continue reading





XOM

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by williambanzai7.

XOM





The World Map Of Hubris & Humiliation

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

The journey from hubris to humiliation in EM has taken roughly 5 years. As BofAML notes, despite muted asset returns, 2015 has seen the emergence of two big trends: the risk of a bubble in US health care & technology; and the crash in EM/Resources/Commodities. The two trends are best exemplified by the "Map of Hubris & Humiliation" which shows among other things that the market cap of MSCI Russia is currently equivalent to Intel’s, while the market cap of Netflix equals that of MSCI Chile.

Back in late 2010, when Sepp Blatter announced that Russia & Qatar would follow Brazil as hosts of the FIFA World Cup, both China & India were on course for >10% GDP growth, EM spreads were significantly lower, and the market cap of EM ($3.7 trillion on December 1st 2010) was twice the market cap of US banks, and exceeded the combined market cap of US tech & health care.

Today, the market cap of EM equities is the same, while the combined market cap of US tech, health care and banks is over $10 trillion.

Source: BofAML





Ron Paul: “All Wars Are Paid For Through Debasing The Currency”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Mac Slavo via SHTFPlan.com,

currency-collapse1

And at some point, all empires crumble on their own excess, stretched to the breaking point by over-extending a military industrial complex with sophisticated equipment, hundreds of bases in as many countries, and never-ending wars that wrack up mind boggling levels of debt. This cost has been magnified by the relationship it shares with the money system, who have common owners and shareholders behind the scenes.

As the hidden costs of war and the enormity of the black budget swell to record levels, the true total of its price comes in the form of the distortion it has caused in other dimensions of life; the numbers have been so thoroughly fudged for so long now, as Wall Street banks offset laundering activities and indulge in derivatives and quasi-official market rigging, the Federal Reserve policy holds the noble lie together.

Ron Paul told RT:

Seen from the proper angle, the dollar is revealed to be a paper thin instrument of warfare, a ripple effect on the people, a twisted illusion, a weaponized money now engaged in a covert economic warfare that threatens their very livelihood.

The former Congressman and presidential candidate explained:

Almost all wars have been paid for through inflation… the practice always ends badly as currency becomes debased leading to upward pressure on prices.

“Almost all wars, in a hundred years or so, have been paid for through inflation, that is debasing the currency,” he said, adding that this has been going on “for hundreds, if not thousands of years.”

“I don’t know if we ever had a war paid though tax payers. The only thing where they must have been literally paid for, was when they depended on the looting. They would go in and take over a country, and they would loot and take their gold, and they would pay for the war.”

As inflation has debased the currency, other shady Wall Street tactics have driven Americans into a corner, overwhelmed with debt, and gamed by rigged markets in which Americans must make a living. The economic prosperity, adjusted for the kind of reality that doesn’t factor into government reports, can’t match the costs of a military industrial complex that has transformed society


continue reading





Goldman Warns “The Global Economy Is Going Round In (Smaller & Smaller) Circles”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Amid the collapse in commodities, crashing Chinese stocks, the weakest US wage growth in US history, and a data-dependent Fed; Goldman Sachs fears the new normal is 'shorter-and-faster' business cycles with no persistence primed by monetary policies. Most wprryingly, they conclude, will short business cycles beget shorter business cycles?

As Goldman notes,

Cycles: Shorter and faster

Another factor keeping capex weak is poor visibility on global growth.

The rate of change in our economists’ Global Leading Indicator, which tracks ten early indicators of global activity, suggests that cycles are becoming shorter over the last few years, i.e. neither positive nor negative data points persist for too long.

This uncertainty provides a reason for companies to delay long-term capex and instead opt for as-a-service alternatives that provide greater flexibility. But, extending this argument on outsourcing capital intensity to its extreme would also imply shorter capex cycles for the users. If the advent of ERP software led to more efficient supply chains and shorter inventory cycles, we wonder if the rise in tech-driven services business models could do the same for capital investment cycles.

In other words, will short business cycles beget shorter business cycles?





Rude awakening for those who ignored the energy markets’ warning signs

 

Rude awakening for those who ignored the energy markets' warning signs

Courtesy of Sober Look

Back in February (see post) numerous equity investors refused to believe that a crude oil recovery is likely to be unsustainable. Many viewed this as a buying opportunity – just as they did in 2011 when such "bottom fishing" strategy worked. "Look at the declines in oil rigs" many argued – US crude production is about to dive. Even some in the energy business were convinced that crude oil recovery is coming and we will be back at $70/bbl in no time. It was wishful thinking.

There is no question that North American production of crude oil is stalling. However for now it remains massively elevated relative to last year.
 

Source: EIA


More importantly, many fail to understand just how flexible US crude production has become – the time to bring capacity on/off-line has shrunk dramatically. Furthermore, a great deal of production in the US is now profitable at $60/bbl and even lower as rig efficiency rises. Many view this as unsustainable because new exploration is halted and existing wells are being reused. But there is enough staying power here to continue flooding the markets for some time to come.
 

Source: EIA


The ability to bring capacity back online quickly is the reason we saw US rig count unexpectedly increased last week. This creates a natural near-term cap on crude prices, above which production can rise quickly.
 

Source: Baker Hughes


To add to the market's woes, the Iran deal threatens to bring materially more crude into the market in 2016, while immediately releasing a great deal of stored crude the nation currently holds.
 

Source: WSJ


Moreover, the Saudis are ramping production to record levels, as the OPEC members are…
continue reading





The IMF Experts Flunk, Again

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Steve Hanke via The Cato Institute,

My Globe Asia column in May was titled “Greece: Down and Probably Out.” Well, it’s out. Yes, Greece descended from drama to farce rapidly.

If all goes according to plan, the left-wing Greek government will come to an agreement with the so-called troika — the European Commission (EC), the European Central Bank (ECB), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) — over the details of a third bailout program by August 20th. This rescue package will probably be worth €86 billion (U.S. $94.5 billion). So, since 2010, Greece will have received three bailouts worth a whopping €430 billion (U.S. $472.2 billion). This amounts to a staggering €39,000 (U.S. $42,831) for every man, woman, and child in Greece.

Like past bailouts, the third one will fail to stop Greece’s economic death spiral. The experts from the EC, ECB, and particularly those from the IMF have been wrong about the prospects for the Greek economy since day one. The experts have failed to embrace a coherent theory of national income determination. Indeed, they have often engaged in ad hoc theorizing that has, at times, appeared to be convoluted and politically motivated. The result has been a series of wildly optimistic forecasts about the course of the Greek economy followed by wrongheaded policies.

What has been missing from the experts’ toolkit is the monetarist model of national income determination. The monetary approach posits that changes in the money supply, broadly determined, cause changes in nominal national income and the price level (as well as relative prices — like asset prices). Sure enough, the growth of broad money and nominal GDP are closely linked. The data in the following chart speak loudly to the linkage.

image

Greece’s monetary tune started to be played by the ECB in 2001, when Greece was allowed to adopt the euro on false pretenses. Yes, the experts at the Hellenic Statistical Authority had cooked the Greek books, and the experts at Eurostat knew the Greek data were phony. Still, Greece was allowed to enter the eurozone.

Following the Northern Rock fiasco and bank run in September 2007 and the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, the ECB allowed the supply of state money to grow. Then, in 2009, Jürgen Stark, the ECB chief economist, convinced…
continue reading





Key Sector Threatening Material Breakdown

 

Key Sector Threatening Material Breakdown

Courtesy of Dana Lyons

image

 

We take a break from the regularly scheduled poor breadth programming to bring you a chart of a sector…that just so happens to be one of the main contributors to the poor breadth phenomenon. After threatening for months last summer to break out above its all-time high set in 2008, the basic materials sector succumbed to the October weakness along with the rest of the market. However, unlike most of the market, the sector, as represented by the Dow Jones U.S. Basic Materials Index, never did make it back to its September highs as it was caught in the deflationary spiral in commodities at the time. It did begin the year in promising fashion, though. In February, we posted that the Equal-Weight Basic Materials ETF, RTM, actually hit an all-time high, as did the Materials SPDR, XLB, despite the commodities rout. That victory was short-lived, however, and there has been precious little to cheer about in the sector since.

Earlier this month, the DJ U.S. Basic Materials Index became the first sector to actually move to a 52-week low. This was a fairly extraordinary event considering the major averages were still near their 52-week highs. The fact that the sector accounts for only 3% of the S&P 500 helps explain that possibility. However, the sector’s collapse has certainly played a role in the severe weakening of the index’s internals. And currently, the sector finds itself teetering on a very key level of potential support.

We refer quite a bit to Fibonacci Retracement levels as they reflect the market’s tendency to “retrace” market moves in similar increments. We have also mentioned before that, in our view, the strongest Fibonacci signals come when there is a confluence of various such levels in the same vicinity. No chart illustrates this point better than the DJ U.S. Basic Materials Index.

 

image

 

Note how the 4 Fibonacci Retracements drawn from key lows in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013 to the 2014 highs, are aligned almost on top of one another. In fact, it makes


continue reading





 
 
 

Phil's Favorites

The dysfunctional debt ceiling and why we should kill it: 5 questions answered

 

The dysfunctional debt ceiling and why we should kill it: 5 questions answered

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin is taking ‘extraordinary measures’ to avoid busting the debt ceiling. AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Courtesy of Steven Pressman, Colorado State University

Editor’s note: The U.S. government maxed out its national credit card in March and has been moving money around ever since to avoid running out of cash. Very soon the Treasury Department ...



more from Ilene

Zero Hedge

This Is Where The Next Recession Will Start: An Epidemiological Study

By Nicholas Colas of DataTrek

(Published at ZeroHedge)

US recessions are like epidemics: they all begin somewhere, and the “tell” is state-level unemployment data. For example, the end of the 2000 dot com bubble hit Connecticut and Massachusetts first – two hubs for the financials services industry with lots of affluent investors to boot. The end of the 2000s housing boom predictably impacted Florida and Nevada before the rest of the country. This time around, the data shows the manufacturing-heavy states of Michigan, Ohio and Indiana are most at risk. No wonder “Dr. Fed” wants to inoculate the region with lower interest rates.

When medical professionals study epidemics, they look for the source of the ou...



more from Tyler

Digital Currencies

Cryptos Suddenly Panic-Bid, Bitcoin Back Above $10k

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Following further selling pressure overnight, someone (or more than one) has decided to buy-the-dip in cryptos this morning, sending Bitcoin (and most of the altcoins) soaring...

A sea of green...

Source: Coin360

Bitcoin surged back above $10,000...

Ethereum bounced off suppo...



more from Bitcoin

Kimble Charting Solutions

Silver ETF (SLV) Testing Dual Breakout Resistance

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Silver (NYSEARCA: SLV) has been in a bit of a slumber when compared to the price action for Gold (NYSEARCA: GLD).

Precious metals bulls hope that this about to change, as bullish action from Silver is necessary to confirm any bull market / move in metals.

Today’s chart takes a closer look at the Silver ETF (SLV) on a weekly basis. As you can see, Silver is up 5 percent this week alone.

This is good news for metals bulls. But this rally isn’t confirming a breakout just yet.

As you can see in the chart below, SLV has been trading between support (1) ...



more from Kimble C.S.

Insider Scoop

Analysts Weigh In On Netflix's Rocky Quarter

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) reported second-quarter results highlighted by an uncharacteristic decline in U.S. subscribers while international subscriber adds missed expectations. Here is a summary of how some of the Street's top analysts reacted to the print.

The Analysts

Mor...



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

Biotech

DNA testing companies offer telomere testing - but what does it tell you about aging and disease risk?

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

 

DNA testing companies offer telomere testing – but what does it tell you about aging and disease risk?

A telomere age test kit from Telomere Diagnostics Inc. and saliva. collection kit from 23andMe. Anna Hoychuk/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Patricia Opresko, University of Pittsburgh and Elise Fouquerel, ...



more from Biotech

ValueWalk

Professor Shubha Ghosh On The Current State Of Gene Editing

 

Professor Shubha Ghosh On The Current State Of Gene Editing

Courtesy of Jacob Wolinsky, ValueWalk

ValueWalk’s Q&A session with Professor Shubha Ghosh, a professor of law and the director of the Syracuse Intellectual Property Law Institute. In this interview, Professor Ghosh discusses his background, the Human Genome Project, the current state of gene editing, 3D printing for organ operations, and gene editing regulation.

...

more from ValueWalk

Chart School

Gold Gann Angle Update

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

Charts show us the golden brick road to high prices.

GLD Gann Angle has been working since 2016. Higher prices are expected. Who would say anything different, and why and how?

Click for popup. Clear your browser cache if image is not showing.



The GLD very wide channel shows us the way.
- Conservative: Tag the 10 year rally starting in 2001 to 2019 and it forecasts $750 GLD (or $7500 USD Gold Futures) in 10 years.
- Aggressive: Tag the 5 year rally starting in 1976 to 2019  and it forecasts $750 GLD (or $7500 USD Gold Futures) in 5 years.

Click for popup. Clear your browser cache if ima...



more from Chart School

Members' Corner

Despacito - How to Make Money the Old-Fashioned Way - SLOWLY!

Are you ready to retire?  

For most people, the purpose of investing is to build up enough wealth to allow you to retire.  In general, that's usually enough money to reliably generate a year's worth of your average income, each year into your retirement so that that, plus you Social Security, should be enough to pay your bills without having to draw down on your principle.

Unfortunately, as the last decade has shown us, we can't count on bonds to pay us more than 3% and the average return from the stock market over the past 20 years has been erratic - to say the least - with 4 negative years (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008) and 14 positives, though mostly in the 10% range on the positives.  A string of losses like we had from 2000-02 could easily wipe out a decades worth of gains.

Still, the stock market has been better over the last 10 (7%) an...



more from Our Members

Mapping The Market

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

A good start from :

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

Excerpt:

The threat to America is this: we have abandoned our core philosophy. Our first principle of this nation as a meritocracy, a free-market economy, where competition drives economic decision-making. In its place, we have allowed a malignancy to fester, a virulent pus-filled bastardized form of economics so corrosive in nature, so dangerously pestilent, that it presents an extinction-level threat to America – both the actual nation and the “idea” of America.

This all-encompassing mutant corruption saps men’s souls, crushes opportunities, and destroys economic mobility. Its a Smash & Grab system of ill-gotten re...



more from M.T.M.

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 ...



more from OpTrader

Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

·       How 2017 Will Affect Oil, the US Dollar and the European Union

...

more from Promotions





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...

Learn more About Phil >>


As Seen On:




About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

Market Shadows >>