Archive for 2015

Donald Trump Versus Bernie Sanders?? The Political Bubble Is Bursting

Courtesy of John Rubino

Now it’s not just Europe where formerly-fringe candidates are suddenly vying for power. The US presidential primaries, which were supposed to be coronations for the latest Bush/Clinton snoozfest, have turned interesting and in some cases surreal, as Donald Trump, who a few short months ago was viewed as a kind of circus clown by most Republicans, and Bernie Sanders, an honest, straight-shooting avowed socialist, are drawing the biggest crowds and creating the most excitement.

But far from being a surprise, this is exactly the kind of thing an over-indebted and therefore ungovernable society should expect. From Chapter 14 of The Money Bubble: What To Do Before It Pops (January 2014):

THE POLITICAL BUBBLE BURSTS
Just based on the numbers, the global financial system should have collapsed long ago. That it hasn’t has less to do with economics than with politics. The people in charge have arranged things so that they can keep borrowing, spending and printing into the indefinite future – as long as they can agree on “compromises” that give each faction most of what it wants. That’s how US military spending can soar (thus keeping the right happy) while entitlement programs can simultaneously spread to every corner of American life (keeping the left happy). As long as the resulting deficits can be financed and the bond, currency and precious metals markets tamed with repeated government interventions and newly-printed currency, then the game can continue.

But if this log-rolling political consensus breaks down, all bets are off. And there are signs that this is indeed beginning to happen. An entire book could be written about the political turmoil that was roiling the world of 2013, but since we have just a few pages, we’ll present the juiciest European example and then focus on the US, which is emblematic of what’s happening everywhere.

In October 2013 Marine Le Pen’s eurosceptic National Front party won a local French election and for the first time ever took the lead in a national poll. As she famously told London’s Daily Telegraph before the election, the European Union “is just a great bluff. On one side there is the immense power of sovereign peoples, and on the other side are a few technocrats.”

Generally


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Greek Snap Election Confusion; Tsipras’ Questionable Gamble; Unwieldy Coalition Coming Up?

Courtesy of Mish.

Questionable Gamble

In the wake of reneging on major election promises, Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras resigned and called for snap elections. He did so out of fear of losing a vote of confidence that would have forced the same result down the road.

In addition, Tsipras wanted the vote out of the way before further rounds of pension cuts and tax hikes took their toll on the economy.

His gamble now appears questionable.

Please consider Alexis Tsipras Rallies Supporters as Syriza Takes Knock in Polls.

Alexis Tsipras tried to rally Syriza party members behind him at the weekend in advance of a snap election, as opinion polls reflected deepening disappointment among voters with his government’s record.

His message to the weekend meeting was undermined by infighting among senior party officials, reflecting Syriza’s disarray in the wake of mass defections last week to Popular Unity, a new radical party led by the former energy minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, according to people who were present at the event on Saturday.

In another blow to the Syriza leader’s authority, a usually loyal party faction known as the “Group of 53”, which includes several former cabinet ministers, circulated a document at the meeting sharply criticising the premier’s decision last month to make a policy “somersault” and agree to a third rescue package totalling €86bn after months of tense negotiations.

“We need to come up with a persuasive alternative plan . . . that will lead us out of the memorandum [bailout agreement],” the document said.

More than 50 members of Syriza’s central committee and 27 of its MPs, including a former deputy finance minister, have switched to Popular Unity, which is campaigning on a defiant platform that calls for a voluntary exit from the eurozone and the re-adoption of the drachma.

“Re-adopting the drachma is not a catastrophe. . . There are plenty of European countries doing well that are not members of the eurozone,” Mr Lafazanis said at the weekend.

However, Syriza is still expected to win the election by a narrow margin, according to six opinion polls published over the weekend….



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It Gets Even Uglier In Canada

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by testosteronepit.

Wolf Richter   www.wolfstreet.com   www.amazon.com/author/wolfrichter

The Province of Alberta, the epicenter of the Canadian oil bust, may be sliding into something much worse than a plain-vanilla recession. And it’s not exactly perking up the rest of Canada.

Layoffs are already cascading through the oil patch, as companies are retrenching and adjusting to the new reality. New vehicle sales are plummeting. And home sales are taking a broadside.

In August so far, total home sales in Calgary plunged 28% from a year ago, on flat prices. Condo sales collapsed 39%, with the median price down 8%, according to the Calgary Real Estate Board. Year-to-date, total home sales in Calgary are down 25%; condo sales 30%. And those condos that did sell spent 30% longer on the market than condos did a year ago, as sellers hang on by their fingernails to the illusion of wealth, and sales are stalling.

And the Business Barometer Index for all of Canada, which measures the optimism among small businesses, dropped again in August for the third month in a row. An index level between 65 and 70 indicates that the economy is growing at its potential. But now it hit 56.7, the lowest level since April 2009.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business, which produces the index, blamed the commodity bust but added additional sectors, particularly those that are considered absolutely crucial for the hopefully coming economic recovery in the second half: construction, transportation, and retail.

The index dropped in 7 of 10 provinces, even in British Columbia, which was weighed down by “domestic conditions, coupled with weakening economic prospects in Asia.”

And that feverishly expected rebound of GDP in the second half from recessionary levels in the first half? Small business owners don’t see it. What they see is a continued downturn.

But it’s in Alberta where small business optimism has totally crashed. The Index dropped 3.5 points in August to 40.4, the worst level since March 2009, and just one such step above the historic low of 37, of February 2009, the very bottom of the Financial Crisis.

A bitter irony: for the years after the Financial Crisis, small businesses in Alberta were practically exuberant compared to those in the rest of Canada. But in November and December, their exuberance…
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Ron Paul Rages “Blame The Fed, Not China” For The Stock Market Crash

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Ron Paul via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity,

Following Monday’s historic stock market downturn, many politicians and so-called economic experts rushed to the microphones to explain why the market crashed and to propose "solutions” to our economic woes. Not surprisingly, most of those commenting not only failed to give the right answers, they failed to ask the right questions.

Many blamed the crash on China’s recent currency devaluation. It is true that the crash was caused by a flawed monetary policy. However, the fault lies not with China’s central bank but with the US Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve’s inflationary policies distort the economy, creating bubbles, which in turn create a booming stock market and the illusion of widespread prosperity. Inevitably, the bubble bursts, the market crashes, and the economy sinks into a recession.

An increasing number of politicians have acknowledged the flaws in our monetary system. Unfortunately, some members of Congress think the solution is to force the Fed to follow a “rules-based” monetary policy. Forcing the Fed to “follow a rule” does not change the fact that giving a secretive central bank the power to set interest rates is a recipe for economic chaos. Interest rates are the price of money, and, like all prices, they should be set by the market, not by a central bank and certainly not by Congress.

Instead of trying to “fix” the Federal Reserve, Congress should start restoring a free-market monetary system. The first step is to pass the Audit the Fed legislation so the people can finally learn the full truth about the Fed. Congress should also pass legislation ensuring individuals can use alternative currencies free of government harassment.

When bubbles burst and recessions hit, Congress and the Federal Reserve should refrain from trying to “stimulate” the economy via increased spending, corporate bailouts, and inflation. The only way the economy will ever fully recover is if Congress and the Fed allow the recession to run its course.

Of course, Congress and the Fed are unlikely to “just stand there” if the economy further deteriorates. There have already been reports that the Fed will use last week’s crash as an excuse to once again delay raising interest rates. Increased spending and money creation may temporally boost the economy, but eventually they will lead to a…
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80 Year Old Woman Trampled To Death In Venezuela Supermarket Stampede

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

With 30% of Venzuelans eating two or fewer meals per day, social unrest is mounting rapidly in President Nicolas Maduro's socialist utopia. As WSJ reports, soldiers have now been deployed to stem rampant food smuggling and price speculation, which Maduro blames for triple-digit inflation and scarcity. "Due to the shortage of food… the desperation is enormous," local opposition politician Andres Camejo said, and nowhere is that more evident than the trampling death of an 80-year-old woman outside a state-subsidized supermarket.

As Reuters reports,

An 80-year-old Venezuelan woman died, possibly from trampling, in a scrum outside a state supermarket selling subsidized goods, the opposition and media said on Friday.

The melee at the store in Sabaneta, the birthplace of former Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, was the latest such incident in the South American nation where economic hardship and food shortages are creating long queues and scuffles.

The opposition Democratic Unity coalition said Maria Aguirre died and another 75 people were injured – including five security officials – in chaotic scenes when National Guard troops sought to control a 5,000-strong crowd with teargas.

"Due to the shortage of food … the desperation is enormous," local opposition politician Andres Camejo said, according to the coalition's website. It published a photo of an elderly woman's body lying inert on a concrete floor.

Camejo said thieves had also attacked the crowd, members of which were seeking to buy cheap food on offer at an outlet of the state's Mercal supermarket chain in Barinas state.

El Universal newspaper reported that Aguirre was knocked to the ground during jostling in the crowd, while the pro-opposition El Nacional said she was crushed in a stampede.

Another person was killed and dozens detained following looting of supermarkets in Venezuela's southeastern city of Ciudad Guayana earlier this month.

President Nicolas Maduro accuses opponents of deliberately stirring up trouble, exaggerating incidents, and sabotaging the economy to try and bring down his socialist government.

Critics, though, say incidents of unrest are symptoms of the increasing hardships Venezuela's 29 million people are facing due to a failed state-led economic model. Low oil prices are exacerbating economic tensions in the OPEC nation.

Venezuelans protest the starvatiion with signs saying 'hunger'…

Shoppers are finger-printed when buying government-controlled foods…

“What’s certain is that we


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Chinese Stocks Slump After “Arrest-Fest”, Yuan Strengthens Most In 9 Months, Goldman Cuts Outlook

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Update: So much for the "no more intervention" Since the government bailout fund has run dry of money, the brokerages have to step up – CHINA SAID TO ORDER BROKERAGES TO BOOST STOCK MARKET SUPPORT

A busy weekend in Asia was dominated by mayhem in Malaysia, and witch-huntery in China. Chinese authorities began a wide-scale crackdown on rumor-mongerers, arrested journalists, and even detained a regulator for insider trading, as they lifted loan caps on the banking system at the same as withdrawing (verbally) support for the stock market. China strengthen the Yuan fix by 0.15% to 6.3893 – this is the biggest 2-day strengthening of the Yuan fix since Nov 2014. Then just to rub some more salt in the wounds, Goldman cut China growth expectations to 6.4% and 6.1% respectively for the next 2 years. Chinese stocks are opening modestly lower (SHCOMP -3.3%).

  • *CHINA'S CSI 300 INDEX FALLS 2.8% TO 3,247.39 AT BREAK
  • *CHINA'S SHANGHAI COMPOSITE FALLS 2.6% TO 3,148.08 AT BREAK

And Japan

  • *JAPAN'S TOPIX EXTENDS LOSS TO 1.3%; NIKKEI 225 DOWN 1.7%

Yuan fixed stronger for 2nd day in a row…

  • *CHINA SETS YUAN REFERENCE RATE AT 6.3893 AGAINST U.S. DOLLAR
  • *CHINA RAISES YUAN REFERENCE RATE BY 0.15% TO 6.3893/USD

Then Goldman slahes China growth…

  • *CHINA 2016 GDP GROWTH FORECAST CUT TO 6.4% VS 6.7% AT GOLDMAN
  • *CHINA 2017 GDP GROWTH FORECAST CUT TO 6.1% VS 6.5% AT GOLDMAN
  • *CHINA 2018 GDP GROWTH FORECAST CUT TO 5.8% VS 6.2% AT GOLDMAN

A “double-dip” in China’s growth in 2015…

China’s economic growth was very weak in early 2015, reflecting a combination of slowing money/credit growth, reform-driven fiscal tightening, and an appreciating CNY, among other factors. Policy easing starting in March seemed to help revive growth in May and especially June. But growth has slowed anew in July and August, prompting market and policymaker concerns and a further spate of easing measures. We retain our 2015 real GDP growth forecast of 6.8%, but note that alternative indicators of activity suggest a sharper slowdown, and mark down our 2016/17/18 forecasts to 6.4%/6.1%/5.8% respectively from 6.7%/6.5%/6.2% previously. We now expect short-term interest rates to fall further, to 1.5% by end-2016 (from 2.25% previously).

…and increased policy uncertainty…

Policy uncertainty has increased. Measures to contain


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Why Devaluing The Yuan Won’t Help China’s Economy

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Frank Shostak via The Mises Institute,

Earlier this month, the Chinese government decided to depreciate its currency on three consecutive occasions. On August 13, the price of the US dollar was trading at 6.413 — an increase of 3.3 percent against July.

 

The key factor behind the central bank’s lowering of the yuan is a sharp decline in the growth momentum of exports with the yearly rate of growth falling to minus 8.3 percent in July from 2.8 percent in June.

Percent change in Chinese exports
 

It is held that by means of currency depreciation that it is possible to strengthen the export of goods and services, thereby strengthening the gross domestic product (GDP), which currently displays a visible weakening. The yearly rate of growth of real GDP stood at 7 percent in Q2 against 7.5 percent in Q2 last year and 8.6 percent in Q1 2012.

Percent change in China Real GDP

According to popular thinking, the key to economic growth is demand for goods and services. It is held that increases or decreases in demand for goods and services are behind rises and declines in the economy’s production of goods. Hence in order to keep the economy going economic policies must pay close attention to overall demand.

Why Governments Devalue Currencies to Boost Exports

Now, part of the demand for domestic products emanates from overseas. The accommodation of this demand is labeled “exports.” Likewise, local residents exercise demand for goods and services produced overseas, which are labeled “imports.” Observe that while an increase in exports implies an increase in the demand for domestic output, an increase in imports weakens demand. Hence exports, according to this way of thinking, are a factor that contributes to economic growth while imports are a factor that detracts from the growth of the economy.

From this way of thinking it follows that since overseas demand for a country’s goods and services is an important ingredient in setting the pace of economic growth, it makes a lot of sense to make locally produced goods and services attractive to foreigners. One of the ways to boost foreigners’ demand for domestically produced goods is by making


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Illinois Pays Lottery Winners In IOUs After $30K/Month Budget “Guru” Fails To Produce Deal

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Much as Brazil is the poster child for the great EM unwind unfolding across emerging economies from LatAm to AsiaPac, Illinois is in many ways the mascot for America’s state and local government fiscal crisis. 

Although well documented before, the state’s financial troubles were thrown into sharp relief in May when, on the heels of a state Supreme Court ruling that struck down a pension reform bid, Moody’s downgraded the city of Chicago to junk. 

Since then, there’s been quite a bit written about the state’s pension problem and indeed, Reuters ran a special report earlier this month that outlined the labyrinthine, incestuous character of the state’s various state and local governments.

On Friday, in the latest sign that Illinois’ budget crisis has deepened, Governor Bruce Rauner apparently fired “superstar” budget guru and Laffer disciple Donna Arduin who had been making some $30,000 a month as an economic consultant.

And while Illinois apparently found the cash to fork over six figures to Arduin for just four months of “work”, the budget stalemate means hard times for Illinoisans – including, apparently, lottery winners. The Chicago Tribune has more:

After years of struggling financially, Susan Rick thought things were looking up when her boyfriend won $250,000 from the Illinois Lottery last month. She could stop working seven days a week, maybe fix up the house and take a trip to Minnesota to visit her daughter.

But because Illinois lawmakers have not passed a budget, she and her boyfriend, Danny Chasteen, got an IOU from the lottery instead.

“For the first time, we were finally gonna get a break,” said Rick, who lives in Oglesby. “And now the Illinois Lottery has kind of messed everything up.”


Under state law, the state comptroller must cut the checks for lottery winnings of more than $25,000.

And lottery officials said that because lawmakers have yet to pass a budget, the comptroller’s office does not have legal authority to release the funds.

Prizes of $25,000 or less will still be paid at lottery claim centers across the state, and people who win $600 or less can cash in their ticket at the place where they bought it.

But the bigger winners? Out of luck, for now.

While lottery officials could not immediately say how many winners’


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JPMorgan: “Nothing Appears To Be Breaking” But “Something Happened”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

If you thought you were merely on the fence about being confused on the topic of the global economy, and how the Fed may be on the verge of a rate hike when on both previous occasions when financial conditions were here the Fed was launching QE1 and QE2, here is JPM’s chief economist Bruce Kasman to make sure of that.

Something happened

The August turbulence in global markets has produced significant shifts, including a 6.6% fall in equity prices. The currencies of emerging market countries have depreciated substantially against the G-4, while emerging market borrowing rates for sovereigns and corporates have moved higher. Global oil prices have been whipsawed as have G-4 bond yields.

The speed and magnitude of these movements is reminiscent of past episodes in which financial crises emerged or the global economy slipped into recession. However, nothing appears to be breaking. Global activity indicators have, on balance, disappointed but remain consistent with a modest pickup in the pace of growth. Additionally, despite the turbulence in financial markets, there is no sign of unusual stress in short-term funding markets or of a credit crisis in any large EM economy.

And just to ease the confusion somewhat, here is Kasman’s attempt at explaining what many others had foreseen months, if not years, ago:

While the global economy is not breaking, the events of recent weeks have prompted a reassessment of the risks to global growth and financial market stability. Three related factors tied primarily to EM economies, lie behind this reassessment.

  • US and China not giving expected boost to EM. We have noted the widespread expectations (including our own) that a demand boost from the US and China would help to fuel a growth bounce-back across the EM, similar to what happened last year. However, recent activity data from China have uniformly disappointed, reversing a modest firming that took place into mid-year. The US and other DM economies look to be generating solid growth, a point underscored by this week’s impressive revision to 2Q US GDP. However, the positive impulse this is providing to the EM is limited— partly because the composition of G-3 growth appears to be shifting toward services—and so far has been insufficient to offset the sharp deceleration in EM domestic demand.
  • It’s not a


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Do You Feel Lucky?

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Chinese (Mis)Fortune Cookie…

Source: Townhall.com





 
 
 

ValueWalk

#1 Performing Global Macro Hedge Fund Sees More Shorts Opportunities Ahead As China Bursts

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Crescat Global Macro Fund update to investors on 1/19/2019

Crescat Global Macro Fund and Crescat Long/Short fund delivered strong returns for both December and full year 2018 in a difficult market. Based on ...



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Zero Hedge

Johns Hopkins, Bristol-Myers Face $1 Billion Suit For Infecting Guatemalan Hookers With Syphilis 

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

A federal judge in Maryland said Johns Hopkins University, pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb and the Rockefeller Foundation must face a $1 billion lawsuit over their roles in a top-secret program in the 1940s ran by the US government that injected hundreds of Guatemalans with syphilis, reported Reuters.

Several doctors from Hopkins an...



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Phil's Favorites

Divisive economics

 

Guest author David Brin — scientist, technology consultant, best-selling author and futurist — explores the records of Democrats and Republicans on the US economy in the following post. For David's latest posts, visit the CONTRARY BRIN blog. For his books and short stories, visit his web...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Stock declines did not break 9-year support, says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

We often hear “Stocks take an escalator up and an elevator down!” No doubt stocks did experience a swift decline from the September highs to the Christmas eve lows. Looks like the “elevator” part of the phrase came true as 2018 was coming to an end.

The first part of the “stocks take an escalator up” seems to still be in play as well despite the swift decline of late.

Joe Friday Just The Facts Ma’am- All of these indices hit long-term rising support on Christmas Eve at each (1), where support held and rallies have followed.

If you find long-term perspectives helpf...



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Digital Currencies

Transparency and privacy: Empowering people through blockchain

 

Transparency and privacy: Empowering people through blockchain

Blockchain technologies can empower people by allowing them more control over their user data. Shutterstock

Courtesy of Ajay Kumar Shrestha, University of Saskatchewan

Blockchain has already proven its huge influence on the financial world with its first application in the form of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. It might not be long before its impact is felt everywhere.

Blockchain is a secure chain of digital records that exist on multiple computers simultaneously so no record can be erased or falsified. The...



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Insider Scoop

Cars.com Explores Strategic Alternatives, Analyst Sees Possible Sale Price Around $30 Per Share

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related 44 Biggest Movers From Yesterday 38 Stocks Moving In Wednesday's Mid-Day Session ...

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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Jan 13, 2019

Courtesy of Blain.

In last week’s recap we asked:  “Has the Fed solved all the market’s problems in 1 speech?”

Thus far the market says yes!  As Guns n Roses preached – all we need is a little “patience”.  Four up days followed by a nominal down day Friday had the market following it’s normal pattern the past nearly 30 years – jumping whenever the Federal Reserve hints (or essentially says outright) it is here for the markets.   And in case you missed it the prior Friday, Chairman Powell came back out Thursday to reiterate the news – so…so… so… patient!

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell reinforced that message Thursday during a discussion at the Economic Club of Washington where he said that the central bank will be “fle...



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Members' Corner

Why Trump Can't Learn

 

Bill Eddy (lawyer, therapist, author) predicted Trump's chaotic presidency based on his high-conflict personality, which was evident years ago. This post, written in 2017, references a prescient article Bill wrote before Trump even became president, 5 Reasons Trump Can’t Learn. ~ Ilene 

Why Trump Can’t Learn

Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore (...



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Biotech

Opening Pandora's Box: Gene editing and its consequences

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

 

Opening Pandora's Box: Gene editing and its consequences

Bacteriophage viruses infecting bacterial cells , Bacterial viruses. from www.shutterstock.com

Courtesy of John Bergeron, McGill University

Today, the scientific community is aghast at the prospect of gene editing to create “designer” humans. Gene editing may be of greater consequence than climate change, or even the consequences of unleashing the energy of the atom.

...

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Mapping The Market

Trump: "I Won't Be Here" When It Blows Up

By Jean-Luc

Maybe we should simply try him for treason right now:

Trump on Coming Debt Crisis: ‘I Won’t Be Here’ When It Blows Up

The president thinks the balancing of the nation’s books is going to, ultimately, be a future president’s problem.

By Asawin Suebsaeng and Lachlan Markay, Daily Beast

The friction came to a head in early 2017 when senior officials offered Trump charts and graphics laying out the numbers and showing a “hockey stick” spike in the nationa...



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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 ...



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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.

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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...

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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.

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