Archive for 2018

Saudi Arabia Will Build Christian Churches After Striking Deal With Vatican

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

First he let women drive. Then he loosened rules surrounding public interactions between men and women. Now, in his latest act of progressive benevolence (in a country that still chops people's heads off for committing adultery), Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will allow the Vatican to build Christian churches in Saudi Arabia.

The historic deal was signed by the Secretary General of the Muslim World League Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdel Karim Al-Issa and the President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue in the Vatican, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran following a meeting last month, according to Breitbart.

Saudi

The decision is part of KSA's shift to an ever more open stance as it seeks to recruit technology firms and other industries to help diversify its economy away from oil.

During a visit to Riyadh in April, Cardinal Tauran was received at the royal palace by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who in addition to nominally running the country is also the custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, as well as his son MbS. Tauran and his delegation also visited the Center for the Fight against Extremist Thought, and met with the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdullah Al ash-Sheikh.

In his address to Saudi officials, Tauran spoke about the difficulties faced by the "hundreds of thousands of Christians in the Saudi Kingdom" despite the fact that the country is the only state in the Arab world without even a single church.

Tauran insisted that Pope Francis follows their plight "with close attention." The cardinal also reaffirmed the Vatican's view on the equal treatment of all citizens regardless of their religion, including those who are atheist or agnostic.

Another benefit of the Cardinal's visit was an agreement to renounce violence, extremism, terrorism and achieve security and stability in the world.

The accord calls for the formation of a committee with two representatives each from Christianity and Islam. The committee will meet every two years, alternating between Rome and a city chosen by the Islamic World League.

Since its founding, Saudi Arabia has embraced a fundamentalist strain of Islam known as Wahhabism, which bans all forms of non-Muslim religious…
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Stephen Hawking’s Last Words: We Live In ‘The Matrix’?

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Before he passed away in March, renowned physicist Stephen Hawking had published more than 230 articles on the birth of the universe, black holes and quantum mechanics. But, ten days before his death, Hawking finished his final theory on the origin of the universe  - now published posthumously – and it offers an interesting departure from earlier ideas about the nature of the "multiverse."

As PBS reports, the new report, co-authored by Belgian physicist Thomas Hertog, counters the longstanding idea that the universe will expand for eternity.

If you asked an astrophysicist today to describe what happened after the Big Bang, he would likely start with the concept of “cosmic inflation.” Cosmic inflation argues that right after the Big Bang — we’re talking after a teeny fraction of a second — the universe expanded at breakneck speed like dough in an oven.

But this exponential expansion should create, due to quantum mechanics, regions where the universe continues to grow forever and regions where that growth stalls. The result would be a multiverse, a collection of bubblelike pockets, each defined by its own laws of physics.

“The local laws of physics and chemistry can differ from one pocket universe to another, which together would form a multiverse,” Hertog said in a statement. “But I have never been a fan of the multiverse. If the scale of different universes in the multiverse is large or infinite the theory can’t be tested.”

Along with being difficult to support, the multiverse theory, which was co-developed by Hawking in 1983, doesn’t jibe with classical physics, namely the contributions of Einstein’s theory of general relativity as they relate to the structure and dynamics of the universe.

“As a consequence, Einstein’s theory breaks down in eternal inflation,” Hertog said.

Einstein spent his life searching for a unified theory, a way to reconcile the biggest and smallest of things, general relativity and quantum mechanics.

He died never having achieved that goal, but leagues of physicists like Hawking followed in Einstein’s footsteps. One path led to holograms.

Diagram of evolution of the (observable part)
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WTI Tops $70 For First Time Since Nov 2014 As Iran Deal Deadline Looms

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

With the Iran Deal looking increasingly fragile, front-month WTI futures have just traded above $70 for the first time since Nov 2014.

$70 just happens to be the 50% retracement from the Aug 2013 highs to the Feb 2016 lows…

As OilPrice.com's Tsvetana Paraskova notes, US President Donald Trump has another week to decide whether to waive the sanctions against Iran. Expectations that he would not waive the sanctions this time around have supported the price of oil over the past month, with Brent briefly breaching above $75 to its highest price level since November 2014.

Analysts are still struggling to quantify the impact of possible fresh sanctions on Iran and prices are expected to be volatile as the deadline for President Trump’s decision is getting closer.

The month of May could be a very important one for oil prices with geopolitical risks stacked and too close to call. Apart from the Iran sanctions waiver, the market will be looking to the Venezuela presidential election that socialist leader Nicolas Maduro has scheduled for May 20.

“The geopolitical landscape will therefore remain tense and price conditions volatile,” Stephen Brennock, an analyst at PVM Oil Associates, told Platts on Friday.

Commenting on the Iran sanctions waiver, Commerzbank analysts said in a note:

“This will be the main issue preoccupying the oil market, with fundamental factors such as stock levels and production data taking a backseat until this has been resolved”.

Even more worrisome, as OilPrice.com's Kent Moors writes, is that Trump walking away from the deal, and possibly re-imposing sanctions on Iran could throw the oil market into chaos.

An agreement is an agreement, or so it’s said.

Tensions are skyrocketing after Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s claim that Iran has violated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement.

This is the deal that was meant to shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Whether Netanyahu is correct or not, it puts the ball in President Trump’s court. Remember, he has questioned the JCPOA since before his election.

But while…
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BofA: “The Best Leading Indicator Of Global EPS Just Turned Negative”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

When it comes to the recently passed $1+ trillion US fiscal stimulus, there are two opposing views in the market: one is that it was an unnecessary, ill-timed diversion, which the US economy with its near record low unemployment rate does not need, which will prompt a surge in inflation and will unleash a debt-funding crisis as the US Treasury is forced to sell record amounts of debt at every greater yields. This is the view typically held by those who are politically aligned against President Trump.

On the other hand, there are those who say the impact of US fiscal stimulus has been extremely visible in US business & consumer surveys (which have predicted >5% growth in real GDP) and together with tax reform, has been instrumental in send the S&P 35% higher since the Trump election. Supporters of president Trump tend to see more positives than negatives in the fiscal plan.

And yet, the reality is that to date US tax cuts have had little if any tangible impact on actual economic activity according to Bank of America economists. In a note released earlier today by BofA's Michael Hartnett, the chief investment strategist highlights the following:

  • US capital goods orders in the past 5 months are very surprisingly flat despite corporate tax cuts, record profits & stock prices (Chart 6); and there is no evidence of Make American Wages Great Again (wage growth stuck around 2.5%)

  • The $1600 gain from tax cuts in 2018 for average US households (Brookings Institute) has thus far been saved (personal savings rate is up from 2.4% to 3.1%), used to reduce debt (42% of respondents BofAML’s US consumer survey said they plan to use the tax cut to “save” or “pay down debt”), or used to fund an extra $320 in gasoline bills (gasoline prices are up on average 16% this year)

However, no matter what one thinks of Trump or the ultimate relevance of the fiscal stimulus, a bigger concern – according to BofA – is that a "visible stimulus" will be critical in the coming months for two reasons:

  • First, the blockbuster


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IceCap Asset Management: Why We Expect A “Face Ripping Rally” In The Dollar

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Keith Dicker, Chief Investment Officer at IceCap Asset Management

It’s all a show

Hollywood has made a living ripping people’s faces right off their skull.

By many accounts, Tom Cruise has positioned himself as a professional face ripper. Whether he’s ripping and flipping his face off in Vanilla Sky, or doing his best imitation of hiding behind different faces in Mission Impossible – Tom Cruise’s film earnings have proved that a face ripping strategy can be very profitable.

Yet, the most famous face ripper is undoubtedly Hannibal Lecter. While his creepy movements, and his creepy speech was more than enough to give you the creeps, Lecter’s real power was revealed the moment he escaped using another (unfortunate) person’s face as a disguise.

Whereas Tom Cruise enjoyed his face-ripping experience, Hannibal Lecter’s victim certainly did not. In both cases, the face-ripping actions proved to be both memorable and shocking. Unknown to Hollywood, and unknown to most investors – the world is on the precipice of one of the biggest face-ripping market movements to be felt by the money world.

* * *

For many reasons, many people hate the USD. Debts, deficits, wars, Trump – you name it, the reasons for the USD to fall are too many to count. Yet, despite all the moaning and groaning about the USD – it just won’t go down. And in the investment world, what won’t go down – goes up.

IceCap expects the USD to rally hard. The potential for a surge will be so aggressive that it will rip the face off all investors who are bearish against the USD and positioned for it to fall. This is the real risk that faces the market today.

* * *

It’s Déjà Vu all over again

Well, we’ve been watching now for quite some time – and it still hasn’t happened. We’ve watched Canadian, British, Australian and even tolerated the big American ones too – yet most media outlet refuse, is prohibited, or simply doesn’t understand it enough to report to the masses the happenings within the world’s bond market. Yet, every single evening when the majority return…
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Visualizing Yesterday’s World: The Old Tech That Kids Don’t Know

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

For most people born before the 90's, a "3 1/2 inch floppy" was once a crucial part of their technological lives; securing and transporting important files and data. Of course nowadays, the 1.44 MB storage space is far from adequate and no new computers come equipped with an appropriate drive for the disks.

Little surprise then, as Statista's Martin Armstrong notes, that the majority of children today have no idea what one is (despite the fact that ubiquitous software such as Word and Excel still use a floppy disk symbol for their 'save' buttons).

Infographic: Yesterday's World: the old tech that kids don't know | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

As a recent survey by YouGov has shown, 67 percent of the 6 to 18 year olds in the UK don't know what a floppy disk is. Other essentially obsolete tech such as overhead projectors (once present in almost every classroom), and pagers were recognised even less.





Why One Hedge Fund Thinks Tesla Is Worth $0: The Full Presentation

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

With Elon Musk's public behavior becoming increasingly erratic, irrational and bizarre – just over the weekend trolling Warren Buffett that he is "super serious" about attacking Berkshire's Candy moat, just hours after he threatened Tesla shorts with "unreal carnage" in a tweet that some have alleged is a violation of securities laws – the Tesla bears have been getting increasingly more vocal.

And it's not just Jim Chanos: while the famous Enron nemesis remains certain that Elon Musk's resignation and Tesla's doom are just a matter of time, others have been increasingly aggressive about their skepticism, so much so that Tesla is now the most shorted stock in the US market, much to Elon's volatile chagrin.

Yet while most shorts believe there is at least some value in Elon Musk's car company, Mark Spiegel of Stanphyl Capital Management is convinced that when the dust settles, Tesla will be "a zero" (whether or not Musk will be "bankwupt" is another matter). He made this clear rather early on, in fact on the front cover, of his 156 page slideshows that he delivered at the Kase Learning short selling conference.

While we present the whole powerpoint below, here is the exec summary and some of the bigger picture observations:

3 Broad Reasons Why The Equity in Tesla Is Worth “Zero”

  1. Tesla’s financials are horrible and worsening even BEFORE massive competition begins arriving later this year
  2. Tesla has no “moat” of any kind and in fact now possesses trailing technology in all facets of its business
  3. A “bet on Elon” is a bet on someone who can’t be trusted -he has a long track record of making hugely misleading statements

A snapshot of the company's current financials:

A look at Tesla's financial "scale":

But the key investment – or rather its opposite – highlight of Spiegel's bear thesis is the same one we noted last week in Tesla's "Other" Biggest Risk, namely the armada of electronic vehicles coming down the pipe, many of which are…
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Former Pharma Exec Sues Martin Shkreli Over “Campaign Of Harassment”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Martin Shkreli's reputation for lashing out at journalists, critics and (former) presidential candidates is once again coming back to haunt him.

The former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO – who is currently serving a seven-year sentence at a minimum security "Club Fed" in New Jersey – is being sued by a former executive at Turing who is arguing that he repeatedly threatened her with firing, while also making false statements about her and sullying her good name, according to the Daily News.

"He undertook a campaign of harassment and character assassination against (Costopoulos), both internally via email, as well as publicly on social media platforms such as Facebook," the lawsuit says.

Costopoulos argued that Shkreli he continued to exert his influence at Turing in his role as the company's majority shareholder even after he was fired as CEO – despite being indicted on securities and wire fraud charges.

Ultimately, Costopoulos was fired in 2017, she says, because Shkreli was angry that he could no longer control the company's management team. Costopoulos says she was singled out when executives at the company refused Shkreli's demand to dial into company meetings. They also refused to make him a paid consultant of the firm.

Shkreli

In the lawsuit, Costopoulos compared Shkreli's campaign of revenge with how he offered $5,000 to any fan who could grab one of Hillary Clinton's hairs – a "threat" that prosecutors used to successfully revoke Shkreli's bail.

"If an agency as powerful as the Secret Service voiced concern about Mr. Shkreli's threat directed at Secretary Clinton, imagine the impact and distress that continuous threatening emails and Facebook posts had on Plaintiff, who did not have the benefit of any protection, let alone that of the United States Secret Service," the lawsuit says.

Costopoulos says the only reason she was fired was because Turing's board at the time was stacked with Shkreli loyalists.

To be sure, it's unclear what, exactly, Costopoulos is seeking from this lawsuit. It's widely believed that Shkreli has been effectively bankrupted by his legal troubles and several poor investment decisions that he made in the aftermath of the drug price-hiking scandal that first brought him to national attention.





“Central Banks Are The Market” & Nomi Prins Warns “It Can’t Go On Forever”

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

Via Greg Hunter's USA Watchdog blog

The enormity of our current global debt problem is caused by central bankers.  Prins explains, “It is huge…

"The debt is between two and a half to three times global GDP, which is an historical high.  Debt to GDP throughout the developed world is higher than it has ever been, and it continues to grow.  Why?  Because money continues to be conjured up and rendered cheap for the participants at the top of the financial system.  The banks, the major corporations, the people who make money out of that, and it hasn’t washed down to the rest of the economy.  This is why most people feel this anxiety about another potential financial crisis, but also about what happens every day in their own pocketbooks. 

So, it is worse.  These central banks today, 10 years after the financial crisis occurred, that was supposed to be an emergency situation.  They have $21 trillion worth of conjured money in return for debt assets, stocks and corporate bonds around the world. 

If they pulled that plug, if they were to take down any of the $21 trillion, even a little bit . . . it would begin to create a major rupture in the financial system.  This is why I say the central banks are the market.  Without them, the markets would be nowhere near these highs. If they pulled their help and subsidies, the market would plummet really quickly.”  

Prins admits this has gone on for longer than most believed possible, but says it can’t go on forever. How does it all end?  Prins, who was a former top Wall Street banker, says,

“We will eventually get a crash because, at some point, the amount of quantitative easing, or conjured money to buy assets out of the market to pump up the…financial system, will come to this head where even though these major central banks are continuing to dump money in. 

There will be ruptures at the bottom of the economy . . . even though they are borrowing cheap money, they just can’t make enough money to service very cheap debt.  Consumers, who are at


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Paper Gold Market Normalizing, Silver Getting Even More Extreme

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by John Rubino via DollarCollapse.com,

The past few months have seen some unusual, maybe even unique, developments in the gold and silver futures markets, with gold becoming extremely bearish and silver almost ridiculously bullish.

Neither imbalance has amounted to much in terms of price action, so it’s not clear whether the most recent changes matter. Still, the action in both gold and silver futures remains unusual enough to bear watching.

Beginning with gold, large speculators have lately been hyper-bullish and commercials extremely bearish. Since the former tend to be wrong at the extremes and the latter right, that was disturbing for anyone who didn’t like the idea of gold tanking in the short term.

Gold did fall a bit lately, to the low $1,300s, and that seems to have been enough to cause futures players to start unwinding their extreme positions. Speculators cut their net long bets by about 30,000 contracts and commercials cut their net shorts by a similar amount, which in the scheme of things is a big change. Another few weeks like this and both speculators and commercials will be close to neutral, which is positive for gold’s price going forward.

But silver has been and remains the really interesting case. Speculators – who are almost never net-short – spent a few weeks in that state before briefly reverting to slightly net long. But last week they jumped back to net-short in a big way (the bottom row shows the change in each position).

Here’s the action presented in graphical form, with the gray bars representing large speculators. Note how in the previous couple of cycles (early and late 2017) the speculators’ net positions got close to zero but then bounced back quickly to the more normal net-long. But in the current cycle they’ve been net-short for most of the past two months.

This has flummoxed industry analysts and led to some silver-to-the-moon predictionswhich, based on the rising volatility in the broader financial markets, are at least plausible.

Gold-Silver Ratio


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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.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

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

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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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