Archive for 2018

HSBC Completes First Trade-Finance Deal Using Blockchain, Opening $9 Trillion Market For Mass Adoption

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Just a few hours after German online bank Bitbond announced it now allows users to transfer loans anywhere in the world using bitcoin and other cryptos, a move which we said would result in a rapid adoption of blockchain technologies within the bank-disintermediation space, the FT reported that in a somewhat parallel transaction, UK-based banking giant HSBC has completed the world’s first commercially viable trade-finance transaction using blockchain, in the process opening the door to mass adoption of the technology in the $9tn market for trade finance, a process which ironically culminates with traditional banks such as HSBC becoming disintermediated from the fund flows process, i.e., obsolete.

HSBC said the blockchain trade, which processed a letter of credit for US food and agricultural group Cargill, had shown the platform was ready to be commercially adopted across the industry.

In many ways the news will be welcome, especially when it comes to trade finance: traditionally one of the most convoluted and burdensome pillars of modern finance, one which has been deeply in need of disruption.

As a result, the FT notes that the introduction of blockchain "is expected to shake up the centuries-old trade-finance industry, reducing the numerous documents and several days of processing needed for a single transaction to a paperless task that can be completed in hours."

And, as Vivek Ramachandran, head of innovation and growth for commercial banking at HSBC, said, "the next stage is actually encouraging as many participants as possible to sign up to the utility" adding that banks, shipping companies, ports and customs operations would have to take up the same technology before it could gain widespread usage. "We don’t envisage the platform as anything other than a utility."

Think of blockchain is to trade finance as DTCC was to old-school stock certificates (incidentally, blockchain is set to revolutionize DTC as well).

In trading hubs around the world, banks such as HSBC still operate trade-finance floors filled with stacks of paper documentation for trade. Blockchain transactions will greatly reduce these operations in the coming years, Mr Ramachandran said. HSBC took in $2.52bn in trade-finance revenue last year, making it one of the world’s largest banks in the industry.

In light…
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The United States Of Beer

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

Across the board, beer consumption in the United States has been slowly and steadily dropping since the early ’80s.

However, Visual Capitalist's Nick Routley notes that that fact doesn’t tell the whole story. Trends around beer consumption are anything but uniform, and the industry is evolving rapidly thanks to the craft beer boom in cities throughout the country.


Today’s infographic looks at regional beer consumption, as well as trends over the past half-decade.

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist


Beer is still the most popular alcoholic beverage in America, though that demand is not spread equally. Here are states and regions that stand out:


The Beehive State has unusually low levels of beer consumption for a couple of reasons. First, the state has a high population of Mormons (~60%), who mostly abstain from drinking alcohol. Secondly, Salt Lake City has unusual liquor laws that restrict the percentage of alcohol in beer to 4.0% ABV.

Despite these barriers, Utah’s beer consumption grew by 2.8% between 2012 and 2017 – the sixth highest growth rate in the country.

New Hampshire

Another outlier, though in the opposite direction, is New Hampshire. The state has no sales tax, a fact that beer drinkers in Vermont, Massachusetts, and Maine are well aware of. It’s estimated that over 50% of the states alcohol sales are to out-of-state visitors. NH’s tax-free booze is such a big draw, that bootlegging has become a problem for states like New York.

Pacific Northwest

America’s West Coast – Oregon in particular – has been at the forefront of the craft beer revolution sweeping the country. Portland alone has over 100 craft brewers, and nearly double-digit growth in the past five years. In states like Oregon and Washington, demand shows no sign of slowing down.


Here’s a complete table, that sums up beer consumption across the country, as per data from Wall St 24/7.

Weekly Market Recap May 13, 2018

Courtesy of Blain.

The indexes were looking a bit rocky the past few weeks, with a consolidation at lower levels with no real attempt at an upthrust — but the rally late in the week certainly helped prospects.   The bulk of weekly gains came Wednesday and Thursday but Thursday’s move up helped change the complexion of the S&P 500 and Russell 2000 charts which we’ll show below.   Trump made a speech “attacking” high drug prices Friday… but drug companies surged that day – so you can see how “biting” these proposals will be.  Consider “the swamp” fully loaded.

“Overall, this is quite underwhelming in scope,” said Craig Garthwaite, director of the health-care program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. “The proposal is vague on details and filled with more slogans than actual sound economic policies.”

“They’ve confirmed this administration was and will remain very pro-pharma,” said Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst Ronny Gal in an interview. He said the proposals won’t put “any significant pressure on pharma pricing,” and that some would be positive for the industry, such as pushing other countries to pay more.

For the week the S&P 500 closed up 2.4% while the NASDAQ gained 2.7%.

The consumer-price index rose 0.2% in April, while core CPI, which strips out food and energy, rose 0.1%. Traders looking for the inflation ghost were put to ease.

For the FOURTH week in a row we will highlight the crude oil chart as it is doing very bullish things!

Here is the 5 day weekly “intraday” chart of the S&P 500 …via Jill Mislinski.

Very cool representation of U.S. states by GDP if they were their own countries – pretty staggering how powerful the U.S. economically is when you look at it this way.

California’s gross domestic product of $2.75 trillion in 2017 basically matches that of the U.K., and it achieves this with 19.3 million workers, vs. Great Britain’s 33.8 million.  Texas…. produced nearly $1.7 trillion to match Canada.

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A Beginners Guide To The Conflict In Yemen

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Stucky via The Burning Platform blog,

Don’t have the time to do research on the Yemen conflict? Here ya go, as brief as we can make it…

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- Yemen was a divided country for hundreds of years

- North Yemen gained independence from the Ottoman Empire when it collapsed in 1918

- North Yemen was then ruled by a Zaydi Shiite Imam. Zaydi Shiism is a branch of Shiite Islam found almost exclusively in Northern Yemen.

- in 1962 the military staged a coup against the Zaydi monarchy.

- the conflict lasted several years and essentially became a proxy war between Egypt (who supported the military) and Saudi Arabia (who supported the royalists). The war ended in 1970. The royalists and Saudis lost.

- Meanwhile, South Yemen gained its independence from British and Saudi rule in 1967.

- South Yemen aligned itself with the Soviets (the only communist country in the Arab world).

- North and South Yemen clashed for the next several decades



ONE YEMEN under Ali Saleh (1990 -2011)

- The Soviet bloc disintegrated which led to the merger of North and South Yemen in 1990

- The new ruler for unified Yemen was Ali Saleh, who prior was the ruler of North Yemen.

- Civil war broke out in 1994. South Yemen felt Saleh’s regime was marginalizing them., Saleh quickly squashed the opposition.

- Saleh soon ran into more problems, this time right in North Yemen. Sheikh Hussein al-Houthi (1956 -2004) was a political and military leader. He began a religious revivalist movement in the early 1990s. His goal was to reassert traditional Zaydi Shiism which was losing ground to the fundamentalist Sunni (particularly Salafism) proselytizing supported by Saudi Arabia. His followers and movement were called Houthis.

- The Houthi movement eventually shifted from a religious bent to political. From wiki; — “In 2003 the Houthis’ slogan “The God is great, death to the US, death to Israel, curse the Jews, and victory for Islam”, became the…
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Futures Extend Gains On Trump’s Trade-War Retreat, Dollar Sinks

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

The Dollar and bond yields are lower as Sunday evening trading begins but US equity futures are up around 0.4% following President Trump’s apparent retreat from Chinese trade-wars, supporting the rescue of giant telecoms company ZTE..

The Dollar Index is selling off modestly…

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Market Euphoria

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

Fortunately for Bulls, none of this matters.

A relatively reliable measure of complacency/euphoria in the stock market just hit levels last seen in late January, just before stocks reversed in a massive meltdown, surprising all the complacent/euphoric Bulls.

The measure is the put-call ratio in equities. Since this time is different, and the market is guaranteed to roar to new all-time highs, we can ignore this (of course).

Two of the more reliable technical patterns are falling/rising wedges, also known as descending/ascending wedges or triangles. Ascending wedges are bearish, descending wedges are bullish.

The VIX index, one measure of volatility, has been crushed by the recent euphoria/complacency as participants realize that since this time is different, we don’t need no stinkin’ hedges. Unsurprisingly, the VIX has traced out a falling wedge:

But a funny thing happened on the way to market complacency/euphoria this year: every “this time is different” manic rally in the S&P 500 (SPX) formed a bearish rising wedge which promptly reversed once the pattern peaked.

Fortunately for Bulls, none of this matters. Fundamentals trump technicals (heh), and since profits are soaring while wages stagnate (funny how that works, isn’t it?), higher oil prices mean something or other that’s positive (it can’t be higher gasoline prices are good, can it? Must be something else), Facebook has recovered from its temporary swoon and the Fed is easing or tightening or doing whatever it’s doing, so it’s a clean sweep: the fundamentals are all rip-roaring good.

Oh wait a minute--technicals do matter--when they support the Bullish case.The descending trendline from the January highs was just broken to the upside, a clear technical signal that new all-time highs are essentially guaranteed--not later this year, but this month--maybe this week, so buy buy buy, you snooze you lose, don’t fight the Fed, etc. (insert your Bullish aphorism of choice).

Even more compelling (if that’s even possible), the quatloo-bat guano ratio just flashed a huge buy signal, something that only happens on 1.3% of trading days since 1968, so let me repeat: BUY BUY BUY (repeat your Bullish aphorism of choice).

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My new book Money and Work Unchained is $9.95 for the Kindle ebook and $20 for the print edition. Read the first section for free in PDF format. If
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Former NBA Player Accuses Merrill Lynch of Forged Signatures and “Stealing” $17.4 Million

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

The list of athletes that the mainstream media has covered going broke over the last couple of decades always seems to chalk up a couple of new victims each year. It doesn’t come as any surprise that just because you are 7 feet tall and highly proficient dunking a basketball that you don’t automatically understand how to manage your money.

The latest victim of either his own actions or a corrupt investment banking system – it remains to be seen – was Kwame Brown, the first overall pick in the 2001 NBA draft, who went on to play for 7 different NBA teams.

Brown is now suing Merrill Lynch, who he alleged “stole” $17.4 million of his money that he left under management. Bloomberg reported last week:

Former professional basketball player Kwame Brown is crying foul on Merrill Lynch, saying the brokerage stole $17.4 million of his investments.

Brown said in a lawsuit that his signature was forged on various authorization forms and agreements, allowing his financial adviser to make investments and stock trades without his consent.

The fact that Brown alleges that his signature was forged on documents changes this story from a “mismanaged money” story to a “possible full on fraud” story. How did Brown find out about this mismanagement? He made a routine request for a list of his investments with Merrill Lynch and instead of being told about the fixed income his $17.4 million was making him in ETFs, he was simply told that he didn’t have any money at all with Merrill Lynch.

When Brown sought an accounting of his investments last year, he was told he had no monies with Merrill Lynch, according to his complaint filed Thursday in Los Angeles.

That must have been an interesting phone call. Complex had more details of the lawsuit, which also alleges his money manager, Michelle Marquez, failed to pay off loans that Brown requested, traded stock without his consent, and opened bank accounts under Brown’s name:

Official documents show that Brown is suing Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, and his financial advisor Michelle Marquez. He claims to have been a client from 2004 and 2017 during which time she handled his income from playing in the NBA, as well as invested and traded stocked under his consent. The problem

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NYSE’s Plans For ‘Physical Delivery’ Of Bitcoin Pave Way For Major Crypto Adoption

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Marie Huillet via,

Analysts Dominic Chu and Bryan Kelly weighed in on recent reports that the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) plans to offer Bitcoin (BTC) swap contracts, on CNBC Tuesday, May 8. Both Chu and Kelly argued that the fact that these contracts would be settled with the delivery of BTC itself is an important factor in Bitcoin’s mainstream adoption.

Both commentators were unanimous in considering that the plans of NYSE’s parent company Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) – news of which comes from “multiple reports citing sources familiar,” if true, could be of momentous consequence for the future of crypto.

image courtesy of CoinTelegraph

Whereas the futures contracts currently being offered on CME and CBOE are ultimately settled in fiat, Kelly emphasized that ICE’s suggestion that crypto swap contracts will be settled in BTC is a significant milestone that could herald major Wall Street crypto adoption. Kelly explained:

“[The] physical delivery of Bitcoin…means that ICE has a custody solution. That has been the big hurdle. How do you hold onto these assets? These are generally bearer instruments…and so you have to have a third-party custody person. That’s the big deal, they have come up with a custody solution for institutional holders.”

Cold storage custodian solutions are currently offered by small operators, and ICE has not confirmed whether it plans to build an in-house cold storage solution or to outsource it. Indeed, ICE has so far declined to comment on the reports at all.

Kelly said that if ICE can offer a custodian solution that is SEC-qualified and fits with the SEC’s compliance requirements, this would “open the floodgates” to institutional capital, resulting in some “big price moves” in the crypto markets.

A custody solution would also open the door for pensions and endowments, he said, leading him to conclude that cryptocurrencies now “look to be becoming an emergent asset class…most obviously at the expense of gold.”

Kelly noted that the markets have been slow to respond, suggesting that many are underestimating the significance of the news.

ICE’s plans…
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Eric Peters: “This Is How You’ll Know The Cycle Is About To Turn”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Yesterday, we showed that according to Macquarie strategist Viktor Shvets, the biggest danger facing investors in the next 12 months is a sudden, explosive move higher in the dollar, as a result of a quiet shrinkage in global dollar supply and an inability of the US to materially widen its current account deficit, which could precipitate a violent dollar short squeeze, which in turn would result in a sharp, deflationary hit on global asset prices.

24 hours later, we share a somewhat different perspective, this time from One River CIO Eric Peters, whose rationale for why an explosion in dollar vol is imminent we presented earlier; Peters – like Shvets – believes that the dollar is the definitive inflection point catalyst, or perhaps indicator, however unlike Shvets, Peters is more concerned with the dollar losing value over the medium-term as foreign pull capital out of the US – the catalyst for the next downcycle -  rather than a surge in the USD higher as dollar shorts are hit with a barrage of margin calls.

And, at the center of this cycle, is the creation of financial assets by Americans, which is promptly converted into an asset bubble, sold throughout the world, at which point a deflationary crisis follows, and the system is reset, to wit:

“Basically, Americans create financial assets and/or buy them cheaply, pump them up, dump them to Japanese and Germans savers, suffer a crisis, rinse and repeat.” That’s how the system finds its balance.

More importantly, to Peters this transition in confidence, or rather capital flows, marks the cycle inversion point:

“when strains emerge in the US credit markets, and the Japanese and Germans start to pull capital home to park in their domestic bond markets, lowering those yields, you know the cycle is turning.”

And, if Peters is correct, the best indicator of this phase transition is the relative value of the dollar, only unlike Macquarie’s thesis that a sharp spike in the DXY will precipitate the next crisis, to Peters it is the resumption of the dollar’s relentless grind lower that will be the catalyst: “this perpetual dynamic leads to strengthening currencies in Japan and Germany, and the long, inevitable decline in the US dollar.”

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More inside the latest Weekend Notes
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Friday Consolidation – Small Caps Ready To Lead

Courtesy of Declan.

Not every day can be a headline day and Friday was one of those days. the only action of note was the breakout in the Nasdaq Summation Index. Technicals aren’t fully bullish but the consolidation breakout should help the Nasdaq and Nasdaq 100.

The Percentage of Nasdaq Stocks above the 50-day MA and Bullish Percents added to their earlier consolidation breakouts.

Breadth metrics all suggest there is more to come from Technology stocks but there wasn’t much to be said of Friday’s action. For the Nasdaq it’s a case of ticking off the resistance levels; 7,420 is the next one.

The Semiconductor Index is also challenging its last swing high although it is enjoying good technical strength.

The Russell 2000 continued to threaten the all-time high as it puts some distance from its consolidation breakout.

It was a similar story from the S&P; small gains but nothing to suggest any significant follow through.

For tomorrow, look to the Russell 2000 to lead out with new all-time highs as Tech averages seek to gain the benefit of improved breadth metrics.

You’ve now read my opinion, next read Douglas’ blog.

I trade a small account on eToro, and invest using Ameritrade. If you would like to join me on eToro, register through the banner link and search for “fallond”.

If you are new to spread betting, here is a guide on position size based on eToro’s system.


Phil's Favorites

Congress is considering privacy legislation - be afraid


Congress is considering privacy legislation – be afraid

Courtesy of Jeff Sovern, St. John's University

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis called privacy the “right to be let alone.” Perhaps Congress should give states trying to protect consumer data the same right.

For years, a gridlocked Congress ignored privacy, apart from occasionally scolding companies such as Equifax and Marriott after their major data breaches. In its absence, ...

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Zero Hedge

Key Events This Week: Trade War, EU Elections, Durables, PMIs And Fed Minutes

Courtesy of ZeroHedge

Looking at this week's key events, Deutsche Bank's Craig Nicol writes that while the unpredictable nature of US-China trade developments will likely continue to be the main focus for markets again next week, we also have the European Parliament elections circus to look forward to as well as various survey reports including the flash May PMIs which may offer some insight into the impact of trade escalation on economic data. The FOMC and ECB meeting minutes are also due, along with a heavy calendar of Fed officials speaking.

The European Parliament elections will kick off next Thursday with voting continuing into the weekend across the continent, with results expected on Sunday. With the elections surrounded by internal and external challenges for the EU, members di...

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Will S&P 500 Double Top Derail The Rally?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

The rally off the December stock market lows has been strong, to say the least. The S&P 500 rallied 25 percent before hitting and testing the 2018 high.

The old highs proved to be formidable resistance and ushered in some volatility in May… and a 5 percent pullback.

In today’s 2-pack, we look at that resistance level – could that be a double top? We can see similar patterns develop on the S&P 500 Index and its Equal Weight counterpart.

Both indexes are testing short-term Fibonacci retracement levels of the recent decline at point (2).

What takes place here after potential double top highs will be important. Stay tuned...

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Insider Scoop

60 Biggest Movers From Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga.

  • Fastly, Inc. (NYSE: FSLY) shares jumped 50 percent to close at $23.99 on Friday. Fastly priced its 11.25 million share IPO at $16 per share.
  • Outlook Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: OTLK) shares climbed 37.3 percent to close at $2.10 on Friday after the stock rose over 68 percent Thursday following an Oppenheimer initiation at Outperform with a price target of $12.
  • Cray Inc. (NASDAQ: CRAY) shares rose 22.5 percent to close at $36.52 after Hewlett Packard Enterpri... more from Insider

Chart School

Weekly Market Recap May 18, 2019

Courtesy of Blain.

China – U.S. trade talk continued to dominate the week.   A heavy selloff Monday was followed by 3 up days, with Friday moderately down.

On Monday, Chinese officials announced retaliatory tariffs against the U.S., hitting $60 billion in annual exports to China with new or expanded duties that could reach 25%.

Then on Wednesday:

The Trump administration plans to delay a decision on instituting new tariffs on car and auto part imports for up to six months, according to media reports.


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Digital Currencies

Cryptocurrencies are finally going mainstream - the battle is on to bring them under global control


Cryptocurrencies are finally going mainstream – the battle is on to bring them under global control

The high seas are getting lower. dianemeise

Courtesy of Iwa Salami, University of East London

The 21st-century revolutionaries who have dominated cryptocurrencies are having to move over. Mainstream financial institutions are adopting these assets and the blockchain technology that enables them, in what ...

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DNA as you've never seen it before, thanks to a new nanotechnology imaging method

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


DNA as you've never seen it before, thanks to a new nanotechnology imaging method

A map of DNA with the double helix colored blue, the landmarks in green, and the start points for copying the molecule in red. David Gilbert/Kyle Klein, CC BY-ND

Courtesy of David M. Gilbert, Florida State University


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More Examples Of "Typical Tesla "wise-guy scamminess"

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Stanphyl Capital’s letter to investors for the month of March 2019.

rawpixel / Pixabay

Friends and Fellow Investors:

For March 2019 the fund was up approximately 5.5% net of all fees and expenses. By way of comparison, the S&P 500 was up approximately 1.9% while the Russell 2000 was down approximately 2.1%. Year-to-date 2019 the fund is up approximately 12.8% while the S&P 500 is up approximately 13.6% and the ...

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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...

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Mapping The Market

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

A good start from :

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism


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...

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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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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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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.

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