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.

BEER CONSUMPTION BY STATE

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

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist

PINTS OF INTEREST

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:

Utah

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.

THE FULL LIST

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…

*  *  *

TWO YEMENS

- 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

 

TWO YEMENS RELIGIOUSLY

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).

*  *  *

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 CoinTelegraph.com,

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.”

* * *

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.




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









 
 
 

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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ValueWalk

The Competition For Capital Has Made Stocks Cheap

By Michelle Jones. Originally published at ValueWalk.

The new year is upon us, and now is the time many investors look at what 2018 was and prepare for what 2019 might be. Recession jitters are starting to pick back up again, especially now that the full picture of 2018 is in the books. But what if you could pick only one theme for 2018? Jefferies strategist Sean Darby and team have a suggestion which is especially timely given that it appears to mark the end of an era.

StockSnap / PixabayVolatility carries into the new year

This past year was one of extremes, and the markets ended i...



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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:

 

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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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