Archive for 2018

New Study Finds Explosion In Concealed Carry Permits, Especially Among Women

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

New research from economist and author John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center reveals that Americans have been applying for permits to carry concealed weapons (CCW) in record numbers, especially among women.

According to Lott, there were 890,000 CCW permits issued in 2017, while 4.6 million have been issued between 2007 and 2018, according to official state records – meaning 2017 saw a jump of nearly 24% in one year. 

"We have seen an increase from 4.6 million permits in 2007 to 17.25 million now, with the number increasing every year," Lott – the author of the highly cited book More Guns, Less Crime told Fox News.

There were 2.7 million concealed handgun permit holders in 1999, 4.6 million in 2007, 8 million in 2011, 11.1 million in 2014, and now 17.25 million in 2017. The growth in permits has been continuous. -Crime Prevention Research Center

"The states that we have seen a slowing of permits have primarily been these Constitutional Carry states where a permit is no longer required, indeed some of those states have even seen a drop in the number of permits even though the number of people carrying in those places has undoubtedly gone up," added Lott.

The report also notes that despite the common assumption that CCW applications would drop off after the 2016 election, quite the opposite has happened. 

Conventional wisdom held that the sharp rise in gun sales during Obama’s presidency was driven, at least in part, by the threat of guns control,” the study says. “That’s why everyone expected gun sales to decline after Trump’s victory.”

Other highlights: 

The number of women and minorities with CCW permits has continued to rise, with Black and Asian women leading the pack. 

Interest in CCW permits has corresponded to various mass shootings, as Lott illustrates on page 40. 

After 2014, the murder rate began to climb with the rate of CCW holders, however an increase in violent crimes was comparatively muted: 

Read the full report below:

Tesla Shorts Up $1.2 Billion Since Musk “Going Private” Tweet As Saudis Plan Investment In Competitor

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

It was less than three weeks ago when we posted "Tesla Shorts Refuse To Cover Despite Suffering Massive Losses" in which we wrote that "Tesla shares rocketed higher on August 2, by almost $50, the day after the company reported its second-quarter results" and added that "despite the stock rising more than 15% immediately after the report, WSJ analytics showed that short sellers are standing their ground in the name despite an estimated $1.7 billion paper loss resulting from the violent move higher."

At the start of the month, and heading into Tesla earnings, there was about $10.5 billion in short interest according to S3 Partners. And as the below chart shows, Tesla has remained the most heavily shorted stock in the U.S. both before and after its report.

Of course, the pain for the shorts only spiked on August 7 when first the Saudi Sov. Wealth Fund announced a 5% stake, promptly followed by Musk tweeting his intention to take the company private at $420, which sent the stock just shy of its all time highs.

Still, the shorts refused to cover, because as the FT reported on Sunday, while the buyout plan pitched by Musk may have been nothing more than a way to "burn the shorts", something the SEC is now allegedly investigating, less than 4 per cent of the short positions have been closed since his tweet.

And in retrospect, good thing they did not because as the bizarre events in the subsequent days demonstrated, Musk's market manipulative tweet – it has since emerged that funding was not secured – may have been the catalyst to not only an SEC investigation, but the last nail of what has been one long, at times surreal emotional collapse for the Tesla CEO.

Following every twist and turn in the grotesque Elon Musk saga, Tesla stock reversed course and less than two weeks after Musk's tweet at the close on Friday, it traded 19% below their level before the tweet. Which, according to S3 Partners calculations, means that the mark-to-market value of the short positions is up $1.2bn over that period.

As S3 also adds, the Tesla short interest has risen to $11.2bn, which not only…
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A “Record Divergence”: Why The Market Thinks The US Is The Absolute Trade War Winner

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

One of the fascinating things about the US stock market has been the resilience with which US stocks have decoupled from the troubles in the rest of the world, and more specifically, how tech stocks have continued to plow higher regardless of newsflow, even as most markets around the globe have slumped deep into correction territory.

To be sure, a big part of that has been the tech sector's stellar margin expansion as discussed earlier…

… yet even so, the relentless and recurring "buy the dip" action observed in US tech stocks has amazed many pundits, and at times even the bulls have been impressed by the sector's unprecedented resilience.

The same can not be said for tech stocks in emerging markets, and especially China.

Indeed, as Credit Suisse remarks in a recent note, while concerns around Turkey have been held up as the primary reason for emerging market underperformance, one shouldn't forget the significant role played by the sharp decline in the EM tech sector, especially after the recent collapse in Tencent stock and more recently, the sharp drop in following poor earnings. Since the start of June, the EM tech sector has accounted for c.40% of the decline in the value of EM equities, with the Chinese internet names the primary drivers following recent regulatory challenges and poor results. And, as the chart below highlights, this has opened up a record divergence in tech performance between the US and EM.

Needless to say, such a divergence is unusual: in the 18 months to the end of June this year, both the US and EM tech sectors rose by 50% in USD terms. Since then, the EM tech sector is down 6%, while its US counterpart up by 5%.

This is bad news for EM bulls, because looking ahead, with the top 5 stocks in EM all tech names, a stabilization in EM tech is a necessary condition of broader EM outperformance. And, as a reminder to US investors, the decline in EM tech also highlights once again the substantial challenges…
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Hedgies Hit Record Short Gold As Gundlach Warns Bond Bears Of “Massive…Short Squeeze”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

DoubleLine Capital’s Jeffrey Gundlach has a warning for bond bears.

Noting the “massive increase” in short positions against 10-year and 30-year Treasury markets, he warned in a Twitter posting that Treasury bond shorts are the "highest in history, by far," and "could cause quite a squeeze."

Massive increase this week in short positions against 10 &30 yr UST mkts. Highest for both in history, by far. Could cause quite a squeeze.

— Jeffrey Gundlach (@TruthGundlach) August 17, 2018

Speculators boosted 10-year futures net shorts by a further $8.3m/DV01, leaving positioning at short close to 700k TY contracts; elsewhere, net short in belly of the curve was cut by $3m/DV01. Further out, net ultra-long futures short was extended by $5.5m/DV01 to record level.

In eurodollars, speculators cut shorts by $4.5m/DV01 while asset managers marginally added to net short

Speculators appears to be pricing in over 50bps of yield rise over current 10Y rates – as Gundlach notes, if the market gets a safe-haven jolt (cough EM crisis cough) or growth scare (cough China cough) then this massive short position might squeeze yields dramatically lower…

Additionally, Gundlach notes, The Dollar's major net long positioning is a concern also…"Boom narrative post peak."

Big long positioning in $. Massive short positioning in US Treasuries. SPX back at highs on diminishing momentum. Boom narrative post peak.

— Jeffrey Gundlach (@TruthGundlach) August 18, 2018

And while speculators have never been more averse to bond safe-havens, as dollar longs have soared, they have also abandoned precious metals.

In an almost unprecedented move, net speculative positioning in gold and silver futures has collapsed in recent weeks.

As Peter Boockvar notes, "for those who care about gold such as myself, in the just released CFTC data for the week ended Tuesday, speculators went
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“The Central Banker Asked Me What It All Meant”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Eric Peters of One River Asset Management, authored by Lindsay Politi

Triumph of the Machines

We were his last stop. The central banker had toured NY area investment shops. He described a fascinating trip; so much happening in algorithmic trading. The only thing keeping it from completely revolutionizing investing is getting enough data.

“You say that like it’s a minor issue,” I countered, “but just about every financial crisis in my career was because something happened that wasn’t in the historical data set. The last was caused in no small part from people believing house prices couldn’t fall simply because the data said they never had.”

On the day of the flash crash,” I said to the central banker, “my screens went blank — then I got a Bloomberg from my salesman. It said they’d temporarily shut off their electronic trading platform but I could still trade over the phone.” The central banker’s eyes widened a tad, so I continued. “A colleague ranted that on Wall Street in 1982 there were more than 30 people trading treasuries at his bank. Now there are 2.5 people and a computer but during the flash crash there wasn’t even a computer!”

The central banker asked me what it all meant.

“I’d temper your excitement about today’s algorithmic trading liquidity with concern about who will provide the real liquidity if something happens to make people turn off the machines.”

Future of Investing

“Successful investing in the future will look different than it looked in the past,” Eric and I explain in meetings. “Global interest rates are rising, having fallen from double digits into negative territory, years of globalization and supply chain deepening appear to be reversing, and the accumulation of tremendous wealth is being challenged by new politicians.”

Yet, investment portfolios look largely the same. “Investing as a profession has never been more backward-looking — just at a moment when the past is least likely to repeat itself.”

Valuation Matters:

“I started saving for retirement when the stock market P/E was single digits – it’s one of the most overlooked factors that allowed me to retire comfortably,” said the professor. “Certainly, years of tremendous growth, globalization, and innovation drove earnings higher. That mattered. But too little credit is given to the benefit of buying at good prices,”…
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Did Erdogan Quietly Fold? Overnight Lending Rate Spikes 150bps Amid Silence From Central Bank

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Despite threat-laden speeches and promises to avoid the interest-rate-trap, it appears Turkish President Erdogan has 'engineered' a monetary tightening of 150bps in the overnight lending rate (and is potentially on the path to another 150bps).

Bloomberg reports that by shutting banks off from borrowing at the benchmark 17.75% repo rate and forcing them to turn to the overnight lending rate – currently at 19.25% – policy makers have effectively enacted a 150bps hike within a week.

Should they close down the overnight market too, it would compel borrowers to turn to the emergency late liquidity window, where rates currently stand at 20.75 percent.

“The repo rate is no longer relevant because all the funding is done at the overnight lending rate,” said Ziad Daoud, the chief economist for the Middle East at Bloomberg Economics in Dubai.

“It’ll be interesting to see whether the central bank will stop here or or whether it’ll use the late liquidity window to lift rates further.”

It is therefore plain to see that the central bank is trying to counter the slump in the lira without formally raising its benchmark interest rate – an action that Erdogan opposes vehemently, proclaiming that higher interest rates fuel inflation — a view at odds with economic orthodoxy — and will kill off economic growth.

For now the reaction the lira is negligible at best as Friday's slump is holding…

Notably, Lira trading is likely to be thin in coming days due to a week-long holiday.

Who are the Sikhs and what are their beliefs?


Who are the Sikhs and what are their beliefs?

File 20180807 191013 19czcpz.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Courtesy of Simran Jeet Singh, New York University

New Jersey’s first Sikh attorney general, Gurbir Singh Grewal, was a target of disparaging remarks recently. Two radio hosts commented on Grewal’s Sikh identity and repeatedly referred to him as “turban man.” When called out on the offensiveness of their comments, one of them stated, “Listen, and if that offends you, then don’t wear the turban and maybe I’ll remember your name.”

Listeners, activists and Sikhs around the country acted immediately by contacting the station to express their concerns. News outlets quickly picked up the story and the radio hosts were suspended.

Grewal is a practicing Sikh who maintains a turban and beard. Scholars and government officials estimate the Sikh American population to number around 500,000. Nevertheless for many American Sikhs, such experiences are not uncommon. As a scholar of the tradition and a practicing Sikh myself, I have studied the harsh realities of what it means to be a Sikh in America today. I have also experienced racial slurs from a young age.

The bottom line is there is little understanding of who exactly the Sikhs are and what the believe. So here’s a primer.

Founder of Sikhism

To start at the beginning, the founder of the Sikh tradition, Guru Nanak was born in 1469 in the Punjab region of South Asia, which is currently split between Pakistan and the northwestern area of India. A majority of the global Sikh population still resides in Punjab on the Indian side of the border.

From a young age, Guru Nanak was disillusioned by the social inequities and religious hypocrisies he observed around him. He believed that a single divine force created the entire world and resided within it. In his belief, God was not separate from the world and watching from a distance, but fully present in every aspect of creation.

He therefore asserted that all people are equally divine and deserve to be treated as such.

To promote this vision of divine oneness and…
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‘Squirrels’ Everywhere – Distract, Distract, Distract

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Lance Roberts via,


I had suggested last week that a retest of support at 2800 would be a possibility as the market had gotten very overbought as it approached the January highs.

“With moving averages rising, this shifts Pathway #2a and #2b further out into the August and September time frames. The potential for a correction back to support before a second attempt at all-time highs would align with normal seasonal weakness heading into the Fall.

As shown in the updated “pathway chart” above, the market did indeed attempt to test all-time highs in the market. But, as I noted, the overbought condition provided the fuel for a correction given the right catalyst.

That catalyst appeared on Friday as the Lira plunged and Turkey edged closer to an economic crisis.”

The market continued to stumble early last week and quickly fell to retest the 2800 level as concerns over Turkey rattled markets globally. However, with the algo’s eyeing that 2800 support level, when news was floated on Thursday and Friday that China is discussing “coming to the table” to resolve the trade dispute, that was the news needed to spark a robot-driven “buying” spree.

It reminded of the movie “Up,” and how easily distracted markets have become.

The “bulls” are hard pressed to NOT give up on this market. Over the last several years, investors have been trained repeatedly to “buy dips” regardless of the “squirrels” that may scamper by. Such works…until it doesn’t.

Don’t get me wrong…we are right in there as well buying opportunity when we see it.

However, we are also well aware of the risk and manage it accordingly. Currently, there is a serious rotation occurring in the market currently which should not be dismissed. As David Rosenberg noted on Friday (courtesy of ZeroHedge):

“Is the stock market flashing an anti-growth signal?”

Simply put, recent market strength is being driven by the S&P 500 Index’s industry groups that are least affected by slower economic growth.

An index tracking four defensive areas – consumer staples, health care, telecom, and utilities – climbed 10.3% in the three months ended Thursday. A similar gauge of economically sensitive groups – consumer discretionary, energy, industrials and raw materials – gained just 0.5%.

With the incessant flattening of the US Treasury yield curve standing in direct opposition to the rise in US equity indices, Rosenberg

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Wisconsin Company Injecting RFID Microchips Into Hands Of Employees

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Wisconsin technology firm Three Square Market has injected 80 employees with their own brand of RFID microchips over the last year, and according to MIT Technology Review, ”they love it.”

The implant, which is about the size of a grain of rice, utilizes Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, also found in credit cards, debit cards, key fobs, and smartphones. This technology is considered “passive,” meaning the microchip stores data that can be read by other devices but cannot read data themselves.

The chip’s applications are devilishly simple; from locked doors, to cashless commerce, to providing first responders with detailed medical information in the event of an emergency – the possibilities are seemingly endless. 

It’s just become such a part of my routine,” says VP of finance Steve Kassekert, who says he was miffed when the RFID reader on the vending machine went down a couple of months ago. 

And sure, buried towards the end of the MTR article are concerns over security – such as the fact that anyone with an RFID reader can cozy up to a chipped individual and ping their implant to glean personal information. But hey – CEO Patrick McMullan points out that “similar personal information could be stolen from his wallet, too.” 

“You can sniff it if you’re at a bus stop,” he says.

You can even install them yourself…


Europe’s already with the program

As we reported in May, over 3,000 Swedes have implanted tiny microchips beneath their skin to replace their credit card information, identification, keys, train tickets, among other everyday items, according to Agence France-Press.

Governments in Europe quietly experimented with embedding the small chip in humans in 2015 in Sweden, and several other countries in the region, before the recent rollout.

“Swedes have gone on to be very active in microchipping, with scant debate about issues surrounding its use, in a country keen on new technology and where the sharing of personal information is held up as a sign of a transparent society,” AFP notes.

Ulrika Celsing is one of 3,000 Swedes with a microchip implanted in her hand — a process called “biohacking.” The 28-year-old told AFP, “It was fun to try something new and to see what one could use it for to make life easier in the future.”

Celsing explained that the microchip has turned into an “electronic handbag”…
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Venezuela’s Key Refineries At Risk Of Seizure

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Robert Rapier via,

In 2007, following Venezuela’s expropriation of billions of dollars of assets from U.S. companies like ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips, I suggested a potential remedy.

Since Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, PDVSA (Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A.) owns the Citgo refineries in the U.S., the companies that had lost billions of dollars of assets should target these refineries for seizure as compensation.

These refineries have the same vulnerabilities as the U.S. assets in Venezuela that were seized. They represent infrastructure on the ground that can’t be removed from the country.

Citgo has three major refining complexes in the U.S. with a total refining capacity of 750,000 barrels per day. Recognizing the vulnerability from asset seizure, PDVSA tried to sell these assets in 2014, and valued them at $10 billion. That value may be grossly overstated, considering that Venezuela subsequently pledged 49.9 percent of Citgo to Russian oil giant Rosneft as collateral for a $1.5 billion loan.

In recent years, PDVSA has lost a series of arbitration awards related to expropriations, and companies have been looking for opportunities to collect. In May, ConocoPhillips seized some PDVSA assets in the Caribbean to partially enforce a $2 billion arbitration award for Venezuela’s 2007 expropriation.

ConocoPhillips had sought up to $22 billion – the largest claim against PDVSA – for the broken contracts from its Hamaca and Petrozuata oil projects. The company is pursuing a separate arbitration case against Venezuela before the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). The ICSID has already declared Venezuela’s takeover unlawful, opening the way for another multi-billion dollar settlement award.

Last week, a court ruling has opened the door for Citgo assets to be seized to pay for these judgments.

Defunct Canadian gold miner Crystallex had been awarded a $1.4 billion judgment over Venezuela’s 2008 nationalization of a Crystallex gold mining operation in the country. A U.S. federal judge ruled that a creditor could seize Citgo’s assets to enforce this award.

This ruling is sure to set off a feeding frenzy among those that have won arbitration rulings against Venezuela. Until the legal rulings are settled, it’s hard to say which companies will end up with Citgo’s assets. But it’s looking far more likely it won’t be PDVSA.


Zero Hedge

Will The US Slap Sanctions On Nord Stream 2?

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Nick Cunningham via,

There is a growing push in the U.S. Congress to slap sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

The pipeline under construction would carry Russian natural gas to Germany, and has been a lightning rod of controversy both in Europe and across the Atlantic. Many governments and officials from Eastern Europe fear deeper dependence on Russia for gas supplies, a sentiment echoed by the U.S. government. Meanwhile, many in Western Europe are less concerned,...

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US is already fighting a conflict with Iran - an economic war that is hurting the wrong people


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US is already fighting a conflict with Iran – an economic war that is hurting the wrong people

Courtesy of David Cortright, University of Notre Dame

Many are worried about the risk of war with Iran after the Trump administration leaked discussions of a troop deployment in response to claimed threats to U.S. warships in the region.

And in r...

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Insider Scoop

Jefferies Sees 60-Percent Upside In Aphria Shares, Says Buy The Dip

Courtesy of Benzinga.

After a red-hot start to 2019, Canadian cannabis producer Aphria Inc (NYSE: APHA) has run out of steam, tumbling more than 31 percent in the past three months.

Despite the recent weakness, one Wall Street analyst said Friday that the stock has 30-percent upside potential. 

The Analyst

Jefferies analyst ... more from Insider

Kimble Charting Solutions

DAX (Germany) About To Send A Bearish Message To The S&P 500?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Is the DAX index from Germany about to send a bearish message to stocks in Europe and the States? Sure could!

This chart looks at the DAX over the past 9-years. It’s spent the majority of the past 8-years inside of rising channel (1), creating a series of higher lows and higher highs.

It looks to have created a “Double Top” as it was kissing the underside of the rising channel last year at (2).

After creating the potential double top, the DAX index has continued to create a series of lower highs, while experiencing a bearish divergence with the S...

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Chart School

Brexit Joke - Cant be serious all the time

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

Alistair Williams comedian nails it, thank god for good humour! Prime Minister May the negotiator. Not!

Alistair Williams Comedian youtube

This is a classic! ha!

Fundamentals are important, and so is market timing, here at we believe a combination of Gann Angles, ...

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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

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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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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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