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Tumbling Tuesday – Trade War Heats Up Again as US Blacklists China

Image result for blacklistMore Trade War!

Yesterday, the Trump Administration added 28 Chinese companies and organizations to a "Blacklist" that blocks them from buying American products – ostensibly over a sudden concern about human rights violations but this is just Trump's usual BS because he thinks it gives him leverage in the upcoming trade negotiations while what it actually does is piss China off.  

Among the alleged "Human Right Violators" just so happens to be Hikvision and Dahua Technology, two of the world’s largest manufacturers of video surveillance products. It also hits China’s well-funded, newly emerging class of artificial-intelligence start-ups. Together, the companies’ products are central to China’s ambitions to be the top global exporter of surveillance technology.

The list also includes companies that specialize in artificial intelligence, voice recognition and data as well as provincial and local security bureaus that have helped construct what amounts to a police state in Xinjiang. These entities have been involved “in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention and high-technology surveillance,” the filing said.

While it may seem sort of reasonable to go after the "enablers", if Hitler used an IPhone we wouldn't ban Apple, would we?  In fact, what we're banning is the ability of these companies to by the American parts that are enabling their technology in the first place.  Will it stop them from getting the parts?  Of course not – they'll just buy it from someone else.  

The U.S. government and Department of Commerce cannot and will not tolerate the brutal suppression of ethnic minorities within China,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said as he oversaw a Trump operation to get rid of the brown people.  In fact, China has been calling for the UN to act on the US's human rights violations for 2 years now and the Chinese Government said they will immeditately retaliate against these new sanctions.  

Members of the League of Social Democrats of pro-democracy party Avery Ng (C), Leung Kwok-hung also known as Long Hair (centre R) and other activists take part in a protest against US President Donald Trump and his recent immigration and refugee restrictions, in Hong Kong. Photo: AFP

Of course the Blacklist is not absolute, US companies can still apply for licenses to supply products to organizations that have been placed on the Commerce Department entity list, but the government may deny the applications – giving Trump a new level of power over major US Tech Companies he has been pressuring to "be more fair" to Right Wing points of view and conspiracy theories.  

Dictators don't take power all at once, they take it inch by inch…  

Image result for turkey syriaSpeaking of human rights and pretending to care about them, the UN has said that they situation in Syria is currently the largest human rights crisis on the planet yet Trump is withdrawing our troops and rolling out the red carpet for Turkey to attack the Kurdish forces who were, until yesterday, our strong allies.  When your foriegn policy is to stab your friends in the back – don't be surprised when it happens to you down the road!  

There are 2M Syrians in the zone Trump just "gave" to Turkey and those people are now refugees who, of course, we do not allow in this country – making it everybody else's problem (the one that we caused).  Yet another big foriegn policy victory for Vladimir Putin! 

Erdogan's Syria Invasion Begins: Turkish Jets Filmed Bombing Kurdish Targets.

So, does the market like this?  No, it does not.  This does not improve trade yet it also doesn't make Fed easing more likely so it's a net negative and the Futures are down 200 points at 8:15 yet that, of course, can change in a flash.  We don't care because we cashed out 3 weeks ago (at the highs – you're welcome!), so we're just haging out and watching all the fun for now.  

Image result for world bank global growth forecastThe World Bank is warning that there will be a downward revision to their 2.6% Global Growth Forecast from June, which was already revised down from 3.2% to the worst level since 2009.  “Global growth is slowing, hurt by Brexit, Europe’s recession and trade uncertainty,” said WB President, David Malpass.  Malpass repeated his criticism of the roughly $15Tn of bonds with zero or negative yields, describing it as “frozen capital” that’s diverting resources from growth and benefiting bondholders and issuers of the debt

Team Trump, meanhwhile, is not content to sit back and see the Global Economy slow to 2.6% – not when they can make it zero!  Trump signed an executive order on Thursday with sweeping implications for how Medicare is priced and, by extension, how much the government winds up spending annually on Medicare.  HHS Secretary Alex Azar is to submit a report within 180 days “that identifies approaches to modify Medicare Fee-For-Service (FFS) payments to more closely reflect the prices paid for services in MA and the commercial insurance market.” Taken literally, that’s a huge price increase – and could easily bankrupt the Medicare Trust Funds (yes, there’s more than one) in a matter of months.

Image result for putin trump puppet animated gifWhy, you may wonder, would the Putin-puppet do this to us?  Is it a last-minute cash grab from Health Care lobbyists to shore up Trump's legal defense fund?  Trump may be planning to resign fast enough to get a pardon from President Pence so stuffing away a few Billion in bribes ought to see him through to retirement but does he have to doom America to do it?  

Despite paying out an average of $13,257 for each of the 60M enrolled recipients ($795Bn), Medicare actually finished 2018 with $15Bn MORE than it had in 2017 so we're at a very delicate balance but that $15Bn more is just $300Bn and Trump's proposed change would drain out that money by the first quarter of 2020.  Since it's just one of the many completely insane things Trump did last week – no one is paying much attention to it but maybe that's the plan – there is literally so much crap going on that people can't put out all the fires and, if you want to burn down America – that's a good way to go about it

Medicare Trust Fund Assets at the end of 2018

Be careful out there!  


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  1. Good Morning!

  2. Trade / Phil – This trade war with China is at this point only a political tool for Trump. Makes him look tough to his base who is paying more with each trip to Wal-Mart. They use it to prop up the market with each more and more idiotic prediction of new talks. And there is no political price to be paid! 

    And keep in mind that the tariffs all of us have paid in 2019 is what keeps the deficit under $1T which would be a psychological number for many:

    The federal budget deficit for 2019 is estimated at $984 billion, a hefty 4.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and the highest since 2012, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said on Monday.

  3. And here is an argument that Warren can't be worse than Trump for the economy, quite the contrary:

    Big corporate tax cuts notwithstanding, Trump has been no friend to business. Think about it: He has placed pointless tariffs on goods from countries we’ve had good trading relationships with for decades. He has started a counterproductive trade war with China. His anti-immigration policy hurts everything from tech companies to poultry farms. He has consistently issued threats against because its chief executive, Jeff Bezos, owns The Washington Post. He has turned the Justice Department’s antitrust division into a weapon that rewards his friends and attacks his enemies. Even his deregulatory efforts can be harmful. Oil companies don’t want looser methane rules, and car companies don’t want lower gas emissions regulations — both of which the Trump administration has proposed.

    According to Bloomberg News, Jeffrey Gundlach, the billionaire bond guru, predicts the chances of a recession in 2020 have risen to 75%. Suppose there is a recession next year. Do you trust Trump and his economic team to take the right steps to soften the economic blow it will deal the country? I certainly don’t.

  4. Added to my NGL position at $12.96 on this UBS downgrade.

  5. what do you think of Nikkei as a laggard here phil

  6. Phil / XLNX looks like a good point to sell a small put… maybe the 2020 90 Puts for 18 ish?

  7. Good morning!  

    Good illustration of why Monday's are meaningless. 

    Big Chart – So much for holding the 50 dmas fro 2 straight days.   Also good illustration about why we wait PATIENTLY for all of our indexes to confirm a move before calling something a trend.  

    Deficit/StJ – That's true, I've said for ages Trump doesn't wan to give up his slush fund of tariff money.  Meanwhile, yesterday he was bragging about spending over $1Tn/yr on the military while, at the same time, saying we shouldn't be involved overseas.  What is the point of the military then – just the parades?

    Nikkei/Tommy – Another country running on debt and stimulus but they are closer to the cliff than we are – I haven't touched them in ages. 

    Notice they topped out at 50% and we're topping out at 50% – very normal movement.  Strong retrace from 16,000 to 24,000 is 3,200 points to 21,800 and /NKD is at 21,365.  S&P from 2,000 to 3,000 is 1,000 points so 200-point retraces to 2,800 (weak) and 2,600 (strong) is what we have to look forward to.  Both indexes have tested their 50% lines and held them – that's constructive at least.  

    Image result for japan us thelma louise cartoon

    Image result for japan debt

    Related image

    XLNX/Batman – I'd give China a chance to retaliate but yeah, that's a good one as $90 is $22.6Bn and XLNX is good for $1Bn with nice growth so it's reasonable but not great.  $80 is a better target and I'd rather wait for it than manufacture it with a put as they COULD go lower in a market crash.

    Year End 30th Mar 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 TTM 2020E 2021E CAGR / Avg
    Revenue $m 2,383 2,377 2,214 2,357 2,467 3,059 3,224 3,405 3,802 +5.1%
    Operating Profit $m 739.1 755.1 669.9 706.4 686 956.8 992     +5.3%
    Net Profit $m 630.4 648.2 550.9 628.1 464 889.8 941.2 946.5 1,071 +7.1%
    EPS Reported $ 2.19 2.35 2.05 2.34 2.61 3.41 3.60     +9.3%
    EPS Normalised $ 2.25 2.43 2.05 2.34 2.73 3.43 3.61 3.68 4.15 +8.7%
    EPS Growth % +26.0 +7.6 -15.5 +14.0 +16.9 +25.4 +27.2 +7.46 +12.8  
    PE Ratio x           27.0 25.6 25.2 22.3  
    PEG x           3.62 3.44 1.97 1.53


    White House orders Gordon Sondland not to testify to Congress.  That's blatant obstruction of justice – I wonder what bigger crime they are covering up to do that?

    WASHINGTON — The Trump administration directed a top American diplomat involved in its pressure campaign on Ukraine not to appear Tuesday morning for a scheduled interview in the House’s impeachment inquiry.

    The decision to block Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union, from speaking with investigators for three House committees is certain to provoke an immediate conflict with potentially profound consequences for the White House and President Trump. House Democrats have repeatedly warned that if the administration tries to interfere with their investigation, it will be construed as obstruction, a charge they see as potentially worthy of impeachment.

    This is some really crazy shit going on!  

    “I would love to send Ambassador Sondland, a really good man and great American, to testify,” Trump wrote on Twitter, “but unfortunately he would be testifying before a totally compromised kangaroo court, where Republican’s rights have been taken away.”

    Robert Luskin, Mr. Sondland’s lawyer, said in a statement that as a State Department employee, his client had no choice but to comply with the administration’s direction. He said Mr. Sondland had been prepared and happy to testify, and would do so in the future if allowed.

    The Trump administration sought to use a potential meeting between Trump and the Ukrainian president as leverage to press Kyiv to investigate Joe Biden, text messages show, as Mr. Trump called on China to also investigate his political rival.2,108

  8. Speaking of stocks for the Watch List, Coulter put up some good choices yesterday with high short interest (3 we already like):

    from TDAmeritrade


    Here are S3’s 10 best stock candidates for a short squeeze.

    Dillard's, Inc. (NYSE: DDS), $496.5 million short interest, 84.2% of float.

    GameStop Corp. (NYSE: GME), $273.1 million short interest, 74.7% of float.

    Health Insurance Innovations Inc (NASDAQ: HIIQ), $129.6 million short interest, 72.9% of float.

    Tanger Factory Outlet Centers Inc. (NYSE: SKT), $659.5 million short interest, 68.9% of float.

    Yeti Holdings Inc (NYSE: YETI), $510.3 million short interest, 64.8% of float.

    Pennsylvania R.E.I.T. (NYSE: PEI), $195.5 million short interest, 64.0% of float.

    Eidos Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: EIDX), $135.7 million short interest, 62.5% of float.

    Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBY), $756.3 million short interest, 62.0% of float.

    Fastly Inc (NYSE: FSLY), $177.0 million short interest, 61.6% of float.

    Turning Point Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: TPTX), $92.7 million short interest, 58.1% of float.

  9. I don't know, this doesn't make me too enthusiastic about re-deploying our cash:

    Those downturns are not easy to reverse. 

  10. Phil

    What do we have for KHC ?

    Or did we close


  11. KHC/QC – Were you not here?  We closed EVERYTHING!  All cash except Butterfly and Hemp Boca Portfolios – see last review.  Planning to stay in cash until Fed at end of the month but might start bargain-hunting on earnings season.  

    • Boeing (BA -1.6%) says it delivered 26 commercial planes in September, including 12 787s and two older generation 737s, lifting its commercial aircraft deliveries to 302 for the first nine months of the year.
    • The result leaves it further behind the 571 aircraft delivered YTD by rival Airbus (OTCPK:EADSY), which extended its lead over Boeing to 269 planes from 224 at the end of August.
    • Boeing's YTD commercial airplane deliveries are 47% lower than in the year-ago period, its September deliveries are down 70% from the same month in 2018, and Q3 deliveries slumped 67% Y/Y to 63.
    • Boeing's September net orders for commercial aircraft totaled 25, including eight 787 Dreamliners and one 737 MAX to a business jet customer.
    Looking to escape the lawsuits: Boeing takes stake in Virgin Galactic
    • Boeing's (NYSE:BA) venture arm HorizonX will take a $20M minority stake in Virgin Galactic once it goes public later this year.
    • Sir Richard Branson's space tourism company is planning to list on the NYSE via a merger with Social Capital Hedosophia (NYSE:IPOA), a special-purpose acquisition company created by venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya.
    • The investment from Boeing will allow the companies to explore developing a commercial vehicle capable of flying around the world at hypersonic speeds.

    • Weaker-than-expected producer inflation in September — against a backdrop of slowing economic growth, trade tensions, overseas growth easing -- may lead the Fed to cut rates again later this month.
    • Core producer price index, which excludes volatile food, energy, and trade services components, fell 0.3% in September from the previous month, falling short of the 0.2% increase expected and reversing the 0.3% rise in August.
    • Core PPI increased 1.7% in the 12 months through September after rising 1.9% in August.
    • The 10-year Treasury rises today as stocks fall; yield falls 5 basis points to 1.515%; (TLT +0.7%), (TBT -1.4%).
    • The CME FedWatch Tool puts the probability of a 25-bp rate cut at 83.9%, up from 74.8% yesterday and 62.0% a week ago.
    • Previously: Uncertainty rises in NFIB's small business optimism index (Oct. 8)
    • September Producer Price Index: -0.3% M/M vs. +0.1% consensus, +0.1% prior.
    • +1.4% Y/Y vs. +1.8% consensus, +1.8% prior.
    • Core PPI -0.3% M/M vs. +0.2% consensus, +0.3% prior.
    • +2.0% Y/Y vs. +2.3% consensus, +2.3% prior.

    • Chain store sales increased 5.5% for the week ending October 5 to slightly drop from the prior week's 5.8% pace, according to the latest report from Johnson Redbook.
    • Sales tied to the fall season trailed slightly due to warm weather across parts of the U.S.
    • The Trump administration's talks on potential restrictions on capital flows into China will focus on investments made by U.S. government pension funds, Bloomberg reports, citing people familiar with internal deliberations.
    • Late last month, the administration was reportedly considering a range of limits, which later White House adviser Peter Navarro labeled "fake news".  Now they're looking at how the prevent the U.S. government retirement funds from financing China's economic growth, the people said.
    • One of the specific areas they're looking at is further scrutinizing index providers' decision to add Chinese companies they consider a material risk for American investors, Bloomberg reported, though it's unclear if the White House can legally force major indexes to drop certain Chinese companies.
    • In response a number of U.S.-listed Chinese companies are falling in premarket trading — Alibaba (NYSE:BABA-2.6%, (NASDAQ:JD-2.6%, Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU-2.4%, HUYA (NYSE:HUYA-1.9%, Luckin Coffee (NASDAQ:LK) -2.5%, and TAL Education (NYSE:TAL-1.6%.
    • Target (NYSE:TGT) announces a new online partnership with Tru Kids Brands.
    • Tru Kids, which is the parent of the Toys "R" Us brand, features content-rich videos and articles on the latest trends and hottest toy brands, in-depth product reviews, hot toy lists and brand experiences.
    • Target will also power online sales in new Toys "R" Us experiential retail stores that will launch later this fall in Houston, Texas and Paramus, New Jersey.
    • TGT +0.30% premarket to $108.27
    • Source: Press Release
    • Aurora Cannabis (NYSE:ACB) and CTT Pharmaceutical (OTCPK:CTTHannounces successful commercialization of CTT's cannabinoid-infused sublingual wafers.
    • The new cannabis product line has been launched by Aurora in the Canadian medical cannabis market under the brand name "Dissolve Strips".
    • Aurora has an ownership interest in CTT of approx. 9%, with a warrant allowing it to increase its stake to 42.5%.
    • Orally Dissolvable Thin Film Wafers are a proprietary drug delivery mechanism in the form of paper-thin polymer films used as carriers for pharmaceutical agents.

  12. OUCH on Coffee!

  13. /KC/Tshroy – We thought they might test $95 again – they often flush before moving higher.  There hasn't been any exciting news recently to drive it:

    Coffee Market Report

    04 Oct 2019

    The National Coffee Growers Federation in Colombia have reported that the country’s coffee production for the month of September was 38,000 bags or 3.62% higher than the same month last year, at a total of 1,088,000 bags. This number has contributed to the country’s cumulative coffee production for the October 2018 to September 2019 coffee year to be 55,000 bags or 0.4% higher than the same period in the previous coffee year, at a total of 13,866,000 bags.

    The National Coffee Growers Federation in Colombia have also reported that the country’s coffee exports for the month of September were 87,000 bags or 7.88% lower than the same month last year, at a total of 1,017,000 bags. This number has contributed to the country’s cumulative coffee exports for the October 2018 to September 2019 coffee year to be 828,000 bags or 6.4% higher than the same period in the previous coffee year, at a total of 13,784,000 bags

    The Ivory Coast have reported that the countries coffee exports for the first eight months of this year have increased by 434,383 bags or 43.38%, to register these exports at 1,074,567 bags. This report indicating that the country is well on track to possibly exceed the forecast exports of 1.4 million bags, for this calendar year.

    Internal Coffee Trade in Vietnam remained quiet as the start of the new October 2019 to September 2020 coffee season began this week, with this being said it is predicted that trade will remain lacklustre until early November when supply from the new season is likely to be available.

    The December to January contracts arbitrage between the New York and London markets broadened yesterday; to register this at 41.68 usc/Lb. This equates to 40.84% price discount for the London Robusta coffee market.

    Notice last Sept we dove into a massive spike in October – that's why I'm trying to be in for the ride – in case it happens again.

    2018/19 Marks Second Consecutive Year of Surplus World coffee production in coffee year 2018/19 is estimated to be 3.7% higher than in the previous year at 168.87 million bags, as output of Arabica increased by 1.8% to 102.68 million bags and Robusta grew 6.7% to 66.04 million bags. The larger supply in coffee year 2018/19 is reflected in increased shipments in the first eleven months of the coffee year, during which global exports increased by 9.2% to 120.28 million bags, surpassing the total volume shipped in 2017/18. In coffee year 2018/19, world consumption is estimated to be 2.1% higher at 164.82 million bags, but coffee production exceeded this by 4.05 million bags. This surplus is a major factor in the low prices this season. The ICO composite indicator fell to 97.74 US cents/lb in September 2019, and it averaged 100.47 US cents/lb in coffee year 2018/19. Prices for the Arabica group indicators rose in September 2019, while the Robusta indicator fell to its lowest monthly average since April 2010, decreasing to 70.64 US cents/lb in September 2019.

    Markets bouncing back, I assume the Note Auction went well.

    relates to The Big Question Hanging Over U.S. Earnings

    relates to The Big Question Hanging Over U.S. Earnings

    U.S. earnings per share are far out-performing the rest of the world

    Of course we know that's due to buy-backs – but we do look impressive.  Also, buybacks don't hurt new shareholders – so don't think earnings aren't legitimate just because they reduced the share count.  What's not legitimate is the earnings GROWTH – that's where you have to be careful as it distorts forward assumptions.  

    relates to The Big Question Hanging Over U.S. Earnings

    Accruals- and GDP-based profits are unlinked; the market is ahead of both

    The numbers on corporate profits in the National Income and Profit Accounts, or NIPA, have stagnated throughout the post-crisis decade. These are compiled by the Bureau of Economic Analysis as part of its calculations of gross domestic product. By contrast, the S&P 500’s profits under accruals accounting have moved ahead, while share prices have risen far faster than either:

    relates to The Big Question Hanging Over U.S. Earnings

    There are reasons why earnings calculated under the two methods will diverge from time to time, but this is extreme. If anything, NIPA tends to be a leading indicator. This chart, from Stephanie Pomboy of MacroMavens LLC in New York, shows annual changes for the two series, with NIPA 12 months ahead. The last time the two series diverged so widely was during the dotcom bubble.: 

    The disparity is largely due to financial engineering. Taxes, interest, and a declining share count all help to reduce reported earnings per share without affecting the NIPA series. Beyond the financial engineering, there’s little evidence from the NIPA data that corporate America is as strong as it appears

    Then there’s the issue of margins. Over history, margins have a strong tendency to revert to the mean – a trend mainly driven by the economic cycle, and by the relative bargaining strength of managements and the workforce. Margins have been high for a while. Subramanian of BAML points out that this is one of those rare quarters where sales are expected to perform better than earnings. In other words, margins are expected to tighten – which should be no surprise given the strong labor market. 

    relates to The Big Question Hanging Over U.S. Earnings

    relates to The Big Question Hanging Over U.S. Earnings

    It seems our Corporate Citizens no longer worry about death or taxes…

  14. I have to leave at 2pm for the Hemp Boca Show (2:30) – I won't be back as I have a family dinner.  

    Sen. Lindsey Graham invites Rudy Giuliani to testify before Congress on Trump-Ukraine scandal

    in the last two years, countries accounting for more than one-third of global output have signed more than a dozen trade treaties. When historians look back, they may depict this as a time when free traders set new rules for decades to follow. So what’s with all the pessimism? Answer: The U.S. isn’t part of this dynamic opening. 

    Still crazy after all these days:

    Trump: Hasn’t Adam Schiff been fully discredited by now? Do we have to continue listening to his lies?

    Matt Gaetz: "What we see in this impeachment is a kangaroo court and Chairman Schiff is acting like a malicious Captain Kangaroo."

    Trump: Someone please tell the Radical Left Mayor of Minneapolis that he can’t price out Free Speech. Probably illegal! I stand strongly & proudly with the great Police Officers and Law Enforcement of Minneapolis and the Great State of Minnesota! See you Thursday Night!

    - 58% of Americans now support impeachment inquiry


    Actually, those buybacks get kind of expensive after a while:


  15. Ah, now I know why Trump hates that climate girl so much – she's going to get his Nobel Peace Prize!  

    First Squawk




    DUH!  Central bank stimulus is distorting financial markets, BIS finds

  16. It's really mentally exhausting to read these 4th grade level insult tweets day in and day out! And I can't wait to see Giuliani under oath at a senate hearing. My guess is that he won't show up.

  17. Well, gotta run – nice 50% recovery.

  18. totally agree with you St J. It’s mind numbing

  19. Come back Phil – you left and the /ES has slid 20 points so far!

  20. Looks like Dow and Nasdaq hit resistance at the 50 DMA line! Could not get over.

  21. Happens every time I get out of my chair!

  22. Close at the lows for the day!

  23. Bad finish and XLF down 2% also bad.  

    Submitted on 2019/10/01 at 2:09 pm

    FAZ/Pat – Well it's been a while since that got a pop but you could chase it.  HUGE amount of decay in FAZ over the long haul though. How about shorting FAS?  You could get more bang for your buck and then the decay goes in your favor.  The April $70 ($8)/60 ($4) bear put spread is a fun way to play it as it pays $6 (150%) if FAS falls 15% which is not much of a pullback in the financials.  

    That worked well because  12% of $80 was $10 but 12% of $34 was only $4…

  24. Profit, not politics: Trump allies sought Ukraine gas deal

  25. Trade War Spins Out Of Control

  26. Good morning!  

    Futures blasting higher as China says they are still willing to make a trade deal. 

    A report from Bloomberg News indicated that China was open to a limited tariff resolution with the U.S., while a separate report from the Financial Times (paywall) indicated that China has offered to increase by 50% purchases of agricultural products from U.S. farmers to $50 billion.