Author Archive for ilene

Scorpion Capital Calls a New York Stock Exchange Listed Company a Fraud

Courtesy of Pam Martens

New York Stock Exchange

New York Stock Exchange

On April 1 we wrote the following about the sorrowful state of the listing standards at the New York Stock Exchange:

“We rarely make predictions but we’re going to make one with confidence today. The New York Stock Exchange’s efforts to capture more market share of the IPO business by listing highly questionable Chinese companies and blank-check companies (SPACs) with no prior business history is going to inevitably blow up and cause long-term reputational damage to an institution that is indelibly linked to U.S. markets.”

Just 15 days later, more evidence is emerging that the New York Stock Exchange is going to experience the kind of reputational damage done to the Nasdaq stock exchange during the dot.com pump and dump era, which generated trillions of dollars in losses to investors when it blew up in 2000.

Yesterday, the hedge fund Scorpion Capital, which has a short position in shares of QuantumScape and stands to profit from its decline, released a breathtaking 188-page report in which it calls the company a “fraud,” a “scam,” an “impending pump and dump,” and wrote that it “Makes Theranos Look Like Amateurs.” (Theranos claimed it had created a technology that would revolutionize the blood-testing industry. It was eventually exposed as a fraud. Former Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou wrote the seminal book on the case, Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup.)

QuantumScape is a much-hyped battery developer for electric vehicles. It began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on November 27 of last year. At the time, it had no commercial product and zero revenues.



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Scientists are on a path to sequencing 1 million human genomes and use big data to unlock genetic secrets

 

Scientists are on a path to sequencing 1 million human genomes and use big data to unlock genetic secrets

A complete human genome, seen here in pairs of chromosomes, offers a wealth of information, but it is hard connect genetics to traits or disease. HYanWong/Wikimedia Comons

Courtesy of Xavier Bofill De Ros, National Institutes of Health

The first draft of the human genome was published 20 years ago in 2001, took nearly three years and cost between US$500 million and $1 billion. The Human Genome Project has allowed scientists to read, almost end to end, the 3 billion pairs of DNA bases – or “letters” – that biologically define a human being.

That project has allowed a new generation of researchers like me, currently a postdoctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute, to identify novel targets for cancer treatments, engineer mice with human immune systems and even build a webpage where anyone can navigate the entire human genome with the same ease with which you use Google Maps.

The first complete genome was generated from a handful of anonymous donors to try to produce a reference genome that represented more than just one single individual. But this fell far short of encompassing the wide diversity of human populations in the world. No two people are the same and no two genomes are the same, either. If researchers wanted to understand humanity in all its diversity, it would take sequencing thousands or millions of complete genomes. Now, a project like that is underway.

A group of diverse people.

There is a huge amount of genetic variation among people around the globe. Jon Feingersh Photography Inc/Digital Vision via Getty Images

Understanding genetic diversity

The wealth of genetic variation among people is what makes each person unique. But genetic changes also cause many disorders and make some groups of people more susceptible to certain diseases than others.

Around the time of the Human Genome Project, researchers were also sequencing the complete genomes of organisms such as mice, fruit flies, yeasts and…
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Colombia gives nearly 1 million Venezuelan migrants legal status and right to work

 

Colombia gives nearly 1 million Venezuelan migrants legal status and right to work

Venezuelans wait at the Colombian border to be processed and housed in tents in 2020. All Venezuelans now in Colombia will receive a 10-year residency permit. Schneyder Mendoza/AFP via Getty Images

Courtesy of Erika Frydenlund, Old Dominion University; Jose J. Padilla, Old Dominion University, and Katherine Palacio, Universidad del Norte

Colombia will grant legal status to all Venezuelan migrants who fled there since 2016 to escape their country’s economic collapse and political crisis.

The bold new policy – which will give nearly 1 million undocumented migrants rights to legal employment, health care, education and Colombian banking services for 10 years – is driven by both empathy and pragmatism, says Colombian president Ivan Duque.

“They’ll likely stay for more than a decade,” Duque told NPR on March 3, 2021. “So it’s better to…open them the opportunity to contribute also to the Colombian economy.”

Venezuelan arrivals to Colombia are not confined to refugee camps, so they live scattered across the country. Documenting and absorbing so many migrants – who often arrive on foot, with only a handful of personal belongings and no valid ID – has been a challenge. Even rich countries like the U.S. struggle to handle mass migration.

But in some ways Colombia – itself no stranger to political strife and displacement – is uniquely prepared for this migration crisis.

History of conflict

Colombia has received the brunt of the exodus from neighboring Venezuela since 2015.

When many other South American countries closed their borders with Venezuela, Colombia offered a series of two-year permits giving about 700,000 Venezuelans the right to work and access to health care between 2017 and 2020.

Migrants in a line wearing face masks in a verdant, warm-weather climate

Venezuelan migrants receive food and medicine from the Red Cross near the Colombia-Venezuela border, February 2021. Schneyder Mendoza/AFP via Getty Images

Together with the new legalization plan covering 1 million additional migrants, nearly all the roughly 1.7 million Venezuelans who have come to Colombia…
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“Money Losing Companies Hits Record High”

 

“Money Losing Companies Hits Record High”

Courtesy of 

It seems corporate America has adopted MMT. At least that’s the conclusion you could draw by looking at this chart below.

And if that was your conclusion, then the implications are clear; The stock market is a house of cards.

Thanks to a new report from Michael Mauboussin and Dan Callahan, we know that there is more to the story than meets the eye. What’s really going on in this chart is the rise of intangible investments, which show up on the income statement and not the balance sheet. These “expenses” make more companies appear unprofitable.

Just how big are intangibles that they’re impacting the net income of a company? Very, very big. Here are Mauboussin and Callahan:

Investments in intangible assets were roughly $1.8 trillion in 2020, more than double the $800 billion in capital expenditures. These data put the lie to the assertion that companies are investing less than they used to.

Data without context can be worse than no data at all. The whole thing, as with all of their stuff, is worth taking the time to read. Hit the link below.

Source:

Market-Expected Return on Investment

 





What inspired digital nomads to flee America’s big cities may spur legions of remote workers to do the same

 

What inspired digital nomads to flee America's big cities may spur legions of remote workers to do the same

The pandemic has spurred many workers to contemplate their futures – and whether they ever want to return to office life. Edward Hopper, 'Morning Sun' (1952) via hermien_amsterdam/flickr, CC BY-NC-SA

Courtesy of Rachael A. Woldoff, West Virginia University and Robert Litchfield, Washington & Jefferson College

If one thing is clear about remote work, it’s this: Many people prefer it and don’t want their bosses to take it away.

When the pandemic forced office employees into lockdown and cut them off from spending in-person time with their colleagues, they almost immediately realized that they favor remote work over their traditional office routines and norms.

As remote workers of all ages contemplate their futures – and as some offices and schools start to reopenmany Americans are asking hard questions about whether they wish to return to their old lives, and what they’re willing to sacrifice or endure in the years to come.

Even before the pandemic, there were people asking whether office life jibed with their aspirations.

We spent years studying “digital nomads” – workers who had left behind their homes, cities and most of their possessions to embark on what they call “location independent” lives. Our research taught us several important lessons about the conditions that push workers away from offices and major metropolitan areas, pulling them toward new lifestyles.

Legions of people now have the chance to reinvent their relationship to their work in much the same way.

Big-city bait and switch

Most digital nomads started out excited to work in career-track jobs for prestigious employers. Moving to cities like New York and London, they wanted to spend their free time meeting new people, going to museums and trying out new restaurants.

But then came the burnout.

Although these cities certainly host institutions that can inspire creativity and cultivate new relationships, digital nomads rarely had time to take advantage of them. Instead, high cost of living, time constraints and work demands contributed to an oppressive culture of…
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Crypto – The Beginning of The Beginning… and the Coinbase IPO

 

Crypto – The Beginning of The Beginning… and the Coinbase IPO

Courtesy of Howard Lindzon

I am starting to say the ‘beginning of the beginning’ a lot.

Last month I used it in a blog post about active investing.

Bitcoin and Ethereum are a main reason I believe we are at the beginning of the beginning of active investing and the Coinbase ($COIN) direct listing tomorrow [Apr. 14] is likely why we are still just at the beginning of the beginning of crypto and decentralization.

If it was the end of crypto surely Coinbase could not charge the high commissions they do to retail investors?!

If it was the end of crypto surely Grayscale could not charge the fees they charge for a Bitcoin proxy?!

These are not anecdotes you should use to piss the family fortune away on crazy long crypto bets on my behalf of course.

I do like my friend Josh Elman’s tweet yesterday which got me thinking about the ‘beginning of the beginning’ as it relates to crypto and decentralization…

I am not sure how all this ends, but what a great time to be an active investor.





Banks make a lot of money when the Fed + Treasury outlaw losses

 

Banks make a lot of money when the Fed + Treasury outlaw losses

Courtesy of 

(You can listen to this post above via our podcast series on The Goldmine)

This morning’s explosive quarterly earnings report from JPMorgan is a reminder that ever since financial losses were outlawed last year, Wall Street banks have become insanely profitable. With trillions of dollars worth of stimulus available – both fiscal and monetary – you basically don’t get the wave of bankruptcies that would normally accompany a recession in which 22 million people lost their jobs in just a few months’ time.

The country was deliberately thrown into a recession so abrupt and severe, that the recovery almost had to begin just as quickly. With moratoriums on foreclosure and the ability to roll debt over at significantly lower rates, the banks ended up having too much money reserved for losses that would fail to materialize. And when those losses didn’t occur, the reserves required to be held aside could then be dropped right to the bottom line and magically appear as profits. JPMorgan reported more than $5 billion in these realized profits from the release of loan loss reserves for the first quarter.

And then add the fuel from ultra-low rates and a highly speculative stock market environment and you see the revenues from trading explode as well. All at once.

It’s a bonanza. Retail bankruptcies didn’t show up. Corporate bankruptcies didn’t show up. Lots of stuff got worked out and renegotiated with the ubiquitous grease of easy money on slathered atop everyone’s palms, although most of the palliative financial treatments of this era occurred via DocuSign rather than physical handshake.

Profits for all, losses for none. I promised myself I wouldn’t trot out the old saying about how the Chinese have a single character that expresses both Crisis and Opportunity but, oops, just typed it, couldn’t hold myself back. Not erasing.

Some stats via CNBC:

The bank posted


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Bernie Madoff, Mastermind of the Largest Ponzi Scheme in History, Dies in Prison at Age 82

Courtesy of Pam Martens

Bernard Madoff Outside Federal Court in Manhattan in 2008

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 14, 2021 ~

Bernard (Bernie) Madoff, mastermind of the largest Ponzi scheme in history, died this morning at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina. He was serving a 150-year prison sentence. Madoff would have been 83 on April 29. A source told the Associated Press that Madoff had died of natural causes.

Madoff ran his scheme undetected by regulators and law enforcement for more than four decades until he began to run out of money to meet client redemption requests during the financial crash of 2008 and confessed to his sons. The sons turned him in to the FBI. The case became a national scandal that tarnished both the reputation of the SEC as well as JPMorgan Chase.

The public learned that Harry Markopolos, a financial expert, had been sending detailed written reports to the SEC for years (in 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2008), making the case that Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme. The SEC ignored those repeated, credible warnings.

JPMorgan Chase’s reputation was also dragged through the mud. The bank, and its predecessors, had handled the Madoff business account for decades and ignored serious and ongoing red flags. Making the bank’s conduct even more outrageous, it told regulators in the U.K. that it thought Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme but failed to share those concerns with U.S. regulators.



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One Day Before the Senate Vote on Gary Gensler to Chair the SEC, Senator Toomey, Funded by Wall Street, Berates Him

Courtesy of Pam Martens

Gary Gensler

Gary Gensler

Today is the 85th Day of the Joe Biden Presidency and his nominee to Chair the Securities and Exchange Commission, Gary Gensler, has yet to be confirmed by the full Senate. Apparently, the moneyed interests that control the corporate wing of the Republican party have put Senator Pat Toomey in charge of attempting to derail the nomination.

A full Senate vote will take place on Gensler at 11:45 a.m. today, but that vote will be limited to Gensler serving out the balance of the term of Trump’s former SEC Chair Jay Clayton, which expires in – wait for it – 52 days. The Senate Banking Committee had cleared Gensler to not only fill Clayton’s remaining term but had also cleared his reappointment for a five-year term ending on June 5, 2026. That five-year term will not be voted on by the Senate today according to yesterday’s Senate proceedings, likely because Toomey and his ilk are hoping Republicans will take back the Senate in 2022 and return to their Trump-era deregulatory agenda on Wall Street.

Under current rules, Gensler would be able to serve in his post for an additional 18 months after this term expires if Biden does not nominate a successor.

During his long-winded remarks against the Gensler nomination on the Senate floor yesterday, Toomey showed his dismissal of calls to rein in the gamification of markets by trading platforms like Robinhood that use various behavioral prompts to encourage more active trading among novice investors. Until recently, Robinhood’s trading app had showered  confetti after a trade was made. After criticism in Senate and House hearings, Robinhood announced it would scrap the confetti.

The seductive nature of Robinhood’s app was part of recent Congressional hearings on the wild trading in shares of GameStop and other meme stocks, which revealed a deeply conflicted, payment-for-order-flow trading structure benefiting billionaire hedge fund titans on Wall Street. (See here, here, and here.)

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Johnson & Johnson vaccine suspension – what this means for you

 

Johnson & Johnson vaccine suspension – what this means for you

Vials of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The use of this particular vaccine has been halted temporarily. Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images

Courtesy of William Petri, University of Virginia

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration on April 13, 2021 halted use of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine that has been given to 6.8 million people in the U.S. The pause is due to reports of blood clotting in six people who have received the vaccine. One woman died, and another has been hospitalized in critical condition. Dr. William Petri, an infectious disease physician and immunologist at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, answers questions to help put this development in context.

What is this potential side effect of the J&J vaccine for COVID-19?

The potential side effect is a blood clot in the veins that drain blood from the brain. This is called central venous sinus thrombosis. In the vaccine-associated cases of this, platelets in blood, which are important for making clots, have been lower than normal. While researchers do not know for certain why this is so, platelet counts could be lower perhaps because they have been used up making these clots.

How many people have experienced this possible reaction?

About one in a million: Six cases out of the 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine administered in the U.S. These six cases all occurred in women ages 18-48, and from 6 to 13 days after vaccination. That’s about half as likely as getting struck by lightning in a year. What is being determined now is what is the normal background number of cases we might see in the general population without the vaccine as a factor. This will make it possible to determine if the clotting problem is a vaccine side effect or not.

What do I do if I got the J&J shot?

The CDC and FDA are recommending that people who have received the J&J vaccine within the last 3 weeks who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg…
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Zero Hedge

More States Are Seeing Unused COVID Jabs Pile Up As Poor Countries Shut Out

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

The other day, we reported on an interview with from Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former director of the FDA under President Trump who frequently appears in the press to offer analysis and commentary on the rollout of the COVID vaccine, along with federal COVID policy more broadly.

Yesterday, the focus of the interview was a criticism lodged by Dr. Gottlieb against the Biden administration's target of 200MM Americans vaccinated by the end of the month. Hours after our post, Bloomberg News shared a startling piece of analysis: Across the US, unused vaccines ar...



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ValueWalk

Managing Investments As A Charity Or Nonprofit

By Anna Peel. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Maintaining financial viability is a constant challenge for charities and nonprofit organizations.

Q4 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

The past year has underscored that challenge. The pandemic has not just affected investment returns – it’s also had serious implications for charitable activities and the ability to fundraise. For some organizations, it’s even raised doubts about whether they can continue to operate.

Finding ways to generate long-term, sustainable returns for ...



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Phil's Favorites

Scorpion Capital Calls a New York Stock Exchange Listed Company a Fraud

Courtesy of Pam Martens

New York Stock Exchange

On April 1 we wrote the following about the sorrowful state of the listing standards at the New York Stock Exchange:

“We rarely make predictions but we’re going to make one with confidence today. The New York Stock Exchange’s efforts to capture more market share of the IPO business by listing highly questionable Chinese companies and blank-check companies (...



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Biotech/COVID-19

Scientists are on a path to sequencing 1 million human genomes and use big data to unlock genetic secrets

 

Scientists are on a path to sequencing 1 million human genomes and use big data to unlock genetic secrets

A complete human genome, seen here in pairs of chromosomes, offers a wealth of information, but it is hard connect genetics to traits or disease. HYanWong/Wikimedia Comons

Courtesy of Xavier Bofill De Ros, National Institutes of Health

The first draft of the human genome was publ...



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Chart School

Money Printing Asset Price Targets

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

The FED giveth and the FED taketh away. Right now the FED is giving a lot into 2022 US Mid Terms. 

Unless the FED breaks the market, here are some BRRRRR asset price targets, not normal price targets but money printing adjusted price targets. 


BITCOIN 175,000 to 500,000 USD

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DOW to 40,000 to 50,000

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More DOW

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Politics

Colombia gives nearly 1 million Venezuelan migrants legal status and right to work

 

Colombia gives nearly 1 million Venezuelan migrants legal status and right to work

Venezuelans wait at the Colombian border to be processed and housed in tents in 2020. All Venezuelans now in Colombia will receive a 10-year residency permit. Schneyder Mendoza/AFP via Getty Images

Courtesy of Erika Frydenlund, Old Dominion University; Jose J. Padilla, Old Dominion University...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Will Historic Selloff In Treasury Bonds Turn Into Opportunity?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Long-dated treasury bonds have been crushed over the past year, sending ETFs like TLT (20+ Year US Treasury Bond ETF) spiraling over 20%.

Improving economy? Inflation concerns? Perhaps a combination of both… interest rates have risen sharply and thus bond prices have fallen in historic fashion.

Today’s chart looks at $TLT over the past 20 years. As you can see, the recent decline has truly been historic. $TLT’s price has swung from historically overbought highs to oversold lows.

At present, the long-dated bond ETF ($TLT) is trading 7.8% below its 200-...



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Digital Currencies

Crypto - The Beginning of The Beginning... and the Coinbase IPO

 

Crypto – The Beginning of The Beginning… and the Coinbase IPO

Courtesy of Howard Lindzon

I am starting to say the ‘beginning of the beginning’ a lot.

Last month I used it in a blog post about active investing.

Bitcoin and Ethereum are a main reason I believe we are at the beginning of the beginning of active investing and the Coinbase ($COIN) direct listing tomorrow [Apr. 14] is likely why we are still just at the beginning of the beginning of crypto and decentralization.

If it was t...



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Mapping The Market

Suez Canal: Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt

 

Suez Canal: Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt

Courtesy of Marcus Lu, Visual Capitalist

The Suez Canal: A Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt

On March 23, 2021, a massive ship named Ever Given became lodged in the Suez Canal, completely blocking traffic in both directions. According to the Suez Canal Authority, the 1,312 foot long (400 m) container ship ran aground during a sandstorm that caused low visibility, impacting the ship’s navigation. The vessel is owned by Taiwanese shipping firm, Evergreen Marine.

With over 2...



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Promotions

Phil's Stock World's Weekly Webinar - March 10, 2021

Don't miss our latest weekly webinar! 

Join us at PSW for LIVE Webinars every Wednesday afternoon at 1:00 PM EST.

Phil's Stock World's Weekly Webinar – March 10, 2021

 

Major Topics:

00:00:01 - EIA Petroleum Status Report
00:04:42 - Crude Oil WTI
00:12:52 - COVID-19 Update
00:22:08 - Bonds and Borrowed Funds | S&P 500
00:45:28 - COVID-19 Vaccination
00:48:32 - Trading Techniques
00:50:34 - PBR
00:50:43 - LYG
00:50:48 - More Trading Techniques
00:52:59 - Chinese Hacks Microsoft's E...



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The Technical Traders

Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling System Suggests Market Peak May Be Near

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Our Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling system is suggesting a moderate price peak may be already setting up in the NASDAQ while the Dow Jones, S&P500, and Transportation Index continue to rally beyond the projected Fibonacci Price Expansion Levels.  This indicates that capital may be shifting away from the already lofty Technology sector and into Basic Materials, Financials, Energy, Consumer Staples, Utilities, as well as other sectors.

This type of a structural market shift indicates a move away from speculation and towards Blue Chip returns. It suggests traders and investors are expecting the US consumer to come back strong (or at least hold up the market at...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia - The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

 

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia – The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

Courtesy of Lee Adler, WallStreetExaminer 

The numbers of new cases in some of the hardest hit COVID19 states have started to plateau, or even decline, over the past few days. A few pundits have noted it and concluded that it was a hopeful sign. 

Is it real or is something else going on? Like a restriction in the numbers of tests, or simply the inability to test enough, or are some people simply giving up on getting tested? Because as we all know from our dear leader, the less testing, the less...



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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Data on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • US Services Purchasing Managers' Index for March is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • The ISM's non-manufacturing index for March will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is scheduled for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.
...

http://www.insidercow.com/ more from Insider





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. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.