Posts Tagged ‘financial bubble’

Burning Down the House

Burning Down the House

Courtesy of DEAN BAKER at CEPR 

This column was originally published by The Guardian. 

Las Vegas, US housing market, foreclosures, mortgages

Trash is piled up outside houses at the abandoned Desert Mesa subdivision in Nevada. The north Las Vegas housing authority started the project in 2004, but the entire subdivision has since fallen into foreclosure. Nevada continues to lead the nation in foreclosures, unemployment and bankruptcies. Photograph: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The howls of surprised economists were everywhere last week as the government reported on Tuesday that July had the sharpest single-month plunge in existing home sales on record. The next day the Commerce Department reported that new home sales hit a post-war low in July.

All the economists who had told us that the housing market had stabilized and that prices would soon rebound looked really foolish yet again. To understand how lost these professional error-makers really are it is only necessary to know that the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) puts out data on mortgage applications every week. The MBA index plummeted beginning in May, immediately after the last day (April 30) for signing a house sale contract that qualified for the homebuyers tax credit.

It typically takes 6-8 weeks between when a contract is signed and a house sale closes. The plunge in applications in May meant that homebuyers were not signing contracts to buy homes. This meant that sales would plummet in July. Economists with a clue were not surprised by the July plunge in home sales.

What should be clear is that the tax credits helped to pull housing demand forward. People who might have bought in the second half of 2010 or even 2011 instead bought their home before the tax credit expired. Now that the credit has expired, there is less demand than ever, leaving the market open for another plunge in prices. The support the tax credit gave to the housing market was only temporary.

It is worth asking what was accomplished by spending tens of billions of dollars to prop up the market for a bit over a year with these tax credits. First, this allowed millions of people to sell their home over this period at a higher price than would…
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Rosenberg Explains Why Not One New Home Priced Over $750,000 Sold In July

Rosenberg Explains Why Not One New Home Priced Over $750,000 Sold In July

Political cartoon by Thomas Nast (1840 - 1902) depicting the 'Fine-Ass' Committee,' a group of Democratic Congressmen as donkeys, blowing financial bubbles after the Panic of 1873. (Photo by Kean Collection/Getty Images)

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

The most damning words on the recent horrendous housing data come from David Rosenberg: and since he has long been spot on in his macro observations, the 15% or so in additional price losses anticipated, will make this depression a truly memorable one (we will investigate not only the surging supply side of the housing equation, but the plunging demand side in a later post), and will leave the Fed with absolutely no choice other than the nuclear option: "If the truth be told, if we are talking about reversing all the bubble appreciation that began a decade ago, then we are talking about another 15% downside from here. The excess inventory data alone tell us that this has a realistic chance of occurring…The high-end market, in particular, is under tremendous pressure. In fact, it is becoming non-existent. Guess how many homes prices above $750k managed to sell in July. Answer — zero, nada, rien; and for the second month in a row."

From today’s Breakfast With Rosie

Once again, the consensus was fooled. It was looking for 330k on new home sales for July and instead they sank to a record low of 276k units at an annual rate. And, just to add insult to injury, June was revised down, to 315k from 330k. Just as resales undercut the 2009 depressed low by 15%, new home sales have done so by 19%. Imagine that even with mortgage rates down 100 basis points in the past year to historic lows, not to mention at least eight different government programs to spur homeownership, home sales have undercut the recession lows by double-digits.

This is what we have been saying for some time, in the aftermath of a credit bubble burst and a massive asset deflation, trauma has set in. The rupture to confidence and spending from our central bankers’ and policymakers’ willingness to allow the prior credit cycle to go parabolic has come at a heavy price in terms of future economic performance. Attitudes towards discretionary spending, credit and housing have been altered, likely for a generation.

The scars have apparently not healed from the horrific experience with defaults, delinquencies and deleveraging of the past two years — talk about a horror flick in 3D. The number…
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Homeowners’ Rebellion

Homeowners’ Rebellion:

COULD 62 MILLION HOMES BE FORECLOSURE-PROOF? 

Courtesy of ELLEN BROWN, at Web of Debt 

Over 62 million mortgages are now held in the name of MERS, an electronic recording system devised by and for the convenience of the mortgage industry. A California bankruptcy court, following landmark cases in other jurisdictions, recently held that this electronic shortcut makes it impossible for banks to establish their ownership of property titles—and therefore to foreclose on mortgaged properties. The logical result could be 62 million homes that are foreclosure-proof.

Mortgages bundled into securities were a favorite investment of speculators at the height of the financial bubble leading up to the crash of 2008. The securities changed hands frequently, and the companies profiting from mortgage payments were often not the same parties that negotiated the loans. At the heart of this disconnect was the Mortgage Electronic Registration System, or MERS, a company that serves as the mortgagee of record for lenders, allowing properties to change hands without the necessity of recording each transfer.

MERS was convenient for the mortgage industry, but courts are now questioning the impact of all of this financial juggling when it comes to mortgage ownership. To foreclose on real property, the plaintiff must be able to establish the chain of title entitling it to relief. But MERS has acknowledged, and recent cases have held, that MERS is a mere “nominee”—an entity appointed by the true owner simply for the purpose of holding property in order to facilitate transactions. Recent court opinions stress that this defect is not just a procedural but is a substantive failure, one that is fatal to the plaintiff’s legal ability to foreclose.

That means hordes of victims of predatory lending could end up owning their homes free and clear—while the financial industry could end up skewered on its own sword.

California Precedent

The latest of these court decisions came down in California on May 20, 2010, in a bankruptcy case called In re Walker, Case no. 10-21656-E–11. The court held that MERS could not foreclose because it was a mere nominee; and that as a result, plaintiff Citibank could not collect on its claim. The judge opined:

Since no evidence of MERS’ ownership of the underlying note has been offered, and other courts have concluded that MERS does not own the underlying notes, this court is convinced that MERS had no


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China Now Second Largest Economy After the United States

China Now Second Largest Economy After the United States

Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant 

Bubble? What bubble?

NYT:

After three decades of spectacular growth, China passed Japan in the second quarter to become the world’s second-largest economy behind the United States, according to government figures released early Monday.

The milestone, though anticipated for some time, is the most striking evidence yet that China’s ascendance is for real and that the rest of the world will have to reckon with a new economic superpower.

The recognition came early Monday, when Tokyo said that Japan’s economy was valued at about $1.28 trillion in the second quarter, slightly below China’s $1.33 trillion. Japan’s economy grew 0.4 percent in the quarter, Tokyo said, substantially less than forecast. That weakness suggests that China’s economy will race past Japan’s for the full year.

Former chief economist for the International Monetary Fund and filthy Group of 30 operative Kenneth Rogoff is convinced there’s a bubble: “You’re starting to see that collapse in property and it’s going to hit the banking system,” said Rogoff, 57, who also serves on the Group of 30, a panel of central bankers, finance officials and academics led by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker. “They have a lot of tools and some very competent management, but it’s not easy.” 

As opposed to #1 with no tools and completely incompetent management, right? I’m not naming names, I need not.

Marc Faber called a Chinese collapse in 9 to twelve months back in May, giving us a few more months to stock up on buttered popcorn and duck feet:

“The market is telling you that something is not quite right,” Faber, the publisher of the Gloom, Boom & Doom report, said in a Bloomberg Television interview in Hong Kong today. “The Chinese economy is going to slow down regardless. It is more likely that we will even have a crash sometime in the next nine to 12 months.”

I doubt Tim Geithner actually feels China’s hot breath on his neck because last time I checked, our Zimbabwe Ben printing press was still in full working order and recognized by the global economy as all-powerful mover of the cheap money-hungry monster. 


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INNOVATION: What made America great is now Killing her!

INNOVATION: What made America great is now Killing her! 

"Creative Destruction is Secular not Cyclical"

Courtesy of Gordon T. Long   

What made America great was her unsurpassed ability to innovate.  Equally important was also her ability to rapidly adapt to the change that this innovation fostered. For decades the combination has been a self reinforcing growth dynamic with innovation offering a continuously improving standard of living and higher corporate productivity levels, which the US quickly embraced and adapted to.

This in turn financed further innovation. No country in the world could match the American culture that flourished on technology advancements in all areas of human endeavor. However, something serious and major has changed across America.  Daily, more and more are becoming acutely aware of this, but few grasp exactly what it is.  It is called Creative Destruction. 

It turns out that what made America great is now killing her!

Our political leaders are presently addressing what they perceive as an intractable cyclical recovery problem when in fact it is a structural problem that is secular in nature. Like generals fighting the last war with outdated perceptions, we face a new and daunting challenge. A challenge that needs to be addressed with the urgency and scope of a Marshall plan that saved Europe from the ravages of a different type of destruction. We need a modern US centric Marshall plan focused on growth, but orders of magnitude larger than the one in the 1940’s. A plan even more brash than Kennedy’s plan in the 60’s to put a man of the moon by the end of the decade. America needs to again think and act boldly. First however, we need to see the enemy. As the great philosopher Pogo said: “I saw the enemy and it was I”.

THE  PROBLEM IS NOT CYCLICAL, IT IS SECULAR.

The dotcom bubble ushered in a change in America that is still reverberating through the nation and around the globe. The Internet unleashed productivity opportunities of unprecedented proportions in addition to new business models, new ways of doing business and completely new and never before realized markets.  Ten years ago there was no such position as a Web Master; having a home PC was primarily for doing word processing and creating spreadsheets; Apple made MACs; and ordering on-line was a quaint experiment for…
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Five More Failed Banks Cost US Government an Additional $334 Million in Losses

Five More Failed Banks Cost US Government an Additional $334 Million in Losses

Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN

The losses from the mortgage securities frauds and the subsequent bubble collapse continue to debilitate the US financial system, particularly the regional banks, in a slow bleed costing the US government additional millions each week. The public relations campaign promoting the idea that the bank bailouts are done and successful, and that the US made money on this egregious abuse of public monies is patently false, and probably can be described as corporatist propaganda.

The banks continue to mount a campaign to resist reform and regulation. They are taking advantage of the weakness of the Obama administration in failing to reform the banking system through liquidations and managed bankruptcies, including indictments and investigations as was seen in the Savings and Loan scandal.

It is difficult to continue to assume good intentions in this administration, or even mere incompetence. The objections put up by Geithner and Summers to the appointment of Elizabeth Warren as the head of the new consumer protection agency shows how reactionary they continue to be, and resistant to fundamental reforms.

American Banker
Failures on Two Coasts Stretch Toll for Year to 108

By Joe Adler
Friday, July 30, 2010

Five bank closures in four states Friday cost the federal government an additional $334 million in losses.

Regulators shuttered the $373 million-asset Coastal Community Bank in Panama City Beach, Fla., the $66 million-asset Bayside Savings Bank in Port Saint Joe, Fla., the $168 million-asset NorthWest Bank and Trust in Acworth, Ga., the $529 million-asset The Cowlitz Bank in Longview, Wash., and the $768-asset LibertyBank in Eugene, Ore. The failures brought the year’s total to 108.

The hammered Southeast bore the brunt of the failure activity, as it has for so many Fridays since the financial crisis began. Twenty banks have been seized in Florida in 2010, while 11 have failed in Georgia so far this year.

The two Florida institutions that failed Friday went to one buyer: Centennial Bank in Conway, Ark. The acquirer agreed to take over Coastal Community’s $363 million in deposits, Bayside Savings’ $52 million in deposits and roughly all of the assets of both institutions.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. agreed to share losses with Centennial on $303 million of Coastal Community’s assets, and $48


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The Attack of the Real Black Helicopter Gang: The IMF Is Coming for Your Social Security

The Attack of the Real Black Helicopter Gang: The IMF Is Coming for Your Social Security

Courtesy of Dean Baker at CEPR, writing at Truthout

See article on original website

A few years back there was a fear in some parts about black UN helicopters that were supposedly taking part in the planning of an invasion of the United States. While there was no foundation for this fear, there is basis for concern about the attack of another international organization, the International Monetary Fund (IMF). 

Last week the IMF told the United States that it needs to start getting its budget deficit down. It put cutting Social Security at the top of the steps that the country should take to achieve deficit reduction. This one is more than a bit outrageous for two reasons.

First, the IMF deserves a substantial share of the blame for the economic crisis that gave us big deficits in the first place. The IMF is supposed to oversee the operations of the international financial system. According to standard economic theory, capital is supposed to flow from rich countries like the United States to poor countries to finance their development. In other words, the United States should be having a trade surplus, which would correspond to the money that we are investing in poor countries to finance their development.

However, the IMF messed up its management of financial crises so badly in the last 15 years that poor countries decided that they had to accumulate huge amounts of currency reserves in order to avoid ever being forced to deal with the IMF. This meant that capital was flowing in huge amounts in the wrong direction. One result of this reverse flow was that the United States ran a huge trade deficit instead of a trade surplus. 

The trade deficit in the United States was a big part of the story of the housing bubble. The trade deficit cost millions of workers their jobs. This was one of the main reasons that economy was so weak coming out of the 2001 recession. This weakness led the Fed to keep interest rates at 50-year lows, until the growth of the housing bubble eventually began to generate jobs in the fall of 2003.

The IMF both bears much of the blame for the imbalances in the world economy and then for failing to clearly sound the…
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Control Frauds HyperInflate and Extend Bubbles Maximizing Damage – A Control Fraud at Work in the Silver Market Short Positions?

Control Frauds HyperInflate and Extend Bubbles Maximizing Damage – A Control Fraud at Work in the Silver Market Short Positions?

Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN

Here is a working paper by William K. Black about ‘control frauds’ and how they relate to the most recent credit crisis in the United States, a breakdown of stewardship that has placed the rest of the world’s financial sector at risk as well.

Control frauds are by their very nature conspiratorial in that they involve the suborning of regulators, ratings agencies, exchanges, the media, and legislators to ignore and facilitate misrepresentation that enable white collar crime. They are difficult to prosecute because by their nature they involve twisting the legal into the extra-legal on a broad basis to achieve a particular financial effect, while limiting many specific aspects to the letter of the law, or at least the gray areas.

By and large they operate in the shadows, hiding behind secrecy and a general mindset towards short term greed and lapses in ethics. Investigations following the Crash of 1929 and the S&L crisis demonstrated that the existence of such pervasive lapses in stewardship do exist.

Personally I think the significant short positions in the silver market may be a form of control fraud. This is why so much effort and care is being taken by some individuals and groups to discover the extent and nature and holders of the short positions that are dominant. And this is why the participants are so vociferous and secretive regarding their activities.

To those who say that the commodity markets are too large, and too well regulated for this sort of thing to occur, this is the sort of fraud that Enron used to manipulate the energy markets, to the extent that they were able to cause significant social and commercial disruption to the state of California.

More on this another time. For now understanding how these frauds work is enough to study in instruments such as home mortgages. And most people do not need to understand this. But here is a good point for the average person to keep in mind.

Light is a good disinfectant. Fraud cannot bear exposure. While some confidentiality must be maintained in trading, obsessive secrecy regarding significantly large positions and collateral matters is often an indication that something is not right, that it is hidden from the market participants view for…
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Jeremy Grantham: This Is Nothing But The Greenspan Legacy’s Latest Bubble

Jeremy Grantham: This Is Nothing But The Greenspan Legacy’s Latest Bubble, America Is Now "Thorougly Expensive"

Businessman blowing bubble while working on laptop computer

Courtesy of Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge 

 

Yesterday we first posted Jeremy Grantham’s latest letter which incidentally is a must read for everyone who still is stupid enough to think this market reflects anything remotely related to fundamentals, when instead all it is pricing in is the money printing Kommendant’s daily predisposition to continuing his dollar decimation via ZIRP and shadow QE. Just like all those who are buying Apple at these stratospheric prices are in essence selling life insurance on Steve Jobs (sorry, someone had to say it), all those buying into the market here are betting the Fed is apolitical when it comes to monetary policy decisions: a proposition so naive and ludicrous, it is not surprising that only the momos continue to buy into the rally, which is driven purely by Primary Dealers recycling money they lend to the treasury which in turn is repoed back by the Fed, so that the banks can buy 100x P/E risky stocks with the same money used to keep the treasury curve diagonal.

This is nothing but Fed-sponsored monetary pornography at its NC-17 best. Of course, those who grasp it are few and far between, while the rest of the population is ignorant in its hopes that S&P 1,500 is just over the horizon, without a resultant crash back to 0 on the other side of the bubble. So for all those who are still confused (this means you Kommendant Bernanke) here is a 6 minute clip in which Grantham tells it just the way it is: there is nothing more to this rally that free money and banks’ last ditch attempt to lock in another year of record bonuses before it all goes to shit. And the implication – play with the big boys at your own peril. "Bubbles are when you should cash in your "career risk units" and do something brave to protect the investors. There is nothing more dangerous and damaging to the economy than a great asset bubble that breaks, and this is something that the Fed never seems to get. Under Greenspan’s incredible leadership he managed to give us the tech bubble, and by keeping interest rates at negative levels for three years drove up the housing bubble, and finally…
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The mindset will not change; a depressionary relapse may be coming

The mindset will not change; a depressionary relapse may be coming

Courtesy of Edward Harrison at Credit Writedowns 

When former Morgan Stanley chief Asian economist Andy Xie comments on the United States, he focuses on a bailout nation keen on perpetuating a bubble economy predicated on malinvestment and overconsumption.  In this he sees parallels with Japan and its long malaise.

Japan has experienced two decades of economic stagnation since the collapse of the infamous bubble it suffered in the 1980s. The most popular explanations are that Tokyo wasn’t aggressive enough in stimulating the economy after the bubble burst, or that it withdrew its stimulus too early – or both. This line of thinking is popular among elite economists in the US, where it is rarely challenged. But few Japanese analysts buy it…

The argument to "stimulate until prosperity returns" is popular because it doesn’t hurt anyone in the short term. When a central bank prints money, its nasty consequence — inflation — takes time to show up. When a government spends borrowed money, repayment is in the future. Nobody feels the pain now. Indeed, when debt is sufficiently long-dated, nobody alive need feel the pain. So analysts who advocate stimulus are popular with politicians because it sounds like a free lunch. Japan’s tale is just a nice story that seems to support the argument…

Japan has run up the national debt equal to 200% of GDP — the greatest Keynesian stimulus program in history — all in the name of stimulating the economy back to health. It has failed miserably. Japan’s nominal GDP is about the same as when the stimulus began. Those who advocated the policy blame Japan’s failure on either the stimulus being too small or not being sustained for long enough – that is, the dosage, not the medicine itself, was at fault.

The bankruptcy of Japan Airlines is a sobering reminder of what is still wrong with Japan. It stayed with unprofitable routes for years without its creditors or shareholders being able to do anything about it. And by making credit cheap and easy, the stimulus prolonged the airline’s business model — actually,


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Phil's Favorites

Coronavirus's painful side effect is deep budget cuts for state and local government services

 

Coronavirus's painful side effect is deep budget cuts for state and local government services

Washington state cut both merit raises and instituted furloughs as it faced a projected $8.8 billion budget deficit because of the coronavirus. Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

Courtesy of Carla Flink, American University

Nationwide, state and local government leaders are warning of major budget cuts as a result of the pandemic. One state – ...



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Biotech/COVID-19

Coronavirus's painful side effect is deep budget cuts for state and local government services

 

Coronavirus's painful side effect is deep budget cuts for state and local government services

Washington state cut both merit raises and instituted furloughs as it faced a projected $8.8 billion budget deficit because of the coronavirus. Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

Courtesy of Carla Flink, American University

Nationwide, state and local government leaders are warning of major budget cuts as a result of the pandemic. One state – ...



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Zero Hedge

Novogratz On Gold & The Fed's Fairy Tale World

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Via Global Macro Monitor,

Great interview with Michael Novogratz, Galaxy Digital founder, CEO, and chairman.  He sounds exactly likey the global macro heads at GMM. 

His money quotes from the July 8th CNBC interview should sound very familiar to our readers.

  • Macro set-up is so...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Red Hot China Attempting Key Breakout, Says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

China ETF (FXI) has been “Red Hot” of late? Is it about to run out of steam or will it remain on fire going forward?

This chart of FXI comes from Investors Business Daily and Marketsmith.com. It reflects that FXI is above key long-term moving averages and its RS ratings is moving sharply higher of late.

Line (1) has been support and resistance several times over the past 3-years. The rally of late has FXI ...



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The Technical Traders

Retail Traders & Investors Squeezed to Buy High-Risk Assets Again

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Yes, we certainly live in interesting times.  This, the last segment of our multi-part article on the current Q2 and Q3 2020 US and global economic expectations, as well as current data points, referencing very real ongoing concerns, we urge you to continue using common sense to help protect your assets and families from what we believe will be a very volatile end to 2020.  If you missed the first two segments of this research article, please take a moment to review them before continuing.

On May 24th, 2020, we published this ...



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ValueWalk

How To Help Employees Thrive, Even When Their Career Goals Are Uncertain

By Ed Mitzen. Originally published at ValueWalk.

These uncertain times filled with racial unrest, a global pandemic, massive unemployment and economic anxiety have caused some people to reevaluate their lives and their priorities. Within that introspection, there are a few potential outcomes, whether it’s reassessing career goals, losing sight of them, or coming to the realization that some workers are happy in their job and do not aspire to a higher position.

Q2 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Whether a worker likes the road they are on or sees a fork in it approaching, company leaders who want to keep valued...



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Chart School

RTT browsing latest..

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Please review a collection of WWW browsing results. The information here is delayed by a few months, members get the most recent content.



Date Found: Saturday, 14 March 2020, 05:51:16 PM

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Comment: Crash in perspective - its Bad, and not over!



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Comment: The Blood Bath Has Begun youtu.be/bmC8k1qmM0s



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Lee's Free Thinking

These Charts Show COVID 19 Is Spreading in the US and Will Kill the Economy

 

These Charts Show COVID 19 Is Spreading in the US and Will Kill the Economy

Courtesy of  

The COVID 19 pandemic is, predictably, worsening again in much of the US. Only the Northeast, and to a lesser extent some Midwestern states, have been consistently improving. And that trend could also reverse as those states fully reopen.

The problem in the US seems to be widespread public resistance to recommended practices of social distancing and mask wearing. In countries where these practices have been practi...



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Digital Currencies

Blockchains can trace foods from farm to plate, but the industry is still behind the curve

 

Blockchains can trace foods from farm to plate, but the industry is still behind the curve

App-etising? LDprod

Courtesy of Michael Rogerson, University of Bath and Glenn Parry, University of Surrey

Food supply chains were vulnerable long before the coronavirus pandemic. Recent scandals have ranged from modern slavery ...



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Members' Corner

Coronavirus, 'Plandemic' and the seven traits of conspiratorial thinking

 

Coronavirus, 'Plandemic' and the seven traits of conspiratorial thinking

No matter the details of the plot, conspiracy theories follow common patterns of thought. Ranta Images/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Courtesy of John Cook, George Mason University; Sander van der Linden, University of Cambridge; Stephan Lewandowsky...



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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.
...

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Phil will discuss positions, COVID-19, market volatility -- the selloff -- and more! 

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Mike will show off the TradeExchange's new platform which you can try for free.  

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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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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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