Posts Tagged ‘real economy’

2009: The Year Wall Street Bounced Back and Main Street Got Shafted

2009: The Year Wall Street Bounced Back and Main Street Got Shafted

Courtesy of Robert Reich, of Robert Reich’s Blog

Mature businessman dancing along street with briefcase and umbrella

In September 2008, as the worst of the financial crisis engulfed Wall Street, George W. Bush issued a warning: "This sucker could go down." Around the same time, as Congress hashed out a bailout bill, New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg, the leading Republican negotiator of the bill, warned that "if we do not do this, the trauma, the chaos and the disruption to everyday Americans’ lives will be overwhelming, and that’s a price we can’t afford to risk paying."

In less than a year, Wall Street was back. The five largest remaining banks are today larger, their executives and traders richer, their strategies of placing large bets with other people’s money no less bold than before the meltdown. The possibility of new regulations emanating from Congress has barely inhibited the Street’s exuberance.

But if Wall Street is back on top, the everyday lives of large numbers of Americans continue to be subject to overwhelming trauma, chaos and disruption.

View of town's main street with mountains in the distance

It is commonplace among policymakers to fervently and sincerely believe that Wall Street’s financial health is not only a precondition for a prosperous real economy but that when the former thrives, the latter will necessarily follow. Few fictions of modern economic life are more assiduously defended than the central importance of the Street to the well-being of the rest of us, as has been proved in 2009.

Inhabitants of the real economy are dependent on the financial economy to borrow money. But their overwhelming reliance on Wall Street is a relatively recent phenomenon. Back when middle-class Americans earned enough to be able to save more of their incomes, they borrowed from one another, largely through local and regional banks. Small businesses also did.

It’s easy to understand economic policymakers being seduced by the great flows of wealth created among Wall Streeters, from whom they invariably seek advice. One of the basic assumptions of capitalism is that anyone paid huge sums of money must be very smart.

But if 2009 has proved anything, it’s that the bailout of Wall Street didn’t trickle down to Main Street. Mortgage delinquencies continue to rise. Small businesses can’t get credit. And people everywhere, it seems, are worried about losing their…
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YRCW: NO SUSTAINED ECONOMIC RECOVERY

YRCW: NO SUSTAINED ECONOMIC RECOVERY

YRCWCourtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

YRC WorldWide is tanking over 50% on bankruptcy speculation.  The large trucking company has been entangled in brutal labor renegotiation’s and is at the heart of the economic downturn with their highly economically sensitive transport based business.

On Friday the company reported a $158.7MM loss which was followed up by a debt exchange announcement this morning.  Investors are growing increasingly concerned that the announcement could result in an eventual Chapter 11 filing.  Although the company is having cost difficulties (primarily labor related) the weakness at the company is primarily economically related.  On the conference call CEO Bill Zollars detailed the economic struggles which we continue to see across the entire real economy.  His comments would be most unwelcome to anyone who has bought into the recent stock market surge which is now not only very expensive, but pricing in very optimistic economic and earnings growth in 2010:

“The operating environment remains very challenging as we continue to face a difficult economy that appears to have stabilized, but is not showing any signs of sustained positive momentum.  We remain cautiously optimistic that the economy has bottomed out, but it remains too early to know for sure.  We’re not anticipating any growth in the economy for the remainder of this year and at least for the first half of next year.”

I think it’s safe to say that the stimulus based recovery is almost entirely non-organic.  Without further aid from the government and the Federal Reserve this liquidity driven market is likely staring at a very difficult road ahead, if not the dreaded double dip.

 


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How the Servant Became a Predator: Finance’s Five Fatal Flaws

Here’s an excellent, must-read article by William K. Black.  Special thanks to New Deal 2.0. - Ilene

How the Servant Became a Predator: Finance’s Five Fatal Flaws

By Bill Black, Courtesy of New Deal 2.0

money-shark-150 - preditor stateRoosevelt Institute Braintruster William K. Black explains how the finance economy preys on the real economy instead of serving it. He shows how both have become dysfunctional and warns that we must not neglect the real economy — the source of our jobs, our incomes, and the creator of goods and services — as we focus on financial reform.

What exactly is the function of the financial sector in our society? Simply this: Its sole function is supplying capital efficiently to aid the real economy. The financial sector is a tool to help those that make real tools, not an end in itself. But five fatal flaws in the financial sector’s current structure have created a monster that drains the real economy, promotes fraud and corruption, threatens democracy, and causes recurrent, intensifying crises.

1. The financial sector harms the real economy.

Even when not in crisis, the financial sector harms the real economy. First, it is vastly too large. The finance sector is an intermediary — essentially a “middleman”. Like all middlemen, it should be as small as possible, while still being capable of accomplishing its mission. Otherwise it is inherently parasitical. Unfortunately, it is now vastly larger than necessary, dwarfing the real economy it is supposed to serve. Forty years ago, our real economy grew better with a financial sector that received one-twentieth as large a percentage of total profits (2%) than does the current financial sector (40%). The minimum measure of how much damage the bloated, grossly over-compensated finance sector causes to the real economy is this massive increase in the share of total national income wasted through the finance sector’s parasitism.

Second, the finance sector is worse than parasitic. In the title of his recent book, The Predator State, James Galbraith aptly names the problem. The financial sector functions as the sharp canines that the predator state uses to rend the nation. In addition to siphoning off capital for its own benefit, the finance sector misallocates the remaining capital in ways that harm the real economy in order to reward already-rich financial elites harming the nation. The facts are alarming:

• Corporate stock repurchases…
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THE RECESSION IN RAIL TRAFFIC CONTINUES….

THE RECESSION IN RAIL TRAFFIC CONTINUES….

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

The recession in railroads continues unabated.  This is likely the surest proof we have that Ben is simply reflating the bubble while the real economy continues to flounder.  Carloadings were down 17.2% year over year and intermodal traffic declined 15.7%.   On the positive side, it’s quite clear that rail traffic has stabilized and doesn’t continue to decline, however, the robust recovery that equities and other markets have priced in is completely non-existent in the rail data.  The weakness was broad across all segments of the economy.  The weakness was particularly apparent in metals and forest which could be a sign that the recent weakness in housing and lumber prices is a trend:

rails2

The AAR reports:

WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 8, 2009 — The Association of American Railroads today reported that for the week ended Oct. 3, 2009, rail traffic continues to reflect the down economy – originating 277,734 carloads, down 17.2 percent compared with the same week in 2008. All of the 19 carload freight commodity groups were down from the same week last year, with declines ranging from 2.7 percent for chemicals to 53.2 percent for metallic ores.

Intermodal traffic of 206,293 trailers or containers on U.S. railroads was down 15.7 percent from the same week last year. Container volume fell 10 percent and trailer volume dropped 37 percent.

Regionally, carloads were down 16.4 percent in the West and 18.3 percent in the East. For the first 39 weeks of 2009, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 10,381,905 carloads, down 18.1 percent from 2008; 7,347,299 trailers or containers, down 16.8 percent, and total volume of an estimated 1.11 trillion ton-miles, down 17.3 percent. Total volume on U.S. railroads for the week ending October 3 was estimated at 29.7 billion ton-miles, off 16.6 percent from the same week last year.

rails1

Source: Railfax, AAR

 


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Phil's Favorites

Brexit deal flops, Theresa May survives -- so what happens now?

 

Brexit deal flops, Theresa May survives -- so what happens now?

Courtesy of Victoria Honeyman, University of Leeds

As the clock ticks down to March 29 2019, all of the political manoeuvring, negotiating, arguing and fighting is coming to a peak. In the two and a half years since the 2016 EU referendum, views on both sides have hardened and agreement still seems as far away as it was the day after the referendum.

With Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement disliked by all sides, and voted down by an unprecedented majority in the House of Commons, everyone is wondering what can and should be done next?

...



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Zero Hedge

Federal Workers Taking Odd Jobs To Make Ends Meet During Shutdown

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

Federal employees affected by the partial government shutdown are turning to various side jobs to make ends meet, according to the Associated Press

Some, such as immigration lawyer Cheryl Inzunza Blum of Tucson has been renting out a room on Airbnb for extra cash - capitalizing on the busy winter travel season in Arizona after she stopped receiving paychecks for her government contract work at a local immigration lawyer. She says she's working for free since she has clients who depend on her - some of whom are detained or have court hearings. 

Cheryl Inzunza Blum ...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

The "Average Stock" is Facing a Big Test Here!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

The Value Line Geometric Index tends to give investors a good idea of the health of the overall market. It is an equal-weighted index with a broad swath of stocks that gives investors an idea of how the “average stock” is performing.

The Value Line Geometric formed highs in the same area in 1998, 2007, and 2015 (see blue line). In the last two years, the index broke out above that line and held above it until the recent correction.

It is now testing the underside of that price area (now resistance). Bulls will get good news with a breakout ABOVE thi...



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Digital Currencies

Crypto-Bubble: Will Bitcoin Bottom In February Or Has It Already?

Courtesy of Michelle Jones via ValueWalk.com

The new year has been relatively good for the price of bitcoin after a spectacular collapse of the cryptocurrency bubble in 2018. It’s up notably since the middle of December and traded around the psychological level of $4,000... so is this a sign that the crypto market is about to recover?

Of course, it depends on who you ask, but one analyst discovered a pattern which might point to a bottom next month.

A year after the cryptocurrency bubble popped

CCN...



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ValueWalk

D.E. Shaw Investment Calls For Leadership Change At EQT

By ActivistInsight. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Elliott Management has offered to acquire QEP Resources for approximately $2.1 billion, contending the oil and gas explorer’s turnaround efforts have done little to lift the company’s share price. The company responded and said that a thorough review of the proposition is imperative in order to properly act in the best interests of shareholders, “taking into account the company’s other alternatives and current market conditions.” The news came only a month after Travelport Worldwide agreed to sell itself to Siris Capital Group and Elliott’s private equity arm Evergreen Coast Capital for $4.4 billion in cash and two months after Athenahealth was bought by Veritas and Evergreen for $5.7 bi...



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Insider Scoop

UBS Says Disney's Streaming Ambition Gives It A 'New Hope'

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related DIS Despite Some Risks, Analysts Still Expecting Double Digit Growth From Communications Services In Q4 ...

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

Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Jan 13, 2019

Courtesy of Blain.

In last week’s recap we asked:  “Has the Fed solved all the market’s problems in 1 speech?”

Thus far the market says yes!  As Guns n Roses preached – all we need is a little “patience”.  Four up days followed by a nominal down day Friday had the market following it’s normal pattern the past nearly 30 years – jumping whenever the Federal Reserve hints (or essentially says outright) it is here for the markets.   And in case you missed it the prior Friday, Chairman Powell came back out Thursday to reiterate the news – so…so… so… patient!

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell reinforced that message Thursday during a discussion at the Economic Club of Washington where he said that the central bank will be “fle...



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Members' Corner

Why Trump Can't Learn

 

Bill Eddy (lawyer, therapist, author) predicted Trump's chaotic presidency based on his high-conflict personality, which was evident years ago. This post, written in 2017, references a prescient article Bill wrote before Trump even became president, 5 Reasons Trump Can’t Learn. ~ Ilene 

Why Trump Can’t Learn

Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore (...



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Biotech

Opening Pandora's Box: Gene editing and its consequences

Reminder: We are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

Opening Pandora's Box: Gene editing and its consequences

Bacteriophage viruses infecting bacterial cells , Bacterial viruses. from www.shutterstock.com

Courtesy of John Bergeron, McGill University

Today, the scientific community is aghast at the prospect of gene editing to create “designer” humans. Gene editing may be of greater consequence than climate change, or even the consequences of unleashing the energy of the atom.

...

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Mapping The Market

Trump: "I Won't Be Here" When It Blows Up

By Jean-Luc

Maybe we should simply try him for treason right now:

Trump on Coming Debt Crisis: ‘I Won’t Be Here’ When It Blows Up

The president thinks the balancing of the nation’s books is going to, ultimately, be a future president’s problem.

By Asawin Suebsaeng and Lachlan Markay, Daily Beast

The friction came to a head in early 2017 when senior officials offered Trump charts and graphics laying out the numbers and showing a “hockey stick” spike in the nationa...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

·       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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About Ilene:

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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