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What We Read Today:

What We Read Today 24 January 2015

Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries (and sometimes longer ones) of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number included.

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Infographic of the Day:

Infographic Of The Day: Extreme Winter Situations

Are you prepared for extreme winter situations?

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Econintersect News Briefs:

It's Here: Why the Greek Election is So Important

by Theo Papadopoulos, The Conversation

The Greek election tomorrow (January 25) is the most important in recent memory. If the pollsters are proven correct, Syriza is poised to win by a large margin and this victory will end four decades of two-party rule in Greece.

Read more »


The Top 10 Winter Box Office Record Breakers

from Felix Richter, Statista.com
by Niall McCarthy

American Sniper shot to the top of the winter box office record breakers list last week.

Read more »


Greece Election Sunday And Why The Entire World Is Watching!

by Michael Haltman

This Sunday the citizens of Greece will be voting in a national election that will serve as a referendum on the EU-invoked austerity program that the country has been living through!

At stake is the decision that a newly elected government might make to pull Greece out of the Eurozone in what has widely become termed Grexit.

Read more »


World's 80 Richest People Have Same Wealth As Poorest 50%

from Felix Richter, Statista.com
by Niall McCarthy

A large portion of the world's financial resources is being controlled by a small and wealthy elite.

Read more »


Is It Wise for Corporations to Buy Back Trillions of Dollars of Stock?

Chart of the Week 23 January 2015

Written by , Online Trading Academy

This was originally posted on YouTube 05 January 2015.

Share buybacks have been very popular over the last decade, totalling more than $4 trillion.  Is this use of resources available to corporations a good thing?  That question is discussed this week.

Stock buybacks are discussed in the video following the Read more >> jump.

Read more »


Only One in Ten Education Reforms Analysed for their Impact, Finds OECD Report

by Gemma Ware, The Conversation

Only a tenth of education reforms carried out around the world since 2008 have been analysed by governments for the impact they have on children’s education.

Read more »


Less than a Quarter of Birmingham's Population is Muslim

from Felix Richter, Statista.com
by Niall McCarthy

Fox News caused enormous controversy last week after self-professed terror expert Steve Emerson stated that Birmingham "is totally Muslim" and "a place where non Muslims don't go".

 

Read more »


Falling Oil Prices Cost Jobs, Spell Boon Times Elsewhere

from Challenger Gray and Christmas

The falling price of oil, now at under $50 a barrel for the first time since 2009, has caused a spate of layoff announcements impacting thousands of workers in oil-related industries. Since June 2014, Challenger has tracked 21,917 US job cuts by oil and oil-related industries. Most recently, oil field services giant Schlumberger announced 9,000 job cuts and Baker Hughes reported 7,000.

Read more »


This Week in Petroleum, 22 January 2015

Falling gasoline prices: the influence of crude oil prices and other factors

by U.S. Energy Information Agency

On a national level, the main reason cited for movements in gasoline prices is often changing crude oil prices. Crude oil acquisition is the main cost in producing gasoline, and changes in crude oil prices, along with changes in gasoline market conditions, drive changes in spot and retail gasoline prices. EIA estimates that at current prices, about 55% of the retail price of gasoline is attributable to the cost of crude oil. However, at the regional level, several factors other than falling crude prices are influencing regional wholesale gasoline spot prices and retail gasoline prices.

petroleum-products-price-changes-2015-jan-22

Read more »


For Nonprofit Hospitals Who Sue Patients, New Rules

Special Report from ProPublica

by Paul Kiel, ProPublica

Last month, ProPublica and NPR detailed how one nonprofit hospital in Missouri sued thousands of lower income workers who couldn't pay their bills, then seized their wages, all while enjoying a big break on its taxes.

Read more »


Loss of Privacy Only Downside to Rise of Personal Tech

by Felix Richter, Statista.com

Modern technology has not only given us permanent access to an abundance of information, it has also granted us the ability to connect with people on the other side of the planet.

Read more »


Tech-sector Job Cuts Rise 77% In 2014. Tech Sheds 100,757 - 21% Of All Job Cuts.

by Challenger Gray and Christmas

While the number of overall job cuts declined in 2014 to the lowest level since 1997, planned workforce reductions in the technology sector trended in the opposite direction, rising to the largest year-end total since 2009.

Read more »


Temporary Assistance For Needy Families: Spending And Policy Options

from the Congressional Budget Office

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a federal program that provides cash assistance, work support, and other services to some low-income families. The cash assistance is generally limited to families with income well below the poverty threshold and few assets; it goes to roughly 2 million families per month, most of them headed by single mothers. The work support (such as subsidized child care) and the other services (such as initiatives to reduce out-of-wedlock pregnancies and promote marriage) are usually available to families with income up to twice the poverty threshold.

Read more »


Managing Risk - The Role Of Reinsurance

from the Chicago Fed

By tempering financial losses, the insurance industry lends resilience to the economy and helps homeowners and businesses recover from natural disasters and other catastrophes. In order to do this, however, the insurance industry must itself be resilient.

Read more »


El Niño Could Mean 2015 is Even Hotter Than Last Year's Scorcher

by James Dyke, The Conversation

Econintersect note: Follow the global data and analysis of climate and weather patterns, including El Niño, in the Econintersect weekly climate and weather report by weather and climate economist Sig Silber.

It’s confirmed: 2014 produced the highest global temperatures since records began in the 1880s. As if that’s not cause enough for concern, this year threatens to see the return of El Niño, which like some enraged climate-driven Godzilla, could emerge from the depths of the South Pacific and lay waste to entire regions.

Read more »


Americans' Top 10 Policy Priorities For 2015

from Felix Richter, Statista.com
by Niall McCarthy

What policies do Americans want Obama and Congress to prioritize in 2015?

Read more »


Standard And Poor's Charged With Fraudulent Ratings Misconduct

by Securities and Exchange Commission

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced a series of federal securities law violations by Standard & Poor's Ratings Services involving fraudulent misconduct in its ratings of certain commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS).

Read more »


Current Account Surplus May Damp The Effects Of China's Credit Boom

from the Dallas Fed

Analysts and the financial press have scrutinized the buildup of private sector borrowing in China over the past few years. Debt accumulation seems eerily familiar to what occurred in past credit booms, most notably in the euro zone periphery in the mid-2000s and in East Asia a decade earlier.

Read more »


Zombie Cookie: The Tracking Cookie That You Can't Kill

Special Report from ProPublica

by Julia Angwin and Mike Tigas, ProPublica

Update, Jan. 16, 2014: In response to our revelation, Turn said it will suspend using its zombie cookie.

Econintersect note regarding update:  See ProPublica article immediately preceding this one:  Zombie Cookies slated to be Killed.

An online advertising clearinghouse relied on by Google, Yahoo and Facebook is using controversial cookies that come back from the dead to track the web surfing of Verizon customers.

Read more »


Zombie Cookies Slated to be Killed

Special Report from ProPublica

by Julia Angwin and Mike Tigas, ProPublica

Tech company Turn said it would stop using tracking cookies that are impossible to delete. The decision came in response to a ProPublica article this week that revealed the controversial practice.

Read more »


How Deadly Cancer may Actually be Spread by Survival Mechanism

by Catherine Hogan, The Conversation

Pancreatic cancer is a devastating disease. With a ten-year survival rate of just 1%, it has the poorest prognosis of all solid tumours. The main reason for this is that tumours of the pancreas largely develop without symptoms. Therefore, by the time many patients are diagnosed, the disease has advanced to a metastatic and incurable stage.

Read more »


Americans Say a Senior Official Should Have Gone to Paris

from Felix Richter, Statista.com
by Niall McCarthy

The White House has apologized for the absence of a senior American leader at the recent unity march in Paris, blaming short notice and a lack of time for implementing security measures, especially for a presidential visit.

Read more »


China: GDP MIsses Target

breaking-news-130px7Econintersect:  Not since China sent tanks into Tiananmen Square to quell student protests has China's GDP growth been as low as the 7.3% recorded for 2014.  The last time growth was at this level was 1990.  The result for the year missed the government target of 7.5% but was higher than the consensus expectation of 7.2% reported by Bloomberg.  The service sector grew faster than manufacturing, especially e-commerce (+49.7%) which aligns with the rebalancing strategy of the government.

Read more »


How The Super Rich Spend Their Money

from Felix Richter, Statista.com
by Niall McCarthy

Ultra-expensive automobiles accounted for a massive slice of the global luxury goods market last year.

Read more »


Documentary of the Week: Putin's Way

EconintersectPBS's FrontLine reviewed the career of Russian President Vladimir Putin last week (13 February 2015).  It is a story rife with charges of massive corruption and possible massive murder by the government in order to frame "undesirable elements" such as Chechen separatists.  The cover-ups of apparent government crimes were relentless with investigators of the government activities dead or imprisoned.  This is a dark documentary.

Video after the Read more >> jump.
frontline-logo-380x110

Read more »


Ebola Outbreak: Where We are Now and What Happens Next

by Colin Brown, The Conversation

Ebola virus disease was first discovered in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1976, and by 2013 had caused about 20 recorded outbreaks across East and Central Africa. These had been restricted to rural areas and confined to small clusters of villages. In each case containment was achieved within a few months and after fewer than 500 confirmed cases. The world assumed that Ebola was too efficient at killing its hosts, doomed to quickly burn out wherever it arose.

Read more »


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Economic Releases / Features:

16 January 2015: ECRI's WLI Unchanged - Still in Negative Territory

ECRI's WLI Growth Index was unchanged but has remained in negative territory for 14 weeks. This index is forecasting a slight business cycle contraction in 1H2015. Obviously the markets do not share ECRI's view the business cycle is taking a downturn. ECRI also released their coincident index which is discussed below.

Read more ...



December 2014 Existing Home Sales Had a Relatively Strong Month for a Change

Written by Steven Hansen

The headlines for existing home sales say that sales picked up - with sales improving for a change. Our analysis of the unadjusted data shows the unadjusted three month rolling averages for sales gaining more ground in positive territory after being in contraction most of 2014.

Read more ...



December 2014 Leading Economic Index Shows Economy "Continues to Build Momentum"

Written by Steven Hansen

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. improved 0.5% over last month. The index growth has been on a solid growth trend.

Read more ...



December 2014 CFNAI Super Index Declines Due to Production Related Items

Written by Steven Hansen

The economy was growing slower based on the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) 3 month moving (3MA) average - but the economy remains well above the historical trend rate of growth.

Read more ...



Rail Week Ending 17 January 2015: Second Week of Year Shows Rail Traffic Slightly Declined

Econintersect: Week 2of 2015 shows same week total rail traffic (from same week one year ago) slightly declined according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR) traffic data. This was a good start to the new year.

Read more ...



Fed's Balance Sheet 21 January 2015 Shrinks a Little
Total Fed Balance Sheet:

Fed'sBalance Sheet week ending balance sheet was $4.473 trillion - down from the record $4.476 trillion for week ending 14 January 2015and up from the $4.476 trillion for last week. Note that on the 29 October 2014, the Federal Reserves governing board (FOMC) stated that .....

Read more ...



Kansas City Fed: Manufacturing Growth Weakens in January 2015

Of the three regional manufacturing surveys released to date for January, all show manufacturing growth this month.

Read more ...



17 January 2015 Initial Unemployment Claims Rolling Average Again Worsens
Blue Line 4 Week Average

The market was expecting the weekly initial unemployment claims at 289,000 to 305,000 (consensus 300,000) vs the 307,000 reported. The more important (because of the volatility in the weekly reported claims and seasonality errors in adjusting the data) 4 week moving averagemoved from 300,000 (reported last week as 298,000) to 306,500. The rolling averages had been equal or under 300,000 for the previous 18 weeks.

Read more ...



Residential Building Sector Better in December 2014, But Continued Deceleration in the Averages.

Written by Steven Hansen

Residential building permits were soft but not as bad as last month. Construction completions continue to outnumberpermits (showing that the future likely will be worse than today). As the data is noisy and with backward revisions, the rolling averages are the best metric to view this series - and the growth continues to decelerate.

Read more ...



December 2014 Sea Container Counts Continue to Show Trade Softness

Written by Steven Hansen

Export container counts continue to weaken, which is usually a warning that the global economy is slowing. Export three month rolling averages continue to decelerate - being in negative territory year-over-year. However, there are serious labor issues at all West Coast ports, and it is hard to understand the effect on the container counts. One should also consider that exports have been decelerating most of 2014 - well before the labor disputes.

Read more ...



Trucking Tonnage Index Unchanged in December 2014

Econintersect: The American Trucking Associations' (ATA) trucking index was unchangedfollowing an increase of 3.5% in November. From ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello:

Economic data was mixed in December, with retail sales down 0.9% and factory output up 0.3%, so tonnage was in-between those two readings, which are two large drivers of truck freight.Overall, 2014 was a good year for truck tonnage with significant gains throughout the year after falling 4.5% in January alone. In December, tonnage was 10.2% above January.Freight volumes look good going into 2015. Expectan accelerationin consumer spending and factory output to offset the weakness in hydraulicfrackingthis year.

Read more ...



Gasoline Prices for Week Ending 19 January 2015 Continue to Fall

Econintersect: Average gasoline prices fell 7.5 cents per gallon nationwide (Lowest since May 2009) this past week following the previous week's 7.6 cent fall from the week before. In the last year, gas prices have fallen 1.22cents a gallon.


Average prices by region and a breakdown by grade follow after "Read more >>".

Read more ...



19 January 2015 Weather Outlook - New NOAA Seasonal Outlook Issued.

Written by Sig Silber

The NOAA Seasonal Outlook is a retraction of sorts as far as their ImagiNino is concerned. But surprisingly, some computer models are showing more confidence in the ImagiNino. It could that the major problem with these models is that they have the wrong year in mind and next year may be the El Nino Year. Or it could be the models are confused by the Positive PDO. Or perhaps they are correct. The biggest news perhaps is the strength of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). A few months of high values of this index do not signify a climate shift but if this really is a change in sign of the PDO, which measures the spacial distribution of surface temperatures in the Pacific not the surface temperature of the Pacific, the pattern of our weather in the U.S. and around the World could be impacted for a number of decades. So this is potentially far more significant than the fate of one warm event. The Ridiculously Resilient Ridge (RRR) demonstrates its resilience.

Read more ...



Epoch Of Belief, Epoch Of Incredulity - 'Beginning Of The End'

Written by Adam Whitehead, KeySignals.com

"Call It."

It's time to start the New Year with a new title. Since the analysis is descriptive, predictive and prescriptive the continuous Dickensian headline theme will be preserved.

Read more ...




Econintersect Analysis:

Stratfor: RED ALERT - Is Russia Preparing a New Offensive in Ukraine?

from STRATFOR

Reports of heavy rocket artillery firing on the eastern parts of the city of Mariupol, Ukraine, as well as a statement made by a separatist leader, indicate the potential preparation of an offensive on the city. While this would be a significant escalation and an indicator of Russian intent to push further into Ukraine, potentially forming a much-rumored land connection to the northern border of Crimea, there are also several indicators required for such an offensive that are currently still missing.

Full story »


Is the USA Paying People Not to Work?

Written by

Social safety nets are government or non-government (NGO) social programs to assist those in society who cannot work (or cannot work to full capacity). Many worry that such programs are incentives for people not to work IF they can get covered by a social safety net.

Full story »


Inverted Balance Sheets and Doubling the Financial Bet

by Michael Pettis, China Financial Markets

On Tuesday the National Bureau of Statistics released China’s 2014 GDP growth numbers and reported growth consistent with what the government has been widely promoting as the “new normal”.

According to the preliminary estimation, the gross domestic product (GDP) of China was 63,646.3 billion yuan in 2014, an increase of 7.4 percent at comparable prices. Specifically, the year-on-year growth of the first quarter was 7.4 percent, the second quarter 7.5 percent, the third quarter 7.3 percent, and the fourth quarter 7.3 percent.

Full story »


Was 2014 the Warmest Year? NOAA Says That was “More Unlikely than Likely”.

by Fabius Maximus, FabiusMaximus.com

Summary: To learn if 2014 was the warmest year let’s read the annual reports of NOAA and NASA. They give clear answers (different from the headlines). It might have been the warmest, but if so, only by a insignificant amount. The hysteria of activists about this is absurd. The data shows that the pause continues.

Full story »


Stratfor: Russia's Plans For Arctic Supremacy

from STRATFOR

Although the crisis in Ukraine continues to focus attention on Russia's western border, Moscow is seeking to exploit a more lucrative prize along its vast northern frontage: the Arctic Circle. Melting ice has opened up new transit routes and revealed previously inaccessible oil and mineral deposits. Facing a year of harsh economic constraints, securing exploitable energy reserves remains a top priority for Moscow. The planned militarization of the Arctic is already underway, and funding is secured through 2015 (the Ministry of Defense was the only Kremlin ministry not to be curtailed in the most recent budget.)

Full story »


Stratfor: The European Union, Nationalism and the Crisis of Europe

by George Friedman

Last week, I wrote about the crisis of Islamic radicalism and the problem of European nationalism. This week's events give me the opportunity to address the question of European nationalism again, this time from the standpoint of the European Union and the European Central Bank, using a term that only an economist could invent: "quantitative easing."

Full story »


Here’s Why Blowout Retail Sales Will Cause Market Blowback Next Month

by Lee Adler, Wall Street Examiner

Markets top out when the news is good. Good news gives central banks the excuse they need to pull the punchbowl. In that respect, yesterday’s “bad news” on retail sales was bad news for stock market bears.

Full story »


A Five-Year Global Financial Forecast: Tsunami Warning

by John Mauldin, Thoughts from the Frontline

It is the time of the year for forecasts; but rather than do an annual forecast, which is as much a guessing game as anything else (and I am bad at guessing games), I’m going to do a five-year forecast to take us to the end of the decade, which I think may be useful for longer-term investors.

Full story »


Incentive Accounts: A Solution to Executive Compensation

by  Alex Edmans and Xavier Gabaix

Appeared originally at VoxEU.org, 24 June 2009

Many blame executive compensation for encouraging shortsighted risk-taking. This column argues that compensation should be structured so as to provide incentives consistent with the firm’s position and long-term interest. It proposes “incentive accounts” that it says would be superior to existing compensation schemes.

Full story »


Econometricians, Financial Markets and Uncertainty: An Anthropological View

Fixing the Economists Article of the Week

by Philip Pilkington

I recently read a paper by the anthropologist David Graeber entitled ‘The Sword, The Sponge, and the Paradox of Performativity: Some Observations on Fate, Luck, Financial Chicanery, and the Limits of Human Knowledge‘. Graeber sent it to me because we are hoping to write an article on the emergence of probability theory and its application in the financial markets.

Full story »


Here’s Why Initial Claims May Really Show “Houston We Have A Problem”

by Lee Adler, Wall Street Examiner

The headline, fictional, seasonally adjusted finagled for initial unemployment claims came in at 316,000, which was significantly more than the Wall Street conomist crowd consensus guess of 290,000. Media pundits immediately blamed the miss on a bad seasonal adjustment factor. Apparently they heard my barrage of complaints yesterday about how they mishandled the retail sales number. The problem is that the actual, unmanipulated data really does hint at possible trouble in the employment trend.

Full story »


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Econintersect Investing:

Long U.S. Treasuries Will See Lower Yields in 2015

Quarterly Review and Outlook, Fourth Quarter 2014

by Van R. Hoisington and Lacy H. Hunt, Hoisington Asset Management

Deflation

“No stock-market crash announced bad times. The depression rather made its presence felt with the serial crashes of dozens of commodity markets. To the affected producers and consumers, the declines were immediate and newsworthy, but they failed to seize the national attention. Certainly, they made no deep impression at the Federal Reserve.” -Thus wrote author James Grant in his latest thoroughly researched and well-penned book, The Forgotten Depression (1921: The Crash That Cured Itself).

Read more »


Investing.com Weekly Wrap-Up 23 January 2015

U.S. stocks mixed at close of trade

by Investing.com Staff, Investing.com

investing.com-logo U.S. stocks were mixed after the close on Friday, as gains in the Utilities,Technology and Consumer Services sectors led shares higher while losses in the Basic Materials, Consumer Goods and Telecommunications sectors led shares lower.

At the close in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.79%, while the S&P 500 index declined 0.55%, and the NASDAQ Composite index added 0.16%.

Read more »


Pinning and Maximum Pain in the Options Market

Online Trading Academy Article of the Week

by Russ Allen, Online Trading Academy Instructor

A reader asked me to comment on the subjects of pinning and max pain in the option market. Although it may sound like it, these are not terms from professional wrestling. They are option-related terms that describe the behavior, or alleged behavior, of stock prices on option expiration day.

Read more »


Investing.com Technical Summary 22 January 2014

Investing.com Technical Analysis (as of Thu, 22 January 2015 05:00pm EDT)

by Investing.com Staff, Investing.com

Below, technical overviews and analysis for key stock indices, commodities and currency pairs, investing.com-logobased on market activity at what would have been the close (absent the holiday) of the 22 January 2015 U.S. session. This information is a comprehensive summary derived from simple and exponential moving averages along with key technical indicators shown for specific time intervals.

Read more »


Oil Rigs Exit Pricey Permian

Investing Daily Article of the Week

by Robert Rapier, Investing Daily

High oil prices have led to a surge of drilling for oil and gas in the U.S. in recent years. The Baker Hughes Rig Count shows a sharp rise in natural gas drilling activity that corresponded with the very high natural gas prices of 2005-2008, followed by a surge of oil drilling activity that took place as oil prices bounced around $100 per barrel (bbl):

Read more »


Is the Commercial Office Market Recovery a Mirage?

by Keith Jurow, Capital Preservation Real Estate Report

My previous article examined the dangers of widespread euphoria and optimism. In this article, I will focus on an important question few analysts are raising: Is the so-called recovery in commercial office markets real or a mirage?

Read more »


Swiss Franc Soars as Currency Cap is Abandoned

What Are the Repercussions of the Swiss Franc Currency Cap Removal?

Written by Brett Chatz, Intertrader

The Swiss National Bank removed the 1.20 Swiss Franc per euro cap which caused major ripples in the financial markets.

Read more »


Investing.com Technical Summary 20 January 2014

Investing.com Technical Analysis (as of Tue, 20 January 2015 05:00pm EST)

by Investing.com Staff, Investing.com

Below, technical overviews and analysis for key stock indices, commodities and investing.com-logocurrency pairs, based on market activity at the close of the 20 January 2015 U.S. session. This information is a comprehensive summary derived from simple and exponential moving averages along with key technical indicators shown for specific time intervals.

Read more »


Warning Signs

X-factor Report 19 January 2015

by Lance Roberts, StreetTalk Live

A common theme in most of last year's missives was the extreme level of complacency in the markets due to extremely low volatility. That has now changed as over the last couple of months market movements have expanded rather dramatically. The previous complacency that markets will only go up is now being questioned and the very issues that I repeatedly warned about last year, are now coming home to roost.

Read more »


Bet Big on Housing Stocks

by Greg Guenthner, Daily Reckoning

This week, I've already showed you two major trends I'm convinced will dominate the market in 2015.

And guess what - today you're going to see the third. Think the first two were controversial? Well, get ready for this bombshell, Jack...

Read more »





Precious Metals Corner:

The Death of Copper — And the Rebirth of Silver

by Greg Guenthner, Daily Reckoning

Copper is crashing. Hard.

No one-and I mean no one-wants anything to do with this base metal anymore. Stinks for anyone playing copper on the long side. But it also gives you a shot at fast, double-digit gains on another metals play... if you know where to look.

Read more »





Live Market Commentary:

Market Commentary: DOW Off 141, Averages Close Mixed On Low Volume

Written by

Closing Market Commentary For 01-23-2015

Afternoon markets melted down off their 2 pm highs to test the 10:45 morning lows on low volume - where are the BTFDers when you need them? DOW off triple digits, small caps in the green but flat and WTI oil is testing the morning lows (45.35).

By 4 pm the SP500 slipped below the morning lows and closed on a low note leaving investors, again, wondering what Mr. Market has in store for them tomorrow.


Read more »








Video of the Day:

This is so funny, who knew you could have so much fun with methane! These idiots playing around with a banger and a cow pat....a bad combination! Hilarious stuff!

video of day picture







Forex Trader:

Investing.com Weekly Wrap-Up 23 January 2015

U.S. stocks mixed at close of trade

by Investing.com Staff, Investing.com

investing.com-logo U.S. stocks were mixed after the close on Friday, as gains in the Utilities,Technology and Consumer Services sectors led shares higher while losses in the Basic Materials, Consumer Goods and Telecommunications sectors led shares lower.

At the close in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.79%, while the S&P 500 index declined 0.55%, and the NASDAQ Composite index added 0.16%.

Follow up:









Econintersect Opinion:

The Currency Wars’ “Pearl Harbor”

by James Rickards, Daily Reckoning

The most dramatic battle yet in the currency wars took place last Thursday. It was the financial equivalent of a Pearl Harbor sneak attack...

Read more »


Markets Threaten Greek Democracy Ahead of Election

by John Weeks, The Conversation

Greece faces a decisive moment on January 25 in a snap election that could see major gains for the extreme left and right. But anyone worried about how Syriza on one side, or Golden Dawn on the other, might handle power, should consider a far more sinister force that has conspired to keep Greece away from recovery for years – the international markets.

Read more »


The Rise of the Swiss Franc – The Fall of Osnabrück?

by Dirk Ehnts, Econoblog101

It is well-known that Hungarian households financed their homes via loans in Swiss Francs, which led to big problems when during the crisis the Hungarian forint depreciated against the Swiss Franc. Probably debtors where delighted by the decision of the Swiss National Bank to stop the rise of the CHF, and now have been surprised by a decision to let the exchange rate be determined on the markets again.

Read more »


Fed Testimony in AIG Bailout Trial: If It Walks Like Perjury and Quacks Like Perjury . . .

by Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism

One of the most striking things about the testimony in the AIG bailout trial is the degree to which Fed officials play fast and loose with the truth. And I don't mean the normal CEO version of having no memory of events that are inconvenient and very detailed recollections of things that boost their case. I mean statements that are flat out false.

Read more »


Court Decision on Consent must Put the Onus on Doctors to Fully Disclose Risks

by Clark Hobson, The Conversation

The law of consent to medical procedures is (to paraphrase legal philosopher HLA Hart) “tantalisingly obscure”. Narrowly interpreted, the law sets out a professional standard regarding the risks a medical professional must disclose to a patient when carrying out a procedure. Astonishingly, the idea of what is considered informed consent primarily comes from case law, defined by decisions made in specific court challenges. It doesn’t really focus on the patient, but on the medical profession – something that is out of step with how most of us likely see the idea of consent.

Read more »


The State of the Union Speech and the President’s Credibility Gap

Political Commentary from New Economic Perspectives

by Robert E. Prasch

Last night, President Obama gave a great speech. He almost always does. And to that ever-shrinking group of die-hards who continue to insist that somehow, and in someway, President Obama will validate the hope kindled by his 2008 presidential campaign, it was a moment of triumph. Yes, they are saying, in his heart - very deep down, perhaps - Obama does in fact share our values and concerns, etc., he just has a hard time finding ways to express it, etc.

Read more »


Oil Crash: Is This the End of a Long Period of Inflated Prices?

by Chris Cook, The Conversation

What on earth is going on in the oil market? Does the recent 60% collapse in oil prices in six months really reflect shifts in underlying supply and demand for crude oil? I’m afraid not, as I have been predicting for more than three years. Here’s what has really been happening.

Read more »


The Triumph of Radical Right Economics in Greece – At the Hands of “Socialists”

by William K. Black, New Economic Perspectives

In my January 18, 2015 column, I explained that German Prime Minister Angela Merkel's sweetest triumph was successfully extorting George Papandreou, Greece's Prime Minister, head of the Greek Socialist Movement (PASOK), and President of the Socialist International, to inflict austerity and a war on workers' wages on the Greek people. I quoted a passage from the Papandreou administration's May 3, 2010, "Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies" (the Papandreou Plan) agreeing to the European Commission's (EC) austerity and anti-worker demands that was made part of The EC's Occasional Papers No. 61 "The Economic Adjustment Programme for Greece" (May 2010).

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"I'm Charlie" And 9/11

Written by

A horrible tragedy occurred in Paris recently: three gunmen dashed into a magazine office and killed several editors and journalists. I unequivocally condemn the attack and feel sorry for the victims and their families.

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The Next Subprime Crisis Has Already Started

Special Report from Money Morning

by Shah Gilani, Money Morning

Reading about what's going on in the subprime auto lending space is a lot like reading about drive-by shootings.

Unless you're a subprime borrower, or live in a neighborhood where drive-bys are happening, you probably don't know much about either or think they affect you.

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