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What We Read Today:

What We Read Today 30 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: Five Scariest Data Breaches Of All Time

You have probably heard about the Target data breach that compromised millions of customers’ credit card numbers and personal information in 2013.

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Econintersect News Briefs:

As The World Turns (Sluggishly)

from the Atlanta Fed

Although the global economy made progress on some fronts in 2014 - inflation was tame and incomes rose in most places, for example - gross domestic product (GDP) growth remained subpar.

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Air Pollution Levels In Perspective: China And The US

from Felix Richter, Statista.com
by Niall McCarthy

Even though Chinese officials have pledged to reduce the country's rolling clouds of smog, air pollution levels in many cities have soared to over twenty times the safe limit on several occasions over the past year.

Read more »


Pew: Scientists and Public Poles Apart on Many Things

Econintersect:  Science holds an esteemed place in American society and it one of the areas that the public most strongly supports government involvement.  But when it comes down to specific details the Pew Foundation has found some dramatic differences of opinion about science related issues.  Some the areas of wide differences involve GM (genetically modified) foods, causes of climate change, uses of animals in research and desirable energy technologies.

chemist-in-lab-380x200

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Greece: A Collision with Lenders would be Disastrous for Growth

by Costas Milas, The Conversation

Syriza, in choosing to enter into coalition with the Independent Greeks, is sending a clear message to the Eurozone’s leaders: it is intent on challenging Greece’s debt repayments.

Read more »


Google Among Top Lobbying Spenders in 2014

by Felix Richter, Statista.com

In its bid to preserve net neutrality and reform patent legislation, Google spent a total of $17.5 million on lobbying in the past year.

Read more »


Made in Britain: How the UK Became a Worse Place for Women to Work

by Susan Milner, The Conversation

News that the West End musical Made in Dagenham will close in April is disappointing on two fronts. Ignore for a moment what it says about the viability of new theatre productions in the capital, and consider that we will lose a valuable reminder of the fight for workplace gender equality in Britain. And it is a fight for which we need all the help we can get.

Read more »


Greeks Still Gloomy About Economic Outlook

from Felix Richter, Statista.com
by Niall McCarthy

The far-left Syriza party won Greece's general election on Sunday and formed a governing coalition with the centre-right Independent Greeks.

Read more »


Senator to Hospitals: Stop Suing Poor Patients

Special Report from ProPublica

by Paul Kiel, ProPublica and Chris Arnold, NPR

This story was co-published with NPR.

Sen. Charles Grassley said nonprofit hospitals could be breaking the law when they sue poor patients over unpaid bills and issued a stern warning to one Missouri hospital that he hopes reverberates nationwide.

Read more »


Forget Lance Armstrong, the Next Big Cycling Doper could be Your Dad

by Paul Dimeo and April Henning, The Conversation

The Gran Fondo New York bicycle race is the biggest mass-participation event of its kind in the state, a 100-mile run between Manhattan and Bear Mountain. In May 2012 the organisers introduced drug testing. With thousands of entrants, this expensive process was limited to a handful of riders. Of those, two came back positive for EPO (erythropoietin), a blood-boosting hormone largely associated with the most elite professional end of the sport. Both riders were banned for two years.

Read more »


Premier League Dominates Football's Rich List

from Felix Richter, Statista.com
by Niall McCarthy

When it comes to football finance, England reigns supreme.

Read more »


What A Tumbling Ruble Means For Russia

Written by JB Marwood, jbmarwood.com

The last few months have not been a good time to be Russian Prime Minister Vladmir Putin.

Although turmoil in Ukraine may no longer be making front page headlines, the conflict situation there is still on tentative ground. Western sanctions on Russia continue to cause economic problems and now the country has to deal with yet another problem.

Read more »


Millennials Seek Smaller Houses, But Won't Sacrifice Details

by National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)

As Millennials begin to enter the home buying market in larger numbers, homes will get a little smaller, laundry rooms will be essential, and home technology will become increasingly prevalent, said panelists during an International Builders' Show press conference on home trends and Millennials' home preferences held last week

Read more »


Competition For Educated Talent All Over The World

by Yuhua Zhang, GEI Associate

In modern world, educated people play a more significant role in a countries' economic growth. The competition for the educated around the world has become more and more intense. Consider that education flows from developed countries to developing ones.

Read more »


Oppenheimer Charged With Securities Law Violations Related to Improper Penny Stock Sales

from the Securities and Exchange Commission

The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Oppenheimer & Co. with violating federal securities laws while improperly selling penny stocks in unregistered offerings on behalf of customers.

Read more »


PayPal Drives eBay's Growth

by Felix Richter, Statista.com

As the planned spin-off of PayPal into a separate company nears, eBay’s payment service continues to drive the company’s revenue growth.

Read more »


Supreme Court’s Latest Race Case: Housing Discrimination

Special Report from ProPublica

by Nikole Hannah-Jones, ProPublica

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on one of the most important civil rights cases of the last decade. If you've never heard of Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, you have company. The issue of housing segregation has never captivated the nation's attention like affirmative action or voting rights.

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USA Budget Deficit Is Projected To Hold Steady Relative To The Economy Through 2018

from the Congressional Budget Office

The federal budget deficit, which has fallen sharply during the past few years, is projected to hold steady relative to the size of the economy through 2018. Beyond that point, however, the gap between spending and revenues is projected to grow, further increasing federal debt relative to the size of the economy—which is already historically high.

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Netflix Tops 57 Million Subscribers

by Felix Richter, Statista.com

Thanks to strong international growth, Netflix ended the year with 57.4 million subscribers to its streaming service.

Read more »


Obama Has Sentenced Whistleblowers to 25 Times the Jail Time of All Prior U.S. Presidents COMBINED

by Washington's Blog, Washington's Blog

And Obama Is Arguably More Hostile Towards The Press Than Any President In History

The Obama administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all other presidents combined.

This administration has also obtained much longer jail sentences against whistleblowers than previous presidents.

Read more »


Russia's Borders: Moscow's Long Alliance with Kazakhstan is Strong But Not Unbreakable

by Julia Kusznir, The Conversation

In this instalment of our series looking at Russia’s relations with the countries along its border, we reach Kazakhstan, Moscow’s closest ally in central Asia. Region specialist Julia Kusznir tells a story of two countries bound together by mutual dependency, but with one or two telling cracks at the edges.

Read more »


Super Bowl Ad Prices Doubled Since 2003

by Felix Richter, Statista.com

When Super Bowl XLIX kicks off on February 1, the NFL championship won’t be the only title that’s on the line.

Read more »


Syriza Wins Greek Election

Econintersect:  As expected based on strengthening opinion polling in recent days, former Communist youth member Alexis Tsipras will be the next Prime Minister of Greece.  The 41-year old charismatic leader of the leftist Syriza party will replace outgoing Prime Minister Antonis Samaras whose conservative New Democracy Party lost the election by a margin about 8% (36% to 28%).  With 60% of the vote counted Syriza appears to be winning about 149 seats in the Greek parliament, two short of an absolute majority in the 300 member body.

greece-flag-village-380x180

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Obama Wants You to Have Cheap, Fast Internet, But Many Cities Aren’t Allowed to Provide It

Special Report from ProPublica

by Leticia Miranda , ProPublica

Last week during the State of the Union address, President Obama pledged :

"To protect a free and open Internet, extend its reach to every classroom, and every community, and help folks build the fastest networks."

Obama is calling on the Federal Communications Commission to challenge a wave of state laws blocking the construction of municipal broadband networks, which are high-speed Internet services run by local communities.

Read more »


Chimps and Gorillas Desperately Need Ebola Vaccine Too – Virus has Wiped Out a Third of Them

by Meera Inglis, The Conversation

There is a side to the Ebola crisis that, perhaps understandably, has received little media attention: the threat it poses to our nearest cousins, the great apes of Africa. At this moment in time Ebola is the single greatest threat to the survival of gorillas and chimpanzees.

Read more »


2014's 10 Biggest VC Deals Were Worth Nearly $50 Billion

from Felix Richter, Statista.com
by Niall McCarthy

In 2014, venture capital funding in the United States hit its highest mark since 2001.

Read more »


Union Membership Rate In 2014 Is 11.1 Percent, Down From 11.3 Percent In 2013

from Bureau of Labor Statistics

In 2014, the union membership rate--the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unions - was 11.1 percent, down 0.2 percentage point from 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions, at 14.6 million, was little different from 2013. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent, and there were 17.7 million union workers.

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Economic Releases / Features:

Written by Adam Whitehead, KeySignals.com

The Eurozone continues to live on borrowed time. Last week in a scene reminiscent of the deck on the Titanic, whilst speculators were enabled by Mario Draghi and his expected QE operation to buy Eurozone equities, the Eurozone banks were busily stress testing the "Grexit" scenario - [i].

Read more ...



23 January 2015: ECRI's WLI Improves But Still in Negative Territory

ECRI's WLI Growth Index improved but has remained in negative territory for 15 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.

Read more ...



Final January 2015 Michigan Consumer Sentiment Remains at Eleven Year High

by Doug Short, Advisor Perspectives/dshort.com

The final University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment for January came in at 98.1, virtually unchanged from the 98.2 preliminary reading and a strong surge from last month's 93.6. This is the highest final monthly sentiment in eleven years. Investing.com had forecast of 98.2 for the January Final.

Read more ...



January 2015 Chicago Purchasing Managers Barometer Bumps Up Slightly

Econintersect: The Chicago Business Barometer stabilised in January following two consecutive monthly declines. The authors of this index believe the growth this year is encouraging.

Read more ...



Advance Estimate 4Q2014 GDP Growth at 2,6%, A Tad Disappointing

Written by Doug Short and Steven Hansen

The advance estimate of fourth quarter 2014 Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is a positive 2.6%.

  • 3Q2014 GDP was 5.0%.
  • There are significant "buts" relative to this advance GDP estimate (see below).

Read more ...



Rail Week Ending 24 January 2015: Third Week of Year Shows Rail Traffic Improved

Econintersect: Week 2 of 2015 shows same week total rail traffic (from same week one year ago) improved according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR) traffic data. Because the AAR reported the first week of 2015 as the last week of 2014, the data does not correlate properly when analyzing the four week averages - but still the data currently has a slight deceleration in the growth trend.

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Fed's Balance Sheet 28 January 2015 Shrinks a Little Again
Total Fed Balance Sheet:

Fed's Balance Sheet week ending balance sheet was $4.461 trillion - down from the record $4.476 trillion for week ending 14 January 2015 and up from the $4.473 trillion for last week. Note that on the 29 October 2014, the Federal Reserves governing board (FOMC) stated that .....

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December 2014 Coincident Indicator Review: Economy's Rate of Growth Generally Constant to Slightly Improving

The above graph shows the index value for the US Coincident Index. A comparison of US Coincident Index, Aruoba-Diebold-Scotti business conditions index, Conference Board's Coincident Index, ECRI's USCI (U.S. Coincident Index), and Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) coincident indicators follows.

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December 2014 Pending Home Sales Seasonally Adjusted Index Declines - Our Analysis Is Better

Written by Steven Hansen

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) seasonally adjusted pending home sales index declined but remains in expansion for the fourth month in a row after a year in contraction. Our analysis of pending home sales however is much better - and we are projecting a relatively good month for existing home sales in January 2015.

Read more ...



24 January 2015 Initial Unemployment Claims Rolling Average Significantly Falls
Blue Line 4 Week Average

The market was expecting the weekly initial unemployment claims at 280,000 to 310,000 (consensus 300,000) vs the 265,000 reported. The more important (because of the volatility in the weekly reported claims and seasonality errors in adjusting the data) 4 week moving average moved from 306,750 (reported last week as 306,500) to 298,500. The rolling averages have been equal to or under 300,000 for the 19 of the previous 20 weeks.

Read more ...



28 January 2015 FOMC Meeting Statement: Added Financial and International Developments to the List of Concerns

Econintersect: The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) - the board of directors of the Federal Reserve - continued to change its discussion and word engineering in their meeting statement relative to when to start raising the Federal Funds rate. And it appears that "financial and international developments" have been added to their list of concerns. Today's statement is remarkable in what they did NOT repeat in the current statement:

The Committee sees this guidance as consistent with its previous statement that it likely will be appropriate to maintain the 0 to 1/4 percent target range for the federal funds rate for a considerable time following the end of its asset purchase program in October, especially if projected inflation continues to run below the Committee's 2 percent longer-run goal, and provided that longer-term inflation expectations remain well anchored. ....

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February 2015 Economic Forecast: Moderate Slowing of Growth But It Depends On What You Include In the Model

Written by Steven Hansen

Our Economic Forecast continues to show a stable and growing economy - again with a modest decline in growth from last month. Most portions of the economy outside our economic model - except residential housing, business sales and industrial production - are showing reasonable expansion. Although the growth trend line for our model is decelerating, if we toss in a few more elements which we analyze (but do not include) in our economic forecast model (such as employment or consumer sentiment) - the trends are improving rather than slowing.

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Richmond Fed Manufacturing Growth Rate Marginally Weakened in January 2015

Of the four regional Federal Reserve surveys released to date, all show manufacturing expanding (although one barely expanding). A complete summary follows. The market expected this survey index at 4 to 8 (consensus 5.5) versus the 6 actual [note that values above zero represent expansion].

Read more ...



January 2015 Conference Board Consumer Confidence Improves Sharply - Above Expectations

Written by Doug Short and Steven Hansen

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index improved sharply after its increase last month. The market expected this index to come in at 93.5 to 100.0 (consensus 96.0) versus the 102.9 reported.

Read more ...



December 2014 New Home Sales Surge But Rolling Averages Still Declined

Written by John Lounsbury and Steven Hansen

The headlines say new home sales surged from last month. Econintersect also sees the new home sales data improved - BUT even with this surge, the unadjusted 3 month rolling averages continued to decline. As the data is noisy, the 3 month rolling average is the way to look at this data.

Read more ...



January 2015 Chemical Activity Barometer With Modest Gain After Last Month Decline

from the American Chemistry Council

The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB), increased 0.2 percent this month, following a 0.1 percent slide in December, as measured on a three-month moving average (3MMA). Accounting for adjustments, the CAB remains up 3.6 percent over this time last year.

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Case-Shiller Home Price Index November 2014: Price Growth Again Slowed

Written by Steven Hansen

The non-seasonally adjusted Case-Shiller home price index (20 cities) for November 2014 (released today) year-over-year rate of home price growth slowed from 4.5% (reported as 4.5% last month) to 4.3%.

Read more ...




Econintersect Analysis:

Middle Class Economics

Written by

This past week, Sentier Research told us that real median wages were 1.4% higher in December than in November 2014. This increase should be considered significant.

Full story »


The Defense Death Spiral

Why the Defense Budget is Always Underfunded

by Franklin (Chuck) Spinney, The Blaster

The courtiers in the Hall of Mirrors that is Versailles on the Potomac are always lining up to give a new Secretary of Defense advice on how to manage the Pentagon during the coming era of budget “constraints.” Most of this wisdom takes the form of platitudes of how important it is to have a strategy and to make the hard choices needed to budget for that strategy.

Full story »


Stratfor: Mind the Gap

by Jay Ogilvy

The Charlie Hebdo attack and its aftermath in the streets and in the press tempt one to dust off Samuel Huntington's 1996 book, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. Despite the criticisms he provoked with that book and his earlier 1993 article in Foreign Affairs, recent events would seem to be proving him prescient.

Or was he?

Full story »


An Economic Warning?

by Menzie Chinn, Econbrowser.com

Appeared originally at Econbrowser 07 January 2015

In today’s NY Times, Peter Eavis writes about the message in “soaring bond prices”:

…a huge bond market with a strong track record for predicting economic problems is flashing a warning sign right now. … The prices of Treasury bonds are rallying fiercely.

Full story »


Stratfor: The New Drivers of Europe's Geopolitics

by George Friedman

For the past two weeks, I have focused on the growing fragmentation of Europe. Two weeks ago, the murders in Paris prompted me to write about the fault line between Europe and the Islamic world. Last week, I wrote about the nationalism that is rising in individual European countries after the European Central Bank was forced to allow national banks to participate in quantitative easing so European nations wouldn't be forced to bear the debt of other nations. I am focusing on fragmentation partly because it is happening before our eyes, partly because Stratfor has been forecasting this for a long time and partly because my new book on the fragmentation of Europe — Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis in Europe — is being released today.

Full story »


The Swiss Release the Kraken!

by John Mauldin, Thoughts from the Frontline

“Below the thunders of the upper deep,
Far far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee….

“There hath he lain for ages, and will lie
Battening upon huge sea-worms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.”

– Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “The Kraken

Full story »


Stratfor: Red Alert Update - At the Heart of the Mariupol Crisis

from STRATFOR

As the situation on the ground quiets down in the wake of the Jan. 24 barrage by Russian-allied forces near the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, Stratfor is continuing the watch initiated by our Red Alert. We believe, at the very least, that Russia is keeping its option to mount an offensive open, and at most, is preparing to launch an offensive to secure its hold on the Crimean Peninsula.

Full story »


Open Systems Economics

Article of the Week from Fixing the Economists

by Philip Pilkington

I recently came across a fascinating paper by Victoria Chick entitled ‘The Future is Open: On Open-System Theorising in Economics‘. I want to focus on a specific aspect of the paper; namely, Chick’s discussion on the psychological possibilities of actually teaching open systems.

Full story »


The Eurozone Is Doomed: Why ECB Bond Purchases and the Greek Election Don’t Matter

by Elliott Morss, Morss Global Finance

Introduction

The European Central Bank (ECB) just announced a $70 billion per month bond buying plan. And Greece will probably elect an anti-austerity government on Sunday. Neither will do much to remedy the problems of the Eurozone.

euro-broken-375x180

Full story »


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 »


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Econintersect Investing:

Why Oil Can’t Stay Cheap

by Byron King, Daily Reckoning

It's hard not to notice it at the gas station. Oil prices have plummeted. They're sitting at levels we haven't seen in years.

Read more »


Investing.com Weekly Wrap-Up 30 January 2015

U.S. stocks lower at close of trade

by Investing.com Staff, Investing.com

investing.com-logo

U.S. stocks were lower after the close on Friday, as losses in the Utilities, Consumer Goods and Technology sectors led shares lower.

At the close in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.45%, while the S&P 500 index lost 1.30%, and the NASDAQ Composite index lost 1.03%.

Read more »


Option Payoff Diagrams

Online Trading Academy Article of the Week

by Russ Allen, Online Trading Academy Instructor

It has been a while since I wrote about option payoff diagrams. If you are not familiar with these, it is a good idea to learn about them. They allow us to make good estimates of how our option trades will do under varied conditions. Being able to do this will give us a big leg up on the option trading competition.

Read more »


Investing.com Technical Summary 29 January 2015

Investing.com Technical Analysis (as of Thu, 29 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 29 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 »


Here Comes the Sun

Investing Daily Article of the Week

by Thomas Scarlett

One of the ancillary effects of the collapse of oil prices is that companies that profit from solar energy have seen their share prices decline in recent months. The thinking is that Americans will have less interest in solar energy as they realize that they can provide power to their homes with fossil fuels more cheaply than they had anticipated.

Read more »


Is the Strong Dollar the New Black Swan Event?

by Michael Clark

In 2007 Nassim Taleb became famous when he published his book "The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable" as a picture of what moves history, art, politics, science: the unexpected ignition.

Read more »


Solar Power Is at a Tipping Point... and the Upshot Is Massive Profits

Money Morning Article of the Week

by Kent Moors, Money Morning

I have spent years tracking dozens of promising renewable energy companies.

And while the potential of these groundbreaking companies has always been tempting, there have always been limitations holding them back.

Read more »


Investing.com Technical Summary 27 January 2014

Investing.com Technical Analysis (as of Tue, 27 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 27 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 »


The ABCs Of The ECB QE

X-Factor Report, 26 January 2015

by Lance Roberts, StreetTalk Live

This past week, after two years of "jawboning the world to death," the European Central Bank (ECB) launched their version of quantitative easing or QE.

Read more »


ECB and EU LTRO and QE for Dummies

Special Report from Money Morning and Wall Street Insights & Indictments:
Make These Trades

by Shah Gilani, Money Morning

Pssst! Do you want to make some money trading some initials? Real easy money?

For real. I just made my subscribers 382% trading these initials. And we're not done. After closing out our 382% gain, we're in the same trade again, and we're up 180% in just a few weeks - and still going.

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: Markets Close Lower to End a Down January

Written by

Closing Market Commentary For 01-30-2015

Gary is off , and the market close comes from our syndication partner, Investing.com.

U.S. stocks were lower after the close on Friday, as losses in the Utilities, Consumer Goods and Technology sectors led shares lower.

At the close in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.45%, while the S&P 500 index lost 1.30%, and the NASDAQ Composite index lost 1.03%.

Read more »


>>>>> Scroll down to view and make comments <<<<<<







Video of the Day:

Apple, has announced a $18bn profit for the last quarter of 2014, dwarfing previous profit records by the likes of ExxonMobil and Gazprom. Apple says the surge in profits is, like many things, is down to sales in China & the launch of its latest iPhone models.

video of day picture







Forex Trader:

Investing.com Weekly Wrap-Up 30 January 2015

U.S. stocks lower at close of trade

by Investing.com Staff, Investing.com

investing.com-logo

U.S. stocks were lower after the close on Friday, as losses in the Utilities, Consumer Goods and Technology sectors led shares lower.

At the close in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.45%, while the S&P 500 index lost 1.30%, and the NASDAQ Composite index lost 1.03%.

Follow up:









Econintersect Opinion:

Are Crude Conspiracies Right? Research Shows Nations Really Do Go to War Over Oil

by Petros Sekeris and Vincenzo Bove, The Conversation

The “thirst for oil” is often put forward as a near self-evident explanation behind military interventions in Libya, for instance, or Sudan. Oil, or the lack of oil, is also said to be behind the absence of intervention in Syria now and in Rwanda in 1994.

Read more »


Asset Ownership and Our System of Deepening Debt-Serfdom

by Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds

Debt-serfs who make the difficult and risky transition to small-scale business owners find they have simply moved to another class of serfdom.

Read more »


Why Climate Scientists shouldn't Bother Testifying to Congress

by Mathis Hampel, The Conversation

Western liberal democracies believe that in difficult political decisions science serves as a referee and arbiter of truth.

Read more »


IMF’s Blanchard: Fiscal Policy Part of the Solution Against Stagnation

by Dirk Ehnts, Econoblog101

The IMF's Economic Counsellor and Director of Research Department, Olivier Blanchard, held a press briefing a few days ago in Beijing. He left another hint at a return of fiscal policy for 2015:

Let me end with risks to the forecast; there are always risks. The most obvious one involves stagnation in either the eurozone, or in Japan, or in both. In both, using the "three arrows", to borrow from Abenomics, is clearly the way to go, to use monetary policy, fiscal policy and structural reforms. What is true for Japan is just as true for the eurozone as well.

Read more »


Syriza Wins and the NYT and WSJ Coverage Competes for Mendacity

by William K. Black, New Economic Perspectives

The Wall Street Journal and the New York Time's eurozone reporters, who share the same unshakable devotion to TINA and austerity as the Murdochized WSJ news staff have been thrown into a panic by Syriza's electoral successes in Greece.

Read more »


As Expected Syriza Has Won The Election In Greece! Now What?

by Michael Haltman

In an article last week, 'Greece Election Sunday And Why The Entire World Is Watching!', the potential fallout from a Syriza party victory in the Greece election was examined:

'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.'

greece-flag-village-380x180

Read more »


New Congress, Worse America, Guaranteed!

Written by

The 114th United States Congress is now in session. Is the new Congress better than the last one? Perhaps! Will America be better off because of the new Congress? No!

The new Congress may be better, because Republicans will control not only the House, as they did last term, but also the Senate, which was not the case last time. Admittedly, as an independent, I do have a Republican-leaning voting record.

Read more »


Can We Question Holocaust Memoirs?

by Anna Hájková, The Conversation

As we approach the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on January 27, the victims of the Holocaust stand, with a good reason, at the centre of our attention. It is survivors' memoirs that shaped our understanding of this genocide. Yet this focus on the survivor sometimes goes hand in hand with an ahistorical, idealised reception of their memoirs.

Read more »


Peter Thiel Explains What Backs the U.S. Dollar

by Chris Mayer, Daily Reckoning

Peter Thiel seems an unlikely source for such an important monetary insight. He's a hedge fund manager and venture capitalist. He was the first outside investor in Facebook. And perhaps most famously, he's one of the co-founders of PayPal.

Read more »


Fixing the Hole in the Heart of Corporate Capitalism

by Jeroen Veldman, The Conversation

Modern capitalism has a massive structural flaw in one of the cornerstones of its existence. The corporations which form the predominant business structure and which are the main instrument for dividing wealth have been operating on a false premise.

Read more »


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