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What We Read Today 22 July 2014

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 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.

  • Russia challenges US accusations on MH17 (Kathrin Hille, Financial Times) Russia charges that either a Ukrainian military aircraft or a Ukrainian Buk-M1 ant-aircraft battery could be responsible for the destruction Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17. They offer data from Russian monitoring services.

  • Corn and Wheat ETFs Hammered (Mark Moskowitz, Comment on LinkedIn) Market close Monday for NYSE:CORN was $26.21, down 5.3% from Thursday's intraday high and NYSE:WEAT was $12.88, down 4.0%. WEAT had a good day Monday, however, recovering 1.3% by the close from a Monday morning low of $12.71.
  • The Truth about Treating Lyme Disease (Isaac Eliaz, MD, MS, LAC,integrative medicine pioneer; Maria's Farm Country Kitchen, Rodale Press) This article highlights the harmful effects of heavy metal toxins, possible genetic susceptibilities and even the possibility that Lyme disease may be a STD (sexually transmitted disease). Dr. Eliaz discusses how the Lyme spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi, if not treated successfully within several weeks of infection can "hide out" in various locations in the human body. The article discusses some non-traditional treatments for the disease. See GEI News articles about Lyme disease.
  • Highest points in each state (Connie Ricca, MSN Weather) From Alaska to Florida (that' s most northwestern to most southeastern) one goes from the highest to the lowest top elevations. Watch a great slide show.


There are 10 articles discussed today 'behind the wall'.

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  • US labour market improving but it is not all good (Bill Mitchell, billy blog) Hat tip to Roger Erickson. Prof. Mitchell has a rather unique graphical representation of the U.S. employment situation (below). He has a thorough discussion of the data and addresses possible structural employment changes. His estimate that demographics can account for perhaps 25% of the employment lag would put the line defining structural employment problems somewhere between the green and blue lines in the graph, probably closer to the blue. Here are his overall conclusions:
  • The US fiscal deficit has remained large enough to support some growth and allow some confidence to be regained in the private sector.
  • The results is that employment growth has gathered in pace although the underlying state of the labour market remains fragile.
  • If the employment growth remains stronger as it has been in the last few months, then the cyclical adjustment in the labour force participation rate will start to push unemployment back up.
  • The implied hidden unemployment is huge at present.


  • Third Time Is the Charm? (Alan Hartley, Advisor Perspectives Hartley presents a convincing argument that stock market returns will be very meager over the next several years. The title could also have been "This Time is Different?" which gives you the correct impression that "charm" is used sarcastically.
  • Class Warfare is Naked Aggression, not Misguided Policy (Dan Kervick, Rugged Egalitarianism) Dan Kervick has contributed to GEI. Kervick compares CEO pay (up 21% since 2010) and corporate profits (up 35% since 2011) with falling wages and household incomes. (Econintersect: Real median family income is down 8% since 2006.)


Click on graph for larger image at Macro Business.

  • The Inflation Truther Crank Index (Barry Ritholtz, Bloomberg) We could not find an actual index in the article, but it is still a worthwhile discussion of why inflation is both (1) not what it seems to you and (2) not what is reported in official statistics.
  • When investors are complacent, stupid deals happen (James Mackintosh, Financial Times) This year is on track to be the biggest M&A year ever. And when mergers and acquisitions get very numerous markets have fallen sharply thereafter. Is this time different?


  • Tapering Is Now Tightening (David Kotok, The Big Picture) Kotok argues that the Fed is approaching the point at which tapering will take the Fed purchases each month below the rate at which the Treasury is issuing new debt. Once that happens Kotok says the effect will be a monetary tightening because interest rates on long-term bonds will start to rise once the Fed stops buying all that are issued. Econintersect: That argument requires the assumption that the Fed will start to increase short-term rates. If that doesn't happen then the yield curve will steepen and a long-short carry trade will bid up the price of the long-term issues offsetting the diminished Fed buying.


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