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What We Read Today 30 August 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 (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.

  • Losing Ground (ProPublica and The Lens) The Mississippi Delta is disappearing. An unintended consequence of flood control along the Mississippi River is that sediment required to maintain the land in the Mississippi Delta has not been arriving for the last 90 years the way it had for millennia before the 1920s.

Click on map for interactive version at ProPublica.

  • Patient Zero Believed to Be Sole Source of Ebola Outbreak (Dina Fine Maron, Scientific American) Research indicates that repeated exposures to infected wild animals is not the significant factor in human infection. The current outbreak of ebola arose from a single human infection. The animal-to-human transfer is a rare event compared to the rate of human-to-human transfer.
  • Recent articles about Ferguson:

U.N. urges U.S. to stop police brutality after Missouri shooting (Stephanie Nebehay, Reuters)

Three Missouri police officers out of jobs in wake of Ferguson protests (Nina Golgowski, Meg Wagner and Corky Siemaszko, The New York Daily News)

  • Articles about wars elsewhere in the world:

The U.N. says 7 in 10 Palestinians killed in Gaza were civilians. Israel disagrees. (William Booth, The Washington Post)

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all Syrians displaced: U.N. (Stephanie Nebehay, Reuters)

Found: The Islamic State's Terror Laptop of Doom (Harald Doornbos and Jenan Moussa, Foreign Policy)

Obama faces a tough sell in Congress for Islamic State strategy (Patricia Zengerle, The Washington Post)

Libyan interim government submits resignation (Associated Press, The Washington Post)

U.N. warns of ‘full-blown civil war’ in Libya (Associated Press, The Washington Post)

Russia's Putin urges release of Ukrainian soldiers (Nataliya Vasilyeava, Associated Press, MSN News)

Ukraine seeks to join NATO; defiant Putin compares Kiev to Nazis (Alexei Anishchuk and Richard Balmforth, Reuters)

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

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  • 5 Things To Ponder: Labor Day Edition (Lance Roberts, Advisor Perspectives Lance Roberts is a weekly contributor to GEI. Stocks and bonds have been highly correlated since April (lower interest rate = higher price for bonds), an unusual situation. Roberts suggests that stocks and bonds cannot continue to go up together - one or both must turn down in his opinion, and more times than not only one will do so.


  • How Draghi Seeking QE Trade-Off May Find Austerity Trap (Jeff Black and Ian Wishart, Bloomberg) Hat tip to Roger Erickson who says he wonders where the "perceptually challenged" people in Europe come from that they are unable to see the obvious. Econintersect: They are the next generation of the thinking that designed a monetary system hamstrung by no fiscal commonality. Draghi is calling for less fiscal austerity while those with political control are insisting on continuing the current course. It seems that two "dis-es" are doomed to become one big "de": extend "disinflation" and political "dysfunction" into "deflation".
The underlying fundamentals in the job market keep getting better each month, and the manufacturing reports and other economic surveys all showed strong employment components which likewise support the strong showing this month for Initial Jobless claims.
  • Forget Target Date ETFs And Consider These Options Instead (David Fabian, FMD Capital) Fabian suggests that diversified sector ETFs are better investor choices than target date funds, which were advertized to perform an asset allocation and time horizon problem for investors but have, instead, delivered continuing under-performance.
  • Canada Gets Hit with Global Yield Compression (Walter Kurtz, The Daily Shot email, no url)


  • One Drug. Two Prices. A Reporter Struggles to Find Out the Cost of His Son’s Prescription (Charles Ornstein, ProPublica) Charles Ornstein has contributed to GEI. $15 or $30? Health reporter Charles Ornstein is charged two different prices for the same drug. Which one is right? His effort to find out illustrates consumer frustrations with the health care system. Econintersect: Our managing editor was quoted $30 at one pharmacy and $3 at another for exactly the same prescription. He bought at the $3 price. It turned out that the first pharmacy was "out-of-network" for his health insurer and the second was in-network, charging a 20% co-pay. That gets the price difference to exactly the $15 vs. $30 Ornstein experienced.
  • Les Fleurs de la Memoire Hat tip to Roger Erickson, who called this "a hell of a story". Can you imagine a Franz Stiegler as a member of ISIS?
  • Another Look at Gold/GLD - Taking a Look Back (Jonathan Beck, J.Beck Investments Blog) The current pattern in the gold chart looks like a repeat of the 2011-2013 flag pattern.. Will the current flag be resolved with a similar move down for gold? Beck has an opinion.

Click on chart for large version at J. Beck Investments Blog.

  • Managing Expectations, Part III of III: Picking Mining Stocks in a Bear Market (Frank Holmes, U.S. Global Investors) Frank Holmes has contributed to GEI. The first graph below suggests that gold mining stocks are due for an up year in 2014. So far XAU Index is up 20% for the year. Holmes discusses the analysis and evaluation that goes in to picking the winners. The second graphic describes the cycle that is typical for a new mining discovery.



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