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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.
This feature is published every day late afternoon New York time. For early morning review of headlines see "The Early Bird" published every day in the early am at GEI News (membership not required for access to "The Early Bird".).
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A record 125 people were exonerated of crimes in 2014. Here are 6 of their stories. (German Lopez, Vox) University of Michigan law professor Samuel Gross:
There has been a generally increasing number of wrongful convictions overturned as the years have progressed. But the real number of railroaded convicts is simply not known. It is likely that those investigated are only the tip of the iceberg. The incentives in the criminal justice system are focused on getting convictions and not on assuring that all convictions obtained are deserved.
Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world
ETF Chart of the Day: A Different Spin on the MLP ETF (Paul Weisbruch, Street One Financial, ETF Trends) This actively managed ETF was launched 02 October 2014. Opening day trading was $25.10, $25.18, $24.76 and $25.13 (open, high, low and close). The all-time high close is from opening day ($25.13) and intraday is $27.77 on 07 November 2014. Two quarterly dividends have been paid ($.50 on 06 Jan 2015) and ($0.505 0n 07 April 2015), implying a dividend yield of 9.2% at Friday's closing price. The chart looks exceptionally ugly right up to the early part of January with the all-time closing low of $19.64 on 13 Jan 2015 and the all-time intraday low of $18.99 on 14 Jan 2015. Since then the chart has looked much more promising. With the bulk of the stocks held in the beat up oil and gas sector, this is a good ETF to keep an eye on for a possible contrarian turn-around play with income.
World Markets Weekend Update: The Rally Shifts (Mostly) Into Reverse (Doug Short, Advisor Perspectives dshort.com) Doug Short is a regular contributor to GEI. All markets Doug tracks, except for Shanghai, have turned down. And Shanghai will do the same on Monday as market reforms announced after the market closed on Friday sent stock futures there down 6%.
Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea
ETFs May Be Moving Stocks in Unseen Ways (Barron's) Hat tip to Patricia Baronowski-Schneider (LinkedIn). The $1.2 trillion in U.S. stock ETFs is having a much larger impact on the market than the fund industry claims, according to a recent report from Goldman Sachs. At issue: Heavy trading of index-tracking ETFs appears to be herding individual stocks up or down together, particularly in niche industries such as real estate and mining, creating tighter correlations than existed in the past. ETF trading has grown to account for about one-quarter of overall share turnover, according to Goldman. That’s up from 10% to 15% in 2004. MOST ETF TRADES don’t affect the underlying stock market at all. The majority take place between buyers and sellers, just like stocks. But ETFs require a separate layer of traders—at the institutional level—whose function is to keep ETF prices in line with the value of their stock baskets. These specialized market makers, called authorized participants, regulate the number of outstanding ETF shares based on supply and demand. And this layer may be producing tighter correlations.
Employers report limited premium increases in wake of ACA (Employee Benefit News) Health care in the U.S. is a hot button issue but the early consensus is that the Affordable Care Act has been integrated well by employers. Costs of employer sponsored group plans have not risen as widely predicted by critics of Obamacare.
A Short History of Postal Banking (Slate) As the debate over reinstituting postal banking heats up, we should know the U.S. had it. And it worked. Now Deutsche Bank appears ready to reverse it's merger of postal banking into the global banking behemoth. This 2014 article from Slate gives some perspective on some history and gives some ideas about what may lie in the future. The following articles are some of those on postal banking (and the more general topic of public banking of which postal banks are a special case) which have been posted by GEI:
The Lost City of Z (The New Yorker) This will fascinate those interested in Amazonia and haunt anyone who has ever visited there. See also Ancient "Lost City" Discovered in Peru, Official Claims (National Geographic News) and Under the Jungle (The New Yorker)
7 Things Worth Paying More For (Money Talks News) Lowest cost is not always the best buy.
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