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What We Read Today 25 May 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.

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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Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • Storms Heighten Risk Of Flash Flooding In Texas, Oklahoma (International Business Times)  Heavy rainfall on Memorial Day could elevate the risk of flash flooding in parts of Oklahoma and Texas, still grappling with the devastation of deadly weekend storms.Five people in those two states and Mississippi were killed in the storms, while thousands more were displaced and hundreds of homes were destroyed as the severe weather led to record-setting flash floods.
  • Texas governor declares states of emergency, more severe weather expected (Reuters)  The governor of Texas on Monday declared states of disaster in 24 counties, citing the severe weather and flash flooding that have killed at least two people.  The state has been pounded by tornadoes, heavy rainfall, thunderstorms and flooding that forced evacuations and rooftop rescues and left thousands of residents without electrical power.
  • Cleveland Reaches Settlement With Justice Department Over Police Conduct (The New York Times)  The city of Cleveland has reached a settlement with the Justice Department over what federal authorities said was a pattern of unconstitutional policing and excessive use of force, people briefed on the case said Monday.  The settlement comes days after a judge declared a Cleveland police officer not guilty of manslaughter for climbing onto the hood of a car and firing repeatedly at its unarmed occupants, both of them black. The verdict prompted hours of protests and reignited discussions about how police officers treat the city’s African-American residents.
  • Obama heralds first U.S. Memorial Day without ground war in 14 years (Reuters)  In remarks at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, Obama paid tribute to U.S. military personnel who served in conflicts such as World War Two as well as the more recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which he wound down as commander in chief.


  • Mexico tornado: Thirteen dead in Ciudad Acuna (BBC News)  At least 13 people have been killed by a tornado that hit the northern Mexico border city of Ciudad Acuna.  Hundreds of homes have been damaged or destroyed in the city, in Coahuila state, which is just across the border from Del Rio, Texas.




Alexei Mozgovoi, a 40-year-old businessman-turned-separatist-commander, was killed in an ambush on a highway in eastern Ukraine, according to a video statement released Sunday by the pro-Russian Prizrak (“Ghost”) battalion Mozgovoi led. CNNreported Sunday a pro-Ukrainian guerrilla group called the Shadows claimed responsibility for the attack against the leader of a separatist group known for its ruthlessness.


  • Malaysia finds 139 graves in 'cruel' jungle trafficking camps (Reuters)  Malaysia has found 139 graves, and signs of torture, in more than two dozen squalid human trafficking camps suspected to have been used by gangs smuggling migrants across the border with Thailand, the country's police chief said on Monday.



Best And Worst Performing S&P 500 Stocks Year-To-Date (Bespoke Investment Group, Seeking Alpha)


Behind The Scenes In FX Trading: What Is Really Going On (Zero Hedge)  Earlier this month we got confirmation of something we postulated back in April: that the primary source of revenue for Virtu (which, as a reminder, has had only one losing trading day in six years) is no longer equities but FX.  See first graph below.  Meanwhile liquidity is declining sharply.  See second graph below.   As you might expect, ZH reports that bid-ask spreads are widening as all this is happening.  ZH says this combination is one to be expected for a manipulated market and we can expect Forex flash crashes as a result of these trends.



Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

  • The Monetization Of WhatsApp Will Catalyze Facebook's Stock (Seeking AlphaEconintersect: FB is rather richly valued (PEG = 1.67 using 2015 estimated earnings and Yahoo! Finance 5-year forward earnings growth = 27% per year average).  This SA article estimates a one-year earnings boost for monetization of WhatsApp of $5 billion.  That would be 29% of 2015 estimated revenue of $17 billion - and that is a one-year only increase with growth thereafter likely much more modest.  We think that the type of monetization discussed at SA may be pretty much already in the stock price.  See next article.
  • Base Case for Facebook (Trefis)  The Trefis evaluation for Facebook shows FB trading more than 10% below "Trefis price".  This includes their estimate for monetization of WhatsApp.  So Trefis makes a case for all FB value not being fully priced in.
  • Charter Said to Be Near Deal to Buy Time Warner Cable (The New York Times)   Charter Communications is near a deal to buy Time Warner Cable for about $55 billion in a deal that couldbe announced as early as tomorrow.  The takeover would create a new powerhouse in the rapidly consolidating American cable industry.  The deal will see Charter pay about $195 a share in cash and stock - roughly 14% higher than Time Warner Cable’s closing stock price on Friday - and 47% higher than Charter’s original bid for its rival from early last year.


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