Posts Tagged ‘consumer spending’

Friday Fakery – How Many Countries are Faking Economic Data?

I forgot to talk about something important yesterday.

Turkey was caught FAKING their trade data, with Prime Minister Erdogan, working with Economic Minister Caglayan LAST YEAR to manipulate their $800Bn economy by sending gold overseas to boost their export numbers.  How a team that included Turkey’s economy minister sought to manage the current account deficit, as the gap is called, by juicing exports to Iran is laid out in a 300-page document prepared by Turkish investigators in 2013. Caglayan and his collaborators also came away with tens of millions of dollars in bribes, according to the document, which has been cited in parliament by opposition lawmakers

The covert efforts that Caglayan and his associates undertook eventually swelled to a multi-billion dollar enterprise that reached from Ghana to China, according to the investigation. Tons of gold flowed from Turkey to Iran, much of it via Dubai. That freed up Iranian money trapped in Turkish banks, in turn boosting Turkish exports.

When the gold trade was foiled by tightening American sanctions starting in July 2013, Sarraf and his collaborators kept exporting. They sent thousands of tons of overpriced — and sometimes fictitious — food onto ships steaming between Dubai and Iran, according to the document.

That's how things are being done in the World's 18th-largest economy and, notice CHINA (3rd) is one of the countries participating in this scam, as is Iran (21st) and Dubai in the UAE (30th).  We already know China is involved in all sorts of economic manipulation, including building entire empty cities just to boost their GDP numbers.  China, in fact, is in the midst of another set of scandals, with tens of Billions (GS estimates $160Bn) in bank loans backed by silver and copper collarteral that does not, in fact, exist (maybe they "got it" from Turkey?).  

So what is the REAL Global GDP?  Clearly they aren't manipulating the numbers LOWER, so
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Thrilling Thursday – Rumors Run the Markets

Before we begin – let's catch up on the Libor scandal:  

"The Global Banking Industry relies on London having virtually no regulatory oversight.  The bulk of the Global financial crimes occur in London.  David Cameron, of course, is keen to protect the franchise of the city of London – it's the big profit center for his country and his Government – essentially peddling in fraud."

That is the key point made by Max Keiser (7:20) in the above video.  As Keiser points out, fraud and manipulation are rampant in the Global Financial Markets and have been for years.  I've been saying so and we have great systems to profit from the manipulation of fraudulent markets but they wouldn't work so well if the markets were not a sham, would they?  

While I'd love to go back to picking value stocks in clean market environment – I'm certainly not holding my breath.  Fining BCS $450M for making Billions of Dollars in a conspiracy to defraud Trillions of Dollars of Global investors over periods of years means you shouldn't hold yours either.  I'm pretty sure we can expect more of the same for a long, long time.  

This morning the Euro and the Dollar have been flying up and down along with our index futures on rumors that China will or won't be easing (100-point swings in the Dow pre-market) or that the ECB will or won't ease and that other countries will or won't kick in stimulus.  You know, the same old crap we've been hearing since early June – giving us roughly 10% gains across the International board – even as the Global Economic Data continues to decay:  

We are still "constructively bullish" which is what led us to stay cashy and cautious short-term, while holding bullish on our long-term bets.  We haven't got any strong downside bets as we have clear lines at those 50 dmas (red) with the 20 dmas (blue) curving up sharply to give us support before we feel compelled to go bearish again.  Of course, this "rally" has been a lot of low-volume BS – hence the "cashy and cautious" stance.  We have had no reason yet to actually go bearish and, since we added most of our long-term longs in early June – we have quite a while before we do become
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Double Dip Delayed, Not Derailed; Understanding Consumer Spending

Double Dip Delayed, Not Derailed; Understanding Consumer Spending

Courtesy of Mish 

The BEA Advance GDP for Third Quarter 2010 came in at +2.0%. However, Table 2. Contributions to Percent Change in Real Gross Domestic Product shows that Change in private inventories contributed +1.44 while real final sales contributed a mere .6.

How sustainable is that?

The answer is not very. This is likely the last hurrah for inventory replenishment even without factoring in upcoming cutbacks at the state level.

Not a V-Shaped Recovery

In terms of real final sales, this "recovery", is the weakest on record. Dave Rosenberg has some thoughts on that in Lunch with Dave.

U.S. REAL FINAL SALES 60 BASIS POINTS SHY OF DOUBLE-DIPPING

The major problem in the third quarter report was the split between inventories and real final sales. Nonfarm business inventories soared to a $115.5 billion at an annual rate from the already strong $68.8 billion build in the second quarter — this alone contributed 70% to the headline growth rate last quarter. If we do get a slowdown in inventory investment in Q4, as we anticipate, it would really not take much to get GDP into negative terrain. We estimate that if the change in inventories slowed to about $94.0 billion in Q4 (about $22 billion below Q3 levels), GDP would contract fractionally. In other words, it won’t take much for GDP to slip into negative terrain.

The recession may have technically ended, but outside of inventories, and the best days of the re-stocking process look to be behind us, this has been a listless recovery. At 60 basis points above zero, real final sales are just a shock away from double-dipping — a shock like looming tax hikes, accelerating fiscal cutbacks at the state/local government level or the millions of “99ers” about to fall off the extended jobless benefit rolls at the end of November.

In terms of components, the good news was that consumer spending did accelerate to a 2.6% annual rate from 2.2% in the second quarter — the best performance since Q4 2006. Non-residential construction eked out a 3.8% annualized gain, the first advance since Q2 2008. But the good news pretty well stopped there.

It is also no surprise to see imports bulge when inventories did the same, but what caught our eye in the external trade portion of the GDP report was


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Ass Backwards: Senate to Shelve Bush Tax Cuts for Individuals; House to Pass Small Business Tax Cuts

Ass Backwards: Senate to Shelve Bush Tax Cuts for Individuals; House to Pass Small Business Tax Cuts

Courtesy of Mish

If ever you want to see tax policies that are ass backwards, look no further than two Congressional tax bills, one should pass but may not even get a vote, the other is seriously misguided but will pass anyway.

Senate Democrats Ready To Shelve Tax Cut Vote

TPM reports Senate Dems Ready To Shelve Tax Cut Vote

A senior Senate Democratic aide told TPM today there won’t be a vote on extending the Bush tax cuts in the upper chamber before the November election, a blow to party leaders and President Obama who believed this would have been a winning issue.

"Absent a stunning turn of events, we’re not going to do tax cuts before the election," the aide told TPM.

"We have a winning message now, why muddy it up with a failed vote, because, of course, Republicans are going to block everything," the aide said.

Aides for two senators in tough bids have suggested they would take the plunge and vote before the election, but they’d prefer to vote if it means the tax cuts extension could actually be passed. And that’s not counting the conservative Democrats who disagree with the majority of the caucus about where the threshold should be — and lean toward a higher than $250,000 in income definition of the middle class.

Politics as Usual

The irony is both parties are blaming each other and both parties are to blame. Certainly the Democrats should have enough votes to pass something given they have a majority. I highly doubt the Republicans would filibuster a tax cut proposal this close to election.

However, Democrats might not have the votes because of defections. Senate leaders fear those defections, and do not want to risk Democrats being blamed.

Another, perhaps more likely alternative is that Democrats believe a "winning message" (blaming Republicans) is better than "winning action".

Either way, taxpayers will suffer.

Contrary to the what the Democratic fools believe, I think people will blame incumbents not Republicans for failure to pass something. Thus, Republicans have every incentive to do the wrong thing, short of a filibuster.

The bottom line is the same. Nothing gets done, and both parties are to blame.

Year End Cliff Gamble on 2% of GDP

I did not think it would…
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Consumer Metrics Institute Growth Index

Consumer Metrics Institute Growth Index 

Courtesy of Doug Short, based on the work of Rick Davis at Consumer Metrics Institute 

Note from dshort: Now updated through September 6th. I highly recommended the Institute’s public commentaries, especially Viewing the "Great Recession" in Hi-Def. Scroll down to the entry dated September 1. I’ve reprinted the concluding two paragraphs below as an inducement to read it in its entirety.

There probably hasn’t been two separate recessions in three years, simply one that has evolved in significant ways. But if this really is a "double dip" recession, then our data indicates that the "Great Recession" of 2008 was merely the precursor, and not the main event. It is this current dip that we should be really concerned about; the current contraction in consumer demand is about structural changes in consumer behavior, whereas the "first dip" was about short term loss of consumer confidence.

"This recession has been complex and constantly evolving in ways that policy makers have not been able to understand through their low resolution lenses. As a consequence their policy responses have been misguided, ineffective and wasteful. The Federal Reserve may be able to save the banking system by being the "lender of last resort", but it is powerless to change perhaps the one thing that John Maynard Keynes got right — and what he mischaracterized as a "Paradox of Thrift" — as over 100 million U.S. households become economic "loose cannons", acting exclusively in their own best interests in 100 million different ways.

For the past several months, the Consumer Metrics Institute’s Daily Growth Index has been one of the most interesting data series I follow, and I recommend bookmarking the Institute’s website. Their page of frequently asked questions is an excellent introduction to the service.

The charts below focus on the ‘Trailing Quarter’ Growth Index, which is computed as a 91-day moving average for the year-over-year growth/contraction of the Weighted Composite Index, an index that tracks near real-time consumer behavior in a wide range of consumption categories. The Growth Index is a calculated metric that smooths the volatility and gives a better sense of expansions and contractions in consumption.


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SUMMARIZING THE FED’S BEIGE BOOK

Here’s Pragcap’s summary of the Beige Book. You can read Phil’s summary here.  - Ilene 

SUMMARIZING THE FED’S BEIGE BOOK

Here are the key takeaways from the Fed’s Beige Book:

  • Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts suggested continued growth in national economic activity during the reporting period of mid-July through the end of August, but with widespread signs of a deceleration compared with preceding periods.
  • Consumer spending appeared to increase on balance despite continued consumer caution that limited nonessential purchases, while activity in the travel and tourism sector picked up relative to seasonal norms.
  • Reports on manufacturing activity pointed to further expansion, although the pace of growth eased according to several Districts.
  • Home sales slowed further following an initial drop after the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit at the end of June, prompting a slowdown in construction activity as well.
  • Demand for commercial real estate remained quite weak but showed signs of stabilization in some areas.
  • Reports from financial institutions pointed to generally stable or slightly lower loan demand and noted some modest improvements in credit quality.
  • Upward price pressures remained quite limited for most categories of final goods and services, despite higher prices for selected commodities such as grains and some industrial materials. Wage pressures also were limited, although a few Districts noted increased upward pressures in a narrow set of sectors experiencing a mismatch between job requirements and applicant skills.

In sum, slow growth, increased downside risk, low inflation.  Read the full report here.


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30 Statistics That Prove The Elite Are Getting Richer, The Poor Are Getting Poorer And The Middle Class Is Being Destroyed

30 Statistics That Prove The Elite Are Getting Richer, The Poor Are Getting Poorer And The Middle Class Is Being Destroyed

Courtesy of Michael Snyder at Economic Collapse 

Not everyone has been doing badly during the economic turmoil of the last few years.  In fact, there are some Americans that are doing really, really well.  While the vast majority of us struggle, there is one small segment of society that is seemingly doing better than ever.  This was reflected in a recent article on CNBC in which it was noted that companies that cater to average Americans are doing rather poorly right now while companies that market luxury goods and services are generally performing exceptionally well.  So why aren’t all American consumers jumping on the spending bandwagon? 

Well, it seems that there are a large number of Americans who either can’t spend a lot of money right now or who are very hesitant to.  A stunningly high number of Americans are still unemployed, and for many other Americans, there is a very real fear that hard economic times will return soon.  On the other hand, there is a significant percentage of Americans who are blowing money on luxury goods and services as if the economy has fully turned around and it is time to let the good times roll.  So exactly what in the world is going on here?

Well, in 2010 life is very, very different depending on whether you are a "have" or a "have not".  The recent article on CNBC referenced above described it this way….

Consumer spending in the U.S. has turned into a tale of two cities in 2010, with an entire segment of consumers splurging confidently on the finer things in life, while another segment, concerned about unemployment and with little or no discretionary income, spends only on bare necessities.
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Small Businesses are Not Hiring – Why Should They?

Small Businesses are Not Hiring – Why Should They?

Courtesy of Mish 

Hand holding out empty pocket

In response to Creating Jobs Carries a Punishing Price, an article about Mr. Fleischer, president of Bogen Communications Inc. and why he is not hiring, I received an interesting email from "David" a reader who disagrees with Mr. Fleischer’s stated reasons for not hiring.

One of the items mentioned by Mr. Fleischer and challenged by "David" is the idea that corporations are sitting on cash. On this score, "David" is correct. I have also debunked the idea that corporations are sitting in cash (Please see Are Corporations Sitting on Piles of Cash?)

"David" also challenged Mr. Fleischer’s math on healthcare.

However, such arguments miss the entire point of the post.

Actions Matter!

It does not matter one iota if Mr. Fleischer is wrong about corporate sideline cash or anything else. What matters is Mr. Fleischer thinks he has sufficient reasons not to hire.

On that score, I believe Mr. Fleischer is correct. There are numerous good reasons to not hire.

Businesses have a legitimate worry about health care costs, rising taxes, and other artifacts of Obama’s legislation.

On the consumer side, this is not a typical recession. This is a credit bust recession with consumers still deleveraging. With savings deposits yielding close to 0% and with credit card rates over 20%, common sense dictates consumers pay down bills rather than make new purchases. The housing bubble has burst and boomers are headed into retirement with insufficient savings.

Given all the economic uncertainties, consumers are reacting in a rational manner by not spending. In turn, businesses have consistently cited lack of customers as one reason to not hire.

Pertinent Facts

That Mr. Fleischer fails to articulate reasons that others agree with is irrelevant. The pertinent fact is he is not hiring.

More importantly, numerous other small business owners think and act just like Mr. Fleischer. How do we know? Simple …

What Can Be Done?

For my thoughts on what to do about small business hiring, please…
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Consumer Spending Slumps Even With Back-to-School Underway

Consumer Spending Slumps Even With Back-to-School Underway; Cisco, IBM Sales Suggest Corporate Spending Slowdown

Courtesy of Mish

A new Gallup Poll shows Spending Slumps Even With Back-to-School Underway

Americans’ self-reported spending in stores, restaurants, gas stations, and online averaged $62 per day during the week ending Aug. 8. Early August consumer spending trends trail 2009 and will need to surge to match last year’s anemic back-to-school results.

Gallup’s weekly spending measure for the first week of August shows no improvement over that of the last week in July or that of the same week a year ago. In turn, this suggests that back-to-school sales are unlikely to substantially exceed last year’s depressed levels. In fact, this week’s comparable of a year ago was a big spending week, making for challenging sales comparables for many retailers this year.

Corporate Spending Slowdown

Bloomberg reports Cisco, IBM Sales May Signal Slowdown in U.S. Corporate Spending

Weaker-than-forecast sales at Cisco Systems Inc. and International Business Machines Corp. may signal a slowdown in the corporate spending that has led the U.S. recovery.

“It’s been business investment, particularly technology, that’s been in the driver’s seat,” said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services in Pittsburgh. Should equipment spending slow significantly, “unless something else picks up the pace, it means the outlook for the economy is going to be that much dimmer.”

Corporate investment is among the few remaining sources of economic growth as the effects of government stimulus measures wane and unemployment remains stuck near a 26-year high. Economists this week cut their forecasts for the second half of the year as the more than 8 million jobs lost during the recession hamstring consumer spending.

San Jose, California-based Cisco yesterday said revenue in the current quarter will be $10.64 billion to $10.83 billion, compared with a $10.95 billion median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. The stock fell as much as 12 percent in intraday Nasdaq trading today

IBM, the world’s biggest computer-services company, last month reported revenue that missed analysts’ estimates, citing a decline in services-contract signings. Signings fell 12 percent to $12.3 billion, the second straight quarterly drop in contracts for services, which make up more than half of IBM’s total revenue.

GDP is increasingly likely to be negative at least one quarter in the second half yet few economists even discuss the possibility.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock


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Hypocrite Geithner Says Private Sector Must Drive Economy

Hypocrite Geithner Says Private Sector Must Drive Economy

GeithnerCourtesy of Mish

Like most politicians, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner likes to talk out of both sides of his mouth, generally saying contradictory things in sound bites that may sound reasonable at first glance, but look idiotic upon closer inspection.

For example please consider Private sector must drive economy: Geithner

During an interview on NBC’s "Meet the Press," Geithner also said the government has big plans for reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the housing finance giants that now stand behind most of the mortgages in the U.S. after being bailed out by taxpayers during the 2008 financial crisis.

Geithner said Sunday that he doesn’t expect a double-dip recession, citing encouraging signs in the economy. "The most likely thing is you see an economy that gradually strengthens over the next year or two," he said. Watch Geithner on Meet the Press.

Businesses are still "very cautious" and are trying to get as much productivity from current employees as possible, Geithner explained.

"They are in a very strong financial condition though. I think that’s very promising because there’s a lot of pent-up demand and there’s a lot of capacity still for them to step up and start to invest and hire again," he added. "The government can help but we need to make this transition now to a recovery led by private investment."

There’s a "good case" for the government to support small businesses, the unemployed and help states keep teachers in classrooms, but the transition to growth led by the private sector must happen, Geithner said.

Still, he stressed that the current system of housing finance has to change.

"We’re not going to preserve Fannie and Freddie in anything like their current form. We’re going to have to bring fundamental change to that market," Geithner said.

There’s still a good case for the government preserving some type of guarantee to make sure that people can finance a house even in a very damaging recession, he explained.

"We’re also going to have to take a look at the broad set of policies we put in place to help encourage home ownership and particularly help low income Americans get access to affordable housing," Geithner said. "We’re going to take a very broad look at how best to do that."

No Pent Up Demand

For starters Geithner is wrong about pent…
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Zero Hedge

Signs Of An Auto Bubble: Soaring Delinquencies In These 266 Subprime ABS Deals Can't Be Good

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

If you're among the growing minority of investors still under the impression that  'everything if awesome' in the auto industry simply because new car sales volumes continue to hover around all time highs, while turning a blind eye to soaring incentive spending and that pesky little debt bubble, then we may need your help with how we should be interpreting the following subprime auto loan delinquency stats from Morgan Stanley. 

In a recent report, Jeen Ng of Morgan Stanley took a look at 266 subprime auto ABS deals to assess the underlying 'he...



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Phil's Favorites

Did medical Darwinism doom the GOP health plan?

 

Did medical Darwinism doom the GOP health plan?

Courtesy of Michael L. MillensonNorthwestern University

House Speaker Paul Ryan announced March 24 that he was pulling his proposed health care bill from consideration. Scott Applewhite/AP

“We are now contemplating, Heaven save the mark, a bill that would tax the well for the benefit of the ill.”

Although that quote reads like ...



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Chart School

Rally Slows But Not Dead

Courtesy of Declan.

The Swing Low continues to play out with small gains in lead markets. There is still resistance in play, but this supply is been consumed by the day. Trading volume was light too.

The S&P is at resistance from the March swing low, but today's gain did little to get past this. Stochastics are bullish, but other technicals are negative and the last two days of didn't change this.  While bears may think there is an angle to work, the most likely outcome is for a gain which returns a challenge of 2,400.

...

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ValueWalk

Governments Can Theoretically Destroy All Wealth in the World in One Year

By The Foundation for Economic Education. Originally published at ValueWalk.

A recent article pointed out that Spiders could theoretically eat every human on Earth in one year.
Shocking.

It’s also shocking that governments can theoretically destroy all wealth in one year.

That’s an unfathomable amount of wealth extraction, but it raises the question: what is the limit?

Tama66 / Pixabay

Governments are quite literally all around us, even governments within governments...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Strong markets struggling at breakout levels of late

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

The S&P 500, Banks, Small Caps and Transportation indices continue to climb higher, as the long-term trend remains up. The two charts below, look at performance over the past month and how each index is testing long-term breakout levels.

The chart below looks at how the above mentioned indices have performed over the past 30-days.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

These key markets are a little soft the past 30-days. The Power of the Pattern below looks at where this softness is taking pl...



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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World

 

Financial Markets and Economy

Pound Pares Decline as U.K. Officially Starts Brexit Process (Bloomberg)

The pound touched a one-week low against the dollar as the U.K. prepared to start the process by which it will leave the European Union.

Double-Edged Sword: Home Prices Keep Rising, Home Inventory Keeps Falling (Forbes)

You are thinking about selling your home. A similar place nearby sells for more than you thought it would. You list your home. This is how the housing market is supposed to work. As a result, over time, pric...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of March 27th, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Members' Corner

More Natterings

Courtesy of The Nattering Naybob

[Click on the titles for the full articles.]

A Quick $20 Trick?

Summary

Discussion, critique and analysis of the potential impacts on equity, bond, commodity, capital and asset markets regarding the following:

  • Last time out, Sinbad The Sailor, QuickLogic.
  • GlobalFoundries, Jha, Smartron and cricket.
  • Quick money, fungible, demographics, QUIK focus.

Last Time Out

Monetary policy is just one form of policy that effects capital,...



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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin Tumbles Below Gold As China Tightens Regulations

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

Having rebounded rapidly from the ETF-decision disappointment, Bitcoin suffered another major setback overnight as Chinese regulators are circulating new guidelines that, if enacted, would require exchanges to verify the identity of clients and adhere to banking regulations.

A New York startup called Chainalysis estimated that roughly $2 billion of bitcoin moved out of China in 2016.

As The Wall Street Journal reports, the move to regulate bitcoin exchanges brings assurance that Chinese authorities will tolerate some level of trading, after months of uncertainty. A draft of the guidelines also indicates th...



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Mapping The Market

Congress begins rolling back Obama's broadband privacy rules

Courtesy of Jean Luc

I am trying to remember who on this board said that people wanted to Trump because they want their freedom back. Well….

Congress begins rolling back Obama's broadband privacy rules

By Daniel Cooper, Endgadget

ISPs will soon be able to sell your most private data without your consent.

As expected, Republicans in Congress have begun the process of rolling back the FCC's broadband privacy rules which prevent excessive surveillance. Arizona Republican Jeff Flake introduced a resolution to scrub the rules, using Congress' powers to invalidate recently-approved federal regulations. Reuters reports that the move has broad support, with 34 other names throwing their weight behind the res...



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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

·       How 2017 Will Affect Oil, the US Dollar and the European Union

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Biotech

The Medicines Company: Insider Buying

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

I'm seeing huge insider buying in the biotech company The Medicines Company (MDCO). The price has already moved up around 7%, but these buys are significant, in the millions of dollars range. ~ Ilene

 

 

 

Insider transaction table and buying vs. selling graphic above from insidercow.com.

Chart below from Yahoo.com

...

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: Harlan is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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