Each morning, at the market’s open, Seth M. Golden, a former logistics manager at a Target store, fires up the computer in his home office in northern Florida and does what he has done for years: Put on bets that Wall Street’s index of volatility, the VIX, will keep falling. It has been a lucrative strategy as the so-called fear gauge has been, outside of the occasional spike, largely fearless — confounding experts by sloping persistently downward and in the process making Mr. Golden a multimillionaire.
A fundamental relationship of mainstream economic theory at the heart of the Federal Reserve’s strategy for setting interest rates has been a poor guide for policy makers for at least three decades, according to a study by the Philadelphia Fed’s top-ranking economist. The paper, co-authored by Philadelphia Fed Director of Research Michael Dotsey, shows that forecasting models based on the so-called Phillips curve, which asserts a link between unemployment and inflation, don’t actually help predict inflation. “Our results indicate that monetary policymakers should at best be very cautious in their reliance on the Phillips curve when gauging inflationary pressures,” Dotsey and Philadelphia Fed economists Shigeru Fujita and Tom Stark wrote.
There is an inherent danger of news organizations getting infected by “confirmation bias” when they want something to be true so badly that even if the evidence goes in the opposite direction they twist the revelation to fit their narrative. Such is how The Washington Post, The New York Times and their followers in the mainstream media are reacting to newly released emails that actually show Donald Trump’s team having little or no influence in Moscow……The reality, as you would find out if you read further into the story, is that the boast from Felix Sater that somehow the construction of a Trump Tower in Moscow would demonstrate Trump’s international business prowess and thus help his election was meaningless. What the incident really shows is that the Trump organization had little or no pull in Russia as Putin’s government apparently didn’t lift a finger to salvage this stillborn building project.
Anne Stevenson-Yang, co-founder and research director at J Capital, warns that the monster bubble in the Chinese housing market is ripe to pop and that the Chinese currency will crash. It’s been exactly two years now since turmoil in China’s currency markets threw investors around the globe into panic. After the shock in late August of 2015, another tantrum followed in early 2016. Since then concerns about China have diminished. The consensus seems to be that Beijing once again has regained control. Nonetheless, Anne Stevenson-Yang remains skeptical. The co-founder of the influential research firm J Capital warns that the speculation in the Chinese real estate market is getting evermore excessive. “There is little comfort that the economy can go on for much longer without some catastrophic adjustment”, says the American who’s one of the most distinguished experts on China. She expects that China’s currency will devalue significantly and explains why the Chinese government is cracking down on HNA and other Chinese companies that have been on an overseas buying spree.
The media is replete with accounts of the latest pronouncements and events, but both in my personal experience in the closest we ever came to a nuclear disaster, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and from studying many other “flash points,” I have learned that failure to appreciate the background and sequence of events makes one incapable of understanding the present and so is apt to lead to self-defeating actions. With this warning in mind, I will recount in Part 1 how we and the Koreans got to where we are. Then in Part 2, I will address how we might go to war, what that would mean and what we can do to stay alive.
More investors are joining the cast of Wall Street veterans from Jeff Gundlach to Ray Dalio in warning that risky assets are overvalued.They point to rising global turmoil underscored by the recent terrorist attacks in Barcelona and the racially charged violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, as well as valuations that no longer compensate for potential flareups in North Korea and Venezuela. That’s not to mention the unpredictability in the U.S., where President Donald Trump is feuding with members of Congress before a critical vote to increase the country’s debt ceiling.
President Trump has had his foreign policy hands and feet tied by the Russia (and Iran) Sanctions Act. He now has been rendered “helpless”: in respect to détente with Russia — gulliverized, spitefully, by his own party, working with the Democrats, to empty Trump’s constitutional prerogatives in foreign policy – and to seize them for Congress.
It has been nearly three weeks since The Nation pushed an explosive memo from the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity into mainstream consciousness with an article detailing the evidence that the DNC leaks last year could not have been the result of a Russian hack. By continuing to ignore it, the US intelligence community and all the pundits and politicians who have advanced the Russian hacking narrative are tacitly admitting that they lied.
The Senate Intelligence Committee recently passed its Intelligence Authorization Act for 2018 that contains a chilling attack on the First Amendment. Section 623 of the act expresses the “sense of Congress” that WikiLeaks resembles a “non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors and should be treated as such.” This language is designed to delegitimize WikiLeaks, encourage the federal government to spy on individuals working with WikiLeaks, and block access to WikiLeaks’ website. This provision could even justify sending US forces abroad to arrest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange or other WikiLeaks personnel.
…. Ferocious price competition from Amazon – a stock-market darling that doesn’t need to make money on grocery sales – is the last thing Albertsons Companies needs.But that’s what it got. Amazon’s $13.7-billion acquisition of Whole Foods and the price cuts slammed all grocery store chains, and their shares took a beating, but Albertsons Companies is particularly vulnerable, and this comes at a very inconvenient time.