Pre-Holiday Markets

Hard to make an educated guess at markets over the next few days.  You see, there’s a calendar versus the cycles versus the news battle to be considered.

The calendar view suggests that often (but far from always) the markets will get a pop to the upside because of rampant optimism.  America is still here and the sun will be out.  Good times.  And that positivity can sometimes be viewed (for fleeting moments) in trading action.

The cycles offer something different.  They seem to argue that we should have a pre-holiday decline and maybe carry over into early June.  And, as if to back this up, volume in the last-hour rally Wednesday was thin, hinting a running of the shorts was making some bulls mighty well-fed.

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Finally, there’s the news cycle, and this, too, is murky as hell.  We have three days when people will not be able to unload stocks – or buy if there some kind of breakthrough to the upside.

Frankly, we aren’t offering any financial advice here (we never do) and besides, not being a licensed securities agent, you’d do about as well consulting a financial astrologer.  Some of there are pretty good, by the way.

The trading question for the rest of the week seems to be “Which way will this tangled web of interests break?”

Goldman Gets It

We’ve decried the scam called “high frequency trade” (or HFT) for years.  Because, in effect, it lets machines break laws that people would go to jail for.

Now it seems as though Goldman Sachs’ thinking may be moving in that general direction.  The Bloomberg report “Goldman Warns the Rise of the Machines Leaves Markets Exposed.

In the U.S., about 65-percent of trading is machine vs. machines.

The way it works is simple:  When you enter an order into an electronic trading platform, the firm you’re using can use high-frequency trading to front-run your stock purchase, or sale. In most instances, they will make a fraction of a cent profit on each share you move.

Thing is, if you had a human broker, and you gave them and order (mano y mano) and they entered an order for their own account ahead of yours to get a better price?  Well, that’s patently illegal in the SEC rules.

It’s not for machines.

This gets us back to a familiar topic around here:  The Warped Reality we live in where we have ceded more rights to machines and corporations than flesh-and-blood persons have.

Think about this:  If you were a machine, you wouldn’t pay income tax.  You’d just hum along 24-7 and make money for some Ownership Class of humans, who then spend their time, trying to minimize their tax consequences and pocket the most dough possible.

And, as the “special case” of high-frequency trading show, Machines have superior rights to humans when comes to skimming from financial clients.

This – along with the legal fiction called corporations – is not as big a deal now as it will be.  That’s because as artificial intelligence (AI) comes along, there will be more and more widening of what we think of as the Machine-Human Spread.

What Goldman is looking at is (in the context of this morning’s Coping section discussion on Peter Drucker’s five key questions for managements) the tip of the iceberg.

Corporations have already begun to take over government because they are allowed to use their immense financial resources to lobby for “special conditions” that allow them to prosper more (and faster) and us, the upright apes.

And, since machines have been adjudged too fast to punish by a weak *(if not empty-minded) S.E.C. the scam called HFT continues to print money for platform owners.  Money that eventually – in some measure – finds its way into politics.

Nice to see Goldman acknowledge the risks ofs HFT.  But, if you’re looking for anyone to actually do something to end it?

Don’t hold your breath.

Abuse of Prosecutorial Powers

Pay attention to The Daily Caller story about  how Trump-stalker Robert Mueller is going for a second delay in the upcoming trial of an American company and some Russians for alleged interference in our elections.

Mueller’s shady tactic is obvious to an informed observer:  Having gotten one 90-day trial delay (going against the Speedy Trial Act) he’s seeking another.

It’s a ruse to sit on documents demanded by Congress.

The key reason for this new delay request likely has little to do with the trial.  As long as things like Manafort sentencing can be pushed back, the Mueller fishing (and hooker) expedition, along with the FBI and DOJ, will claim release of documents cannot proceed.

They’re doing this because the documents they’ve been sitting on for a year are likely to show the real collusion in the election was the FBI/Obama-Lynch FBI.  With so much time passing, evidence is, well, turning stale at best and disappearing at worst.

Meantime, we are growing less likely by the day to find out if there were additional plants inside the Trump campaign…and that’s very damned important to know.

And It Gets Worse

So let’s see:  Machines and Corporations have more rights than People.  And Mueller is, in effect, telling Congress to piss-off, and using delays to shield Deep State operatives of the Obamanistas.

What else could go wrong?

Well, as contributor warhammer notes, LOTS. Starting with the FISA Court abuse that’s come to light:

“The NSA, one of the principals routinely requesting FISA warrants, admits it doesn’t keep track of all of the activity and queries being made to the database, meaning potential abuses would be largely undetected.  In fact, FISA abuses notwithstanding, queries to the FBI and NSA databases are apparently being done without a FISA warrant.

This very detailed and informative linked investigative piece should send shivers down the spine of every freedom-loving, Constitutionally driven American citizen, permanent resident or friend of the nation:

{link to cited reference}

Playing a game, a very serious game, of what if, and taking the above allegations into consideration, how might one prevent unscrupulous individuals from profiling a rival or conducting opposition research on any particular political or ideological adversary?   Short answer – you don’t!

Combine this disturbing info with the observation that the current DOJ special prosecutor has few limits on his investigative powers, and we have open season on political opposition.  Ah, but opposition to who?  Short answer – the previous administration.

We’re not talking just dirty politics here. This is down and dirty ideological warfare, conducted using all instruments of state and psychological weapons available.  From before his inauguration Trump has been Progressive Enemy #1.  Name the liberal cause, Trump is its nemesis.  It just so happens there are a great many people still in high public office who were appointed under the previous POTUS who identify with his political vision and philosophy.  His ‘Change‘ must move ‘Forward.’  Trump cannot, must not obstruct or reverse this collective greater-good of the past administration.  Surely the only way Trump could get elected was through cheating!  But if cheating can’t be proven, he must be taken-down by any means.

These are dangerous times for American democracy.  Strap yourself in.  It’s gonna be a wild ride.”

Worse – and yet to be fully revealed if you follow QAnon and other sources – is the degree to which the U.S. media has been co-opted into being a leftist house organ, often running stories in unison on a particular theme, using particular phrases to bash, that reveal a much deeper layer of anti-America coordination is in play.

We’re anxious to see the Inspector General report due soon.  But we’re also aghast at the long time-lag between the report and its release.

You can’t handle the Truth?”  Seems like more than a great line from a movie:  The Obamanistas in the GS-levels of government are still there and taking calls, expect, from the Vichy/Shadow Government,

NK Talks to Fold?

(South) Korea’s Yon Hap news agency says the North is unloading on VP Mike Pence, now.  See their “N. Korea threatens to walk away from planned summit with U.S. ”

Meantime, the AP reports the NorKs have dismantled their nuclear test site.

Still, we’d be interesting in transport links between the NortKs and, oh, Iran for example.  Especially because of these two leads from Wikipedia:

“…North Korea and Iran have an active exchange of military expertise particularly in relation to special operations and underground facilities.[21] North Korea is thought to have trained Iranian operators in these advanced infiltration techniques.”

And:

“Arms expert Jeffrey Lewis (academic) claims that the second stage of North Korea’s Hwasong-14 ICBM is similar to the upper stages designed for the Iranian space launch vehicles…”

All of which (coupled with recent Israeli hints in what they released about Iranian nuclear development) gives us some cause to be suspicious.

Bit of Coin Trouble

As U.S. launches criminal probe into bitcoin price manipulation: Bloomberg.

Bitcoin is down to the $7,350 range this morning and on the charts, we could be looking at this as being a bounce having failed in the declines from its all-time highs.

If so, that would spell the functional end of Bitcoin in 2019 to 2020.

The timing of this is sure odd:  Comes just two weeks after reports that US Intel outfits declined to answer a freedom of information request on whether they had a hand in creating the system which can be used to launder money and facilitate drugs and human-trafficking.

All a coincidence, we’re sure.

Gosh, if Congress wasn’t so busy doing nothing, sure seems to me like someone ought to hold hearings into who let Bitcoin into the wild, don’tcha think?

(Hand me some paranoia meds, would you?)

Monetizing the Dead, II

I recently told you to keep an eye on this ABC monetizing the dead “documentary.”  Looked to us like a crass and callous way to try and make a buck on Jackson’s memory.

Apparently, Jackson’s estate has similar thoughts: “Michael Jackson estate slams ‘crass’ new ABC TV special on singer’s life.”

Anything for money, and me-me-me, huh?

CNN On NFL “Stand Rule”

Note CNN’s coverage of “Trump: NFL players who don’t stand during National Anthem maybe ‘shouldn’t be in the country’.

Much face-time in the video for George Martin of the Player’s Association.  (To his credit, Martin stands…)

I disagree with the kneelers and their supporters.  Players, under contract (at work) don’t have a right to protest. Leave it home.

If they want to quit or not live up to their contracts?  Bye-bye…protest your hearts out.  I’m not paying to see politics.  The game is football and anything else?  BS.

We don’t think Trump is wrong on this, at all.  (If you need directions to the nearest border, drop us an email and we’ll be glad to send you a map.)

If you’re offended by such a view, wait till I put on my $18 CNN Communist News Network T-Shirt Fake News Media Novelty Clothing Tee Shirt L Sport Grey,  from Amazon.

Can we get back to being One Nation again, please?

Speaking of the American Left

We are sensing that some formerly liberal Seattle companies might be coming to their senses on overboard political correctness.

Reason?  “Amazon, Starbucks pledge money to repeal Seattle head tax

Having run into the Seattle City Council’s resident free-lunch (at some else’s expense) Bolsheviks, we think change may be in the air.  Sometimes cents leads to sense.  Should be the other way around, but this is New’Merica.

Futures down 60…moron the ‘morrow.

Trump’s Upside Breakout

The Futures this morning point to the Dow moving up 230-points, or thereabouts, at the open.  But, before you run out and buy into the long side, a couple of words of caution, if we may?

For one, no matter how impressive the intraday run is, we need to see an even higher close before getting wildly bullish.  Sure, a 200 point run today would be nice, don’t get me wrong.  But that just puts us back at the overhead resistance level.

There’s a long way we could fall.  Especially since this looks to us like a mostly Trump-based rally.  Let me explain…

(Continues below)

 

We know that it’s now outed that the FBI hired an agent provocateur to snoop in the Trump campaign.  And the Inspector General of the Justice Department is onto it.

In an opinion piece today, The Hill called for “Stopping Robert Mueller to Protec Us All.”  This is hugely meaningful since www.m ediabiasfactcheck.com rates The Hill and “center-left” in it’s view of things.

Why is the left about to cave?  Well…  Assuming you follow QANON posts…

Former CIA Boss John Brennan is sounding desperate as  “John Brennan Fires Warning Shot to Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell After Trump Orders DOJ to Investigate FBI’s Campaign Infiltration.

Brennan is desperate because he’s at the head of the ex-Obama posse likely to be weating an orange jump suit.  This BS about “protecting national security” as we found out from the Devin Nunes House probe, has NOTHING to do with protecting legit intelligence assets.  Its about protecting political use by democrat officials of thje FBI and DOJ.

In other words, ass-covering.

You need to read this Gateway Pundit story because the “phrase that pays” in this is: “Brennan is caught in a perjury trap over his statements about Hillary’s phony dossier in a May 2017 testimony to the intel panel.”

Looks (from here)_ to us like Trump has deftly managed not only to avoid the Robert Mueller/DOJ/Lynch-Clinton set up, but in addition, there are now inspectors general coming for scalps.

Now, says another The Hill story, Trump is demanding to know how the Hillary campaign got away with not turning over its hacked email server?

Oh, and to make it more interesting still, CNBC reports that “Mueller’s office reportedly tells Trump lawyer Giuliani that the Russia obstruction probe will wrap up by September.

The democrats are making this conditional as best they can.  Mueller’s wind-up is predicated on Trump doing an “interview.”  Only a fool would do that…and I think Trump will decline.  I think it’s clear Mueller can not indict.  He can only issue a report and what he has right now is a “nothing burger” to bring back the left-wing media phrase.

Even September is too long a time-frame.  All Mueller has bought for the millions of (your) tax money spent is NO collusion, and other than that meaningless infringements of others, what I think you’re seeing right now is democrats trying to work out a “negotiated stand down.”

Well, no.  Not going to happen.

You don’t get to deploy KGB tactics in American politics as the democrats did by planting at least one provocateur in  the campaign.  You get a clean sweep and reset of the game…which appears to be what Trump, et al, are aiming for.  House cleaning.

Now, let’s draw back to see why China is suddenly playing ball on trade.

This is simple, really:  Chinese leaders have gotten very, very rich by playing ball with the American corporate left.  But they’re bright-enough to see the leader of the AmeriLeft Gang will be headed to prison (it will take a while to work out, a year or more), but they can see Trump has the upper hand and is negotiating from his favorite position:

Strength.

Which is why we will pay particular attention to travels of Barrack Obama, who as you know, went to extradition-free Tahiti last time this was threatening to come tumbling down on his attempted leftist coup.  People tend to forget recent history, so review “Barack Hussein Obama “Holed up” in Non Extradition Treaty Country …

We wonder if the passports of former Obama officials who may have had a hand in the conspiracy to stop Trump still have their passports?

Long and short of it, getting back to the financial picture, this is why you’re reading “Futures jump as U.S.-China trade spat put ‘on hold’.”

China has plans to be on the winning side, and they are bright enough to be edging toward Trump even though the (mainly dimwit) Left in America is still fighting the failed Obama/Clinton obstruction to constituting a de factor coup effort.

Gold Drops

The other thing going today – and this is big macro econ stuff – is that Gold is dropping.

Reason is simple:  The Dollar has hit a five-month high and it’s doing so over prospects of the US simply balancing the trade deficit.

The Week Ahead:

First data point out this morning is the Chicago Fed National Activity Index.  Steady as she grows…

“The Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) ticked up to +0.34 in April from +0.32 in March. Two of the four broad categories of indicators that make up the index increased from March, and three of the four categories made positive contributions to the index in April. The index’s three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, increased to +0.46 in April from +0.23 in March.”

(Thanks to Microsoft for wrecking the Snipping tool in the latest “upgrade” to Windows 10 when run  in complex environments!  An other “feature,” perhaps is this color-shift?)

Not much else in the way of ‘big’ headlines.  There’s the Durable Goods Friday, but for the most part it’s a week of “talking Fed bosses” on the rubber chicken circuit and all eyes on politics.

Futures are still up 200, but we would expect politics to spill over into the markets at some point.

The Big Picture

Takes a bit of explaining, but my thinking goes like this:

Under the Obama/Clinton financial future path, America would be locked in to a high-inflation outcome as we tried to paper over the runaway spending by a corrupt congress.  The only way to do this would be to “make up money” and that meant that buying anything of solid value – whether gold, real estate, or selling bonds (which would drop in price as inflation came roaring back) would have been a no-brainer.

Especially since a Pence administration would be – after the coup to oust Trumphave been more a caretaker outfit than builder presidency.

Now, though, since Trump is a negotiator, we would expect him to contain the deficit and with a lot of the RINO’s leaving (because there’s dirt of them over misdeeds behind the curtain yet to be revealed) there’s a good chance we could do an “earn out” and we could have a happily ever after for the grandchildren.

Which is NOT what the Left wants.  They don’t want a return to core American values (hard work, thrift, innovation, technology breakthroughs) because it’s much easier for their purposes to have a divided country of a thousand genders and their sympathizers running socialist media.

I think China senses this change of sea state and is changing how they view things.  America is onshoring capital with more reasonable tax policies and about all that’s left to figure is how to keep pension funds from imploding.

And even this is not insurmountable.  That’s because cities and states that had “crooked growth” through giveaway programs would simply see their astronomical property values comes down to more common levels in America.

In other words, while land in East Texas may be $5,000 an acre, the same land a similar distance from Chicago, might be half-again, or more.

With a increase in property taxes to pay off excessive government pensions, though,  land and home prices in Chicago could come down.  A sort of Great American Leveling.

It’s a harmonic of what we saw in National Banking.  The idea is that national banks keep the regionals in check because they spread risk over the whole country.

Places like Illinois seemed like gold mines in real estate for a while, but that’s likely to end to pay pensions.  As it does, employers will stop looking at the oversized (unmanageable) cities and will take a fresh look at what’s really out there.

We have a huge country with thousands of small towns ready for business.  Many, at least in Texas, have been “hollowed out” by the technological revolution.  Yet today in cities like Paris, Texas, that we happened to drive through this weekend, there are office buildings half-empty because computers displaced the local people needed 50 years ago before computers.

Today?  These places are ripe for rediscovery.  Office space is there waiting to be redeveloped in towns which still come with family values and a 7-minute commute.

Takes some squinting to see it sometimes, but America has a very bright future is we all focus on what makes for a good life instead of what teachers are spewing as special.

We can be great again as a country.  To those critical of American exceptionalism, please go to the nearest airport and leave.

Things could be changing shortly – and for the better – so anti-American instigators and street-corner radical won’t be needed to build the future of this great-again land.

Could we have a depression along the way?  Well, that’s up to radical leftists, the trillions of the drug cartels, and how other countries read us, isn’t it?

Market to Scream Higher (In Fed #’s)

A quick note this morning that should come as good news to the bulls.

Despite the HUGE longwave economic mess we’re in, the latest H.6 Money Stocks report from the Federal Reserve shows how the Fed has deftly reduced their money print rate at M1 to prevent the market from prematurely peaking.

And as the data suggests now, we should see a healthy and upward moving market through summer.  Let me show you how to read their data:

*(Continues below)

 

The H.6 report has two parts to it.  The first one is the oldest 90-day sliding window:

Look at the first line:  TO April 2018 means (bankers are obtuse, like this) that the data is through the end of March.  See how M1 creation was running a paltry 1.4 percent annualized?  That is why the market didn’t move higher in the period from the first of February, or so.

But, now they are back to stepping on the gas, again.  Look at the M1 in the most recent sliding window:

Now you see the rate of increase in M1 is “back on track” and that means there will be plenty of dough about for companies to fund their stock buy-backs and such.

All of which would argue (to the monetarist in each of us) that with lots of money back in the game, Modern Monetary Theory says that the prices will remain under control…at least for a while.

Options Day, Higher Open

The futures were up nearly 60 points with two hours to the open.

But already, we can see the distortions of MMT in play.  While it seems like there’s inflation, when you look at gold and silver, it’s nowhere to be found.

And we have expectations that the metals could continue a good bit lower, even though there is inflation of the money supply.

What’s going up are all the things you need:  Gasoline is heading for $4 bucks in many places, shortly.  Food continues to escalate.  This has been partially hidden by thousands of manufacturers downsizing their product boxes.  Noodles, for example, all used to be one pound (16 oz) but now it’s all 12 ounces.

Sure, it could be argued we ate too much before, but the main thing is that even the honest efforts to keep apples and apples won’t work when the whole grocery chain is being priced around.

Makes it hard to know what to buy…even Bitcoin is down to $8,100 which means there is a chance of going down much, much lower/.  Still, coiners can take heart in the idea that until new post peak lows are set, there is still a strong bull case in the charts.

We don’t play with cryptos – or nitro – either.

Digital Rights Versus Google

There is much talk on the web, if you know where to look, about a DBR 0- digital bill of Rights.

Essentially, the idea of the DBR is that companies have no inherent right to use ANY PERSONAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU without two things:  Your CONSENT and COMPENSATION TO YOUO FOR THAT DATA.

This why companies like Google are trying to move into TOTAL DATA COLLECTION before the digital revolution gets legs and people start to shut down corporate own data collection built into operations systems and applications.

So, yes, we tend to block cookies except for named sites like Amazon and out bank and trading accounts where cookies are used.  But wholesale spying on our searches?

Uh….no!

Shepherding the Sheep

Speaking of which, Google News’ lead item when I looked this morning was all about the royal couple marketing slam.  Harry and Meghan will be rehearsing.

The way I see this is social programming at the highest order – to teach people to cower and kneel to “authority.”  Ure’s truly doesn’t buy it…since everyone in my country is equal and we’re all peers of this Realm.  But, for people programmed into submission by the uber rich, have fun.

Bring knee pads.

Waiting for the Hillary Report

We find it sort of odd that although an Inspector General report on Hillary in the 2016 election was completed Wednesday, it isn’t being released yet.

What concerns us is that timing of a controversial report like this can be done on “non-news” time.  That is to say, if it is released in the wee hours of a weekend morning, there won’t be many people around to comment, dig deeper, and so forth.

Also, there aren’t as many eyeballs watching the news – so it could be better for the democrop is this is timed to cut them some slack.

We shall see, but a BIG PRESS CONFERENCE WITH LIVE COVERAGE seems more fitting.  Regardless of content, by the way.

But, has the Deep State cut yet-another deal to keep the swamp full?

16,000 sealed indictments are still floating around, says the internet rumor mill…will this be used to smoke out a few more?

Front page of the NY Times?  No mention  of Clinton on the front page when I looked.  Ditto the Washington Post.  Bupkis in the NY Post, too.

So, here comes a long-awaited report on Hillary.  Is the NE mainly liberal Clintonista/Obamanista backing media playing this “straight?”

Somehow, we think if the story was about Trump (not Hillary) there would be wall to wall live coverage with a countdown.

Just sayin…

Meantime, CNN (which we’ve called [somewhat jokingly] the Clinton News Network) continues its marketing of the Mueller team.

Never stop selling, huh?  Just like the old Yellow Pages ads…

Marketing Dead People

A theme-of-the-week.

Today?  “ABC NEWS ANNOUNCES TWO-HOUR PRIMETIME TELEVISION EVENT ON MICHAEL JACKSON’S LIFE AND LEGACY.”

Quick!  Let’s find some dead people and monetiZe them!

I’ll be back Monday with adventures from the road…

have a grate weekend!

Nothing Markets, Bash du Jour

In long wave economics, our main forte, we are in a lazy holding pattern.  The market could continue on up, but to do so would require the recent highs of the past week be exceeded and we don’t see that at the open this morning with Dow futures down 25 and broader indicators saying it should open  down 50 (or more).

We had the big decline in January-February, and ever since, we’ve been digging out of the hole.  Still, as we advised subscribers to Peoplenomics Wednesday, now is a dandy time to wait for events rather than play in the middle of the financial freeway.

Which – other than mentioning this is index option expiration today, and we may see a move one way or the other tomorrow, so commercials can buy dinner, there’s little more than the Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook to talk about…

(Continues below)

 

It looks like this:

The diffusion index for current general activity edged 1 point higher, from 22.3 in March to 23.2 this month (see Chart 1). Nearly 37 percent of the manufacturers reported increases in overall activity this month, while 14 percent reported decreases. The indexes for current new orders and shipments remained positive but fell 17 points and 9 points, respectively.

If that isn’t a clear enough picture, try this:

Meantime, when I updated our super-computer to the latest and greatest version of Windows 10, the opening screen was of a bunch of people on a bridge.

Gotta wonder if that is somehow predictive of what’s ahead?

Crooked Government, Leftist Crap

We were nearly shocked when The New Yorker this morning published and account of how ” A law-enforcement official released the documents after finding that additional suspicious transactions did not appear in a government database….

This should make your hair stand on end.  The lefties now figure they are above the law when comes to bashing Trump.

You see, it is not legal for anyone in government to just “on a whim because they’re worried” out confidential financial data.

We are, supposedly, a Nation of Laws and attendant to this are processes to protect privacy, and so forth.

Other than a Treasury Inspector General is on the war path and looking for the leaker, our fears continue to be that a) It will turn out to be one of the Deep Staters not-yet fired from the FBI and b) the whole sorry mess is being orchestrated by the Bolsheviks within ex-president Obama’s “Vichy government” which continues to orchestrate Trump obstruction.

Misleading the Public?

Let’s run through an example of news manipulation, thanks to a Washington Post story, fed, incidentally, to other publishers around the country. (It popped out of one of our news scans which included the SF Gate.)

Trump voters warn him not to fire Mueller: ‘People would be suspicious'”

If you just read the headline as an input, it smells like the base supports Mueller.  But, that’s not the case. A recent Monmouth University poll this month says support for Mueller is declining: “While a majority of Americans (54%) support continuing the special counsel’s Russia probe, that support level is down slightly from 60% about two months ago.

Now, to the WaPo story: It isn’t until you are well into the story that it is NOT about the “Trump base” at all.  It’s a focus group which was led by a Democrat pollster.

Worse, Emory University which “sponsored” the Tuesday night deal in a suburb of Milwaukee, has allowed the same “focus group series” to be used against Trump for political ends, before.

Here’s how a similar bash late August was presented in the Emory Wheel: “Frustration with Trump Revealed in Focus Group by Emory.”  The focus group leader was not identified as a democrat partisan pollster, only as an  “…NBC News and Wall Street Journal pollster...”

Then, last fall, the Washington Post rolled out “The Daily 202: Trump voters have buyer’s remorse in North Carolina focus group.”  Post readers were assured, however, that ” Hart is a Democrat, but he plays it very straight when he moderates these focus groups and never tries to tip the scales. ”

Now, though it is revealed that the conductor of the “focus groups” is “…a longtime Democratic pollster.” 

See how things leak out, in dribs and drabs?

As an old man’s luck would have it, I’ve actually engineered focus groups and sadly, they can be led to whatever conclusion the client *ir group leader) wants.  This can be done through selection of participants (weak-will, group-thinkers are easiest to move around issues) and the question structure can lead to a conclusion.  Especially, if you know how to spot group thought leaders.

Not saying this was done, but when you see stories like “Emory University conducting a focus group.”  look closely, and the odds seem good (currently 100%)  there’s a democrat in there somewhere.

Running things.

Remember this:  If Trump isn’t booted out, we expect  another “focus group” story in a few months, as it appears to be part of the regular “bash Trump” news cycle promoted by the Vichy Obamanistas.

One last thing:  If you know any of the named participants, have them get hold of me.  I’m dying to know how contextually accurate their quotes are….I know:  Too much knowledge of news engineering, huh?

Our Own Focus Group

I just conducted a focus group here at the ranch this morning.  Our headline results?  “Texans don’t care about “Alyssa Milano: How I Came to Terms With My Anxiety Disorder.”

Time Magazine does.  We have some ViseGrips we can lend ’em.

Monetizing the Dead

Say, bet you remember the Feb. 11, 2012 death of Whitney Houston, don’t you?

 

Well, now we spy “Whitney Houston was sexually abused during childhood, new documentary claims/”

Is there anything that isn’t being monetized, nowadays?

Land of the raving, home of a thousand genders…yessir, It’s just amazed people still want to come here.  But that gets me to a great idea…

Instead of a Wall…

How about Trump publishes (in Spanish) simplified copies of the pension fund debacle being faced by America — explaining they will be on the hook for that when it comes due.  Then, leave thousands of copies along the coyote trails crossing the border?

(rim shot)

OK, back to greed now, kids…

Bentonville Versus Bezos

Results of the latest round?  “Walmart’s U.S. e-commerce growth rebounds, shares rise/”

The battle of “barbarians at the mall” continues.

With the coffee gone (what was in it?) we are done for now.  Moron the ‘morrow, then…

Trading: Lunch Money, Or More?

I clicked into the short side of the market this morning in the Extended Hours session.  Admittedly, it’s a long-shot, but there is a technical possibility (based on aggregate market behaviors).  And, if it doesn’t work out, I won’t be in even the whole day.

The common “buzz” is that the market is going higher – and if it does, there’s a strong case that it could continue until August or maybe the first few weeks of September.

The key thing to keep in mind, however, is that we are coming up on some direct fights over resources.  For example, plans are already afoot in Illinois to impose a huge property tax increase to pay for just a few public worker pension funds. (*More in the Coping section on the high cost of government workers…).  Toss in the latest data and there’s no particular reason to be wildly bullish right now.

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Just a couple of numbers:  Round off yesterday’s closing Dow to 24,900.  This compares with a Dow on January 3, 2017 of 19,882.

Yes, I’m going to be a “meanie with a calculator” now: That’s a 25.23% increase in 16-1/2 months.  Based on what, if you don’t mind my asking?

The corporate tax reform?  Oh, sure, brought some money back to the US, but lots of it has gone into making the rich, richer.  Stock buy-backs are good for shareholders, but they scream something else to those not hard of financial hearing:

There’s nothing else worth buying or investing in.

Has your disposable income gone up much – if any?  We’ve had some fun in the market, but seriously?  ‘

The parallels with 1929 are all over the place.  In the last month, the US economy added only 3,000 jobs…let’s not forget that while the unemployment rate is very low, indeed, the workforce has not kept up with growth in the general population.

To make it worse, the pension funds in America were mostly structured on crazy economic assumptions that haven’t been true for years.  And that’s a bill that’s coming due.

On to the data, but not without noticing that although the people spending has changed, it hasn’t reversed the course of the nation, yet.  Your lifestyle probably hasn’t changed much, if any, since 1990 (if you’re old enough), or more recently, not much if any since 2006.

Bitcoin, meantime, is down to $8,765 – and that’s one reason we have yet-another possibility forming up in the charts…one that says we are going lower from here despite my recent optimism.

Let’s see if there’s any fresh data, then, shall we?

Retail Sails

Biggest data point this morning is retail sales from the Census Bureau.  In a picture, it looks like this:

Sure, it may sound good on the surface, but in the press release, this jumps out:  “Retail trade sales were up 0.4 percent (±0.5 percent)* from March 2018, and 4.8 percent (±0.5 percent) above last year. Gasoline Stations were up 11.7 percent (±1.6 percent) from April 2017…”  Which is why the April numbers look flat.

Remember what we’ve been saying about “Consumer Super-saturation?”  In other words, how many6 lawn mowers do you need?  Most of our friends have two or three… a zero-turn for the big stuff, a walk-behind for tighter areas, and an assortment of gas and electring string trimmers.  Do we really need that many?

Perhaps not:   “Home Depot misses comparable-sales forecasts as spring selling dips.

How many UHD TV’s do you need?

This is the very real problem of technology.  Who needs five or six UHD TV’s to watch the 300 channel wasteland?

A reader sent in a comment overnight about truck prices.  High-end of pickup trucks is now north of $80,000.  Have people lost their ever-loving minds?

Well, sadly, the answer is a resounding yes.

Understanding Trump, Palestinians

Here is the simplified version of events in Israel.

Jerusalem is the capitol of Israel.

Foreign embassies are generally located in a nation’s capitol.  Russian, Chinese, French, etc. all have their embassies in Washington, DC, our capitol, for example.

Trump moved the US Embassy to the capitol of Israel.

The Palestinians are pissed and picking a fight over this.  As a result the MSM are claiming 2,400 wounded and 55 dead (so far).

Then comes another report with  a “heart-wrenching” angle built-in: “Toll for Gaza protests rises to 61 as baby dies from tear gas, with more protests expected.”

Let me ask you:  What kind of parent brings a baby to a demonstration where violence is expected and prfomoted by the organizers?

I guarantee you,; there won’t be any reporters asking “Why’d you bring a baby to a likely violent demonstration?”  Reporters don’t ask hard questions, anymore.

There is a US “problem” in all this:  It’s another previously empty political promise (made for decades) that Trump has taken off the table.  Like Trump, or not, he did something lots of other presidents talked to death.

He actually got ‘er done.

Meanwhile, U.S. chipmaker Intel submits plans for $5 billion Israel expansion

Hookers and Fishing Dept.

Oh, yes, the Mueller investigation.  Here’s today’s twist in the ongoing “democrats are idiots” joke-fest:  “Mueller may have a conflict — and it leads directly to a Russian oligarch.”

Tisk, tisk.  We would refer the democrats and Mueller to Matthew 7.5 for guidance.  Beams or splinters, anyone?

Google Trump-Bashing?

Here’s one that catches our eye, since this is the 15th now and four-day old news, short of global war, just doesn’t happen: Running this morning on Google News:

Not the way I would deal with people,” former Defense Secretary Gates says of Trump CBS News May 11, 2018″

See the date? LAST FREAKING FRIDAY.  I don’t buy it’s an RSS error, since our RSS news site (ComputationalFuture) doesn’t have these issues and it’s run by one half-wit (me).  So why would Google run “Old news?”

I may not be the first to wonder if Google is mixing a little politics into their story selection, to, oh, you know…bash Trump.

BS of the “Tolerant Left”

No, they aren’t.  Trump-bashers are jackbooted thugs when comes down to it…and racists ones at that, if I read this correctly:  “Black Trump supporter attacked at Cheesecake Factory over MAGA hat: report.”

No dessert for us.

Running Soros Out of Town

At least one country is: Soros foundation to shut its office in ‘repressive’ Hungary.

We think the whole institutional left would collapse here, if we did that in ‘Merica.

Peoplenomics tomorrow and another pass through the insanity here on Thursday, do come on by.

No, this is not a right-wing reactionary website.  It’s just a reasonable, moderate one.  If you think we’re right wing, congratulations:  The Bolsheviks have converted you with the subliminal agitprop and co-opted media. Good luck with your revolution against sanity….

Systemic Stability, ENSO and the Long Wave

We’ve been  thinking with an interesting data metrics idea for timing market moves up, or down.  Specifically it has to do with what I would describe as the global psychological analog  to out existing work in aggregated markets.

The simplest was to describe it is the notion that taken as a whole, the world some weeks looks like it’s heading right for the shredder.  Then, something happens, and while the news flow is not immediately apparent, there is a slight improvement in prospects, so markets rally.

With the break above a major overhead resistance level in the past week, the markets are now getting into position for a barn-burner rally that could last into late summer which could then morph into flash-goggles and disaster this fall.  But, the good news to kick off the week is futures are higher and, at least for the first hour of today’s open, disaster has been avoided.  Oh, and it underscores the point in Peoplenomics in the chart section this past weekend:  Trying to short over the weekend is a fools game.

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The idea – one to kick up to Nostracodeus whiz Grady, is are there “happy phrases” and “sad phrases” that we can isolate in our scans of the web, just as we do with predictive phrases in web data now?

As mentioned recently, although there is really nothing new to speak of going on with the Mueller Fishing and Hooker Expedition, it continues to suck the public attention along toward, well, whatever.

Even this morning there’s the shrill Washignton Post refry of old news in “‘Buckle up’: As Mueller probe enters second year, Trump and allies go on war footing.

Meantime, though, even the late-night shock-talkers like Jimmy Kimmel are coming to terms with the fact America’s sick and tired on the nothing-burger and we’d add presidential hate-mongering of the unfound “collusion.”  Even SNL is (finally) coming to our view that it’s old (refried) news.

Still, they have only recently come to their senses.  In the previous period (before going sane-again), the “comedy” types and activists have used every crude joke and slur in the book in Hate Trump.  It contributed to what we’d call a kind of systemic risk profile.

This morning, we see moderating risk and the odds of the UYS embassy in Jerusalem is not likely a big-enough deal to kick off global thermonuclear confrontation.

Which leads to our immediate reduction in stress, but that’s not to say peace breaks out, though TEOTWAWKI seems a bit more distant with the second cup of coffee.

As discussed in Coping, America’s main up-and-coming challenger (China) is kicking our ass the old-fashioned way:  Slowly.

While we are sanguine about the intermediate term (to September) period, there are some major problems still ahead.

ENSO and the Drought

We do have one huge fly in the ointment:  Global Food Stocks.  We are very unhappy about prospects here because of ENSO – the El Nino/Southern Oscillation.

A good starting point would be to read some basic research into the mechanics of things here.

When we look at recent El Nino (sea surface temperature) mapping, you can see the big “hot spot” in the Pacific south of Hawaii:

Which in turn ripples into the evolving drought in the middle of the country:

I don’t expect you’ll see the problem straight-away because most people haven’t studied climate maps from the Great Depression era.  Yet, on Wikipedia, you can find them and if you look at the Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and southern Colorado area, you can see where The Dust Bowl called home.

When you look at the area involved, the Dust Bowl only covered a portion of northeast New Mexico, for example. but that is likely to expand – and quickly – as we review some data.

Here in the East Texas Outback, for example, our rainfall hasn’t put us into Severe Drought in the May 8 map, yet the data is quickly going bad on us.

I ran out local rainfall here (120 miles SE of Dallas) and found we are down 40-percent from last year.  A year ago, the year-to-date rain was 10.66 inches.  This year it’s 6.68 inches.  It won’t take long for that to start killing off millions of trees and wrecking grasslands – which will cause changes in how – and what – we eat.

At first, there may actually be a decline in meat prices.  It would likely be a short-term event as ranchers rethink their herd sizes for next year.  Then there are the row crops and such.  Again, all those big “crop circles” from irrigation you see when flying commercial over Dallas to the West Coast require water…and that’s getting scarce.

A few media are starting to talk about this, notably the Wall Street Journal in “Farmers Across High Plains Brace For Hard Times as Drought Bears Down.”

But, as usual, it’s not headline stuff for the left-leaning media moguls who rule from the Northeast.  They still want Trump gone and they’re still selling non-news as hard as they can.

The Southeast part of the Drought may evaporate this week (patience -poor pun police processing) as “Tropical disturbance brings heavy rain to Florida.”

As we see it, the big story has changed…months back, really.  You can have all the earnings you want, but if you can’t afford a “measure of oil and a measure of grain” what’s the point?

Except the sour-grapes party and the people who think you can write a check to move ocean temperatures around.  The real world doesn’t work like that.

Meantime, as the demands grow, the energy inputs for food will rise and we note that depletion never sleeps.  So when Conoco moves to sell North Sea oilfields: sources, pay attention.  They are probably running some calculus and models about remaining reserves and economics.

Trump’s Embassy Move

Has turned ugly: Gaza clashes: 18 dead in violence before US embassy opening.  As the Jerusalem Post comments, the “US embassy inauguration exposes core of Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” And that, sadly, is not likely to cool-down any time soon.

Sizing Up the Week

Other than the Middle East and refried Trump stories, there’s not much going on.  Hawaii volcano is still smoldering, of course.

On the economic menu, the market’s next major resistance in our work is about 2.2% higher (as an Aggregate) from Friday levels.

Despite some regional pullbacks (all small) overnight, the futures were up 60 on the Dow 90-minutes from the open.

China sending a vice premeir to DC for trade talks helps confidence, but meantime Trump is giving Chinese telecom giant ZTE a break.  Carrot and stick or slack and hack?

We’re holding off on buying a string of low-priced rentals houses in Detroit having read that “NAFTA math may not add up to more U.S. auto jobs.”

Usual Treasury auctions today.  Tomorrow we get into the useful outlook data with Retail Sales and the NY Fed’s Empire State Manufacturing number.  Housing Starts come Wednesday.  Toward the end of the week, things fizzle in terms of data, so we don’t see any “biggies” that could wreck things, but that’s subject to change at the whim of real news.

Useless News

It just never stops.

Vatican’s Inquisition, Index of Banned Books open for study.  We hope UrbanSurvival was not mentioned.

Pope Francis-blessed Lamborghini auctioned for $950,000…we wonder if the blessing covered oil changes and major service?

$30,000 Sneakers? As Demand Grows for Coveted Shoes, So Do Prices.  We’d bujy some, but we’d haver to withdraw our bid on the Lambo…

And of course we ALL need to know that “Khloé Kardashian Feels ‘So Loved’ on Mother’s Day After Source Says Family Hasn’t Visited in ‘Weeks’.

Shoot-damn, that’s the icing, huh?

Moron the ‘morrow…I’m going to find my ViseGrips and give myself a wake-up squeeze on the arm now.  I can’t take another headline…it’s all such  crap.

Markets (and Woo-Woo) Point Higher

There is a weak case, but a case nevertheless, to be made that woo-woo upticks may be associated with stock market directional changes.

Over the past two weeks, we have had a major uptick in both personal “woo-woo” along with reader-submitted reports.  These come as the market may have, in this period, flipped from a likely outcome of the “right side of the 1929 replay” to the “left shoulder case.”

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The way to read this chart is as follows:

Long wave economics suggests that the economy goes through “long waves” of interest rates. These may last the Kondratiev cycle (48-64 years) OR there may be a longer, currency-debasement cycle of 83-90 years (Ure,Mazurok 2001).

Because the present interest cycle peaked in 1980, we can estimate the half-cycle length as running from the mid 1930’s to 1980.  This implies that Kondratiev is not “stongly” in play. 

If it is not (although the interest rate “Peak War” (Vietnam) did happen on schedule”) we are still in “the approach” to the next Depression.

When we line up the market break of 1920-1921 with the 2009 Housing bubble collapse, a strong correlation is evident in the chart above.

Initially, we had been considering the “B” case to be a highly possible correlation.  However, with the “B” case in 1929, the event was much shorter lived.

For this reason, we now prefer the “A” case.  This means the markets should, as an aggregate, move much higher over the summer and a Dow in the area of 30,000 could be expected.

There is still SOME support for the “Crash and burn right now case” but that would only become a preferred outcome in the event of “left field events” of sufficient magnitude to dramatically change future expectations.

Possible events of sufficient size might include first-use of nukes in the Middle East by either side of Iran-Israel (with a not to the Biblical Damascus references) or an unexpected change of power in China, Russia, or the United States.

Absent a strong decline in the next three weeks, or so, Ure becomes wildly bullish…at least for a short time.

Two points to be remembered, though.  First is the correlation of woo-woo with a major market trend change as noted in our “Coping” article that follows.

Second, the world is edging very close to fulfilling the prophesy in Isiah 17, that reads in part:

The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.

2 The cities of Aroer are forsaken: they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid.

3 The fortress also shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria: they shall be as the glory of the children of Israel, saith the Lord of hosts.”

And this circles us back to one of the headlines from this morning: “Iran condemns wave of Israeli air strikes in Syria.”

We do seem to keep moving in the direction of prophesy fulfillment, whether you want to believe it, or not.

Fortunately, Vlad Putin may have read Isiah 17 at some point, too.  That would explain why “Russia, after Netanyahu visit, backs off Syria S-300 missile supplies.”

Occasionally, readers will ask whether Ure wants to see war in the Middle East.  Of course, not.  That said, however, please remember that our outlooks tend to be colored by a lot of history and a good understanding of how the prophesy process works.

And, we’re occasionally quite struck (if not gob-smacked) by how when history seems to be about to come “off the rails” as we have just had a “close encounter in finance,” lately, we do pay attention.

We now return you to the nutty world in progress.  Let’s visit the….

Gun Grabs Don’t Work Department

A liberal mantra for years has been how gun-free societies are safer.  Just earlier this year, Fortune was touting “How Australia All But Ended Gun Violence.

But here we are reading: “Seven Dead in What Could Be Australia’s Worst Mass Shooting in Decades.”

Lemme ask you, “What part of ‘Criminals and Crazies don’t give a shit about laws’ is it that you’re not clear on?”

A Fine Fake News Example

We used to joke back in the rock & roll news days of the 1970’s about how to make up the news.

The concept was simple:  Go to City Hall and make up a story.  Tell one city council member “Did you hear was so-and-so [another council member] was saying about you?” 

Then you trot down the hall to the other member, play them the tape of the first council member blasting them, and Presto!  They go ballistic and you’ve got what?  Hot story from city hall on an otherwise dismal news day.

Looking back, I was a mere 25-year old rnews director of a big rocker at the time and stopped doing it when the ethics of it became clear. It wasn’t. (Some reporters mature, as I discovered.)

But, I laugh when I read today’s desperate pseudo-journos trying to do the same thing.  It’s called (and correctly so!) Fake News.

Here’s a story that shows how the jounokids are working it for fun and ad dollars.

A few days back one of the sleazy media of today made up a story.  Went to the idea that Trump’s Homeland bossette had readied her resignation letter.

The made up, fake news was “confirmed by several sources” but somehow, we never got their names as they were never attached to the story.  It was a baiting and fishing run like our own gambits of the 70’s.  Perhaps it was a psy-op of the Obama Vichy Government…and fed to a sympathetic anti-Trump major New York media outfit already losing readership and ad dollars and thus desperately looking for a way to keep all the readers they can.

Naturally, we then hear the denials in “Homeland Security Department denies secretary Kirstjen Nielsen prepped a resignation letter over criticism from Trump.”

The lesson?  The democrats (and likely the Obama Shadow Government/Deep State) have been pulling every string they can to obstruct Trump and remake the world in their socialist-egalitarian model. Send in Kerry, peddle made-up dossiers…the whole McGillah.

Amazingly, it’s still working, too.

But not for all.  When you see stories that make original claims of this or that, the hand of the latter-day Vichy’s and deep state are often at work.  Media desperate for readers (and thus money) are easily co-opted, time after time.

Trump should put a FISA surveillance on Obama, such is the effort to “take down” America’s elected government.  But, of course, they wont.

It’s all the political version of “Here, want a piece of candy?” used by the stranger passing by attempting to lure a child into a car with ill-intent.

It’s just scaled.

Fresh example is this morning’s “sources” on a Trump staffer attempting a bad joke at John McCain’s expense.

And then we see the continued marketing of Hillary Clinton in a who-cares story about her wearing a scarf.

Hillary wearing a back brace is a non-story.  She’s a has-been* who is clinging to headline-making harder than a Kardashian. Deal with it.

{* has been putting up with Bill, has been SecState, has been a presidential wannabe, has been a senator, has been…well, you get the idea…{

Import-Export Prices

If you want to improve America’s balance sheet, look for imports to cost less and export prices to be going up.  See if you can divine what’s happening from this press release just out:

U.S. import prices increased 0.3 percent in April, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, following a 0.2-percent decline in March. Prices for fuel and nonfuel imports advanced in April. Prices for U.S. exports rose 0.6 percent in April, after increasing 0.3 percent in March. Higher prices for nonagricultural exports more than offset declining agricultural export prices in April.

Imports

All Imports: Import prices advanced 0.3 percent in April resuming the recent upward trend after declining 0.2 percent the previous month. The March decrease was the first time the index recorded a drop since a 0.2-percent decline in July 2017. Prices for U.S. imports rose 3.3 percent between April 2017 and April 2018.
U.S. import prices have not recorded a 12-month decline since a 0.2-percent decrease for the year ended October 2016.

Exports

All Exports: Prices for U.S. exports rose 0.6 percent in April and have not recorded a decline since June 2017. The monthly advance was driven by higher nonagricultural export prices which more than offset declining agricultural prices. The price index for U.S. exports increased 3.8 percent over the past year, the
largest 12-month increase since a 4.8-percent rise for the year ended November 2011. The index has not recorded a decrease on a 12-month basis since a 0.2-percent decline between November 2015 and November 2016.

Pretty good report.

Dow futures up 30 with 40-minutes to the open.

Political Mileage

Trump to sit down with major automakers on Friday on fuel rules.

Does Elon get to go to these things?  I mean if he wanted?

Philly Oops!

Jury awards $10M to Philadelphia man over wrongful arrest.”

Useful Notes

Jeep recalling 240,000 Liberty SUVs to fix defective suspension part.

Trump sculpture on Arctic glacier planned as climate-change protest.  Our Obama drawing in the Sahara won’t last that long.

Delaware becomes first state to fully ban child marriage… you mean it isn’t?

And China’s multi-story hog hotels elevate industrial farms to new levels. Except America got there first.  We have multistory geek hotels in all the Silicon Cities.

Moron Monday, Peoplenomics tomorrow.

Ideally, we’d like to pull back a bit today, late,  but for now, bullish is our outlook until late summer. Subject to change with events, of course.

The next world-ending crisis should begin to rumble into the headlines over the summer…