Here Comes Bitcoin Competition

Say, here’s an interesting one to keep an eye on:  Competition in the wings for Bitcoin:

imageScharmbeck Worldcoin Financial Services launched live beta testing today of an online platform that will streamline the buying, trading and use of Cryptocurrency (Cryptocoin).  Beginning with the worldwide launch of Worldcoin’s new user-friendly system in February, the general public will not only be able to directly purchase Worldcoin instantly, but processing speeds for using Worldcoin will be 20x faster than Bitcoin. That means businesses will be able to process Worldcoin payments as effortlessly as accepting a credit card.

Until now Cryptocoins, such as Bitcoin and its Altcoin competitors, have been traded and praised primarily by the tech crowd, but the general public is now starting to take notice. Bitcoin, the most popular Cryptocoin, has seen its value skyrocket from $0.30 per coin in 2011 to a high of $1,224.00.  Last month, the value of Worldcoin hovered around $0.06, yet surpassed $1.00 on Black Friday. The value of Worldcoin is expected to spike drastically by February when they become the first Altcoin to sell directly to the public without having to first purchase Bitcoin.  Thereafter, Worldcoin will no longer be tied to Bitcoin’s violent swings in price.  Worldcoin’s new program will make buying, selling and converting into fiat currency a simple process. 

No idea how it’s going to play, but here comes well-backed competition…

Watch the POG (Price of Gold)

My friend Robin Landry and I have been watching the POG and shares of GLD rather closely, since gold is still hovering just under the $1,200 level this morning.  But, it is still in range to take out the June lows.  If that happens for a day, or three, then the odds of gold dropping down toward the $1,100 level and lower increase.

More likely, though, we are at a rallying point which might give us one more run up to the $1,400 level.  Which would fit nicely with a rally in stocks and other assets into January, but along about the end of January we come to a Bradley turn date and that’s when things ought to get really interesting.  Will the Bradley invert?

[A good explanation of the Bradley may be found here, although the more people that follow one stock market indicator, the worse it seems to work.]

The other thing we’re eyeing (with some suspicion) is the 10-year Treasury yields.  They were up yesterday to an intraday 2.95 on the CBOE and that’s against a 52 week high of 2.98.  A break above that could be friendly for Gold and painful for Stocks.

The mechanics being simple:  Stocks need the prospect of better returns than bonds and if interest rates go up, given stable earnings, stocks could make a major decline in the spring.

So we’ll be keeping a close eye on trading between now and year end to see what’s coming.  About the only thing to be said with conviction this morning is that we’re at a critical trading juncture for another few weeks which could set the stage for an early 2014 blow-off top, or it could set the stage for a massive collapse of stock prices.  Either way, we do live in “interesting times” indeed.

Robin’s take was that the higher interest rates (recent strength in the ^TNX) may discourage some of the long-term gold holders, weakening price.  But it all eventually could come around to monetary debasement, and that’s been one of the best (and easiest) bets I’ve ever made.

Blow Out GDP Report

Just out from the government Bureau of Economic Analysis this morning:

Real gross domestic product — the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States — increased at an annual rate of 4.1 percent in the third quarter of 2013 (that is, from the second quarter to the third quarter), according to the “third” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the second quarter, real GDP increased 2.5 percent.

The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the “second” estimate issued on December 5, 2103. In the second estimate, the increase in real GDP was 3.6 percent (see “Revisions” on page 3). With this third estimate for the third quarter, increases in personal consumption expenditures (PCE) and in nonresidential fixed investment were larger than previously estimated.

Of course, what goes unmentionable is the underlying Federal Reserve (easy) money supply figures.  In the latest weekly update, the Fed admits to M1 going up at an 8.9% (annualized 3-month) rate while M2 is going up 6.1% (annualized, 3-month rate).

So GDP up 4.1 while annual M2 is up 6.1%?  ‘Scuse me if that still looks like 2% deflation in play.  Now toss in house sales falling and tell me where the green shoots are?

News releases, like this one insist on recovery, despite my skepticism:

NEW YORK, Dec. 19, 2013  — The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S. increased 0.8 percent in November to 98.3 (2004 = 100), following a 0.1 percent increase in October, and a 1.0 percent increase in September.   

“The LEI continues on a broad-based upward trend, suggesting gradually strengthening economic conditions through early 2014,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Economist at The Conference Board. “Improving labor markets and new orders in manufacturing, combined with strong financial indicators, drove November’s gain. However, consumers’ outlook for the economy and the drop in housing permits continue to pose risks in 2014.” 

Yeah, I’d say so…

Obamacare Cracking?

The headline is simple enough:  “Obama lifts insurance mandate for people with canceled policies.”

But the open question – explored in detail over here – is whether this will be the only change, or whether there will be more changes to come?

More after this…

Curiously Dead

In case you missed it, a “mystery disease” has now killed a number of people (4 so far)  here in East Texas.  Among the sick?  A relative of controversial Truther Alex Jones.

What’s coming out this morning on this almost sounds like disinfo.  One story marketing the rounds is that it’s swine flu.

All of which is pretty damn strange…as there are almost no pigs raised in this part of Texas.  I don’t know if you’ve got Control of Communicable Diseases In Man in your collection, but it’s a marvelous book and one of the core concepts of epidemiology is to always ask “:What’s the natural reservoir?”

All of which has us asking that very question as we read reports of this “flash” outbreak. Is it a little more subtle than drones or carpet bombing Texas? Yes, but not by much.

Global Homophobia

If you’re convicted of being gay in Uganda, it could lead to life in jail with a change of laws there.  Amnesty International, for one, is critical of what they call homophobia in Africa.

Still, since we were talking about “natural reservoirs” in the previous story, one may wish to consider that the highest HIV/AIDS rates are in gay male and needle-sharing populations.

A conspiracist could could ask “Does promotion of the gay rights agenda in Africa  mask a population control (banking on disease spread and, in turn, rising death rates) control effort?  And might this then facilitate further exploitation by non-regional interests?”

Another interesting rights front:  This whole Duck Dynasty discussion.  Whenever we see an “emo/hot” story like this, it gets us to wondering “Gee, what else is going on, that’s really critically important, that this hot emotional thing is covering up?

The word “Down” appeared (out of the blue) in the Nostracodeus runs yesterday.  Wide range of topics, too:  Rights down, president down, economy down, being down, life down.

And I suppose we should note housing sales down, too.  Even in places like the Netherlands.

I trust you remember yesterday’s discussion about pernicious global deflation?  Hot/emotional items (gay right, racially keyed stories, and religious attacks) keep people from focusing…

And what if this “down” language presages the ISS “down” which we’ get into in this morning’s Coping section?  What if 2012 was a year off?

If we get a largish quake in the next few days (like a 7.6, or so) the hairs on the back of your neck should stand up.  It’s a low probability, yes, and tiling at windmills?  Maybe.  But still….

Pretend It Didn’t Happen Department?

I’m stumped by the headline “Target shouldn’t suffer from data theft” in Barron’s this morning. I suppose there’s a technical case for 76 but there’s also a case for $50.  I don’t give financial advice, but seems to me it’s like we were talking about in the lead item this morning:  All depends on how things go over the next couple of weeks and if the markets break higher, or head lower.  We should know more shortly.

Better Eating

Say, here’s one to go with that muffin or Cheerios this morning:

YONKERS, N.Y., Dec. 19, 2013  In its most comprehensive tests of meat and poultry to date, Consumer Reports found bacteria that could make consumers sick on nearly all of the 316 raw chicken breasts purchased at retail nationwide. The full report, “The High Cost of Cheap Chicken,” is featured in the February 2014 issue of Consumer Reports and online at

While Consumer Reports has consistently been testing chicken for more than 15 years, this is the first time it has looked at the contamination rates for six different bacteria – enterococcus (79.8 percent), E.coli (65.2 percent), campylobacter (43 percent), klebsiella pneumonia (13.6 percent), salmonella (10.8 percent), and staphylococcus aureus (9.2 percent). It also evaluated every bacterium for antibiotic resistance and found that about half the chicken samples harbored at least one multidrug-resistant bacteria.

Remind me to cook my chicken for a few extra….years!  Rubber gloves when cleaning is a given around here and always has been…