Fed Believes Opioid Crisis Is Reason Why Men Aren’t Working

Bill Polacek runs a manufacturing company in Western Pennsylvania. Even though a glut in new construction projects has dried up work for tradesmen, Polacek said he struggled to find qualified welders a few years back when he had a large number of jobs to fill. Polacek interviewed 350 people to fill openings for 50 welders and machinists at his Johnstown, Pennsylvania-based manufacturing company. But he quickly found the number of qualified candidates dwindling to the point where the number of open jobs was higher than the applicants qualified to fill them. The reason? Too many of Polacek’s interviewees either had criminal histories, or couldn’t pass a drug test.
‘’We weren’t attracting the right people,’ Polacek says of the episode, which prompted him to invest in extensive outreach to local high schools to build up a pipeline of workers.’ America’s worsening opioid crisis has helped create a generation of men whose struggles with addiction are preventing them from finding, and holding, steady jobs. Indeed, the type of hard-to-hire Americans Polacek encountered pose a growing problem for many employers, as a deepening opioid crisis plagues American communities just as the jobless rate hovers near a 16-year low. Polacek’s situation is hardly unique; the Fed’s Beige Book, a collection of anecdotes about the business climate collected by the 12 regional Fed banks, has included many testimonials about the difficulty that some employers, particularly manufacturing firms, are having in finding qualified workers, like this one from a manufacturing firm in St. Louis.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 21, 2017.

Don’t Buy the Sears Stock Rally – SHLD Is Doomed

This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Money Morning – We Make Investing Profitable. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
Sears stock has rebounded more than 43% in the last month, but that does not mean this stock is turning around. Quite the opposite.
We still think Sears is headed toward bankruptcy. If you own it, get out. And if you think management can pull off a miracle, forget it. They can’t.
Money Morning Capital Wave Strategist Shah Gilani told readers back in May about Sears’ epic downfall. He even outlined a strategy to profit as Sears stock ‘lurches towards its deathbed.’ And despite the stock’s recent rally, if you’d followed Gilani’s plan, you’d still be up double digits.
All the reasons for this bearishness are still very much intact. Here’s what he told you in May:
‘Sears Chair and CEO Eddie Lampert’s financial engineering experiment clearly has failed. He ‘Frankensteined’ Kmart and Sears together to form what can only be called a retail abomination. Sears Holdings has lost $10.4 billion since 2011. Excluding ‘one-time charges’ and ‘events,’ the loss is $4.57 billion.’

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Money Morning Staff Reports ‘ July 21, 2017.

Watch Live: First On-Camera Spicer-Less White House Press Briefing In A Month

Following the resignation of Sean Spicer (over the hiring of Anthony Scaramucchi), Deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is scheduled to give the White House’s first on-camera press briefing since June 29 at 2pmET.
Grab your popcorn…

Since Sean Spicer will be absent, we thought this “best of” compilation might satisfy some who miss him…
It's been an honor & a privilege to serve @POTUS @realDonaldTrump & this amazing country. I will continue my service through August
— Sean Spicer (@PressSec) July 21, 2017

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 21, 2017.

Kunstler Fears “Violent Revolt” As “Soft Coup” Against Trump Looms

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,
For all his blunders and stumbles in his first half-year as President (cough cough), Donald Trump seems to have more lives than Schrdinger’s Cat. Or maybe it just seems that way. Or maybe he isn’t really there at all (like the news these days). Maybe Trump only represents one comic probability in an infinite number of universes of probability, both comic and tragic. I begin to understand why the folks in Hollywood are having a whack attack over the chief executive: you can’t storyboard this bitch; it’s like leaving The Three Stooges on their own in a sound stage to re-make Gone With the Wind.
But then, you begin to wonder: is Russia really there, or is it, too, just another figment of possibility? Don’t try to figure that out by reading the oracular observations of The Washington Post. These days Russia seems to be at once everywhere and nowhere, like the Devil north of Boston in 1693. For example, this fellow Jeff Sessions. Have you noticed that his name rhymes with Russians? Hmmmm. And wasn’t he caught chatting with the Russian Ambassador at the very same convocation of Republicans that picked notorious colluder Donald Trump to stand for President? That’s enough of your damn evidence right there!
Yes, things are passing strange in the world’s greatest democracy these days. To me, seeing the thing through an historical lens, it’s looking more and more like the Salem Witch Frenzy meets the French Revolution with a spin of quantum confusion on top. Right now we’re in the first phase, sheer political lunacy. Beliefs have become ungrounded from the facts of life. The guy whom fate or a prankish deity put in the White House doesn’t even fit the template of the world’s most infamous heads-of-state. I’m sorry to dredge up old Adolf, but really, Hitler himself seemed to have a much firmer idea about what he was doing than Trump does.
The Oba

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 21, 2017.

July 21/GOLD BREAKS ABOVE THE 1240-1250 RESISTANCE TO CLOSE AT $1254.75/SILVER UP 11 CENTS AT $16.49/THE BIG 3 GERMAN AUTOMAKERS CAUGHT IN ANTI TRUST ACTIONS;BIG FINES WILL BE COMING SHORTLY/TRUM…

GOLD: $1254.75 UP $8.75
Silver: $16.49 UP 11 cent(s)
Closing access prices:
Gold $1255.10
silver: $16.54
SHANGHAI GOLD FIX: FIRST FIX 10 15 PM EST (2:15 SHANGHAI LOCAL TIME)
SECOND FIX: 2:15 AM EST (6:15 SHANGHAI LOCAL TIME)
SHANGHAI FIRST GOLD FIX: $1253.46 DOLLARS PER OZ
NY PRICE OF GOLD AT EXACT SAME TIME: $1245.60
PREMIUM FIRST FIX: $7.86

This post was published at Harvey Organ Blog on July 21, 2017.

Market Talk- July 21st, 2017

We did eventually see a mixed close in US with the NASDAQ setting new gains but the late rally failed to convince Asian markets of the rally and having seen ECB unchanged, we saw Asian indices small down. It was a reasonably light session to close the week as main core markets drifted. The Nikkei watched the yen trade better (last seen trading towards the 110 handle) so having a negative effect on stocks resulting in a negative -0.2% close. Shanghai and Hang Seng gave a little back also after the recent consistent positive momentum, which is a fair performance when considering recent currency strength. Top talking points were surrounding the disconnect between the bond and stock markets, but also the weakness in the USD and the strength in gold. The USD has been losing support as we approach an almost 2% decline against the Euro but that is having a significant effect on European stocks.
As Mario Draghi has kept the currency going the negative effects are being seen on equities, and a resurgence of bond spread tightening. It appears the fixed-income market is being the adult in the room seeing the road clear to continue the carry tightening play. That said, US stocks have held in well as earnings plays its supporting role but we should have a clearer picture next week when we hear from the Federal Reserve. Core markets closed with almost 2% declines which for foreign investors is really starting to hurt even providing for the recent euro rally.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Jul 21, 2017.

Oil Rig Count Falls By 1 As Analyst Warns Permian Reserves Are Grossly Exaggerated

For only the second time in the last 27 weeks (and 4th in the last 56 weeks), the number of US oil rigs fell last week (down 1 to 764 rigs). There is a growing concern that the rising rig count has now outpaced the lagged response to pricing and is due to rollover further…

Notably the Canadian oil rig count rose by 12 last week.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 21, 2017.

The Public’s Supremely Stupid Tolerance

Good God, this is the dumbest – and most dangerous – thing I’ve seen yet.
A Facebook message pops up on my phone screen. ‘What’s going on in your world?’
It’s from a robot named Woebot, the brainchild of Stanford University psychologist Alison Darcy.
What?
This “bot” looks at what you do and then decides it thinks you’re depressed.
Ok, who owns that “deduction” and what happens when it’s wrong?
See, here’s the problem — this doesn’t require an “app” that you load. Facebook looks at everything you do that it can link back to your id on their site now.
Is the company doing this now — and selling it to whoever wishes to buy, such as, for example, your health insurance company? Your employer? A recruiting company (that in turn has quite a bit of influence over whether you find future employment)? A prospective landlord? Never mind the government.
Look folks, you have some deep thinking to do. It is exactly this sort of “app” that leads me to say “Advertise on Facebook or any other Zuckerberg property and I will never buy from you again.“

This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-07-21.

S&P Raises Outlook On Greece Ahead Of Bond Sale, Keeps B- Rating

Consider it a kiss to the bond investors who are expected to oversubscribe the upcoming latest “triumphal” Greek return to the bond markets, as soon as next week. Moments ago, rather unexpectedly, S&P raised its outlook on Greece from Stable to Positive, but reaffirmed the Greek rating at B-. The rating agency, said it believes that “recovering economic growth, alongside legislated fiscal reforms and further debt relief, should enable Greece to reduce its general government debt-to-GDP ratio and debt servicing costs through 2020.”
We have therefore revised the outlook on Greece to positive from stable while affirming our ‘B-‘ long-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings. The positive outlook indicates our view that, over the next 12 months, there is at least a one-in-three probability that we could raise the ratings.
In other words, buy the Greek bonds, but beware a repeat of what happened in 2014.
Full S&P note below (link):
Outlook On Greece Ratings Revised To Positive; ‘B-‘ Long-Term Ratings Affirmed RATING ACTION
On July 21, 2017, S&P Global Ratings revised the outlook on the Hellenic Republic (Greece) to positive from stable. We affirmed the ‘B-/B’ long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings.
RATIONALE
The outlook revision reflects our expectation that Greece’s general government debt and debt servicing costs will gradually decline, supported by economic recovery, legislated fiscal measures through 2020, and a commitment from Greece’s creditors, specifically from the Eurogroup, to further improve the sustainability of its sovereign debt burden.
The Eurogroup, in its statement on June 15, 2017, has agreed to facilitate market access for Greece through the creation of a cash buffer via disbursements over and above the amount needed for the Greek government to meet debt servicing obligations and pay down domestic arrears. In our opinion, this support is likely to pave the way for Greece to successfully reenter sovereign bond markets this year.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 21, 2017.

Well Well, Look What We Have Here…

“The ObamaCare reform fiasco looks like a tipping point toward a strain of toxic political paralysis that might literally kill the government as we’ve known it. Over the many months of debate, congress never even got around to raising the salient issue: that the 18-or-so-percent of the economy ‘health care’ represents consists largely of outright racketeering.”
Yep.
Oh, and I believe it’s now up to 19% and change, soon be 20.
And somewhere not far from there the entire mess comes apart.
3+% real GDP expansion cannot be achieved when one dollar in five is literally stolen for an alleged “service” that is worthless at best and kills you at worst.
Let us not forget that to consume you must first produce, or convince someone you will in the future (he then lends you what you spend, of course.) The latter has been made easy over the last 30 or so years (since the early 1980s) by a generally-declining interest rate environment.
You take a million dollar loan @15% interest and you have to come up with $150,000 a year or the come take your property.
But when the rate falls to 10%, you can borrow a million and a half, spending the other $500 large.

This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-07-21.

No More “Cash On The Sidelines”: Private Client Cash Levels Drop To Record Low

One can finally put all references to “cash on the sidelines” in the trash can, not only for purely logistical reasons (when someone buys a stock, the seller ends up with the cash), but also from a purely cash allocation basis. According to the latest BofA flow show report, Michael Hartnett writes that as of the latest week, private client cash – i.e., high net worth individuals, or those who still allocate capital to single-stocks and ETFs on a discretionary basis (unlike the broader US public which has long ago given up on the stock market), is now at a record low, taking out the cash levels observed in the period just prior to the last market peak in 2007: “GWIM cash allocation % AUM falls to all-time low of 10.4%.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 21, 2017.

Congress’ Radical Plan To End Illegal Money

Authored by MN Gordon via EconomicPrism.com,
One of the many downfalls of being the United States Secretary of the Treasury is the requirement to place one’s autograph on the face of the Federal Reserve’s legal tender notes. There, on public display, is an overt record of a critical defect. A signature endorsement of a Federal Reserve note by the Treasury Secretary represents their personal ratification of unconstitutional money.
If you recall, Article I, Section 8, of the U. S. Constitution empowers Congress – not the Federal Reserve – to coin money and regulate its value. What’s more, Article I, Section 10, specifies that money be coined of gold and silver and cannot be bills of credit – such as paper legal tender notes.
As far as we can tell, paper dollars are illegal money on two counts. First, they’re issued by the Federal Reserve. Second, they’re bills of credit with no ties to gold or silver. What gives? Isn’t the U. S. Constitution supposed to be the supreme law of the land?
Don’t be silly. Anyone with half their wits about them knows the U. S. Constitution has been reduced to a mere artifact of history. Does this bother you?
It bothers us. To be clear, we don’t take the recline and flail of the U. S. Constitution lightly. But we also can’t ignore the pervasive truth of its sad state.
Of course, the dollar has other problems besides the major technicality of being illegal. For example, its payment qualities are suspect.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 21, 2017.

El-Erian Exposes The Upside And Downside Of Liquidity-Driven Markets

Authored by Mohamed El-Erian via Bloomberg.com,
Over the past few months, government bond yields have fallen, the dollar has weakened and financials have underperformed, yet the major stock indexes are at or very near record highs, as persistently supportive liquidity conditions have more than compensated for policy and growth disappointments.
By boosting returns and repressing volatility, ample liquidity is a gift for investors. It makes the investment journey pleasing, comfortable and lengthy. But it is not a destination.
With the exception of buoyant stocks market indexes, it is hard to find many financial markets that have managed to retain their post-U. S. election mood. Specifically:
After climbing to 2.60 percent, the yield on 10-year Treasuries has fallen to below 2.30 percent. The yield differential between U. S. Treasuries and German Bunds has narrowed from more than 220 basis points to just 170 basis points. The widely followed DXY dollar index, which reached a high of 103 on Dec. 28, has depreciated sharply to 94, a level not seen since August of last year. The Mexican peso has appreciated to its strongest level in a year, after falling sharply on fears of U. S. protectionism.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 21, 2017.

Why work with a Qualified Realtor for the Best Real Estate Services?

Are you buying or selling your home in Vancouver? Maybe you want to be part of one of the most vibrant property markets in the world today? If you are interested in the city’s real estate, it is advisable to work with an established realtor to get the best returns. While there is a lot of information available about this market, you still need professional assistance to make the most informed decision. For instance, do you know whether it is a buyer’s market or a seller’s market?
Whenever you are investing in a property market, it makes a lot of sense to use a local realtor who has the prerequisite expertise and resources to guide you through the process. These experts know the pulse of the property market in the city and will advise you accordingly. While you might be in a rush to buy or sell, it pays to get real estate services from a reliable realtor.
Professional Real Estate Services
Why invest in these professionals when you can go ahead and sell or buy on your own? Truth be told, closing even a presumably simple deal in the real estate market can take months if not longer. If you are planning to sell your home fast, for instance, you might be forced to do it at a loss if you are not willing to use a realtor.

This post was published at ZenTrader on July 21, 2017.

Junk Bonds Are Finally Starting To Care About Oil

Back in May, we pointed out an interesting observation made by Goldman: unlike late 2015 and most of 2016, when equities demonstrated surprising resilience to the swoon in oil prices, in 2017 OPEC’s failure to stabilize oil prices finally hit energy equities disproportionately. As Goldman said in mid-May, discussing the latest crude oil selloff, which has been “even more pronounced for longer-dated contracts reflecting increasing concerns over future balances in 2018 and beyond”… “in the HY market, the Energy sector has again outperformed its beta to crude over the past few weeks, a pattern that is reminiscent of previous oil sell-off episodes in the second half of 2016 and early 2017 (Exhibit 3).” Goldman also pointed out that the outperformance among energy high yield bonds “also contrasts with the sharp underperformance of Energy equities since the beginning of the year (Exhibit 4).”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 21, 2017.

Why the Gold Price Could Continue Beyond Today’s 4-Week High

This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Money Morning – We Make Investing Profitable. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
Over the last week, the gold price has bounced back above the $1,200 threshold. With the metal currently trading at $1,251, it’s set to post a weekly gain of 1.7%. The price of gold’s rally this week to its highest level since June 23 came mostly on the back of comments from Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank (ECB). Draghi said during the bank’s policy meeting on Thursday that the ECB had not yet formalized plans to roll back monetary policy stimulus.
The Bank of Japan (BoJ) also said its inflation expectations were not meeting targets, with the current 1.1% inflation rate below the previous forecast of 1.4%. The BoJ noted that a dovish monetary policy would persist for some time.
And that echoed what U. S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said in her Congressional testimony last week, when she admitted the global inflation slowdown could call for an ‘adjustment’ to the Fed’s policy.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Peter Krauth ‘ July 21, 2017.

WTI Tumbles Towards $45 Handle After Tanker-Tracker Signals OPEC Supply At 2017 Highs

Despite the ‘bullish’ inventory data (and demand), WTI Crude just sank towards a $45 handle – red on the week – as tanker-tracking firm Petro-Logistics signals OPEC crude supply rising again this month will be the highest this year (along with US shale output at record highs).
As Bloomberg notes, supply from OPEC members is set to exceed 33 million barrels a day this month, more than 600,000 barrels a day higher than the first-half average, according to Petro-Logistics. The data could reinforce skepticism about the effectiveness of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ production cuts as officials from the group gather for meetings in St. Petersburg, Russia.
This pushed prices below the pre-DOE data lows…and red for the week.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 21, 2017.