“Never Buying From You Again”: Best Buy Halts Sales of Some iPhones After Angry Customer Backlash

Best Buy just got an Uber-sized lesson in surge pricing, and how not to do it.
Hoping to capitalize on the (reportedly) pent up interest in the iPhone X, Best Buy, which also sells all iPhone models via carrier installment plans that let customers pay for the devices over several months, decided to hike the full, upfront price by $100, with the retailer charging $1,099 and $1,249 for the two iPhone X configurations; Apple’s pricing is $999 and $1,149.
Danielle Schumann, a spokesperson for Best Buy, tried to explain the fact that the company is overcharging for the iPhone X in a statement to Bloomberg, which courtesy of The Verge is included below for its sheer ridiculousness.
‘Our prices reflect the fact that no matter a customer’s desired plan or carrier, or whether a customer is on a business or personal plan, they are able to get a phone the way they want at Best Buy. Our customers have told us they want this flexibility and sometimes that has a cost.’ In other words, Best Buy was under the impression that its customers would like to pay more to buy phones from it, as opposed to the cheaper retail cost offered everywhere else the iPhone X is sold.
That impression was dead wrong.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 31, 2017.

This Is The Huge Anti-Trump Protest That Was Organized By… The Russians

From November 2016…
Protesters demonstrating against the election of Donald Trump made their voices heard again Saturday – taking to the streets of New York for the fourth straight day. A crowd of over 5,000 people gathered in Union Square around noon, their ranks rapidly growing and spilling out of the park. Hand-drawn signs floated above the crowd, carrying messages like ‘Love Trumps Hate,’ ‘Unacceptable,’ and ‘Dump Trump.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 31, 2017.

The Scariest Charts In The World

Authored by Anthony Doyle via BondVigilantes.com,
Investment markets have been remarkably resilient over the course of 2017. Sure, the geopolitical environment has thrown up a few frightening days which saw markets sell-off but on the whole volatility has been muted and most asset classes have generated solid total returns. That said, any horror movie fan will tell you that the scariest part of a horror film happens when things are relatively calm. With that in mind, here are a few charts that shine a light on a number of threats that are lurking just below the surface of the global economy.
1. ECB quantitative easing has propped up government bond markets

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 31, 2017.


GOLD: $1270.00 down $6.15
Silver: $16.70 down 13 cents
Closing access prices:
Gold $1270.20
silver: $16.72
PREMIUM FIRST FIX: $13.90(premiums getting larger)
Premium of Shanghai 2nd fix/NY:$14.80 PREMIUMS GETTING LARGER)

This post was published at Harvey Organ Blog on October 31, 2017.

Podesta Fires Back: “I’m The Victim Of A Big Lie”

Earlier this morning we noted a pair of Trump tweets which seemingly called on the Podesta brothers to “Drain the Swamp” by dishing whatever “earth shattering” dirt they have on Democrats to Special Counsel Mueller (see: Trump Calls On Podesta Bros To “Drain The Swamp” By Revealing “Earth Shattering” Dirt On Dems).
Now, it seems as though one of the embattled Podesta brothers, Hillary’s former campaign chair John Podesta, is more than ready to engage in a twitter war with the President after firing back that he’s the “victim of a big lie campaign by the American President.”
“Not bad enough that I was the victim of a massive cyber crime directed by the Russian President.” “Now I’m the victim of a big lie campaign by the American President “
Not bad enough that I was the victim of a massive cyber crime directed by the Russian President (1/3)
— John Podesta (@johnpodesta) October 31, 2017

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 31, 2017.

This Energy Revolution Could Shrink Your Electric Bill to Zero

Happy Halloween. Whether you’ll get a trick or a treat is hard to know in this zombified economy.
Take negative interest rates. When Europe’s central banks pushed rates below zero, large depositors found themselves paying interest instead of receiving it.
But at the same time, some lucky homeowners found their mortgage payments turn into credits.
The weirdness continues. Last week, Bloomberg reported that German power producers would likely be paying customers to use electricity this weekend.
How does this possibly make sense?
The answer is in the wind.
Blown-Away Prices
Normally, utility companies calculate how much a kilowatt-hour of electricity will cost to produce and therefore, how much to charge the customers. That’s pretty easy to do with fossil fuels, but wind production – which Germany depends on heavily – can be volatile due to weather conditions. That means utilities must install extra renewable power capacity to meet demand in suboptimal conditions.

This post was published at Mauldin Economics on OCTOBER 31, 2017.

Goldman: “Short-Term Unemployment Is At Levels Not Seen Outside Of Major Wartime Mobilizations”

When it comes to the US labor market, it’s a tale of two extremes according to a recent report by Goldman Sachs.
At one end, the rate of short-term unemployment, defined as those unemployed fewer than 15 weeks, is lower than at any point since the Korean War and is already 0.4% below the bottom reached in the late 90s boom, with half of the gap likely due to demographic change. According to Goldman economists, “from the perspective of workers transitioning briefly between jobs whose attachment to employment is high, this is already a very tight labor market.”
At the other end, the pool of struggling workers at the margins of the labor market remains larger than in past expansions. In particular, the rate of medium- to long-term unemployment, defined as those unemployed at least 15 weeks, remains 0.75% higher than the low reached in the late 90s boom, and almost none of that gap is attributable to demographic change.
The delta between the two labor markets is shown in the chart below.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 31, 2017.

Gold and Silver Get Powelled – Precious Metals Supply and Demand

Rumors Driving Short Term Price Swings
The prices of the metals dropped a bit more this week, -$7 and -$0.16. We all know the dollar is going down, that it is the stated policy of the Federal Reserve to make it go down. We all know that gold has been valued for thousands of years. So why do we measure the timeless metal in terms of paper currency?
It should be the other way around. We therefore encourage people to think of the price of the dollar measured in gold, rather than the price of gold measured in dollars. Last week, the dollar was up to 24.43 milligrams of gold.
On Friday, a curious thing happened. A report came out that Jerome Powell, who is on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, is now the leading candidate to replace Janet Yellen as Chairman. This was deemed by the market to be good for gold and especially silver. Powell is not only an establishment guy, he has been part of the decision making body which has brought you the monetary policy which has caused/coincided with the drop in the price of gold from $1,558 when he took office.
Presumably the reason why he is a candidate, and the reason why the gold market bid up the price of gold, is that he will continue the current central plan. This plan could be charitably dubbed ‘monetary largesse’. Notwithstanding the theory held by both the mainstream Fed apologists and alternative Fed critics, this policy has not resulted in skyrocketing prices of either consumer goods or gold. But no matter, the likely appointment of the mainstream insider (as opposed to the other leading candidate, John Taylor, who is an academic and not a Fed official) is good news. For gold. For now.

This post was published at Acting-Man on October 31, 2017.

Mexico’s “Legendary” Oil Hedging Desk Spent $1.25 Billion On 2018 Puts

Mexico’s “legendary” oil hedgers (profiled her emost recently one year ago and by Bloomberg in this exhaustive article) are confident that prices won’t linger above $50 a barrel, because this summer, which is why the world’s most-active sovereign oil-trading desk spent a near record $1.25 billion on put options to lock in export prices for next year, Bloomberg reported, citing data from the country’s Ministry of Finance.
The news is especially notable because, as we pointed out yesterday, with WTI prices holding at 6-month highs around $54 (and Brent at $60), hedge funds have never been more bullish on the entire energy complex, having accumulated a record 1.189 billion barrel equivalent long positions in the five major petroleum contracts (Brent, WTI (x2), RBOB, HO)…

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 31, 2017.

Dying Malls Increasingly Rely On Taxpayer Handouts For Survival

America’s dying malls have been a frequent topic of discussion of late as these relics of the 80’s have been forced to convert once valuable high-end retail square footage into grocery stores, libraries and doctor offices just to keep the lights on. Here’s just a small sampling of the recent carnage:
A Third Of All Shopping Malls Are Projected To Close As ‘Space Available’ Signs Go Up All Over America America’s Desperate Mall Owners Turn To Grocers, Doctors & High Schools To Fill Empty Space Failing Malls Turn Empty Parking Lots Into Carnivals To Generate Cash But, as Bloomberg points out today, one other funding source is increasingly emerging as a key financial sponsor in the efforts of commercial REITs to re-purpose their failing assets: taxpayers.
In Brookfield, Wisconsin, for example, the city is using tax-increment financing (TIF), a common tool for municipalities to subsidize development by putting property taxes from new projects into a fund that pays for building cost, to help rebuild the Brookfield Square Mall. Meanwhile, as if that weren’t enough, the city has also agreed to pay for remediation costs related an old Sears auto repair shop and to build a new convention center and hotel where the Sears once stood.
In this depressing landscape, there is at least one player still willing to take the risk: local governments hungry for tax revenues. Developers incorporating additions such as housing and parks in their plans are turning to public partners to help rehabilitate the aging retail meccas that dot the U. S. Public subsidies have been part of retail development for decades, but with landlords pouring billions of dollars into renovation to battle a wave of store closures, public-private partnerships are more urgent, and more fraught, than ever.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 31, 2017.

Value Investing’ Deadpool

I sure hope Julian Robertson is a Ryan Reynolds fan. And although I doubt the MacroTourist Letter is on the legendary hedge fund manager’s daily reading list, if he happens across this post, Julian (and the rest of you on the board) – know it was all done with tongue firmly in cheek (kind of).
Ryan’s movie DeadPool is by far and away, the best Marvel movie ever made. I guess you can disagree with that statement – that’s what makes a market, but you would still be wrong.
For those who haven’t seen the movie, Ryan Reynold’s character frequents a bar that has a DeadPool. There, listed for everyone to see, are the bets on who will die first. Whoever ‘owns’ the first person to die, wins the pool.
Today’s market is in desperate need of a ‘Value Investor’s DeadPool.’ With the constant fleeing of capital from active management into passive (most of which can certainly not be described as moving into ‘value’), the pain for those investors still believing that buying cheap companies has merit is intense.
And as I watch this passive investing renaissance unfold, all I can think about is the last time value was so scorned. It was the year 2000, and the DotCom bubble was in full force.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 31, 2017.

Average U.S. Home Is Selling After Just 3 Weeks On Market; Fastest Pace In At Least 30 Years

Earlier today Bloomberg shared their thoughts that recent data released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), namely the fact that homes are sitting on the market for a record low average of just 3 weeks before being scooped up, pointed to a devastating shortage of housing inventory for sale. Here was Bloomberg’s take:
Here’s more evidence that the defining characteristic of the U. S. housing market is a shortage of inventory for sale: Homes are sitting on the market for the shortest time in 30 years, according to an annual report on homebuyers and sellers published today by the National Association of Realtors.
The typical home spent just three weeks on the market, according to the report, which focused on about 8,000 homebuyers who purchased their home in the year ending in June. That was down from four weeks in the year ending June 2016 and 11 weeks in 2012, when the U. S. housing market was still reeling from the foreclosure crisis. It was the shortest time since the NAR report began including data on how long homes spend on the market, in 1987.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 31, 2017.

Doubling Down on Deflationary Forces

Almost all other forecasters have been looking for a revival of inflation for years. And they still are.
Zeal for Gold
After the Fed bailed Wall Street out of the 2008 financial crisis, and exploded its balance sheet through quantitative ease, many investors, including astute hedge fund managers, foresaw hyper-inflation and charged into gold as the most likely beneficiary. They solemnly quoted Milton Friedman, who said that inflation is driven by central bank-created money, and leaping Fed assets foretold lots more of it. But inflation didn’t gallop, but receded – and with it, gold prices.
But that hasn’t dissuaded the inflation bulls. Wall Street Journal columnist James Mackintosh wrote in the recent September 8 edition: ‘The danger is that the low inflation consensus has grown far too strong, on too little evidence.’ A September 1 Journal headline sums up those folks’ problem: ‘Inflation Still Subdued, Posing a Conundrum.’ They point to the low U. S. unemployment rate, the weak dollar, and stronger growth worldwide, which, they maintain, should intensify demand for commodities and push their prices up. Yet the personal consumption deflator, the Fed’s favorite inflation measure, ex food and energy has been slowing since late last year.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 10/31/2017.

Home Prices In All US Cities Grow Faster Than Wages… And Then There’s Seattle

According to the latest BLS data, average hourly wages for all US workers rose at a respectable 2.9% relative to the previous year, if still below the Fed’s “target” of 3.5-4.5%, as countless economists are unable to explain how 4.3% unemployment, and “no slack” in the economy fails to boost wage growth. Another problem with tepid wage growth, in addition to crush the Fed’s credibility, is that it keeps a lid on how much general price levels can rise by. With record debt, it has been the Fed’s imperative to boost inflation at any cost (or rather at a cost of $4.5 trillion) to inflate away the debt overhang, however weak wages have made this impossible.
Well, not really.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 31, 2017.

Asian Metals Market Update: October-31-2017

Trump and his controversies prevented gold and silver from a collapse. Russian meddling in elections is the headline. Americans meddle in the elections of every nation. Might is right for the Americans. By naming Russia American politicians are just trying to justify their global war cost. Most of the war which America or NATO are fighting are fake. Key American news providers are the real fake news and not the other way around. Politicians and charities supported by NATO are being exposed daily. This is one of the reason why more and more nationalistic right wing political parties are gaining ground in every nation. Gold has to gain, paper assets (except bitcoin) have to crash as the controlling power of NATO declines.
One needs to keep a close watch on news from America.

This post was published at GoldSeek on 31 October 2017.

Mylan Shares Tumble On Generic Drugs Collusion Probe

Mylan’s second-highest-ranking executive, Rajiv Mailk, is the target of a civil investigation by dozens of states conducting in a widespread, multiyear probe into alleged price collusion by makers of generic drugs.
As Bloomberg reports, state attorneys general said they’re seeking to sue Rajiv Malik, Mylan’s president and executive director, as part of an expanded complaint against pharmaceutical companies from 45 states and the District of Columbia, according to a statement by Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen.
Malik would be the first senior executive from a major drugmaker sued in the case.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 31, 2017.

It’s a Phony Debate: Jim Rickards Weighs in on Bitcoin Vs. Gold

Financial guru Jim Rickards weighed in on the Bitcoin vs. gold debate and came down firmly on the side of the yellow metal. In fact, he’s said there really shouldn’t be a debate. Bitcoin and gold are two totally different things.
Rickards responded to a recent note published by Goldman Sachs declaring that Bitcoin is not the new gold in a column published at the Daily Reckoning. He said he doesn’t really like talking about Bitcoin and doesn’t think there is any real comparison between the cryptocurrency and gold.
From my perspective, you might as well discuss gold versus watermelons or bicycles versus bitcoin. In other words, it’s a phony debate. I agree that gold and bitcoin are both forms of money, but they go their own ways. There’s no natural relationship between the two (what traders call a ‘basis’). The gold/bitcoin basis trade does not exist. But people love to discuss it, and I guess Goldman Sachs is no different.’

This post was published at Schiffgold on OCTOBER 31, 2017.