Is $40 WTI Now More Realistic Than $60?

Authored by Tsvetana Paraskova via OilPrice.com,
The current rise in oil prices is more of a fear trade right now, driven by fear of what is going on in the Middle East, rather than a result of growing OPEC chatter or inventory reports, Todd Horwitz, chief strategist at Bubbatrading.com, told Bloomberg on Wednesday.
‘The oil premiums are very narrow going out to the future, which means that this is more of a fear trade in the front month,’ Horwitz said on ‘Bloomberg Markets’. ‘To me, this is more of just another farce of what OPEC is trying to do, and trying to push these prices higher,’ the strategist noted.
OPEC and its non-OPEC partners in the production cut deal are scheduled to meet in Vienna on November 30 to discuss the extension of their pact.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 24, 2017.

Kunstler Warns “There Is Some Kind Of Revolution Coming To American Life”

Authord by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,
What if the fun and games of 2017 are over?
The hidden message behind the sexual harassment freak show of recent weeks is that nothing else is sufficiently serious to occupy the nation’s attention. We’re living in the Year of Suspended Reality, stuck in the sideshow and missing the three-ring circus next door in the big tent.
It probably all comes down to money. Money represents the mojo to keep on keeping on, and there is probably nothing more unreal in American life these days than the way we measure our money – literally, what it’s worth, and what everything related to it is worth.
So there is nothing more unreal in our national life than the idea that it’s possible to keep on keeping on as we do.
The weeks ahead may be most illuminating on this score. The debt ceiling suspension runs out on December 8, around the same time that the tax reform question will resolve one way or another. The debt ceiling means that the treasury can’t issue any more bonds, bills, or notes. That is, it can’t borrow any more money to pretend the government can keep running. Normally these days (and it’s really very abnormal), the treasury pawns off paper IOUs to the Federal Reserve and the Fed makes digital entries on various account ledgers that purport to be ‘money.’ And, by the way, the Fed is a consortium of private banks not a department of government – which is surely one of a thousand ways that the public is confused and deceived about what condition our condition is in, as the old song goes.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 24, 2017.

Market Talk – November 24th, 2017

Having had an extremely quiet day Thursday with Thanksgiving holidays in the states, many kept an eager eye on China following yesterdays 3% share decline. We did see the repeated weakness for most if the day, but managed an impressive rally just ahead of the close to finish small higher (+0.1%). The talk surrounding tighter lending rules already hit bond prices lower but failed to affect the equity in todays trading. Given that it is Western governments that are over leveraging, the guess is any weakness here in Asia will probably be short-lived. In Japan the Nikkei spent most of the morning in the red but rallied in the final hour to also close a touch firmer (+0.1%). Although this sounds impressive price action, when considering the Yen’s move it should have been considerably more. The Yen was playing low 111’s which implies people are back in-search of a safe-haven. Admittedly, the DXY did not trade too well Friday which actually lines up very well for this weekends ECM Point. The SENSEX managed a small positive (
+0.3% Friday but even that is looking toppy and declines seem to be forecast of Tuesday 28th.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Nov 24, 2017.

Fun on Friday: The Definition of Insanity and a Lesson from the Pilgrims

As the saying goes, ‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.’
Albert Einstein is usually credited with that statement, although there isn’t any proof that he ever said it. Nevertheless, it’s certainly a good working definition of insanity. And by that definition, I have to conclude that socialists are insane.
When I was a kid, we used to say some things only ‘sound good on paper.’ In other words, they seem like good plans, but there is no way they’re going to work in the real world.
That’s socialism in a nutshell.
I mean, socialism really does sound good on paper, right? We’re all going to own everything together and take care of each other. It sounds so nice. And we all want to be nice right? Just think about the expression, ‘From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.’ That’s so positive. So nice. So warm and fuzzy.
Except when people start dying.
And you know what’s not nice?
Corpses.

This post was published at Schiffgold on NOVEMBER 24, 2017.

Caught On Tape: Chaos, Multiple Fights Break Out Among “Black Friday Zombies”

It’s Black Friday, and in keeping with the Holiday weekend tradition, media commentator Mark Dice traveled to Wal-Marts and other stores to document the ‘zombie apocalypse’ of half-awake consumers hell-bent on elbowing past their peers so they can be sure to get the best deals on electronics, books, video games, clothes and any number of other popular holiday gift items. Of course, as Dice points out, many of the same deals can also be found on a little website called Amazon.com without the hassle of pushing through crowds.
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After last year’s disappointing sales totals, retail analysts expect holiday weekend spending to come roaring back this year: According to Fox Business, spending per capita is expected to climb 47% compared with last year’s holiday weekend, up from $505 to $743. An estimated 164 million people are planning to shop or are considering shopping during the Thanksgiving weekend, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. In a rare, positive piece of news for America’s beleagured retailers, Americans had already spent $1.52 billion, which is a 17% increase from last year. The warm autumn means fashion sellers are looking to offload masses of unsold coats, boots and woollens.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 24, 2017.

George Soros’ $18 Billion Tax Dodge Exposed

Authored by Stephen Moore op-ed via The Wall Street Journal,
The wealthy have tucked billions into private nonprofits… where the IRS can’t touch it.
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Congress is still scrambling to find ways to pay for its tax cut, so perhaps it should pay closer attention to last month’s news that George Soros had transferred $18 billion of his fortune to a private charity that he controls. There it will be sheltered from the Internal Revenue Service forever. This may be the single biggest tax dodge in U. S. history, yet no one on the right or left seems to have raised an eyebrow.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 24, 2017.

Birthday of a Bloodbath

This October-November 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the launch of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia – the bloody communist state that would produce a political-ideological killing spree unlike any the world has ever seen.
And yet, communism continues to find supporters. Here are three personal anecdotes:
I did a conference this past week on the legacies of communism. One liberal professor complained that no pro-communist speakers were included. I wasn’t surprised.
Another case: a former student of mine this week told me of his professor (at a local college in Pittsburgh) who was hailing Karl Marx for his ‘brilliance.’ Again, no surprise.
One more: A student from the University of Wisconsin called in to a talk-show I did last week insisting that capitalism is just as lethal as communism.
That all happened just this past week, and it’s not unusual in my world.
Anecdotes aside, an October 2016 poll by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation generated a stunning finding: almost one-third of Millennials ‘believe more people were killed under George W. Bush than under Joseph Stalin.’ And it isn’t only those silly Millennials. More than one in four Americans generally believe Bush was the bigger killer.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on November 24, 2017.

The Most Important Level In The Stock Market

**The following post was originally issued to The Lyons Share members on November 9, 2017. The Value Line Geometric Composite proceeded to undergo a textbook, successful test of ‘The Most Important Level In The Stock Market’ and subsequent bounce to new highs. See the bottom of the post for an updated chart.
***
We are witnessing today about the first bit of adversity in the U. S. equity large-cap space that we have seen since the current rally kicked off in August. As we’ve discussed at length in our Daily Strategy videos, however, as the large-caps have continued to score new highs over the past month, the broader market has been going nowhere – with a slight downward bias. And while today’s 1% drop (a/o now) in the large-cap averages off of all-time highs is hardly cause for alarm, its impact on the broader market is more serious. That’s because the month-long consolidation has left the broader market in a spot where the selling pressure of the past few days has already placed it at an important level of support.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Via Dana Lyons’ Tumblr.

Shale Hedges Threaten Oil Rally

Surge in hedging puts downward pressure on the oil futures curve. By Nick Cunningham, Oilprice.com: The 20 percent increase in oil prices since September led to a wave of hedging by U. S. shale drillers eager to lock in future production at prices not seen in years. The flip side of that hedging wave is that locking in prices could cut the price rally off at the knees, ensuring that more supply will be forthcoming in the next few quarters.
Shale drillers were hesitant for much of the year, but kicked their hedging programs into high gear after oil prices posted strong gains beginning in September. ‘The past three months have seen a significant increase in oil hedging, with the volume of new positions more than twice the volume of Q3 hedges that rolled off the books,’ Standard Chartered wrote in a recent research note.

This post was published at Wolf Street on Nov 24, 2017.

What Makes Google’s Eric Schmidt So Afraid? (And What Should He Be Afraid of?)

OK, it’s from Russia Today so you should of course not trust it but somehow this video and text and the man in it seems quite factual, not fake and obviously not omitted.
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It documents that Eric Emerson Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of Alphabet – an American multinational conglomerate that owns a lot and among them Google – is working on ‘de-ranking’ alleged propaganda outlets such as Russia Today, RT – the world’s third largest television network – and Sputnik.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 24, 2017.

New Footage From Inside Riyadh Ritz-Carlton Reveals Princes Swapping Assets For Freedom

A BBC reporter and film crew has gained rare access inside Riyadh’s “gilded cage” – the Ritz-Carlton which became a luxury prison after a dozen or more princes were detained during the shocking events which began with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s (MbS) internal purge on November 4th.
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BBC’s tour was “facilitated” under highly controlled and coordinated conditions, as initial photographs and short cell phone videos produced during the first few days of the crackdown revealed harsher and more restricted conditions as princes and/or their staff were forced to sleep on the floor camp-style in the middle of the luxury hotel’s lobby.
According to the new BBC broadcast from inside the Ritz-Carlton, the princes are desperately scrambling to cut deals through their lawyers in order to secure release, this as new unconfirmed reports of torture have emerged:
When people were brought here around midnight on November 4th they were understandably angry. Some of them thought it would just be a show and it wouldn’t last. And then when they realized they were here to stay they were furious. Almost everyone here – 95% I was told – are willing to make a deal, to give back what are said to be substantial sums of money in order to get out of here.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 24, 2017.

The Market for Literary Products

Capitalism provides many with the opportunity to display initiative. While the rigidity of a status society enjoins on everybody the unvarying performance of routine and does not tolerate any deviation from traditional patterns of conduct, capitalism encourages the innovator. Profit is the prize of successful deviation from customary types of procedure; loss is the penalty of those who sluggishly cling to obsolete methods. The individual is free to show what he can do in a better way than other people.
However, this freedom of the individual is limited. It is an outcome of the democracy of the market and therefore depends on the appreciation of the individual’s achievements on the part of the sovereign consumers. What pays on the market is not the good performance as such, but the performance recognized as good by a sufficient number of customers. If the buying public is too dull to appreciate duly the worth of a product, however excellent, all the trouble and expense were spent in vain.
Capitalism is essentially a system of mass production for the satisfaction of the needs of the masses. It pours a horn of plenty upon the common man. It has raised the average standard of living to a height never dreamed of in earlier ages. It has made accessible to millions of people enjoyments which a few generations ago were only within the reach of a small elite.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on 11/23/2017.

EU Concern Rising About Italian Debt

The EU Commission is deeply concerned that Italy is under pressure to spend frivolously because of the upcoming elections. The EU is apply more scrutiny for Italy’s huge sovereign debt. Because of the vast size of the Italian economy, the high level of total debt is a major cause for the Eurozone as a whole. The EU Commission sent a letter to the Italian government warning them not to deviate from the course of fiscal consolidation before the parliamentary elections in the spring.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Nov 24, 2017.

Guggenheim CIO Warns “Everything Is Liquid Until You ‘Need’ To Sell”

The holidays came early to the world’s investor class, as instead of 12 Days of Christmas, Scott Minerd, Global CIO of Multi-billion-dollar Guggenheim Partners, dropped his 12 lessons for today’s meltup-market participants.
In a series of tweets, Minerd offers some clear-cut advice for the complacent many…
He begins by noting “The rally in risk assets is probably not over, but strength is an opportunity for investors to move towards the exits.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 23, 2017.

Lessons From Squanto

Authored by MN Gordon via EconomicPrism.com,
Governments across the planet will go to any length to meddle in the lives and private affairs of their citizens. This is what our experiences and observations have shown. What gives?
For one, politicians have an aversion to freedom and liberty. They want to control your behavior, choices, and decisions. What’s more, they want to use your money to do so.
Here in the United States, bureaucrats, flush with authority, will stand in the way of a fellow who’s striving to find his own way by his own means. Licenses, permits, fees, employer identification numbers, state board of equalization registrations, workers compensation insurance…you name it. All this – and more – are needed prior to hanging out your shingle and making your first sale.
Many cities in the land of the free require school kids to get a permit just to operate a lemonade stand. And don’t even think of opening an auto shop, let alone a medical practice. You’ll spend your first year’s profits getting your hazardous materials business plan approved by the fire department. What a waste of time and resources so you can store a couple tanks of oil and gas and keep a couple waste drums to put the dirty rags in. Does all this rigmarole make you safer?
After that, your time will be spent keeping up the requisite documentation and reporting. Actually acquiring and serving customers will be secondary. Then, after paying federal, state, and local taxes, you’ll be left with less money than if you’d just kept your day job. Why bother with the risk if there’s no reward?
Perpetuating Mistakes Certainly, some government programs were initiated with well-meaning intentions. Food stamps, for instance, are issued so people can buy food so they can eat. Isn’t that a good thing? On surface, the answer is yes. But below the surface unintended consequences simmer.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 23, 2017.