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[Markets] Stock market, ether ETF, Tesla Model Y production: 3 Things Stocks (^DJI, ^IXIC, ^GSPC) are stirring up something ahead of Friday's open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average hopes to recover from this week, capitalized by yesterday's losses, after it hit its 40,000 milestone. The Securities and Exchange Commission has approved an ether ETF offering, giving the green light to Wall Street firms hoping to offer ethereum-exposed (ETH-USD) products to investors. Tesla (TSLA) reportedly cuts production of its Model Y at its Shanghai plant. For more expert insight and the latest market action, click here to watch this full episode of Morning Brief. This post was written by Luke Carberry Mogan. Published:5/24/2024 8:29:03 AM
[Markets] Cathie Wood sees a Great Depression-like search for safety in the stock market ARK Invest CEO Cathie Wood says there are Great Depression parallels in markets right now. Published:5/24/2024 8:20:41 AM
[Markets] Major robotaxi firms face federal safety investigations after crashes A year ago, self-driving companies seemed poised for a breakout moment. Now, the industry is struggling against setbacks and scrutiny. Published:5/24/2024 8:20:41 AM
[Markets] Macron Caves To Rioters, Postpones Voting Reform In Nickel-Rich New Caledonia Macron Caves To Rioters, Postpones Voting Reform In Nickel-Rich New Caledonia

In the face of more than a week of rioting sparked by a controversial proposal to expand the voting rolls in the French territory of New Caledonia, French President Emmanuel Macron is waving a surrender flag. 

The deadly upheaval was sparked when France advanced legislation that would expand the privilege of voting in local elections to all citizens who've lived in New Caledonia for more than 10 years. The territory's pro-independence factions see that move as a deliberate effort to weaken the power of the indigenous Kanaks. 

In its initial response to widespread rioting, looting, roadblocks and arson that targeted police and private businesses alike -- and killed at least six people -- France deployed troops, more than a thousand additional police officers and banned the social media platform TikTok. Australia and New Zealand sent aircraft to the territory to evacuate their citizens, while the international airport in the capital of Noumea remained closed to commercial traffic. 

This week, Macron traveled to the territory that's about 900 miles east of Australia. After discussions with local political leaders, Macron committed to delaying -- but not terminating -- implementation of the voting reform. "I am committed to ensuring that this reform will not be implemented by force," he said, telling reporters that he wanted the reform to be accompanied by broader agreement among constituencies about the future of the territory. 

New Caledonia has a population of some 271,000 people, with roughly one in four identifying as European. There's a substantial independence movement among the native Kanaks, who reasonably see the expansion of the non-native electorate as something that would thwart their dreams of secession.

A 1998 accord provided some degree of autonomy to the multi-island territory, which has three representatives in the French legislature.The population has voted against independence in three referendums, the most recent of which was held in 2021. According to the Globe and Mail, both China and Russia have cultivated relations with New Caledonia's independence movement. However, claims that the latest unrest is the fruit of "foreign interference" should be viewed with skepticism. 

In New Caledonia, Macron (right) and French Interior and Overseas Minister Gerald Darmanin participate in a moment of silence for those killed in recent rioting (Ludovic Marin/Pool via Reuters)

Meanwhile, uncertainty continues to swirl around New Caledonia's production of nickel -- an important commodity for electric vehicle batteries, as well as stainless steel. The territory is home to the fifth-largest nickel reserve in the world. Most of the nickel mines have suspended operations, and world nickel prices surged to nine-month highs as the unrest unfolded, before retreating. 

Even before the political strife, New Caledonia's nickel industry was already on the ropes. Its three processing facilities have been in dire financial straits, prompting negotiations for French bailouts.

Macron appears to have been highly motivated to steer the world's attention away from a smoldering vestige of the once-mighty French empire -- and shut down an uprising could attract global sympathy and support for New Caledonia's indigenous population. 

Via Britannica 
Tyler Durden Fri, 05/24/2024 - 09:10
Published:5/24/2024 8:20:40 AM
[Markets] Dow Jones Futures Rise Ahead Of Inflation Report; AI Stock Workday Plunges On Earnings Stock Market Today: Dow Jones futures rose Friday ahead of an inflation report. AI stock Workday plunged on earnings results. Published:5/24/2024 7:52:09 AM
[Markets] U.S. durable-goods orders have been higher for three straight months Published:5/24/2024 7:52:09 AM
[Markets] Futures Rebound After Thursday Rout As Rate Cut Expectations Fade Futures Rebound After Thursday Rout As Rate Cut Expectations Fade

After Thursday's rout, which saw the overbought  S&P first hit an all time high before traders suddenly dumped everything (following hotter than expected PMI and Initial claims reports has further delayed expectations for the Fed's first rate hike ostensibly to December) to buy Nvidia, whose market cap soared by over $200 billion to a record $2.55 trillion, on Friday US equity futures and treasuries have staged a modest rebound. As of 7:30am, S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 0.3%, led by premarket gains at Micron, Microchip Technology and Advanced Micro Devices all of which continue to benefit from bullish sentiment around artificial intelligence following Nvidia's blockbuster earnings. Europe’s Stoxx 600 index slipped 0.4%, playing catch-up with Wednesday’s Wall Street drop, which was the biggest this month. 10Y yields dropped 1bp to 4.47% after surging the previous session by as much as 8bps ahead of a half-day trading session for the US bond market; the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was headed for its first drop in five days, but still on track to post its best weekly gain since April 12. Oil continued its decline despite the signal from macro data that the economy is actually growing quite strong, in what appears to be accelerating CTA liquidations. Today's macro events includes the April prelim Durable Goods report, the Kansas City Fed and the May final UMich report.

In premarket trading, Apple shares ticked 0.7% higher after the technology firm’s price target is raised to a Street-high view of $275 from $250 at Wedbush, a move that reflects “iPhone demand turning the corner into an AI driven iPhone 16 supercycle.” Tesla was flat after a report that Elon Musk’s SpaceX has initiated discussions about selling existing shares at a price that could value the company at roughly $200 billion. Here are some other notable premarket movers:

  • Bilibili (BILI US) shares fluctuate between gains and losses as analysts debate the outlook for the Chinese online entertainment firm’s goal toward reaching breakeven, with Barclays upgrading the stock to equal weight from underweight.
  • Domo (DOMO US) shares slide 11% after the enterprise software firm’s second-quarter revenue forecast came in below estimates.
  • DuPont (DD US) shares climb 1.8% after an upgrade to overweight at Wells Fargo.
  • Exact Sciences (EXAS US) slip 2.0% after rival Guardant Health’s Shield blood test to screen for colorectal cancer received the support of an FDA advisory panel Thursday.
  • Intuit (INTU US) shares are down 6.2% after the tax-preparation software company gave a forecast for adjusted fourth-quarter earnings that is weaker than expected. However, it raised its full-year revenue forecast. The company also said the CEO of its Credit Karma business will retire by the end of the year.
  • Summit Theraputics (SMMT US) shares tumble 20% after trial data on Hong Kong-listed biopharmaceutical company Akeso’s lung cancer drug was seen as disappointing. Summit acquired exclusive rights for development and commercialization of the drug in the US, Canada, EU and Japan from Akeso for $500 million in late 2022.
  • Workday (WDAY US) shares fall 12% after the software company cut its full-year subscription revenue forecast. The company also reported 1Q results, which analysts said were mixed. Peer Salesforce (CRM US) also decline 1.4%

The market mood turned more sombre after stronger-than-expected US business activity data forced traders to push back rate-cut expectations by a month. The change put Bloomberg’s dollar index on track for its biggest weekly gain since early April, while rate-sensitive Treasury two-year yields traded just off the three-week highs above 4.95% hit on Thursday. Separately, the latest FOMC minutes showed policymakers are in no rush to cut rates, with some even seeing a need for more restrictive policy.

To that point, this morning Goldman pushed back its forecast of the Fed’s first rate cut back one meeting, from July to September: "Earlier this week, we noted that comments from Fed officials suggested that a July cut would likely require not just better inflation numbers but also meaningful signs of softness in the activity or labor market data. After the stronger May PMIs and lower jobless claims, this does not look like the most likely outcome" wrote Goldman economist Jan Hatzius.

“What we have is this repricing of rate cuts,” said Kenneth Broux, a strategist at Societe Generale. “Two-year yields are again within touching distance of 5%, so the debate on whether US yields have peaked is still alive.”  For now, profits at larger US companies appear resilient to the higher-for-longer rates backdrop, offering encouragement to equity bulls. For broader positive momentum to reverse, “we’ll need to see if there’s a repricing of Fed cuts to hikes but the bar for that is still very high,” Broux said.

The Fed minutes and robust data have put MSCI’s global benchmark on track for its first weekly decline in five, and some strategists, including  BofA's Michael Hartnett are warning the rally is at risk of overheating. Barclays strategists said stock gains are starting to “look tired.”

 

European stocks followed their US and Asian counterparts lower after traders pushed back expectations of Fed interest rate cuts. The Stoxx 600 fell 0.5% with almost all subindexes in the red, with only retail and auto stocks rising. The tech sector leads declines, breaking a two-day advance fueled by sentiment around Nvidia. In company news, drugmakers GSK and Boehringer win the first US Zantac cancer case to go to trial. Here are some of the biggest European movers Friday:

  • GSK rises after winning the first US Zantac cancer case to go to trial. It’s another positive step, according to Jefferies analysts
  • Drugmakers GSK and Boehringer Ingelheim persuaded a Chicago jury to reject a woman’s claim that the blockbuster heartburn drug Zantac caused her cancer
  • Pepco Group surges as much as 13%, after reporting gross margin improvement in 1H ended March 31 and guided for 20% increase of underlying Ebidta in FY
  • DNB Bank rises as much as 2.4% after a Barclays double-upgrade as analysts grow more constructive on Norway versus other Nordic countries in a rate-cut environment
  • Gerresheimer rises as much as 0.4% after being upgraded to buy by analysts at Hauck & Aufhaeuser following its deal to buy the holding company of Bormioli Pharma
  • Renault gains as much as 3.2% as UBS upgrades to hold from sell, saying cash return expectations are now building due to factors including the cancellation of Ampere’s IPO
  • Julius Baer gains as much as 3.4% after higher-than-expected assets under management outweighed concerns over weak net new money
  • Acciona Energia falls as much as 8.5% after cutting its Ebitda guidance for 2024. Analysts say it’s “perplexing” the company failed to fully quantify its new outlook
  • Zealand Pharma drops as much as 7.1% after reporting topline results from a trial investigating dapiglutide as an obesity treatment, which analysts called underwhelming
  • Celon Pharma drops as much as 7.4% after announcing a venture with US life science fund Tang Capital for the development of depression drugs
  • Hargreaves Lansdown falls as much as 5%, with Liberum analysts highlighting the opportunity to take profits after the investment platform rebuffed a £4.7 billion offer

In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was headed for its first drop in five days, but still on track to post its best weekly gain since April 12. The Norwegian krone topped the G-10 FX leaderboard while cable was steady at 1.2696 after falling earlier as UK retail sales missed forecasts; GBPUSD is poised for its best monthly gain since November on view the Bank of England will take longer to cut interest rates. USD/JPY rose 0.1% to 157.01, up a third day; Japan’s inflation cooled for a second month while staying above the Bank of Japan’s price target as the yen’s recent depreciation fuels concerns that cost-push inflationary pressures may be here to stay

“Fed cuts are likely at least four months away barring a sudden growth shock, while other central banks are starting to cut, albeit only gradually,” Wells Fargo strategists led by Michael Schumacher wrote in a research note. “And if there is a further repricing in global rate expectations, that would likely only serve to weigh on global growth expectations, tilting the balance in favor of US dollar strength”

In rates, Treasuries edge higher, with US 10-year yields falling 1bp to 4.47%. Gilts gain, led by the short end after UK retail sales fell at the fastest pace this year. UK two-year yields fall 4bps. SIFMA recommend early close for cash bond market Friday at 2pm New York, ahead of Memorial Day weekend. US yields richer by up to 1bp across front-end of the curve with 2s10s spread wider by almost 1bp as long-end yields remain close to Thursday’s closing levels. In UK 2-year gilts richer by around 2bp, outperforming across front-end of the curve

In commodities, oil prices decline, with WTI falling 0.9% to trade near $76.20. Spot gold rises 0.5%.

In crypto, Bitcoin is modestly softer and holds just above $67k, while Ethereum trades around $3.7k after the SEC approved plans from NYSE, CBOE and Nasdaq for the listing of spot Ethereum ETFs.

Looking at today's calendar, US economic data includes April durable goods orders (8:30am), May University of Michigan sentiment (10am) and Kansas City Fed services activity (11am). Fed officials’ scheduled speeches include Waller at 9:20am, giving a keynote address at a Central Bank of Iceland event in Reykjavík on R*.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures up 0.2% to 5,295.50
  • STOXX Europe 600 down 0.5% to 519.01
  • MXAP down 0.8% to 179.35
  • MXAPJ down 0.9% to 561.72
  • Nikkei down 1.2% to 38,646.11
  • Topix down 0.4% to 2,742.54
  • Hang Seng Index down 1.4% to 18,608.94
  • Shanghai Composite down 0.9% to 3,088.87
  • Sensex up 0.1% to 75,526.60
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 1.1% to 7,727.59
  • Kospi down 1.3% to 2,687.60
  • German 10Y yield little changed at 2.58%
  • Euro little changed at $1.0820
  • Brent Futures down 0.3% to $81.13/bbl
  • Gold spot up 0.4% to $2,338.61
  • US Dollar Index little changed at 105.02

Top Overnight News

  • European stocks followed New York and Asia lower after traders pushed back expectations of interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve to later in 2024 following strong US economic data.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping urged deeper reforms for some of the country’s key sectors as investors look for hints on major policy shifts to be revealed at the upcoming party conclave.
  • UK retail sales fell at the fastest pace this year as consumers delayed spending due to rainy weather, underlying the hurdles facing the Conservative government’s bid for reelection.
  • Overseas issuers sold yen bonds at the fastest pace in five years this month, chasing cheap funds before an expected interest rate hike by the Bank of Japan pushes up borrowing costs.
  • Tesla (TSLA) to cut Model Y output at Shanghai plant by at least 20% during March-June 2024, via Reuters citing sources
  • US Treasury Secretary Yellen said many Americans are still struggling with inflation, while she expressed concern over 'substantial' increases in living costs, according to FT.

A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk

APAC stocks followed suit to the selling on Wall St where the initial NVIDIA-related euphoria was soured after strong US PMI data lifted the dollar and yields. ASX 200 declined with underperformance seen in the consumer and rate-sensitive sectors. Nikkei 225 gapped down at the open beneath the 39,000 level amid the headwinds from the US, while participants digested mixed inflation data which slowed in pace from the prior month. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were lower with the former weighed on by losses in the property sector and with tech stocks pressured by mixed earnings, while the downside was limited in the mainland amid a lack of catalysts.

Top Asian News

  • RBNZ Deputy Governor Hawkesby said while near-term inflation risks are to the upside, he is confident medium-term inflation is returning to the target. Hawkesby said no single data point will cause a rate hike and he is watching domestic inflation pressures and expectations, while he added that cutting interest rates is not part of the near-term discussion and there is a lot of uncertainty about tradable inflation going forward.
  • RBNZ Assistant Governor Silk said RBNZ is concerned about near-term inflation risks and adjusts its models after underestimating domestic inflation.

European bourses, Stoxx 600 (-0.5%), are entirely in the red, though off worst levels, with Europe playing catch-up to the risk-off sentiment which reverberated from the Wall Street afternoon session. European sectors hold a strong negative bias; Banks and Tech reside as the laggards whilst Retail, Autos & Parts, and Media are among the better performers, albeit still mostly in the red. US Equity Futures (ES +0.2%, NQ Unch, YM +0.2%, RTY +0.3%) are marginally firmer attempting to pare back some of yesterday's hefty losses.

Top European News

  • ECB's Schnabel says some elements of inflation are proving persistent; would caution against moving too fast on rates
  • UK Ofgem Energy Price Cap (GBP): 1,568 (exp. 1,574; prev. 1,690), -7% (exp. -7%) for dual-fuel households.
  • Barclays expects the BoE to begin lowering rates in August with rate cuts to follow in November and December.

FX

  • DXY is marginally softer vs. some peers but ultimately still around yesterday's PMI-inspired best levels which saw DXY tick above the 105 mark; trough thus far at 104.92.
  • EUR is a touch firmer vs. the USD after finding support above the 1.08 mark. Price action this week has largely been at the whim of the USD with yesterday's EZ PMI data overshadowed by the equivalent US release. overshadowed by the equivalent US release.
  • GBP is steady vs. the USD after yesterday's PMI-induced downside, and brushes off initial pressure following the softer-than-expected Retail Sales figures. Cable currently trades on either side of 1.27.
  • JPY is marginally softer vs. the USD following mixed Japanese inflation metrics overnight which warrant a cautious stance from the BoJ and an unchanged rate at the June meeting. For now, the pair is contained within yesterday's 156.50-157.19 range.
  • Antipodeans are both contained vs. the USD in quiet trade. AUD/USD has been unable to launch much of a recovery from recent losses. NZD/USD is steady vs. the USD having performed much better than its antipodean counterpart this week on account of a hawkish RBNZ.
  • PBoC set USD/CNY mid-point at 7.1102 vs exp. 7.2539 (prev. 7.1098).

Fixed Income

  • USTs are marginally firmer with prices unable to launch much in the way of a meaningful recovery after yesterday's PMI-induced losses and awaiting impetus from US Durable Goods. Today's range is well contained within yesterday's 108.17+ to 109.06 parameters.
  • Bunds are attempting to claw back some of the lost ground seen yesterday in the wake of encouraging EZ PMI metrics, which were then followed up by an uptick in EZ wages and a particularly hot US PMI release.
  • Gilts are attempting to atone for yesterday's downside which followed the broader dynamics within global fixed income markets. Gains are smaller than their German counterpart despite disappointing UK retail sales metrics which saw a M/M contraction of -2.3% vs. exp. -0.4%.

Commodities

  • Crude is modestly softer in what has been a catalyst-thin session thus far; Brent sits in a USD 81.05-81.55/bbl.
  • Spot gold and silver attempt to recover from yesterday's steep losses in the absence of fresh catalysts this morning; XAU sits in a USD 2,325.47-2,340.69/oz intraday range.
  • Mixed/contained trade across base metals as prices consolidate from this week's choppiness which saw 3M LME copper print record highs on Monday before tumbling over USD 700/t throughout the week.
  • OPEC+ to meet virtually on June 2nd, according to statement (prev. June 1st)

Geopolitics

  • China on Friday sent multiple bombers to conduct mock missile strikes in the Taiwanese drills, with dozens of missiles used in the drills, according to Chinese state media.
  • Israel’s PM and ministers decided to expand the mandate of the negotiating team during the war cabinet meeting on Wednesday night, according to Axios' Ravid citing an Israeli senior official, although the official noted that it is not certain that it will be possible to achieve a breakthrough in the talks on abductees.
  • American and British aircraft launched two raids on Hodeidah Airport in Yemen. It was later reported that a Yemeni official said about ten Houthi leaders and experts were killed and wounded in the marches and missiles as the coalition targeted an operations room in Hodeidah, according to Sky News Arabia.
  • Russian President Putin is reportedly ready to halt the war in Ukraine with a negotiated ceasefire which recognises current battlefield lines, according to Reuters sources; but is prepared to fight on if Ukraine and the West do not respond
  • Ukrainian President Zelensky is set to attend the G7 leaders meeting in a fresh push for aid, according to Bloomberg. It was separately reported that House Speaker Johnson said they would soon host Israeli PM Netanyahu for a joint session of Congress.
  • Japan imposed sanctions against Russian-related entities and an individual. It was separately reported that South Korea imposed sanctions on seven North Korean individuals and two Russian vessels.
  • China's Defence Ministry said military drill exercises around Taiwan continued and they will test the ability to jointly seize power, strike jointly, and occupy and control key areas.
  • US, Australia, Britain, Canada, Japan, Czech Republic, Lithuania and German offices in Taipei issued a joint statement supporting Taiwan's participation at the WHO meeting.
  • Azerbaijan takes control of four villages on the border with Armenia, according to Tass

US Event Calendar

  • 08:30: April Durable Goods Orders, est. -0.8%, prior 2.6%, revised 0.9%
    • April Durables Less Transportation, est. 0.1%, prior 0.2%, revised 0%
    • April Cap Goods Orders Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.1%, prior 0.1%, revised -0.2%
    • April Cap Goods Ship Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.1%, prior 0%, revised -0.1%
  • 10:00: May U. of Mich. Sentiment, est. 67.7, prior 67.4
    • May U. of Mich. Current Conditions, est. 68.8, prior 68.8
    • May U. of Mich. Expectations, est. 67.0, prior 66.5
    • May U. of Mich. 1 Yr Inflation, est. 3.4%, prior 3.5%
    • May U. of Mich. 5-10 Yr Inflation, est. 3.1%, prior 3.1%
  • 11:00: May Kansas City Fed Services Activ, prior 9

Central Bank Speakers

  • 09:20: Fed’s Waller Gives Keynote Address on R*

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

It was a fascinating day yesterday as a barnstorming reaction to Nvidia's results (+9.32%) clattered headfirst into stronger data and rising yields (UST 10yr +5.5bps), with the negative impact of the latter winning out with the S&P 500 (-0.74%) and the NASDAQ (-0.39%) seeing their worst day of May so far.

After Nvidia's results the night before it felt like nothing could derail the market and at the open the S&P had initially hit an all-time intraday high (+0.66% on the day at the peak) and the VIX index of volatility hit its lowest intraday level since the pandemic, falling as low as 11.52pts.

The momentum had started to shift as US weekly initial jobless claims fell back to 215k (vs. 220k expected). That’s a second weekly decline, and suggests that the spike to 232k a couple of weeks ago was just a blip. And shortly afterwards, that theme was cemented by the flash composite US PMI for May, which rose to its strongest in over two years, at 54.4 (vs. 51.2 expected). That was led by a strong rebound in services activity (from 51.3 to 54.8), while manufacturing also ticked up (from 50.0 to 50.9). So the data yesterday suggests there’s little urgency for the Fed to cut rates anytime soon, and the odds of a cut by the September meeting were slashed to 56% by the close, down from 72% the previous day.

With investors pricing out rate cuts, that led to a sovereign bond selloff on both sides of the Atlantic. For US Treasuries, this pushed the 10yr yield up +5.5bps to 4.48%, whilst the 2yr yield was up +6.6bps to 4.94%. In addition that move left the 2s10s yield curve at -46.3bps by the close, which is the most inverted it’s been so far this year. So as it stands, there’s little sign that the longest 2s10s inversion on record is coming to an end. This morning in Asia, yields on 2 and 10yr Treasuries are back down -1.5bps and -1bps respectively.

Meanwhile in Europe, yields on 10yr bunds (+6.1bps), OATs (+5.8bps) and BTPs (+6.3bps) all moved higher yesterday, which was cemented by their own PMI numbers earlier in the day. Indeed, the Euro Area composite PMI was up from 51.7 to 52.3 on the flash reading, which is its strongest level in a year.

Staying on Europe, there was also some interesting wage data from the ECB yesterday, which showed that negotiated pay accelerated from +4.5% to +4.7% year-on-year in Q1. Together with the PMI data, that supported a decent move lower in rate cut expectations, with the amount of rate cuts priced by the December meeting down -4.7bps to just 59bps, which is the fewest so far this year. However, the general consensus remains that they’re still likely to cut rates in June (which is 91% priced), and the ECB’s Villeroy said that they “should not over-interpret”, and that “we are very probably, barring a surprise, going to have a first rate cut in our next Governing Council meeting”. A little earlier in the year, the ECB had been telling us how crucial this wage data is, and then when it was released they downplayed it citing the role of one-off payments. Read their blog here. Our European economists note that realised wage data has been sticky of late, providing potential ammunition for the hawks, though the forward looking indicators of wages are pointing to a clear slowing.

But of course, it wasn’t all bad news yesterday, as Nvidia’s results from the previous day did lead to fresh gains for tech stocks. In fact, Nvidia saw their own share price rise by another +9.32% to $1037.99, having been up by +12% intra-day. So just a cool $218bn of additional market cap on the day - a similar size to the entire market cap of Shell (2nd largest in FTSE). Bear in mind that exactly a year earlier Nvidia closed at $306.88, so its share price has more than tripled in that time. We did a late CoTD yesterday updating our analysis comparing the Mag-7 profits to that of the entire listed universe of G20 countries. Nvidia is actually catching up fast making around a quarter of the profit of the entire listed UK or French markets. If the Mag-7 were a country index it would now be the third most profitable in the world behind US and China with just 7 stocks compared to the hundreds or thousands of stocks in other country indices. See our report here.

Nvidia’s rally helped push the Magnificent 7 (+0.40%) up to another all-time high, even as the other 6 stocks were down on the day. Indeed, outside of the positivity around Nvidia, it was a pretty weak day for equities, with a negative turn later in the session leading the S&P 500 (-0.74%) to the largest fall since the end of April. A remarkable 89% of the companies in the S&P 500 were down on the day, with semiconductors being the only one of the 24 industry groups to post a gain. And the small-cap Russell 2000 (-1.60%) lost ground for a third consecutive day. Over in Europe, equities were also supported by the strength among tech stocks, with the STOXX Technology index up +1.51% and the STOXX 600 up +0.07%, but closing before the more negative sentiment fully took over.

In Asia, the Hang Seng (-1.19%) is the biggest underperformer driven by a decline in technology stocks while the Nikkei (-1.16%) is also notably lower as Japan’s consumer inflation softened (more on this below). Elsewhere, the KOSPI (-1.04%) is also trading in negative territory dragged down by index heavyweight Samsung Electronics while mainland Chinese stocks are also falling with the CSI (-0.43%) and Shanghai Composite (-0.16%) both edging lower. In overnight trading, S&P 500 (+0.13%) and Nasdaq futures (+0.07%) are back up a touch.

Coming back to Japan, core inflation slowed for a second straight month in April after it rose +2.2% y/y as expected and after increasing +2.6% in March, indicating that the Bank of Japan (BoJ) will be patient in raising interest rates. At the same time, "core-core” inflation rate — which strips out both fresh food and energy prices witnessed the sharpest fall to 2.4% y/y in April from 2.9% the month before, albeit in line with expectations. Meanwhile, headline inflation also slowed to +2.5% y/y in April (v/s +2.4% expected), down from March’s +2.7% figure.

To the day ahead now, and data releases include UK retail sales for April, and in the US there’s the preliminary April reading for durable goods orders, along with the final May reading for the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index. Meanwhile from central banks, we’ll hear from the ECB’s Schnabel, Vasle, Muller, Nagel, De Cos and Centeno, along with the Fed’s Waller.

Tyler Durden Fri, 05/24/2024 - 07:56
Published:5/24/2024 7:35:10 AM
[Markets] Goldman Sachs pushes back timing for first Fed rate cut to September Published:5/24/2024 7:07:52 AM
[Markets] A year after paying off our 2.75% mortgage, we still have no regrets Though many readers say my husband and I would have been better served investing all those extra house payments, we chose peace of mind. Published:5/24/2024 7:07:52 AM
[Markets] Many Americans Say They Will Never Retire Many Americans Say They Will Never Retire

Via AntoniusAquinas.com,

A recent AARP poll provides further evidence of the deterioration of American living standards, especially for those approaching retirement age.  The study contradicts what most policy makers have believed to be a “soft landing” for the economy after two years of rampant inflation.

“More than one quarter of U.S. adults over the age of 59,” the survey found, “say they expect to never retire.”  One in four have no retirement savings while one third of “older adults” have credit card debt of more than $10,000 and 12% hold a balance of $20,000 or more.” The Headline of an April 25 Washington Times article by Fatima Hussein says it all: “More Than 25% of U.S. Adults Over 50 Expect Never to Retire.”

Not surprisingly, the report conducted with the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, points out that the lack of savings is due to the rising cost of living: “Everyday expenses and housing costs, including rent and mortgage payments, are the biggest reasons why people are unable to save for retirement.”

While AARP zeroed in on rising prices as the culprit for the financial pinch that potential retirees are feeling, it did not delve into who or what was the catalyst for the increase in living costs.  Neither has the financial press, which has always been a cheerleader for the Uniparty, been diligent in its duty about the ultimate source for soaring prices. 

While the trend of Americans working well into their retirement years has been going on for years, the situation has accelerated under both the Trump and Biden presidencies.  In concert with the Federal Reserve, the fiscal policies of the two administrations have been the primary factor for why many Americans cannot retire. 

Even before the start of the hyped Covid pandemic, the Trump administration, in just one term, was on pace to become the biggest spender in U.S. history.  The astronomical increase in government spending and money printing which took place in response to Covid are now being felt.

The Fed’s balance sheet before the Covid lockdowns in January of 2020 stood at $4.15 trillion. By the end of Trump’s presidency, it had nearly doubled to $7.3 trillion as the government doled out “stimulus checks” to non-working Americans and transferred billions to business favorites and cronies in an unimaginable grab of power and wealth. 

Under Biden, the balance sheet had risen to a little short of $9 trillion in mid-2022 and has come down, now standing at $7.4 trillion, according to American Action Forum.

Expanding the balance sheet means that the Fed issues more dollars it takes and buys assets (mostly government bonds). This is actually debt monetization.  The increase in the money supply is the classic – and true – definition of inflation.  Rising prices are not inflation, but its consequence.   

At first, the new money went into financial assets increasing their nominal values. However, because of the “lag effect,” the inflation the Fed created is now pushing up consumer prices.  The Fed has had to do this because of profligate government spending which must be sustained through borrowing, since tax revenues are not enough to meet expenditures. 

When asked in his current re-election campaign on what he would do to solve the rising cost of living, Trump said that he would “drill baby drill.”  Such a statement demonstrates again that the former president, like the current occupant of the office, does not understand the problem.

Increasing domestic oil production is certainly good in itself, which will create jobs and bring more oil to the market. But it will not address general price inflation which is a monetary phenomenon

Rising prices can be reversed if the Fed increases interest rates, or better yet, lets rates be set by the market.  Higher rates will entice people to save, which will take money out of circulation, thus putting downward pressure on prices.

Just as important, the government needs to cut spending and eliminate departments and programs which will mean less money printing by the Fed.  The likelihood of this taking place in a presidential election year is next to zero.      

Even if the government and the Fed took the proper steps and began to put the nation on a sound financial footing, it will take years for the damage that has been done to be rectified.

Sadly, the Uniparty has no intention of doing the right thing and as economic conditions worsen, the number of people who must work until they drop will continue to rise.

Tyler Durden Fri, 05/24/2024 - 07:20
Published:5/24/2024 7:07:51 AM
[Markets] Dow Jones Futures: What To Do After Ugly Market Day Despite Nvidia; Deckers Jumps The stock market had an ugly session, despite Nvidia surging on earnings. Deckers spiked late, signaling a breakout. Published:5/24/2024 7:07:51 AM
[Markets] Copper prices to quadruple on surging green demand, legendary oil trader Pierre Andurand says Hedge fund manager Pierre Andurand said copper prices could surge to heights of $40,000 a ton as soaring demand outstrips supply Published:5/24/2024 7:07:51 AM
[Markets] 2 Artificial Intelligence (AI) Dow Stocks Billionaire Investors Have Been Buying Hand Over Fist Since 2024 Began Prominent billionaire money managers can't stop buying shares of two Dow Jones Industrial Average components whose growth strategies rely on artificial intelligence (AI). Published:5/24/2024 4:29:05 AM
[Markets] Reality Check Looms For Rosy European Growth Expectations Reality Check Looms For Rosy European Growth Expectations

By Michael Msika, Bloomberg Markets Live reporter and analyst

After a massive wave of optimism on European markets, the expected economic improvement that has buoyed stocks now has to be delivered.

The uptrend is still intact for the Stoxx 600 but signs of overheating have cooled markets, especially after investors priced in a lot more optimism than the economic data actually showed. European preliminary PMIs, due later in the day, might give more clues about the growth outlook, given the still uncertain path of monetary policy.

Stalling manufacturing PMIs over the past couple of months were accompanied with a clear wobble in cyclical equities relative to defensives. A similar pattern could be expected without a significant improvement in the data, as the gap with stocks remains very wide.

“We are in favor of high quality exposure over cyclicals,” say UBS strategists Gerry Fowler and Sutanya Chedda, adding that while the date doesn’t yet point to stagflation ahead, markets are underestimating that possibility. “European equities have rallied strongly to reflect the change in sentiment and discount rates but if softer margins offset sales growth, earnings growth may not propel a bull market.”

After a massive outperformance from cyclical equities, mostly backed by earnings delivery and bottoming economic data, things are starting to look stretched. The group is up 30% since the end of October, more than twice the returns of defensives and dwarfing the Stoxx 600’s 20% surge, and the first quarter earnings season has started to show cracks in the bull case.

“Cyclical sector earnings are softening vs defensives,” say JPMorgan strategists led by Mislav Matejka, pointing that median cyclical vs defensives EPS growth for the Stoxx 600 is at -15%, the worst print since the second quarter of 2020. The strategists have argued for a rotation into defensives last month, especially into utilities and real estate. They are particularly concerned about the earnings prospects of carmakers, citing pricing, volumes and margin weakness. “European activity momentum is improving vs last year, but is still anemic in the historical context, and some of the margin pressures could emerge,” they say.

Even if Europe is a more cyclical market than the US, that doesn’t mean it can’t perform without a cyclical boost. In fact, the recent performance of the overall stock market has shown a clear broadening, consistent with the uncertainty regarding the economic outlook and the monetary policy.

“Although equities have strongly rebounded, the dovish tape has led to a notable rotation within the market. Leadership has indeed turned more barbell, a healthy and logical development in our view, given that cyclicals were looking extended on a number of macro and fundamental measures,” say Barclays strategists led by Emmanuel Cau. “Irrespective of the volatility of US cut expectations, we believe the growth/policy mix in Europe is getting more favorable. We see green shoots emerging in the economy, while upcoming ECB/BOE cuts should open up opportunities within the market.”

Technically, the picture isn’t worrying yet during this consolidation phase. DayByDay technical analyst Valerie Gastaldy shows that the Stoxx 600 has opened three gaps on the way up to 525.2. She notes that the most recent one has been closed, and the index came to a halt, even though US indexes made new highs.

So how far can it fall? Gastaldy notes that a drop down to 514 would bear “no consequence for the trend. Should prices fall below this level, we would have to assume that the index is correcting either the trend started in January, or the one started at the end of October,” she says. “For the time being, the trends remain bullish, though the correction could extend some 2% below current prices.”

Tyler Durden Fri, 05/24/2024 - 05:00
Published:5/24/2024 4:20:38 AM
[Markets] FTSE 100 LIVE: European markets down as UK retail sales fall more than expected in wet April The FTSE 100 dropped on Friday following data that showed UK retail sales fell 2.3% month-over-month in April 2024. Published:5/24/2024 3:51:42 AM
[Markets] Elon Musk denies report SpaceX may make tender offer with $200 billion valuation The aerospace company has “no need for additional capacity” and will buy back shares, said SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk. Published:5/24/2024 3:51:42 AM
[Markets] U.K. retail sales fall a sharper-than-forecast 2.3% in April Published:5/24/2024 3:10:26 AM
[Markets] Overreporting COVID-19 As An Underlying Cause Of Death Inflated Mortality Numbers During Pandemic: Analysis Overreporting COVID-19 As An Underlying Cause Of Death Inflated Mortality Numbers During Pandemic: Analysis

Authored by Megan Redshaw, J.D. via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

A new analysis suggests COVID-19 was reported more frequently than it should have been as an underlying cause of death, inflating COVID-19 mortality numbers and attributing deaths from other causes to the virus.

(Lane V. Erickson/Shutterstock)

In a preprint paper published in Research Gate, researchers aimed to identify who truly died “from” COVID-19 versus who died “with” COVID-19 but were included in U.S. COVID-19 mortality numbers.

To determine if COVID-19 was overreported as an underlying cause of death, researchers calculated the overreporting adjustment factor and compared the ratio of reporting COVID-19 as a multiple—or contributing—cause of death versus an underlying cause of death on death certificates from 2020 to 2022. They also examined how “pneumonia and influenza” were reported on death certificates from 2010 to 2022.

An overreporting adjustment factor for mortality is a statistical correction applied to mortality data to account for the propensity of certain death counts reported more frequently or inaccurately than others. It typically involves comparing reported death counts to a more accurate independent benchmark, which helps ensure data reflect the true incidence of deaths in a population. Here, the researchers chose pneumonia and influenza because the conditions are similar in nature to COVID-19, and they could compare patterns using mortality data before and after the pandemic began in 2020.

According to the preprint, data show COVID-19 was systematically overreported as an underlying cause of death during the pandemic by an average of about three times for all ages compared to influenza and pneumonia during the same period—and was highest in those aged 15 to 54. Additionally, only about one-third of influenza and pneumonia-related deaths were reported as underlying causes, whereas almost all COVID-19-related deaths were reported as “deaths from COVID-19.”

When comparing underlying cause death rates for different age groups for COVID-19 with death rates from influenza and pneumonia, researchers observed that underlying cause COVID-19 death rates were higher than those for influenza and pneumonia in the 15 to 24 and older age groups. After adjusting to obtain the overreporting factor, they found COVID-19 death rates were still higher than they were for influenza and pneumonia for ages 25 to 34 and older and equal for those aged 15 to 24.

About 30 percent of influenza and pneumonia-related deaths were registered as an underlying cause of death on death certificates, whereas 90 percent of COVID-19 deaths were recorded as the underlying cause of death in 2020 and 2021. In 2022, 76 percent of COVID-19 deaths were registered as the underlying cause.

“There was a systematic overreporting of deaths from COVID when we analyze versus the flu and pneumonia, as almost all COVID deaths were reported as the underlying cause,” Edward Dowd, founder of Phinance Technologies, told The Epoch Times. “Basically, when one wants to understand the pandemic, only about 30 percent of the reported COVID-19 deaths were ‘from COVID-19’ as the underlying cause,” Mr. Dowd said.

How the US Counts COVID-19 Deaths

Each country has its own criteria for determining what constitutes a COVID-19-related death. The United States uses the World Health Organization’s (WHO) classification system to categorize and code mortality data from death certificates.

The WHO defines the underlying cause of death as “the disease or injury which initiated the chain of events leading directly to death, or the circumstances of the accident or violence which produced the fatal injury.” The underlying cause of death is chosen from the conditions listed by the physician on the death certificate. When the physician records multiple causes or conditions, the underlying cause is determined by the sequence of conditions that led to the death on the certificate, ICD provisions, and selection rules.

The WHO methodology for identifying COVID-19-related deaths cast a wide net for potential classification of COVID-19 as either the underlying cause of death or a contributory cause of death, which could lead to over-reporting relative to other diseases. This led to criticisms of suspected over-counting of COVID-19-related deaths during the pandemic. As an example, a CDC mortality report indicated that COVID-19 was the sole cause of only about 5% of listed COVID-19 deaths,” the authors of the analysis wrote.

Each death certificate contains a single underlying cause of death and up to 20 additional multiple or contributing causes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), properly classifying the death on a death certificate is important for mortality trends that inform public health risks and policy decisions.

Causes of Overreporting COVID-19 Deaths

According to the analysis, incentives for recording positive COVID-19 tests may have contributed to an overreporting bias in deaths attributed to COVID-19 compared to other diseases. Since the beginning of the pandemic, COVID-19 deaths have included those who died with COVID-19 and from COVID-19, and more recently, those who died of conditions attributed to long COVID, even if they had not tested positive for the virus in recent months or years.

The White House acknowledged early on that health officials were taking a very liberal approach to mortality regarding COVID-19.

“There are other countries that if you had a preexisting condition, and let’s say the virus caused you to go to the ICU and then have a heart or kidney problem, some countries are recording that as a heart issue or a kidney issue and not a COVID-19 death,” former White House coronavirus response coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx told reporters during an April 2020 press briefing.

“Right now, we’re still recording it, and the great thing about having forms that come in and a form that has the ability to mark it as ‘COVID-19 infection’ the intent is right now that if someone dies with COVID-19, we are counting that as a COVID-19 death,” Dr. Birx said.

State health departments use the CDC’s standardized surveillance case definition and uniform criteria to define a disease for public health surveillance. They also report COVID-19 cases through the agency’s National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System. At the beginning of the pandemic, the CDC’s definition of COVID-19 was “very simplistic,” and health departments recorded anyone with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis at the time of death a COVID-19 death, even if a clear alternative cause of death existed.

Likewise, medical examiners and coroners follow CDC guidelines when completing death certificates, and the agency’s National Center for Health Statistics provides standardized forms and procedures for certifying deaths, including how to determine underlying causes of death and report related causes.

CDC guidance states that in cases where a “definite diagnosis of COVID-19 cannot be made, but is suspected or likely,” it is “acceptable” to report COVID-19 on the death certificate as “probable” or “presumed” and certifiers can use their best clinical judgment in determining whether an individual likely had COVID-19. It’s this same discretion that allows long COVID to be counted as a COVID-19 death long after an individual tested positive for infection.

The CDC broadly defines long COVID as “signs, symptoms, and conditions that continue to develop after acute COVID-19 infection” that can last for “weeks, months, or years.” The term is also used to refer to post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), long-haul COVID, and post-acute COVID-19.

The CDC guidance gives a physician or medical examiner discretion to classify long COVID as a COVID-19 fatality, and the CDC death certificate guidance allows for PASC to be listed as an underlying cause of death, which may affect COVID-19 mortality numbers.

A December 2022 Vital Statistics Rapid Release Report published by the CDC identified 3,544 deaths in the National Vital Statistics System that mentioned long COVID key terms and were coded as COVID-19 deaths in the United States from Jan. 1, 2020, through June 30, 2022.

Tyler Durden Fri, 05/24/2024 - 03:30
Published:5/24/2024 3:10:26 AM
[Markets] FTSE 100 LIVE: European markets down as UK retail sales fall more than expected in wet April The FTSE 100 dropped on Friday following data that showed UK retail sales fell 2.3% month-over-month in April 2024. Published:5/24/2024 3:10:26 AM
[Markets] US-UK Intelligence Warning: China Cyberthreats Pose 'Epoch-Defining' Challenge US-UK Intelligence Warning: China Cyberthreats Pose 'Epoch-Defining' Challenge

Authored by James Gorrie via The Epoch Times,

The cybersecurity wars between communist China and the West are raging, yet few people realize what’s really going on. That’s now changing.

The Chinese regime’s ability to launch successful cyberattacks against American and British defenses is higher than it has ever been. New attack tactics, techniques, and protocols (TTPs) developed by the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) cyber division are threatening the integrity and functionality of Western nations’ military communications, operations, and other critical systems.

(L to R) MP Tim Loughton, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, and MP Stewart McDonald during a press conference at the Centre for Social Justice in central London on March 25, 2024. The Chinese regime is believed to have targeted a group of senior MPs and peers with a fresh series of cyberattacks aimed at undermining UK democracy. (Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire)

That may be why the United States and the UK are now publicly speaking about these critical threats, warning the Chinese and other national threat actors with which they coordinate to cease these provocative attacks. To that point, American, British, and European officials have warned that the Chinese regime’s cyberattacks are both coercive and destabilizing. As an indication of just how serious those threats are, the UK summoned the Chinese ambassador as a formal response to the regime’s increasing cyber threats to the UK.

UK: Defending Against China’s Cyberattacks Is ‘Top Priority’

To underscore their concern, Anne Keast-Butler, director of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the UK’s top-tier surveillance agency, said at a security conference in England’s city of Birmingham that responding to China’s cyber activities was “a top priority” for GCHQ. This isn’t the first time the UK government has had to confront Beijing about its illegal and threatening activities in cyberspace, but of late, it’s become a much bigger problem.

In fact, last month, British Prime Minister Rushi Sunak said Chinese hackers working for the CCP were running “malicious cyber campaigns” against UK lawmakers and UK media and were also responsible for a hack on the British Armed Forces’ payments system. The prime minister spoke further about the cyber threats, saying his country faced an “axis of authoritarian states like Russia, Iran, North Korea, and China.”

What’s more, British authorities have charged three men with spying for Hong Kong’s foreign intelligence service in the UK. The men are accused of being Chinese state-sponsored hackers and stealing election data from the UK’s elections offices, as well as performing surveillance operations in the UK. Beijing stated that the case was “a fabrication.” When pressed about these and other cyber activities and the threats they pose to international norms and the security of the United States, the UK, and European countries, Beijing denied the existence of such threats, dismissing them as “absurd.”

These events put additional strains on UK relations with China.

The Volt Typhoon Threat and Beyond

These official accusations follow in the wake of the confrontation that Washington had with Beijing several weeks ago regarding its advanced “Volt Typhoon” attack. That attack involved the discovery of the long and undetected presence of Chinese infiltration into vital U.S. operational systems across a variety of verticals. It was determined that Chinese attackers had breached the networks of dozens of American critical infrastructure organizations that control electrical power, water, and both civilian and military communication systems via a widespread network of compromised servers and computers.

FBI Director Christopher Wray contends that Volt Typhoon would be used to disrupt, if not eliminate, control of the critical infrastructure systems mentioned above, as well as other strategic assets, prior to launching a military campaign against the United States or Taiwan. Again, Beijing has denied any official connection to the Volt Typhoon attack.

Hackers Penetrating US Defense Systems

However, at the Birmingham security conference, National Cyber Director Harry Coker asserted that Chinese hackers were violating U.S. defense sites in cyberspace and targeting U.S. interests at an “unprecedented scale.” Mr. Coker highlighted the severity of this threat, noting that “in a crisis or conflict scenario, China could use their pre-positioned cyber capabilities to wreak havoc in civilian infrastructure and deter U.S. military action.”

The British prime minister and the GCHQ chief emphasized their rising concerns about China’s cyberattacks and their impact on the global order. Mr. Sunak said the next few years would be “dangerous and transformational,” while Ms. Keast-Butler said that “Russia and Iran pose immediate threats, but China is the ‘epoch-defining’ challenge.”

As China’s Power Rises, So Do Attacks

However, the United States, the UK, and Europe aren’t the only targets of Chinese hackers. The Philippines has seen a fourfold rise in Chinese cyberattacks year over year as friction between the two has increased. The parallel between the Chinese regime’s growing military power and influence in the world and its rising level of cyberattacks against its adversaries can’t be overlooked. Nor can the fact that the United States and the UK feel the need to publicly point the finger at China.

Cyberattacks have occurred for decades, but this is a clear change from how they were handled in the past, when they were managed at the government level. However, with China’s apparent ability to penetrate even the most highly guarded systems, the next few years may well be, as the British observed, “destabilizing,” “transformative,” and “epoch-defining.”

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times or ZeroHedge.

Tyler Durden Thu, 05/23/2024 - 23:40
Published:5/24/2024 12:32:21 AM
[Markets] 401(k) millionaires surged 43% in past year — here’s how long it took to hit $1M Published:5/23/2024 10:30:30 PM
[Markets] The Unifying Principle: Here's Why The Political Divisions In The US Today Cannot Be Mended The Unifying Principle: Here's Why The Political Divisions In The US Today Cannot Be Mended

Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.us,

Recently I was watching a short documentary about the history of political discourse and division in the US and it got me thinking about how the internal conflicts of the past might relate to the rampant social battles Americans are dealing with today. From early disagreements between various Founding Fathers on hot button issues like the Sedition Act, central banking and standing armies, to epic and disastrous conflagrations like the Civil War, America has never been “of one mind” on everything.

Overall, though, the longstanding assumption is that even when we slip and fall into disarray Americans will find common ground and move on towards the future together.  It’s a nice sentiment, but what if this ideal no longer applies?

There are some people that argue there was never a golden era for the US; that we’ve always been destructive, or exploitative or “imperialist.” Of course, it’s very easy to examine any given time period through the lens of modern sensibilities and pass judgment. How we would do things today is not necessarily how we would do things yesterday. We can’t easily condemn the men and women of the past without at least recognizing that we will probably never see the issues of their day from their perspective.

The political left is the most egregious violator of this principle. They have a bad habit of trying to rewrite history according to their current ideological cultism and applying their taboos to time periods when civilization had very different views on how to function. The progressive philosophy is partially rooted in “futurism”; the idea that all old ideas and ways of doing things must be abandoned to make way for new methods. In other words, they think everything “new” is better and must be embraced.

Frankly, this theory has never proven correct. Not every old idea should be left behind and not every new method is better. In fact, most ideas that leftists think are new are actually very old. There’s nothing ground breaking about DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion), it’s just another form of Marxism based on personal identity rather than the traditional class politics.

Do you want to know what DEI really is? It’s a vehicle for forced association.

Forced association is used to leverage populations into a homogeneous soup, a hive mind with no individual thought or right to discriminate against destructive groups and ideologies.  But if America is experiencing an agenda of forced association today then we have to ask – What is there to be gained?  Why pressure people who fundamentally disagree with each other on every level to coexist within a society? Why do the people in power want this so badly?

Well, for the central planners (usually socialists/globalists), tribalism is a big no-no. People going their own way is unacceptable. If the populace thinks they can divide and separate and live differently from each other, then how can the establishment continue to exist? For a one-world government to be achieved ALL divisions must be erased and everyone has to either love or fear the purveyors of “unity.”

Separation must, therefore, be demonized.  The problem is, there’s no way to blackmail a population into association, not in the long term anyway.  A group is an abstraction without form; it means nothing until the individuals involved share a unifying principle.  When I look back at political disagreements in history I find that there is a vital factor that existed during past conflicts that does NOT exist today.

Even during the worst of times including the Civil War both sides of the division held the same basic principles and morals. They had a lot of the same values, a shared religion and a shared understanding of reality. They were people connected by the same American soul, they merely disagreed on singular issues. The goal for each side was for America and its fundamental heritage to survive, even if they didn’t always obey every aspect of the Constitution or the existing leadership at the time. This is not how things work in 2024.

In terms of surface level politics its obvious that there will never be peaceful reconciliation between woke progressives and conservatives/independents. One side or the other has to go, and I think the majority of people in the US want leftists to go.

To be clear I’m not saying that all people on the political left are exactly the same. There’s definitely a political spectrum from traditional liberals to extreme activists. But there is no denying that, for now, woke zealots control the levers of power and influence within the Democratic Party and the leftist media. They also have the explicit backing of every major institution from corporations to NGOs to government.

You don’t see a whole lot of average Democrats with the guts to stand up and criticize their own side even when they know there’s something very wrong happening. They go along with the program either out of laziness or fear. With conservatives the reverse is true. Conservatives can’t seem to organize a damn thing because we constantly disagree with each other when it comes to solutions.

And let’s not forget the fence riders out there. It’s sure nice to always be out of the fray and in the rear with the gear while pretending as if you’re “above it all.” That’s a very comfortable place to be because it allows a person to avoid risk while appearing as if they’re taking the high road. Much like a slippery academic who never defines his position in a debate so that he can change his arguments on a whim.

The issue is that, even though fence riders don’t want to admit it, there are times when one side is right and one side is utterly wrong. Sometimes there is no middle ground.

A lot of moderates are finally waking up to the horrors of the collectivist movements in our midst. Maybe it was the pandemic lockdowns or the attempted trans indoctrination of children or the unhinged nature of far-left activists in the streets but somewhere along the way moderates finally realized conservatives were RIGHT all along about a lot of things. We were fighting to save their freedoms years ago while they were acting cool and wondering what all the fuss was about.

There are a lot of factors that set conservatives (and a many moderates) apart from the political left, but the core disconnect is so deep and disturbing it’s hard to quantify. I can only summarize it down to this:

1) The unifying principle of the left is deconstruction. They find their meaning or purpose in the act of tearing down and destroying what other people have built.

2) The unifying principle for conservatives is to build and protect what has been found to work.

Humanity’s best bet for success is liberty with responsibility, free markets and meritocracy. All things we are trying to preserve, and all things that leftists want to blow up.

For progressives the most important question is: What happens when they’ve destroyed the last edifice? What comes next? If dismantling systems is their unifying principle what will they do when they have nothing else to dismantle? What happens when every plate in the china shop is broken? They are incapable of creating a new and functional society so they would need an outside foundation.

In this regard I set globalists apart from typical leftists. Globalists are indeed leftists at their core but they are also builders, and not in a good way. Globalists don’t build societies, they build prisons. Once the useful idiots on the left have finished the job of deconstructing America the globalists plan to come in with a new ideal, a new religion, a new foundation based on worshiping THEM.

Here is where we find the greatest split of all – The spiritual nature of our impasse.

I’ve definitely never been one to promote the concept of theocracy and I have many scruples when it comes to “Earthly” religious organizations. Anything governed by men can be corrupted. But I also accept that America was built by a majority Christian society following integral Christian values. I don’t think every American needs to be Christian. The Founding Fathers understood that religious freedom is essential. But we must acknowledge and embrace the fact that the country works best when Christianity is at the forefront.  At least there is a unifying moral code to hold the framework together.

Furthermore, it would be far easier to reconcile Christian social systems with science and critical thinking than it will be to reconcile freedom loving Americans with far-left collectivists. The woke cult is much more hostile to science today than Christians are; they even refuse to acknowledge human biology.  I also think Christianity is growing along with newer generations of conservatives with a greater respect for skepticism.  We could see a renaissance following the paths set by great Christian thinkers like Thomas Aquinas or C.S. Lewis.

I’m seeing a lot of the old blind devotion to the Republican Party fall by the wayside and a greater focus on what politicians achieve rather than what they promise. I’m seeing people on the right embrace the value of comedy and pop culture more, which has always been a problem for conservatives. And, I’m seeing science open doors to religious thought instead of trying to close them. As humanity delves deeper into quantum physics, cosmology and even the mind sciences, our relationship to the great beyond requires consideration of the physical AND the metaphysical.

It’s the kind of thing that would make progressives rage and foam at the mouth.  For them, science must always be in service to their causes or it ceases to have value, and one of their primary causes is the erasure of Christianity.  They’ll never allow a world where science and religion work together to build a future in which discovery is balanced with ethical responsibility.

Then there is the issue of moral imperative.  Many of us see the targeting of children for indoctrination and exploitation.  We see the promotion of subjective reality and degeneracy.  We see the inclination towards lies as a tool for political power.  We see leftists caring more about winning and less about the truth.

For the globalists and the woke mob, morality is nothing more than a social construct, but we know that these ideas are inborn and inherent for the majority of people. If they weren’t, humanity would have gone extinct ages ago from self destruction. Leftists don’t agree with the concept of a basic moral code. Leftists don’t even agree that morals are a necessity. They think they can manifest their own reality from thin air. How can we possibly live side-by-side with people who despise every pillar that holds western civilization together?

The answer is – We can’t.  For now I see no path to peace.  Peace would require a unifying principle, a mutual respect, and that does not exist.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Thu, 05/23/2024 - 23:00
Published:5/23/2024 10:30:30 PM
[Markets] Asian Stocks Retreat as Traders Eye Later Fed Cuts: Markets Wrap (Bloomberg) -- Asian stocks tracked Wall Street lower following activity data that signaled the Federal Reserve may keep rates on hold for most of this year.Most Read from BloombergNvidia Stock Surges as Sales Forecast Delivers on AI HopesHarvard Students Walk Out of Commencement Protesting SuspensionsSpaceX Weighs Plan to Sell Shares at $200 Billion ValuationStocks Join Bonds in Falling as Fed-Cut Bets Wane: Markets WrapIsrael to Restart Gaza Talks After Hostage Video Sparks OutrageMSCI’s Asia Published:5/23/2024 10:30:30 PM
[Markets] Podcast: Why the inflation numbers and Dow 40,000 aren’t worth celebrating Published:5/23/2024 8:55:12 PM
[Markets] Judge Blocks Florida Law Criminalizing Transport Of Illegal Immigrants Into State Judge Blocks Florida Law Criminalizing Transport Of Illegal Immigrants Into State

Authored by Bill Pan via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

A federal judge has temporarily blocked part of a Florida law that criminalizes transporting illegal immigrants into the state.

Illegal aliens from Cuba line up to board a bus to be driven to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection station as they are processed in Marathon, Fla., on Jan. 5, 2023. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The challenged law was signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis a year ago, when southern border states were bracing for a flood of illegal immigrants following the scheduled expiration of Title 42, a public health order that allowed border enforcement agents to quickly expel those deemed at risk of bringing in COVID-19.

Touted by Mr. DeSantis and his supporters as the “strongest anti-illegal immigration legislation in the country,” the law contains a provision that makes it a third-degree felony for anyone to “knowingly and willfully” transport into Florida someone whom “the person knows or reasonably knew ... has not been inspected by the Federal Government since his or her unlawful entry.”

In a preliminary injunction issued on May 22, [Venezuelan born] Judge Roy Altman of the Southern District of Florida said the provision in question “extends beyond the state’s authority to make arrests for violations of federal immigration law, and in doing so, intrudes into territory that’s preempted.”

“In this case, any harm the state may suffer from an injunction is overweighed by the harm [the provision] poses both to the Plaintiffs and to the United States, which has the ultimate interest in protecting federal supremacy in the realm of immigration,” the Trump-appointed judge wrote.

The lawsuit was filed in July by The Farmworker Association of Florida, which describes itself as a “grassroots and community-based farmworker membership organization” serving seasonal workers as well as migrant workers who travel with the seasons to harvest crops.

According to its complaint, the association members have to travel back and forth between Florida, Georgia, and Alabama, crossing back into Florida multiple times per year. With the transportation law in place, some of its members became “too afraid to travel in and out of Florida with their undocumented friends or family members,” over the fear of being arrested or prosecuted, according to the association.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, a defendant in the suit, has argued that the association has no legal standing to sue in the first place. She also clarified that visa holders, DACA recipients—those who were illegally brought to the United States as young children—asylum seekers, and people with pending removal proceedings are not subject to punishment under the transportation law, since they are considered “inspected” by the federal government.

Judge Altman disagreed with her argument. In the May 22 opinion, he said the way the law is worded gives the association’s members a good reason to fear a potential arrest and that they have “suffered an injury in fact,” even though they haven’t put themselves at risk of an actual arrest.

The judge also found that the Association has standing to sue.

“An organizational plaintiff suffers cognizable injury when it is forced to divert resources from its regular activities to educate and assist affected individuals in complying with the challenged statute,” he wrote.

The association was backed by a score of high-profile progressive advocacy groups: the national and Florida chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Americans for Immigrant Justice, the American Immigration Council, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. They celebrated the court order as a “much-needed win for Floridians.”

“The court was right to block this callous and patently unconstitutional law, which had threatened Floridians with jail time for doing the most ordinary things, like going to work, visiting family, and driving kids to soccer games. This ruling is an important victory for Florida communities,” Spencer Amdur, senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said in a statement.

The Florida attorney general’s office did not respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.

The ruling is the latest in the legal blowback against states that seek to handle illegal immigration on their own in the wake of the growing crisis at the nation’s southern border. The Biden administration has sued three states—Texas, Iowa, and most recently Oklahoma—for making illegal immigration a state crime enforceable by state and local law enforcement.

Tyler Durden Thu, 05/23/2024 - 21:40
Published:5/23/2024 8:55:11 PM
[Markets] Bitcoin & The Wrong Lessons From Pizza Day Bitcoin & The Wrong Lessons From Pizza Day

Authored by Jimmy Song via BitcoinMagazine.com,

The following is an excerpt on Bitcoin Pizza Day from "Fiat Ruins Everything" by Jimmy Song. Visit the Bitcoin Magazine Store to order a printdigital or audio copy of the book.

Pizza Day is often viewed with a sense of regret.

The well-known story goes like this: many years ago, Laszlo Hanyecz bought two Papa John’s pizzas, and in return, some fortunate person received 10,000 BTC.236 This tale resembles that of Peter Minuit purchasing Manhattan Island for a mere $24. It’s hard to believe such a transaction took place, considering the current value.

The story has several intriguing aspects. It marked the first real-world good or service purchased with Bitcoin. It also established Bitcoin’s price; since the two pizzas cost around $41, one BTC was approximately $0.0041.

Another aspect of this narrative is Laszlo, a pioneer in mining Bitcoin using GPUs (graphics processing units). He spent around 100,000 BTC on pizzas, as he made similar deals multiple times throughout the month. In a way, he’s the Santa Claus of this story, giving away value almost flippantly.

RENT-SEEKING FANTASIES

Pizza Day often triggers daydreams of becoming a Bitcoin billionaire through a single brilliant trade. Many people don’t fantasize about being Laszlo, as they aren’t GPU programming experts. However, they can easily imagine being the person on the bitcointalk forums offering to buy Bitcoin for a couple of pizzas.

The idea of having made such a trade sparks envy, as we all secretly resent the person who actually executed it. We perceive them as lucky, as if they had won the lottery.

These fantasies stem from a fiat mentality, where the value hierarchy is rooted in fiat money. The desire is to be lucky rather than skilled. People would prefer making money without working, versus earning it by providing valuable goods and services.

It’s revealing that the regret lies in missing out on luck rather than innovation. In a fiat-driven world, it’s easier to dream about being the person who sold the pizza, rather than the one who had the skill and foresight to mine with GPUs. This mindset prioritizes fiat accomplishments—getting lucky with money—over real achievements, which involve earning money by providing value to the market. Most people would rather ride the coattails of an innovator than be one themselves.

BITCOIN REGRET

We all have our Bitcoin regret stories. I remember learning about Bitcoin in February 2011. I tried to find a way to buy it using a credit card, but I couldn’t. I attempted mining on Amazon Web Services and didn’t find any blocks solo-mining for two days. I began the process of moving dollars into Mt. Gox, but when the price dropped from $1 to $0.90, I decided it was too much of a hassle to set up. I could have bought Bitcoin at $0.90, but I didn’t. It’s one of the biggest regrets of my life.

Everyone has different regret stories. Perhaps you heard about Bitcoin back in June 2011 when it ran up to $30 and regret not buying it then. Maybe you discovered Bitcoin in April 2013 when it reached $266, or later that year in December 2013 when it soared to $1,100. Or perhaps it was in 2017 when it hit $2,500, $5,000, and then $19,000. Or even more recently, in March 2020 when Bitcoin crashed to under $4,000, or later that year when it was breaking $10,000. Anyone who’s heard about Bitcoin at any point in its history has a regret story.

Bitcoin regret stories are like bad-beat stories in poker. Everyone has them, and they are fantasies about different, luckier outcomes. They are unproductive stories because the feelings of regret come from a fantasy that assumes virtues that are not common.

THE CHALLENGE OF HOLDING

In these regret stories, we often overlook something. What if we had bought Bitcoin when we first heard about it? How would we have handled the subsequent challenges? Would we have had the diamond hands to hold through the 85% drawdowns in 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2018?

When you fantasize about the Pizza Day story, do you ever consider the difficulty of holding during the tough times in 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2018? There’s a tendency to assume that we would have had the conviction that we possess now, like how a time traveler might feel. I’ve experienced those drawdowns firsthand, and let me tell you, most people didn’t have that conviction, and they sold. Many believe they would have held strong through all the difficult times, but like the original O.J. Simpson verdict, that assumption goes against all evidence.

Holding 10,000 BTC wasn’t uncommon back in 2010. Many people had a significant amount of Bitcoin because they were worth pennies at the time, but where are they now? Most of them sold when the Bitcoin price doubled or tripled and never looked back.238 They viewed Bitcoin as a plaything and didn’t grasp its revolutionary nature. So, they sold it to buy a new computer, a new bike, or a new car.

SHATTERING YOUR DREAMS

Had you sold Laszlo two pizzas for 10,000 BTC in 2010, you probably would have sold them in the new few years. To think otherwise is hubris. Most people back then didn’t understand what Bitcoin was, and there were no educational resources explaining why you should hold. We now have an abundance of resources for understanding Bitcoin.239 In 2023, it’s much easier to comprehend that Bitcoin is a better form of money than anything that came before. Back in 2010, it was much more difficult. Do you still think you would have had diamond hands?

To hold Bitcoin is to have a deep conviction about what it is. There are necessary virtues to be a long-term holder. Holders understand the fundamental value of Bitcoin being sound money and can thus withstand the 85% drawdowns that occur regularly. Only the truly extraordinary managed to hold from 2010, and you likely would not have been one of those people.

But suppose you beat the odds and had conviction. You held through 2011 and even the first bubble in 2013. Would you have had the foresight to withdraw to your wallet before Mt. Gox collapsed in 2013?240 Or if you used another exchange before then, would you have gotten out before they exit-scammed?241 We say “not your keys, not your coins” now, but back then, this was not common practice. Many people had to be burned for that lesson to become a meme. Even with conviction, there’s a good chance you would have been one of the many who suffered.

There were also other dangers, like the advent of altcoins starting in 2011. How many Bitcoins would you have lost in Geistgeld,242 Feathercoin,243 and MasterCoin?244 There were also numerous scams, including Pirate40245 and others who promised high returns by running Ponzi schemes. Would you have avoided those? There were also several ASIC startups that sold machines that weren’t built yet. Would you have avoided getting duped by Butterfly Labs246 or TerraMiner?247 How about the cloud mining services248 that took your Bitcoin and paid out only a fraction over the next 12 months? Would you have avoided these tempting offers that ended up diminishing many Bitcoin stacks? You would have needed the instinct to get in on Bitcoin early while not falling for these similar-sounding investments, which frankly is not an easy needle to thread.

Looking back on those dangers, it’s a miracle that people made it past those years with any Bitcoin at all. Many OGs are like Vietnam veterans, reflecting on the times when they were fortunate to escape the numerous hazards.

BUILDING CONVICTION IS CHALLENGING

Developing deep conviction is not easy, and for early adopters, it was especially difficult. Remember, everyone was calling Bitcoin a scam back then. Even now, it takes years of study and unwavering resolve to develop that conviction. Back in 2010-2013, having Bitcoin conviction was as rare as a physically-fit government health official.

Going against conventional wisdom and following your convictions requires a great deal of courage, which many people lack. Consider what happened during COVID-19. How many people had the conviction to voice opinions against the mainstream narrative in March 2020? That’s the level of conviction you had to possess to hold Bitcoin through those early years.

In 2023, we have numerous resources that help us save in Bitcoin. Podcasts, books, and videos are available to help us navigate this space, not only to develop the conviction but also to adopt best practices for holding. The early years were a minefield of traps to lose your Bitcoin. It’s much easier these days to avoid those traps, but back then, there weren’t OGs who could warn you about them. The resources that exist now and the Bitcoin memes we have today (“Not your keys, not your coins.”) are not propaganda. They are the fruit of hard-earned experience.

BITCOIN DERANGEMENT

Studying the early individuals in the Bitcoin space reveals a troubling pattern. Almost every non-technical Bitcoin advocate pre-2013 is now promoting an altcoin. Why have so many early adopters become Bitcoin-deranged?

We can find some answers by looking at the fiat world of lottery winners. Years after winning, numerous lottery winners end up worse off than before they won the lottery. They are ill-equipped to manage the windfall, and many find themselves with greater debt, damaged relationships, and a worse life. Some even commit suicide. While not everyone experiences such negative outcomes, enough do that many lottery agencies proactively offer assistance.

Unfortunately, bad outcomes have been the fate of many early Bitcoin adopters. At some point in the last decade, they either fell victim to scams or became scammers themselves. As a result, many of them have turned against Bitcoin.

So, to further shatter your daydream, there’s a good chance that if you had gotten in early, you would be an altcoin scammer or would have been scammed by an altcoin. These are serial scammers with no qualms about lying, cheating, or stealing their way to wealth. They exist in a rent-seeking nightmare of shattered dreams. That’s not a desirable fate, and it’s something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

LEVEL UP YOUR CONVICTIONS

For many, Pizza Day is an opportunity to indulge in time-traveling fantasies where they daydream about being wealthy. This mindset often leads people to explore altcoins, as it stems from the fiat money mentality. Essentially, Pizza Day is a fantasy about being lucky and not having to work. In other words, it represents a rent-seeking desire on a grand scale.

Fiat money has fostered a consumerist mentality, which exacerbates the urge to rent seek. Governments capitalize on this desire through lotteries, profiting from the allure of easy wealth. Altcoins exploit the same yearning. Unfortunately, Pizza Day often reinforces this mentality, focusing on the desire to be fortunate rather than skilled.

Instead, Pizza Day should serve as a reminder that forming conviction is no easy task. True conviction demands knowledge, wisdom, and courage—virtues that require time, energy, and effort to develop. Rather than envying early adopters and fantasizing about joining their ranks, we should strive to cultivate the conviction needed to hold through challenging times and provide value in the process. As the saying goes in the Bitcoin community, “It’s still early.”

On Pizza Day, commit to leveling up your convictions.

TEN THINGS YOU BOUGHT INSTEAD OF BITCOIN

- 1- 

That sleek, irresistible Apple gadget you just had to have, only to replace it two years later with an even shinier, more irresistible version.

- 2 -

Green gems in Clash of Clans, because clearly, the defense of your virtual village was of greater importance than securing your financial future.

- 3 -

A college degree with about as much relevance to your current job as a penguin waddling through the Sahara Desert.

- 4 -

Litecoin, the less secure, less functional cousin of Bitcoin— because who needs the real deal when you can settle for something much worse?

- 5 -

A dating app subscription that merely solidified your status as forever alone.

- 6 -

Steam games on sale, eagerly awaiting their debut in your library, wondering when they’ll finally bask in the glow of your screen.

- 7 -

That exercise equipment now serving as an exquisite clothes rack, because let’s face it, the allure of the couch is simply too strong to resist.

- 8 -

An online class you signed up for, attended just long enough to say “hello” and “goodbye,” then promptly ghosted.

- 9 -

The, uh, “adult entertainment” that left you feeling deflated and questioning your life choices the next day.

- 10 -

An MLM product from a Facebook friend that you abandoned quicker than you can say “pyramid scheme.”

*  *  *

Click here to order a copy of "Fiat Ruins Everything: How Our Financial System is Rigged and How Bitcoin Fixes It", by Jimmy Song.

Tyler Durden Thu, 05/23/2024 - 19:00
Published:5/23/2024 6:12:18 PM
[Markets] Dow Jones Futures: Nvidia Soars But Stock Market Has Ugly Day; Deckers Jumps Late The stock market had an ugly session, despite Nvidia surging on earnings. Deckers spiked late, signaling a breakout. Published:5/23/2024 6:12:18 PM
[Markets] U.K. consumer confidence improves as inflation cools further Confidence among U.K. consumers rose a little in May, with easing inflation and the expectation of falling Bank of England interest rates set to boost Britons’ spending power. Published:5/23/2024 6:12:18 PM
[Markets] Current PLA Drills Around Taiwan Are Bigger In Scope Than Exercises Triggered By Pelosi Current PLA Drills Around Taiwan Are Bigger In Scope Than Exercises Triggered By Pelosi

As part of China's two days of encircling drills around Taiwan, its military has dispatched about 30 aircraft toward the island Thursday, most of which crossed the Median Line in the Taiwan Strait. About a dozen PLA naval ships have also surrounded the self-ruled island, and in response Taiwan's military has deployed warships to monitor the situation.

An additional dozen Chinese coast guard ships have been spotted close to Taiwan's disputed outlying islands as well, according to Taipei officials. PLA Naval Colonel Li Xi has called the exercises "a strong punishment for the separatist acts of Taiwan independence forces and a serious warning against interference and provocation by external forces."

Illustrative: prior PLA drills, via Reuters

As we reported previously, the large-scale drills are were launched just days after Taiwan’s new president, Lai Ching-te, was sworn into office at the start of the week. Beijing has called Lai a "dangerous separatist" who will ensure future "war and decline" for the island of Taiwan, which China has long claimed as its own.

CNN has cited Chinese state television to describe:

As part of the drills, dozens of Chinese fighter jets carrying live ammunition conducted mock strikes against “high-value military targets” of the “enemy” alongside destroyers, frigates and missile speedboats, according to China’s state broadcaster CCTV.

...China’s state broadcaster CCTV said multiple destroyer and frigate formations of the Eastern Theater Command Navy “maneuvered at high speed in multiple directions in the waters surrounding Taiwan, creating an omnidirectional approach in pushing toward the island.”

Dozens of fighter jets were also seen near the outlying islands which include Kinmen, Matsu, Wuqiu, and Dongyin in the East China Sea.

China's CCTV broadcaster further detailed of the drills, "Under the support and cover of the Army and the Rocket Force, multiple types of aircraft were organized and loaded with live ammunition, flew to the predetermined airspace to establish multiple strike positions, and coordinated with destroyers, frigates, and missile speedboats to simulate attacking the ‘enemy’s’ high-value military targets and reconnaissance and patrol aircraft."

Regional analyst Arnaud Bertrand says that these ongoing two-day exercises are actually bigger in scale and scope compared to those which ensued in August 2022, in reaction to then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's ultra-provocative visit to Taiwan. His words follow below the maps:

Before: What the 2022 PLA 'encircling' drills in response to Nancy Pelosi's visit looked like...

Via CGTN

Currently: The expanse of the ongoing Thurs-Fri PLA military drills surrounding Taiwan...

These are major military exercises by China around Taiwan, with more "exclusion zones" that are larger in scale than the exercises triggered by Pelosi's visit and closer to the island.

They are basically demonstrating that they can completely blockade the islands, with the zones placed in front of Taiwan's biggest ports (like Kaohsiung to the South, where a lot of Taiwan's navy is, or Hualien to the East), as well as protect the mainland at the same time. It's not a sign of imminent war, simply a reaction to Lai's presidential inauguration speech where he hinted at significant changes to the status quo towards independence, so much so that even the Financial Times ran an article saying that "China has a point" when they were warning about Lai's intention to change the status quo.

This is China telling him "don't get any ideas".

Tyler Durden Thu, 05/23/2024 - 17:20
Published:5/23/2024 5:49:22 PM
[Markets] Copper is the metal of the moment. What ETF investors need to know before chasing the commodity rally. In this edition, we look at some of the copper-related ETFs that hit all-time highs earlier this week, driven by the base metal’s surge to record territory. Published:5/23/2024 5:49:22 PM
[Markets] ETF approval, housing shortage, e.l.f. CEO : Asking for a Trend On today's episode of Asking for a Trend, Host Josh Lipton explores three markets — cryptocurrency, housing, and the beauty market. As the crypto world eagerly awaits the decision on the approval of an ether ETF, the show welcomes BitGo Go Network Head and Managing Director Matt Ballensweig who offers his expert perspective on why he believes the SEC will ultimately greenlight this investment product. Yahoo Finance's Julie Hyman takes a deep dive into the housing market, exploring the persistent supply challenges faced by homebuyers despite the easing of mortgage rates. Finally, E.l.f. Chairman and CEO Tarang Amin joins the show to discuss the beauty giant's impressive fourth-quarter earnings beat and his outlook on the company's growth trajectory. This post was written by Angel Smith Published:5/23/2024 5:49:22 PM
[Markets] Why the Live Nation antitrust case might not make concert tickets cheaper Published:5/23/2024 5:49:22 PM
[Markets] 'I Did Delete All Of Peter's Emails Relating To Origin': COVID Cabal Conspired To Destroy Evidence To Evade FOIA Requests 'I Did Delete All Of Peter's Emails Relating To Origin': COVID Cabal Conspired To Destroy Evidence To Evade FOIA Requests

A new trove of emails released by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic reveal that top researchers involved in manipulating bat coronaviruses to better-infect humans then conspired to delete email evidence of their communications surrounding the Covid-19 outbreak.

Peter Daszak, David Morens, Peter Hotez

The communications focus on top NIH adviser Dr. David Morens, who solicited help from the NIH's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) office to dodge records requests. Morens is currently on administrative leave.

"Evidence in possession of the Select Subcommittee suggests that Dr. Morens, while employed by NIAID and NIH acted as an agent on behalf of a federal grantee, EcoHealth," the Subcommittee notes. "Morens began assisting Dr. Daszak in how to respond to NIH compliance efforts," the release continues - referring to EcoHealth Alliance boss Peter Daszak, whose organization was suspended this month from receiving federal funds for three years.

"i learned from our foia lady here how to make emails disappear after I am foia’d but before the search starts," Morens wrote in a Feb. 24, 2021 email to an unknown recipient, adding "Plus i deleted most of those earlier emails after sending them to gmail."

In another email, Morens claims that "With the help of our IT folks, I went over the whole computer and phone situation... Basically, my gmail is safe from FOIA."

"Please pass this on to Peter and I ask you both that NOTHING gets sent to me except to my gmail."

Morens also emailed Daszak, advising him: "We are all smart enough to know never to have smoking guns, and if we did we wouldn't put them in emails and if we found them we'd delete them."

And in another email to Peter Hotez, Morens writes: "The email somehow fell into the hands of the Congressman, probably via FOIA of someone who didn't delete it, as I did (delete all of Peter's emails and others relating to origin) when the shit started hitting the fan."

Meanwhile, Morens joked about getting a kickback from EcoHealth, to which Daszak replied jokingly: "of course there's a kickback. It starts with 5 more years of FoIA requests ... I just hope it doesn't culminate in 5 years in Federal jail, or even Chinese 're-education camp'...

According to Diane Cutler, an ex-investigator for the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, "He has violated the ethical standards of conduct for executive branch employees and has potentially violated criminal law," she said, referring to Morens, the NY Post reports.

Both Republicans and Democrats on the panel were united in their denunciations of Morens.

The information contained in these 30,000 pages of emails are deeply concerning, and in my opinion reflects poorly upon Dr. Morens and the Office of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease under Dr. Fauci’s leadership and the NIH under Dr. Francis Collins,” Subcommittee chairman Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) said in his opening remarks.

“Dr. Fauci’s NIAID was unfortunately less pristine than so many, including the media, would have had us all believe,” he added.

Ranking member Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.) echoed Wenstrup’s remarks in calling Morens’ behavior was “deeply troubling” — but cautioned the emails were “not a breakthrough moment in actually understanding the actual origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.” -NY Post

Now what?

Tyler Durden Thu, 05/23/2024 - 16:40
Published:5/23/2024 4:16:07 PM
[Markets] Nvidia’s stock surge at odds with the S&P 500 — to a degree not seen in 8 years Published:5/23/2024 4:16:07 PM
[Markets] Markets are 'too focused' on the Fed right now: Strategist T. Rowe Price Global Head of Multi-Asset and CIO Sébastien Page joins Market Domination Overtime to discuss possible deeper signs of stress in the market, how investors should position themselves, and why markets are "too focused on the Fed."  Sharing his economic outlook, Page explains that markets could be due for a pullback with economic data decelerating, as seen in PMIs. Looking 12 months ahead, however, Page says he expects healthy stocks and credit, a market due for broadening toward value stocks, and no recession.  The strategist also discusses his "be boring" approach, noting that between stocks and bonds right now, it is not the time to "load up on risk," nor is it the time to be entirely outside the market. He urges investors to think about their strategic asset allocation and risk tolerance in an environment where growth is decelerating but still high by pre-pandemic standards. When asked how much of his outlook is dependent on the Federal Reserve's policy in the next 12 months, Page says markets react to the Fed "way too much right now."  "We're looking at a market that is sensitive to a 0.1% difference in a monthly inflation print," since the Fed is "telling everyone they're going to be data dependent," he tells Yahoo Finance, highlighting that the economic data is "pretty random." For more expert insight and the latest market action, click here to watch this full episode of Market Domination Overtime. This article was written by Gabriel Roy Published:5/23/2024 4:16:07 PM
[Markets] Ross Stores raises profit forecast, even as higher prices hit lower-income shoppers Shares of Ross Stores Inc. rallied in extended trading Thursday after the discount clothing chain raised its full-year profit forecast, even as higher prices continue to hit its low- to middle-income shoppers. Published:5/23/2024 3:41:57 PM
[Markets] NVDA Tops $2.5 Trillion As Traders Sell Everything Else On 'Good News' NVDA Tops $2.5 Trillion As Traders Sell Everything Else On 'Good News'

NVDA smashed earnings and guidance out of the park and shares exploded over 10% higher...

... to make the AI-darling above $2.5 trillion market cap for the first time...

Source: Bloomberg

With around a 1% decline in US stocks, total US market cap fell by around $500 billion, while NVDA alone added $230 billion...

Source: Bloomberg

For everyone else there was more great news about the American economy... US PMIs surged to two year highs proving Bidenomics is awesome (though input prices surged), and jobless claims remain near record lows. New home sales were weak but the market chose to ignore that.

BUT... just as the dismal dump in soft data recently has prompted buying panics across stocks and commodities (on Fed cut hopes)... so the 'good news' today sparked a very bad no good response from markets with rate-cut expectations tumbling further. The market is now pricing in just  chance of two rate cuts this year and has reduced 2025's expectations to three more cuts only...

Source: Bloomberg

And so while NVDA was charging to ever more impressive highs, everything else shit the bed with stocks down hard, oil & gold tanking, crypto clubbed like a baby seal, bonds battered, and only the USDollar managed gains, recovering from overnight weakness.

Small Caps and The Dow were the biggest losers on the day with the latter hit by Boeing's breakdown. Despite NVDA's surge, Nasdaq and S&P were down significantly too...

Small Caps fell back to (and found support at) the 50-DMA today (all the other majors are extended well above their 50DMAs)...

Boeing shaved almost 100pts off The Dow today but all 30 components were red...

'Most Shorted' stocks continue to trend lower as short-squeezes have run out of ammo...

Source: Bloomberg

Magnificent 7 stocks ripped higher out of the gate (thanks to NVDA) but by the close had given it all back...

Source: Bloomberg

Treasury yields were up across the board with the short-end a slight laggard (2Y +6bps, 30Y +4bps)...

Source: Bloomberg

The dollar rebounded off overnight lows to end higher...

Source: Bloomberg

But gold was slammed lower once again...

Source: Bloomberg

Bitcoin hit $70,000 and was immediately dumped...

Source: Bloomberg

But, Ethereum held on to gains as hopes for approval of the ETH ETFs rises...

Source: Bloomberg

With ETH/BTC soaring...

Source: Bloomberg

Oil prices flip-flopped to end at three-month lows...

Source: Bloomberg

Finally, to clarify, the market is in 'Upside-Down World' still where good (macro) news is bad (market) news and vice versa...

Source: Bloomberg

But don't forget that inflation indicators just keep surprising to the upside (and now growth is getting a pump)...

Source: Bloomberg

Hardly an obvious scenario for rate-cutting... but then again, it is an election year and Biden is down bigly...

Source: Bloomberg

...so anything goes for the apolitical Fed.

Tyler Durden Thu, 05/23/2024 - 16:00
Published:5/23/2024 3:27:24 PM
[Markets] Dow ends more than 600 points lower as Boeing shares nosedive Published:5/23/2024 3:27:24 PM
[Markets] Stocks close lower, Dow falls by 600 despite Nvidia earnings Stocks (^DJI, ^IXIC, ^GSPC) have reversed at Thursday's market close, initially riding high off of Nvidia's (NVDA) fiscal first-quarter earnings reported on Wednesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 605 points, or just over 1.5%, and the S&P 500 dips back below 5.300. Market Domination's Julie Hyman reports on the day's market performances while Jared Blikre takes a look at sector losses and laggards in the semiconductor industry. For more of everything Nvidia, catch Yahoo Finance's exclusive interview with CEO Jensen Huang. For more expert insight and the latest market action, click here to watch this full episode of Market Domination Overtime. This post was written by Luke Carberry Mogan. Published:5/23/2024 3:27:24 PM
[Markets] War Cabinet Approves Resumption Of Truce Talks As Israeli Forces Plunge Deeper Into Rafah War Cabinet Approves Resumption Of Truce Talks As Israeli Forces Plunge Deeper Into Rafah

Facing immense pressure at home and internationally, the Netanyahu government said Thursday that Israel's war cabinet has approved the resumption of indirect truce and prisoner talks with Hamas.

Israel media says that the country's negotiating team has been issued directives to seek a breakthrough in talks to get the hostages back. The announcement comes the day after families of the hostages released a harrowing video of several female IDF troops being abducted and held on Oct.7. The families are hoping the footage puts their cause back in the spotlight, so that the government will prioritize their return.

Getty Images

The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has issued a new statement confirming a team has been ordered to "continue negotiations for the return of the hostages."

Prior rounds of failed talks broke down especially over the Hamas side's insistence that Israel's military completely withdraws from the Gaza Strip as a result of a ceasefire. The war cabinet has reportedly reached compromise on what it intends to push for in Qatar and Egypt-mediated talks, but details have not been revealed:

At the meeting, IDF Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon, who is one of the negotiators, presented an updated plan after a previous proposal was shot down on Saturday night by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Kan public broadcaster reported.

A source told Kan that the team did not get everything it asked for "but at least progress can be made."

Some anti-Netanyahu activists have charged that this is really all just a show in to deflect from global criticism of the ongoing ground assault in Rafah, further coming days after the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Netanyahu and his defense chief.

Large demonstrations have continued in Tel Aviv, with protesters chanting "Let's bring them home" - in reference to the remaining hostages - while alleging "the government gave up". According to a description in Times of Israel:

In Tel Aviv, protesters lit bonfires in the street, blocking traffic in both directions. Some participants dressed as bound and bloodied female soldiers, a reference to concerns that the captives are being sexually assaulted while in captivity. During the Hamas assault on the country, terrorists committed widespread atrocities including gang rape.

Einav Zangauker, whose son Matan is a hostage, said “This evening is a hostage night” after the release of the video showing the soldiers whom, she charged, have been abandoned by the state.

Heavy fighting has meanwhile continued in the south, with reports of 30 IDF soldiers wounded in the last two days in the Gaza Strip, some seriously. Israel's military spokesman has released a fresh English-language statement emphasizing that the troops are in Rafah in order to liberate the captives from 'barbaric' Hamas...

Hamas has issued videos this week showing at least three IDF soldiers taken out by sniper fire. The army faces a significant insurgency which is utilizing a vast tunnel network to strike in small teams.

Al Jazeera summarizes of some recent developments:

  • The Israeli army intensify its assault on Rafah as the International Court of Justice says it will rule on Friday on a request by South Africa to order Israel to implement a ceasefire in Gaza, including in the southern city.
  • Israeli forces kill 12 Palestinians in two-day raid on Jenin, in the occupied West Bank.
  • UN says displaced “families living among the rubble” after more than 800,000 Palestinians flee Rafah as Israeli forces attack.

According to more of the latest eyewitness reports via Reuters, "Residents and militants said tanks had taken up new positions on Wednesday further west than before along the southern border fence with Egypt, and were now stationed on the edge of the Yibna neighbourhood at the centre of Rafah. They had not yet entered the district as fighting had been intense."

Tyler Durden Thu, 05/23/2024 - 14:45
Published:5/23/2024 2:52:24 PM
[Markets] Analysis-Nvidia's split of soaring stock could boost retail investor appeal, Dow chances Nvidia's plan to split its stock after the stunning rise in the chipmaker's share price could lure more interest from retail investors while potentially paving the way for the company's inclusion in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Nvidia shares were soaring 10% on Thursday afternoon after the company announced a 10-for-one stock split as part of a blockbuster quarterly report included its revenue and forecast coming in above analyst estimates. Nvidia, which has become the poster child of investor enthusiasm for artificial intelligence, is the latest U.S. megacap company to unveil a stock split in recent years, including Amazon.com, Alphabet and Tesla. Published:5/23/2024 2:52:23 PM
[Markets] Dow transportation stocks are ‘area of potential concern’ for stock-market bulls In a U.S. stock market that has risen to fresh records this week, the Dow Jones Transportation Index stands out for idling since 2021, according to Yardeni Research. Published:5/23/2024 2:52:23 PM
[Markets] Lululemon’s stock keeps falling. But one analyst says the market is wrong. Lululemon investors are suffering through the longest losing streak for the yoga gear maker’s stock in a year, but BofA Securities tried to reassure them by saying the shares of the “best-in-class retailer” are being mispriced. Published:5/23/2024 1:38:37 PM
[Markets] When it came to Ticketmaster, Pearl Jam was decades ahead of the DOJ Published:5/23/2024 1:38:37 PM
[Markets] The Great Pandemic Walkback The Great Pandemic Walkback

Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Epoch Times,

The pattern is now clearly established. Major figures in and around the pandemic response are slowly walking back all the major claims surrounding the global compulsory regime that ruled life for two and a half years. And each statement is pointing to the same reality. The critics were correct all along. Yes, the very people whose social media accounts were throttled and banned for spreading supposed disinformation.

Consider the statement by Dr. Robert Redfield, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). His tenure there overlapped with the beginning of the lockdowns but he always seemed out of his element, outrun and overwhelmed by the bureaucratic miasma that washed through the agency at the time.

He has always tried to be a team player but you can sense his bitterness today. He knows the power of his words and is choosing them carefully now. In the past, he has said decisively that the idea that the pathogen was a gain-of-function lab leak was indeed possible. He was never a great enthusiast for the vaccine, even making a video in 2020 in which he said that a homemade mask might be more effective.

In other words, he was never on board with the whole plan. He was even excluded from meeting with Fauci/Birx and company.

Now he has come out and said what many people said from the beginning. He says that healthy people under the age of 60 never really needed the shots, and, further, that the injuries from the shots are high and must be recognized and acknowledged. True, this is information that everyone who has kept up already knows. What’s significant is the source.

“Those of us that tried to suggest there may be significant side effects from vaccines ... we kind of got canceled because no one wanted to talk about the potential that there was a problem from the vaccines, because they were afraid that that would cause people not to want to get vaccinated,” Dr. Redfield said.

He still thinks that the shots should be credited for saving “a lot” of lives, though that research is much in dispute. What’s remarkable is to have the former head of the CDC openly putting down the idea that healthy adults and children did not need these shots. They are included in the childhood schedule now and mandates still pervade academia and U.S. policy for citizenship. Clearly the pharma industry pushing these products remains more powerful than even former heads of the top agency in charge.

In addition, in compelling testimony, former head of the National Institutes for Health Francis Collins has admitted that there never was any science behind social distancing. The rule of six feet of distance, which sounds innocuous, masks a totalitarian ambition. It was the reason for the school closures since there was no way to practice it. It was why there were no gatherings. It was why businesses had to be only half-full or closed. It was the reason for the crazy dance everyone was doing for nearly two years. Even now, you sometimes encounter people who jump out of the way when a human is near.

There was never any science to it. We knew that from the very outset. The notion seems to have emerged out of a middle school science model based on the childhood game of Cooties, an imaginary virus that boys said girls had and girls said boys had. It was that dumb and yet it governed our lives.

Actually, there was a long science behind all forms of physical distancing. The research had been accumulating for 15 years in randomized controlled trials of physical interventions to interrupt virus spread. The overwhelming evidence was that they made no difference at all. That was the scientific orthodoxy going into 2020.

Still, they went ahead with devastating results. Gyms had to close—for the good of health. In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy issued some 80 edicts for business closures. Those edicts have only now been completely overturned as unconstitutional and unjust, and all penalties assigned to violators have been reversed. This is hugely important news but essentially four years too late.

As for the damages done by the shots, the vaccine makers were indemnified by law against paying for any harms they caused. So there is no question of any liability on their part. The pharma companies say that if they had to be held responsible for damages that they could never make any vaccines. That claim alone should raise alarm bells. In a market economy under the rule of law, makers of products bear responsibility for harms caused by their use. Pharma should be no different especially with a product imposed by force on most of the population.

In addition, there is a real question of fraud against which the shot makers are not indemnified. Those claims are now in litigation. We shall see how they end up. No question that public opinion has dramatically turned against all the expert advice and mandates of this period of our history. It is more likely than ever that judges will test out the power of the judiciary by putting a solid stop on the power of the administrative state, at least in the United States.

In addition, we are seeing the Cuomo brothers (former N.Y. Governor Andrew and former CNN commentator Chris) attempting to walk back everything they did and said. Andrew is now frequently saying that all the mandates of the period were in fact completely unenforceable. This claim is completely wrong: the police roamed the streets in those days to ticket people for not distancing and shutting down businesses for not selling food with their drinks (as if that was going to achieve anything in terms of stopping the virus). Meanwhile, Chris has outed himself as being vaccine-injured and inviting ever more dissidents on his show on News Nation.

Now to the burning question. If all the evidence was clear that none of this could control a virus, and if even the vaccine trials were revealing high injury and a lack of effectiveness of the shots, why did they go ahead with the crazy experiment in the first place?

Here is where we have to get into some speculation. Having studied and written about all of this for four years, and looking even at the prevailing pandemic plans for the future, it’s my considered opinion that the whole protocol was designed for one purpose. The intention from the beginning was to preserve the immunological naivete of the whole population for as long as possible so that the vaccines could come to the rescue and save the population. In other words, everything they did, from closures to forced separation and masks, was designed to stop the emergence of natural immunity.

Does that sound crazy and conspiratorial to you? Maybe but I urge you to think about it. They had from February 2020 to December of that year, helpfully timed with an election they could force to be swung by mail-in ballots, to keep seroprevalence levels in the population as low as possible. That’s why there was such a wild frenzy to stop anyone in the population from catching so much as a cold. The idea was to pitch the shot based on new technology as the savior of humanity.

Can I absolutely prove that theory? Not really, not yet. But it makes sense of all existing facts, and it also makes sense of why they attempted so many cockamamie strategies even though they would not likely work. It was the best they had and they were quite desperate to make sure that the shots and the shots alone would save the day. It’s also why the World Health Organization changed the definition of herd immunity from including exposure to become exclusively a product of vaccines.

The plan was pretty far-flung but there were three major problems.

  • First, people quickly realized that the bug was nowhere near as serious as they made it out to be. Many people got the thing, felt rough for a few days, and shook it off. Such is life.

  • Second, people got exposed and thus obtained immunity anyway. There was nothing that could be done about that.

  • Third, and devastatingly, the shots did not work as intended. They didn’t stop infection and they didn’t stop the spread. Plus they caused enormous harm.

If there was a conspiracy, then, it flopped.

This is the scenario that I believe is waiting to be unearthed. It will be in time. The elites that were in charge are right now simply trying to delay the day as long as possible, while admitting as little as possible in the meantime. For this reason, the gradual walkback is going to take many years in the hopes that once people find out the real agenda, the intensity of public outrage will have died down as much as possible. Then the whole episode can fade into the woodwork of the history of our times.

Tyler Durden Thu, 05/23/2024 - 13:40
Published:5/23/2024 1:15:09 PM
[Markets] Value of Nvidia jumps by as much as Britain’s most valuable company The US microchip giant Nvidia has gained the entire value of Britain’s biggest listed company in a single day as the artificial intelligence (AI) boom sent shares to a fresh record high. Published:5/23/2024 1:15:09 PM
[Markets] UCLA workers to strike over university handling of Gaza protests The strike would mark an escalation of a work stoppage that began Monday at UC Santa Cruz, disrupting classes and research in the final weeks of the school year. Published:5/23/2024 1:15:09 PM
[Markets] Why Snowflake’s stock is falling despite a boost to guidance Bernstein worries that “expectations may creep too high for next quarter” and says the AI messaging looks murky. Published:5/23/2024 1:15:09 PM
[Markets] Boeing’s cash flow-woes hit company’s bonds, raising fears of a debt downgrade Published:5/23/2024 1:15:09 PM
[Markets] Ranking Trump's Vice-Presidential Options Ranking Trump's Vice-Presidential Options

Authored by Sean Trende via RealClearPolitics,

Playing the Veepstakes guessing game is often a losing one for analysts. Vice-presidential selection is ultimately a highly personal choice, and it is simply too difficult to venture into the mind of one individual and mimic their thought process. Perhaps more importantly, Republican presidential nominees haven’t made the obvious choice for vice president since Ronald Reagan chose George Bush in 1980. Dan Quayle, Jack Kemp, Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin, Paul Ryan, and even Mike Pence were all somewhat “out-of-left-field” selections for their respective presidential candidates.

It is tempting to say that the journey into the mind of a presidential candidate is particularly likely to become a failed venture when that candidate is Donald Trump. This doesn’t give Trump enough credit. Picking Mike Pence in 2016 was, in retrospect, an inspired choice and probably helped win him the presidency. In this regard, at least, his 2016 campaign was surprisingly normal.

Nonetheless, the goal isn’t to predict who Trump’s pick will be. Instead we’ll rank the prospective candidates by who would do the most good for the Republican ticket. There are a number of potential candidates not listed here. Ben Carson, Elise Stefanik, Tom Cotton, or Ron DeSantis come to mind (and Kristi Noem until about three weeks ago), and Trump really could pick someone completely out of the blue. But let’s look at the potential running mates who have gotten the most buzz of late:

10. Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

First, Haley certainly isn’t showing much interest in the job. A vice-presidential candidate should, at a minimum, have endorsed the presidential candidate. There’s a universe where this is the Republican dream ticket, but relations between Haley and Trump have deteriorated so much that Trump risks looking weak or desperate were he to pick her. Probably a net negative at this point.

9. Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Sanders’ pros are threefold: She is a female governor, she served in the Trump administration, and she is supportive of Trump. Beyond that, she brings little to the table.

8. Sen. J.D. Vance, Ohio.

Vance might have made sense for Trump’s 2016 campaign, when he was trying to build a coalition by tearing away blue-collar voters from Obama’s 2012 win. But if Trump is trying to shore up the blue-collar vote in 2024, he’s in trouble. He needs to make gains elsewhere. Also Vance’s 2022 win in Ohio was fairly unimpressive, so even if he needs to win by those voters for some reason, it isn’t clear that Vance is the ticket.

7. Former Hawai’i Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

This is one I go back and forth on. Ultimately, I think Gabbard probably has too many liberal votes dating from her almost-decade in Congress. Check out her scorecard from the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, for one. That didn’t stop George H.W. Bush from being chosen in 1980, but this isn’t 1980 anymore. She’s an outside-the-box pick for a campaign that, at least right now, doesn’t have to think outside the box.

6. South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott.

On paper, Scott makes sense. Trump is hoping to add non-white voters to his coalition, and the first black Senator from the South since Reconstruction seems like he would not hurt. But Scott underwhelmed in the debates and lacks the executive experience that some of the other possibilities bring to the table.

5. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

Four of my top five picks are governors, and this isn’t accidental. Probably the two most important things Trump’s pick would do are: (a) reassure suburban voters that this will be a serious administration, rather than the at-times chaos-filled farrago that was Trump’s first term; and (b) give the various wings of the Republican Party confidence that when Trump leaves in 2029 he’ll leave the GOP in capable hands. Abbott has been a reasonably successful governor of the nation’s second-largest state for a decade now. His experience with the immigration issue will also help highlight a top theme of the Trump campaign for the election.

4. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds.

Reynolds is a lot like Sanders or Vance in that she doesn’t bring a lot immediately to the table, electorally speaking – as Trump is already counting on carrying Iowa, Arkansas, and Ohio, respectively. What she does bring, though, is eight years of executive experience (14 if you count her time as lieutenant governor.) It also doesn’t hurt that she’s from a state that borders the state likely to be electoral vote number 270 for one candidate or another (Wisconsin). A serious midwestern governor who could be a serious president one day, and who doesn’t turn off one faction or another of the GOP coalition, is a pretty solid veep resume.

3. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.

Yes, yes, I know. Burgum has Interior Secretary written all over him. But boring and safe worked for Trump in 2016, and for reassuring wavering GOP suburbanites that Trump is serious about governing in 2025, he could do a lot worse. Although Burgum certainly looks the part, he has a history that is to the left of what we would expect from a modern Republican candidate – but not so far to the left that it would cause some of the problems that a Tulsi Gabbard pick might cause.

2. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin.

Imagine Burgum, but make him a little more charismatic, and give him minor GOP celebrity status. That gives you Youngkin. If Trump is serious in believing that Virginia is in play this time around, he might add some interesting electoral math as well. If I had to make a pick about who I thought Trump would choose, this is probably who I’d come up with.

1. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

Yes, one of them would probably have to change his residence (c’mon, Trump owns property everywhere). Yes, there’s some bad blood from 2016 still. But Rubio makes so much sense. He takes Florida off the board (to the extent that it isn’t already) and probably ices Nevada and Arizona as well. He might put New Mexico into play. He’s reassuring to suburbanites, and beloved of anti-anti-Trump Republicans. He sounded Trumpian themes on working class woes before Trump. The only downside is the address thing, and even if neither wanted to declare residency elsewhere (much easier today than in 1789) the worst-case scenario would be that the vice-presidential election would go to the Senate, which Republicans probably control if Trump wins the presidency.

*  *  *

Sean Trende is senior elections analyst for RealClearPolitics. He is a co-author of the 2014 Almanac of American Politics and author of The Lost Majority. He can be reached at strende@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @SeanTrende.

Tyler Durden Thu, 05/23/2024 - 12:20
Published:5/23/2024 12:04:41 PM
[Markets] Political Shellshocks Loom For Markets Political Shellshocks Loom For Markets

By Michael Every of Rabobank

Shellshock

Yesterday, the RBNZ held hawkishly and talked about a rate hike, with no cuts seen until end-2025. The UK’s inflation numbers were awful both headline and core, with services CPI at around 6%: yet the BOE evidently wants to cut rates as soon as it can. Then the Fed minutes from its May meeting made clear several FOMC members are still prepared to vote for a hike, or to keep rates on hold longer than markets expect. (See here for more from our Fed Watcher Philip Marey.)

Luckily for markets, however, the AI boom rolls on and on: because where would we be without our US asset bubble du jour?

However, there are still more potential shellshock for markets ahead from politics: Bloomberg’s Shuli Ren asks, ‘Has Xi changed His Mind on Housing and Consumption?The NOT neoliberal, but Marx-Lenin-Mao-Xi ideology of China’s political-economy was underlined by its release of an AI based entirely on Xi Jinping Thought, which some dub ‘Chat Xi PT’. However, were Beijing to reflate with serious fiscal stimulus, it would hamper Western central banks’ room for rate cuts: look at what commodity prices are doing without any Chinese version of the West’s Covid stimulus.

A smaller shellshock is the UK holding a rare summer election where polls say it’s “Gone on the 4th of July” for the Conservatives. Indeed, the logic of doing this now rather than waiting for November in the hope opposition support dips has political experts saying either PM Sunak has the inverse Midas touch, or there is a looming scandal so bad it’s prompted the worst-snap election since New Zealand’s drunk Prime Minister called a “Schnapps election” in 1984.

The larger UK shell shock is Shapps: the defence minister states,Lethal aid is now, or will be, flowing from China to Russia into Ukraine.” Yes, China is helping the Russian economy by supplanting Western-centric industrial supply chains, and some of that has dual use, but actual lethal aid is supposedly a ‘red line’ that triggers US and EU secondary sanctions. Yet in January 2022 I warned these would either prove ineffective or bifurcate the world economy into complying/not complying blocs. Our post-invasion research underlined the same binary, and that it’s impossible to model how much economic damage would be done if secondary sanctions had real teeth. More recently, the IMF made the same point.

Markets may think even if this is correct that, like Shapps, ‘this too will pass’, and we can Keep Calm and Carry On Rate Cuts (and/or AI). Yet that’s the same pre-war naïve thinking I decried in 2022. After all, that would mean there are no red lines, so lethal aid can flow to Russia; its military position vis-à-vis Ukraine would be strengthened further; and it would leave Europe unwilling and unable to respond, and the US unwilling to because it has bigger Chinese fish to fry in Asia. Indeed, things already continue to escalate rapidly:

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s new president Lai Ching-te gave an inaugural address that sailed dangerously close to the China’s red lines. The Global Times rails: “Lai shamelessly stated in his speech that "the Republic of China Taiwan is a sovereign, independent nation" and "the Republic of China and the People's Republic of China are not subordinate to each other," spewing various "Taiwan independence" fallacies and hostile provocations against the Chinese mainland… They are well aware that what they are doing now is pushing Taiwan into a dangerous pit of war and danger." China is already responding with the largest joint military drills around Taiwan for a year, "Joint Sword-2024A", which encircle it, and include actions around its outlying islands of Kinmen, Matsu, Wuxi, and Dongyin. This is as reports say ASML added kill switches to TSMC technology to be triggered if China invades Taiwan.

Moreover, as flagged in Tuesday’s ‘Wrath of Khan’ Daily, the international liberal order is fracturing further following the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) request for arrest warrants for the Israeli prime minister and defence minister, and three leaders of Hamas. The EU is split: Belgium, Spain, and Ireland back the ICC; France did too, then prevaricated; Italy and Austria are opposed, and the Netherlands’ Geert Wilders strongly backs Israel; and Germany said it didn’t agree with the Court… but would only obey its orders. Yet there is bipartisan support in the US, which President Biden won’t block, to sanction the ICC for its recent action. Naturally, Russia and China are making as much hay as they Khan, splitting the Global South further from the West in the process.

But, hey, “AI!”, right?

Tyler Durden Thu, 05/23/2024 - 11:40
Published:5/23/2024 11:07:54 AM
[Markets] Stock market today: Nasdaq, S&P 500 pop as Nvidia galvanizes stocks Nvidia's blockbuster earnings have fired up optimism for AI's ability to fuel growth, eclipsing rate-hike worries for now. Published:5/23/2024 11:07:54 AM
[Markets] Mortgage rates fall below 7% for the first time in more than a month  The 30-year mortgage rate is averaging at 6.94% Freddie Mac said in its latest weekly survey on Thursday. Published:5/23/2024 11:07:54 AM
[Markets] Mortgage rates fall below 7% for the first time in more than a month Published:5/23/2024 11:07:54 AM
[Markets] What the commodity rally means for inflation The commodity sector has been rallying, reaching all-time highs, but what does this mean for the Federal Reserve's fight against inflation? HSBC Chief Multi-Asset Strategist Max Kettner joins Catalysts to discuss his outlook. Kettner says the commodity rally has not "reignited a lot of those inflationary concerns." He notes that rallies such as the one occurring in Gold (GC=F) are coming from central bank buying. He also points out that commodities benefitted from less diversification happening in areas such as bonds coming off the Fed's rate hike cycle, pushing assets like Gold higher as well. On the natural gas front, Kettner says he is not concerned, though he cautions if oil (CL=F, BZ=F) and natural gas (NG=F) prices were to rise simultaneously, it could pose a problem for markets. However, he says current energy prices in the US are still "relatively tame," adding that this indicates "we're nowhere near hitting that 2% inflation target anytime soon." For more expert insight and the latest market action, click here to watch this full episode of Catalysts. This post was written by Angel Smith Published:5/23/2024 10:45:00 AM
[Markets] One lender is offering a mortgage with a 0% down payment. Yes, there's a catch. Published:5/23/2024 10:36:34 AM
[Markets] Nvidia beats Apple and Tesla to become the largest holding in average retail portfolio Step aside Apple and Tesla, retail investors may have a new favorite stock: Nvidia. Published:5/23/2024 10:17:01 AM
[Markets] Dow down nearly 300 points as Nvidia-inspired stock-market gains fade Published:5/23/2024 10:07:51 AM
[Markets] US-China trade tensions may spell eventual trouble for Nvidia US equity markets (^IXIC, ^GSPC) — except for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) — are coasting on positive intraday gains after Nvidia (NVDA) outpaced fiscal first-quarter earnings estimates in its figures reported after the bell on Wednesday. Charles Schwab Chief Global Investment Strategist and Managing Director Jeffrey Kleintop joins The Morning Brief to discuss where he expects outstanding market performances to broaden out past the tech sector and AI megatrends, especially as international trade tensions percolate on President Biden's new tariffs on Chinese imports and ban on selling semiconductors to China. "It's a safe place to find growth in a global economy that's been struggling for the past several quarters. but maybe that's not the case anymore. I'm arguing for a broadening of market performance outside of the tech sector, outside some of these AI darlings," Kleintop says. "This morning we got the PMI data from Europe and it was booming. In fact, Europe is really coming out of the recession that it experienced last year and that means better growth for more cyclical sectors." For more of everything Nvidia, catch Yahoo Finance's exclusive interview with CEO Jensen Huang. For more expert insight and the latest market action, click here to watch this full episode of Morning Brief. This post was written by Luke Carberry Mogan. Published:5/23/2024 10:07:51 AM
[Markets] Spirit and Frontier just scrapped some fees, but brace for extra charges on these 10 U.S. airlines $15 to pick your seat, $75 for a carry-on bag. Airline fees are still rampant, despite Biden crackdown on ‘junk fees.’ Published:5/23/2024 10:07:51 AM
[Markets] Biden Goes All-In With War On Coal Biden Goes All-In With War On Coal

Authored by American Coal Council CEO Emily Arthun, via RealClearEnergy,

The Biden administration’s war on coal came out of the shadows recently, with the release of a new series of regulations that have the clear intent of locking up millions of acres of federal land from coal mining and drilling for oil and natural gas, as well as shutting down the nation’s remaining coal-fired power generation fleet.

The Bureau of Land Management released a new rule that will effectively make it impossible to continue to mine coal or drill for oil and gas anywhere on federally owned lands. This will cripple coal mining in the Powder River Basin and other western reserves, which provide most of the nation’s thermal coal used for energy production. This action alone would have been devastating, but it was just part of a much larger and far-reaching series of regulatory actions.

The new tranche of regulations was an 11th hour assault, issued literally days before the close of a window of time allowing a new President to reverse the decision by executive order. With this announcement, any reversal will have to come through action by both houses of Congress or by litigation in court.

These actions come despite the clear warnings by some of the Biden Administration’s own electric utility regulators that further closures of baseload energy capacity (such as coal) could result in the failure of the nation’s electric grid.

The new regulations effectively make it impossible for utilities to continue to operate coal-fired power plants without investing in new, largely unproven commercially and highly expensive, carbon capture technologies capable of cutting 95% of carbon dioxide emissions. It would also require the same of any new natural gas-powered facilities. However, existing natural gas facilities would be exempt from the requirement.

Make no mistake about it, this new series of regulations has one intent – to force the shutdown of the nation’s coal-fired generation fleet, starving it of much of its fuel source, and making it economically impossible to continue to operate these units.  Far from some panacea, these actions will ripple through the entire economy. They will drive already staggering electric bills out of reach for millions of American families, leaving them struggling with the choice of putting food on the table or heating and cooling their homes. Many of those on fixed incomes, such as retirees on social security, will be the hardest hit.

And even if you can afford to pay for electricity, it may not be there when you need it most. Further closure of baseload generation could (and likely will) push the electric grid past the breaking point during the very times when they need electricity the most – the heat of summer and the cold of winter.  It will result in the de facto rationing of energy and will also play out across the rest of the economy, driving inflation even higher and forcing many companies out of business.

Frankly, I do not understand this “damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead” approach to regulation. It seems allegiance to a radical green agenda is all that matters to the Biden Administration and the needs of average American families are not even on the radar.

America needs ready access to reliable and affordable energy. It is what built this great nation. There is no shortage of coal. There is no shortage of gas or oil. However, there does appear to be a shortage of common sense on the part of this administration.

Rather than using our vast resources of coal, oil, and gas, the Biden Administration seems intent on committing economic suicide. Over the next few decades, demand for electricity is projected to skyrocket. How will we meet that demand if we continue this administration’s reckless pursuit of a green fairy tale?

Emily Arthun is president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based American Coal Council.

Tyler Durden Thu, 05/23/2024 - 10:50
Published:5/23/2024 9:59:22 AM
[Markets] U.S. new-home sales dip as mortgage rates take toll Published:5/23/2024 9:34:20 AM
[Markets] U.S. and 30 states sue to ‘break up’ Ticketmaster parent Live Nation In an antitrust lawsuit, the government says Live Nation leveraged its sprawling footprint to box out rivals, undermining consumer choice and pushing up prices. Published:5/23/2024 9:34:20 AM
[Markets] U.S. economic expansion has been gathering strength this month: S&P Published:5/23/2024 9:04:34 AM
[Markets] Red Or Blue, Rich Or Poor — Recessions Don't Care Red Or Blue, Rich Or Poor — Recessions Don't Care

Authored by Simon White, Bloomberg macro strategist,

Political affiliation and wealth, it’s speculated, are making a recession look more likely than it really is by introducing systematic bias into the economic data. But this is a distraction. For the data that matters most in gauging the likelihood of a downturn, any potential bias matters little. A robust recession framework shows that the near-term risk of a slump remains low, but is prone to shifting higher quickly.

There is no such thing as unbiased data. How the data is procured and presented will always introduce user bias, and it’s no different with economic data. My colleague Simon Flint recently wrote that recession risk is being overstated due to data biases, while Cameron Crise has previously touched upon apparent political bias in survey data.

A reader also wrote in with an interesting conjecture that perhaps soft data is more geared to those who are less well off, and hard data the better off.

The recent worse performance of soft data – helping to inch up recession risks – is thus a reflection of worsening wealth inequality rather than a bona fide worsening in economic conditions.

We’ll get to these points, but first let’s answer what should be the prime question for investors, keen to avoid the worst equity-market drawdowns:

Is bias in the data overestimating recession risk?

The short answer is no.

Although there is some bias in economic data, it’s not enough to subvert recession prediction when done robustly. Near-term recession risk today remains low, but that risk could rise rapidly, independent of data bias.

A prevalent bias in some economic data is political. When it comes to some survey data, it can be significant. The Michigan Consumer Sentiment Survey provides a breakdown of political affiliation. Sentiment is being overwhelmingly driven by those who identify as Democrats, and who are currently wildly more optimistic than Republicans.

I am not aware of an explicit breakdown of affiliation in other survey data, but Cameron notes there is an inferable potential skew in the NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index toward being higher when a Republican is in the White House. Similarly with the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index.

This is all quite interesting, but the core question for investors remains: does it matter for when stock markets experience their worst falls, i.e. recessions?

To begin with, the Conference Board and Michigan’s gauges of consumer sentiment as well as the NFIB are tier-2 data when it comes to predicting downturns.

Much better is the manufacturing ISM. As a standalone indicator it excels at unequivocally turning down before a recession begins.

But that’s secondary; the ISM’s real importance stems from it sitting at the nexus between soft and hard data and how they interact to trigger recessions.

This is critical. Recessions metastasize when we get a negative feedback loop developing between hard and soft data. Hard data deteriorates, and this feeds into soft and market data. That in turn hits the wealth effect, which affects investment and spending and feeds back into worsening hard data. Unchecked, a recession typically develops.

The ISM’s role is as a key artery from survey data to the market, and thence ultimately into hard data. The other surveys simply don’t have the same influence, with all of them displaying a much weaker relationship with the S&P.

There is some reflexivity in that ISM-survey respondents’ level of optimism will be affected by the level of the market. But the market also responds to the ISM, as one of the first data points out each month.

Despite Cameron’s view that the ISM does not matter as much as it used to, it in fact remains one of the most important data points (I’ll write more on this very soon).

But we also needn’t overstate its importance. There is no single “killer” recession predictor. The ISM’s utility comes from it having a long history, being minimally revised, having an early release time and its role in facilitating recession-causing negative feedback loops. But other data matter too.

All that said, it would be problematic if the ISM displayed any systematic, significant political bias. There is no data on the political leaning of the survey’s respondents, but we can exploit another feature of recessions to get round any potential bias: their pervasiveness.

Things tend to start going bad everywhere at the same time in a recession. Several Fed member banks produce their own regional manufacturing surveys. The states they cover are fairly evenly balanced overall, with two Democrat strongholds, two Republican ones, and two states that are generally closely fought. This should help even out any potential bias.

A reliable and timely recession indicator, with only a few false positives, has been when all of the regional indexes have been in contraction. Even then this should not be used as a standalone signal. To reiterate, we need to see both hard and soft data self-reinforcedly deteriorating at the same time to trigger a recession.

In addition, therefore, we look for a pervasive worsening in hard data too, e.g. the jobs market across states. Unemployment claims in multiple states have picked up sharply ahead of previous recessions.

What about the notion that hard and soft data are biased by wealth inequality, with hard data more geared to the better off, and soft data to the less well off?

Again, there is little bias we can discern. Both better and worse-off households by net worth show a negligible relationship with both hard and survey-based data (even if we use different lags in the data).

Soft, market-based data does have a much stronger relationship with net worth. But, as the table below shows, stocks have a higher, not lower, R^2 with better-off households than less well-off ones. This is anyway as you would expect given the higher exposure of the wealthier to financial assets.

However, the net worth of less wealthy households has a higher R^2 to credit spreads than better-off ones. That may seem odd at first but is likely explained by credit-spreads’ closer relationship to unemployment.

It’s hard to pinpoint any systematic wealth bias in the data, and likewise it’s hard to find political bias in data that matters for recession prediction, or if so any that we can’t smooth out by exploiting state heterogeneity.

So while it’s recommended to “know your data,” when it comes to what matters - avoiding steep market drawdowns ahead of downturns - investors need not get distracted by second-guessing who votes for whom, and how well-off they might be.

Tyler Durden Thu, 05/23/2024 - 09:25
Published:5/23/2024 8:55:40 AM
[Markets] Jobless claims fall again to 215,000. Strong labor market fuels U.S. economy. The number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits last week fell again to 215,000, reaffirming that layoffs are low and the economy is being buoyed by a strong labor market. Published:5/23/2024 8:55:40 AM
[Markets] Dow 2,800,000? It’s not a stretch. Find out why in Need to Know. Published:5/23/2024 8:55:40 AM
[Markets] S&P 500, Nasdaq open higher on Nvidia Q1 earnings bump The S&P 500 (^GSPC) and the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) are grooving to the tune of Nvidia's (NVDA) fiscal first-quarter earnings beat reported after the market close on Wednesday. The Nasdaq is in the green, seeing gains as high as 190 points at Thursday's market open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) is the standalone index laggard this morning. Morning Brief Anchors Seana Smith and Brad Smith examine the bump that the broader market is getting from the chip giant's overwhelmingly positive earnings print. Catch Yahoo Finance's interview with Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang here. For more expert insight and the latest market action, click here to watch this full episode of Morning Brief. This post was written by Luke Carberry Mogan. Published:5/23/2024 8:55:40 AM
[Markets] Nvidia shares set to blast through $1,000 barrier for first time — live coverage Published:5/23/2024 8:35:26 AM
[Markets] Dow Jones Falls After Jobless Claims; Nvidia Surges Above 1,000 On Earnings Stock Market Today: The Dow Jones dropped Thursday after jobless claims. Nvidia stock surged above $1,000 on strong earnings results. Published:5/23/2024 8:35:26 AM
[Markets] Grocers are finally lowering prices as consumers pull back Retailers like Target, Walmart and Aldi have begun rolling back costs in their food aisles and on other household staples. Published:5/23/2024 8:14:36 AM
[Markets] German Parliament Votes To Decriminalize The Possession Of Child Pornography German Parliament Votes To Decriminalize The Possession Of Child Pornography

Are you starting to see a pattern yet? 

First there was the introduction of gender fluid and LGBT ideology into public schools, then there were sexualized drag queen performances for children, then leftist activists demanded that pedophiles be referred to as "MAPS" (Minor Attracted Persons) because "they can't help who they are attracted to," then California passed a law reducing charges for adults engaged in sexual relations with minors. 

Now, the German Parliament has forwarded a bill that makes possession and distribution of child pornography a misdemeanor instead of a felony, greatly reducing diminishing possible penalties.

German officials claim the new law is meant to address inconsistencies in previous child pornography laws which are sometimes applied to people who "receive images or videos through email or social media without their permission."  They also cited instances where two minors traded images and were charged with creation or possession of child pornography. 

Critics of the bill argue that the German government could have easily made legal adjustments for those specific exceptions to avoid innocent people being wrongly imprisoned.  Instead, they are trying to institute sweeping changes that reclassify the crime and give greater legal protections to an array of child predators.  The new law does not make exceptions for adult offenders.   

According to the Bundestag (Parliament), the bill stipulates that “possession and acquisition should be punishable with a minimum penalty of three months’ imprisonment, and distribution with a minimum penalty of six months’ imprisonment, and distribution with a minimum penalty of six months’ imprisonment. The offenses regulated in Section 184b of the Criminal Code are therefore classified as misdemeanors and not as crimes.”

It should be noted that the criminal classification for possession of sexual materials related to minors has shifted a number of times in Germany, with felony status applied most recently in 2021.  In other words, the German government decided after only three years that punishing pedophiles with longer prison sentences was just not fair.

The move has already been celebrated by a German pro-pedophile activist group known as Krumme-13, or simply K13.  the activist group has been described as a “self-help” organization for “pedosexuals.”  In a blog post written by its founder and dated May 17, K13 laments that “no politician in all factions apologized to the thousands upon thousands of those affected who fell victim” to the 2021 law which had made possession of child sexual abuse materials a felony."

In 2019 the German Bundestag accepted a petition outlining "children’s rights" which was drafted by Krumme-13.  The lobby group advocated for lowering the age of consent to 12 years old and legalizing child pornography. They announced on their website that a resolution developed by the group’s founder, Dieter Gieseking, had achieved enough votes to be added to the constitution, or Basic Law. 

Gieseking’s petition amends Article 6 of the Basic Law to add statements regarding children’s rights, and states that “children should be viewed as legal subjects with their own rights.”  Article II of the petition includes the "right to sexual self determination."  In other words, the group petitioned the German government to give children legal adult status (making them fair game for pedophiles), and the government seems to be taking them seriously.

Beyond the natural inclination of all moral people to be inherently disgusted by those who fetishize children, beyond the fact that pedophiles have long been seen as dangerous and malicious parasites that need to be removed from society, the root legal argument is one of consent.  It is an argument which leftist activist groups and political parties continue to ignore. 

Children cannot consent.  They are not mentally and emotionally mature enough to be capable of informed consent, which means they can be easily targeted for exploitation if they are not protected by the law and by their parents.  

The fact that this is a debate we are having in 2024 is mind boggling until you recognize what kinds of people we have lurking in the halls of power.  It's not hard to see the tip-toe that is happening today, with the eventual end game being the total legalization of child sex abuse in the name of "inclusion."   

Tyler Durden Thu, 05/23/2024 - 09:05
Published:5/23/2024 8:05:48 AM
[Markets] Nvidia’s growth pace has never before been seen in capitalist history: tech CEO Published:5/23/2024 7:57:06 AM
[Markets] Dow Jones Futures Rise After Jobless Claims; Nvidia Surges Above 1,000 On Earnings Stock Market Today: Dow Jones futures rose Thursday after jobless claims. Nvidia stock surged above $1,000 on strong earnings results. Published:5/23/2024 7:40:16 AM
[Markets] These tips for investing in mutual funds and ETFs get your portfolio in the groove Summer stocks, some corporate insiders like their odds, and why Dow 1 million is doable. Published:5/23/2024 7:40:16 AM
[Markets] U.S. first-time unemployment claims fall again as labor market powers economy Published:5/23/2024 7:40:16 AM
[Markets] Dow Jones Futures Rise Ahead Of Jobless Claims; Nvidia Surges Above 1,000 On Earnings Stock Market Today: Dow Jones futures rose Thursday ahead of jobless claims. Nvidia stock surged above $1,000 on strong earnings results. Published:5/23/2024 7:15:25 AM
[Markets] Medtronic’s stock rises after another earnings beat and dividend hike Medtronic has raised its dividend for 47 straight years, with the implied dividend yield more than double that of the S&P 500. Published:5/23/2024 6:58:45 AM
[Markets] Generac, Next Era Energy Partners downgraded as analyst favors Hannon Armstrong JPMorgan shuffles ratings on clean energy stocks with HASI and TPIC as top picks. Published:5/23/2024 6:38:51 AM
[Markets] The Incoming Commercial Real Estate Crisis No One Seems Prepared For The Incoming Commercial Real Estate Crisis No One Seems Prepared For

Authored by Kevin Stocklin via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

It has been a year since a string of U.S. regional bank failures, together with the collapse of global heavyweight Credit Suisse, caused many to fear that a major financial crisis was imminent.

(Illustration by The Epoch Times, Shutterstock)

But, by the summer of 2023, the panicked withdrawals by frightened depositors largely subsided.

In February, however, New York Community Bank (NYCB) appeared to resurrect the crisis when it announced $2.4 billion in losses, fired its CEO, and faced credit downgrades from rating agencies Fitch and Moodys.

In what has become a familiar tale for U.S. regional banks, NYCB’s share price plummeted by 60 percent virtually overnight, erasing billions of dollars from its market value, and its depositors fled en masse.

I think that there’s more to come,” Peter Earle, a securities analyst and senior research fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research, told The Epoch Times.

Underlying this year’s turbulence is the fact that many regional banks are sitting on large portfolios of distressed commercial real estate (CRE) loans. according to Mr. Earle. And many are attempting to cope through a process called “extend and pretend,” in which they grant insolvent borrowers more time to pay in hopes that things will get better.

“There is trouble out there, and most of it probably won’t be realized because of the ability to roll some of these loans forward and buy a few more years, and maybe things will recover by then,” he said.

“But all it does is it kicks the can down the road, and it basically means a more fragile financial system in the medium term.”

NYCB’s problem was an overwhelming exposure to New York landlords who were struggling to stay solvent. At the start of this year, the bank had on its books more than $18 billion in loans to multifamily, rent-controlled housing developments.

This situation was particularly concerning given that NYCB had been the safe-haven institution that rescued Signature Bank, another failing regional bank, in March 2023.

Much of what took down banks such as Signature Bank in last year’s banking crisis was an unmanageable level of deposits from high net worth and corporate clients that were too large to be insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

People walk by the First Republic Bank headquarters in San Francisco on March 13, 2023. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

In Signature Bank’s case, about 90 percent of its deposits were uninsured, and depositors rushed to withdraw their money when the bank came under stress from losses in the cryptocurrency market.

Another source of stress for regional banks was their inability to cope with an aggressive series of interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve to combat inflation. Many banks that held large bond portfolios yielding low fixed rates found that the value of these portfolios declined sharply, creating unrealized losses.

While these portfolios, often made up of U.S. Treasury securities, were considered safe from a credit perspective, they were subject to market risk, and their loss of value sparked concerns about the banks’ solvency in the event they had to be sold. As stock traders rushed to sell the shares of banks with large exposures to interest rate risk, customers became spooked and raced to withdraw their money.

Consequently, unrealized losses quickly became actual losses as banks were forced to sell bonds and loans at a loss in an increasingly futile attempt to make panicking depositors whole.

Rate Hikes Cease, Problems Remain

Today, while interest rates remain high, they are relatively stable. And yet concerns about the health of U.S. regional banks remain because of their large exposure through CRE, including office buildings, multifamily housing units, and retail spaces.

While CRE loans make up about 13 percent of the balance sheets of the biggest U.S. banks, they make up 44 percent of regional banks’ lending portfolios. CRE loans designated as nonperforming doubled as a percentage of U.S. banks’ portfolios from 0.4 percent in 2022 to 0.81 percent by the end of 2023.

In total, there are about 130 regional banks in the United States, with a little more than $3 trillion in assets. These banks, which each have between $10 billion and $100 billion in assets, are typically more exposed to the boom and bust of local markets but also to specific sectors within those markets where they have been able to operate profitably.

While other credit sectors, such as home mortgages, car loans, and corporate loans, are generally the domain of larger financial institutions, regional banks have found a profitable niche in lending to real estate investors. But in the past several years, commercial landlords have been taking hits from two directions.

Since the introduction of lockdowns and the rise of work-at-home culture during the COVID-19 pandemic, many corporations have viewed office rents as a cost ripe for cutting.

According to an April CRE report by Commercial Edge, the office vacancy rate across the United States was 18.2 percent as of March, an increase of 1.5 percent over the prior year.

“U.S. office vacancy rates have increased in recent years as companies embrace remote and hybrid work and re-examine their office footprints,” the report reads. “The increases are not concentrated in just one market or sector.”

Read more here...

Tyler Durden Thu, 05/23/2024 - 07:20
Published:5/23/2024 6:30:31 AM
[Markets] Home-insurance payouts are shrinking. Here’s how to prevent the worst. Thanks to inflation and climate change, homeowners are getting less money back from their insurers to repair and rebuild. Published:5/23/2024 6:22:07 AM
[Markets] Microsoft and Qualcomm team up to make AI the future of the PC Microsoft’s AI vision is winning over customers and developers, and the tech giant intends to bring the industry along with it. Published:5/23/2024 6:22:07 AM
[Markets] I saved $25,000 in a high-interest savings account. My wife and I want to upgrade our cars and invest $15,000. What do you suggest? “I have a modest Roth IRA that hasn’t really performed well and hesitate to add to it.” Published:5/23/2024 5:27:09 AM
[Markets] Walmart, Target Unleash Price-Cut Tsunami As Working-Poor Hit Brick-Wall Walmart, Target Unleash Price-Cut Tsunami As Working-Poor Hit Brick-Wall

Some of the nation's largest retailers are rolling back prices in response to low-income consumers hitting a proverbial brick wall. These consumers have maxed out credit card debt and drained personal savings to dangerously low levels in the era of failed Bidenomics. This also comes after an underwhelming April retail sales report and several notes from Goldman warning about faltering low-income consumers:

On Monday, Target announced, "It will lower everyday regular prices on approximately 5,000 frequently shopped items across its assortment. The retailer has just reduced prices on about 1,500 items, with thousands more price cuts planned to take effect over the course of the summer."

"Consumers will enjoy savings on everyday items such as milk, meat, bread, soda, fresh fruit and vegetables, snacks, yogurt, peanut butter, coffee, diapers, paper towels, pet food and more," the retailer said. 

One can't help but ask what influence (if any) the Biden administration had in potentially pressuring Target to lower prices. Food inflation is crushing the working poor, as Democrats are begging the president to lower prices by executive fiat. 

It wasn't just Target rolling back prices. Walmart, America's largest retailer, told analysts on an earnings call last week that it had begun reducing prices of grocery items. 

John Furner, Walmart US' chief executive, said stores have already issued 7,000 rollbacks. This move is intended to boost food sales in the second half of the year and prevent low-income consumers from trading down to Dollar Generals. 

Walmart noted that high-income consumers were trading down to the retailer, which helped drive sales in its grocery business last quarter. 

Walmart's disclosure last week and Target's announcement this week of price reductions on everyday items, with core cuts in food items, are direct responses to consumer fatigue after three years of high inflation. 

A recent FT-Michigan Ross poll showed persistent inflation has soured the mood of 71% of those surveyed. And maybe if the Biden administration's US Treasury, under Janet Yellen, wasn't spending like it was in a depression, $1 trillion every 100 days, then perhaps inflation could come back down to Earth. 

Joe Feldman, an analyst at Telsey Advisory Group, told the FT that Target unleashed price cuts on popular items to keep pace with Walmart. 

Or, in our view, the administration likely nudged the retailers to drop prices or risk being attacked by 'greedflation' buzzwords by Biden's social media team. 

Feldman expects the price cuts by Walmart and Target will "likely expand to the rest of retail."  

Consumers are likely to vote with their empty wallets this election season. Research firm NIQ said the effects of inflation have led to consumers spending a third more on consumer packaged goods than they did in 2019. 

"I don't think we're going to see much in the way of wholesale declines in prices," Steve Zurek, vice president of pricing and promotion thought leadership at NIQ, said, adding that the outlook for prices was vastly different from two years ago: "It's not going to be everything going up."

Should consumers celebrate retailers lowering prices? Possibly, but don't expect substantial relief anytime soon. 

In addition to major retailers, McDonald's recently considered returning $5 meal deals because low-income people are broke. 

Great job, Bidenomics! The working poor has been crushed, set back a generation because of persistent inflation, produced by out-of-control spending by the federal government. 

Goldman's trading desk this morning noted, "The theme of challenging 1Q consumer results has continued." This followed an underwhelming Target earnings report

Tyler Durden Thu, 05/23/2024 - 05:45
Published:5/23/2024 5:06:47 AM
[Markets] These Are The Countries Hosting The Most Refugees These Are The Countries Hosting The Most Refugees

According to estimates from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), some 36.5 million people were living as refugees under the UNHCR or UNRWA mandates as of mid-2023.

As Statista's Anna Fleck shows in the chart below, the countries hosting the most refugees are predominantly neighbors to nations that have been experiencing conflict or war.

Infographic: The Countries Hosting the Most Refugees | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

For example, Iran documented a jump in the number of refugees from 798,343 in 2021 to 3,425,091 in 2022, largely due to an increase in people leaving Afghanistan. According to humanitarian agency Concern Worldwide, this is also in part due to a change in the country’s system of classifying refugees and an effort to legitimize previously-undocumented refugees. Similarly, in Turkey, some 3.3 million refugees out of the country’s total 3.4 million are from neighboring Syria.

According to UNHCR data from mid-2023, the countries from which the most people have been forced to flee are Syria (6.5 million), Afghanistan (6.1 million), Ukraine (5.9 million), South Sudan (2.2 million).

It’s important to note here that actual numbers are likely even higher as this data only reflects the number of people identified by the UN as forcibly displaced.

Tyler Durden Thu, 05/23/2024 - 04:15
Published:5/23/2024 4:11:30 AM
[Markets] Stock Futures Rise as Nvidia Lifts Tech Sector Stock futures rose Thursday, driven by shares of Nvidia and other tech names as markets rebounded after the latest Federal Reserve minutes spooked investors. Futures on the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite jumped 0.8%, S&P 500 futures rose 0.5%, and Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 0.1%. Nvidia’s strong earnings, which managed to beat high expectations, were giving a boost to the tech sector, in particular. Published:5/23/2024 4:11:30 AM
[Markets] Tory MPs jostle for finance jobs after Sunak calls election Conservative politicians are strengthening their ties to City firms, priming for potential job opportunities that could open up after the general election as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak reveals the date of the contest. Published:5/23/2024 4:11:30 AM
[Markets] Dutch Lawyer Faces Prosecution For Social Media Post Slamming Mass Migration Dutch Lawyer Faces Prosecution For Social Media Post Slamming Mass Migration

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Modernity.news,

A Dutch conservative female lawyer is being prosecuted on charges of “racism” and “inciting hatred” after she expressed fury over mass migration in response to a viral video showing a white boy being beaten up and thrown onto a railway track by a gang of migrants.

Raisa Blommestijn revealed how she had received a letter that amounted to an order to appear before a Dutch prosecutor at a court hearing in front of multiple judges on August 19th.

The charges stem from comments Blommestijn made on social media in response to a video of a defenseless Dutch boy being brutally kicked and punched as he lay on the ground at an Amsterdam Metro station in May last year before he was thrown onto the railway track.

“Yet another white man got kicked around in the street by a group of black primates. How many defenseless white people remain to become victims? Countless probably: the open borders elite is importing these people in droves, with all the consequences that entails,” she wrote.

Blommestijn said she was subjected to a four hour police interrogation over her comments and later learned that she would be facing prosecution.

“Until now, it was still unclear what would happen next with this case. Unfortunately, I can tell you that as of today, there is clarity. The sword of Damocles has fallen because this morning I found this letter in my letterbox. A letter that cannot be seen as anything other than a subpoena,” the lawyer told her followers.

The conservative warned that people were being “persecuted for their political opinions” and for opposing mass migration by a nation that is “pretending to be a democracy, a country with freedom of speech.”

Prominent conservatives being punished by authorities for expressing strong anti-mass migration views has become a common theme across Europe, with the state seeking to make an example of them in order to silence dissent.

As we recently highlighted, a German politician was found guilty of ‘incitement’ by a district court after she posted a link to the government’s own statistics on crimes committed by migrants, specifically rape, and asked why they are so disproportionately high.

Three former members of Belgium’s right-wing ‘Nation’ party were also convicted for Facebook posts in which they compared the Brussels district of Molenbeek to Africa due to its massive non-native population and demanded the Belgian government put “our people first.”

*  *  *

Your support is crucial in helping us defeat mass censorship. Please consider donating via Locals or check out our unique merch. Follow us on X @ModernityNews.

Tyler Durden Thu, 05/23/2024 - 03:30
Published:5/23/2024 2:56:20 AM
[Markets] These Are The 5 Most Common Cybersecurity Mistakes These Are The 5 Most Common Cybersecurity Mistakes

Cyber attacks are becoming more prevalent with increasingly damaging outcomes, presenting new cybersecurity risks to users.

But in spite of the ever-evolving threat landscape, many of the best defenses remain the same. This includes the basics like creating strong passwords and avoiding malicious links. Yet often, people take unnecessary risks due to convenience, among other factors.

This graphic, via Visual Capitalist's Niccolo Conte, shows the top cybersecurity mistakes in 2023, based on data from Proofpoint.

The Most Common Mistakes Made by Users

Below, we rank the most common risky actions that people made online in 2023, based on a survey of 7,500 end users across 15 countries:

Overall, 71% of respondents said they made a cybersecurity mistake, with the vast majority doing so knowingly.

As we can see, the most common error was using a work device for personal activities followed by reusing or sharing a password. These actions were shown to be motivated by convenience, time-saving benefits, or urgency across users.

Ranking in third was connecting to WiFi networks in public spaces without using a virtual private network (VPN). This presents risks, because when a user connects to public WiFi, it exposes them to unsecured networks. These networks allow cybercriminals to intercept sensitive information, such as login credentials and personal messages.

By using a VPN, it prevents malicious actors from stealing personal information through creating an encrypted tunnel that hides a user’s location and other personal data.

 

Top Cybersecurity Risks, According to Professionals

While the above data deals with the most common risks taken by users, the same report by Proofpoint also highlights the professional view around what risks are actually the most dangerous.

According to a survey of 1,050 security professionals, clicking on links or downloading attachments from someone that they don’t know was considered the most risky action users could take. By downloading an infected file, it exposes users to computer viruses and malware that mine a computer or device for personal data.

In addition, reusing passwords posed the second-highest security threat, followed by accessing inappropriate websites.

 

Overall, there is a strong degree of overlap between the top cybersecurity mistakes and the most common risks taken by users. In this way, it highlights how many respondents may be unaware of the scale of risk they expose themselves to, and the importance of using the basic tools to avoid financial losses and unwanted outcomes.

Tyler Durden Thu, 05/23/2024 - 02:45
Published:5/23/2024 2:38:58 AM
[Markets] From COVID To Campus Protests: How The Police-State Muzzles Free-Speech From COVID To Campus Protests: How The Police-State Muzzles Free-Speech

Authored by John & Nisha Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“Politicians of both parties want to use the power of government to silence their foes. Some in the university community seek to drive it from their campuses. And an entire generation of Americans is being taught that free speech should be curtailed as soon as it makes someone else feel uncomfortable.”

- William Ruger, “Free Speech Is Central to Our Dignity as Humans

The police state does not want citizens who know their rights.

Nor does the police state want citizens prepared to exercise those rights.

This year’s graduates are a prime example of this master class in compliance. Their time in college has been set against a backdrop of crackdowns, lockdowns and permacrises ranging from the government’s authoritarian COVID-19 tactics to its more recent militant response to campus protests.

Born in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, these young people have been raised without any expectation of privacy in a technologically-driven, mass surveillance state; educated in schools that teach conformity and compliance; saddled with a debt-ridden economy on the brink of implosion; made vulnerable by the blowback from a military empire constantly waging war against shadowy enemies; policed by government agents armed to the teeth ready and able to lock down the country at a moment’s notice; and forced to march in lockstep with a government that no longer exists to serve the people but which demands they be obedient slaves or suffer the consequences.

And now, when they should be empowered to take their rightful place in society as citizens who fully understand and exercise their right to speak truth to power, they are being censored, silenced and shut down.

Consider what happened recently in Charlottesville, Va., when riot police were called in to shut down campus protests at the University of Virginia staged by students and members of the community to express their opposition to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Palestine.

As the local newspaper reported, “State police sporting tactical gear and riot shields moved in on the demonstrators, using pepper spray and sheer force to disperse the group and arrest the roughly 15 or so at the camp, where for days students, faculty and community members had sang songs, read poetry and painted signs in protest of Israel’s ongoing war in the Palestinian territory of Gaza.”

What a sad turn-about for an institution which was founded as an experiment in cultivating an informed citizenry by Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, champion of the Bill of Rights, and the nation’s third president.

Unfortunately, the University of Virginia is not unique in its heavy-handed response to what have been largely peaceful anti-war protests. According to the Washington Postmore than 2300 people have been arrested for taking part in similar campus protests across the country.

These lessons in compliance, while expected, are what comes of challenging the police state.

What was unexpected were the campus protests themselves.

For those of us who came of age in the 1960s, college campuses were once the bastion of free speech, awash with student protests, sit-ins, marches, pamphleteering, and other expressive acts showing our displeasure with war, the Establishment and the status quo.

Contrast that with college campuses today, which have become breeding grounds for compliant citizens and bastions of censorship, trigger warningsmicroaggressions, and “red light” speech policies targeting anything that might cause someone to feel uncomfortable, unsafe or offended.

Free speech can certainly not be considered “free” when expressive activities across the nation are being increasingly limited, restricted to so-called free speech zones, or altogether blocked.

Remember, the First Amendment gives every American the right to “petition his government for a redress of grievances.”

There was a time in this country, back when the British were running things, that if you spoke your mind and it ticked off the wrong people, you’d soon find yourself in jail for offending the king.

Reacting to this injustice, when it was time to write the Constitution, America’s founders argued for a Bill of Rights, of which the First Amendment protects the right to free speech. James Madison, the father of the Constitution, was very clear about the fact that he wrote the First Amendment to protect the minority against the majority.

What Madison meant by minority is “offensive speech.”

Unfortunately, we don’t honor that principle as much as we should today. In fact, we seem to be witnessing a politically correct philosophy at play, one shared by both the extreme left and the extreme right, which aims to stifle all expression that doesn’t fit within their parameters of what they consider to be “acceptable” speech.

There are all kinds of labels put on such speech—it’s been called politically incorrect speech, hate speech, offensive speech, and so on—but really, the message being conveyed is that you don’t have a right to express yourself if certain people or groups don’t like or agree with what you are saying.

Hence, we have seen the caging of free speech in recent years, through the use of so-called “free speech zones” on college campuses and at political events, the requirement of speech permits in parks and community gatherings, and the policing of online forums.

Clearly, this elitist, monolithic mindset is at odds with everything America is supposed to stand for.

Indeed, we should be encouraging people to debate issues and air their views. Instead, by muzzling free speech, we are contributing to a growing underclass of Americans—many of whom have been labeled racists, rednecks and religious bigots—who are being told that they can’t take part in American public life unless they “fit in.”

Remember, the First Amendment acts as a steam valve. It allows people to speak their minds, air their grievances and contribute to a larger dialogue that hopefully results in a more just world. When there is no steam valve to release the pressure, frustration builds, anger grows and people become more volatile and desperate to force a conversation.

The attempt to stifle certain forms of speech is where we go wrong.

In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that it is “a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment...that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea offensive or disagreeable.” For example, it is not a question of whether the Confederate flag represents racism but whether banning it leads to even greater problems, namely, the loss of freedom in general.

Along with the constitutional right to peacefully (and that means non-violently) assemble, the right to free speech allows us to challenge the government through protests and demonstrations and to attempt to change the world around us—for the better or the worse—through protests and counterprotests.

If citizens cannot stand out in the open and voice their disapproval of their government, its representatives and its policies without fearing prosecution, then the First Amendment with all its robust protections for free speech, assembly and the right to petition one’s government for a redress of grievances is little more than window-dressing on a store window—pretty to look at but serving little real purpose.

After all, living in a representative republic means that each person has the right to take a stand for what they think is right, whether that means marching outside the halls of government, wearing clothing with provocative statements, or simply holding up a sign.

That’s what the First Amendment is supposed to be about: it assures the citizenry of the right to express their concerns about their government to their government, in a time, place and manner best suited to ensuring that those concerns are heard.

Unfortunately, through a series of carefully crafted legislative steps and politically expedient court rulings, government officials have managed to disembowel this fundamental freedom, rendering it with little more meaning than the right to file a lawsuit against government officials.

In more and more cases, the government is declaring war on what should be protected political speech whenever it challenges the government’s power, reveals the government’s corruption, exposes the government’s lies, and encourages the citizenry to push back against the government’s many injustices.

Indeed, there is a long and growing list of the kinds of speech that the government considers dangerous enough to red flag and subject to censorship, surveillance, investigation and prosecution: hate speech, conspiratorial speech, treasonous speech, threatening speech, inflammatory speech, radical speech, anti-government speech, extremist speech, etc.

Clearly, the government has no interest in hearing what “we the people” have to say.

Yet if Americans are not able to peacefully assemble for expressive activity outside of the halls of government or on public roads on which government officials must pass, or on college campuses, the First Amendment has lost all meaning.

If we cannot stand peacefully outside of the Supreme Court or the Capitol or the White House, our ability to hold the government accountable for its actions is threatened, and so are the rights and liberties that we cherish as Americans.

And if we cannot proclaim our feelings about the government, no matter how controversial, on our clothing, or to passersby, or to the users of the world wide web, then the First Amendment really has become an exercise in futility.

The source of the protest shouldn’t matter. The politics of the protesters are immaterial.

To play politics with the First Amendment encourages a double standard that will see us all muzzled in the end.

You don’t have to agree with someone to defend their freedoms.

Responsible citizenship means being outraged at the loss of others’ freedoms, even when our own are not directly threatened. It means remembering that the prime function of any free government is to protect the weak against the strong. And it means speaking up for those with whom you might disagree.

The Framers of the Constitution knew very well that whenever and wherever democratic governments had failed, it was because the people had abdicated their responsibility as guardians of freedom. They also knew that whenever in history the people rejected this responsibility, an authoritarian regime arose which eventually denied the people the right to govern themselves.

The demons of our age—some of whom disguise themselves as politicians—delight in fomenting violence, sowing distrust and prejudice, and persuading the public to support tyranny disguised as patriotism.

Overcoming the evils of our age will require us to stop marching in lockstep with the police state and start thinking—and speaking—for ourselves.

It doesn’t matter how old you are or what your political ideology is: it’s our civic duty to make the government hear us—and heed us—using every nonviolent means available to us: picket, protest, march, boycott, speak up, sound off and reclaim control over the narrative about what is really going on in this country.

The power elite has made their intentions clear: they will pursue and prosecute any and all words, thoughts and expressions that challenge their authority.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, this is the final link in the police state chain.

If ever there were a time for us to stand up for the right to speak freely, even if it’s freedom for speech we hate, the time is now.

Tyler Durden Wed, 05/22/2024 - 23:40
Published:5/22/2024 11:21:17 PM
[Markets] Dow Jones Futures Rise; Nvidia Stock Soars On Earnings, Other AI Plays Rally Nvidia earnings boomed and the CEO touted the "next industrial revolution." Will the AI chip leader lift the market rally? Published:5/22/2024 11:21:17 PM
[Markets] This Is What Hedge And Mutual Funds Did In Q1: Goldman's HF and MF Monitors This Is What Hedge And Mutual Funds Did In Q1: Goldman's HF and MF Monitors

Today Goldman published two of the bank's most widely read periodic reports: the Hedge Fund Trend Monitor (available to pro subs here) and Mutual Fundamentals (also available here), which summarize the quarterly activity and flows of hedge and mutual funds, respectively. Both are available to pro subs in the usual place, but here are the key points from each report.

Hedge Fund trend monitor
 
1) PERFORMANCE: US equity long/short hedge funds have generated a solid +8% YTD return. The strong performance of popular hedge fund long positions has boosted hedge fund returns despite a recent short squeeze in popular shorted stocks. Goldman's Hedge Fund VIP list of the most popular long positions (ticker: GSTHHVIP) has returned +16% YTD, outperforming the S&P 500 (+12%) and the equal-weight S&P 500 (+7%). The most shorted stocks (GSCBMSAL, +7% YTD) surged +25% in mid-May.

2) LEVERAGE AND SHORT INTEREST: Hedge funds have modestly lifted net leverage alongside the broader market rally while maintaining record gross leverage. Concentrated short positions have been particularly volatile recently, causing funds to rotate out of their favorite longs to cover shorts. However, the most recent short squeeze fell shy of the recent experiences in 2021 and December 2023. Short interest for the median S&P 500 stock remains very low at 1.8% of float. Instead, funds continue to use macro products.

3) HEDGE FUND VIPS: Mega-caps remain the most popular hedge fund long positions. AMZN, MSFT, META, GOOGL, NVDA continue to rank as the top five stocks in the VIP list this quarter, with AAPL joining the top six. The VIP list contains the 50 stocks that appear most often among the top 10 holdings of fundamental hedge funds. The basket has outperformed the S&P 500 in 60% of quarters since 2001 with an average quarterly excess return of 47 bp. 14 new constituents: ALIT, APP, DELL, DFS, GDDY, JPM, MU, NEE, SE, SN, VST, WDC, WIX, X.

4) MEGA-CAPS AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: Hedge funds trimmed positions in the mega-caps while adding to broader AI beneficiaries. Share price outperformance has supported the weight of the Magnificent 7 in hedge fund long portfolios, which stabilized at 13% during 1Q. AAPL was the exception where hedge funds incrementally added. In contrast, hedge funds added to winners across the entire AI universe, particularly in Phase 2 Infrastructure. MRVL, SNX, AES, LFUS are Infrastructure stocks with the largest increase in hedge fund popularity.

5) SECTORS: Hedge funds continued to rotate toward cyclicals, with broad-based increases across Consumer Discretionary, Financials, and Energy. DFS joined this quarter's VIP list, as did JPM, and also joined BK and SPGI to screen among this quarter's list of Rising Stars with the largest increase in hedge fund popularity. Soaring prices also lifted the weight of Semiconductor stocks in hedge fund long portfolios to a new record, at 6.5%. MRVL is the top Rising Star and MU entered our basket of favorite hedge fund long positions.


Mutual Fundamentals
 
1. PERFORMANCE: Mutual funds have delivered strong results YTD. 45% of large-cap mutual funds are outperforming their benchmarks YTD, compared with the historical average of 38%.

Fund managers have grown increasingly bullish on US equities, with cash allocations falling to 1.5% and matching the lowest level on record.

Nonetheless, active mutual funds have experienced $139 billion of outflows YTD.

2. THEMES IN FOCUS: (1) MEGA-CAP TECH: Increasing benchmark weights and diversification restrictions mean that the average large-cap mutual fund was 660 bp underweight the Magnificent 7 in 1Q 2024, largely unchanged vs. last quarter. A net of 120 funds (25%) reduced their exposure to MSFT, the largest decline across the group.

(2) AI: Despite the broadening of the AI trade across share prices, mutual fund managers generally avoided taking large tracking error on the theme. However, mutual funds lifted their exposure to Utilities to a new 10-year high.

(3) CYCLICALS/DEFENSIVES: The average large-cap mutual fund maintained a 437 bp overweight in cyclical industries vs. the benchmark, which has benefited performance as investor confidence about economic growth drove Cyclicals to outperform Defensives (GSPUCYDE) by 4% YTD.

3. SECTORS: The average large-cap mutual fund is currently most overweight Financials (+167 bp) and Industrials (+139 bp) and most underweight Info Tech (-341 bp).

Relative to 4Q 2023, the average fund increased exposure most to Consumer Discretionary (+53 bp) and cut the most to Health Care (-42 bp) and Financials (-34 bp).

4. STOCKS: Goldman has rebalanced its Mutual Fund Overweight (GSTHMFOW) and Mutual Fund Underweight (GSTHMFUW) baskets in this report. 12 new constituents in GSTHMFOW: JCI, GM, TRV, CAH, KDP, DASH, TTD, NET, LHX, PNC, GD, AMP.

6 new constituents in GSTHMFUW: GE, HON, AMGN, UNP, DLR, TMO.

Much more in the full reports available to pro subs (here and here)

Tyler Durden Wed, 05/22/2024 - 23:20
Published:5/22/2024 10:38:44 PM
[Markets] Trump In The Bronx: Thousands Expected To Show Up For Massive Rally Tomorrow Trump In The Bronx: Thousands Expected To Show Up For Massive Rally Tomorrow

With Donald Trump stuck in New York for his 'hush money' trial, which now rests in the hands of the jury (while having imploded in the court of public opinion), the former president is holding what's expected to be a massive rally on Thursday in the Bronx amid huge gains in polling among black and latino voters.

The Trump campaign expects a crowd of up to 3,500 people, according to the NY Post. It will mark the first time he's campaigned in his home state since a 2016 event in Buffalo.

Several polls suggest as many as 23% of black voters and 46% of latino voters could cast their ballot for Trump - a huge boost from the 6% of black and 28% of latino voters who supported him in 2016, which grew to 8% and 32% respectively in 2020.

As the Epoch Times noted last month, support for the Democratic Party among black and Hispanic voters has been eroding for years.

The percentage of black voters who “lean Democrat” topped out at near 90 percent in 2008 but fell to 66 percent by 2023, the lowest level yet recorded according to data from Gallup’s annual polling on the subject.

Meanwhile, the percentage of black voters who “lean Republican” rose from single digits to 19 percent over the same period.

Of note, the Bronx hasn't backed a Republican candidate for White House in 100 years when Calvin Coolidge won every single NY county in 1920 and 1924. 

Meanwhile, Trump's Thursday rally comes weeks after a massive rally in the Jersey Shore town of Wildwood -drawing an estimated 100,000 supporters - and days after Trump supporters were seen marching in the South Bronx over the weekend.

AOC says the quiet part out loud (via @CortesSteve):

Except, this may backfire bigly...

Indeed, the Trump campaign has been making the best of the former president's situation.

"While he is in court, we are using New York City as a backdrop," said Trump campaign spokesperson Danielle Alvarez in a statement to the Post.

"When life gives you lemons, make lemonade," another source close to the campaign told the outlet.

"President Trump is taking advantage of being stuck in New York by holding a rally that will surely highlight how Joe Biden has failed Bronx residents with inflation and the open border. The nation’s biggest outlets are headquartered in NYC. [Manhattan DA Alvin] Bragg has inadvertently given Trump a massive stage."

Staten Island Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, the only Republican member of Congress representing a New York City district, told The Post she thinks Trump’s Bronx rally is “a great start.”

It’s exciting for New York City to have President Trump rallying, and it’s important for him to reach out to, particularly minority communities. I think New York is in play,” she said.

“New York is desperate for a balance, and they’ve shown that … We flipped that City Council seat in the Bronx, right in the heart of AOC’s district. In my congressional district, we were able to flip multiple [state] Assembly seats Republican.

“My district would love for President Donald Trump to make a stop, particularly Staten Island,” added Malliotakis, shouting out the only borough to back Trump in both 2016 and 2020.

In future, the lawmaker added, she would “love to see him do something at Yankee Stadium, or take over the beach on Staten Island like he did in Wildwood.” -NY Post

This is a complete optics nightmare for Democrats.

Tyler Durden Wed, 05/22/2024 - 22:00
Published:5/22/2024 9:19:07 PM
[Markets] "Massive" Cocaine And Fentanyl Stash Discovered In Bronx As Marshals Pursued Fugitive "Massive" Cocaine And Fentanyl Stash Discovered In Bronx As Marshals Pursued Fugitive

A "massive" load of drugs and cash was found in the Bronx last week during a hunt for a fugitive.

New Jersey fraud suspect Aracely Ortiz was being pursued by the US Marshals NY / NJ Regional Fugitive Task Force, who stumbled onto a "huge drug operation" while entering a 6th floor apartment, according to the New York Post

The office of Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan announced that they found "a glass-topped table holding numerous glassine envelopes filled with fentanyl" and paraphernalia used for packing drugs.

They also announced that a safe in one bedroom had three bricks of fentanyl and two of cocaine.

Officials discovered six packages of cocaine, three jars of fentanyl, and 10 unidentified packages in a second bedroom. They also found around $100,000 in cash and a money counter, the Post report said. 

Field tests confirmed the presence of fentanyl and cocaine, but further analysis by the DEA is pending. During the raid, Ortiz was in the bedroom and 36 year old Jonathan Corona was exiting. Both were arrested and charged with multiple counts of possessing a controlled substance.

U.S. Marshal Ralph Sozio told the New York Post: “This was another successful takedown of a fugitive, which led to an incidental discovery of serious drug-related activities.”

“I want to commend the NY/NJ Regional Fugitive Task Force, NYPD, and NYS Police for their tireless pursuit in apprehending our city’s fugitives, and in this case the seizure of fentanyl by the NYDETF, the leading cause of overdose deaths, off our city streets,” he concluded. 

Tyler Durden Wed, 05/22/2024 - 20:40
Published:5/22/2024 7:59:46 PM
[Markets] How AI could change the way you buy or sell your next house Published:5/22/2024 7:59:46 PM
[Markets] 2024 & The Inevitable Rise Of Biometrics 2024 & The Inevitable Rise Of Biometrics

Authored by Kit Knightly via Off-Guardian.org,

Have you noticed a lot of two-factor authentication prompts lately? Are you getting emailed verification codes that take forever to arrive, so you have to request another?

Perhaps you are asked to do captchas to “prove you’re human” and they seem to be getting more complex all the time or simply not working at all?

Why do you think that might be?

We’ll come back to that.

Did you know we’re in a “breakthrough year” for biometric payment systems?

According to this story from CNBC, JPMorgan and Mastercard are on board with the technology and intend a wide rollout in the near future, following successful trials.

In March this year, JPMorgan signed a deal with PopID to begin a broad release of biometric payment systems in 2025.

A Mastercard spokesman told CNBC:

Our focus on biometrics as a secure way to verify identity, replacing the password with the person, is at the heart of our efforts in this area,”

Apple Pay already lets you pay with a face scan, while Amazon have introduced pay-by-palm in many of their real-world stores.

VISA showcased their latest palm biometric payment set-up at an event in Singapore earlier this year.

As we covered in a recent This Week, PayPal is pushing out its own biometric payment systems in the name of “preventing fraud”.

As always, this is not just an issue in “the West”.

Chinese companies have been leading this race for a while, with AliPay having biometric payment options since 2015.

Moscow’s Metro system has been using facial recognition cameras for biometric payments for over a year.

And it’s not just payments, “replacing the password with the person” has already spread to other areas.

Hoping to corral support for biometrics from the right, national governments are collecting biometrics to “curb illegal immigration”. You can expect that to spread.

The European Union will be implementing a new Biometric Entry-Exit System (EES) as soon as October of this year.

Biometric signing is on the rise too.

Laptops tablets and smartphones already come with face-reading and fingerprint scanning technology to confirm your identity.

Social media companies have been collecting biometric data “for security and identification purposes” for years.

Google Play launched a new biometric accessibility feature only a couple of weeks ago.

It’s all just so convenient, isn’t it? So much faster than e-mailing security codes and solving increasingly impossible captchas (both of which have unaccountably got harder and more complicated recently, and will doubtless continue to do so).

That’s how they get you: Convenience.

They won’t ever remove the “old-fashioned” ways of accessing your accounts, but it will get increasingly slow and difficult to use while biometrics get faster and easier.

Meanwhile, the propaganda will begin to flow.

Influencers will be paid to use “cool” “futuristic” biometric payment options that “feel like having superpowers” in contrived “viral” videos. Biometrics will save the day in a trendy movie or TV show. Some old fuddy-duddy will go on Question Time and rant about the new technology…just before saying something racist or denying climate change.

Maybe a major hack or cyber-attack will only affect those who haven’t switched to biometric authentication yet.

You get the idea.

And all the while supra-national corporate megaliths will be creating a massive database of voice recordings, finger and palm prints, facial and retinal scans.

It’s a good thing we’re ruled by a morally upright elite. Imagine the damage they could do with all of that.

Tyler Durden Wed, 05/22/2024 - 19:40
Published:5/22/2024 6:59:38 PM
[Markets] Live Nation falls on report that DOJ will seek its breakup in antitrust suit Published:5/22/2024 6:25:18 PM
[Markets] Charges Dropped Against New Jersey Gym Owner Who Defied Strict COVID Lockdown Rules Charges Dropped Against New Jersey Gym Owner Who Defied Strict COVID Lockdown Rules

Authored by Katabella Roberts via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Ian Smith, co-owner of Atilis Gym in New Jersey, at a Freedom Plaza rally in Washington on Dec. 12, 2020. (The Epoch Times)

The owner of a gym in New Jersey who shot to national attention after defying COVID-19 restrictions by keeping his gym open has had all charges against him dropped.

Ian Smith, the co-owner of Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, said in a statement on the social media platform X on May 18 that the more than 80 charges against him and the gym’s co-owner Frank Trumbetti have been dropped with prejudice, meaning they cannot be revisited or refiled.

Among the charges levied against the two men by the state were violations of a governor’s order, public nuisance, disturbing the peace, and operating without a license.

“The support we received locally, nationally, and internationally for our stand is something I will be forever grateful for,” Mr. Smith said. “With that being said, I am thrilled to announce that we have achieved a major victory in the long, hard fight against the State.”

Mr. Smith added that the “victory opens the battlefield again and gives us options to continue to push back and bring justice to the treasonous actions of Phil Murphy and his lackies [sic],” referencing the New Jersey Governor.

He further thanked his “fearless attorneys,” adding that “some of the most high profile attorneys around the country ran from our case—knowing it would be a long, hard road and would make them a target of the stare.”

“Again, thank you to all who supported us. We could not have done it without you ... Nobody is coming to save you, save yourself. Spit on your hands and hoist the black flag. No quarter,” he concluded.

Gym Owners Rack Up Millions in Fines

Mr. Smith and Mr. Trumbetti racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines—including a $15,000 per day fine—for keeping their gym open in defiance of a state-wide order instructing non-essential businesses to close during the COVID-19 pandemic in May 2020.

The two men had argued that they had implemented a range of safety protocols at the gym and had only found a single case of the virus that could be traced back to the health facility, despite receiving upward of 84,000 visits.

However, state officials held steady with the fines, and in December 2021, Mr. Smith said they amounted to more than $1.2 million for violating the public health emergency rules, although he stressed he had no intention of paying them.

The two men were later arrested and charged on multiple counts, including one count of fourth-degree contempt, one count of obstruction, and one count of violation of a disaster control act, among others.

Despite the mounting charges against them, the businessman filed a federal lawsuit against the state accusing Mr. Murphy, along with then-Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and other New Jersey police officials accusing them of violating their constitutional rights by forcing them to shut down their business.

The Epoch Times has contacted the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office for comment.

Mr. Smith’s legal win comes after he tried to run for Congress in 2022, challenging two-term Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.).

At the time, the gym owner said he planned to run on a platform focused on “liberty, small government, and America First policies,” and vowed to fight COVID-19 mandates, soaring illegal immigration, and increased government spending.

“For too long, good people have not gotten involved in politics—whether that is because the establishment won’t open the door for them or they don’t want to participate in the foul world of politics. More than anything, this needs to change. And I will be a part of that change,” Mr. Smith said in announcing his Congressional run.

However, the businessman was ultimately defeated in the primary by businessman Bob Healey.

Lorenz Duchamps contributed to this report. 

Tyler Durden Wed, 05/22/2024 - 19:00
Published:5/22/2024 6:08:33 PM
[Markets] House passes historic crypto bill. Here’s why it’s a ‘massive step forward.’ Published:5/22/2024 5:34:19 PM
[Markets] DOJ to announce antitrust action against Live Nation as soon as Thursday The Ticketmaster parent company also owns concert venues and promotes shows. Published:5/22/2024 5:34:19 PM
[Markets] Bankrupt Red Lobster Proves "All You Can Eat" In An Obese Country Isn't A Good Idea Bankrupt Red Lobster Proves "All You Can Eat" In An Obese Country Isn't A Good Idea

Red Lobster's bankruptcy report is revealing details about how the chain, famous for trying to turn a profit selling "all you can eat" shrimp to a country that has gotten so fat it needs to occupy two seats on most airline flights, went under.

In a post-mortem, CNN detailed that the chain first struggled due to decisions by a private equity firm that acquired it from Darden Restaurants in 2014, which involved selling and leasing back its property at high rates.

The situation worsened - as it did for many restaurants - with the 2020 pandemic and subsequent inflation, plunging the chain into financial distress with $1 billion in debt and less than $30 million in cash.

Then, management errors compounded these issues, particularly under CEO Paul Kenny, appointed by major stakeholder Thai Union. Kenny's policies, including securing an exclusive, costly shrimp supply deal for Red Lobster, led to further financial strain.

This culminated in the decision to make the "Ultimate Endless Shrimp" promotion a permanent, yet controversial, menu item. Which led to videos like this, from the channel "HUNGRY FATCHICK": 

The all-you-can-eat shrimp deal, a longtime hit when offered temporarily for $20, exacerbated Red Lobster's financial woes during a period of inflation as fat Americans descended back unto the chain like locusts when restaurants re-opened, costing the chain $11 million in one quarter, according to CNN.

The promotion, underestimated in its appeal, led to extended customer stays and longer wait times, straining staff and customer patience. This is part of a broader narrative where, like many iconic brands, Red Lobster fell into private equity's grasp, leading to significant changes and challenges.

As we noted about a week ago, the chain was forced to promptly shut down multiple locations this month. More than 80 locations in at least 27 states have now been listed as "temporarily closed" on the restaurant chain's website.

A report said that workers at the locations were offered "no notice whatsoever" as to the closings. CBS reported earlier this month that Thai Union, Red Lobster's top supplier, has severed ties with the chain.

A liquidation company has started an online auction for kitchen equipment and other contents from the closed Red Lobster locations, the report also said. 

Tyler Durden Wed, 05/22/2024 - 18:00
Published:5/22/2024 5:08:50 PM
[Markets] DuPont is latest industrial behemoth to split into multiple public companies Published:5/22/2024 5:08:50 PM
[Markets] House votes to make CFTC main crypto regulator, a win for the industry Crypto leaders have long preferred oversight from that agency rather than the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Senate isn’t expected to pass the bill. Published:5/22/2024 4:51:55 PM
[Markets] Moderna, other vaccine stocks jump as U.S., Australia report new bird-flu cases Published:5/22/2024 4:34:01 PM
[Markets] Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang is the 'man of the year': Investor Nvidia (NVDA) shares are popping in Wednesday's extended trading after beating earnings estimates for its fiscal first-quarter 2025, posting revenue of $26 billion (expected $24.69 billion) and adjusted earnings of $6.12 per share (expected $5.65 per share). The chip giant also announced a 10-for-1 stock split to occur on June 7. Defiance ETFs CEO and CIO Sylvia Jablonski joins Market Domination Overtime to talk Nvidia's earnings figures and the positive upside this news will have on tech megatrends and the market (^DJI, ^IXIC, ^GSPC) as a whole. "AI is the biggest megatrend that we have and it's going to impact every single industry out there. And these numbers tell us that that's playing out, right? All of these different industries are very likely increasing the breadth of demand from just tech companies to just revolutionizing how we do other things, whether healthcare, financial, financial security, financial reporting, banks, risk trading, quantum computing, supercomputing — all of it," Jablonski elaborates, calling Nvidia "the bellwether of the market." For more expert insight and the latest market action, click here to watch this full episode of Market Domination Overtime. This post was written by Luke Carberry Mogan. Published:5/22/2024 4:34:01 PM
[Markets] Progyny’s board approves another $100 million stock buyback The board of Progyny has approved a $100 million share-repurchase authorization, its second this year. Published:5/22/2024 4:34:01 PM
[Markets] Japanese 10Y Yield Rises Above 1% For The First Time Since 2013 Japanese 10Y Yield Rises Above 1% For The First Time Since 2013

Slowly but surely, Japan's bond market is approaching its inevitable disintegration.

With the BOJ caught in an impossible dilemma, where on one hand it is facing soaring inflation and is forced to tighten monetary policy to prop up and push the imploding yen higher in order to avoid social rebellion,  while on the other hand, said tightening is pushing bond yields ever higher as the BOJ steps away from being the buyer of first, last and any other resort, a bond market which is majority owned by the same BOJ, this morning Japan’s 10-year government bond yield climbed to 1% for the first time in 11 years, propelled by growing expectations that the BOJ will have to take further tightening steps in the coming months as rampant inflation persists .

The 10-year yield briefly touched the threshold Wednesday, its highest level since May 2013, before swinging both below and above the historic level later in the session.

Longer-term JGB yields climbed more sharply than the 10-year yield. The 30-year yield was recently 5.5 basis points higher at 2.140%.

Investors have been speculating about the timing of another Bank of Japan rate hike and a possible reduction in its government-bond purchases after the BOJ ended its negative interest-rate policy and halted much of its unorthodox easing measures in March, which however were viewed as so dovish and were so eagerly telegraphed, the decision to "tighten" actually sent the yen plummeting, and unleashed even more inflation.

Some analysts say the Japanese central bank might slow its bond-buying partly to support the yen, which has depreciated sharply over the past couple of years as the BOJ maintained its ultraloose monetary policy while other central banks raised interest rates.

Last week, the BOJ offered to buy a smaller amount of Japanese government bonds maturing in five to 10 years on the following day compared with its previous operation, and maintained the reduced amount on Friday. That raised speculation that it will start winding back its monthly JGB purchases.

Commenting on the yen’s muted reaction to the 10Y JGB yield hitting 1%, BofA strategist Shusuke Yamada said the key point is that market volatility has decreased, making it easier to sell the yen for low-interest-rate carry trades. Indeed, the USDJPY rose to a session high of 156.60 briefly in Tokyo as outward direct investment and outward securities investment through NISA continue to be in the background. As for yen interest rates, nominal rates are rising, but real rates are still negative.

Meanwhile, the strategist also noted that Japan-US interest rate differential is still above 5% for the short term, which is the target of the carry, and yen is not going to strengthen just because the interest rate differential has narrowed a little. In fact, according to Yamada, the valuation of the yen as undervalued will not come into play until the short-term Japan-US interest rate differential falls below at least the 3% level.  For example, even if interest rate differentials in the 5% range stop falling at the 4% level, it is difficult to correct the yen’s depreciation

Tyler Durden Wed, 05/22/2024 - 17:20
Published:5/22/2024 4:24:58 PM
[Markets] AI and data centers are devouring energy resources — threatening U.S. security Government must revamp energy policies to keep the nation’s power grid running. Published:5/22/2024 3:59:42 PM
[Markets] Dow Jones Futures: Nvidia Earnings Boom, CEO Jensen Huang Hails 'Next Industrial Revolution' Nvidia earnings boomed and the CEO touted the "next industrial revolution." Will the AI chip leader lift the market rally? Published:5/22/2024 3:59:42 PM
[Markets] How major US stock indexes fared Wednesday, 5/22/2024 U.S. stock indexes pulled back from their records as concerns about high interest rates weighed on the market. The S&P 500 fell 0.3% and the Nasdaq composite slipped 0.2% Wednesday, a day after both set all-time highs. Published:5/22/2024 3:31:20 PM
[Markets] There Sure Has Been A Lot Of "International Intrigue" Lately... There Sure Has Been A Lot Of "International Intrigue" Lately...

Authored by Michael Snyder via The End of The American Dream blog,

World leaders have been targeted quite frequently this month, and that should deeply alarm all of us.  I think that all of this geopolitical instability is a sign that there is far more going on behind the scenes than we are being told.  The major powers appear to be making moves in anticipation of what they believe is coming next.  Right now, the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is dominating the news cycle, and at this stage we don’t know if that was an accident or not. 

But as a Twitter user known as “Cillian” has pointed out, there has been quite a lot of “international intrigue” during the past couple of weeks…

Over the past two weeks:

  • May 7th: Assassination attempt against Saudi Crown Prince.

  • May 13th: Turkish President Erdogan holds emergency meeting following warning of possible military coup.

  • May 15th: Assassination attempt on Slovak PM Robert Fico.

  • May 16th: Citizen arrested for threatening to assassinate Serbian President Vucic.

  • May 19th: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman hospitalised for second time in four weeks.

  • May 19th: Helicopter crash involving Iranian President Raisi and Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian.

What is going on right now?

And I have one more item to add to the list.

On Sunday, a coup that involved at least three U.S. citizens was foiled in the Democratic Republic of Congo

American citizens were involved in an attempted coup d’état that left at least three people dead on Sunday in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a military spokesperson told CNN Monday.

The attempted coup, which targeted the residence of Congolese politician Vital Kamerhe and the country’s presidential palace, was led by opposition leader Christian Malanga, who was killed in a gun battle between the armed putschists and the presidential guards, according to army spokesman General Sylvain Ekenge. Ekenge also claimed Malanga was a US citizen, though the State Department said later it had no records of him.

“I confirm the death of Christian Malanga neutralized during the exchange of fire at the Palais de la Nation (presidential palace),” Ekenge told CNN, adding that Malanga’s son Marcel, “was among those arrested.”

Ekenge named three other Americans, identified as Benjamin Reuben Zalman-Polun, Patrick Ducey, and Taylor Thomson were involved in the foiled coup.

It is being alleged that Zalman-Polun, Ducey and Thomson were CIA agents, but U.S. officials are denying this.

With everything that has been going on, I think that it would be wise for all world leaders to be on a heightened state of alert.

As for why Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s helicopter went down, that remains a mystery.

What we do know is that he was flying during heavy fog in a very remote area in the mountains, and the helicopter that he was on was very old

Iranian state media reported that the helicopter that crashed in Iran was a Bell 212 model. It is a civilian version of the ubiquitous Vietnam War-era UH-1N “Twin Huey”. Such helicopters are in wide use globally by both governments and private operators.

It was developed for the Canadian military in the late 1960s and introduced in 1971.

Helicopter tragedies happen all the time, and we certainly cannot rule out an accident in this case.

It is also being suggested that one of Raisi’s domestic enemies could have targeted the helicopter…

According to a report in The Economist, Raisi had a long list of enemies in Iran, including relative moderates he has marginalised to the fellow conservatives who think he has been an inept president.

It said that some Iranians believe that Raisi’s enemies may have their exacted revenge. “It is not unreasonable to wonder if domestic foes conspired to kill him,” the report said.

I think that this is also a very strong possibility.

Iranian politics is a very messy business, and those that are jockeying for power can be absolutely ruthless.

Of course the dominant narrative that will eventually emerge from inside Iran is that either the U.S. or Israel is responsible.

According to Reuters, one Israeli official has already stated that “it wasn’t us”

As conspiracy theories began to circulate online Israel – a long time foe of Iran – denied any involvement in Raisi’s death. An Israeli official told the Reuters news agency: “It wasn’t us.”

Needless to say, no matter how many times the Israelis deny responsibility most Iranian officials will never believe them.

And without a doubt, the Israelis are not sad to see Raisi go.  In fact, they were quite outraged when there was a moment of silence at the UN on Monday

Amid the international messages of condolence and support for Iran after the death of President Ebrahim Raisi, the United Nations Security Council on Monday held a solemn moment of silence to observe his passing. Israel is outraged by the gesture, saying that it was tantamount to honoring a terrorist, or “Hitler” – as stated by Israeli Ambassador to UN Gilad Erdan.

“You read correctly, the UN Security Council today held a moment’s silence to remember a mass murderer, Iranian President Raisi,” Erdan said in a video published to social media.

“This body, which makes no effort to free our hostages, tipped their heads today to a man who was responsible for the deaths of thousands in Iran, in Israel, and around the world.”

It is well known that Raisi was responsible for the deaths of vast numbers of people, and under his rule the persecution of Christians in Iran got even worse

Christians in Iran faced intensified persecution in 2023, as highlighted in a joint annual report by advocacy groups Article 18, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Open Doors, and Middle East Concern.

The report, released on Monday, revealed a surge in arrests, with 166 documented in 2023 compared to 134 in the previous year. Disturbingly, one-third of those arrested were targeted for possessing multiple copies of the Bible.

The arrests unfolded in waves, increasing over the summer and spiking during Christmas, creating a higher number of “faceless victims” as fewer cases were publicized. By the end of the year, 17 Christians faced prison sentences or punitive measures for “propaganda against the state.”

The Biden administration was also not very fond of Raisi, but on Monday U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin denied that the United States had anything to do with his death

United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Monday denied Washington’s involvement in the tragic helicopter crash that killed Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and the country’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

The defense secretary, however, declined to comment on the reporter’s question about whether Tehran would blame Israel for the helicopter crash. “They have to conduct an investigation to see what the cause of the crash was, it could be a number of things,” Austin added.

This is a mystery that may not be solved any time soon.

But the Iranians will inevitably want to blame someone, and that will bring us even closer to all-out war in the Middle East.

I don’t think that all-out war is coming immediately.

But emotions on both sides are reaching a fever pitch, and I fully expect the conflict in the Middle East to go to an entirely new level by the end of this calendar year.

*  *  *

Michael’s new book entitled “Chaos” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com, and you can subscribe to his Substack newsletter at michaeltsnyder.substack.com.

Tyler Durden Wed, 05/22/2024 - 16:20
Published:5/22/2024 3:31:20 PM
[Markets] Nvidia earnings: Chip giant unveils stock split as revenue crushes expectations Published:5/22/2024 3:31:20 PM
[Markets] Snowflake boosts its forecast, and its stock is cruising higher The company now models 24% growth in product revenue for this fiscal year. Published:5/22/2024 3:23:03 PM
[Markets] How major US stock indexes fared Wednesday, 5/22/2024 U.S. stock indexes pulled back from their records as concerns about high interest rates weighed on the market. The S&P 500 fell 0.3% and the Nasdaq composite slipped 0.2% Wednesday, a day after both set all-time highs. Published:5/22/2024 3:23:03 PM
[Markets] Stocks stumble after Fed minutes raise rate-hike fears as Nvidia earnings await Published:5/22/2024 3:14:43 PM
[Markets] Stock market today: Stocks close lower after Fed minutes with Nvidia earnings on deck Stocks face two big tests in Nvidia's pivotal earnings report and minutes from the Federal Reserve's last meeting. Published:5/22/2024 3:05:53 PM
[Markets] Pickleball, ads and Taylor Swift: Here are the little things Target says are working, even as sales fall Target Corp. on Wednesday reported results for yet another quarter marked by a hesitant consumer — but at least it has pickleball, advertisers and Taylor Swift. Published:5/22/2024 2:57:21 PM
[Markets] Israeli Hostage Families Release Shocking Clip Of Female Troops' Abduction Israeli Hostage Families Release Shocking Clip Of Female Troops' Abduction

"The world must look at this cruel atrocity. Those who care about women’s rights must speak out. All those who believe in freedom must speak out, and do everything possible to bring all of the hostages home now," Israeli President Isaac Herzog has said in a statement, reacting to the Wednesday release of footage showing the abduction of five female IDF soldiers by Hamas terrorists on October 7. The women are still being held captive somewhere in the Gaza Strip.

The families of the hostages agreed to release the raw, shocking clip with an aim to revive efforts to free them. It also comes as the European nations of Spain, Norway, and Ireland earlier the same day declared they are formally recognizing a Palestinian state. Watch the video published by Israeli sources below:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the move by the three nations a "prize for terrorism" and that any future Palestinian state "would try to carry out the October 7 massacre again and again – and that, we shall not agree to."

"We will continue to do everything to bring them home. The brutality of the Hamas terrorists only strengthens my determination to fight with all my might until Hamas is eliminated and to ensure that what we saw tonight will never happen again." 

In the newly released footage, some of the girls are clearly battered and blood-soaked, and look terrified as they plead with their armed captors in English. They have been identified as Daniella Gilboa, Karina Ariev, Naama Levy, Agam Berger and Liri Albag.

"Take their pictures," one of the militants is heard saying. "I want you quiet! Quiet! Sit down," another shouts at one point. "We will shoot you all." One girl tries to reason with one of the men by saying that she has friends in Gaza.

"These are the Zionists. You are so beautiful," one terrorist is also heard saying.And in another moment, one says according to an Israeli media translation: "Our brothers died because of you, we will kill you."

Then the video shows the captors sitting next to girls with machine guns on their chests, while others are on the floor praying. One of the terrorists says, "Here are the girls," using a term in Arabic that implies they can be impregnated...

Parts of the video which featured dead bodies and other of the more shocking scenes was edited for public release. A father of one of the kidnap victims said: "What else can we do to wake the nation up?" 

Israel's military has said the number of hostages held in Gaza is 128, but dozens are believed to possibly be deceased.

Tyler Durden Wed, 05/22/2024 - 14:45
Published:5/22/2024 2:22:30 PM
[Markets] Some Fed officials willing to raise rates if needed: meeting minutes Fed officials said at their last policy meeting that rates would likely stay higher for longer if inflation readings continued to disappoint, while some policymakers discussed their willingness to raise rates if needed. Published:5/22/2024 1:56:17 PM
[Markets] Cannabis companies continue federal legalization push despite marijuana’s rescheduling Attorney David Boies argues that moving pot to Schedule III won’t remove the threat of prosecution for state-legal pot companies. Published:5/22/2024 1:47:41 PM
[Markets] Stocks are up 12% this year, but nearly half of Americans think they’re down Published:5/22/2024 1:31:07 PM
[Markets] Illegals Believe Trump Is Going To Win So They're Surging The Border Now; Report Illegals Believe Trump Is Going To Win So They're Surging The Border Now; Report

Authored by Steve Watson via Modernity.news,

Illegal immigrants are surging the border now because they believe Donald Trump is going to win the election in November and enforce security, according to a report quoting the illegals themselves.

The New York Post reports that the migrants “fear President Biden could lose re-election in November and Donald Trump will shut the border.”

Two brothers from Columbia who had crossed into the US and had eventually been put on a flight to New Jersey stated “We think with the elections, it will be harder,” adding “We don’t want Trump.”

It’s quite simple. The border is now wide open, and if Trump wins it will be slammed shut.

Illegal immigrants may believe that so long as they cross now under Biden, they’ll be able to stay in the US. Trump, however, has other ideas having stated that he intends to oversee the “largest mass deportation effort” in the country’s history if he’s elected in November.

Trump has declared that the US cannot simply absorb some 20 million people, and that he may be forced to use the military to enable deportations.

He’s not an outlier when it comes to that opinion. A major poll conducted by Axios/Harris last month found that a majority of Americans support mass deportation of illegal immigrants, and a whopping 42 percent of Democrats are on board with it.

Now, a new poll conducted by Reuters/Ispos finds that 56 percent of registered voters feel that most or all illegal aliens in the US should be rounded up and deported.

The poll also found that 36 percent of voters support incarcerating illegal aliens in detention camps until they are deported.

In the TIME interview, Trump said of potential camps, “I would not rule anything out,” but further stating “There wouldn’t be that much of a need for them, because of the fact that we’re going to be moving them out. We’re going to bring them back from where they came.”

“It’s possible that we’ll do it to an extent but we shouldn’t have to do very much of it, because we’re going to be moving them out as soon as we get to it. And we’ll be obviously starting with the criminal element,” Trump emphasized.

*  *  *

Your support is crucial in helping us defeat mass censorship. Please consider donating via Locals or check out our unique merch. Follow us on X @ModernityNews.

Tyler Durden Wed, 05/22/2024 - 14:25
Published:5/22/2024 1:31:07 PM
[Markets] Bank of England will cut interest rates in August, says Goldman Sachs Interest rates will be cut in August, according to major investment banks, even after inflation came in higher than expected last month. Published:5/22/2024 1:22:31 PM
[Markets] Money management strategies, pending ether ETF: Wealth! On today's episode of Wealth!, host Brad Smith explores the consumer landscape, market dynamics, and wealth-building strategies shared by top experts. Target (TGT) reported earnings that disappointed investors, prompting a deeper dive into the state of the consumer. Yahoo Finance's Brooke DiPalma delves into the contrasting performances of Walmart (WMT) and Target, dissecting consumer behavior amid the high inflationary environment. Operation Hope CEO John Hope Bryant joins the show to share wealth-building and savings tips, equipping consumers with strategies to navigate these trying times and attain financial security. Shifting gears to the markets, VettaFi Investment Strategist Cinthia Murphy joins the show to discuss the evolving cryptocurrency landscape, with a potential ether ETF approval on the horizon. Following a weaker-than-expected existing home sales report, Yahoo Finance's Dani Romero contributes her latest analysis on the housing market, and what it means for homebuyers moving forward. For more expert insight and the latest market action, click here This post was written by Angel Smith Published:5/22/2024 1:11:53 PM
[Markets] ‘Various’ Fed officials said they were willing to hike interest rates if needed Published:5/22/2024 1:11:53 PM
[Markets] TJX’s stock rises toward a record after earnings, as customers shopped more TJX’s stock rose toward a record Wednesday after the discount apparel and home fashions retailer beat fiscal first-quarter profit expectations and raised its full-year outlook. Published:5/22/2024 12:54:38 PM
[Markets] US Benchmark Stock Indexes, Treasury Yields Mixed Ahead of Fed Minutes, Nvidia Earnings US Benchmark Stock Indexes, Treasury Yields Mixed Ahead of Fed Minutes, Nvidia Earnings Published:5/22/2024 12:36:53 PM
[Markets] Cracks In The Armour Of The Resilient Consumer Cracks In The Armour Of The Resilient Consumer

Authored by Robert Burrows via BondVigilantes.com,

Consumption spending accounts for approximately two-thirds of the US economy. It is vital that we understand the dynamics of the consumer because if the consumer falters, so does the US economy, which has far-reaching consequences. The surprising resilience of the US consumer in the face of a pandemic and then rising interest rates has surprised many. This resilience is a function of multiple factors, including a strong labour market, accumulated savings, wage growth, and government support, to name a few. The first and most important factor is the labour market, which has remained robust with low unemployment and steady job creation.

Source: Bloomberg, M&G, May 2024

The pandemic brought about a worryingly sharp, yet short, increase in unemployment. With the relatively brief period (didn’t feel like it though) of lockdown and government support, the unemployment rate fell back extremely quickly as pent-up demand was unleashed on the economy. Unemployment now sits at the lows. A tight labour market is often a contributing factor to higher inflation. Interest rates were raised aggressively to combat and stem the recent rapid increase in inflation, for reasons we are all too familiar with. The expectation was that increases in interest rates would have a contractionary impact on corporates as the cost of financing increased. By and large, corporates have managed to term out debt and seemingly will not have to worry about higher rates for some time.

The high-yield market, which we have discussed before (here), has remained incredibly resilient. Despite the rate increases, high yield credit spreads trade at multi-year tights and are only about 100bps higher in absolute yield than before the pandemic. Most companies should be able to absorb 100bps in increased financing costs. As a result, firms have not needed to lay off staff, keeping the unemployment rate low. With a tight labour market, employees have been in a good position to demand pay increases, which has helped to offset the pernicious effects of inflation. However, policymakers need to be careful as increasing wages ultimately leads to ever-higher inflation. Trying to find the balance is critical.  The consumer has been in a very similar situation to corporates which have termed out their debt. With the mortgage market being fixed for 30 years, increasing interest rates have little effect on existing homeowners.

The average mortgage rate has barely budged from the lows. Only those who wish to move or get on to the housing ladder for the first time suffer at the hands of a higher mortgage rate. The inability to port one’s mortgage could lead to interesting developments, both good and bad, and will be worth keeping an eye on in the coming months and years.

Source: Bloomberg, M&G, May 2024

Savings accumulated during the pandemic, courtesy of government stimulus programs and reduced opportunities to spend due to shutdowns, have also contributed to the strong growth in recent quarters. Overall, this is a relatively positive backdrop for the consumer. 

Is this all about to change?

The above-mentioned savings rate has indeed been run down, as expected. In times of hardship, we run down our savings and then accumulate them again in better times. However, if savings have been run down, are we increasingly vulnerable to further shocks?

Source: Bloomberg, M&G, May 2024

While savings have been run down to the lows, there has also been a meaningful increase in expensive credit card debt. The outstanding level of credit card debt recently crossed $1 trillion. The picture may not be so rosy.

Source: Bloomberg, M&G, May 2024

It appears to me that the consumer is extremely vulnerable and is doing what they can to hang on, as evidenced by a significant increase in people working two jobs, likely trying to make ends meet.

Source: Bloomberg, M&G, May 2024

Another development in the market has been the concept of ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ (BNPL). This model allows consumers to purchase goods and pay them down in instalments over several months. The amounts are difficult to quantify as it’s a fledgling industry, but a little digging would suggest that this has contributed somewhat to the economy’s strong growth and supported the consumer’s resilience.

Source: Bank for International Settlements, May 2024

The problem with ultra-loose credit is that someone always gets burned.  We are familiar with Klarna, one of the main BNPL firms in Europe. In the US, they have Affirm.

Source: Bloomberg, M&G, May 2024

Judging by the share price, I suspect an impressive growth story initially lured in investors, who then realized that ultra-loose credit lending is a recipe for disaster. 

Finally, the 401(k), America’s defined contribution scheme. Vanguard, a titan in the asset management industry with $7.2 trillion of assets under management, has highlighted a recent increase in 401(k) withdrawals and loans against the 401(k). Withdrawals are allowed before retirement age but are subject to an income tax and a 10% penalty charge. One can make a hardship withdrawal under certain circumstances to avoid the penalty charge, but would still be subject to income tax. Recent regulatory changes have made this process a little easier and more accessible. Hardship withdrawals are at a 19-year high,  admittedly from a low level but increasing and concerning none the less.

Putting all of this together, it would seem that cracks are starting to show for what has been a resilient consumer.

Tyler Durden Wed, 05/22/2024 - 13:25
Published:5/22/2024 12:36:52 PM
[Markets] S&P 500 on track for strongest first 100 trading days in election year ever Published:5/22/2024 12:36:52 PM
[Markets] Sunak calls snap elections in U.K. on July 4 Published:5/22/2024 11:35:25 AM
[Markets] DHS Admits Border Has Been Open To Criminals And Terrorists DHS Admits Border Has Been Open To Criminals And Terrorists

Authored by James Breslo via The Epoch Times,

The Biden administration’s experiment with a relatively open southern border has been shocking in the sheer number of people who have come across in just over three years, estimated to be about ten million. But the most shocking thing about the border policy may have just been revealed.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), headed by the impeached Alejandro Mayorkas, recently proposed a new rule. In a statement announcing the rule, DHS unwittingly revealed that it has not been doing background checks on these millions of illegal immigrants in order to immediately deport those with criminal records or terrorism ties. Instead, they have been leaving that determination until the asylum hearing, which occurs many years down the road. In the meantime, they remain in the U.S. awaiting the hearing.

First, it should be noted that the whole premise upon which these millions of illegal immigrants are permitted to enter the United States is absurd. People are free to cross almost anywhere they please along our nearly 2,000-mile southern border. They are typically not required to enter through an official entry point. Cross the desert, the mountains, or the river at a place of your choosing (or, more accurately, at the drug cartel’s choosing). No problem, we will bring border patrol to you and gladly process you right there and allow immediate entry.

They are processed and allowed in because they are being treated as refugees seeking asylum, not illegal immigrants as before. That is the hook and the key to the open border experiment. U.S. immigration law (Title VIII, Section 1158(b)) provides, “To establish that the applicant is a refugee ... the applicant must establish that race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion was or will be at least one central reason for persecuting the applicant.”

But the vast majority of these immigrants are not coming here to escape persecution. They are coming because they are poor, which has never been grounds for asylum. If they were escaping persecution, where are the reports of millions of central and south Americans being persecuted because of their race? Where are the reports of millions being persecuted because of their religion?

The vast majority of illegal immigrants will be denied asylum at their hearing years down the road because they do not qualify. But now we learn that not only does DHS allow people to remain in this country for years despite knowing they do not qualify for asylum, DHS allows known dangerous immigrants to remain here.

“Federal law bars individuals who pose a national security or public safety risk from asylum,” DHS states.

Yet, the agency acknowledges, “the asylum eligibility determination is not currently made until later in the process—at the merits adjudication stage of the asylum and withholding of removal claims.”

We know that only occurs years later. The statement announces that the “proposed rule would permit Asylum Officers to consider these bars to asylum and withholding of removal during initial credible fear screening, which happens just days after an individual is encountered.” This, according to the statement, “will allow DHS to expeditiously remove individuals who pose a threat to the United States much sooner than is currently the case, better safeguarding the security of our border and our country.”

After over three years of allowing in millions of illegal immigrants, DHS has just now come up with the idea that maybe, just maybe, it is a good idea to deport those with violent criminal histories and ties to terrorism immediately instead of after their asylum hearing years down the road.

It gets worse.

They still have not changed the policy. Incredibly, they propose this as an administrative rule change, requiring a period for public comment. Comments are due by June 12. Thus, the rule cannot even take effect until later this summer.

If President Biden can overturn former President Trump’s remain-in-Mexico order with his own order on day one, a move upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, why can he not issue another order changing this policy immediately? Of course he can, but this administration, while seeking to now look tough on illegal immigration just in time for the election, is not in any hurry to reduce the number of immigrants coming across.

According to the statement, “Noncitizens who present a national security or public safety risk remain in DHS custody while their cases are referred for full immigration hearings before an immigration judge, a process that can take years and is resource intensive.” Thus, some illegal immigrants are currently not released into the country, according to DHS. Instead, apparently, taxpayers foot the bill for their room and board for years while they await their asylum hearing, which DHS often already knows they will fail because of their criminal or terror related past.

But there is good reason to believe they are not all, in fact, detained. A DHS senior official recently told reporters on a call about the proposed rule: “I will say this is really intended to be a national security and public safety measure. And so it is intended to ensure that, again, the individuals that we are most concerned about that we encounter—people with serious criminal histories or links to terrorism—can be removed as early as possible in the process.”

If they are detained for years until their hearing as they claim, then how is this a national security and public safety issue? Clearly, because this has not always happened, and it appears DHS now realizes they have a serious security problem.

Just look at the case of Jose Ibarra, the alleged murderer of Laken Riley, a nursing student who went out for a jog on the University of Georgia campus and never returned. He was first arrested in September 2022 by Customs and Border Patrol officials near El Paso after crossing the border illegally. He came from Venezuela. He was then “paroled and released for further processing,” according to border officials. Paroled means you are free, awaiting your asylum hearing years down the road. He was put on a bus to New York. There he was arrested for endangering a minor. Since New York is a sanctuary city, ICE was not notified. He was arrested again in Athens, Georgia for shoplifting. Athens is a sanctuary city. Again, ICE was not notified. He then allegedly killed Ms. Riley.

There are no reports about his criminal record in Venezuela, but considering his criminal record over a period of months here, odds are he has one.

In likely related news, the FBI and DHS recently issued a joint public service announcement warning that foreign terrorist organizations could target events during Pride Month. In particular officials cited “ISIS messaging” focused on “anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric.” Why is the FBI and DHS suddenly concerned about ISIS in the U.S.? Could it be that people with ties to ISIS have crossed our southern border in the last three years?

And we learned last week that two illegal immigrants tried to drive a box truck past security guards and onto a Marine base in Quantico, Virginia earlier this month. The Potomac Local News reported that one of them is a Jordanian national who had recently crossed the border, and that at least one was on the U.S. government’s terrorist watch list. A similar incident occurred in March when an illegal immigrant from China forced his way onto a Marine base in Twentynine Palms, California.

Now that we know how DHS has been handling illegal immigrants with criminal records or terrorism ties, this all makes sense. The agency clearly has a major problem on its hands.

*  *  *

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times or ZeroHedge.

Tyler Durden Wed, 05/22/2024 - 12:05
Published:5/22/2024 11:27:26 AM
[Markets] S&P 500 has recorded a history-making start to this presidential-election year Published:5/22/2024 11:18:58 AM
[Markets] What lies ahead for crypto? Sign up now for Barron’s roundtable Tuesday. Published:5/22/2024 11:01:48 AM
[Markets] Big tech will face incremental challenges: Strategist The "Magnificent Seven" — Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL), Nvidia (NVDA), Meta (META), Microsoft (MSFT), and Tesla (TSLA) — have been significant drivers of the market this year, with Nvidia leading the charge. As Nvidia gears up to report its latest earnings, many on Wall Street look to see how it may test the strength of the market. Barclays Head of US Equity Strategy Venu Krishna joins Catalysts to discuss where the broader market is headed after Nvidia's earnings and how investors should frame the current economic landscape to manage their portfolios. "If I look at Big Tech as a group and you look at the extent to which the earnings surprises have been happening in the last few quarters, they've been coming down. So if you go two quarters ago, it was almost 14 plus percent, and then last quarter is about 8, 8.5. So now it's inching lower. That's not because they're not doing well. It's because a lot of the upside and optimism is getting baked into analysts' earnings estimates ... So to your point what it does mean that going forward, the ability of these drivers of the market to continue to surprise and raise gets more challenging, right? So we do think that going forward it does get incrementally challenging," Krishna tells Yahoo Finance. For more expert insight and the latest market action, click here to watch this full episode of Catalysts. This post was written by Nicholas Jacobino Published:5/22/2024 10:44:50 AM
[Markets] Who pays for long-term care? A shocking number of people get this wrong. People are confused and overestimate Medicare’s role in paying for long-term care Published:5/22/2024 10:36:19 AM
[Markets] Russia Blasts As 'Fake News' Fresh Pentagon Charge Of Anti-Satellite Weapon In Space Russia Blasts As 'Fake News' Fresh Pentagon Charge Of Anti-Satellite Weapon In Space

At a moment nuclear tensions are soaring due to Russia launching tactical nuclear military drills in its southern district near Ukraine this week, Washington and Moscow are trading barbs over allegations of banned weapons in space. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov asserted on Wednesday that there's been no violation of international law after the Pentagon again charged that Russia launched a satellite carrying a counterspace weapon. Another top Russian official decried this as "fake news".

US Department of Defense spokesman Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder on Tuesday in a briefing said that on May 16 Russia "launched a satellite into low Earth orbit that we that we assess is likely a counter space weapon presumably capable of attacking other satellites in low Earth orbit." This was in apparent reference to the launch of a Soyuz rocket from the Plesetsk launch site, which Russia has previously affirmed was carrying a spacecraft of some type.

A Soyuz rocket launching in Russia's far east, via Reuters/handout.

"Russia deployed this new counter space weapon into the same orbit as a U.S. government satellite," Ryder continued. "And so assessments further indicate characteristics resembling previously deployed counter space payloads from 2019 and 2022."

Peskov's response Wednesday was as follows: "I cannot comment on this in any way. Here, we act absolutely in accordance with international law, we do not violate anything."

Importantly, he said that Russia has repeated reached out in hopes of advancing talks with the US to prohibit certain types of weapons in space, but this was rejected. "We have repeatedly advocated for a ban on the launch of any weapons into space. Unfortunately, these initiatives of ours were rejected, including by the United States," Peskov said.

Separately, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has flatly rejected the Pentagon's charge. "I don’t think we should respond to any fake news from Washington," he said as quoted by Interfax.

"The Americans can say whatever they want but our policy does not change from this," said Ryabkov. He stressed that Moscow had "always consistently opposed the deployment of strike weapons in low-Earth orbit."

Currently allegations are also flying in major Western media outlets alleging that Russia has for years been pursuing a robust space weapons program. For example, days ago The Wall Street Journal detailed a secretive launch that happened some two years ago, based on US officials revealing the info:

Russia launched a satellite into space in February 2022 that is designed to test components for a potential antisatellite weapon that would carry a nuclear device, U.S. officials said. 

The satellite that was launched doesn’t carry a nuclear weapon. But U.S. officials say it is linked to a continuing Russian nuclear antisatellite program that has been a growing worry for the Biden administration, Congress and experts outside the government in recent months. The weapon, if deployed, would give Moscow the ability to destroy hundreds of satellites in low Earth orbit with a nuclear blast.

The satellite in question, known as Cosmos-2553, was launched on Feb. 5, 2022, and is still traveling around the Earth in an unusual orbit. It has been secretly operating as a research and development platform for nonnuclear components of the new weapon system, which Russia has yet to deploy, other officials said. 

Putin's rebuttal of recent US allegations was issued back in February:

Revelation of that launch is said to have in part driven the recent frenzy of Congressional statements raising the alarm over Russian malign activities in space. However, others cited in the same WSJ report have said that Russia's program has yet to advance very far.

Meanwhile President Putin himself has tried to bat down the allegations as well, saying recently, "Our position is clear and transparent: We have always been categorically against, and are now against, the placement of nuclear weapons in space."

Tyler Durden Wed, 05/22/2024 - 11:05
Published:5/22/2024 10:22:51 AM
[Markets] Target’s stock dives after profit misses, as many Americans have ‘maxed out’ Target’s stock took a dive Wednesday, after the discount retail giant reported fiscal first-quarter profit that missed expectations, amid weakness in sales of discretionary items. Published:5/22/2024 10:22:51 AM
[Markets] Hold Nvidia long-term, you'll be 'well-rewarded': Scaramucci Nvidia's (NVDA) upcoming earnings are the talk of Wall Street as the chip company could make major waves for the broader market as it holds about 5% of the total weight of the S&P 500 (^GPSC). Skybridge Capital Founder Anthony Scaramucci joins Catalysts to give his take on Nvidia's earnings expected out after Wednesday's closing bell and how he believes Nvidia will play out in both the long and the short term. "Nvidia is growing and evolving. Could it have a short-term impact on the market here? No question. Do we own it? We own it. Are we staying in it? Yes," Scaramucci claims. "I just point out to people that are listening: There's a guy named Warren Buffett, he made a 70-year bet on America sometime in 1954. He decided, I'm getting long, America. I'm getting long, super high-quality companies... and I think people have to start thinking like that again. Nvidia is one of those names. I think if you hold it over the next decade, you're going to be very well rewarded." For more expert insight and the latest market action, click here to watch this full episode of Catalysts. This post was written by Nicholas Jacobino Published:5/22/2024 10:05:15 AM
[Markets] Oil prices on track for 3-day losing streak as U.S. supplies post a weekly climb Oil futures trade lower for a third straight day as investors await official data on U.S. crude and product inventories. Published:5/22/2024 9:56:16 AM
[Markets] Former GOP presidential hopeful Ramaswamy discloses 7.7% stake in BuzzFeed Published:5/22/2024 9:38:40 AM
[Markets] AI Data Centers And EVs Create Incredible Opportunities AI Data Centers And EVs Create Incredible Opportunities

Authored by Michael Lebowitz via RealInvestmentAdvice.com,

Some winners from the artificial intelligence (AI) and electric vehicles (EV) boom are easy to spot. For instance, shares of Nvidia, Microsoft, Tesla, and other companies have posted significant gains, anticipating a surge in future revenue and profits.

The development of AI data centers and the continued growth of EVs will benefit industries and companies that are not yet as closely followed. As a result, the stock prices of some companies in these industries may have some catching up with those mentioned above.

This article focuses on the potential beneficiaries of the significant investment necessary to upgrade, expand, and run the nation’s power grid to accommodate AI data centers and the continued growth of EVs. We follow up with Parts Two and Three to drill down to the industries and companies that may benefit most from the coming changes to the power grid. 

To help appreciate the power grid expansion needed to run AI data centers, consider the following comment from Lal Karsanbhai, CEO of Emerson Electric.

AI data center racks consume significantly more power than traditional data centers with a search on ChatGPT consuming 6 to 10 times the power of a traditional search on Google.

A Lesson From Levi Strauss

Before revealing the lesser-appreciated beneficiaries of the AI and EV booms, we share the genius of Levi Strauss. Born in 1829, Levi Strauss opened a branch of his family’s dry goods business in San Francisco during the gold rush. Gold miners were flocking to the region and stocking up on goods. They needed items like pickaxes, food, and clothing to help them in their quest to make fortunes.

In 1873, Levi invented a more durable brand of pants for miners, made of denim and using metal rivets. Today, these pants go by the name of blue jeans. Levi smartly realized that handsome returns could be had by supplying the miners. Therefore, one needn’t risk their fortunes or life and limb to profit from a game of chance like gold mining.

Levi profited dearly from the gold rush. But, unlike most gold miners, his profits were consistent and lasting. His ingenuity still pays big dividends to his descendants.

Let’s uncover the next Levi Strauss of the AI/EV rush. These not-so-obvious companies serve as critical lynchpins to maximize AI and EVs’ value via the power grid.

Status of the Power Grid

We start with a brief summary of the power grid from the EIA.

Electricity generated at power plants moves through a complex network of electricity substations, power lines, and distribution transformers before it reaches customers. In the United States, the power system consists of more than 7,300 power plants, nearly 160,000 miles of high-voltage power lines, and millions of low-voltage power lines and distribution transformers, which connect 145 million customers.

Local electricity grids are interconnected to form larger networks for reliability and commercial purposes. At the highest level, the United States power system in the Lower 48 states is made up of three main interconnections, which operate largely independently from each other with limited transfers of power between them.

The EIA estimates the US generated 4,178 billion kilowatt-hours (kWH) of electricity in 2023. Fossil fuels account for 60% of the total, with natural gas and coal being the two largest. Nuclear and renewable sources account for most of the remaining 40%.

In the future, not only will the power grid need to be modernized and expanded to supply more power, but the political and public pressure to make it environmentally cleaner will likely be more powerful. The EIA expects global power-generating capacity to increase by 30% to 76% by 2050.

Given the size of the US economy and the number of US-domiciled companies leading the global AI and EV industries, a good portion of the increased global power needs will likely occur on US soil.  

Starting From Behind

As many of you can attest, the power grid increasingly exhibits outages due to extreme temperatures. The problem is multifaceted. As renewable energy resources become a larger share of the electric generation resource base, the system grows inherently more sensitive to extreme weather events. Traditional resources that are ill-prepared for new extremes are also showing vulnerabilities. Consequently, expanding the power grid requires utility companies to also invest in significant upgrades. For example, among these upgrades are new federal regulations requiring additional cold weather preparations for electric generators.

Per the WSJ

A report last year by the American Society of Civil Engineers found that 70% of transmission and distribution lines are well into the second half of their expected 50-year lifespans. Utilities across the country are ramping up spending on line maintenance and upgrades. Still, the ASCE report anticipates that by 2029, the US will face a gap of about $200 billion in funding to strengthen the grid and meet renewable energy goals.

The article estimates that the investment shortfall could accumulate to $338 billion by 2039. That estimate will, unfortunately, prove to be too low. The article was written in February 2022, before the massive energy demands for AI data centers were fully appreciated.

The bottom line is that utility companies, other power distributors, and municipalities must invest hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade to modernize and expand our power grids.

The Impact of EVs and AI Data Centers on the Power Grid

EVs

Assuming the acceptance growth rate of EVs continues, the electricity demand will increase substantially. The EIA estimates that US EV sales could surpass 3.5 million in 2025. That number could rise to over 8 million by 2030. Furthermore, if improvements to EV batteries to boost the driving range per charge and the number of charging stations increase rapidly, the EIA 2030 estimate could fall well short of reality.

On a side note, as we wrote in Is Toyota The Next Tesla, solid-state batteries, expected to be produced by Toyota as early as 2027, could be a game changer that dramatically boosts demand for EVs.

For context, EV sales increased from 1 million in 2022 to 1.6 million in 2023 (per MarketWatch). Edmunds estimates there are about 3.3 million EVs in the US, accounting for only 1% of the total vehicles. 

Estimates suggest that if EVs were to replace a significant portion of internal combustion engine vehicles, electricity demand could increase by 20% to 40% over the next few decades. Based on the quote below, that may be a gross underestimation.  

PG&E expects system demand to increase up to 70% over the next two decades as more EVs are added.” – Utility Dive

Not only is more electricity needed, but the power grid must also be upgraded to account for the timing of EV-related energy demands. EV charging, mainly if done simultaneously during peak hours, like early evenings, can lead to higher than current peak loads.

AI Data Centers

AI data centers alone are expected to add about 323 terawatt hours of electricity demand in the US by 2030, according to Wells Fargo. The forecast power demand from AI alone is seven times greater than New York City’s current annual electricity consumption of 48 terawatt hours. Goldman Sachs projects that data centers will represent 8% of total US electricity consumption by the end of the decade. – CNBC

From the same article comes the following quote from Robert Blue, CEO of Dominion Energy

“Economic growth, electrification, accelerating data center expansion are driving the most significant demand growth in our company’s history, and they show no signs of abating,”

Dominion Energy projects that demand from data centers in Virginia will more than double by 2030. Northern Virginia hosts the largest number of data centers in the country.

While researching this article, we came across many forecasts and comments like the ones above. The bottom line is that AI data center growth will be explosive. Consequently, the power demand will grow substantially.

Summary

AI and EVs can potentially increase the nation’s productivity growth, which would go a long way toward boosting economic growth. However, with the potential benefits come significant investments. Some companies have already made massive investments in those industries. Others, like those involving the power grid, are just getting started.

We will follow this article with two more focusing on the industries and some stocks best situated to benefit from the modernization and expansion of the power grid and those that can help the utilities meet environmental goals.

Tyler Durden Wed, 05/22/2024 - 09:45
Published:5/22/2024 9:12:43 AM
[Markets] U.S. housing supply hits highest level since 2021 even as sales dip Published:5/22/2024 9:12:42 AM
[Markets] Vivek Ramaswamy bought a bunch of BuzzFeed stock, to spark a big rally BuzzFeed’s stock soared on heavy volume Wednesday, after the Vivek Ramaswamy, a former presidential candidate, disclosed that he took a large equity stake in the digital news service. Published:5/22/2024 9:12:42 AM
[Markets] Anglo American says it has received and rejected a new BHP takeover offer Published:5/22/2024 9:04:11 AM
[Markets] Stocks mixed ahead of Nvidia's widely anticipated Q1 earnings Stocks (^DJI, ^IXIC, ^GSPC) are readying themselves for whatever Nvidia's (NVDA) fiscal first-quarter earnings — set to report after Wednesday's market close — may bring to markets. Morning Brief Anchors Seana Smith and Brad Smith report on the market and sector action to kick off the trading day, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average still sits below its record 40,000 benchmark. For more expert insight and the latest market action, click here to watch this full episode of Morning Brief. Read More about the latest market movements here, and follow along with Yahoo Finance's Stock Market Today column. Published:5/22/2024 8:47:05 AM
[Markets] Just nine days account for all of the S&P 500’s year-to-date gains Published:5/22/2024 8:38:39 AM
[Markets] First-ever spot bitcoin fund set for launch on London Stock Exchange The FCA has approved asset manager Wisdom Tree’s plans to launch the U.K. first ever physically-backed crypto exchange-traded product Published:5/22/2024 8:38:39 AM
[Markets] Dow Jones Falls Ahead Of Fed Minutes; Nvidia Drops Ahead Of Earnings Stock Market Today: The Dow Jones fell Wednesday ahead of Federal Reserve minutes. Nvidia earnings are up next. Published:5/22/2024 8:38:39 AM
[Markets] "It's Happening" - Ethereum ETF Bidders Amend SEC Filings, List At DTCC "It's Happening" - Ethereum ETF Bidders Amend SEC Filings, List At DTCC

Five potential spot Ether exchange-traded fund (ETF) issuers have submitted amended 19b-4 filings after receiving last-minute feedback from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Several filings show changes from asset managers Fidelity, VanEck and Franklin Templeton, along with joint applications from Galaxy and Invesco, and ARK Invest and 21Shares.

As Brayden Lindrea reports via CoinTelegraph, the amendments saw Fidelity, Franklin Templeton and ARK 21Shares remove provisions for Ether staking.

“Neither the Trust, nor the Sponsor, nor the Custodian, nor any other person associated with the Trust will, directly or indirectly, engage in action where any portion of the Trust’s ETH becomes subject to the Ethereum proof-of-stake validation or is used to earn additional ETH or generate income or other earnings,” Fidelity’s amended 19b-4 filing read.

The other Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE)-sponsored applicants used similar language.

Grayscale also scrapped staking, according to a proxy statement.

However, Adam Cochran, partner at venture capital firm Cinneamhain Ventures, claimed that an approved spot Ether ETF without the staking element would actually boost staking returns.

“ETFs without staking provide the same crucial boost to Ethereum’s legitimacy while avoiding ETF tail risk and diluting my yield,” added Ryan Berckmans, Ethereum community member and investor.

All five CBOE filings came in the 25 minutes between 9:35 pm and 10:00 pm UTC on May 21, according to Bloomberg ETF analyst James Seyffart.

The approved 19b-4 filings will need to be accompanied by signed-off S-1 registration statements for the ETFs to launch, Seyffart iterated.

“Still a potentially long way from a launch. But these filings prove that all of the rumors and speculation and chatter have been accurate,” he added.

Source: James Seyffart

The SEC must decide on VanEck’s application by May 23. However, industry pundits tip the regulator to decide on all or most applicants, similar to how it handled spot Bitcoin ETF applications in January.

Fox Business reporter Eleanor Terrett noted that VanEck’s Ether ETF bid was added to the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation’s (DTCC) website.

Listing of VanEck’s spot Ether ETF on DTCC’s website. Source: DTCC

The DTCC website often lists securities eligible for trading and settlement within its systems, including ETFs that have completed particular registration or compliance processes. However, this doesn’t indicate that the securities will be approved by the SEC.

BlackRock and Hashdex are the other two spot Ether ETF applicants vying for SEC approval.

It comes as the SEC reportedly started asking applicants to accelerate their 19b-4 filings on May 20.

The sudden change resulted in Seyffart and fellow Bloomberg ETF analyst Eric Balchunas raising their spot Ether ETF approval odds from 25% to 75%.

ETH is up 20.6% to around $3,800 since the SEC’s reported U-turn, according to CoinGecko.

Finally, CoinTelegraph reports that Bitcoin and Ethereum-based exchange-traded products (ETPs) are set to debut on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) following approval by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on May 22.

WidomTree’s physical Bitcoin ETP with ticker symbol WBTC and the physical Ethereum ETP (WETH) will be among the first set of crypto ETPs to be listed in the United Kingdom and are expected to begin trading on May 28, reported ETF Stream.

The physical ETPs will only be available to professional and institutional investors as the retail ban on crypto trading and sale of crypto derivatives and ETPs was enacted in January 2021. The listing of WisdomTree's two ETPs comes nearly two months after the LSE’s public notice.

Alexis Marinof, head of Europe at WisdomTree, said that the FCA approval of their crypto ETPs’ prospectus will make it easier for the UK-based professional investors to invest in crypto-backed products which currently access crypto ETPs via overseas exchanges,

In a public announcement on March 25, LSE notified that applications for the cryptocurrency ETPs are open until April 8; accepted funds will be listed the following month, subject to clearance by the nation’s financial regulator, thFCA.

To gain FCA approval, the crypto ETPs should only be denominated in Bitcoin or Ether, be physically backed, and be non-leveraged. The issuers must also partner with an Anti-Money Laundering licensed custodian in the United States, the United Kingdom, or the European Union and hold the underlying assets in cold storage.

The approval of Bitcoin ETFs by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and its subsequent success, which saw billions flow into these ETFs weekly, have prompted several other governments around the globe to offer crypto accessibility to investors.

Apart from the U.K., Hong Kong was another region to approve the listing of Bitcoin and Ether ETFs. These spot cryptocurrency ETFs from Hong Kong were regarded as a significant improvement over their U.S. counterparts due to features like in-kind transfers and denominations in three fiat currencies. Investors can instantly purchase and redeem ETF units using Bitcoin or Ether.

Tyler Durden Wed, 05/22/2024 - 09:05
Published:5/22/2024 8:21:43 AM
[Markets] Another $7.7 billion in student-debt relief approved for 160,500 borrowers by Biden administration More than 160,000 borrowers will have $7.7 billion in student debt cancelled, the Biden administration announced Wednesday. Published:5/22/2024 8:21:42 AM
[Markets] S&P 500 to end 2024 around current levels after strong run: Reuters poll The Standard & Poor's 500 will end the year near current levels, but strong stock market gains so far in 2024 have some strategists saying the index is at risk of a correction in coming months, according to a Reuters poll released Wednesday. By year-end, the benchmark index will be at 5,302, according to the median forecast of 50 strategists polled May 13-22. That latest prediction is still above the 5,100 year-end level forecast in a Reuters poll in February. Published:5/22/2024 8:12:14 AM
[Markets] How artificial intelligence could change the way you buy or sell your next house Will AI help people navigate an increasingly difficult housing market? Published:5/22/2024 8:12:14 AM
[Markets] Williams-Sonoma shares head toward all-time high as profit crushes estimates Published:5/22/2024 7:55:23 AM
[Markets] JPMorgan’s stock underperforms and grows more attractive, one analyst says KBW’s David Konrad said the bank’s caution on stock buybacks has overshadowed its boosted net interest income view. Published:5/22/2024 7:46:22 AM
[Markets] The stock market has already chosen a winner in the 2024 presidential election ‘It’s the stock market, stupid,’ and that’s why the Dow Jones Industrial Average is a surprisingly reliable election predictor. Published:5/22/2024 7:37:56 AM
[Markets] Dow Jones Futures Fall Ahead Of Fed Minutes; Nvidia Earnings Next Dow Jones futures fell Wednesday ahead of minutes from the Federal Reserve's meeting. Nvidia earnings are up next. Published:5/22/2024 7:20:48 AM
[Markets] ‘Deadpool & Wolverine’ has already hit a record for AMC, says CEO Adam Aron AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. is enjoying record first-day sales for the forthcoming movie “Deadpool & Wolverine,” according to the company’s CEO Adam Aron. Published:5/22/2024 7:20:48 AM
[Markets] Lululemon shares lower in early trades following word of product-officer exit Published:5/22/2024 7:12:23 AM
[Markets] Futures Drop, Yields Jump On Red-Hot UK Inflation, Nvidia Earnings On Deck Futures Drop, Yields Jump On Red-Hot UK Inflation, Nvidia Earnings On Deck

US futures are lower on Nvidia day; with the stock down 56bps in premarket trading, while Mag7 and semis are also all lower pre-mkt. As of 7:20am, S&P futures are down 0.1%, just off session lows amid signs of sticky inflation that dampened bets on early interest-rate cuts; Nasdaq futures drop 0.2% while Europe’s Stoxx 600 gauge slipped 0.3%, with energy shares among the big losers amid an earlier drop in crude prices.  Bond yields are higher by 2-3bps in sympathy with Gilts where yields jumped on much hotter than expected inflation, or rather less than expected disinflation. The USD is higher and commodities are mixed: energy is higher, reversing earlier losses, while precious metals are lower with Ags outperforming. Aside from NVDA, the latest Fed Minutes are also released today, which should align with recent Fedspeak (hikes unlikely in 2024 and need more data to support cuts), as well as some consumer-sector earnings (Target tumbled 8% after guidance disappointed) which, in total, show a still solid aggregate consumer but continued deterioration in the lower income consumers.

In premarket trading, Tesla slid after disclosing European sales fell to a 15-month low in April while Lululemon shares dropped 4.6% after the athleisure brand announced organizational changes, including the departure of chief product officer Sun Choe. Raymond James said Choe leaving the company added to the “wall of worry” in the near term, while Jefferies noted that the adjustments could indicate future issues with top-line growth. Here are some other notable premarket movers:

  • Bentley Systems shares fall 3.8% after Schneider Electric says talks with the software firm regarding a potential strategic transaction have been mutually terminated, according to an emailed statement. No transaction was agreed upon.
  • Edwards Life shares climb 1.7% after an upgrade to buy at Citi.
  • Kraft Heinz shares tick 0.9% higher after an upgrade to overweight from neutral at Piper Sandler, which said there is better visibility on the packaged-food company’s upside in food service, aided by a new innovation in time-saving dispensers.
  • Lululemon shares decline 4.6% after the athleisure brand announced organizational changes, including the departure of chief product officer Sun Choe. Raymond James said Choe leaving the company added to the “wall of worry” in the near term, while Jefferies noted that the adjustments could indicate future issues with top-line growth.
  • Middleby shares slip 2.2% after a downgrade to underweight at JPMorgan.
  • Modine shares decline 9.1% after the maker of heating and air conditioning products provided a fiscal 2025 earnings forecast range with a midpoint that’s short of estimates.
  • Rezolute shares jump 31% after the clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company said the Phase 2 study of RZ402 for certain patients with diabetic macular edema met both primary endpoints.
  • Urban Outfitters shares jump 5.5% after the clothing retailer reported 1Q net sales that beat the average analyst estimate. Barclays highlighted the performance of Anthropologie, Free People, Free People Movement and Nuuly, which more than made up for the underperformance of its Urban Outfitters banner.

All eyes now turn to AI bellwether Nvidia, which is down 0.6% in thin premarket New York trading. It’s projected to report a 243% gain in revenue, according to Wall Street estimates, but its 90% year-to-date share rally sets a high bar for further gains. Shares have hit a fresh record high this week ahead of the result, seen as the grand finale for a robust US earnings season.

“Nvidia remains the focal point,” Pepperstone Group Ltd. strategist Chris Weston said, noting that options markets are pricing a 7% to 9% swing in the stock after the result. And while Nvidia’s sales and gross margins will grab the initial spotlight, “it’s the guidance on the earnings landscape and product roll-out from CEO Jensen Huang that could dictate if the market really wants to push this one along for a more sustained period,” Weston said.

Markets are also growing jittery about the prospect of stubbornly high inflation that could prevent central banks from easing policy as early as currently anticipated. The latest UK CPI figures lifted the pound and knocked bond prices across Europe as traders pushed back their expected timing for the first Bank of England rate cut. Earlier on Wednesday, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand kept interest rates unchanged and signaled policy will stay tight for longer, while Federal Reserve Governor Waller said on Tuesday he needs to see several more good inflation numbers to begin interest-rate cuts.

“Both the RBNZ and the UK inflation data highlight the fraught nature of the current juncture, with investors struggling to gauge both the timing and extent of long-awaited central bank easing cycles,” Rabobank’s head of rates strategy, Richard McGuire, said.

Meanwhile, two more Fed officials again reinforced a higher-for-longer message on rates. On Tuesday, Loretta Mester and Susan Collins said they need more evidence of slowing inflation before cutting. In response, traders dialed down expectatons for Fed interest rate cuts this year, currently seeing around 40 basis points of rate cuts in 2024, versus the 50 basis-point reduction priced last week. Minutes of the last Fed policy meeting, due later Wednesday, could offer further clues on rate-setters’ thinking.

European stocks dropped, with the Stoxx 600 index slipped 0.3%; travel and leisure stocks lead gains while the autos sector have the largest declines.  Among individual stock movers, shares in Anglo American Plc weakened as investors waited to see if rival BHP Group Ltd. would launch its takeover bid to create a global copper behemoth. BHP has a deadline of 5 p.m. London time to announce a firm intention to make an offer for what could be among the world’s biggest takeover deals this year. Here are some of the biggest European movers Wednesday:

  • Evotec climbs as much as 2.6% after first-quarter sales beat market expectations. Still, analysts flag risks to the firm’s reiterated 2024 guidance amid a broader slowdown
  • Marks & Spencer jumps as much as 8.3% after reporting adjusted pretax profit that came ahead of estimates, saying it’s in the strongest financial health since 1997
  • Swiss Life falls as third-party asset management net inflows came in “much weaker than expected,” and overshadow fee income growth, according to Citi
  • SSE falls as much as 2.5% as the lack of EPS guidance by the UK power company disappoints alongside weaker performance in its renewables unit
  • RS Group falls as much as 13% after reporting lower sales and profits in the recently-ended financial year, warning that demand remains subdued
  • Ypsomed jumps 7.1% after its guidance beat expectations, according to ZKB. The Swiss supplier of auto-injectors also plans to separate its Diabetes Care operations
  • Mytilineos drops as much as 6.3% after a shareholder launched an offer to sell shares in the Greek energy company at a discount to yesterday’s closing price
  • Close Brothers falls as much as 7.9% after a trading update that saw downgrades to net interest margins and loan book growth
  • Eutelsat drops following a downgrade to neutral at Citi, which says the satellite company’s risk profile is currently “heightened”

Earlier, Asian stocks traded in a narrow range as investors awaited new catalysts. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped as much as 0.3% before erasing some losses. Toyota Motor and Alibaba Group dragged on the gauge, while chipmaker TSMC, a top Nvidia supplier, was among the biggest boosts. Stocks rose in Taiwan and New Zealand while benchmarks fell in Japan. Markets were closed for holidays in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. The key MSCI Asia stock gauge is trading close to its highest level in more than two years after a recent rally in Chinese stocks and hopes of US rate cuts. Strong gains in Hong Kong have raised some concerns of overheating, however, while two Federal Reserve officials reinforced a higher-for-longer message on interest rates Tuesday.

In FX, the Bloomberg dollar index rose to sessoon highs, tracking the rise in yields. The pound rose to the strongest level in two months against the euro as traders pared UK rate-cut bets after inflation cooled at a slower-than-expected pace. “UK services inflation remains high and suggests the BOE can wait before cutting the policy rate,” said Elias Haddad, a senior strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. in London. “The upward adjustment to UK interest rate expectations supports a firmer GBP particularly versus EUR.”

  • EUR/GBP fell as much as 0.3% to 0.8512, crossing the April low to hit the weakest since March 11
  • GBP/USD rose as much as 0.4% to 1.2761, extending a four-day rally to 0.7%; pair continued to trade at the highest since March
  • EUR/CHF rose 0.3% to 0.9916, on its longest winning streak since October 2022

Treasuries were pressured lower over early London session, following wider losses seen across gilts which aggressively bear flattened with yields at highest in weeks after inflation slowed far less than expected. Following the UK April CPI, the UK 2-year year yield remains cheaper by around 12bp on the day into early US session with UK 2s10s spread flatter by 3bp and 5s30s by 4bp on the day. Subsequently, UK markets no longer fully priced two Bank of England rate cuts for this year. US yields are also cheaper by 3bp to 5bp across the curve with belly-led losses on the day flattening 5s30s spread by around 1bp; 10-year yields around 4.45%, cheaper by 4bp vs. Tuesday close with UK 10-year underperforming by around 6.5bp in the sector

US session focus also includes supply pressure with $16 billion 20-year bond sale scheduled for 1pm New York, while Fed release latest policy minutes at 2pm.  Treasury auctions resume with $16b 20-year bond sale at 1pm, before $16b 10-year TIPS reopening Thursday. The WI 20-year yield at ~4.66% is roughly 16bp richer than April’s stop-out, which traded 2.5bp through the WI in a strong auction result

In commodities, crude reversed earlier losses, when prices were pressured by the surprise build in private inventories (Crude +2.5mln vs exp. -2.5mln) ahead of today's DoEs; Brent traded as low as $81.50 before rebounding over $82. Precious metals are softer with spot gold subdued amid a lack of notable geopolitical developments in recent days and ahead of FOMC minutes; XAU resides within a USD 2,410.69-2,426.62/oz range. A pullback is seen across most base metals following the recent rally, with profit-taking not to be discounted, with 3M LME copper towards the bottom end of a 10,636.50-10,857.50 intraday range.

In crypto, Bitcoin stabilized around $70K, with Ethereum holding just above $3.7k.

To the day ahead now, and the main highlight will be Nvidia’s earnings after the close. Otherwise, data releases include the aforementioned red hot UK CPI print for April and US existing home sales for April. We’ll get the FOMC minutes from the May meeting, and hear from ECB President Lagarde, BoE Deputy Governor Breeden, and the Fed’s Goolsbee.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures little changed at 5,340.75
  • MXAP down 0.2% to 180.88
  • MXAPJ up 0.3% to 568.56
  • Nikkei down 0.8% to 38,617.10
  • Topix down 0.8% to 2,737.36
  • Hang Seng Index down 0.1% to 19,195.60
  • Shanghai Composite little changed at 3,158.54
  • Sensex up 0.3% to 74,199.82
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 little changed at 7,848.14
  • Kospi little changed at 2,723.46
  • STOXX Europe 600 down 0.3% to 521.14
  • German 10Y yield little changed at 2.53%
  • Euro little changed at $1.0849
  • Brent Futures down 1.5% to $81.66/bbl
  • Gold spot down 0.3% to $2,413.00
  • US Dollar Index little changed at 104.70

Top Overnight News

  • China’s mega banks are urging branch managers to lend to state-owned companies that buy unsold homes, offering a quick show of support for the government’s housing rescue package unveiled last week. BBG
  • China signaled it’s ready to unleash tariffs as high as 25% on imported cars with large engines, as trade tensions escalate with the US and European Union. BBG
  • New Zealand’s central bank makes a hawkish tweak to its statement, warning that rates may need to stay at present levels for longer than previously envisioned. WSJ
  • UK inflation falls by less than anticipated in April, causing markets to dial back expectations for a June BOE rate cut (headline CPI was +2.3% in Apr, a steep fall from +3.2% in Mar but ahead of the Street’s +2.1% forecast. Core came in at +3.9%, down from +4.2% in Mar but above the Street’s +3.6% forecast). RTRS  
  • White House says a deal to normalize relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel is within reach, but its not clear if Netanyahu will agree to Riyadh’s demands (which include committing to the creation of a Palestinian state and a halt to the war in Gaza). Politico
  • The US should lift its “absolutely unfair” ban on the Ukrainian army using American-supplied weapons to strike targets inside Russia, in order to help thwart Moscow’s new offensive, Ukraine’s top national security official has said. FT
  • Biden’s approval rating falls to the lowest level in nearly two years (the rating sank to 36%, down from 38% in Apr). RTRS
  • US gasoline supplies gained by more than 2 million barrels last week, API data is said to show. That would take total holdings to the highest in eight weeks if confirmed by the EIA today. Crude inventories also rose. BBG
  • Fed's Mester (voter) said expect above-trend growth for the year and keeping rates restrictive is not that big of a risk right now given job market strength. Mester said she raised her estimate of the long-run neutral rate in the last projection and the current level of policy may not be "as restrictive" as it might otherwise have been, while she needs to see a few more months of inflation coming down and is also watching expectations.
  • Fed's Collins (non-voter) said elevated uncertainty continues to be a feature of the economy and cannot overreact to any data point, while she added this is a period when patience really matters and uncertainty is a key factor at this point. Furthermore, she said there are a lot of reasons to think Fed policy is "moderately" restrictive with some impacts still in the pipeline and the neutral rate may be higher at least in the medium term

A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk

APAC stocks were mostly rangebound as global markets brace for the FOMC Minutes and Nvidia earnings. ASX 200 just about kept afloat as strength in the heavy industries picked up the slack from the sluggish consumer and tech sectors. Nikkei 225 underperformed following a retreat beneath the 39,000 level and amid mixed data releases as trade data disappointed but machinery orders topped forecasts and showed a surprise M/M expansion. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were somewhat varied as the former mildly resumed its advances with XPeng among the notable gainers in Hong Kong due to its Q2 delivery guidance, while the mainland was contained amid a lack of drivers and lingering trade frictions.

Top Asian News

  • RBNZ kept the OCR unchanged at 5.50% as expected, while it noted that monetary policy needs to be restricted and it raised its OCR projections with the OCR seen at 5.61% in September 2024 (prev. 5.60%), 5.54% in June 2025 (prev. 5.33%), 5.40% in September 2025 (prev. 5.15%) and at 2.99% in June 2027. RBNZ said restrictive monetary policy has reduced capacity pressures in the New Zealand economy and lowered consumer price inflation, as well as noted that annual consumer price inflation is expected to return to within the committee's 1%-3% target range by the end of 2024. RBNZ Minutes noted the committee agreed that interest rates need to remain at a restrictive level for a sustained period to ensure annual headline CPI inflation returns to the 1%-3% target range, while the committee agreed that interest rates may have to remain at a restrictive level for longer than anticipated in the February Monetary Policy Statement to ensure the inflation target is met. Furthermore, the committee discussed the possibility of increasing the OCR at this meeting.
  • RBNZ Governor Orr said during the press conference that it would take time for domestic inflation to decline, while he added the economy has a lower potential growth rate and he is unsure if that is temporary. Orr also commented that they have limited upside room for inflation surprises and the OCR track is a central projection not an absolute prediction, as well as noted that they had a real consideration on raising rates at this meeting.

European bourses, (Stoxx 600 -0.3%), are subdued across the board, but within recent ranges as the tone from APAC reverberated into Europe. European sectors are mostly lower, with the breadth of the market fairly narrow; Autos are found at the foot of the pile, after EU car registrations showed a fall in EV market share. Energy is also hampered by broader weakness in the crude complex. US equity futures (ES -0.1%, NQ U/C, RTY -0.2%) are trading tentatively in a catalyst-thin session, with focus on the FOMC Minutes and after-market earnings from Nvidia.

Top European News

  • EU New car registrations: +13.7% in April 2024; battery electric 11.9% market share (vs 13% in March), according to acea. EU New Car Registrations by company in April Y/Y: Volkswagen (VOW3 GY) +15.5%. Stellantis (STLAP FP/ STLAM IM) +1.7%. Renault (RNO FP) +11.0%. BMW (BMW GY) +11.5%. Mercedes-Benz (MBG GY) +4.2%. Toyota (7203 JT) +47.3%. Nissan (7201 JT) +14.3%. Ford (F) -9.1%. Tesla (TSLA) +3.0%.
  • UK ONS House Price Index (Mar) +1.8% (vs -0.2% in Feb).
  • Barclays removed its expectations that the BoE will conduct the first rate cut in June.

FX

  • DXY is slightly firmer but is showing mixed performance vs. peers (softer vs. NZD and GBP but firmer vs. CHF and JPY). DXY has caught a recent bid and currently trades near session highs at 104.77.
  • EUR is marginally softer vs the Dollar but a session of losses vs. the GBP; In terms of price action for EUR/USD, the pair is currently respecting yesterday's 1.0842-74 range.
  • GBP is firmer in the wake of an unambiguously disappointing inflation report for the BoE. Y/Y measures fell from their priors but came in hotter-than-expected, as such the first full cut is now priced in November vs September pre-release. Accordingly, Cable vaulted to a high of 1.2761, though has since pared almost the entire move amid the recent Dollar strength, although EUR/GBP holds onto losses.
  • Antipodeans are mixed vs. the USD with NZD the best performer across the majors post-RBNZ rate decision. The hawkish lean of the release saw NZD/USD spike higher to 0.6152. AUD/USD is a touch softer vs. the USD in quiet newsflow and as copper prices pull back.
  • PBoC set USD/CNY mid-point at 7.1077 vs exp. 7.2376 (prev. 7.1069).

Fixed Income

  • USTs are softer following the broader dynamics in fixed income markets but to a lesser extent than peers. Today's FOMC minutes will be parsed for details on what lies ahead for the Fed. Trough thus far at 108.31+ low matched that of yesterday's but failed to make any headway below that level.
  • Gilts are notably lagging peers in the wake of the latest UK inflation release whereby Y/Y measures fell from their priors but came in hotter-than-expected. Gilts gapped lower by over a point, printing a low at 96.83, before stabilising on a 97 handle.
  • Bunds were already on the backfoot before subsequently being dragged lower by UK inflation metrics. Jun'24 Bund contract went as low as 130.30, tripping below yesterday's trough at 130.53.
  • UK sells GBP 4bln 4.125% 2029 Gilt: b/c 3.2x (prev. 3.21x), average yield 4.199% (prev. 4.251%), tail 0.6bps (prev. 0.8bps).
  • Germany sells EUR 3.283bln vs exp. EUR 4bln 2.20% 2034 Bund: b/c 2.8x (prev. 2.5x), average yield 2.53% (prev. 2.54%) & retention 17.9% (prev. 19.03%)

Commodities

  • Crude is lower in a continuation of the recent trend, with prices also pressured by the surprise build in private inventories (Crude +2.5mln vs exp. -2.5mln) ahead of today's DoEs; Brent July closer to the bottom end of a 81.57-82.63/bbl parameter.
  • Precious metals are softer with spot gold subdued amid a lack of notable geopolitical developments in recent days and ahead of FOMC minutes; XAU resides within a USD 2,410.69-2,426.62/oz range.
  • A pullback is seen across most base metals following the recent rally, with profit-taking not to be discounted, with 3M LME copper towards the bottom end of a 10,636.50-10,857.50 intraday parameter
  • Global crude steel output -5.0% Y/Y; Chinse crude steel output -7.2% Y/Y
  • Norway's April Prelim oil production 1.854mln BPD (vs 1.84mln BPD in March), gas output 10.4bcm (vs 364.5mcm/day in March), according to the Oil Directorate
  • China's Coal Group said that China's May coal imports are likely to be lower than April's 42.5mln metric tons
  • US Private Energy Inventory Data (bbls): Crude +2.5mln (exp. -2.5mln), Cushing +1.8mln, Gasoline +2.1mln (exp. -0.7mln), Distillate -0.3mln (exp. -0.4mln).
  • Commerzbank said it expects Gold price to fall to USD 2300/toz in H2'24; raises forecast for Silver to USD 30/toz (prev. USD 29)

Geopolitics

  • US senior official said negotiators are nearing a final set of arrangements for the US-Saudi defence deal and it is 'pretty much there to do’, while the deal includes a security component and nuclear agreement but the deal is not done and requires more work. The official said elements such as a credible pathway to Palestinian statehood still have to be completed, while the US talked with Israeli officials and reinforced President Biden's concerns about a Rafah ground invasion. Furthermore, the official said they had a very detailed discussion with Israelis about how to transition to a stabilisation phase in Gaza.
  • China's Foreign Minister Wang said in talks with Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister that China will continue to strengthen strategic cooperation with Iran, safeguard common interests, and make endeavours for regional and world peace, according to Reuters.
  • Russian Foreign Ministry said Russia's response will not only be political if France sends troops to Ukraine, according to RIA.
  • Russian Defence Ministry proposed to change external border of Russian territorial waters in Baltic Sea, via Interfax citing draft bill

US Event Calendar

  • 07:00: May MBA Mortgage Applications, prior 0.5%
  • 10:00: April Existing Home Sales MoM, est. 0.8%, prior -4.3%
  • 10:00: April Home Resales with Condos, est. 4.22m, prior 4.19m
  • 14:00: May FOMC Meeting Minutes

Fed speakers

  • 09:40: Fed’s Goolsbee Gives Opening Remarks

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

Markets continued to inch higher yesterday, with the S&P 500 (+0.25%) closing at another all-time high. But even with the new record, there were still clear signs of investor caution ahead of Nvidia’s earnings announcement later today, which is now the main focus for investors. It might seem strange that markets are hanging on the results of a single company, but over recent quarters, the release has become one of the most important events on the macro calendar. Moreover, that status has been justified by the massive moves afterwards, and Nvidia’s previous results in February saw the S&P 500 surge by +2.11% the next day, marking its strongest daily performance in over a year. So this is a pivotal event, and the recent releases have seen reactions that rival the sort of moves taking place after a surprise US jobs report or CPI release.

We won’t get Nvidia’s results until after the US close, but in the meantime, investors were focused on several Fed speakers yesterday, who sounded cautious on the prospect for near-term rate cuts. For instance, Fed Governor Waller said that “in the absence of a significant weakening in the labor market, I need to see several more months of good inflation data before I would be comfortable supporting an easing in the stance of monetary policy.” In addition, he said that “We’re not seeing anything right now that looks like staying here for three or four months is going to cause the economy to go off a cliff”. Later on, that message was back up by other speakers, and Vice Chair for Supervision Barr said that “We need to sit tight where we are for longer than we previously thought”. So the comments all added to the sense that any rate cuts (if they happen at all) would be later in the year.

But even as Fed speakers were in no hurry to cut rates, several other developments meant that sovereign bonds still rallied on both sides of the Atlantic. First, we had the Canadian CPI release for April, where inflation slowed to +2.7% year-on-year, in line with expectations. That helped to bolster expectations that the Bank of Canada would cut rates at their next meeting, and overnight index swaps moved up the chance of a June cut to 64%, up from 43% the previous day. Secondly, there was a fresh decline in oil prices, with Brent crude down by -0.99% on the day to $82.88/bbl, and overnight it’s fallen a further -0.68% to $82.32/bbl. And third, we also heard from ECB President Lagarde, who said that “there is a strong likelihood” of a move in June, and that “I’m really confident that we have inflation under control”.

Overall, that meant y ields on 10yr Treasuries fell -3.2bps to 4.41%, whilst Canadian government bonds outperformed, with their 10yr yield down -5.0bps on the day. That was echoed in Europe, where yields on 10yr bunds (-3.0bps), OATs (-2.4bps) and BTPs (-1.8bps) also moved lower. And here in the UK, 10yr gilts were down -3.9bps, which comes ahead of the UK CPI data for April, which is out shortly after we go to press this morning.

For equities however, there was a more divergent performance yesterday on either side of the Atlantic. In the US, the S&P 500 (+0.25%) managed to advance for a 3rd consecutive day to a new record, surpassing its previous closing peak last Wednesday. That was supported by a +1.04% advance to a new record for the Magnificent 7, which was led by a +6.66% gain for Tesla . On the other hand, small-cap stocks struggled, with the Russell 2000 down -0.20%. Meanwhile in Europe, the STOXX 600 (-0.18%) also fell back, alongside losses for the FTSE 100 (-0.09%), the CAC 40 (-0.67%) and the DAX (-0.22%).

That divergence has continued in Asian markets overnight, with losses for the Nikkei (-0.64%), alongside modest gains for the Hang Seng (+0.18%), the CSI 300 (+0.07%), the Shanghai Comp (+0.02%) and the KOSPI (+0.18%). And looking forward, US equity futures are flat this morning, with those on the S&P 500 up just +0.02%.

Elsewhere overnight, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand left interest rates unchanged at 5.5%. However, there were some hawkish elements to the decision, as Governor Orr said raising rates was a “real consideration” at the meeting, and their new forecasts suggest rate cuts will now happen later in 2025 than before. In turn, the New Zealand Dollar has strengthened by +0.43% against the US Dollar this morning, and yields on 10yr New Zealand government bonds are up +3.5bps, with the 2yr yield up +7.0bps.

Finally, there were several interesting commodity moves yesterday, alongside the decline in oil prices. In particular, month ahead TTF natural gas prices in Europe rose +4.13% to EUR 33.01/MWh, with futures for next winter approaching EUR 40/MWh, their highest level since the start of year. Asian LNG prices similarly reached their highest levels since December. So a potential sign of inflationary pressures ahead. The latest moves follow the news of a bankruptcy for an LNG contractor in the US, which added to fears of tighter global LNG supplies at a time of solid restocking demand for LNG in both Asia and Europe. Meanwhile on the food side, wheat prices reached their highest level since August (up by over 25% since mid-April). And finally in metals, copper (+0.62% yesterday) posted another record high, extending its YTD gain to +31.58%.

To the day ahead now, and the main highlight will be Nvidia’s earnings after the close. Otherwise, data releases include the UK CPI print for April and US existing home sales for April. Finally, we’ll get the FOMC minutes from the May meeting, and hear from ECB President Lagarde, BoE Deputy Governor Breeden, and the Fed’s Goolsbee.

Tyler Durden Wed, 05/22/2024 - 07:57
Published:5/22/2024 7:04:05 AM
[Markets] Where to retire if you love living on a lake Retirees who want to live on or close to a lake can look at these locales. Published:5/22/2024 7:04:05 AM
[Markets] U.K. inflation is driving another market — the betting market on when a general election will be held The real surprise action was in betting markets, where bets have ramped up that the general election, which has to be called by January, will now be called in July. Published:5/22/2024 6:38:36 AM
[Markets] Stock market today: US futures slip as wait for Nvidia earnings nears its end Stocks face two big tests in Nvidia's pivotal earnings report and minutes from the Federal Reserve's last meeting. Published:5/22/2024 6:30:17 AM
[Markets] Mortgage rates drop to seven-week low Published:5/22/2024 6:13:27 AM
[Markets] Pandemic Winners Struggle In The Post-Pandemic World Pandemic Winners Struggle In The Post-Pandemic World

Zoom Video Communications, the company that rose to fame during the early days of the pandemic, reported earnings for the first quarter of its fiscal year 2025 on Monday, narrowly beating analyst expectations but disappointing investors with its short-term outlook. Adjusted earnings per share were up 16 percent year-over-year while total revenue and enterprise revenue increased 3 and 5 percent, respectively. That’s a far cry from the growth figures Zoom posted during the pandemic, when the company saw its revenue grow manifold in a matter of months. The end of working-from-home requirements and subsequent return to offices as well as stiff competition from Microsoft Teams, Cisco’s Webex and Salesforce’s Slack have brought the former pandemic high-flyer back to earth.

However, as Statista's Felix Richter notes, Zoom isn’t the only pandemic winner struggling to maintain its momentum in the post-pandemic world.

Other companies that soared under the special circumstances created by Covid-19 have also come crashing down over the past two years, as normal life gradually returned.

Home fitness company Peloton and DIY marketplace Etsy, which profited from a large volume of mask sales on its platform during the pandemic, are two such examples, along with vaccine maker Moderna and DocuSign, a company that allows companies to manage agreements electronically.

As the following chart shows, all of these companies saw their stock price surge during the Covid crisis, but all of them have fallen at least 70 percent from their peak pandemic valuation.

Infographic: Pandemic Winners Struggle in the Post-Pandemic World | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

$1,000 invested in Moderna shares on March 11, 2020, the day the WHO declared the Covid-19 outbreak a pandemic, would have appreciated to more than $20,000 by August 2021 and would still be worth almost $6,000 today.

Investors who bought shares of DocuSign, Zoom or Peloton at the onset of the pandemic and held on to them until now are suffering from a severe pandemic hangover, though, as the shares of these companies are now worth (significantly) less than they were in March 2020.

Tyler Durden Wed, 05/22/2024 - 06:55
Published:5/22/2024 6:04:37 AM
[Markets] Consumer watchdog classifies ‘buy now, pay later’ apps as credit cards The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wants to treat buy now pay later the same as credit cards and give consumers additional protections. Published:5/22/2024 6:04:37 AM
[Markets] 30-year mortgage rate drops to a seven-week low  Mortgage rates fell for the third week in a row, boosting refinancing activity. Published:5/22/2024 6:04:37 AM
[Markets] Dow Jones Futures Fall As Target Tumbles; Here Comes Nvidia The Nasdaq hit a new high Tuesday but Target tumbled early Wednesday. Will Nvidia earnings tonight meet lofty hopes? Published:5/22/2024 6:04:36 AM
[Markets] Target's stock dives after profit misses expectations Published:5/22/2024 5:46:56 AM
[Markets] Japan's key bond yield above 1% for the first time in 11 years Published:5/22/2024 5:29:24 AM
[Markets] China mulls higher tariffs on European and U.S. made cars, business group says A Chinese business group said the Chinese government is considering hiking tariffs on foreign made cars by up to 25% Published:5/22/2024 5:29:24 AM
[Markets] Crypto just became a political football, and ether is the early winner The government had cooled on approving a suite of spot ether ETFs, but news of a potential 180 has completely changed the current atmosphere and given ether its best two-day run in years. Published:5/22/2024 5:06:49 AM
[Markets] Oaktree has taken over Inter Milan after loan wasn't repaid Published:5/22/2024 5:06:49 AM
[Markets] Trending tickers: Tesla, Nvidia, Marks and Spencer and SSE The latest investor updates on stocks that are trending on Wednesday. Published:5/22/2024 4:58:29 AM
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[Markets] There's a new round of student-debt relief worth $7.7 billion Published:5/22/2024 4:32:47 AM
[Markets] Another Sanction Failure: The US Blacklisted Xiaomi Three Years Ago Now it Makes EVs Another Sanction Failure: The US Blacklisted Xiaomi Three Years Ago Now it Makes EVs

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk.com,

Just three years ago, the Chinese company Xiaomi decided to build cars. It succeeded where Apple failed.

The Wall Street Journal reports A Chinese Phone Maker Did Something Apple Couldn’t: Make an EV

Xiaomi is a Chinese company known for its rice cookers, robot vacuums, air purifiers and smartphones. Now, it has pulled off what Apple, its longtime rival, couldn’t: Make an electric car and bring it to market. And it did it in three years.

In its home market, Xiaomi —pronounced SHAU-mee—is cranking out its SU7 sedan to a waiting list of buyers after its launch in late March. Since early April, the Beijing-based company said it had delivered more than 10,000 of the electric vehicles and received nearly 90,000 binding orders.

Priced between $30,000 and $42,000, the company says the SU7 can go up to 500 miles on one charge, undercutting comparable versions of the Tesla Model 3 in China by around $4,000 and outrunning it by around 200 miles per charge.

Xiaomi’s feat illuminates a new reality in the century-old automotive business: The barriers to entry for making a car have shrunk in recent years with the emergence of electric vehicles. And in this new reality, China is speeding way ahead.

To simplify development and reduce costs, Xiaomi adopted Tesla’s process of “gigacasting,” which employs large-scale, high-pressure aluminum die-casting to create the car’s frame. The process combines hundreds of manufacturing steps into one, saving on components, weight, cost and time.

Xiaomi also had to innovate. The liquid aluminum that gets injected into the die-casting machine has to be a certain variety that can withstand an extraordinary amount of pressure. Xiaomi had to come up with its own material, building an artificial-intelligence program that used a method known as deep learning to simulate how different materials would behave when placed inside the die-cast machine.

The company only seriously started looking into entering the car sector after the U.S. government blacklisted it in January 2021 for what it said were ties to China’s military, prohibiting Americans from investing in Xiaomi.

Xiaomi Profitable When?

Xiaomi loses money on cars. To turn a profit, Xiaomi would have to produce 300,000 to 400,000 of the SU7 each year, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun told CCTV.

It’s unclear if this company succeeds at building cars. But I suspect it will.

Regardless, Xiaomi has proven a company that makes phones can make cars three years later.

What exactly does Tesla have that some Chinese company can’t do better or cheaper? Perhaps self-driving technology, but there Tesla seriously lags Waymo.

Preparation for Growth

On April 15, I noted Elon Musk Fires 10 Percent of Tesla Workforce, Prepares for “Next Phase of Growth”

Preparing for Growth

Preparing for growth by firing working is like trying to lose weight by stocking the pantry with more potato chips.

On May 6, I noted Another Round of Mass Firings at Tesla, Sales Must Be Imploding

Tesla announced yet another round of layoffs today. News came in the typical way, an email starting “Dear Employee”. It seems “Dear Ex-Employee” would be more fitting.

Tiresome Lies

Musk statements are no longer best viewed as excessive hype, but rather tiresome lies.

For four years running, Musk promised to make 50,000 electric semis. Tesla delivered a grand total of 100.

Carbon Credits

Carbon Credits notes Tesla Hits Record High Sales from Carbon Credits at $1.79B

Elon Musk’s Tesla generated a substantial $1.79 billion from carbon credit sales last year, as revealed in their Q4 2023 and annual financial report, bringing its total earnings from such credits since 2009 to nearly $9 billion.

The revenue generated from the sale of carbon credits has become a substantial source of income for the company. In fact, the credits account for a staggering 11% of Tesla’s overall gross margin for the quarter, $4,065 million, down from 25.9% seen in Q4 2022.

Despite its continued dominance in the U.S. EV market, Tesla faces growing competition, particularly from China’s BYD. The Chinese automaker recently surpassed Tesla as the world’s largest seller of EVs.

Tesla’s Lead Has Vanished

Whatever technology lead Tesla once had is now gone.

Tesla’s Full Self Driving FSD technology is essentially vaporware.

On May 14, I noted BYD Unveils the “Shark” a Plug-in Hybrid Pickup Truck Built in Mexico

The Chinese automaker BYD (Build Your Dreams) announces a 700-mile range PHEV that will be built in Mexico, this year.

Also see Biden Wants EVs so Badly That He Will Quadruple Tariffs on Them

Astute readers will immediately notice the title of this post makes no sense. It’s not supposed to. But it is exactly what President Biden is doing.

The EU is too shellshocked and disorganized to do anything. The US is fighting with tariffs and sanctions.

The Blacklisting of Xiaomi led to this result, It’s another “victory” for sanctions.

Tyler Durden Wed, 05/22/2024 - 05:00
Published:5/22/2024 4:24:25 AM
[Markets] Norway, Ireland and Spain to recognize Palestinian state next week Published:5/22/2024 4:15:20 AM
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[Markets] Yellen Threatens German Banks With Sanctions; EU Approves Using Russian Asset Profits For Ukraine's Defense Yellen Threatens German Banks With Sanctions; EU Approves Using Russian Asset Profits For Ukraine's Defense

In a rare moment of tensions among allies, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is demanding that German bank executives get serious about complying with anti-Russia sanctions, warning further that German banks could find themselves under sanctions.

She warned them of secondary sanctions meant to thwart deals with Russian entities in a meeting among bank leaders in Frankfurt. "Russia continues to procure sensitive goods and to expand its ability to domestically manufacture these goods. We must remain vigilant and be more ambitious," Yellen said. "I urge all institutions here to take heightened compliance measures and to increase your focus on Russian evasion attempts."

According to Reuters, "In an unusually direct warning, she told the executives to police sanctions compliance among their banks' foreign branches and subsidiaries and reach out to foreign correspondent banking customers to do the same, especially in high-risk jurisdictions."

"Russia is desperate to obtain critical goods from advanced economies like Germany and the United States," Yellen continued. "We must remain vigilant to prevent the Kremlin’s ability to supply its defense industrial base, and to access our financial systems to do so."

Washington's pressure campaign to force out Russian interests from Europe appears to be bearing fruit:

Earlier this month, Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) dropped a bid for a 1.5 billion euro ($1.6 billion) industrial stake linked to Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska after intense U.S. pressure.

The deal's collapse was a fresh setback for the lender, which faces criticism for its ties to Moscow more than two years since Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The pressure also underscored Washington's willingness to take European banks to task over their Russia ties.

A spokesman later said, "RBI will continue to work towards the de-consolidation of its Russian subsidiary."

Meanwhile the European Union has finally approved a US-backed plan to use seized Russian assets to generate profits which will in turn help arm Ukraine

Associated Press reports that "The 27-nation EU is holding around 210 billion euros ($225 billion) in Russian central bank assets, most of it frozen in Belgium, in retaliation for Moscow’s war against Ukraine. It estimates that the interest on that money could provide around 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion) each year." A first tranche of funds could be available as early as July.

Starting in February, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen began getting more vocal on the "moral case" for using Russian assets to aid Ukraine, telling allies they must find a way to "unlock the value" of the hundreds of billions in immobilized Russian assets, also with an eye towards Ukraine's post-war reconstruction.

Previously some Ukrainian officials floated the idea of "reparation bonds" backed by future claims for war damages against Moscow, and utilizing frozen Russian assets. These initiatives have gained steam under US leadership. Most of the $300 billion in frozen Russian assets are held in Europe - particularly France, Germany, and Belgium.

Tyler Durden Wed, 05/22/2024 - 04:15
Published:5/22/2024 3:27:36 AM
[Markets] EU Members Will Have To Arrest Netanyahu After ICC Warrant: Borrell EU Members Will Have To Arrest Netanyahu After ICC Warrant: Borrell

Will Israel eventually come up with its own Hague Invasion Act

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Tuesday commented on the International Criminal Court (ICC) issuing arrest warrants for top Israeli officials over alleged war crimes in Gaza. He stressed in the statement that all European Union member countries will be legally required to oblige.

He explained that if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or Defense Minister Yoav Gallant travel to a European country, they would face arrest

EPA/EFE

He said the same for those Hamas leaders listed alongside Netanyahu: "I take note of the decision of the ICC Prosecutor to apply for warrants of arrest before Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif, Ismail Haniyeh, Benjamin Netanyahu and Yoav Gallant," Borrell sated.

"The mandate of the ICC, as an independent international institution, is to prosecute the most serious crimes under international law," Borrell wrote on X. He emphasized "All States that have ratified the ICC statutes are bound to execute the Court’s decisions." He said the EU has taken "note" of the world court's action.

With the exception of Ukraine and Turkey, all of Europe is a signatory to the Rome Statue, requiring them to apprehend those individuals 'wanted' by the ICC.

The ICC has described:

The ICC can prosecute crimes against humanity, which are serious violations committed as part of a large-scale attack against any civilian population. The 15 forms of crimes against humanity listed in the Rome Statute include offences such as murder, rape, imprisonment, enforced disappearances, enslavement – particularly of women and children, sexual slavery, torture, apartheid and deportation.

This could impact Israeli leaders' travel to certain places in the world. It most certainly creates diplomatic pressure to not do so in the case of destination countries which are required to make an arrest under the Rome Statute.

The White House has said that it 'rejects' the ICC's decision, while Israeli leaders have continued to rage, even calling the court's decision 'antisemitic'.

The ICC's investigation actually goes all the way back to the 2014 Israel-Hamas war. But also following Oct.7 and Israel's invasion of Gaza, South Africa brought a fresh war crimes case - which has gained the support of countries like Turkey, but especially a number of countries of the Global South.

The Hague-based court in March 2023 issued an arrested warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin over the Ukraine war, so this means that ironically Netanyahu is now a "wanted" man right alongside Putin.

Tyler Durden Wed, 05/22/2024 - 02:45
Published:5/22/2024 3:19:01 AM
[Markets] Marks & Spencer shares up 8% after posting fiscal year sales and profit rise Published:5/22/2024 3:19:01 AM
[Markets] FTSE 100 LIVE: London lower as markets scale back interest rate cut hopes FTSE 100 drops sharply as inflation disappoints. Published:5/22/2024 3:19:01 AM
[Markets] Treasury yields rise ahead of Fed minutes and after sticky U.K. inflation data Bond yields rose early Wednesday as investors eyed minutes from the Federal Reserve’s May meeting and higher-than-expected U.K. inflation reminded the market of stubborn price pressures in developed economies Published:5/22/2024 3:19:01 AM
[Markets] U.K.'s inflation rate neared Bank of England's 2% target in April Published:5/22/2024 1:25:05 AM
[Markets] Crypto bulls think ether ETF approval could send prices to new highs — and make way for more funds It seems more likely that a spot ether exchange-traded fund could arrive as early as this week amid a sudden change of stance by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Published:5/22/2024 1:16:42 AM
[Markets] Analysis-Earnings from AI-heavyweight Nvidia to test US stocks’ record run Earnings from semiconductor bellwether Nvidia on Wednesday are set to provide the latest test for a U.S. stock market rally that has taken indexes to record highs this year. A 90% run in Nvidia’s shares this year has made it the third-biggest U.S. company by market value, trailing only Microsoft and Apple. Because Nvidia’s chips are the gold standard in artificial intelligence, its results are widely seen as a barometer for the burgeoning AI industry, whose evolution has stoked investor enthusiasm and helped drive the bull run in U.S. stocks. Published:5/22/2024 1:16:42 AM
[Markets] Election 2024: A Political Renaissance For America Or The Path To Totalitarianism Election 2024: A Political Renaissance For America Or The Path To Totalitarianism

Authored by James E. Fanell and Bradley A. Thayer via American Greatness,

It has been decades in the making, but the country is now on the precipice between its traditional ideology of political liberalism and a path that will lead, far sooner than Americans might think, to totalitarianism. The historical bulwarks of Americanism and the American political system—government of the people, freedom, and liberty—have been deliberately eroded. A citizenry steeped in republican virtue, cognizant of the political ideas and principles that made America a lasting and strong constitutional republic, and knowledgeable about the duties and obligations of American citizenship have been under daily assault for years from the foreign ideology of communism. That odious ideology has operated under synonyms such as “progressivism,” “multiculturalism,” or DEI to make its poison more palatable to American audiences.

The media—the so-called “Fourth Estate”—has been another layer of protection that has been peeled away. Today, they are activists advancing the left’s agenda in all but name. Great newspapers that were lively to read and informative are no longer. One reads them now the same way Soviet citizens used to read Pravda—only by knowing the lies that are printed and surmising what is left out of the story can one come close to knowing the truth. Compare the front page of the New York Times from fifty, forty, or thirty years ago to one today, and the change is telling and sad to see. Rather than a robust culture of free speech, censorship is pervasive by the legacy and social media, Big Tech, and by a ubiquitous and devilish culture of self-censorship.

American universities were once the envy of the world, as lively academies of intellectual debate and devoted to the pursuit of knowledge are now factories of indoctrination. Their law, medical, engineering, and business schools have also been transformed into political instruments that advance the “Party Line.” Unbelievably, thought control in K-12 is even worse. Popular culture fell a long time ago, and most of it is simply a contemporary version of Soviet entertainment where the heroic worker and peasant defeat the evil capitalist and priest. Worse still is the promotion of degeneracy and decadence with gender reassignment led by a teacher’s union that more resembles a Clockwork Orange ensemble than as the protectors of the most vulnerable in our society—our children.

As alarming as these developments are, what is worse is the permanent weaponization of government against political opponents. The raids, indictments, trials, and gag orders for a former president and leading 2024 candidate demonstrate that the Constitutional rights of the most prominent political figure in American politics in this century can have his rights violated, so too can all Americans. The lawfare employed against President Trump has been specifically designed by the left to consume his time and other resources away from his campaign for President in this critically important election year.

Of course, it is not only Trump. The imprisonment of former Trump official Peter Navarro and perhaps of Trump advisor Steve Bannon is an attempt to decapitate the Make America Great Again Movement through their imprisonment and to send a message to others about what will happen to anyone who opposes the state. The persecution of Trump’s legal advisor, John Eastman, is a similar tactic. The result is that law firms will be reluctant to accept the movement’s legal challenges. These actions are the first strike in the left’s campaign of “lawfare” to disarm Trump and to deter any Republican challenge to the parameters of the election and its aftermath. It is also political muscle flexing in an attempt to intimidate anyone who would assist Trump’s campaign and an effort to demoralize his base. After the British executed Admiral John Byng in 1757, Voltaire wrote it was “to encourage the others,” and so it is today.

The irony of the many steps taken by the left to advance a totalitarian agenda is that it is they who falsely proclaim that it is Trump and the MAGA movement that are the fascists. It is the left that is actually implementing such vile and anti-American practices against their political enemies and the American people. Recently, former 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton was once again on the Sunday news shows talking about how Donald Trump would arrest his political enemies, while in reality it is only the Democratic Party and the Biden administration that have put Peter Navarro in prison, may imprison Bannon, and indicted the former President 92 times.

This cannot stand if America is to survive as a constitutional republic. If it does, then the country is on the path to totalitarianism. Totalitarianism does not just show up one day, springing forth fully formed like Athena from the head of Zeus. But it does come quickly, more so than most Americans realize, as the ideology, laws, norms, and culture are eroded by the new revolutionary regime. When they seized power in 1917, the Bolsheviks did not know how far they could push the Russian people, but that was not for lack of intent or for a lack trying. Their ambition was to remake everything—culture, politics, economics, the arts, science, diplomacy, education, values, and thought. Every year, they tightened their grip until they crushed the people in the horrors of Stalinism. It took only twenty years from the time the Bolsheviks came to power to the show trials of mature Stalinism.

Nothing is decided and there will be many ups and downs, twists and turns, and surprises between now and Election Day. The election of 2024 is critical and as important as any in its history. Assuming the election’s fidelity—that this assumption must be made is an indication of how close the country is flirting with totalitarianism—it will provide Americans with the clearest choice in our history since the Civil War. When that choice is understood to be one between the continuation of the American Republic or to enter the hell of totalitarianism, the election will spark a renaissance of America’s traditional political ideology, institutions, values and culture. This election provides the opportunity to drive a stake through the heart of totalitarianism “with an American face,” as Americans, having seen into the abyss, will reject the totalitarian path. A re-birth of the understanding of the value of American citizenship—that spirit of 1776—and of our inalienable and universal freedoms can come from the 2024 election.

To ensure that positive outcome will require not only support for President Trump but also extraordinary vigilance by the American people through the election and its aftermath.

Tyler Durden Tue, 05/21/2024 - 23:40
Published:5/21/2024 11:17:08 PM
[Markets] The Audacity Of Merrick Garland: Julie Kelly The Audacity Of Merrick Garland: Julie Kelly

Authored by Julie Kelly via The Florida Capital Star (emphasis ours),

FBI agents last week arrested a man from Maine for his involvement in the events of January 6. According to a Department of Justice press release, Lincoln Deming spent about 30 minutes inside the building after entering through an open door with Capitol Police standing by. Deming faces numerous charges including civil disorder and the dreaded “parading” in the Capitol misdemeanor.

The DOJ bragged in the press release about the government’s scalp count for its unprecedented prosecution of Jan 6 protesters. “More than 1,424 individuals have been charged in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol,” Matthew Graves, the Joe Biden-appointed U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, boasted. The investigation into the four-hour disturbance, Graves warned, is “ongoing.”

Indeed. The DOJ, astonishingly, is on pace to arrest one J6 protester a day this year; Graves has stated his intention to bring the total caseload to at least 2,000 defendants before the statute of limitations expires.

If DOJ Didn’t Have Double Standards, It Would Have No Standards at All…Oh Wait

At the same time, the DOJ refuses to bring federal charges against pro-Palestinian demonstrators who in many instances engaged in similar if not worse conduct inside Congressional buildings over the past six months.

Graves’ spokeswoman recently confirmed to me via email that all cases stemming from arrests of pro-Palestinian protesters are being handled by the local D.C. prosecutor.

In other words, no federal obstruction of an official proceeding indictments against those who repeatedly interrupted Senate and House hearings to protest against the Israel-Gaza war. No federal “parading” charges for demonstrators who unlawfully occupied government buildings in Washington on multiple occasions. Even demonstrators who assaulted Capitol police outside the DNC headquarters last November do not face federal charges — a shocking double-standard since hundreds of J6ers have been federally charged with assault on police, even for minor confrontations, often resulting in lengthy prison sentences and pretrial detention in several cases.

Which makes recent comments by Attorney General Merrick Garland all the more outrageous — and demonstrably false. Before two House committees voted Thursday to advance contempt of Congress against Garland for defying a congressional subpoena demanding the audio recording of Biden’s interview with Special Counsel Robert Hur last year, Garland mustered his most sanctimonious self to explain how House Republicans, not him, threaten the legitimacy of the DOJ — a “fundamental institution of our democracy,” Garland claimed. (Garland advised Biden to invoke executive privilege to prevent producing the tapes to Congress; Biden only too happily accepted his counsel.)

Garland audaciously claimed politics plays no role in determining what investigations his department pursues.

Without political influence?

If the country had a real news media instead of boot-lickers who ask Garland about his hurt feelings when people criticize the DOJ, at least one reporter would have confronted Garland about the ongoing prosecution of J6ers while letting Hamasurrectionists off the hook.

A reporter would have asked Garland how many times the DOJ seeks pretrial detention for political protesters accused of assaulting police, as the DOJ has done in dozens of J6 cases.

A reporter would have asked Garland how often the FBI conducts armed raids of Americans accused of nonviolent offenses, as the FBI has done in hundreds of J6 cases and continues to do.

A reporter would have asked Garland about the possibility the Supreme Court will reverse how his DOJ has applied a post-Enron statute against 350 or so J6ers, turning many otherwise nonviolent protesters into convicted felons.

A reporter also would have asked Garland about two recent D.C. appellate court decisions that overturned excessive sentencing requests made by the DOJ.

A reporter would have asked Garland why he authorized an armed FBI raid of Mar-a-Lago to search for classified documents but didn’t do the same for Joe Biden or Mike Pence.

A reporter would have asked Garland why he should not be held in contempt of Congress for defying a House subpoena while his prosecutors indicted both Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro — who is currently doing time in a Miami prison — for contempt after they defied subpoenas by the January 6 Select Committee.

A reporter would have asked Garland why his office just boasted about imprisoning several individuals including two women in their 70s for protesting outside a D.C. abortion clinic in 2020 while nearly all federal charges against 2020 BLM rioters have been dropped.

You get the drift.

The fascinating backdrop here is that the Biden regime and news media warn a second Trump presidency will result in a crusade of retribution and retaliation against his sworn enemies — including DOJ and FBI officials.

Given Garland’s performance as attorney general, one can only hope that’s true.

Part of Garland’s letter to Biden

Julie Kelly is an independent journalist covering the weaponization of the U.S. Government against her citizens, Follow Kelly on Twitter / X.

Tyler Durden Tue, 05/21/2024 - 23:00
Published:5/21/2024 11:08:41 PM
[Markets] Court Lets Lawsuit Over Refusal To Give Dying Woman Ivermectin Proceed Court Lets Lawsuit Over Refusal To Give Dying Woman Ivermectin Proceed

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

A court has rejected a hospital system’s claim that its refusal to continue giving ivermectin to a dying woman was covered by federal law, stating that the law does not apply to the actions in question.

Mount Sinai South Nassau in New York City was twice forced to give COVID-19 patient Deborah Bucko, who was close to death after the system’s normal treatment failed, ivermectin under court order. Mrs. Bucko’s condition improved after she began taking ivermectin.

However, the system stopped the second round of treatment before the prescription ended, and Mrs. Bucko then died.

After being sued, Mount Sinai said the lawsuit should be thrown out because it’s immune under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act), which covers health care workers administering drugs and vaccines during a health emergency, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There is no refuting that the complaint is a frontal attack on the use of COVID-19 countermeasures as defined by the PREP Act,” lawyers for the hospital system said in a filing. “The complaint expressly implicates conduct encompassed by the PREP Act by alleging a claim for loss that has a causal relationship with the dispensing and administration of covered countermeasures to treat COVID-19. As such, the law requires its dismissal.”

The act has been successfully invoked in a range of COVID-19-related cases. Workers who injected a child with a COVID-19 vaccine without parental consent, for instance, recently won the dismissal of a lawsuit by citing the law.

The motion to dismiss by Mount Sinai, though, was rejected by New York Supreme Court Justice Randy Sue Marber.

Justice Marber wrote in a May 17 order that Mount Sinai, its workers, and ivermectin, fit under the definitions of “covered person” and “covered countermeasure” under the law. But the suit against the system does not bring a claim relating to the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19, she said.

“Rather, in stunning contrast to South Nassau’s assertions, the complaint alleges, with particularity, that South Nassau ‘acted wrongfully and negligently, by repeatedly refusing to administer ivermectin to ... [the decedent]’ notwithstanding it ‘having been prescribed” ... and ’despite clear evidence in the medical records that ... [the decedent’s] condition showed significant improvement once the ivermectin treatment was initiated,'” the justice said, quoting from the complaint.

That means the immunity conferred by PREP “is inapplicable,” she added later.

The ruling means the case will move forward. The next hearing is scheduled to take place on June 3.

“Scott and I are extremely pleased that the judge denied the hospital’s motion and has given us a fighting chance to obtain justice for Debbie,” Steven Warshawsky, a lawyer representing Scott Mantel, Mrs. Bucko’s husband, told The Epoch Times via email.

Mount Sinai did not respond to a request for comment.

Federal regulators say people should not take ivermectin against COVID-19, although a number of doctors have said patients who received the drug, approved by regulators for other uses, have recovered quickly. Some studies have found evidence of a benefit, while others have not.

Deborah Bucko and Scott Mantel in a file photograph. (Courtesy of Scott Mantel)

Background

Mr. Mantel sued Mount Sinai in 2023, alleging the hospital system violated a law that enables representatives of decedents to sue over “wrongful act, neglect or default causing [the] death of [the] decedent.”

According to the suit, after being admitted to Mount Sinai with suspected COVID-19, Mrs. Bucko’s condition was not improved by the system’s standard treatment protocols, including supplemental oxygen. She was ultimately placed on a ventilator.

Mr. Mantel researched alternative treatments and read about how some patients recovered after being treated with ivermectin. He learned that the Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance features ivermectin in its COVID-19 treatment protocol.

Mr. Mantel presented what he had learned to doctors at Mount Sinai. Dr. Robert Clark, one of the doctors, said that he was “all out of bullets” and that ivermectin might be able to help Mrs. Bucko. He wrote a prescription on April 7, 2021, for five days. Mount Sinai’s pharmacy department, though, placed the prescription on hold and the system’s stewardship committee rescinded the prescription.

Mr. Mantel took the matter to court, resulting in an order to immediately start giving Mrs. Bucko ivermectin.

After being treated with ivermectin, Mrs. Bucko’s condition improved, according to the suit. The initial prescription ended, and her recovery stalled. Mr. Mantel went back to Dr. Clark, who was said to have acknowledged ivermectin helped Mrs. Bucko get better and could keep helping her improve. He wrote another prescription, this time for 35 days.

The hospital rescinded the prescription again, prompting the family to seek legal redress. The system was ordered again to enforce the prescription.

Mrs. Bucko improved further with the second round of ivermectin, but the system changed the prescription and stopped administering it after five days. Dr. Clark also informed Mr. Mantel he was being prevented from writing any additional ivermectin prescriptions.

Once Mrs. Bucko stopped receiving ivermectin, her condition deteriorated, her family says. She died on on May 16, 2021.

Mount Sinai “committed medical malpractice and/or otherwise acted wrongfully and negligently, by repeatedly refusing to administer ivermectin to Ms. Bucko, who was suffering from severe COVID-19 illness that was not responding to the hospital’s standard treatment protocols, despite the ivermectin having been prescribed by her treating infectious disease doctor ... and despite clear evidence in the medical records that Ms. Bucko’s condition showed significant improvement once the ivermectin treatment was initiated,” the suit stated.

The family is seeking damages as determined by the court and a jury.

“This fight is not just about Deborah and our family, but also for ALL Americans that will one day need a hospital to treat them,” family members said in a fundraiser. “What happened to Deborah must never ever be allowed to happen again, and those responsible for her tragic death must be held accountable.

Tyler Durden Tue, 05/21/2024 - 21:40
Published:5/21/2024 9:19:41 PM
[Markets] Intel and AMD take a backset as Qualcomm plays starring role in Microsoft’s AI PCs When Microsoft Corp. unveiled a line of PCs and software this week designed to make the most of the artificial-intelligence revolution, it showcased a main processing chip — but it wasn’t from the software giant’s usual chip partner. Published:5/21/2024 9:19:41 PM
[Markets] Aluminum Jumps To 23-Month High Amid Ongoing Aussie Production Issues Aluminum Jumps To 23-Month High Amid Ongoing Aussie Production Issues

From coffee to cocoa, orange juice to gold, and silver to copper, commodity prices are spiking across the board (we outlined this on Monday). The latest surge occurred Tuesday when aluminum tagged 23-month highs due to ongoing production issues emerging from Australia. The broad-based commodity rally signals the inflation storm central bankers are battling is not over. 

Rio Tinto, one of the largest aluminum producers, declared force majeure on third-party contracts for exporting alumina from its refineries in Queensland, Australia. This is due to a broken natural gas pipeline operated by Queensland Gas Pipeline. 

A spokesperson for the company told Dow Jones that NatGas supplies will return to capacity at a much later date than previously anticipated: 

"The pipeline operator's current estimate [is] for a return to normal levels in the second half of 2024. 

"Until then, Yarwun and QAL [Queensland Alumina Limited] will continue to operate at lower capacities."

On the London Metal Exchange, aluminum contracts settled up 3.6% at $2,725.50 a metric ton, the highest level since early summer 2022. 

Colin Hamilton, managing director for commodities research at BMO Capital Markets, told Bloomberg that today's price action in aluminum markets suggests mounting fears about "dwindling aluminum output" — a situation he views as "unlikely."

Hamilton noted that industrial metal could be "part of the digital and electrical revolution we know is coming ... is going to benefit." We call this "The Next AI Trade."

One base metal that has been on everyone's radars is copper. Comex prices have squeezed to record highs and continue on Tuesday. 

Since February, industrial metals tracked by Bloomberg have soared 30%. 

Precious metals tracked by Bloomberg have also broken out. 

Commodities as a whole, tracked by Bloomberg, have soared. 

Bloomberg's Cameron Crise pointed out that the number of commodities in the Bloomberg Commodity Index that are up by at least 25% over the three month period have risen to seven. 

Crise continues:

Currently, there are seven: cocoa, copper, nickel, orange juice, silver, tin, and zinc. Clearly industrial metals are a theme in that list, which itself raises the question of how valid some of the global growth concerns might be. Anyhow, the current total of seven is the highest since the middle of 2022; coincidentally (or not), the industrial metals subindex total return is also the highest since the same point in time.

He added:

Obviously, over long periods of time the link between the series above and inflation isn't necessarily that great; the highest-ever reading came in 2009 with the correction of the GFC downside overshoot in commodity prices. Still, the relatively broad-based rise in industrial metals is noteworthy and raises another question about just how benign the inflation outlook might be moving forwards.

The hot commodity market is posing new challenges for Fed chair Jerome Powell and his friends in the White House... 

Tyler Durden Tue, 05/21/2024 - 20:40
Published:5/21/2024 8:12:55 PM
[Markets] GOP Bill Would Give Israeli Soldiers US Job And Financial Protections GOP Bill Would Give Israeli Soldiers US Job And Financial Protections

Leaping headlong into 2024's frenzy of Israel-catering legislative activity, two House Republicans have introduced a bill that would extend credit and employment privileges enjoyed by US military service members to American citizens serving in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). 

This latest affront to American patriotism is brought to you by Pennsylvania congressman and Chief Deputy Whip Guy Reschenthaler, along with Ohio Rep. Max Miller.

“Over 20,000 American citizens are currently defending Israel from Hamas terrorists, risking their lives for the betterment of our ally,” said Reschenthaler. “This legislation will ensure we do everything possible to support these heroes who are standing with Israel, fighting for freedom, and combating terrorism in the Middle East.”

Palestinians race to find survivors of a massive IDF airstrike on an apartment building in Gaza; at least 106 civilians were reportedly killed -- including 54 children (Doaa AlBaz/AP via Seattle Times)

HR 8445 would give American IDF soldiers (is that an oxymoron?) protections under two major programs for active duty US military service members: 

  • The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA): Among many other features, SCRA caps credit card and mortgage interest on debts taken out before starting active service, protects against foreclosures, allows penalty-free termination of residential and auto leases, and allows cancellation of consumer contracts such as cell phone service and gym memberships. 
  • Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA): As the Department of Labor describes it, "USERRA mandates that returning service members must be promptly re-employed in the same position that they would have attained had they not been absent for military service, with the same seniority, status and pay." 

Thus, if HR 8445 becomes law, a US bank may have to cap the interest rate it's charging for an American citizen who spontaneously decides to go join the IDF rampage in Gaza. The same person could bail on their apartment lease. After they leave their employer in the lurch to fight for a foreign army, the employer would have to give them their job back -- even if they hired someone else to fill the void. 

An excerpt from HR 8445 that almost has to be seen to be believed

In classic Washington DC fashion, these laws impose costs on private actors -- landlords, vehicle dealerships, mortgage lenders, cell phone companies, gyms, employers -- without compensation. Those costs go beyond foregone revenue: Implementing these benefits for IDF soldiers would require businesses to train staff members how to sort out the eligibility of an American serving in the Israeli military.  

It's one thing to do impose these costs for the benefit of American soldiers -- it's another altogether to use government coercion for the benefit of citizens who opt to take up arms for another country.  

US Rep Brian Mast (R-FL) reported to duty at the US Capitol wearing his Israeli Defense Forces uniform (Politico)

Speaking of costs and benefits, over their short careers, the two cosponsors of this bill have raked in huge contributions from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). According to Track AIPAC, third-termer Reschenthaler has received $170,147 while first-termer Miller has already piled up $193,808.   

"No one should be entitled to any U.S. military service benefits unless they are fighting under U.S. command and control," said non-interventionist former congressmen Dennis Kucinich, who is now running as an independent against Miller. "Mr. Miller has lost sight of who he was elected to Congress to represent." 

US representatives and senators have been tripping over each other to signal their loyalty to Israel. Other measures that thankfully aren't law...yet: 

  • The House-passed Antisemitism Awareness Act would expose colleges to federal civil rights punishment if a student or professor argues that "the existence of the State of Israel is a racist endeavor" or makes comparisions between the Israeli government and that of Nazi Germany, among other forbidden ideas
  • Another bill would bar college debt forgiveness for anyone convicted of a federal or state offense -- but only those related to a campus protest 
  • Yet another one would defund the State Department, DOD and National Security Council until Biden delivers more bombs to Israel 

While all this is going on, the national debt is now growing by a trillion dollars every 100 days. Talk about misplaced priorities. 

Tyler Durden Tue, 05/21/2024 - 18:40
Published:5/21/2024 6:04:00 PM
[Markets] Hulbert: Stock market has already chosen a winner in the presidential election Published:5/21/2024 6:04:00 PM
[Markets] Dow Jones Futures: Nasdaq Hits High, Eli Lilly Breaks Out, But Here Comes Nvidia Tuesday was a quiet session but the Nasdaq hit a record high while megacaps Eli Lilly and Microsoft flashed buy signals. Nvidia earnings loom large. Published:5/21/2024 6:04:00 PM
[Markets] 'Deadly Force' An Option: New Docs Show FBI Agents Were Prepared For Secret Service Resistance At Mar-a-Lago 'Deadly Force' An Option: New Docs Show FBI Agents Were Prepared For Secret Service Resistance At Mar-a-Lago

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times,

FBI agents executing a search warrant at former President Donald Trump’s home in 2022 prepared for the possibility U.S. Secret Service agents resisted the agents, according to newly unsealed court documents.

An operations plan for the raid of Mar-a-Lago in southern Florida stated that should President Trump arrive at Mar-a-Lago during the period when agents were there, FBI agents would be prepared to “engage with” him and U.S. Secret Service (USSS) agents who protect him.

If the Secret Service agents “provide resistance or interfere with FBI timeline or accesses,” then FBI officials would contact certain individuals—their names and positions were redacted—the documents stated.

The documents also stated that if Mar-a-Lago employees refused to provide a list of occupied guest rooms, FBI agents would “knock on each guest room door to determine occupation status.” Agents would request a map, list of rooms, and a skeleton key for all rooms, and were preparing to bring lock-picking equipment with them.

The documents, produced to President Trump through discovery in the criminal case against him, were placed on the docket on May 21.

President Trump’s lawyers attached the documents as exhibits to a motion asking to suppress evidence seized by agents, arguing the raid was unconstitutional.

The warrant was cleared by a U.S. magistrate judge after agents said there was probable cause to believe sensitive materials were being kept at unauthorized places at the resort. Officials said the raid would likely uncover evidence of obstruction of justice.

Agents arrived at Mar-a-Lago at 8:59 a.m. on Aug. 8, 2022, and initiated the search at 10:33 a.m.. A summary of what transpired stated that FBI leaders coordinated with local Secret Service leaders and that Secret Service agents “facilitated entry onto the premises, provided escort and access to various locations within, and posted USSS personnel in locations where the FBI team conducted searches.”

In addition to 25 FBI employees from the bureau’s Miami office, the group of DOJ personnel included five officials from Washington and two DOJ lawyers.

The group took numerous photographs, including pictures in the bedroom of former First Lady Melania Trump and a “child’s bedroom suite,” according to picture logs that were released on Tuesday.

President Trump’s lawyers said in the motion that the search was “roving and highly inappropriate,” citing how it covered a gym, a kitchen, and the bedrooms where the pictures were taken. They said the warrant was too broad and authorized agents to seize virtually any document from Mar-a-Lago.

Government officials have acknowledged they improperly seized passports and some other materials.

Agents remained on the scene until 6:39 p.m. They flew the seized evidence to Washington the following day.

President Trump after the execution of the warrant was charged with mishandling of national defense information, concealing documents, and making false statements.

Deadly Force an Option

The documents included a statement on the use of deadly force, which quoted government policy in stating that “law enforcement officers of the Department of Justice (DOJ) may use deadly force only when necessary, that is, when the officer has a reasonable belief that the subject of such force poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or to another person.”

The FBI also brought a medic and paramedic along on the raid, according to the documents, and listed the nearest trauma center in case anyone was injured during the execution of the warrant.

Agents were equipped with standard issue weapons, ammunition, handcuffs, and badges, and brought medium and large bolt cutters.

There was no basis for the FBI to bring guns into Mar-a-Lago, according to President Trump’s lawyers.

“There were no threats and no risk to agents’ safety arising from their allegations relating to possession of documents at a premises already guarded by the Secret Service,” the lawyers said.

The lawyers also argued that an FBI agent omitted relevant information from the affidavit submitted to the judge as part of the request to authorize the warrant.

The agent, for instance, “failed to disclose that presidents are not required to obtain clearances and that sensitive briefings including classified information had been provided to President Trump at Mar-a-Lago and other residences before and during his presidency,” the lawyers said.

In a DOJ filing in response to the motion, government attorneys countered the arguments.

“Regardless of Trump’s authority during his presidency, he lacked authority to possess classified documents at Mar-a-Lago after it ended and he became a private citizen. Trump’s authority to access or possess classified documents during his presidency was both obvious and immaterial to the probable cause determination regarding the retention of the documents after his presidency,” they wrote in part.

The attorneys also said that while some FBI officials did suggest seeking the consent of former President Trump to search Mar-a-Lago before seeking a warrant, his “prior obfuscation and deception up to that point” meant there was “ample reason to avoid seeking Trump’s consent, which would simply invite more deception.”

Tyler Durden Tue, 05/21/2024 - 17:00
Published:5/21/2024 5:10:39 PM
[Markets] AI broadening, Nvidia earnings, ether ETFs: Trading takeaways The S&P 500 (^GSPC) and Nasdaq (^IXIC) closed at record highs ahead of Nvidia's (NVDA) first quarter earnings. Yahoo Finance's Josh Schafer joins Asking for a Trend to discuss some of the biggest takeaways from the trading day. AI has been dominating the market, and the utilities sector has been getting a boost as demand for new data centers increases. Utilities and energy are outperforming the S&P 500, and AI has become a leading topic in earnings across all sectors. All eyes are on Nvidia, which is set to report earnings after the bell on Wednesday. The chip company faces sky-high earnings expectations as the AI race heats up, closing at a record high on Tuesday. Finally, Schafer points to optimism around the potential SEC approval of ether ETFs as a major takeaway from the trading day. Bitcoin ETFs were approved earlier this year, and renewed enthusiasm for ethereum caused a significant rally. For more expert insight and the latest market action, click here to watch this full episode of Asking for a Trend. This post was written by Melanie Riehl Published:5/21/2024 5:10:39 PM
[Markets] Fresh optimism on ether ETF approval that could send crypto prices to new highs Published:5/21/2024 5:10:39 PM
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