David Stockman: Trump tax reform overhaul is a pipe dream, stocks are heading for 40-70% plunge

Stockman: Stocks to plummet 40-70%
Stockman: Stocks to plummet 40-70%

David Stockman is warning about the Trump administration’s tax overhaul plan, Federal Reserve policy, saying they could play into a severe stock market sell-off. Stockman, the Reagan administration’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, isn’t stepping away from his thesis that the 8½-year-old rally is in serious danger.

“There is a correction every seven to eight years, and they tend to be anywhere from 40 to 70 percent,” Stockman said r “If you have to work for a living, get out of the casino because it’s a dangerous place.”

“This market at 24 times GAAP earnings, 21 times operating earnings, 100 months into a business expansion with the kind of troubles you have in Washington, central banks [are] going to the sidelines,” he said. “There’s very little reward, and there’s a heck of a lot of risk.”

Stockman argued that President Donald Trump’s business-friendly tax reform bill, which was unveiled Wednesday, won’t prevent a damaging sell-off. He previously said Wall Street is “delusional” for believing it will even be passed.

“This is a fiscal disaster that when they [Wall Street] begin to look at it, they’ll see it’s not even remotely paid for. This bill will go down for the count,” said Stockman.

He said White House economic advisor Gary Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin “totally failed to provide any detail, any leadership, any plan. Both of them ought to be fired because they let down the president in a major, major way.”

Nick Note: this biggest stock market wipeout in history is right around the corner. it will be followed by a housing wipeout and the TRUMP GREAT DEPRESSION….. And its worth billion if not trillions in profits if you know what to do …. and i sure as shit know exactely what to do!!!!!

 

Iran nuclear deal: Tehran expects US to ditch agreement, says FM

Iran’s foreign minister has said he assumes that the US will abandon the international deal restricting his country’s nuclear activities.But Mohammad Javad Zarif said he hoped Europe would keep the agreement alive. US President Donald Trump – a stern critic of the deal – will announce next month whether he believes Iran has adhered to its terms. If he says it has failed to do so, US Congress will begin the process of reimposing sanctions on Iran. Mr Trump said the agreement was an “embarrassment” in a speech to the United NationsFrance, Germany and the UK – which along with Russia and China signed the deal – have recently defended it.  In an interview with two British newspapers, Mr Zarif said that if the deal collapsed, Iran would no longer have to follow its limitations on uranium enrichment, centrifuge numbers and the production of plutonium. But he insisted Iran would only use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. “You either live by it [the deal] or you set it aside,” Mr Zarif told the Financial Times and the Guardian. “You cannot be half pregnant.” “My assumption and guess is that he [Trump] will not certify and then will allow Congress to take the decision,” Mr Zarif said during the interview at the Iranian UN mission’s residence in New York. “The deal allowed Iran to continue its research and development. So we have improved our technological base. If we decide to walk away from the deal we would be walking away with better technology.” He said of Mr Trump: “I think he has made a policy of being unpredictable, and now he’s turning that into being unreliable as well. He has violated the letter, spirit, everything of the deal.” Mr Zarif said Iran’s options “will depend on how the rest of the international community deal with the United States”.”If Europe and Japan and Russia and China decided to go along with the US, then I think that will be the end of the deal,” he said. “Europe should lead.”European Union officials have said they could act to legally protect European investors in Iran if the US reimposes sanctions.

Iraqi military preparing to take control of Kurdish borders

Iraqi Kurds holds a large Kurdish flag as they walk near the citadel towards a gathering urging people to vote in the upcoming independence referendum in Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on September 13, 2017.
SAFIN HAMED | AFP | Getty Images Iraqi Kurds holds a large Kurdish flag as they walk near the citadel towards a gathering urging people to vote in the upcoming independence referendum in Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq

Iraq’s military prepared Saturday to take control of the international borders of the northern Kurdish region. The move is part of the central government’s stepped-up efforts to isolate the Kurds following their vote on independence earlier this week. On Friday evening, Iraq instituted a flight ban that halted all international flights from servicing the territory’s airports. Iraqi troops now in Turkey and Iran are expected to start enforcing control over the border crossings in and out of the Kurdish region, but are not expected to move into Kurdish territory. Abdul-Wahab Barzani, director of intelligence at the crossing point from the Kurdish region into Turkey, said Iraqi troops are in position on the Turkish side of the border.

Oil climbs to five-month high as tension over Iraqi Kurdistan rises
Oil climbs to five-month high as tension over Iraqi Kurdistan rises

“So far they have not contacted us,” he told The Associated Press. He said he heard they plan to set up a customs point some 15 meters (16 yards) away on the Turkish side and traffic is expected to continue to be allowed to pass the crossing normally. The escalation feeds worries in the United States, a close ally of both the Kurds and Baghdad, that the referendum vote could lead to violence, setting off an unpredictable chain of events. The nonbinding referendum, in which the Kurds voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Iraq, will not immediately result in an independent state.

Spanish police move in to stop banned Catalan independence referendum

Catalan police officers 'Mossos d'Esquadra' try stop pro-referendum people from going into 'Escola Collaso i Gil' school on September 29, 2017 in Barcelona.
PAU BARRENA | AFP | Getty Images Catalan police officers ‘Mossos d’Esquadra’ try stop pro-referendum people from going into ‘Escola Collaso i Gil’ school on September 29, 2017 in Barcelona.

Authorities in Madrid have moved to stop an independence referendum in the Spanish region of Catalonia this weekend, with reports that police have sealed off polling stations and raided a telecommunications center. The national government has said police have secured 1,300 of 2,315 schools in Catalonia which had been designated as voting stations, according to Reuters. This comes after 163 schools were occupied by families to prevent their closure. Police will also remove people from polling stations on Sunday, the news agency reported citing a government source. The source did not give details on how this would be carried out but said it would be up to the police as to how they remove people. Volunteers staffing the centers will be liable for fines of up to 300,000 euros ($354,360), according to the source. Pro-independence lawmakers hope the northeastern region will gain complete political and economic autonomy from Spain despite the referendum putting Catalonia in open defiance of central authorities in Madrid. Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont told Reuters on Friday the vote would go ahead, without any last minute compromises. Earlier on Saturday, Spanish police raided the Catalan government’s telecommunications and information technology center, the La Vanguardia newspaper reported, citing RAC1 radio station. Spain’s Interior Ministry could not confirm the raid, according to Reuters.

Trump lashes out at San Juan mayor who begged for more help

Federal agents provide security to a truck discharging gas at a gas station, after the island was hit by Hurricane Maria, in San Juan, Puerto Rico September 28, 2017.
Alvin Baez | Reuters Federal agents provide security to a truck discharging gas at a gas station, after the island was hit by Hurricane Maria, in San Juan, Puerto Rico September 28, 2017.

President Donald Trump on Saturday lashed out at the mayor of San Juan and other officials in storm-ravaged Puerto Rico, contemptuous of their claims of a laggard U.S. response to the natural disaster that has imperiled the island’s future. “They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort,” Trump said in a series of tweets a day after the capital city’s leader appealed for help “to save us from dying.” “Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help,” Trump said. The tweets amounted to a biting response to San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, who had accused the Trump administration of “killing us with the inefficiency” after Hurricane Maria. She implored the president, who is set to visit the U.S. territory on Tuesday, to “make sure somebody is in charge that is up to the task of saving lives.” Trump has pledged to spare no effort to help Puerto Rico recover from Maria’s ruinous aftermath, and tweeted that military personnel and first responders had done “an amazing job,” despite having “no electric, roads, phones etc.”

Puerto Rico, he said, “was totally destroyed,” and “10,000 Federal workers now on the island are doing a fantastic job.”

Irma Maldanado stands with Sussury her parrot and her dog in what is left of her home that was destroyed when Hurricane Maria passed through on September 27, 2017 in Corozal, Puerto Rico.
Getty Images

“We are dying, and you are killing us with the inefficiency,” Cruz said at a news conference. “I am begging, begging anyone that can hear us, to save us from dying.” Trump, from his golf club in New Jersey, took to Twitter to accuse Cruz of partisan politics.
“The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump,” the president charged, without substantiation.

Continue reading “Trump lashes out at San Juan mayor who begged for more help”

Canada’s wake-up call to the US on NAFTA

  • Elizabeth Warren: Even Canada can see that “right to work” laws in the US undercut American workers
  • NAFTA renegotiations need to add a repeal to the provision that allows states to enact them at the expense of workers’ wages, health care and pensions, she writes

(CNN)President Donald Trump, a loud and persistent critic of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), recently began renegotiating this trade deal with Canada and Mexico. The President promised to secure a fair deal for American workers. That sounds great. After all, we don’t think Americans should be forced to compete with poorly paid workers from Mexico or elsewhere, and we can demand that companies that want to trade with us lift wages, benefits, and health and safety standards for their foreign workers. So it probably came as a shock that one of Canada’s main goals in this renegotiation is to get the United States to treat our own workers better. Canada doesn’t want its workers competing with poorly-treated laborers — including workers in the United States. And they have a specific target in mind.

Elizabeth Warren
Elizabeth Warren
 According to Canada’s major newspaper The Globe and Mail, Canadian negotiators are urging the United States to roll back so-called state “right to work” laws that undercut worker power in the US. I’m glad we’re renegotiating NAFTA because it has been a raw deal for American workers. But the Canadians are giving America a wake-up call. As negotiations continue, the United States should take a close look at how our own broken labor policies are hurting American workers — and fix them. The Canadians focused on so-called “right-to-work” laws, the state regulations that make union dues optional even when unions bargain and represent all the workers. These state laws are a powerful weapon in the war against working people. Twenty-eight states have passed these laws, whose main purpose is to make it harder for workers to have the resources they need to stand up for themselves. Because of these laws starving unions of resources, union leaders face an uphill battle when they try to help workers join together to advocate for higher wages and benefits. And the completely predictable consequences for workers in these states have been devastating.

Continue reading “Canada’s wake-up call to the US on NAFTA”

A majority of Americans say NFL shouldn’t fire players for kneeling during the national anthem: Poll

  • President Donald Trump is at odds with a strong majority of the public on whether NFL players should be fired or suspended when they kneel during the national anthem.
  • A poll conducted earlier this week that surveyed about 600 Americans shows 61 percent of respondents saying players should not be fired.
  • Republican respondents sided with the president by a 47-39 margin.
Terrance Smith #48, Eric Fisher #72, Demetrius Harris #84, and Cameron Erving #75 of the Kansas City Chiefs is seen taking a knee before the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at the StubHub Center on September 24, 2017 in Carson, California.

Should NFL owners fire players who sit or kneel in protest during the national anthem? 
 Americans by a two-to-one margin say NFL players should not be fired or suspended when they kneel during the national anthem, according to the third-quarter CNBC All-American Economic Survey.

The results show President Donald Trump, who called publicly for the firing or suspending of such players, at odds with a strong majority of the public. “This was a ridiculous and totally unhelpful thing for him to do. Absolutely no upside,” said Jay Campbell, pollster with Hart-McInturff and the Democratic half of the CNBC polling team

Micah Roberts of Public Opinion Strategies, who serves as the Republican pollster, noted that half of Trump’s own supporters disagree with his stance.

The poll was conducted earlier this week during two of the three days the poll was in the field. It includes responses from about 600 people across the country and has a margin of error of 4 percent. The full poll, which includes responses from 800 individuals, has a margin of error of 3.5 percent and will be released Monday.

The poll found 61 percent saying the players should not be fired, 27 percent saying they should be, and 12 percent unsure. Strong support for the players came from Democrats and Independents. Republicans sided with the president by only a 47 to 39 margin, or substantially below their overall level of support for the president.

Respondents in the Northeast and the South equally backed the players at around the national average of 60 percent. But support among those with incomes greater than $75,000 was twice as high as among those with incomes from $30,000 to $50,000. And net support (the percent supporting the players minus opposition) was 60 percent among non-whites but just 23 percent among whites.

13 Houston Superfund sites remain flooded after Hurricane Harvey

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

When Hurricane Harvey landed in Houston last week, a major concern was the damage that the city’s petrochemical industry could sustain from the storm. The Environmental Protection Agency has confirmed that 13 of the 41 sites in the area remain flooded, while a report from the Associated Press says that the agency has yet to physically inspect most of the polluted areas. Following the storm, numerous chemical plants in and around the city experienced damage and in some cases, explosions as a result of the flooding. But Superfund sites — heavily polluted areas that require long-term cleanup — are of particular concern. Prior to the storm, workers “took steps to secure state sites in the projected path of Hurricane Harvey,” while the EPA worked with local stakeholders to secure federal sites. It’s not clear what damage the floodwaters are doing to the site that remain under water. AP reporters surveyed seven Superfund sites and found that each had been “inundated with water, in some cases many feet deep.” The report lists several sites that experienced flooding, and that it’s unclear if they sustained damage due to the flooding. In several cases, protective measures have been installed to contain pollutants. The AP also says that specific threats will vary from site to site, depending on what they contain, and the EPA notes that there is a risk that contaminants could be carried away by floodwaters. The report also says that representatives from the EPA have not been able to physically evaluate most of the sites since the storm left the area. The agency has since blasted the AP’s story. EPA Associate Administrator Liz Bowman called it misleading and inaccurate, and said that 28 sites “show no damage.” The EPA’s statement goes on to say that the agency has inspected two of two of the 13 sites, finding that they don’t require “immediate attention. However, the remaining 11 sites are “inaccessible for response teams,” but the agency has been in touch with local officials who are responsible for “regular cleanup activities.”

What’s next for industrial metals after a third-quarter rally?

Analysts split on the outlook for industrial metals

 

AFP/Getty Images The outlook for industrial metals will depend on China, the world’s biggest metals consumer.

Tight supplies lifted prices for industrial metals in the third quarter, with zinc, aluminum and copper boasting the biggest gains, but analysts were split on where the sector is headed in the final three months of the year. For the third quarter as of Thursday, the S&P GSCI Industrial Metals Index, which reflects investment in aluminum, copper, zinc and nickel and is a subindex of the S&P GSCI SPGSCI, -0.22% tacked on 10.5%. It had posted five-consecutive quarterly gains before suffering a 0.7% decline in the second quarter.  “Industrial metals are sensitive to Chinese GDP growth, inflation and the U.S. dollar,” said Jodie Gunzberg, global head of commodities and real assets at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “All of these macro factors were tailwinds for the industrial metals” in the latest quarter.

 

Industrial metals were among the third-quarter winners.

 

Zinc, nickel, aluminum, copper and lead all saw notable gains in the last three months. Aluminum futures on Comex, based on the most-active contracts, climbed by roughly 10% for the quarter, according to FactSet data. Copper futures HGZ7, -1.12%  more than 9% and zinc added around 14%. “Copper prices hit a three-year high in September as its ongoing supply deficit for the past seven years is expected to persist through 2018,” said Maxwell Gold, director of investment strategy at ETF Securities. “Aluminum reached a five-year high this quarter as strong drawdowns in LME warehouses and continued crackdowns on illegal smelting in China boosted prices.” Meanwhile, “demand for zinc, copper and nickel is expected to be higher than supply.” He said. “These metals have gone through back-to-back years of supply deficits.”

 

Bullish oil streak means strongest 3rd qtr Brent price gain in 13 years

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices closed up on Friday after a rally in prices on geopolitical instability in Iraqi Kurdistan helped Brent make its strongest third-quarter price performance since 2004. Global benchmark Brent crude LCOc1 closed up 13 cents or 0.2 percent to $57.54 a barrel, notching up a third-quarter gain of around 20 percent. On the week, Brent was up 1.2 percent. The contract reached its highest in more than two years earlier in the week, resulting in a fifth consecutive weekly gain. This was Brent’s longest weekly bull run since June 2016. U.S. crude CLc1 closed up 11 cents to settle at $51.67 a barrel, its strongest third quarter in 10 years and longest streak of weekly gains since January. U.S. crude was up around 2 percent on the week. “The bigger concern for oil is the Kurdish region,” said Matt Smith, director of Commodity Research at ClipperData. “Today we’re seeing international flights banned, the trucking of fuels being banned from Iran.” Iraq’s Kurds endorsed secession by nine to one in a referendum on Monday that has angered Turkey, the central government in Baghdad and other powers, which fear the vote could lead to renewed conflict in the oil-rich region. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called the vote illegitimate and has threatened to break with past practice and deal only with the Baghdad government over oil exports from Iraq. Oil price gains have also been supported by anticipated demand from U.S. refiners resuming operations after shutdowns due to Hurricane Harvey.

But oil output from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has risen this month by 50,000 barrels per day (bpd), a Reuters survey found, as Iraqi exports increased and production edged higher in Libya, one of the producers exempt from a supply-cutting deal.

Middle Eastern oil producers are concerned the recent price rise will incentivize U.S. shale production and push prices lower again. U.S. energy companies added oil rigs for the first week in seven after a 14-month drilling recovery stalled in August, energy services firm Baker Hughes said on Friday. Drillers added six oil rigs in the week to Sept. 29, bringing the total count up to 750. Nick Note: This rally is doomed!

Yellen’s ‘mystery’ of low inflation no closer to being solved as prices ease again in August

 Surprising slowdown in PCE inflation sows doubt about rate hikes

Getty Images Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen is puzzled by low inflation. She’s not the only one.

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen recently called the persistence of low inflation a “mystery”, and a mystery it remains. Prices pressures viewed over a one-year span eased again in August. Low inflation also gives Americans more buying power — and that’s especially critical in a period marked by small annual gains in worker pay.

On Friday, the government said the Fed’s preferred inflation barometer increased last month at the slowest pace in almost two years.

The so-called core PCE index, which omits food and energy, showed a 1.3% gain from August 2016 to August 2017. The core rate slipped from 1.4% in the prior month and touched the lowest level since November 2015. That wasn’t supposed to happen. The rate of inflation actually surged in 2016 and early 2017 to a five-year high of 1.9%, just a hair below the central’s 2% target. And then it suddenly tumbled. For months Yellen blamed temporary phenomenon such as cut-rate wireless plans for the odd reversal in inflation. But she still thinks inflation will soon head higher again and she’s not alone.Yellen and her allies believe, is likely to come from rising wages. The unemployment recently touched a 16-year low of 4.3% and there are growing shortages of skilled workers to fill a record number open jobs. The problem is, wages still aren’t rising very rapidly and there’s no sign of a major upsurge. The downturn in inflation is now causing some members of the Fed hierarchy to question how much more they need to raise interest rates. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said the central bank should hold interest rates at current levels until clear signs of inflation emerge.

“This will give the doves on the Federal Open Market Committee some more ammunition to argue for a slower pace of Fed rate hikes in 2018,” said Scott Anderson, chief economist of Bank of the West. The FOMC is the arm of the central bank that helps set the cost of borrowing.

Even some economists who’ve constantly sounded an alarm about inflation are a bit, well, mystified about the recent spate of weak PCE inflation readings.

Nick Bit: what a dangerous time. Our leaders are out of touch and making incredible bad decisions. And our President knows all to well how to control media spin. Which means the truth is NOT getting out. We are in a deflation we have already entered a major recession. Still they ballyhoo part time toilet cleaning jobs as a recovery… This will end very badly. I have a new name for Trump. He is a populist the New American Mussolini. And you better stand during the national anthem….. And Trump has declared disaster relief is going well in people dying Puerto Rico! So it must be so!

 

Trump slow to implement Russia, Iran, North Korea sanctions law: senators

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two months after signing it, President Donald Trump has not begun enforcing a law imposing new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea, Senators John McCain and Ben Cardin said in a letter seen by Reuters on Friday.

Also, with just two days to go, his administration has not provided information related to Russia’s defense and intelligence sectors required under the measure by Sunday, they said. White House officials did not respond to a request for comment on the letter from McCain, the Republican chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and Cardin, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee. Later on Friday, the White House issued a presidential memorandum taking the first step toward implementation by designating different agencies to start the process putting the law into effect. Trump grudgingly signed the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” on Aug. 2 after Congress overwhelmingly approved the measure despite Trump’s reservations about how it might affect his desire for improved relations with Moscow. Trump’s opposition to the law had raised questions about how enthusiastically his administration would enforce it. “Congress’ swift and united action, and your signature, sent a strong message to our allies and adversaries alike, and particularly to those such as Russia, who have sought to undermine our democracy,” said the letter, dated Thursday. “Now, as critical deadlines are approaching, it is imperative that your Administration implement the law to its fullest extent to uphold and protect American interests,” it said. The law imposed stiff new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea over issues including Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election, which Russia denies, as well as Iran’s ballistic missiles program and North Korea’s nuclear weapons development. The administration in particular opposed a provision that would not let Trump, or any president, ease or lift sanctions on Russia without Congress’ approval. The letter also noted the Oct. 1 deadline for the administration to issue “regulations or other guidance” to identify anyone who is operating on behalf of the Russian defense and intelligence sectors for potential sanctions.

San Juan mayor calls hurricane disaster ‘a people-are-dying’ story

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (Reuters) – The mayor of Puerto Rico’s hurricane-battered capital spoke on Friday of thirsty children drinking from creeks. A woman with diabetes said a lack of refrigeration had spoiled her insulin. An insurance adjuster said roads have virtually vanished.

In enumerable ways large and small, many of the 3.4 million inhabitants of Puerto Rico struggled through a 10th day with little or no access to basic necessities – from electricity and clean, running water to communications, food and medicine. Carmen Yulin Cruz, mayor of Puerto Rico’s capital, San Juan, gave voice to rising anger on the U.S. island territory as she delivered a sharp retort on Friday to comments from a top Trump administration official who said the federal relief effort was a “a good news story.” “Damn it, this is not a good news story,” Cruz told CNN. “This is a people-are-dying story. This is a life-or-death story.” Acting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, head of the parent department for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), said on Thursday she was satisfied with the disaster response so far. “I know it is really a good news story in terms of our ability to reach people and the limited number of deaths that have taken place in such a devastating hurricane,” Duke said. Paying a visit to Puerto Rico on Friday for an aerial tour of the island with Governor Ricardo Rossello, Duke moderated her message, telling reporters she was proud of the recovery work but adding that she and President Donald Trump would not be satisfied until the territory was fully functional. Rossello has called the widespread heavy damage to Puerto Rico’s homes, roads and infrastructure unprecedented, though he has praised the U.S. government’s relief efforts. Cruz, appearing in a later interview, bristled at suggestions that the relief effort had been well-coordinated. “There is a disconnect between what the FEMA people are saying is happening and what the mayors and the people in the towns know that is happening,” Cruz, who has been living in a shelter since her own home was flooded, said on CNN.

Rich would benefit most from Trump tax cut plan: policy group

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The wealthiest Americans would benefit the most from President Donald Trump’s proposed tax cuts while many upper middle-income people would face higher taxes, independent experts said on Friday in the first detailed analysis of the plan.

A U.S. Senate panel took Trump’s proposal, announced on Wednesday, a step forward by unveiling a budget plan for the coming fiscal year that acknowledges lost revenues from tax cuts, while Trump pressed ahead with selling the plan to the public.

A report from the non-profit Washington-based Tax Policy Center found that in 2018, about 12 percent of taxpayers would face a tax increase of roughly $1,800 on average.

That includes more than a third of taxpayers making between about $150,000 and $300,000, mainly because most itemized deductions would be repealed including for state and local taxes, it said. Its analysis showed that the Republican tax proposal would fuel the growing federal deficit, providing $5.99 trillion in tax cuts while reducing federal revenues by a net $2.4 trillion in the next 10 years. Trump, who promised major tax cuts as a candidate, has called his proposal “a miracle for the middle class,” but the report concluded it would provide middle-income taxpayers uneven tax relief. In 2018, all income groups would see their average taxes fall, but some taxpayers in each group would face tax increases, it found. Taxpayers in the top 1 percent of incomes – above $730,000 – would receive about 50 percent of the total tax benefit from the tax overhaul, with their after-tax income forecast to increase an average of 8.5 percent, the group said. “The biggest share of people with increased taxes will be … people who might be considered upper-middle-income people, high-income professionals, people whose income is between $150,000 and $300,000 in a year in 2017,” Tax Policy Center co-director Eric Toder said. The bottom 95 percent of taxpayers could expect a tax cut of 0.5 to 1.2 percent, according to the analysis. The proposed tax cuts for corporations and small businesses would reduce federal revenue by $2.6 trillion over a decade and largely would benefit high-income taxpayers, it said.

North Korea seen moving missiles from development centre – South Korean broadcaster

 

SEOUL (Reuters) – Several North Korean missiles were recently spotted moved from a rocket facility in the capital Pyongyang, South Korea’s Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) reported late Friday amid speculation that the North was preparing to take more provocative actions. The report cited an unnamed intelligence source saying South Korean and U.S. intelligence officials detected missiles being transported away from North Korea’s Missile Research and Development Facility at Sanum-dong in the northern part of Pyongyang. The report did not say when or where they had been moved. The missiles could be either intermediate range Hwasong-12 or intercontinental ballistic Hwasong-14 missiles, according to the report, though the missile facility at Sanum-dong has been dedicated to the production of intercontinental ballistic missiles. A source from South Korea’s defence ministry said he could not confirm details of the report or whether there has been any unusual activities in the area mentioned. South Korean official have voiced concerns that North Korea could conduct more provocative acts near the anniversary of the founding of its communist party on Oct. 10, or possibly when China holds its Communist Party Congress on Oct. 18. Amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula, South Korea and U.S. forces recently held their first joint short range air defence training exercise in South Korea, according to a statement released by the U.S. Pacific Command on Friday. The statement did not give the date of the exercise, but said the next exercise is scheduled to take place over the next few months as the two forces become more familiar with each other’s capabilities.

UK growth slows to four year low as BoE prepares rate rise

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s economy grew at its slowest pace since 2013 in the 12 months after last year’s Brexit vote, data showed on Friday, painting a subdued picture as the Bank of England prepares to raise interest rates for the first time in a decade. The world’s fifth-biggest economy was just 1.5 percent bigger than a year earlier in the second quarter, the weakest year-on-year expansion in more than four years and down from a rate of 1.8 percent in the first three months of the year. Friday’s data also showed a monthly fall in output for the services sector in July, boding poorly for third-quarter growth. BoE Governor Mark Carney said on Friday the economy was on track for a rate hike “in the relatively near term”, two weeks after the BoE jolted markets by flagging a rate rise “in the coming months,” despite weak growth this year. Nonetheless, the broader picture remains one of consumers under pressure from a steep rise in inflation caused by the fall in the pound since last year’s Brexit vote. Disposable income has fallen year-on-year for the last four quarters, the longest period since 2011. Overall quarterly GDP growth was unrevised at 0.3 percent, and the services sector – which makes up 80 percent on the economy – contracted by 0.2 percent in July. Separately, mortgage lender Nationwide said house prices – a bellwether for consumer demand – rose at their slowest rate in four years this month, and the Bank of England said mortgage approvals fell in August. “It would be unprecedented for the central bank to tighten policy with the data pointing to such anaemic economic growth,” Chris Williamson, chief economist at financial data company IHS Markit, said.

China c.bank FX derivatives’ short position unchanged at $6.04 bln at end-August

 BEIJING, Sept 30 (Reuters) – China’s central bank said on Saturday that its holdings of short foreign currency positions in forwards and futures versus the yuan were unchanged for a third month in a row in August. The People’s Bank of China held $6.04 billion of such positions with commercial banks as of the end of August, steady from one month earlier, official data showed. China started to report the data early last year, following speculation the central bank was using currency swaps and other derivatives to intervene in offshore forex markets to prop up the yuan.

In August, the yuan strengthened 2.1 percent against the U.S. dollar but has weakened in September.

Citigroup to settle dispute with Lehman Brothers for $1.74 billion: Bloomberg

(Reuters) – Citigroup Inc (C.N) and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc resolved a fight over $2.1 billion that dates to the financial crisis era after Citigroup agreed to give back $1.74 billion to the estate of the investment bank, according to Bloomberg. Citigroup had kept about $2.1 billion that Lehman had on deposit with it for trades following the Lehman bankruptcy, Bloomberg said. The dispute arose because Citigroup said it was owed $2 billion as a result of Lehman’s bankruptcy, while Lehman argued that the money should go to its creditors, Bloomberg said. Lehman Brothers Managing Director Steven Mullaney said in court papers that the pact was “reasonable in light of the complexities of the litigation,” according to Bloomberg. Reuters was not able to get a comment from Citigroup or Lehman Brothers outside business hours.

Trump praises Puerto Rico aid, mayor says it’s ‘killing us’

 WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump pledged to spare no effort to help Puerto Ricans recover from Maria’s ruinous aftermath Friday even as San Juan’s mayor, her voice breaking with rage, accused his administration of “killing us with the inefficiency.”
Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz implored Trump from afar to “make sure somebody is in charge that is up to the task of saving lives,” while the president asserted that U.S. officials and emergency personnel are working all-out against daunting odds, with “incredible” results.

Trump’s acting homeland security secretary, Elaine Duke, visited the island Friday, surveying the ravaged landscape by helicopter in an hourlong tour, driving past still-flooded streets, twisted billboards and roofs with gaping holes, and offering encouragement to some of the 10,000 emergency personnel she says the U.S. government has on the ground. Duke tried, too, to move on from the remarks she made a day earlier in which she called the federal relief effort a “good-news story.” But on that front, she ran into winds as fierce as Maria.

“We are dying, and you are killing us with the inefficiency,” Cruz said in a news conference. “I am begging, begging anyone that can hear us, to save us from dying.”

President Donald Trump defended his administration’s response to Puerto Rico’s hurricane destruction, saying the federal government is fully engaged but he said, “nothing’s left,” and they are “starting from scratch” to rebuild.

 

 

U.S. court strikes down Obama-era rule on tax inversions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A federal court in Texas on Friday ruled that the Obama administration acted unlawfully last year when its Treasury Department cracked down on U.S. companies that try to reduce their U.S. taxes by rebasing abroad, in a process known as inversion. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Texas Association of Business had filed a lawsuit in Texas federal court that said a regulation from the Treasury Department in April 2016 exceeded what the law allows the department to do. They argued the Internal Revenue Service rule used was “arbitrary and capricious” because it was instated without notice and opportunity for comment in violation of standards required for rulemaking.    The U.S. District Court for Western Texas in Austin agreed, saying the IRS rule was a substantive or legislative regulation that required a notice and comment period before it was instated.    The lawsuit was the first to challenge a rule on inversion. The deals are legal, but have drawn criticism from some politicians who say U.S. companies that do them are avoiding their tax obligations. A wave of inversions largely ended after Treasury moved against the deals. The IRS rule had been aimed at transactions involving non-U.S. companies, such as Ireland-based drugmaker Allergan Plc (AGN.N) that have grown through a series of acquisitions.  Dozens of U.S. companies have done inversions since 1983, when the first such deal was completed. Treasury has periodically moved to curb the flow of deals because inversions erode the U.S. corporate income tax base.  Inverting U.S. companies usually leave their core U.S. operations at home, transferring only their legal tax domicile to the home country of the acquired company. Recent popular destinations for the deals are Ireland, Britain and Canada.

Restoring Puerto Rico’s power is going to be ‘overwhelming,’ PREPA says

  • Hurricane Maria took down 80 percent of Puerto Rico’s transmission and distribution power lines, PREPA CEO Ricardo Ramos said.
  • He’s anticipating 50 percent of the power on the island will be restored in about two to three months.
  • “We’re meeting the priorities but certainly this is a first stage. I think the second step that we’re going to take now is going to be overwhelming,” said Ramos.

When Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico, it took down 80 percent of the transmission and distribution power lines, Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority CEO Ricardo Ramos told CNBC on Friday. Power went down across the entire island after the hurricane made landfall as a Category 4 storm over a week ago. It was the most powerful storm to hit Puerto Rico in 90 years.

He’s anticipating that 50 percent of the power on the island will be restored in about two to three months.

In the beginning, the process will move quicker as areas that were less affected by the storm are identified and restored, Ramos said. Priorities are also being set, with power now back at 15 hospitals, he added. “We’re meeting the priorities but certainly this is a first stage. I think the second step that we’re going to take now is going to be overwhelming,” said Ramos. That’s why he’s asking for help, especially since his employees have been working since Hurricane Irma hit earlier in the month. Those workers are passionate and a “great bunch” but “certainly we will need some relief,” Ramos said. He’s expecting help from private U.S. companies to arrive this weekend and start work early next week.

Dow posts first 8-quarter win streak in 20 years

Market Wrap: Dow posts first 8-quarter winning streak in 20 years   12 Hours Ago | 01:03

The S&P 500 closed at a record Friday, helped by gains in technology stocks on the last trading day of the quarter. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite rose more than half a percent to post its 50th record close for this year. The Dow transports and small-cap Russell 2000 also hit record highs. The Dow Jones industrial average index posted quarterly gains of 4.9 percent its eighth straight quarter of gains for the first time since 1997. The S&P 500 rose nearly 4 percent in the quarter, also its eighth straight quarter of gains. The Nasdaq composite gained almost 5.8 percent for the quarter, its fifth straight positive quarter since 2015. Information technology was the best performing stock sector in the S&P in the third quarter, up 8.3 percent in a fifth-straight quarter of gains.  The CBOE Volatility Index (.VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, traded lower near 9.5.

Symbol
Name
Price
Change
%Change
DJIA Dow Industrials 22405.09
23.89 0.11%
S&P 500 S&P 500 Index 2519.36
9.30 0.37%
NASDAQ NASDAQ Composite 6495.96
42.51 0.66%

The average daily range for the S&P 500 this month was 0.4 percent, the least volatile September on record, according to Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist, LPL Financial. Meanwhile, trading volume has fallen. Tabb Group data showed average daily volume in September of 6.3 billion marked an 11 percent decline from the prior year. Nick Bit: A rally cased on record low volitility and falling volme is a sign of market exhaustion. the boys still got a little higher to go before their date with destiny

U.S. fines HSBC $175 million for lax forex trading oversight

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Reserve fined HSBC Holdings PLC (HSBA.L) $175 million on Friday for “unsafe and unsound practices” in its foreign exchange trading business, the latest in a series of fines for banks that fail to prevent market manipulation. HSBC failed to monitor chat rooms where traders swapped information about investment positions, the U.S. central bank said, echoing findings by other regulators investigating the $5 trillion-a-day foreign exchange or FX market. “The board levied the fine for deficiencies in HSBC’s oversight of and internal controls over FX traders,” the Fed said in a statement. The fine follows others of more than $4.3 billion levied by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority on six banks including HSBC in November 2014. “We are pleased to have resolved this matter related to practices in the FX market from 2008-2013,” said company spokesman Rob Sherman. Authorities accused HSBC dealers of sharing confidential information about client orders and coordinating trades to boost their own profits. The foreign exchange benchmark they allegedly manipulated is used by asset managers and corporate treasurers to value their holdings. The Fed’s enforcement action also requires HSBC to improve its controls and compliance risk management concerning the firm’s FX trading, the Fed said.

Puerto Rico angry at Trump official ‘good-news story’ remark

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump pledged to help Puerto Ricans recover basic necessities and security in Maria’s ruinous aftermath as his homeland security chief tried to escape a tempest of her own making, set off when she called Washington’s response to the hurricane a “good-news story.” Elaine Duke, the department’s acting secretary, drew a sharp rebuke from San Juan’s mayor for seeming to play down the suffering. “When you don’t have food for a baby, it’s not a good-news story,” Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz told CNN on Friday. “Damn it, this is not a good-news story. This is a people-are-dying story.” For his part, Trump said Puerto Rico is “totally unable” to handle the catastrophe on its own. “They are working so hard, but there’s nothing left,” he said. “It’s been wiped out.” He said the government is “fully engaged in the disaster and the response and recovery effort.” Trump said he was not aware of Duke’s remark. “I haven’t heard what she said,” he told reporters. “I can tell you this: We have done an incredible job considering there’s absolutely nothing to work with.” Yet even in voicing solidarity and sympathy with Puerto Rico, he drew attention again to the island’s pre-hurricane debt burden and infrastructure woes, leaving doubt how far Washington will go to make the U.S. territory whole. “Ultimately the government of Puerto Rico will have to work with us to determine how this massive rebuilding effort — it will end up being one of the biggest ever — will be funded and organized, and what we will do with the tremendous amount of existing debt already on the island,” he said. “We will not rest, however, until the people of Puerto Rico are safe.”

Trump’s health secretary resigns in travel flap

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s health secretary resigned Friday, after his costly travel triggered investigations that overshadowed the administration’s agenda and angered his boss. Tom Price’s regrets and partial repayment couldn’t save his job. The Health and Human Services secretary became the first member of the president’s Cabinet to be pushed out in a turbulent young administration that has seen several high-ranking White House aides ousted. A former GOP congressman from the Atlanta suburbs, Price served less than eight months. Publicly, Trump had said he was “not happy” with Price for repeatedly using private charter aircraft for official trips on the taxpayer’s dime, when cheaper commercial flights would have done in many cases. Privately, Trump has been telling associates in recent days that his health chief had become a distraction. Trump felt that Price was overshadowing his tax overhaul agenda and undermining his campaign promise to “drain the swamp” of corruption, according to three people familiar with the discussions who spoke on condition of anonymity.

EPA finds Harvey damage at Houston Superfund site releasing massive qualities of deadly Dixon

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency says an unknown amount of a dangerous chemical linked to birth defects and cancer may have washed downriver from a Houston-area Superfund site during the flooding from Hurricane Harvey. EPA announced Thursday night it has ordered the companies responsible for the San Jacinto River Waste Pits site to take immediate action to address damage to a protective cap of fabric and rock intended to keep sediments highly contaminated with dioxins from spreading. International Paper and McGinnis Industrial Maintenance Corp. have made initial repairs to the section where the protective rock was missing.EPA said a sample collected by an agency dive team from the exposed area showed dioxins levels at 70,000 nanograms per kilogram – more than 2,300 times the level set to trigger a cleanup.

Trump’s tax plan is ALREADY in trouble with his own party

Plan to axe state and local tax deduction comes under fire from Republicans

As President Trump prepares to sell his tax plan to the nation’s manufacturing lobby on Friday, his best-laid tax plans have already drawn objections from some fellow Republicans who are fuming over the decision to end deductions for state and local income taxes. The situation will pit the White House against members of Congress from states that pile high income taxes on top of what the federal government takes from paychecks. High-income Californians, for instance, pay as much as 13.3 per cent of their income to the state in addition to their federal taxes. New Yorkers can pay up to 8.82 per cent. Just seven U.S. states have no personal income taxes, including Texas, Florida and Nevada.

As President Trump pushes his tax plan, House Ways and Means chairman Kevin Brady (right) says he'll listen to congressmen from states that would be affected most if citizens lose deductions for state and local income taxes
As President Trump pushes his tax plan, House Ways and Means chairman Kevin Brady (right) says he’ll listen to congressmen from states that would be affected most if citizens lose deductions for state and local income taxes
State income tax rates vary widely; seven states (in gray) don't collect any, and the highest rates (dark blue) can go as high as 13.3 per cent

State income tax rates vary widely; seven states (in gray) don’t collect any, and the highest rates (dark blue) can go as high as 13.3 per cent.

Under the Trump tax reform plan, a family earning $100,000 in Los Angeles pays about $6,000 in state and local income taxes. Losing the ability to deduct that expense would cost the hypothetical taxpayers around $1,800 in INCREASED taxes
.

The White House has shown no sign that it’s willing to budge on eliminating the deduction for state and local taxes since it would bring in about $1 trillion over a 10-year period. The Journal reports that the nine states whose citizens use the deduction, measured as a percentage of income, are represented by 33 House Republicans. If Republicans lose more than 22 votes, Trump’s tax plan is effective dead.

Apple receives record number of US government national security requests for data

Apple receives record number of data requests from US govt
Apple receives record number of data requests from US govt

Apple received its highest ever number of U.S. government national security requests for data in the first half of the year, the company revealed Thursday. The U.S. technology giant said it received between 13,250 and 13,499 requests affecting between 9,000 and 9,249 accounts, according to its transparency report. Apple is not allowed to disclose the specific numbers of requests received so has to do so in a range. In the July to December period of 2016, Apple received 5,750 to 5,999 government national security data requests. So the latest figures are more than double that, showing the rise in activity from U.S. authorities looking to obtain data from large technology firms. The requests come in the form of so-called National Security Letters (NSLs) and requests under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Disclosing these requests are voluntary but many technology companies including Google and Facebook do so. On Thursday, Google also released its transparency report. It received up to 499 NSLs affecting between 1,000 and 1,499 accounts. It’s unclear what could be behind the rise of the number of national security requests. But Apple is the second-largest smartphone maker by market share and has sold over 1.2 billion iPhones. It offers many features including secure messaging services. Apple has had an uneasy relationship with law enforcement. Last year, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) ordered Apple to unlock the iPhone of Syed Farook, who was responsible for the shootings in San Bernardino, California, in December 2015 that left 14 people dead. Apple refused saying that it would set a “dangerous precedent.”

Oil prices slip amid concerns over Kurdish independence referendum

Oil prices slipped early  Friday as investors considered the potential fallout from the independence referendum in the oil-rich Kurdish region of Iraq. Brent crude LCOX7, +0.03% the global oil benchmark, fell 14 cents, or 0.2%, to $57.26 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures exchange. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures CLX7, -0.06% shed 16 cents, or 0.3%, to $51.39 a barrel.

Brent remained about $2 below the two-year high it achieved on Monday after the referendum when it hit its highest settlement since July 2015 and closed at $59.02 a barrel. Kurdish voters overwhelmingly cast their ballot in favor of independence from Iraq on Monday. The vote result may trigger a hostile response from Iraq’s central government, as well as from neighboring countries and disrupt the flow of as much as 500,000 barrels a day of Kurdish oil exported through a Turkish port. Baghdad has called on other countries to stop buying oil from the Kurds and has given the region until Friday to surrender control of its airports or face a forced shutdown of international flights. The Kurdish referendum has also rankled Iran and Turkey as both have Kurdish minorities and fear the referendum could bolster claims for autonomy by militant Kurdish separatists in their regions.

Turkish president Recep Erdogan has threatened to block Kurdish oil exports transiting through his country’s territory. Investors will be watching especially for what Ankara says in response to the outcome of the referendum.Recently prices have also received support from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ ongoing effort to eliminate about 2% of global supply with the help of external producers such as Russia.U.S. crude oil production inched up last week to reach 9.55 million barrels per day slightly under its 2015 peak.

Fewer auto sales dent consumer spending in August, inflation still weak

 Consumer spending up 0.1%, while core inflation lowest since 2015
Getty Images American consumers do more than enough shopping and spending to keep alive a U.S. recovery that began in 2009. The strongest labor market in years has certainly helped.

The numbers: Consumer spending rose just 0.1% in August after a 0.3% gain in the prior month. That matched the Marketwatch forecast. If adjusted for inflation, however, spending fell for the first time since January. Personal income climbed 0.2%.  The savings rate was flat at 3.6%. The personal consumption expenditure, PCE, index, the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge, increased 0.1% in August. The closely followed “core” rate that strips out food and energy edged up 0.1%. Neither index rose on a yearly basis.

What happened: Consumer spending slowed in August largely because of fewer sales of new cars and trucks. Auto sales dropped 1.8% last month. Hurricane Harvey may have also been a drag on the economy. Inflation remained subdued. The 12-month rate of PCE inflation was unchanged at 1.4%. The core rate fell a tick to 1.3% — the lowest level since November 2015. Both indexes are well below the Fed’s 2% target.

Big picture: The most important takeaway is that inflation remains stubbornly low. The Fed indicated it plans to raise interest rates one more time in 2017 and three times in 2018, but the bank might have to reconsider unless inflation tracks higher again. Meanwhile, Americans are still spending at a steady rate despite occasional dips, buoyed by the best jobs market in more than a decade. Job openings are at a record high and unemployment is near a 16-year low.  Americans are saving at the lowest rate since 2008. Some of the money they’re spending has been drawn from savings and that can’t go on forever.

Vietnam fraud trial: Death penalty for ex-head of OceanBank

The former head of a major Vietnamese bank has been sentenced to death for his role in a fraud case involving millions of dollars of illegal loans. Nguyen Xuan Son, who served as general director of OceanBank, was convicted of embezzlement, abuse of power and economic mismanagement.Dozens of former employees also received lengthy prison sentences in the major corruption trial. Nguyen Xuan Son’s lawyer told Reuters he would appeal the verdict. OceanBank is partially-state owned, so Son’s crime of mishandling state money was thought to be particularly serious. After leaving the bank, he rose to be head of state oil giant PetroVietnam. Vietnam is one of the world’s biggest executioners, according to Amnesty International, but this is believed to be the first time in years that the death penalty has been given to such a high-flying former official. Earlier in the day, the bank’s ex-chairman Ha Van Tham, once one of the richest people in Vietnam, was jailed for life on the same charges, and for violating lending rules. Judge Truong Viet Toan said: “Tham and Son’s behaviour is very serious, infringing on the management of state assets and causing public grievances, which requires strict punishment.” In total, 51 officials and bankers stood trial, accused of mismanagement leading to losses of $69m (£50m).  Nick Bit: Imagine if we had justice for the whore bankers in the US. their would be no one left at the investment banks and don’t get me started on NOT WELL Wells Fargo.

‘I think the President’s mad as hell’: Hill Republicans fume over Price’s travel costs

Ex-HHS secretaries: We flew mostly commercial

Ex-HHS secretaries: We flew mostly commercial
“It’s just stupid,” the senator added. “I think Price can probably survive this. Don’t know.”
On Thursday, Price said he planned to “write a personal check to the US Treasury for the expenses of my travel on private charter planes” and that he “would no longer take private charter flights as the secretary of HHS no exceptions.” Politico, who first reported about Price’s travel, has identified Price took $400,000 in chartered flights so far including one flight worth $25,000 between Washington and Philadelphia. In recent days, the President’s frustration has also been palpable. Asked Wednesday if he’d fire Price Wednesday, Trump responded “we’ll see.” By Thursday the patience among his colleagues was subsiding a bit with members openly criticizing his decision. “I think his use of private flights was not the most prudent thing for a fiscal conservative,” said Rep. Mark Meadows, the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. “That being said, apologize, make sure it doesn’t happen, put policy in place under this administration to make sure it doesn’t happen.” Nick Bit: Flights he chartered amounted to many millions of dollars. And he agrees to reimburse government for his extravaganza. He wrote a check for $50,000. now with Cohen remodeling my house for $1000 you can see why i think they are ALL on drugs

Gary Cohn says a typical American family earns $100,000 a year—here’s how much they really make

Gary Cohn

Economic advisor Gary Cohn told reporters on Thursday that a typical four-person American family bringing in $100,000 a year would save $1,000 under the Republicans’ proposed tax reform effort, which they could use to pay for a new car or a kitchen.

In actuality, the average American family makes $74,000 a year before taxes, or about $26,000 less than that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median American family income is roughly half of Cohn’s estimate, or only about $55,000.

 And some critics are seizing on Cohn’s assertion that, with $1,000, a family “could renovate their kitchen, they could buy a new car.”
 Nick Bit: do you really trust a man this out of youch with reality to rewrite the tax code. And do you really believe it will benefit middle class (getting wiped out) America

Cohn is also under fire for acknowledging that he “can’t guarantee” taxes wouldn’t go up for some middle-class families.

The GOP plan is expected to primarily benefit corporations as well as the wealthiest Americans, which includes various members of the White House and the Cabinet. The estate tax repeal alone would save Trump $564 million, Wilbur Ross $545 million, Betsy DeVos’ father-in-law Richard $900 million, and Linda McMahon $250 million, reports Bloomberg. In fact, in several ways, the President himself stands to benefit tremendously. Nick Bit: I was wondering if OLE Gary from Goldman Sacks can refer me to the contractor he uses that  will remodel my kitchen for $1000

ISIS leader Al-Baghdadi calls for attacks on Western media and references North Korean threats to US

ISIS has released a new audio recording purporting to be of its spiritual leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The 46-minute audio recording was published by the Al-Furqan news organisation, which is affiliated with ISIS, and comes after Russia claimed to have killed Baghdadi in an airstrike on Raqqa in June. The recording, which analysts said sounds similar to previous tapes of the ISIS leader, would mark the first time he has been heard from since November last year.  Baghdadi uses the message to call for attacks on ‘the unbelievers’ media headquarters and ideological war centers’.  He also makes reference to North Korea nuclear threats against U.S. and Japan, suggesting it was recorded recently, analysts for Middle East research institute MEMRI told Mail Online.

ISIS has released an audio recording of its spiritual leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, marking the first time he has been heard from in months and raising the prospect he is still alive

He urges fighters around the world not to give up or go back on their promise to wage jihad, saying it is their responsibility to ensure the sacrifices of the past do not go in vain. Nick Bit: maybe we have not heard from him so long because he was busy with his 62 virgins

Former Trump White House official Boris Epshteyn testifies in House Russia probe

 Washington (CNN)Former Trump campaign and White House official Boris Epshteyn testified behind closed doors on Thursday before the House intelligence committee, according to three committee sources. Epshteyn is the latest person in the Trump orbit to appear before the panel as part of its investigation into Russia’s election meddling and possible collusion between the Trump team and Russian officials. The panel interviewed longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone on Tuesday in a closed session, and it has also spoken to Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo. The committee has also interviewed in recent months several officials from the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton’s campaign, including former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and Obama Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. Epshteyn was a senior adviser to the Trump campaign and took a White House job in the communications office. But he left the role in March, and the White House didn’t offer an explanation for his departure. Epshteyn is currently chief political analyst for Sinclair Broadcast Group, the conservative-leaning network of television stations.
He appeared as a pro-Trump surrogate in numerous TV interviews throughout the campaign. On a few occasions in the past year, Epshteyn has appeared to dismiss the conclusions of the US intelligence community. Instead, he has echoed Trump’s own discredited narratives, including when he argued that voter fraud caused Clinton to win the popular vote in 2016. A fluent Russian speaker, Epshteyn grew up in Moscow and emigrated to the United States in 1993. He joined Strategy International in 2007, a consulting firm with business dealings in Eastern Europe. In October 2013, Epshteyn moderated a panel discussion with Russian government officials at a conference in New York City promoting investments in Moscow, according to The Huffington Post. Epshteyn was joined on stage by some officials from the Moscow city government, according to photographs from the event.
In one CNN interview from July 2016, Epshteyn claimed that Russia did not invade Crimea, saying, “Again, first of all, you — Russia did not seize Crimea. We could talk about the conflict that happened between the Ukraine and the Crimea, the ongoing conflict where there was no seizure by Russia.”
Russian-speaking troops invaded Crimea in 2014 and Russia soon annexed the Ukrainian territory.
In an HBO interview in May, Epshteyn repeatedly refused to say that Russia meddled in the 2016 election, putting him at odds with assessments from the CIA, FBI and NSA that Russia interfered.
“You’ll have to ask Russia whether they did or not,” Epshteyn said. “Whether there was any attempted meddling … how would I know?”

Corporate America’s patchy disclosure on cash piles raises risk

Apple chief executive Tim Cook visits an Apple store in Glasgow.
Andrew Milligan | PA Images | Getty Images Apple chief executive Tim Cook visits an Apple store in Glasgow.

It is not just the iPhone that is supporting Apple’s almost $800bn valuation. The company has hundreds of billions of dollars of cash and other investments, eclipsing that of many established asset managers. However, in contrast to the disclosure by investment firms, Apple offers investors only the broadest brush strokes of what the money is actually in.

While the tech company has the largest pile of financial assets by a US non-financial group, the lack of detail is typical of the 30 large US-domiciled companies analysed by the FT that hold more than $10bn of cash and other securities on their balance sheets.

The latitude US regulators give corporate America on what they need to divulge is creating risks, experts say, given the sheer scale of the cash and other investments companies have accumulated in recent years and the danger that holdings of financial assets are hit as the Federal Reserve tightens monetary policy. Collectively the 30 companies, which includes General Motors, Qualcomm and Pfizer, own nearly $900bn in US debt and equities, according to an FT analysis of filings with the SEC. They have a portfolio of more than $400bn of US corporate bonds, representing nearly 5 per cent of the outstanding market. The Financial Accounting Standards Board sets the guidelines for what is required under US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, but the Securities and Exchange Commission has the authority to intervene if it wants more transparency on a topic. For example, companies must disclose an analysis of market risks, but they are under no obligation to identify individual securities they own.

Continue reading “Corporate America’s patchy disclosure on cash piles raises risk”

One of the world’s largest hedge funds is now letting computers trade completely on their own

Inside Man AHL’s black box
Inside Man AHL’s black box

It’s almost 11 p.m. in Man Group‘s offices in London. The humans have all gone home. But the computers are just waking up. Man runs about $43 billion in assets through quantitative trading. Algorithms do most of the work, with people writing the code to build them and monitor for any anomalies after the fact. The machines are trading about 21.5 hours per day, from the open of the Asian markets to the close in the U.S. It’s a strategy the firm has been utilizing for 30 years. And now, it’s seeking to be a pioneer in the next phase of quant: machine learning. The difference between machine learning and traditional quant is that with the newer technology, the computers do not need to be told what and how to trade — they find patterns themselves and put their own buy and sell orders on accordingly. “We view it very much as the future; it’s where we’re spending more money and research than any other place today,” said Sandy Rattray, chief investment officer of Man Group, in an interview from the firm’s London offices. “We will see it steadily increase in all areas and environments where we are less dictating what the model should do and more letting the model learn from the data on its own.” He said machine learning is already helping to deliver returns better than that of traditional quant. Rattray declined to specify the exact prevalence of machine learning in its funds today, but said he would not be surprised if in five years, half of its quant trading will be supported by machine learning.

“Can they interpret the earnings calls as well as a human can? No,” Rattray said of the machine learning-enabled computers. “But they can do a lot more. You get a lot more breadth out of the computers than you do out of the humans.”

Luke Ellis, chief executive officer of Man Group Plc.

Jason Alden | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Luke Ellis, chief executive officer of Man Group Plc.

Man has partnered with the University of Oxford to study quantitative finance, and in the last year carved out a new specialization to research machine learning and data science. Of course, the potential for machine learning in global finance is tremendous, but it’s also started an engineering arms race, where some of the largest firms will have an advantage. A recent survey by Barclays found that 62 percent of hedge fund managers were employing some sort of machine learning capacity for the investment process. Nick Bit: It amazes me that people would invest billions in essence is high frequency trading run exclusively by computers. I am very grateful for the donation they are about to make to our personal fortunes

Continue reading “One of the world’s largest hedge funds is now letting computers trade completely on their own”

Gary Cohn: Family earning $100,000 a year would get $1,000 tax break under GOP tax plan

NEC's Gary Cohn: We don't want wealthy to move from 35% rate to 25% rate
White House Advisor Gary Cohn: We don’t want wealthy to move from 35% rate to 25% rate
Middle-income families will see real benefits as a “basic core premise” of the Republican-sponsored tax reform proposal, White House economic advisor Gary Cohn said Thursday.

As an example, Cohn said a family of four with an income of $100,000 a year would see an annual tax savings of about $1,000.

“This is a basic, core premise of our plan. We’re committed to it and we’re sticking to it,” Cohn said at an afternoon news conference. Cohn said that tax break would up the standard of living for Americans and generate growth.

“If we allow a family to keep another thousand dollars of their income, what does that mean? They can renovate their kitchen, they can buy a new car, they can take their family on vacation, they can increase their lifestyle,” he said. “That’s what our tax plan has to do.”

Nick Note: What a ASSHOLE… a $1000 savings…. whoppie doo ! while the wealthy with a $700,000 yearly income get a $150,000 tax break. this is a outrage. And this Pompous Prick calls a $1000 yearly tax break for the average American a increase in their life style. talk about out of touch with reality!!!!!!

Cohn said earlier that the reform plan will generate growth of more than 3 percent that will pay for the tax cuts. BULLSHIT Never gonna happen

He repeated that assertion during the news conference, saying that a 1 percent gain in GDP would generate $3 trillion in economic growth that would easily pay for the estimated $1.5 trillion price tag of the tax cuts [though one think tank put the cost closer to $2.1 trillion].

“Our tax plan is aimed at making sure we give middle-class Americans a tax cut,” he said. “That is what we are spending all of our time doing.”

A tax cut of a whole $1000 a year…… they really believe we are stupid

 

On the latter point, the specific criticism has been the repatriated portion of the $2.5 trillion stored abroad would be put in the pockets of shareholders, which Cohn said wouldn’t be a big problem.

Richest Americans will see biggest windfall from any tax cuts

No matter what changes might come from the latest round of tax reform proposals, the wealthiest slice of Americans will still pay the biggest share of taxes.
And that means they’ll also see the biggest benefits from any overall tax cuts. Despite promises that the benefits of the proposals would flow to middle-class Americans, critics of the “framework” argue that the biggest windfall would go to the wealthiest taxpayers. In 2014, the top 1 percent paid just under 40 percent of all income taxes — more than the bottom 90 percent combined (at 29 percent), according to the Tax Foundation, a think tank. That meant the taxes paid by the top 1 percent represented 27 percent of their overall income, a rate that was seven times higher than all taxpayers in the bottom 50 percent, who paid just 3.5 percent of their combined income, according to the group.That’s a big reason the specific provisions of the “framework” would benefit the wealthiest taxpayers far more than those lower on the income ladder.  One analysis, by the left-leaning Center on Budget Policy and Priorities, estimates that the top 1 percent of households — those with incomes above $700,000 — would get about half of the proposed tax cuts, or roughly $150,000 a year on average.
Initial estimates like those are problematic, though, largely because details of the “framework” are still sketchy. For example, while the preliminary nine-page document calls for cutting the existing seven tax brackets down to three, it doesn’t spell out income levels for those brackets.
And it holds out the prospect of an additional fourth bracket for the wealthiest taxpayers

Other specific provisions have been spelled out to help those at the bottom of the income ladder, including a doubling of the standard deduction that would shield the first $24,000 of a married couple’s income from taxes. But there are plenty of specific provisions in the initial proposal that would clearly help those at the top of the income ladder. The list includes:

Cutting the top tax rate from 39.6 percent to 35 percent: Unless Congress restores a fourth rate at the top, this change would save a couple with $1 million in taxable income $24,000 a year, according to the CBPP.

A special 25 percent rate for “pass-through” income: This rate would apply to private businesses including partnerships, S corporations, and sole proprietorships, whose owners “pass through” business profits as personal income and currently pay personal income tax rates. The CPBB estimates that 79 percent of this tax cut would flow to filers with incomes above $1 million.

Repealing the estate tax: Most taxpayers don’t own enough savings and investments for their heirs to incur taxes on the inheritance. Under current law, the tax doesn’t apply to couples who pass along less than $11 million. Only the wealthiest 0.2 percent of estates pay this tax at all, according to the CPBB.

Eliminating the alternative minimum tax: This tax was created to make sure that high-income households couldn’t avoid their fair share of taxes by taking large deductions and other tax breaks. Because it wasn’t indexed to inflation, it now hits millions of middle-class households. But the wealthiest taxpayers would see the biggest windfall if the AMT is repealed.

Iran may drop nuclear deal if US withdraws

A missile is displayed next to a portrait of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at a war exhibition south of Tehran on September 26, 2016.
Atta Kenare | AFP | Getty Images A missile is displayed next to a portrait of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at a war exhibition south of Tehran on September 26, 2016.

Iran may abandon the nuclear deal it reached with six major powers if the United States decides to withdraw from it, Iranian foreign minister told Qatar’s al Jazeera TV in New York. President Donald Trump has called the 2015 deal an “embarrassment.” The deal is supported by the other major powers that negotiated it with Iran and its collapse could trigger a regional arms race and worsen tensions in the Middle East.
“If Washington decides to pull out of the deal, Iran has the option of withdrawal and other options,” al Jazeera TV wrote on its Twitter feed, quoting Mohammad Javad Zarif. “Washington will be in a better position if it remains committed to the deal,” the network quoted Zarif as saying. Trump is considering whether the accord serves U.S. security interests. He faces a mid-October deadline for certifying that Iran is complying with the pact.
Iranian authorities had repeatedly said Tehran would not be the first to violate the agreement, under which Tehran agreed to restrict its nuclear program in return for lifting most international sanctions that had crippled its economy. The prospect that Washington could renege on the deal has worried some of the U.S. allies that helped negotiate it. French President Emmanuel Macron said last week that there was no alternative to the nuclear accord.
If Trump, who has called the accord “the worst deal ever negotiated”, does not recertify it by Oct. 16, Congress has 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions suspended under the accord.

Turkey raises oil threat after Iraqi

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey threatened potentially crippling restrictions on oil trading with Iraqi Kurds on Thursday, after they backed independence from Baghdad in a referendum that has alarmed Ankara, as it faces a separatist insurgency from its own Kurdish minority. Iraq’s Kurds endorsed secession by nine to one in a vote on Monday that has angered Turkey, the central government in Baghdad, and other regional and world powers, who fear the referendum could lead to renewed conflict in the region. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s office said he had been told by Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim in a call that Turkey would break with past practice and deal only with the Baghdad government over oil exports from Iraq. Most oil that flows through a pipeline from Iraq to Turkey comes from Kurdish sources and a cut-off would severely damage the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), which relies on sales of crude for almost all its hard currency revenues.

So far the oil pipeline is operating normally despite Turkish threats to impose economic sanctions on the Kurdish autonomous region in Iraq. Turkish officials, however, ramped up pressure on the Kurds on Thursday.

Yildirim said Turkey would respond harshly to any security threat on its border after the referendum, although that was not its first choice. Yildirim also said he agreed with Abadi to coordinate economic and trade relations with the central government in Baghdad. He said Turkey, Iran and Iraq may meet to discuss the referendum. Turkish government spokesman Bekir Bozdag said Turkish armed forces would stop training Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces, which protected oil fields from capture by the Islamic State.

Continue reading “Turkey raises oil threat after Iraqi”

4 big tax breaks you may lose under GOP tax plan

The Republican tax proposal unveiled Wednesday outlines ways that lawmakers plan to reduce what businesses and individuals pay to Uncle Sam, yet it offered few clues about how they would pay for it all. In addition to calling for a reduction in the rates that corporations and small businesses pay, the framework would double the standard deduction for individual taxpayers, repeal the alternative minimum tax and estate tax, increase the child tax credit, and collapse the current seven personal tax brackets to three, among other provisions. The cost of all this? An estimated $2.2 trillion over 10 years, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. The group says $5.8 trillion would be lost to lower rates and other modifications, and would be offset by $3.6 trillion coming from eliminated tax breaks.

So what tax benefits for individuals are potentially on the chopping block to help fund these cuts? Wednesday’s nine-page plan, a joint product of the Trump administration and Republican leadership, offers few specifics. It says lawmakers will protect the breaks for mortgage interest and charitable giving, along with retaining tax benefits that “encourage work, higher education and retirement security.”

Charitable giving deduction use by income

Income range
# of filings
Total amount
0 to $50,000 2.38 million $526 million
$50,000 to $100,000 10 million $4.37 billion
$100,000 to $200,000 15.2 million $11.93 billion
$200,000 $ up 8.2 million $40.73 billion
Totals: 35.8 million $57.55 billion
Source: 2016 data from Joint Committee on Taxation report. *Income ranges include AGI plus variety of untaxed items (i.e., employer contributions to health care plan, nontaxable social security benefits, etc.)

Who uses the mortgage interest deduction, by income

Income range*
# of filings
Total amount
0 to $50,000 2.32 million $1.11 billion
$50,000 to $100,000 9.77 million $9.19 billion
$100,000 to $200,000 14.6 million $24.85 billion
$200,000 & up 7.18 million $29.78 billion
Totals: 33.87 million $64.93 billion
Source: 2016 data from Joint Committee on Taxation report. *Income ranges include AGI plus variety of untaxed items (i.e., employer contributions to health care plan, nontaxable social security benefits, etc.) While there’s no guarantee, the wording suggests that the intent is to retain the pretax status of contributions to retirement plans such as 401(k) plans, along with keeping the deduction for higher education.

Beyond that, the assumption is that everything else is on the table.

Continue reading “4 big tax breaks you may lose under GOP tax plan”

Mysterious trader is making a huge bet on a volatility spike

A multimillion dollar bet on a surge in market volatility is gaining notice in the options market and appears on track to become the largest trade this year in the CBOE volatility index. That’s according to Pravit Chintawongvanich, head of derivatives strategy at Macro Risk Advisors. In a note to clients Tuesday, Chintawongvanich pointed out that the trade initiated in July is betting that the CBOE’s VIX will rise meaningfully in the short term. The index has traded around historically low levels for much of this year. Judging by the way the options trade was executed, the strategist pointed out, the trader is expecting the VIX (just below 10 in Thursday trading) to rise to the high teens or mid-20s, though the position would begin to lose money if VIX futures rise too far, too fast. Since the VIX is a measure of anticipated 30-day volatility on the S&P 500, it tends to move inversely to the S&P 500. The “fear gauge” has been historically depressed this year because market moves have been relatively muted and stocks have generally risen.The index briefly fell to its lowest recorded level, below 9, in July. The trader exchanged 2.1 million VIX contracts on Monday, bringing the total contracts traded to a whopping 3.15 million on the year, Chintawongvanich wrote in his note. This means the trader is on pace to dethrone another massive volatility bettor, who has been nicknamed “50 Cent” for the propensity to buy huge amount of VIX call options trading at about 50 cents each. Dennis Davitt, portfolio manager at Harvest Volatility Management, said Tuesday on “Trading Nation” that “this trade could really run into a lot of complication with a lot of leverage, and could cause things to spiral significantly higher for the VIX.”

5 large-cap oil stocks are up 20% or more in September — and more gains appear on tap

Demand and production numbers are backing what appears to be the early stage of a rally

Bloomberg News The Nord Steady oil and chemical tanker is guided by t Photographer: Darryl Dyck/Bloomberg

Energy stocks had a very difficult 2017 — until September, when the sector rallied as evidence of increasing international demand mounted. That means we may still be in the early innings of an important and lasting rally for oil, and patient investors can make or recover a lot of money.

Investors have gotten excited by the prospect of rising demand for oil. In his daily energy report on Wednesday, Phil Flynn, a senior market analyst at Price Futures Group, said “rising global demand and disappointing shale portion numbers are proving once again that the best cure for low prices are low prices.” His sunny outlook for oil hinges in part on the declining levels of investment in exploration and production projects around the world.

The Energy Information Institute reported that demand for oil “grew very strongly” during the second quarter, and it made significant upward revisions to its demand forecasts on Sept. 13.Here are the 10 energy stocks in the S&P 500 that have performed best this month, according to FactSet:

Company Ticker Total return – Aug. 31 – Sept. 27 Total return – 2017 through Sept. 27
Helmerich & Payne Inc. HP, -1.52% 26% -33%
Marathon Oil Corp. MRO, -1.46% 23% -30%
Chesapeake Energy Corp. CHK, -1.92% 21% -43%
Hess Corp. HES, -0.83% 21% -31%
Anadarko Petroleum Corp. APC, -0.39% 20% -37%
Concho Resources Inc. CXO, -0.31% 19% -7%
Apache Corp. APA, -0.99% 19% -32%
Noble Energy Inc. NBL, +0.04% 19% -31%
Devon Energy Corp. DVN, -1.59% 19% -26%
National Oilwell Varco Inc. NOV, -1.74% 18% -8%
Source: FactSet
Nick Bit: This is a great short. they will wipe out as oil  continues its decade long downward trend. Short the shit out of energy companies NOW!

Puerto Rico: Trump lifts shipping ban for storm-hit island

US President Donald Trump has waived shipping restrictions to help fuel and supplies reach storm-ravaged Puerto Rico, the White House has said. Mr Trump “has authorized the Jones Act be waived for Puerto Rico”, a statement said on Twitter. Puerto Rico had pressed the US to lift the act, which limits shipping between coasts to US-flagged vessels. The US territory is struggling with fuel, water and medical shortages one week after Hurricane Maria struck. Federal emergency management officials and the US military have stepped up relief efforts as the scale of the island’s crisis has become clear. Many of its 3.4 million residents have been without electricity, reliable drinking supplies and other basic necessities since the storm struck. the storm knocked out the US territory’s entire power grid, crippling its water and sewage treatment system. The delivery of relief supplies has been hampered by roads rendered impassable by fallen trees or flooding. Meanwhile, 91% of cellular communication sites remain out of service, US officials say. President Trump has been under fire after he spent the weekend focusing on a feud with NFL players and coaches, instead of the Puerto Rico disaster. Ricardo Rossello, the island’s governor, has called its devastation an unprecedented natural disaster. Puerto Rico, which gets most of its fuel by ship from the US, has been under petrol rationing since the hurricane struck. Service stations have been able to stay open only a few hours at a time. Desperate residents have been queuing for hours to get diesel fuel to power electrical generators, and some have mobbed water-supply tankers. Most hospitals are without power or adequate fuel for their own generators. The 1,000-bed US Navy hospital ship Comfort will arrive next week, after sailing from its home port in Virginia on Friday.

 

Oil extends rise spurred by U.S. inventory decline

AFP/Getty Images

Oil futures traded higher Thursday, building on gains scored in the previous session after a decline in U.S. inventories.

The U.S. benchmark, West Texas Intermediate crude for November delivery CLX7, +0.56%  on the New York Mercantile Exchange, rose 51 cents, or 1%, to $52.65 a barrel. Brent crude LCOX7, +0.76% the global benchmark, rose 35 cents, or 0.6%, to $57.92 a barrel. Oil rallied Wednesday after U.S. data showed an unexpected 1.8 million barrel decline in crude inventories in the week ended Sept. 22, with the draw attributed in part to a surge in exports. Analysts have noted that U.S. crude is seen as more attractive to foreign buyers after WTI moved to a wide discount to Brent crude in recent weeks. The discount briefly reached $7 a barrel earlier this week and remains near $6 a barrel. On the other hand, this “also gives U.S. oil producers an incentive to expand their production,” noted analysts at Commerzbank, in a note. They noted that U.S. crude production rose 37,000 barrels a day to 9.55 million barrels a day, leaving it just below the 2015 high. “This is likely to limit the price potential for WTI. Further more, the rising U.S. exports suggest that Brent will come closer to the lower WTI price,” they said. In other trade, November gasoline futures RBX7, -0.07%  fell 0.7% to $1.6096 a gallon. November heating oil HOX7, -0.23%  fell 0.2% to $1.8359 a gallon. November natural gas futures NGX17, -0.13%  fell 0.4% to $3.049 per million British thermal units.

Puerto Rico’s aid is trapped in 9,500 shipping containers

 San Juan, Puerto Rico (CNN)A mountain of food, water and other vital supplies has arrived in Puerto Rico’s main Port of San Juan. But a shortage of truckers and the island’s devastated infrastructure are making it tough to move aid to where it’s needed most. Only 20% of truck drivers have reported back to work since Hurricane Maria swept through, according to a representative for Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.. On top of that, a diesel fuel shortage and a tangle of blocked roads mean the distribution of supplies is extremely challenging. Even contacting drivers is a problem because cell towers are still down. “When we say we that we don’t have truck drivers, we mean that we have not been able to contact them,” Rosselló said. On Thursday the White House authorized a 10-day waiver of the Jones Act, a federal law that limits shipping to US ports by foreign vessels. Puerto Rico’s governor and other US officials had argued that a waiver would expedite supplies to the island.
But shipping companies already have aid and supplies either waiting at the port to be delivered — or held up at ports on the US mainland.
About 9,500 containers of supplies were sitting at the Port of San Juan Thursday morning, said Yennifer Alvarez, spokeswoman for Puerto Rico’s governor. Shipping company Crowley said it had 3,000 containers there, filled with clothes, food, medicine, water, construction materials and even cars. As of Wednesday, Crowley had only been able to dispatch 4% of those 3,000 containers, said Jose Ayala, the company’s vice president in Puerto Rico.

Morgan Stanley strategist says bear market could start next year after a surge higher

Wall Street’s biggest bull says the market could grow another 8% in 3 months   Morgan Stanley’s Mike Wilson currently has one of the loftiest stock market targets on Wall Street, but he also sees a possible bear market on the horizon. Wilson, Morgan’s chief equity strategist, said he expects the S&P 500 to reach 2,700 in the first part of next year, if things unfold as he forecasts. He doesn’t see a big sell off until after his target is reached, but once that happens it could mean a 20 percent decline.

In the meantime, stocks are benefiting from strong earnings, a still-easy Fed and the promise of economic stimulus. Wilson said on CNBC’s Fast Money that Wednesday’s rally was fueled by the reflation trade. “Today is a short term euphoria but we think this is the primary trend: Small caps, financials energy” are all opportunities for investors. “That doesn’t mean that FANG or tech gets left behind. They can both work in concert now. So I think this is the next leg.” “I think the way it sets up is people probably get excited over the next couple of weeks,” said Wilson, also chief investment officer of institutional securities and wealth management. Wilson said he expects earnings to keep buoying the market. “Then we’re going to have the inevitable disappointment.” A correction of that magnitude would be a normal thing for a market that has been in an eight year bull run. While he expects to see investors get much more excited by the market before it tumbles, it may not be like other periods, given the deep scars from the financial crisis. A decline of 20 percent from 2,700 would be 2,250. If the S&P does achieve 2,700, it would be up 300 percent from its crisis-era low in March 2009.

$5 trillion question for Trump tax plan: How to pay for it?

WASHINGTON (AP) — How do you pay for an estimated $5.8 trillion tax cut? For President Donald Trump and Republican congressional leaders, that is the mostly unanswered $5,800,000,000,000 question. The plan they released Wednesday took a first step toward outlining how Republicans propose to cover some of the monumental cost over the next 10 years, mainly by removing certain tax breaks. But even those proposed changes were left vague — and wouldn’t remotely pay the full cost of the tax cut. The administration says it would eliminate most personal tax breaks. Possibly gone would be people’s ability to deduct state and local taxes as well as eligible medical expenses. But doing so would still leave the tax cut more than $2 trillion shy of paying for itself. The Trump administration argues that it can accelerate the economy’s growth far beyond its current pace and, in doing so, generate enough federal revenue to cover the shortfall. Most economists have called that wishful thinking. That’s why analysts say the government would have to help pay for the tax cut by slashing programs that serve the middle class. Or it would be forced to run the national debt up to dangerous levels, likely driving up borrowing rates for consumers and businesses. Because the administration has put off a full accounting of the trade-offs it’s prepared to make, the politically perilous decisions are being left for the tax-writing committees in the House and Senate to turn the blueprint into an actual bill. Inevitably, analysts say, any tax-cut plan produces losers. “You can’t have responsible tax reform and everyone wins,” said Marc Goldwein, senior policy director for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. The proposed tax cuts in the Trump plan would total $5.8 trillion over 10 years, according to an analysis by the Committee for Responsible Federal Budget and other reports.  The administration has a ready response to that problem. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Gary Cohn, Trump’s top economic adviser, argue that the tax cut would spark economic growth exceeding 3 percent annually, well above its recent 2 percent average. That added growth would, they say, generate revenue to cover the remainder of the cost of the tax cut. “It’s very hard to imagine growth rates topping 2.5 percent, let alone 3 percent,” said Beth Ann Bovino, U.S. chief economist at S&P Global Ratings.

Gold drops to 6-week low as dollar continues march higher

 
Gold dropped to a six-week low on Thursday, squeezed by a stronger dollar that continued its march higher after U.S. President Donald Trump revealed a plan for significant tax cuts.

The recent selloff comes as the dollar has rallied on rising expectations the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in December. Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen earlier this week reaffirmed that December is still in play, saying it would be “imprudent” to leave monetary policy on hold until inflation hits the central bank’s target. Late Wednesday, Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren said he backs ‘regular and gradual’ interest-rate rises. Additionally, the Republicans’ plans to lower the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20% was boosting the greenback on the prospect that — if approved — the tax cuts could boost the economy and provide the backbone for further tightening. “As ever with this President, the key will be getting the legislation through Congress, and with health care floundering this is by no means a guarantee. Despite this, the market is positive and Treasury yields are pushing higher due to the impact it could have on growth and inflation,” Richard Perry, market analyst at Hantec Markets, said in a note.

Legal Weed May Be a Windfall for McDonald’s and Taco Bell

The munchies are driving up fast-food sales in states where marijuana is legal. Cannabis has been shown to increase users’ appetite, sending many customers of legalized dispensaries to fast-food chains, according to a new study by Green Market Report and Consumer Research Around Cannabis. Forty-three percent of legal-marijuana users ate at a McDonald’s restaurant in the past four weeks, the survey found. Eighteen percent ate at Taco Bell, while 17.8 percent went to Wendy’s. Those results were significantly higher than among respondents who hadn’t visited a dispensary. Some 27,500 people responded to the online survey. Other restaurant chains that saw higher consumption from cannabis users included Burger King, KFC, Jack in the Box and Carl’s Jr., according to the study. Consumer Research Around Cannabis is a Houston-based research firm that tracks the demographics of the marijuana industry. The Green Market Report, meanwhile, focuses on cannabis financial and economic information.

Bitcoin blow as fund drops U.S. exchange application

Grayscale Investments LLC said Intercontinental Exchange Inc’s (ICE.N) NYSE Arca exchange withdrew a request with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to list its Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC.PK), in the latest setback to the digital currency. “Although digital currency market regulation continues to rapidly evolve, at this time Grayscale does not believe there have been enough regulatory developments to prompt the SEC to approve the … application,” the fund’s issuers said in a statement. They said they would continue their dialogue with regulators, but could not predict when they may get approved. The Bitcoin Investment Trust is currently traded “over the counter” in less formal exchanges than those used for typical stock transactions and at far higher prices than the bitcoin it holds. On Wednesday, shares closed at $739.50, while the bitcoin it holds were worth less than $373, according to the issuer. The shares are nonetheless trading up 508 percent this year, more even than the meteoric rise of the digital currency, which JPMorgan Chase & Co CEO Jamie Dimon this month called “a fraud” that will blow up. Bitcoin is a virtual currency that can be used to move money around the world quickly and with relative anonymity, without the need for a central authority, such as a bank or government. Approval from the SEC could bring more investors into the asset, yet the regulatory agency has expressed doubts over the fact that the bitcoin market is unregulated. Regulators have not yet weighed in on two other efforts to bring a digital currency to U.S. exchanges. Similar products already trade in Europe and one is being considered in Canada. NYSE and the SEC were not immediately reachable for comment.

US ‘fake news’ kingpin Paul Horner found dead at 38

A writer who became notorious for peddling “fake news” during the 2016 US election campaign has died at 38.

Paul Horner was found dead in his bed in Laveen, Arizona, on 18 September, after a suspected drug overdose, officials said. Horner, who published fraudulent articles on Facebook and websites he set up, claimed he was the reason Donald Trump was elected in November. Fake news was a major concern during and after the US presidential campaign.A surge of made-up stories has been accused by some of influencing the outcome of the vote. Among Horner’s creations was a false claim that former President Barack Obama was both gay and a radical Muslim. Mr Trump’s son Eric, and campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, posted one of Horner’s fake news items about protesters being paid $3,000 to demonstrate against the Republican  “There’s a lot of humour and comedy in it,” he told CNN in December. “I do it to try to educate people. I see certain things wrong in society that I don’t like and different targets.” His brother Jj Horner posted on Facebook that he had died in his sleep at his mother’s house, describing the writer as “an internet wizard, a humanitarian, an activist, a philosopher, a comedian”. A Maricopa County sheriff’s office spokesman, Mark Casey, later confirmed the death and said an autopsy had shown no signs of foul play. After coming under pressure, sites such as Facebook have been working with US investigators to track down the authors of misinformation on the internet and establish whether they aimed to sway voters. In an interview with the Washington Post in November, Horner said: “I think Trump is in the White House because of me. “My sites were picked up by Trump supporters all the time… His followers don’t fact-check anything – they’ll post everything, believe anything.”

Schumer: Republican Tax Plan ‘Socks It to the Middle Class’

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) on Wednesday held a joint press conference with Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) to respond to the recently revealed Republican tax plan. “The president said that he didn’t want to give tax breaks to the rich,” Schumer said. “Then he should, this afternoon, denounce repeal of the estate tax, which goes exclusively to the rich when you repeal it.” Schumer went on to say that it was an “unpleasant surprise” for the Republicans to “slash” the top tax rate from 39.6 to 35 percent. “The high-end one percent; they are doing great. God bless them. We’re glad they are doing great. They don’t need a tax break; middle-class people do,” Schumer said. “Look at what this plan does,” Schumer added. “It gives huge tax cuts to the wealthiest and the biggest corporations, and socks it to the middle-class. Eliminating state and local deductibility is a blow to the wallet of millions of middle-class tax payers across the country.”

Though many supply-side Republicans are skeptical of the child tax credit, the Big Six is calling for a major expansion of the popular break, while offering no details on how it might be increased. They’re also proposing a new $500 credit for non-child dependents like seniors.

They want to repeal the estate tax along with the alternative minimum tax, which was originally meant to ensure that the wealthy don’t avoid taxes altogether

Trump proposal slashes taxes on businesses, the rich; fuels deficit worries

 President Donald Trump on Wednesday proposed the biggest U.S. tax overhaul in three decades, offering to cut taxes for most Americans but prompting criticism that the plan favors the rich and companies and could add trillions of dollars to the deficit.

The proposal, which the Republican president said was aimed at helping working people, creating jobs and making the tax code more simple and fair, faces an uphill battle in Congress with Trump’s own party divided and Democrats hostile. The plan would lower corporate income tax rates, cut taxes for small businesses, reduce the top income tax rate for individuals and scrap some widely used tax breaks including one that benefits people in high-tax states dominated by Democrats. Forged during months of talks among Trump’s aides and top Republicans in Congress, the plan contained scant details about how to pay for the cuts without fueling deficits. It must be turned into detailed legislation by the Republican-led congressional tax-writing committees. The plan would lower the top individual rate  to 35 percent from 39.6 percent. It foresees a 20 percent corporate income tax rate, down from the current 35 percent but not as low as Trump’s initial demand for 15 percent. Companies in the United States pay high taxes by global standards but many of them pay much less than the headline rate due to loopholes and tax breaks.

“Under this plan, the wealthiest Americans and wealthiest corporations make out like bandits while middle-class Americans are left holding the bag,” said Chuck Schumer, the top Senate Democrat. Analysts have warned that huge tax cuts would balloon the federal deficit and debt if economic growth projected by Republicans to offset the costs fails to materialize amid rising interest rates. They proposed scrapping the deduction for the amount a taxpayer pays in state and local taxes, which could hurt people in high-tax states including California and New York that tend to vote Democratic.

Report: Jared Kushner Urged Trump to Back Luther Strange in Alabama Primary

White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner was reportedly a key player in persuading President Trump to make the disastrous decision to back Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) in the Alabama Senate primary — a decision that has backfired spectacularly and pitted Trump against his base.

Trump endorsed the establishment-backed Strange against conservative opponent Roy Moore and campaigned for Strange Friday in Huntsville, Alabama. However, it wasn’t enough for Strange to overcome an enormous polling deficit — and Moore soundly beat Strange Tuesday night. Trump had seemed to recognize he had made a bad decision, telling the Huntsville crowd “I might have made a mistake” in endorsing Strange. He later promised to campaign for Moore if he won. According to Politico, “Trump was encouraged to pick Strange before the August primary by son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner as well as other aides.” If accurate, it is the latest misstep from his senior adviser, who has reportedly advised Trump into a series of questionable decisions, including the firing of FBI Director James Comey and the hiring of Anthony Scaramucci — who was in the position of communications director for little more than a week before having a very public meltdown in July.

 

Trump infuriated after backing Alabama loser

(CNN)Returning from a high-dollar fundraiser in Manhattan on Tuesday evening, an infuriated President Donald Trump watched aboard Air Force One as Fox News called the Alabama Senate primary for Roy Moore against Trump’s favored candidate, Luther Strange. What ensued was a barrage of angry venting at his political team and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who had consolidated establishment GOP support behind Strange. Trump, officials and informal advisers say, felt misled by McConnell and his political team, who encouraged him to endorse and campaign for Strange. He went to bed “embarrassed and pissed” following the election loss, according to a person familiar with his mindset. Trump, multiple sources said, was furious with McConnell — with whom he has openly feuded — and feels outdone by his former aide Bannon.

Special Report: Drowning in grain – How Big Ag sowed seeds of a profit-slashing glut

CARMAN, Manitoba (Reuters) – On Canada’s fertile Prairies, dominated by the yellows and golds of canola and wheat, summers are too short to grow corn on a major scale. But Monsanto Co (MON.N) is working to develop what it hopes will be North America’s fastest-maturing corn, allowing farmers to grow more in Western Canada and other inhospitable climates, such as Ukraine. The seed and chemical giant projects that western Canadian corn plantings could multiply 20 times to 10 million acres by 2025 – adding some 1.1 billion bushels, or nearly 3 percent to current global production. The question, amid historically high supplies and low grain prices, is whether the world really needs more corn. A global grains glut is now in its fourth year, with supplies bloated by favorable weather, increasingly high-tech farm practices and tougher plant breeds. The bin-busting harvests of cheap corn, wheat and soybeans are undermining the business models of the world’s largest agriculture firms and the farmers who use their products and services. Some analysts say the firms have effectively innovated their way into a stubbornly oversupplied market.Never has the world produced so much more food than can be consumed in one season. World ending stocks of total grains – the leftover supplies before a new harvest – have climbed for four straight years and are poised to reach a record 638 million tonnes in 2016/17, according to USDA data.  Monsanto spokeswoman Trish Jordan said the company believes demand growth still justifies corn expansion, and she disputed the notion that crop science advances are backfiring on agricultural technology firms.

Did Pyongyang fail to notice America’s show of force?

 Lack of response to US bombers flying along North Korea’s eastern coast may be because Kim’s military didn’t spot them

  • US flew lancer bombers up the eastern coast of North Korea on Saturday
  • South Korean officials have claimed that the North Koreans didn’t notice 
  • South Korea says the North has relocated its warplanes to the eastern coast
  • Pyongyang also boosted its air defenses after accusing Trump of declaring war 

North Korea failed to notice a fleet of US bombers flying up its eastern coast in a massive show of force, it has been claimed.  In a night-time mission on Saturday a group of B-1B Lancer bombers flew further up North Korea’s coastline than any US plane has gone this century. But the show of strength in international waters failed to have the desired impact because Kim Jong Un’s government failed to notice, according to a South Korean official.

In a night-time mission on Saturday a group of B-1B Lancer bombers (pictured in a file image) flew further up North Korea's coastline than any US plane has gone this century
In a night-time mission on Saturday a group of B-1B Lancer bombers (pictured in a file image) flew further up North Korea’s coastline than any US plane has gone this century

The Department of Defense said in a statement on Saturday: ‘This mission is a demonstration of U.S. resolve and a clear message that the president has many military options to defeat any threat.’

Trump’s plan calls for slashing taxes on businesses, the wealthy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday proposed the biggest tax overhaul in three decades – a plan that would slash rates on businesses and the wealthy – but it faces an uphill battle in Congress with his own party divided and Democrats hostile.

The plan offered scant details about how to pay for the cuts without dramatically driving up federal deficits. It was forged during months of high-level talks among Trump’s aides and top Republicans in Congress. The proposal would lower corporate income tax rates, cut taxes for “pass-through” businesses, reduce the top income tax rate for individual Americans and scrap some widely used tax breaks including one that benefits people in high-tax states dominated by Democrats. Big business embraced the plan, while Democrats voiced opposition. Republicans have produced no major legislative successes since Trump took office in January even though they control the White House and both chambers of Congress. The tax plan was outlined the day after the Republicans’ top legislative priority, an overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system, collapsed in the Senate, while another key item on Trump’s wish list, infrastructure spending, has yet to materialize. A comprehensive tax overhaul has eluded lawmakers for decades. The last one was passed in 1986. Trump has said the tax overhaul would provide tax relief to middle-class Americans, and the White House said that under the proposal typical middle-class families would have less of their income subject to federal income tax. The plan foresees a 20-percent corporate income tax rate, down from 35 percent now. Trump had initially proposed a 15-percent rate. Companies in the United States pay high taxes by global standards and they have been seeking a tax cut for years, even though many of them pay much less than the headline rate due to loopholes and tax breaks. “I think it’s a big step forward,” Senator Pat Toomey, a prominent Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, told reporters. “This is very, very constructive, that the relevant parties are on the same page.”

 

Ford, Lyft will partner to deploy self-driving cars

 DETROIT (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co (F.N) said on Wednesday it will collaborate with Lyft to deploy Ford self-driving vehicles on the ride-services company’s network in large numbers by 2021.

Ford and Lyft teams will begin working together to design software to allow Ford vehicles to communicate with Lyft’s smartphone apps. Ford self-driving test vehicles will be connected to Lyft’s network, but at first, customers will not be able to use them, Sherif Marakby, Ford’s vice president for autonomous vehicles and electrification, told Reuters. Ford will put human-driven vehicles on Lyft’s network. He did not say when Ford and Lyft expect to offer the first rides in self-driving cars. “We’re not building prototypes for the sake of building prototypes,” Marakby said, adding Ford intends to ultimately put thousands of self-driving vehicles in use. Ford also is testing delivery services using self-driving vehicles and a van shuttle service. The self-driving vehicles Ford will deploy through Lyft will use software developed by Argo AI, a company in which Ford is investing $1 billion over the next five years.

The company has said it will invest $700 million in a factory in Flat Rock, Michigan, to make it capable of building electric and self-driving vehicles.

Lyft has said it will offer an open platform for companies to deploy self-driving vehicles on its network, and has partnerships with self-driving vehicle technology startup Drive.ai and Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Waymo self-driving car unit. GM is also assembling the assets necessary to launch its own ride services using self-driving cars, building its Maven car-sharing unit and preparing to launch mass production of autonomous Chevrolet Bolt

Exclusive: IRS shares information with special counsel in Russia probe

Washington (CNN)The IRS is now sharing information with special counsel Robert Mueller about key Trump campaign officials, after the two entities clashed this summer over both the scope of the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and a raid on former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s home, people briefed on the matter tell CNN. Part of the concern centered on the far-reaching and broad requests from Mueller’s team. In the case of Manafort, Mueller’s investigators are reaching back 11 years as they investigate possible tax and financial crimes, according to search warrant documents. Mueller is bound by a written order issued by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in May which allows the special counsel to investigate “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.” After several months of being at odds, one source said, the IRS Criminal Investigation division is now sharing information about campaign associates, including Manafort and former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn. The sharing happened after the two camps reached an agreement following consultation with officials at the Treasury Department.

Special counsel interviews with White House staff could start later this week

A former high-level Justice Department official says the information shared would include anything tax return-related such as real estate and banking records. The former official added the IRS is very restricted in what information it can share under Title 26 US Code and would normally need a specific grand jury subpoena in order to share tax returns with another agency. The new information about the depth of IRS involvement renews questions surrounding the controversial issue of President Donald Trump’s tax returns, which he refused to release during the campaign despite decades of precedent by presidential candidates.

Oil prices mixed after surprise 1.8 million barrel drop in US crude stockpiles, jump in gas stocks

A picture taken on September 25, 2017 during the Kurdish independence referendum shows a Russian-made military attack helicopter flying over Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq.

U.S. crude  was steady and Brent eased further on Wednesday after government data showed an unexpected drop in U.S. crude inventories and a surprise rise in gasoline stockpiles. Crude inventories fell by 1.8 million barrels in the week to Sept. 22, compared with analysts’ expectations for an increase of 3.4 million barrels. Refinery crude runs rose by 1 million barrels per day, EIA data showed. Refinery utilization rates rose by 5.4 percentage points. Gasoline stocks rose by 1.1 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 921,000-barrel drop. Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 814,000 barrels, versus expectations for a 2.2 million-barrel decline, the EIA data showed.

China still stocking up on metals and credit, private survey says

Pedestrians walk past cranes and residential buildings standing under construction in Beijing, China.

The China-driven surge in commodity prices could soon come to an end, according to a private survey of Chinese businesses. Contrary to “markets’ unremitting faith in the Chinese government campaign to combat” oversupply in metals, “firms are saying quite the opposite. For the sixth quarter in a row, coal, aluminum, steel, and copper each saw capacity rise on net,” according to the China Beige Book’s early brief of third-quarter data released Tuesday

 The China Beige Book is a quarterly survey of Chinese companies in an attempt to present a more accurate picture of growth. Many question the accuracy of most Chinese government data, since officials may have incentive to inflate or deflate the figures they report in order to show compliance with central policy.
Far Eastern Group Chairman on excess capacity in China

Leland Miller, chief executive officer of China Beige Book, told CNBC. “I think you’re at a point right now where there’s been a complacency on the part of the Chinese economy that is lending itself to unrealistic expectations about the economy that are not going to be met.”

Copper prices have rallied more than 25 percent this year to a three-year high on bets for stronger global growth, primarily out of the world’s second-largest economy, China. But the metal has since come off those levels to trade about 16.5 percent higher for the year.  “So in fact, the strongest price performances of 2017 (aluminium, zinc, lead, copper, nickel, alumina, iron ore) are based on either China’s reform-based supply shocks or global currency trades – not a sustained improvement in demand growth,” equity strategist Tom Price and a team of analysts said. They have negative price forecasts on aluminum, copper, iron ore and steel.

DEA chief to leave amid reported dismay over President Donald Trump

Acting Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Chuck Rosenberg
Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images Acting Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Chuck Rosenberg

Chuck Rosenberg, acting head of the Drug Enforcement Agency, will leave effective October 1, NBC News has confirmed. The New York Times reported, citing law enforcement officials, that Rosenberg had become dismayed with President Donald Trump, believing he has little respect for the law. A former federal prosecutor and Obama administration holdover, Rosenberg previously served as chief of staff to fired FBI director James Comey. In a July email obtained by NBC, Rosenberg told his staff that “we have an obligation to speak out when something is wrong.” His email came after Trump made remarks in a speech that seemed to encourage police officers to treat suspects roughly. Rosenberg wrote in his email that the president’s comments “condoned police misconduct.” He listed values that he said were central to how law enforcement professionals should behave. Those included “Rule of Law, Respect and Compassion, Service, Devotion, Integrity, [and] Accountability.”

Stop sugarcoating the housing market: Economist warns that buyers face increasing troubles

Construction workers raise wood framing as they build homes in a new housing development in Richmond, Calif.

New home sales decline to 8-month low in August  

From a broad view, the U.S. housing market looks very healthy. Demand is high, employment and wages are growing, and mortgage rates are low.

But the nation’s housing market is assuredly unhealthy; in fact, it is increasingly mismatched with today’s buyers.

Prices remain nearly 6 percent higher than they were a year ago, nationally, with some local markets seeing double-digit annual price gains. Those prices are being driven by a severe lack of supply at the low end of the market, which is where the most demand exists. That means lower-priced homes are seeing bigger price gains than higher-priced homes because of the competition.At the same time, sales are falling, again, because there are too few homes on the low end, and the homes that are available are very expensive. “It sets up a situation in which the housing market looks largely healthy from a 50,000-foot view, but on the ground, the situation is much different, especially for younger, first-time buyers and/or buyers of more modest means,” wrote Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow in a response to the latest home-price data. “Supply is low in general, but half of what is available to buy is priced in the top one-third of the market.” There are currently 8 million more renter-occupied homes than there were in 2007, the peak of the housing boom, according to the U.S. Census. “It’s time we stopped sugarcoating the truth with this data — the simple fact is that we are severely underproducing housing in this country, relative both to basic demographics and currently high demand from buyers,” wrote Gudell, who notes that inventory is stuck at roughly mid-1990s levels, but the country has grown by more than 60 million people since then. “Buying conditions, in theory, are great right now: Jobs and incomes are growing, and rock-bottom mortgage interest rates are helping keep financing costs low. What’s missing from the equation is a lack of homes actually available to buy at a price point that’s reasonable for most buyers.”

In Alabama, a McConnell rebuke, a Trump miscalculation

HOMEWOOD, Ala. (AP) — A firebrand Alabama jurist wrested a U.S. Senate nomination from an appointed incumbent backed by millions of dollars from national Republicans, adding a new chapter Tuesday to an era of outsider politics that ushered Donald Trump into the White House yet leaves his presidency and his party in disarray. Roy Moore’s 9-point victory over Sen. Luther Strange, backed by the White House and Republican leaders on Capitol Hill, ranks as a miscalculation and temporary embarrassment for the president; it’s a more consequential rebuke for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who Moore said should step aside as GOP floor chief. The Kentucky Republican already is struggling to capitalize on his narrow 52-48 majority. He failed this week to deliver a long-promised health care overhaul, with equally perilous fights looming on taxes, the budget, immigration and the nation’s credit limit. Now, McConnell may also face a 2018 midterm election cycle complicated by GOP primary challengers who, like Moore, make the Senate leader an albatross for establishment candidates, including incumbents Dean Heller of Nevada and Jeff Flake of Arizona. Firebrand jurist Roy Moore won the Alabama Republican primary runoff for U.S. Senate on Tuesday, defeating an appointed incumbent, Sen. Luther Strange, backed by President Donald Trump in an upset likely to rock the GOP establishment. (Sept. 26)Moore, the famed “Ten Commandments judge” twice removed from elected judicial office for defying federal courts, declared his nomination a message to Washington leaders “that their wall has been cracked and will now fall,” Republican pollster Whit Ayres, who has worked for Senate campaigns across the country, said Trump learns the same lesson his predecessor, Barack Obama, learned watching Democrats lose control of Congress and then seeing Trump defeat his chosen successor, Hillary Clinton. “You can’t just transfer the popularity of your brand to another candidate,” Ayres said.“

Donald Trump Proposes NFL Solution: Ban Kneeling During National Anthem

President Donald Trump offered a simple solution to the NFL in reaction to the player protesters taking a knee during the National Anthem: ban it.

“The NFL has all sorts of rules and regulations. The only way out for them is to set a rule that you can’t kneel during our National Anthem!” he wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

The president continues to post his thoughts about the issue five days after he first condemned football players who were disrespecting the flag. Trump cited progress after the Dallas Cowboys stood united with arms linked during the National Anthem despite taking a knee before the music began.

German far-right party raises concerns about Nazi ideology of the past, warns ex-Merkel official

A former member of Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s government said Monday he’s concerned about the rise of the far-right Alternative for Germany party, which has secured a place in the Bundestag for the first time. “It is a movement. It is a protest movement,” said Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, who served as economics minister and then defense minister in Merkel’s administration from 2009 to 2011.

“Part of this movement are people who are racist. Part of this movement are people who are openly anti-Semitic. Part of this movement are people who use language that we have heard in Germany about 80 years ago,”

 The AfD won 12.6 percent of the vote. The party, founded only four years ago, will be the first right-wing nationalist party to enter the German parliament since World War II. “It’s not enough to stay silent” and hope the AfD goes away on its own, Guttenberg said. “So we have to be outspoken and clear about the risks that emerge out of such a group of people. And that’s the task Germany has ahead of it.” Georg Pazderski, leader of the AfD’s Berlin unit, brushed off questions that the party represents a turn toward divisive politics. “If you want to stigmatize a party, then you put out the Nazi wording and say these are Nazis, these are ‘right-wing’, don’t vote for them because of our history,” he said.

Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and its sister party Christian Social Union got 33 percent — not enough to govern alone. That means Merkel needs to forge a coalition with smaller parties in order to form a four-party government, which has not been seen in Germany for decades. Nick Bit: Understand that this is the rebirth if the super nationalistic Nazis of the past. And further proves my firm belief that Germany will leave the European Union. The AFD HATES the European Union and the Euro. They dream of the day when the German Mark returns

Conservative firebrand defeats Trump pick in Alabama primary for U.S. Senate

 (Reuters) – Alabama voters elected conservative firebrand Roy Moore as the Republican nominee for a U.S. Senate seat on Tuesday, dealing a blow to President Donald Trump and other party leaders who had argued that rival Luther Strange was a better bet to advance their priorities in Washington.

An outspoken evangelical Christian who has twice lost his position as the state’s top judge, Moore won election with a fierce anti-Washington message and a call to put religion at the center of public life. “We have to return the knowledge of God and the Constitution of the United States to the United States Congress,” he said. With all 67 counties reporting, Moore led Strange by 55 percent to 45 percent. Despite campaigning for Strange, Trump congratulated Moore for his victory and urged him to defeat Democrat Doug Jones in the December election to fill a seat that was held by Jeff Sessions before he became U.S. Attorney General in February.“Congratulations to Roy Moore on his Republican Primary win in Alabama. Luther Strange started way back & ran a good race. Roy, WIN in Dec!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Trump deleted three other Tweets, voicing his supported for Strange. In one deleted Tweet, the president said Strange “will never let you down!” and in another he said “vote today for ‘Big Luther,’” according to media.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence appeared with Strange at rallies in the race’s closing days and a political group affiliated with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell spent close to $9 million on his behalf. Nick Bit: Trump is a loser boozer. In one week he lets 3 million   people suffer in Puerto Rico, Loses AGAIN on Obama care repeal AND  his hand picked candidate in Alabama Loses amoung HIS base. Like i been telling you  the  will LOSE the midterm election Loser Boozer and chief will be impeached and we will get richer then Midas in the TRUMP depression. And i will personally get on my knees.

‘Obamacare’ survives; GOP concedes on last-gasp repeal try

WASHINGTON (AP) — “Obamacare” lives on. Senate Republicans, short of votes, abandoned their latest and possibly final attempt to kill the health care law Tuesday, just ahead of a critical end-of-the-week deadline. The repeal-and-replace bill’s authors promised to try again at a later date, while President Donald Trump railed against “certain so-called Republicans” who opposed the GOP effort. But for now, Trump and fellow Republicans who vowed for seven years to abolish President Barack Obama’s law will leave it standing and turn their attention to overhauling the nation’s tax code instead. The GOP’s predicament was summed up bluntly by Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, a lead author of the legislation: “Through events that are under our control and not under our control, we don’t have the votes.” “Am I disappointed? Absolutely,” he said after a GOP lunch attended by Vice President Mike Pence. Standing alongside Cassidy, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said: “We haven’t given up on changing the American health care system. We are not going to be able to do that this week, but it still lies ahead of us.” “We do think it’s time to turn to our twin priority, reforming the tax code,” McConnell said. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said he and other GOP Congress members are “frustrated” with the Senate’s inability to make moves on their health care bill. (Sept. 26) There was much talk of returning to the repeal effort later, but not all Republican senators were putting on that brave face. Sen John Kennedy of Louisiana described the bill as “dead as a doornail.”

Continue reading “‘Obamacare’ survives; GOP concedes on last-gasp repeal try”

Gap between rich and poor continues to widen, latest Fed data show

Fresh research from the U.S. central bank shows the gap in income and wealth between the richest and poorest households, already at historically high levels, continues to widen, Federal Reserve Gov. Lael Brainard said Tuesday. According to the Fed’s latest survey of consumer finances, to be released Wednesday, the share of income held by the top 1% of households reached 24% in 2015, up from 17% in 1988, Brainard said, in a speech to a conference on disparities in the labor market at the central bank’s headquarters. The share of wealth held by the top 1% rose to 39% in 2016, up from 30% in 1989, Brainard said. Brainard said income inequality may damp consumer spending, as the wealthiest households are likely to save a much larger portion of any additional income they earn compared with lower income households. According to the Fed survey, there remain persistent racial differences in families income and wealth, Brainard said. The average income for white families in 2015 was about $123,000 per year, compared with $54,000 for black families. Average wealth holdings for white families in 2016 were about $933,0000 compared with $138,000 for black families. While positive trends in employment are likely to continue, “the benefits of a lengthy recovery can only go so far,” Brainard said.Brainard said the research suggests that discrimination as well as “differences in access to quality education and informal social networks” are structural barriers denying employment opportunities to disadvantaged groups.

Equifax CEO Richard Smith to retire after 12 years in the role

Equifax Inc. said Tuesday Chairman and Chief Executive Richard Smith will retire, effective Tuesday, after 12 years in the roles. “The cybersecurity incident has affected millions of consumers, and I have been completely dedicated to making this right,” Smith said. “At this critical juncture, I believe it is in the best interests of the company to have new leadership to move the company forward.” The credit reporting company said it has named current board president of Asia Pacific Paulino do Rego Barros as interim CEO and current board member Mark Feidler as non-executive chairman. The company will begin a search for a permanent CEO. The stock remains halted for news. It has plunged 25% over the past three months, while the S&P 500 SPX, +0.16% has gained 2.4%.

We can make Brexit a success if we are creative, May tells EU’s Tusk

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain and the European Union can make Brexit a success if they are creative, Prime Minister Theresa May told European Council President Donald Tusk on Tuesday. “By being creative in the ways we approach these issues, we can find solutions that work both for the remaining (EU) 27 but also for the UK and maintain that cooperation and partnership between the UK and the EU,” May told Tusk at a meeting at Number 10 Downing Street.

JPMorgan to hire more than 3,000 people in new operations center in Poland

WARSAW (Reuters) – U.S. bank JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N) plans to hire more than 3,000 people in its new global operations center in the next three years, Polish Development Ministry said on Tuesday. Last week Polish Deputy Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced that JPMorgan Chase picked Warsaw for the new center. Possible other contenders to host the center were Budapest and the Polish city of Wroclaw, though Reuters reported in April that Warsaw was the front-runner. Nick Note: please note these whores slipped out this story in the middle of the night. Does Trump know about this?  Well i guess its ok because they are not a car company and not moving the jobs to Mexico

Brent crude oil near 26-month high as Turkey threatens to choke Kurdish exports

Oil jack pumps are pictured in the Kern River oil field in Bakersfield, Calif.

Brent oil prices hovered near 26-month highs, supported by Turkey’s threat to cut crude exports from Iraq’s Kurdistan region as well as signs that market rebalancing is accelerating. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan threatened on Monday to cut off the pipeline that carries 500,000-600,000 barrels of crude per day from northern Iraq to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, intensifying pressure on the Kurdish autonomous region over its independence referendum.  This potential loss, combined with 1.8 million bpd of output reductions by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC producers, has raised concerns of tighter supply. The Iraqi government said it will not hold talks with the Kurdistan Regional Government about the results of the referendum, which is expected to show a comfortable majority in favour of independence after the results are announced later this week.

US crude oil tops $51 for first time in four months

US crude oil tops $51 for first time in four months

“Although there was plenty of price-bullish news making headlines yesterday, undoubtedly the biggest factor was the referendum in the Kurdistan region of Iraq,” analysts at Vienna-based JBC Energy said in a note. Top oil executives gathered at the S&P Global Platts APPEC conference in Singapore said strong oil demand this year was accelerating market rebalancing and helping inventory drawdowns.

“Global demand growth is way higher than what we have observed in the last couple of years, coming somewhere close to 1.6 to 1.7 million barrels per day and is driven by distillates”, said Janet Kong, BP’s chief executive officer, supply and trading, Eastern Hemisphere.

Nick Bit: BULLSHIT consider the source!


However, other analysts were sceptical about further price gains due to higher oil output from the United States. The U.S. Energy Information Administration said that production from wells in shale formations will rise for a 10th month in a row in October.

Water and some food scarce as Puerto Rico emerges from storm

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Supermarkets are gradually re-opening in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico but the situation is far from normal and many customers are going home disappointed. Most food stores and restaurants remain closed. That is largely because power is out for most of the island and few have generators or enough diesel to power them. The shops that were open Monday had long lines outside and vast empty shelves where they once held milk, meat and other perishables. Drinking water was nowhere to be found. The fact that some stores and restaurants have re-opened for the first time since Category 4 Hurricane Maria roared across the island Sept. 20 is welcome in a place where nearly everyone has no power and more than half the people don’t have water. Gov. Ricardo Rossello and other Puerto Rican officials said some ports have been cleared by the Coast Guard to resume accepting ships, which should allow businesses to restock. But the situation remains far from normal.

 

Stores are still packed with dozens of brands of shampoo and other consumer products, but those aisles were largely empty as people rushed to buy the basics, using cash sparingly since that is also in short supply and credit card transactions aren’t being processed at all places.  Some disappointed shoppers were also sharply aware that there are others on the island in a worse situation. Caro began to weep as she talked about her four grandchildren in Rincon, the western town that has been largely cut off from aid shipments as well as contact with the outside world. “Not knowing is so hard,” she said, turning to walk off.

As senators defect, GOP concedes health bill’s fate bleak

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Sen. Susan Collins’ decision to oppose the GOP push to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul leaves the effort all but dead, with even party leaders conceding that their prospects are dismal. “It’s going to be a heavy lift,” South Dakota Sen. John Thune, the No. 3 GOP Senate leader, said Monday, after Collins joined a small but pivotal cluster of Republicans saying they’re against the measure. He called the prospects “bleak.” “We don’t have the support for it,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.  The collapse marks a replay of the embarrassing loss President Donald Trump and party leaders suffered in July, when the Senate rejected three attempts to pass legislation erasing Obama’s 2010 statute. The GOP has made promises to scrap the law a high-profile vow for years, and its failure to deliver despite controlling the White House and Congress has infuriated conservatives whose votes Republican candidates need. To resuscitate their push, Republicans would need to change opposing senators’ minds, which they’ve tried unsuccessfully to do for months. Collins told reporters that she made her decision despite a phone call from Trump, who’s been futilely trying to press unhappy GOP senators to back the measure.

Hundreds of disability rights activists and others opposed to the Republican health care bill stood in line outside the Senate hearing room Barring a reversal, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., must decide whether to hold a roll call at all. Three GOP “no” votes would doom the bill. GOP Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Texas’ Ted Cruz have said they oppose the measure, though Cruz aides said he was seeking changes that would let him vote yes. This was the last week Republicans had any chance of prevailing with their narrow 52-48 Senate margin. Next Sunday, protections expire against a Democratic filibuster, bill-killing delays that Republicans lack the

The amazing truth about porridge? Experts say it’s better for you than STATINS

Eating a simple bowl of porridge every day could transform the health of the nation, in one single step, says Chris Seal, professor of food and human nutrition at Newcastle University. ‘I believe that if everyone started the day with porridge, it would have a significant impact on public health.’ An expert in wholegrains and cereals, he himself has a bowl made with semi-skimmed milk every day — summer and winter.

Delicious and nutritious: A bowl provides more fibre than a slice of wholemeal bread

Delicious and nutritious: A bowl provides more fibre than a slice of wholemeal bread Indeed, when you look at the proven health benefits, it’s difficult to see how you could improve on a bowl of porridge. Even if someone was to set out to design the perfect breakfast cereal, they would be hard-pressed to beat it. A bowl provides more fibre than a slice of wholemeal bread, is low in fat, virtually sugar-free and provides a wealth of minerals such as manganese, copper and iron, as well as the B vitamins.However, the real benefit of porridge comes from the soluble fibre in the oats. The fibre, a form known as beta glucan, is present in other grains such as barley and rye, but is found in highest quantities in oats.  It forms a thick gel in the gut, which is what gives you that full, satisfied feeling. But as well as helping switch off appetite, it has many other specific health benefits, including feeding the healthy bacteria in your gut, so helping your immune system, lowering cholesterol, and even potentially protecting against cancer.Beta glucan is one of the few natural substances that manufacturers can make health claims for on the food packaging, adds Professor Seal. Studies have found that eating 3g of beta glucan a day (around what you’d get in a 70g bowl of oats) can reduce your levels of harmful LDL cholesterol by around seven per cent. ‘That’s similar to the results you might get from taking a statin,’ says Dr George Grimble, principal research fellow in the division of medicine at University College London. Nick Bit: i eat a bowl a day. Have for years and swear by the stuff… See the part about statins? My numbers are good and i attribute it to my life long oatmeal habit!

Korean war simulation estimated 20,000 deaths daily in South Korea, retired US general says

A North Korean military drill marking the 85th anniversary of the establishment of the Korean People's Army (KPA) is seen in this handout photo made available April 26, 2017.
KCNA | Reuters A North Korean military drill marking the 85th anniversary of the establishment of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) is seen in this handout photo made available April 26, 2017.

A retired U.S. general said a Pentagon war scenario showed a conventional war with North Korea could result in about 20,000 deaths per day in South Korea, according to the Los Angeles Times. Meanwhile, a retired U.S. Navy admiral sees a 50/50 chance of a conventional conflict with North Korea although much less likelihood of a nuclear war. On Monday, North Korea’s foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, accused President Donald Trump of declaring war against the hermit regime and threatened that the North has the right to shoot down U.S. strategic bombers even if they are flying in international airspace. Last week, Ri told reporters the regime might detonate a hydrogen nuclear weapon in the Pacific. Up to now, the North’s nuclear tests have been underground. Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Logan told CNBC on Monday, “Obviously North Korea is a threat.” And he pledged the U.S. military will defend “both U.S. homeland and our allies against that threat.” Defense experts expressed skepticism the North would have an easy time shooting down advanced U.S. military aircraft. “North Korea’s air defenses are not great,” said Ian Williams, associate director of the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank. “That’s actually one area of missile technology where they haven’t made huge advances in the past few years.” Analysts told CNBC the North’s new KN-06 surface-to-air missile system could provide some protection for the regime and looks like Russia’s S-300 air defense system. That said, not a lot is known about KN-06’s radar capabilities but it has been trotted out at military parades and Pyongyang’s state media declared the anti-aircraft weapon operational in May.

Continue reading “Korean war simulation estimated 20,000 deaths daily in South Korea, retired US general says”

Trump’s ‘distractions’ aren’t going to help tax reform, says ex-White House economist

Distractions are not helpful for tax reform: Doug Holtz-Eakin
Distractions are not helpful for tax reform: Doug Holtz-Eakin

President Donald Trump needs to focus on tax reform and become the “biggest educator in chief” if he wants it to happen, American Action Forum President Douglas Holtz-Eakin told CNBC on Monday. “Tax reform is really hard. It requires an all-in investment by the White House and the House and the Senate,” the former chief economist of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers under George W. Bush said. Republicans are expected to release an outline of their tax reform plan this week, yet Trump has spent the last few days taking on the National Football League.

President Donald Trump

On Monday, he said the NFL “must respect” the U.S. flag and national anthem at its games, a day after his earlier comments on the controversial issue triggered protests at the league’s games around the country. Meanwhile, the GOP is expected to release the framework of its tax reform plan on Wednesday. It will likely feature dramatically lower rates for most — if not all — households and businesses, according to several people familiar with the plans. Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said the plan has to be revenue neutral in order to boost economic growth. And a 20 percent corporate tax rate will cost $1.8 trillion to $1.9 trillion over the next 10 years, he noted. As to whether Republicans ultimately have a chance of passing reform, Holtz-Eakin said it all depends on what is unveiled

Russians targeted Black Lives Matter and other hot-button issues in Facebook ads

Russia's President Vladimir Putin smiles in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, on April 18, 2014.
Alexey Druzhinin | AFP | Getty Images Russia’s President Vladimir Putin smiles in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, on April 18, 2014.

The Facebook ads that Russian operatives purchased to try to influence U.S. voters during the 2016 election highlighted the Black Lives Matter movement and other hot-button, divisive issues, said a person familiar with the situation. The content of the ads was previously reported by The Washington Post. This person, who requested anonymity, also said the ads will be shared with congressional investigators in a matter of days. Facebook said earlier this month that an internal investigation had found that groups with ties to Russia had spent $100,000 on ads designed to influence the attitudes of U.S. voters in the last presidential campaign. The investigation found approximately $100,000 in ad spending from June 2015 to May 2017 associated with roughly 3,000 ads. That was a reversal from late last year, when CEO Mark Zuckerberg argued that fake news on Facebook did not play a key role in the election’s outcome. Facebook had contacted the FBI during the summer of 2016 when it first suspected Russian involvement but was unable to confirm its suspicions until recently. Sen. Richard Burr, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said last week that a hearing on the matter is a question of “when.”

As if Republicans needed more problems, Alabama may just hand them another one

GOP candidate for U.S. Senate Roy Moore, holding an article about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks during the U.S. Senate candidate forum held by the Shelby County Republican Party in Pelham, Ala., on Friday, Aug. 4, 2017.
Bill Clark | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images GOP candidate for U.S. Senate Roy Moore, holding an article about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks during the U.S. Senate candidate forum held by the Shelby County Republican Party in Pelham, Ala., on Friday, Aug. 4, 2017.

In Tuesday’s Republican U.S. Senate runoff, bombastic conservative Christian candidate Roy Moore faces the appointed, business-backed incumbent Sen. Luther Strange. Despite Strange’s support from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, GOP Senate leaders and President Donald Trump, Moore has consistently led in the polls. If he wins the nomination and then the December general election, mainstream Republicans warn he would add a rebellious voice to a 52-member GOP Senate caucus. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell already has scant margin for error as he attempts to steer the tax reform debate to a more successful conclusion than the GOP has reached on health care. There’s even concern, improbable as it sounds, that Moore could prove controversial enough to lose in December against Democratic nominee Doug Jones. Moore has twice been forced from judicial office in Alabama for refusing to follow federal court rulings on church-state separation and same-sex marriage.”It may put the seat in play if Moore wins,” said Whit Ayres, a prominent Virginia-based GOP pollster. “I know it sounds ridiculous to think of a Democrat winning Alabama these days, but it also sounded ridiculous to think that Scott Brown could win in Massachusetts.” Ayres referred to the shocking 2010 Massachusetts special election that deprived President Barack Obama and Democrats of a critical Senate seat. That represents the ultimate GOP nightmare in the race to fill out the term of Jeff Sessions, who resigned the seat to become Trump’s attorney general.
Even short of that, GOP strategists fear Alabama could complicate preservation of the party’s Senate majority in 2018 midterm elections. A Moore victory could embolden less-electable populist challengers to other Republican senators, risking a repeat of unexpected 2010 and 2012 losses in red-leaning states.
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Last-ditch Obamacare repeal could kill more than 500,000 jobs, cost $248 billion in lost economic activity, S&P says

A man dressed as the grim reaper, who is opposed to the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson proposal, stands outside the Senate Finance Committee hearing room ahead of a hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Sept. 25, 2017.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images A man dressed as the grim reaper, who is opposed to the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson proposal, stands outside the Senate Finance Committee hearing room ahead of a hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Sept. 25, 2017.

The last-ditch Republican bill to repeal Obamacare would result in 580,000 lost jobs and $240 billion in lost economic activity over the next decade, a new analysis warns. Those job and economic activity losses would ensure that growth in the U.S. gross domestic product “remains stuck in low gear of around 2 [percent] at best in the next decade,” according to the analysis from S&P Global Ratings. The Graham-Cassidy repeal bill also poses a “threat” to the fiscal outlooks of state and local governments, as well as to not-for-profit health-care organizations, according to another analysis from S&P Global Ratings. In one report, S&P Global Ratings said that the bill would add “flexibility” for individual states by offering them block grants of federal funding to craft their own health insurance systems. But the lower overall federal funding that they would get compared to what many of them currently get through Obamacare “would hurt the economy, states, and health insurers,” that report said. The analysis also said the bill would initially lead to fewer people with health insurance who earn between 133 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty line, an income band than encompasses most people eligible for Obamacare subsidies to help pay for health plan premiums. And over time, there would be fewer people insured by Medicaid, the joint federal-state program that covers poor people, “as some states are unable to maintain currently eligibility levels” because they will get less federal funding under Graham-Cassidy.

Continue reading “Last-ditch Obamacare repeal could kill more than 500,000 jobs, cost $248 billion in lost economic activity, S&P says”

Puerto Rico is in the dark in wake of Hurricane Maria

 

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Every night since Hurricane Maria hit, Miguel Martinez and his family have slept on mattresses on the porch to escape the heat inside their dark, stifling home. But it’s nearly impossible to sleep with temperatures in the mid-80s. At least once a night they climb to the roof to catch a hint of breeze. Then the 51-year-old construction worker, his three children and one grandchild climb back down again. The power is still out across nearly all of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria smashed poles, snarled power lines and flooded electricity-generating plants last Wednesday, knocking out a grid that was already considered antiquated compared to the U.S. mainland. Generators are providing power to the fortunate few who have them, but nearly all the island’s 1.6 million electricity customers were still without power Monday and facing many, many hot days and dark nights to come. Power had been restored to a handful of hospitals and surrounding areas by Monday afternoon but Public Affairs Secretary Ramon Rosario said it will take months to fully restore power to the island. Authorities are still figuring out the extent of the damage, let alone beginning to repair it.  Puerto Rico’s power plants were not severely damaged, according to Gov. Ricardo Rossello. However, 80 percent of the island’s transmission lines are down, and Rossello said it would take up to two years to completely rebuild the infrastructure under normal conditions. He said the plan is to restore power with some quick fixes to the network and then gradually strengthen it to avoid problems like blackouts and make it less vulnerable to future storms.

 

Daimler to test truck ‘platooning’ technology on U.S. roads

(Reuters) – German automaker Daimler AG’s trucks division said it would test a new technology called “platooning” on U.S. roads, allowing large digitally-connected trucks to save fuel by driving closely together, with one vehicle following the other. Daimler’s announcement, and promises on Monday by rivals Navistar International Corp and Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) to field a medium duty electric truck by 2019, highlight a race among global commercial truck makers to deploy new technology both to anticipate regulatory mandates and influence policy debates. Trucking industry executives are gathering this week at the North American Commercial Vehicle show in Atlanta as the U.S. medium and heavy truck market is emerging from a slump. “We definitely are leaving 2017 with nice momentum,” Martin Daum, chief of Daimler’s commercial truck business, told Reuters on Monday. Platooning technology is one example. Daimler’s North American truck unit said on Monday it received permission from the Oregon Department of Transportation to test its platooning technology on public roads after successful trials in its proving ground in Madras, Oregon. In truck platooning, connectivity and automated driving improve safety within the vehicle convoys, support drivers and enhance efficiency with closer distances between the connected trucks, the company said. For now, Daum said, platooning offers the promise of improved fuel efficiency. Fleet operators will not get the full pay back for investments in the technology until regulations allow one driver to pilot a truck while drivers in the trucks behind sleep, and that is “a long way out,” Daum said. Being able to keep trucks and cargo moving without having to stop for mandated rest breaks “would unleash a huge efficiency potential,” Daum said. “We don’t have the technical solution yet.”

Conditions growing dire in hurricane-hit Puerto Rico

San Juan (AFP) – Living conditions in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico are growing worse by the day, with tired, bewildered people lining up to buy scarce fuel and food Sunday amid a blackout and little to no telephone service. Puerto Ricans are spending hours waiting in line to buy whatever they can, but often go home empty-handed if they do not manage a purchase before a dusk to dawn curfew takes effect. On Friday, public safety chief Hector Pesquera had cited a different cause for the initial dam failure, saying a drain that normally releases water from the dam in a controlled fashion had broken, sending it gushing out in torrents. Across the island, streets were littered with debris from the storm, with toppled trees, street signs and power cables strewn everywhere.. Puerto Rico’s electricity network has been crippled by the storm and engineers say it could take months for power to be fully restored.

North Korean diplomat says Trump has ‘declared war’

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — North Korea’s top diplomat said Monday that President Donald Trump’s tweet that leader Kim Jong Un “won’t be around much longer” was “a declaration of war” against his country by the United States. Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters that what he called Trump’s “declaration of war” gives North Korea “every right” under the U.N. Charter to self-defense and to take countermeasures, “including the right to shoot down the United States strategic bombers even when they’re not yet inside the airspace border of our country.” It was not the first time North Korea has spoken about a declaration of war between the two countries. In July 2016, Pyongyang said U.S. sanctions imposed on Kim were “a declaration of war.” Ri referred Monday to Trump’s tweet Saturday that said: “Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!” Trump also used the derisive “Rocket Man” reference to Kim in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 19, but this time he added the word “little.”

North Korea’s foreign minister said Monday that President Trump’s latest statements are “a declaration of war” against his country, and that “all options” are on the table.

The foreign minister’s brief statement to a throng of reporters outside his hotel before heading off in a motorcade, reportedly to return home, built on the escalating rhetoric between Kim and Trump. Trump responded by tweeting that Kim is “obviously a madman who doesn’t mind starving or killing his people.” Kim retorted that Trump would “pay dearly” for his threat to destroy North Korea and said his country will consider the “highest level of hard-line countermeasures in history.”

Hedge-fund titan Dalio says income inequality is the gravest issue facing U.S.

 Why Ray Dalio views microfinance as the solution

Getty Images

The rich are getting richer, and this trend has become so pronounced that even the wealthiest Americans, who have reaped the lion’s share of economic gains in recent years, are sounding the alarm bell.

“I think the greatest issue of our time is the disparity of wealth and the problems that exist for the lower 40% of the population,” said Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates. Bridgewater is the world’s largest hedge fund, which about $160 billion in assets. According to Forbes, Dalio himself is worth about $17 billion. “If you carve out that lower 40%, not only has there been no income growth, but death rates are rising because of opiate use, suicide, and because they’re losing jobs,” Dalio said. “This is the biggest issue of our time—the biggest economic issue, the biggest political issue, and the biggest social issue.” According to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of drug overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2015, adjusted for age, was more than 2.5 times the rate in 1999. Accessibility to prescription drugs is a major factor behind this trend; last month, President Donald Trump said he would officially declare the opioid crisis “a national emergency.” Separately, according to one recent study, U.S. income inequality grew by nearly 30% between the early 1960s and 2014, with a decline in labor unions seen as a major factor.

Republican ‘Big Six’ divided on tax cuts for wealthy

A debate over how much America’s wealthiest households should pay in taxes has emerged as one of the key sticking points in the negotiations between the White House and Republicans on Capitol Hill over rewriting the nation’s tax code. The administration and Republican leadership are slated to jointly release their framework for tax reform Wednesday, but there is still no final agreement on the substance of the plan or how much of it to reveal, according to several people familiar with the talks. The White House has been pushing to lower the top individual tax rate from 39.6 percent to 35 percent, those people said. But not all of the so-called Big Six — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn and top Republicans in the House and Senate — are on board with a plan that lowers the effective tax burden of the richest Americans. Cutting taxes on the wealthy would also run counter to President Donald Trump’s own statements made as recently as this month. Trump has touted the tax plan as a boon to working-class families and promised that the wealthy would not be the big winners. He is slated to unveil the tax framework negotiated by the Big Six in a speech in Indiana on Wednesday. “This is not to benefit the wealthy,” Trump said earlier this month while in Florida surveying damage from Hurricane Irma. “This is to benefit the middle class and to benefit companies, where they’re going to be producing jobs.” A plan that lowers the top tax rate could complicate the administration’s efforts to woo red-state Democratic senators as well. All but three of the chamber’s Democratic members have pledged to oppose any tax proposal that cuts taxes for the wealthy. “If Republicans push a tax bill to please their hard-right wealthy contributors, instead of working from the middle, they will have the same trouble with taxes that they’re having with health care,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement. “We urge our Republican colleagues to pursue a mainstream tax reform package, rather than partisan tax cuts demanded by their donors.” In an interview with CNBC on Monday, House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady said negotiations were going well and that he expected the announcement on Wednesday to include specific rates. Brady, a member of the Big Six, did not offer additional details of what the top individual rate would be, but in the past, he has advocated a plan that lowers the tax burden for all households.

Trump calls lack of Obamacare repeal ‘disgusting,’ pessimistic on passing Graham-Cassidy bill

Donald Trump

President Donald Trump called the failure of Congress to repeal Obamacare “disgusting” on Monday — and expressed deep pessimism that a latch-ditch Republican repeal effort will succeed.

Trump also said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is the sole reason for the inability of the Republican-controlled Senate to pass health-care reform legislation. “You can call it what you want, but that’s the only reason we don’t have it, because of John McCain,” Trump said on the “Rick and Bubba” radio show, which is based in Alabama and airs across the South, according to The Washington Post. This reiterated Twitter posts blasting McCain over the weekend.McCain in late July dramatically cast the third and fatal Republican vote against an earlier Obamacare repeal bill. Last Friday, McCain said he will not vote for the Graham-Cassidy bill pending in the Senate, which must be voted on by Saturday if it is to pass under the rules of reconciliation that would allow the bill to be approved without 60 senators supporting it. Republicans, who have a 52-seat majority in the Senate, need at least 50 GOP members to vote for Graham-Cassidy to pass it, given total opposition to Obamacare repeal efforts among Democrats and two independent senators. But they have struggled for months to come up with the required 50.

Fed’s Evans won’t support another rate hike until there are ‘clear signs’ of higher inflation

Moving without evidence of price pressure could make it harder to reach 2% inflation target, Chicago Fed president says

Bloomberg Chicago Fed President Charles Evans sees little to suggest inflation will rise soon to 2% target.

The U.S. central bank should hold monetary policy steady until there are “clear signs” of building wage and price pressures, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said Monday. “We should avoid taking policy steps that could be misread as a lack of concern over the inflation outlook,” Evans said in a speech to The Economic Club of Grand Rapids, Mich. The Chicago Fed President said raising rates, without fresh signs of inflation, could actually delay getting to the price level up to the central bank’s 2% target. Inflation has been “almost continuously” below the Fed’s 2% target since 2008, he said, leading many people to expect inflation will stay subdued.

“I am concerned that low inflation expectations may exert a strong influence to keep inflation low for some time,” he said. Low inflation expectations is the reason for slow wage growth, he said.

“There is little in the recent data to suggest inflation will soon rise to target,” Evans said. Evans is a leading dove on the central bank and a voting member of the policy committee this year. He has supported two rate hikes this year and says he thinks rates can go up in a “gradual and cautious approach.” But Evans said the evidence “is not strong” that the economy is “on the precipice” of escalating inflation. In their economic forecasts, Fed officials project core inflation, as measured by the personal consumption expenditure index, rising at a 1.5% rate this year, a 1.9% rate in 2018 and hitting the 2% target in 2019. Evans said he is “slightly less optimistic” than this median forecast.

The NFL has ‘much higher ratings’ than Trump, says super-agent Leigh Steinberg

Despite concerns about the National Football League’s sliding TV ratings, famed sports agent Leigh Steinberg says the league is still doing much better than other programs. “The NFL dominated the ratings last week with the No. 1, No. 2, No. 5 and 6 out of the top 10 shows. So, it’s not only the most popular sport, it’s the most popular form of televised entertainment,” he said on CNBC’s “Squawk Alley.”  “It has much higher ratings than the president does,” said Steinberg, whose career served as an inspiration for director Cameron Crowe’s “Jerry Maguire,” a 1996 movie starring Tom Cruise. NFL players kneeled or sat Sunday during the national anthem in response to President Donald Trump, who criticized the players and the league on Twitter.  On Sunday, Trump targeted the league, saying NFL “attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN” and some people aren’t watching because “they love our country.”

 

Steinberg said he doesn’t believe that the protesting players are being “unpatriotic” or that they don’t value the flag. “They’re disturbed about an issue,” he said. “I would’ve stood with them this last Sunday.” He added the players must make it very clear “that the forum they’ve chosen, which offends some people, because it’s the flag, because it’s veterans, because it’s the national anthem, that they’re not being unpatriotic. That they’re following the tradition of free speech.”

UN accuses Russia of violating human rights in Crimea

Russia is committing “grave human rights violations” in Crimea, according to a report by the United Nations. The UN human rights agency says it has documented arbitrary arrests, torture and at least one extra-judicial execution in the region. “There is an urgent need for accountability,” UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said. Russia annexed the peninsula from Ukraine after the country’s pro-Russian leader was overthrown in 2014. There was no immediate response from Russia to the report’s accusations. “Grave human rights violations, such as arbitrary arrests and detentions, enforced disappearances, ill-treatment and torture, and at least one extra-judicial execution were documented,” the report says. It adds that there have been “intrusive law enforcement raids of private properties” which “interfered with [the] right to privacy”. The report, which says the human rights situation has “significantly deteriorated” in the region, notes that hundreds of prisoners were illegally transferred from Crimea to Russian jails. It says civil servants were forced to renounce their Ukrainian citizenship or face losing their jobs, and condemned Moscow’s decision to replace Ukrainian laws with Russian ones. “Education in Ukrainian has all but disappeared from Crimean schools,” the report adds.Crimea, which has a Russian-speaking majority, voted to join Russia in a referendum that Ukraine and the West deem illegal. The UN says Crimea’s Turkic-speaking minority, the Tatars, who make up 12% of its population, have been targeted. “While those human rights violations and abuses have affected Crimean residents of diverse ethnic backgrounds, Crimean Tatars were particularly targeted especially those with links to the Mejlis”, the UN report says. Mr Hussein accused Russia of failing to investigate alleged human rights violations.

DR Horton cuts cash flow forecast 50 percent on hurricanes

(Reuters) – D.R. Horton Inc (DHI.N), the No.1 U.S. homebuilder, drastically cut its 2017 forecast for cash flow from operations due to delays caused by the recent hurricanes, becoming the second homebuilder to say natural disasters have hurt operations. The company’s shares were down 3.7 percent at $35.52 in light premarket trading on Monday. D.R. Horton, which mainly sells single-family homes, said it expected about $150 million of cash flow from operations, down from its previous forecast of about $300 million. The company said it did not expect the recent hurricanes to hurt its preliminary 2018 forecast. Earlier this month, the No.2 U.S. homebuilder Lennar Corp (LEN.N) said it expected hundreds of home deliveries in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina to be delayed because of Hurricane Irma that ravaged the Atlantic coast. D.R. Horton also said it expected backlog conversion to be about 85 percent for the current quarter ending Sept. 30. The company had forecast a range of 88 percent to 90 percent. Fort Worth, Texas-based D.R. Horton said it expected selling, general and administrative expenses as a percentage of homebuilding revenues to be about 8.6 percent, compared to a previous forecast of 8.3 percent to 8.4 percent. While demand for housing remains robust, there is an acute shortage of homes for sale partly due to a lack of labor, which has weighed on the housing market for about two years. Harvey and Irma could worsen the housing shortage as scarce labor is being used for the rebuilding efforts and materials are bid higher. Irma, one of the most powerful Atlantic storms on record, killed more than 80 people in the Caribbean and the United States and followed Harvey, which killed more than 80 people when it struck Texas in late August and caused massive flooding in Houston. D.R. Horton said at a RBC Capital Markets conference this month that Texas accounts for about 25 percent of the total number of homes that it sells, while Florida is about 20 percent.

Economists don’t buy Trump’s 3 percent GDP growth target

President Donald Trump speaks about tax reform during a visit to Loren Cook Company in Springfield, Missouri, August 30, 2017.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters President Donald Trump speaks about tax reform during a visit to Loren Cook Company in Springfield, Missouri, August 30, 2017.
President Donald Trump speaks about tax reform during a visit to Loren Cook Company in Springfield, Missouri, August 30, 2017.

Most U.S. business economists are counting on Congress and the White House to cut individual and corporate taxes by next year, according to a survey released Monday. But the survey also found that they doubt the economy will grow as fast as President Donald Trump and some Senate Republicans are counting on to help pay for proposed cuts in tax rates. According to the survey from the National Association for Business Economics, most of those polled expect the growth of U.S. gross domestic product to level off next year at an annual pace of about 2.3 percent. That’s down from the latest reading of 3 percent growth in the second quarter of this year. Trump has touted the 3 percent growth target as a cornerstone of the administration’s economic plan. “If we achieve sustained 3 percent growth that means 12 million new jobs and $10 trillion of new economic activity. That’s some number,” Trump said during a speech last month in Missouri promoting tax reform. “I happen to be one that thinks we can go much higher than 3 percent. There’s no reason we shouldn’t.”

Most economists expect Congress to send a tax reform package to the White House by next year, according to the latest survey from NABE, which questioned some 2,500 economists from large businesses, financial firms, trade groups, academic institutions and consulting firms. But Trump’s 3 percent growth target is unrealistic, according to the NABE survey. Respondents expect that, after slowing through the rest of this year, GDP growth will level off next year, with inflation gradually rising to 2 percent and the unemployment rate falling to 4.1 percent by the end of 2018.

Trump economic advisor Gary Cohn has no shot at being Fed chair, says Axios reporter

Gary Cohn, director of the U.S. National Economic Council
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images Gary Cohn, director of the U.S. National Economic Council

An Axios national political reporter said Monday he’d be “truly stunned” if President Donald Trump appointed top economic aide Gary Cohn as the next Fed chairman. “One thing I can confirm is that Donald Trump has said to a least one official, who has no economic expertise whatsoever, that they have a better chance of being Fed chair than Gary Cohn,” said Australian journalist Jonathan Swan, a well-sourced veteran of the Washington scene. In an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Swan provided a caveat: Trump is known to change his mind. “To be fair, that was a couple weeks ago when [Trump] was really angry with him. So you always need to factor in the goal-post changing,” he said. “But I’d be truly stunned if Trump is seriously considering give this job to Gary Cohn.” Cohn crossed Trump in August when he criticized the president in a Financial Times interview for his response to the violence at a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Cohn, who is Jewish, told the FT at the time the administration “must do better” in condemning neo-Nazis and white supremacists. Speculation had swirled for months around whether Cohn, formerly the No. 2 executive at Goldman Sachs, could be a leading candidate to replace Fed Chair Janet Yellen when her term expires early next year. But other recent reports, in addition to Swan’s account, have indicated that Cohn would not be the pick and Yellen might be reappointed despite Trump’s past criticism on the campaign trail that she was politically motivated to keep interest rates low to burnish the economic record of then-President Barack Obama.

German election: AfD vows to fight ‘invasion of foreigners’

Germany’s right-wing, nationalist AfD party has vowed to fight “an invasion of foreigners” into the country, after winning its first parliamentary seats. “We want a different policy,” co-leader Alexander Gauland said following the historic surge. But splits have already emerged between AfD leaders on the party’s direction. Chancellor Angela Merkel has been re-elected for a fourth term but her conservative CDU/CSU bloc received its worst result in almost 70 years. Mrs Merkel is beginning negotiations to form a new coalition government. Her bloc’s current coalition partners, the Social Democrats (SPD), say they will go into opposition after historic losses. But Chancellor Merkel said she would still approach them for talks, in addition to the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens.

Health care bill teeters, GOP adds money to woo dissidents

By ALAN FRAM
 WASHINGTON (AP) — Top Republicans are adding money to their staggering effort to repeal the Obama health care law and say they’re pushing toward a climactic Senate faceoff this week. Yet their path to succeeding in their last-gasp effort has grown narrower, perhaps impossible. GOP senators’ opposition to their party’s drive to scrap President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act swelled to lethal numbers Sunday. Moderate Sen. Susan Collins all but closed the door on supporting the teetering bill and conservative Sen. Ted Cruz said that “right now” he doesn’t back it. President Donald Trump has pressed for a fresh vote, and White House legislative liaison Marc Short and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., one of the measure’s sponsors, said Republicans would move toward a vote this week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said he intends to consider the measure but hasn’t firmly committed to a vote. The Congressional Budget Office was expected to release its analysis of the legislation early this week. But the CBO, which is lawmakers’ nonpartisan fiscal analyst, has said that it doesn’t have time to determine the bill’s impact on coverage and premiums, major factors for some lawmakers deciding their votes. Instead, the office is expected to only detail its estimates of the measure’s effect on federal deficits.

Japan PM Abe announces $17.8 billion economic stimulus package

Posters of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seen during the election campaign for the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly on July 1, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan.
Getty Images Posters of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seen during the election campaign for the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly on July 1, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday ordered his cabinet to compile new economic stimulus measures in a package worth around 2 trillion yen ($17.80 billion) by the end of the year. Speaking at a meeting with his top advisory panel, Abe said the package should focus on subsidising education, child-care costs, and on boosting corporate investments to improve productivity. Abe is expected to announce a snap election later on Monday to take advantage of improved ratings and disorganized opposition parties, and the stimulus package could be a way to lure voters during the election campaign.

Oil hits eight-month high as producers say market rebalancing

LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices rose on Monday to their highest in eight months after major producers said at a meeting in Vienna the global market was well on its way toward rebalancing. The November Brent crude futures contract was up 79 cents at $57.65 a barrel by 1134 GMT (6.34 a.m ET), its highest since January 3. U.S. crude for November delivery was up 41 cents at $51.07 a barrel, close to recent four-month highs. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and several other producers have cut production by about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) since the start of 2017, helping lift oil prices by about 15 percent in the past three months. Kuwaiti Oil Minister Essam al-Marzouq, who chaired Friday’s meeting in Vienna of the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee, said output curbs were helping cut global crude inventories to their five-year average, OPEC’s stated target. Russia’s energy minister said no decision on extending output curbs beyond the end of March was expected before January, although other ministers suggested such a decision could be taken before the end of this year. Iran expects to maintain overall crude and condensate exports at around 2.6 million bpd for the rest of 2017, a senior official in the nation’s state oil company said, while the UAE’s energy minister said its compliance to supply cuts was 100 percent. Nigeria is pumping below its agreed output cap, its oil minister said. “On the basis of the current IEA estimates, the oil market is more or less balanced in the second half of the year,” said Commerzbank in a note. “For stocks to be reduced any further, however, the oil market would have to show a deficit, so the optimism appears

 

Chevron to invest $4 billion to boost Permian Basin output

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil major Chevron Corp will next year invest around $4 billion to ramp up its crude production in the Permian Basin area of the United States, a company executive said on Monday. Ryan Krogmeier, Chevron’s vice president of crude supply and trading, told the S&P Global Platts APPEC conference in Singapore that the company would increase its output from the Permian Basin, largely situated in Texas and New Mexico, to over 400,000 barrels per day over the next few years. “We will be investing roughly $4 billion, next year, of capital in the Permian Basin, and we plan to grow production over the next several years to well in excess of 400,000 bpd,” he said. Chevron expects crude oil output from all producers operating in Permian to rise by 1.4 million bpd in 2020, from 2.4 million bpd at present.“The Permian is the powerhouse (of U.S. crude output growth),” Krogmeier added.

Euro weakens after German election results

The euro retreated against the dollar on Monday as investors absorbed the outcome of the German general election, which resulted in a win for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative alliance, but with a sharp drop in support.In addition, the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party won around 13% of the vote, becoming the first far-right party to win seats in Parliament in more than 50 years.

“Though the presence of the AfD should not significantly impact German intentions regarding the EU in the immediate future, the rising populism dampened the mood in the euro markets,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior market analyst at LCG, in a note to clients. She said the euro could struggle to “find buyers above the 1.20 mark,” and the post-election decline in the shared currency could extend towards the 50-day moving average of $1.1866.

Chuck Todd: McConnell Is Becoming as Toxic as Pelosi to Trump Supporters

Friday on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” while discussing a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, NBC’s “Meet The Press” moderator Chuck Todd said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was becoming as toxic as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was to supporters of President Donald Trump. Todd said, “Mitch McConnell is becoming as much of a political problem for Republican Senate candidates, potential, as Nancy Pelosi is. Here’s what’s happened over the last three months. Mitch McConnell never had very positive ratings, but for the most part, he’s been sort of under the radar. More than half the country hasn’t really known who he was. The president has, in his criticism over the last two months of Mitch McConnell, raised Mitch McConnell’s name I.D. and not in a good way.” He continued, “Now his negatives nearly match, for instance, Nancy Pelosi’s negatives. The difference is Nancy Pelosi’s negatives are all coming from the Republican side; Democratic are fairly pleased. In Mitch McConnell’s case, his rise in negative rating is coming from Trump supporters, Not necessarily Republican party supporters, but Trump supporters, let alone Democrats. But that is something where suddenly Mitch McConnell may become a liability in campaigns in the same way Republicans believe they can use Nancy Pelosi to drive wedges in the way they have in House races. You suddenly have to ask yourself, is Mitch McConnell going to become a figure like that in primaries. We’re going to find out all of this, I think, in Alabama of just how toxic or not.”

Germany’s anti-immigrant party set to be first in more than 50 years to enter parliament

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative alliance was headed for victory in Germany’s general election on Sunday, according to exit polls, which also indicated a surge of support for an anti-immigrant party—signaling potential political turbulence for Europe’s largest economy. Merkel’s center-right alliance finished well ahead of its closest competitor, the center-left Social Democrats, 32.5% to 20%, according to exit polls released by ARD public television. If those results hold, Merkel, who is 63 years old and first took office in 2005, is all but assured of winning a fourth term and cementing her status as the longest-serving elected leader of any major Western country. But Germany’s mainstream politicians also face a significant challenge. The nationalist Alternative for Germany, or AfD, was on track to win 13.5% of the vote, according to the exit polls, a result that would make it the first far-right party in more than half a century to win seats in Germany’s Parliament. With a foothold in the legislature, the AfD, which has pledged to weaken European integration, would gain a more prominent voice in the national discourse. The party describes Germany’s Muslim minority as a “great danger” and says the country should reduce its focus on Holocaust remembrance.

Cruz on GOP health care push: ‘Right now, they don’t have my vote’

(CNN)Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz said Sunday that he does not currently support the Senate GOP’s latest bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, though he emphasized that he’s working with the sponsors of the bill in order to get to a “yes.” “Right now, they don’t have my vote, and I don’t think they have Mike Lee’s either,” Cruz said, referring to the Utah Republican, at the annual Texas Tribune Festival in Austin, according to the Tribune. “Now I want to be a ‘yes,’ I want to get there because I think Obamacare is a disaster … but the price to getting there, I believe, is focusing on consumer freedom.” Cruz continued, “If you want prices to go down — Econ 101, you want prices to go down, you want more choices, more options, more competition, and prices fall,” he said. “What does Obamacare do? Fewer choices, less options, less competition, prices rise. If you want people to have access to health insurance, you want prices to fall.” Cruz’s comments come as that chances of Republicans’ latest efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare appear slim. Republicans only have until September 30 to overhaul the law with 51 votes, according to the Senate’s parliamentarian, and can only afford to lose two Republican senators to reach that threshold, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking any tie. Two senators have already said they won’t back the legislation. McCain declared his opposition to Graham-Cassidy on Friday afternoon, citing concerns that the bill, put forth by GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, did not go through “regular order” — a series of hearings, markups and an open-amendment process. Meanwhile, Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul — who has been a “no” vote and criticized the legislation almost daily — said Sunday that he might be able to support the measure, but only if his colleagues took the unlikely step and got rid of a proposal to turn federal funding for Medicaid expansion and Obamacare subsidies into a block grant program.

President’s criticisms incite more protests at NFL games

President Donald Trump’s criticism of players who protest during the national anthem incited a mass increase in such activism Sunday, with more than 100 NFL players sitting or kneeling, others raising their fists and whole teams standing with locked arms to display unity. One team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, stayed in the locker room during “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Last week across the entire NFL, only four players knelt or sat, and two stood with their fists raised. In the nine early games Sunday, AP reporters counted 102 players kneeling or sitting, and at least three raising their fists. The reactions reverberated across the Atlantic, where about two dozen players, including Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs and Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette, took a knee during the playing of the national anthem before the start of the teams’ game at Wembley Stadium in London. Other players on both teams and Jaguars owner Shad Khan remained locked arm-in-arm throughout the playing of the national anthem and “God Save The Queen.” No players were kneeling during the British anthem. By Sunday, it was one of the main topics of conversation on social media and around the country. In Charlotte, North Carolina, more than a dozen New Orleans Saints players sat during the anthem, including star running back Adrian Peterson. In Buffalo, New York, more than half the Denver Broncos knelt during the anthem and a handful of Buffalo Bills sat or knelt. In Minneapolis, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson knelt with the rest of the team locking arms during the “Star Spangled Banner.” The Minnesota Vikings also locked arms. Although no Vikings were spotted taking a knee during the anthem, at least a dozen players sprinted into one end zone and took a knee with head bowed, before the crowd was asked to stand. On Sunday,  The Pittsburgh Steelers decided to stay in their locker room for the national anthem before their game against the Chicago Bears.

Angela Merkel on track for fourth term as German chancellor; far-right AfD party set to enter parliament for first time

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks at the annual congress of the Federation of German Industry (BDI) on June 20, 2017 in Berlin, Germany.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks at the annual congress of the Federation of German Industry (BDI) on June 20, 2017 in Berlin, Germany.

An exit poll on Sunday evening showed that Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc will be the largest party in the next German parliament, but early indications point to a worse-than-expected majority for the German chancellor. Merkel’s center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister-party the Christian Social Union (CSU) won 32.5 percent of the vote, an exit poll for broadcaster ARD indicated. It would make them the largest parliamentary group, but that is down from 41.5 percent in the last election in 2013 and lower than recent polling. Speaking after the exit polls, Merkel said her party had hoped for a better result but was happy that it had achieved the main goals of the campaign. She vowed to win back voters from the nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. The center-left Social Democrats (SPD), which are currently in a coalition with Merkel, slumped to 20.0 percent – a new post-war low, according to Reuters. Party leader Martin Schulz said it was a “bitter day” for Germany’s social democrats. He added that the result meant it was clear the party should go into opposition and he would seek re-election as party leader in December. The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) look to have finished third and will likely enter parliament for the first time with an indicated 13.5 percent of the vote. Only founded in 2013, the AfD party will be the first nationalist, right-wing party to enter the German parliament since World War II. Campaigning on an anti-immigrant, anti-euro stance, the AfD has become something of a protest party in Germany, mopping up voters on both sides of the political spectrum who feel disenfranchised and disaffected by Merkel’s policies over recent years.

Mnuchin: NFL players can protest off the field

In rebuke to Trump, Ravens and Jaguars take a knee in London during US national anthem

 

About two dozen players, including Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs and Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette, took a knee during the playing of the national anthem before the start of the teams’ game at Wembley Stadium on Sunday. Other players on one knee during the performance included Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley, wide receiver Mike Wallace and safety Lardarius Webb as well as Jaguars linebacker Dante Fowler, defensive tackle Calais Campbell, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Players on both teams and Jaguars owner Shad Khan, who were not kneeling, remained locked arm-in-arm throughout the playing of the national anthem and “God Save The Queen,” the national anthem of Britain. No players were kneeling during the playing of the British national anthem. President Donald Trump had a suggestion on Saturday for National Football League owners whose players decide to take a knee during the national anthem:

Collins: ‘It’s Very Difficult for Me to Envision a Scenario Where I Would’ Vote for Graham-Cassidy

Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) said she does not expect anything could change her mind on the Graham-Cassidy health care bill, which she opposes. Collins joined CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday morning to discuss the Obamacare repeal bill and the forthcoming review of it by the Congressional Budget Office, which is expected Monday. She said, however, that she does not anticipate any new information coming to light that would alter her view. With Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.) and John McCain (Ariz.) already voicing their opposition to the legislation, a “no” vote on Collins would effectively doom the measure.

“It’s very difficult for me to envision a scenario where I would end up voting for this bill,” Collins said. “I have a number of serious reservations about it.”

She listed impacts on Medicaid, costs, coverage, and protections for those with pre-existing conditions as her reasons for reluctance. Then host Jake Tapper asked about the ongoing debate about the bill that lawmakers have been having, and Collins said she had talked with numerous colleagues and even Vice President Mike Pence. “I have had a lot of conversations over the weekend with numerous of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle,” Collins said. “And I had a very lengthy conversation with the vice president yesterday. As always, with the vice president, he was very cordial, he made the case, he asked me to think more thoroughly about some issues.” Collins did not commit completely to a “no” vote, however, preferring to let the CBO review process continue. “I would like to see the Congressional Budget Office analysis, which is expected to come out tomorrow morning,” “I’m going to know tomorrow morning whether or not CBO reinforces the concerns and reservations that I already have.

Stevie Wonder takes both knees ‘for America’ after Trump NFL remarks

(CNN)Legendary musician Stevie Wonder took both knees at a New York music festival, seemingly showing solidarity with NFL players criticized by President Donald Trump hours earlier. “Tonight, I’m taking a knee for America; but not just one knee, I’m taking both knees,” he said on stage Saturday before his performance at the Global Citizens Festival.”Both knees in prayer for our planet, our future, our leaders of the world and our globe. Amen During the event, Wonder also spoke about interrupting hate, bigotry and condemning sexism.

Trump’s comments

Trump criticized some in the NFL on Friday night at a rally in Alabama, saying team owners should fire players for taking a knee during the national anthem.
Trump: NFL owners should fire players who protest the national anthem
Trump: NFL owners should fire players who protest the national anthem
 His remarks appeared to refer to Colin Kaepernick — formerly with the San Francisco 49ers, but currently without a team — who last year drew national attention for refusing to stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner” prior to kickoff.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said last year. Trump is responding a year later, saying if fans would “leave the stadium” when players kneel in protest during the national anthem, “I guarantee, things will stop.”
Trump said NFL owners should respond to the players by saying, “Get that son of a b***h off the field right now, he’s fired. He’s fired!”
The comments have come under harsh criticism from the NFL and some of the NBA’s top players, putting the President in the center of a controversy with significant racial and cultural undertones.
Addressing the crowd before he performed, Wonder urged attendees to denounce bigotry and racism.
 “Our global brothers and sisters, I didn’t come here to preach, but I’m telling you, our spirit must be in the right place. All the time — not just now, but tomorrow and whenever you, whenever you, whenever you need to interrupt hate, stand down bigotry, condemn sexism and find love for all of our global brothers and sisters every day,” Wonder said.
He then took a knee with his son, Kwame Morris.

Hurricane Maria: Puerto Rico facing crisis

Puerto Rico is facing a growing crisis in the wake of Hurricane Maria, which has knocked out water, electricity, and telephone services. The entire population is still without power and engineers say it could take months to be restored. A dam remains in danger of collapsing. Shipments of food, water and generators are starting to arrive at the main port in San Juan, which has reopened. At least 13 people have died since Maria ripped through Puerto Rico. The storm, which is now heading to the open waters of the west Atlantic, has caused severe flooding and structural damage. It damaged telephone masts across the island, and officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency say they will take satellite phones to towns and cities which have been cut off. Fallen trees are blocking main highways, whole neighbourhoods remain flooded and many homes are without roof. Meanwhile, officials say there is still a risk of flooding on a Puerto Rico river “due to the threat of a failure” of a dam. The National Weather Service (NWS) have extended flash flood warnings for two areas downstream of Guajataca Dam. All 70,000 residents in the areas under threat were initially told to flee but there are reports that the evacuation zone has since been narrowed. The Guajataca Dam, at the northern end of Lake Guajataca in the north-west, began to show signs of failing at 14:10 local time (18:10 GMT) on Friday, operators said.

 

Uber ready to make concessions to reverse London license decision

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Adam Berry | Getty Images
U.S. taxi firm Uber is prepared to make concessions as it seeks to reverse a decision by London authorities not to renew its license in the city, which represents a potentially big blow for the

fast-growing company, a newspaper reported. The Sunday Times also quoted sources close to London’s transport body as saying the move was encouraging and suggested the possibility of talks. “While we haven’t been asked to make any changes, we’d like to know what we can do,” Tom Elvidge, Uber’s general manager in London, told the newspaper. “But that requires a dialogue we sadly haven’t been able to have recently.”  The Sunday Times said Uber’s concessions were likely to involve passenger safety and benefits for its drivers, possible limits on working hours to improve road safety and holiday pay.TfL stunned the powerful U.S. start-up on Friday when it deemed Uber unfit to run a taxi service for safety reasons and stripped it of its licence from Sept. 30, although the company can continue to operate while it appeals. The regulator cited failures to report serious criminal offences, conduct sufficient background checks on drivers and other safety issues. Uber responded by urging users in London to sign a petition that said the city authorities had “caved in to a small number of people who want to restrict consumer choice”. The move echoed Uber’s strategy in disputes with other cities. By 2200 GMT on Saturday, more than 600,000 people had signed although it was not clear how many of them were in London. A spokesman for Uber said around 20,000 Uber drivers had emailed the city’s mayor directly to object to the decision.

Fears of dam collapse add to Puerto Rico’s misery after hurricane

Overflow from the damaged Guajataka River Dam is seen in San Sebastian, in the west of Puerto Rico, on September 23, 2017 following passage of Hurricane Maria, prompting the government to issue an order for 70,000 people in downstream towns to evacuate. Authorities in Puerto Rico rushed to evacuate tens of thousands of people living downriver from a dam said to be in danger of collapsing because of flooding from Hurricane Maria.
HECTOR RETAMAL | AFP | Getty Images Overflow from the damaged Guajataka River Dam is seen in San Sebastian, in the west of Puerto Rico, on September 23, 2017 following passage of Hurricane Maria, prompting the government to issue an order for 70,000 people in downstream towns to evacuate.
Authorities in Puerto Rico rushed to evacuate tens of thousands of people living downriver from a dam said to be in danger of collapsing because of flooding from Hurricane Maria. Puerto Rico’s governor met mayors from around the ravaged island on Saturday after surveying damage to an earthen dam in the northwestern part of the U.S. territory that was threatening to collapse from flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Some 70,000 people who live downstream from the compromised dam, which has formed a lake on the rain-swollen Guajataca River, were under orders to evacuate, with the structure in danger of bursting at any time. “We saw directly the damage to the Guajataca dam,” Governor Ricardo Rossello said in a Spanish-language Twitter message on Saturday while reinforcing his request that people leave the area as soon as possible. “The fissure has become a significant rupture,” Rossello said separately at a news conference on Saturday. The U.S. National Weather Service said on its website the dam was still in danger of failing and triggering life-threatening flash floods. “Stay away or be swept away,” it warned.

Trump tweets threats to North Korea after UN speech by rogue nation’s foreign minister

President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, September 12, 2017.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, September 12, 2017.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Twitter on Saturday North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho and leader Kim Jong Un “won’t be around much longer” if Ri echoed the thoughts of “Little Rocket Man,” an apparent reference to Kim. Ri told the United Nations General Assembly earlier on Saturday that targeting the U.S. mainland with its rockets was inevitable after “Mr Evil President” Trump called Pyongyang’s leader “rocket man.”
“Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!” Trump tweeted.
Trump and Kim have traded increasingly threatening and personal insults as Pyongyang races towards its goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the United States – something Trump has vowed to prevent.

In an unprecedented direct statement on Friday, Kim described Trump as a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard” whom he would tame with fire. His comments came after Trump threatened in his maiden U.N. address on Thursday to “totally destroy” the country of 26 million people.

NFL owners speak out in support of players, against Trump

NFL owners speak out in support of players, against Trump

The NFL’s players and owners are frequently at odds over the issues, finances and rules of the game, a long-running feud that looms large toward another potential work stoppage after the 2020 season. The two sides in the nation’s most popular professional sports league united on Saturday in a manner unseen in years, sounding a resolute chord in decrying President Donald Trump’s remarks about players kneeling during the national anthem. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired,’” Trump said to loud applause Friday night at a rally in Huntsville, Alabama, comments he echoed a day later in a series of tweets. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the movement last year when he played for the San Francisco 49ers, refusing to stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner” to protest the treatment of black people by police. Kaepernick became a free agent and has not been signed by a new team for this season. Without naming Kaepernick, Trump aimed his talk at those players who have knelt for the anthem. “That’s a total disrespect of our heritage. That’s a total disrespect of everything that we stand for,” Trump said. The Buffalo Bills were bothered enough by the situation to hold a voluntary team meeting on Saturday, with players, coaches, staff and ownership all taking part.

Continue reading “NFL owners speak out in support of players, against Trump”

End of the line for the supermarket checkout

The bell tolls for tills with birth of new shop-and-go phone scanner

  • Sainsbury’s new app could finally kill of drudgery of standing in checkout queue
  • Supermarket is testing technology that lets customers to scan while they shop
  • Money will be deducted directly from bank account by credit card or phone

Can you imagine popping into a supermarket, picking up what you want from the shelves then marching out again without so much as breaking your stride? Well that day is just around the corner. Sainsbury’s has come up with an app that could finally kill off the drudgery of standing in a checkout queue to pay for your shopping. The supermarket is testing technology that will allow customers to scan shopping on their smartphones, then simply leave the store. The cost of the goods will be deducted directly from their bank account or credit card via their phone. The supermarket is testing technology that will allow customers to scan shopping on their smartphones, then simply leave the store Sainsbury’s does not expect shoplifting to increase as a result of checkout-free technology because it believes the majority of  customers are trustworthy. However, it is developing new security systems to work alongside existing measure

US bombers fly off North Korea’s coast in show of force as official says conflict ‘inevitable’

In this handout image provided by South Korean Defense Ministry, U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers flying with F-35B fighter jets and South Korean Air Force F-15K fighter jets during a training at the Pilsung Firing Range on September 18, 2017 in Gangwon-do, South Korea. U.S. F-35B stealth jets and B-1B bombers flew near the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) for the first time since recent tension between U.S. and North Korea started raising.
In this handout image provided by South Korean Defense Ministry, U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers flying with F-35B fighter jets and South Korean Air Force F-15K fighter jets during a training at the Pilsung Firing Range on September 18, 2017 in Gangwon-do, South Korea. U.S. F-35B stealth jets and B-1B bombers flew near the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) for the first time since recent tension between U.S. and North Korea started raising.

North Korea said on Saturday targeting the U.S. mainland with its rockets was inevitable after “Mr. Evil President” Donald Trump called Pyongyang’s leader “rocket man”, further escalating rhetoric over the North’s nuclear weapons and missile programs.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho’s remarks to the United Nations General Assembly came hours after U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers escorted by fighters flew in international airspace over waters east of North Korea, in a show of force the Pentagon said showed the range of military options available to Trump. Ri’s speech capped a week of rising tensions between Washington and Pyongyang, with Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un trading insults. Trump called Kim a “madman” on Friday, a day after Kim dubbed him a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard.” On Saturday, the mudslinging continued with Ri calling Trump “a mentally deranged person full of megalomania and complacency” who is trying to turn the United Nations into a “gangsters’ nest”. Ri said Trump himself was on a “suicide mission” after the U.S. president had said Kim was on such a mission. “‘President Evil’ is holding the seat of the U.S. President,” Ri said, warning that Pyongyang was ready to defend itself if the United States showed any sign of conducting a “decapitating operation on our headquarters or military attack against our country.” “Now we are finally only a few steps away from the final gate of completion of the state nuclear force,” Ri told the annual gathering of world leaders. He said sanctions would have no effect on Pyongyang’s resolve to develop its nuclear weapons, with the ultimate goal being “balance of power with the U.S.”

US bombers stage North Korea show of force-BREAKING NEWS

US bombers have flown close to North Korea’s east coast in a show of force, the Pentagon says. The move is to demonstrate that President Donald Trump has a “range of military options to defeat any threat”, spokeswoman Dana White said. The US and North Korea have ramped up their rhetoric recently. At the UN on Tuesday, Mr Trump said that he would “totally destroy” North Korea if the US was forced to defend itself or its allies.

Donald Trump: LeBron James calls president a ‘bum’ after Steph Curry comments

Basketball star LeBron James described US President Donald Trump as a “bum” over comments he made about fellow player Steph Curry. Trump said the Golden State Warriors were no longer invited to the White House after star player Curry, 29, said he did not want to attend. “Going to White House was an honour until you showed up,” James, 32, said. On Friday, Trump said NFL players who protest during the national anthem should be fired. ‘We don’t stand for the things he’s said’ Basketball’s champion team, the Golden State Warriors, were considering turning down the traditional invitation to celebrate their NBA title success at the White House. Warriors point guard Curry, the two-time NBA MVP, said the team can “inspire some change” by refusing to visit the home of the president. “I don’t want to go,” Curry said on Friday, adding that it would show the players “don’t stand for… the things that he’s said and the things that he hasn’t said in the right times. “I don’t think us not going to the White House is going to miraculously make everything better, but this is my opportunity to voice that.” Trump responded by tweeting that the invitation had been withdrawn. James, who plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers and has won three NBA championships and four NBA MVP awards, campaigned for the Democrat’s Hillary Clinton, Trump’s rival, during the presidential election campaign.

Trump pressures senators to back Republican healthcare bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday blasted Senator John McCain for dealing a possibly fatal blow to the latest Republican attempt to dismantle Obamacare. According to a new independent analysis, the bill awaiting a Senate vote could lead to 21 million fewer Americans having health insurance. McCain, an Arizona Republican who is being treated for brain cancer and cast a crucial “no” vote to defeat a similar bill in July, said on Friday that he could not “in good conscience” vote for the proposal authored by Republican Senators Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham. “He campaigned on Repeal & Replace. Let Arizona down!” Trump wrote about McCain on Twitter early Saturday morning. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he will schedule a vote on the Graham-Cassidy bill by Sept. 30, the last day when it could pass in the chamber with a simple majority of 51 votes instead of the 60 typically required. The bill would take federal money spent on the Medicaid program for the poor and disabled, as well as subsidies to help individuals buy private insurance, and deliver it to the states in block grants. The Brookings Institution said on Friday that the Graham-Cassidy bill could leave at least 21 million fewer Americans with health insurance by 2020 to 2026. The Washington think tank has generally been supportive of Obamacare, which is formally known as the Affordable Care Act. The coverage estimate “likely understates” reductions in insured Americans because it is not clear how states would use the money or if they would face obstacles in setting up new programs, according to Brookings researchers. “What is clear, however, is that the legislation would result in very large reductions in insurance coverage,” they wrote.

NFL head: Trump’s ‘divisive comments’ show a ‘lack of respect’

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell fired back at President Trump on Saturday for encouraging league owners to remove players who take a knee during the national anthem, saying Trump’s “divisive comments” show “an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL.” “The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture,” Goodell said in a statement. “There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we’ve experienced over the last month.” “Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.” The NFL chief’s comments came the morning after Trump told a crowd at a rally for Alabama Senate candidate Luther Strange (R) that NFL players will stop kneeling if fans left games. “When people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they are playing our great national anthem – the only thing you could do better is if you see it, even if it’s one player, leave the stadium,” Trump said. “I guarantee things will stop.” Trump also said NFL owners should fire players if they refuse to stand during the national anthem. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b—- off the field right now,'” he continued, adding, “‘He is fired.'”  The head of the NFL Players Association, the union representing professional football players, also hit back at Trump, vowing the union “will never back down” from protecting players’s right to protest.

‘Get Those SOBs Off the Field!’: Trump Slams NFL Anthem Protesters, Hopes Owners Fire Them

During a speech in Alabama Friday night, President Donald Trump took a few minutes to slam NFL players like Colin Kaepernick, who indulge protests during the playing of the national anthem. Trump said that he hopes such players are removed from the field and said he’d “love” to see NFL owners fire them.

Trump made his comments at a rally for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Luther Strange in Huntsville, Alabama. What seemed to set the president off against the NFL was when he noted that he, Luther Strange, and his followers respect the U.S. flag. As the crowd cheered, Trump turned his attention to NFL protesters and said that he’d love to see such protesters thrown out of the game for disrespecting the flag. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, say: ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired!’ They don’t know it,” Trump said as the crowd cheered. “They’re friends of mine, many of them. They don’t know it. They’ll be the most popular person in the country.”

Here are 19 major retailers that have filed for bankruptcy protection in 2017

            • Nick Bit: 19 retailers have gone broke this year. ALL major holders of REIT owned spaces. YET the idiots at the switch can’t seem to figure out why we are entering a deflation (no inflation). We are in a deflation and the internet is  just the excuse. The real reason is the consumer 70% of the US economy are spent out, borrowed out and jobbed out. Read it and weep:

              19. The Limited

              The U.S. women’s apparel chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in early January, after closing all 250 of its stores. Private equity firm Sycamore Partners later acquired the company’s intellectual property, which included its trademarks, website address and social media accounts. Sycamore Partners’ portfolio also includes the Belk department store chain, footwear and accessories retailer Nine West, and women’s apparel retailer Coldwater Creek.

              Source: The Limited
            • 18. Wet Seal

              Wet Seal filed for bankruptcy protection in early February, following reports that the teen apparel retailer had closed all its stores when it was unable to connect with a buyer. This marked Wet Seal’s second attempt to restructure, following a Chapter 11 filing in 2015.

              Like some of its mall-based peers, such as American Eagle Outfitters and Aeropostale, falling foot traffic hurt the apparel chain. The California-based retailer had listed assets of $10 million to $50 million, and liabilities of $50 million to $100 million, according to a court filing.

              Wet Seal store

              Getty Images
            • 17. Eastern Outfitters

              The parent company of Bob’s Stores and outdoor retailer Eastern Mountain Sports filed for Chapter 11 in early February. The retailer was owned at the time by private equity firm Versa Capital Management, which acquired Bob’s and Eastern Mountain Sports through the bankruptcy last year of Vestis Retail Group, the chains’ previous owner.

              Most recently, Eastern Outfitters has been working on a deal with U.K. sports retailer Sports Direct International, to decide which stores to shutter. Sports Direct acquired the bankrupt chain in April.

              Source: Eastern Outfitters
            • 16. BCBG Max Azria

              The luxury fashion house filed for bankruptcy at the end of February, when it received a commitment of up to $45 million in debtor-in-possession financing to be used for working capital, and to ensure normal operations during the Chapter 11 process, the company said at the time.

              BCBG promised to take steps to close its freestanding stores in Canada, and to consolidate its operations in Europe and Japan — in addition to closing 120 stores as part of restructuring efforts.

              Source: BCBGMAXAZRIA
            • 15. Vanity

              The women’s clothing chain sought bankruptcy protection in early March, planning to close all of its 140 stores as competition from Internet retailers intensified. Currently, its website says, “We will be back soon!” The apparel retailer was founded in the 1950s, headquartered in Fargo, North Dakota.

              Source: Vanity
            • 14. Hhgregg

              The electronics and appliances retailer announced in early March that it was filing Chapter 11, only days after the company announced the closing of nearly 90 stores. Indianapolis-based Hhgregg has signed an agreement with an anonymous party to purchase its assets.

              The sale of its assets will allow the retailer to exit restructuring “debt free with significant improvement in liquidity for the future stability of the business.”

              Workers prepare merchandise on the sales floor at an hhgregg store in Niles, Illinois.

              Getty Images
            • 13. RadioShack

              In March, the electronics chain sought bankruptcy protection for the second time in just over two years. After first filing in 2015, Radio Shack partnered with Sprint to open wireless carrier shops within 1,200 RadioShack locations.

              In March, RadioShack said it would shutter 200 stores and would evaluate its options for the others. Sprint then said it would turn “several hundred” of the remaining partnership locations into Sprint-only stores. Notably, General Wireless Operations bought RadioShack after its 2015 bankruptcy.

              A RadioShack location going out of business in Laguna Hills, California.

              Scott Mlyn | CNBC
            • 12. Gordmans

              The century-old, off-price department store chain, filed for bankruptcy in mid-March, with plans to liquidate its inventory and assets. Nebraska-based Gordmans was operating over 100 stores in 22 states at the time, and said it planned to run its business “as usual without interruption” throughout the liquidation process.

              Source: Gordmans
            • 11. Gander Mountain

              The outdoor chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March, also closing 32 underperforming stores at the time. Then, in May, Gander Mountain and Overton’s — its boating business — were acquired by Camping World Holdings out of bankruptcy auction.

              (Disclosure: Marcus Lemonis of CNBC’s “The Profit” is chairman and CEO of Camping World.)

              A "Going Out Of Business" banner at a Gander Mountain retail store in Houston, Texas, on May 28, 2017.

              Sipa USA via AP
            • 10. Payless ShoeSource

              The off-price shoe retailer sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at the beginning of April, with the goal of boosting the company’s balance sheet and restructuring its debt load. At the time, Payless had over 4,400 stores in more than 30 countries, according to its website. Payless marked the 10th retailer to file in 2017, but it recently emerged from bankruptcy protection in August.

              A pedestrian walks by a Payless Shoe Source store on April 5, 2017 in San Francisco.

              Getty Images
            • 9. Rue21

              The teen clothing company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in mid-May, hoping to reduce its debt and provide additional capital in support of restructuring. The retail chain, which operates more than 1,100 stores, listed its assets and liabilities in the range of $1 billion and $10 billion, according to a court filing. Just earlier this month, Rue21 received court approval to exit bankruptcy.

              Source: Rue21
            • 8. Gymboree

              The children’s clothing retailer filed for bankruptcy protection in early June, after it missed a June 1 debt payment. James Mesterharm, Gymboree’s chief restructuring officer, said in a court filing that the retailer was hurt by lower-cost competition from rivals Children’s Place and Gap, both of which have less debt financing.

              The Chapter 11 action should reduce Gymboree’s debts by more than $900 million, and it will shutter some 375 stores, according to court filings.

              Pedestrians walk past a Gymboree store in San Francisco, California.

              David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
            • 7. Cornerstone Apparel, the owner of Papaya Clothing

              In June, the teen apparel retailer parent company, Cornerstone Apparel, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Over the past few years, Papaya had been opening new stores at a rapid clip. “The expansion effort took a heavy financial toll on the business operations of the debtor,” Papaya’s chief financial officer, Tae Yi, said in a court filing.

              In turn, Papaya has asked the court for the ability to exit a handful of leases for its stores. The company now aims to shrink its brick-and-mortar footprint.

              Source: Papaya Clothing
            • 6. True Religion Apparel

              The jeans designer is “seeking a revival” through its Chapter 11 action, which it filed for in early July. True Religion said in a court filing that it’s aiming to stay in business, but is also is planning to shutter an undisclosed number of stores.

              Founded in 2002, True Religion has roughly 140 stores and has sold its products in various department stores across the United States.

              Source: True Religion
            • 5. Alfred Angelo

              A chain of 60 Signature stores, with 1,400 other retail locations selling its products worldwide, Alfred Angelo Bridal filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation in July. The retailer has said it plans to liquidate its assets. The news caused an uproar among brides who were left without dresses.

              A customer tries on a wedding gown at Alfred Angelo Bridal, Nov. 11, 2015, in Cherry Hill, N.J.

              Mel Evans | AP
            • 4. Perfumania

              The fragrance retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy toward the end of August. Perfumania said at the time that it planned to recapitalize, trimming its store count to “better align with current consumer shopping patterns,” “increase investments in its e-commerce business,” and to emerge as a private company. According to court papers, the company plans to close 64 of its 226 stores during the bankruptcy process.

              A Perfumania in New Orleans, Louisiana.

              Josh Brasted | Getty Images
            • 3. Vitamin World

              Vitamin World filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in early September, with plans to close at least 50 stores as part of its restructuring. The retailer has roughly 330 stores. Vitamin World blamed its bankruptcy on “significant supply chain and ingredient availability disruptions” along with “above-market rents and underperforming retail stores,” according to court papers.

              Source: Vitamin World
            • 2. Aerosoles

              The footwear maker filed for bankruptcy earlier this month, saying it plans to close most of its stores and focus on its wholesale, e-commerce and international businesses. Aerosoles, formally known as Aero, blamed its bankruptcy on declining mall traffic, big industry wide markdowns, and a shift toward online shopping, according to a court filing.

              The retailer has said it expects to complete Chapter 11 restructuring, which could include a sale to a third party, within roughly four months.

              Aerosoles shoes

              Source: Aerosoles
          • 1. Toys R Us

            The latest retailer to file for voluntary chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. the iconic toy retailer did so earlier this month, seeking to relieve itself of debt. Toys R Us has $4.9 billion in debt, $400 million of which has interest payments due in 2018 and $1.7 billion of which is due in 2019. The company has said it will continue to operate as usual its approximately 1,600 Toy R Us and Babies R Us stores globally, ahead of the key holiday shopping season.

Acosta on North Korea: We’re Moving Toward a ‘Doomsday Nightmare Scenario’

CNN’s Jim Acosta told Sen. Ed Markey (D., Mass.) on Friday that the United States is moving toward a “doomsday nightmare scenario” with regards to North Korea. “It is building up to this sort of doomsday nightmare scenario,” Acosta said. “Obviously we don’t want to even consider the possibilities that North Korea could detonate a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific, but that is what they’re threatening. What do you make of that threat coming from the North Koreans? Do you think that that is bluster?” Markey said that he thinks the United States should be concerned, denouncing the “escalatory rhetoric” between President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Acosta later asked Markey whether the United States needed to consider a military option if North Korea detonates a hydrogen bomb in an atmospheric test. “No, there is no military option. None,” Markey said. “If we take a strike at North Korea, it could very quickly escalate into the deaths of hundreds of thousands or millions of people in South Korea and in other countries in that region.” North Korea’s foreign minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters on Friday that North Korea could test a a powerful nuclear bomb over the Pacific Ocean in response to Trump’s threats of military action, CNN reported. That statement followed a similar one in which, in a breach of standard practice, Kim directly addressed Trump, calling him a “dotard” and “mentally deranged.”

North Korea: Tremor detected near weapons’ test site

A magnitude-3.4 earthquake has been detected in North Korea. The earthquake is reported to have occurred near a nuclear test site and previous quakes have occurred during weapons’ tests. Chinese seismologists said it was a “suspected explosion”. But South Korea says that it could be a natural quake not caused by a nuclear test. North Korea carried out a massive nuclear test on 3 September which has been widely condemned at the UN of Saturday’s tremor is smaller than that usually detected when North Korea has tested weapons. After the last test, initial reports from the US Geological Survey put the tremor at magnitude 5.6 with a depth of 10km (six miles) but this was later upgraded to magnitude 6.3 at 0km. The latest quake was recorded at a depth of 0km in North Hamgyong province, home to the Punggye-ri nuclear site, South Korea’s meteorological agency says. It said it believed the quake was natural because the specific soundwaves generated by artificial earthquakes were not detected, Reuters news agency reports. Analysts from the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization are examining the “unusual seismic activity of a much smaller magnitude” in North Korea, executive secretary Lassina Zerbo tweeted.

China says North Korean quake ‘suspected explosion’

  • China detected a magnitude 3.4 earthquake in North Korea that it called a “suspected explosion”
  • South Korea’s weather agency said it believed it to be a natural earthquake
  • Previous quakes from North Korea have indicated nuclear tests
File photo of Ballistic rocket is seen launching during a drill by the Hwasong artillery units of the KPA Strategic Force in this undated picture provided by KCNA in Pyongyang on July 21, 2016.
KCNA | Reuters File photo of Ballistic rocket is seen launching during a drill by the Hwasong artillery units of the KPA Strategic Force in this undated picture provided by KCNA in Pyongyang on July 21, 2016
.

China’s earthquake administration said on Saturday it had detected a magnitude 3.4 earthquake in North Korea that was a “suspected explosion”. The administration said in a statement on its website that the quake, which occurred around 0830 GMT, was recorded a depth of zero kilometres. Previous quakes from North Korea have indicated nuclear tests by the reclusive state, the most recent earlier this month. The quake was centred near North Korea’s nuclear test site. South Korea’s weather agency said it was analyzing the nature of the quake and its initial view was that it was a natural earthquake.

Iran tests missile despite Trump pressure

 

Iran says it has successfully tested a new-medium range missile, in defiance of US President Donald Trump. The launch of the Khoramshahr missile, which has a range of 2,000 km (1242 miles), was shown on state TV. It is unclear when the test took place. At the UN on Tuesday, Mr Trump criticised Iran’s missile programme and the 2015 nuclear deal with the country. On Friday Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Iran would increase its military power “as a deterrent” The Khoramshahr missile was first displayed at a military parade on Friday in Tehran. It is capable of carrying multiple warheads, state broadcaster Press TV reports. The US announced fresh sanctions on Iran in July over its ballistic missile programme and what it said was Iran’s support for terror organisations. It also imposed sanctions on Iran after a ballistic missile test in January. It says such launches violate the spirit of the 2015 agreement between Iran and six world powers to limit its nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.

US dairy glut leads to problem of spilled milk in some markets, as NAFTA brings other worries

dairy farm cows
Getty Images

There’s a domestic dairy glut that’s so bad it’s led some American farmers to spill milk. National milk production is increasing faster than the processing capacity. Another challenge facing the industry is total per capita consumption of fluid milk has been steadily falling for some time because of competition from other beverages and because the share of the nation’s total population who are children continues to decline. “In Michigan and the Northeast, milk is being dumped,” said Gene Paul, legislative coordinator of National Farmers Organization, an Iowa-based organization which markets livestock, grain and milk for its members. “Milk is just being thrown away, because they just don’t have the processing capacity.” Also contributing to the dairy glut is that average production levels are rising as more-productive cows allow big dairies to experience output growth. “Exports are a big component now of milk sales in this country,” said Peter Fredericks, a dairy specialist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administrator in the agency’s Northeast milk marketing area. The USDA recently raised its milk production forecast for 2017, indicating that “increases in milk per cow more than offset a slower rate of milk cow expansion.” Overall, U.S. milk consumption on average is rising between 1 and 2 percent annually but production is going up around 3 percent. American dairy farmers every year are producing about 3 billion more pounds of milk than the year before, according to a report released this month by CoBank. It found the available processing capacity, particularly in the Northeastern and upper Midwestern states, “has strained the ability of dairy cooperatives to fill the role of market balancers.”

Refinery demand, not OPEC, is the key to keeping oil prices above $50 a barrel, analysts say

Oil exporters meet in Vienna on Friday to discuss their pact to cut production, but many analysts are not focused on Austria this week. Instead, they’re watching refineries around the world for signs that the oil price rally can continue. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude hit a nearly four-month high at $50.81 on Thursday, despite three straight weeks of rising stockpiles in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, which shut a quarter of U.S. refining capacity. On Friday, international benchmark Brent crude oil was trading within $2 of its 2017 high of $58.37.This comes as the market focus has flipped from how quickly OPEC can drain a global glut of crude oil to how hungry the world remains for fuel. A major catalyst for the recent run-up was improved forecasts for 2017 global demand from the International Energy Agency and OPEC.

“There are times like these when [refiners will] push the envelope, especially when the envelope is getting stuffed with cash.” -John Kilduff, Again Capital founding partner

Brent has flipped into backwardation, meaning prices for immediate delivery are higher than contracts for future shipment. That is a sign traders believe the market is tightening. It also helps to empty stockpiles by encouraging traders to sell oil immediately, instead of storing it to take advantage of higher prices in the future.

Brent crude price curve, source: Factset

Crude stockpiles have fallen in the OECD, a group of mostly developed nations, throughout the second quarter, OPEC notes in its September bulletin. OECD inventories stood at 195 million barrels above the five-year average in July, down from about 340 million barrels above that level at the start of 2017.

 

U.S. crude prices, year to date, source: Factset

U.S. refineries are processing about a million barrels a day less oil than at this time last year due to impacts from Harvey. However, crack spreads — the difference between crude oil and refined product prices — remain wide. That gives refiners a reason to keep processing crude at a time when they’re normally winding down operations to perform maintenance on their facilities.

 

Fed officials in muddle over permanent vs temporary inflation lull

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) – Federal Reserve officials with competing views about inflation laid out on Friday the quandary facing U.S. policymakers as they wrestle over whether a recent dip in the pace of price increases is trivial, or the result of global forces that could permanently throw off the Fed’s policy calculus.

The resolution of that debate will be critical to whether the Fed proceeds with an expected December rate increase and more hikes next year, or concludes that the inflation “mystery” is evidence of a change in how global prices are set. It is also central to an issue of broad political and economic importance: how low the unemployment rate can fall before rising wages and competition for goods starts pushing price increases to uncomfortable levels. “We are all trying to get a grip on it,” Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan said of discussion within the Fed over why an unemployment rate in the low four percent range has not led to greater inflation pressure, as it would under standard theories about the “Phillips Curve” tradeoff between a tight jobs market and rising prices. With the most recent Fed projections showing unemployment falling to 4.1 percent in coming months with inflation still below the Fed’s 2 percent target, Kaplan said he is becoming convinced other forces are at work. It may be global supply chains, he said, or technology giving consumers more pricing power. Either way, he said, the Fed could possibly let unemployment fall further without worrying about inflation rising too fast. The recent projections “tells you people have started to conclude we can run a lower unemployment rate without inflation,” Kaplan said. “Then the question is why. I am putting forward the structural view.” Fed Chair Janet Yellen called the behavior of inflation a “mystery,” though she has generally said she remains convinced tight labor markets will ultimately lead to rising prices. The Fed’s most recent projections showed a solid majority of policymakers expecting to raise rates in December. But the path from there is less clear. Some officials still expect traditional dynamics to emerge if unemployment stays low, and also argue it would be worse for workers if the Fed has to play catch-up and raise rates faster.- the Fed’s preferred measure was most recently 1.4 percent.

Fed officials, following their regular policy meeting, indicated on Wednesday they are prepared to raise rates again in December and three times next year.

U.S. notifies 21 states that Russians tried to hack their election results in 2016

AFP/Getty Images

WASHINGTON—The Department of Homeland Security on Friday gave election officials in nearly two dozen states additional information on Russian targeting of their election systems last year, ending months of uncertainty among administrators about which states were targeted in a Kremlin-backed effort. “As part of our ongoing information sharing efforts, today DHS notified the Secretary of State or other chief election officer in each state of any potential targeting we were aware of in their state leading up to the 2016 election,” said Scott McConnell, a spokesman for the Department. DHS said it would leave it up to the states to disclose to the public whether they were targets of the Russian-backed campaign. Officials previously have said no evidence of manipulated tallies has been found. In June, a top department official told Congress that election-related systems in 21 states were targeted as part of a campaign directed by the Russian government aimed at disrupting the 2016 U.S. election. Arizona and Illinois acknowledged last year their systems were targeted, but many other states remained unaware of whether they were the victims of foreign penetration attempts.

UK’s credit rating downgraded by Moody’s

The UK’s credit rating has been cut over concerns about the UK’s public finances and fears Brexit could damage the country’s economic growth. Moody’s, one of the major ratings agencies, downgraded the UK to an Aa2 rating from Aa1.

It said leaving the European Union was creating economic uncertainty at a time when the UK’s debt reduction plans were already off course.

Downing Street said the firm’s Brexit assessments were “outdated”. The other major agencies, Fitch and S&P, changed their ratings in 2016, with S&P cutting it two notches from AAA to AA, and Fitch lowering it from AA+ to AA. Moody’s said the government had “yielded to pressure and raised spending in several areas” including health and social care. It says revenues were unlikely to compensate for the higher spending. The agency said because the government had not secured a majority in the snap election it “further obscures the future direction of economic policy”. It also said Brexit would dominate legislative priorities, so there could be limited capacity to address “substantial” challenges. It added “any free trade agreement will likely take years to negotiate, prolonging the current uncertainty for business”.

China limits oil trade to North Korea and bans textile trade

China has moved to limit North Korea’s oil supply and will stop buying textiles from the politically isolated nation, it said on Saturday.  China is North Korea’s most important trading partner, and one of its only sources of hard currency. The ban on textiles trade will hurt Pyongyang’s income, while China’s oil exports are the country’s main source of petroleum products. The tougher stance follows North Korea’s latest nuclear test this month. The United Nations agreed fresh sanctions – including the textiles and petroleum restrictions – in response. A statement from China’s commerce ministry said restrictions on refined petroleum products would apply from 1 October, and on liquefied natural gas immediately. Under the UN resolution, China will still be able to export a maximum of two million barrels of refined petroleum to North Korea annually, beginning next year. North Korea is estimated to have imported 6,000 barrels of refined petroleum daily from China in 2016 – the equivalent of nearly 2.2 million in total for the entire year. But China has not published data on oil exports since 2014. The ban on textiles – Pyongyang’s second-biggest export – is expected to cost the country more than $700m (£530m) a year. Clothing has often partially been made in North Korea, but finished in China, allowing a Made in China label to be legally sewn onto the clothing, BBC World Service Asia-Pacific Editor Celia Hatton says.North Korea has little energy production of its own, but does refine some petroleum products from crude oil it imports – which is not included in the new ban. North Korea also produces coal, some $1.2bn of which was exported to China in 2016, but China had already strictly limited its imports of North Korean coal earlier this year.

Trump takes center stage in fractious Senate race in Alabama

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama (Reuters) – President Donald Trump injected himself into a bitter U.S. Senate primary fight in Alabama on Friday, putting to the test his ability to enlist his anti-establishment voters to come to the aid of an endangered Republican incumbent. Trump spoke at a rally in Huntsville, Alabama, on behalf of Senator Luther Strange, who was appointed after the seat was left vacant when Jeff Sessions was named Trump’s attorney general. Strange is trying to ward off a challenge from Roy Moore, an arch-conservative former state Supreme Court justice, in a runoff election next week. Polls show the race to be close. Trump appeared on stage as the latest Republican effort to repeal Obamacare looked to be faltering after Republican Senator John McCain announced his opposition to a measure to repeal and replace the healthcare law. McCain’s opposition could spell doom for the bill, which the Senate may vote on it next week, because Republicans can afford to lose few votes among their own. When Trump mentioned McCain’s name in front of the arena crowd of more than 7,000, attendees booed lustily. Trump expressed optimism that the bill could still pass. “We’re going to do it eventually,” he said. He also continued to engage in a rhetorical sparring match with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, again referring to him as “Rocket Man” to the crowd’s cheers. “We can’t have madmen out there shooting rockets all over the place,” Trump said.

Wells Fargo to cut jobs at Charlotte headquarters

Dunn said in a statement that cutting jobs is part of the company’s ongoing efforts to “become more efficient and effective” and “reduce expenses.” “Wells Fargo is committed to retaining as many of its team members as it can and, where possible, will work to identify other internal opportunities or support displaced team members as they transition outside the company,” the statement says. Wells Fargo did not indicate the layoffs were in any way linked to a series of crises that have plagued the company in recent months. Most notably, the company continues to suffer the fallout of a massive fake account scandal that first came to light last year. Recent estimates say the bank created as many as 1.4 million accounts for unsuspecting customers in order to boost its sales figures. Wells Fargo has blamed draconian sales targets and poor oversight. Its recovery efforts have included installing new corporate leadership and firing about 5,300 employees who Wells Fargo said were involved in creating fake accounts. The bank’s headaches were made worse when it admitted to forcing about 570,000 of its customers to sign up for auto insurance that they didn’t need. Wells Fargo has also been accused of modifying mortgages without getting customers’ consent. Wells Fargo still faces a slew of investigations, including from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice.

Clapper: ‘Possible’ Trump Was Recorded on Manafort Wiretap

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said it is possible that President Donald Trump was captured in audio as part of the wiretap of his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort. Host Don Lemon interviewed Clapper about the FBI wiretap that was put in place during the Obama administration to listen to Manafort as part of the investigation into ties between Trump campaign associates and suspected Russian operatives. Trump has claimed that Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower in New York City when he was president. CNN reported this week that Manafort was wiretapped, though the report did not indicate that Trump himself was under surveillance. CNN said it was unclear whether the Manafort surveillance took place at Trump Tower. Clapper, who said in March that he had no knowledge of any court orders to wiretap Trump or Trump Tower, stood by his comments on Wednesday, noting he could only refer to them and media reports. He added that he has no knowledge of any secret order from the court that handles the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to wiretap Manafort. “Is it possible the president was picked up in a conversation with Paul Manafort?” Lemon then asked. “It’s certainly conceivable,” Clapper said. “Is it likely?” Lemon asked. “I can’t say,” Clapper said. “I wouldn’t want to go there but I will say it’s possible.”

One chart shows all the bubbles that are about to pop

The Everything Bubble is about to deflate, says Jared Dillian

Getty Images

It wasn’t always this way. We never used to get a giant, speculative bubble every seven to eight years. We really didn’t.

In 2000, we had the dot-com bubble.

In 2007, we had the housing bubble.

In 2017, we have the everything bubble.

I did not coin the term “the everything bubble.” I do not know who did. Apologies (and much respect) to the person I stole it from.

Why do we call it the everything bubble? Well, there is a bubble in a bunch of asset classes simultaneously. And the infographic below that my colleagues at Mauldin Economics created paints the picture best. I don’t usually predict downturns, but this time I bet my reputation that a downturn is coming. And soon. When there’s nothing left but systemic risk, everyone’s portfolio is on the line. To that end, I’ve put together a FREE actionable special, Investing in the Age of the Everything Bubble, in which I discuss ways to prepare for the coming bloodbath.

GOP’s ‘Obamacare’ repeal all but dead; McCain deals the blow

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. John McCain declared his opposition Friday to the GOP’s last-ditch effort to repeal and replace “Obamacare,” dealing a likely death blow to the legislation and, perhaps, to the Republican Party’s years of vows to kill the program. It was the second time in three months the 81-year-old McCain emerged as the destroyer of his party’s signature promise to voters. “I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried,” McCain said of the bill, co-written by Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, his best friend in the Senate, and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana. “Nor could I support it without knowing how much it will cost, how it will affect insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it.”  McCain, who is battling brain cancer in the twilight of a remarkable career, said he could not “in good conscience” vote for the legislation. That all but ensured a major setback for President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and appeared likely to deepen rifts between congressional Republicans and a president who has begun making deals with Democrats out of frustration with his own party’s failure to turn proposals into laws.

This stock market rally is on thin ice

This is the riskiest time for stock market bulls as seasonal weakness spans from mid-September until late October.
Bearish seasonality tends to start the week after triple witching (which was Sept. 15). Triple witching is when stock options, index options and futures all expire on the same day.

This happens once a quarter and, aside for the potential of more volatility, it’s not a must-know event for investors.

80% risk

However, it’s worth knowing that stocks have declined during the week after September triple witching in eight of the past 10 years. Even going back 25 years, the week after triple witching is statistically in the red 80% of the time.Although stocks haven’t budged yet, the conditions for more sustainable gains are less than promising.

Overbought

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, is the most overbought (based on RSI-2, a short-term measure of relative strength) since August and February. The blue bars highlight the most overbought DJIA conditions since December 2016. Each overbought rally resulted in a pullback. The next trend line resistance, and chance for such a pullback, is around 22,450 points.

Momentum vs. risk

Strong upside momentum has been overriding bearish forces, but the weight of evidence (investors’ sentiment, technicals, breadth, liquidity, Elliott Wave Theory, seasonalities and cycles), suggests a temporary pullback is getting close.

Once complete, this pullback should lead to a year-end rally.

In terms of seasonality, there is a bearish window from mid- until late September and strong bullishness starting in late October.

If sellers can create “escape velocity” to the down side, the correction could last for about six weeks (until late October). The month of October is essentially neutral and could go either way.

If sellers can’t drive stocks below support, bullish year-end seasonality may start earlier and result in a slow and painful grind higher.

North Korea may consider H-bomb test in Pacific, Kim calls Trump ‘deranged’

SEOUL/NEW YORK (Reuters) – North Korea said on Friday it might test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean after U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to destroy the reclusive country, with leader Kim Jong Un promising to make a “mentally deranged” Trump pay dearly for his threats. Kim did not specify what action he would take against the United States or Trump, with whom he has traded insults in recent weeks. South Korea said it was the first direct statement of its kind by a North Korean leader.

However, Kim’s foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, said in televised remarks North Korea could consider a hydrogen bomb test of an unprecedented scale over the Pacific Ocean.

Japan, the only country ever to suffer an atomic attack, described the threat as “totally unacceptable”. Trump said in his first address to the United Nations on Tuesday he would “totally destroy” North Korea, a country of 26 million people, if it threatened the United States and its allies, and called Kim a “rocket man” on a suicide mission. Kim said the North would consider the “highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history” against the United States and that Trump’s comments had confirmed his own nuclear program was “the correct path”. “I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire,” Kim said in the statement carried by the KCNA state news agency. The escalating rhetoric came even as U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for statesmanship to avoid “sleepwalking” into a war.

The shocking truth about stock returns in this century

The S&P 500 is barely positive in inflation-adjusted terms

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (MarketWatch) — Ready for today’s investment pop quiz? What is the S&P 500’s inflation-adjusted return this century? If you’re like most investors, your guess will be way too high. Believe it or not, the S&P 500 after inflation has produced just a 0.9% annualized price-only return since its March 24, 2000, top.

How can this be, you might ask, given that we’re experiencing the second strongest and second-longest bull market in U.S. history? The culprits, needless to say, are the two severe bear markets that occurred along the way. The S&P 500 dropped by 49.1% during the 2000-2002 bear market, for example, and an additional 56.8% in the 2007-09 downturn. It takes a lot more than a powerful bull market to overcome them. One way to appreciate the impact of those two bear markets is to realize that a mere correction would wipe out the S&P’s slight inflation-adjusted gain since March 2000. Just a 12.9% decline would do the trick, in fact.

The NASDAQ Composite is in even worse shape: It would need to gain 12% from current levels just to make it back to where it stood on an inflation-adjusted basis in March 2000.

 

 

Consider the data compiled by Wharton professor Jeremy Siegel, as presented in his classic “Stocks For The Long Run.” He reported in that book that, even though stocks on average almost always outperform bonds and Treasury bills over the long term, they have not done so in each and every 20-year period over the last two centuries. In fact, he found that stocks lagged bonds in nearly one of every 10 such two-decade periods since 1802, and lagged T bills in about 5% of all 20-year periods.

 

Special counsel Robert Mueller seeks Trump presidency records

The probe into alleged Russian meddling in the US election is reportedly seeking White House files on President Donald Trump’s time in office.

Documents on Mr Trump’s sacking of the FBI director and his son’s meeting with a Russian lawyer are the target of the inquiry, report US media. They say special counsel Robert Mueller has outlined to the White House 13 areas of interest to his investigation. Mr Trump brands claims that his aides colluded with the Kremlin as fake news. According to reports in the New York Times and Washington Post on Wednesday evening, Mr Mueller is also interested in files relating to Mr Trump’s February sacking of Michael Flynn, his first national security adviser.Mr Mueller is furthermore said to be looking into the Oval Office meeting in which Mr Trump told Russian officials that firing “nut job” FBI chief James Comey in May had relieved “great pressure” on himself.  The special counsel reportedly asked for documents, too, on the White House’s response to questions about Donald Trump Jr’s June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer. Mr Trump’s eldest son was led to believe the meeting would yield damaging information about his father’s Democratic presidential opponent Hillary Clinton. Mr Mueller has also asked for any White House emails or documents relating to Paul Manafort, the former chief of the Trump campaign, reports the Washington Post.

ECB to wind down stimulus starting early 2018: BlackRock’s Rieder

NEW YORK (Reuters) – BlackRock Inc portfolio manager Rick Rieder said investors should look for the European Central Bank to withdraw some of its stimulus beginning early next year. “We think at the next meeting they will announce a taper,” or a wind-down in the ECB bond-buying program, said Rieder, global chief investment officer of fixed income at the world’s largest asset management company, which oversees $5.7 trillion in assets. Such an announcement would come at the same time as a historic shift by central bankers in the United States to unwind bond-buying quantitative easing programs they put in place to stimulate the economy after the 2007-2009 global financial crisis. The Fed said on Wednesday it would begin in October to reduce its approximately $4.2 trillion in holdings of U.S. Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities. “It’s the right thing, and it’s historic,” said Rieder. Rieder said interest rates are too low in the developed world and that the European economy could “absolutely withstand” tighter monetary policy, including somewhat higher rates. Yet ECB policymakers disagree on whether to set a definitive end-date for their money-printing program when they meet in October, raising the chance that they will keep open at least the option of prolonging it again, six sources told Reuters this month. Rieder, who manages several portfolios at BlackRock, said he has been offloading longer-term government debt in developed markets in recent weeks but also buying agency-backed mortgage-backed securities, which he sees as reasonably priced “relative to other high-quality assets.”

Wells Fargo may be facing Fed penalty, Yellen says

Reuters Yellen on Wells Fargo: ‘Egregious and unacceptable.’

Wells Fargo may still face a penalty from the Federal Reserve for opening millions of unauthorized accounts.

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen at a press conference Wednesday was asked about her earlier remarks to Congress, when she said the central bank could take enforcement actions against the lender. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has asked the Fed to use its powers to remove the board at Wells Fargo. Yellen first said that what Wells Fargo WFC, +0.58%  did was “egregious and unacceptable.” “We take our supervision responsibilities of the company very seriously, and we are attempting to understand what the root causes of those problems are and to address them,” Yellen said. “I’m not able to discuss confidential supervisory information and not yet able to tell you, but we’re committed to taking the actions we regard as necessary and appropriate to make sure the right set of controls are in place in that organization.” The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau internally weighed a fine as large as $10 billion before hitting Wells Fargo with a $100 million penalty, according to a memo released this week by the House Financial Services Committee.

Fed says Harvey and Irma will have no lasting economic impact

Joshua Young takes some of his personal belonging out by kayak after flooding hit his apartment building during Hurricane Irma on September 12, 2017 in the San Marco area of Jacksonville, Florida.
Carolyn Cole | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images Joshua Young takes some of his personal belonging out by kayak after flooding hit his apartment building during Hurricane Irma on September 12, 2017 in the San Marco area of Jacksonville, Florida.

As yet another hurricane rips through the Caribbean, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday said two of its nastiest predecessors, Harvey and Irma, will have little long-lasting economic effects. The central bank, after a two-day policymaking meeting, noted the harm Harvey and Irma caused but said it’s unlikely to be long-lasting. In fact, the Fed actually raised its projection for economic growth and lowered its outlook for the unemployment rate. “Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria have devastated many communities, inflicting severe hardship,” the post-meeting statement said. “Storm-related disruptions and rebuilding will affect economic activity in the near term, but past experience suggests that the storms are unlikely to materially alter the course of the national economy over the medium term.” New York Fed President William Dudley recently suggested that the ultimate impact of the storms actually could be a modest boost to the economy due to rebuilding activity. The “broken windows” economic theory has its detractors, but Dudley is not alone in suggesting that storm rebuilding results in some growth. The Fed said that it still expects the economy to grow at “a moderate pace” while the employment picture “will strengthen somewhat further.” Higher gasoline prices in the storms’ aftermath will boost inflation “temporarily,” but apart from that effect, inflation on a 12-month basis is expected to remain somewhat below 2 percent in the near term.” That 2 percent level is critical as it represents the long-term Fed target for inflation. In its quarterly economic projections, the Fed raised its GDP outlook for 2017 from 2.1 percent to 2.2 percent. Nick Bit: They are not seeing the threat to the financial system by the potential 350 to 500 billion uninsured wipe out in uninsured property. you can’t see what you don’t want to see!

Here’s what Ford’s decision to idle plants tells us about car sales

 

Plants make low-selling vehicles, including sedans such as the Ford Fiesta subcompact and the Ford Fusion

Ford Motor Co. has announced it will idle five plants in North America, but that goes beyond the car maker’s own effort to curb its inventories. Ford F, +0.09%  said Tuesday that production lines in three plants in the U.S. and two in Mexico will go through scheduled downtimes before the end of the year.  The factories in question make low-selling vehicles, including sedans such as the Ford Fiesta subcompact and the Ford Fusion, which have fallen out of favor with consumers who continue to favor SUVs and compact SUVs. “While it is good to see Ford trim production to meet demand, investors will likely read the cuts as further evidence that the US industry continues to get more challenging as (seasonally adjusted annual rate) remains short of expectations,” analysts at ISI Evercore said in a note Wednesday.Car sales have fallen steadily this year from the record numbers posted in previous years. The industry has rolled out incentives to lure buyers back to their showrooms, including zero-interest financing and longer car loans. Ford is far from alone in dealing with one challenge: Trying to keep inventories and incentives under control by being disciplined in production as they contemplate the right mix of sedans and SUVs, and matching that to the appropriate manufacturing capacity, said Michelle Krebs, an analyst with Cox Automotive’s Autotrader. The idling of  plants are due to declining sales of sedans and of hybrid and electric vehicles, “a segment that has been slumping for some time as inventories and incentives have climbed,” she said.