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.