Monday, 8 February 2016

Bears 24 Bulls 10

Baltic Dry Index. 298 - 05        Brent Crude 34.32

LIR Gold Target in 2019: $30,000.  Revised due to QE programs.

"October: This is one of the peculiarly dangerous months to speculate in stocks. The others are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, December, August and February."

Mark Twain.

So it’s decided! According to the Super Bowl indicator, 2016 will be a bear year. The Great Reconnect between Wall Street and Main Street will be a rout on Wall Street.

Will a Panthers Super Bowl win be bullish for stocks?

NEW YORK — The big game is Sunday. As odd as it seems, fans of Wall Street superstition might not be rooting for their favorite football team to be the Super Bowl champ.

In 40 of the last 49 Super Bowls, there has been a weird relationship between who wins the game and how the stock market does that year.

Dubbed the Super Bowl Indicator, this basically says that if the NFC team wins, stocks will end the year with a gain. Conversely, an AFC win means stocks end the year in the red.

Rational people know that football and stocks have no connection. Forces such as the economy, corporate earnings, interest rates and — as this year has made so clear — oil prices determine the direction of the market.

Even Robert Stovall, who first brought the indicator to the public’s attention years ago, admits there is nothing scientific about it, chalking it up to coincidence.

Still, an 81.6% success rate is hard to ignore. Last year the indicator worked again, but just barely. The AFC’s New England Patriots won. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index ended the year down, but its loss was only 0.7%

Back to Sunday’s game. Based on the Super Bowl Indicator, stock investors should be pulling for the Carolina Panthers to win. Oddsmakers have them favored.

But assuming the indicator works again, and considering the stock market’s horrific start to 2016, things are looking pretty good for the Denver Broncos — underdog or not.

In saner news, gloom just keeps piling up in the global economy. America seems to be sliding into a new recession. China hitting a hard landing. Commodities and shipping are in a depression. And Europe as usual, in a quagmire all of its own making. Maybe the Super Bowl indicator will be right after all. In our brave new century, tomorrow will not be like today which was like yesterday. Under a mountain of unrepayable fiat money debt, the old order has broken down.

Draghi Can’t Argue With Carney’s Unforgiving World Assessment

February 8, 2016 — 12:01 AM GMT
It’s an unforgiving world, according to Bank of England Governor Mark Carney. Mario Draghi would probably be inclined to agree.

As the European Central Bank president pumps billions of euro of stimulus into the economy every month, he’s seeing continued euro-area expansion and a slow decline in unemployment. But he’s also faces outside forces including an emerging market-led slowdown and an oil-price slump that threaten to drag inflation back below zero.

That’s all combining to make for a gloomy outlook -- the European Commission just cut its 2016 forecasts -- and means Draghi, who is required to look at price stability, is again reconsidering stimulus mere months after upping his efforts. While data this week will probably show the euro-region economy grew for an 11th quarter at the end of 2015, the pace is modest, and not enough to offset the global disinflationary pressures afflicting the region.

“Domestic demand is OK, it’s the external environment which is not providing that big a boost,” said Marco Valli, chief euro-area economist at UniCredit Bank AG in Milan. “That is not going to change rapidly anytime soon.”

The 19-nation region probably grew 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Growth in 2015 is predicted at 1.5 percent, the best full-year performance since 2011.

Growth of this kind “must be considered normal in the current climate,” said Karsten Junius, chief economist at Bank J Safra Sarasin in Zurich. “The euro area has an inflation problem, not a growth problem.”

Still, maintaining even that limited quarterly pace could be a struggle: economic confidence slipped at the start of the year and a composite Purchasing Managers Index fell to a four-month low in January.

The Stoxx 600 Index has fallen 11 percent this year and the DAX, Germany’s benchmark, is down more than 13 percent. The Sentix investor confidence index dropped to the lowest in a year in January.

The European Commission on Thursday cut its 2016 growth prediction to 1.7 percent from 1.8 percent and said Germany, France and Italy -- the region’s largest economies -- will all perform worse than predicted just three months ago.

The EU's €110bn problem: slow death of Schengen risks new crisis for Europe's battered economies

One of EU's harshest critics calls on Brussels to preserve passport-free travel at all costs to stop the continent from descending into economic turmoil

he collapse of the Schengen system of open borders risks plunging Europe into fresh economic turmoil, Hungary’s foreign minister has warned.

Europe’s escalating migration crisis - which saw over a million people pour into the continent last year - has led to the re-introduction of temporary border controls in the EU for the first time time in two decades, threatening to reverse one of Brussels’ landmark integration projects.

Border controls threaten to derail Europe's shaky economic recovery

A full blown dismantling of the borderless zone - where people and trade can move without restriction between 26 countries - would cause “unforeseeable damage” to continent’s beleaguered economies, Peter Szijjarto, Hungary’s foreign minister has said.

“If the Schengen zone is going to be demolished or destroyed, then it will cause such serious economic damage that I don’t know how Europe is going to handle it", Mr Szijjarto told The Telegraph.

His warning comes amid fears that abolishing Europe's open borders would wipe €110bn off the EU's economies in 10 years.

Around 0.8pc of the EU’s total economic output would be lost within a decade if Schengen were fully dismantled, according to Strategie, a think-tank funded by the French government.

Falls in tourism would make up nearly half of the lost output, as the return of internal border checks would disrupt the widespread practice of short-term travel in the continent.

Permanent borders would also impose a 3pc tax on trade and lead to a 10pc-20pc decline in trade until 2026, said Strategie.

China's Foreign-Exchange Reserves Decline to $3.23 Trillion

February 7, 2016 — 2:12 AM GMT Updated on February 7, 2016 — 10:05 AM GMT
China’s foreign-exchange reserves shrank to the smallest since 2012, indicating that the central bank sold dollars as the yuan’s retreat to a five-year low exacerbated depreciation pressure.

The world’s largest currency hoard decreased by $99.5 billion in January to $3.23 trillion, according to a People’s Bank of China statement released on Sunday. The contraction was less than a Bloomberg survey’s median estimate of a $120 billion drop. The stockpile slumped by more than half a trillion dollars in 2015, the first-ever annual decline.

Policy makers fighting to hold up the weakening yuan amid slower economic growth, plunging stocks and increasing outflows have been burning through the reserves. The draw-down has continued since the central bank’s surprise devaluation of the currency in August, when the stockpile tumbled $94 billion, a monthly record before December’s unprecedented $108 billion decline.

“While the remaining reserves represent a substantial war chest, the rapid pace of depletion in recent months is simply unsustainable,” said Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific chief economist at IHS Global Insight in Singapore. “Domestic private investors and global currency traders see a one-way bet against the currency. This has resulted in large-scale private capital outflows since early 2015 as expectations mount that the PBOC will eventually be forced to capitulate once its reserves are sufficiently depleted.”

Capital outflows increased to $158.7 billion in December, the most since September and were $1 trillion last year, according to estimates from Bloomberg Intelligence. That’s more than seven times the amount of cash that left in 2014.

The PBOC has stepped up efforts to stem the exodus, warning speculators that they will be punished. It intervened in the Hong Kong market last month after the yuan’s offshore exchange rate sank to a record 2.9 percent discount to the onshore rate. Apart from selling dollars, the monetary authority also gave guidance to some Chinese lenders in the city to suspend yuan lending to curb short selling, a move that contributed to the overnight interbank lending rate surging to an all-time high of 66.8 percent on Jan. 12

Unpaid and angry, some Chinese workers ditch holidays to protest

Sat Feb 6, 2016 3:03am EST
QIAN'AN/DONGGUAN, China This year, laborer Fan Fu and 20 or so colleagues working on the Zixia Garden apartment complex in Hebei province have not joined China's legion of migrant workers returning home to celebrate new year with their families.

Instead, they have camped in the offices of the property developer's subcontractor, demanding almost a year's unpaid wages and too angry and proud to go back to native towns and villages empty-handed.

With China's economy growing at its slowest in 25 years, more workers face Fan's predicament and labor unrest is on the rise, a concern for Beijing as it seeks to avoid social unrest even as financial pressures build.

"The developer has kept using the fact that they have no money as an excuse. As of now they haven't paid us a single penny," said Fan, who brought others from his home town in the western province of Sichuan to work on the apartments.

"We really don't have any other options," he told Reuters in the subcontractor's offices, crowded with bedding and personal possessions.

The group had earlier petitioned local authorities for redress and staged protests outside government offices in Qian'an, a city in Hebei in China's north.

When water and electricity were cut to the dorm where they lived, the subcontractor allowed them to move in temporarily.

Fan and about 530 other workers on the apartment project are owed paychecks of between 20,000 and 50,000 yuan ($3,000-$7,500). They said the government had offered each non-local laborer 2,000 yuan in cash if they left for the holidays.

The developer, Qianan City Xinyuan Real Estate, did not respond to Reuters' requests for comment on the protests and the unpaid wages. The Qian'an government said they were looking into the issue but declined to give details.

The four most dangerous words in investing are “This time it’s different”.

John Templeton.

At the Comex silver depositories Friday final figures were: Registered 28.53 Moz, Eligible 127.74 Moz, Total 158.27 Moz. 

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
Herd Mentality -Cases such as Tulipomania in 1624–when Tulip bulbs traded at a higher price than gold–suggest the existence of what I would dub “Mackay’s Law of Mass Action:” when it comes to the effect of social behavior on the intelligence of individuals, 1+1 is often less than 2, and sometimes considerably less than 0.

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Bernard Baruch

Markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent.

John Maynard Keynes

Don’t ever make the mistake of telling the market it is wrong.

James Dines

Wall Street never changes, the pockets change, the suckers change, the stocks change, but Wall Street never changes, because human nature never changes.

Jesse Livermore

Solar  & Related Update.

With events happening fast in the development of solar power and graphene, I’ve added this new section. Updates as they get reported. Is converting sunlight to usable cheap AC or DC energy mankind’s future from the 21st century onwards? DC? A quantum computer next?

From allergens to anodes: Pollen derived battery electrodes

Date: February 5, 2016

Source: Purdue University

Summary: Pollens, the bane of allergy sufferers, could represent a boon for battery makers: Recent research has suggested their potential use as anodes in lithium-ion batteries.
Pollens, the bane of allergy sufferers, could represent a boon for battery makers: Recent research has suggested their potential use as anodes in lithium-ion batteries.
"Our findings have demonstrated that renewable pollens could produce carbon architectures for anode applications in energy storage devices," said Vilas Pol, an associate professor in the School of Chemical Engineering and the School of Materials Engineering at Purdue University.
Batteries have two electrodes, called an anode and a cathode. The anodes in most of today's lithium-ion batteries are made of graphite. Lithium ions are contained in a liquid called an electrolyte, and these ions are stored in the anode during recharging.
The researchers tested bee pollen- and cattail pollen-derived carbons as anodes.
"Both are abundantly available," said Pol, who worked with doctoral student Jialiang Tang. "The bottom line here is we want to learn something from nature that could be useful in creating better batteries with renewable feedstock."
Research findings are detailed in a paper that appeared on Feb. 5 in Nature's Scientific Reports.
Whereas bee pollen is a mixture of different pollen types collected by honey bees, the cattail pollens all have the same shape.
"I started looking into pollens when my mom told me she had developed pollen allergy symptoms about two years ago," Tang said. "I was fascinated by the beauty and diversity of pollen microstructures. But the idea of using them as battery anodes did not really kick in until I started working on battery research and learned more about carbonization of biomass."
The researchers processed the pollen under high temperatures in a chamber containing argon gas using a procedure called pyrolysis, yielding pure carbon in the original shape of the pollen particles. They were further processed, or "activated," by heating at lower temperature -- about 300 degrees Celsius -- in the presence of oxygen, forming pores in the carbon structures to increase their energy-storage capacity.
The research showed the pollen anodes could be charged at various rates. While charging for 10 hours resulted in a full charge, charging them for only one hour resulted in more than half of a full charge, Pol said. "The theoretical capacity of graphite is 372 milliamp hours per gram, and we achieved 200 milliamp hours after one hour of charging," he said.
The researchers tested the carbon at 25 degrees Celsius and 50 degrees Celsius to simulate a range of climates.
"This is because the weather-based degradation of batteries is totally different in New Mexico compared to Indiana," Pol said.
Findings showed the cattail pollens performed better than bee pollen.
The work is ongoing. Whereas the current work studied the pollen in only anodes, future research will include work to study them in a full-cell battery with a commercial cathode.
"We are just introducing the fascinating concept here," Pol said. "Further work is needed to determine how practical it might be."
Electron microscopy studies were performed at the Birck Nanotechnology Center in Purdue's Discovery Park. 

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished January

DJIA: -06 Down. NASDAQ: +75 Down. SP500: -02 Down.  Both the DJIA and the S&P 500 have now turned negative.

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