Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Has Trumpmania Ended?

Baltic Dry Index. 1200 -05   Brent Crude 50.61

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

“Of course, there will be transfers of sovereignty. But would I be intelligent to draw the attention of public opinion to this fact?”

Jean-Claude Juncker. Failed Luxembourg Prime Minister and ex-president of the Euro Group of Finance Ministers. Confessed liar. EC President.

Is it all over for Trumpmania? It’s too early to tell. But in all mania’s, getting out early beats getting carried out last. Below, if history is any guide, the mania should stage another rally attempt. But past performance is no guarantee of future results, as they say in disclosure documents.

This time it really could be different. For one thing, the Fed has started tightening. Inflation, albeit tame, has started to appear once again. Political uncertainty stalks the Americas, wracks the EUSSR, and tensions are high and rising in East Asia. In the Middle East the new Aleppo is Mosul.

Trumpmania might not have ended, but it just took a large reality shock.

What’s next after stock market’s sharp drop? Here’s what history says

Published: Mar 21, 2017 11:33 p.m. ET
What happens after the stock market suffers a sharp drop for the first time following a protracted period of quietude? That is precisely the question Wall Street investors may be pondering after Tuesday’s downdraft—the biggest daily decline for the U.S. stock-index benchmarks since Oct. 11—resulted in the end of a 109-day streak of days without decline of at least 1%.

Strategists at Bespoke Investment Group ran the numbers on returns for the S&P 500 SPX, -1.24%  going back to 1928 following a period of 100 days or more without a 1% decline (see graphic below):

----The data group have cited only 11 such instances in which trading without a down day hit the century mark, and on average during the week, month and three months following the first decline during those periods, the broad-market S&P 500 tends to end higher.

For the week, the average gain is 0.65%, advancing 8 out of 11 times. The average return after a month is 2.34%, with returns positive in 9 out those 11 occasions. After three months, average returns are about 2.44%, boasting gains in 8 out of those 11 periods (see table below).

To be sure, those statistics may offer no solace (and no guarantee of future gains) to investors fretting that the wheels may be coming off the equity train that has been powered by promises of fiscal stimulus from President Donald Trump. Anticipated delays in his health-care overhaul has led some to fret that the slog toward implementing pro-business policies, including deregulation, tax cuts and infrastructure spending could be longer than initially expected.

But it isn’t exactly clear, beyond lingering concerns about lofty stock valuations, what set off a sharp tumble in stocks on Tuesday, which saw the Dow DJIA, -1.14% fall 237 points, or 1.1%, to end at 20,668, the S&P 500 sink 1.2% to close at 2,344, and the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -1.83%  to suffer a 1.8% drop to finish at 5,793. Broadly, it was the worst daily drop for the benchmarks in five months.

Wed Mar 22, 2017 | 1:52am EDT

Asian stocks slide as fresh Trump jitters damage risk sentiment

Asian stocks posted their biggest drop in two weeks on Wednesday as growing doubts about Donald Trump's economic growth agenda prompted investors to dump risky assets and rush to safe havens such as gold and government debt.

Equity markets across the region were a sea of red and the Australian dollar AUD=D3 nursed heavy losses as funds took profits from a two-week long rally, pushing a gauge of market volatility .VIX up to its highest levels this year.

Stock markets in Europe are set to take Asia's cues and open lower with key index futures pointing down after U.S. stocks .DJI lost more than 1 percent in heavy trading. .FFIc1

----MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS fell 1.4 percent, its biggest intraday percentage fall since March 9. In the previous session, the index hit its highest level since June 2015.

Japanese stocks .N225 led regional losers, falling 2 percent, as investors ignored data showing exports grew the most in more than two years in February.

Australian shares tumbled 1.6 percent.

Despite the tumble, some investors such as Sherwood Zhang at Matthews Asia, part of a team that manages $26 billion in global assets, was optimistic about the outlook for Hong Kong stocks, citing relatively reasonable valuations.

We close for the day with another growing scandal in Brazil. Is there ever any other kind of news from Brazil? I think this new meat scandal will be with us for some time. At least it’s not dodgy Europeans passing off horsemeat as beef.

Why Brazil's Tainted-Meat Probe Worries the World: QuickTake Q&A

by Tatiana Freitas and Fabiana Batista
21 March 2017, 18:04 GMT
Though Brazil has generated more than its share of scandal and corruption allegations recently, a new probe into sales of tainted meat there has sent shock waves far and wide. The so-called Weak Flesh investigation has generated allegations of widespread bribery and sales of bad meat both at home and overseas. In response, several countries have either banned or curbed beef and poultry from Brazil, the world’s largest exporter of both.

1. How serious are the accusations?

Investigators say they have evidence that 21 meat companies bribed government inspectors to approve sales and exports, even when the meat and poultry was contaminated or spoiled. Thirty-three federal inspectors are being investigated, according to the Agriculture Ministry.

2. Who’s been named?

Notably, JBS SA and BRF SA, Brazil’s two biggest meat suppliers. A JBS worker in Parana state has been accused of bribing inspectors. The company says it doesn’t agree with the employee’s actions and will take "applicable measures." Two BRF executives have been arrested. A BRF plant in Goias state was suspended by the government after allegations of irregularities. Police said the company shipped seven cargoes of salmonella-tainted meat to Europe. BRF said the meat was permitted under European standards, and that the plant follows national and international sanitary standards.

3. What do we know about the tainted meat? 

Apart from the allegations against BRF and JBS, investigators say that in smaller slaughterhouses that supply the domestic market, meat, including sausages and cold cuts, was adulterated with ingredients including pig heads and cardboard. In some cases, they say, smells from spoiled meat were masked by applying acid.

Frozen Beef Stranded at Sea After China Shuts Out Brazil's Meat

Bloomberg News
Zhang Lian has 270 tons of frozen Brazilian beef on a ship steaming toward Shanghai that he may not be able to get through customs when the vessel arrives next month.

Zhang’s Shanghai Yadongsheng Import-Export Ltd. trades $200 million of meat annually, part of the global supply chain that keeps China fed. China’s decision to halt imports of Brazil’s meat until authorities are sure it’s safe has left Zhang with some worried customers.

"It’s a bad situation,” said Zhang, an import manager at Shanghai Yadongsheng, which is called ADP Shanghai in English. “We’re telling customers who ordered those containers to be patient. We are advising new customers to avoid ordering Brazilian beef for the foreseeable future."

Brazil is the world’s largest beef and chicken exporter, accounting for almost a fifth of global exports and its investigation into the possibility that some of that food is tainted has hit importers, shippers, food processors and customers around the world.

Zhang’s company has 10 containers of the meat on the high seas in a Hamburg Sud Group container ship that is due to arrive in Shanghai by the end of April. The meat is destined for supermarkets and restaurants, but if the situation isn’t resolved in time, it will have to be destroyed.

---- It takes a month or more for meat from Brazil to reach Asian ports, so cargoes already loaded are now in limbo. China, including Hong Kong, is the biggest export market for Brazilian meat, buying about a third of the $5.5 billion of beef shipped from Latin America’s largest economy last year, according to the meat exporters group Abiec.
At the Comex silver depositories Tuesday final figures were: Registered 39.33 Moz, Eligible 149.95 Moz, Total 189.28 Moz. 

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
Today, yet more distressing news from the wealth and jobs destroying EUSSR. Greece broke and broken. Deutsche Bank sinking. Italy, Spain and France following Greece. In Italy, rules are made to be broken.

Brexit now, why wait two years for the ultimate tragedy. The EUSSR flies apart when the next global slowdown hits, or Deutsche Bank’s leveraged gambling book blows up. Better out than in.

"We decide on something, leave it lying around, and wait and see what happens. If no one kicks up a fuss, because most people don't understand what has been decided, we continue step by step until there is no turning back."

Jean-Claude Juncker. Failed Luxembourg Prime Minister and ex-president of the Euro Group of Finance Ministers. Confessed liar. EC President.

Tue Mar 21, 2017 | 7:21am EDT

Italy's 5-Star builds strong lead over Renzi's PD in polls

Italy's anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, benefiting from a split in the ruling Democratic Party (PD) and divisions in the center-right, has built a strong lead over its rivals, an opinion poll showed on Tuesday.
The Ipsos poll in Corriere della Sera newspaper put the 5-Star, which wants a referendum on Italy's membership of the euro, on 32.3 percent - its highest ever reading and 5.5 points ahead of the PD, which was on 26.8 percent.
The survey suggests that the 5-Star is likely to emerge as the largest group in national elections due by early 2018, although it might struggle to create a government given its stated aversion to forging coalitions.
Such a scenario could spook financial markets wary of both the 5-Star's euroskepticism and the threat of prolonged political instability in Italy, which has the heaviest public debt burden in Europe after Greece.
The PD appeared to be paying the price for its internal feuds, dropping more than three percentage points in a month, as former prime minister Matteo Renzi battles to reassert his authority following a walkout by a left-wing faction.
The breakaway group, backed by former prime minister Massimo D'Alema and former industry minister Pier Luigi Bersani, has created a new party, the Democratic and Progressive Movement, which had backing of 3.3 percent in the Ipsos poll.
"Political parties that preoccupy themselves with their internal divisions are electorally doomed," said the British-based think tank Eurointelligence in a note.
"We are now at the point where it becomes increasingly improbable for the PD to regain power after the next elections."

Wed Mar 22, 2017 | 2:07am EDT

Italy to test EU rules again with Veneto banks bailout

Italy's plans to bail out two regional banks pose a tough dilemma to European regulators, who are still considering whether Monte dei Paschi qualifies for state aid, three months after giving a preliminary green light.

Banca Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca said on Friday they had requested a so-called precautionary recapitalization by the state - a mechanism that exploits an exception to European rules meant to prevent the use of taxpayer money to save banks.

Italy is already seeking to use the scheme for its fourth biggest bank Monte dei Paschi (BMPS.MI), where the state is expected to inject 6.6 billion euros to fill an 8.8 billion euro capital shortfall.

The rest of the money needed by the Tuscan bank is due to come from holders of its junior debt, but retail investors in its subordinated bonds will be compensated by the government, on the grounds that they were mis-sold the securities.

Rome wants to replicate that framework to inject an estimated 5 billion euros in the two unlisted Veneto-based banks, already rescued once, last year, by government-sponsored, privately funded bank bailout fund Atlante.

The government is keen to avoid imposing unpopular losses on tens of thousands of ordinary Italians who put their savings in the banks. It also wants to spare senior bond investors and big current account holders - who would otherwise have to take a hit under a strict interpretation of European bail-in rules.

Those rules say state aid can be allowed on a temporary basis to banks that have failed regulatory stress tests but are still deemed solvent, if refusal would risk seriously disturbing the economy and financial stability of a member state.

The European Central Bank decided not to disclose the outcome of stress tests on smaller banks - so there is a question mark over the Veneto banks' exact state of health.

Decisions can only be reached in Europe if France and Germany agree.

Jean-Claude Juncker. Failed Luxembourg Prime Minister and ex-president of the Euro Group of Finance Ministers. Confessed liar. EC President.

Technology Update.

With events happening fast in the development of solar power and graphene, I’ve added this 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?

Liquid storage of solar energy: More effective than ever before

Date: March 20, 2017

Source: Chalmers University of Technology

Summary: Researchers have demonstrated efficient solar energy storage in a chemical liquid. The stored energy can be transported and then released as heat whenever needed, they say.
Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden have demonstrated efficient solar energy storage in a chemical liquid. The stored energy can be transported and then released as heat whenever needed. The research is now presented on the cover of the scientific journal Energy & Environmental Science.
Many consider the sun the energy source of the future. But one challenge is that it is difficult to store solar energy and deliver the energy 'on demand'.
A research team from Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, has shown that it is possible to convert the solar energy directly into energy stored in the bonds of a chemical fluid -- a so-called molecular solar thermal system. The liquid chemical makes it possible to store and transport the stored solar energy and release it on demand, with full recovery of the storage medium. The process is based on the organic compound norbornadiene that upon exposure to light converts into quadricyclane.
'The technique means that that we can store the solar energy in chemical bonds and release the energy as heat whenever we need it.' says Professor Kasper Moth-Poulsen, who is leading the research team. 'Combining the chemical energy storage with water heating solar panels enables a conversion of more than 80 percent of the incoming sunlight.'
The research project was initiated at Chalmers more than six years ago and the research team contributed in 2013 to a first conceptual demonstration. At the time, the solar energy conversion efficiency was 0.01 percent and the expensive element ruthenium played a major role in the compound. Now, four years later, the system stores 1.1 percent of the incoming sunlight as latent chemical energy -- an improvement of a factor of 100. Also, ruthenium has been replaced by much cheaper carbon-based elements.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished February

DJIA: 20,812  +133 Up. NASDAQ:  5,825 +120 Up. SP500: 2,364 +115 Up.

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