Saturday 29 April 2017

Weekend Update 29/04/2017 A Trumpmania Stock Record.

Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone.

John Maynard Keynes

Note: During the week I introduced a new page section for following developments in solar power and batteries, and revamped the Graphene section  to start listing the weekly developments.

Up first, how Wall Street’s Vampire Squids and crooked gambling banksters got it all so wrong last year. Almost unanimously, they bet heavily on the Hillary Clinton campaign, and a Wall Street friendly President Clinton paying back their bets over the next four years.  They could have saved all the millions, and simply bet blue state. Trumpmania is off to a postwar record in US stocks. Who knew draining swamps, locking up opponents, and building walls, could be such fun!

The markets are moved by animal spirits, and not by reason.

John Maynard Keynes

Dow’s rally from election to Trump’s first 100 days is a postwar record
Published: Apr 28, 2017 10:51 p.m. ET
As President Donald Trump nears his 100th day in office on Saturday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has booked the best performance in the postwar era under a first-term president when measured from Election Day through the 100th day in office, according to Dow Jones data.

The Dow DJIA, -0.19%  has rallied 14.22% since Trump’s stunning Nov. 8 election victory over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton after a campaign promising a raft of Wall Street friendly policies, including tax cuts, deregulation and a boost in infrastructure spending. (The S&P 500 index SPX, -0.19% has gained about 11.6% over that period, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.02% has climbed 16.5%.)

For first-term presidents overall, including those before World War II, Trump ranks fourth, trailing Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Republican presidents Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover.

----Just looking at Trump’s first 100 days in office since he was sworn in on Jan. 20, he ranks seventh in Dow performance, but second for a first-term president, with a 6.12% return; while the S&P 500 has gained about 5.32% over the period, placing the Republican roughly fifth on the equity gauge created in 1971.

Greenspan Says Trump Has a Math Problem With His Budget

by Rich Miller
28 April 2017, 12:00 GMT+1
President Donald Trump’s budget numbers don’t add up and his tax and spending plans are likely to lead to bigger deficits and higher interest rates, said former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

“His arithmetic is the problem,” Greenspan said in a Bloomberg Television interview with David Westin aired on Friday.

Trump has said he intends to slash corporate and individual taxes in an effort to make the U.S. more competitive and boost economic growth. The president has also pledged to ramp up military outlays.

The trouble, Greenspan said, is that Trump doesn’t seem willing to make the commensurate cuts in federal spending to offset his tax and defense plans. In particular, he said, what’s needed is a reduction in so-called entitlement expenditures on pensions and health care for the elderly.

“You’re going to get a very large budget deficit” otherwise, said Greenspan, who now heads his own Washington-based consulting firm. That, in turn, will lead to higher long-term interest rates as investors react to rising inflation, he added.

Greenspan did have kind words for Trump’s steps to reduce and remove regulations throughout the economy. That “has been very valuable” and has contributed to the strength of the stock market, he said.

In Brexit news, “so far so good” says Moody’s. Still, that’s what the man who fell off the Empire State building said as he passed the 30th floor. The UK economy is largely hostage to what happens next in the economies of America, China and continental Europe. If they boom, the UK economy benefits too. If they bust, …..

It is better to be roughly right than precisely wrong.

John Maynard Keynes

Moody's: UK economy holding up well, despite emerging signs of softer consumption and housing market activity
Global Credit Research - 27 Apr 2017
London, 27 April 2017 -- Macroeconomic conditions in the UK remain firm overall, despite some signs of slowing consumption and a moderating housing market, Moody's Investors Service said in its latest Brexit Monitor today.

The report, "UK Brexit Monitor", a regular publication covering key economic and political developments about Brexit, focusing on the UK, is available on Moody's subscribers can access the report using the link at the end of this press release. The research is an update to the markets and does not constitute a rating action.

"A pick-up in industrial production, particularly in the capital goods segment, has supported UK economic activity in early 2017," said Colin Ellis, a Moody's Managing Director and co-author of the Brexit Monitor. "While indicators point to risks of softer consumption growth, surveys suggest output growth is resilient, manufacturers' export orders are rising and investment intentions are stabilising, albeit at low levels."

Resilient macroeconomic conditions in the UK since the June 2016 referendum on EU membership support Moody's central view of a "modest and manageable" credit impact of Brexit for UK issuers.

Investment sentiment has returned to pre-referendum levels in the first two months of the year supported by a brightening outlook for global growth, but remains below five-year averages.

Consumption-related indicators are in line with five-year averages, but lost some momentum in the first quarter. Rising price pressures, softer house price growth and a dip in survey indicators for household credit availability are emerging headwinds.

Trade balance indicators are below five-year averages and have deteriorated on a year-on-year basis since the referendum. Surveys point to rising export orders in manufacturing supported by a pick-up in global growth, but this trend is less visible in the services sector.

Consumer price inflation is broadly in line with five-year averages, but has edged higher since the referendum on the back of rising import prices.

In other news, the most expensive goods freight line in history, continues to expand. China just imported the most expensive scotch whisky on the planet.

29 April 2017 - 05H00

First direct London-China train completes 12,000 km run

The first freight train to link China directly to the UK arrived in the eastern Chinese city of Yiwu Saturday after covering over 12,000-kilometres (7,500 miles), making it the second-longest route in the world.
The journey is the latest effort in China's drive to strengthen trade links with western Europe along a modern-day "Silk Road" route. 

The world's top trading nation launched the "One Belt, One Road" strategy in 2013, and has since poured millions into constructing vast infrastructure links.

The train -- loaded with whisky, baby milk, pharmaceuticals and machinery -- departed London on April 10 and passed through France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan during its 20-day trip before arriving in Yiwu in eastern Zhejiang province, a major wholesale centre for small consumer goods.

The new route is longer than Russia's famous Trans-Siberian railway, but about 1000 kilometres shorter than the record-holding China-Madrid link, which opened in 2014.

London is the 15th city to be linked to a new freight network offered by the state-run China Railway Corporation, which says its services are cheaper than air transport and quicker than shipping.

The journey should be 30 days faster than moving the goods by ship, the provincial government had said, but the pilot run took two days more than the 18 days expected.

And the train, named the East Wind, has much less carrying capacity -- just 88 shipping containers, according to the Yiwu government, compared to the 10,000 to 20,000 containers cargo ships can carry.

It is unclear how much the venture cost, and some experts have questioned whether the ambitious project makes economic sense.

----China already has a regular direct freight train service to Germany, Europe's largest economy.

One route links the Chinese megacity of Chongqing to Duisburg, a steel-making town and one of Germany's most-important transportation and commercial hubs.

We close for the weekend with a timely article on France, sent in by a reader. Whoever wins next weekend’s run-off election it is well worth the time spent browsing.

100 Best Things to do in France

France is the number one tourist destination worldwide, and it is not difficult to see why. Quite apart from the diversity of its national monuments – many but by no means all of which are to be found in the capital city of Paris – it offers culture, tradition, fascinating history, romance and charm as well as fantastic cooking and first-rate wines.

It is interesting to note, when you are visiting France, that the French are extraordinarily nonchalant about the beauties and treasures in their wonderful country, almost as if they took them for granted. They live, eat and sleep with them in a completely different way to the rest of the world. For that reason, it is often difficult to find information about the lesser-known gems of antiquity or beauty hidden away in the remoter regions of France. This list of the best things to do in France will shed light, not only on the attractions and monuments with which everyone is acquainted, but on other equally beautiful or significant attractions which are all but unknown.

Melenchon Attacks Macron as Le Pen Fights to Win His Supporters

by Helene Fouquet and Mark Deen
28 April 2017, 18:13 GMT+1
The left-wing populist Jean-Luc Melenchon, who was eliminated from France’s presidential election this week, declined to endorse centrist front-runner Emmanuel Macron as he looked to keep hold of his 7.1 million voters ahead of a parliamentary ballot in June.

Melenchon, who came fourth in Sunday’s first-round vote, said he won’t vote for the anti-euro nationalist Marine Le Pen in the runoff on the May 7 in a 32-minute video posted on his official YouTube channel late Friday. But he also aimed criticism at the centrist Macron who has won endorsements from most of his mainstream rivals, as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“We can’t really call this a choice,” Melenchon said. “The nature of the two candidates makes it impossible to come out of this with stability.”

“One because he’s the extreme of finance, the other because she’s the extreme right,” he added, saying his party, France Unbowed, will reach the second round in 450 of the 577 constituencies up for grabs in the lower chamber of parliament in June and Macron sees him as a “threat.”

Politicians and observers across the European Union have been transfixed by the French election with Le Pen promising to pull out of the euro and erect barriers to trade with the rest of the bloc while Macron has vowed to revive the Franco-German partnership to begin a new era of continental cooperation.

With Macron widely tipped for a Clintonista coronation, I think I’ll put a tenner on Le Pen. With Macron lacking members in the Parliament, he’s going to be hostage to the entrenched two big party powers if elected.

There is no harm in being sometimes wrong - especially if one is promptly found out.

John Maynard Keynes

We close as usual with an update from Jason Jencka in sunny California.

Amid Prediction of a Landslide Victory for Moderate Macron, the Wildcard of Voter Turnout Lurks: Enthusiasm Can “Trump” Polls

N. Jason Jenka  April 28, 2017 1:47  am ET

In the days since the first round of the French presidential election on April 23rd, global markets have been buoyed by confidence in the impending triumph of  former investment banker and moderate Europhile Emmanuel Macron over nationalist Marine LePen. The real risk of a fully Eurosceptic  second round runoff between LePen and Jean-Luc Melenchon had evidently been averted, the Euro was in a broad rally and volatility was subdued. This thesis has been supported by early polls showing Macron with a ~20 percent lead in direct polling against LePen. Lurking within these numbers though is a significant enthusiasm gap that LePen can exploit, conceivably to an extent that could stun complacent global observers.

 Lurking as an under-discussed element of current polling is the fact that 55% of voters in the first round of elections did not support Macron or LePen and thus cannot be firmly classified into either camp. The refusal of Melenchon, recipient of nearly 20% of the vote, to endorse Macron only adds fuel to the fire of electoral uncertainty in the second round Further, the risk of abstention is real with any lowered turnout being to the advantage of less-numerous but more motivated LePen voters. This possibility is roundly ignored in the media at present but  recent precedent exists for polls underestimating the election day might of a motivated minority when running against an uninspiring moderate; just ask President Trump.
Karen Gilchrist-CNBC April 27th 2017

N. Jason Jencka is presently studying Finance and Economics at Sierra Nevada College, located near the shores of Lake Tahoe on the border of California and Nevada. His interests include the interplay between world markets and the global political sphere, with a focus on developments of both sides of the Atlantic in North America and Europe. In his leisure time he enjoys connecting with those people that have an interesting story to tell and a genuine desire to make an impact in the world.