Friday, 30 June 2017

H2 17 Arrives! Buyers Remorse?



Baltic Dry Index. 920 -09     Brent Crude 47.94

What do we need a psychiatrist for? We know Comrade Corbyn is nuts.

John Bull, with apologies to Homer Simpson.

Dress up Friday has finally arrived in the markets, but are US tech stocks signalling Trumpmania is finally ending? Is the harsh reality of real global uplift triggering higher interest rates, about to torpedoe most ships? With higher interest rates, is the debt tsunami about to reach shore? Has the high watermark of Trump, Trudeau, and Macron already been hit? Is it all “Calamity May” from here. “Sell in May, go away,” is starting to look better, than “every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.” 

Tech stocks suggest, that far from getting better and better, tech stocks have run out of “greater fools” to buy them at ever higher and higher prices. Eventually all manias end the same way. That last tulip, didn’t give as much delight as the first. The wife and mistress both agree your nuts, you’ve been a greater fool. The specs look around and see the casino’s not as full as it used to be. And those left seem to be edging towards the door. Hopium morphs into fear and despair.

Below, the bloom seems to be off the rose. Just as rising tide raises all ships, a falling tide lowers them. As interest rates rise the tide falls. Cue the Fed’s Plunge Protection Team.

"Liquidation sometimes is orderly, but more frequently degenerates into panic as the realization spreads that there is only so much money, not enough to enable everyone to sell out at the top."

Charles P. Kindleberger,  Manias, Panics and Crashes.

Tech Spoils Bank Party as Stocks, Dollar Slide: Markets Wrap

By Samuel Potter and Jeremy Herron
28 June 2017, 23:18 GMT+1
The shift in tone from central banks in Europe and the U.S. continued to drive financial markets, with stocks and bonds selling off and currencies from the euro to the loonie padding gains versus the dollar.

The U.S. technology sector’s woes deepened as renewed selling in the year’s biggest winners sent software and chipmaker shares to the lowest in seven weeks. Investors rotated into banks after the Federal Reserve cleared them to repurchase stocks. The 10-year Treasury note rate topped 2.26 percent, while government debt in Europe sold off faster on hawkish sings from the European Central Bank. The euro hit the highest level in more than a year and sterling rose a seventh day.

Volatility returned the financial markets as investors grapple with the fallout from central banks that seem intent on raising interest rates amid signs that the global economy is picking up steam, signaling the start of the end to nine years of stimulus. Tech remained a victim of investor rotation from growth to value stocks, suggesting that investors may be questioning the growth prospects in the world’s largest economy.

Here are some key upcoming events and data releases:
  • The Trump travel restrictions start from 8 p.m. New York time today, a person familiar said.
  • Japan’s calendar is even heavier with economic data on Friday, with reports due on inflation, factory output, unemployment, household consumption and housing starts.
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Fri Jun 30, 2017 | 5:16am BST

Dollar sulky on hawkish central banks, Asia stocks join global slump

The dollar extended its losses on Friday as major central banks signalled that the era of cheap money was coming to an end in a boon to sterling, the euro and the Canadian dollar, while Asian shares were hit by dismal performances of European and U.S. markets.

"International markets continued to adjust for a 2018 outlook where other central banks join the Fed in gradually reducing monetary stimulus," Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney, wrote in a note.

The dollar index .DXY fell 0.1 percent to 95.505, poised for a 1.8 percent slide this week, having fallen in all sessions but one. It is down 1.45 percent for the month, and 4.8 percent for the quarter.

The Korean won weakened against the dollar after the country reported industrial production rose by 0.2 percent in May from a month earlier, missing expectations for growth of 1.5 percent. That followed a 2.2 percent decline in April

The dollar was up 0.3 percent at 1,144.3 won KRW=KFTC.

But the greenback remained lower against other major currencies. Adding to the dollar's weakness against the yen was data showing Japanese core consumer prices rose 0.4 percent in May from a year earlier in its fifth straight month of gains, although inflation remains well below the central bank's 2 percent target.

The dollar fell 0.25 percent to 111.84 yen, after losing 0.2 percent on Thursday. It was heading for a 1.1 percent gain for the month, but is down 4.3 percent this year.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney surprised many on Wednesday by conceding a rate hike was likely to be needed as the economy came closer to running at full capacity.

Sterling GBP=D3 was 0.1 percent higher on Friday at $1.3017, adding to Thursday's 0.6 percent gain.
Two top policymakers at the Bank of Canada also suggested they might tighten monetary policy there as early as July.
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China Manufacturing Rose in June Amid Global Upturn

Bloomberg News
China’s official factory gauge concluded the first half of the year on a robust note, the latest evidence of stable momentum that gives policy makers room to continue defusing financial risks.

Key Points

  • The manufacturing purchasing managers index increased to 51.7 in June, beating all estimates compiled by a Bloomberg survey of economists, and the 51.2 reading in May
  • The non-manufacturing PMI rose to 54.9 compared to 54.5 a month earlier
  • New export orders rose to 52.0, the highest level since April 2012 
  • Numbers higher than 50 indicate expansionary conditions; below 50 signals contraction
·         Economic activity this year has proven more resilient than expected, giving policy makers time to focus on reining in financial risks and cooling a frothy property sector. Firmer global trade is boosting corporate profits and hiring, easing fears -- for now -- that efforts to cut excessive financial borrowing could derail the government’s target of 6.5 percent expansion in output.

Companies are assuming that curbs on excess leverage and the property sector will be transient this year, as the Communist Party won’t allow much economic pain before the leadership transition in the fall, according to a report published by research firm CBB International this week.

China’s manufacturing PMI reached its second highest level this year on the back of improving market sentiment and industrial upgrading, according to an NBS statement posted on its website. Pharmaceuticals, electrical and mechanical equipment manufacturing sectors performed especially well, while some traditional industries such as petroleum processing are under pressure, according to the statement.

"Stronger foreign demand is helping to support manufacturing activity," Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics Ltd. in Singapore, wrote in a note. "The price components both increased for the first time since December, suggesting that downward pressure on producer prices may now be easing."
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Fri Jun 30, 2017 | 12:17am BST

BoE's Haldane says need to look seriously at rate hike - BBC

Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane said on Thursday that the central bank needed to "look seriously" at raising interest rates to keep a lid on inflation which has pushed past the BoE's target and is set to rise further.

Last week, Haldane surprised financial markets by saying he was likely to vote for higher borrowing costs this year, adding to speculation about the first BoE rate hike in a decade.

"We need to look seriously at the possibility of raising interest rates to keep the lid on those cost of living increases," Haldane told the BBC during a visit to Wales.

"For now we are happy with where the rates are, we need to be vigilant for what happens next."
British inflation is at its highest level in nearly four years at 2.9 percent, tightening the squeeze on consumers who now face the added worry of political uncertainty after this month's inconclusive election.
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In other news, Mrs Merkel seems to be spoiling for a G-20 fight in Hamburg. China does its own thing. A repeat of the summer of 1987? Russia takes a pot-shot at “Big Lizzie.”

Merkel Slaps at Trump, Brexit in Combative Preview of G-20

By Patrick Donahue and Arne Delfs
29 June 2017, 08:27 GMT+1 29 June 2017, 11:32 GMT+1
German Chancellor Angela Merkel championed Europe, dismissed Brexit and said efforts to fight climate change are irreversible in a combative speech ahead of the Group of 20 summit that’s shaping up to be a confrontation over the direction of global policy.

Merkel, in a speech to lawmakers in Germany’s lower house of parliament on Thursday, noted that “the world has become less united” and acknowledged that discussions at the G-20 meeting in Hamburg on July 7-8 “will be very difficult.”

“The discord is obvious and it would be dishonest to paper over the conflict,” she said.

Merkel is preparing to host world leaders including U.S. President Donald Trump, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping of China amid a global shake-up that threatens much of the international order on issues established since World War II. On the agenda for the meeting are free trade, climate change and migration. G-20 nations, from Australia to Brazil, make up about two-thirds of the world population.
In a swipe at Trump’s “America First” rhetoric, the chancellor said that nations turning to isolation and protectionism are making a serious mistake and showcased a renewed “spirit of unity” in the European Union after the U.K. decision to exit.

All the same, the G-20 takes place “amid a particular set of challenges,” she said. “I’m convinced that we need the G-20 more urgently than ever before, because we can only move things together,” Merkel said. “Whoever believes that you can solve problems through isolation and protectionism is making a grave error.”

The German leader reserved her most dramatic language for the Paris climate treaty after Trump pulled out of the global accord aimed at confronting climate change, which Merkel called “irreversible and not negotiable.”

“We want to tackle this existential challenge and we can’t and we won’t wait until the last person on earth is convinced of the scientific basis for climate change,” Merkel said.

In response to Trump’s inward shift, Merkel played up new French President Emmanuel Macron as an ally, saying the German-France axis will drive forward European unity, “regardless of Brexit.” She is hosting Macron in Berlin on Thursday along with European leaders including the U.K.’s Theresa May and Paolo Gentiloni of Italy to align their position ahead of the G-20.
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Fri Jun 30, 2017 | 1:40am BST

China builds new military facilities on South China Sea islands - think tank

China has built new military facilities on islands in the South China Sea, a U.S. think tank reported on Thursday, a move that could raise tensions with Washington, which has accused Beijing of militarising the vital waterway.

The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), part of Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies, said new satellite images show missile shelters and radar and communications facilities being built on the Fiery Cross, Mischief and Subi Reefs in the Spratly Islands.

The United States has criticized China's build-up of military facilities on the artificial islands and is concerned they could be used to restrict free movement through the South China Sea, an important trade route.

Last month, a U.S. Navy warship sailed within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef in a so-called freedom of navigation operation, the first such challenge to Beijing's claim to most of the waterway since U.S. President Donald Trump took office.

China has denied U.S. charges that it is militarising the sea, which also is claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Trump has sought China's help in reining in North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, and tension between Washington and Beijing over military installations in the South China Sea could complicate those efforts.

China has built four new missile shelters on Fiery Cross Reef to go with the eight already on the artificial island, AMTI said. Mischief and Subi each have eight shelters, the think tank said in a previous report.

In February, Reuters reported that China had nearly finished building structures to house long-range surface-to-air missiles on the three islands.

On Mischief Reef, a very large antennae array is being installed that presumably boosts Beijing's ability to monitor the surroundings, the think tank said, adding that the installation should be of concern to the Philippines due to its proximity to an area claimed by Manila.

A large dome recently was installed on Fiery Cross and another is under construction, indicating a sizeable communications or radar system, AMTI said. Two more domes are being built at Mischief Reef, it said.
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Thu Jun 29, 2017 | 2:44pm BST

Russia calls Britain's new aircraft carrier 'a convenient target'

The Russian military mocked Britain's new aircraft carrier on Thursday, saying the HMS Queen Elizabeth presented "a large convenient target" and would be wise to keep its distance from Moscow's warships.
The giant vessel, Britain's most advanced and biggest warship, embarked on its maiden voyage on Monday, prompting British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon to say he thought the Russians would look at it "with a little bit of envy."

Stung by that remark and angered by Fallon calling Russia's sole aircraft carrier "dilapidated," the Russian defence ministry issued a strongly-worded statement on Thursday, criticising Fallon and deriding the HMS Queen Elizabeth.

"These rapturous statements ... about the supremacy of the new aircraft carrier's beautiful exterior over the Russian aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov expose Fallon's utter ignorance of naval military science," the ministry said.

"Like a bee, the British aircraft carrier is only capable of independently releasing planes from its belly closely flanked by a swarm of warships, support ships and submarines to protect it. That is why ... the British aircraft carrier is merely a large convenient naval target."

The ageing Admiral Kuznetsov, Russia's only aircraft carrier, and a ship that Fallon has criticised more than once, was by contrast armed with an array of defensive missiles, the ministry said, warning the HMS Queen Elizabeth to keep her distance from the Russian navy.

"It is in the interests of the British Royal Navy not to show off the 'beauty' of its aircraft carrier on the high seas any closer than a few hundred miles from its Russian 'distant relative'," the ministry said.
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Freedom is the right to tell Europe what they do not want to hear.

President Trump, with apologies to George Orwell.

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
Today, it’s those unstoppable, dastardly, genius Russians again. Of course, the source of this article being American, it’s quite possible, the American’s are now falling for their own deep state propaganda.
Russians. Is there anything they can't do?
With apologies to Homer Simpson.

Is the "NotPetya" ransomware a Russian cyberattack in disguise?

Rich Haridy June 28, 2017
As Tuesday's ransomware attack continues to spread around the world, several security analysts are saying that this virus may not be ransomware after all. New reports are claiming the virus has been designed to permanently delete a system's Master Boot Record before a victim even gets the chance to read the ransom demand. This points to the virus potentially using the guise of ransomware as cover for a more destructive and politically-orientated cyberattack.
Early reports hypothesizing the source of the infection as coming from some Ukranian accounting software called MeDoc have now been confidently verified by Microsoft. The company's security blog says, "Microsoft now has evidence that a few active infections of the ransomware initially started from the legitimate MEDoc updater process."

As well as the genesis of the infection now being confirmed, several different sources are claiming the the malware does not function like regular ransomware, but instead acts like a wiper virus with a singular intent of destroying data on an infected system.

Matt Suiche from Comae Technologies discovered code in the virus that specifically acts to wipe part of an infected computer's boot system. He notes that this particular part of the virus is different from the version of Petya that went around in 2016 functioning as traditional ransomware.

"We believe the ransomware was in fact a lure to control the media narrative, especially after the WannaCry incidents to attract the attention on some mysterious hacker group rather than a national state attacker like we have seen in the past in cases that involved wipers such as Shamoon," Suiche writes.

The allegations that this virus was a cyberattack disguised as ransomware certainly fit with the strangely inept and complicated ransom method outlined by the virus. The odd tactic of using a single Bitcoin wallet and asking victims to email a specific email address is not only unconventional for a ransomware attack, but also fundamentally ineffective. As the email address attached to the ransomware demand was quickly inactivated by the company owning the domain, it seemed to suggest that money was not the primary motive of this attack.

Security researcher "the grugq" posted a compelling investigatory blog looking at how the initial infection vector spread across Ukraine. He points out that while the virus did have significant collateral effects across neighboring countries, Russia in particular seemed to be managing the damage unexpectedly well. Although Russian state-owned company Rosneft, and the Russian oil sector, were reportedly hit by the virus, no major interruptions to their systems were noted.

"Curious that they were so poorly protected they got infected," 'the grugq' writes,  "especially since they aren't connected to MeDoc (the initial infection vector)   however they were so well protected they were able to remediate the infection (which didn't spread… although it can take out 5000 computers in less than 10 minutes.) It's a miracle!"

The tactic of wiping an infected computer's Master Boot Record in the way this virus does has been noted by Wired as a calling card of a group of cyberattackers known in the industry as Sandworm. These attackers have been striking Ukraine for several years now and one security firm has linked the group to Russia.

Many of these mysteries may never be resolved, as the shady world of cyberwarfare is notoriously tricky to pin down. What is reasonably clear at this point is that this recent outbreak definitely started in Ukraine and was intended to be destructive. The collateral damage the rest of the world has seen may be a taste of how the future of cyberwarfare could play out.
In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

George Orwell.
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?

Graphene and terahertz waves could lead the way to future communication

Date: June 27, 2017

Source: Chalmers University of Technology

Summary: By utilizing terahertz waves in electronics, future data traffic can get a big boost forward. So far, the terahertz (THz) frequency has not been optimally applied to data transmission, but by using graphene, researchers have come one step closer to a possible paradigm shift for the electronic industry.

By utilizing terahertz waves in electronics, future data traffic can get a big boost forward. So far, the terahertz (THz) frequency has not been optimally applied to data transmission, but by using graphene, researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have come one step closer to a possible paradigm shift for the electronic industry.

Over 60 young researchers from all over the world will learn more about this and other topics as they gather in outside of Gothenburg, Sweden, to participate in this week's summer school Graphene Study, arranged by Graphene Flagship.

It is the EU's largest ever research initiative, the Graphene Flagship, coordinated by Chalmers, who organises the school this week, 25-30 June 2017. This year it is held in Sweden with focus on electronic applications of the two-dimensional material with the extraordinary electrical, optical, mechanical and thermal properties that make it a more efficient choice than silicon in electronic applications. Andrei Vorobiev is a researcher at the Department of Micro Technology and Nanoscience at Chalmers as well as one of the many leading experts giving lectures at Graphene Study and he explains why graphene is suitable for developing devices operating in the THz range:

"One of the graphene's special features is that the electrons move much faster than in most semiconductors used today. Thanks to this we can access the high frequencies (100-1000 times higher than gigahertz) that constitutes the terahertz range. Data communication then has the potential of becoming up to ten times faster and can transmit much larger amounts of data than is currently possible," says Andrei Vorobiev, senior researcher at Chalmers University of Technology.

Researchers at Chalmers are the first to have shown that graphene based transistor devices could receive and convert terahertz waves, a wavelength located between microwaves and infrared light, and the results were published in the journal IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques. One example of these devices is a 200-GHz subharmonic resistive mixer based on a CVD graphene transistor integrated on silicon that could be used in high-speed wireless communication links.
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Another weekend, and effectively a July 4th weekend in America. We are half way through the first year of a very different, very American, President Trump. While most of Europe seems to be ganging up with Germany against President Trump’s America, for the coming G-20 meeting in Hamburg, President Trump doesn’t act like he really cares what Europe does or doesn’t do. He’s been to Europe many, many times, and knows first-hand that Europe’s not a role model America should follow. Enjoy the weekend everyone. I’m sure that President Trump will, even if not Europe’s new overlord, Merkel.

When Chancellor Merkel says jump, I only ask “how high?”

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

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished May

DJIA: 21,009 +157 Up. NASDAQ:  6,199 +219 Up. SP500: 2,412 +161 Up.

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