Up and Down Wall Street
Fed Acknowledges Reality: Rates Are Going Nowhere
Yellen & Co. again trim outlooks for future hikes in the face of persistently low and falling interest rates.
By Randall W. Forsyth
Polls Fail To Call It Right Again
Believing in the accuracy of polls once again, bulls were slaughtered as the BREXIT vote reversed late polling results calling for an exit vs remain.
The shock hit stock markets globally quite hard.
It must be said in the U.S. at least the declines only wiped out, and then some, all of the previous silly rallies.
In other words, bulls were caught wrong-footed which created some panic selling.
And, while the declines were sharp and much more to come as former Fed Chairman Greenspan noted, “…it’s just the tip of the iceberg”.
And another word regarding the ineffectiveness of poll results, especially lately, you might remember California’s recent poll showing Clinton vs Sanders was quite off. When there are telephone polls, how likely are these to be accurate when many likely voters don’t even have land lines any more. Just a thought.
One common theme between the UK result and U.S. sentiment currently is with anti-immigration.
The Dow fell over 600 pts, S&P 76 pts, and Nasdaq over 200 pts. Losses were widespread as only gold and bonds were able to rise. Currency markets were roiled by vote outcome. Pundits with product to sell you were universal in their "stay-the-course" mantra, this was not a 2008 replay and so forth.
Major losses were felt in the financial sector where banks are presumed to bear losses in loan exposure within the eurozone. Losses were heavy with Lloyds Bank leading the charge lower by nearly 25%. Frankly, I thought losses in most markets were relatively minor compared what many expected after the results were tabulated.
Clearly, Central banks have plans to inject liquidity to markets to stem sharp losses.
Below is the heat map from Finviz reflecting those ETF market sectors moving higher (green) and falling (red). Dependent on the day (green) may mean leveraged inverse or leveraged short (red).
Volume gigantic while breadth per the WSJ was negative.
U.S. Market Sectors & ETFs (11)
Commodity & Currency ETFs (9)
International & Emerging Market ETFs (3)
SPY 5 MINUTE
The NYMO is a market breadth indicator that is based on the difference between the number of advancing and declining issues on the NYSE. When readings are +60/-60 markets are extended short-term.
The McClellan Summation Index is a long-term version of the McClellan Oscillator. It is a market breadth indicator, and interpretation is similar to that of the McClellan Oscillator, except that it is more suited to major trends. I believe readings of +1000/-1000 reveal markets as much extended.
The VIX is a widely used measure of market risk and is often referred to as the "investor fear gauge". Our own interpretation has changed due to a variety of new factors including HFTs, new VIX linked ETPs and a multitude of new products to leverage trading and change or obscure prior VIX relevance.
It’s apparent Bulls jumped the gun on BREXIT results seduced by bad poll data.
This led to significant losses as they had to close those positions.
Volume this day told the story on those positions which were quickly stopped out.
What’s next is anyone’s guess. I liked Greenspan’s comments which would lead one to believe tough times are ahead over the intermediate term. To my thinking this could be over the next 1 to 3 years.
Remember to exit is to negotiate terms and that’s a political issue.
Let’s see what happens.
The World Economy Looks a Bit Like It's the 1930s
Now, like then, a financial crisis has left deep scars
To understand today’s global economy, look back 80 years.
The trigger for the current malaise was the financial crisis that left a hangover of debt and deleveraging amid tighter banking regulations that are exacerbating deflationary pressures.
It’s similar to the kind of shock that preceded the 1930s slump, according to an analysis by Morgan Stanley economists led by Hong Kong-based Chetan Ahya.
"We think that the current macroeconomic environment has a number of significant similarities with the 1930s, and the experiences then are particularly relevant for today," they wrote. "The critical similarity between the 1930s and the 2008 cycle is that the financial shock and the relatively high levels of indebtedness changed the risk attitudes of the private sector and triggered them to repair their balance sheets."
Like then, the end result could be a prolonged weak period and subdued inflation expectations, with a risk that those price expectations are un-anchored. The danger is that central banks move too quickly to raise interest rates or governments cut back on spending, triggering an even deeper slowdown.
"In 1936-37, the premature and sharp pace of tightening of policies led to a double-dip in the U.S. economy, resulting in a relapse into recession and deflation in 1938," the analysts wrote.
"Similarly, in the current cycle, as growth recovered, policy-makers proceeded to tighten fiscal policy, which has contributed to a slowdown in growth in recent quarters."
Still, not every country is moving to tighten policy given the pessimism for global growth. The World Bank earlier this month cut its outlook for global growth as business spending sags in advanced economies including the U.S., while commodity exporters in emerging markets struggle to adjust to low prices.
That soggy outlook is fueling a debate about how policy responds. One example is the U.S., where a move by the Federal Reserve in December to lift interest rates for the first time in nine years provoked criticism that the hike came too soon, given the subdued inflation outlook.
Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers has argued that the Fed should not raise rates until it sees the “whites” of the eyes of inflation.
At the same time, finance chiefs from the world’s top economies promised in February that their governments would do more to boost demand. Since then, though, it has been central banks who have continued to stoke growth with easing by monetary authorities from Australia to Europe.
To avoid a new downward spiral, governments will need to step up, according to the Morgan Stanley analysts.
"Activating fiscal policy, particularly at a time when the monetary policy stance is still accommodative, could lead to a virtuous cycle where the corporate sector takes up private investment, and sustains job creation and income growth," they wrote.
Radicalization of Islam or Islamization of Radicalism?
Deterring domestic terrorists in West requires figuring out the true motivation
By Yaroslav Trofimov
Making sense of the carnage unleashed in the name of Islamic State in the West, from Paris and Brussels to Orlando, boils down to a chicken-and-egg problem that bedevils governments and terrorism scholars.
The killers in all these atrocities were, by definition, radicals, and all of them had pledged allegiance to Islamic State. But is the main threat facing the West the radicalization of Islam—or the Islamization of radicalism?
Different responses dictate different policies. If the true problem is the shift of some Muslim communities, particularly in the West, to a more fundamentalist version of the faith that becomes violent over time, then the recipe is to increase policing and surveillance, and government intervention in the running of mosques, charities, and Islamic schools.
That is the approach often taken, with mixed results, by authoritarian regimes in the Middle East such as Egypt.
But what if the real issue is that nihilistic misfits and violent malcontents in the West turn to Islamic State simply because it is the most obvious foe of the system? What if Islamic State, with its “Call of Duty” style propaganda, merely harnesses the fury that it didn’t create—the kind of fury that sparked the 2011 massacre by a right-wing gunman in Norway and multiple mass shootings by non-Muslims in the U.S.?
The dilemma has already caused an acrimonious rift between the French scholars Gilles Kepel and Olivier Roy.
In reality, both trends exist.
“There are radicals who simply look for an ideology and only find one. But at the same time, all those who are radicalized share the same ideology, which is why we have to take its content and its sources seriously,” said Guido Steinberg, a former counterterrorism adviser to the German government and a scholar at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.
Yet, the emergence of Islamic State has significantly changed the nature of this threat. In the previous decades, a network of mosques, many of them funded by Saudi Arabia or Qatar, spread the ultraconservative Salafi brand of Islam which often produced a pathway from growing observance to militancy to involvement with Islamist groups such as Hamas or al Qaeda.
That happened often in the Middle East but also in the U.S. The best example is Anwar al-Awlaki , the charismatic, U.S.-born imam of mosques in San Diego and Falls Church, Va., who inspired an entire generation of radicals in the late 1990s and early 2000s and later became one of the leaders of al Qaeda in Yemen.
That older generation of extremists was much more traditional in its Islamic theology, and as a result enjoyed a broader level of tolerance, if not actual support, in some Muslim communities.
Islamic State, with its idea of an immediate caliphate and apocalyptic plans to precipitate the end of the world, has been widely rejected by even the most-radical, established scholars of Islam.
And while in Iraq and Syria Islamic State, also known as ISIS, draws on local Sunni grievances, in the West it attracts a very different crowd. Roughly one-quarter of its recruits in Europe are converts from non-Muslim backgrounds. Many of those born to Muslim parents don’t come from observant families.
The New York-born Orlando shooter fits this profile: People who knew him said he drank alcohol and he took a picture with his wife while her hair was uncovered in public—something that a conservative Muslim would never do.
“ISIS is a new cult. It’s like a doomsday church. And whether they are Muslims or not Muslims, those who join it undergo a conversion,” said Jean-Pierre Filiu, a professor of Middle East studies at Sciences Po university in Paris and a former diplomatic adviser to the French prime minister. And, as befits a cult, Islamic State also excommunicates almost all Muslims who don't follow its particular brand of the faith.
In this logic, conventional ways of countering Islamic State—such as Western governments’ social-media campaigns that show it as wicked and ruthless against fellow Muslims—can actually backfire by making the group more alluring to sociopaths looking for a cause.
After all, the group’s very appeal, particularly to so-called “lone wolves,” lies in that it is widely perceived to be particularly “bad ass,” said Daniel Byman, a counterterrorism expert at the Brookings Institution in Washington.
“Part of the reason ISIS is so successful is because it is so successful. Puncturing its image of success is going to be very important,” Mr. Byman said.
That puncturing is already under way. Two years since the U.S. began its military campaign against the group, Islamic State has receded from parts of Syria and Iraq, and recently lost ground in the Libyan port city of Sirte.
But, even if diminished somewhat, Islamic State’s appeal remains potent enough to inspire new attacks, cautioned Hassan Hassan, a fellow at The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy in Washington and co-author of a book on the group.
“It may seem to you and me that they are shrinking. But the people who want to support Islamic State see that it is still there, and they still have the idea,” Mr. Hassan said. “It’s still not dead.”
The Best Country for Entrepreneurs Is …
To those who study nation branding, this entrepreneurial bent is a strong part of America’s brand, or the image it projects to the world. Peter Hirshberg, CEO of The Re:Imagine Group and a former Apple executive, notes that the U.S. offers an “opportunity promise” to people around the globe, a promise that includes “a deep streak of individual liberty.”
But does the rest of the world put America at the top for innovation, startup activity, and all things entrepreneurial? A report this year from Wharton marketing professor David Reibstein reveals how 60 countries, including the U.S., are viewed by citizens around the globe on several issues, such as their perceived readiness for entrepreneurs. The report and interactive website, “Best Countries,” was compiled in collaboration with the Wharton School, BAV Consulting, and U.S. News & World Report.
Reibstein and his colleagues surveyed some 16,500 global citizens — a mix of the general population, the business world, and academia — on 65 different national attributes. The attributes were then grouped into nine sub-rankings: Entrepreneurship as well as Adventure, Citizenship, Cultural Influence, Heritage, Movers, Open for Business, Power, and Quality of Life. Statistical weighting was then applied based on the correlation between the sub-rankings and the countries’ per capita GDP (based on purchasing power parity, or PPP) to arrive at the final rankings.
Why should countries pay attention to what individuals think of them? Because their national economy, in part, depends on it. “Countries absolutely experience an economic impact resulting from their brand Twitter ,” says Reibstein. How people worldwide perceive a nation can have a significant effect — either positive or negative — on its foreign trade, foreign direct investment, and tourism.
If a country wants to improve its brand overseas, a public relations campaign is not enough. It must work to achieve real changes at home. Reibstein compares this to the way a company builds its brand “by making sure the experiences people have with their products are good ones.” Hirshberg agrees, “You want your brand to be consistent with reality.”
Nowhere did the connection between a nation’s brand and economic return show up more clearly than in the Entrepreneurship sub-ranking, according to Reibstein. Of the nine sub-rankings, it correlated the most closely with GDP PPP, at 17.4%. By contrast, some sub-rankings had a much lower correlation: Heritage, for example, only scored 3.2%. “Lots of people have perceptions about nations and their heritage,” observes Reibstein. “Heritage is important and it contributes a little bit to a country’s economy, but entrepreneurship contributes a lot.” He notes that the study found that entrepreneurship “has a very strong relationship with foreign direct investment and with exports.”
Drilling down into the study’s Entrepreneurship sub-ranking reveals that 10 types of questions fed into measuring perceptions of a country’s readiness for entrepreneurs. The survey probed the extent to which people felt a country was connected to the rest of the world, had an educated population, was entrepreneurial in nature and was innovative. Additionally, did the country appear to possess easy access to capital, a skilled labor force, technological expertise, transparent business practices, a well-developed infrastructure and a well-developed legal framework?
Country Perceived As the Most Ready for Entrepreneurs
When all is said and done, the top nation for entrepreneurs isn’t the United States. It’s Germany.
Germany grabbed the top spot for perceived readiness for entrepreneurs (and also took the overall title of Best Country). Japan came in second, and the U.S. came next. In fourth and fifth place were the U. K. and Canada. The Best Countries report characterizes these five as “well-established economies that have the resources to support new endeavors, both legally and financially.”
Furthermore, Reibstein says that the top 10 (which included Sweden, the Netherlands, Australia, Singapore, and Denmark) taken together account for a large portion (31%) of the world’s GDP.
Germany scored well on perceptions of all 10 entrepreneur-related attributes measured, notably earning a perfect 10 for “well-developed infrastructure” and a near-perfect 9.8 for “educated population.” The Best Countries e-book, a companion to the report, notes that Germany has long been friendly to small- and medium-sized enterprises, the so-called ‘Mittelstand.’ While these businesses continue to be recognized worldwide for precision manufacturing, since Chancellor Angela Merkel’s election in 2005 “both the public and private sectors have focused more on innovative technologies and web-based enterprises.” For example, Berlin is now home to “Silicon Allee” with hundreds of new startups. (Notably, it would not have been dubbed “Silicon Allee” had America’s Silicon Valley not become world-famous first.)
Additionally, Germany’s nation-branding influences perception, according to Reibstein.
“When you think about Germany, you think of great engineering. And for technology and innovation, you think ‘well, you’ve got to have great engineers.’”
Volkswagen has long traded on the public perception that Germany equals great engineering.
For example, its 2014 Super Bowl ad, viewed by millions of Americans and others around the world, featured the idea that “every time a VW vehicle hits 100,000 miles, a German engineer gets his wings.” Of course, the 2015 Volkswagen emissions scandal put a dent in the “brand promise” both of that company and German engineering in general. The full effects are yet to be seen.
Tom Lincoln, director of the Wharton Nation Brand Conference to be held in Philadelphia in October 2016, cites the American high-end razor-subscription startup Harry’s as a company that associates itself with Germany to suggest its products are top-of-the-line. “Harry’s advertises that their razor blades are German-engineered, and they promote the fact that they have a German factory,” he says.
“Whether or not the Germans actually make better razor blades than other countries is not the point. The company counts on customer expectations that German engineering may lead to a better shave.”
The Rising Sun Rises to Second Place
Both Hirshberg and Lincoln were somewhat surprised that Japan was perceived as entrepreneurial enough to earn second place. Lincoln says that to him, Japanese business means “large conglomerates like Sony and Toyota … a corporate culture, not an entrepreneurial culture.” Hirshberg agrees and adds that a big component of entrepreneurship is diversity, which Japan is notorious for not fostering.
In contrast, “if you look at the U.S., you go to an incubator here, a startup there, you find as many people from India or China as you do from the United States,” he says. “When you get talent from around the world, you tend to get the best people.”
Lincoln notes, however, that Japan is renowned for its innovative robotics industry, which likely contributes to the perception of entrepreneurship. (Japan ranked a perfect 10 for “innovative,” and 9.8 for “entrepreneurial.”) Some of Japan’s astonishingly human-like robots have made headlines in recent years, and the country possesses the second-largest number of industrial robots used in manufacturing, according to a recent Huffington Post article. (Korea had the most.)
Personal experience of a nation can affect perceptions too. Reibstein recalls taking his children along on a business trip to Japan a number of years ago, and he saw how his American kids’ experience with the transportation alone altered how they viewed their home country. “We would get on the Tokyo subway, and the subway was so cool. It showed you where you were, and didn’t have graffiti all over it, and was totally on time,” Reibstein says. Upon arriving back in the U.S., they were greeted by the news that the shuttle bus that was supposed to take them to their luggage wasn’t working. “It was pretty amazing, the stark difference of how everything ran so precisely [in Japan] … And the same thing is really true of Germany. So I think that helps lead to some of these global perceptions.”
But for Reibstein, looking back a little further in history really explains the widespread perception of Japan as highly entrepreneurial. “Think about cars — the innovation in cars — where that came from.
And technology, and basically, electronics. It was all coming at that time, from [firms like] Sony and Mitsubishi, in the 1990s.” Moreover, these revolutionary products were known to come from Japan and were associated in people’s minds with that country. Hirshberg notes, “Your entrepreneurs and your products are really good ambassadors for what you’re doing [as a nation].”
Reibstein also sees the whole thing as quite circular. “The products coming out of countries — that are known to come out of those countries — help contribute to the perception of that country as innovative. And the more we tend to think of these countries as innovative based on their products, the more we want to invest in their businesses and buy products from them.”
He points to the case of Israel as a reverse example. Israel was tagged the “Startup Nation” in the 2009 internationally bestselling book of the same name, and it is home to a “huge tech industry,”
Reibstein says. Yet the country only ranked 21st in global perceptions of entrepreneurship.
Reibstein speculates that this is because many innovative products coming out of Israel are deliberately not identified as such due to political controversies. “I think it’s because of the nation’s brand, that [some companies say] ‘I don’t want my product identified with being Israeli, because that will hurt my sales’… I think it’s some of their own doing.”
America: The Land of Big Ideas … or Big Macs?
Initially, Reibstein did not expect the U.S. to receive only a third-place ranking. But he found that while America scored at or near the top in many entrepreneurial attributes (it was a 10 in “provides easy access to capital” and “connected to the rest of the world), it fell down on the job when it came to perceptions of transparent business practices.
Another area where the U.S. got a mediocre score — and it’s an important category — was having a skilled labor force. Reibstein believes this perception stems from the widely reported lackluster performance of American students in math and science. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which sponsors the Program for International Student Assessment, the U.S. most recently placed only 35th in math and 27th in science out of 64 countries.
What about America’s most well-known products? Are they viewed as innovative? On the high-tech side, we have the iPhone, Google search engine, and other Silicon Valley brainchildren such as Tesla’s electric cars. “As Tesla grows, I think it will be a huge contributor to the perception of entrepreneurship within the United States,” says Reibstein.
He asserts, though, that when many people think of America’s contributions to the world, what may be more likely to pop into their minds is McDonald’s, Starbucks or Coca-Cola. Or perhaps Hollywood movies. None of these are closely associated with entrepreneurship internationally.
“I think the United States is often viewed as a consuming nation rather than a creating nation.”
“Now while I say that we are number three on this list, there are 57 countries ranked below us,” Reinbstein adds. “Clearly the United States is right up there.”
Les doy cordialmente la bienvenida a este Blog informativo con artículos, análisis y comentarios de publicaciones especializadas y especialmente seleccionadas, principalmente sobre temas económicos, financieros y políticos de actualidad, que esperamos y deseamos, sean de su máximo interés, utilidad y conveniencia.
Pensamos que solo comprendiendo cabalmente el presente, es que podemos proyectarnos acertadamente hacia el futuro.
Gonzalo Raffo de Lavalle
Las convicciones son mas peligrosos enemigos de la verdad que las mentiras.
Quien conoce su ignorancia revela la mas profunda sabiduría. Quien ignora su ignorancia vive en la mas profunda ilusión.
“There are decades when nothing happens and there are weeks when decades happen.”
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.
No soy alguien que sabe, sino alguien que busca.
Only Gold is money. Everything else is debt.
Las grandes almas tienen voluntades; las débiles tan solo deseos.
Quien no lo ha dado todo no ha dado nada.
History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.
We are travelers on a cosmic journey, stardust, swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share.This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.
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