Sunday, December 14, 2014

Earth faces sixth ‘great extinction’ with 41% of amphibians set to go the way of the dodo As ecologist Paul Ehrlich has put it: “In pushing other species to extinction, humanity is busy sawing off the limb on which it perches.”

Sunday, November 30, 2014


  • Swiss Gold Referendum Fails .. 78% vote against. 
  •  China's official PMI slips to 50.3 in November.. below forecast. 
  • Investors are trimming inflation hedges by pull $17bn from commodity index products 
  •  The European Central Bank said that it has begun buying asset-backed securities, as it seeks to get banks to lend and revive the economy. The purchases are expected to last for two years. 

  • China's central bank has cut interest rates on its one-year deposit rate by 0.25%, and its one-year loan rate by 0.4 %. The Bank also said it will allow more flexibility in deposit rates. 

  •  Kraft Foods Group (KRFT) raised dividends 4.7% 

  •  Johnson Controls (JCI) raised its quarterly dividend by 18% 

  •  Intel (INTC) increased its dividend to 96 cents a share - up 6 cents 

  •  (FT) US companies will buy $450bn of their stock this year 

  •  Among the more than 100 experts surveyed in the Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey, a majority said they don't expect the housing market to normalize for at least three more years....
  •  (Zillow) Millions of Potential New Households Waiting Out the Recovery Many Americans moved in together as housing costs outpaced income over the last decade, resulting in fewer households; if these doubled-up households divide, housing demand will pick up, according to Zillow - 
  • More than a third of U.S. adults were living with roommates or adult family members in 2012, up from 25.4 percent in 2000. - 
  • Household size has risen from 1.75 adults in 2000 to 1.83 adults in 2012. - 
  • In all, the U.S. lost 5.4 million households to doubling up. - 
  • The most potential new households are in places where rent has skyrocketed during the housing recovery, such as some large markets in California and Florida. 
  •  The 2014 National Association of Realtor's: The long-term average in this survey, dating back to 1981, shows that four out of 10 purchases are from first-time home buyers. In this year’s survey, the share of first-time buyers* dropped 5 percentage points from a year ago to 33 percent, representing the lowest share since 1987 (30 percent).  
  •  Buyers searching for real estate will find more homes for sale overall, but supply of lower-priced homes is growing more slowly than high-priced homes in most of the country. 

  • Uranium..Largest weekly price increases since 1996 

  •  UK, US and Swiss authorities have fined RBS, HSBC, Citigroup, JP Morgan and UBS a total of more than £2bn over failings that led to the manipulation of the $5.3 trillion-a-day foreign exchange market. 

  •  The USDA forecasts a drop of 1.41m tonnes in global sugar inventories in 2014-15 – a decline which would be the first since 2009-10. 

  •  (The Independent) As host of the G20 summit of world leaders in Brisbane this weekend, Australia had been looking forward to its moment in the sun. However, Tony Abbott’s government risks becoming an international laughing stock, thanks to its attempts to block discussion of climate change...Mr Abbott – who once dismissed climate change science as “absolute crap” – horrified scientists and environmentalists last month when he described coal as “good for humanity” while opening a new mine in Queensland. 

  •  (Reuters) - The U.S. military's ability to stay ahead of technology advances by other countries and respond to multiple crises around the world is already in jeopardy and will get worse unless mandatory budget cuts are reversed, top U.S. officials warned 

  •  Effective January 17, all research funded in whole or in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation must be published in journals that are immediately free-to-access, under a Creative Commons Attribution-only license

Sunday, November 02, 2014


  •  If the DJIA closes above 17355 "and" the DJTA closes above 8720 view of Dow Theory returns to bullish. 

  • Germany: retail sales in Europe's biggest economy slumped by 3.2% MoM in September. It was the sharpest drop since May 2007, and led by a fall in sales in textiles and clothes which declined by 7.35. 

  •  Italian national statistics institute said that 3.2 million citizens were unemployed in September, the highest level since 2004.The number of the jobless was 48,000 higher in September than in August and 58,000 up on the same month in 2013. Thus the unemployment rate in the country climbed back up to a record level of 12.6%. The jobless rate among people aged between 15 and 24 was 42.9%, 1.9% higher than in September 2013. 

  •  Britain's consumer confidence slipped from minus one (-1) in September to -2 in October.

  •  (Pritchard) The Bank of Japan is mopping up the country's vast debt and driving down the yen in a radical experiment in modern global finance 

  •  Japan's consumer prices for September rose 3.0% 

  • YoY Japan's household spending in September dropped 5.6% YoY (Pritchard)

  • The world has changed abruptly for investors as the US Federal Reserve and the People's Bank of China both brush aside deflation warnings and press ahead with monetary tightening 
  •  (WSJ) China is taking a step toward easing its grip on credit cards, potentially resolving a long-running trade dispute with the U.S. and allowing foreign companies such as Visa, MasterCard and other electronic-payment processors to have a greater presence there. 

  •  The U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 3.5% in Q3

  •  (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve ended its monthly bond purchase program and signaled confidence the U.S. economic recovery would remain on track despite signs of a slowdown in many parts of the global economy. 

  •  U.S Home values are still rising in most markets, but the rate of appreciation has slowed considerably, making the housing market less competitive for buyers, according to Zillow 
  • The U.S. housing market rebounded in September as home sales rose to their highest level of the year. After dipping in August, sales of previously owned homes climbed 2.4% in September to a annual rate of 5.17 million. 

  •  The Central Bank of Brazil's raised the country's annual basic interest rate from 11% to 11.25%, the highest level since November 2011. 

  •  Spain’s unemployment rate fell to 23.7% from 24.5% in Q3, the lowest since the end of 2011 as its economy turned into one of the fastest-growing in the euro region. 

  •  Little fish have never had it so good, according to research showing how mankind’s taste for big fish such as tuna and shark is allowing the anchovy and sardine to flourish.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

World economy so damaged it may need permanent QE

Markets are realising that the five-and-a-half year recovery since the financial crisis may already be over, says Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

With the close on 10/13/2014 of Dow Transports at 7717.69, and Dow Industrials at 16321.07, IT’s opinion of Dow Theory is now bearish.

Sunday, October 05, 2014


  • The U.S. adds 248,000 new jobs in Sept. - the jobless rate falls to 5.9 % 

  • Chinas PMI of non-manufacturing sectors out at 54% last month, down 0.4% from August. 

  • The Aral Sea, once the fourth largest lake in the world, is now completely dry…………… 

  •  The ISM said its manufacturing index dropped to 56.6% last month from a three-month high of 59% in August 

  • The IEA says world to add 200 gigawatts of solar power every year from 2025 onwards under the right policies, more than the entire stock in the world today. 

  • Eurozone jobless rate stable at 11.5% in August 

  • Eurozone annual inflation down to 0.3% in September 

  • U.S. airline stocks fell as investors fretted that news of a first Ebola case in Texas would discourage people from flying. 

  • U.S. Consumer spending rose 0.5% in August 

  • The U.S. pending home sales index dropped 1 % after a 3.2% increase in July, the National Association of Realtors said. 

  • Chinas preliminary Purchasing Managers’ Index from HSBC was at 50.5, matching the highest estimates in a Bloomberg survey 

  •  U.S. existing-home sales fell 1.8% in August 

  • S. Korea's national debt rises to 34.3 pct of GDP 

  •  G20 vows to boost global economic growth by 1.8 pct 

  • Brazil lowers growth forecast to 0.9% 

  • (Reuters) - New international tax rules proposed could eliminate structures that have allowed companies such as Google Inc and Inc to shave billions of dollars off their tax bills....The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) announced a series of measures that, if implemented by members, could stop companies from employing many commonly-used practices to shift profits into tax havens. 

  • While America spends $76,000 per soldier each year, EU states are down to $18,000, largely earmarked for pay and pensions, according to the Institute for Statecraft. Almost nothing is being spent on new equipment. Europe has slashed defence budgets by $70bn over the past two years even as Russia blitzes $600bn on war-fighting capabilities by 2020 and turns itself into a militarised state, a Sparta with nuclear weapons. 

Sunday, August 31, 2014


  • The U.S. GDP grew at 4.2 % in Q2 

  • Bloomberg: Rallies from Brazil to Japan and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index’s first trip above 2,000 sent the value of global equities to a record $66 trillion. 
  • The value of equities globally has soared from $25 trillion in March 2009. 
  • Stocks were valued at $63 trillion at the 2007 peak, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. 
  • (Reuters) Investors in U.S.-based funds poured $2.6 billion into stock funds in the week ended Aug. 20 on a rebound in risk appetite, data from the Investment Company Institute showed. 

  • While the momentum has slowed to a rise of 1%, U.S. house prices remained on an upward track in Q2. 

  •  Use brains, stay in California: Through the first half of this year, about $13.6 billion of venture capital poured into California. Texas took in $700 million. Get this: San Diego collected $484 million — almost as much as the whole state of Texas. There were 52 deals in San Diego, 88 in Texas. 

  • More than one-third of mortgaged homeowners have effective “negative equity” or less than 20% equity in their home, according to a Zillow analysis. 

  •  U.S. Consumer confidence index rose to 92.4% the highest level since 2007. 
  • U.S Durable-goods orders rose by a record 22.6% in July 

  •  The rate of U.S. credit card payments at least 90 days overdue fell to 1.16% in Q2 – the lowest level in at least seven years. 

  •  Japan's consumer prices rose 3.3% in July 

  •  (Reuters) - Pressure is building within the Federal Reserve for officials to move as early as next month to more clearly acknowledge improvements in the U.S. economy and lay the groundwork for the central bank’s first interest rate hike in nearly a decade. 
  •  (MarketWatch) - The Federal Reserve has agreed to use interest rates on excess reserves as its main tool to set the federal funds rate and the bank plans to target a range instead of a precise number when it eventually raises rates, according to minutes of its July 29-30 meeting released Wednesday. For example, the bank now has a fed funds target of zero to 0.25%. In the past, the Fed would target a single number such as 3% or 4.5%. As expected, the central bank gave no timetable on when it expects to start raising the fed funds rate. Most analysts believe the Fed will wait until mid-2015 or so. Excess reserves refers to short-term assets that private banks keep inside the Fed. 

  • The time has come for France to resist Germany's "obsession" with austerity and promote alternative policies across the euro zone that support household consumption, French Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg said. 

  • UK manufacturing purchasing managers' index fell to 52.5 from 54.8 in July

  • Spain has raised 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) in its first-ever 50-year bond issue. The bond, due on Oct. 31, 2064, has a 4 % coupon

  • Spiegel reported  that   Merkel is unhappy with European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi for apparently proposing a greater emphasis on fiscal stimulus over austerity in order to boost growth in Europe.

  • Merkel has told German lawmakers that arming Kurdish fighters battling Islamic extremists in Iraq wasn't an easy decision but is in her country's interest

  • (Spiegel) Israel invests more money in research than most other countries -- and in no other place are research institutes, the defense industry, the army and politics as interwoven. The result is a high-tech weapons factory that successfully exports its goods globally.

  • The Unprotected: A Gaza Family Destroyed by Israeli Bombs... For an entire week, eight people -- women, children and an elderly man -- were trapped in their house in Gaza. They couldn't leave and nobody could help. An hour before the cease-fire, the family was wiped out by Israeli bombs.
  • Russia launched construction of a gas pipeline to China in a $400 billion deal, and plans  to  deliver 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas  for a period of 30 years through the 2,485 mile long pipeline.

  • With fears of Moscow growing after its intrusion in Ukraine, NATO member states in Eastern Europe would like NATO to direct a planned missile-defense system against Russia as well.

Sunday, August 03, 2014


  • The Labor Department has U.S. hourly wages growing at 2% YoY. 

  • Argentina threatens to take US to The Hague after defaulting on its debts for the second time in 12 years. 

  • China's non-manufacturing activity slightly slowed in July, with the sector's purchasing managers' index (PMI) dropping to 54.2 from 55 in June. 
  •  The Chinese economy is expected to grow about 7.5% this year 

  • Eurozone manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) held steady at June's seven-month low of 51.8, as ongoing expansion was partly offset by a deeper downturn by French manufacturers 

  • Some 209,000 new U.S. jobs were added in July, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 6.2 % 

  • (DJ) Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith says company was planning to appeal a federal judge's decision ordering the company to turn over customer email stored in a company data center in Ireland. Verizon, AT&T, Apple and Cisco filed briefs supporting Microsoft, reflecting their shared concern that compliance with U.S. requests for data held abroad could alienate foreign governments, which are placing more pressure on service providers to shore up customer privacy. That could also cost them billions of dollars in business. 

  •  The number of people who applied for regular state unemployment-insurance benefits in the week that ended July 19 fell by 19,000 to 284,000 -- the lowest level since February 2006 

  • Australia has approved the Adani's Carmichael coalmine and rail project that will dig up and transport about 60m tonnes of coal a year for export. Greenpeace has claimed that coal from the mine will add 128m tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere per year. Senator Larissa Waters said: "History will look back on the Abbott government’s decision as an act of climate criminality. 
  •  (MarketWatch) -- A preliminary reading of China's manufacturing sector has hit an 18-month high this month, as work orders appear to be picking up pace... 

  •  (MarketWatch) -- Sales of new single-family homes fell 8.1% in June to 406,000, the slowest pace in three months, with drops across the country... 

  • “While the 66 countries that account for 88 per cent of global emissions have passed laws to address global warming, Australia is repealing them.” Australia became the first country in the world to abolish a price on carbon - and this vote to repeal its tax on carbon dioxide emissions is a setback to establishing a similar charge in the U.S. - where Republicans and fossilized interests still criticize its costs and carry on to question if carbon dioxide from human activity causes climate change. 

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said that it is proposing restrictions that would essentially block development of a planned massive gold-and-copper mine near the headwaters of a premier salmon fishery in Alaska. 

  • The Obama administration is proposing a ban on “inversion deals,” retroactive to May 2014, in which U.S. companies (Abbvie, Walgreen etc.) buy foreign ones and move corporate headquarters abroad to escape U.S. tax laws. 

  • Macquarie estimates U.S. corn cost of production at $4.12 a bushel. 

  •  Pink Floyd to Release First New Album in 20 Years 'The Endless River' is due out this fall... 

  • The majority of Americans have no money in the stock market at all, including retirement accounts. Some 53% of Americans avoid the market completely, according to a Pew Research survey last year. 

  •  (BW) Pine beetles, each the size of a grain of rice, are obliterating forests, ravaging towns, draining city budgets, and threatening tourism at ski resorts, golf courses, and national parks. The beetles’ economic impact is emerging two decades into a growing infestation fueled by climate change and drought that has wiped out 38,000 square miles of trees—an area the size of Indiana and Rhode Island combined……Recent winters haven’t been cold enough to kill off the beetles. 
  • The average U.S. temperature has increased by as much as 1.9 degrees Fahrenheit since 1895, with most of the warmest winters occurring since 1970. 

  • The largest elephant in the world, Satao, has been killed in Kenya. Poachers shot the bull elephant with a poisoned arrow in Tsavo East National Park, waited for him to die a painful death, and hacked off his face to remove his ivory. ( 

  • (NYT)..On June 20, officials from the European Southern Observatory blew the top off a mountain in northern Chile called Armazones, breaking ground for what is planned to be the largest, most powerful optical telescope ever built. Known as the European Extremely Large Telescope, or E-ELT, it will have a segmented mirror 39 meters (about 128 feet) in diameter, powerful enough to see planets around distant stars. By comparison, the largest telescopes now operating are 10 meters in diameter... The Energy Department is kicking in $165 million for a 3,200-megapixel camera, which will produce an image of the entire sky every few days and over 10 years will produce a movie…  

  •  More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the nation’s reserve force, citing regret over their part in a military they said plays a central role in oppressing Palestinians ( 

  •  The pacific island country of Palau is becoming the first nation to ban commercial fishing and bottom trawling in their waters in order to regenerate fish stocks.

Saturday, June 28, 2014


  • Last month was the hottest May in terms of global surface temperature in a historical record that extends back 130 years, according to NASA 

  • Scientists want two commonly used pesticides banned around the world for helping cause the mass deaths of bees and harming the planet's ecosystem. A panel of independent scientists, operating as the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides, found the pesticides neonicotinoids and fipronil are harming the environment. 

  • U.S. consumer confidence continued to improve in June, with the consumer confidence index rising to 85.2 from 82.2 in May - the highest level since January 2008. 
  • U.S. economy contracts 2.9% in Q1 
  • U.S. house prices kept flat in April amid a cooling housing market, the Federal Housing Finance Agency reported. Compared with the same period of 2013, U.S. house prices have increased 5.9%. 

  • Output in China's steel industry has continued to rise and prices continue to fall, as the government struggles to reduce capacity in the sector. 

  • Spain's annual inflation stands at 0.1 % in June 

  • Japan's consumer prices in May soared 3.4% YoY, the biggest increase in more than three decades. 
  • Japan's unemployment rate in May improves to 3.5% 

  • Researchers believe they have found a way of overcoming one of the most serious limitations of the next generation of solar panels, which are based on toxic cadmium chloride, by simply adding magnesium chloride, an abundant salt found in seawater. 
  • People unwittingly become more racially aware and less generous towards those of a different skin tone when they feel financially squeezed, according to a study showing how racism thrives in an economic recession. 

  • Facebook has been experimenting on us. A new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals that Facebook intentionally manipulated the news feeds of almost 700,000 users in order to study “emotional contagion through social networks.” 
  •  (“If you’re not paying for something, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.”)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Next Update June 29


  • (FT) Should the global oil market lose all of Iraq’s exports, traders and analysts reckon it would add at least $40-$50 to a barrel of oil 

  • "Eugene Goostman", a computer program developed to simulate a 13-year-old boy, managed to convince 33% of the judges that it was human and therefore passing the Turing test.

  • Microsoft's top lawyer says the fallout of the NSA spying scandal is "getting worse," and carries grim implications for US tech companies. 

  • Creepier and creepier: Google subsidiary Nest is acquiring video monitoring company Dropcam for $555 million in an effort to further push their influence into  every home to collect ever more data on users and their habits... 
  • (“If you’re not paying for something, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.”) 

  •  (Ambrose Evans-Pritchard) Mao Daqing from Vanke - China's top developer - says total land value in Beijing has been bid up to such extremes that it’s on paper worth 61.6% of America's GDP. The figure was 63.% for Tokyo at the peak of the bubble in 1990. "A dangerous level," he says.
  • According to S&P the Chinese corporate bond market has overtaken the United States as the world’s biggest and is set to soak up a third of global company debt needs over the next five years. 

  • Wealth management products (WMPs) have been booming in China in the past few years, totaling 12.8 trillion yuan (about 2.1 trillion U.S. dollars) by the end of May. 

  • More than half of people between the age of 21 and 36 have their savings parked in cash, according to a new study by the Brookings Institution, reflecting extreme risk-aversion by the so-called millennial generation. 

  •  There are more than 1.1 million homeless children and youth enrolled in US public schools, according to the Department of Education. 

  • (FT) The gold ‘fix’, a twice-daily auction-style process run by four investment banks, has come in for increasing criticism for its lack of transparency. 

  • (The Guardian) British public wrongly believe rich pay most in tax, new research shows. The poorest 10% of households pay eight percentage points more of their income in all taxes than the richest – 43% compared to 35%,. 

  • Less than 20 years ago, one billion monarchs migrated to Mexico for the winter. This year, only 3.5 % of that number made the journey. 

  • Four in 10 new oil and gas wells near national forests and fragile watersheds or otherwise identified as higher pollution risks escape federal inspection, unchecked by an agency struggling to keep pace ... 

  • Miracle Crop: India's Quest to End World Hunger Over one third of humanity is undernourished. Now a group of scientists are experimenting with specially-bred crops, and hoping to launch a new Green Revolution -- but controversy is brewing 

  • (FT) traders think that processing plants built to feed rising chocolate consumption in countries including India and China have added to demand for cocoa beans.

Monday, May 26, 2014


  • (NYT) “We just get The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Times,” superlative Justice Scalia told New York magazine in September. He canceled his subscription to The Washington Post, he said, because it was “slanted and often nasty” and “shrilly liberal.” He said he did not read The New York Times either “I get most of my news, probably, driving back and forth to work, on the radio,” he said. “Talk guys, usually. 

  • The “fine” Senator from Florida Marco Rubio — much of whose state is fated to sink beneath the waves — does not believe human activity is causing climate change... 

  •  Sales of new U.S. single-family homes rose by more than expected 6.4% in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 433,000 units, ending two months of declines. March's sales were revised up to 407,000 units from a previously reported 384,000 units. YoY sales were down 4.2%. Inventory of new houses rose 0.5% to 192,000 units - the highest level since November 2010. At April's sales pace it would take 5.3 months to clear the supply of houses on the market, down from 5.6 months in March. 
  • YoY the median price of a new home last month fell 1.3% to $275,800. 
  •  Existing home sales climbed 1.3% from March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.65 million. 

  • When it meets on June 6, SPIEGEL has learned, the European Central Bank may implement a negative interest rate for financial institutions seeking to park their money at the Frankfurt powerhouse. The move is aimed at spurring loans. 

  • Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said the Fed is closer to its goals for employment and inflation than at any time in five years, helping to warrant its tapering of record stimulus. 

  • U.S. Construction on new U.S. homes rose in April at the fastest pace in five months, rising 13.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.07 million, led by the apartment category. 

  • The Internal Revenue Service collected $5.7 billion in 2011 from penalties. That’s because Americans took out about $57 billion from retirement funds before they were supposed to.

  •  Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway bought a stake in Verizon (VZ), according to the company's 13F filing for 2014's first quarter. Berkshire owned 11 million shares in the telecom at the end of March, versus none at the end of December.. 

  • (Reuters) - Intel Corp's next-generation Broadwell processors will ship in time to be used in personal computers sold during the holiday season but probably won't be available for back-to-school shopping, Chief Executive Brian Krzanich said. 

  • The city of Portland, Ore., said it had started divesting itself of holdings in Wal-Mart (WMT) because of its labor practices. 

  • (Pritchard) Outflows from Russia since the Ukraine crisis erupted may be four times higher than admitted by Kremlin 

  •  (Pritchard) The Chinese central bank has ordered 15 commercial banks to boost loans to first-time buyers 

  •  US soybean ending stocks to usage at the end of 2013/14 is currently seen at a record tight 3.8%, expanding to a more comfortable 9.6% by the end of 2014/ 
  •  World Soybean ending stocks in 2014/15 are anticipated to be almost 12 MMT above the previous record high at 82.23 MMT. 

  • The current 13/2014 corn stocks-to-use ratio of 8.4% is the 3rd lowest since 2000 behind 11/12 and 12/13. 
  •  The USDA estimates 2014/15 US corn ending stocks to usage rising to 12.9%. 
  • World ending stocks to usage in 2014/15 is seen at 18.8%. 

  • Fears of a mismatch between supply and demand and slowing industrial growth in China have had a significant impact on the value of iron ore

  • The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) predicts that coffee production across Latin America will fall by as much as 15 to 40 percent in the coming years because of Coffee rust, or roya. 

  •  Silver fix dies after 120 years: The move follows increased scrutiny by European and US regulators into precious metals price-setting following the Libor scandal and forex probe. 

  • Scientists from the Harvard University have found the reason behind the HoneBees disappearance. The researchers have blamed the increased usage of insecticides for the issue. The use of two neonicotinoids led to the death of half the colonies of bees, researchers showed. However, those bees who were in the untreated colonies didn’t disappear. Neonicotinoids is the most widely used class of insecticide in the world. 

  • (Businesswire) Nathan Han of Boston Wins US$75,000 Top Prize at Intel International Science and Engineering Fair NEWS HIGHLIGHTS -- The world's largest high school science research competition, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, a program of Society for Science & the Public, announced its top winners in Los Angeles. – 
  • Nathan Han of Boston received the Gordon E. Moore Award, a US$75,000 prize named in honor of the Intel co-founder and fellow scientist. -- Two Intel Foundation Young Scientist Awards winners -- 
  • Lennart Kleinwort of Germany and Shannon Lee of Singapore -- each received prizes of US$50,000 from the Intel Foundation. 
  • Nathan Han, 15, of Boston was awarded first place for developing a machine learning software tool to study mutations of a gene linked to breast cancer at this year's Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, a program of Society for Science & the Public. Using data from publicly available databases, Han examined detailed characteristics of multiple mutations of the BRCA1 tumor suppressor gene in order to "teach" his software to differentiate between mutations that cause disease and those that do not. His tool exhibits an 81 percent accuracy rate and could be used to more accurately identify cancer threats from BRCA1 gene mutations. Han received the Gordon E. Moore Award of US$75,000, named in honor of the Intel co-founder and fellow scientist. 
  •  Lennart Kleinwort, 15, of Germany received one of two Intel Foundation Young Scientist Awards of US$50,000. Kleinwort developed a new mathematical tool for smartphones and tablets that brings capabilities to hand-held devices that previously required more sophisticated and expensive computing tools. His app allows users to hand draw curves, lines and geometric figures on the touch screen and watch the system render them into shapes and equations that can then be manipulated at will. 
  •  Shannon Xinjing Lee, 17, of Singapore received the other Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award of US$50,000 for developing a novel electrocatalyst that may be used for batteries of the future. Researchers have been looking for ways to make rechargeable zinc-air batteries practical, as they would be safer, lighter in weight, and have six times the energy density of lithium ion batteries, making them ideal for hybrid vehicles. Lee found that her activated carbon catalyst, which she made entirely from carbonized Chinese eggplant, greatly out-performed a more sophisticated commercial catalyst in stability and longevity tests and will be environmentally friendly and inexpensive to produce. "The world needs more scientists, makers and entrepreneurs to create jobs, drive economic growth and solve pressing global challenges," said Wendy Hawkins, executive director of the Intel Foundation. "Intel believes that young people are the key to innovation, and we hope that these winners inspire more students to get involved in science, technology, engineering and math, the foundation for creativity." This year's Intel International Science and Engineering Fair featured more than 1,700 young scientists selected from 435 affiliate fairs in more than 70 countries, regions and territories. In addition to the top winners, more than 500 finalists received awards and prizes for their innovative research, including 17 "Best of Category" winners, who each received a US$5,000 prize.

Monday, May 05, 2014

East Antarctica melt could cause a global coastal destruction Parts of the vast ice sheet of East Antarctica – which collectively holds enough water to raise global sea levels by 53 metres – could begin an irreversible slide into the sea this century, causing an unstoppable process of global coastal destruction, scientists have warned.

Sunday, May 04, 2014


  • Springfield, MO, breaks May 4 high temp record with 91 F. Old record: 89, set in 1952
  • Earliest 100F ever in Wichita KS today..

  • Tehran says it is capable of shipping "big volumes" of gas to Europe if required as Russia threatens Ukraine's energy supplies. 

  • PMI for China's non-manufacturing sector gained 0.3 % MoM to 54.8 % in April. 
  • Warren Buffett calls for greater punishment for Wall Street rule breakers: The Billionaire says authorities should come down harder on individuals rather than the companies that employ them.. 

  • (AP) Older mice got stronger, exercised longer and performed better mentally after they were injected with blood from young mice, or even just with a substance (protein called GDF11 ) that's more abundant in younger blood, U.S. researchers found.. 

  •  (Bloomberg) Gaming revenue from the six casino operators in Macau, the only place in China where casinos are legal, rose 11% to 31.3 billion patacas ($3.92 billion) in April, Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau said. 

  • U.S. job growth increased at its fastest pace in more than two years in April, suggesting a sharp rebound in economic activity early in the second quarter. 

  •  U.S. Fed announced that it would continue to reduce the amount of money it is pumping into the recovery, as it sees consistent improvement in the economy. 

  • A ranking of the competitiveness of the world's top 25 exporting countries says the United States is once again a "rising star” and has it at #2 – after China. 

  • U.S. durable goods orders rise 2.6% in March suggesting strength in manufacturing and the broader economy at the end of the first quarter. 

  • The National Endowment for Financial Education released a poll that showed only 13% of Americans considered home ownership as their “top long term financial goal,” down from 17% in 2011. 

  •  In Q1 mortgage lending declined to the lowest level in 14 years. 

  • The FCC’s chairman Tom Wheeler has confirmed reports that proposed changes to internet governance will abandon net neutrality principles and says companies can charge extra for some types of traffic so long as it's "commercially reasonable."… 

  • Per IMF, the economic growth in Asia is projected to remain steady at 5.45% in 2014 and 5.5% in 2015 

  • BOJ holds pat on further easing, on course for 2% inflation target. 

  • Japan's March jobless rate steady at 3.6% (Guardian) 

  • China says more than half of its groundwater is polluted: Number of groundwater sites of poor or extremely poor quality rose to 59.6%. 

  • British GDP grows 0.8% in Q1 2014 

  • Greece sells five-year bonds at 4.5% rate

Sunday, April 13, 2014


  • IMF trimmed world growth forecast to 3.6 % in 2014 

  • China's CPI rose 2.4 % YoY in March, up from 2% 

  • MoM Germany’s CPI stood at 1.2 percent in February (a three year low), following a rate of 1.3 percent in January and 1.4 percent in December 2013. 

  • France's inflation rose 0.4 % in March. 

  • The Eurozone unemployment rate was 11.9 % in February, stable since October 2013 
  • The Eurozone ‘s inflation is expected to drop to 0.5 % in March from 0.7 % in February, the lowest since November 2009 and further below the European Central Bank's target of just under 2 % 
  • (Reuters) - The European Central Bank is ready to make asset purchases if it deems them necessary to counter a too prolonged period of low inflation in the euro zone, ECB Executive Board member Benoit Coeure said. 

  • Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said the odds of an El Nino developing in the May-July period now exceed 70%. 

  • P&G declares a 7% Dividend Increase. 

  • Abic estimates that Brazil's coffee output will fall to 47m bags – dryness continues. Cancel that - 2.7mm could fall in southern Minas Gerais, Brazil's top coffee-growing state. 

  • The U.S.D.A. cut its latest estimates for Florida's orange output and yield in a report issued after one of the most brutal winters in decades. Florida's orange output for 2013/14 has been reduced to 110 million boxes (4.95 million tons) down 4% MoM and down 18% YoY. Yield is projected down 1% MoM but up 1% YoY. 

  • Europe's cocoa grind rose 0.4% in Q1, well below expectations of a rise of 3%. However, the lower increase was attributed to more processing being done in cocoa producing countries, such as Ivory Coast and Indonesia, rather than to soft European demand. 

  • (Reuters) - Nearly 2,000 Chinese enterprises were found to be in violation of state pollution guidelines following a nationwide inspection campaign covering 25,000 industrial firms, the environment ministry said.. 
  • Water in China's Lanzhou city found to contain levels of benzene, a cancer-inducing chemical, at 20 times above safety levels. 

  • Twenty-five years after making their first bid for membership, the Palestinians can join the Geneva Conventions governing the rules of war and military occupations, the Swiss government said . 

  • Pastafarians rejoice as Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is granted permission to register as a religion in Poland. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Most everything should be up to date by late Friday


  • U.S. business inventories rose 0.4 % in January 
  • U.S. federal government runs 193.5 bln USD deficit in February 
  • U.S. initial jobless claims drop to three-month low

  • Eurozone to saty becalmed: The current rates of inflation, unemployment and the rate of growth in the Eurozone look set to prevail for the next couple of years –economists. 
  • Growth in China's retail sales slowed to 11.8% YoY in the first two months of the year 
  • USDA estimates world soybean stocks at 70.64 mmt vs trade expectations of 71.46 and 73.01mmt previous month. 
  • USDA puts soybean stocks at 145 mln bu vs trade expecting of 141 and 150 previous month.
  •  USDA estimates World corn stocks at 158.47 mmt vs trade expectations of 156.27 and 157.3 mmt last month. 
  • USDA has corn ending stocks at 1.456 billion bus vs trade expecting 1.488 bln; 1.481 last month 

  • (Telegraph) Japan's first new geothermal power plant in 15 years to open next month: A new chapter in Japan's energy industry begins when a new geothermal power plant taps into the nation's famed seismic activity - opening the floodgates for dozens of similar projects across the country. 

  • General Motors said that it had received reports of a safety defect in its cars as early as 2001 — three years earlier than previously disclosed. 

  • Qualcomm announced a $5 billion increase to its share repurchase plan and a 20% dividend boost. 

  • (Reuters) - The richest Americans are increasing their ranks and putting the recession of 2008 and 2009 behind them, according to an annual study by the Chicago-based Spectrem Group. Total millionaire households in the United States jumped to more than 9.6 million according to Spectrem, an increase of more than 600,000 over the previous year. That is the highest level since the research group started measuring in 2004.Those who have more than $5 million grew to 1.24 million. The 2014 Affluent Market Insights Report aggregates monthly surveys by Spectrem that reach more than 12,000 investors in total. The richest of these rich, or ultra-rich, who have more than $25 million in investable assets (not including a primary residence), increased by 57 percent through the end of 2013, and now number 132,000, up from 84,000 in 2008. 
  • (Bloomberg) More than three-quarters of Americans say the bull market has had little or no effect on their financial well-being, according to a Bloomberg National Poll. Seventy-seven percent of respondents dismissed the S&P 500’s gains since the financial crisis, according to the poll, taken March 7-10. Barely one in five -- 21 percent -- said the market’s gains have made them “feel more financially” secure. 

  • Buffett’s Berkshire urged shareholders to vote “against” a proposal that it set goals for its energy businesses to reduce greenhouse gas and other emissions. Similar proposals failed in 2011 and 2013.

Sunday, March 02, 2014


  • (Bloomberg) The London gold fix, the benchmark used by miners, jewelers and central banks to value the metal, may have been manipulated for a decade by the banks setting it, researchers say. 
  • YoY Australia’s Gold production rose 18 metric tons to 273 tons in 2013, the highest annual output since 2003, Melbourne-based Surbiton said. 
  • Lower Sugar output in Brazil and India, the second-biggest producer, may spur the first global deficit in five years, F.O. Licht said. 
  • Macquarie estimates Sugar production costs in Asia Pacific, Australia and South Africa at 16 cents a pound or more; in Thailand and Central America at at least 18 cents a pound; in Brazil at 17-19 cents a pound; and in the European Union and India at 20-22 cents a pound.
  • Eurozone inflation stable at 0.8% in February 
  • Eurozone unemployment rate at 12 % in Jan. 
  • Eurozone economy grew 0.3 % in Q4

    • India's economic growth slows to 4.7% in Q4 
    • India’s inflation in Jan. fell to 5% 
    • The Indian state of Rajasthan has barred foreign direct investment in supermarkets 
    • India plans to withdraw from talks with Vodafone Group Plc to resolve a nearly $2 billion tax dispute. 
    • Finnish handset major Nokia warned that its Chennai (India) factory may shut down unless a Rs 21,153 core tax issue is resolved.
    • Italy's unemployment rate rose to 12.9% 
    • Italy's economy grew by 0.1% in Q4 

      • The preliminary reading of the U.S. consumer sentiment index in February held steady at 81.2 
      • U.S. industrial production fell 0.3% in January the first decline since July 2013 due to severe weather. 
      • Chicago PMI unexpectedly accelerates in February to 59.8 

        • Japan's unemployment rate stands at 3.7% in January 
        •  Japan's consumer prices rose 1.3 % in January   
        • British construction output rose 1.3% in 2013 
        • January inflation rose by 0.2 % in Spain 
        • Australia's unemployment rate rose to 6.0 % in Jan.
        • China's inflation rose 2.5 % in January 
        •  China's January PPI fell 1.6% 
        • Global soybean ending stocks rose to 73.01 mmt, up from 72.33 mmt in January and above trade expectations of 72.67 mmt 
        • Global corn stocks fell to 157.30 mmt, down from 160.23 last month and trade expectations of 159.60 mmt 
        • Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc added to his stake in financial giant Goldman Sachs.
        •  Kimberly-Clark Corporation (KMB) raised its Quarterly dividend 3.7% to $.84 per share, up from $.81 per share in 2013. This is the 42nd consecutive year Kimberly-Clark has raised its dividend and the 80th straight year the company has paid dividends.

        Saturday, February 01, 2014


        • (MarketWatch) U.S. stocks end the week and the month with deep losses following a selloff on Friday, which was prompted by disappointing earnings, renewed fears over deflation in the euro zone and a continuing rout in emerging markets.
        • Richard Russell, of Dow Theory Letters fame, notes that every down January since 1950 has been followed by a bear market. (Hulbert's view).

        • Cocoa futures rose to a more than 28-month high  on concerns that supplies for the key chocolate ingredient will not keep up with demand this year. Cocoa-bean stockpiles monitored by ICE Futures U.S. dropped 2.9% last week, adding to supply concerns. The current estimates have production 105,000 metric tons smaller than demand in the year started Oct. 1, followed by a shortage of 74,000 tons the next season.

        • The U.S. government and leading Internet companies  announced a compromise that will allow those companies to reveal how often they are ordered to turn over customer information in national security investigations.
        • U.S. pending home sales fell in December to the lowest level in more than two years, a fresh sign that the housing recovery lost momentum. The NAR said its index of pending home sales, which measures the number of contracts that have been signed but not yet closed for purchasing previously owned homes, fell 8.7% to 92.4 in December, the lowest level since October 2011.
        • Representing oil addicts, a U.S. State department study says that the Keystone XL pipeline would have little impact on tar-sands use. A different opinion thinks that the pipeline would probably increasing supply, decrease prices and therefore drive up global oil consumption.
        • Ban Ki- moon on Friday announced the appointment of the former New York City mayor Bloomberg as his special envoy for cities and climate change.
        • Honda Motor Co expects to sell a record 1.6 million cars in the United States, its biggest market, this calendar year, up 5 percent from 1.525 million sold in 2013.

        • Britain’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) is expected on Tuesday to reveal the economy grew by 0.7% in the final three months of 2013 following growth of 0.8% in the third quarter. This would equate to an overall expansion of 1.9% for 2013, much stronger than the 0.3pc expansion in 2012. However, output would remain 1.3pc below its pre-recession peak.

        • With the end of QE in the West and changes in Chinese fiscal policies "forcing up the cost of capital across emerging markets asset class" the tide is going out on emerging markets - so warns Fidelity.
        • China's PMI for the manufacturing sector dropped to five-month low to 50.5 % in January
        • BEIJING (AP) Authorities in eastern China have banned live poultry sales after an increase in the number of people infected with the H7N9 strain of bird flu, state media reported.

        • India's central bank raised the repo rate by a quarter point to 8%, citing inflationary threats..

        • (MarketWatch) -- Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher defended the U.S. central bank for charges from overseas that it was recklessly ignoring the impact of tapering on other countries. The Fed's moves have been one factor in a spike of turbulence in emerging markets. "Some believe we are the central bank of the world and should conduct policy accordingly. We are the central bank of America," Fisher said in a speech in Forth Worth, Texas, according to Dow Jones. Fisher added that other nations have their own central banks with their own responsibilities.
        • He wants the U.S. central bank to end its economic-stimulus program as soon as possible, but he says the Fed can't go from "Wild Turkey to cold turkey overnight..

        • Argentina's government limited monthly dollar purchases by Argentines to $2,000 (Ms Kirchner went missing). .

        Sunday, January 19, 2014

        Neglected Topic’ Winner: Climate Change HERE’S a scary fact about America: We’re much more likely to believe that there are signs that aliens have visited Earth (77 percent) than that humans are causing climate change (44 percent). ..
        In 1997, there was no significant gap between Republicans and Democrats in thinking about climate change. These days, 66 percent of Democrats say human activity is the main cause of global warming; 24 percent of Republicans say so.

        Saturday, January 18, 2014


        • U.S. Consumer sentiment declined in January, falling to a reading of 80.4 from 82.5 in December.
        • December U.S. industrial production rose 0.3%
        • Construction on new U.S. homes fell 9.8% in December, pulling back after a surge in November

        • Jerry Brown  will use a morning news conference in San Francisco on Friday to declare a drought emergency amid one of the driest winters on record

        • Intel said the chip giant had "a solid fourth quarter with signs of stabilization in the PC segment," shares were down more than 3% after-hours.
        • (MarketWatch) - Intel Corp. was upgraded to overweight from neutral by J.P. Morgan analyst Christopher Danely who said he was "making a leap of faith" on PCs in 2014 and the chip giant's new Chief Executive Brian Krzanich.

        • The caffeine equivalent to that in two cups of coffee can boost performance on a memory test.

        • The World Bank raised its global growth forecasts as the easing of austerity policies in advanced economies supports their recovery, boosting prospects for developing markets' exports.

        • Brussels is demanding that even foreigners who have never worked in Germany should have access to the country's unemployment benefits if they hail from an EU member state. The EU is firing Germany's already overheated immigration debate.

        • Confidence in Australia's property and construction industry has surged to a new record high

        • (Reuters) - U.S. municipal bond funds reported $103.3 million of net inflows in the week ended January 15, compared with $19 million in outflows in the previous week

        • YoY China’s M2 Money supply rose 13.6%
        • Property prices in China ended 2013 still red hot despite repeated government efforts to cool the sector, but the rises are expected to soften this year as more targeted curbs come into place
        • Twenty years ago, China exported six cars. Last year it exported a million.

        • Paramount will stop releasing major motion pictures on 35-millimeter film, becoming the first big Hollywood studio to go digital-only.

        • (Reuters) - President Barack Obama banned U.S. eavesdropping on the leaders of close friends and allies on Friday and began reining in the vast collection of Americans' phone data in a series of limited reforms triggered by Edward Snowden's revelations.

        • Standard & Poor's raised the outlook on California's ratings to positive from stable and affirmed the state's 'A' long-term rating.

        • KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) A mosquito-borne virus appears to be spreading quickly in the Caribbean during the winter tourism season just weeks after epidemiologists first found local transmission occurring in the French dependency of St. Martin. Scientists said that St. Martin now has as many as 200 cases of chikungunya, a virus found mainly in Africa and Asia that can cause a debilitating but rarely fatal sickness with fever, rash, fatigue and intense muscle and joint pain.

        • Italian joblessness has hit a fresh high of 12.7% in November, up from October’s 12.5% and the highest on record. Youth unemployment, at 41.6%, is also at an all-time high.

        • A new memo has emerged that provides clear evidence that in 1976 Kissinger gave Argentina's neo-fascist military junta the "green light" for the dirty war it was conducting against civilian and militant leftists that resulted in the disappearance—that is, deaths—of an estimated 30,000 people.

        Sunday, January 05, 2014


        • NSA's Secret Toolbox: Unit Offers Spy Gadgets for Every Need. The NSA has a secret unit that produces special equipment ranging from spyware for computers and cell phones to listening posts and USB sticks that work as bugging devices. Here are some excerpts from the intelligence agency's own catalog.

        • In an unprecedented ruling, a judge reviewing whether Xcel Energy should invest in new natural gas generators vs. large solar power arrays concluded Tuesday that solar is a better deal.

        • From an Associated Press-GfK stock market poll. Of the people polled, 40% think the market will stabilize where it is now by the end of 2014, with 39% predicting that it will drop, but not crash. Only 14 % believe the market will rise and 5 percent think it will crash.

        • Pending sales of homes ticked up in November, the first gain in six months, signaling that upcoming activity may rise, the National Association of Realtors reported Monday. The index of pending home sales increased 0.2% last month to 101.7, slightly above a 10-month low of 101.5 in October, but down from 103.3 in November 2012.

        • Temperatures in parts of Australia are set to reach almost 50C /122F in the coming days, with total fire bans in place in northern regions of South Australia and a week-long heat wave enveloping Queensland.
        • (Reuters) - Many parts of the U.S. Midwest braced for a blast of Arctic air this weekend that could bring some of the coldest temperatures in two decades..

        Saturday, January 04, 2014

        Just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made global warming emissions "There are thousands of oil, gas and coal producers in the world," climate researcher and author Richard Heede at the Climate Accountability Institute in Colorado said. "But the decision makers, the CEOs, or the ministers of coal and oil if you narrow it down to just one person, they could all fit on a Greyhound bus or two."