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The Big Picture

First and foremost let me point out that Ray Dalio, founder of investment firm Bridgewater Associates, has joined Twitter so I encourage you to follow him here.  Secondly I suggest you grab a cup of coffee or maybe the entire pot as he gradually lays out what he sees ahead for the market.  Enjoy!

Big picture, the near term looks good and the longer term looks scary. That is because:

  1. The economy is now at or near its best, and we see no major economic risks on the horizon for the next year or two,
  2. There are significant long-term problems (e.g., high debt and non-debt obligations, limited abilities by central banks to stimulate, etc.) that are likely to create a squeeze,
  3. Social and political conflicts are near their worst for the last number of decades,…

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S&P500 Earnings With Trump Over The Shoulder

Before I present the insight on expected earnings ahead, there is one point I wish to make; that being Trump.  If you're not following our President elect on Twitter, you should get with it now.  Some may say it's not "Presidential" to be on TWTR but our commander and chief does what he wishes, and he wishes to scare whomever he can.  At the very least, throw him up as a column on TweetDeck and watch the charts fly when he mentions a name. 

Now while AMZN and GM were formerly expecting good growth in 2017, you will notice that both are now on Trumps radar for taxation and import/export fees which explains their recent trading action.  There seems to be no love lost between AMZN owner Jeff Bezos.  Even Trumps …

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Admin

The Death Of Tradtional Retail vs The Size Of Amazon

The Extraordinary Size of Amazon in One Chart

The Extraordinary Size of Amazon in One Chart

It’s bigger than most brick and mortar retailers together

The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.

What has more value: all major publicly traded department stores in the United States, or Amazon?

Amazon takes the cake, and its no contest.

Add together the market caps of Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Nordstrom, Kohl’s, JCPenney, Sears, and Macy’s, it amounts to a significant $297.8 billion:

Brick & Mortar Store 2016 Value ($B)
Total $297.8…

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Admin

Wall Streets Top Picks For 2017 With Trump

We are into the homestretch of 2016, and the markets have seen strong upside this year, benefiting from the domestic economy's resilience and the election of Donald Trump.

With just four sessions to go, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has been a up a solid 14.4 percent, the S&P 500 has risen 10.8 percent and the NASDAQ Composite is 9.1 percent higher — with all the three major averages trading off their all-time closing highs.

Among the ten S&P sectors, eight have been in the green. Old economy stocks such as energy, material, industrial, financial, utility and telecom are all up by double-digit percentages. Technology stocks are also up decently. However, the healthcare sector has taken a hit.

Though…

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Admin

It's Not What You Think. Market Myths Debunked

"A lie told often enough becomes the truth" - Vladimir Lenin

Imagine for a minute you lived centuries ago when people believed the earth was flat, or the earth revolved around the sun, or that planets were Gods, or that disease was angry spirits or supernatural powers. You'd have an explanation for everything ... only it would be wrong. And that "wrongness" would stand in the way of true understanding and true progress until they were discarded as falsehoods.

And so it is with the Stock Market. Let me explain.

First, let me be perfectly clear. I'm a statistician so I'm not referring to philosophical or political or gut feelings or anything other than Statistical Misrepresentations. Fact, not opinion.

I can hardly go a day without reading…

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Admin

The Run In Small Caps. Will It Continue In 2017

The stock market went on quite a tear in the 3+ weeks immediately following the election, with the month of November especially beneficial for small-cap stocks.

Before delving into what it all might mean for small-cap investors, here's a quick rundown to help contextualize just how dynamic a month it was:

  1. This was the best November in the history of the Russell 2000 Index. featuring its highest monthly return since October 2011 when small-caps were just emerging from a precipitous decline.
  2. The performance spread between…

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Admin

India Will Have Seven Megacities by 2030 Says The UN

The noise and bustle on the streets of India’s biggest cities is a defining characteristic of a country that’s home to over a billion people.

Every year, millions more leave their traditional homes in rural towns and villages and head into urban areas. The United Nations World Cities Report 2016 says 9.6 million people will move to New Delhi by 2030.

To qualify as a megacity under the UN definition, an urban area must have a population of 10 million people. The UN takes into account urban sprawl and measures populations beyond official city limits. On these criteria, India currently has five megacities.

1. New Delhi The capital city has a population of 26.5 million people…

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Admin

The Top 10 Emerging Technologies Of 2016

Sometimes the world is not yet ready for a new technology to enter the fray.

Virtual reality, for example, sat on the sidelines for many years. The industry went into hibernation around the time of the Dot Com Bust, and it has only recently re-emerged with promise.

It is only today that big companies like Microsoft, Google, Samsung, HTC, and Facebook have the infrastructure, peripheral technologies, and capital in place to properly commercialize the technology. Now, instead of using primitive 300 x 200 pixel LCD displays that were prohibitively expensive in the 90s, we are looking at a world where display will be in beautiful 4k quality. Meanwhile, accelerometers and gyroscopes can measure head movement, and modern computing power can reduce lag and latency. It took many years, but finally the true…

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Admin

Investors, advertisers, and business leaders around the world are still trying to understand millennials, the generational group that will shape commerce for the foreseeable future. In the past, that’s why we’ve looked at millennial investing and banking preferences, their favorite brands, and even what real estate professionals need to understand about the generation.

Today’s infographic from Adweek is of particular interest, because it focuses on a very particular subset of millennials. The data in the graphic is from a survey of nearly 500 nominees for the…

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Admin

The Top 10 Millenial Brands

The market for U.S. millennials is expected to blossom to $1.4 trillion by 2020, according to international consulting firm Accenture. While this generation of digital natives is already a primary marketing target today, in the upcoming years millennials will make up a hefty 30% of all retail spending in the country.

However, millennials are complex and notoriously difficult to read, even for professional marketers. With values that seem to contradict one another, it’s a challenge for companies to successfully gain market share with this audience.

As millennials mature, researchers are gaining ground on the needs and wants of this generation. This week’s Chart of the Week shares data from a comprehensive survey of 3,500 millennials that were asked, without any prompt, about their favorite brands over the past three years. The…

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Smartwatches Overtake Swiss Watches

According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global smartwatch shipments reached 8.1 million units in Q4 2015, compared with 7.9 million Swiss Watch shipments. It is the first time ever that smartwatches have outshipped Swiss watches on a global basis.

Cliff Raskind, Director at Strategy Analytics, said, “We estimate global smartwatch shipments reached 8.1 million units in Q4 2015, rising a healthy 316 percent from 1.9 million in Q4 2014. Smartwatches are growing rapidly in North America, Western Europe…

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What Might Happen In China In 2016

In debates about whether growth is a percentage point up or down, we too often lose sight of the absolute scale of China’s economy. No matter what rate the country grows at in 2016, its share of the global economy, and of many specific sectors, will be larger than ever. My snapshot of China in 2016? An increasingly diverse, volatile, $11 trillion economy whose performance is becoming more and more difficult to describe as one dimensional.

The reality is that China’s economy is today made up of multiple subeconomies, each more than a trillion dollars in size. Some are booming, some declining. Some are globally competitive, others fit for the scrap heap. How you feel about China depends more than ever on the parts of the economy where you compete. In 2015, selling kit to movie theaters has been great business, selling kit to steel mills less so. In your China, are you dealing with a tiger or a tortoise? Your performance in 2016 will depend on knowing the…

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Admin

Negative Growth. Thank You Deflation And QE

Investors may wade into unknown territory next month as the Federal Reserve readies the first rate hike in nearly a decade amid a corporate earnings recession.

S&P 500 earnings are on track to close their first reporting season of negative growth since the Great Recession and estimates call for sub-zero growth in the current quarter as well.

Even if the trend reverses next year, as expected, a Fed rate hike in December could mark an unprecedented conflict between a tightening cycle starting at the same time as earnings fall into recession.

"We can't think of any instances when the Fed was hiking during an (earnings) recession," said Joseph Zidle, portfolio strategist at Richard Bernstein Advisors in New…

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Admin

3Q Earnings Worst Since 2009

This U.S. earnings season is on track to be the worst since 2009 as profits from oil & gas and commodity-related companies plummet leaving many to wonder, is the worst behind us or is there more to come?  Is China's growth story over or taking a 'rest'?  We've lived on ghost cities creating demand for so many years; where is the next growth story?

So far, about three-quarters of the S&P 500 have reported results, with profits down 3.1 percent on a share-weighted basis, data compiled by Bloomberg shows. This would be the biggest quarterly drop in earnings since the third quarter 2009, and the second straight quarter of profit declines. Earnings growth turned negative for the first time in six years in the second quarter this year.

The damage is the biggest in commodity-related industries, with the energy sector showing a 54 percent drop in quarterly earnings per share so far in…

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Why Commodities Are Back To The 1990s

The chart above is the Bloomberg Commodity Index. It consists of baskets of common commodities, including energy, metals, foodstuffs, softs and precious metals.

After a fairly flat period in the 1990s, the index leapt upward beginning in the early 2000s. The context explains the jump: High inflation, weak dollar and low interest rates. From 2001 to 2007, the dollar lost 41 percent of its value, and all commodities priced in dollars skyrocketed. At the same time, China began a huge expansion of its infrastructure, transportation, housing and manufacturing sectors. The BCOM index moved from around 90 to almost 240.

You know the rest of the story: Inflation is nowhere to be found, and the Federal Open Market Committee is concerned about deflation. The…

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Admin

Money Surges To Europe; Growth To Follow

If you ignore the ongoing Greek sideshow, rarely has European money growth been as accommodative as it is today. Europe has enormous structural problems of too much debt, an inflexible currency and an ageing population, but cyclical factors are very positive. Leading indicators are also positive, and the problems in Greece practically guarantee that the ECB will remain extremely accommodative even though Germany will require some tapering of QE.  Barring major contagion from Greece, any equity weakness in Europe will represent a buying opportunity.  Real M1 in Europe is growing at 11%, and the collapse in the price of oil means that excess liquidity is surging now and is as high as it was in 2009 and higher than it was in 2004-05.

While investors are worried about the fallout from Greece on the European banking system, we offer the…

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Admin

Social Media - TV For The Next Generation

When it comes to where younger Americans get news about politics and government, social media look to be the local TV of the Millennial generation. About six-in-ten online Millennials (61%) report getting political news on Facebook in a given week, a much larger percentage than turn to any other news source, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis. This stands in stark contrast to internet-using Baby Boomers, for whom local TV tops the list of sources for political news at nearly the same reach (60%).

At the same time, Millennials’ relatively low reliance on local TV for political news (37% see news there in a given week) almost mirrors Baby Boomers’ comparatively low reliance on Facebook (39%).

Gen Xers, who bridge the age gap between Millennials (ages 18-33 at the time of the 2014 survey) and Baby Boomers (ages 50-68), also…

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Admin

Market Following U.S. Confidence?

For the week ending May 24, 23% of Americans said the economy is excellent or good while 29% said it is poor, resulting in a current conditions score of -6. The economic outlook score of -11 is the result of 42% of Americans saying the economy is getting better and 53% saying it is getting worse.

Economic Confidence Index Components -- Weekly Averages From May 2014

Well this chart from Gallup certainly makes one wonder. Where will the U.S. see growth?  We need a catlyst......

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Admin

Time To Ring The Register

Traders dumped high fliers and the broader stock market was slammed amid worries about the first profit decline in six years and more signs of nagging weakness in the U.S. economy.

Stocks fell sharply, as the VIX [ .VIX 15.44  +1.82 (+13.36%) ] jumped more than 13 percent. The Dow [ .DJI 17718.54  -292.60 (-1.62%) ] was off 292 points at 17,718 Wednesday, and the S&P 500 [ .INX 2061.05  -30.45 (-1.46%) ] fell nearly 1.5 percent to 2061. The Nasdaq [ .IXIC 4876.52  -118.21 (-2.37%) ], affected by selling in tech and biotech, lost 2.4…

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Admin

Countries Hurt By Lower Crude Oil

As the price of oil extends a free fall that began this summer, countries around the world that rely on oil revenues are bracing for an imminent economic and budget hit.  The drop is widening budget gaps in the Gulf states like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain that rely heavily on oil to pay government services.

With oil and gas production accounting for some 70% of Russia's government spending, Moscow also faces a big shortfall—after budgeting based on $100-a-barrel oil for 2015. Russia's economic growth was already slowing before the plunge in oil prices. Trade sanctions imposed by the U.S. and Europe—in response to the…

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