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Rules and regulations exist to let us know what behaviors we should expect from the people we do business with. Sometimes, good sense or social convention overtake these rules — and they don’t matter so much. Just about everyone wears seat-belts these days (we all know how much they improve our odds of survival in an accident); the ranks of underage smokers have plummeted (it’s no longer cool). Once the toothpaste is out of the tube, as they say, there’s no cramming it back in.

Such is the case with the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule. On Friday, President Trump asked the Labor Department to review the rule, which requires brokers working with retirement savers to put the interest of their clients ahead of their own. After years of work on it, the regulation was finalized last year by the Obama administration.

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Facebook Is Chasing A Much, Much Bigger Jobs Market

Facebook is getting into a new type of networking.

The social media giant said this week that it is rolling out new features in the US and Canada to let businesses post job openings, and prospective workers find and apply to them through Facebook. “This new experience will help businesses find qualified people where they’re already spending their time—on Facebook and on mobile,” the company said in a blog post.

The system Facebook debuted on Feb. 15 aims to minimize hassle for job-seekers and employers, while also giving both more reasons to use Facebook products. Businesses will be able to post jobs and track applications directly from a company…

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A parade of up-and-coming musicians from Universal Music took the stage at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles Saturday in a pre-Grammy Awards performance for a room full of the executives who will make or break their careers.

Talent bookers from James Corden’s late-night show, marketing executives from top brands and executives from Spotify Ltd. and YouTube looked on. Sandwiched in between tables for Apple Inc., an imposing player in online music, and Pandora Media Inc., owner of the world’s largest online radio service, sat executives from a new act trying to break onto the scene: Facebook Inc. 

The world’s largest social network has redoubled its efforts to reach a broad accord with the industry, according to interviews…

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Admin

Crude oil has a tendency to bottom in mid-February and then rally through July with the bulk of the seasonal move ending in late April or early May. It is that early February low that can give traders an edge by buying ahead of a seasonally strong period. Going long crude oil’s July contract on or about February 14 and holding for approximately 60 days has been a profitable trade 27 times in 33 years, including the last three years straight, for an 81.8% win ratio with a cumulative profit of $108,660 (based upon trading a single crude oil futures contract excluding commissions and taxes).

Crude oil’s seasonal tendency to move higher in this time period is partly due to continuing demand for heating oil and diesel fuel in the northern states and partly due to the shutdown of refinery operations in order to switch production facilities from producing heating oil to reformulated unleaded gasoline in anticipation of heavy demand for…

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Apple doesn’t have a solid TV strategy yet. But CEO Tim Cook thinks he can see the writing on the wall—the much loathed cable-TV bundle is on its deathbed.

Speaking on the earnings call after Apple posted a record first quarter, Cook said (emphasis added):

The way that we participate in the changes that are going on in the media industry that I fully expect to accelerate from the cable bundle beginning to break down is, one, we started the new Apple TV a year ago, and we’re pleased with how that platform has come along. We have more things planned for it but it’s come a long way in a year, and it gives us a clear platform to build off…

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President Donald Trump signs an executive order aimed at reducing regulations at the White House earlier this week. In a high-profile attack on growth-killing red tape, President Donald Trump this week ordered that any agency issuing a new rule find two to repeal.

He will likely discover that the only thing harder than getting something done in Washington is getting it undone.

Vast swaths of rules are untouchable because Congress ordered them to be written or the president himself demanded them. Finding rules to repeal is a tedious and time-consuming affair that usually yields tiny savings, mostly in reduced paperwork. Ultimately, rules are passed because they have benefits, from cleaner air to fewer terror attacks, that voters or presidents aren’t willing to forgo.

The first president to tackle the leviathan was Jimmy Carter who proposed a “regulatory budget” to limit the financial burden of new rules. Every…

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Admin

The State Of Sub Prime Auto Loans

Auto loans have shot past the $1 trillion mark in the United States and now make up a significant component of the overall consumer debt picture.

Subprime auto loans – which are riskier loans made to customers with poor credit – have helped to drive the market since the Great Recession. However, with auto loan delinquencies ticking up in recent months, investors have been searching for answers about the sector.

Are we in for some sort of subprime auto loan crisis, or is there another explanation for what is going on?

Subprime Auto Loans: a Shifting Market

The data and perspective in today’s infographic comes from consumer credit reporting agency Equifax, and it helps to explain what is potentially going on in today’s auto loans market.…

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What Trump Policies Are S&P Companies Citing In Q4

With Inauguration Day here, politics and government policy will continue to be a focus area for the markets. Over the past few months, President Trump has outlined a number of areas for potential changes in government policy.

During each corporate earnings season, it is not unusual for companies to comment on subjects that had an impact on their earnings and revenues for a given quarter or may have an impact on earnings and revenues for future quarters. While the majority of S&P 500 companies will report earnings results for Q4 2016 over the next few weeks, approximately 8% of the companies in the index (42 companies) have already reported earnings results for the fourth quarter (through Wednesday). Have companies in the S&P 500 been commenting on government policies that may change under the Trump administration during their earnings conference calls for the fourth quarter?

To answer this question, FactSet searched for the terms “Trump” and “administration”…

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Netflix Now Surpasses DVD And Blue Ray Sales

Marking a major milestone in home entertainment’s shift to digital formats, video streaming subscription revenues surpassed DVD / Blu-ray sales in the United States for the first time in 2016. While U.S. consumers spent $6.23 billion on subscriptions to services such as Netflix (up 23% from 2015), DVD and Blu-ray sales dropped 9.5 percent to $5.49 billion, according to the Digital Entertainment Group's year-end report.

Looking at the home entertainment market as a whole, it is clear that the future of video distribution is digital. While consumer spending on streaming subscriptions, video on demand and electronic sell-through increased in 2016, all physical formats, both sell-through and rental, suffered double-digit declines. Digital business models now account for 56% of home entertainment spending and could soon…

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The Winners And Losers Of A Cashless Society

Courtesy of: The Money Project

 

There is a global push by lawmakers to eliminate the use of physical cash around the world. This movement is often referred to as “The War on Cash”, and there are three major players involved:

1. The Initiators
Who?
Governments, central banks.
Why?
The elimination of cash will make it easier to track all types of transactions – including those made by criminals.

2. The Enemy
Who?
Criminals, terrorists
Why?
Large denominations of bank notes make illegal transactions easier to perform, and increase anonymity.

3. The Crossfire
Who?
Citizens
Why?
The coercive…

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The impending IPO of Snap Inc., the parent of social media platform Snapchat, is shrouded in mystery, typical of the way business is run at the company. To maintain control of the company, its founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy are expected to reportedly hold about 70 percent of the voting power following the IPO, with new investors getting no voting rights.

Ad Dollars On Upward Trajectory

Notwithstanding the limited visibility into the IPO, advertisers are warming up to Snapchat. Ad firm WPP's CEO Martin Sorrel told…

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Admin

Trump Comes Out On China And Russia

President-elect Donald Trump suggested he would be open to lifting sanctions on Russia and wasn’t committed to a longstanding agreement with China over Taiwan—two signs that he would use any available leverage to realign the U.S.’s relationship with its two biggest global strategic rivals.

In an hourlong interview, Mr. Trump said that, “at least for a period of time,” he would keep intact sanctions against Russia imposed by the Obama administration in late December in response to Moscow’s alleged cyberattacks to influence November’s election. But he suggested he might do away with those penalties if Russia proved helpful in battling terrorists and reaching other goals important to the U.S.

“If you get along and if Russia is…

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When Chips Can't Get Smaller. Enter Nanotechnoogy

Every year the silicon computer chip shrinks in size by half and doubles in power, enabling our devices to become more mobile and accessible. But what happens when our chips can't get any smaller? George Tulevski researches the unseen and untapped world of nanomaterials. His current work: developing chemical processes to compel billions of carbon nanotubes to assemble themselves into the patterns needed to build circuits, much the same way natural organisms build intricate, diverse and elegant structures. Could they hold the secret to the next generation of computing?

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Admin

Oligarch vs Drain The Swamp. Who Wins:

So the year begins and with it a new presidency. Everyone has ideas how best to invest your money. Simple indexing is the least expensive way to manage capital; no, smart beta is superior; this year we are told (once again) will be when active stock-picking makes its triumphant return.

Regardless of how you choose to allocate your assets, there is another way; a much better way; a method that cannot fail in its brilliance and simplicity. Go with the POTUS indexes.

Direct your attention to the relentless tweeting of the man who soon will be president. There is valuable information in those 140 characters that can move markets and alter perceptions of corporate fundamentals. This has real alpha-generating possibilities. Whoever is managing your favorite 401(k),…

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Admin

Last year was a bad one for many companies selling expensive fashion, handbags, and jewelry. For the first time since the financial crisis of 2008, the global market for personal luxury goods failed to grow, stalling at €249 billion (about $258 billion).  Will Trumps tax proposal send their sails soaring or will his proposed tariffs interfere?

The good news is that 2017 should see a return to growth, according to a Dec. 28 report on the global luxury market by management consulting firm Bain & Company, only it won’t look anything like the boom years from 2010 to 2015, when global sales of such goods jumped 45%, fueled by Chinese consumers with high-end appetites. The slowing of China’s economy and its government’s ongoing crackdown on…

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Admin

Amazon’s aerial dreams aren’t limited to drone deliveries.

In April, Amazon was awarded a patent (unearthed by a CB Insights analyst on Dec. 28 ) for Zeppelin-like warehouses in the skies. Amazon wants to create an “airborne fulfillment center” (AFC) to hover at altitudes of around 45,000 feet and spit out delivery drones with customers’ orders.

The designs suggest that the AFC will either be supported by an airship or incorporated into one. “An airship, or dirigible, is a type of aerostat or lighter-than-air aircraft which can…

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The Trump Effect On Currencies

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist

Rhetoric has already had an impact on currencies in a big way

Targeting companies or entire nations on Twitter is an unprecedented and controversial method of communication for a President-elect – but one can’t argue with its effectiveness so far.

In today’s chart, we take a look at Donald Trump’s rather unconventional form of “monetary policy”, and how it has potentially influenced the U.S. dollar and five other major currencies since his election in November.

Ready, Aim, Tweet

A preview of President-elect Trump’s “America First” directive can already be seen on Twitter.

Trump’s infamous account, which is…

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