Advertisements



CIA says there is a "security situation" just outside headquarters in Langley, Virginia

"Our compound remains secured, and our Security Protective Officers working the incident are the only Agency personnel directly involved," a spokesperson told .....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 3rd, 2021

CIA says there is a "security situation" just outside headquarters in Langley, Virginia

"Our compound remains secured, and our Security Protective Officers working the incident are the only Agency personnel directly involved," a spokesperson told .....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 3rd, 2021

As Biden Releases 12K Haitians Into US, Thousands More Arrive In Panama For Northbound Trek

As Biden Releases 12K Haitians Into US, Thousands More Arrive In Panama For Northbound Trek Thousands of Haitian migrants have somehow made it to Panama, and have passed through the treacherous jungles of the Darien Gap on their way north to the United States, according to Reuters. According to the report which cites two Panamanian government sources, between 3,500 and 4,000 migrants are passing through 'migration reception stations' in Darien and Chiriqui, according to one source - an official with Panama's security ministry. But wait, there's more: Meanwhile, some 16,000 migrants are stuck in the northern Colombian beach town of Necocli, awaiting their turn on limited boat transport toward the Darien Gap, where smugglers guide groups through one of the most dangerous and impassable regions of Latin America. read more Colombia and Panama agreed last month that 500 migrants could cross per day, but local officials have repeatedly urged them to raise the quota, saying it is far too low to keep pace with the up to 1,500 migrants who arrive in town daily. -Reuters Meanwhile, the Biden administration has released around 12,000 Haitians into the United States - unvaccinated, while school children are forced to wear masks and unvaccinated Americans are losing their jobs because... science. More from Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said Sunday that a significant number of Haitian illegal immigrants who had amassed along the U.S.-Mexico border last week are being released into the United States. About 12,400 out of 17,000 Haitians are having their cases heard by immigration courts, Mayorkas said, adding that about 5,000 are being processed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Only approximately 3,000 are in detention, he said. “Approximately, I think it’s about ten thousand or so, twelve thousand,” Mayorkas told “Fox News Sunday” when he was asked about the number of Haitian illegal aliens who have been released into the interior of the United States. The number could rise as 5,000 more cases are processed, he remarked further. Mayorkas added that the figure of those being released “could be even higher” and added that the “number that are returned could be even higher.” Striking a defensive tone, Mayorkas said, “What we do is we follow the law as Congress has passed it.” “Legislative reform is needed,” he said, adding that the U.S. “immigration system is broken.” The Department of Justice in 2017 previously estimated that about 43 percent of illegal aliens released into the U.S. miss their immigration court hearings. When asked about what will happen to the 12,000 who were released in the past week, Mayorkas said that “it is our intention to remove” those aliens. “We have enforcement guidelines in place that provide that individuals who are recent border crossers who do not show up for their hearings are enforcement priorities, and will be removed,” Mayorkas said. Last week, more than 15,000 Haitians congregated underneath a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, and essentially constructed a shantytown before numerous local officials sounded the alarm that a humanitarian crisis was brewing. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas updates reporters on the effort to resettle vulnerable Afghans in the United States, in Washington on Sept. 3, 2021. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo) DHS officials, including Mayorkas, on Sept. 24 said that the encampment under the bridge was cleared out. A day later, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said that the Texas border crossing will be partially reopened. The agency also said it is planning to continue flights to Haiti throughout the weekend, ignoring criticism from Democratic lawmakers and some progressive groups. The number of people at the Del Rio encampment peaked last weekend as migrants driven by confusion over the Biden administration’s policies and misinformation on social media converged at the border crossing. While Mayorkas and other White House officials have asserted that the border is closed, Republicans have said that the administration’s decisions to rescind a number of Trump-era immigrant orders have triggered a surge of illegal immigration. All the while, Mayorkas and other senior officials have dedicated a significant amount of time in news conferences condemning some Border Patrol agents who were seen on horseback near Haitians who illegally crossed the border. The photographer who shot those pictures last week said that the agents were not whipping the migrants, as some officials and Democratic lawmakers had claimed. “Some of the Haitian men started running, trying to go around the horses,” photographer Paul Ratje told local station KTSM, explaining the situation on the ground. “I’ve never seen them whip anyone,” he said, referring to the agents. “He was swinging it, but it can be misconstrued when you’re looking at the picture.” Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 16:00.....»»

Category: worldSource: nyt10 hr. 53 min. ago

The "Great Game" Moves On

The 'Great Game' Moves On Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com, Following America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, her focus has switched to the Pacific with the establishment of a joint Australian and UK naval partnership. The founder of modern geopolitical theory, Halford Mackinder, had something to say about this in his last paper, written for the Council on Foreign Relations in 1943. Mackinder anticipated this development, though the actors and their roles at that time were different. In particular, he foresaw the economic emergence of China and India and the importance of the Pacific region. This article discusses the current situation in Mackinder’s context, taking in the consequences of green energy, the importance of trade in the Pacific region, and China’s current deflationary strategy relative to that of declining western powers aggressively pursuing asset inflation. There is little doubt that the world is rebalancing as Mackinder described nearly eighty years ago. To appreciate it we must look beyond the West’s current economic and monetary difficulties and the loss of its hegemony over Asia, and particularly note the improving conditions of the Asia’s most populous nations. Introduction Following NATO’s defeat in the heart of Asia, and with Afghanistan now under the Taliban’s rule, the Chinese/Russian axis now controls the Asian continental mass. Asian nations not directly related to its joint hegemony (not being members, associates, or dialog partners of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) are increasingly dependent upon it for trade and technology. Sub-Saharan Africa is in its sphere of influence. The reality for America is that the total population in or associated with the SCO is 57% of the world population. And America’s grip on its European allies is slipping. NATO itself has become less relevant, with Turkey drawn towards the rival Asian axis, and its EU members are compromised through trading and energy links with Russia and China. Furthermore, France is pushing the EU towards establishing its own army independent of US-led NATO — quite what its role will be, other than political puffery for France is a mystery. It is against this background that three of the Five Eyes intelligence partnership have formed AUKUS – standing for Australia, UK, and US — and its first agreement is to give Australia a nuclear submarine capability to strengthen the partnership’s naval power in the Pacific. Other capabilities, chiefly aimed at containing the Chinese threat to Taiwan and other allies in the Pacific Ocean, will surely emerge in due course. The other two Five Eyes, Canada and New Zealand, appear to be less keen to confront China. But perhaps they will also have less obvious roles in due course beyond pure intelligence gathering. The US, under President Trump, had failed to contain China’s increasing economic dominance and its rapidly developing technological challenge to American supremacy. Trump’s one success was to peel off the UK from its Cameron/Osbourne policy of strengthening trade and financial ties with China by threatening the UK’s important role in its intelligence partnership with the US. For the UK, the challenge came at a critical time. Brexit had happened, and the UK needed global partners for its future trade and geopolitical strategies, the latter needed to cement its re-emergence onto the world stage following Brexit. Trump held out the carrot of a fast-tracked US/UK trade deal. The Swiss alternative of neutrality in international affairs is not in the UK’s DNA, so realistically the decision was a no-brainer: the UK had to recommit itself entirely to the Anglo-Saxon Five-Eyes partnership with the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and turn its back on China. But gathering intelligence and building naval power in the Pacific won’t defeat the Chinese. All simulations show that the US, with or without AUKUS, cannot win a military conflict against China. But AUKUS is not a formal model on NATO lines which commits its members by treaty to aggression against a common enemy. While Taiwan remains a specific problem, the objective is almost certainly to discourage China from territorial expansion and protect and give other Pacific nations on the Asian periphery the security to be independent from the SCO behemoth. The trade benefits of closer relationships with these independent nations are also an additional reason for the UK to join the CPTPP — the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. It qualifies for membership through its sovereignty over the Pitcairn Islands. And that is why China has also applied to join. Therefore, AUKUS’s importance is in the signal sent to China and the whole Pacific region, following the abandonment of land-based operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan. The maritime threat to China is a line which must not be crossed. We are entering a new era in the Great Game, where the objective has changed from dominance to containment. Having lost its position of ultimate control in the Eurasian land mass America has selected its partners to retain control over the high seas. And the UK has found a new geopolitical purpose, re-establishing a global role now that it is independent from the EU. The French cannot join the CPTPP being bound into the common trade policies of the EU. Seeing the British escape the strictures of the EU and rapidly obtain more global influence than France could dream of has touched a raw nerve. Mackinder vindicated The father of geopolitics, Halford Mackinder, is frequently quoted and his theories are still relevant to the current situation. Much has been written about Mackinder’s prophecies. His concept of the World Island was first mentioned in his 1904 presentation to the Royal Geographic Society in London: “a pivot state, resulting in its expansion over the marginal lands of Euro-Asia”. In 1943 he updated his views in an article for the Council on Foreign Relations, adding to his heartland theory. Written during the Second World War, his commentary reflected the combatants and their positions at that time. But despite this, he made a perceptive comment relative to the situation today and AUKUS: “Were the Chinese for instance organised by the Japanese to overthrow the Russian Empire and conquer its territory they might constitute the yellow peril to the world’s freedom just because they would add an oceanic frontage to the resources of the great continent.” When Mackinder wrote his article the Japanese had already invaded Manchuria, but their subsequent defeat removed them from an active geopolitical role, and in place of a Soviet defeat China has entered a peaceful partnership with Russia that extends to all its old Central Asian soviet satellites. It is the focus on the ocean frontage that matters, upon which the maritime silk road depends. The article brings into play another aspect mentioned by Mackinder, and that is the Heartland’s tremendous natural resources, “…including enough coal in the Kuznetsk and Krasnoyarsk basins capable of supplying the requirements of the whole world for 300 years”. And: “In 1938 Russia produced more of the following food stuffs than any other country in the world: wheat, barley, oats, rye, and sugar beets. More manganese was produced in Russia than in any other country. It was bracketed with United States in the first place as regards iron and it stood second place in production of petroleum”. Through its partnership with Russia all these latent resources are available to the Chinese and Russian partnership. And the real potential for industrialisation, held back by communism and now by Russian corruption, has barely commenced. After presciently noting that one day the Sahara may become the trap for capturing direct power from the sun (foreseeing solar panels), Mackinder’s article ended on an optimistic note: “A thousand million people of ancient oriental civilisation inhabit the monsoon lands of India and China [today 3 billion, including Pakistan]. They must grow to prosperity in the same years in which Germany and Japan are being tamed to civilisation. They will then balance that other thousand million who live between the Missouri and the Yenisei [i.e., Central and Eastern America, Britain, Europe and Russia beyond the Urals]. A balanced globe of human beings and happy because balanced and thus free.” Both China and now India are rapidly industrialising, becoming part of a balanced globe of humanity. While the West tries to hang on to what it has got rather than progressing, China and India along with all of under-developed Asia are moving rapidly in the direction of individual freedom of economic choice and improvements in living conditions, to which Mackinder was referring. Obviously, there is some way for this process yet to go, displacing western hegemony in the process. America particularly has found the political challenges of change difficult, with its deep state unable to come to terms easily with the implications for its military and economic power. We must hope that Mackinder was right, and the shift of economic power is best to be regarded as the pains of geopolitical evolution rather than conditions for escalating conflict. But in pursuing its green agenda and eschewing carbon fuels, the West is unwittingly handing a gift to Mackinder’s Heartland, because despite diplomatic noises to the contrary China, India and all the SCO membership will continue to use cheap coal, gas, and oil which Asia has in abundance while Western manufacturers are forced by their governments to use expensive and less reliable green energy. Green obsessions and global trade Meanwhile, the West has gone green-crazy. Banning fossil fuels without there being adequate replacements must be a new definition of insanity, for which the current fuel crises in Europe attest. With over 95% of European logistics currently being shifted by diesel power, switching to battery power or hydrogen by 2030 by banning sales of new internal combustion engine vehicles is a hostage to fortune. While it is hardly mentioned, presumably the Western powers think that by banning carbon fuels they will take the wind out of Russia’s energy quasi-monopoly, because including gas Russia is the largest exporter of fossil fuels in the world. Instead, the West is creating an energy shortage for itself, a point driven home by Gazprom withholding gas flows through its pipelines to Europe, thereby driving up Europe’s energy costs sharply and ensuring a far more severe energy crisis this winter. Even if Russia turns on the taps tomorrow, there is insufficient gas storage in reserve for the winter months. And Europe and the UK have got ahead of themselves by decommissioning coal and gas-fired electricity. In the UK, a massive undersea gas storage facility off the Yorkshire coast has been closed, leaving precious little national storage capacity. As we have seen with the post-covid supply chain chaos, energy problems will not only become acute this winter, but are likely to persist through much of next year. And even that assumes Russia relents and moderates its energy stance to European customers. By way of contrast, though its partnership with Russia China is gifted unlimited access to all carbon fuels. She is still building coal-fired electricity power stations at an extraordinary rate — according to a BBC report there are 61 new ones being commissioned. A further 51 outside China are planned. As a sop to the West China has only said she won’t finance any more outside her territory. And India relies on coal for over two-thirds of its electrical energy. While Europe and America through their green obsessions are denying themselves the availability and technologies that go with carbon fuels, the Russian/Chinese axis will continue to reap the full benefits. The West’s response is likely to be to decry Chinese pollution and its contribution to global warming, but realistically there is little it can do. Demand for Chinese-manufactured goods will continue because China now has a quasi-monopoly on global manufacturing for export. In the unlikely event western consumers become avid savers while their governments continue to run massive budget deficits, their trade deficits will rise even more, allowing Chinese exporters to increase prices for consumers and intermediate goods without losing export sales. While there is nothing it can do about China’s production methods, AUKUS members will undoubtedly lean on other exporting CPTPP members to comply with global green policies. But they will be competing with China, and while they may pay lip service to the climate change agenda, in practice they are unlikely to implement it without holding out for unrealistic subsidies from the western nations driving the climate change agenda. Under current circumstances, it seems unlikely that China’s CPTPP application will lead to membership, given the CPTPP requirement for China’s central government to relinquish ownership of its SOEs and to permit the free flow of data across its borders. In any event, China is focused on developing its Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a free trade agreement with ratification signed so far by China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. It will come into effect when ratified by ten out of the fifteen signatories, likely to be in the first half of 2022, and in terms of population will be two and a half times the size of the EU and the US/Mexico/Canada (USMCA) trade agreements combined. With four out of five of the signatories being American allies, RCEP demonstrates that the AUKUS defence partnership is an entirely separate issue from trade. While the US may not like it, if RCEP goes ahead freer trade will almost certainly undermine a belligerent stance in due course. Despite hiccups, the progression of trade dealing in the Pacific region promises to prove Mackinder right about the prospect of a more balanced world. All being well and guaranteed by a balance of naval capabilities between AUKUS and China, a free-trading Pacific region will render the European and American trade protectionist policies an anachronism. But the threat is now from another direction: financial instability, with western nations pulling in one direction and China in another. Since the Lehman collapse and the ensuing financial crisis, China has been careful to prevent financial bubbles. Figure 1 shows that the Shanghai Composite Index has risen 82% since 2008, while the S&P500 rose 430%. While the US has seen financial asset values driven by a combination of QE and investor speculation, these factors are absent and discouraged in China. Government debt to GDP is about half that of the US. It is true that industrial debt is high, like that of the US. But the difference is that in China debt is more productive while in America there has been a growing preponderance of debt zombies, only kept solvent by zero interest rate policies. China’s policy of ensuring that the expansion of bank credit is invested in production and not speculation differs fundamentally from the US approach, which is to deliberately inflate financial assets to perpetuate a wealth effect. China avoids the destabilising potential of speculative flows unwinding because it lays the economy open to the possibility that America will use financial instability to undermine China’s economy. In a speech to the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee in April 2015, Major-General Qiao Liang, the People’s Liberation Army strategist, identified a cycle of dollar weakness against other currencies followed by strength, which first inflated debt in foreign countries and then bankrupted them. Qiao argued it was a deliberate American policy and would be used against China. In his words, it was time for America to “harvest” China. Drawing on Chinese intelligence reports, in early 2014 he was made aware of American involvement in the “Occupy Central” movement in Hong Kong. After several delays, the Fed announced the end of QE the following September which drove the dollar higher, and “Occupy Central” protests broke out the following month. To Qiao the two events were connected. By undermining the dollar/yuan rate and provoking riots, the Americans had tried to crash China’s economy. Within six months the Shanghai stock market began to collapse with the SSE Composite Index falling from 5,160 to 3,050 between June and September 2015. One cannot know for certain if Qiao’s analysis was correct, but one can understand the Chinese leadership’s continued caution based upon it. For this and other reasons, the Chinese leadership is extremely wary of having dollar liabilities and the accumulation of unproductive, speculative money in the economy. It justifies their strict exchange control regime, whereby dollars are not permitted to circulate in China, and all inward capital flows are turned into yuan by the PBOC. Furthermore, domestic monetary policy appears deliberately different from that of America and other western nations. While everyone else has been inflating their way through covid, China has been restricting domestic credit expansion and curtailing shadow banking. The discount rate is held up at 2.9% with market rates slightly lower at 2.2%, and the only reason it is that low is because alternative dollar rates are at zero and EU and Japanese rates are negative. It is this restrictive monetary policy that has led to the current crisis in property developers, with the very public difficulties of Evergrande. Far from being a surprise event, with cautious monetary policies it could have been easily foreseen. Moreover, the government has a sensible policy of not rescuing private sector businesses in trouble, though it is likely to take steps to limit financial contagion. In their glass houses, Western critics continually throw stones at China. But at least her policy makers have attempted to avoid contributing to the global inflation cycle. With prices beginning to rise at an accelerating pace in western currencies, a new global financial crash is in the making. China and her SCO cohort would be adversely affected, but not to the same extent. The fruits of China’s policies of restricting credit expansion are showing in the commodity prices she pays, which in her own currency have increased by ten per cent less than for dollar-based competition, judging by the exchange rate movements since the Fed reduced its funds rate to the zero bound and instigated monthly QE of $120bn on 19-23 March 2020 (see Figure 2). And while both currencies have moved broadly sideways since January, there is little doubt that the fundamentals point to an even stronger yuan and weaker dollar. The domestic benefits of a relatively stronger yuan outweigh the margin compression suffered by China’s exporters. It is worth noting that as well as moderating credit demand, China is attempting to increase domestic consumer spending at the expense of the savings rate, so consumer demand will begin to matter more than exports to producers. It is in line with a long-term objective of China becoming less dependent on exports, and exporters will benefit from domestic sales growth instead. Furthermore, with China dominating global exports of intermediate and consumer goods and while western budget deficits are increasing and leading to yet greater trade deficits, Chinese exporters should be able to secure higher prices anyway. There can be little doubt that the budget deficits financed by monetary inflation in America, the EU, Japan and the UK, plus central bank stimulus packages are now undermining the purchasing power of all the major currencies. The consequences for their purchasing powers are now becoming apparent and attempts to calm markets and consumers by describing them as transient cuts little ice. In terms of their purchasing powers, these currencies are now in a race to the bottom. Not only are the costs of production rising sharply, but following a brief pause of three months, commodity and energy prices look set to rise sharply. Figure 3 shows the Invesco commodity tracker, which having almost doubled since March 2020 now appears to be attempting a break out on the upside. Since global competitiveness is no longer a priority, China would be sensible to let its yuan exchange rate rise against western currencies to help keep a lid on domestic prices and costs. It is, after all, a savings driven economy, with the sustainable characteristics of a strong currency relative to the dollar. Conclusions Having failed in their land-based military objectives, America’s undeclared tariff and financial wars against China are also coming to an end, to be replaced by a policy of maritime containment through the AUKUS partnership. Attempts to stem strategic losses in Asia have now ended with the withdrawal from Afghanistan and from other interventions.The change in geopolitical policy is not yet widely appreciated. But the parlous state of US finances, dollar market bubbles, persistent and increasing price inflation and the inevitability of interest rate increases will make a policy backstop of maritime containment the only geostrategic option left to America. By pursuing more cautious monetary policies, China is less exposed to the inevitable consequences of global monetary inflation. While yuan currency rates are managed instead of set by markets, it is now in China’s interest to see a stronger yuan to contain domestic price and cost inflation. Even though fiat currencies could be destroyed by imploding asset bubbles, these factors contribute to a set of circumstances that appear to lead to a more peaceable outcome for the world than appeared likely before America and NATO withdrew from Afghanistan. There’s many a slip between cup and lip; but it was an outcome forecast by Halford Mackinder nearly eighty years ago. Let us hope he was right. Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 08:10.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nyt18 hr. 25 min. ago

Trump suggests that only "a bad call from a doctor" would stop him from running for president in 2024

Since leaving office in January, the former president has continued to assuage his political base with the possibility of another campaign in 2024. Former President Donald Trump. Getty Former President Trump said that only a "bad call from a doctor" would keep him from mounting a 2024 bid. The former president has teased a potential campaign since leaving office in January. He has continued to travel the country and hold rallies in support of MAGA-aligned candidates. See more stories on Insider's business page. Former President Donald Trump on Friday said that only a "bad call from a doctor" would keep him from pursuing the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, a campaign that he has hinted at since leaving office in January.Trump, who defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016 but lost to now-President Joe Biden last fall, has continued to assuage his political base with the possibility of a bold campaign - boosting political allies ahead of the 2022 midterm elections while continuing to lean into debunked conspiracy theories regarding voter fraud.During an interview on "The Water Cooler" show on Real America's Voice, the former president was asked by commentator David Brody about what would keep him from a future - and third - White House bid."Well, I guess a bad call from a doctor or something, right?" Trump said. "You get that call. Come on down and see because we've got a bad report. ... Things happen, through God, they happen."He added: "I feel so good and I hate what's happening to our country. Our country has never been in a position like this. We were so good ten months ago and we're so bad now."-David Brody (@DBrodyReports) September 24, 2021The former president proceeded to complain about the state of the US-Mexico border, which this week became an even bigger political flashpoint after videos showed Border Patrol agents whipping at Haitian migrants as they attempted to cross the Rio Grande in Del Rio, Texas.President Joe Biden on Friday said that the agents who whipped at and charged the migrants would "pay" for their actions."I promise you those people will pay," he said. "There will be consequences. It's dangerous. It's wrong. It sends the wrong message around the world; it sends the wrong message at home. It's simply not who we are."Trump, continuing in his criticism of the Biden administration, called the border situation "third-world all the way, but worse."The former president, who ran on border security in 2016, will almost certainly employ it as a major issue issue if he pursues a 2024 bid.Despite being out of office, Trump has continued to hold a multitude of political rallies across the county, which have largely been forums for him to promote candidates that embrace his "Make America Great Again" political philosophy and to vent about continued election grievances.While speaking with a group of New York City Police Department officers earlier this month, the former president said of his eventual decision: "I think you're going to be happy."However, he has not yet offered a timeline on when a decision will come.During the interview with Brody, Trump also criticized Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious-disease expert, who also advised his administration on the coronavirus and is currently the chief medical advisor under Biden."He was there for like 40 years or something. He was a part of the furniture. But if you think about it, I really did pretty much the opposite of whatever he said," Trump said.He added: "I actually got along with him, you know? I actually found him - he was a character. He'd say, 'Just call me Tony. Just call me Tony, sir.' And, you know, he's a better promoter than he is a doctor."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytSep 25th, 2021

A Proud Boys member and FBI informant was texting his handler during the January 6 Capitol riot, report says

The informant was texting the FBI updates as the pro-Trump mob entered the Capitol, but his handler didn't appear to understand it was breached. Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they push barricades to storm the US Capitol in Washington D.C on January 6, 2021. Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images A member of the far-right Proud Boys and FBI informant was texting his handler during the January 6 riot at the US Capitol, The New York Times reported. The FBI was investigating at least two other January 6 rioters with potential ties to the Proud Boys, according to the report. The records appear to show the FBI had advanced knowledge that Proud Boys members were headed toward the Capitol. See more stories on Insider's business page. A member of the Proud Boys who was working as an FBI informant was present at the January 6 riot at the US Capitol and sent his FBI handler live updates by text message, indicating the law enforcement agency had real-time knowledge that a pro-Trump mob was headed toward the building.According to a report published Saturday by The New York Times, the informant was updating his handler as the pro-Trump mob marched toward the US Capitol 6 while lawmakers were meeting inside to discuss and certify Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election.The informant, who was associated with the Midwestern chapter of the organization, told the FBI that members of the Proud Boys were following the mob but maintained the group didn't have plans to attack the US Capitol.The informant described meeting up with other members of the Proud Boys at the Washington Monument on the morning of January 6 before they moved to the Capitol, records show, according to the Times. The informant described seeing barriers knocked over and Trump supporters entering the building. The handler didn't appear to understand that the Capitol had been breached, according to the records obtained by the Times. The records were provided to the outlet on the grounds it would not quote directly from them, according to the report.The informant began working with federal investigators in July 2020, records said, according to the Times.The records do not indicate whether the informant could've intentionally misled federal investigators, according to the report. The informant's statements pose difficulties for federal prosecutors who aim to make the case that rioters at the capitol associated with the Proud Boys in advance planned to storm the building.Prosecutors have filed conspiracy charges against 15 members of the Proud Boys relating to the January 6 riot, The Times noted. In total, at least 654 people have faced charges related to their participation in the January 6 riot, according to an Insider database. The FBI was investigating at least two other people involved in the January 6 riot who may have been connected to the Proud Boys, according to the report.A person familiar with the situation told The New York Times the FBI had another informant present on January 6 who was affiliated with another chapter of the Proud Boys."While the F.B.I.'s standard practice is not to discuss its sources and methods, it is important to understand that sources provide valuable information regarding criminal activity and national security matters," the FBI told The New York Times in a statement.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytSep 25th, 2021

"Immunity As A Service" - The Snake-Oil Salesmen & The COVID-Zero Con

"Immunity As A Service" - The Snake-Oil Salesmen & The COVID-Zero Con Authored by Julius Ruechel via Julius Ruechel.com, The Snake-Oil Salesmen and the COVID-Zero Con: A Classic Bait-And-Switch for a Lifetime of Booster Shots (Immunity as a Service) If a plumber with a lifetime of experience were to tell you that water runs uphill, you would know he is lying and that the lie is not accidental. It is a lie with a purpose. If you can also demonstrate that the plumber knows in advance that the product he is promoting with that lie is snake oil, you have evidence for a deliberate con. And once you understand what's really inside that bottle of snake oil, you will begin to understand the purpose of the con. One of the most common reasons given for mass COVID vaccinations is the idea that if we reach herd immunity through vaccination, we can starve the virus out of existence and get our lives back. It's the COVID-Zero strategy or some variant of it. By now it is abundantly clear from the epidemiological data that the vaccinated are able to both catch and spread the disease. Clearly vaccination isn't going to make this virus disappear. Only a mind that has lost its grasp on reality can fail to see how ridiculous all this has become.  But a tour through pre-COVID science demonstrates that, from day one, long before you and I had even heard of this virus, it was 100% inevitable and 100% predictable that these vaccines would never be capable of eradicating this coronavirus and would never lead to any kind of lasting herd immunity. Even worse, lockdowns and mass vaccination have created a dangerous set of circumstances that interferes with our immune system's ability to protect us against other respiratory viruses. They also risk driving the evolution of this virus towards mutations that are more dangerous to both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated alike. Lockdowns, mass vaccinations, and mass booster shots were never capable of delivering on any of the promises that were made to the public.  And yet, vaccination has been successfully used to control measles and even to eradicate smallpox. So, why not COVID? Immunity is immunity, and a virus is a virus is a virus, right? Wrong! Reality is far more complicated... and more interesting. This Deep Dive exposes why, from day one, the promise of COVID-Zero can only ever have been a deliberately dishonest shell game designed to prey on a lack of public understanding of how our immune systems work and on how most respiratory viruses differ from other viruses that we routinely vaccinate against. We have been sold a fantasy designed to rope us into a pharmaceutical dependency as a deceitful trade-off for access to our lives. Variant by variant. For as long as the public is willing to go along for the ride.  Exposing this story does not require incriminating emails or whistleblower testimony. The story tells itself by diving into the long-established science that every single virologist, immunologist, evolutionary biologist, vaccine developer, and public health official had access to long before COVID began. As is so often the case, the devil is hidden in the details. As this story unfolds it will become clear that the one-two punch of lockdowns and the promise of vaccines as an exit strategy began as a cynical marketing ploy to coerce us into a never-ending regimen of annual booster shots intentionally designed to replace the natural "antivirus security updates" against respiratory viruses that come from hugs and handshakes and from children laughing together at school. We are being played for fools.  This is not to say that there aren't plenty of other opportunists taking advantage of this crisis to pursue other agendas and to tip society into a full-blown police state. One thing quickly morphs into another. But this essay demonstrates that never-ending boosters were the initial motive for this global social-engineering shell game ― the subscription-based business model, adapted for the pharmaceutical industry. "Immunity as a service".  So, let's dive into the fascinating world of immune systems, viruses, and vaccines, layer by layer, to dispel the myths and false expectations that have been created by deceitful public health officials, pharmaceutical lobbyists, and media manipulators. What emerges as the lies are peeled apart is both surprising and more than a little alarming. “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” - Sherlock Homes”  - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Table of Contents:     Viral Reservoirs: The Fantasy of Eradication     SARS: The Exception to the Rule?     Fast Mutations: The Fantasy of Control through Herd Immunity     Blind Faith in Central Planning: The Fantasy of Timely Doses     Spiked: The Fantasy of Preventing Infection     Antibodies, B-Cells, and T-Cells: Why Immunity to Respiratory Viruses Fades So Quickly     Manufacturing Dangerous Variants: Virus Mutations Under Lockdown Conditions — Lessons from the 1918 Spanish Flu     Leaky Vaccines, Antibody-Dependent Enhancement, and the Marek Effect     Anti-Virus Security Updates: Cross-Reactive Immunity Through Repeated Exposure     The Not-So-Novel Novel Virus: The Diamond Princess Cruise Ship Outbreak Proved We Have Cross-Reactive Immunity     Mother Knows Best: Vitamin D, Playing in Puddles, and Sweaters     The Paradox: Why COVID-Zero Makes People More Vulnerable to Other Viruses     Introducing Immunity as a Service - A Subscription-Based Business Model for the Pharmaceutical Industry (It was always about the money!)     The Path Forward: Neutralizing the Threat and Bullet-Proofing Society to Prevent This Ever Happening Again. *  *  * Viral Reservoirs: The Fantasy of Eradication Eradication of a killer virus sounds like a noble goal. In some cases it is, such as in the case of the smallpox virus. By 1980 we stopped vaccinating against smallpox because, thanks to widespread immunization, we starved the virus of available hosts for so long that it died out. No-one will need to risk their life on the side effects of a smallpox vaccination ever again because the virus is gone. It is a public health success story. Polio will hopefully be next ― we're getting close.  But smallpox is one of only two viruses (along with rinderpest) that have been eradicated thanks to vaccination. Very few diseases meet the necessary criteria. Eradication is hard and only appropriate for very specific families of viruses. Smallpox made sense for eradication because it was a uniquely human virus ― there was no animal reservoir. By contrast, most respiratory viruses including SARS-CoV-2 (a.k.a. COVID) come from animal reservoirs: swine, birds, bats, etc. As long as there are bats in caves, birds in ponds, pigs in mud baths, and deer living in forests, respiratory viruses are only controllable through individual immunity, but it is not possible to eradicate them. There will always be a near-identical cousin brewing in the wings. Even the current strain of COVID is already cheerfully jumping onwards across species boundaries. According to both National Geographic and Nature magazine, 40% of wild deer tested positive for COVID antibodies in a study conducted in Michigan, Illinois, New York, and Pennsylvania. It has also been documented in wild mink and has already made the species jump to other captive animals including dogs, cats, otters, leopards, tigers, and gorillas. A lot of viruses are not fussy. They happily adapt to new opportunities. Specialists, like smallpox, eventually go extinct. Generalists, like most respiratory viruses, never run out of hosts to keep the infection cycle going, forever. As long as we share this planet with other animals, it is extremely deceitful to give anyone the impression that we can pursue any scorched earth policy that can put this genie back in the bottle. With an outbreak on this global scale, it was clear that we were always going to have to live with this virus. There are over 200 other endemic respiratory viruses that cause colds and flus, many of which circulate freely between humans and other animals. Now there are 201. They will be with us forever, whether we like it or not. SARS: The Exception to the Rule? This all sounds well and good, but the original SARS virus did disappear, with public health measures like contact tracing and strict quarantine measures taking the credit. However, SARS was the exception to the rule. When it made the species jump to humans, it was so poorly adapted to its new human hosts that it had terrible difficulty spreading. This very poor level of adaptation gave SARS a rather unique combination of properties: SARS was extremely difficult to catch (it was never very contagious) SARS made people extremely sick. SARS did not have pre-symptomatic spread. These three conditions made the SARS outbreak easy to control through contact tracing and through the quarantine of symptomatic individuals. SARS therefore never reached the point where it circulated widely among asymptomatic community members.  By contrast, by January/February of 2020 it was clear from experiences in China, Italy, and the outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise ship (more on that story later) that the unique combination of conditions that made SARS controllable were not going to be the case with COVID. COVID was quite contagious (its rapid spread showed that COVID was already well adapted to spreading easily among its new human hosts), most people would have mild or no symptoms from COVID (making containment impossible), and that it was spreading by aerosols produced by both symptomatic and pre-symptomatic people (making contact tracing a joke). In other words, it was clear by January/February 2020 that this pandemic would follow the normal rules of a readily transmissible respiratory epidemic, which cannot be reined in the way SARS was. Thus, by January/February of 2020, giving the public the impression that the SARS experience could be replicated for COVID was a deliberate lie - this genie was never going back inside the bottle. Fast Mutations: The Fantasy of Control through Herd Immunity Once a reasonably contagious respiratory virus begins circulating widely in a community, herd immunity can never be maintained for very long. RNA respiratory viruses (such as influenza viruses, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), rhinoviruses, and coronaviruses) all mutate extremely fast compared to viruses like smallpox, measles, or polio. Understanding the difference between something like measles and a virus like COVID is key to understanding the con that is being perpetrated by our health institutions. Bear with me here, I promise not to get too technical. All viruses survive by creating copies of themselves. And there are always a lot of "imperfect copies" — mutations — produced by the copying process itself. Among RNA respiratory viruses these mutations stack up so quickly that there is rapid genetic drift, which continually produces new strains. Variants are normal. Variants are expected. Variants make it virtually impossible to build the impenetrable wall of long-lasting herd immunity required to starve these respiratory viruses out of existence. That's one of several reasons why flu vaccines don't provide long-lasting immunity and have to be repeated annually ― our immune system constantly needs to be updated to keep pace with the inevitable evolution of countless unnamed "variants."  This never-ending conveyor belt of mutations means that everyone's immunity to COVID was always only going to be temporary and only offer partial cross-reactive protection against future re-infections. Thus, from day one, COVID vaccination was always doomed to the same fate as the flu vaccine ― a lifelong regimen of annual booster shots to try to keep pace with "variants" for those unwilling to expose themselves to the risk of a natural infection. And the hope that by the time the vaccines (and their booster shots) roll off the production line, they won't already be out of date when confronted by the current generation of virus mutations.  Genetic drift caused by mutations is much slower in viruses like measles, polio, or smallpox, which is why herd immunity can be used to control these other viruses (or even eradicate them as in the case of smallpox or polio). The reason the common respiratory viruses have such rapid genetic drift compared to these other viruses has much less to do with how many errors are produced during the copying process and much more to do with how many of those "imperfect" copies are actually able to survive and produce more copies.  A simple virus with an uncomplicated attack strategy for taking over host cells can tolerate a lot more mutations than a complex virus with a complicated attack strategy. Complexity and specialization put limits on how many of those imperfect copies have a chance at becoming successful mutations. Simple machinery doesn't break down as easily if there is an imperfection in the mechanical parts. Complicated high-tech machinery will simply not work if there are even minor flaws in precision parts. For example, before a virus can hijack the DNA of a host cell to begin making copies of itself, the virus needs to unlock the cell wall to gain entry. Cellular walls are made of proteins and are coated by sugars; viruses need to find a way to create a doorway through that protein wall. A virus like influenza uses a very simple strategy to get inside ― it locks onto one of the sugars on the outside of the cell wall in order to piggyback a ride as the sugar is absorbed into the cell (cells use sugar as their energy source). It's such a simple strategy that it allows the influenza virus to go through lots of mutations without losing its ability to gain entry to the cell. Influenza's simplicity makes it very adaptable and allows many different types of mutations to thrive as long as they all use the same piggyback entry strategy to get inside host cells. By contrast, something like the measles virus uses a highly specialized and very complicated strategy to gain entry to a host cell. It relies on very specialized surface proteins to break open a doorway into the host cell. It's a very rigid and complex system that doesn't leave a lot of room for errors in the copying process. Even minor mutations to the measles virus will cause changes to its surface proteins, leaving it unable to gain access to a host cell to make more copies of itself. Thus, even if there are lots of mutations, those mutations are almost all evolutionary dead ends, thus preventing genetic drift. That's one of several reasons why both a natural infection and vaccination against measles creates lifetime immunity ― immunity lasts because new variations don't change much over time.  Most RNA respiratory viruses have a high rate of genetic drift because they all rely on relatively simple attack strategies to gain entry to host cells. This allows mutations to stack up quickly without becoming evolutionary dead ends because they avoid the evolutionary trap of complexity.  Coronaviruses use a different strategy than influenza to gain access to host cells. They have proteins on the virus surface (the infamous S-spike protein, the same one that is mimicked by the vaccine injection), which latches onto a receptor on the cell surface (the ACE2 receptor) ― a kind of key to unlock the door. This attack strategy is a little bit more complicated than the system used by influenza, which is probably why genetic drift in coronaviruses is slightly slower than in influenza, but it is still a much much simpler and much less specialized system than the one used by measles. Coronaviruses, like other respiratory viruses, are therefore constantly producing a never-ending conveyor belt of "variants" that make long-lasting herd immunity impossible. Variants are normal. The alarm raised by our public health authorities about "variants" and the feigned compassion of pharmaceutical companies as they rush to develop fresh boosters capable of fighting variants is a charade, much like expressing surprise about the sun rising in the East. Once you got immunity to smallpox, measles, or polio, you had full protection for a few decades and were protected against severe illness or death for the rest of your life. But for fast-mutating respiratory viruses, including coronaviruses, within a few months they are sufficiently different that your previously acquired immunity will only ever offer partial protection against your next exposure. The fast rate of mutation ensures that you never catch the exact same cold or flu twice, just their closely related constantly evolving cousins. What keeps you from feeling the full brunt of each new infection is cross-reactive immunity, which is another part of the story of how you are being conned, which I will come back to shortly.  Blind Faith in Central Planning: The Fantasy of Timely Doses But let's pretend for a moment that a miraculous vaccine could be developed that could give us all 100% sterilizing immunity today. The length of time it takes to manufacture and ship 8 billion doses (and then make vaccination appointments for 8 billion people) ensures that by the time the last person gets their last dose, the never-ending conveyor belt of mutations will have already rendered the vaccine partially ineffective. True sterilizing immunity simply won't ever happen with coronaviruses. The logistics of rolling out vaccines to 8 billion people meant that none of our vaccine makers or public health authorities ever could have genuinely believed that vaccines would create lasting herd immunity against COVID. So, for a multitude of reasons, it was a deliberate lie to give the public the impression that if enough people take the vaccine, it would create lasting herd immunity. It was 100% certain, from day one, that by the time the last dose is administered, the rapid evolution of the virus would ensure that it would already be time to start thinking about booster shots. Exactly like the flu shot. Exactly the opposite of a measles vaccine. Vaccines against respiratory viruses can never provide anything more than a temporary cross-reactive immunity "update" ― they are merely a synthetic replacement for your annual natural exposure to the smorgasbord of cold and flu viruses. Immunity as a service, imposed on society by trickery. The only question was always, how long between booster shots? Weeks, months, years?  Feeling conned yet? Spiked: The Fantasy of Preventing Infection The current crop of COVID vaccines was never designed to provide sterilizing immunity - that's not how they work. They are merely a tool designed to teach the immune system to attack the S-spike protein, thereby priming the immune system to reduce the severity of infection in preparation for your inevitable future encounter with the real virus. They were never capable of preventing infection, nor of preventing spread. They were merely designed to reduce your chance of being hospitalized or dying if you are infected. As former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who is on Pfizer’s board, said: "the original premise behind these vaccines were [sic] that they would substantially reduce the risk of death and severe disease and hospitalization. And that was the data that came out of the initial clinical trials.” Every first-year medical student knows that you cannot get herd immunity from a vaccine that does not stop infection.  In other words, by their design, these vaccines can neither stop you from catching an infection nor stop you from transmitting the infection to someone else. They were never capable of creating herd immunity. They were designed to protect individuals against severe outcomes if they choose to take them - a tool to provide temporary focused protection for the vulnerable, just like the flu vaccine. Pushing for mass vaccination was a con from day one. And the idea of using vaccine passports to separate the vaccinated from the unvaccinated was also a con from day one. The only impact these vaccine passports have on the pandemic is as a coercive tool to get you to roll up your sleeve. Nothing more. Antibodies, B-Cells, and T-Cells: Why Immunity to Respiratory Viruses Fades So Quickly There are multiple interconnected parts to why immunity to COVID, or any other respiratory virus, is always only temporary. Not only is the virus constantly mutating but immunity itself fades over time, not unlike the way our brains start forgetting how to do complicated math problems unless they keep practicing. This is true for both immunity acquired through natural infection and immunity acquired through vaccination. Our immune systems have a kind of immunological memory ― basically, how long does your immune system remember how to launch an attack against a specific kind of threat. That memory fades over time. For some vaccines, like diphtheria and tetanus, that immunological memory fades very slowly. The measles vaccine protects for life. But for others, like the flu vaccine, that immunological memory fades very quickly. On average, the flu vaccine is only about 40% effective to begin with. And it begins to fade almost immediately after vaccination. By about 150 days (5 months), it reaches zero. Fading immunity after flu shot (Science, April 18th, 2019) The solution to this strange phenomenon lies in the different types of immune system responses that are triggered by a vaccine (or by exposure to the real thing through a natural infection). This has big implications for coronavirus vaccines, but I'll get to that in a moment. First a little background information... A good analogy is to think of our immune system like a medieval army. The first layer of protection began with generalists - guys armed with clubs that would take a swing at everything - they were good for keeping robbers and brigands at bay and for conducting small skirmishes. But if the attack was bigger, then these generalists were quickly overwhelmed, serving as arrow fodder to blunt the attack on the more specialized troops coming up behind them. Spearmen, swordsmen, archers, cavalry, catapult operators, siege tower engineers, and so on. Each additional layer of defense has a more expensive kit and takes ever greater amounts of time to train (an English longbowman took years to build up the necessary skill and strength to become effective). The more specialized a troop is, the more you want to hold them back from the fight unless it's absolutely necessary because they are expensive to train, expensive to deploy, and make a bigger mess when they fight that needs to be cleaned up afterwards. Always keep your powder dry. Send in the arrow fodder first and slowly ramp up your efforts from there. Our immune system relies on a similar kind of layered system of defense. In addition to various non-specific rapid response layers that take out the brigands, like natural killer cells, macrophages, mast cells, and so on, we also have many adaptive (specialized) layers of antibodies (i.e. IgA, IgG, IgM immunoglobulin) and various types of highly specialized white blood cells, like B-cells and T-cells. Some antibodies are released by regular B-cells. Others are released by blood plasma. Then there are memory B-cells, which are capable of remembering previous threats and creating new antibodies long after the original antibodies fade away. And there are various types of T-cells (again with various degrees of immunological memory), like natural killer T-cells, killer T-cells, and helper T-cells, all of which play various roles in detecting and neutralizing invaders. In short, the greater the threat, the more troops are called into the fight. This is clearly a gross oversimplification of all the different interconnected parts of our immune system, but the point is that a mild infection doesn't trigger as many layers whereas a severe infection enlists the help of deeper layers, which are slower to respond but are much more specialized in their attack capabilities. And if those deeper adaptive layers get involved, they are capable of retaining a memory of the threat in order to be able to mount a quicker attack if a repeat attack is recognized in the future. That's why someone who was infected by the dangerous Spanish Flu in 1918 might still have measurable T-cell immunity a century later but the mild bout of winter flu you had a couple of years ago might not have triggered T-cell immunity, even though both may have been caused by versions of the same H1N1 influenza virus. As a rule of thumb, the broader the immune response, the longer immunological memory will last. Antibodies fade in a matter of months, whereas B-cell and T-cell immunity can last a lifetime. Another rule of thumb is that a higher viral load puts more strain on your immune defenses, thus overwhelming the rapid response layers and forcing the immune system to enlist the deeper adaptive layers. That's why nursing homes and hospitals are more dangerous places for vulnerable people than backyard barbeques. That's why feedlot cattle are more vulnerable to viral diseases than cattle on pasture. Viral load matters a lot to how easily the generalist layers are overwhelmed and how much effort your immune system has to make to neutralize a threat. Where the infection happens in the body also matters. For example, an infection in the upper respiratory tract triggers much less involvement from your adaptive immune system than when it reaches your lungs. Part of this is because your upper respiratory tract is already heavily preloaded with large numbers of generalist immunological cells that are designed to attack germs as they enter, which is why most colds and flus never make it deeper into the lungs. The guys with the clubs are capable of handling most of the threats that try to make through the gate. Most of the specialized troops hold back unless they are needed. Catching a dangerous disease like measles produces lifetime immunity because an infection triggers all the deep layers that will retain a memory of how to fight off future encounters with the virus. So does the measles vaccine. Catching a cold or mild flu generally does not.  From an evolutionary point of view, this actually makes a lot of sense. Why waste valuable resources developing long-lasting immunity (i.e. training archers and building catapults) to defend against a virus that did not put you in mortal danger. A far better evolutionary strategy is to evolve a narrower generalist immune response to mild infections (i.e. most cold and flu viruses), which fades quickly once the threat is conquered, but invest in deep long-term broad-based immunity to dangerous infections, which lasts a very long time in case that threat is ever spotted on the horizon again. Considering the huge number of threats our immune systems face, this strategy avoids the trap of spreading immunological memory too thin. Our immunological memory resources are not limitless - long-term survival requires prioritizing our immunological resources. The take-home lesson is that vaccines will, at best, only last as long as immunity acquired through natural infection and will often fade much faster because the vaccine is often only able to trigger a partial immune response compared to the actual infection. So, if the disease itself doesn't produce a broad-based immune response leading to long-lasting immunity, neither will the vaccine. And in most cases, immunity acquired through vaccination will begin to fade much sooner than immunity acquired through a natural infection. Every vaccine maker and public health official knows this despite bizarrely claiming that the COVID vaccines (based on re-creating the S-protein spike instead of using a whole virus) would somehow become the exception to the rule. That was a lie, and they knew it from day one. That should set your alarm bells ringing at full throttle. So, with this little bit of background knowledge under our belts, let's look at what our public health officials and vaccine makers would have known in advance about coronaviruses and coronavirus vaccines when they told us back in the early Spring of 2020 that COVID vaccines were the path back to normality. From a 2003 study [my emphasis]: "Until SARS appeared, human coronaviruses were known as the cause of 15–30% of colds... Colds are generally mild, self-limited infections, and significant increases in neutralizing antibody titer are found in nasal secretions and serum after infection. Nevertheless, some unlucky individuals can be reinfected with the same coronavirus soon after recovery and get symptoms again." In other words, the coronaviruses involved in colds (there were four human coronaviruses before SARS, MERS, and COVID) all trigger such a weak immune response that they do not lead to any long-lasting immunity whatsoever. And why would they if, for most of us, the threat is so minimal that the generalists are perfectly capable of neutralizing the attack. We also know that immunity against coronaviruses is not durable in other animals either. As any farmer knows well, cycles of reinfection with coronaviruses are the rule rather than the exception among their livestock (for example, coronaviruses are a common cause of pneumonia and various types of diarrheal diseases like scours, shipping fever, and winter dysentery in cattle). Annual farm vaccination schedules are therefore designed accordingly. The lack of long-term immunity to coronaviruses is well documented in veterinary research among cattle, poultry, deer, water buffalo, etc. Furthermore, although animal coronavirus vaccines have been on the market for many years, it is well known that "none are completely efficacious in animals". So, like the fading flu vaccine profile I showed you earlier, none of the animal coronavirus vaccines are capable of providing sterilizing immunity (none were capable of stopping 100% of infections, without which you can never achieve herd immunity) and the partial immunity they offered is well known to fade rather quickly. What about immunity to COVID's close cousin, the deadly SARS coronavirus, which had an 11% case fatality rate during the 2003 outbreak? From a 2007 study: "SARS-specific antibodies were maintained for an average of 2 years... SARS patients might be susceptible to reinfection >3 years after initial exposure."  (Bear in mind that, as with all diseases, re-infection does not mean you are necessarily going to get full-blown SARS; fading immunity after a natural infection tends to offer at least some level of partial protection against severe outcomes for a considerable amount of time after you can already be reinfected and spread it to others - more on that later.) And what about MERS, the deadliest coronavirus to date, which made the jump from camels in 2012 and had a fatality rate of around 35%? It triggered the broadest immune response (due to its severity) and also appears to trigger the longest lasting immunity as a result (> 6yrs) Thus, to pretend that there was any chance that herd immunity to COVID would be anything but short-lived was dishonest at best. For most people, immunity was always going to fade quickly. Just like what happens after most other respiratory virus infections. By February 2020, the epidemiological data showed clearly that for most people COVID was a mild coronavirus (nowhere near as severe than SARS or MERS), so it was virtually a certainty that even the immunity from a natural infection would fade within months, not years. It was also a certainty that vaccination was therefore, at best, only ever going to provide partial protection and that this protection would be temporary, lasting on the order of months. This is a case of false and misleading advertising if there ever was one. If I can allow my farming roots to shine through for a moment, I'd like to explain the implications of what was known about animal coronaviruses vaccines. Baby calves are often vaccinated against bovine coronaviral diarrhea shortly after birth if they are born in the spring mud and slush season, but not if they are born in midsummer on lush pastures where the risk of infection is lower. Likewise, bovine coronavirus vaccines are used to protect cattle before they face stressful conditions during shipping, in a feedlot, or in winter feed pens. Animal coronavirus vaccines are thus used as tools to provide a temporary boost in immunity, in very specific conditions, and only for very specific vulnerable categories of animals. After everything I've laid out so far in this text, the targeted use of bovine coronavirus vaccines should surprise no-one. Pretending that our human coronavirus vaccines would be different was nonsense.  The only rational reason why the WHO and public health officials would withhold all that contextual information from the public as they rolled out lockdowns and held forth vaccines as an exit strategy was to whip the public into irrational fear in order to be able to make a dishonest case for mass vaccination when they should have, at most, been focused on providing focused vaccination of the most vulnerable only. That deception was the Trojan Horse to introduce endless mass booster shots as immunity inevitably fades and as new variants replace old ones.  Now, as all the inevitable limitations and problems with these vaccines become apparent (i.e. fading of vaccine-induced immunity, vaccines proving to only be partially effective, the rise of new variants, and the vaccinated population demonstrably catching and spreading the virus ― a.k.a. the leaky vaccine phenomenon), the surprise that our health authorities are showing simply isn't credible. As I have shown you, all this was 100% to be expected. They intentionally weaponized fear and false expectations to unleash a fraudulent bait-and-switch racket of global proportions. Immunity on demand, forever. Manufacturing Dangerous Variants: Virus Mutations Under Lockdown Conditions — Lessons from the 1918 Spanish Flu At this point you may be wondering, if there is no lasting immunity from infection or vaccination, then are public health officials right to roll out booster shots to protect us from severe outcomes even if their dishonest methods to get us to accept them were unethical? Do we need a lifetime regimen of booster shots to keep us safe from a beast to which we cannot develop durable long-term immunity? The short answer is no.  Contrary to what you might think, the rapid evolution of RNA respiratory viruses actually has several important benefits for us as their involuntary hosts, which protects us without the benefit of broad lifelong immunity. One of those benefits has to do with the natural evolution of the virus towards less dangerous variants. The other is the cross-reactive immunity that comes from frequent re-exposure to closely related "cousins". I'm going to peel apart both of these topics in order to show you the remarkable system that nature designed to keep us safe... and to show you how the policies being forced on us by our public health authorities are knowingly interfering with this system. They are creating a dangerous situation that increases our risk to other respiratory viruses (not just to COVID) and may even push the COVID virus to evolve to become more dangerous to both the unvaccinated and the vaccinated. There are growing signs that this nightmare scenario has already begun.  “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem."  - President Ronald Reagan in 1981. Let's start with the evolutionary pressures that normally drive viruses towards becoming less dangerous over time. A virus depends on its host to spread it. A lively host is more useful than a bedridden or dead one because a lively host can spread the virus further and will still be around to catch future mutations. Viruses risk becoming evolutionary dead ends if they kill or immobilize their hosts. Plagues came, killed, and then were starved out of existence because their surviving hosts had all acquired herd immunity. Colds come and go every year because their hosts are lively, easily spread the viruses around, and never acquire long-lasting immunity so that last year's hosts can also serve as next year's hosts ― only those who have weak immune systems have much to worry about. In other words, under normal conditions, mutations that are more contagious but less deadly have a survival advantage over less contagious and more deadly variations. From the virus' point of view, the evolutionary golden mean is reached when it can easily infect as many hosts as possible without reducing their mobility and without triggering long-term immunity in most of their hosts. That's the ticket to setting up a sustainable cycle of reinfection, forever. Viruses with slow genetic drift and highly specialized reproductive strategies, like polio or measles, can take centuries or longer to become less deadly and more contagious; some may never reach the relatively harmless status of a cold or mild flu virus (by harmless I mean harmless to the majority of the population despite being extremely dangerous to those with weak or compromised immune systems). But for viruses with fast genetic drift, like respiratory viruses, even a few months can make a dramatic difference. Rapid genetic drift is one of the reasons why the Spanish Flu stopped being a monster disease, but polio and measles haven't. And anyone with training in virology or immunology understands this!  We often speak of evolutionary pressure as though it forces an organism to adapt. In reality, a simple organism like a virus is utterly blind to its environment — all it does is blindly produce genetic copies of itself. "Evolutionary pressure" is actually just a fancy way of saying that environmental conditions will determine which of those millions of copies survives long enough to produce even more copies of itself.  A human adapts to its environment by altering its behaviour (that's one type of adaptation). But the behaviour of a single viral particle never changes. A virus "adapts" over time because some genetic copies with one set of mutations survive and spread faster than other copies with a different set of mutations. Adaptation in viruses has to be seen exclusively through the lens of changes from one generation of virus to the next based on which mutations have a competitive edge over others. And that competitive edge will vary depending on the kinds of environmental conditions a virus encounters. So, fear mongering about the Delta variant being even more contagious leaves out the fact that this is exactly what you would expect as a respiratory virus adapts to its new host species. We would expect new variants to be more contagious but less deadly as the virus fades to become just like the other 200+ respiratory viruses that cause common colds and flus.  That's also why the decision to lock down the healthy population is so sinister. Lockdowns, border closures, and social distancing rules reduced spread among the healthy population, thus creating a situation where mutations produced among the healthy would become sufficiently rare that they might be outnumbered by mutations circulating among the bedridden. Mutations circulating among the healthy are, by definition, going to be the least dangerous mutations since they did not make their hosts s.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 25th, 2021

3 Tips To Help Junior Partners Avoid Lifestyle Creep

Lifestyle creep, or lifestyle inflation – when expenses rapidly rise to match newfound income – ensnares countless newly minted partners. Often there are underlying social pressures from peers or colleagues to keep up with new levels of conspicuous consumption. New indulgences and one-time splurges quickly become everyday necessities. It may begin innocently enough with a […] Lifestyle creep, or lifestyle inflation – when expenses rapidly rise to match newfound income – ensnares countless newly minted partners. Often there are underlying social pressures from peers or colleagues to keep up with new levels of conspicuous consumption. New indulgences and one-time splurges quickly become everyday necessities. It may begin innocently enough with a new car, a small remodel to an existing home, or a generous contribution to one’s alma mater, but it can quickly snowball into completely spending bonus checks before they have even been deposited. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more So, who cares? After all, you have sacrificed a lot to get where you are today and rewarding yourself for a job well done is your right. However, many junior partners have not considered what they are giving up by having their expenses match their income – namely, true financial freedom or the ability to say no. It is difficult to downshift your lifestyle, especially if you have no resources to fall back on other than your future earning potential. Make sure you do not find yourself in this situation by following these tips. Prepare for Lumpy Cash Flow It is important to be fiscally prepared for lumpy cash flow – expenses like estimated tax payments, firm capital commitments, and new firm sponsorship contributions, just to name a few, can potentially catch you off-guard. Without adequate planning and forethought, you can find yourself flat-footed at a very inopportune moment. The first step to addressing lifestyle creep is to be prepared. Create a short-term cash strategy to help you avoid common cashflow missteps. Start by identifying what your major outstanding liabilities will likely be for the next 12 months. After you have identified these cash needs find a ready source of liquidity to cover them. When reviewing your cash strategy look for potential mismatches between liabilities and cash flow, consider all your options. Be prepared to cover an unexpected expense in addition to the ones you identified. Remember alternative sources of potential liquidity that you could use to smooth over any cash crunches, such as: A margin loan against assets held in investment accounts. A cash reserve built up over the course of time specifically for these types of surprise liquidity events. Short term financing solutions offered by the firm. If you do not research your options in advance, it is difficult to know in the moment what your best options is. Sometimes the terms of short-term margin loans are equal or better than terms offered to new partners from other sources sometime not – having options in place and knowing what they are is paramount to helping you address your need when it arises. Preparing a short-term cash strategy will give you a better sense of what to hold in reserves for future expenditures, what you can spend on your current lifestyle needs, and what to invest for long-term growth – allowing you to avoid the trap of lifestyle inflation. Identify Your Goals and Values Making conscious decisions about what is important to you is one of the most crucial steps in combating lifestyle inflation. You may really like the idea of: Having the option to slow down when you want to. Buying a vacation home to spend quality time with family. Providing meaningful philanthropic support to a cause you believe in. Being able to offer monetary support to aging parents. There are no right or wrong choices, but you should make a choice. One of my favorite quotes is, “If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.” Not having your long-term goals well-defined makes it easier to succumb to lifestyle creep, potentially leaving you someplace you didn’t intend to be. Balancing short-term needs with long-term goals is a lifelong pursuit, so it is vital not to focus solely on one or the other at any given time. Clearly outlining your goals and having a financial plan in place to achieve them will help you feel comfortable living the life you want today, knowing you are going to end up where you truly want to be. Create a Financial Roadmap Without knowing what you are aiming at, you can miss your target and let other seemingly pressing things drain your ability to accomplish what you really want. After identifying what matters most to you, the next step is to create a financial roadmap to help guide you to your destination. This is done through a comprehensive financial plan that considers not only your resources and liabilities, but also incorporates an in-depth cash flow and investment return projection as well. Having your plan in place will help guide you towards your goals and remind you to maintain focus on them. To create a financial roadmap, you should gather and review information regarding: Partner Benefits: 401(k), deferred compensations plans, etc. Investment Assets: taxable and retirement accounts, physical assets, etc. Liabilities: existing mortgages, home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), credit cards, student loans, etc. Insurance: personal and group benefits – disability, life, property & casualty, etc. Estate Plan: current wills, Powers of Attorney (POAs), revocable and irrevocable trusts, etc. Tax Returns: recent returns from your accountant for reviewing income, expenses, deductions, etc. These data points allow you to create a more meaningful individual guide to help you stay on track to reach your financial goals. As assets and income projections change, risk profiles are modified, and other aspects of your personal and financial life develop with time, you should revisit and adjust your financial roadmap to reflect your new situation and goals. Your financial roadmap is a living document that will always be there to reorient you, helping to combat lifestyle creep. Conclusion Some level of lifestyle inflation is inevitable and necessary, continuing to live like you are a first-year associate is not the answer to preventing lifestyle creep. As with most things in life, the key is moderation. The transition to partner can be a challenging one – creating a comprehensive financial roadmap that takes your personal and professional situation and goals into consideration is the best way to develop and implement a plan that will help you avoid the kind of overextension that could materially impact your ability to achieve what you really want – whatever you decide that is. About the Author Eric Dostal, J.D., CFP®, Vice President at Wealthspire Advisors, works extensively with clients to help them feel in control of their financial lives. Eric has demonstrated a high degree of skill developing and overseeing the investment, insurance, retirement, tax and estate planning strategies of his clients. He seeks to understand a clients’ unique financial circumstances, get them organized and on the path to financial independence. Wealthspire Advisors LLC is a registered investment adviser and subsidiary company of NFP Corp. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) owns the certification marks CFP®, Certified Financial Planner, and CFP® (with plaque design) in the United States, which it authorizes use of by individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements. This information should not be construed as a recommendation, offer to sell, or solicitation of an offer to buy a particular security or investment strategy. The commentary provided is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for accounting, legal, or tax advice. While the information is deemed reliable, Wealthspire Advisors cannot guarantee its accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose, and makes no warranties with regard to the results to be obtained from its use. ©2021 Wealthspire Advisors. Updated on Sep 24, 2021, 4:05 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkSep 24th, 2021

“The Housing Market Is Almost Frozen" - An Even Bigger Problem Emerges For China

“The Housing Market Is Almost Frozen" - An Even Bigger Problem Emerges For China With Wall Street's fascination with risk associated with Evergrande's default fading fast, and the sellside pumping out charts such as this one showing that the contagion in China junk bond market is unlikely to spillover globally... ... the smartest men in the room are once again missing the forest for the trees because as we explained in detail over the weekend, and again reminded earlier this week... Remember: for China this is not about Evergrande, it's about preserving confidence in the property sector — zerohedge (@zerohedge) September 22, 2021 ... for Beijing the real risk is not whether foreign creditors are impacted - in fact Evergrande's willingness to default on offshore bondholders while preserving operational cash flow and continuing to build homes shows just how much China "cares" about Blackrock's P&L - but how an Evergrande crisis could impact China's massive, $60 trillion, property sector, something which CCB International, the Chinese investment bank, touched on in a recent research note in which it said that Evergrande "contagion risk has spread from financing to land sales, property sales, project deliveries and home prices." And indeed, as the FT reports this morning, some very ominous cracks in China's property market - which according to Goldman is the largest asset class globally - are starting to emerge. In a letter to the Shaoxing municipal government in eastern Zhejiang province, the local office of developer Sunac China appealed for “policy assistance” as it was struggling through what it called a "turning point in China’s real estate industry." "We have never experienced such a radical change in the external environment," Sunac’s Shaoxing office said, pointing to a 60% year-on-year fall in home sales over the summer. "The market is almost frozen," it added in the letter, which was first reported by the Financial Times. “The radical change in policy and environment has seriously disrupted our business and made it very difficult to maintain normal operations.” The sudden, sharp collapse in China's property market is shown in the charts below which reveal that the amount of actual land transactions was not only well below the land supply in recent weeks, an unprecedented divergence, but that volumes were 65% below year-ago levels as potential buyers are suddenly terrified of investing in real estate as the Evergrande fate remains in limbo, with some worried that some of the 65 million empty apartments could hit the market and lead to a crash in property values. While the plunge in transactions is demand-induced, there are also concerns that an Evergrande insolvency and eventual collapse could lead to a supply crunch. As reported earlier, in July a Chinese city halted sales at two Evergrande projects alleging the troubled developer misappropriated funds by only depositing a portion of the proceeds from housing sales into the escrow accounts, according to a local government statement.  To ensure Evergrande doesn’t divert these funds, the housing bureau in Nansha district created an escrow account under its own name this month to take in proceeds from Evergrande homebuyers, cutting off the developer’s direct access to the money. A lack of funds has already led to a construction halt on some unfinished housing properties, sparking social unrest among buyers. In Guangzhou, buyers surrounded a local housing bureau earlier this month to demand Evergrande restart construction. As we discussed over the weekend, one of the most troubling downstream consequences from chaos in the property sector would be social unrest, and as we noted, maintaining social order has always been a key priority for the Communist Party, which has no tolerance for protests of any kind. In Guangzhou, homebuyers surrounded a local housing bureau last week to demand Evergrande restart stalled construction. Disgruntled retail investors have gathered at the companys Shenzhen headquarters for at least three straight days this week, and videos of protests against the developer in other parts of China have been shared widely online. Without a social safety net and with limited places to put their money, Chinese savers have for years been encouraged to buy homes whose prices were only ever supposed to go up (similar to the US before 2007 when even idiots like Ben Bernanke said that the US housing market never goes down). Today, buying a house (or two) is a cultural touchstone. And while housing affordability has become a hot topic in the West, many Chinese are more likely to protest falling home prices than spiking ones. Which brings us to a must read report from Goldman's Kinger Lau published overnight and focusing entirely on China's property sector - instead of just Evergrande - where it addresses a glaring dilemma: Beijing's desire to regulate and deleverage the housing sector even as it keeps property prices rising, a dynamic we summarized concisely earlier this week inside a tweet: Markets used to focus on China's "impossible trinity" but it's time to shift to China's "impossible dilemma": you can't have deleveraging/tightening/"3 red lines" AND rising home prices at the same time. China wants both, will have to pick one — zerohedge (@zerohedge) September 22, 2021 In his must read report (available for professional subscribers in the usual place) Goldman's Lau explains that what is going on with Evergrande, and in fact the turmoil gripping China's broader property sector is largely self-inflicted as "regulatory actions in China Internet have resulted in more than US$1tn market cap loss on the tech sector since mid-Feb, but in the past two weeks, investor focus has shifted to the US$60tn China property market which is linked to ~20% of Chinese GDP and represents 62% of household wealth." Specifically, Goldman notes that more than 400 new property regulations (shown in the appendix) that are largely tightening in nature have been announced ytd to restrain housing market activity, spanning supply, demand, funding, leverage, to price control measures. It is these measures that have contributed to a 14% year-on-year fall in property sales and $90 billion of market-cap losses among developer stocks in 3Q alone. In his attempt to summarize the critical linkages between China's all-important property sector and the broader economy (something we first tried to do back in 2017 in "Why The Fate Of The World Economy Is In The Hands Of China's Housing Bubble"), Goldman first focuses on the immediate catalyst behind the current crisis, which according to the bank has to do with the unprecedented regulatory tightening "in the largest asset class globally." Or, as Goldman puts it succinctly, "Property is everywhere in China" Some explanatory notes on the chart above: The regulatory cycle keeps evolving: The ongoing regulatory tightening cycle, which is unprecedented in terms of its duration, intensity, scope, and velocity (of new regulation announcement) as suggested by our POE regulation proxy, has so far provoked significant concerns among investors in and have resulted in more than US$1tn market cap loss on China Tech. From Tech to Social Sector, and then to Property: According to Centaline, more than 400 new property regulations have been unveiled ytd across the central and local governments to address the issues of rising property prices and imbalanced supply/demand in certain areas, over-reliance on property for economic growth and fiscal revenues, and potential speculation in the real estate market where 22% of property could be vacant and ~60% of recent-year purchases were driven by investment demand. Property market tightening isn’t a new feature in the Chinese policy cycle over the past decade, but the severity of the measures, the scope of tightening, and the determination of policy implementation (e.g. the 3 Red Lines) are arguably unprecedented. China property is big: Almost two years ago, Goldman took a deep dive into the US$40tn Chinese residential housing market and analyzed its impacts on macro and asset markets. Since then, the market has grown to US$60tn in notional value including inventory, likely the largest asset class in the world on current prices. It has also registered Rmb26tn (US$4tn) of home sales with more than 3bn sqm of GFA being sold, almost 3x the size of HK SAR. Additionally, it is well-documented that Chinese households have a strong investment and allocation bias towards real assets for different economic and cultural reasons—as of Aug 2021, property accounted for around 62% of household assets in both the total and net terms, vs. 23% in the US and 36% in Japan, where stocks are the dominant household assets. Property is ubiquitous in China, fundamentally and financially: Goldman economists estimate that the housing sector contributes to around 20% of GDP via direct and indirect channels such as property FAI, property construction supply chain, consumption, and wealth effect. In the financial markets, 15% of aggregate market earnings (i.e. ~US$150bn out of US$1tn in 2020) could be exposed to ‘property demand’ in the extended housing construction-to-sale cycle which typically spans over three years, and that property-related loans (developer loans, mortgages, shadow banking)/ developer bonds represent 35%/23% of banks’ loan books/the outstanding balance of the offshore USD credit (IG + HY) market,respectively. And visually: While a full-blown property crisis would impact virtually every aspect of the Chinese economy, starting with capital markets, shadow banks, and social stability, the most immediate one for global investors is of course, the equity market. Here are Goldman's key observations on this topic: The regulation headwinds have resulted in a noticeable slowdown in property activities in recent months: nationwide property sales have fallen 14% yoy in3Q21 alongside stable prices in the primary market but large declines of transactions in the secondary market; property FAI and new starts have fallend rastically, although completion growth momentum has remained strong largely on favorable base effects. At the macro level, Goldman economists have laid out 3 scenarios to model the contagion impacts from reduced property impulse on macro growth. Overall, they see 2022 GDP growth hit ranging from 1.4% to 4.1% depending on the magnitude/severity of the property market slowdown and the tightening of financial conditions domestically, although their scenario analysis does not take into consideration potential monetary and fiscal policy easing in response to the property market declines. While listed developers only account for 4% of earnings in the aggregate listed universe, the housing market could be linked, directly and indirectly, to ~15% of corporate earnings, and every 10pp growth deceleration in housing activity could reduce profit growth of the housing market by ~2pp, all else equal. Broadly, Goldman lists five key transmission mechanisms along the extended property market food chain: Property developers and management companies (4% of equity market earnings): Developers’ earnings are highly sensitive to the property market fundamentals. However, given the time lag between transaction (pre-sales) and revenue recognition (accrual-based accounting), reported earnings usually lag sales by around 2 years, meaning that their current- and next-year earnings may not fully reflect the latest situation in the physical market. For property management companies, their near-term earnings profile is more sensitive to completions than sales but slowing property sales could dampen their future growth prospect. Financial institutions (54% of equity market earnings): Developer loans and mortgage loans account for 35% of commercial banks’ aggregate loan book. Goldman's banks analysts see the potential for mortgage NPLs to rise (at 0.3% now, 1% increase in mortgage NPL ratio translates into 18.7% drop in net profits per their bear case) although their risk exposures to property-related WMPs have fallen substantially since 2016. For insurers, Goldman's team believes the listed insurers’ exposure to the property sector is low, but the potential indirect wealth effect could pose a bigger fundamental challenge. While not directly linked to the housing market, equity brokers’ earnings cycles have been negatively correlated with property sales, likely reflecting the asset allocation decisions/flows from Chinese households between the two asset classes. Construction (2% of equity market earnings): From new property FAI start to completion, the construction cycle for commodity housing typically lasts 20-30 months in China. It drives demand for construction materials (China is the largest consumer of copper, iron ore and steel), although the focus of materials and their consumption intensity varies in different parts of the cycle. The process also directly impacts construction-related equipment, with excavators, heavy-duty trucks, bulldozers, cranes, and loaders all exhibiting reasonably high demand correlation with land sales. Consumption: (3% of equity market earnings): Whether property purchase is considered consumption (at least for first time buyer) remains an open-ended debate, but the housing market is undoubtedly a key demand driver for a wide range of consumption items, including white goods,consumer durables like furniture equipment, and certain electronic products(e.g. Audio devices and air conditioners). Goldman's study shows that housing completion usually leads the sales and earnings in these sectors by 6-9months. Wealth effect (1% of equity market earnings): At the micro level, capital appreciation (or depreciation) in the housing market could have short-term material impact on discretionary spending given the potential wealth creation from the US$60tn asset market, especially considering the relatively high investment ratios there. Industries that are sensitive to this channel encompass the Autos (luxury), Macau gaming, HK retailers and travel-related companies (before the pandemic), which tend to lag property sales by around two quarters, although these relationships may be also reflective of the broader macro dynamics including liquidity easing. A snapshot of the various top-down impact of the Chinese property cycle on corporate earnings is shown below: In sum, mapping Goldman' base case assumptions on GDP growth and property activities for 2022 onto corporate earnings via these channels,the bank lowers its 2022E EPS growth for MSCI China from 13% to 7%, but as the bank warns "the earnings downside (delta) could be much more significant (-28pp) if their bear cases prevail." And should more companies warn that "the market is almost frozen" as a result of the Evergrande crisis, the bear case is virtually assured. We conclude with Goldman's observations on the contagion risks which according to the bank - and contrary to the market - "are building", even if systemic risks can still be avoided. While the restrictive policies have cooled the market, it has put highly-geared developers, notably Evergrande, in the spotlight as their deleveraging path becomes increasingly challenging. On one hand, Goldman agrees with us, and says that on a standalone basis, Evergrande should not be a serious systemic threat given that its total liability of Rmb1.9tn accounts for 0.6% of China’s outstanding TSF, its bank loans of Rmb572bn represent 0.3% of systemwide loan book, and its market share in nationwide commodity housing sales stood at 4% by 1H21. However, the real risks emerges in the context of the slowing property market: indeed, as in other systemic/crisis episodes, investors are concerned about specific weak links which could spread to the broader system via fundamental and financial channels in the case of disorderly default, and therefore the financial condition tightening risk could be much more significant than the Rmb1.9tn liability would suggest, according to Goldman. How much risk is priced in? This is a popular question from investors but also a difficult one to answer given the fluidity of the situation. However, the following analyses lead Goldman to believe that the market may have priced in some degrees of degradation in macro/corporate fundamentals and possibly policy response from the authorities (i.e. a “muddle-through” scenario), but not a harsh scenario that is systemic and global in nature Episodic analysis: Historical physical property market downturns were short-lived and shallow, but if we focus on episodes where developer equities traded at depressed valuations to proxy for property-related concerns (eg.2H11, early 2015, and late 2018), prevailing NAV discounts of listed developers(-60%) are roughly in-line with those difficult times. At the index level, MSCI China bottomed at around 10-11x fwd P/E and 10% ERP in those periods, vs. 13xand 9% at present respectively. Fair PE targets: The MSCI China index is currently trading on 13x fP/E, having already de-rated from 19.6x at the peak in mid-Feb. Applying Goldman's three scenarios to its top-down macro PE model, the bank estimates that the index fair PE could fall to 12.5x in the base case, and 11.0x in their most bearish case. Correlation analysis: Intra- and inter-sector, and cross-asset correlations with regard to Chinese stocks or developer equities have all risen in the past weeks, albeit from a low base. However, compared with previous cases where concerns related to China regulations or trade relations had spooked global markets (e.g. 2015 FX reform, 2018 US-China trade war), the absolute correlation levels are more benign at present, suggesting a global contagious impact is not fully priced in. In light of all this, the good news is that in Goldman's view systemic risks could still be avoided considering: broad liquidity and risk-appetite indicators such as 7d repo, the onshore funding stress index, as well as the A-share market performance/ turnover suggest that the imminent "minsky moment" remains a narrative but far from a reality; the effective leverage (LTV) for the housing market is low, around 40% to 50% per our Banks team’s estimate; the institutional setup in China where the government has strong control over its banking system makes a market-driven collapse less likely to happen than would otherwise be the case; Losses will be realized by stakeholders associated with highly-geared developers, but the liabilities are relatively transparent and are less widely socialized in the financial markets than in previous global financial crises; the potential economic, social, and financial impacts have been well publicized and discussed, and it appears that the authorities are assessing the situation and starting to take actions; and, economists believe there is potential for the authorities to ease policy to prevent a disorderly default of Evergrande from developing into a crisis leading up to the Sixth Plenum in November. Ultimately, timing will be key to a happy ending: Given the outsized market value of China property, and its intricate linkages to the real economy and the financial markets, deleveraging the property market and improving financial stability - two contradictory concepts - could raise systemic concern if policy actions are pursued too aggressively, or without clear coordination among regulators and communication with the market. Importantly, as market concerns over tail risk and spillovers start to build, there is increasing focus on the narrowing window for policymakers to provide the necessary circuit breakers to ring-fence the (collateral) damages and stop the downward spirals. A key risk from continued delayed action would be a bigger snowball effect and more damage on markets and investor (already strained) confidence in Chinese assets. As such, Goldman expects the market to focus on potential actions that could be pursued, such as a combination of debt restructuring (bank loans, WMP, credits), conditional government involvement in working capital bridges and unfinished property projects, and a coordinated plan to divest and cash in assets. Finally, as promised earlier, here is a summary of the key loosing (green) and tightening (red) policies in China's property market.   Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 13:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 24th, 2021

CRA (CRAI) Hits 52-Week High, Can the Run Continue?

CRA (CRAI) is at a 52-week high, but can investors hope for more gains in the future? We take a look at the company's fundamentals for clues. Shares of Charles River Associates (CRAI) have been strong performers lately, with the stock up 6.2% over the past month. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $98.63 in the previous session. Charles River Associates has gained 92% since the start of the year compared to the -16.6% move for the Zacks Business Services sector and the 35.6% return for the Zacks Consulting Services industry.What's Driving the Outperformance?The stock has an impressive record of positive earnings surprises, as it hasn't missed our earnings consensus estimate in any of the last four quarters. In its last earnings report on August 5, 2021, CRA reported EPS of $1.53 versus consensus estimate of $0.93 while it beat the consensus revenue estimate by 7.22%.For the current fiscal year, CRA is expected to post earnings of $5.02 per share on $573.42 million in revenues. This represents a 49.85% change in EPS on a 12.8% change in revenues. For the next fiscal year, the company is expected to earn $5 per share on $601.61 million in revenues. This represents a year-over-year change of -0.27% and 4.92%, respectively.Valuation MetricsCRA may be at a 52-week high right now, but what might the future hold for the stock? A key aspect of this question is taking a look at valuation metrics in order to determine if the company is due for a pullback from this level.On this front, we can look at the Zacks Style Scores, as these give investors a variety of ways to comb through stocks (beyond looking at the Zacks Rank of a security). These styles are represented by grades running from A to F in the categories of Value, Growth, and Momentum, while there is a combined VGM Score as well. The idea behind the style scores is to help investors pick the most appropriate Zacks Rank stocks based on their individual investment style.CRA has a Value Score of B. The stock's Growth and Momentum Scores are A and F, respectively, giving the company a VGM Score of A.In terms of its value breakdown, the stock currently trades at 19.5X current fiscal year EPS estimates. On a trailing cash flow basis, the stock currently trades at 14.7X versus its peer group's average of 22.4X. Additionally, the stock has a PEG ratio of 1.26. This isn't enough to put the company in the top echelon of all stocks we cover from a value perspective.Zacks RankWe also need to consider the stock's Zacks Rank, as this supersedes any trend on the style score front. Fortunately, CRA currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy) thanks to rising earnings estimates.Since we recommend that investors select stocks carrying Zacks Rank of 1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B, it looks as if CRA meets the list of requirements. Thus, it seems as though CRA shares could still be poised for more gains ahead.How Does CRA Stack Up to the Competition?Shares of CRA have been moving higher, and the company still appears to be a decent choice, but what about the rest of the industry? Some of its industry peers are also solid potential picks, including CBIZ (CBZ), NV5 Global (NVEE), and FTI Consulting (FCN), all of which currently have a Zacks Rank of at least #2 and a VGM Score of at least B, making them well-rounded choices.The Zacks Industry Rank is in the top 13% of all the industries we have in our universe, so it looks like there are some nice tailwinds for CRA, even beyond its own solid fundamental situation. Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Charles River Associates (CRAI): Free Stock Analysis Report FTI Consulting, Inc. (FCN): Free Stock Analysis Report CBIZ, Inc. (CBZ): Free Stock Analysis Report NV5 Global, Inc. (NVEE): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 24th, 2021

Equity Bancshares (EQBK) Hits Fresh High: Is There Still Room to Run?

Equity Bancshares (EQBK) is at a 52-week high, but can investors hope for more gains in the future? We take a look at the company's fundamentals for clues. Shares of Equity Bancshares (EQBK) have been strong performers lately, with the stock up 6.6% over the past month. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $34.14 in the previous session. Equity Bancshares has gained 55.6% since the start of the year compared to the 20.1% move for the Zacks Finance sector and the 31.8% return for the Zacks Banks - Northeast industry.What's Driving the Outperformance?The stock has a great record of positive earnings surprises, as it hasn't missed our earnings consensus estimate in any of the last four quarters. In its last earnings report on July 19, 2021, Equity Bancshares reported EPS of $1.09 versus consensus estimate of $0.57 while it beat the consensus revenue estimate by 14.6%.For the current fiscal year, Equity Bancshares is expected to post earnings of $3.35 per share on $171.1 million in revenues. This represents a 167.4% change in EPS on a 7.83% change in revenues. For the next fiscal year, the company is expected to earn $2.85 per share on $186.97 million in revenues. This represents a year-over-year change of -14.93% and 9.28%, respectively.Valuation MetricsEquity Bancshares may be at a 52-week high right now, but what might the future hold for the stock? A key aspect of this question is taking a look at valuation metrics in order to determine if the company is due for a pullback from this level.On this front, we can look at the Zacks Style Scores, as these give investors a variety of ways to comb through stocks (beyond looking at the Zacks Rank of a security). These styles are represented by grades running from A to F in the categories of Value, Growth, and Momentum, while there is a combined VGM Score as well. Investors should consider the style scores a valuable tool that can help you to pick the most appropriate Zacks Rank stocks based on their individual investment style.Equity Bancshares has a Value Score of B. The stock's Growth and Momentum Scores are B and C, respectively, giving the company a VGM Score of B.In terms of its value breakdown, the stock currently trades at 10X current fiscal year EPS estimates. On a trailing cash flow basis, the stock currently trades at 3.3X versus its peer group's average of 11.7X. This isn't enough to put the company in the top echelon of all stocks we cover from a value perspective.Zacks RankWe also need to consider the stock's Zacks Rank, as this supersedes any trend on the style score front. Fortunately, Equity Bancshares currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy) thanks to rising earnings estimates.Since we recommend that investors select stocks carrying Zacks Rank of 1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B, it looks as if Equity Bancshares meets the list of requirements. Thus, it seems as though Equity Bancshares shares could still be poised for more gains ahead.How Does Equity Bancshares Stack Up to the Competition?Shares of Equity Bancshares have been soaring, and the company still appears to be a decent choice, but what about the rest of the industry? Some of its industry peers are also solid potential picks, including Byline Bancorp (BY), Meridian Bank (MRBK), and Bankwell Financial Group (BWFG), all of which currently have a Zacks Rank of at least #2 and a VGM Score of at least B, making them well-rounded choices.The Zacks Industry Rank is in the top 32% of all the industries we have in our universe, so it looks like there are some nice tailwinds for Equity Bancshares, even beyond its own solid fundamental situation. Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Equity Bancshares, Inc. (EQBK): Free Stock Analysis Report Meridian Bank (MRBK): Free Stock Analysis Report Bankwell Financial Group, Inc. (BWFG): Free Stock Analysis Report Byline Bancorp, Inc. (BY): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 24th, 2021

Crocs (CROX) Hits Fresh High: Is There Still Room to Run?

Crocs (CROX) is at a 52-week high, but can investors hope for more gains in the future? We take a look at the company's fundamentals for clues. Shares of Crocs (CROX) have been strong performers lately, with the stock up 13.9% over the past month. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $163.18 in the previous session. Crocs has gained 160.1% since the start of the year compared to the -4.1% move for the Zacks Consumer Discretionary sector and the 15.9% return for the Zacks Textile - Apparel industry.What's Driving the Outperformance?The stock has a great record of positive earnings surprises, as it hasn't missed our earnings consensus estimate in any of the last four quarters. In its last earnings report on July 22, 2021, Crocs reported EPS of $2.23 versus consensus estimate of $1.62.For the current fiscal year, Crocs is expected to post earnings of $6.89 per share on $2.27 billion in revenues. This represents a 113.98% change in EPS on a 63.62% change in revenues. For the next fiscal year, the company is expected to earn $8.53 per share on $2.58 billion in revenues. This represents a year-over-year change of 23.84% and 13.92%, respectively.Valuation MetricsCrocs may be at a 52-week high right now, but what might the future hold for the stock? A key aspect of this question is taking a look at valuation metrics in order to determine if the company is due for a pullback from this level.On this front, we can look at the Zacks Style Scores, as they provide investors with an additional way to sort through stocks (beyond looking at the Zacks Rank of a security). These styles are represented by grades running from A to F in the categories of Value, Growth, and Momentum, while there is a combined VGM Score as well. Investors should consider the style scores a valuable tool that can help you to pick the most appropriate Zacks Rank stocks based on their individual investment style.Crocs has a Value Score of D. The stock's Growth and Momentum Scores are A and A, respectively, giving the company a VGM Score of B.In terms of its value breakdown, the stock currently trades at 23.7X current fiscal year EPS estimates. On a trailing cash flow basis, the stock currently trades at 44.3X versus its peer group's average of 17.8X. Additionally, the stock has a PEG ratio of 1.58. This isn't enough to put the company in the top echelon of all stocks we cover from a value perspective.Zacks RankWe also need to look at the Zacks Rank for the stock, as this supersedes any trend on the style score front. Fortunately, Crocs currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy) thanks to rising earnings estimates.Since we recommend that investors select stocks carrying Zacks Rank of 1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B, it looks as if Crocs passes the test. Thus, it seems as though Crocs shares could have potential in the weeks and months to come.How Does Crocs Stack Up to the Competition?Shares of Crocs have been rising, and the company still appears to be a decent choice, but what about the rest of the industry? Some of its industry peers are also impressive, including Gildan Activewear (GIL), Oxford Industries (OXM), and Columbia Sportswear (COLM), all of which currently have a Zacks Rank of at least #2 and a VGM Score of at least B, making them well-rounded choices.The Zacks Industry Rank is in the top 4% of all the industries we have in our universe, so it looks like there are some nice tailwinds for Crocs, even beyond its own solid fundamental situation. Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Crocs, Inc. (CROX): Free Stock Analysis Report Columbia Sportswear Company (COLM): Free Stock Analysis Report Gildan Activewear, Inc. (GIL): Free Stock Analysis Report Oxford Industries, Inc. (OXM): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 24th, 2021

Forrester Research (FORR) Hits Fresh High: Is There Still Room to Run?

Forrester Research (FORR) is at a 52-week high, but can investors hope for more gains in the future? We take a look at the company's fundamentals for clues. Shares of Forrester Research (FORR) have been strong performers lately, with the stock up 8.1% over the past month. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $50.44 in the previous session. Forrester Research has gained 18.6% since the start of the year compared to the 24.9% move for the Zacks Computer and Technology sector and the 12.2% return for the Zacks Computer - Services industry.What's Driving the Outperformance?The stock has a great record of positive earnings surprises, as it hasn't missed our earnings consensus estimate in any of the last four quarters. In its last earnings report on July 28, 2021, Forrester Research reported EPS of $0.66 versus consensus estimate of $0.56.For the current fiscal year, Forrester Research is expected to post earnings of $1.81 per share on $490.46 million in revenues. This represents a 13.13% change in EPS on a 9.24% change in revenues. For the next fiscal year, the company is expected to earn $2.17 per share on $528 million in revenues. This represents a year-over-year change of 19.89% and 7.65%, respectively.Valuation MetricsForrester Research may be at a 52-week high right now, but what might the future hold for the stock? A key aspect of this question is taking a look at valuation metrics in order to determine if the company has run ahead of itself.On this front, we can look at the Zacks Style Scores, as these give investors a variety of ways to comb through stocks (beyond looking at the Zacks Rank of a security). These styles are represented by grades running from A to F in the categories of Value, Growth, and Momentum, while there is a combined VGM Score as well. The idea behind the style scores is to help investors pick the most appropriate Zacks Rank stocks based on their individual investment style.Forrester Research has a Value Score of B. The stock's Growth and Momentum Scores are C and D, respectively, giving the company a VGM Score of B.In terms of its value breakdown, the stock currently trades at 27.5X current fiscal year EPS estimates. On a trailing cash flow basis, the stock currently trades at 17.5X versus its peer group's average of 16.9X. Additionally, the stock has a PEG ratio of 1.96. This isn't enough to put the company in the top echelon of all stocks we cover from a value perspective.Zacks RankWe also need to consider the stock's Zacks Rank, as this supersedes any trend on the style score front. Fortunately, Forrester Research currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy) thanks to favorable earnings estimate revisions from covering analysts.Since we recommend that investors select stocks carrying Zacks Rank of 1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B, it looks as if Forrester Research meets the list of requirements. Thus, it seems as though Forrester Research shares could still be poised for more gains ahead.How Does Forrester Research Stack Up to the Competition?Shares of Forrester Research have been rising, and the company still appears to be a decent choice, but what about the rest of the industry? Some of its industry peers are also solid potential picks, including CSG Systems International (CSGS), Perficient (PRFT), and j2 Global (JCOM), all of which currently have a Zacks Rank of at least #2 and a VGM Score of at least B, making them well-rounded choices.The Zacks Industry Rank is in the top 43% of all the industries we have in our universe, so it looks like there are some nice tailwinds for Forrester Research, even beyond its own solid fundamental situation. Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Forrester Research, Inc. (FORR): Free Stock Analysis Report j2 Global, Inc. (JCOM): Free Stock Analysis Report Perficient, Inc. (PRFT): Free Stock Analysis Report CSG Systems International, Inc. (CSGS): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 24th, 2021

Biden Mulls Bold Steps to Curb Chip Shortage: 3 Stocks in Focus

Semiconductor manufacturing firms like Applied Materials (AMAT), Skyworks (SWKS), and Qorvo (QRVO) are likely to hog the limelight in the near future with solid demand trends. An acute shortage of semiconductor chips, which are the building blocks for various electronic gadgets, telecommunication equipment, and automobile manufacturing, has set alarm bells ringing in the higher echelons of the government, prompting the administration to consider using an aggressive stance to address the issue. Despite the best efforts of the Biden administration to increase domestic production, the demand-supply imbalance has virtually crippled operations of various related sectors and largely affected profitability due to inflated equipment prices. The government is now seeking to take the bull by the horn to tackle the worsening situation that has affected thousands of U.S. workers and forced automakers like Toyota Motor Corporation TM and General Motors Company GM to slash output and sales forecast.What Ails the Chip Manufacturing Industry?The global chip shortage has been largely triggered by the COVID-19-led constraints on the supply chain mechanism and increased demand for electronic gadgets due to an uptick in pandemic-induced nesting activities. It was also aggravated by the disruptions in production due to inclement weather conditions and natural catastrophes. Critics further allege that the initial seeds of the chip shortage were sown in 2018 with the imposition of tariffs and restrictions on Beijing by President Trump and that the problem was brewing within.Policy Shift With Change in PowerWhile the Trump administration primarily focused on ‘technology decoupling’, which enforced strict export restrictions based on national security grounds, President Biden seems more inclined toward the "small yard, high fence" strategy. This policy aims to take a more proactive approach in defining technologies that are essential to American national interests and employ stringent protective measures. Instead of an outright trade ban that largely affects the supply-chain mechanism, it intends to identify the source of the bottlenecks behind a product shortage and work in tandem with the industry to fix it so that the business interests of domestic firms are not harmed. In tune with this policy shift, the President had inked an executive order in February 2021 to launch a 100-day review process of the supply chain mechanism to address the global shortage of semiconductor chips and devise ways to increase domestic production while eliminating dependence on China.The government further introduced the Chips for America Act, which aimed to provide $52 billion for semiconductor research and development, as various reports revealed that global semiconductor manufacturing capacity in the United States fell from 37% in 1990 to about 12% at present owing to a dearth of federal investments in chip research. Although the Senate passed the bill in June 2021, the legislation is yet to be approved by the House, likely robbing the beleaguered industry of an opportunity to spearhead innovation and fast-track production facilities.Aggressive Stance in the Making? The chip shortage is leading to panic buying by some OEMs, which, in turn, is escalating prices. This has largely affected the smaller manufacturers that lack the firepower to match higher raw material costs and are forced to either halt production or make way with some relatively weaker substitutes. In order to tide over the storm, the U.S. Commerce Department is currently seeking supply-chain data from industry participants within the next 45 days on a voluntary basis in order to ease production bottlenecks and identify potential pitfalls of chip hoarding. However, companies have reportedly been dragging their feet on handing over this sensitive data, forcing the Biden administration to consider flexing its muscles by invoking the Defense Production Act that could force companies to turn over that information. The defense law vests the President with additional powers to allocate resources and production and might be called into force to bridge the demand-supply gap.3 Semiconductor Chip Manufacturing Firms in FocusAmid such a scenario, semiconductor manufacturing firms are likely to hog the limelight in the near future with continued demand trends fueling solid long-term growth potential. From the list of such firms, we have cherry-picked three stocks with strong fundamentals, carrying either a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Applied Materials, Inc. AMAT: Headquartered in Santa Clara, CA, Applied Materials is one of the world’s largest suppliers of equipment for the fabrication of semiconductor, flat panel liquid crystal displays, and solar photovoltaic cells and modules. The company’s semiconductor business continues to be on the growth trajectory with significant design wins. Moreover, the company's AI Design Forum bodes well for its strong focus toward the development of new computing materials and designs. The industry's transition to 3D NAND is also helping Applied Materials to further expand the served available market. With a long-term earnings growth expectation of 19.4%, the stock delivered an earnings surprise of 8.1%, on average, in the trailing four quarters. This Zacks Rank #2 stock has gained 142.3% over the past year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has been revised 48.4% upward over the past year, and that for the next year is up 46.6%.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchSkyworks Solutions, Inc. SWKS: Headquartered in Irvine, CA, Skyworks manufactures and markets a broad range of high-performance analog and mixed-signal semiconductors that enable wireless connectivity. As demand for mobile Internet applications is exploding with the broad proliferation of smartphones, net books, notebooks, caplets, and other forms of embedded wireless devices and faster pace of 5G deployment, Skyworks continues to gain traction. High quality, environment-friendly products, and sustainable business practices have been the key differentiators for the company. Skyworks is also aggressively expanding into new vertical markets. It has introduced connected-car solutions for prominent Japan-based and Korea-based automotive OEMs along with Daimler. With a long-term earnings growth expectation of 19.4%, the stock delivered an earnings surprise of 21.4%, on average, in the trailing four quarters. This Zacks Rank #2 stock has gained 25.6% over the past year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has been revised 53.2% upward over the past year, and that for the next year is up 48%.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchQorvo, Inc. QRVO: Headquartered in Greensboro, NC, Qorvo is a leading provider of core technologies and radio frequency solutions for mobile, infrastructure, and aerospace/defense applications. With a broad product portfolio, Qorvo is likely to create new growth opportunities and spearhead technological innovation for the overall benefit of carriers and consumers. The company has introduced highly integrated front-end solutions that simplify and accelerate the implementation of multimode, multi-band 4G smartphones and tablets. These new RF Fusion front-end solutions showcase the company's ability to help leading OEMs to quickly launch their next-generation flagship devices. With a long-term earnings growth expectation of 12.7%, the stock delivered an earnings surprise of 14.2%, on average, in the trailing four quarters. This Zacks Rank #1 stock has gained 38.6% over the past year and has a VGM Score of B. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has been revised 47.6% upward over the past year, and that for the next year is up 35.4%.Image Source: Zacks Investment Research Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Toyota Motor Corporation (TM): Free Stock Analysis Report Skyworks Solutions, Inc. (SWKS): Free Stock Analysis Report Applied Materials, Inc. (AMAT): Free Stock Analysis Report General Motors Company (GM): Free Stock Analysis Report Qorvo, Inc. (QRVO): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 24th, 2021

Biden Security Adviser Jake Sullivan Tied To Alleged 2016 Clinton Scheme To Co-Opt CIA/FBI To Tar Trump

Biden Security Adviser Jake Sullivan Tied To Alleged 2016 Clinton Scheme To Co-Opt CIA/FBI To Tar Trump Authored by Paul Sperry via RealClearInvestigations.com, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan figures prominently in a grand jury investigation run by Special Counsel John Durham into an alleged 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign scheme to use both the FBI and CIA to tar Donald Trump as a colluder with Russia, according to people familiar with the criminal probe, which they say has broadened into a conspiracy case. Biden National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan as Clinton campaign adviser for the 2016 election. AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File Sullivan is facing scrutiny, sources say, over potentially false statements he made about his involvement in the effort, which continued after the election and into 2017. As a senior foreign policy adviser to Clinton, Sullivan spearheaded what was known inside her campaign as a “confidential project” to link Trump to the Kremlin through dubious email-server records provided to the agencies, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Last week, Michael A. Sussmann, a partner in Perkins Coie, a law firm representing the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of making false statements to the FBI about his clients and their motives behind planting the rumor, at the highest levels of the FBI, of a secret Trump-Russia server. After a months-long investigation, the FBI found no merit to the rumor. The grand jury indicated in its lengthy indictment that several people were involved in the alleged conspiracy to mislead the FBI and trigger an investigation of the Republican presidential candidate -- including Sullivan, who was described by his campaign position but not identified by name. The Clinton campaign project, these sources say, also involved compiling a "digital dossier” on several Trump campaign officials – including Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, and Carter Page. This effort exploited highly sensitive, nonpublic Internet data related to their personal email communications and web-browsing, known as Internet Protocol, or IP, addresses. Alleged targets: Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, Carter Page. YouTube/CNN/FNC/RCP To mine the data, the Clinton campaign enlisted a team of Beltway computer contractors as well as university researchers with security clearance who often collaborate with the FBI and the intelligence community. They worked from a five-page campaign document called the "Trump Associates List." The tech group also pulled logs purportedly from servers for a Russian bank and Trump Tower, and the campaign provided the data to the FBI on two thumb drives, along with three “white papers” that claimed the data indicated the Trump campaign was secretly communicating with Moscow through a server in Trump Tower and the Alfa Bank in Russia. Based on the material, the FBI opened at least one investigation, adding to several others it had already initiated targeting the Trump campaign in the summer of 2016. Michael Sussmann: Indicted former Clinton campaign lawyer allegedly coordinated with Jake Sullivan on dubious materials provided to the FBI and media. perkinscoie.com The indictment states that Sussmann, as well as the cyber experts recruited for the operation, "coordinated with representatives and agents of the Clinton campaign with regard to the data and written materials that Sussmann gave to the FBI and the media." One of those campaign agents was Sullivan, according to emails Durham obtained. On Sept. 15, 2016 – just four days before Sussmann handed off the materials to the FBI – Marc Elias, his law partner and fellow Democratic Party operative, "exchanged emails with the Clinton campaign’s foreign policy adviser concerning the Russian bank allegations," as well as with other top campaign officials, the indictment states. The sources close to the case confirmed the "foreign policy adviser" referenced by title is Sullivan. They say he was briefed on the development of the opposition-research materials tying Trump to Alfa Bank, and was aware of the participants in the project. These included the Washington opposition-research group Fusion GPS, which worked for the Clinton campaign as a paid agent and helped gather dirt on Alfa Bank and draft the materials Elias discussed with Sullivan, the materials Sussmann would later submit to the FBI. Fusion researchers were in regular contact with both Sussmann and Elias about the project in the summer and fall of 2016. Sullivan also personally met with Elias, who briefed him on Fusion's opposition research, according to the sources. Sullivan maintained in congressional testimony in December 2017 that he didn’t know of Fusion’s involvement in the Alfa Bank opposition research. In the same closed-door testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, he also denied knowing anything about Fusion in 2016 or who was conducting the opposition research for the campaign. "Marc [Elias] ... would occasionally give us updates on the opposition research they were conducting, but I didn't know what the nature of that effort was – inside effort, outside effort, who was funding it, who was doing it, anything like that," Sullivan stated under oath. Jake Sullivan's December 2017 House testimony may put him in perjury jeopardy.  House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Sullivan also testified he didn’t know that Perkins Coie, the law firm where Elias and Sussmann were partners, was working for the Clinton campaign until October 2017, when it was reported in the media as part of stories revealing the campaign's contract with Fusion, which also produced the so-called Steele dossier. Sullivan maintained he didn’t even know that the politically prominent Elias worked for Perkins Coie, a well-known Democratic law firm. Major media stories from 2016 routinely identified Elias as "general counsel for the Clinton campaign" and a "partner at Perkins Coie." "To be honest with you, Marc wears a tremendous number of hats, so I wasn’t sure who he was representing," Sullivan testified. "I sort of thought he was, you know, just talking to us as, you know, a fellow traveler in this — in this campaign effort." Although he acknowledged knowing Elias and his partner were marshaling opposition researchers for a campaign project targeting Trump, Sullivan insisted, "They didn’t do something with it." In truth, they used the research to instigate a full-blown investigation at the FBI and seed a number of stories in the Washington media, which Elias discussed in emails. Marc Elias: Prominent Democrat lawyer allegedly also coordinated with Sullivan. Sullivan would later plead ignorance under oath about Elias's role. Perkins Coie Lying to Congress is a felony. Though the offense is rarely prosecuted, former Special Counsel Robert Mueller won convictions of two of Trump’s associates on charges of that very offense. An attorney for Sullivan did not respond to questions, while a spokeswoman for the National Security Council declined comment. After the 2016 election, Sullivan continued to participate in the anti-Trump effort, which enlisted no fewer than three Internet companies and two university computer researchers, who persisted in exploiting nonpublic Internet data to conjure up “derogatory information on Trump" and his associates, according to the indictment.Prosecutors say the operation ran through at least February 2017, when Sullivan met with another central figure in the plot to plant the anti-Trump smear at the FBI. But now the goal was to compel agents to continue investigating the false rumors in the wake of the election, thereby keeping Trump's presidency under an ethical cloud. Daniel Jones: One of the lead figures in helping resurrect the Trump-Russia collusion narrative after Trump's election, Jones coordinated with Sullivan in hatching the effort. McCain Institute/YouTube On Feb. 10, 2017, Sullivan huddled with two Fusion operatives and their partner Daniel Jones, a former FBI analyst and Democratic staffer on the Hill, to hatch the post-election plan to resurrect rumors Trump was a tool of the Kremlin. As RealClearInvestigations first reported, the meeting, which lasted about an hour and took place in a Washington office building, also included former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. The group discussed raising money to finance a multimillion-dollar opposition research project headed by Jones to target the new president. In effect, Jones’ operation would replace the Clinton campaign’s operation, continuing the effort to undermine Trump. It’s not clear if Sussmann attended the Feb. 10 meeting, but he was apparently still involved in the operation, along with his crew of data miners. The day before the meeting attended by Sullivan, Sussmann paid a visit to the CIA’s Langley headquarters to peddle the disinformation about the secret server – this time to top officials there, according to the sources familiar with Durham's investigation. During a roughly 90-minute meeting, Sussmann provided two officials at the intelligence headquarters “updated” documents and data he'd provided the FBI before the election, RealClearInvestigations has learned exclusively. Then, on March 28, 2017, Jones met with the FBI to pass on supposedly fresh leads he and the cyber researchers had learned about the Alfa Bank server and Trump, and the FBI looked into the new leads after having closed its investigation a month earlier. That same month, FBI Director James Comey publicly announced the bureau was investigating possible “coordination" between Moscow and the newly sworn-in president's campaign. Despite the renewed push by Jones, the FBI debunked the tip of a nefarious Russian back channel. Agents learned the email server in question wasn’t even controlled by the Trump Organization. "It wasn’t true," Mueller confirmed in 2019 testimony. It turns out that the supposed “secret server" was housed in the small Pennsylvania town of Lititz, and not  Trump Tower in New York City, and it was operated by a marketing firm based in Florida called Cendyn that routinely blasts out emails promoting multiple hotel chains. Simply put, the third-party server sent spam to Alfa Bank employees who used Trump hotels. The bank had maintained a New York office since 2001. “The FBI’s investigation revealed that the email server at issue was not owned or operated by the Trump Organization but, rather, had been administrated by a mass-marketing email company that sent advertisements for Trump hotels and hundreds of other clients,” Durham wrote in his indictment. Nonetheless, Jones and Sullivan kept promoting the canard as true. Democrat Senators Mark Warner and Ron Wyden: Conduits for TDIP's Trump-Russia material. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik With help from Sullivan and Podesta in 2017, Jones launched a nonprofit group called The Democracy Integrity Project, which raised some $7 million mainly from Silicon Valley tech executives. TDIP hired computer researchers, as well as Fusion opposition researchers and Christopher Steele, the British author of the now-discredited Steele dossier, to “prove” the rumors in the dossier. As they sought new dirt on Trump, they fed their information to media outlets, leading Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee (namely Sens. Mark Warner and Ron Wyden), and the FBI. Jones previously worked on the Senate intelligence panel, which had launched a major investigation of Trump and Russia, and he provided a pipeline of information for the committee, according to the sources. As RCI first reported, Jones emailed a daily news bulletin known as "TDIP Research" to prominent Beltway journalists to keep the Trump-Russia “collusion” rumor-mill going, including the debunked rumor about the "secret server." Durham has subpoenaed Jones to testify before his grand jury hearing the case, along with computer experts and researchers recruited by Sussmann for the Clinton campaign project, persons close to the investigation said. Attempts to reach Jones for comment were unsuccessful. In a statement, Durham said his investigation "is ongoing." Special Counsel John Durham: Lengthy single count "speaking" indictment of Sussmann suggests a broader conspiracy case in the works. AP Indictments for a single-count process crime such as making a false statement normally run a page or two. But Durham’s filing charging Sussmann spans 27 pages and is packed with detail. FBI veterans say the 40-year prosecutor used the indictment to outline a broader conspiracy case he’s building that invokes several other federal statutes. "That is what we call a 'speaking indictment,' meaning it is far more detailed than is required for a simple indictment under [federal statute] 1001,” which outlaws making false statements and representations to federal investigators, former assistant FBI Director Chris Swecker said in an interview with RealClearInvestigations. "It is damning,” he added. “And I see it as a placeholder for additional indictments, such as government grant and contract fraud, computer intrusion, the Privacy Act and other laws against dissemination of personally identifiable information, and mail fraud and wire fraud – not to mention conspiracy to commit those offenses." Chris Swecker: The Sussmann indictment "is damning," and "I definitely see more to come," says the ex-top FBI investigator. Miller & Martin "I definitely see more [indictments] to come,” emphasized Swecker, who knows Durham personally and worked with him on prior investigations. The sources close to the case said former FBI general counsel James Baker, who accepted the sketchy materials from Sussmann and passed them on to agents for investigation, is cooperating with Durham’s investigation, along with former FBI counterintelligence chief Bill Priestap, who has provided prosecutors contemporaneous notes about what led the bureau to open an investigation into the allegations Trump used Alfa Bank as a conduit between his campaign and Russian President Vladimir Putin to steal the election. According to the sources, Durham also has found evidence Sussmann misled the CIA, another front in the scandal being reported here for the first time. In December 2016, the sources say Sussmann phoned the general counsel at the agency and told her the same story about the supposed secret server – at the same time the CIA was compiling a national intelligence report that accused Putin of meddling in the election to help Trump win. Sussmann told Caroline Krass, then the agency’s top attorney, that he had information that may help her with a review President Obama had ordered of all intelligence related to the election and Russia, known as the Intelligence Community Assessment. The review ended up including an annex with several unfounded and since-debunked allegations against Trump developed by the Clinton campaign. It’s not clear if the two-page annex, which claimed the allegations were “consistent with the judgments in this assessment,” included the Alfa Bank canard. Before it was made public, several sections had been redacted. But after Sussmann conveyed the information to Krass, an Obama appointee, she told him she would consider it for the intelligence review of Russian interference, which tracks with Sussmann’s 2017 closed-door testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. (Krass’ name is blacked out in the declassified transcript, but sources familiar with Sussmann's testimony confirmed that he identified her as his CIA contact.) Caroline Krass: Michael Sussmann also gave  Trump-Russia material to this CIA lawyer. CIA/Wikipedia “We’re interested,” said Krass, who left the agency several months later. "We’re doing this review and I’ll speak to someone here.” It’s not known if Sussmann failed to inform the top CIA lawyer that he was working on behalf of the Clinton campaign, as he’s alleged to have done at the FBI. Attempts to reach Krass, who now serves as Biden’s top lawyer at the Pentagon, were unsuccessful. But in his return trip to the CIA after the election, Sussmann “stated falsely – as he previously had stated to the FBI general counsel – that he was ‘not representing a particular client,’ " according to the Durham indictment, which cites a contemporaneous memo drafted by two agency officials with whom Sussmann met that memorializes their meeting. (The document refers to the CIA by the pseudonym “Agency-2.” Sources confirm Agency-2 is the CIA.) Remarkably, the CIA did not ask for the source of Sussmann’s walk-in tip, including where he got several data files he gave the agency. The FBI exhibited a similar lack of curiosity when Sussmann told it about the false Trump/Alfa Bank connection. Attempts to reach Sussmann to get his side to the additional CIA allegations leveled by Durham were unsuccessful. The 57-year-old attorney pleaded not guilty to a single felony count and was released on a $100,000 bond Friday. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.The prominent Washington lawyer quietly resigned from Perkins Coie, which has scrubbed all references to him from its website. And late last month, as rumors of the indictment swirled, the powerhouse law firm divested its entire Political Law Group formerly headed by Marc Elias – who commissioned the Steele dossier. Elias, who worked closely with Sussmann on the Trump-Alfa Bank project, also is no longer employed by the firm. Jake Sullivan’s Golf Cart Rounds In late July 2016, during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, the CIA picked up Russian chatter about a Clinton foreign policy adviser who was trying to develop allegations to “vilify" Trump. The intercepts said Clinton herself had approved a “plan" to “stir up a scandal” against Trump by tying him to Putin. According to hand-written notes, then-CIA chief John Brennan warned President Obama that Moscow had intercepted information about the “alleged approval by Hillary Clinton on July 26, 2016, of a proposal from one of her foreign policy advisers to vilify Donald Trump.” That summer, Brennan had personally briefed Democrats, including then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, on the Alfa Bank-Trump server rumors, according to congressional reports. Reid fired off a letter to Comey demanding that the FBI do more to investigate Trump's ties to Russia. During that convention, Sullivan drove a golf cart from one TV-network news tent in the parking lot to another, pitching producers and anchors a story that Trump was conspiring with Putin to steal the election. CNN, ABC News, CBS News, and NBC News, as well as Chris Wallace of Fox News, all gave him airtime to spin the Clinton campaign’s unfounded theories. Sullivan also gave off-camera background briefings to reporters. "We were on a mission," Clinton campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri later admitted in a Washington Post column. “We wanted to raise the alarm." Then, on the eve of the election, Sullivan claimed in a written campaign statement that Trump and the Russians had set up a “secret hotline” through Alfa Bank, and he suggested “federal authorities” were investigating “this direct connection between Trump and Russia.” He portrayed the shocking discovery as the work of independent experts — “computer scientists” — without disclosing their attachment to the campaign. “This could be the most direct link yet between Donald Trump and Moscow,” Sullivan claimed. Clinton teed up his statement in an Oct. 31, 2016, tweet, which quickly went viral. Also that day, Clinton tweeted, “It’s time for Trump to answer serious questions about his ties to Russia,” while attaching a meme that read: “Donald Trump has a secret server. It was set up to communicate privately with a Putin-tied Russian bank called Alfa Bank.” The Clinton campaign played up the bogus Trump-Alfa Bank story on the eve of the 2016 election. Twitter/@HillaryClinton It’s not immediately apparent if then-Vice President Joe Biden was briefed about the Alfa Bank tale or other Trump-Russia rumors and investigations. Biden has never been questioned about his own role in the investigation of Trump. However, it was the former vice president who introduced the idea of prosecuting Trump’s national security adviser appointee, Gen. Flynn, under the Logan Act of 1799, a dead-letter statute that prohibits private citizens from interfering in U.S. foreign policy and which hasn’t been used to prosecute anyone in modern times. According to notes taken by then-FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok, who attended a Jan. 5, 2017, Oval Office meeting with Obama and Biden, in which Trump, Flynn and Russia were discussed, Biden raised the idea: “VP: Logan Act,” the notes read. Although he’s not an attorney, Sullivan has argued in congressional testimony and elsewhere that Flynn violated the Logan Act, raising suspicions he may have put the idea in Biden’s head. Sullivan had advised the vice president before joining the Clinton campaign. Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 22:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 23rd, 2021

Value Trap Or Opportunity? Part 1

What Is A Value Trap? Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more With this week’s Tuesday subscriber request video I will be examining the difference between a value trap and an opportunity.  In my experience, most investors in stocks take their lead from stock price movements while simultaneously either overlooking or simply ignoring fundamental […] What Is A Value Trap? if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more With this week’s Tuesday subscriber request video I will be examining the difference between a value trap and an opportunity.  In my experience, most investors in stocks take their lead from stock price movements while simultaneously either overlooking or simply ignoring fundamental values.  Therefore, with this video I will attempt to clearly illustrate the primary difference between a true value trap versus a value stock.  The former represents a disastrous investment while the latter represents not only extreme opportunity, but opportunity at significantly reduced risk.  The idea of higher returns at lower risk is perhaps the greatest promise of value investing. The following quote by renowned investor Marty Whitman of the Third Avenue Value Fund highlights an important distinction that needs to be made regarding a value stock versus a value trap: "Unrealized Market Depreciation occurs when the market price of a publicly traded security declines. Permanent impairment of capital occurs when the Fundamental values of a business are dissipated with the consequent long-term adverse consequences." The free dictionary by Farlex defines a value trap as follows and validates my opening statement: "Value Trap A stock with a lower-than-usual price that appears to be a value stock but is not. A value trap appears to be undervalued at first glance but its fundamentals are unhealthy and the stock is unlikely to recover in price. One may fall into a value trap by looking only at the stock’s price but not at any other financial information." To summarize, value investing is a proven investment strategy that both reduces risk and enhances long-term rates of return.  However, for value investing to be successful, value investors must recognize and embrace the reality that short-term performance might not always be attractive.  The reason for this is very simple.  Almost by definition a value stock is simultaneously out of favor.  Furthermore, as a result of being out of favor it is not uncommon to continue to see value stocks continuing to fall in the short run.  The trick is to determine whether the negative price reaction is justified or overdone.  With true value investing the value investor discovers strong businesses where the market has overreacted and driven their prices down to attractive levels. Credit Suisse Group (NYSE:CS), Harsco Corp (NYSE:HSC), Pitney Bowes (NYSE:PBI), Canon Inc (NYSE:CAJ), Brinker International (NYSE:EAT), Cigna Corp (NYSE:CI), Affiliated Managers Group (NYSE:AMG), Prudential Financial Inc (NYSE:PRU), International Business Machine (NYSE:IBM) FAST Graphs Analyze Out Loud Video Try FAST Graphs for FREE Today! SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube Channel Click here for our Research Articles Disclosure: Long EAT, CI, AMG, PRU, IBM at the time of writing. Disclaimer: The opinions in this document are for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell the stocks mentioned or to solicit transactions or clients. Past performance of the companies discussed may not continue and the companies may not achieve the earnings growth as predicted. The information in this document is believed to be accurate, but under no circumstances should a person act upon the information contained within. We do not recommend that anyone act upon any investment information without first consulting an investment advisor as to the suitability of such investments for his specific situation. Article by F.A.S.T. Graphs Updated on Sep 23, 2021, 4:53 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkSep 23rd, 2021

AutoZone (AZO) Hits Fresh High: Is There Still Room to Run?

AutoZone (AZO) is at a 52-week high, but can investors hope for more gains in the future? We take a look at the company's fundamentals for clues. Shares of AutoZone (AZO) have been strong performers lately, with the stock up 4.4% over the past month. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $1694.27 in the previous session. AutoZone has gained 42% since the start of the year compared to the -5.4% move for the Zacks Retail-Wholesale sector and the 38.6% return for the Zacks Automotive - Retail and Wholesale - Parts industry.What's Driving the Outperformance?The stock has an impressive record of positive earnings surprises, as it hasn't missed our earnings consensus estimate in any of the last four quarters. In its last earnings report on September 21, 2021, AutoZone reported EPS of $35.72 versus consensus estimate of $30.2 while it beat the consensus revenue estimate by 7.61%.For the current fiscal year, AutoZone is expected to post earnings of $94.22 per share on $14.29 billion in revenues. This represents a -1.02% change in EPS on a -2.33% change in revenues. For the next fiscal year, the company is expected to earn $106.85 per share on $15.01 billion in revenues. This represents a year-over-year change of 13.4% and 5.07%, respectively.Valuation MetricsAutoZone may be at a 52-week high right now, but what might the future hold for the stock? A key aspect of this question is taking a look at valuation metrics in order to determine if the company has run ahead of itself.On this front, we can look at the Zacks Style Scores, as these give investors a variety of ways to comb through stocks (beyond looking at the Zacks Rank of a security). These styles are represented by grades running from A to F in the categories of Value, Growth, and Momentum, while there is a combined VGM Score as well. The idea behind the style scores is to help investors pick the most appropriate Zacks Rank stocks based on their individual investment style.AutoZone has a Value Score of C. The stock's Growth and Momentum Scores are B and A, respectively, giving the company a VGM Score of A.In terms of its value breakdown, the stock currently trades at 17.9X current fiscal year EPS estimates. On a trailing cash flow basis, the stock currently trades at 18.4X versus its peer group's average of 20X. Additionally, the stock has a PEG ratio of 1.57. This isn't enough to put the company in the top echelon of all stocks we cover from a value perspective.Zacks RankWe also need to consider the stock's Zacks Rank, as this supersedes any trend on the style score front. Fortunately, AutoZone currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy) thanks to rising earnings estimates.Since we recommend that investors select stocks carrying Zacks Rank of 1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B, it looks as if AutoZone meets the list of requirements. Thus, it seems as though AutoZone shares could have a bit more room to run in the near term.How Does AutoZone Stack Up to the Competition?Shares of AutoZone have been rising, and the company still appears to be a decent choice, but what about the rest of the industry? Some of its industry peers are also solid potential picks, including Caseys General Stores (CASY), Lithia Motors (LAD), and Costco Wholesale (COST), all of which currently have a Zacks Rank of at least #2 and a VGM Score of at least B, making them well-rounded choices.The Zacks Industry Rank is in the top 8% of all the industries we have in our universe, so it looks like there are some nice tailwinds for AutoZone, even beyond its own solid fundamental situation. More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report AutoZone, Inc. (AZO): Free Stock Analysis Report Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST): Free Stock Analysis Report Lithia Motors, Inc. (LAD): Free Stock Analysis Report Caseys General Stores, Inc. (CASY): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 23rd, 2021

Dillard"s (DDS) Hits 52-Week High, Can the Run Continue?

Dillard's (DDS) is at a 52-week high, but can investors hope for more gains in the future? We take a look at the company's fundamentals for clues. Shares of Dillards (DDS) have been strong performers lately, with the stock up 2.8% over the past month. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $212.72 in the previous session. Dillards has gained 233.1% since the start of the year compared to the -5.4% move for the Zacks Retail-Wholesale sector and the 76.4% return for the Zacks Retail - Regional Department Stores industry.What's Driving the Outperformance?The stock has a great record of positive earnings surprises, as it hasn't missed our earnings consensus estimate in any of the last four quarters. In its last earnings report on August 12, 2021, Dillard's reported EPS of $8.81 versus consensus estimate of $2.45 while it beat the consensus revenue estimate by 24.83%.For the current fiscal year, Dillard's is expected to post earnings of $31.1 per share on $6.03 billion in revenues. This represents a 1239.19% change in EPS on a 40.3% change in revenues. For the next fiscal year, the company is expected to earn $10 per share on $6.1 billion in revenues. This represents a year-over-year change of -67.85% and 1.13%, respectively.Valuation MetricsDillard's may be at a 52-week high right now, but what might the future hold for the stock? A key aspect of this question is taking a look at valuation metrics in order to determine if the company has run ahead of itself.On this front, we can look at the Zacks Style Scores, as these give investors a variety of ways to comb through stocks (beyond looking at the Zacks Rank of a security). These styles are represented by grades running from A to F in the categories of Value, Growth, and Momentum, while there is a combined VGM Score as well. The idea behind the style scores is to help investors pick the most appropriate Zacks Rank stocks based on their individual investment style.Dillard's has a Value Score of B. The stock's Growth and Momentum Scores are B and A, respectively, giving the company a VGM Score of A.In terms of its value breakdown, the stock currently trades at 6.8X current fiscal year EPS estimates. On a trailing cash flow basis, the stock currently trades at 29.9X versus its peer group's average of 18.6X. Additionally, the stock has a PEG ratio of 0.53. This isn't enough to put the company in the top echelon of all stocks we cover from a value perspective.Zacks RankWe also need to look at the Zacks Rank for the stock, as this supersedes any trend on the style score front. Fortunately, Dillard's currently has a Zacks Rank of #1 (Strong Buy) thanks to rising earnings estimates.Since we recommend that investors select stocks carrying Zacks Rank of 1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B, it looks as if Dillard's passes the test. Thus, it seems as though Dillard's shares could have potential in the weeks and months to come.How Does Dillard's Stack Up to the Competition?Shares of Dillard's have been soaring, and the company still appears to be a decent choice, but what about the rest of the industry? Some of its industry peers are also solid potential picks, including Kohls (KSS), Costco Wholesale (COST), and AutoZone (AZO), all of which currently have a Zacks Rank of at least #2 and a VGM Score of at least B, making them well-rounded choices.The Zacks Industry Rank is in the top 1% of all the industries we have in our universe, so it looks like there are some nice tailwinds for Dillard's, even beyond its own solid fundamental situation. More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Dillards, Inc. (DDS): Free Stock Analysis Report Kohls Corporation (KSS): Free Stock Analysis Report Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST): Free Stock Analysis Report AutoZone, Inc. (AZO): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 23rd, 2021

Celestica (CLS) Soars to 52-Week High, Time to Cash Out?

Celestica (CLS) is at a 52-week high, but can investors hope for more gains in the future? We take a look at the company's fundamentals for clues. Have you been paying attention to shares of Celestica (CLS)? Shares have been on the move with the stock up 3.6% over the past month. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $9.6 in the previous session. Celestica has gained 17.2% since the start of the year compared to the 23.5% move for the Zacks Computer and Technology sector and the 27.7% return for the Zacks Electronics - Manufacturing Services industry.What's Driving the Outperformance?The stock has an impressive record of positive earnings surprises, as it hasn't missed our earnings consensus estimate in any of the last four quarters. In its last earnings report on July 26, 2021, Celestica reported EPS of $0.3 versus consensus estimate of $0.25 while it beat the consensus revenue estimate by 3.28%.For the current fiscal year, Celestica is expected to post earnings of $1.16 per share on $5.64 billion in revenues. This represents a 18.37% change in EPS on a -1.88% change in revenues.Valuation MetricsCelestica may be at a 52-week high right now, but what might the future hold for the stock? A key aspect of this question is taking a look at valuation metrics in order to determine if the company has run ahead of itself.On this front, we can look at the Zacks Style Scores, as they provide investors with an additional way to sort through stocks (beyond looking at the Zacks Rank of a security). These styles are represented by grades running from A to F in the categories of Value, Growth, and Momentum, while there is a combined VGM Score as well. The idea behind the style scores is to help investors pick the most appropriate Zacks Rank stocks based on their individual investment style.Celestica has a Value Score of A. The stock's Growth and Momentum Scores are B and F, respectively, giving the company a VGM Score of B.In terms of its value breakdown, the stock currently trades at 8.2X current fiscal year EPS estimates. On a trailing cash flow basis, the stock currently trades at 4.9X versus its peer group's average of 10.7X. Additionally, the stock has a PEG ratio of 0.8. This isn't enough to put the company in the top echelon of all stocks we cover from a value perspective.Zacks RankWe also need to consider the stock's Zacks Rank, as this supersedes any trend on the style score front. Fortunately, Celestica currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy) thanks to favorable earnings estimate revisions from covering analysts.Since we recommend that investors select stocks carrying Zacks Rank of 1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B, it looks as if Celestica passes the test. Thus, it seems as though Celestica shares could have a bit more room to run in the near term.How Does Celestica Stack Up to the Competition?Shares of Celestica have been soaring, and the company still appears to be a decent choice, but what about the rest of the industry? Some of its industry peers are also impressive, including Onto Innovation (ONTO), WESCO International (WCC), and Arrow Electronics (ARW), all of which currently have a Zacks Rank of at least #2 and a VGM Score of at least B, making them well-rounded choices.The Zacks Industry Rank is in the top 31% of all the industries we have in our universe, so it looks like there are some nice tailwinds for Celestica, even beyond its own solid fundamental situation. More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Celestica, Inc. (CLS): Free Stock Analysis Report WESCO International, Inc. (WCC): Free Stock Analysis Report Arrow Electronics, Inc. (ARW): Free Stock Analysis Report Onto Innovation Inc. (ONTO): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 23rd, 2021

Encore Wire (WIRE) Hits Fresh High: Is There Still Room to Run?

Encore Wire (WIRE) is at a 52-week high, but can investors hope for more gains in the future? We take a look at the company's fundamentals for clues. Shares of Encore Wire (WIRE) have been strong performers lately, with the stock up 5.3% over the past month. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $93.55 in the previous session. Encore Wire has gained 50.3% since the start of the year compared to the 10.4% move for the Zacks Industrial Products sector and the 69.7% return for the Zacks Wire and Cable Products industry.What's Driving the Outperformance?The stock has an impressive record of positive earnings surprises, as it hasn't missed our earnings consensus estimate in any of the last four quarters. In its last earnings report on July 27, 2021, Encore Wire reported EPS of $8.82 versus consensus estimate of $1.14.Valuation MetricsEncore Wire may be at a 52-week high right now, but what might the future hold for the stock? A key aspect of this question is taking a look at valuation metrics in order to determine if the company is due for a pullback from this level.On this front, we can look at the Zacks Style Scores, as they provide investors with an additional way to sort through stocks (beyond looking at the Zacks Rank of a security). These styles are represented by grades running from A to F in the categories of Value, Growth, and Momentum, while there is a combined VGM Score as well. The idea behind the style scores is to help investors pick the most appropriate Zacks Rank stocks based on their individual investment style.Encore Wire has a Value Score of C. The stock's Growth and Momentum Scores are C and D, respectively, giving the company a VGM Score of B.In terms of its value breakdown, the stock currently trades at 5.7X current fiscal year EPS estimates. On a trailing cash flow basis, the stock currently trades at 19.7X versus its peer group's average of 17.4X. This isn't enough to put the company in the top echelon of all stocks we cover from a value perspective.Zacks RankWe also need to consider the stock's Zacks Rank, as this supersedes any trend on the style score front. Fortunately, Encore Wire currently has a Zacks Rank of #1 (Strong Buy) thanks to rising earnings estimates.Since we recommend that investors select stocks carrying Zacks Rank of 1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B, it looks as if Encore Wire fits the bill. Thus, it seems as though Encore Wire shares could have a bit more room to run in the near term.How Does Encore Wire Stack Up to the Competition?Shares of Encore Wire have been soaring, and the company still appears to be a decent choice, but what about the rest of the industry? Some of its industry peers are also solid potential picks, including Brady (BRC), Albany International (AIN), and Ashtead Group (ASHTY), all of which currently have a Zacks Rank of at least #2 and a VGM Score of at least B, making them well-rounded choices.The Zacks Industry Rank is in the top 1% of all the industries we have in our universe, so it looks like there are some nice tailwinds for Encore Wire, even beyond its own solid fundamental situation. More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Encore Wire Corporation (WIRE): Free Stock Analysis Report Brady Corporation (BRC): Free Stock Analysis Report Albany International Corporation (AIN): Free Stock Analysis Report Ashtead Group PLC (ASHTY): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 23rd, 2021

France ordered officials to "get revenge" on the US, UK, and Australia after it was ditched from $50 billion submarine contract, report says

France is furious that Australia canceled a lucrative submarine contract with a French firm in favor of a new alliance with the US and the UK. US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron at a NATO summit in June 2021. Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images France ordered officials to "get revenge" after losing a submarine contract, Politico reported. France was incensed when Australia ditched it in favor of a deal with the US and UK. There are signs that relations are improving after Biden sought to calm the situation. See more stories on Insider's business page. France instructed its officials to "get revenge" on Australia, the US, and the UK after being booted from a contract to build Australia's submarines, Politico reported.A French official made the comment to Politico earlier this week as Paris continued to react furiously to Australia's surprise decision to drop French-owned Naval Group from the $50 billion deal to replace its ageing submarines.Australia will now build the submarines with help from the UK and US instead as part of a new security pact called AUKUS.France - accusing the three nations of a "stab in the back"- recalled its ambassadors from the US and Australia, and moved to disrupt trade talks between the two nations and the EU, of which France is a leading member.French officials have also found support from other EU members to delay talks with the US scheduled for next week, Bloomberg reported.Both President Biden and Johnson were "astonished" at France's furious reaction to the announcement, the Telegraph reported.Speaking in New York on Wednesday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson poked fun at French President Macron for his government's response to the crisis, telling him to "get a grip.""What I want to say about that is I just think it's time for some of our dearest friends around the world to prenez un grip [get a grip] about all this and donnez-moi un break [give me a break]," said Johnson in Washington, where he was meeting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.-Vincent Glad (@vincentglad) September 22, 2021After France's anger, there were later signs that relations were starting to calm.Johnson said on Wednesday that while "everybody has been a bit taken aback by the strength of the French reaction," he wanted "reach out to Paris and sort something out."Biden and Macron also spoke by phone Wednesday for the first time since AUKUS was announced.In a joint US-French statement after the call, the White House conceded that it should have consulted Macron before announcing the AUKUS partnership, and said Biden would meet with him in Europe next month.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 23rd, 2021