Jun 29, 2019

How Brexit party won Euro elections on social media – simple, negative messages to older voters

Michael Savage


Analysis highlights key to success of Farage party and identifies dozens of pro-Brexit bot accounts
Nigel Farage speaking at an event during the European election campaign.

Nigel Farage speaking at an event during the European election campaign. Photograph: Rebecca Naden/Reuters
The Brexit party used simple messaging, an active social media presence and a “overwhelmingly negative” attack to win the online battle before the European elections, according to a new analysis of the campaign.
Nigel Farage’s party accounted for 51% of all shared content on Facebook and Twitter during the campaign, despite only producing 13% of the content. The analysis, by the 89up digital agency, said the “scale of their success went beyond what we were expecting”.
Meanwhile, Change UK, made up of pro-Remain former Labour and Tory MPs, were the losers of the internet campaign. Despite spending more than £100,000 on 1,000 Facebook ads in the week before the vote, Change UK generated 1.1% of all shares on the platform – fewer than any other UK-wide party.
The election saw the Brexit party top the polls, with 31.6% of the overall vote. Having made an impression in the polls after its launch, Change UK secured just 3.4% of the vote. The best performing pro-Remain party was the Lib Dems, who finished second with 20.3%.
The analysis looked at each party’s impact on Facebook and Twitter, their top-performing content, and the impact of their party leaders. The analysis found the Brexit party generated more than 45 times as many shares through “simpler, stronger messaging and a deeper understanding of their audience”. The campaign was “overwhelmingly negative”, focused 39% of all ads on attacking Labour and prioritised older Facebook users in England rather than 18-24-year-olds, or residents of Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The analysis also identified dozens of pro-Brexit party accounts with a “high likelihood of being inauthentic”. The accounts were all created relatively recently, had Brexit party profile pictures, tweeted dozens to hundreds of times a day, and posted almost exclusively about Brexit.
From posts made between 5 April and the election, The Brexit party made 212 to Change UK’s 62 posts. It received 325,900 shares, compared to Change UK’s 7,200 shares. Change UK’s messaging was criticised as complex, suggesting that a vote for them would lead to a second referendum, which would in turn allow the British public to have a final say. The Brexit party’s posts were more direct and emotionally charged, compelling followers to “save democracy, support Brexit”, or help Britain avoid humiliation. The Brexit party’s Facebook posts were an average of 19 words long. Change UK’s were 71 – more than three times longer.
In 212 posts, the Brexit party avoided talk of immigration or the benefits of Brexit, focusing instead on the idea that cancelling Brexit would be undemocratic, or as they’d put it: “This isn’t about left or right, it’s about right and wrong.”
Mike Harris, the chief executive of 89up, said: “The Brexit party’s social media campaign is a lesson for the pro-Remain parties who were significantly less effective during the European elections. The Brexit party spent less than a tenth of Change UK, the Greens and the Liberal Democrats in the last week before the elections, but had significantly more reach and engagement with the public.
“While some of this was potentially due to inauthentic bot activity, a lot was due to the clarity and simplicity of their messaging which the Remain parties must learn from.”

Source: The Guardian

Jun 24, 2019

Market Insider I Stocks making the biggest moves midday: Caesars, Deere, Hostess, Sally Beauty

Fred Imbert




CNBC: Dunkin' location in Brooklyn 190511 1
A Dunkin’ location in Brooklyn, New York.
Scott Mlyn | CNBC
Check out the companies making headlines midday Monday:
Ulta Beauty, Sally Beauty — Shares of the beauty products companies fell after Amazon launched its own beauty store for professionals. Ulta shares slid more than 3% while Sally Beauty’s stock dropped more than 12%.
International Paper — International Paper shares fell 2.6% after a Stephens analyst downgraded the stock to equal weight from overweight, citing unpredictability in containerboard pricing, which the analyst said had decreased investor confidence.
Bristol-Myers Squibb — The pharmaceutical company’s stock dropped more than 7% after Bristol announced its $74 billion acquisition of Celgene has been delayed until the end of the year or in early 2020. The two companies had said the deal would close in the third quarter of 2019. Bristol also reported disappointing phase 3 results for its liver cancer drug, CheckMate-459.
Dunkin’ Brands — The fast-food restaurant company’s stock increased 2% after analysts at Wedbush upgraded it to outperform from neutral. They cited improved sales growth due to successful operations and marketing.
Deere — Shares of farming equipment maker Deere rose 2% after Jefferies upgraded the stock to buy from hold and raised it price target to $190 from $150. The firm said that despite five years of depressed agriculture fundamentals and recent trade tensions threatening business, the farming cycle is turning and Deere is well positioned.
Electronic Arts — Shares of Electronic Arts rose 2.5% in after Stephens designated the stock a “best idea.” The second season of the gaming company’s Apex Legends is set to begin next month, and Stephens estimates the game could bring in $150 million in revenue. Stephens has a price target of $120 per share on EA, more than 20% above its current price.
United Technologies — United Technologies climbed 1.6% after Cowen upgraded the industrial company to outperform from market perform. Cowen cited potentially improving margins in United’s aerospace business and the proposed merger with Raytheon as reasons for the upgrade, writing: “UTX’s demonstrated ability to combine technologies in its integrated 787 electrical power/environmental control system win bolsters our confidence it can do the same with RTN.”
Hostess Brands — Hostess Brands ticked up 2.3% after a UBS analyst upgraded the snack company to buy from neutral. The analyst identified three reasons for the upgrade: accelerating sales trends, the recent acquisition of a Chicago Bakery facility and strong free cash flow growth.
Caesars Entertainment — Caesars shares surged 16.9% after the casino operator agreed to be bought out by Eldorado Resorts for $17.3 billion in cash and stock, including debt.

—CNBC’s Marc Rod, Jesse Pound, Elizabeth Myong and Mallika Mitra contributed to this report.


Article I Opinion I Technical indicators are bullish as stock market benchmarks attempt new highs

Lawrence G. McMillan



The prospect of lower interest rates in Europe and the U.S. has driven the stock market into a bullish stampede. And, now, overbought conditions are beginning to appear.
However, from a broader perspective, there is too much talk on financial TV about euphoria and how the rally can’t last. That kind of talk raises the possibility of much higher prices before a meaningful correction sets in. But those things are too vague to measure; we will stick with our indicators, which are still bullish.
The S&P 500 Index SPX, -0.01% broke out to a new all-time high — and did it strongly, blasting through the old highs at 2,940-2,950 points. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.14% is not far behind. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.11% as well as the Invesco QQQ Trust exchange traded fund QQQ, -0.10% are a bit further behind, although not much. But the broad-based small-caps, such as the Russell 2000 RUT, -0.69%  and a popular ETF based on it, the iShares Russell 2000 IWM, -0.77%  are way behind. (More about that later.)
The question remains whether this increase is just going to be another failed attempt at the highs or not. Most of these charts have obvious triple tops (even SPX) and perhaps even quadruple tops (the Dow, for example). Once again, we have arrived at the highs with a lot of firepower already having been spent. As it turns out, the market pullback in May was a correction — reloading for just this, an attempt at new all-time highs. We’ll see if SPX can hold these new levels. The entire May correction of just over 200 SPX points (which in its own right was pretty fast — occurring in a mere month) has been completely reversed in only 13 trading days.
There should now be support on the SPX chart at 2,890-2,900 points, the area that was most recently overcome as resistance. Below there, it’s a sharp drop down to major support at 2,720-2,730 (the March and June lows).
There is no formal resistance, since we are at all-time highs. In these situations, we often rely on the +4σ “modified Bollinger Band” (mBB) as a sort of resistance area. Well, we’ve already broken through there. SPX closed above that band on June 20, and thus a new mBB sell signal will be forthcoming. For the most part, these mBB signals have been successful. (See SPX chart; red letters indicate a successful signal, while blue letters are losing trades.)

The equity-only put-call ratios remain strongly on buy signals. Whereas we saw heavy put buying all through May and even into June, we now are seeing heavy call buying. These ratios will remain on buy signals as long as they continue to decline on their charts.
Market breadth was having trouble gaining traction on this rally, but it has finally come around. Both breadth oscillators are moving deeper into overbought territory, now that SPX has broken out to new all-time highs. That is a good thing, in that we want to see these oscillators in an overbought state when the SPX is embarking on a new rallying phase. As I said, the breadth oscillators were a little late getting into the game this time, but now they are positive. It would take at least a couple of strong negative breadth days to generate a sell signal from these levels.
There are three indicators that we watch for negative divergences, especially when the SPX is at or near new all-time highs: cumulative breadth, new highs vs. new lows, and SPX versus the Russell 2000.
Cumulative breadth using NYSE-based data made new all-time highs on three days last week. In terms of “stocks only” data (usually the more realistic measure), cumulative breadth is not yet at a new all-time high, but it’s almost there. In other words, there is no negative divergence here.
New highs are dominating new lows, in terms of all three data sets. The weakest of the three is the Nasdaq, and the strongest is the NYSE-based data (with “stocks only” in between). So this indicator, which is often an early-warning system, shows no signs of bearishness at this time.
The third measure — SPX versus RUT — is still a major negative concern. Consider the accompanying chart. It is the price of IWM (the Russell 2000 ETF) divided by the price of SPY (SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust). You can see that the ratio between the two peaked in June 2018 and has been declining ever since. Even this last broad rally in stocks has barely lifted this ratio off its lows. In particular, since late February, SPY has been trouncing IWM. Usually this is not a good thing, but it sometimes takes a while to take effect.

This brings us to volatility. VIX VIX, -0.13%  is hovering at somewhat higher levels than in past summers, but as long as VIX is not trending upward, it’s a positive sign for the stock market. The 200-day moving average (MA) of VIX is still edging higher. So that intermediate-term concern is still in place. But as long as VIX is closing below that 200-day MA, there will not be a major correction in stocks. A close above that MA, though, should be taken as a warning sign.
The construct of volatility derivatives remains somewhat bullish, although not rampantly so. The front-month VIX futures contract is now July, and it is trading with a premium to VIX, as are the other futures contracts. Their term structure slopes upward, although not very steeply (a concern, perhaps?). Also, the CBOE Volatility Index term structure slopes slightly upward (although VIX9D has probed above VIX several times in recent days, even with SPX rallying strongly).
So, while not bearish, the whole volatility complex is not as bullish as it has been. This is unusual and should not be ignored. If VIX closes above 17 and/or the term structures invert, those will be bearish signals.
In summary, our indicators are mostly bullish, so we are bullish for the short term as well. There are some concerns regarding overbought conditions and perhaps volatility, but right now they have not materialized into anything meaningful. However, given that the broad market has failed at or near current levels several times in the past, sell signals, if they arise, should be heeded.

Source: MarketWatch

Market Insider I Stocks making the biggest moves premarket: Caesars Entertainment, Dunkin', Spotify, Deere & more

Fred Imbert




GP:  Caesars Palace, Caesars Entertainment slot machines 150519
Video slot machines at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada.
George Rose | Getty Images
Check out the companies making headlines before the bell:
Caesars Entertainment — The casino operator’s stock surged more than 16% in the premarket after Caesars agreed to be bought out by Eldorado Resorts for $17.3 billion in cash and stock, including debt.
Dunkin’ Brands — An analyst at Wedbush upgraded Dunkin’ Brands to “outperform” from “neutral,” and raised his price target on the stock to $92 per share from $76 a share. The analyst said Dunkin’s same-store sales are at an inflection point “that is underappreciated by the Street.” Dunkin’ shares rose 1.3% to $80.55 per share.
Hostess Brands — Hostess Brands was upgraded to “buy” from “neutral” by an analyst at UBS. The analyst cited accelerating sales, the acquisition of a Chicago Bakery facility and strong free cash flow growth for the upgrade. Hostess shares climbed 1.4% in the premarket.
Deere — Jefferies upgraded the tractor maker to “buy” from “hold,” noting that a “tightened global crop supply demand balance and positive momentum in farmer net income support double-digit large equipment growth through 2020.” Deere shares rose 1.4%.
Spotify Technology — The music streaming service’s stock slid 3.6% after Evercore ISI downgraded it to “underperform” from “in line.” The firm also cut Spotify’s price target to $110 per share from $125 a share. “We simply do not see a path by which SPOT can generate the level of gross profit demanded by Street estimates over the medium-term,” Evercore ISI said.
International Paper — International Paper shares fell 1.2% after being downgraded by an analyst at Stephens to “equal weight” from “overweight.” The analyst said the downgrade reflects uncertainty around “containerboard pricing pronouncements.”
Alphabet — An analyst at MoffettNathanson trimmed his price target on the tech giant’s stock to $1,250 per share from $1,290 a share, citing a “growing lack of conviction that Google can maintain their historic 20%+ revenue growth.” Alphabet shares slipped 0.1% to around $1,123 per share before the bell.
United Technologies — United Technologies was upgraded to “outperform” from “market perform” by an analyst at Cowen. The analyst noted United’s proposed merger with Raytheon favors the Dow member, adding its decline since the deal’s announcement “offers a win-win for attractive standalone valuation or merger benefits.” United Technologies shares climbed 1.1%.
Electronic Arts — Stephens named the video game maker its “best idea in the space” ahead of the Apex Legends Season 2 release on July 2. The research firm said Fortnite’s popularity has “hit a lull,” giving EA an opportunity to “capture momentum” with its Season 2 release.
Disney — Pixar’s “Toy Story 4” hauled in $118 million in sales in its opening weekend, breaking a franchise record but falling short of expectations. Analysts had forecast the company would make at least $150 million in its first weekend.
—CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

Source: CNBC

News,I Market News I Why Safe Haven News,I Market News I Why Safe Haven Gold ETFs Are Soaring as Trump-Xi Trade Talks LoomGold ETFs Are Soaring as Trump-Xi Trade Talks Loom

By Matthew Johnston



Gold ETFs, widely regarded as safe havens when equities are expected to fall, are soaring in tandem with the precious metal itself even as stocks reach record highs. The SPDR Gold Shares ETF (GLD), VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX), SPDR Gold Minishares Trust (GLDM), iShares Gold Trust ETF (IAU) and the GraniteShares Gold ETF (BAR) have all taken off over the past month as gold reaches highs not seen since 2013, according to Barron’s.
One of the main drivers of the recent gold rush is the continuing uncertainty surrounding the U.S.–China trade war and the potential economic fallout. All eyes will be on U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping as the two leaders are expected to meet at some point during the G-20 summit, which is set to kick off Friday in Japan. An unfruitful meeting could result in additional tariffs, adding further weight on global trade and equity prices, while providing gold, gold stocks and gold ETFs with a significant boost. 

What It Means for Investors

Investors tend to flock to assets considered safe havens when the economic outlook begins to darken and the downside risks to stock prices multiply. The ongoing trade conflict between the world’s two largest economies has been the main catalyst to that darkening outlook, as forecasts of economic growth and corporate earnings show signs of weakness.
Although gold is not the only available safe-haven asset, there are a number of reasons it’s attracting a lot of investor cash right now. Government and investment-grade corporate bonds are often seen as safer than equities. Bonds offer yield, but those yields have been at historic lows over the past decade.
Even one of the safest of safe assets, U.S. Treasuries, is looking less attractive after dovish comments made by the Federal Reserve at last Wednesday’s monetary policy meeting sent the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield below 2%, to levels not seen in several years, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Meanwhile, gold rallied as the prospect of looser monetary policy weakened the outlook for the U.S. dollar. A cheaper greenback is bad for dollar-denominated assets, making them less attractive. But it’s good for gold, whose price tends to move in the opposite direction as the dollar. It’s also good for assets tied to the strength of gold, like gold stocks and the gold ETFs that hold them.
The VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF has risen nearly 20% since the start of the year and over 23% in the past month alone. It contains shares of 46 major gold miners, including Newmont Goldcorp (NEM), Barrick Gold (GOLD), Newcrest Mining (NCM.Australia), Franco-Nevada Corp. (FNV), and Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. (AEM).
The iShares Gold Trust ETF is up 9% both since the start of the year and over the past month. The fund tracks the price of gold through holdings of physical gold bullion in a trust, with each share of the trust representing one-tenth of an ounce of gold.

Looking Ahead

The performance of gold and gold ETFs will depend, in large part, on the outcome of future trade negotiations and whether existing tariffs are lifted or new ones are imposed. “Tariffs can be thrown around as an economic bomb for anything now,” Peter Boockvar, CIO at Bleakley Advisory Group, wrote in a note. “Gold is finally back above $1,300, and I’m shocked it’s not much higher.”
Having written his note at the end of May, Boockvar has less reason to be shocked with the price of gold now hovering around $1,400 an ounce. If the Trump–Xi negotiations turn sour and gold prices skyrocket, he might just forget he was ever shocked at all. 

World News I Pompeo visits Saudi Arabia as U.S. prods Iran for talks


reuters.com

Stephen Kalin


RIYADH (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Saudi Arabia’s king and crown prince on Monday amid heightened tensions with Tehran after President Donald Trump called off a military strike to retaliate for Iran’s downing of a U.S. drone.
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to the media at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. June 23, 2019, before boarding a plane headed to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Jacquelyn Martin/Pool via REUTERS
Pompeo thanked King Salman for meeting him on “such short notice” at their talks in the Saudi city of Jeddah, according to a pool report of journalists traveling with him. In reply, the king called Pompeo a “dear friend”.
Pompeo then met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, for a working lunch.
The top U.S. diplomat had told reporters before departing on a trip to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that Washington wanted talks with Tehran, even as it planned to impose new economic sanctions.
“We’ll be talking with them about how to make sure that we are all strategically aligned, and how we can build out a global coalition, a coalition...that understands this challenge,” Pompeo said.
Relations between longtime foes Iran and the United States have deteriorated since Trump withdrew Washington a year ago from a 2015 accord that curbed Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for easing sanctions.
Tensions have flared following attacks in recent weeks on oil tankers in the Gulf which the United States blames on Iran, the shooting down of the drone last week, and repeated attacks on Saudi airports and oil installations by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis.
Washington and Riyadh have publicly accused Tehran of being behind the tanker attacks near the Strait of Hormuz. Iran has denied involvement in the blasts.
The UAE has called for a de-escalation following the attacks, including on four vessels off its coast last month which an initial investigation said was carried out by a state actor without naming a country.
Pompeo is expected to discuss “ways to support maritime security” when he meets Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, the U.S. Mission to the UAE tweeted.
There was no public indication of whether Pompeo would raise with Saudi leaders the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year inside the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate. A U.N. report last week called for the crown prince and other senior officials to be investigated given credible evidence against them.
The Trump administration is pressing the Saudis to show “tangible progress” toward holding to account those behind the killing and wants them to do so before the one-year anniversary of his death on Oct. 2, a senior administration official told Reuters this month.
But Trump told NBC on Sunday he did not discuss the murder in a recent phone call with the crown prince. Asked if the FBI should investigate, he responded: “I think it’s been heavily investigated.”
The murder tarnished the crown prince’s international standing. The CIA and some Western countries believe he ordered the killing, which Saudi officials deny.
Reporting By Stephen Kalin in Riyadh and Maha El Dahan and Sylvia Westall in Dubai; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and Peter Graff


Source: Reuters

Futures Indication I Dow futures higher amid growing tensions between Iran and the US

Silvia Amaro



U.S. stock index futures were higher Monday morning, as traders monitor geopolitical tensions, in particular between the United States and Iran.
At around 05:23 a.m. ET, Dow futures rose 51 points, indicating a positive open of more than 17 points. Futures on the S&P and Nasdaq were both seen marginally higher.
Investors are following developments in the trade war between the U.S. and China, after the Chinese government said it would like Washington to stop “inappropriate” action against Chinese firms.
However, market players are also heavily focused on geopolitics and in the escalating tensions between Iran and the U.S. Over the weekend, President Trump announced that the U.S. will impose “major” additional sanctions on Iran on Monday but Iran dismissed the threat as “just propaganda.”
On the data front, the calendar is thin with Dallas Fed manufacturing data due at 10:30 a.m. ET.
There are no major corporate earnings to note.

Source: CNBC

Jun 23, 2019

Politics I New Sanctions Coming on Iran But Trump Would Be Happy to Talk

By Mark Niquette



The U.S. plans to announce more sanctions against Iran, but President Donald Trump is also willing to negotiate with Iranian leaders with “no preconditions” to ensure the Islamic Republic never acquires a nuclear weapon.
The president’s comments were echoed by Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, who on Sunday referenced a “significant set of new sanctions” to come on Monday as he prepared to visit Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for talks to rally “a global coalition to push back against Iran.”
Some 80% of the Iranian economy is already sanctioned, and the new ones will be a further effort to ensure that Tehran’s ability to grow its economy “becomes more and more difficult,” Pompeo told reporters. “The world will know that the U.S. campaign to deny Iran resources for its nuclear program and terror will continue.”
The sanctions, which Trump foreshadowed on Saturday with no additional detail, come days after the president abruptly called off a plan for air strikes after Iran shot down an unmanned U.S. Navy drone. The administration also blames Iran for recent attacks on two oil tankers near the Persian Gulf, as the nation already faces crippling sanctions.
“We are putting major additional Sanctions on Iran on Monday,” Trump said on Twitter. “I look forward to the day that Sanctions come off Iran, and they become a productive and prosperous nation again - The sooner the better!”
U.S. Envoy Says Iran Needs to Meet Diplomacy With Diplomacy
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Iran’s Nuclear Standoff Is About to Enter a Perilous New Phase
Gulf Stocks Drop as U.S.-Iran Tensions Dominate: Inside EM
At the same time, Trump said an interview that aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he thinks Iranian leaders want to negotiate and he’s willing to talk with no preconditions except that outcome must be Iran acquiring no nuclear weapons. Trump said the proposed discussions have “nothing to do with oil.”
“Here it is. Look, you can’t have nuclear weapons,” Trump said on NBC. “And if you want to talk about it, good. Otherwise you can live in a shattered economy for a long time to come.”

Offer Rebuffed

While Trump said he thinks Iran wants to make a deal, Iranian leaders earlier this month rebuffed a similar offer by Pompeo, saying the suggestion amounted to “word play” given the Trump administration’s other actions toward the Islamic Republic, including pulling out of a multilateral nuclear deal.
Vice President Mike Pence said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that he’s not aware of any outreach by Iran since Trump called off the attack. The president made the decision after he was given more specific projections about likely casualties, and because he had doubts that the drone attack was authorized at the highest levels in Iran, Pence said.
In doing so, Trump brushed off the views of some of his more hawkish advisers and lawmakers such as Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, who said on “Fox News Sunday” that a retaliatory strike would have been warranted.
“The president is clearly trying to navigate a fine line to show that you cannot attack Americans and American military equipment without having a response,” Representative Mac Thornberry of Texas, top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” “At the same time, he’s very conscious of not getting on an escalatory ladder that leads to a military conflict that neither side wants.”

Restraint and Resolve

Echoing comments that National Security Adviser John Bolton made this weekend in Jerusalem, Pence said on CNN that “Iran should not mistake restraint for lack of resolve’’ and “all options remain on the table’’ as Iran steps up its attacks.
“Iran’s economy is literally crumbling,’’ Pence said. “We’ve isolated them economically and diplomatically, and they’ve lashed out.’’
If the administration’s goal is to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, it’s puzzling why Trump would pull out of the deal negotiated by former Democratic President Barack Obama -- while pursuing a “maximum pressure” campaign that only backs the Islamic Republic into a corner and causes them to lash out, said Democratic Representative Adam Smith of Washington state, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

No Back-Channel

“Even though we knew they were going to do it, we didn’t know how to respond, and it’s not getting them to the negotiating table,” Smith said on CBS. “They’re not there.’’
Brian Hook, the U.S. special representative for Iran, told reporters Sunday in Kuwait that while lots of nations have offered to help diplomatically, there’s currently no back channel operating. Sanctions are punishment for an “outlaw regime” and have succeeded in weakening Iranian proxy groups around the region, he said.
Still, Smith said there’s no clear policy being articulated by the administration, with Bolton and other hawks backing military action and the president clearly conflicted about the correct response to Iran’s provocations.

‘Common-Sense’ Trump

Regarding some of his more hawkish advisers, Trump said that having people on both sides of the debate is important, but “the only one that matters is me.”
“We’ll see with Iran,” Trump said Saturday. “Everyone was saying I’m a warmonger and now they’re saying I’m a dove.” Instead, Trump offered, he is “a man with common sense.”
Echoing the types of comments he’s made about North Korea, Trump said he hoped he could “make Iran great again” over time. “Iran right now is an economic mess,” he said.
Separately, Trump last week ordered a cyber attack against Iranian targets, the Washington Post reported. The cyber strikes against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were carried out by U.S. Cyber Command in coordination with U.S. Central Command, the newspaper said.
On Sunday the U.S., U.K., Saudi Arabia and the UAE released a joint statement of concern over Iran’s activities, including an attack this month on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman that’s been blamed on Tehran, and called for diplomatic solutions to de-escalate tensions.
— With assistance by Ros Krasny, Margaret Talev, Fiona MacDonald, Ivan Levingston, Henry Meyer, Zainab Fattah, Filipe Pacheco, Jonathan Tirone, Ben Brody, Hailey Waller, and Zaid Sabah

Source: Bloomberg

Jun 20, 2019

Gerald Celente Video I Trump Trumps Up "Evil" Originally Published on June 14, 2019

Stocks Growth I Pot Stocks I Canopy Growth earnings show decline in recreational pot sales from launch of legal weed in Canada

Max A. Cherney



The world’s largest pot company said Thursday that recreational pot sales in Canada declined from the previous quarter, but continued to promise increased production of marijuana to meet demand.
Canopy Growth Corp. CGC, +2.20% WEED, +1.44%  reported fiscal fourth-quarter net losses of C$323.4 million, or 98 cents a share, from a loss of C$54.4 million in the year-ago quarter. Much of that loss — more than C$130 million — was on paper, as Canopy had to account for the growth of its stock price in the first three months of the calendar year because of rules regarding the company’s convertible debt. Still, the company claimed an operational loss of C$174.5 million.
Revenue, net of excise taxes, rose to C$94.1 million from C$22.8 million in the year-ago period, and were up sequentially from $83 million in the third quarter. According to FactSet, analysts on average modeled losses of C$95.2 million ($71.1 million), or 25 cents a share. Net of excise taxes, analysts expected Canopy Growth to bank C$90.6 million in fourth-quarter revenue.
While overall revenue gained from the fiscal third quarter, when marijuana was officially legalized in Canada, recreational sales did not. Canopy said it took in C$68.9 million in the quarter from sales of recreational pot, down from C$71.6 million the quarter before, when legal sales began two weeks into the quarter.
In its announcement, the company stated that it was still ramping production of cannabis to meet demand, with harvest size doubling in its fiscal fourth quarter — the first calendar quarter — and expected to double again in the current quarter. Canopy claimed a gain of more than $77 million in biological assets, or marijuana that was produced in the quarter but not sold, which boosts the bottom line.
Canopy announced results just minutes before after-hours trading closed in the U.S., and shares closed the extended session up 0.7%. The U.S.-listed stock ended the regular session up 2.2% at $43.71, which gave the company a market capitalization of $15.1 billion in U.S. dollars. Shares have gained 62.7% so far this year, as the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.95%  has increased 17.8%.
In April, Canopy Growth said that it planned to pay Acreage Holdings Inc. shareholders $300 million for the right to acquire Acreage in the future for $3.4 billion in stock. Shareholders from both companies approved the transaction Wednesday. Canopy has said it plans to license several of its brands to Acreage for the American market.
Also read: Canopy Growth’s quiet co-CEO on the pot company’s ambitions in the U.S. and more
Part of the reason Canopy Growth was able to make such a substantial investment in the U.S. — at a time when American multistate cannabis companies are unable to easily access cash — is Constellation Brands Inc.’s STZ, +0.77%  $4 billion investment in the company.
“If they didn’t have the cash then it would be unlikely they could do such a deal as it would be very difficult to raise capital in the debt markets for a right to buy when that rights not even certain anytime soon,” Jefferies analysts Owen Bennett wrote in a note to clients when the deal was announced.
For more: In ‘the marijuana ghetto’ at Davos, Canopy Growth found its American pot partner
Canopy Growth has been touting its investments in its U.S. hemp and cannabidiol, or CBD, operations since the farm bill passed last year. On Wednesday the company said that it has hemp or CBD operations in seven states with a full capacity of 4,000 acres. Currently, it is planing high-CBD hemp plants and industrialized hemp plants suitable for textiles, proteins and bioplastics. It’s not clear when the U.S. hemp operations will contribute to revenue, but it’s likely the company could easily transform such investments into marijuana production facilities if the U.S.
In the past three months, Canopy Growth’s U.S.-traded stock has fallen 7.3% as the S&P 500 index rose 3.6%.

Source: MarketWatch

Markets I How did the Markets Close on Thursday 20, June 2019 | Asia, Europe, and US Markets Closing Report on Thursday 20, June 2019.

                                   ASIA

China shares jump as Fed hints at rate cut; 10-year Treasury yield drops below 2%

Eustance Huang



Stocks in Asia were higher on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged overnight but opened the door to rate cuts on the horizon.
Mainland Chinese shares surged on the day, with the Shanghai composite adding 2.38% to about 2,987.12 and the Shenzhen component 2.34% higher to 9,134.96, while the Shenzhen composite gained 1.954% to 1,556.60.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 1.1% as shares of Chinese tech behemoth Tencent jumped 1.56%.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 0.6% to close at 21,462.86, with shares of index heavyweight Softbank Group soaring 2.59%, while the Topix advanced 0.3% to end its trading day at 1,559.90. The moves in Tokyo came as the Bank of Japan kept interest rates unchanged, emphasizing global risks were rising over issues such as the ongoing trade tensions.
“Downside risks regarding overseas economies are big, so we must carefully watch how they affect Japan’s corporate and household sentiment,” the Japanese central banks said in a statement announcing the policy decision.
Over in South Korea, the Kospi closed 0.31% higher to 2,131.29, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.59% to finish its trading day Down Under at 6,687.40.

Asia-Pacific Market Indexes Chart


TICKER COMPANY NAME PRICE CHANGE %CHANGE
NIKKEINikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI21462.86128.990.60
HSIHang Seng IndexHSI28550.43348.291.23
ASX 200S&P/ASX 200ASX 2006687.4039.300.59
SHANGHAIShanghaiSHANGHAI2987.1269.322.38
KOSPIKOSPI IndexKOSPI2131.296.510.31
CNBC 100CNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008070.41109.201.37
Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 38.46 points to close at 26,504, while the S&P 500 rose 0.3% to finish its trading day stateside at 2,926.46. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.4% to close at 7,987.32.
The moves came as the Fed left interest rates unchanged at its monetary policy meeting, in line with expectations. The U.S. central bank did, however, drop the word word “patient ” from its statement and said it would “act as appropriate” to sustain the economy.
The Fed’s rate projections showed that eight Fed members see a cut this year, which traders took as a further sign the central bank was close to cutting rates. Its median forecast, however, still reflected no cuts this year, but additional easing in 2020.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell also said that some Fed officials believed the case for easier monetary policy had strengthened.
Following the Fed’s statement, the closely watched 10-year Treasury yield steadily slipped, and during Asian trading hours fell below 2% for the first time since November 2016. Gold prices also soared, with spot gold up more than 1.6% to around $1,382.01 per ounce.
Meanwhile, on the U.S.-China trade front, hopes in Beijing appear to have risen for a trade deal between the two economic powerhouses.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese Xi Jinping are set to meet at the upcoming G-20 summit in Japan, which will happen next week. Trump said talks between the “respective teams” would begin prior to that.
“It is positive that they’re talking again,” Sian Fenner, lead Asia economist at Oxford Economics, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Thursday. “What would we be hoping is that at least we will see an easing in tensions so we won’t be seeing any further tariff hikes.”
“Will an agreement be achieved at this meeting? Very unlikely, there’s a lot of hurdles they still need to overcome,” she said, adding that “concessions on both sides” are needed.
“Although the Fed partiality has shifted from a wait and see mode to an easing bias, the fact that trade uncertainty and its impact on global growth has been the main catalyst for its change in stance, means that a new round of Fed easing is largely contingent on the outcomes from (the) upcoming G20 meeting between President Trump and Xi,” analysts at National Australia Bank wrote in a note.
“For now though, the change in the Fed’s bias has encouraged the market to increase its expectations that a new round of easing is just around the corner,” they wrote.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.819 after slipping from levels above 97.6 yesterday.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.69 against the dollar after touching levels around 108.6 in the previous session, while the Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6905 after seeing an earlier low of $0.6875.
From levels around 6.93 earlier in the week, the offshore Chinese yuan jumped to 6.8577 against the dollar after touching an earlier high of 6.8535. Its onshore counterpart last traded at 6.8531 against the greenback, from levels around 6.92 earlier in the week.
Oil prices jumped in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with the international benchmark Brent crude futures contract up 2.57% to $63.41 per barrel, while U.S. crude futures gained 2.79% to around $55.26 per barrel.
Tensions in the Middle East continued to remain high following recent attacks on two tanker ships in the Gulf of Oman. A U.S. official told NBC News on Thursday that an Iranian missile had shot down one of the country’s military drones.
— Reuters and CNBC’s Fred Imbert contributed to this report.

                                                                      
  EUROPE

European stocks close higher after Bank of England holds rates; Delivery Hero up 10%

Chloe Taylor,Elliot Smith



European markets finished higher Thursday as investors reacted to interest rate decisions from the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve.

European Markets: FTSE, GDAXI, FCHI, IBEX

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed up 0.5% provisionally, having hit its highest since May 6 earlier in the day.
Technology stocks led gains with a 1.6% rise, while travel and leisure stocks were the worst performer, falling 1.1%. Germany’s DAX rose 0.4% and hit a nine-month high earlier in the session.
The week’s focus on central banks continued Thursday, as the Bank of England held interest rates steady at 0.75% while cutting its growth forecast for Britain’s economy to zero in the second quarter of 2019, citing global trade tensions and the growing risk of a damaging no-deal Brexit. Sterling was trading higher against the dollar following the Bank of England’s decision, reaching around $1.2682 on Thursday afternoon.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi touted another round of stimulus on Tuesday, while Wednesday saw the U.S. Federal Reserve signal a rate cut later this year.
Investors also monitored geopolitical tensions Thursday after a U.S. drone was shot down in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz, with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard claiming it had downed the drone as “a clear message” to Washington. Oil prices surged on the news.
Back in the U.K., Boris Johnson extended his lead in the fourth round of the race to become Britain’s next prime minister. Johnson, the favorite to replace Theresa May, won 157 out of 313 votes, and will face off against remaining candidates Michael Gove and Jeremy Hunt later today.
In terms of individual stocks, shares of German food delivery company Delivery Hero jumped nearly 10% to top the European blue chip index, on the back of the company raising its full-year revenue guidance again. Other delivery services also gained on the news.
At the other end of the Stoxx 600, British tour operator Carnival saw its shares tumble 11% during the session after cutting its full-year profit forecast.
Elsewhere, shares of Deutsche Bank closed down 2.7% after it was reported that the German lender is facing an FBI investigation over possible money-laundering.


                                                                         US

S&P 500 closes at new record as Wall Street bets Fed will lower rates, Dow surges nearly 250 points

Fred Imbert





Stocks rallied on Thursday, led by strong gains in tech and energy shares, as Wall Street cheered the possibility that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates next month.
The S&P 500 surged 1% to 2,954.18, a record close. The broad index also hit an intraday record of 2,958.06. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 249.17 points higher at 26,753.17. The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.8% to end the day at 8,051.34.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell below 2% for the first time since November 2016. Investors cheered the decline in the benchmark for mortgage rates and corporate bonds.
The energy sector rose more than 2% to lead all 11 S&P 500 sectors higher as oil prices jumped. Tech gained 1.4% after shares of Oracle surged more than 8% on stronger-than-forecast earnings. General Electric’s 2.8% rise pushed the industrials sector up more than 1.6% on the day.
“Markets are based on numbers and perception. If the perception is rates are getting cut, that’s going to drive markets higher,” said Kathy Entwistle, senior vice president of wealth management at UBS. “UBS’ stance up until yesterday was we wouldn’t see any rate cuts this year. Now we see a much larger chance of a 50-basis-point cut.”
The Fed said Wednesday it stands ready to battle growing global and domestic economic risks as they took stock of intensifying trade tensions and growing concerns about inflation. Most Fed policymakers slashed their rate outlook for the rest of the calendar year by approximately half a percentage point in the previous session, while Chairman Jerome Powell said others agree the case for lower rates is building.
Policymakers also dropped “patient” from the Fed’s statement and acknowledged that inflation is “running below” its 2% objective.
Market participants viewed the overall tone from the U.S. central bank as more dovish than expected. Traders are now pricing in a 100% chance of a rate cut next month, according to the CME FedWatch tool.
With Thursday’s gains, the market has now erased the steep losses recorded by the major indexes in May, which were sparked by trade fears. The S&P 500 and Dow both fell more than 6% while the Nasdaq lost 7.9% last month. The three indexes were up more than 7% for June.
China and the U.S. hiked tariffs on billions of dollars worth of their goods in May. Stocks turned around this month as traders bet the rising trade tensions, coupled with weaker economic data, would lead the Fed to ease its monetary policy stance.

The Fed’s message on Wednesday sent the 10-year Treasury yield to as low as 1.974% before ending the day around 2.02%. The yield stood at 2.8% in January.
“The FOMC reinforced the market’s conviction,” said Steve Blitz, chief U.S. economist at TS Lombard, in a note. “Barring a dramatic turnaround in the data, the next move is a cut - perhaps even a 50bp reduction.”
The dollar also took a hit against other major currencies. The dollar index dropped 0.5% to 96.65, led by a 0.6% slide in the euro. The yen and Canadian dollar also rose against the U.S. currency.
Energy shares got a boost from higher oil prices. The Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLE) climbed 2.2% as shares of Exxon Mobil gained 1.7%. Oil prices surged 5.4% after a U.S. official said a drone was shot down over Iranian airspace.
Meanwhile, Slack shares surged more than 40% in their first day of trading. The stock closed above $38 after setting a reference price of $26.
— CNBC’s Sam Meredith contributed to this report.


Source for All Reports: CNBC




FX I Currencies I Dovish Fed spurs dollar's biggest two-day drop in a year.

3 minutes




RT: 100 dollar bills cash dollars 180508
Antara Foto | Hafidz Mubarak via Reuters
The U.S. dollar sank against its rivals on Thursday, putting it on track for its biggest two-day drop in a year after the Federal Reserve signaled it was ready to cut interest rates as early as next month.
The Fed joined global peers such as the European Central Bank and the Reserve Bank of Australia this week in signaling that more policy stimulus is needed to maintain growth. That fueled a rally in higher-yielding currencies such as the Australian dollar and the Korean won.
“Certainly the market has taken this as a dovish turn and as a reason to sell dollars,” said Lee Ferridge, head of macro strategy for North America at State Street.
“The theme of the day is going to stay with the dollar under pressure.”
The dollar fell 0.47% against a basket of its rivals to 96.66, putting it on course for its biggest two-day losing streak since February 2018.
It also retreated to a six-month low against the Japanese yen at 107.45, though it had retraced some of those losses early in the North American session.
The sharp fall in the dollar took currency markets by surprise and forced some hedge funds that had built up large long-dollar bets before the rate decision to dump the greenback.
It came under additional pressure after benchmark 10-year Treasury yields slid to their lowest level in 2-1/2 years.
The widespread dollar weakness boosted appetite for risk-oriented currencies, with the euro barreling past the $1.13 line to a one-week high while the Australian dollar and the New Zealand dollar gained more than 0.5% each.
Although the dollar looks weaker in the short term, some investors were skeptical the trend would last.
For “the high-beta currencies - the Aussie dollar, the Kiwi, the Canadian dollar - and the EM currencies, I would be wary of moving into this and thinking this trend is going to last. For the Fed to deliver what the market is pricing in, things have to get worse, and that’s bad for high-beta and EM,” Ferridge said.
The overnight drop in global bond yields has boosted interest rate cut bets across global markets, with money markets pricing in three Fed rate before the end of the year and as many as five cuts until mid-2020.
“Yes, (Powell) opened the door to a July cut. That’s pretty much a done deal. But he didn’t set the groundwork for the other cuts the market was expecting,” Ferridge said.

Source: CNBC

Energy I Oil I Oil Price Report I Oil prices jump more than 5% after Trump says Iran made a 'very big mistake'

Thomas Franck



Oil jumped as much as 6% on Thursday after Iran shot down a U.S. military drone, prompting President Donald Trump to blast Tehran on Twitter and fueling concerns of a conflict between the two countries.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude rose $2.79, or 5.19%, to $56.55 a barrel as of 12:58 p.m. ET, down from a 6% surge around 10 a.m. ET. Brent crude, the global benchmark, was up $2.32 — a 3.7% increase — at $64.16 a barrel.
Trump took to Twitter Thursday morning to criticize what U.S. officials say was Iran’s attack on a U.S. surveillance drone earlier in the day, saying that Tehran made a “very big mistake.”
Trump said later Thursday that the public will “find out” about whether the U.S. plans to retaliate with a military strike, but said he finds it “hard to believe it was intentional.”
The drone downing came amid a standoff between Washington and Tehran, stemming from the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement. Prior to the drone attack over the Strait of Hormuz, the U.S. accused Iran of recent attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf region.
The strained relationship has sent crude prices soaring since more than 20% of the world’s oil output comes from the Middle East. Any threats to the free flow of oil through key chokepoint the Strait of Hormuz could dampen crude supplies.
Also supporting oil were expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve could cut interest rates at its next meeting, stimulating growth in the world’s largest oil-consuming country.
“If we didn’t have the U.S. resource endowment, oil would absolutely be over $100. Pre-Permania, oil would be above $100” says RBC head of global commodities strategy, Helima Croft.
“We have a drone shot down, we have President Trump now tweeting Iran made a big mistake. I think the market may be waking up to the degree of risk entailed by these incidents,” Croft said.
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a Cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, June 21, 2018.
Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Also boosting oil on Thursday was a larger-than-expected decline in U.S. crude inventories and the potential for prolonged supply restraints by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
After surging to near two-year highs, U.S. crude stocks fell by 3.1 million barrels last week, compared with analyst expectations for a draw of 1.1 million barrels, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.
OPEC and its allies including Russia agreed this week to meet on July 1-2, ending a month of wrangling about the timing of the meeting.
The coalition known as OPEC+ will discuss whether to extend throughout 2019 a deal on cutting 1.2 million barrels per day of production. The deal expires at the end of this month.
— Reuters and CNBC’s Patti Domm contributed reporting.

Source: CNBC

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