Jun 29, 2018

SEC Charges New York-Based Firm and Supervisors for Failing to Supervise Brokers Who Defrauded Customers I SEC Press Release

sec.gov

SEC Charges New York-Based Firm and Supervisors for Failing to Supervise Brokers Who Defrauded Customers



The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged New York-based broker-dealer Alexander Capital L.P. and two of its managers for failing to supervise three brokers who made unsuitable recommendations to investors, “churned” accounts, and made unauthorized trades that resulted in substantial losses to the firm’s customers while generating large commissions for the brokers.
Today’s actions find that Alexander Capital failed to reasonably supervise William C. Gennity, Rocco Roveccio, and Laurence M. Torres, brokers who were previously charged with fraud in September 2017.  According to the order, Alexander Capital lacked reasonable supervisory policies and procedures and systems to implement them, and if these systems were in place, Alexander Capital likely would have prevented and detected the brokers’ wrongdoing.
In separate orders, the SEC finds that supervisors Philip A. Noto II and Barry T. Eisenberg ignored red flags indicating excessive trading and failed to supervise brokers with a view to preventing and detecting their securities-law violations.  The SEC’s order against Noto finds that he failed to supervise two brokers and its order against Eisenberg finds that he failed to supervise one broker.
“Broker-dealers must protect their customers from excessive and unauthorized trading, as well as unsuitable recommendations,” said Marc P. Berger, Director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office.  “Alexander Capital’s supervisory system – and its personnel – failed its customers, and today’s actions reflect our continuing efforts to protect retail customers by holding firms and supervisors responsible for such failures.”
Alexander Capital agreed to be censured and pay $193,775 of allegedly ill-gotten gains, $23,437 in interest, and a $193,775 penalty, which will be placed in a Fair Fund to be returned to harmed retail customers.  Alexander Capital also agreed to hire an independent consultant to review its policies and procedures and the systems to implement them.  Noto agreed to a permanent supervisory bar and to pay a $20,000 penalty and Eisenberg agreed to a five-year supervisory bar and to pay a $15,000 penalty.  These penalties will be paid to harmed retail customers.  Alexander Capital, Noto and Eisenberg agreed to settle today’s charges without admitting or denying the findings in the SEC’s orders.
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy and Broker-Dealer Task Force previously issued an Investor Alert warning about excessive trading and churning that can occur in brokerage accounts.
The SEC’s investigation has been conducted by David Oliwenstein, David Stoelting, Roseann Daniello, and Steven G. Rawlings, and supervised by Sanjay Wadhwa.  The examination that led to the investigation was conducted by Shereion Clarke, Margaret Lett, and Jennifer Grumbrecht.  The SEC appreciates the assistance of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the Office of the Montana State Auditor, Commissioner of Securities and Insurance. 

European Stock Markets at Close Report I CNBC

cnbc.com

European stocks finish on a high after EU migration deal; oil prices climb

Sam Meredith, Alexandra Gibbs


European equities closed higher on average Friday after EU leaders hashed out a deal on migration, although underlying market sentiment was soured somewhat by ongoing anxiety over ongoing global trade frictions.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended the session up 0.81 percent provisionally, supported by strong trade seen in markets overseas. On the week however, the STOXX 600 dropped 1.32 percent.
During Friday's session, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 popped 0.28 percent, while France's CAC 40 and Germany's DAX extended gains, closing up 0.91 and 1.06 percent respectively. Almost all sectors finished the day in the black.
 
FTSE FTSE 7636.93 21.30 0.28% 908207229
DAX DAX 12306.00 128.77 1.06% 117570466
CAC CAC 5323.53 47.89 0.91% 99164379
IBEX 35 --- --- --- --- --- ---
A slew of industries posted sharp gains by the close, with the Technology basket closing up 1.55 percent and Industrials rising 1.6 percent. Europe's Basic Resources sector closed up 0.83 percent with Anglo American leading the charge. Shares of the miner rose 3.6 percent, after it said that it expected earnings through the first six months of 2018 to be at least 20 percent higher than the same period last year.
Looking at individual stocks, Spain's Caixabank closed up over 3 percent after the lender announced it had agreed to sell 80 percent of its real estate assets to private equity fund Lone Star. The news comes as Spain's banks continue to look to offload impaired real-estate and mortgages after the global financial crisis burst the country's real estate bubble in 2008.
Sticking with the top performers, Osram was Europe's biggest gainer, closing up almost 6.5 percent after Bank of America Merrill Lynch doubled its rating on the stock, raising it to "buy" from "underperform". This despite other brokers slashed their rating or target price on the lighting firm.
Meanwhile, Galapagos tumbled, closing down 4.38 percent, after reporting disappointing drug trial results. RBC Capital Markets subsequently moved to downgrade its target price for the stock to $94 from $100.

Trade fears

Market focus is largely attuned to concerns over global trade, a week before initial U.S. and Chinese tariffs are due to take effect. President Donald Trump’s administration is set to activate tariffs on Chinese goods worth around $34 billion on July 6, which is then widely expected to trigger a tit-for-tat response from Beijing.
Elsewhere, oil prices extended gains during afternoon trade, as investors awaited for the U.S. to impose sanctions on Iran. Around Europe's close, Brent hovered at $79.45, while U.S. crude traded above $74 per barrel.
On Wall Street, stocks posted sharp gains Friday morning with the Dow marking gains of some 250 points around Europe's close.
Back in Europe, political leaders reached a tentative agreement on migration after almost 10 hours of talks at a crunch summit in Brussels, Belgium, on Thursday. The deal, which falls short of an overall agreement to revise the EU’s asylum laws, is set to create new “centers” for housing and processing asylum seekers.
A European consensus on migration — one of the bloc’s most contentious issues — is thought to have helped German Chancellor Angela Merkel avert a political crisis at home.

Euro zone inflation rises above ECB target

On the data front, euro zone inflation rose to its highest rate in more than a year this month as surging energy prices lifted price growth above the European Central Bank's (ECB) target. Data from Eurostat showed that inflation among the 19 countries sharing the euro edged higher to reach 2 percent in June, up from 1.9 percent a month earlier. The ECB targets inflation at just below 2 percent.
Elsewhere, Britain's economic growth has been upwardly revised for the first quarter of the year after construction data was found to be stronger than earlier estimates.

Bitcoin's Price Falls Below $6000 I Investopedia

investopedia.com

Bitcoin's Price Falls Below $6000

Daniel Liberto


The bitcoin sell-off is showing little sign of easing.
On Thursday, at approximately 21:00 UTC, the price of the largest cryptocurrency by market cap drifted below $6,000 for the second time this month, according to Coindesk data. Over 12 hours later, at 9:51 UTC, bitcoin was trading at $5,902, representing a sharp 70% decline from its December peak of $19,500. According to Bloomberg composite prices, it reached its lowest level since November when it sank to $5,791.19 on Friday.
The downward spiral has coincided with a series of negative reports, including news of several big hacks, talk of tighter regulation and warnings that virtual currency prices are being manipulated by illegal trading practices. (See also: Hackers Have Stolen $1.1B in Crypto This Year)

Source: Coindesk

Bitcoin Likely to Fall Even Lower?

Rather than predict that the latest sell-off could spark an increase in buying activity, cryptocurrency trader Ran Neu-Ner said he expects bitcoin to keep falling. The founder of OnChain Capita told CNBC that the price is likely to fall to $5,350 in the next week or two.
"Right now my money is on the market continuing to go down," he said, adding that there’s more than a 60% chance of a crypto bear market — compared with a 16% chance of a bull market.
Earlier this month, Neu-Ner predicted that bitcoin could drop to as low as $5,000. According to the cryptocurrency trader, once the digital coin drops to this level the cost of production outweighs gains.
"That's where the miners look at this and go: 'Is it actually worth keeping the machine on?"' Neu-Ner said. "Then we may see a very different game in mining."
On Thursday, the trader commented that bitcoin is now closing in on the point where miners are no longer finding it “viable to mine.” "They're going to switch off their machines,” he said, adding that many miners have already begun to shut down their operations. (See also: Bitcoin May Be A Bubble: Alibaba's Jack Ma.)
Despite predicting further declines in bitcoin, Neu-Ner described himself as a crypto bull. "If you understand the technology and you're a bull, then now is a great time to be buying,” he said.
Neu-Ner added that blockchain technology and infrastructure interest him the most and that he is particularly bullish about two coins: neo, the currency used for a Chinese platform similar to ethereum, and Cardano's Ada cryptocurrency, which he described as a “highly undervalued” blockchain protocol. (See also: Bitcoin: Too Many Forks? 44 Emerged in 10 Months.)
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Stocks making the biggest moves in the premarket: STZ, WFC, BAC, JPM, C, NKE & more I Pre-Market Moves I CNBC.

cnbc.com

Stocks making the biggest moves in the premarket: STZ, WFC, BAC, JPM, C, NKE & more

Peter Schacknow


Check out the companies making headlines before the bell:
Constellation Brands – The spirits producer reported adjusted quarterly profit of $2.20 per share, missing the consensus estimate of $2.43, although revenue did beat Street forecasts. Constellation said its operating margins dropped 230 basis points due to higher transportation costs, an unfavorable foreign currency situation, and planned marking investments.
Wells Fargo, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup – These and other bank stocks are on watch after the results of the Fed’s stress tests and subsequent announcements by the banks of their dividend and stock buyback plans. Deutsche Bank’s U.S. unit was the only bank whose capital plan was not approved by the Federal Reserve.
Nike – Nike reported quarterly profit of 69 cents per share, beating estimates by 5 cents a share. The athletic footwear and apparel maker’s revenue beat forecasts, as well. North American sales rose for the first time in a year, and Nike also announced a $15 billion stock buyback.
KB Home – KB Home beat estimates by 9 cents a share, with quarterly earnings of 57 cents per share. The home builder’s revenue also topped Street predictions. KB Home saw average selling prices rise by 4 percent during the quarter, with new orders up 3 percent.
21st Century Fox – Fox shareholders will vote on Walt Disney’s bid for Fox assets on July 27, according to an announcement from both companies. NBCUniversal and CNBC parent Comcast continues to mull a possible counteroffer, with the scheduling of that meeting effectively setting a deadline for a new bid.
Novartis – Novartis announced plans to spin off its Alcon eye care business to shareholders, as it refocuses on its prescription drug business. Novartis had purchased the U.S. based unit for $52 billion back in 2011. The drug maker also announced a $5 billion share buyback.
Raytheon, Lockheed Martin – The defense contractors are both candidates to sell new advanced radar systems to Japan, according to a Reuters report. Sources say Japan will buy the new systems from one of those companies as it upgrades its missile defenses.
Blue Apron – Blue Apron could come under pressure following news that German competitor HelloFresh may start selling ready-made meals online. Co-Founder Thomas Griesel told a German newspaper that he sees a very big market niche for such meals.
Acxiom – Acxiom is expected to be the object of a bidding contest between ad agency giants Interpublic Group and Dentsu, according to The Wall Street Journal. Acxiom is selling its data marketing division, representing about 75 percent of the company’s revenue.
Convergys – Convergys agreed to be bought by business services provider Synnex for $2.4 billion in cash and stock. Convergys is an operator of customer call centers.
Diageo – Diageo was downgraded to “market perform” from “outperform” at Bernstein in what the firm said is a valuation call. The spirits producer’s U.S. shares are up 20 percent over the past 12 months, although they are essentially flat for 2018.
Walgreens Boots Alliance – Walgreens was downgraded to “hold” from “buy” at Jefferies, following Amazon’s purchase of PillPack. Jefferies said the deal will result in a continued overhang on retail pharmacy operators.
Fiat Chrysler – Fiat Chrysler could be the target of a takeover bid by Hyundai Motor, according to the Asia Times. However, the paper said Hyundai is waiting for an expected decline in the rival automaker’s shares before launching such a bid

'What's wrong with our society?' Annapolis mayor voices concern at hostility to media | US news I The Guardian

theguardian.com

'What's wrong with our society?' Annapolis mayor voices concern at hostility to media | US news

Gwilym Mumford

Gavin Buckley, the mayor of Annapolis, was distraught in the wake of the mass shooting at his city’s local newspaper, telling the Guardian: “What’s wrong with our society that we’re this tightly wound that you can be this upset at a newspaper that reports stories on cats being stuck up a tree?”
Although Buckley made clear that the Annapolis Capital-Gazette, the newspaper where five people were shot dead on Thursday, was a good paper; he was just still in shock that it was a target. After all, when he was told that there had been a shooting at the Capital, his initial response was to think of Maryland’s state capital in the heart of downtown Annapolis.

To him, the Capital Gazette “reports on our kids’ soccer games and good, local, interesting stuff that we want to hear about” and he could not understand how “that could make someone that hostile”.
He said earlier: “This paper is not a liberal newspaper, it’s not a right wing newspaper, it stays in the middle and covers local issues,” he said.

What we know about the Capital Gazette shooting – video report
Buckley also expressed his concern that it was a targeted attack on the media. “If this is an attack on journalism it is a sad state of affairs,” said the first-term mayor. “Because journalists, you don’t get paid enough to put your life on the line, we’re not in some war zone, we’re not in some third-world country with a dictator. We are in a Mayberry kind of town, we’re in shock we’re going to be grappling with.”
Among those connecting the events in Annapolis to Donald Trump’s attacks on the media was David Simon, the creator of The Wire. “Blood today in an American newsroom. Aren’t you proud, you vile, fascist son of a bitch?” Simon wrote on Twitter in response to a February tweet from the president that referred to “the fake news media” as “the enemy of the American people”.

David Simon (@AoDespair)
Blood today in an American newsroom. Aren't you proud, you vile, fascist son of a bitch. https://t.co/DI1shGj65X
June 28, 2018

Simon used to be a reporter for the Baltimore Sun, whose parent company owns the Gazette. He later tweeted to say he had been friends with two journalists who died in the shooting.
Annapolis, Maryland’s state capital, is one of the oldest cities in the country and noted for its historic downtown and scenic wharfs. Buckley, an Australian American restaurateur, noted “We’re such an accepting community they’ll even let an Australian be their mayor here.”
He went out of his way though to praise the police response, with officers said to have arrived in less than a minute. “I can tell you they saved lives by being there as fast as they were,” he told the Guardian. “They put their own lives in danger to do this and people need to know that that’s what emergency responders do. They are selfless.” Buckley added: “These guys, they weren’t thinking about if the guy had a grenade, a semi-automatic weapon or a rifle. They just knew they had to get him.”
A Democrat who recently spoke at the March for our Lives, Buckley warned: “We can’t numb ourselves to this stuff. We have to say enough is enough.”
More broadly, Capital Gazette journalists expressed disgust at the lack of action coming from Washington over the latest gun outrage.
The staff writer Selene San Felice responded to news that Donald Trump had extended “thoughts and prayers” to the victims. She told CNN: “I’m not trying to make this political, but we need more than prayers. I want your prayers, but I want something else.”

Felice added: “This is going to be a story for how many days? Less than a week? People will forget about us in less than a week. I’m going to need more than a couple of days of news coverage and thoughts and prayers – our whole lives have been shattered.”
The Baltimore Sun released an editorial pointing to the atmosphere of hostility toward journalism at present in the US. “At a time of political divisiveness when views of the news industry itself have become starkly polarised, many jumped quickly to speculation about whether the metaphorical war on the media had become shockingly literal ... That’s why so many reporters across the nation got a sickening feeling Thursday afternoon – they couldn’t believe something like this had happened, except that they could.”
During a police press conference, Pat Furgurson, a veteran journalist for the Capital Gazette, stood behind the police in an untucked blue shirt and rumpled khakis, recording audio and even getting in a question.

Capital Gazette (@capgaznews)
June 29, 2018
Afterwards, Furgurson briefly talked to his fellow reporters. Visibly shaken, he said the victims were “just trying to do their job for the public. Something like this might happen in Afghanistan or Iraq or something like that but you don’t expect it in a sleepy office across the street from a local mall.” However he insisted “we’re still putting out a newspaper” and that the Capital Gazette would be out on Friday.
Asked if he had any message for others, Furguson choked up and paused for a minute. He then said “what’s so funny about peace, love and understanding” and walked away. After all, he had a story to file.

9 Growth Stocks With Lots of Firepower I Investopedia

investopedia.com

9 Growth Stocks With Lots of Firepower

Mark Kolakowski


The bull market is now in its 10th year, stock valuations are near historic highs, economic growth may be peaking, interest rates are on the rise, and growing trade conflicts present their own set of uncertainties. To find promising equity investments in this environment, Tom Plumb, manager of the Plumb Balanced Fund (PLBBX), has a simple prescription. As he told Barron's: "If stocks are better for returns than bonds, then you should look for stocks with the best total return—growth companies."
In particular, Plumb prefers companies that are riding "major secular trends," as Barron's puts it. Among the companies that his fund owns, and which he discussed with Barron's, are:
Source: Yahoo Finance for market values as of June 28.

Fund Performance

The Plumb Balanced Fund has a five-star rating from Morningstar Inc. Its peer group is balanced funds with equity allocations between 50% and 70%, and Morningstar finds that it has been in the top 1% of this category for the past one-, three-, five-year periods, through June 27. As of March 31, the fund had 55% of its portfolio in U.S. stocks, and 8% in non-U.S. stocks. (For more, see also: 5 Stocks to Outperform in 2018's Volatile Market.)
The fund also has better upside capture ratios and downside capture ratios than its peers over those same time periods. That is, it tends to be up more than its peers in up markets, and down less than its peers in down markets.

Mobile Payments Trend

Noting that 23% of the transactions in China that move money between individuals and businesses are now performed through a mobile device, Plumb sees much room for growth in the U.S., where the figure is only 9%. He sees Visa as both a "driver" and an "enabler," and expects its margins to expand pursuant to its acquisition of Visa Europe. He notes that PayPal also is active in driving increased volumes of mobile payments.

The Amex Ruling

While a recent Supreme Court decision technically was a victory for American Express Co. (AXP) over rival card issuers such as Visa, it actually may help to entrench established players such as Visa and their fees against potential upstarts, The Wall Street Journal reports. As described by American Banker, the Obama administration and 11 states had sued American Express over anti-competitive provisions in its contract with merchants. Amex bars retailers that accept its card from encouraging customers to use, where possible, other cards with lower fees, such as Visa, Mastercard or Discover. (For more, see also: The Bull Market Will Last Another Decade: Fundstrat.)

Bookings Are Up

Plumb indicates that Booking, the parent of Booking.com, Priceline.com, Rentalcars.com, KAYAK and OpenTable, has a particular competitive advantage in Europe, where it has set up reservation systems for independent hotels and inns. In the U.S., by contrast, he notes that the hotel business is dominated by major chains that have their own highly sophisticated reservation systems. He indicates that Booking is expanding in the U.S. and other large markets, and that he likes the management.
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Australians Can’t Get Enough of the Barefoot Investor I Business I NYT

nytimes.com

Australians Can’t Get Enough of the Barefoot Investor 


Mr. Pape’s folksy manner delivers down-home truths: Don’t get swept up in trendy investments; pay off your debts; analyze how banks are managing your money. As a result, it’s uncontroversial with experts. Chris Richardson, an economist at Deloitte in Canberra, said that Mr. Pape’s major tenets, like his argument that Australians have generally overvalued property and undervalued stock trading “are more real then people realize.”
Another cornerstone of the Barefoot Investor’s plan that resonates with economists is the importance of renegotiating bank fees, which, according to the Reserve Bank of Australia, run to 480 Australian dollars, around $355, a household per year. “Over ten years,” Mr. Pape writes, that’s “enough to take you to New York City and stay at a five-star hotel.”
Bank fees are lower in the United States; in Australia, just four banks represent about 80 percent of the total share of the market. “We certainly have high market concentration by international standards,” said Danielle Wood, an economist at the Grattan Institute, a public policy think tank in Melbourne. Ms. Wood sees high bank fees as a result of status quo bias, or the tendency to accept things the way they are, perhaps understandable for a country doing so well economically. “I think the message of the Barefoot Investor gets traction because he encourages people to think about things, and think about why they’re paying too much,” she said.
Jackie Frankel, a 47-year-old factory worker from Australia’s Mornington Peninsula, is a zealous Barefooter, as Mr. Pape’s fans are known. She concedes that her two grown daughters don’t completely understand his appeal. “They say to me, it’s common sense stuff to figure out what you owe, but I say people need it in black and white,” Ms. Frankel said. After reading the book, she and her husband, who also works in a factory, started going out for “date breakfasts.” (Nights were out because of their shifts.) After talking it through over eggs, they moved their money from one of the “big four” banks to an online-only account recommended by name in Mr. Pape’s book. (He says that he does not accept any endorsements, and will pull a recommendation if he sees a company using his name in advertising.) “We saved $500 a month just doing that, and now we’re going to New Zealand on a cruise,” Ms. Frankel said.
Australians love to travel internationally: about 60 percent hold passports, compared with around 40 percent of Americans. Mr. Pape doesn’t come across as abstemious about these sorts of big-ticket expenses. Instead, he advocates for letting the good times roll by divvying money into “buckets.” This approach ensures daily expenses are separated from “splurges,” like lattes, and “smile” purchases, which, like vacations, make you smile when you think of them. Call it the set and forget principle of money management.
“He doesn’t subscribe to the idea that you’ve got to get down to the bare bones and have no fun,” said Ali Cusack, a 31-year-old lawyer in Melbourne. “He just says, build it into your budget.” Ms. Cusack has been to Europe each summer for the past two years and recently started her own maritime law practice. “I got so ridiculously good at saving money that I didn’t even need to take out a loan to start my own business,” she said.

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Max Keiser & The dollar Vs Bitcoin and Inflation

Source: RT- Max Keiser Report