Wednesday, August 6, 2014

10 Ripping Reads and Sizzling Charts for Wednesday

I had a very nice piece written this morning on the California drought -- but then the Daily Grind ate my homework. Seriously, they're going to run it this week. So, please accept these interesting, provocative, and potentially money-making links as a consolation prize.

1. U.S. trade deficit narrows as petroleum imports fall
The Commerce Department said on Wednesday the trade gap dropped 7% to $41.5 billion, the lowest reading since January.

2. Calculated Risk adds ...
Exports are 18% above the pre-recession peak and up 3% compared to June 2013; imports are about 2% above the pre-recession peak, and up about 5% compared to June 2013.

3. Trouble in Europe
Italy falls into recession with its second quarterly contraction (-0.2%; previous -0.1%). Take a gander at a chart of Italian GDP growth. 
Also, Germany reports second consecutive monthly decline in factory orders (-3.2%; previous -1.6%). This comes on top of China's July service sector PMI falling to 50 from 53.1 in June. When that news came out yesterday, it really soured the market (and pushed silver and copper lower). Now this European news seemed poised to push stocks lower this morning, but stocks are resilient as the S&P 500 trades around support..

(Updated chart)

Note -- the broad market is oversold, and this makes a bounce from this support more likely. It is not, however, pre-ordained.
Another note: Bespoke, who I trust, is generally gloomy on Europe. Could this pull global markets down?

More bad news for Europe ...

4. Putin Readies Retaliation
Russian President Vladimir Putin said he has ordered his government to prepare retaliatory measures against US and European sanctions imposed last week.

Note: The New York Times reported that Russia is massing large numbers of troops on the Ukrainian border in a "war game" exercise. Also, the Polish foreign minister said that a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine was "imminently possible." Sure, but he has a history of making outrageous claims. And the New York Times has been used to trump up calls for war before (see Iraq invasion. Does nobody have memory anymore?) Russia denies the claims of troops massing.

Another Note: On the bright side, a cease-fire in Gaza is holding (for now). Maybe it's time to buy Israel?

Anyway, Russian saber-rattling means ...

5. Gold Higher On Safe-Haven Demand
There's not much at this Kitco link that we don't already know (sorry, Kitco dudes). 

It may not be just Russia -- ISIS is also capturing key infrastructure in Iraq, including a dam and Kurdish oil fields. However, Iraq's key southern oil fields remain ISIS free for now.

6. Silver Doctors: Deja Vu All Over Again in the Gold Market
Some interesting stats here.

7. Why Murdoch Pulled Time Warner Bid 
iven the reaction of the Fox stock price to the news, Fox has decided that it can create more value for shareholders by buying back its own stock and executing its own plan than by chasing after Time Warner.

8. Hackers In Russia Have Stolen More Than A Billion Usernames And Passwords
The records included confidential material from 420,000 websites, such as 1.2 billion username and password combinations and more than 500 million email addresses. 

9. Antarctica's Point of No Return

Recent satellite observations have confirmed the accuracy of two independent computer simulations that show that the West Antarctic ice sheet has now entered a state of unstoppable collapse. 

10. Let's end with some good news. Here's the Gallup Job Creation Index ...

The job creation index hit a 6-year high in July.

Good luck and good trades today.

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