Daily Happenings

Courtesy of Phil’s Stock World

Financial Markets and Economy

Iraq About to Flood Oil Market in New Front of OPEC Price War (Bloomberg)

Iraq is taking OPEC’s strategy to defend its share of the global oil market to a new level.

The nation plans to boost crude exports by about 26 percent to a record 3.75 million barrels a day next month, according to shipping programs, signaling an escalation of OPEC strategy to undercut U.S. shale drillers in the current market rout. The additional Iraqi oil is equal to about 800,000 barrels a day, or more than comes from OPEC member Qatar. The rest of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is expected to rubber stamp its policy to maintain output levels at a meeting on June 5.

America will die old and broke: The systematic right-wing plot to ransack the middle-class nest egg (Salon)

Through a quirk in state term limits combined with a terrible midterm election, the Nevada legislature has been taken over by amateurs and extremists. The legislature is now debating whether to dismantle the Nevada public employee pension system (PERS), a system that has gotten consistently high marks for transparency, responsibility and stewardship.

This attack on retirement benefits follows a very familiar pattern of fabricating data to destroy retirements that work and that people really like. It’s the same nonsense and lies used to destroy private pensions two decades ago, but this time it’s being done as part of a partisan wet dream of “limited government.” It’s a strategy as American as fast food and crumbling infrastructure.

An Oil Processing Facility In The Upper NileSouth Sudan Oil Field Becomes Key Battleground as Economy Reels (Bloomberg)

After 17 months of civil war spanning a swathe of South Sudan bigger than Syria, President Salva Kiir’s survival may hinge on the fate of a single oil field.

Paloch in Upper Nile state, the only region still pumping crude in a nation with sub-Saharan Africa’s third-largest reserves, has re-emerged as the rebels’ prime target.

The latest economic forecast for Africa is a downward revision from projections made in 2014 which suggested the region's economy would expand by 5.7 percent this yearAfrica’s economy to strengthen in 2015 despite Ebola, oil price (Business Insider)

Africa’s overall economy should advance in 2015, expanding by 4.5 percent, showing resilience despite weak commodity prices and the devastating Ebola epidemic, an annual report published Monday said.

And future growth could be spurred by the continent’s population doubling to two billion over the next 35 years, repeating in Africa the economic boom seen in Asia’s biggest countries.

Little Evidence Monetary Policy Affects Demand, Says Montier (Value Walk)

James Montier, a member of the asset allocation team at GMO, argues that we’ve become way too obsessed with monetary policy.

James Montier central bank short rates

Inflation Watch: Prices To “The Happiest Place On Earth” Are Up 2900% Since 1971 (Zero Hedge)

Having previously shown that money can buy happiness, it appears, as Bloomberg reports, that the cost of buying that happiness is soaring. With well-managed government-provided statistics on inflation, why would one look elsewhere for clues as to the declining standards of living across much of America… but look we did and with wages stagnant, the 2900% surge in prices to Disneyland since 1971 makes ‘the happeist place on earth’ a place only the wealthy can afford to visit.

Asian shares slip, dollar stands tall (Reuters)

Asian shares fell in early trading on Tuesday, while the dollar held near highs scaled in holiday-thinned trading in the previous session.

European shares marked a weak finish in thin trade on Monday, with many markets in the region closed for holidays. U.S. markets were also closed for Memorial Day.

ShanghaiWhen Predicting China Stocks There’s Only Wrong and Very Wrong (Bloomberg)

Only in China can you predict the world’s biggest stock-market rally and still come out looking like a pessimist.

A year ago, analysts who cover the 50 largest companies trading in Shanghai and Shenzhen said equities were set to rally 28 percent. Turns out they weren’t anywhere near optimistic enough, as monetary easing and a buying frenzy among Chinese retail investors sent shares surging 111 percent through last week.

Stocks and Trading

Risk Aversion: What Does It Mean, and Is It Good or Bad for Investing? (Fool)

If you’re risk-averse, it generally means you don’t like to take risks, or you’re comfortable taking only small risks. When applied to investing behavior, the meaning changes slightly, and it can actually be damaging to your ability to produce the best returns over time.

Let’s take a deeper look at the meaning and the implications. While being risk-averse as an investor isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s really about how you manage risk at different stages of your life that’s important.

10 Year Treasury Rate Chart

A Time Warner Cable office is pictured in San Diego, California October 15, 2014.  REUTERS/Mike Blake

Charter Communications nears $55 billion deal for Time Warner Cable (Reuters)

Time Warner Cable Inc is nearing an agreement to be acquired by smaller peer Charter Communications Inc for about $55 billion, combining the second and third largest U.S. cable operators, people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

A deal would create a major rival to Comcast Corp, the biggest operator in the U.S. cable and broadband market, and marks a triumph for Charter, which was rejected by Time Warner Cable just last year.

Oil Trades Near $60 as Mideast Violence Flares Before OPEC Talks (Bloomberg)

Oil traded near $60 a barrel amid rising violence in the Middle East before OPEC meets to discuss its production quota next month.

Futures were little changed in New York. Iraq’s Prime Minister vowed a swift takeover of the city of Ramadi from Islamic State militants, while Saudi Arabia’s King vowed to punish those responsible for a suicide attack on Shiite-Muslim worshipers in his nation. There was no floor session Monday on the Nymex because of the Memorial Day holiday, and transactions will be booked Tuesday for settlement purposes.

Politics

Koch brothers’ humiliating secret: Why even their billions can’t save the GOP from self-destruction (Salon)

Faced with the nightmare of up to 20-something GOP presidential candidates in 2016, Fox News last week announced its bid for sanity: It would limit its debate to the top 10 candidates in national polls. Now David Koch tells Larry Kudlow that he and brother Charles are likely to distribute some of the $900 million they’ve socked away for 2016 to “several” contenders, not just one Republican candidate.

Paul Waldman reads this as an attempt to cull the GOP field, and so do I.  The Kochs can spread the wealth, at least among Republicans, because the entire 2016 roster supports their tax-slashing, regulation-gutting, climate-change accelerating policies. Their real interest is having a limited debate among the “grown-ups” of the party and sending a strong candidate off to face the Democratic nominee, most likely Hillary Clinton.

Spain’s Local Election Results Reshape Political Landscape (NY TImes)

Ada Colau, 41, was not even born when Manuela Carmena, 71, joined Spain’s underground Communist party and started her legal career by attacking labor restrictions imposed by Francisco Franco, the Spanish dictator.

But even if separated by a generation, Ms. Colau and Ms. Carmena both found themselves claiming similar left-wing victories by upstart candidates over Spain’s political establishment after Sunday’s regional and municipal elections.

Jeb Bush Says His Brother Was Misled Into War by Faulty Intelligence. That’s Not What Happened. (Mother Jones)

Last week, Jeb Bush stepped in it. It took the all-but-announced Republican presidential candidate several attempts to answer the most obvious question: Knowing what we know now, would you have launched the Iraq War? Yes, I would have, he initially declared, noting he would not dump on his brother for initiating the unpopular war. “So would almost everyone that was confronted with the intelligence they got,” Bush said.

84199284Email dump reveals how Team Clinton deals with ‘pain in the a–‘ reporters (Business Insider)

Emails from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s personal email account that were released by the State Department on Friday contain several interesting glimpses of her team’s interactions with the media.

In two cases, the messages show her top staffers seemingly mocking reporters, dubbing one a “pain in the ass” and accusing another of engaging in behavior that’s not normal “among any type of mammal.”

Technology

MasterCard Send Speeds Up Money Transfers With A Little P2P Magic (Tech Crunch)

Created as an effort to follow the Federal Reserve initiative aimed at speeding up the money transfer system, Send allows instant disbursements – imagine payments from insurance companies that land to your bank account nearly instantly – and P2P payments that let consumers “seamlessly send and receive funds from friends and family typically within seconds through providers including issuers, money transfer operators, merchants and more.” That’s finance talk for really fast remittances and money transfer. You can also send money from card to card, even to non-Mastercard cards. If you’ve ever tried to send money you’ll know that this is kind of a big deal.

Health and Life Sciences

6 Simple Ways to Boost Your Metabolism (Time)

Throughout my years counseling clients I’ve seen many achieve fantastic weight loss results, including those who had not had success with other approaches, or thought they couldn’t possibly lose weight due to various circumstances, like being injured and unable to exercise, or being post-menopausal. 

Life on the Home Planet

Partly human yeast show a common ancestor’s lasting legacy (Science Daily)

Despite a billion years of evolution separating humans from the baker’s yeast in their refrigerators, hundreds of genes from an ancestor that the two species have in common live on nearly unchanged in them both, say biologists. The team created thriving strains of genetically engineered yeast using human genes and found that certain groups of genes are surprisingly stable over evolutionary time.

Historic Beer 1843 was developed from a brew that spent more than a hundred and seventy years at the bottom of the Baltic Sea.The Quest to Reproduce the World’s Oldest Shipwreck Beer (New Yorker)

In the summer of 2010, Christian Ekström, a diver from the Åland Islands, an autonomous region of around sixty-five hundred isles off of Finland’s west coast, began searching for a shipwreck in the Baltic Sea, based on a tip he’d received from a fisherman. The Baltic’s temperature is unusually consistent (between about thirty-nine and forty-three degrees Fahrenheit* on its seabed), and it has a salinity level that is less than a fifth that of oceans. Its coastal waters are also treacherously shallow. All of this makes it particularly well suited to sinking ships, and then, once they’ve sunk, to preserving them for centuries.

Coney Island, Brooklyn.On Memorial Day, See New York’s Beaches and Parks From Above (Time)

Memorial Day 2015 is upon us—and, with it, the unofficial start of the summer season. In New York City, thousands of people will crowd the five boroughs’ beaches and pools, putting behind them the long winter months and their freezing temperatures.

For German photographer Tobias Hutzler, Memorial Day is the perfect example of what makes New York so attractive. “I’m fascinated by the energy of this city,” he says. “It’s pure life.”

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