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5.24.19 - Things You Didn't Know About Memorial Day

Gold last traded at $1,284 an ounce. Silver at $14.57 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices rose Friday on safe-haven buying and a weaker dollar. U.S. stocks headed for a fifth-consecutive weekly loss as investors worry the U.S.-China trade war is hurting economic growth.

Gold scores weekly win after reasserting haven role -Marketwatch
"Gold prices edged higher Friday and were on track for a weekly win after seeing renewed haven demand on the back of trade-war worries....'Gold's safe-haven demand has underperformed other flight-to-safety assets throughout the recent trade war escalation,' said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda....Gold caught a flight-to-safety bid Thursday, settling at a one-week high, as U.S. stocks fell sharply, with the decline blamed on rising U.S.-China tensions that investors now fear could turn into a prolonged trade battle. A weaker U.S. dollar also provided support, as did a fall in bond yields....Gold also appeared to find some support from political uncertainty in the U.K. following Prime Minister Theresa May's decision to step down next month after failing repeatedly to win support for her Brexit plan, ensuring weeks of continued wrangling over the terms of the country’s exit from the European Union."

somegaveall 18 Things You Didn't Know About Memorial Day (But Should) -24/7 Wall Street
"This Monday, May 27, is Memorial Day, so named because it is the day we remember those who died in war defending the United States...As the nation prepares to observe Memorial Day, 24/7 Tempo has compiled a list of things you didn't know about the holiday (but should), using resources such as the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs....1. It started as a response to the Civil War carnage - In 1868, three years after the end of the Civil War, several Union Army veterans established a day to honor those who had fallen during the nation’s deadliest conflict....2. A former general, not the president, made the day a holiday - A retired Union Army major general, John A. Logan, the commander-in-chief of a veterans' group, which was called the Grand Army of the Republic, set the date of the holiday for May 30....3. It used to be called Decoration Day - The day we now observe as Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day so that the nation could place flowers on the graves of those fallen in battle....4. This is why it's celebrated in May - May 30 was chosen for the holiday because it was not the anniversary of any particular battle....5. The date may have been chosen because of the weather - Some historians believe that the date for the holiday was selected to ensure that flowers across the country would be in full bloom by that time....6. Freed slaves held the first ceremony - Freed slaves are believed to have held the first event commemorating war dead from the Civil War....7. Memorial Day started honoring all veterans after World War I - Decoration Day, or Memorial Day, was begun to honor those who died during the Civil War. But once the United States entered World War I, the holiday was broadened to commemorate American soldiers who died in all wars." Read the full list...

House Passes Bill Making Big Changes to U.S. Retirement System -Wall Street Journal
"Americans could see the most significant changes in more than a decade to their retirement plans under legislation the House of Representatives passed Thursday, with measures designed to make it easier for employers to offer 401(k)-type accounts and for participants to convert their balances into a steady lifetime income....The House bill, passed by an overwhelming House majority and expected to be taken up by the Senate before it heads to President Trump's desk, would encourage 401(k)-type plans to offer annuities, a type of insurance contract that guarantees a monthly income stream as long as a retiree lives. It also would repeal the age cap for contributing to traditional individual retirement accounts, currently 70½, and would increase the age at which savers must start taking withdrawals from 401(k)s and IRAs to 72 from 70 1/2. Joe DeBello, a financial adviser in Orlando, Fla., who consults businesses on retirement plans, said his clients are excited about the lifetime-income provision of the bill. While 401(k)s are good for accumulating money to live on during retirement, he said, when people retire they don't always have much guidance about spending and run the risk of outliving their savings....The House bill, known as the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement, or Secure Act, passed with a vote of 417-3. Senators have signaled they are keen to quickly take up the legislation, and Mr. Trump isn't expected to oppose it."

Living from the Inside Out -Palmer/Primelifers.org
"Bestselling author, teacher and activist, Parker J. Palmer offers six inspiring life lessons at his commencement address to Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado from his latest book, ON the BRINK OF EVERYTHING. 'My first suggestion is simple: be reckless when it comes to affairs of the heart...offer yourself to the world...with openhearted generosity...cultivate a beginner's mind. Second, as you integrate ignorance and failure into your knowledge and success...take everything that's bright and beautiful in you and introduce it to your shadow side...if you choose to live an unexamined life, I beg you: do not take a job that involves other people. Third, as you welcome whatever you find alien within yourself, extend the same welcome to whatever you find in the outer world...practice hospitality to the stranger. Fourth, take on big jobs worth doing, like the spread of love, peace and justice...refuse to be seduced by our cultural obsession with being effective as measured by short-term results...long to be treasured, not measured. Fifth, since suffering as well as joy comes with being human, I urge you to remember this: violence is what happens when we don't know what to do with our suffering...The good news that suffering can be transformed...exercise your heart by taking in life's pains and joys...it will make your heart supple...with a greater capacity for love. Finally, I quote Saint Benedict, who said, 'Daily keep your death before your eyes.'...If an unexamined life is not worth living, it's equally true that the unlived life is not worth examining." Read the full book review...

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5.23.19 - Stable Money Leads To Prosperity

Gold last traded at $1,285 an ounce. Silver at $14.62 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices rose sharply Thursday on safe-haven buying and a weaker dollar. U.S. stocks fell sharply as U.S.-China trade worries persisted with more companies suspending business with Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

"Sea Of Red": S&P Futures, Bond Yields Tumble As All Out Trade War Becomes "Base Case" -Zero Hedge
"Yesterday's modest selloff has become an all-out rout, dragging world stocks lower for 4 of the past 5 days, with US equity futures tumbling and global markets a 'sea of red' as fears grow that the China-U.S. trade conflict is fast turning into a 'technology cold war' and as Wall Street's denial is finally shifting to acceptance that a lengthy, all-out trade war is now inevitable, and the only way out and for someone to concede is for markets to plunge. Sure enough, that's what they are doing this morning. 'It's tin hats on and battening down the hatches for a fair bit of volatility for the next few months,' said Tony Cousins, Chief Executive of Pyrford International, the global equities arm of BMO Global Asset Management. 'We are as defensively positioned as we could be,' he said, adding it was impossible to predict what steps Trump was likely to take next in the trade war with China. Analysts at Nomura warned in a note that 'without a clear way forward during an intensifying 2020 U.S. presidential election, we see a rising risk that tariffs will remain in effect through end 2020.'....Goldman Sachs, Nomura and JPMorgan Chase 'are among those that have rewritten their forecasts as U.S. President Donald Trump threatens to impose a 25% tariffs on around $300 billion of additional Chinese imports.'"

goldeneggs The Problem With Capitalism? We Don’t Have Enough of It. -Institutional Investor
"The economic engine we have in place today has for decades produced virtually no increase in wealth for the majority of earners. According to information pulled from the Federal Reserve, the median net worth of the bottom three quintiles of families declined in inflation-adjusted dollars from 1998 until 2013, tumbling by 20 percent or more. This decrease has hit working-class families the hardest; their real net worth has been halved over this time. On the other hand, the inflation-adjusted wealth of the top 10 percent of earners has spiked dramatically in that same period, rising 75 percent cumulatively. Such a trend is not sustainable, and it is symptomatic of an unhealthy economic system; on that we are all in agreement...Rather than being the result of runaway capitalism, these problems, I believe, have been caused by its disappearance. We don't have too much capitalism; rather, we have far too little....Capitalism is freedom. At its core it simply means that individuals should have equal rights to own capital and capital goods, and to manage those economic resources or dispose of them however they see fit, in accordance with their own personal well-being....The reality that going from ten businesses controlling 40 percent of an industry to three firms controlling 80 percent is not more capitalism, it's less....Perhaps it's time the government got back to its job of protecting capitalism and the ability of individuals to control their own means of production with a bit more vigor - in two ways. First, by breaking up businesses, and groups of businesses, that have turned industries into oligopolies with noncompetitive market share dynamics....Second, it's critical for the government to normalize the legal rights of individuals to, at the very least, give them equal status with the current preferred neofeudal empire, the corporation....Let's stop blaming our problems on capitalism...you can't fix a problem that is misdiagnosed."

Gold firms as equities sink -Reuters
"Gold prices firmed on Thursday, supported by a slide in equity markets amid fresh trade tensions... 'We have the higher dollar and lower Chinese yuan pressuring gold. At the same time, yields are a bit lower and equity markets are down (supporting gold),' said ABN AMRO analyst Georgette Boele....World shares were in the red as concerns grew that the China-U.S. trade conflict was fast turning into a technology cold war between the world's two largest economies. The White House is considering Huawei-like sanctions on Chinese video surveillance firm Hikvision....Meanwhile, U.S. Federal Reserve officials at their last meeting agreed that their current patient approach to setting monetary policy could remain in place 'for some time,' a further sign policymakers see little need to adjust rates."

How Stable Money Leads To Prosperity -Stossel/Reason
"What makes money trustworthy? 'It has to be fixed in value,' says Steve Forbes in his new documentary, 'In Money We Trust?' Forbes notes that money has to be reliable, like a clock. We have 'sixty minutes in an hour; sixty seconds in a minute. Imagine if that floated each day; that would make life chaotic.' Stossel presents an abbreviated version of the documentary, which notes that throughout history, people needed a way to assign a fixed value to money. They tried all sorts of things, including backing money with crops, silver, and salt. 'Salt' is where our word 'SALary' comes from. Eventually, most people settled on gold, which was used up through the mid-1900s to back currency. The stability it brought to markets helped enable massive economic growth....Today, the Federal Reserve controls the supply of dollars. People use them because they trust that others will value them, and because the government says it stands behind them. But dollars are not backed by gold, or anything else. That worries people like Steve Forbes. A dollar buys 80 percent less than it did when Nixon took the country off gold in 1971. That's largely because the Federal Reserve intentionally creates 2 percent inflation every year - they set it at 2 percent rather zero because it provides a buffer against deflation, which they fear will cause recessions."

Forbes' documentary backs a return to the gold standard....You can see the full documentary on some PBS stations, or stream it at: InMoneyWeTrust.org

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5.22.19 - How America Goes Full-Venezuela

Gold last traded at $1,274 an ounce. Silver at $14.44 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices rose Wednesday on bargain-hunting and a flat dollar. U.S. stocks traded lower as trade worries increased while declines in Qualcomm and retailer shares also dampened market sentiment.

'Unusual uncertainty' puts stocks in red zone -CNBC
"QMA's chief investment strategist has significantly pulled back the firm's risk exposure during the past few weeks due to the escalating U.S.-China trade war. Ed Keon, who runs more than $50 billion in multi-asset portfolios for QMA, says stocks are in a danger zone because it's becoming increasingly unclear whether a resolution on tariffs is coming....'The risk is significantly higher if you go to a full-blown trade war with tit-for-tat retaliation,' said Keon. He said that scenario could push the market back into correction territory."

Venezuela How America Goes Full-Venezuela -Bonner/Bonner And Partners
"In the last five years, Venezuela's GDP has fallen by nearly two-thirds. Inflation is running over 10,000,000%. And today's Financial Times tells us that 'Venezuelans queue up for petrol, despite sitting on huge oil reserves.' Motorists are waiting in line for up to 20 hours to fill their tanks. Venezuelans are living… or dying… through the most hellish economic catastrophe of the 21st century. But the century has 81 more years to go. Our guess is that there are bigger disasters ahead. There is nothing particularly novel about the Venezuelan debacle. It's the kind of thing you can get when you mix bad politics with bad money....As far as we know, no disaster of this sort has ever occurred without fake money being involved...You can have bad food, bad public policies, bad breath, and even bad weather. But if you want a real financial catastrophe - France 1790-1797, Weimar Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Zimbabwe - you need fake money....Not only has fake money been an essential part of every financial disaster, it always leads to some sort of societal disaster, too. Which is why we suspect a bigger disaster is coming later in the century… and why we suspect it will be centered in the Fake Money Capital of the World - the USA...Fake money is as old as the hills. But it usually only takes a few years before the fakeness of it is exposed… the financial system blows up… and real money is brought back."

The Boycott Begins: Chinese Company Orders Employees To "Stop Using American Products" -Zero Hedge
"In a harbinger of what's to come as the US-China trade war gets worse by the day, a Chinese company has told all of its employees to boycott American products and halt international travels to the U.S., reported The Epoch Times. Jinggang Motor Vehicle Inspection Station notified all employees last Thursday, May 16 that the use of iPhones, driving in American automobiles, eating at American fast food restaurants, using American household products, and even traveling to the U.S. was forbidden by a new company policy; any employee who violated the new rules would be fired. As a result of a prolonged trade war with the U.S., the company said: 'To help our country win this war, company authorities have decided that all employees must immediately stop purchasing and using American products.'....The ban against Huawei comes days after the Trump administration increased tariffs to 25% on $200 billion of Chinese products. In a tit-for-tat effort, China slapped a 25% tariff on $60 billion worth of American products that go into effect June 1....All last week, anti-American propaganda flourished across the country, with the slogan 'Wanna talk? Let's talk. Wanna fight? Let's do it. Wanna bully us? Dream on!' going viral on Chinese social media."

‘Unfreedom of the Press’ lays bare the true nature of the media -Conservative Review
"The mainstream media claim to be neutral arbiters of 'the truth.' In reality they are the de facto propaganda wing of the Democratic Party. In his latest book, 'Unfreedom of the Press,' LevinTV host Mark Levin rips off the mask and lays bare the true nature of the media....The press has always been biased. Levin takes the reader back through American history, showing the path from the open press biases during our Founding to the modern, laughable, insistence that bias does not exist. From the Founding through today, the press has taken sides and advocated for them. The difference is that today, the media are determined to hide under the false patina of impartiality, neutrality, and so-called truth. The turning point, as Levin shows through comprehensive sourcing, was the Progressive Era. The prevailing wisdom of that time was that the 'scientific' method could be applied to all things...it was determined that the media should be neutral observers and apply the scientific method to journalism. The myth of the objective newsman was born....After laying the groundwork exposing how the press arrived at its current state, Levin closes with a look at the media's treatment of President Trump and their attempt to work the nation into a frenzy...In the media's collective mind, Trump is also the greatest threat to press freedom in the nation's history. Levin shows that is pure hogwash."

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5.21.19 - 40% in US Embrace a Form of Socialism

Gold last traded at $1,273 an ounce. Silver at $14.41 an ounce

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices eased Tuesday on a firmer dollar. U.S. stocks rose following news that the U.S. temporarily eased restrictions on Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

Without China "Fraud", Gold Prices Would Be Soaring -Holmes/Kitco
"Gold prices are being manipulated on Chinese markets, said Frank Holmes, chief investment officer and CEO at U.S. Global Investors. The market manipulation, or spoofing, occurs during Chinese holidays when trading is thin, according to Holmes. He explained a large number of contracts will be 'flashed' on the markets with the intent to sell. 'Immediately the market becomes fearful there is a big seller,' said Holmes. '[Traders] start hitting all their bids, and the price of gold cascades down. It's fraud. It's mis-communication,' he said. Holmes explained that gold is being suppressed because officials want to keep gold at a price that is low in relation to the country's currency. He added that the Chinese market is especially important to observe for traders and investors now that the global hub of gold trading has shifted from London to China....China is not the only sour point in the price manipulation of gold, Holmes said, as the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) has also suppressed the yellow metal with its policies, this according to his findings....According to Holmes, the BIS has 60 central banks in the world clearing through them, and it is in their interest to not have competition from alternative currencies like gold and bitcoin."

reset button China is preparing for protracted trade war -South China Morning Post
"Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for the nation to embark on a new Long March and 'start all over again', in the most dramatic sign to date that Beijing has given up hope of reaching a trade deal with the United States in the near term. 'We are here at the starting point of the Long March to remember the time when the Red Army began its journey,' Xi told cheering crowds on Monday...'We are now embarking on a new Long March, and we must start all over again.' While Xi did not directly mention the trade war or the United States, his remarks are being perceived as clear signals that the Chinese public is being told to prepare for hardships because of the worsening external environment The economy is already slowing and the trade war could trim as much as 1 per cent from its gross domestic product, Wang Yang, of the elite Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China, said last week....The Long March was a military retreat between 1934 to 1936 undertaken by the Red Army, the forerunner of the People's Liberation Army, to evade Kuomintang troops during the Chinese civil war. A long article by the official Xinhua News Agency on Monday claimed that 'bullying by the US side' was the cause of the failed trade talks....China warned last Friday that there was no point in holding more talks if the US was not 'sincere' in wanting to achieve a fair outcome. 'The message is clear: China is ready to fight a protracted trade war,' said one source."

Four in 10 Americans Embrace Some Form of Socialism -Gallup
"Americans today are more closely divided than they were earlier in the last century when asked whether some form of socialism would be a good or bad thing for the country. While 51% of U.S. adults say socialism would be a bad thing for the country, 43% believe it would be a good thing. Those results contrast with a 1942 Roper/Fortune survey that found 40% describing socialism as a bad thing, 25% a good thing and 34% not having an opinion....A majority of Democrats have said they view socialism positively in Gallup polling since 2010, including 57% in the most recent measure in 2018....In the same April survey, Gallup asked Americans whether they would prefer mostly free market or government control over several economic and societal activities. Americans are most likely to prefer free market control in the areas of technological innovation and the distribution of wealth. Majorities also want the free market to drive the economy overall, wages, higher education and healthcare. Notably, more Americans favor free market than government control over healthcare and higher education...But at least four in 10 Americans appear sympathetic to policies that would increase the government's role in those areas."

The Big Story You Don't Read About -Brooks/New York Times
"My colleague David Bornstein points out that a lot of American journalism is based on a mistaken theory of change. That theory is: The world will get better when we show where things have gone wrong...Bornstein, who writes for The Times and also co-founded the Solutions Journalism Network, says that you've got to expose problems, but you've also got to describe how the problems are being tackled. The search for solutions is more exciting than the problems themselves. I’ve spent the past year around people who weave social fabric, and this week about 275 community weavers gathered in Washington, for a conference called #WeaveThePeople, organized by the Aspen Institute....At most conferences people lead with their bios, but at this gathering people led with their pain. A prominent researcher described how she was abused as a child, and how this led her into her research into children's emotional development. A woman from South Carolina talked about loved ones she had lost and the time she tried to talk a man out of jumping off a bridge, finally confessing: If you jump, I’m going to jump, too...The weavers know how to open relationships with vulnerability and they know how to build connections and move to action. Their defining feature is that they are geniuses at relationship....'Relationship moves at the speed of trust. Social change moves at the speed of relationship.' 'Neighbors are people we practice doing life with.' 'We’re trying to do something that has never been done before....Alexis de Tocqueville pointed out that associational life is the central feature of American life. But somehow we in the media under-cover this sector. We barely cover the most important social change agents."

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5.20.19 - What if Green Energy Isn’t the Future?

Gold last traded at $1,277 an ounce. Silver at $14.44 an ounce

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices traded steady Monday on a weaker dollar. U.S. stocks fell as the intensifying fallout from a U.S. crackdown on the Chinese telcom giant Huawei pressured the technology sector.

Why Now Is The Time To Buy Gold -Seeking Alpha
"Ray Dalio once said, 'If you don't own gold, you know neither history nor economics.'....This is the crux of Dalio's statement. Paper currency regimes, with no mechanism to regulate increases in the money supply, have an inflationary tendency...While paper currencies lose value over time, gold has served as a store of value for over 5,000 years....A study conducted by Flexible Plan Investments determined the optimal allocation of gold to a portfolio. It determined that a 20% allocation to gold, with 48% in equities, and 32% in treasuries provided the highest Sharpe (risk-to-reward) ratio....Saddled with rising debt and a wave of retiring baby boomers, there's a chance that the U.S. remains stuck in a Japan-like deflationary spiral...With demographic trends skewing the numbers...I would reduce the optimal allocation of gold from 20% to 10%....With corporate debt at record highs and 50% of corporate credit ratings one level above junk, I believe over-levered corporations, not necessarily banks, will be at risk of defaulting when corporate profits drop in the next recession....In conclusion, gold may chronically underperform if the Fed implements the same monetary policy as Japan. However, if current MMT rumblings come to fruition, gold will skyrocket while other asset classes lag."

Levin book Levin's 'Unfreedom of the Press' Is the Right Book at the Right Time -Shirley/Newsmax
"When the Framers met in Philadelphia to craft the Constitution, they wrestled long and hard over the First Amendment, which contains mostly personal rights such as speech, freedom to worship, petition the government, and the less understood right of assembly....All presidents were savaged at one time or another by the ink stained wretches of the national press as the role of the newspapers was working, just as the Framers had planned. This all changed with the election of Barack Obama and for the first time in our nation's history, the national media sided with the national government, against the American people....Enter Mark Levin and his new, important book, 'Unfreedom of the Press.'....From the very first pages, Levin identifies the problem with the current state of the Fourth Estate: 'Unlike the early patriot press, today's newsrooms and journalists are mostly hostile to America's founding principles, traditions, and institutions. Issues, events, groups, and individuals that do not fit the narrative are dismissed or diminished; those that do fit the narrative are elevated and celebrated.' Bingo. Further, Levin cites chapter and verse how the dominant liberal media 'squelches' speech rather than celebrating the diversity of thought....Levin’s book is not a polemic, but rather written in the rational, but also folksy style of a smart prosecutor. Think Spencer Tracy in 'Inherit the Wind.'...Levin’s book comes along in the right place, at the right time."

Mark Levin's new book is vital reading for all freedom-loving Americans. To discover why, watch last night's Life, Liberty & Levin program on Fox News. Mark devotes the entire show to giving viewers an overview of the book - which will help explain why it's currently at the #1 spot on the New York Times Bestseller list a day ahead of its release. The irony is that Levin devotes an entire chapter to lamenting the relentless decline of unbiased journalism at the New York Times.

China's new 'social credit system' is an Orwellian nightmare -Mosher/New York Post
"Imagine calling a friend. Only instead of hearing a ring tone you hear a police siren, and then a voice intoning, 'Be careful in your dealings with this person.' Would that put a damper on your relationship? It's supposed to. Welcome to life in China's 'Social Credit System,' where a low score can ruin your life in more ways than one....The government algorithm will go as far as to install an 'embarrassing' ring tone on the phones, shaming them every time they get a call in public. But an embarrassing ring tone, flight bans and slow trains are just the beginning of the dystopian nightmare that is now daily life in China for tens of millions of people. A low social credit score will exclude you from well-paid jobs, make it impossible for you to get a house or a car loan or even book a hotel room....The government claims that its purpose is to enhance trust and social stability by creating a 'culture of sincerity' that will 'restore social trust.' What it will actually create, of course, is a culture of fear and a nation of informants. This is because one of the ways that people can improve their own social credit score is to report on the supposed misdeeds of others. Individuals can earn points, for example, for reporting those who violate the new restrictions on religious practice, such as Christians who illegally meet to pray in private homes, or the Muslim Uyghurs and Kazakhs in China's far west whom they spot praying in public, fasting during Ramadan or just growing a beard. Of course, as the state progresses ever closer toward its goal of monitoring all of the activities of its citizens 24 hours a day, seven days a week, society itself becomes a virtual prison....It is China's ancient totalitarian impulse - the absolute rule of the god-emperor over his subjects - brought into the modern age. It is George Orwell's prophetic '1984' come alive...The Chinese Communist Party has given birth to the world's first high-tech digital dictatorship."

What if Green Energy Isn’t the Future? -Wall Street Journal
"There's a reason Warren Buffett decided to bet $10 billion on the future of oil and natural gas...A week doesn't pass without a mayor, governor or policy maker joining the headlong rush to pledge or demand a green energy future. Some 100 U.S. cities have made such promises. Hydrocarbons may be the source of 80% of America's and the world's energy, but to say they are currently out of favor is a dramatic understatement...The prevailing wisdom has wind and solar, paired with batteries, adding 250% more energy to the world over the next two decades than American shale has added over the past 15 years. Is that realistic?...Even bullish green scenarios still see global demand for oil and gas rising, if more slowly. If the favored alternatives fall short of delivering what growing economies need, will markets tolerate energy starvation? Not likely. Nations everywhere will necessarily turn to hydrocarbons. Green forecasters are likely out over their skis. All the predictions assume that emerging economies - the least wealthy nations - will account for more nearly three-fourths of total new spending on renewables. That won't happen unless the promised radical cost reductions occur...The reason? Using wind, solar and batteries as the primary sources of a nation's energy supply remains far too expensive....A common response to all of the above: Make more electric cars. But mere arithmetic reveals that even the optimists' 100-fold growth in electric vehicles wouldn't displace more than 5% of global oil demand in two decades."

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5.17.19 - Half of Americans One Paycheck From Disaster

Gold last traded at $1,275 an ounce. Silver at $14.38 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices eased back Friday on profit-taking and a firmer dollar. U.S. stocks traded lower on rising U.S.-China trade worries despite upbeat U.S. consumer sentiment data.

Global Markets, Yuan Tumble As China Crushes Trade Hopes -Zero Hedge
"World markets suffered a fresh bout of risk aversion on Friday after China doused hopes for a quick deal when its state media signaled a lack of interest in resuming trade talks with the U.S. under the current threat to escalate tariffs, while the government said stimulus will be stepped up to buttress the domestic economy. Asian stocks erased most gains for the day with the MSCI index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan sliding to 15-week lows and down 2.6% for the week at the end of trading...China's Shanghai Composite Index fell 2.5% after a front page commentary in the Communist Party's People's Daily evoked the patriotic spirit of past wars, saying the trade war would never bring China down. 'The China state media commentaries fueled concerns that the U.S.-China trade disputes will prolong, deterring risk-taking,' said Koji Fukaya, CEO of Japan's FPG Securities. 'This issue will probably be one of the major market drivers for a while as U.S.-China trade war influences global economic conditions.'"

Consumer confidence A Recession Indicator No One Is Talking About - and It's Flashing Red -Mauldin Economics
"The yield curve isn't the only sign recession is coming. Rising corporate misconduct says the same. Business scandals seem to peak at the end of every growth cycle. I think that’s because CEOs are human, and humans get overconfident when everything is going well. Allegations of negligence and/or misconduct at public companies now seem to be growing again....Why anyone would own shares in such companies, I don't know. For many, it's probably because they only care about a rising stock price. And they've been getting it. But if the stock is rising not because the business is well-run but because it is borrowing money to buy back its own shares, the gains won't last....With creative destruction now scarce, as zombie companies refuse to die and monopolies refuse to improve, we also struggle to generate even mild economic growth. I think those facts are connected. And that makes corporate corruption and incompetence a problem for everyone...Such conditions haven't ended well in the past."

U.S. Consumer Sentiment Hits Highest Level in 15 Years -Wall Street Journal
"U.S. household sentiment rose starkly at the beginning of May to its highest level in a decade and a half, driven by a brighter economic outlook...The survey's underlying gauge of future expectations increased to the highest level since 2004, driving most of the month's overall sentiment rise. 'That consumers view prospects for the economy both near and long term at the highest levels since 2004 coincides with more economists pushing out forecasts for the start of the next recession from 2020 to 2021,' said Robert Frick, economist at Navy Federal Credit Union....Richard Curtin, the survey's chief economist, pointed out that the index growth was recorded largely before the U.S.-China trade negotiations collapsed. He said negative references to tariffs rose in the past week and thinks they 'are likely to rise further in late May and June.'"

Half of Americans are just one paycheck away from financial disaster -Marketwatch
"Missing more than one paycheck is a one-way ticket to financial hardship for nearly half of the country's workforce. A new study from NORC at the University of Chicago, an independent social research institution, found that 51% of working adults in the United States would need to access savings to cover necessities if they missed more than one paycheck....The findings were based on a survey of more than 1,000 adults. The researchers interviewed a nationally representative panel designed to be indicative of the U.S. population. The survey provides a sobering look at Americans' precarious finances even as the economy is improving...'Even short disruptions in pay can cause significant hardship, as most Americans appear to be living paycheck-to-paycheck,' Angela Fontes, director of the Behavioral and Economic Analysis and Decision-Making (BEAD) program at NORC at the University of Chicago, said in the report."

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