Lewis: Trump looks poised to continue “socialism for elite Wall Street guys”

Michael Lewis, “The Undoing Project” author, weighs in on insider trading, Wall Street regulation and the Trump administration. Here is a direct video link.

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Danielle on The Financial Survival Network

Danielle was a guest today with Kerry Lutz on The Financial Survival Network talking about recent developments in the world economy and markets.  You can listen to an audio clip of the segment here.

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Using bacteria and waste water to make electricity

Smarter energy and water solutions are everywhere.

All of us use water and in the process, a lot of it goes to waste. Whether it goes down drains, sewers or toilets, much of it ends up at a wastewater treatment plant where it undergoes rigorous cleaning before it flows back to the environment. The process takes time, money and a lot of energy.

 What if that wastewater could be turned into energy? It almost sounds too good to be true, but environmental engineer Bruce Logan is working on ways to make it happen.  See:  Bacteria, energy producers of the future? 

Here is a direct video link.

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BMW to pay for ‘sales-driven’ irresponsible lending culture

Interesting precedent here;  more claw backs coming for other car dealers worldwide? See: BMW to pay $57 million for irresponsible lending in Australia:

Australia’s corporate regulator said on Tuesday that German carmaker BMW (BMWG.DE) has to pay A$77 million ($57 million) to compensate customers who received loans they could not afford, in what is Australia’s largest ever consumer credit remediation program…”BMW Finance had a sales-driven culture that failed to comply with the requirements of the credit laws and resulted in poor outcomes for many consumers,” ASIC Deputy Chairman Peter Kell said in the statement.

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Snowden with Katie Couric: thoughts on democracy

Valuable food for thought in this discussion. His comments starting at 16:50 around the history of democracy are insightful: “Every act of progression in our nation’s history involved tension with laws..that were wrong.”  Worthy reflection on notions of right and wrong, cost and benefits, state crimes and individual acts of civil disobedience.

In an exclusive interview with Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric in Russia, Edward Snowden, the fugitive former NSA contractor who leaked information about U.S. surveillance activities, talks about Putin, life in Russia with his longtime girlfriend and the possibility of returning to the U.S. to face justice in a Trump administration. Here is a direct video link.

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If only price didn’t matter…

If only valuations didn’t matter and the price paid for financial assets did not define investment returns.  Then we could always confidently buy and never worry–how awesome would that be?

If everyone could buy at every price and only make profits, then we would all be well off (most aren’t) and pensions and retirement funds would not have deficits (but most do).

While Central Bankers and other finance types talk in theory, the populace lives in a reality where savings are hard to amass and easy to lose.

We are living in a time when risk and return prospects across the world’s asset markets have rarely, if ever, been worse.  Most dangerous of all, in this extend and pretend era, the most willfully blind, reckless and unscrupulous participants appear to have the answers.  As usual, false prophets and misguided thinking will not be revealed until capital devastation has already hit.  John Hussman summarizes in Complacency and the Fat Left Tail:

Presently, we observe wide internal market dispersion, including weakness among interest-sensitive securities, tepid uniformity across developed markets, and an abrupt whack to technology stocks last week. The combination of a steeply overvalued, overbought, overbullish market with hostile yield trends and divergent internals is not one we take lightly. It’s that combination that has most often been associated not only with emerging bear markets but with market crashes.

The below chart from my partner Cory Venable, offers an overview of the ‘weakness among interest-sensitive securities’ mentioned in Hussman’s quote above.  After plunging into February 2016, everything bounced together over the past few months.  Still only credit-delirious Canadian financials have managed to eke out some marginal price progress on borrowed time (XFN in green).
TSX sectors below 2014 high
The other ‘defensive’ income favorites like utilities, REITs and preferred shares have lost value since 2014, as holders have collected some dividends and hoped their capital was secure. Unfortunately it’s not, and the looming downside for irrationally priced assets is not something that mere mortals can afford to bear, no matter what they may believe at the moment.

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