Bryce Harper’s capital faux pas a hoot but not unprecedented — just ask Lance

first_imgBryce Harper, baseball’s newest $300 million man (give or take), pulled a rock in his introductory news conference with the Philadelphia Phillies.This recap brought to you by Brinks Armored Transportation, for when you have so much stinking cash you couldn’t spend it all if you tried: Harper, after seven years with the Washington Nationals, decided to throw himself on the free agent market during the offseason. It took a while, but late last week he and the Phillies agreed on a 13-year, $330 …last_img read more

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Movement for Good launched to inspire action

first_img“It is about personal responsibility. It is about not saying THEY must fix it, but I can fix it. I can help create the country I want my children to live in,” says Yvonne Johnston on behalf of the International Marketing Council of South Africa (IMC), custodian of Brand South Africa.Khathu Mamaila, Editor of City Press, notes: “The destiny of our country is in our hands, and we all have to take responsibility for the future. We encourage every person to become an active citizen, to take action, any action, to make South Africa the country we all want to live in.”Expanding on what an active citizen is, Themba Maseko, CEO of the GCIS says “an active citizen is someone who talks South Africa up, votes, doesn’t bribe, or do crime, initiates or participates in community projects, does their bit to save energy and treats others with tolerance, dignity and respect.”“If we work together, we can transform South Africa by creating an unstoppable momentum, and ultimately a tipping point,” SAYS Garth Japhet, the Executive Director of Heartlines, which is supported by First National Bank. Mr. Japhet went on to describe a revolutionary networking tool, the Social Networking Platform that Heartlines is launching – which uses communication technology to bring people across the country together.The vision for the Social Networking Platform is based on the statistic that approximately 80% of South Africans have access to a cell phone, which inspired the concept of harnessing this communications tool “for good”. A technological platform has been developed to enable people to join as members of the Social Networking Platform For Good via cell phone, thus becoming part of a larger movement for positive action.The Social Networking Platform For Good will send out weekly SMS messages providing inspiring and practical information on taking action – for individuals, families and community groups. In order to receive information most relevant to them, members will clarify their specific areas of interest and will provide basic profile information.For the 10% of South Africans who have access to the internet, the Movement for Good website (www.itstartswithyou.co.za) will provide information on how organisations can join the Movement for Good, as well as links for individuals to support the campaigns of member organisations or to join the Social Networking Platform For Good.Steuart Pennington from SA the Good News says, “The Movement for Good is part of our healing as a nation, understanding our progress is important and it starts with you.”Details of the Movement for GoodSouth Africans are good people, 93% of South Africans give to social causes (with donations, with time and with materials). Ordinary individuals donate R12 billion annually, the corporate sector R5 billion and we have 100 000 NGOs that are working to make a difference. Yet our headlines are dominated by stories of crime, corruption, HIV/Aids, poor education and lack of delivery.Our positive energy, so much of which is below the radar, needs to be mobilised, good people need to connect. We need to be visible – for good to prevail.The Movement for Good will do just that. By co-ordinating campaigns and activities by partner organisations, as well as through breakthrough SMS technology and a dynamic website – NGOs, SMME’s and corporates will be able to join the Movement for Good and individuals choose where they want to make a difference and join a community of likeminded individuals who want to work for good.That’s what movements do, they organise people, they create an unstoppable momentum, and ultimately a “tipping point” that builds a critical mass that will ensure the ground swell grows with a force to be reckoned with.The Movement for Good has been established to build a South Africa we all want to live in.Who started the Movement for Good?‘The Movement for Good, it starts with you’ was founded by City Press, GCIS, Heartlines, the International Marketing Council of South Africa (IMC), SA the Good News, the SABC, South African Tourism, the Valued Citizens Initiative and various government departments. Since its inception, the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ Organising Committee SA, City of Johannesburg, Eskom, FNB, IEC, Indalo Yethu, Kaelo, Meropa Communications, Moral Regeneration Movement, National Youth Commission, Nelson Mandela Foundation and Paula Fray & Associates have also joined the Movement for Good.While all these organisations are running very different campaigns, they are united by the fact that their campaigns are for the greater good of South Africa. These organisations decided to launch the Movement for Good to inspire everyone to act and become involved in doing good. Being a movement, rather than a campaign, the Movement for Good doesn’t have an end date. Instead it will use milestones to motivate all South Africans to work for good.Who can join the Movement for Good?Any organisation that runs a campaign that is for good can join.Individuals can also join, by supporting any of the campaigns run by member organisations of the Movement for Good or joining the Social Networking Platform For Good.Visit www.itstartswithyou.co.za for more information about the Movement for Good.EndsFor more information, including scheduling interviews and accessing photographs, contact:Candi Matavele: 011 772 1000, candim@meropa.co.zaClaire Taylor: 011 772 1000, clairet@meropa.co.zaIssued by Meropa Communications on behalf of the Movement for Good, it starts with you.last_img read more

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Nappy Run donates nappies to childcare centre

first_imgPampers communication manager Jeanne du Plessis and Nkanyezi Stimulation Centre founder and MD Thembekile Prisca Tshabalala at the hand-overThe Nappy Run was established in 2011 by the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa (NCPPDSA) to collect and donate disposable nappies to non-governmental organisations, orphanages, shelters and families in need.The organisation also works with children with disabilities to integrate them into their communities.Toiletries company Proctor & Gamble donated the 10 000 nappies to the council; the company has been working with the organisation since 2013 and has since donated R50 000 to it.On February 11, the council handed over 4 000 nappies to the Nkanyezi Stimulation Centre in the Orlando West area; the organisation was originally named Dimpho (gift in Sotho), but was renamed in honour of Nkanyezi Tshabalala, who had cerebral palsy. Nkanyezi died in September 2000 aged 11.The centre helps families with disabled children to adequately care for them.Nkanyezi’s mother, Thembekile Prisca Tshabalala, had promised him she’d continue helping other families with children like him.“I promised my son that even though he may have a tough time and the possibility of him staying with us may come to an end, he will always live inside my heart and help me take care of other children and their families who suffer from the same fate,” said Tshabalala, who is founder and MD at the centre.HELPING OTHERSThe Nkanyezi Stimulation Centre in Orlando West, Soweto helps families with disabled children to adequately care for them (Images: Bhekumuzi Mdakane)Jeanne du Plessis, ‎brand communication manager at Procter & Gamble, says, “I think the biggest contributors are the caregivers; some have their own children within this centre and some have volunteered their time to help take care of these lovely children and I think the most inspiring person is Prisca, who learnt from her own child and is now helping other families ever since she started this centre.”Actor and Nappy Run ambassador, Eloise Cupido, said, “When I heard about the awareness campaign that was happing here I thought to myself, ‘if I can add to this and help other people mostly the able-bodied people aware of the difficulties that these children really go through it would be a stepping stone from one of the things the children need as they too are as equal as me and you’.“What truly touched me is seeing how many other families are invested in others outside their own homes and I think our country has those kinds of people and if we can show them how to contribute as now people just don’t know where and how to go about giving back or helping.”PLAY YOUR PARTFor more information on the Nappy Run call Danie Botha-Marais on 081 017 5397 or email danie@nappyrun.org.za.last_img read more

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Doublemurder trial unfolds in Edmonton

first_imgAPTN National NewsA double-murder trial is wrapping up its second week in Edmonton.Michael Briscoe faces a life sentence for his role in the killing of a young girl and a 33 year-old woman in 2005.APTN National News reporter Noemi LoPinto brings you this story.last_img

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Japans minister of cybersecurity has never used computer

first_imgTOKYO — Japan’s minister in charge of cybersecurity is in the spotlight for acknowledging he has never used a computer and making comments showing he has no idea what a USB port might be.Ruling party lawmaker Yoshitaka Sakurada, also in charge of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, was replying Wednesday to questions from independent and opposition legislators.“I give instructions to my aide and so I don’t punch into a computer myself,” he said. “But I am confident our work is flawless.”When asked about the power grid and malware, Sakurada said USB was “basically never used” in the utility systems, appearing to not know what it might be.Lawmakers laughed incredulously at his replies, which were highlighted in Japanese media. Questioning and answers in Parliament are also carried live on national TV.Ministers in Japan almost always get parliamentary questions in advance. Often their answers are based on briefings from ministry bureaucrats. In Sakurada’s exchange, bureaucrats were seen rushing over to give him sheets of paper with information.Ministers are tapped by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and Sakurada was named to his position in the latest Cabinet reshuffle last month.Although the minister is not expected to have much hands-on responsibility in the handling of either cybersecurity or the Olympics, Sakurada’s high-profile bungling is an embarrassment for Abe.Sakurada, 68, a graduate of Meiji University, was first elected to parliament in 1996, representing Chiba prefecture, near Tokyo.His favourite issues are pushing for Japan’s economic prosperity and supporting its culture. “There is no genius that surpasses effort,” is his favourite motto.___Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyamaOn Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/yurikageyama/?hl=enYuri Kageyama, The Associated Presslast_img read more

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CORRECTION Grande Prairie man fourth killed on BC Peace roads since January

first_imgCORRECTION: Sgt. Tim Paulmert with the RCMP’s Peace Region Traffic Services explained that the Grande Prairie man killed in Sunday’s crash on the South Taylor Hill was 29 years old, not 19 as previously reported.FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — A Grande Prairie man is officially the fourth person that has been killed on highways in the Peace Region since the start of 2018.According to RCMP Sgt. Tim Paulmert with Peace Region Traffic Services, the crash happened Sunday afternoon at around 4:45. A 29 year-old man from Grande Prairie was the driver and lone occupant of a late-2000’s GMC pickup truck travelling northbound on Highway 97. The pickup truck crossed the centreline just north of the new rest area near the top of the South Taylor Hill and struck a southbound semi-truck head-on. With files from Global BC: https://globalnews.ca/news/4061420/car2go-high-speed-crash-ubc/ The driver of the semi-truck was uninjured, while 29 year-old driver of the pickup was pronounced dead at the scene. His name has not been released pending notification of next-of-kin.Sgt. Paulmert explained that police have not ruled out speed, alcohol, or distracted driving in the crash, but he said that road conditions are not considered a factor. He explained that the highway was bare and dry in a trackset pattern, with compact snow in the area. Sgt. Paulmert added that the RCMP are continuing their investigation into the crash.Sunday’s MVI is now the fourth fatal crash on highways in the B.C. Peace since the start of the year, which is twice as many fatal crashes than there have been in the City of Vancouver over the same timeframe. Vancouver’s second fatal crash of 2018 occurred early Sunday morning, when a 21 year-old man died in a single-vehicle crash while driving a Mercedes-Benz Car-2-Go.So far this year, no one over 30 years old has been killed on roads in the B.C. Peace, and two of the four fatalities were passengers. On January 25th, a 22 year-old Chetwynd man was killed when the vehicle he was riding in crossed the centreline and was t-boned on the passenger side by an oncoming semi. Eight days later, Sgt. Paulmert said that a 22 year-old woman was killed in a crash near the former Silver Sands Resort south of Chetwynd, after the vehicle she was in lost control in poor road conditions and was t-boned by an oncoming pickup truck.The most recent driver to perish at the wheel was a 17 year-old boy from Dawson Creek who died after his truck flipped when it hit the guardrail of the Taylor Bridge on January 5th. Sgt. Paulmert said that the teen was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash and that according to the preliminary investigation, insufficient tire tread may have also played a factor.Sgt. Paulmert concluded by reminding motorists to drive according to conditions, put aside any potential distractions, and to make sure their vehicles are mechanically sound.last_img read more

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Wahlburgers AE is to launch in 10 million homes a

first_imgWahlburgersA&E is to launch in 10 million homes across Europe and Africa this fall.The A+E Networks International-owned channel will go live in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal and Portuguese-speaking Africa.It will replace the Bio channel, which is rebranding. In German-speaking Europe, this is scheduled for September, while Iberia and Africa will follow in early October.This comes after A&E launched in Europe for the first time in November last year, as DTVE sister title TBI revealed at the time.The channel carries nonfiction series such as Wahlburgers, Duck Dynasty, Storage Wars and Bad Ink, and scripted programming. The new A&E channels will have locally-commissioned productions and local acquisitions.“These A&E launches will significantly strengthen our channel portfolio across German-speaking Europe, Iberia and Africa,” said Dean Possenniskie, managing director, EMEA, A+E.A&E launched in the US in February 1984, and is known as A+E Networks’ flagship channel. It is currently available in 75 territories worldwide.last_img read more

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All of us by now have seen the latest sales pitch

first_imgAll of us by now have seen the latest sales pitch from the Obama administration for yet another so-called “humanitarian intervention” in the Middle East. It is not hard to see that the case for war is a bunch of rubbish and will likely end in disaster for both Syria and the US. I am not diminishing the tragedy that is going on in Syria. The events there touch me on a personal level. I have good friends who live in Damascus and have been there myself several times when the situation wasn’t so hot. As some of you may know, I used to live in neighboring Beirut while I was cutting my teeth in finance at a regional investment bank. Due to its rich history and importance today, I have long been interested in the Middle East and sought ways to combine it with my professional background in finance. I know it may be hard to fathom given what is put forth 24/7 on the mainstream media and if you have never been there, but Damascus is actually an amazing city on many levels—that is when it is not an active warzone of course. It is arguably the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. The Christian quarter of the old city is one of the most enchanting places I have ever visited. And it’s tough to beat the pistachio encrusted sweets from the legendary 100+ year old Bakdash ice cream parlor in the souk el Hamidiyeh. Anyway, my purpose today is not give travel tips or to debunk the case for US intervention in Syria as hokum—David Galland did an excellent job of doing that in his latest piece here. Instead I want to talk about Syria in terms of the lessons it provides us in internationalization. It is human nature for people all around the world to have the “that can’t happen here” mentality. And prior to the deterioration of the situation, many Syrians believed the same. As Doug Casey has eloquently stated “The problem—your problem—is that any country can turn into a 1970s Rhodesia. Or a Russia in the ’20s, Germany in the ’30s, China in the ’40s, Cuba in the ’50s, the Congo in the ’60s, Vietnam in the ’70s, Afghanistan in the ’80s, Bosnia in the ’90s. These are just examples off the top of my head. Only a fool tries to survive by acting like a vegetable, staying rooted to one place, when the political and economic climate changes for the worse.” The uncomfortable truth is that, as history shows, no country is immune—especially one that has a deteriorating fiscal health—and internationalization is the ultimate insurance policy. You won’t be any worse off by moving some of your savings into multiple friendly jurisdictions and into things that are hard to confiscate, such as physical precious metals and foreign real estate. Obtaining a second passport is also an important ingredient in the mix. Once you have taken these steps you will have insulated yourself and your family to a high degree from the uncertainty and sovereign risk emanating from your home country. Developing your internationalization game plan takes time, and you must take action before it is too late. For Syrians, it would obviously have been optimal to have developed internationalization options many years ago. Having a second passport and a financial account abroad denominated in a currency other than the Syrian pound, which has suffered from hyperinflation, would have gone a long way for the average Syrian today. The Syrian passport is not a great travel document; it requires a visa for most countries outside of the Middle East. Having a second passport ensures that you will always have another place to potentially call home, another place where you will always have the legal right to live and work. In worst case scenarios, a second passport guarantees that once you get out of dodge, you won’t have to live like a refugee. A second passport can also come in handy when a government decides to starting treating its own citizens as beef cows instead of milking cows (i.e. when they need more soldiers for war) or if passport restrictions and other types of people controls are implemented. The Syrian government, for example, previously refused to renew the passports of Syrians abroad it suspected of being associated with the opposition. This is not surprising and should have been completely predictable—any government could and would behave in a similar manner. Any government has the ability to revoke the citizenship and/or passport of its citizens at a moment’s notice under any pretext that it finds convenient. Look at how the US cancelled Edward Snowden’s passport by fiat. It is not inconceivable that the US government would, for example, make it more difficult for Ron Paul supporters to travel internationally one day in the future. Heck, they have already taken the first step and labeled them potential domestic terrorists. The bottom line is that if you hold political views that the establishment of your home government does not like, don’t be surprised when they decide to restrict your travel options. In this case, having the political diversification that comes from having a second passport is even more important. Unfortunately, getting a second passport, while necessary, is not easy. There are no solutions that are at the same time cheap, easy, fast, and legitimate. There is a lot of misinformation and bad advice out there regarding black and grey market passports that could likely end up causing you significant problems. It is essential to have a trusted resource to guide you through the process. There are definitely some options that are better than others. You can find our top picks for the best countries to obtain a second passport in and how to do it in Going Global 2013, a comprehensive guide to internationalization from Casey Research.last_img read more

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In This Issue   Fed Heads see housing slow dow

first_imgIn This Issue. *  Fed Heads see housing slow down. *  Markets now think tapering is on for December. *  U.S. doesn’t like Germany’s export policies. *  ADP report shows rot on employment vine. And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! Markets Find FOMC Statement To Be Hawkish! Good day.  And a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday to you! The Red Sox fans are Tub Thumpin’ today after their team won the World Series last night, leaving my beloved Cardinals in the dust. The Cardinals now have the offseason to try and figure out where the holes in their bats came from, and how to fix them! It’s a long season, but really, it’s difficult for me to think about no baseball now until late February! But, as they say, all good things must come to an end. And it was a very good season for my Cardinals, just didn’t end up great. Well, the Big Event yesterday was the FOMC meeting in which I didn’t think Big Ben would say or do anything to rile the markets. Boy I was wrong! (See, Kathy, I do admit when I’m wrong! HA!) Sure the Fed Heads, led by Big Ben Bernanke, left rates unchanged, and kept the pedal to the metal with regards to bond buying each month. That’s $85 Billion per month, added to the Fed’s ever expanding balance sheet folks, but don’t let that get in the way of what the markets thought was not a very dovish statement.  Yes, the markets got something hawkish out of the statement, and I’ve been searching everywhere for the hawkish words, but so far, I’ve come up empty. So, the perceived hawkish tone to Bernanke’s statement, set the dollar back on the rally tracks.  I mean, I just don’t get it. The only real change to the text of the statement concerned the housing market, where the committee acknowledged that incoming data were consistent with a slowing pace of the housing recovery.  Now does that sound hawkish to you? It sure doesn’t to me. I guess the markets were looking for the Fed Heads to come out and say, “Ok folks, we’ve decided to keep Quantitative Easing (QE) in the tool kit from here on out.”  HEY! The Fed Heads may have done some questionable things over the years, in my opinion, but they aren’t going to say something like that, for if they did, the dollar would not see the light of day from here on out! Sure the Gov’t and The Fed Heads all know in their heart of hearts that they need a depreciated dollar to help pay for some of their debts or at least the debt servicing (interest on bonds) but they can’t have it fall off a cliff all at once! So, the euro lost about ½-cent, and Gold lost about $14. The shiny metal had gained throughout the day, climbing to a $12 gain before the FOMC statement. But by the time I left for the day, which by the way, was very late for me, Gold was down $2. The euro has gone on to lose more ground overnight, and has lost the 1.37 handle it to proudly held for over two weeks, even pushing up to and beyond 1.38 briefly. I can tell you that a report by the U.S. has really deep-sixed the euro. The U.S. identified Germany ahead of its traditional target, China, and the most recent problem country, Japan, in the “key findings” section of their semiannual currency report. You know, the report where the U.S. fails to name themselves as the biggest currency manipulators. But anyway, getting back to what the U.S. said about Germany. Apparently, the U.S. is concerned or should I say jealous, of Germany’s policies that create an export-led economy. The U.S. says the German policies are creating problems for the Eurozone and the global economy. Ok The conspiracy blood in me is making my spider sense tingle. And just like the proof that the Wikileaks cable held that the U.S. was involved in Gold manipulation because they feared Gold taking over for the dollar, this could be the same type of thing. Sure the euro has been much higher, in price,  than it presently sits. But the momentum that was building for a long run by the euro once again, thus making the dollar less desirable, was really starting to build some steam. I could feel it. In fact, I told a group of people yesterday that I thought the next Sea Change for the dollar was nearing, and that we could see it slip deeply back into the weak dollar trend.  But then I came out of that meeting to find this story on the WSJ.com UGH! BOO! Did I get you? Yes, today is Halloween! And the currency and metals screens are very scary this morning. A double whammy was thrown at the two asset classes yesterday, and I’m not sure they’ll be able to shake this downward spiral today. Maybe as time goes on, investors will forget that they thought the FOMC statement was hawkish (when it really wasn’t!), and forget all about this currency report from the U.S., which I’ll say again, should, if all things were equal and not fudged, show the U.S. on the same level as China when it comes to currency manipulators! Well, the U.S.’s fiscal year ended last month, and with the disruptions early this month, the totals are just now coming through. And, believe it or don’t (I refuse to believe it) The U.S. Budget Deficit for 2013 was $680 Billion, the lowest since 2008!  I’ve got a couple of things to say about this number. First of all, it’s a proven fact that the last two years the Budget Deficits were reported to be around $1.2 Trillion, but. if the U.S. Gov’t. were held to the same accounting rules as those that U.S. Corporation, the debt would have been more than $5 Trillion!  So what does that say about the $680 Billion?  There’s a math answer there, that I’m not going to get into, I just want to make the point that it’s not really “just” $680 Billion. The other thought on this number came to me from colleague Ty Keough, who said. “This reminds me of an old joke about a guy who remarked how good it felt when he stopped hitting himself in the head with a hammer.”  HA! Another thing eating at the euro this morning is the latest inflation reports for the Eurozone. Inflation has dipped to a 4-year low, and the markets now think that’s enough pressure on European Central Bank (ECB) President, Draghi, to cut interest rates. I’ll interject a thought here, that I’ve made before, and that is. Interest rates are already extremely low, I doubt seriously that any rate cut from here would do any good. Shoot Rudy, just ask the U.S. or Japan, about what their zero interest rate policies have done for them! The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) met last night, and kept rates unchanged. I told you earlier in the week, how RBNZ Gov. Wheeler had attempted to deep-six the NZ$ / kiwi, buy talking about how kiwi strength was doing the work of rate hikes to combat inflation. He was trying to throw the markets off the scent of rate hikes that are coming in 2014.  But then the statement following the rate announcement last night, repeated their earlier statement that rates were likely to rise in 2014. Remember, the RBNZ still has not reversed the emergency rate cuts that were made after the earthquakes. So, the RBNZ has some work to do. And you’ll find Wheeler there every step of the way, dissing the currency. Which means, lots of volatility going forward. The Chinese renminbi/ yuan is set to record its best performing month since May in Rocktober, but you wouldn’t know it from the past 3 days of renminbi / yuan fixings. The Chinese have fixed their currency weaker for the past 3 days. But as I said earlier this week, I put this down to the Chinese signaling to the markets that the renminbi / yuan is not a ONE-WAY Street to appreciation. The Optimism for a much stronger Chinese economy is running high. I saw a report yesterday where an economist in China was forecasting that China’s GDP would rise to 9% next year!  So, the Chinese Gov’t and Central Bank are simply trying to calm the optimism before it gets too jiggy. So. do you have little ones that will get all costumed up for Halloween? Those are the cutest trick-or-treaters! Grandson Everett is going to be Woody (from Toy Story). I don’t know what granddaughter Delaney Grace or other grandson Braden Charles are going to be, as minds have changed more than the colors of a chameleon! I saw a story on MarketWatch yesterday that ranked the top ten candies for Halloween, and believe or not, they all involve chocolate! My fave, Almond Joy, was #10, so it made the top ten!  And it’s a kind of warm day here, so at least the little ones won’t have to have coats on covering up their costumes! Ok. don’t know why I just went there, but thought I would intersperse Halloween things throughout the letter today. BOO!  Back to the task at hand. Well. did you see where the President announced plans to attract foreign investment to the U.S.?  Hmmm.  Yes, that’s needed, badly. So, let’s see what the plans include. Well, traditionally, the U.S. left the states and cities to compete directly with foreign countries, but now for the first time, domestic and overseas teams at commerce and State will make recruiting business investment one of their core priorities.  Well, it will be interesting to see how this works. But, I’m going to have to call a balk here. I wonder how the states and cities feel about the Gov’t “helping them”. There were some 2nd & 3rd Tier economic reports that printed in Australia last night, and even though they weren’t considered market moving, taken altogether, they make an imprint in the monetary policy in Australia, which has a lot of moving parts, and is the subject of lots of opinions as to what the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) will do going forward. In the end last night, the reports led by a stronger than expected building permits report, helped the Aussie dollar (A$) to buck the buy U.S. dollars trade. I still think that the RBA has done enough in terms of rate cuts to help their economy, and that the next move, albeit a ways off, will be a rate hike. But there are still quite a few analysts and economists that believe one more rate cut arrow remains in the RBA’s quiver, and they will use that rate cut arrow by the end of the 1st QTR 2014.  Shoot Rudy, by then, everything may have changed in Australia, and who knows what will be needed!  For What It’s Worth. Yesterday, the ADP employment change report for October printed, and showed some rot on the vine. 150,000 new jobs were expected, but only 130,000 were reported as created in October.  So, I found this on the LATimes.com, which talks about the ADP report and more. “Business hiring slowed this month with the private sector adding just 130,000 net new jobs as the partial government shutdown hit an already weakening labor market, payroll processor ADP said Wednesday. The figure was below the 150,000 average monthly job growth in the sector over the previous year as the hiring in the service sector fell off in October, said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, which assists ADP in the monthly report. “The government shutdown and debt limit brinkmanship hurt the already softening job market in October,” Zandi said. Firms that do government contracting were affected by the 16-day government shutdown and the fiscal impasse probably caused small companies to hold off on hiring, he said. “I don’t think the Federal Reserve board members would feel very comfortable until the job growth is closer to 200,000” a month, Zandi said. He added that the labor market, which softened over the summer because of this year’s tax increases and automatic federal spending cuts, was “a long way” from that level right now. Zandi estimates that the Labor Department will report next week the economy added just 100,000 net new jobs in October. The report’s release was delayed a week by the shutdown.” Chuck again. If the Jobs Jamboree really does only print 100,000 next week, I would think that the markets will finally shake off the hold they have on them that the Fed might taper in December!  And see, I told you a couple of weeks ago that the disruptions are going to be blamed for everything going forward. Which is a bunch of bunk! To recap. The FOMC statement didn’t change, except for a comment about the housing recovery slowing down, but the markets took it as “hawkish” and they became a bunch of worry warts about Fed Taper in December. This pushed the dollar to the “buy dollars” trade, and the currencies and metals lost ground immediately following the statement. The U.S. moved Germany ahead of China and Japan as most problem country for their export driven economy policies. Chuck thinks it’s more to do with jealousy than anything else! This has really pushed the euro lower. RBNZ left rates unchanged, and in Australia the aggregate of good economic reports has pushed the A$ higher. Currencies today 10/31/13. American Style: A$ .9510, kiwi .8290, C$ .9565, euro 1.3640, sterling 1.6035, Swiss $1.1055, . European Style: rand 9.9630, krone 5.9405, SEK 6.4585, forint 215.90, zloty 3.0630, koruna 18.8640, RUB 32.09, yen 98.30, sing 1.2385, HKD 7.7530, INR 61.49, China 6.1425, pesos 12.95, BRL 2.1995, Dollar Index 79.99, Oil $96.81, 10-year 2.50%, Silver $22.26, Platinum $1,463.20, Palladium $743.50, and Gold. $1,332.72 That’s it for today. Crazy long day yesterday, first time in a very long time that I was here all day.  I was in trouble at home for working so long, but no worries, It was just one day and had to be done. BOO!  In the “old days” some employees in the bank I worked in would come in on Halloween in costume. But when bank robbers started using costumes, that all had to stop. When my oldest kids, Dawn and Andrew were young, Kathy would bring them in to the office in their costumes. I remember the year they were Mickey and Minnie Mouse! Then Alex came along, and he used to come in too, but he was never really a fan of costumes. He would have half of it off by the end of the night! So. Happy Halloween! As long as I keep it as a Trick-or-Treat thing with little kids, and not go to other stuff, then it’s OK with me!  There’s always next year Cardinals. At least you made it to the Big Dance (World Series), there are 28 other teams that wish they could have been there! So, put away the Red gear/ clothes until next spring. And with that. I hope you have a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday!  BOO! Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837last_img read more

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In This Issue   Tight ranges for currencies

first_imgIn This Issue. *  Tight ranges for currencies & metals. *  Euro is only currency to break out. *  Aussie Trade Deficit prints better than expected. *  Trends. And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! Yellen Is Confirmed. Good Day!  And a Tom Terrific Tuesday to you! Burrrrrrr. It’s cold! It’s the real life version of the hit movie: The Big Chill! Remember that one? That was a pretty good movie, but the music in it was even better, given that it brought back such great songs that most people had forgotten about! Music from my teen years. I saw a brief interview with Linda Ronstadt last night on TV, brother could she sing in her younger days! The saddest song I think I’ve ever heard, is her version of: A Long, Long Time. Speaking of a Long, Long Time. I sure hope the Big Chill doesn’t last a long, long time! The highway that I take to work, still only has one lane cleared of ice. One thing that has lasted a long, long time is the weak dollar trend! About 2 years ago, I was talking with the Big Boss, Frank Trotter, and said I worried that we no longer were dealing with trends, that the U.S. had built so much debt that we would just continue to see the circuit breakers of dollar strength, and then return to the underlying weak dollar trend. That certainly appears to be the case, as I look back these past couple of years. Every time the currencies begin to rally with some conviction against the dollar, “something” happens, and the dollar flips a circuit breaker. Well, I’m no electrician, but I would think that after a circuit breaker gets flipped enough times that it eventually wears out. I’ll have to look that up to see if that’s correct, but logically thinking that would be the case, eh? For those of you new to class, when I talk about the weak dollar trend, I’m talking about a overall trading pattern that’s not a One-Way Street, and could have volatility. This current weak dollar trend began in February of 2002, and saw a circuit breaker flipped in 2005, 2008, 2011, and 2013. But each time, the dollar went right back to its underlying weak trend. Which is where it exists today. A lot of economists and analysts have forecast that 2014 will be the year of the dollar. Of course, they’ve said that for the past 5 years this time of year. What they simply do not understand is that a trend begins for a fundamental reason, and the trend doesn’t completely end until that fundamental reason is corrected or at least well on its way to being corrected.  Debt is the main fundamental reason the dollar began this journey in the weak dollar trend, and I hate to remind everyone but we certainly haven’t done anything close to correcting that fundamental reason, now have we?  When I was in Vancouver last summer for the Agora Financial Symposium (AFS) I surprised the crowd and the folks at Agora, who may never ask me back, by talking about this call for the dollar weakness to end, and referring to it as the Sweet Spot. I then talked about how the dollar’s “Sweet spot” reminded me of the great Trini Lopez song. And then sang to the audience, and on the second verse, asked them to sing along with me. Lemon Tree very pretty, and the lemon flower is sweet, but the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat!  I still feel strongly about this, folks. But trust me, I don’t think singing during a serious presentation probably wasn’t a good idea. But then, I’ve always used the AFS to do something different, that breaks up the day of one presenter after another talking about investments. Well. Yesterday, we saw the currencies range trade, and in the overnight markets there was a lot of nothing going on. I certainly can’t blame the Big Chill on the overnight markets, for it’s summertime in Australia and New Zealand, and I’m told it was over 100 in Australia yesterday! There just wasn’t enough activity in the NY markets yesterday to get the rest of the world all fired up overnight!  Gold, tried to add to its recent gains, but every time it went up $4 it went back down to flat, the up $4, and back down. It was as if somebody or some entity was playing a game.. Nah, no one would do that.  HA! Speaking of Australia. The Aussies printed a smaller than expected Trade Deficit at A$ 118 Million, which in my mind is pretty much a flat deal. But the markets weren’t impressed and pushed the Aussie dollar (A$) down by 1/2-cent. But that’s about the only currency that has seen much movement overnight. I have to say that I think I get why the markets were not pleased with the Trade Deficit number. You have to not think logically, but use a Trader mentality for this, so stick with me.  The traders probably looked at the smallish size of the Trade Deficit, and said, “this was realized because of the weaker A$… And if the Aussie Gov’t figures this out, they’ll probably push for even more A$ weakness”.   OK. make sense? Well about as much as trader mentality can I guess! The euro pushed higher by about 1/2-cent during the day yesterday, and has added a few ticks this morning.  This morning the Eurozone’s largest economy, Germany, printed some much better Unemployment, and Retail Sales data.  First, the German Unemployment numbers were better in December for the first time in the last 5 months. The number of people out of work decreased by 15,000, and pushed the total for the year to 230,000.  November Retail Sales increased 1.6%. In addition, the latest Investor Confidence survey from the think tank, ZEW, showed that Investor Confidence had surged to the highest level since 2006! On a side bar, I read on the Bloomberg this morning that starting this year, citizens from Romania and Bulgaria will be allowed to seek employment in Germany. This comes seven years after they joined the European Union. It is thought that this will lead to an influx of workers seeking jobs in Germany by 120,000. Staying in Europe. Sweden bucked the trend that we saw all last week, of countries around the world printing weaker than the previous month’s manufacturing data. Sweden posted a manufacturing index number (PMI) of 57.7 in December VS 57 in November. Sweden continues to outshine most of Europe, even its kissin cousin that lives next door, Norway. This data has the krona pushing the appreciation envelope, but not too strongly. And then finally before I leave Europe, we’ll fly over the Alps into Switzerland, where the Swiss National Bank (SNB) announced yesterday that they will post a $10 Billion loss for 2013, mostly because of the losses in their Gold holdings. I’m sure they also lost a shekel or two on their currency move in 2013 to Aussie dollars, as the A$ sure didn’t end 2013 on a good note, after spending most of the year around $1.04, it fell, and I know I don’t have to tell you that, but I’m just explaining the SNB’s losses. But we don’t really care about Central Bank losses do we? Well, in a way we do. Because just as easily as the SNB bought Gold and Aussie dollars they can sell them, which would be just like a Central Bank to sell into weakness. So, was the SNB wrong to “diversify”? NO! This was one year. but what about all the previous years when the diversification made them money? It’s about reducing the over risk of one’s investment portfolio folks, and that goes for Central Banks as well as individuals! Take the Fed, and their bond buying. This was not diversification at all, and now  they’re going to have to hold those more than $3.5 Trillion worth of Treasuries and Muni bonds until they mature, because to sell them into the markets right now would be crazy and bad for bond yields. Remember bond pricing has a reverse relationship with yields. So, if there’s a ton of selling bond prices would go down, which would mean the yields would go up. And we know that the Fed has stated that they are going to do everything they can to keep that from happening. Remember our discussion about Reverse Repos? If you missed class on December 4, that’s when I talked about Reverse Repos. You can either go to the Pfennig’s Blog site at: www.dailypfennig.com and go to the archives, or do a simple search on Google by typing: Daily Pfennig: reverse repos. this will take to a list of Daily Pfennigs that got posted by other entities.. Just pick one, and read it! OK.  Well, Janet Yellen was confirmed by the Senate yesterday to be the next Fed Chairperson. But it was scary there for a little while, as she received the least amount of Senate support on record, with a vote of 56-26. I think those “no votes” were to show everyone that these Senators are not happy with the fact that the Fed’s balance sheet has grown to more than $4 Trillion, and now Yellen will have to preside over the unwinding of Quantitative Easing, ZIRP (zero interest rate policy), and overall unlimited liquidity. OR. having to admit that the unwinding is not prudent at the time, and just keep the bus running.. My money is on the latter of those two. I’ve gone on record here in the Pfennig several times explaining my position on Tapering, so I won’t bore you with that again, but once again, you can find it if that interests you, either in the archives or through Google. And the markets aren’t convinced that she’ll carry on with the tapering, as the 10-year Bond yield has slipped back below 3%… But I have to get away from talking about the Fed before my blood pressure starts to rise, and I begin yelling at the walls again! OK. Hall & Oates are singing Sara Smile on the IPod, so that will settle me down. Up north in Canada, where I wish they would keep their arctic blasts of weather, they will print their Trade Balance today for November. Recall that October’s Trade Balance in Canada was a Surplus? Well, the “experts” believe that November’s data will show that Canada slipped back into a deficit. But, by only C$ 100 Million, which to me, as I said above with the Aussie Trade Deficit, is pretty much flat. So, Canada is showing the world that they can have a semi-strong currency and still print good Trade Merchandise numbers. I talked to a group of young people last Friday, the Coro Fellows in Public Affairs, and they asked me what the U.S. could do to improve their trade position and become more competitive with their exports. Brother, was I loaded for bear on that question! Thank you, to whomever it was that asked that question. Softball for Chuck! But they wanted to know, because all they had ever heard was that it was the other country’s fault that we weren’t competitive.  You know. I wrestled when I was in High School, and it was in wrestling that I discovered that you have no one else to blame for your loss but yourself. You can’t blame the other kid because he trained harder than you. You can’t blame your training partner because he didn’t work you hard enough.  It was only me, my choice to get better, and make my presentation on that mat more competitive. It’s the same with our exports. Our leaders cry about how the Chinese renminbi is too strong and it needs to get stronger VS the dollar. Wait, that means what they are in essence saying is that they need for the dollar to get weaker. Now, switch over to Germany for a minute. The Germans deal with a very strong currency, the euro, which is 1/3rd of a cent more expensive than the dollar, and much stronger than yen, and a host of others, but does their exports suffer? NO! And why? Because just like me wrestling, they chose to make a better presentation of their goods and be more competitive because of value. Whew! I’m worn out now! I feel like I just went 6 minutes on the mat! HA! And now it’s as if I’m in a tournament and now I have to go wrestle another guy, because.  I’m going to talk about the latest thing on Gold. What I’m talking about is that even MarketWatch ran a story yesterday on Price Manipulation in Gold.. Sure, they were just quoting guys and using the proof that we’ve already talked about, but the point here is that MarketWatch was doing this. not the usual suspects when it comes to trying to make price manipulation in Gold public news. I have to wonder if this could become so widespread in coverage that the CFTC (commodities regulator) will feel that they actually need to enforce their own regulations? Or is that just wishful thinking? Probably. But one can hope, can’t they? The U.S. will print its November Trade Deficit today, and it should come in around $40 Billion. I read a story last week by a guy that said that the Trade Deficit means nothing, and that people should not pay attention to it. I beg to differ, buddy! Countries that have a Trade Surplus get to build a treasure chest of reserves that can be used when needed, instead of going into debt. So, if it’s good to have a Trade Surplus, it is bad to have a Trade Deficit! No mid week holiday this week, I’m addicted to them! So I guess I’ll just have to take tomorrow off! HA! As if!  The Peoples Bank of China (PBOC) finally got back to work on allowing the renminbi to appreciate, after 3 days of weakening the value of the currency.  I continue to believe that these weaker moves are simply the PBOC’s way of keeping the markets from having a view that the currency is a One-Way street to appreciation. For What It’s Worth. In keeping with the thoughts on Gold, I found this on zerohedge.com, which I’ve told you is a site that visit regularly for tidbits of info.   Here are a couple of snippets from an article found there yesterday. “Why do we continue to keep the faith with gold (and silver)? We can encapsulate the argument in one statistic. Last year, the US Federal Reserve enjoyed its 100th anniversary, having been founded in a blaze of secrecy in 1913. By 2007, the Fed’s balance sheet had grown to $800 billion. Under its current QE program (which may or may not get tapered according to the Fed’s current intentions), the Fed is printing $1 trillion a year. To put it another way, the Fed is printing roughly 100 years’ worth of money every 12 months. (Now that’s inflation.) Conjuring up a similar amount of gold from thin air is not so easy.” Chuck again. That’s right! Even if you knew that there was Gold in a mine, you would still have to go down and find it, and mine it, bring it out and so on.  Not as easy as going to the Fed’s computer and entering some numbers to add to their balance sheet. right? To recap. Yellen was confirmed as Fed Chairperson but it certainly wasn’t a clean vote, as 26 Senators voted no. The currencies traded in a range yesterday, with the euro about the only currency gaining more than 1/2-cent. Overnight there wasn’t much movement except in the A$, which is getting sold even though they printed a better than expected Trade Deficit number! Currencies today 1/7/14. American Style: A$ .8940, kiwi .83, C$ .9355, euro 1.3645, sterling 1.6420, Swiss $1.1030, . European Style: rand 10.6130, krone 6.1540, SEK 6.4905, forint 220.50, zloty 3.0615, koruna 20.1320, RUB 33.18, yen 104.45, sing 1.27, HKD 7.7545, INR 62.30, China 6.1042, pesos 13.04, BRL 2.3605, Dollar Index 80.65, Oil $93.93, 10-year 2.96%, Silver $20.00, Platinum $1,416.75, Palladium $738.88, and Gold. $1,237.38 That’s it for today. Congrats to the Florida State football team for winning the NCAA Championship game last night VS Auburn.  I only watched the first half, and thought Auburn had the game under control. But a fake punt gave FSU life, and they went on to win. Our colleague, Mike Harrell aka Cisco, had his FSU shirt on yesterday. So, he’ll be a happy camper today! It was -6 this morning as I started my car. All the schools are closed, which means their Christmas break is even longer. Paul McCartney is singing about somebody knocking on the door, which is one of those songs that get your head bobbing, but certainly doesn’t have a strong meaningful message!  Our little Christine is here, so that means I’m really late getting this out! UGH! So, I hope you have a Tom Terrific Tuesday, and keep warm! Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837last_img read more

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