Posts Published by Monroe

Teen charged with involuntary manslaughter: Encouraged boyfriend’s suicide

  Michelle Carter, seventeen years old, was the girlfriend of Conrad Roy III, who was eighteen. She took social media to a new level that resulting in a devastating ending. By using text messages she encouraged Roy to end his life. Roy was already troubled was in the act of committing suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning. According to a Fox News report on March 1, the teenager was egged on by his girlfriend to not back out of his plans. She now faces charges of involuntary manslaughter, which is punishable by law to up to twenty years in prison.   Teenage girlfriend tells boyfriend to go for it – suicide!   Roy was sitting in his truck that was already filling up with carbon monoxide when he quickly jumped out of the truck with second thoughts. He was parked at a K-Mart in Fairhaven and took along a gas generator so he could take his own life. Since his mind was unsure of whether to continue with the deed or not he reached out to his girlfriend, Michelle Carter with a text telling her he wasn’t sure if he could go through with it or not. She responded in another text to just get back in. He did just that, ending his young life after receiving the response back from his girlfriend.   How can someone who calls themselves “girlfriend”, respond back in such a way to one she was supposed to be in love with. Michelle, it seems has encouraged him to commit suicide multiple times and this time he gave in to her wishes. It is awful to think that she didn’t do what love sick teenagers would do and reach out for help for her boyfriend. She never called the authorities, or asked for medical assistance to help prevent this terrible tragedy from happening. Michelle didn’t bother to call her parents, Conrad’s parents or anyone from school to help him and help prevent his death. She did text additional messages after his death, stating that she missed him and organized a fundraiser called “Homers for Conrad” to help raise awareness about suicide. This was a little too late and more than likely an afterthought, never thinking she would be charged with his death since he actually took his own life.   Nevertheless, Michelle was charged, released on a $2,500 bond and was ordered by the court to staff off of social media sites until after her court appearance which will be held on April 17. She, her lawyer and family seems surprised that Michelle is being charged with this crime, thinking it is outrageous and wrong since Conrad did the deed himself without her being present. Authorities and Conrad’s family beg to differ with their thinking.   Michelle’s family released the following statement to The Boston Herald stating that; “Our hearts have and remain broken for the Roy family. For everyone that does not know our daughter, she is not the villain the media is portraying her to be. She is a quiet, kind, and sympathetic young girl. She tried immensely to help Mr. Roy in his battle with depression. We know that once all of the facts are released, our daughter will be found innocent.”   The April 17 court date is set and isn’t far away. We’ll all know how the judge and jury find Michelle Carter on the charges that she is accused of presently. Whether she’ll be sentenced or not is still yet to be determined. It is a terrible tragedy that a young man took his own life and an even bigger tragedy that the one that was in love with him sat back and didn’t do anything to discourage him from following through with his wishes, didn’t seek help and in fact, actually encouraged him to go through with the suicide.   Deepest sympathies are extended to the family of Conrad Roy.…

Kate Middleton pregnancy woes: Prince Charles wants palace a tourist attraction

  Families have differences when it comes to just about everything that another family member does. It is no different with the royals in England either, and then again, when they argue or have a family feud everyone seems to hear about it one way or another. Kate Middleton should be enjoying the remainder of her pregnancy without having family stress from all sides right now. According to a Monday, March 2 report from the Inquistir, it seems that Price Charles thinks Kate Middleton will be in for a rude awakening when he finally is able to call the shots and hold the reins to Buckingham Palace.   Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visits Cape Hill Children’s Centre Prince Charles wants palace a tourist attraction Rumor has it that Kate wanted to have her mother, Carole Middleton assists her when she delivers her second child in lieu of a nurse making Queen Elizabeth furious and putting her foot down that this would not be happening. Kate may have mentioned that she wanted her mother to be present at the birth of her second child and things got twisted in the news as the story passed from one source to another. With all the medical issues Kate has experienced during her pregnancies, no one doubts that mom’s presence wouldn’t be welcomed and that she would also have all the medical professionals present when she actually does deliver the baby for safety’s sake.   “Kate was determined to have the baby in the comfort of [her] home with William present,” the palace insider said. “She consulted medical experts and they drew up plans to install all the equipment in a room close to William and Kate’s master bedroom. But they didn’t anticipate the Queen’s reaction.”   “The Queen was horrified and pointed out they must not take risks with a baby who one day will be second in line to the throne,” the source added. “It was a shock to Kate that the Queen was so concerned. Her message left Kate in no doubt that this wasn’t so much a request, but an order!”   When Kate gave birth to Prince George she did so without drugs so a home birth wouldn’t be something she could be interested in having. Queen Elizabeth also gave birth at home to Prince Charles but not when Princess Anne was born. This may be why she is against home births since no two are alike and additional medical personnel would be required at a moment’s notice.   Reports are in that the baby will be berthed at London’s St. Mary’s Hospital in Paddington with a full medical staff present as it was done when Prince George was born in July of 2013. Kate and William’s second child is due to be born in April of this year. There have been additional rumors from others that a copy of the baby’s ultrasound was released that claimed Kate is pregnant with a baby girl who will be named after Princess Diana. If Kate has a baby girl, her name may just be Diana as everyone is predicting, but there hasn’t been any official news stating that the ultrasound that was published was actually Kate’s. With only a short time to go everyone will be sitting at the edges of their seats to find out if Kate and William will be having a boy or a girl and the name they have chosen for their child.   In the meantime, Prince Charles is more than ready and enthusiastic about taking the reins over when the time comes with the Queen’s passing. This is sad to hear since she is still alive, active and has her hands-on when it comes to family matters as usual. The stories may be speculative but also may be true that Charles wants Buckingham Palace to no longer be a residence for the royals. Instead it is being said that he wants to convert the palace into a tourist attraction that would include an art gallery and as a center for events that will be open to the public. Part of the reasoning behind this is because of the expense it would cost to upgrade the family home into one that is up to code again. It seems that there are many flaws and structural repairs that would cost over fifty million to upgrade the roof, walls and heating system. Maybe since his mother has referred to Buckingham Palace as more of an office than a home which she resides in is part of the cause for him to want to make the changes that are being spoken of lately and that the Royal Family will eventually be relocated to Windsor Castle.…

Charleston statue spray-painted with ‘Black Lives Matter’ on Confederate figure

The United Nations Conference on Climate Change scheduled to be held in Paris in December 2015 will aim to reach a new agreement between the States involved in the negotiation process in order to limit greenhouse gases emissions and the rise in temperatures. Beyond the sole environmental concern, the conclusion of this agreement is underpinned by the energy transition issue, which arises with ever greater insistence facing the depletion of hydrocarbon resources.   University of California researchers estimate that the 1.332 trillion crude oil barrels of reserves may be depleted by the year 2041. In this perspective, all countries will have to make a change in their “energy software”, but this problem is even more acute for oil and hydrocarbon producers as energy is also their main source of wealth and sometimes the core of their economy.   Recognizing this, States, local authorities and investors around the world support many initiatives in favor of renewable energy, reflecting the will to take this necessary step towards an effective transition.   A multi-speed Europe   Historically, awareness of European countries grew regarding this matter have grown at different paces and according to political changes, with considerable advance on the Nordic side (for instance the exploitation of geothermal energy) or even Germany with its objective of complete abandonment of nuclear energy by the year 2022.   Initiatives for the fight against climate change and for the development of renewable energy take many forms: research grants, incentives or disincentives tax, regulatory measures, eco-neighborhoods financing, setting up of experimental labs and working groups on the subject, etc. Among these initiatives involving private and public actors, we can also take the example of the European association “Energy Cities”, created 25 years ago, that inspired many other similar initiatives worldwide. Its French president, Claire Roumet emphasizes the experience of her association in accompanying the energy transition at a local level, with the aim of involving all stakeholders in an integrated dynamic program.   In any case, today, at all levels, European countries within the European Union integrate environmental issues in all their public policies, and they stand at the forefront of the negotiations in view of the COP21.   A global momentum   Many cities around the world promote their commitment to renewable energy, and it is not the sole prerogative of Europe. Toronto Mayor Gregor Robertson, for example, stated that he wanted to rely only on renewable energy for his city by 2020. The large States are mobilized as well and today they all have a green agenda: China itself recently became the first investor in green energy, with no less than $ 89.5 billion invested last year. “This strong investment in clean energy (in 2014) will surprise observers who foresaw the turmoil in renewable due to the fall in oil prices since the summer” says Michael Liebreich, chairman of New Energy Bloomberg Finance. A proof that the sense of emergency is now integrated by all stakeholders at all levels of action.   Oil-producing countries, aware of the risk   Beyond environmental issues, oil-producing countries are, without a doubt, the most affected by this issue of energy transition today, since their economy relies on the exploitation of finite resources. They are also often the first consumers as they have a privileged access to it. The Saudi Minister for Petroleum and Mineral resources, Ali Al-Naimi, well aware of this reality, stated last May at the Business and Climate Summit in Paris: “One day the world will no longer need hydrocarbons. I do not know when it will happen, probably in 2040, in 2050 or later. Greenhouse gas emissions and global warming are among humanity’s most pressing concerns. (…) Societal expectations on climate change are real, and our industry is expected to take a leadership role. We are doing this in Saudi Arabia. “   Energy cities, integrated energy business districts: initiatives promoted by visionary investors like Esam Janahi.   Several projects are already underway or firmly anchored in the gulf and the Middle-East region, promoted by local investors who see in the energy transition a real opportunity. In Qatar, for example, the Energy City Qatar project, launched by Esam Janahi, proposes to pool companies and skills in a same district to better anticipate the hydrocarbon and renewable energy sectors in Qatar. Initiatives of this kind flourish all over the region, but also in the Mediterranean and in Asia, for example through the project of an integrated energy business district in Mumbai, also promoted by Esam Janahi. Other examples are easy to find: The Sultanate of Oman recently hosted a forum organized by the World Bank to talk about the role of clean energy in the context of economic performance and competitiveness. New programs and partnerships are also being developed with the Sultanate as well as with the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.   In spite of the recent decrease in oil prices, all these initiatives are proof that the pressure to initiate a real energy transition is increasing. In view of the COP21 negotiations, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius defined the subject of financing as decisive for the climate conference, thus stressing the key role to be played by private investors in this field: OECD countries might as well take a look at what’s happening in the oil-producing countries to take their inspiration.…

Investor focus on Greece

  For the week ending June 19, 2015, the markets rallied on the FOMC meeting announcement and Fed Chairperson Janet Yellen’s quarterly press conference, only to pull back partially on Friday over the Greek debt crisis. The Dow ended the week up 0.65 percent and the S&P 500 up 0.76 percent. In other news: the Fed kept its fed funds rate unchanged, while reiterating that a rate hike will be based on the outcome of economic data; the ECB increased its emergency funds to support Greek lenders; and Russia poses solidarity with Greece. Below is a recap of the markets for each day of the week.   The markets were down on Monday on mixed economic news: manufacturing is very weak (Empire State manufacturing survey; industrial production) while housing is strong (housing market index). Oil edged lower to $59.50. The Dow dropped -0.6 percent to 17,791; the S&P 500 dropped -0.46 percent to 2,084.   On Tuesday the markets rose on continued strength in the new home market (housing starts and permits report); but there is increasing risk of a Greek default. Oil edged higher to $60. The Dow rose 0.6 percent to 17,904; the S&P 500 rose 0.57 percent to 2,096.   On Wednesday the markets initially rallied on the FOMC news, ending modestly higher as Greek debt crisis concerns offset gains. Chair Janet Yellen, at her press conference, feels further improvement in the labor market is needed before a rate hike can be justified. Oil dropped slightly to $59.50. The Dow rose 0.2 percent to 17,935; the S&P 500 rose 0.2 percent to 2,100.   The markets rallied on Thursday due to the dovish FOMC and strong economic news (jobless claims at record low levels; Philly Fed report showing strength in manufacturing). Oil rose $1 to $60.50. The Dow rose 1.0 percent to 18,115; the S&P 500 rose 0.99 percent to 2,121.   On Friday the markets dropped on escalating concerns over Greece with emergency meetings scheduled for next week. Oil dropped slightly to $60. The Dow dropped -0.60 percent to 18,014; the S&P 500 dropped -0.53 percent to 2,110.   The FOMC meeting announcement and Chair Janet Yellen’s press conference on Wednesday made it clear that a rate hike is not likely to occur in September unless economic data supports it; and when it occurs, the Fed plans to raise rates even more slowly than last indicated. Currently, the Fed is forecasting GDP to grow this year by 1.8 to 2.0 percent (that’s down from the prior forecast of 2.3 to 2.7 percent). Nearly all of the 17 Fed officials expect to raise rates this year, but 7 expect only one rate hike (compared to 3 from the last report); it is now considered that the rate hike will occur in December.   The European Central Bank (ECB) increased its emergency funding on Friday for Greece’s financial system after the government failed to broker a deal. Concerns about the Greek banking system had risen sharply as large outflows of cash (about 3 billion euros) from the banks occurred this past week. Funds appear to be flowing out of the banks faster than the ECB can provide them (the ECB increased its emergency funding by 2 billion euros on Friday). So far, withdrawals have not escalated to the level of a full-blown bank run. Over the last five years, Greece’s creditors (IMF, ECB, and other eurozone countries) have committed 240 billion euros in bailout loans. President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, warned Greece not to expect leniency from the lenders on Monday, saying “The game of chicken needs to end, and so does the blame game. There is no time for any games. It is reality with real possible consequences, first and foremost for the Greek people.”   Russia and Greece flaunt solidarity at a business forum. This is not the first time that Russia has hinted a helping Greece, and is simply a way for Russia to thumb its nose at Europe. There are a number of bonds uniting the two leaders: Russia and Greece share the Orthodox Christian faith; Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in his youth was a staunch Communist; Tsipras has long been critical of the U.S.; and he has opposed the economic sanctions imposed by the West over Ukraine. Bottom line: economists do not believe Russia will lend funds to Greece. What is possible is that Greece will cast a vote against renewing the sanctions against Russia, and all 28 EU member states must cast a vote in favor for sanctions to continue.     The bottom line: considering the dovish FOMC meeting announcement and statement made by Fed Chair Janet Yellen, it is now more likely a rate hike will occur in December; however, if economic news does continue to improve for the labor force and inflation gets above 2 percent, then September is possible. The markets will continue to follow the Greek crisis with increasing interest as June 30 nears.   The focus next week in the U.S. will be the housing (existing home sales; new home sales), manufacturing (durable goods orders; Richmond and Kansas City Fed reports), and consumer (personal income and outlays; consumer sentiment) sectors. In addition, GDP will be watched for signs of further strength in the economy. Globally the focus will be on the Greek debt crisis (a special summit will meet on Monday for all Eurozone presidents and prime ministers). In addition, the focus will be on the following: UK (nothing); eurozone (manufacturing services & composite PMI; M3 money supply); Germany (manufacturing services & composite PMI; ifo business survey); China (PMI manufacturing); and Japan (CPI; unemployment; household spending).   Year-to-date the markets are up: Dow 1.1%; S&P500 2.5%; Nasdaq 8.0%.   The Markets for the past week were: DJIA up 0.6%; S&P500 up 0.7%; Nasdaq COMP up 1.3%.   Commodities (ETFs) for the past week were: Gold (GLD) up 1.67%; Silver (SLV) up 1.11%; Oil (OIH) down -3.63%; Dollar (UUP) down -0.84%; 30-year Bonds (TYX) dropped 4 basis points to 3.06%.   The VIX this past week (a measure of market sentiment and volatility) rose to 13.96% due to growing concerns over the Greek debt crisis.   To see what’s on the calendar for next week, go to the Econoday calendar.   The economic calendar for next week is moderate: o Monday – Existing Home Sales o Tuesday – Durable Goods Orders, PMI Manufacturing Index Flash, New Home Sales o Wednesday – EIA Petroleum Status Report, GDP o Thursday – Weekly Jobless Claims, Personal Income and Outlays o Friday – Consumer Sentiment, Fed Speak   If you’re trading options, it is suggested trading Put Credit spreads for next week at 2.0 standard deviations or greater. Expect the price of the SPX to fall within 2029 and 2193 (2 standard deviations).   For more information about options, see the ‘Suggested Links’ below.…

Can Energy cities replace oil-producing

  The United Nations Conference on Climate Change scheduled to be held in Paris in December 2015 will aim to reach a new agreement between the States involved in the negotiation process in order to limit greenhouse gases emissions and the rise in temperatures. Beyond the sole environmental concern, the conclusion of this agreement is underpinned by the energy transition issue, which arises with ever greater insistence facing the depletion of hydrocarbon resources.   University of California researchers estimate that the 1.332 trillion crude oil barrels of reserves may be depleted by the year 2041. In this perspective, all countries will have to make a change in their “energy software”, but this problem is even more acute for oil and hydrocarbon producers as energy is also their main source of wealth and sometimes the core of their economy.   Recognizing this, States, local authorities and investors around the world support many initiatives in favor of renewable energy, reflecting the will to take this necessary step towards an effective transition.   A multi-speed Europe   Historically, awareness of European countries grew regarding this matter have grown at different paces and according to political changes, with considerable advance on the Nordic side (for instance the exploitation of geothermal energy) or even Germany with its objective of complete abandonment of nuclear energy by the year 2022.   Initiatives for the fight against climate change and for the development of renewable energy take many forms: research grants, incentives or disincentives tax, regulatory measures, eco-neighborhoods financing, setting up of experimental labs and working groups on the subject, etc. Among these initiatives involving private and public actors, we can also take the example of the European association “Energy Cities”, created 25 years ago, that inspired many other similar initiatives worldwide. Its French president, Claire Roumet emphasizes the experience of her association in accompanying the energy transition at a local level, with the aim of involving all stakeholders in an integrated dynamic program.   In any case, today, at all levels, European countries within the European Union integrate environmental issues in all their public policies, and they stand at the forefront of the negotiations in view of the COP21.   A global momentum   Many cities around the world promote their commitment to renewable energy, and it is not the sole prerogative of Europe. Toronto Mayor Gregor Robertson, for example, stated that he wanted to rely only on renewable energy for his city by 2020. The large States are mobilized as well and today they all have a green agenda: China itself recently became the first investor in green energy, with no less than $ 89.5 billion invested last year. “This strong investment in clean energy (in 2014) will surprise observers who foresaw the turmoil in renewable due to the fall in oil prices since the summer” says Michael Liebreich, chairman of New Energy Bloomberg Finance. A proof that the sense of emergency is now integrated by all stakeholders at all levels of action.   Oil-producing countries, aware of the risk   Beyond environmental issues, oil-producing countries are, without a doubt, the most affected by this issue of energy transition today, since their economy relies on the exploitation of finite resources. They are also often the first consumers as they have a privileged access to it. The Saudi Minister for Petroleum and Mineral resources, Ali Al-Naimi, well aware of this reality, stated last May at the Business and Climate Summit in Paris: “One day the world will no longer need hydrocarbons. I do not know when it will happen, probably in 2040, in 2050 or later (…). Greenhouse gas emissions and global warming are among humanity’s most pressing concerns. (…) Societal expectations on climate change are real, and our industry is expected to take a leadership role. We are doing this in Saudi Arabia. ”   Energy cities, integrated energy business districts: initiatives promoted by visionary investors like EsamJanahi.   Several projects are already underway or firmly anchored in the gulf and the Middle-East region, promoted by local investors who see in the energy transition a real opportunity. In Qatar, for example, the Energy City Qatar project, launched by EsamJanahi, proposes to pool companies and skills in a same district to better anticipate the hydrocarbon and renewable energy sectors in Qatar. Initiatives of this kind flourish all over the region, but also in the Mediterranean and in Asia, for example through the project of an integrated energy business district in Mumbai, also promoted by EsamJanahi. Other examples are easy to find: The Sultanate of Oman recently hosted a forum organized by the World Bank to talk about the role of clean energy in the context of economic performance and competitiveness. New programs and partnerships are also being developed with the Sultanate as well as with the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.   In spite of the recent decrease in oil prices, all these initiatives are proof that the pressure to initiate a real energy transition is increasing. In view of the COP21 negotiations, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius defined the subject of financing as decisive for the climate conference, thus stressing the key role to be played by private investors in this field: OECD countries might as well take a look at what’s happening in the oil-producing countries to take their inspiration.…

Celebrity chefs

Celebrity chefs , world-class vintners, silent auction, food sampling fundraiser The 13th Annual Boca Bacchanal fundraiser to benefit the Boca Raton Historical Society and Museum kicked off from inside the Atlantic Aviation Hangar at the Boca Raton Airport.   With the theme “Bigger and Better in Every Way,” the more the event kept its promise with celebrity chefs including Erik Niel: Easy Bistro of Chattanooga, TN; Brian & Shanna O-Hea: Academe of Kennebunk, ME; Jeff Tunks& Chris Cline: DC Coast and Passion Fish; Piero Pomoli: Pricci, Atlanta,GA; Derek Tidwell:George’s at Aly Beach, Alys Beach, FL; and Chef Ken Vedrinski: Trattoria Lucca, Charleston, SC.   Guests had the opportunity to indulge in over 140 featured wines and bite-size specialties from over 30 restaurants during this first of two nights of fundraising for the Boca Raton Historical Society and Museum, a non-profit membership organization dedicated to preserving the past to enrich the future.   The silent auction featured a wide variety of items to bid on from wine to luxury vacations which added to the excitement. Saks Fifth Avenue hosted an experience for guests to try on furs from their Fur Salon collection. Boca Bacchanal guests were photographed beside the Saks Models and given photos to take home to commemorate their evening and the experience. http://www.SaksFifthAvenue.com   Chairman Amy Kazma and Honorary Chairman Susan Welchel welcomed Celebrity Guest Vintner, Kathie Lee Gifford to the Boca Bacchanal. Kathie Lee Gifford’s brand is called “GIFFT Wines.” The Boca Bacchanal guests got to meet and greet the three-time Emmy -winning co-host of the fourth hour of the Today Show with HodaKotb.   Guests enjoyed samples of the third and newest wine in the her collection and she invited attendees to her Boca Raton Whole Foods wine tasting which will take place on Saturday March 28th at the Glades Rd Whole Foods location. Kathie Lee said she was very proud to welcome her third wine to her growing collection which launched a year ago.http://www.GifftWines.com   Culinary Instructor, James Gennaro, lead the chef’s demonstration kitchen as guests watched and enjoyed the dishes prepared by the event’s featured chefs. The first demonstration of the evening was a Ceviche presented by Chef Piero Premoli of Pricci’s of Atlanta . The demonstrations took place in the Whole Foods and Williams-Sonoma kitchen at the Boca Bacchanal followed by sampling for the dish when completed. http://www.WholeFoods.com   Each of the Vintners and Chefs at the Boca Bacchanal shared insights and educated guests as they sampled and savored the wines, spirits and food presented by each of the participating companies.   Tony Apostolakos represented Vintner Masi Agricola of Valpolicella, Italy. Tony’s family owned vineyards in Central Greece in the early 1900’s before they emigrated to Montreal, Canada. Tony, a 20yr.+ industry veteran talked about winemaking techniques and shared some of his global marketing strategy with guests.   In speaking to Tony he shared how MasiAgicola manages the most historic estate in Valpolicella, which once belonged to descendants of the legendary 14th Century poet, Dante, the noble Serego Alighieri family.   Celebrity Chef, Ken Vedrinski of Trattoria Lucca of Charleston, SC told us he just opened a new Italian seafood restaurant called Coda Del Pesce overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.   Brian and Shanna O’Hea’s restaurant Academe has been featured on Oprah’s “O” List and Shanna recently competed on the Food Network show “Rewrapped” where her creative take on Chef Boyardee’s Beef Ravioli won her first place on that episode.   The evening’s entertainment at Boca Bacchanal featured models pouring samples of the best wines and spirits including a special Tattinger and a Standard Russian Vodka. Guests were treated to music all evening hosted by a top dj, plus performances by an aerialist, a juggler and mentalist- Remy Conner.   Inside the Boca Raton Atlantic Aviation Airport Hangar guests enjoyed each opportunity for food sampling with bite-sized menu items prepared by chefs from restaurants including- to name a few- the restaurant at the Boca Raton Resort&Club, Morton’s the Steakhouse, NYY Steak located inside the Coconut Creek Seminole Casino, Max’s Grille, Brio Tuscan Grille, City Oyster and Sushi Bar from Delray Beach, Truluck’s (Seafood,Steak and Crab House), Merlinos, Maggiano’s, Bistro N- Nordstrom, Yard House and sweet treats from Godiva Chocolate, Pacari Chocolate, Allstar Gourmet Cupcakery and The Batter Co Dessert Collection and many more.   Artist Brendan Parker introduced and celebrated the grand opening of his new Lift Off Studios in Miami by displaying some of his artwork at the Boca Bacchanal Event. Brendan , a self-taught artist who is originally from Santa Rosa Beach said he moved to Miami to open his art gallery because “Miami is a contemporary market where he can share is passion in an “out of the box” market. “He describes his art as being created using a blow torch . He says, “My art is like creating blown glass on a canvas. I like keeping it experimental.”http://www.LiftofArtsStudio.com   The second evening of this fundraising event will be hosted by six area restaurants. Guests who purchase tickets to dine at these restaurants will have the opportunity to work alongside the chef to create a five-course dinner complete with food and wine pairings.Tickets to the Vintner Dinners are $325 P.P.…

Will Time Heal What Ails Digital Advertising?

  Since the advent of digital advertising the challenge for publishers has been how to be profitable when trading print ad dollars for digital dimes. Most publishers have approached the challenge with the mindset of quantity of quality. Web pages have been plastered with ads to capture more impressions with each pageview with the hope that the volume would solve the revenue problem.   With ads all over the page, many are not in view of the reader which has hampered the effectiveness and driven down the cost-per-thousand (CPM) rates. Agencies and advertisers are now clamouring for better standards to ensure greater viewability but a industry-wide solution remains allusive because of technical shortcomings and a lack of consensus. One company however, seems to be taking the viewability bull by the horns and may have the answer for the entire industry.   A recent study by Teads found that 50% of agencies and 46% of advertisers are holding back digital ad spending because of concerns about viewability. It is a valid concern when you consider a report published by Google that concluded that 56% of digital ads are not seen. Publishers are having difficulties improving viewability because that technology used to serve ads do not measure viewability. Furthermore, with users accessing websites from different devices and browsers, viewability becomes even more difficult to measure as the user experience is not uniform. Agencies and advertisers are pushing publishers to guarantee 100% viewability as an ad not seen cannot make an impression. But publishers counter that 100% standard is unreasonable since current ad serving platforms cannot accurately measure the viewability of the ads serving.   The Interactive Advertising Bureau cited the technical challenges as a reason to not expect 100% viewability and has suggested 70% as more realistic target. No matter the target viewability percentage the results will be smaller ad inventories for publishers, who will now demand higher CPM rates for the viewable inventory since it is a premium. Agencies and advertisers counter that any inventory that is not viewable is worth nothing and that viewable ads are not a premium product but simply the expectation. The divide in the industry will persist until the technology catches up and is implemented to allow for more uniform measurements of viewability.   However, the Financial Times has unveiled a new advertising format that ditches cost-per-thousand for cost-per-hour. Under this format, advertisers will only pay for “active exposure time” which is defined as being seen by the user for at least 5 seconds. The Financial Times is working with ChartBeat to measure how long users are looking at ads by tracking interactive actions such as mouse movement. It was tested with a few large advertisers since the Fall 2014 and rolled out site wide in May. The Financial Times has the technology in place so could this format be adopted by the entire industry to resolve the viewability debate? Publishers may not be so eager to adopt the cost-per-hour model since engagement in the digital world remains a barrier for success. The Financial Times has a loyal paid subscriber base that results in better engagement which in turn leads to more time viewing the ads on the site. Publishers that operate differently will have many questions about this format. Can publishers with free, less loyal audiences generate enough revenue with a time-based ad format? Will mobile users who tend to spend less time on the site prevent this format from working? Will this format disregard metrics such as clicks?   If cost-per-hour shows potential in becoming the new standard, the current questions remain the same; can it be integrated into the ad serving technology and can the industry agree on the parameters of time and rates?…

Stock market preview for the week of June 22, 2015

  The S&P 500 replayed the previous week as the index started and ended the week with losses, but the three midweek sessions finished higher. The midweek rally pushed the index 0.76% higher for the week, mainly on the strength of a 0.99% increase on Thursday. The S&P 500 has finished higher in six of the past ten sessions, but has finished lower in 16 of the past 29.   The S&P 500 broke above the likely resistance from 2112 to 2125 in the upper half of the 100 L at 2100 late in the week. Thursday’s intraday high edged above the resistance to 2126.65, but it slipped to finish the session back within this resistance. Friday’s retreat slipped to a close beneath the resistance level.   The NASDAQ and Russell 2000 finished Thursday at a record closing prices. The NASDAQ also reached a record high with the intraday high of 5,143.316 eclipsing the March 10, 2000 record of 5,132.52. The run to new highs on the NASDAQ was largely due to a surge in Biotech stocks. Many still consider the Biotech Sector underpriced, as can be seen in this recent report by The Street. Let’s take a further look at this story.   The iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology ETF (IBB) was mentioned in this article, but the data for this fund was not used. According to its fact sheet; as of March 31, 2015 the NASDAQ biotech’s had a P/E ratio of 31.60. Due to the continued run since, the P/E calculated from Friday’s close was over 34. The ETF, which had traded relatively flatly prior to Jan 2, 2013, has run up over 166% since.   Eight of the top ten companies in this ETF are S&P 500 constituents and account for 48.48% of the index fund. These eight companies are: Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN), Amgen Inc. (AMGN), Biogen IDEC Inc. (BIIB), Celgen Corp. (CELG), Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD), Mylan Inc. (MYL), Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (REGN) and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (VRTX).   Based on historical earnings increases of the yearly earnings reported by these companies, it took about four years for the total yearly earnings of these eight companies to a little more than double. The current projections for 2016 are about double the reported yearly earnings of four years earlier too. If they could continue to match this performance, and if the other companies’ 51.52% share of the fund could also match this growth rate, and if the stock prices remain unchanged, in about four years this fund could reach a TTM P/E of about 17.   A two year forward P/E of 17 is near historical highs. Since historical earnings suggest it could take about four years to reach this P/E, it seems likely this fund is about twice the price it should be based on historical averages. The percentage of earnings increases the Biotech’s have seen in past five years will become very difficult to sustain at some point. Perhaps they can double earnings in four years again, but company’s earnings histories show that it more likely to take longer to double earnings again. It therefore seems possible this ETF could be nearer to 3 times overvalued.   All the information given about the S&P earnings projections for the S&P 500 and S&P 1500 composite in The Street’s article are based on information available in the S&P Dow Jones Indices S&P 500 EPS download except information on the S&P 1500 composite Biotech Sector. The S&P site was down for maintenance at the time this article was written, so information on the Biotech Sector was not retrieved. The S&P 500 EPS file had been downloaded earlier so it was available to confirm that the other P/E information provided in that article was accurate, although misleading.   The data provided in the S&P 500 EPS report is weighted to the corresponding S&P index. Being so, this data should not be used for comparisons outside of the specific S&P index as the indexes weighting can skew the perspective of this P/E ratio. Instead even weighting should always be used for comparisons outside of a weighted index. Based on even weighting, the current TTM earnings and Friday’s closing price, the eight S&P 500 constituents have a TTM P/E of 32.65, and very close to the P/E found in the iShares fact sheet.   Based on current projections for 2016 earnings for the eight that were updated after Friday’s close, which have also slipped since the S&P report came out, they have an even weighted 2016 forward P/E of 23.31. Since all of these companies have fiscal years that end in December these projections are currently only seven quarters forward, but still very high compared to historical two year forward averages.   This compares to the even weighted TTM P/E of the S&P 500 Health Care Sector of 23.43 and forward P/E of 19.25. Both of these even weighted comparisons are much higher than the weighted P/E provided by the S&P for the index. The even weighted data also shows that S&P 500 Biotech’s are more expensive than the Health Care Sector as a whole, exactly opposite of the data used to show the Biotech’s are less expensive than the overall Heath Care in that article.   Compared to the overall S&P 500 index even weighted TTM P/E of 20.04 and forward P/E of 17.95, it can be seen that the Health Care Sector is very high compared to the overall index. Excluding the Biotech’s, many in the Health Care sector that have seen large price increases are expecting lower earnings in the future. Yet many continue to point investors towards Health Care and Biotech investments. The percentages of earnings increases might be greater in these sectors, but they are already far further forward on these earnings than the index as a whole, making the sectors very expensive.   In addition, a great deal of the current 2016 P/E for the eight rests on Vertex providing positive earnings in 2016. They have recently seen increases in 2016 projections, similar to the earnings increases projected for 2015 at about this time last year. Yet Vertex has not finished a year with positive earnings since 2010 and they are expected to lose money in 2015 too.   The other seven are not expected to grow earnings as quickly as they did before. In fact many have seen projections slide considerably during the past 90 days. It also seems fairly likely Gilead Sciences, which has the lowest TTM P/E of the eight, could see earnings sliced in the coming four years, as their extremely overpriced and profitable Hepatitis C cure runs out of patients to treat. Gilead’s earnings decline is likely to begin in 2016, but snowball from there.   The article notes seven new “blockbuster” drugs in the pipeline, but does not mention them by name. This leaves some guess work involved, but probably the best seven pipeline drugs found are given about a 50% chance of being approved. A 50% chance of approval does not mean 50% of these drugs will be approved, all of them might, but based on past experience it is more likely that only one, two or maybe three of the seven will eventually reach the pharmacy shelves. This makes it appear many are betting heavily against the odds on future growth potentials. Even if all seven were to be approved, a great deal of this new income would be offsetting revenue lost in drugs that will lose market share to new treatments developed by others, loss of drug patent protection, or in the case of Gilead, a decline in the numbers of patients left to treat.   Despite the articles claim’s otherwise, Janet Yellen appears to have done her homework and has valid concerns over the price run ups seen in Biotech’s. It certainly looks like Biotech stocks are running very far ahead of their earnings potential. Being so it seems possible the Biotech’s could be in a bubble. Since the Biotech’s are carrying the NASDAQ higher, it seems possible it too could be in a bubble.   Many foreign markets appear highly overpriced. Many also appear to be in stalls or could be starting retreats from these highly overpriced peaks.   China’s stock market sank lower in the past week. The Shanghai index shed nearly 688 points as it saw four losses of 2% or greater during the week. The week’s largest loss came during a 6.42% setback on Friday. The Shanghai index finished the week 13.32% lower.   Germany’s DAX finished Friday lower and has fallen in 13 of the past 20 sessions. Although slightly higher than recent lows, the DAX finished the week 10.79% below its April 10 close. A fairly large two day rebound in the DAX last week appears to have failed, so it seems possible it could be continuing in the previously established trend lower.   Japan’s Nikkei index has entered an area that it has had difficulty pushing higher in since the 1990 crash. Although losses have been fairly small so far, the Nikkei has seen only four higher closes in the past 14 sessions. Current chart formations make it seem possible it could be rounding lower from recent highs.   US Treasury prices rebounded from recent lows during the past week. The 20 year bond has seen price increases in five of the past seven sessions. The interest rate on the 10 Year US Treasury Note, which moves opposite of the Treasury price, slipped from recent highs as it finished lower in five of the past seven sessions.   Gold bounced back during the past week. It spurted higher after reaching a low of about 1173 on Monday, sank a little lower on Tuesday then saw bursts higher on Wednesday and Thursday. Thursday’s high neared 1206 before slipping and flattening and gold then spent Friday relatively flat near 1200. Gold finished the week with a New York Spot close of 1200.30.   The major Index charts show that the indexes pushed higher in the past week. The NASDAQ and Russell 2000 continued higher after a gap higher at the open on Thursday. Both moved to an all-time high before settling lower to finish at a record closes. Each settled off these highs in retreats on Friday. Both indexes have reached fully overbought conditions.   The S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and New York Stock Exchange rebounded from retests of earlier lows on Monday. Each reached a high higher than the previous cycle Thursday before beginning to retreat again on Friday. All three are also near fully overbought conditions.       The run showed some bullishness on the indexes, but they are also reaching overbought conditions. The stocks left pushing the indexes higher are for the most part those with the best earnings potential, but also the most expensive stocks based on forward P/E’s.   Although the numbers of stocks that finished Friday below their 200 DMA had decreased to 41.2% from the prior week’s 43.8%, nearly half of the stocks in the S&P 500 have broken below their 200 DMA at least once during the past month. At Friday’s close 259 of the constituents either finished the session below their 200 DMA or less than three percent above it. There were also 291 that finished below the 200 DMA or less than five percent above it.   Netflix (NFLX) has a TTM P/E of over 206 and is 30.92% above its 200 DMA. Normally stocks with a P/E this high would be trading the same distance below their 200 DMA. They are second to only to the 31.39% above the 200 DMA that Allergan PLC (AGN) maintained with a TTM P/E of 20.41. Allergan was formally Actavis PLC (ACT) before taking Allergan’s name and symbol in the past week, two months after completing a merger with them.   The constituents saw a sixth straight weekly increase in projected current year earnings. The total of the constituents’ current year earnings projections edged $0.86 higher than the previous week’s total. Although there was a weekly increase, FedEx (FDX) reported their fiscal fourth quarter 2015 earnings on Wednesday and as a result swapped 2016 earnings with 2015 in the current year totals. Had this not been the case, the constituents would have seen a decline of $1.06 for the week. There were 41 constituents that saw increases (including FedEx) over the projections of the previous week and 64 constituents saw decreases.   As the current quarter’s earnings reports near, current quarter earnings sagged $0.90 lower than the previous week. To this point these earnings have not reflected the much larger decreases seen in the previous two quarters prior to earnings releases, but the prior decreases intensified as those earnings seasons progressed. The quarterly and yearly earnings results reflect adjustments made for spits in two constituents and a name and symbol change of one constituent.   Indicators   The featured and supporting indicators discussed below are not always correct, but they have been many times. Being so they are worth reading about and taking note of.   The 100 L, –/(+) 90 D, (-)/(+) 90 D, +2%, -2% and 90 E indicators are currently active. See a more detailed description of most of the indicators developed through research and featured in these articles here.   The –/(+) 90 D indicator that became active on Feb 26, 2015 entered its expiration period on Wednesday activating a 90 E indicator. It has performed as follows to this point in the standard format: highest close / lowest close / last close.   +0.95% / -3.34% / -0.04%   The (-)/(+) 90 D that became active on May 22, 2015 appears to have bearish potential. It has performed as follows to this point in the standard format: highest close / lowest close / last close.   +0.66% / -1.33% / +0.12%   The +2% and -2% indicators failed to provide a correct indication in the past week. Volatility indicators continued higher in the past week, making it seem likely a volatile move could still be seen.   The S&P 500 saw Monday open a cent higher at the session high of 2091.34 and fall to a session low of 2072.49 before rebounding into a finish of 2084.43. Tuesday started slightly lower at 2084.26 and retreated to a low of 2082.10 before pushing to a high of 2097.40 and to a finish a little lower at 2096.29. Wednesday opened higher at 2097.40 and slipped to a low of 2088.86 and pushed to a high of 2106.79 before falling to a finish of 2100.44. Thursday opened with a gap higher to the session low of 2101.58 and pushed to a high of 2126.65 before settling into a lower close of 2121.24. Friday opened a little lower at 2121.06 and moved to a high of 2121.64 before slipping to a low of 2109.45 and closing slightly higher at 2109.99.   Monday retreated from likely resistance between 2085 and 2100 in the lower half of the 100 L to a low near but above the previous low at 2072.14. Although this level is outside of a likely support area, the two rebounds very near this level make this support seem somewhat valid. Monday finished near but below the likely lower half resistance. Tuesday pushed back into and finished within the likely lower half resistance of the 100 L. Wednesday’s low found support in the likely lower half resistance before moving and finishing in the upper half of the 100 L. Thursday left a still unfilled gap in a run above the likely resistance from 2112 to 2125 in the upper half of the 100 L, but settled lower off that high to finish within this resistance. Friday failed to hold within the likely upper half resistance as the retreat from Thursday’s high continued, and fell to a finish below the likely resistance.   The past week’s retreat again finished with a rebound at an unlikely support level, but near the same support found earlier, giving this support a degree of validation. It is still outside of a likely support level, which tends to make support found in these areas weak, so another retest of this support level could break lower through it. Thursday’s push above the upper resistance boundaries of the 100 L probably weakened it slightly, but the index fell directly off this break showing this resistance still has some fight left in it.   The resistance in the 100 L continues to trouble the S&P 500 so it continues to seem possible the index could see a significant retreat from this resistance. The US markets so far have not succumbed to the increases seen in volatility indicators, but other markets have. The US could remain immune, but the potential for volatile market moves is currently very high.   The average daily volume increased 12.88% above the previous week. The highest volume was seen during Friday’s triple witching and lowest volume in Tuesday’s gain. The five day volume variance increased by 26.84% to finish the week at 52.39%. The increase in the weekly volume and five day volume variance was largely influenced by the stronger volumes seen during Friday’s triple witching.   Friday’s volume was quite a lot lower than that seen during the triple witching in March or December. The lower volumes could indicate investors rolled future contracts over instead of buying the underlying securities. If this was the case it is potentially bullish as traders of futures are showing confidence that stock prices could move higher. It also seems possible this lower volume could be misleading. Stock volumes were much higher early indicating a possible exit in futures occurred then, this possible exit coupled with the relatively flat market since may have limited entries since. Add the potentially bearish news remaining atop of the headlines and it seems possible the lower volume could just mean fewer contracts were held to begin with.   Current Cautions   Several potentially bearish indicators are currently active. Volatility indicators continued higher in the past week and indicate much higher than normal chances of volatile market moves. Many of the indices and stocks have rebounded back into to overbought conditions.   China’s Tech bubble could have begun to deflate. The Shanghai index finished the week 13.32% lower. Many other highly overpriced world markets appear to be stalled or in declines from recent peaks.   Although some still claim there are under priced markets outside the US, there are no “cheap” stock markets left in the world. The long run of very low interest rates has run stock prices to overvalued levels in all markets. Most are further overpriced than the US. There may be reason to believe some foreign markets could run to even higher over valuations, but foreign markets generally fall much further than the US market in retreats, making investments abroad look very risky.   The S&P 500 constituents saw a sixth consecutive week of current year earnings projection increases, with the current increase due to a change in a constituent’s current year earnings. The total of these increases remains small.   Early season earnings reports were not very encouraging in the past week. FedEx (FDX) and Oracle (ORCL) both missed expectations. The FedEx miss shows potential weakness in mail orders, while Oracle reported that currency exchange losses accounted for an 8% decline in EPS, making currency exchange a possible issue with others. Both could be earlier indicators of continued earnings trouble ahead.   Many conditions continue to make a large drop on the index seem possible. Many chart formations and past occurrences of these formations make it seem possible the index could see this retreat before the end of the year.   The next likely resistance level above the 100 L at 2100 could be seen at the 2140 to 2160 MRL. Earlier highs on the index could have seen the effects of this resistance level, but the index is still within the influence range of the 100 L and has not yet reached this resistance level, being so this resistance is not yet considered active. This resistance appears to have the potential to cause a significant pullback.   Please note there is no established resistance in the MRL levels before the index has reached these levels. Several instances have proven to hold resistance once reached; however MRL levels that the index has not yet reached are only the most likely levels that resistance will be seen based on research. Back tests of the data used to project these resistance levels work well, but they are not always exact, and these resistances could react sooner or later than expected, it is also possible the resistance will not be seen at all.   Data provided for the S&P 500 was derived from the historical daily data tables, similar data can be found at AOL Finance. Earnings information was gathered from Yahoo Finance, CNBC, Edgar Filings, Scottrade Elite, AOL Finance and Morningstar, although other websites, including company websites, may have contributed small amounts of information. Stock and Treasury charts used for analysis and commentary were provided by StockCharts.com, Scottrade Elite or from those that Ron created from his data. Gold charts used for analysis and commentary were provided by Kitco.   Have a great day trading.   Disclosure: Ron currently has investments in ORCL. Ron has no investments in IBB, ALXN, AMGN, BIIB, CELG, GILD, MYL, REGN, VRTX, NFLX, AGN, ACT or FDX. Ron is currently about 56% invested long in stocks in his trading accounts reflecting a decrease over the past week’s investment level. This decrease was the result of the sale of one issue and dividend payments. Ron feels he is overbought given the current market conditions; however since his investment level is below the levels originally planned for months ago, he may also reinvest a portion of these sales. Ron will receive dividend payments from five issues in the coming week and 26 in the following week. If no further investment changes are made during this time frame, these dividend payments would reduce his rounded investment level.   Disclaimer: The information provided in the Stock Market Preview is Ron’s perception of the current conditions and what he thinks is the most probable outcome based on the current conditions, the data collected and extensive research he has done into this data along with other variables. It is intended to provoke thought of the possible market direction in his readers, not foretell the future. Ron does not claim to know what the stock market will do. If the stock market performs as expected, it only means he is applying the stock market history to the current conditions correctly. His perception of the data is not always correct.   This article is intended to provoke thought about investment possibilities. Acting on the information provided is at your own risk. You are urged to do your own research, and where appropriate, seek professional investment advice before acting on any information contained in these articles.…

Weekly market recap: Markets tumble then recover

  For the week ending July 10, 2015, the markets yo-yoed on news of the evolving Greek debt crisis and China’s equity market turmoil. The Dow ended the week slightly up at 0.2 percent while the S&P 500 ended flat. In other news: Greece submits new plan which capitulates to its creditors’ demands; China’s stock market in a freefall responds to government action; the IMF revises its global outlook; and Fed Chair Janet Yellen still considering a rate hike in 2015 despite Greece and China. Below is a recap of the markets for each day of the week.   The markets were down on Monday as the Greek referendum vote on Sunday was ‘no’ to the austerity terms of its creditors. Oil reacted sharply to the news falling nearly $4 to $52.75. The Dow dropped -0.3 percent to 17,683; the S&P 500 dropped -0.39 percent to 2,069.   On Tuesday the markets rose after a very choppy day in which the markets were down as much as -1 percent in the morning. Economic news for the day was weak: exports fell -0.8 percent; imports down -0.1 percent. Oil remained flat at $52.75. The Dow rose 0.5 percent to 17,776; the S&P 500 rose 0.61 percent to 2,081.   On Wednesday the markets dropped significantly as China’s markets were in freefall and trading on the NYSE was halted nearly 4 hours due to a technical glitch. Oil dropped $1 to just below $51.75. The Dow dropped -1.5 percent to 17,515; the S&P 500 dropped -1.67 percent to 2,047.   The markets rose on Thursday as the Chinese markets ended their freefall making a modest gain, and Greece met its deadline to submit a new reform proposal. Oil rose $1 to $52.75. The Dow rose 0.2 percent to 17,548; the S&P 500 rose 0.23 percent to 2,051.   On Friday the markets rose dramatically as the Greek proposal was in-line with the requirements of its creditors, raising hopes for a bailout agreement. Oil was little changed near $52.75. The Dow rose 1.2 percent to 17,760; the S&P 500 rose 1.23 percent to 2,077.   The markets ended a volatile week little changed. The Dow eked out a 0.2 percent gain for the week after gaining 212 points (1.2%) on Friday; the S&P 500 ended nearly flat after gaining 25 points (1.2%) on Friday. The news that drove the markets was: the expectation that a bailout deal for Greece is very close; and the markets in China staged a nice rally.   The proposal submitted by Greece shows the Syriza government has agreed to the austerity terms of its creditors. This has occurred just five days after a landslide referendum vote rejected the terms. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, putting the best face on a failed outcome, said “We are confronted with crucial decisions. We got a mandate to bring a better deal than the ultimatum that the Eurogroup gave us, but we weren’t given a mandate to take Greece out of the eurozone”. The proposal will be discussed on Sunday, and any deal will likely lift the ECB’s freeze on emergency funds for the Greek financial system. The ECB freeze has been controversial given its mandate to uphold financial stability, and there is some question as to its legality. The saga is not over, and there is some concern that the creditors will want further stringent austerity measures.   China’s stock market, which has been dropping sharply over the last few weeks, has responded to emergency measures implemented by the government. The emergency measures were a barrage of support measures designed to have an immediate short-term impact: a cut in interest rates; suspension of IPOs; reduction in margin requirements and collateral rules; and the enlisting of brokerages to buy back stocks using cash from the PBOC (China’s central bank). Additional measures are expected from the PBOC over the next few weeks. During the stock market slide, the two key Chinese markets lost over 30 percent from their mid-June peak; the turmoil became a greater concern than the Greek debt crisis.   The IMF cuts global growth projection for 2015. The new global growth projection is 3.3 percent (down from 3.5 percent) citing weaker-than-expected growth in North America; the projection for 2016 remains unchanged at 3.8 percent. Other factors cited were: a rebound in oil prices; rising bond yields; and weak inflation. The report also stated “The underlying drivers for a gradual acceleration in economic activity in advanced economies—easy financial conditions, more neutral fiscal policy in the euro area, lower fuel prices, and improving confidence and labor market conditions—remain intact”. With regard to Greece, the report stated “As dramatic as the events in Greece are, Greece accounts for less than two percent of the euro zone GDP, and less than one half of one percent of world GDP,” he said. “There is little question that Greece is suffering and may suffer even more under the scenario of a disorderly exit from the euro zone. But the effects on the rest of the world economy are likely to be limited.”   Fed Chair Janet Yellen maintains her call for a rate hike in 2015. Speaking Friday after weeks of market turmoil due to Greece and China, Yellen states “I expect that it will be appropriate at some point later this year to take the first step to raise the federal funds rate and thus begin normalizing monetary policy”. She continues to remain cautious, adding “the course of the economy and inflation remains highly uncertain, and unanticipated developments could delay or accelerate this first step.” Economic expansion has entered its seventh year with unemployment falling; yet the job market “still has not fully recovered.” Yellen remains optimistic that economic growth will pickup in the coming years.   The bottom line: despite weakness in exports and minimal strength in the labor market, the services sector remains strong and should keep the economy moving forward. If GDP maintains a 2.5 percent growth rate, the Fed is likely to initiate a rate hike.   The focus next week in the U.S. will be retail sales (Tuesday), industrial production (Wednesday), housing market index (Thursday), and housing starts, consumer price index and sentiment (Friday). Globally the focus will be on Greece and China, and Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s testimony in front of Congress. In addition, the focus will be on the following: UK (CPI, PPI, labor market report); eurozone (ECB monetary policy meeting, industrial production); Germany (ZEW survey); China (merchandise trade, GDP, industrial production, retail sales); and Japan (BOJ monetary policy meeting).   Year-to-date the markets are mixed: Dow -0.4%; S&P500 0.9%; Nasdaq 5.5%.   The Markets for the past week were: DJIA up 0.2%; S&P500 flat; Nasdaq COMP down -0.2%.   Commodities (ETFs) for the past week were: Gold (GLD) down -0.24%; Silver (SLV) down -0.47%; Oil (OIH) down -2.66%; Dollar (UUP) down -0.28%; 30-year Bonds (TYX) rose 2 basis points to 3.21%.   The VIX this past week (a measure of market sentiment and volatility) rose to 16.83% due to growing concerns over China and Greece.   To see what’s on the calendar for next week, go to the Econoday calendar.   The economic calendar for next week is moderate: o Monday – Treasury Budget o Tuesday – Retail Sales o Wednesday – EIA Petroleum Status Report, PPI-FD, Empire State Mfg Survey, Industrial Production, Beige Book, Fed Speak (Janet Yellen) o Thursday – Weekly Jobless Claims, Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey, Housing Market Index, Janet Yellen speaks o Friday – Janet Yellen speaks   If you’re trading options, it is suggested trading Put Credit spreads for next week at 2.0 standard deviations or greater. Expect the price of the SPX to fall within 1987 and 2170 (2 standard deviations).…

Governor Nikki Haley has served her state and nation well

  South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley served her state and nation well. President John F. Kennedy was the youngest president and Governor Nikki Haley is the youngest governor in the history of the state of South Carolina. As the eyes of the world keenly focused on the Palmetto state, Governor Haley proved what President Kennedy declared when he said that courage is grace under pressure.   Understanding the history and culture of South Carolina takes much more than a textbook or Google search. It takes decades of living, learning, and loving a state that has a history that is as complex as any state in the union. Indeed, South Carolina was the first state to secede from the union, it fired the first shot that started the Civil War, and under Governor Haley’s quick and brilliant leadership the state avoided a race war after a white racist murdered nine African American AME church worshipers on June 17, 2015.   The past month generated millions of articles about South Carolina; however, none of them captured the essence or heart of the matter. If it had not been for the swift and incisive leadership of Governor Nikki Haley the violence in South Carolina could have triggered a race war the likes of which this nation has never seen before.   The plot to destroy America like all plots was an ambush were the good nature of innocent people was used against them. Like Pearl Harbor, it was an attack with the intent of causing a war. However today the flag of war was replaced by the flag of America and the flag of South Carolina as the only two symbols remaining on the statehouse grounds   Having lived in South Carolina before the Confederate battle flag was hoisted on top of the state capitol the present writer knew it was a symbol of segregation and racism.   Most Americans were taken by surprise by the cruelty and viciousness of the murder of nine people who were murdered after opening their doors and welcoming a person into their house of worship who came in with a plan to destroy them.   “It was an attempt to start a race war,” Charleston Senator Paul Thurmond said. “Slavery was wrong, wrong, wrong,” he said.   Governor Haley, as the leader of South Carolina along with Senator Tim Scott, and Charleston State Senator Thurmond realized almost immediately that a race war was possible if action to avert it was not taken immediately.   The Tulsa Race Riot of 1922 began with a single act and spiraled out of control because government leaders did not realize the gravity of the situation and did not act quickly. Governor Haley was on the scene in Charleston immediately and marshalled the forces of the state to capture the suspect in the murders and to alert the media and the people of South Carolina with the who, what, when, where, and why concerning the murders and the plot to start a race war.   When Adolph Hitler started the fire in the government headquarters in Germany and blamed it on the Jews, he set the course for a race war that took the lives of six million innocent Jewish people who were not able to defend themselves. Innocent men, women, and children were murdered because of hatred. The Holocaust that made the Nazi flag a symbol of race hatred and violence around the world. Slavery made the battle flag of the Confederacy a hateful symbol to African-American descendants of American slaves.   President Barack Obama praised Governor Haley because he knew how close South Carolina came to igniting a wave of retaliatory violence and destruction that would have created violence like the summer of 1968, after the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that created riots in cities across America. However, it was Governor Nikki Haley that the president praise for her leadership. Haley understands the role that she played in bringing a successful conclusion to the crisis in South Carolina. In a correspondence with the present writer, Haley gave full meaning to the events that have held the world in rapt attention:   Dear Professor Metze II, Thank you for taking the time to contact us. These have been very difficult times for South Carolina, but our hearts and minds remain fixed on the nine families and the communities shaken by this tragedy. Their grace and strength set a powerful example for us all. Even in the midst of our grief, South Carolina set about the process of healing – not by talking about issues that divide us – but by hugging our neighbors, holding vigils, honoring those we lost, and falling to our knees in prayer. We came together as a state, as a unified people, to remember those we lost and to begin this healing process. We’ve also come together in acknowledging that certain symbols and events of our past resonate differently among us. For some, the Confederate flag represents a history of their ancestry and heritage. For others, the flag is a deeply painful reminder of a brutally oppressive past. Inspired by the victims’ families and the re-opening of Emanuel A.M.E. church, I felt compelled to make a statement about moving the flag from the Statehouse grounds. This is a moment in which we can say that the flag, while an integral part of our past, does not represent the future of our great state, and that by removing a symbol that divides us, we can move forward as a state in harmony. The time has come for us to set the flag among the other markers of our history so we can set our eyes on the great promise of a united South Carolina. God bless. My very best, Nikki R. Haley   The eloquent words of of the governor reflect her ability to address the concerns of a South Carolina native while dealing with one of the greatest modern day crisis in South Carolina history. Great leaders do not test the direction of the wind to make life changing decisions. Great leaders do what is right. When South Carolina and America needed her leadership she served the people of South Carolina with grace under pressure. Governor Nikki Haley served her state and nation well. She acknowledged the sacrifices of the nine South Carolinians who lost their lives because of racism and hatred.   The present writer is an alumnus of Palmetto Boy State class of 1974 and is a 5th generation native of South Carolina. His great grandfather, Samuel Metze, was an American slave in South Carolina.   The journalist would like to acknowledge the telephone call from Senator Paul Thurmond to alert the journalist of the situation in South Carolina. The timing of the retirement of the flag and all scheduled departures to South Carolina being full prevented photos of the retirement. However, the writer was given a wonderful reception and tour of the Civil War Exhibit by the staff and curator of the National Guard Museum on North Capitol and Massachusetts Avenue (directly across the street from the Post Office Museum) where there is an original Confederate flag on display in the museum.   Let there be peace on earth. Violence is never the answer. Allen University is making certain that the victims of the Charleston Massacre will never be forgotten. Examiner.com will continue to update the progress of the Allen University Memorial to those who lost their lives on June 17, 2015.…