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The True Minimum Wage Is $0 Per Hour





The minimum wage is not what is commonly referred, as is being proven again as parts of the US experiment directly with this boundary. In New York, fast food workers have been given a $15 per hour minimum wage which is being celebrated by the same fast food workers who will bear the brunt of the experimentation. Some of them will be happy with the results, but there will be clear losers – the full wrath of redistribution is usually unseen which is why it persists.

 
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Frontrunning: July 28





  • Fed Officials May Offer More Clarity on Rates (WSJ)
  • Stocks rebound, shrugging off volatile and weak China (Reuters)
  • Three-Day Selloff Knocks 11% From China Shares (WSJ)
  • China shares fall again as Beijing scrambles to calm markets (Reuters)
  • VAT hikes to make Greek destination less popular (Kathimerini)
  • Varoufakis - Something is rotten with the eurozone’s hideous restrictions on sovereignty (FT)
  • EU denies Varoufakis 'tax control' claims (FT)
 
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A Philadelphia Story - 30 Blocks Of Squalor & Government Incompetence





The 30 blocks of squalor from 69th Street in Upper Darby to 39th Street in West Philly is a tribute to government incompetence, failed government policies, shoddy union labor practices and fiscal mismanagement.

 
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What Loss Of Control Looks Like: Chinese Regulator Urges Traders To Rat Out "Malicious Sellers"





After pledging a whopping 10% of China's GDP, or just about $1 trillion, to its various (at last check over 40) discrete measures to prop up its collapsing market, among which such threats as arresting shorters of stock and "malicious sellers", China has finally reverted to what the communist regime does best to preserve "order" - implement witch hunts in which the population rats out any criminals who dare to go against the protocols of the communist party. In this case, the targets are "malicious sellers" with the regulator adding that those found guilty of shorting will be "dealt with severely."

 
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The Stock Market's Ugly Truth - Only 6 Stocks Matter





When we first exposed the shockingly dire lack of breadth in US equity markets, it was shrugged off by the mainstream media as yet another 'worry' in the wall to climb. It seems, however, that facts inevitably force their way to the surface and so both Bloomberg (more than 100% of this year’s increase in the S&P 500 Index is attributable to two sectors, health-care and retail. That’s the tightest clustering for an advancing year since at least 2000) and The Wall Street Journal (Amazon, Google, Apple, Facebook, Gilead and Walt Disney Co. account for more than all of the $199 billion in market-capitalization gains in the S&P 500) have been forced to expose the ugly truth about US equities... it is not a stock market - it's a market of 6 tail-chasing momentum stocks.

 
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There Is No Exit: Why China's Plunge Protection Is Here To Stay





Update: CHINA TO CONTINUE STABILIZING MARKET, SENTIMENT, PREVENT RISKS, CSRC SAYS

As Beijing pledges to remain supportive amid a harrowing decline in Chinese stocks, China may find itself with no exit strategy for its plunge protection program. As BofAML notes, "An 'indefinite' holding period is certainly possible – it’s how the government had dealt with the last round of bad debts in the banking system, i.e., by shifting them to bad banks and never crystalizing the losses. But even under such a scenario, there may be unintended consequences."

 
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The Big, Bad Bear Case





The purpose of this article is to outline, with facts, large global structural issues that everyone, bulls and bears alike, should be fully aware of.  This article will focus on much larger structural issues that have been building for years and decades. And no this article is not so much about central banks, debt issues, Greece, China, deficits, etc. While all these are important as part of the overall picture, they are mere current symptoms of a much larger issue that is at the core of all that is already in play and will only deepen in our societies in the decades to come.

 
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Russia, China Delay "Holy Grail" Gas Pipeline Sequel As China's Economy Swoons





In May, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Moscow, where Gazprom Chief Executive Alexei Miller and China National Petroleum Corp Vice President Wang Dongjin signed a gas export deal which paves the way for 30 bcm/y to China via a new "Western Route." Now, slumping Chinese demand (a pervasive problem at the heart of the global commodities downturn), threatens to undercut the agreement.

 
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Earnings And Guidance Suddenly Matter? Say It Ain't So...





We are seeing a kind of flight forward by investors – promises of future returns that may or may not eventuate continue to be highly rewarded – no price seems too high. This is actually a fairly typical bubble phenomenon. It is impossible to say for how long it will continue and how far it will go, but it is possible to say how it will end: in tears, especially for Johnny-come-lately investors.

 
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Frontrunning: July 24





  • Gunman kills two, wounds seven in Louisiana theater before killing himself (Reuters)
  • Health insurer Anthem to buy Cigna in $54.2 billion deal (Reuters)
  • Murder, Poisoning, Raids: It’s Election Season in Russia (BBG)
  • Lagarde Push for Greece Debt Relief Challenges Merkel (Bloomberg)
  • Fund Boss’s Gamble on Health Law Pays Off Big (WSJ)
  • Wall Street Cranks Up Its Outlook for Amazon After It Delivers Monster Earnings Report (BBG)
  • China's Richest Man Marks Push Into Hollywood With Jake Gyllenhaal Movie (BBG)
  • West Africa's alarming growth industry - meth (Reuters)
 
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The Hard Truth: For Retail Investors, The NYSE Is Always Out Of Service





The real reason why retail investors weren't impacted by the NYSE's halt is a hard truth... to retail investors, the NYSE is always dark

Where Do Retail Investor Orders Go? The simple answer: to the highest contracted bidder. Stock "wholesalers" or internalizers like Citadel or Knight pay retail brokers lots of cash to execute retail trades, essentially creating a "third market". Why? Because in a high frequency trading world, where stock prices have never been more fuzzy to the end user, but crystal clear to those that spend enormous sums on colocation and PhD employees, it's never been easier to print money (not unlike Bernie Madoff's scheme in the 90's). But that is the subject of a much, much longer story. Someone should write a book.

 
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Has The Land War Begun: Turkish Tanks Are Firing Into Syria





As the following clip from Turkey's DHA news agency shows, one may wonder if NATO-member Turkey's land invasion of Syria, which many have said was long overdue following months of rhetoric and belligerent posturing, under the pretext of ISIS "liberation", has just begun.

 
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Retail Investors' "Cult"-est Stocks





We always keep a weather eye on the state of retail investing in the U.S.  There is, of course, the old saw that this batch of buyers doesn’t get involved until the top; therefore, it makes sense to see if they are getting too “Bulled up”. Then there is the fact that retail “Cult” stocks can hold premium valuations far longer than those without such sponsorship.

 
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Perhaps It Wasn't Such A Good Idea To Leave The Fate Of The Tech Bubble In The Hands Of Apple





Apple is expected to be the largest contributor to earnings growth for the Information Technology sector for Q2 2015. The blended earnings growth rate (combines actual results for companies that have reported and estimated results for companies yet to report) for the Information Technology sector is 0.2%. Exclude Apple, and the sector would report a year-over-year decline in earnings of 6.0%.

 
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