Medicare

If Only This Happened At The Fed, Things Would Be Vastly Different

Something surprising happened in the early days of August: a person was actually held accountable for his mistake. As the WSJ reported previously, "a billion-dollar forecasting error in Walgreen Co.'s Medicare-related business has cost the jobs of two top executives and alarmed big investors." Specifically, at an April board meeting, Chief Financial Officer Wade Miquelon forecast $8.5 billion in fiscal 2016 pharmacy-unit earnings, based partly on contracts to sell drugs under Medicare. This did not pan out as expected and last month, just a few months later, the CFO unexpectedly cut that forecast by $1.1 billion. And then, In early August, the CFO of the nation's largest drugstore chain was gone. He wasn't alone: Walgreen said several days earlier that its pharmacy chief, Kermit Crawford, would retire at year-end.

Frontrunning: August 21

  • FTW: Europe Stocks Rise as Data Signals Need for Stimulus (BBG)
  • More de-escalation: Dozens die in Ukraine in street battles, Donetsk shelling (Reuters)
  • Calm largely holds in Missouri after grand jury opens shooting investigation (Reuters)
  • Attorney General Eric Holder Vows Thorough Probe of Ferguson Shooting (WSJ)
  • World’s Biggest Wealth Fund Slows Emerging Market Investment (BBG)
  • Market Chilly to Argentine Debt Proposal (WSJ)
  • Israeli air strike kills three Hamas commanders in Gaza (Reuters)
  • Retooled Hamas Bloodies Israel With Help From Hezbollah (BBG)
  • Investors Pour Into Vanguard, Eschewing Stock Pickers (WSJ)
  • Fed Debates Early Rate Increases (WSJ)

Frontrunning: August 20

  • Ferguson at Turning Point After Night of Relative Calm (BBG)
  • Gaza war rages on, Hamas says Israel tried to kill its military chief (Reuters)
  • Surge in Putin Patriotism Masks Pain of Sanctions (BBG)
  • Bank of England splits over rate hike for first time in 3 years (Reuters)
  • Putin Meeting Leaves Kiev With Tough Choices (WSJ)
  • European Gas Reverses Biggest Drop Since 2009 on Ukraine (BBG)
  • "Isolation"  Mongolia Seeks Economic Lifeline With Pivot to China, Russia (BBG)
  • Uber Picks David Plouffe to Wage Regulatory Fight (NYT)
  • China Levies Record Antitrust Fine on Japanese Firms (BBG)
GoldCore's picture

This is especially the case in Ukraine where the currency has lost more than half of its value versus gold (see chart above and below). Gold in Ukraine Hrvynia is up 70% since the start of 2014. People who own gold in Ukraine would laugh at you, if you said that gold is not a safe haven. As would people in many countries in South America, the Middle East and Africa.

We're Relying On Phantom Wealth To Fund Our Retirement

Phantom wealth cannot possibly fund unprecedented retirement and healthcare promises. Only real wealth can do that, and central bank liquidity and the asset bubbles it inflates are not real wealth.

GoldCore's picture

Gold is nearly 2% higher this week and its technical position has further improved (see key charts). On Wednesday, gold broke out of bullish descending wedge chart pattern that has formed in recent months. Another buy signal for gold came when gold rose above the 20 EMA and 50 EMA (exponential moving averages). Also positive is the fact that the price momentum oscillator (PMO) has turned up, indicating that a positive momentum shift has occurred.

"The US Is Bankrupt," Blasts Biderman, "We Now Await The Cramdown"

There are many ways to look at the United States government debt, obligations, and assets. But TrimTabs's Charles Biderman cuts straight to the bottom line and add it all up - $89.5 trillion in liabilities and $82 trillion in assets.  There.  It’s not a secret anymore, and although these are all government numbers, for some strange reason the government never adds them all together or explains them - but we will. No one can really know what will have value in this politicized crony capitalistic system as the hyper-monetization ramps up... all I can suggest is to hedge your bets with some physical precious metals and some minimal leveraged real estate. Unfortunately, the more you know, the more you know you don’t know... invest and live accordingly.

Phoenix Capital Research's picture

The market is extremely tired and the systemic risks underlying the Financial Crisis are in no way resolved. With investor complacency (as measured by the VIX) at record lows, the Fed withdrawing several of its more significant market props, and low participation coming from the larger institutions, this market is ripe for a serious correction.

The Fed Is Not Your Friend

During the last 64 months “buying the dips” has been a fabulously successful proposition. So yesterday’s 2% dip will undoubtedly be construed as still another buying opportunity by the well-trained seals and computerized algos which populate the Wall Street casino. But that could be a fatal mistake for one overpowering reason: The radical monetary policy experiment behind this parabolic graph is in the final stages of its appointed path toward self-destruction.

America The Divided: Everyone Knows We Have Problems But There Is Very Little Agreement On Solutions

A house divided against itself will surely fall.  America is more divided today than it has been in decades, and the deep divisions that are tearing us apart continue to get even worse.  In fact, a newly released Rasmussen Reports national survey discovered that 67 percent of voters believe that America is even more divided now than it was four years ago. What most Americans can agree on is that we are facing tremendous problems as a nation.  Unfortunately, there is very little agreement on what the solutions to our problems are. 

Krugman’s Latest Debt Denial: Why His Two Magic Numbers Don’t Cut It

Professor Krugman is at it again - conjuring fairy tales about a benign long-term fiscal outlook. Notwithstanding that the public debt has surged from 40% to 75% of GDP during the six short years since 2008, he claims there is no reason to fret and that there is no debt spiral anywhere in the future. In part that’s because the Keynesian priesthood has declared that interest rates have down-shifted on a permanent basis. Under a regime of even modest monetary normalization over the next quarter century, current fiscal policy will lead to interest rates that are far higher, not lower, than the growth rate of nominal income. So its time to put Greece right back into the front and center of the US fiscal picture.