en Iran's Shockingly Honest Reaction To Trump's Visit To Saudi Arabia <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Darius Shahtahmasebi via,</em></a></p> <p><a href=""><img height="316" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>While Donald Trump was in Riyadh,<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"> raving incessantly</a> about the over-hyped Iran threat, Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif was trolling America&rsquo;s foreign policy establishment. He advised Trump to discuss with Saudi Arabia how to avoid another 9/11 atrocity rather than making baseless claims against Iran.</p> <p>Zarif <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">said</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;<em>[Trump] must enter into dialogue with them [the Saudis] about ways to prevent terrorists from continuing to fuel the fire in the region and repeating the likes of the September 11 incident by their sponsors in Western countries</em>.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>He added:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;<em>You will find out who really knocked down the World Trade Centre because they have papers out there that are very secret. You will find it&rsquo;s the Saudis, you will find that is the case</em>.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>As the <em>Independent</em><a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"> has noted</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>&ldquo;</em><strong><em>Most of the 19 terrorists</em></strong><em> who murdered nearly 3,000 people in New York in 2001 were </em><strong><em>Saudi citizens</em></strong><em> and there have [sic] repeated accusations that members of the Saudi hierarchy were complicit in the attack.</em><em>&rdquo; </em>[emphasis added]</p> </blockquote> <p><em>Foreign Policy</em>, among many other mainstream outlets, has <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">documented</a> many instances of reported Saudi government officials&rsquo; role in the 2001 terror attack &mdash; and even President Trump has promulgated these claims.</p> <p><strong>As <em>Anti-Media </em>has pointed out<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"> multiple times</a>, the U.S. government cannot claim the moral high ground in combating terrorism while signing multi-billion dollar arms deals with the <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">birthplace of radical Islam</a> (not to mention, <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">one of ISIS&rsquo; core sponsors</a>). </strong>In this context, the Iranian foreign minister&rsquo;s advice to Donald Trump is actually quite honest.</p> <p>However, what was really stunning about the Iranian reaction to Trump&rsquo;s <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">sword-dancing</a> visit to Saudi Arabia was its outright warning to the Saudi Kingdom.</p> <p>Mohammad Hashemi Rafsanjani, a leading member of the Iranian parliament&rsquo;s Expediency Council, claimed these multi-billion dollar arms sales may ultimately backfire on the Saudi regime. Rafsanjani warned that one day, the Saudis may end up turning these weapons against the Saudi royal family.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em><strong>&ldquo;We have seen it all before. The Saudis are spending billions on arms which they don&rsquo;t have the capacity to absorb.</strong> At the same time they are facing rebellion at home they are trying to hide and a costly war in Yemen,&rdquo; </em>Rafsanjani said, according to the <em>Independent</em>.</p> </blockquote> <p>Drawing a parallel with recent Iranian history, during which the U.S. was very friendly with the Middle Eastern nation while it was under the rule of Shah Reza Pahlavi, a brutal, U.S.-installed dictator, Rasfanjani stated the following:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em><strong>&ldquo;The Shah, too, spent billions of dollars buying arms from America, he too had capacity problems.</strong> We had 65,000 Americans in Iran, most of them in the armed forces. <strong>But then came the revolution and the weapons were used against him and his regime.</strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>&ldquo;We watch what is going on in Saudi Arabia and I think the </em><strong><em>fate of the Saudi royal family will be the same as that of [the Shah&rsquo;s dynasty] the Pahlavis</em></strong><em>. There is less and less space in the world for absolute monarchies like the Saudis&rdquo;. </em>[emphasis added]</p> </blockquote> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="680" height="358" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Donald Trump Donald Trump Expediency Council Foreign relations of Iran Iran Iran Iranian parliament Iranian people Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Mohammad Javad Zarif Politics Politics of Iran Saudi Arabia Saudi government US government War World Trade Zarif Sat, 27 May 2017 21:05:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 596801 at Chipotle Hacked In Massive Breach - Customer Payment Data Stolen From Thousands Of Restaurants <p><img src="" width="500" height="281" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" /></p> <p><em style="box-sizing: border-box; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 13px; line-height: inherit; font-family: lucida_granderegular, Verdana, sans-serif;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box; border-color: currentcolor; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; text-align: center;">Content originally generated at&nbsp;</span><strong style="box-sizing: border-box; border-color: currentcolor; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; text-align: center;"><a href="" target="_blank" style="box-sizing: border-box; border-color: currentcolor; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: 1.2; font-family: inherit; word-wrap: break-word; color: #1e439a;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box; border-color: currentcolor; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; text-decoration-line: underline;"></span></a></strong></em></p> <p><strong style="font-size: 13.008px;">Chipotle announced</strong><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"> late Friday that Hackers used malware to infiltrate Chipotle Mexigan Grill Inc's ($CMG) payment system over a three week period beginning in late March -&nbsp;stealing sensitive customer banking information,&nbsp;including account numbers and internal verification codes that could be used to drain debit-card linked bank accounts.</span></p> <p>The announcement was made following an investigation&nbsp;into an incident first reported on&nbsp;April 25th of&nbsp;"unauthorized activity"&nbsp;detected in some of their Canadian restaurants.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>The malware searched for track data (which sometimes has cardholder name in addition to card number, expiration date, and internal verification code) read from the magnetic stripe of a payment card as it was being routed through the POS device.</p> </blockquote> <p>No word on how many customers are affected, however Chipotle said most of&nbsp;their 2,250 or so restaurants were hit&nbsp;between March 24th and April 18th. <strong><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Click here</a> to see the list of affected restaurants by state. </strong></p> <p><strong>Chipotle refused to upgrade to chip readers in 2015</strong></p> <p>The malware used in the attack&nbsp;steals data&nbsp;found within the magnetic stripe of payment cards. Although it is not clear if EMV (chipped) payment cards would have been susceptible to the hack, Chipotle notably&nbsp;declined to use them&nbsp;in 2015 - citing inefficiencies caused by delays in the authentication process in a fast paced food service environment.</p> <p>The breach could mean big trouble for shares of Chipotle, which have only partially recovered from an E.coli outbreak in late 2015. According to <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Reuters</a>, security analysts say Chipotle will likely face a fine based on the size of the breach and number of records compromised.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"If your data was stolen through a data breach that means you were somewhere out of compliance" with payment industry data security standards, Julie Conroy, research director at Aite Group, a research and advisory firm.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"In this case, the card companies will fine Chipotle and also hold them liable for any fraud that results directly from their breach," said Avivah Litan, a vice president at Gartner Inc (IT.N) specializing in security and privacy.</p> </blockquote> <p>It is uncertain&nbsp;if and&nbsp;how&nbsp;Chipotle's decision not to adopt chipped card payments will factor into fines levied against the company by credit card companies.</p> <p>Poor&nbsp;$CMG just can't catch a break!</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Notice</strong></a></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="691" height="787" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-8702" /></a></p> Card security code Chipotle Mexican Grill Cuisine of the Western United States E-commerce Economy EMV Financial services Merchant services Money Payment card Payment systems Reuters Smart card Sat, 27 May 2017 20:34:19 +0000 ZeroPointNow 596816 at The Fourth Turning's Neil Howe Warns: We Are In The 1930s, "Winter Is Coming" <p><a href=""><em>Via Mauldin Economics,</em></a></p> <p>From the Balkans to the US, walls are going up, not down, according to demographer and <em>The Fourth Turning </em>author Neil Howe.</p> <p>Speaking to a packed crowd at Mauldin Economics&rsquo; <a href="">Strategic Investment Conference</a> in Orlando, Howe said we are reliving many of the same trends and changes of the 1930s.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Faith in Democracy Is Fading</strong></span></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;Worldwide, people are losing trust in institutions,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Trust in the military, small business, and police is still there. But trust in democracies, media, and politicians is dropping.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;When was the last time we saw these changes and the rise of right-wing populism?&rdquo; he asked. &ldquo;The 1930s.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Howe&rsquo;s statement is borne out of a June 2016 Gallup poll.</strong> When poll takers were asked how much confidence they had in institutions in American society, the results were troubling.</p> <p><em>Just 15% said they had a &ldquo;great deal&rdquo; of confidence in the US Supreme Court. Banks trailed behind at 11%, followed by the criminal justice system (9%), newspapers (8%), and big business (6%).</em></p> <p><em>Meanwhile, just 16% expressed a &ldquo;great deal&rdquo; of confidence in the presidency, with that number plummeting to 3% for Congress.</em></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>What Does This Mean for the Future of the West? </strong></span></p> <p>In his keynote, Howe shared his forecasting logic:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;My method is to step back and realize one thing:<strong> There is something we know about the world in 20 years&rsquo; time. The people who live there will be all of us, 20 years older and playing a different role.</strong> I call this &lsquo;looking along the generational diagonal.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>The critical thing to remember about the current crisis period is that <strong>what comes next will be an era in which there is a new order.</strong></p> <p>According to the Strauss-Howe generational theory, as this new order takes root, individualism declines and institutions are strengthened.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;History is seasonal, and winter is coming,&rdquo;&nbsp;Howe has said. But after winter, comes spring.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>As the American Revolution was followed by calm, as the Civil War was followed by reconstruction and a gilded age, and as the Great Depression and World War II were followed by an age of peace and prosperity, so too will this crisis period be followed by a calm, stable era.</p> <p><strong>It&rsquo;s simply a matter of time.</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="539" height="294" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Balkans Congress Demographics Demography Gallup Generation Great Depression Howe Strauss–Howe generational theory Trust U.S. Supreme Court Sat, 27 May 2017 20:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 596798 at Chris Martenson: The Federal Reserve Is Destroying America <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Chris Martenson via,</em></a></p> <p><a href=""><em><img alt="" src="" style="width: 284px; height: 176px;" /></em></a></p> <div class="content clearfix"> <p>Perhaps I should start with a disclaimer of sorts. <strong>Yes, I realize that the people working at the Federal Reserve, as well as the other central banks around the world, are just people.</strong> &nbsp;Like the rest of us, they have egos, fears, worries, hopes, and dreams. I&#39;m sure pretty much all of them go home each night believing they are basically good and caring individuals, doing important work.</p> <p><strong>But they&#39;re destroying America.</strong>&nbsp; They might have good intentions, but they are working with bad models. Ones that lead to truly horrible outcomes.</p> <p>One of the chief failings of central banks is that they are slaves to an impossible idea; the notion that humans are free to pursue perpetual exponential economic growth on a finite planet.&nbsp; To be more specific: central banks are actually in the business of promoting perpetual exponential growth of debt.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>But since growth in credit drives growth in consumption, the two are concepts are so intimately linked as to be indistinguishable from each other.&nbsp; They both rest upon an impossibility.&nbsp;</strong> Central banks are in the business of sustaining the unsustainable which is, of course, an impossible job.&nbsp;</p> <p>I can only guess at the amount of emotional energy required to maintain the integrity of the edifice of self-delusion necessary to go home from a central banking job feeling OK about oneself and one&rsquo;s role in the world.&nbsp; It must be immense.&nbsp;</p> <p>I rather imagine it&rsquo;s not unlike the key positions of leadership at Easter Island around the time the last trees were being felled and the last stone heads were being erected.&nbsp; <strong><em>&ldquo;This is what we do,&rdquo;</em> they probably said to each other and their followers.&nbsp; <em>&ldquo;This is what we&rsquo;ve always done.&nbsp; Pay no attention to those few crackpot haters who warn that in pursuing our way of life we&#39;re instead destroying it.&rdquo;</em></strong></p> <p>The most compassion I can drum up for central bankers right now is to observe that they really do have an impossible job; and their training has been simply too narrow and dogmatic for them to detect the gaping, obvious flaws in their world views.&nbsp; They never studied energy resource issues. Nor did they have to take any behavioral psychology classes that would have explained to them how deeply unfair economic practices are socially corrosive. Nor any history classes that would expose how such actions proved ruinous when they were applied in previous societies.</p> <p><strong>But here we are. The fact that the central bankers are either accidentally ignorant or purposely too lazy to explore the wider world of ideas is not one you can ignore any longer.</strong>&nbsp; Real consequences are coming and there&rsquo;s no ducking them.&nbsp; <a href="">We&rsquo;re all in this big canoe of life together</a> and the Fed and our political officials are exhorting us to paddle faster towards the roaring falls ahead.</p> <p>You need to understand this. If you want to have any chance of navigating the future successfully, you have to understand what they are doing, how they are doing it, and why it will fail.&nbsp; If you don&#39;t take the time to sort out the mechanisms and implications...well, good luck.&nbsp; You&rsquo;re going to need it.</p> <p>For those who prefer to rest their future prospects on <em>Knowing</em> instead of (misplaced) <em>Hoping</em>, read on.</p> <h2><u>How The Fed Gives Billions Of US Taxpayer Money To Foreign Banks</u></h2> <p><strong>Out of many truly maddening sins committed by the Fed, perhaps the most glaring of late is its practice of handing billions and billions of dollars of US taxpayer money to big foreign banks.</strong></p> <p>I explain the process in this short video:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>The summary of the video is this: <u><em><strong>the Fed is now paying interest on so-called &lsquo;excess reserves&rsquo; held at the Fed.</strong></em></u> Those &#39;excess reserves&#39; include a huge chunk of money held there by foreign banks who are only too happy to receive 1% on their holdings from the Fed given that their own central banks are paying 0%, or even negative rates.</p> <p>The money that the Fed pays these foreign banks is deducted from the amount remitted to the US Treasury at the end of each fiscal year.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>It&rsquo;s this simple: foreign banks are being paid billions of US taxpayer dollars and not one single person in the US got to vote for or approve of that action.</em></strong></p> <p><strong>Let me repeat that: billions and billions of US taxpayer money is being sent to boost the profits of foreign banks.</strong>&nbsp;<strong>And there&rsquo;s not a single thing a voting citizen can do about it.&nbsp; </strong></p> <p>The decision to do this has been made unilaterally by unelected people for reasons they are under no obligation to either share or even have audited by the public.&nbsp; I wonder if Detroit wouldn&rsquo;t mind getting several billion dollars to use however it wishes, courtesy of the Federal Reserve?&nbsp; Or the permaculture movement?&nbsp; Or jobs training programs?</p> <p>I&rsquo;m 100% certain any of these -- or a thousand other candidates -- would be a better use than handing foreign big banks more US taxpayer money.&nbsp;</p> <h2><u>What The Heck Else Is The Fed Up To?</u></h2> <p>I&#39;m going to guess that very few of you were aware of the Fed&#39;s multi-billion annual giveaway to foreign banks before you watch the video above. If you&#39;re like me, once you learned what&#39;s going on, it&#39;s hard not to start wondering: <em>What the heck else is the Fed doing that I don&#39;t know about?</em></p> <p>We here at are particularly concerned about closely monitoring our central bank&#39;s next actions, as we believe their policies are creating the greatest wealth transfer of all time -- from the hard-earned savings of the public, and into the pockets of an elite few. (More on our conclusions can be&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">read here</a>).</p> <p><strong>As I said above, if you want to have any chance of navigating the future successfully, you have to understand what they are doing and how they are doing it.</strong></p> <p>Which is why is producing the upcoming webinar, <a href="" target="_blank">The End of Money</a>, which will bring together David Stockman, Axel Merk, G. Edward Griffin -- experts on the Federal Reserve, global currencies and financial markets.&nbsp;During this 3-hour event, you&#39;ll hear their&nbsp;latest intelligence and forecasts and be able to ask each speaker questions directly. It all takes place on June 7th, and those interested can <a href="" target="_blank">learn more about the webinar here.</a></p> <p>But, even before the webinar&#39;s revelations, there&#39;s plenty of worrisome recent activity by the Fed you need to be aware of, right now.</p> <p><em><a href="" target="_blank">In Part 2:&nbsp;Understanding The Fed&#39;s Endgame Is Key To Protecting Your Wealth</a>, we reveal the additional clandestine steps the Fed is performing in the shadows to separate the American people from their hard-earned wealth, and place it in the pockets of the bankers and their cronies. In most instances, it&#39;s a case of doing exactly the opposite of what it is publicly promising.</em></p> <p><em>As with the above video, very, very few people are aware of what the Fed is truly up to. But&nbsp;it&#39;s critical we learn, as the knowledge we gain explains a lot about both the failure of today&#39;s bubblicious&nbsp;asset prices to sell off, and about just how worried the Fed actually is about draining cash from the financial markets lest it create a cascading meltdown. It&#39;s only by developing an understanding of the endgame currently in play that the concerned investor can make informed choices for protecting their wealth.</em></p> <p><em><a href="" target="_blank">Click here to read the report</a>&nbsp;(free executive summary,&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">enrollment</a>&nbsp;required for full access)</em></p> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="284" height="176" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bank Banking Business Central bank Central Banks Chris Martenson Detroit Economy Excess Reserves Excess reserves Fail Federal Reserve Federal Reserve System Financial services Meltdown Monetary policy Money U.S. Treasury US Federal Reserve Sat, 27 May 2017 20:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 596800 at Dollar General Accounts For 80% Of All New Store Openings In The US <p>One week ago, when looking at the latest Fitch forecast of retailers most likely to file for bankruptcy next, we listed the hundreds of store closures already announced in 2017 between various bankrupt and still solvent retail chains. </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="337" /></a></p> <p>Declining consumer demand for traditional retail venues and deteriorating financial results aside, we showed the simple reason for the persistent pressure on traditional "brick and mortar" stores to restructure with the following chart which showed that North America has a glut of retail outlets, as well as far too many shopping malls, something which is becoming apparent as sales per capita decline. On a per capita basis, the US has roughly 24 square feet of retail space per capita, more than twice the space of Australia and 5 times that of the UK.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="307" /></a></p> <p>But what about new store openings? After all, on a net basis the US retail industry has to still be growing. Here we have some good and bad news. </p> <p>First the good news: according to a recent analysts by Bank of America's REIT team, in which the bank analyzes both store openings and closings for the same sample of 33 retailers that its have analyzed since 2007, it finds that the projected net new store count for 2017 is 1,041, which is lower than last year’s actual 1,109. While the net number of 1,041 openings this year is lower than the 10-year average of 1,386, "nevertheless the numbers are still positive" is how BofA spins the silver lining.</p> <p>Some more details from the BofA report:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>For the group of 33 retailers, we estimated 1,128 net new stores, but the actual figure was 1,109 (a negative variance of -1.7%). Projected net store openings were close to the actual count by year-end. As mentioned, this number is somewhat lower than the previous 10-year average, which we believe is due to historically low levels of ground-up development, as well as caution from retailers who remained focused on margin over market share. Table 2 shows projected vs actual net new store openings for 2016. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="168" /></a> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In our analysis, net new store openings for open-air formats (strip centers) still appear stronger than malls for 2017. Open-air retailers plan to open a net new 1,111 stores, while in the mall space, retailers plan to decrease the net new store count by 70 stores. The decrease in the mall categories is primarily due to the closing of department store anchors. The stronger net store result of open-air retailers occurred despite a pick-up of store closings in the open-air categories. The store closings were mitigated by a number retailers which actually increased their “open-to-buy” (such as off-price apparel stores). See Table 3 for net new stores by retailer, by year.</p> </blockquote> <p>Now the bad news: as the following tabl shows<strong>, of the 1,041 stores expected set to open in 2017, 80%, or 810, belong to the one retail chain that focuses exclusively on America's poortest, i.e., Dollar General</strong>. </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="672" /></a></p> <p>Putting BofA's findings in context, US retail is still at least somewhat alive, but only thanks to America's poorest, seemingly a market of still largely untapped growth potential. In fact, <strong>of the nearly 7,800 net new stores opened since 2008 per BofA's sampled data, a whopping 76%, or 5,936, were Dollar General Stores. </strong></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="327" /></a></p> <p>It seems that in the otherwise gloomy US bricks and mortar industry, a source of tremendous growth continues to shine: catering to America's growing poor. </p> <p>As for how Dollar General itself sees the US retail landscape, read "<a href="">Dollar General's Startling Admission: <strong>Half Of U.S. Consumers Are Feeling More "Dire" Than Ever</strong></a>"</p> <p>"Growth" reality aside, there is one potential saviour for US "bricks-based" retailers: e-tailers opening more stores. Here is BofA:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>We would be remiss if we did not also mention the retailers that once sold their products exclusively online and now occupy their own physical space. This year we expanded our analysis of new store openings to include this group, which we refer to as e-tailers. We first looked at a list of 40 online retailers that once existed only online but now have over 280 stores in the U.S. Then we of those e-tailers that plan to add more stores in 2017 and beyond. These 12 e-tailers include names like Amazon, Warby Parker, Bonobos and Indochino. This group of 12 ended 2016 with just under 200 stores and plans to open another 175+ this year (Table 4). Amazon said it will open as many as 400 bookstores; Warby Parker co-founder Neil Blumenthal said he could envision a future with 800 to 1,000 physical stores, and Bonobos founder Andy Dunn said he plans to have 100 stores by 2020. Indochino, a men’s fashion retailer, currently has 13 stores, and CEO Drew Green plans to get to 150 stores by expanding in top-tier malls like SPG’s King of Prussia. These findings support our thesis that tenant demand remains high for bricks and mortar retail high across a variety of tenants, including those once found exclusively online.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="326" /></a></p> </blockquote> <p>It remains to be seen just how successful such "<em>clicks-to-bricks</em>" conversions will be. </p> <p><em>h/t <a href="">Adam Johnson</a></em><a href=""></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1000" height="562" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Australia Business Department store Dollar General Economy Fitch Market Share Marketing Merchandising Online shopping Reality Retail Retailing Sat, 27 May 2017 19:38:22 +0000 Tyler Durden 596814 at US Deploys Third Aircraft Carrier Toward North Korea <p>One month ago, <a href="">when we first discussed that in addition to the CVN-70 </a>Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group, the US was deploying two more carriers toward the Korean peninsula, some took the Yonhap-sourced report skeptically: after all, what's the incremental symbolic impact of having three, or even two aircraft carriers next to North Korea when just one would more than suffice. Then, two weeks ago, the report was proven half right when <a href=";linkId=37768098">US officials announced </a>that in addition to the first US carrier already on location, the US Navy is moving the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier to the Korean Peninsula, where it would conduct dual-carrier training exercises with the USS Carl Vinson.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="281" /></a></p> <p><em>Aircraft carrier CVN-76 Ronald Reagan </em></p> <p>After completing its maintenance period in Yokosuka, Japan, the USS Ronald Reagan departed for the Korean Peninsula on Tuesday, according to the Navy. "Coming out of a long in-port maintenance period we have to ensure that Ronald Reagan and the remainder of the strike group are integrated properly as we move forward," Rear Adm. Charles Williams said in a press release.&nbsp; Once it arrives in the region, the carrier will conduct a variety of training exercises but primarily focus on certifying its ability to safely launch and recover aircraft, the service said. In other words, training for combat missions involved the North Korean capital.</p> <p>We concluded our report from mid-May by saying that the US Navy may soon "further deploy the CVN-68 Nimitz, which was the third carrier reported to be eventually making its way toward Korea."</p> <p>We didn't have long to wait, <a href="">because on Friday the Kitsap Sun confirmed </a>what we reported initially over a month ago, namely that the USS Nimitz will depart Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton on Thursday on its first deployment since 2013. Official details of the deployment were hazy, with spokeswoman Theresa Donnelly saying that The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier is expected to be in the western Pacific for six months with visits to the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, "though plans could change in response to world events."</p> <p>However, a subsequent report from <a href="">VOAnews </a>confirms that the ultimate destination is none other than the country the US will almost certainly attack next, North Korea: </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>The United States is sending a third aircraft carrier strike force to the western Pacific region in an apparent warning to North Korea to deter its ballistic missile and nuclear programs, </strong>two sources have told VOA. The USS Nimitz, one of the world’s largest warships, will join two other supercarriers, the USS Carl Vinson and the USS Ronald Reagan, in the western Pacific.</p> </blockquote> <p>The Nimitz will lead Carrier Strike Group 11, which includes guided-missile destroyers USS Shoup and USS Kidd from Naval Station Everett, guided-missile destroyers USS Howard and USS Pinckney and guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton from San Diego, and a conglomeration of aircraft squadrons that comprise Carrier Air Wing 11, including Naval Air Station Whidbey Island-based Gray Wolves of Electronic Attack Squadron 142.&nbsp; </p> <p><em><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="281" /></a><br />Aircraft carrier CVN-68 Nimitz</em></p> <p>After returning from its last deployment, the Nimitz underwent a 20-month maintenance and modernization period at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard that was completed in October. It has spent most of the past seven months at sea undergoing training and inspections in preparation for deployment. Now the ship and crew are ready to go, said commanding officer Capt. Kevin Lenox.</p> <p>"I am so incredibly proud of the entire Nimitz team and the terrific coordination and support across the entire strike group, especially in such a condensed training cycle," he said in a news release. "The crew stepped up to the plate, and I'm confident we're ready to meet whatever challenges lie ahead on our upcoming deployment."</p> <p>While it is rare for the U.S. military to deploy two carriers in the same region at the same time, it is almost unheard of to have three aircraft carriers in close proximity to each other absent current or imminent military action. Which may be the case soon: as VOA notes, North Korea’s growing nuclear and missile threat is seen as a major security challenge for Trump, who has vowed to prevent the country from being able to strike the U.S. with a nuclear missile.&nbsp; </p> <p>Sitting alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump said on Friday prior to the start of the G-7 meeting in Sicily that world leaders would have a “particular focus on the North Korea problem.” The White House issued a statement on Friday which said the two leaders have agreed to “enhance sanctions on North Korea” in an attempt to prevent the further development of North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs.</p> <p>Meanwhile, as <a href="">reported on Friday</a>, the U.S. military will test a system to shoot down an ICBM for the first time next week. It is intended to simulate a North Korean ICBM aimed at the U.S. The Missile Defense Agency said it will test an existing missile defense system on Tuesday to try to intercept an ICBM. The Pentagon has used the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system to intercept other types of missiles, but never an ICBM. The GMD has been inconsistent, succeeding in nine of 17 attempts against missiles without intercontinental range capability since 1999.</p> <p>So, perhaps as a contingency plan, the US will soon have not one, not two, but three aircraft carriers in the proximity of the Korean peninsula "just in case." The trip from Naval Station Everett is expected to take several weeks. Meanwhile, here is the latest deployment of US naval forces around the globe as of May 25, courtesy of <a href="">Stratfor</a>.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="757" /></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1023" height="575" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Asia-Pacific Carrier air wing Carrier Air Wing Eleven Carrier Strike Group 1 Carrier Strike Group 11 Carrier Strike Groups Electronic Attack Squadron G-7 Japan Middle East Middle East Military Missile Defense Agency navy Nimitz Nimitz-class aircraft carriers None North Korea Pentagon Politics United States Navy United States Navy US military USS Carl Vinson USS Nimitz USS Ronald Reagan War White House White House Sat, 27 May 2017 19:10:45 +0000 Tyler Durden 596812 at Saudi Arabia To Trim Oil Exports To US To Force Inventories Lower <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Zainab Calcuttawala via,</em></a></p> <p>Riyadh plans to <strong>purposely <a href="">reduce exports</a> to the United States to force a reduction in the latter&rsquo;s sizeable inventories,</strong> which are preventing a greater rise in global oil prices, according to Saudi Oil Minister Khalid Al-Falih.</p> <p><a href=""><img height="305" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>Just one day after OPEC announced a nine-month extension to its November production cut deal, the top oil official told reporters on Friday that<strong> &ldquo;exports to the U.S. will drop measurably.&rdquo; </strong></p> <p>Two sources close to the matter told Bloomberg that<strong> starting next month, Saudi crude supplies to American importers will be reduced to below one million barrels a day next month</strong> &ndash; a 15 percent decrease from the monthly average so far in 2017.</p> <p><a href=""><img height="312" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries&rsquo; (OPEC) deal does not set limits on the amount any member country can export to its customers.<strong> This is why Saudi cargoes to the U.S. in recent months have totaled 1.21 million barrels a day &ndash; the highest rates since 2014, the year of the oil price crash.</strong> As the de facto leader and largest producer of OPEC, Saudi Arabia has cut its production the most of any member of the bloc. But stubbornly high fossil fuel inventories - which have been maintained worldwide, but are most readily measured in the U.S. due to open customs data &ndash; have prevented the measures from buttressing oil prices in a lasting way. Importer nations have opted to take advantage of low oil prices to stock up for the future.</p> <p>The Energy Information Administration reports that<strong> American crude inventories have been on a <a href="">downward trajectory</a> in recent weeks, so the lower shipments may have a magnified impact as they are doled out.</strong></p> <p>Bloomberg also noted that <strong>Saudi Arabia generally has less oil to supply to the U.S. in summer months</strong> due to amplified domestic demand for cooling needs during the scorching desert summer.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 303px;" /></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="537" height="273" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Business Cartels Chronology of world oil market events Crude Economy Energy crisis Energy economics Energy Information Administration Oil reserves in Saudi Arabia OPEC OPEC Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries Petroleum industry Price of oil Saudi Arabia World oil market chronology from Sat, 27 May 2017 19:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 596799 at Never Forget <p>The price of 'freedom'...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="391" /></a></p> <p><a href=""><em>Source:</em><br /></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1084" height="707" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Commodity markets Elections in Dominica Elo rating system Pricing Technology Sat, 27 May 2017 18:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 596802 at One Bank Spots An "Amber Warning Sign" Inside The Vol Complex <p>In a time when record low volatility has spawned a cottage industry of vol and Vix experts, with analysts desperate to explain either why volatility is where it is - here the simplest explanation is not only the record injection of liquidity by central banks pushing risk assets to all time highs but the fact that even hedge funds appear to have thrown in the towel on alpha-generation and are barely trading, <a href="In general equity prices are negatively correlated with volatility, which is consistent with an emphasis on protection and levered exposure to the upside. Rising prices are associated with falling volatility and falling prices with rising volatility. Rising (and expectations of rising) prices convert call exposure into the underlying and reduce concern for the need for protection. Volatility demand is satisfied at lower volatility prices. Falling prices creates more concern for protection.">as shown last week</a>...<strong></strong> </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="422" /></a></p> <p>... or where it will go next, even though there is no causal link between backward-looking implied or realized vol and future events, few have come up with a comprehensive analysis or theory of which volatility metric is relevant or appropriate when discounting risk inflection points. </p> <p>One such recent attempt comes from Deutsche Bank's Dominik Constam who in his latest Global Market Strategy letter believes he has found what may be a fulcrum predictive vol indicator which, as he writes overnight, is "<strong>an amber warning sign that momentum in stocks might be peaking over the coming months.</strong>"</p> <p>As Konstam simply frames it, "in general equity prices are negatively correlated with volatility, which is consistent with an emphasis on protection and levered exposure to the upside. Rising prices are associated with falling volatility and falling prices with rising volatility. <strong>Rising (and expectations of rising) prices convert call exposure into the underlying and reduce concern for the need for protection. Volatility demand is satisfied at lower volatility prices. Falling prices creates more concern for protection.</strong>" </p> <p>That - absent any reference to Greek letters, to central banks, to CTAs and risk parity funds, or to vol ETFs - is about the simplest, and most accurate explanation for why vol is where it is at any given moment. What does it mean for the future?</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Spikes higher in correlation, <strong>either much less negative correlation or positive correlation therefore appear to be related to mature bull markets. </strong>The chart below shows change in correlation versus a year ago and there are coincident or near-coincident peaks in momentum viz June 2000, June 2006, October 2007, October 2009, March 2011 and March 2014. The move from extreme negative toward positive correlation likely reflects a causality whereby the demand for call exposure gives way to demand for put exposure as investors become invested in a rising market and more fearful of a turning point. <strong>This is reflected in a positive correlation between put-call volume ratios and the change in correlation</strong>.</p> </blockquote> <p>However, this time something has changed: </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>It is therefore interesting that as volatility has remained low, <strong>the put call ratio has been falling as investors seek exposure to the rising SPX (buying more calls relative to puts). </strong>Moreover this has coincided with a sharp move higher in correlation momentum from a very negative -1.22 in March 2016 to the current +0.19 in April 2017 (correlation itself is still quite negative at -0.74 but it is the shift in momentum that we care about<strong>). </strong></p> </blockquote> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="397" /></a></p> <p>Konstam's conclusion: <strong>"This is an amber warning sign that momentum in stocks might be peaking over the coming months</strong>."</p> <p>Which, of course, will be true if "this time is not different", however when it comes to volatility, there are two problems. As we showed last August when we demonstrated a recent analysis by Horseman Capital's Russell Clark, "<a href="">The VIX Is Now Broken</a>" and furthermore, a recent scientific study has confirmed that <a href="">VIX is also manipulated</a>. As such any assumption, current or future, that vol will act in a "rational", market efficient manner, especially with the ECB and BOJ continuing to inject a record amount of liquidity into the system, may prove not only self-defeating but become a feedback loop whereby those who go long are forced to cell, pushing Vix even lower, making the divergence from "normal" that much greater. </p> <p>Incidentally, the best catalyst for a spike in vol may be far simpler: Trump is coming back. After all it was Trump that unleashed a nearly 6 sigma move in numerous vol metrics less than two weeks ago; it is therefore safe to expect that his return to the US will provide even more volatility fireworks in the days and weeks to come. </p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="497" height="381" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Alpha Bank of Japan Central Banks Economy European Central Bank Financial risk Hedge Mathematical finance S&P/ASX 200 VIX Technical analysis VIX Volatility Volatility Volatility smile Sat, 27 May 2017 18:17:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 596809 at McMaster Responds To Kushner's "Russia Back-Channel" Report <p>Having admitted that their <a href="">Memorial Day Weekend blockbuster scoop</a> that President Trump&#39;s son-in-law<em> &quot;discussed the possibility of setting up a secure communications channel between the Trump transition team and the Kremlin with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak,&quot;</em>&nbsp; is <strong>really a non-story</strong> because, as they state themselves<em> &quot;It is common for senior advisers of a newly elected president to be in contact with foreign leaders and official,&quot; </em><a href=";wpisrc=nl_most&amp;wpmm=1">The Washington Post reports</a> that President Trump&#39;s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster agrees this is a non-story<strong>, saying Saturday he &quot;would not be concerned&quot; about having a back-channel communications system with Russia.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img height="387" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p><a href=";wpisrc=nl_most&amp;wpmm=1">WaPo reports </a>that McMaster and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, who together briefed reporters Saturday, were<strong> unwilling to discuss the Kushner matter, as was White House press secretary Sean Spicer.</strong> White House officials insisted the briefing be conducted off-camera, preventing photographers or television cameras from documenting it.</p> <p>As McMaster and Cohn took the stage in the briefing room, a television screen just over their shoulder played CNN, which at that moment aired a discussion of the Kushner-Russia story under a &quot;breaking news&quot; banner.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&quot;We&#39;re not going to comment on Jared,&quot;</strong> Cohn said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;We&#39;re just not going to comment.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p>McMaster said he could not talk about Kushner&#39;s talks with Russia because &quot;it&#39;s not something that I&#39;ve in any way been involved with or that I have any knowledge of.&quot;</p> <p>However,<a href=";wpisrc=nl_most&amp;wpmm=1"> as WaPo reports,</a> McMaster, a decorated three-star Army general, was <strong>asked whether he would be concerned if an official on his National Security Council staff or elsewhere in the Trump administration sought a back-channel communications system with the Russian embassy or the Kremlin in Moscow. </strong>His response is telling...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&quot;No,&quot; McMaster said. &quot;We have back-channel communications with a number of countries. So, generally speaking, about back-channel communications, what that allows you to do is to communicate in a discreet manner.&quot;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He continued, <strong>&quot;No, I would not be concerned about it.&quot;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><a href=";wpisrc=nl_most&amp;wpmm=1">The Washington Post reports </a>that <strong>the press conference grew more tense after that</strong>... we suspect the reason is clear, The White House would not be drawn into the non-story narrative that the entire press corps wants to run with for the weekend.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="691" height="446" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American Presbyterians Donald Trump First 100 days of Donald Trump's presidency H. R. McMaster McMaster Military personnel National Economic Council national security National Security Council Politics Presidency of Donald Trump Russian embassy Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections Sean Spicer Sergey Kislyak Trump Administration United States White House White House Sat, 27 May 2017 17:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 596804 at