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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,639

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Apple’s iPhone-iPad-Mac Fiasco in 4 Interactive Charts

Apple’s iPhone-iPad-Mac Fiasco in 4 Interactive Charts
by Wolf Richter • April 26, 2016

Apple shares are currently getting crushed. At $95.66, they’re down 8.3% after the bell. The company reported second quarter earnings that, as it has been termed, “missed across the board.”

Revenue dropped 13% to $55.5 billion. Net income plunged 22% to $10.52 billion. Earnings per share plunged 18% from $2.33 per share a year ago to $1.90 per share.

Oh, and iPhone sales fell for the first time ever. Not “fell.” But “plunged.” In dollar terms, they plunged 18.4% from a year ago. In unit terms, they plunged 16%.

Here are four interactive charts depicting the revenue and unit-sales fiasco in the different segments. Hover over them to get the specific data (Data curated by FindTheCompany): http://wolfstreet.com/2016/04/26/heres-apples-iphone-ipad-mac-fiasco-in-4-interactive-charts/

A Torrid Week for the Transatlantic Corporatocracy

A Torrid Week for the Transatlantic Corporatocracy
by Don Quijones • April 26, 2016

[font color="blue"]The carefully woven fabric is unraveling.[/font]
By Don Quijones, Spain & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET.

A new survey conducted by YouGov for the Bertelsmann Foundation showed that only 17% of Germans believe the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a good thing, down from 55% two years ago.

In the United States, only 18% support the deal compared to 53% in 2014.

Such low popularity ratings are an incredible feat for a trade agreement that until last year the public had barely even heard of, purposefully, even as it had been on the negotiation table for years, while the governments associated with it had expected to pass it with flying colors.

During his visit to Germany at the weekend, President Barack Obama tried to breathe life back into the deal, insisting that “the majority of people still favor trade” and “still recognize, on balance, that it’s a good idea.” While that may be so, TTIP, like the other alphabet-soup trade agreements, is not really about promoting trade; it’s about reconfiguring the legal apparatus and superstructures that govern national, regional, and global commerce, business and society, for the benefit of the world’s largest multinational corporations.

Obama could not have chosen a worse possible location to plug his sacred trade deal. Offering a quite visible contradiction to his rose-tinted interpretation of corporate-sponsored trade deals, tens of thousands marched against TTIP in the streets of Hanover on Saturday. Opposition to the trade agreement is also fierce among Germany’s Mittelstand (small and medium-size companies), which represent over 90% of firms in the country. A 2014 Commerzbank study found that only 15% of Mittlestand companies believe TTIP would be a good thing for their business. .................(more)


Consumers, Small-Business Owners Souring on This Economy

Consumers, Small-Business Owners Souring on This Economy
by Wolf Richter • April 27, 2016

[font color="blue"]“Flashing a recession signal.”[/font]

Consumer optimism about the economy is waning, and small-business-owner sentiment is giving off recession vibes. That’s how different surveys are now mucking up the rosy scenario.

Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index, released today, added another dimension. It dropped four points in the week ending April 24, to -16, the lowest since August 2015, and down from positive territory in January 2015.

It left Gallup groping for answers:

Pessimism has increased despite a strong stock market in recent weeks and a persistent low unemployment rate. However, there have been reports of weak retail sales and expectations of low first quarter economic growth. Gas prices have also started to rise, although they remain well below where they were for most of the past decade.

The report also blamed the rhetoric emanating from the presidential primary. Candidates, still unconstraint by the dictum affecting US Presidents to always hype the economy, have unabashedly pointed at some ugly spots in the rosy scenario and have suggested “how they would fix the US economy if elected.” This, Gallup says, rattled some nerves.

In January 2015, the index was at +5. It wasn’t exactly wallowing in exuberance, given its theoretical range of +100 to -100 (it hit -65 during the Financial Crisis). But that was the high point. And it has been zigzagging south ever since.

Consumers don’t live in the Wall-Street economy. They struggle with their daily challenges in the real economy. For them, it’s tough out there. Study after study confirms that about half of them, even those considered middle class, are living from paycheck to paycheck and can’t come up with $500 for emergency purchases. ............(more)


Tim DeChristopher with Chris Hedges: Coping with Reality (re: climate change)

Published on Apr 25, 2016

In this episode of Days of Revolt, Chris Hedges interviews climate change activist Tim DeChristopher about the deadly failure of industrial world to confront the effects of climate change. The two discuss how climate change has, and continues to trigger social tension and injustice, and the necessary ethnical response on the part of humanity as a whole.

China’s “Lehman Moment?”

China’s “Lehman Moment?”
by Wolf Richter • April 25, 2016

[font color="blue"]Or Decades of Japan-Style Stagnation?[/font]

Last year, $674 billion fled China. This year through March, $175 billion did. The Institute of International Finance, in a report released today, estimated that $538 billion would flee China this year.

Reserves have plunged from $4 trillion in June 2014 to $3.2 trillion as of February. Much of it is illiquid and cannot be used to stabilize the currency. So the IIF said that capital flight could accelerate if Chinese investors fret that the yuan could fall in a “disorderly” manner.

This would have broader ramifications:

A sharp drop in the renminbi would likely spark a renewed sell-off of global risk assets and trigger a flight of portfolio capital from emerging markets.

Moreover, a sharp depreciation of the renminbi could lead to a round of competitive devaluation in other emerging markets, particularly in those with close trade linkages to China.

The report warned that an “important unknown” is the level of currency reserves that the Chinese government considers critical. If reserves drop below that level, authorities might either let the yuan fall sharply or tighten currency controls further, both of which would rattle markets around the world.

Add to this environment the growing fear of bond defaults by Chinese state-owned enterprises. Companies have extended large amounts of loans to each other, and defaults would ricochet through Corporate China. ............(more)


What Comes After Capitalism? Upcoming Teach-Ins Can Show a Way Forward

What Comes After Capitalism? Upcoming Teach-Ins Can Show a Way Forward

Thursday, 21 April 2016 00:00
By Gar Alperovitz and Ben Manski, Truthout | Op-Ed

An extraordinary process of change is about to explode this month on campuses and in communities across the United States. Thousands of Americans are coming together in dozens of locations to take on the question of what kind of system should replace capitalism. The process is called the Next System Teach-Ins.

Teach-ins to address the fundamental question of how to move beyond capitalism will be taking place on campuses as well as in community centers and correctional facilities -- most between Earth Day (April 22) and May Day (May 1), following kickoff events this month at the New School and the City University of New York (CUNY) system in New York City; and the University of Wisconsin at Madison. The largest teach-in is planned for the University of California, Santa Barbara, between April 26 and 28. Major sessions from that campus will be live-streamed into classrooms, house parties and workplaces across the world.

The idea that capitalism as a system may be coming to an end, that something new must ultimately be created, is no longer restricted to groups on the political left. Survey after survey has found millions of Americans embracing ideas far different from business as usual. A January 2016 poll of likely Democratic caucusgoers, even in a state like Iowa, found that 43 percent described themselves as "socialist" -- a higher percentage than those who self-identified as "capitalist." Eighty-four percent of Democratic voters under the age of 30 voted for the self-described "democratic socialist" candidate Bernie Sanders, and one-third of all Sanders supporters have told pollsters they will vote for the Green Party's Jill Stein in the general election if Sanders is not the Democratic Party nominee.

Nor is the understanding that the current system is not the be-all and end-all of history restricted to progressives in general. Long before anti-capitalism found mass expression in the Sanders campaign, four years ago, in 2012, Klaus Schwab, chairman of the World Economic Forum -- the annual gathering of corporate and financial leaders in Davos, Switzerland -- declared: "Capitalism in its current form no longer fits the world around us." .....................(more)


Student debt surpassed $1 trillion four years ago today. Here’s why it’s still growing

(MarketWatch) Student loans have become a $1 trillion problem in the popular imagination. But it wasn’t always this way.

Student debt activists mark April 25, 2012 as the day when total outstanding student loans in the U.S. hit $1 trillion. (Total outstanding student loan debt surpassed $1 trillion in the second quarter of 2012, — which includes April, — according to the Federal Reserve).

On that day, college students and others took to the streets to call attention to the ways in which student debt was affecting their ability to complete college or secure the trappings of a middle-class life once they graduate. Ever since, activists have used April 25 and the week surrounding it as an opportunity to keep a spotlight on those issues. This year, events include Twitter chats, webinars, and the announcement of a student loan help hotline.

“One trillion dollars is such a big number by itself, it really highlights the need for elected leaders to take student debt seriously not just as an issue for young people but for the economy as a whole,” said Maggie Thompson, the executive director of Generation Progress, a youth-focused activist arm of the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank. .............(more)


Our gigantic problem with portions: why are we all eating too much?

(Guardian UK) f you want to see how inflated our portion sizes have become, don’t go to the supermarket – head to an antique shop. You spot a tiny goblet clearly designed for a doll, only to be told it is a “wine glass”. What look like side plates turn out to be dinner plates. The real side plates resemble saucers.

Back in a modern kitchen, you suddenly notice how vast everything is – 28cm has become a normal diameter for a dinner plate, which in the 1950s would have been 25cm. Just because we are eating off these great expanses of china does not of course mean that we have to serve ourselves bigger portions. But as it happens, we usually do. Brian Wansink is a psychologist (author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think) who has done numerous experiments to prove what you would hope common sense might already tell us: that oversized tableware makes us consume bigger portions. A large ice-cream scoop makes you take more ice-cream; a short, squat glass makes you pour more juice. Because it doesn’t look like much, we still feel we are consuming roughly the same amount. Wansink calls this the size-contrast illusion. The “real danger of these kitchen traps”, writes Wansink, is that “almost every single person in the world believes they’re immune to them”.

In fact, it seems that the only people who are immune to big portions are tiny children. Up until the age of three or four, children have an enviable ability to stop eating when they are full. After that age, this self-regulation of hunger is lost, and sometimes never relearned. This is a cross-cultural phenomenon, from London to Beijing. One study from the US found that when three-year-olds were served small, medium and large portions of macaroni cheese, they always ate roughly the same amount. By contrast, five-year-olds ate a lot more when the portion of macaroni cheese was oversized.

In a world where food is ever-present, many of us have become like Alice in Wonderland, controlled by cakes that say Eat Me and bottles that say Drink Me. As the nutritionist Marion Nestle remarked 10 years ago in her book, What to Eat: “It is human nature to eat when presented with food, and to eat more when presented with more food.” The trouble is that we are pushed more food, more often, every day. In 2013, the British Heart Foundation published a report called Portion Distortion on how portion sizes in Britain have changed since 1993. Back then, the average American-style muffin weighed 85g, whereas 20 years later it was not uncommon to find muffins weighing 130g. Ready meals have also ballooned in size, with chicken pies expanding by 49% and the average shepherd’s pie nearly doubling in size since 1993 (from 210g to 400g). To overeat in such an environment may be less about lacking willpower than being set in your ways. Food psychologists talk about “unit bias” meaning that we are inclined to think that a portion equals one of something, no matter what the size. Even when it’s the 2,000-calorie single slice of pizza that nutritionists managed to buy in New York City: a whole day’s worth of calories in a single snack. ...............(more)


How the iPhone Will Maul Tech Sector Earnings

How the iPhone Will Maul Tech Sector Earnings
by Wolf Richter • April 24, 2016

[font color="blue"]This is what we can look forward to this week.[/font]

Apple will report earnings on April 26 for the quarter ending March 31, its second quarter. According to Zacks, the ex-bad-items non-GAAP consensus earnings forecast is $1.97 per share. FactSet pegs it at $2.00 per share. A year ago, Apple reported $2.33 a share.

This would be a 15% year-over-year decline. It would be the first since the decline in the July-September quarter 2013. Apple could throw in miscellaneous disappointments in its numbers or its outlook – because it has been tough out there.

There has already been a slew of disappointing tech reports last week – the week of bad omens. On Monday, highflier Netflix scared investors with its lagging subscriber growth. Shares crashed 14%. They’re down 28% from their peak in January yet still sport a nose-bleed PE ratio of 330!

Other tech companies also reported inglorious results last week, such as IBM whose revenues fell for the 16th quarter in a row. The only hope is that it can continue to lay off people and buy back enough of its own shares – until what? No one knows. ...................(more)


Americans Are Miserable, and It's Swaying the Election

(Bloomberg) Every week, hosts Joe Weisenthal and Tracy Alloway take you on a not-so-random walk through hot topics in markets, finance, and economics.

On this week's episode we look at the intersection of markets, economics, and the U.S. presidential election to examine how the national mood is swaying the vote. The bad news: There are all kinds of signs that Americans are miserable—especially Republicans. Peter Atwater of Financial Insyghts explains why and how this is contributing to the rise of Donald Trump, and to a lesser extent to Bernie Sanders. There's also a warning here for anyone invested in the stock market.

Also, did you know that there's an actual "Misery Index"? Economists have developed a single number that attempts to capture how unhappy a country is, and it has a great track record of predicting U.S. presidential elections. Carl Riccadonna, chief U.S. economist of Bloomberg Intelligence, joins us to explain the measure and tell us what it means for the ultimate outcome in November.

Take a listen and understand why this year's political season seems so wild: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-25/odd-lots-podcast-the-misery-index

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