World’s Nations Building Huge Numbers of New Coal Plants Despite Emissions Growth

By Larry Hamlin – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

A recent article discussed at Watts Up With That? exposed that many of the world’s largest CO2 emitting nations are proceeding with energy policies involving the building of huge numbers of new coal plants without regard to increasing CO2 emissions completely contradicting the aims of the Paris Climate Agreement.

These nations actions clearly show the Paris Climate Agreement is meaningless in addressing global emissions and that President Trump was very wise to reject it’s oppressive provisions that were imposed on the U.S.

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This Stock Market is Priced to Sell

By Vitaliy Katsenelson – Re-Blogged From IMA

If you feel that you have to own stocks no matter the cost; if you tell yourself, “Stocks are expensive, but I am a long-term investor,” — there’s help for you yet.

First, let’s scan the global economic landscape. The health of the European Union has not improved, and Brexit only increased the possibility of other nation’s “exits” as the structural issues that render this union dysfunctional go unfixed.

Meanwhile, Japan’s population isn’t getting any younger — in fact, it’s the oldest in the world. Japan is also the world’s most-indebted developed nation (though, in all fairness, other countries are desperately trying to take that title away from it). Despite the growing debt, Japanese five-year government bonds are “paying” an interest rate of negative 0.10%. Imagine what will happen to the government’s budget when Japan has to start actually paying to borrow money commensurate with its debtor profile.

Regarding China, the bulk of Chinese growth is coming from debt, which in fact is growing at a much faster pace than the economy. This camel has consumed a tremendous quantity of steroids over the years that have weakened its back — we just don’t know yet which straw will break it.

n the U.S., meanwhile, S&P 500 SPX, -0.12% earnings have stagnated since 2013, but this has not stopped analysts from launching into a new year with forecasts of 10%-20% earnings growth — only to gradually take expectations down to near-zero as the year progresses. The explanation for the stagnation is surprisingly simple: Corporate profitability overall has been stretched to an extreme and is unlikely to improve much, as profit margins are close to all-time highs (corporations have squeezed about as much juice out of their operations as they can). And interest rates are still low, while corporate and government indebtedness is very high — a recipe for higher interest rates and significant inflation down the road, which will pressure corporate margins even further.

I am acutely aware that all of the above sounds like a broken record. It absolutely does, but that doesn’t make it any less true. We are in the final innings of this eight-year-old bull market, which in the past few years has been fueled not by great fundamentals but by a lack of good investment alternatives.

Starved for yield, investors are forced to pick investments by matching current yields with income needs, while ignoring riskiness and overvaluation. Why wouldn’t they? After all, over the past eight years we have observed only steady if unimpressive returns and very little realized risk. However, just as in dating, decisions that are made due to a “lack of alternatives” are rarely good decisions, as new alternatives will eventually emerge — it’s just a matter of time.

The average stock (that is, the market) is extremely expensive. At this point it almost doesn’t matter which valuation metric you use: price to 10-year trailing earnings; stock market capitalization (market value of all stocks) as a percentage of GDP (sales of the whole economy); enterprise value (market value of stocks less cash plus debt) to EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) — they all point to this: stocks were more expensive than they are today only once in the past century — during the late 1990s dot-com bubble.

Investors who are stampeding into expensive stocks through passive index funds are buying what has worked — and will likely stop working. Mutual funds are not much better. When I meet new clients, I get to look at their mutual-fund holdings. Even value-oriented funds, which in theory are supposed to be scraping equities from the bottom of the stock-market barrel, are full of pricey companies. Cash (which is another way of saying, “I’m not buying overvalued stocks”) is not a viable option for most equity-fund managers.

Thus this market has turned professional investors into buyers not of what they like but of what they hate the least. In 2016 less than 10% of actively managed funds outperformed their benchmarks (their respective index funds) on a five-year trailing basis. Unfortunately, the last time this happened was in 1999, during the dot-com bubble, and we know how that story ended.

To summarize the requirements for investing in an environment where decisions are made not based on fundamentals but due to a lack of alternatives, look to Mark Twain: “All you need in this life [read: lack-of-alternatives stock market] is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.”

To succeed in the market that lies ahead of us, one will need to have a lot of confidence in his ignorance and exercise caution and prudence, which will often mean taking the much less-traveled path.

So, how does one invest in this overvalued market? Our strategy is spelled out in this fairly lengthy article.

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Time For A New Gold Standard For Asia

By Alasdair Macleod – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Over half the world’s population, living in the Eurasian land mass, understands that gold is money. The leaders of the Asian nations also know that this is true as well. The leaders of the security and economic alliance of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which now incorporates most of these peoples, also know that to become independent of Western hegemony and to forge their own way, they must abandon Western financial systems and markets, replacing them with a new monetary order, serving their own needs. This is demonstrated in the establishment of parallel multinational financial institutions, duplicating and replacing dollar-centric development banks and settlement organisations.

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2017 Third-Quarter World Forecast

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

Overview

Tempering Trump Policy: Ongoing federal investigations and intensifying budget battles with Congress will make for another distracting quarter for U.S. President Donald Trump. But these disruptions won’t mitigate the rhetoric of White House ideologues, or broader speculation that the United States is retreating from the global stage. The reality of the superpower’s role in global governance, of course, is far more complicated. Meanwhile, the administration’s more extreme policy initiatives, particularly on matters of trade and climate, will be tempered at the federal, corporate, state and local levels. And though the United States will maintain its security alliances abroad, it will also generate enough uncertainty to drive its partners toward unilateral action in managing their own neighborhoods.

Sparks Fly in the Middle East: Qatar’s standoff with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will persist throughout the quarter amid intensifying battles among regional powers’ proxies across the region. More visible competition within the Gulf Cooperation Council and growing distrust between Turkey and its Gulf neighbors will reveal the weaknesses of the White House’s strategy to conform to Riyadh’s increasingly assertive foreign policy in an attempt to manage the region. The risk of clashes among great powers is also on the rise in eastern Syria: As Iran works to create a land bridge from Tehran to Damascus and the Mediterranean coast, Syrian loyalists and U.S.-backed rebels are racing toward the Iraqi border, all while Russia uses the Syrian battlefield to jockey with the United States for influence.

A Stressed but Stable Oil Market: As Saudi Arabia’s young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman continues to amass power, much of his focus will stay fixed on preparing for the initial public offering of Saudi Aramco in 2018. Part of that plan entails preserving a deal on production cuts among major oil producers in hopes of keeping prices stable amid climbing output in the United States, Libya, Nigeria and Kazakhstan. Compliance with the agreement will hold through the quarter, but it will slip toward the end of the year as signatories begin to craft their exit strategies.

Dancing Around the North Korean Crisis: The limits to China’s cooperation in sanctions against North Korea will become clearer as trade talks between Beijing and Washington head for a rough patch. Pyongyang’s nuclear and weapons tests will continue to fuel friction in the region, though they will not increase the chances of U.S. military action this quarter unless the North Korean regime can demonstrate a credible long-range missile capability; an achievement that is probably still at least a year away.

Europe Buys Time While Russia Airs Its Dirty Laundry: A likely electoral win for Germany’s moderate forces and early reform successes in France will reinvigorate calls to take advantage of the prevailing calm on the Continent to revamp the European Union. Doing so, however, will expose the many fault lines festering in Europe as each camp proposes a different vision for integration. And with a wary West on guard against Russian cyberwarfare and propaganda campaigns, there will be little room for substantive negotiation between Washington and Moscow this quarter. At the same time, a burgeoning protest movement will keep the Kremlin’s hands full at home.
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Crisis Investing in Brazil

By Doug Casey – Re-Blogged From International Man

Editor’s Note: Brazil is in crisis once again.

This time, Brazil’s president, Michel Temer, has been accused of corruption, bribery, and obstruction of justice.

When news of this scandal broke, it triggered a huge selloff in Brazilian stocks. The iShares MSCI Brazil Capped ETF (EWZ), which tracks Brazil’s stock market, plummeted 18% in one day. It was the fund’s worst day since the 2008 financial crisis.

Most investors now want nothing to do with Brazilian stocks. But we’re not like most investors. We understand crises can actually lead to huge moneymaking opportunities.

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Another Ridiculous Scare Tactic: 2 Billion Climate Change Refugees by 2100

By Anthony Watts – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

From the “it didn’t work out with 50 million, so let’s go for 2 billion and date further our that can’t be verifed in our lifetime” department. Remember the “50 million climate refugees by 2010” scare, that worked out so badly that the U.N. had to “disappear it” from their website?

Well, like zombies that never die, it’s back, and stronger than ever. But, it’s from a sociologist, so take it with a grain of salt, and maybe the whole salt shaker.


Rising seas could result in 2 billion refugees by 2100
CORNELL UNIVERSITY

ITHACA, N.Y. – In the year 2100, 2 billion people – about one-fifth of the world’s population – could become climate change refugees due to rising ocean levels. Those who once lived on coastlines will face displacement and resettlement bottlenecks as they seek habitable places inland, according to Cornell University research.

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Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #275

By Ken Haapala, President, The Science and Environmental Policy Project

The Week That Was: July 1, 2017 Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

Climategate 2017? Last week TWTW discussed a paper by Santer, et al. that seems to support the view that, generally, global climate models greatly overestimate the warming of the atmosphere. The exception is the model by the Institute of Numerical Mathematics in Moscow. TWTW suspected that the paper may be part of a ruse, a trick, to discredit John Christy’s Congressional testimony on December 8, 2015, and February 2, 2016. Christy had stated that global climate models overestimate warming by 2.5 to 3 times. The new Santer paper is similar to one in the Journal of Climate on December 21, 2016.

The 2016 Santer paper claimed that the Christy did not properly account for stratospheric cooling. If that cooling is included, the warming projected by the models is only 1.7 times what is occurring. Yet, Christy specifically limited the data in his testimony to 50,000 feet, below the stratosphere, to avoid the complexity of the issue. The new Santer paper, published in Nature Geoscience on June 19, 2017, has many of the same authors as the previous paper. A noted exception is that Susan Solomon of MIT is not included in the second paper. [Michael Mann is listed as a co-author in the second paper.]

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