Senators on climate change: “We look a bit like Neanderthals”

With most Americans now viewing climate change as a major threat, a group of senators announced the first bipartisan climate caucus to address the crisis. But the senators are short on specifics and seem to be taking small steps toward action, CBS News chief congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes reports.

Utah Senator Mitt Romney is one of four Republicans, three Democrats and one Independent who just joined the caucus. “We look a bit like Neanderthals,” he said. “It’s real. We’ve got to take action.” 

The caucus is the brainchild of Delaware Democrat Chris Coons and Indiana Republican Mike Braun. “My expectation is that we will start by listening,” Coons said.
“I’ve got four kids,” Braun said. “I took a poll among them, ‘What do you think about this idea?’ They love it.”
It’s a departure from the climate science skepticism the GOP has embraced in recent years. “There are still some Republican senators who think that cold winter weather is a sign that the climate isn’t changing,” Cordes said to the senators, referring to a common but mistaken assumption

“Science is more and more clear, and I think people will either be convinced or not as time goes on,” Romney said.

“I think many probably just were not willing to say it,” said Braun. “To me, it’s chemistry and physics, and I’m not going to deny that.”
Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen can already see the impacts of climate change in her home state of New Hampshire. “Our ski industry is affected, our snowmobiling, our maple-surgaring industry. So many things that people can see,” she said.

Coons also said he has seen changes in his state. “It’s striking, in Delaware, just how much it’s impacting everything, from sports fishing, commercial fishing,” he said.

The caucus’ first move will be a meeting with CEOs, some of whom are pushing for a carbon tax. But the group will not commit to anything yet. 
“If we go there right away, I think we’ll probably be doing the whole thing a disservice,” Braun said.

“Do you have to cap, or at the very least discourage emissions, in order to make a difference?” Cordes asked.

“Oh, I’m not going to say any ‘have to’ with regards to climate. I think all the ideas will be on the table,” Romney said.

Maine Senator Angus King said strength in numbers will help. “My philosophy is, let’s take small steps, find some things we can succeed on,” he said. 

Scientists insist there’s an urgency to act now, with millions at risk from rising temperatures and sea levels. And with the crisis threatening to cut the U.S. economy up to 10% by century’s end, these senators hope Congress can catch up.

“I do believe that old saying is true, which is, when they feel the heat, they’ll see the light,” Romney said. “People who might otherwise be more inclined to slow things down are going to say, ‘We’ve got to respond.'”

The group wants to introduce legislation by next year, but they have a challenge in winning over the Trump White House, which just began the process of withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accords this week and has rolled back dozens of environmental rules in the past three years.

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Mike Pence blasts the NBA for “acting like a wholly owned subsidiary” of China

Pence says NBA is acting like a subsidiary of China

Vice President Mike Pence slammed the NBA for “acting like a wholly owned subsidiary” of China’s Communist Party on Thursday. His remarks have been the most critical from the Trump administration since the NBA-China standoff began earlier this month, over a team executive’s tweet supporting Hong Kong’s anti-government protesters

During a speech at The Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., Pence took aim at the league for initially apologizing for the Houston Rockets general manager’s Oct. 4 tweet that read: “Fight for Freedom, Stand with Hong Kong.” 

“Some of the NBA’s biggest players and owners who routinely exercise their freedom to criticize this country lose their voices when it comes to the freedom and rights of the people of China,” Pence said. “It’s siding with the Chinese Communist Party and silencing free speech.” 

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“The NBA is acting like a wholly owned subsidiary of that authoritarian regime,” he added. “A progressive corporate culture that willfully ignores the abuse of human rights is not progressive, it is repressive.” 

Pence also took a swing at Nike, saying the sports apparel company prefers to check its “social conscience at the door” when it comes to Hong Kong.

“Nike stores in China actually removed their Houston Rockets merchandise from their shelves to join the Chinese government in protest against the Rockets general manager’s seven-word tweet,” he said.

Several Chinese partners have cut ties with the NBA after the tweet. The nation’s largest broadcaster refused to air preseason games taking place in the country, and the government called for Morey to be fired.

Can Adam Silver save the NBA in China?

Despite the global backlash, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has backed Morey’s right to freedom of speech and said he wouldn’t be punished for the tweet. Morey has yet to make any further public comments since first addressing the controversy on Twitter.

The issue has polarized fan bases, politicians, and former and current NBA players. LeBron James and James Harden attempted to mitigate the controversy, while four-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal came to Morey’s defense

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Brexit – Looks like the Financial Times has written the obituary for Boris Johnson’s prime ministership

The FT with a summary of the UK PM’s achievements in office:

In three months as prime minister Mr Johnson

  • has suffered an unprecedented defeat in the Supreme Court, 
  • lost his parliamentary majority, 
  • expelled 21 Tory MPs, 
  • seen the resignation of his brother from the government, 
  • and had his Brexit strategy torn to shreds.
The FT with a summary of the UK PM's achievements in office:I’ll bet if I caption this “The new Dumb and Dumber movie looks like a hoot!” I’ll just upset some sad politics folks. Best I don’t. 


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The S&P 500 bottomed 10 years ago today. Here's what it looked (and felt) like

An up close and personal view

Anyone who was trading in 2009 will never forget it. The emotion was intense. Every day was a wild ride.

Today marks 10 years since the March 6, 2009 bottom in the S&P 500 at 666. The index is up 4.16x (plus dividends) since then in what has been a remarkable run.

What’s often forgotten is how wild it was at the bottom. The paid had already been monumental through mid-February and the economic numbers had begun to flatten. Then the bottom fell out. The S&P 500 fell another 25% in just 18 trading days.

An up close and personal view

By comparison, what felt like a brutal selloff in 2018 started in early October and took 58 trading days and only amounted to 20%.

Technically, there wasn’t a great sign of a bottom. A couple of dojis at best and a bullish candle. Fundamentally there was no big economic release or news item that turned the tide. It was truly a case of buyers simply exhausting themselves and stocks falling to ridiculous valuations.

I remember watch CNBC for months afterwards and so many analysts saying the market ‘had to go and retest the bottom’. It never did.

What’s incredible is that by March 20 the index had risen nearly 25% from the lows.

Personally, I just decided to look up my old trading statements from that month. I remembered buying stocks right at the lows and my memory was correct. Some of the trades were even better than I thought.

I bought the levered ProShares ultra S&P 500 on March 3.

trade conf Unfortunately I sold it a few weeks late for a 50% gain. Normally that would be a spectacular return but in hindsight, it was the wrong way to go about it. First off, I didn’t have much money in 2009 so it’s all kind of laughable.

An even better trade I made at the bottom was GE. I bought calls on March 4, which was literally the day shares of the company bottomed at 5.50. They were extremely short dated with a March 21 expiration but cost only 37-cents.

In any case, on March 21 the shares closed at $ 9.90 which means they would have risen 6.5x if I’d been wise enough to hold them.

trade conf

Looking back, it doesn’t matter that I was right at the bottom. I was far too reckless and going into trades where I couldn’t stomach the volatility without doing something stupid (like selling too early).

The lesson I’ve learned many times since, and finally absorbed, is that you need to trade at sizes where you’re comfortable. I’m sure at the time, that $ 1000 seemed like a lot to have on a trade. The volatility of the trades was also extremely high with options and levered ETFs.

The lesson is that time is on your side. Some people can handle wild swings and keep a cool head, but it’s rare. In general, the best thing you can do is play the long game when things get crazy and usually the only way to do that is to trade small and buy things you’re very confident it.


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UK government source: It does not feel like we will have a Brexit deal by next week

Sterling falls on the headline by Reuters here

Kapow! The pound erases its earlier gains with cable falling to 1.3030 from 1.3070 earlier. This will at least douse the fire from optimism seen in overnight trading.

The positive news is that this doesn’t really change things all too much. We all know what the UK and the EU are aiming for as outlined here, so all the headline here does is temper with those hopeful that a breakthrough would’ve miraculously come before March.

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It Looks Like Deja Vu for South Africa's Fast-Starting Rand

© Reuters.  It Looks Like Deja Vu for South Africa's Fast-Starting Rand © Reuters. It Looks Like Deja Vu for South Africa’s Fast-Starting Rand

(Bloomberg) — As if January’s potential record gain isn’t enough, the may be in for a positive February as well if history is any guide.

Seasonal data show that South Africa’s currency has strengthened against the dollar in February in seven of the past 10 years. Optimism about local political developments and a global risk-on mood spurred the rand to back-to-back monthly gains in January and February last year, and the same factors have already pushed it to its best start since at least 1999 this time round.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is scheduled to present the budget on Feb. 20, but few are expecting major changes from the numbers signaled in his mid-term fiscal statement in October. Should the budget outcome meet expectations, that may reduce the chance of Moody’s Investors Service lowering the nation’s credit rating when it reviews its assessment in March.

Still, investors should be mindful of the rand’s volatile nature, said Elna Moolman, a Johannesburg-based economist at Standard Bank Group Ltd.

“A pragmatic budget that doesn’t trigger negative sovereign credit rating action might be an initial catalyst for some appreciation,” she wrote in a client note. “There is a risk that, like early last year, rand strength will overshoot once optimism about policy and political reform is revived.”

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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Parents of American killed in Nairobi say it felt like 9/11 all over again

Nairobi, Kenya — American Jason Spindler — one of at least 21 people who were killed when gunmen from the terror group Al-Shabab stormed a luxury hotel complex in Nairobi on Tuesday — survived the 9/11 attacks and gave up his Wall Street career to help others in developing countries. 

On Thursday, Spindler’s parents traveled to Kenya to bring their son home.

“We knew once we heard from the embassy there was no question. We were going to come here and bring him home,” said Joseph Spindler, his father. “We also wanted to meet with all his friends and thank them.”

Jason Spindler

When news broke that armed gunmen had stormed into an upmarket complex in Nairobi, Spindler’s parents said it felt like 9/11 all over again.

“He would have rushed in and tried to help people,” Joseph said.

“Who imagines that their child is killed in a terrorist attack?” said Sarah, his mother.

But the unimaginable had happened.

After 9/11, Spindler gave up his high-powered Wall Street job to invest in developing countries, believing it was the best way to reduce terrorism.

“Jason made an impression on everybody. He was energetic. He was handsome. He was thoughtful. He was intellectual. But yet, he was also a doer, an athlete, the all-American boy,” Joseph said.

Spindler’s parents plan on establishing a foundation to carry on their son’s work. The best weapon against hatred, they say, is to inspire love.

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Morgan Stanley does not like the USD. What about the technicals?

Some overhead resistance to get through.

Adam posted Morgan Stanley’s view that the dollar would head lower.  They cite some plausible reasons for their assessment, but as most people realize, what we think most times does not play out the way we think.   That is especially true when we face things like China/US, Brexit, US/Europe, central banks, Pres. Trump, geopolitics, etc.  There are a lot of things that go into the formula.  

As a result, I like to also look at the price action and tools applied to that price action for clues that the story is playing out and the “market” (who move the price), is on board.   

For example, “If the dollar is going down, is there overhead resistance that might stall the rise?”  If that ceiling stalls the rise, the price can go down. 

Another question might be “Is there a lower support level that if broken, would shift the bias more to the downside?”   To go lower, the buyers need to change their mindset from buying to selling. Breaking key technical levels, does that. 

Looking at the daily chart above of the DXY (the weighted dollar index), shows that the index is approaching a resistance area at the 97.873 area.  

  • The 61.8% retracement of the move down from the 2017 swing high comes in at that level.
  • The swing high from June 2017 stalled at that level
  • A topside trend line (see red numbered circles) come in near that level too

There is overhead resistance from multiple tools that could attract technical sellers.  When multiple tools converge at an area, that are becomes a barometer for bulls and bear.   Trade above it is bullish.  Stay below and sellers are trying to take back control against the key resistance area. It may not lead to a big move lower, but it IS a start.   

Right now, we are near a key level for the bulls and the bears. 

That is off the daily chart. 

Drilling down to the hourly chart below, the high price today moved higher to test the swing high from November 12th.  The high price today reached 97.71. The high from November 12th came in at 97.693. 

Below the highs, there were some other swing highs from November 28th and December 11th. Those highs come in at 97.538. The price moved above those more recent swing highs today, but we are currently just below those levels. Sellers are taking more control. 

So to answer the question, 

“Is there overhead resistance that might stall the rise?”  

The answer is YES on both the daily and the hourly charts.  That is clear.  If the price can stay below the 97.87 area that would keep the sellers in play for a reversal of the DXY (the USD).

The 2nd question is 

“Is there a lower support level that if broken, would shift the bias more to the downside?” 

Looking at the hourly chart first, the pair has been confined in an up and down trading range. More recently in December, the 96.379 was a double bottom (lows from Dec 4 and Dec 10).  The highs at 97.69 and then 97.54 (see red and green numbered circles) are the higher extremes.   

In between those levels are the 100 and 200 hour MAs.  The price lows on Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday this week found buyers near those MA line (the price dipped below but not my much). The 100 hour MA is now at 97.139. The 200 hour MA is at 96.998. Both are moving higher.  If the price goes and stays below those MA, the bias would shift more to the downside.  

Below that the 96.379 double bottom would be targeted.  Again, get below and stay below is more bearish. 

On the daily chart, the 50% midpoint of the range since the high in January 2017 comes in at 96.036. The 100 day MA is at 95.842. Moving below those levels would tip the bias for the dollar even more toward the bearish side. Remember, after a rally, the sellers need to wrestle control away from the buyers. They need to change the mindset from buy the dips to sell the rallies.  Getting below targets on the downside, helps to do that. 

So, downside targets – that if broken  – would increase the bearishness of the USD include:

  • 97.139 – rising 100 hour MA
  • 96.998 – rising 200 hour MA
  • 96.038 – 50% of the range since 2017
  • 95.842 – 100 day MA


It is one thing to say you think this will happen because of this that or the other, but “the market” needs to agree and the crystal ball also needs to be right for it to play out like you (or Morgan Stanley) believes.

As a result, it is also important to plan out the road map for that idea. The price action and technical tools, help to give you the feedback you need to bring home the profits and complete the story.

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