Green cardigan USD334K. Pigeon EUR 1.25m. Tiny painting EUR24m. How much for a tulip?

Check these out:

  • Kurt Cobain’s green cardigan sold for  $ 334,000 at auction over the weekend 
  • Armando, a racing pigeon, sold in March for 1.25 million EUR
  • A tiny painting, 20 by 26 cm, by 13th century Italian master Cimabue that was found in the kitchen of an elderly French woman was sold for 24 million euros (I think that was in Sep) 


The S&P500 is on track to hit a record high this week in case you are wondering 

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Here’s how much you need to earn to be in the 1%

  • To be in the top 1% of income earners in the U.S. requires annual adjusted gross earnings of least $ 515,371, the IRS says. 
  • The top 50% of all U.S. taxpayers earn at least $ 41,740, or about 4.1% more than the prior year.
  • The richest Americans, or top 0.001%, have annual income of least $ 63.4 million.    

The rich are getting richer in the U.S., which means that anyone determined to stay in the top 1% of income earners needs to make more money — and make it fast. The minimum for entry into the 1% club in 2017: $ 515,371, up 7.2% from the prior year, according to the most recent IRS data. About 1.4 million taxpayers earned at least that amount.

The uber-rich, or top 0.001% (the highest income group identified by the IRS data), you need annual income of least $ 63.4 million.  

The wealthiest Americans are enjoying strong income growth partly thanks to 2017’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which lowered tax rates on corporate income. The law also gave a 20% deduction on income earned by partnerships and other types of businesses, which also helped many well-heeled taxpayers. Partly as a result, the gap between America’s richest and poorest citizens is the widest it’s been in at least 50 years, according to Census data released last month.   

New economic research has found that the new tax law resulted in a sharp reduction in taxes for the 400 wealthiest Americans. Factoring in all federal, state and local taxes, those ultra-wealthy households pay a total tax rate of about 23%, compared with 24.2% for the bottom half of households, which includes many in the middle class, according to economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman of the University of California at Berkeley.

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As the two lay out in their new book, “The Triumph of Injustice,” the richest families also pay a lower rate than those in the upper middle class and even those in the top 1%, who pay closer to 30% of their income in taxes.

Income inequality is causing poor and middle-class kids to drop out of sports

Reducing inequality is at the center of many Democratic presidential candidates’ platforms, with senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren both proposing wealth taxes for taxpayers with multi-million dollar estates. The tax revenue would be directed toward funding social programs such as free college tuition and universal health care. 

Tom Steyer, a billionaire who is running for president, said at Tuesday’s debate that he also backs a wealth tax. “I would undo every Republican tax cut for rich people and major corporations,” he said. “90% of Americans have not had a raise for 40 years.”

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U.S. –

Drone attacks cut as much as 5mbpd of Saudi oil production

Saudi oil production and export facilities hit

Saudi oil production and export facilities hit

Houthi drones attacked two Saudi Arabian oil plants in the heart of the kingdom’s oil industry, sparking massive fires.

Reuters reports that up to 5 mbpd of production had bee impacted — half of Saudi Arabia’s output — as the attacks hit the world’s biggest petroleum processing facility.

Houthi rebels from Yemen have repeatedly launched drone attacks but have never had this level of success. Reuters reports there were 15 ambulances on the scene and that Aramco was holding emergency meetings.

The fires are reportedly under control but damages are unclear. Saudi Arabia responded by bombing Houthi positions in Yemen. A Houthi spokesman pledged to widen attacks and these are evidence they can strike more than 800km from the border.

Judging by the videos, it looks like a major event. Expect a jump in oil prices at the open.


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Atwood says ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ got much closer to reality, prompting sequel

© Reuters. Author Margaret Atwood holds up her new novel The Testaments during the launch at a book store in London, Britain © Reuters. Author Margaret Atwood holds up her new novel The Testaments during the launch at a book store in London, Britain

LONDON (Reuters) – Canadian author Margaret Atwood said a deterioration in women’s rights in some parts of the world including in the United States prompted her to write a sequel to her best-selling 1985 novel “The Handmaid’s Tale”.

The novel, made into an award-winning television series in 2017, presents a totalitarian future in the state of Gilead (NASDAQ:), where the few remaining fertile women are forced into sexual servitude as “handmaids” to repopulate a world facing environmental disaster.

“For years and years people were saying will there be a sequel, please write a sequel, tell us what happened, and I always said I can’t do that,” Atwood told British broadcaster the BBC in an interview.

“But then a couple of things happened. Instead of going away from Gilead as I thought had been happening in the 1990s, we started going back towards Gilead in a number of places in the world including the United States.”

Recent moves to curtail access to abortion in the United States have caused huge division and galvanised women’s rights activists.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who was elected in 2016, has said he opposes abortions in most cases and he has joined many of his fellow Republicans in seeking to limit them.

Many doctors and rights groups are fighting these efforts as harmful to women’s health and in breach of a constitutional right to abortion.

Atwood said she was already conceptualizing a sequel to “The Handmaid’s Tale” when Trump was elected. At the time, the television series based on her novel was being filmed.

“The frame around the show changed, and we knew at that moment it would be viewed differently, which it was. So instead of fantasy — ha ha it will never happen — it got much closer to reality, because of the kinds of people backing Trump,” Atwood said.

The series helped the original novel shoot back up the bestseller lists, and made the handmaid’s uniform of a long dark red cloak and large white bonnet a symbol of female protest and resistance.

Fans gathered in London at midnight on Tuesday to hear Atwood read from her new book, hailing it as a timely and necessary response to an increasingly menacing world for women.

“The world in some ways is becoming a worse place for women and particularly in the United States and so this is very current, and very relevant and very necessary,” said Anne Enith-Cooper, 57, who attended the launch.

Another fan, 40-year-old Stacey Morris, said: “My daughter is 12 and she’s just starting to understand feminism and the importance of being a woman… I’d really like for her to read this in the future and to be able to share this with her.”

Asked if she was nervous about the huge anticipation of her new book, Atwood told the BBC: “There is that feeling that you have – a lot of fanfare, the mountain roars and out comes this mouse. Will they say “what?”, “is that what all this fuss has been about?”

“You do have to point out it is a book, it is not regime change, it is not something that is going to physically impact the lives of many people, it is not riots in Moscow.”

“The Testaments” has already landed Atwood a nomination for one of the publishing world’s top accolades, the Booker Prize.

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Ferrari will expand its lineup of road cars, but not too much

By Joseph White

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (Reuters) – Italian premium sports car maker Ferrari NV (MI:) will expand sales of easier-driving grand touring cars, but will not try to chase rival Porsche’s annual sales volume, Ferrari Chairman John Elkann told an audience of classic car enthusiasts gathered at this storied golf resort on the Pacific coast.

Elkann also reiterated that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (MI:), of which he is chairman, remains open to opportunities to combine with other automakers, but is positioned to remain independent. Fiat Chrysler in May proposed a merger with French automaker Renault SA (PA:), but the deal fell apart after the French government intervened and Elkann withdrew the proposed merger.

Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Mike Manley sent the same message to Renault and other would-be partners earlier this month.

Elkann visited Pebble Beach during the annual Concours d’Elegance, during which wealthy collectors bring some of the world’s rarest vintage automobiles to be admired — and sold — and premium manufacturers showcase exotic new models.

Ferrari is best known for flashy, high performance sports cars. Among fans of vintage Ferraris, more understated GT, or grand touring, cars from the 1960s, some with seating for four people, are among the most popular models on auction blocks and at enthusiast events. GT cars were designed to be comfortable on longer road trips.

Elkann hinted Ferrari will unveil a new GT type car in November. Ferrari has said previously that about 40% of its total sales could come from GT cars by 2022, up from 32% now.

Ferrari has outlined plans to expand revenue to 5 billion euros ($ 5.54 billion) by 2022 from 3.4 billion euros in 2017. The company has said it plans to add a model called the Purosangue to compete with a growing stable of sport utility vehicles wearing premium sports car brands, such as the Lamborghini Urus.

Rival Porsche AG (), a unit of Volkswagen AG (DE:), has expanded its sales to more than 250,000 sports cars and sport utility vehicles annually. Elkann said Ferrari is not aiming for Porsche’s level of sales.

($ 1 = 0.9018 euros)

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China says trade talks with US have achieved ‘much positive progress’

Comments by senior Chinese diplomat, Wang Yi

  • Says hopes both countries can reach a mutually beneficial agreement on trade


Some positive headlines rippling from the US-China meeting in Beijing but there aren’t many details to really back up the headlines here as of yet. Until then, market participants have heard these words one too many a time.

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Barclays on the Fed (not dovish) and the USD (won't weaken much)

Barclays on the fres Federal Reserve and the implications for the US dollar

From an overnight note

There appears to be little reason for the Fed to pull back from its tightening path, growth is still strong, citing influences:

  • fiscal stimulus will boost growth through until mid 2019, perhaps further
  • tax cuts have given a boost to incomes that continues
  • financial conditions are still accommodating
  • Markets may be over-interpreting the degree of caution intended by the Fed
  • failing to think fully through the consequences for the USD if foreign growth disappointments dampen the Fed’s path (even if growth ex-US is weaker its unlikely that will cause a USD sell off

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