Category: ZeroHedge

Earnings-palooza – AMZN, GOOGL, MSFT, SBUX, INTC, GPRO, EXPE

Amazon and Alphabet are surging after hours after big beats but Microsoft is fading (missed on revenues and capex) and Starbucks is sliding on a disappointing same store sales comp.

Alphabet Big Beat

  • *ALPHABET 1Q EPS $7.73, GAAP EST. $7.42
  • *ALPHABET 1Q PAID CLICKS +44%
  • Q1 Revs. $24.75B vs. $24.22B Est.

Major decoupling from 2017 expectation still

 

Amazon Big Beat:

  • *AMAZON 1Q NET SALES $35.7B, EST. $35.3B
  • *AMAZON 1Q AWS NET SALES $3.66B, EST. $3.63B
  • *AMAZON 1Q EPS $1.48, GAAP EST. $1.08

But the decoupling remains…

 

Microsoft Beat on Earnings BUT miss on Revenues and big miss on Capex

  • *MICROSOFT 3Q ADJ EPS 73C, EST. 70C
  • *MICROSOFT 3Q ADJ REV $23.56B, EST. $23.6sB
  • *MICROSOFT 3Q INTELLIGENT CLOUD REV. $6.76B, EST. $6.61B
  • Microsoft 3Q capital expenditures $1.70b, est. $2.27b (range $1.88b-$2.84b)

Probably Nothing…

 

Starbucks Meet/Miss

  • *STARBUCKS 2Q ADJ EPS 45C, EST. 45C
  • *STARBUCKS 2Q COMP SALES +3%, EST. +3.6%

Still we are sure it will catch up…

 

Camera-On-A-Stick Beat

  • *GOPRO 1Q REV. $218.6M, EST. $208.1M
  • *GOPRO 1Q ADJ. LOSS/SHR 44C, EST. LOSS 44C
  • *GOPRO SEES 2Q REV. ABOUT $260M-$280M, EST. $242.9M

 

And Intel Beat and upped its buybacks

  • *INTEL SEES 2Q REV. $14.4B, EST. $14.3B
  • *INTEL SEES 2Q ADJ EPS 68C, EST. 64C
  • *INTEL BOOSTS BUYBACK PROGRAM BY $10 BLN; RAISES YEAR VIEWS

 

Expedia Missed on EPS

  • *EXPEDIA 1Q REV. $2.19B, EST. $2.14B
  • *EXPEDIA 1Q ADJ EPS 5C, EST. 6C

 

And the result of that – INTC is down despite raiusing outlook, GPRO pumped and dumped, and EXPE is fading…


via Read More Here..

VIX Crush Saves Stocks As Crude Drops, GDP Flops, & US Credit Risk Pops

A slew of disappointing data (hard and soft), government shutdown fears growing, collapsing GDP expectations, and declining earnings expectations… WTI and RBOB plunging, bonds bid, and gold higher… and then there's North Korea!!

 

VIX was clubbed like a baby seal again intraday (who the fuck needs protection ahead of a possible government shutdown) in utter desperation to keep The Dow green on the day…

VIX has only closed lower than this once since February 2007!

 

While Nasdaq and Trannies rallied, Small Caps ended red and The Dow and S&P desperately clung to unch…

 

Trump's Tax Plan continues to disappoint with bonds & bullion bid still as banks and stocks weaker…

 

And the big banks are all down since Trump unveiled the tax plan…

 

Government shutdown remains a real possibility but stocks don't care (USA CDS do though jumping 3bps today)…

 

The Energy complex was big news today as machines seemed to read yesterday's DOE report and realize that OPEC is failing…

 

Treasuries were bid once again (but remain higher on the week)…

 

Some volatility in EURUSD surrounding Draghi's on-again, off-again QE chatter…

 

Left the USD Index modestly lower on the day…

 

The Peso and Loonie were once again swinging around on every headline from The White House regarding NAFTA

 

 

Bitcoin surged to record highs, overtaking gold once again…

 

Silver is down for 9 of the last 10 days to 6-week lows (below ist 100DMA) and goldis finding support at its 200DMA…

 

And finally, this…

 


via Read More Here..

Elemetal Gold Tries to Cover its Tracks, and Why Isn’t Gold higher – Update 1

What Does Elemetal Imply for Precious Metals?

  • Gold smuggling accounts for up to 75% of all LATAM Gold imported in the US
  • Disruption of this augmented Gold supply is Bullish for Gold
  • Elemetal is running for corporate cover
  • No-one cares

UPDATE 1 – DGSE a publicly traded retailer, just signed an LOI to buy Elemetal, LLC. It gets better. DGSE is #2 on the S&P list of likely retailers to default. Wait, there’s more.  Elemetal is actually majority shareholder in DGSE.  Essentially, Elemetal, which controls DGSE would rather default, then have the real depths of its activities revealed. Details and Elemetal structure at bottom.

Gold Supply Augmented with illegal Supply

via the Soren K.Group and Marketslant

In the past decade and a half, global gold consumption has risen by almost 1,000 tons a year, to about 4,300 tons, according to the World Gold Council, a London-based industry group. Legal mining operations haven’t kept up with demand, so illegal mines controlled by criminal gangs, from the Amazon to central Africa, help cover the deficit, according to Verité, a nonprofit group in Amherst, Mass., that’s researched the illegal gold trade. A 2016 Verité study found that five countries in Latin America shipped 40 tons of gold from illegal mines to the U.S. in one year, almost twice the legal exports from those countries. pdf here 

?

Simply put:

  1. Elemetal’s Sources of metal for refinement were illegal.
  2. This implies higher prices via loss of black market source discounts and raw supply that was artificially augmented.
  3. Florida is (still)  the source of all our woes.
  4. Bloomberg will GLADLY cover the Gold Scandal, but not the Supply/ Demand implications. 

 

The Press Demonizes Gold More 

GOLD, SCANDAL, EVIL, DRUGS – buy stocks: We searched the web but were hard pressed for a single Bloomberg article that states the obvious: This implies Gold demand is outstripping legitimate supply and is bullish for prices. We find this annoying since Bloomberg is the primary source for the info above. 

Bloomberg:

The charges signal a U.S. crackdown on smugglers exploiting a spike in worldwide consumption of gold mined illegally in the Amazon basin, where laborers use fire hoses and mercury to extract the nearly pure precious metal.

Note in the above that gold buyers are exploited. Gold is tied to drugs and  illegal activity. It is true in this case, but the implications aren’t bad for Gold. As  they demonize cash to eradicate it, Gold is now being tied to crime. This is typical, and it is a canard utilized to steer you away from an investment tool that cannot be branded or properly securitized yet.  Have you ever read an article saying “Drug Traffickers used US Bearer Bonds to hide their money. Be careful of US Bonds, they could be illegally obtained!” 

There is a phrase in the trader community that goes like this: Gold miners and Gold are not in the  FOB club. (Friend of Bloomberg)

?

Interactive chart HERE

The Illegal Venezuelan Oil for Bonds Trade

Meanwhile we are pretty sure that Venezuelan officials have made illegal sales of oil cargoes, purchased US Bonds with the cash  through accounts in the Caribbean and those bonds are now being held in custodial accounts at US Banks for their later benefit. 

It goes like this. A Venezuelan dictator who is in danger of losing control must solidify his military support. so he tells a general, “See that tanker over there? It’s a gift to you. Keep the money that the oil sells for”. General does just that, and exports that cash to the U.S. The dictator lives to rule another day. 

How do we know? One of our group was asked to retrieve some of those US held bonds for a South American military official probably getting ready to skate out of Venezuela. We had actually reported this to US officials, and have heard nothing since. It is rampant. And it is electronic. And those bonds are in US banks. 

But Gold? That inert yellow pet rock? It is a means to launder drug money.

 ?

So if illegal gold production is rampant in Latin America, and in several countries, unregulated illegal and informal mines account for over 75 percent of gold produced as the Verite report states; Why is this not being addressed? Where are Crocket and Tubbs when you need them?

Why hasn’t this been stopped? Aren’t we supposed to follow the money to catch smugglers? How hard can it be to catch money that conspicuous?  Maybe it is because we want Gold prices to be low. Maybe some banks benefit from this. That is not crazy when one realizes that HSBC got its start in the Opium trade.

Maybe They  Want The Cheap Gold to Keep Flowing

To put a finer point on things. There is a historical correlation between supply disruptions in commodities and price increases. Studies from as far back as Victorian era England consistently find that a 5% disruption in supply of a product with no change in demand creates roughly a temporary 20% increase in price.

To be fair, temporary supply disruption varies in its effect on immediate prices depending on the product disrupted. But by many measures, gold is a Giffen good. So what would happen if all of a sudden 75% of all the LATAM gold produced were unavailable for purchase? 

Recent examples would be the manipulation of Natural gas supply to California by Enron et al, and the subsequent price spikes. Another would be the short lived Oil shock of 2007- 08.

How crazy is it that upwards of 75% of LATAM gold is illegally mined, much of it used for drug money laundering, it weighs a ton, and the US has not cracked down on it? But we are all over Blood Diamonds, which are infinitely easier to smuggle than 100 lbs of gold right? 

So the Elemetal fiasco is telling of a bigger issue. That gold supplies are augmented with illegally procured metal. And no one cares. Elemetal doesn’t seem to care

 

Elemetal Moves Forward… kind of

Here is the most recent Letter coming from Elemetal. It is actually a marketing piece. 

Dear valued Elemetal Capital customer,
Elemetal Capital will be performing an inventory audit over the next 14-21 days. We kindly ask for your cooperation by not making any new bullion sales to Elemetal Capital or sending any material to us during this time.
Your in-transit packages and sales booked to Elemetal Capital before this notice of inventory will be priced as agreed.
Material shipped to us after this notice and during the limited audit period, however, (including private-mint bars, rounds, sovereign mint coins, standard-recognized bullion) will be forwarded to our scrap channels for lock-in at the following scrap rates:
Metal Elemetal Buy
Gold 99% of fine content
Silver 95% of fine content
Platinum 95% of fine content
Palladium 95% of fine content

Please note that the usual scrap business of Elemetal Direct is unaffected by this Elemetal Capital inventory.
We’ll announce very soon when we will resume accepting bullion at market rates.
All the best,
Elemetal Capital

CME Group and the London Bullion Market Association had suspended Elemetal Refining LLC last week from trading gold and silver futures on its exchanges. Why are these people even allowed to be in business? Silver Doctors have been all over this from day 1. in fact they have been all over this type of risk from day negative100

Via Silverdoctors.com

Federal Agents have arrested NTR Metals Manager Juan Granda, the self-proclaimed “Modern-Day Pablo Escobar” of Gold over charges the US Gold & Silver Firm smuggled $BILLIONS of illegally mined gold into the US:

As Bloomberg reports, NTR Metals Company Manager Juan Granda has now been arrested and charged: The operations manager at a metals-refining company was charged with helping run a gold smuggling network that reaped billions of dollars for illegal mines controlled by drug dealers and other criminals in South America.

Officials believe NTR smuggled nearly $4 Billion in illegally mined gold beginning in 2012..

full story HERE

In 2013, Peru seized $18 million worth of gold bound for refineries in Miami and elsewhere, including NTR. The rest “got away” we guess?

What is Going on Here?

South American smugglers and drug traffickers laundered money through sales of illegally mined gold from the Amazon rain forest. They sold it to NTR personnel in Latin America. The NTR people through various transactions laundered their purchases in other South American countries as the gold made its way to the U.S. Some of that gold then entered the U.S. via “legitimate  Florida businessmen” acting as a final intermediary for the laundering process.

Violetas: Florida Gold Laundromat?

Bloomberg

“Virtually all of the gold NTR purchased from Ecuador, including the gold from Spartan del Ecuador, was routed through an intermediary company, MVP Imports,” according to the U.S. complaints. U.S. customs records show MVP Imports as the importer, “masking” NTR’s role as the “ultimate purchaser” of the gold, the prosecutors said. More here

MVP Imports: a high end knickknack store for the rich in Coral Gables may actually be a  laundromat. The company is  run by a prominent businessman in Florida, that is accused of being listed in customs records as the buyer of much of the smuggled gold NTR bought, masking the fact that NTR bought it. 

What is NTR and what does that have to do with  Elemetal ?

Elemetal is the parent company of NTR. The list below is believed to be accurate:

This is a list of many/most of the Elemetal-related companies (including both corporations and names they do business as). Some are likely no longer operating; many of the “NTR” companies are likely now operating as Elemetal.

Deceive, Obfuscate, Inveigle Inc.

  • Echo Environmental Waverly LLC (subsidiary of Elemetal LLC)
  • Elemetal Capital, LLC (wholesale trading of physical, derivatives, Forex)
  • Elemetal Diamond, LLC (diamonds)
  • Elemetal Direct (described as recycling/refining, and direct-to-customer locations, and NTR Metals)
  • Elemetal Direct Americas, LLC (was NTR Metals (Americas), LLC until June, 2015)
  • Elemetal Direct USA, LLC
  • Elemetal Fabrication, LLC (was Pete’s Custom Metal, Inc., then NTR Custom Metals, LLC)
  • Elemetal Insurance and Logistics, LLC (unknown)
  • Elemetal Management (unknown)
  • Elemetal Mint (private minting of bars/coins)
  • Elemetal Minting, LLC (perhaps Elemetal Mint is a DBA of this LLC?)
  • Elemetal Online (Provident Metals)
  • Elemetal Recycling, LLC (processing electronic waste; was Echo Enivironmental)
  • Elemetal Refining, LLC (was OPM Metals, a/k/a Ohio Precious Metals)
  • Elemetal USA, LLC (unknown purpose)
  • Elemetal Vault (vault service, trading)
  • Provident Precious Metals, LLC
  • NTR
    • NTR Bullion Group, LLC (owned by NTR Metals, LLC; handled physical metals transactions)
    • NTR Futures (owned by NTR Metals, LLC; handled futures contracts)
    • NTR Metals (d/b/a only?)
    • NTR Metals, LLC
    • NTR Metals (Americas), LLC (now Elemetal Direct Americas; Sam Lewis, President)
    • NTR Metals Belgium Holdings, LLC
    • NTR Metals Canada Ltd. (dissolved 18 Jul 2013)
    • CI NTR Metals Colombia S.A.S. (founded 24 Aug 2011)
    • NTR Metals Europe, LLC
    • NTR Metals Group, LLC
    • NTR Metals HK Ltd
    • NTR Metals (Hong Kong) Limited (started October 2009)
    • NTR Metals International, LLC
    • NTR Metals Investments, LLC
    • NTR Metals (UK) Ltd. (is/was wholly owned by NTR Metals International, LLC)
    • NTR Metals Latin America (parent company of NTR Metals Zona Franca S.A.S; President Mr. Barrage)
    • NTR Metals Miami, LLC
    • NTR Metals Pacific Rim, LLC
    • NTR Metals Real Estate, LLC (appears to own 10720 Composite Drive, Dallas)
    • NTR Metals South America, LLC
    • NTR Metals Texas, LLC
    • NTR Metals USA, LLC
    • NTR Metals West, LLC
    • NTR Metals Zona Franca S.A.S. (Columbia; subsidiary of Elemetal, LLC)
  • DGSE Companies, Inc. (Elemetal is a majority shareholder; had 69 employees as of December 31, 2015)
    • Dallas Gold & Silver Exchange, Inc. (9 stores around Dallas; now just 4?)
    • Charleston Gold & Diamond Exchange, Inc. (1 store in Mount Pleasant, SC)
    • Fairchild International (wholesale watches; website not responding 14 Mar 2017)
    • Southern Bullion a/k/a Southern Bullion Coin & Jewelry (defunct; acquired in 2011 with 23 locations)
    • SBT, Inc. (Southern Bullion Trading, related to Southern Bullion Coin & Jewelry, Inc.; was owned by NTR)
    • U.S. Bullion Exchange (DGSE Company’s online trading ‘arm’).  

Florida…Climate change can’t swallow it fast enough

Good Luck

UPDATE 1:  DGSE is a retailer in serious trouble itself.  Posted today are the S&P Top Ten Retailers at Risk of Default per the WSJ.  DGSE takes second place. Somehow, we doubt the complicated structures and the DGSE buyout aren’t to make things more transparent for investigators  

  1. Sears Holdings (SHLD -3.5%) with a 23.84% probability of default.
  2. DGSE Companies (DGSE -1.2%)
  3. Appliance Recycling Centers of America (ARCI -1.1%),

DGSE Companies, Inc. (NYSE MKT:DGSE) (“DGSE” or the “Company”), a leading wholesaler and
retailer of jewelry, diamonds, fine watches, and precious metal bullion and
rare coin products, today announced that it has entered into a non-binding
Letter of Intent with Elemetal, LLC (“Elemetal”) to acquire the tangible
personal-property assets of Elemetal and Elemetal Recycling, LLC (“Recycling”)
at 2101 W. Belt Line Road, Carrollton, Texas, the equipment at 10707 Composite
Drive, Dallas, and certain accounts receivable of Recycling. The total
estimated cash proceeds to Elemetal and Recycling from the sale and from the
payment by DGSE of approximately $3.8 million of obligations owed by DGSE to
Elemetal is $19.8 million. In addition, DGSE would assume certain accounts
payable of Recycling.


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United Passenger Who Was Dragged Off Plane Settles With Airline

The saga of Dr. David Dao is over.

The 69-year-old Vietnamese-American doctor was infamously hospitalized after Chicago aviation police dragged him from the plane to make space for four crew members on the flight from the city’s O’Hare International Airport to Louisville, Kentucky, sparking international outrage.

While some may have been expecting a lawsuit to emerge from the affair, United Airlines announced that it has reached a settlement for an undisclosed sum with Dao.

Dao’s attorney, Thomas Demetrio, praised the airline in a news release for taking full responsibility in its handling of the incident.

“Mr. Munoz said he was going to do the right thing, and he has,” Demetrio said in a news release, referring to the United CEO.

“In addition, United has taken full responsibility for what happened on Flight 3411, without attempting to blame others, including the City of Chicago. For this acceptance of corporate accountability, United is to be applauded.”

We are pleased to report that United and Dr. Dao have reached an amicable resolution of the unfortunate incident that occurred aboard flight 3411. We look forward to implementing the improvements we have announced, which will put our customers at the center of everything we do.

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While the actual amount was undisclosed, we are confident that Dao is now several million dollars richer.


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BofA Capitulates: “The Trump Put Is Over”, It’s Time To Sell Small Caps

Despite the rough start to the year, Bank of America had maintained its tactically bullish stance on US small cap equities on the idea that small caps are the best-positioned to benefit from increasing optimism around stimulus and tax reform. And it has been right: as we showed earlier, Russell hit a fresh all time high…

… facilitated by the recent influx of bears who brought net specs positioning to the shortest on record, and have been once again squeezed.

Yet even BofA’s optimism ended overnight when the bank officially capitulated on its bullish call.

In a note released overnight by BofA’s Dan Suzuki tited “Back to bearish on small caps“, the bank’s equity strategist writes that with the failure to repeal Obamacare and the intensifying opposition to some of the key revenue raising policies of the Blueprint tax reform proposal (i.e. border adjustment taxes), there have been growing doubts on the probability of getting tax reform done this year.

As a result, while the bank still shares many of those same doubts, “we recently highlighted Policy as one of the three catalysts (along with Profits and Positioning) that could drive near-term small cap outperformance. On the back of the news around tax reform, the Russell 2000 closed at an all-time high yesterday, and small caps have returned nearly 19% (vs. 13% for large) since the election with 5% coming in just the last nine trading sessions (double the S&P 500).”

So what changed? In short BofA “thinks the small cap run is finally over.” Below are the key highlights on why BofA capitulates:

In our view, this last bout of optimism is likely to signal the end of the Trump Put, as friction arises over the funding the bill. Our economists recently made the case for why tax reform was likely to be smaller and later than the politicians have been communicating to the public. We now prefer large caps over both small caps and mid caps, and we see four key reasons to be cautious on small caps:

  • Valuations: US equity market remains broadly expensive vs. history, with every size segment trading at double-digit premiums to their historical median valuations since 1985 on all five of our metrics. On forward P/E, small caps and mid-caps currently trade at the 98th percentile of their historical valuation range (since 1979) vs. the 87th percentile for large caps. Given that small caps now trade at Tech Bubble-like valuations, in our view it does not bode well for future long-term returns.
  • Growth and confidence: The risk today is that, just as the Trump Put begins to fade, data could grow choppier. With positive economic surprises coming off of five-year highs, the math alone makes it difficult for data to accelerate from here. Already, second derivatives for various indicators are rolling over and measures of real activity are lackluster. Although small caps have less exposure to China than large caps, our EM strategy team’s recent view that peaking Chinese nominal growth will have negative implications for risk assets could weigh on small caps if investors begin to question the global growth trajectory.
  • Credit: Small caps generally have a greater sensitivity to higher credit costs. High yield and investment grade spreads are within 35bp and 15bp of the lows for the cycle despite elevated levels of leverage, an increasingly hawkish Fed and pockets of stress within certain segments of the market.
  • Volatility: The VIX has plummeted below 11, just as we see the big drivers of the rally beginning to lose steam. Indeed, our derivatives strategy team recently noted that several asset classes were pricing a “world almost free of risk.” There is a tendency for small caps to underperform when volatility picks up, and vice versa.

Judging by today’s market and/or reaction to BofA’s capitulation, the Trump put is still alive and very much well; either that or BofA’s note has still not been translated into binary for the benefit of the “traders.”


via Read More Here..

No Roads Needed: Google-Backed Flying Cars For Sale By End Of 2017

Via TheAntiMedia.org,

Ever wanted to ride a flying drone? Well, if you’ve got the money, you might get the chance to by the end of the year.

ABC News reported Monday that a Google-backed Silicon Valley startup has just completed testing on an “octocopter” that’s all-electric, can seat one person, and fly up to 15 feet in the air.

The company, Kitty Hawk, says all the necessary legal steps have been taken, and the Kitty Hawk Flyer — designed only for use over water — is just about ready for production. The company says it will begin selling the Flyer this year.

“You don’t need a pilot’s license, and you’ll learn to fly in minutes,” the company said in a statement, adding that the machine is “safe, tested and legal to operate in the United States in uncongested areas.”

On its website, Kitty Hawk says life for human beings will fundamentally change when people have the ability to freely travel at will:

“We believe when everyone has access to personal flight, a new, limitless world of opportunity will open up to them.”

Last year, Peter Diamandis, founding board member of Hyperloop One — a company leading the way into the future on the subject of mass transportation — described for Business Insider what a world with millions of flying cars and self-driving cabs might look like.

“Imagine if there’s a dozen ports or buildings,” he said. “You’ll fly from New Jersey to a rooftop on 5th (Avenue) and there will be an autonomous car waiting to take you to your final destination. It’s new routing capability for humans.”

Kitty Hawk isn’t alone in its endeavors. Another company, Zee.Aero — also backed by Google — is working on an electric plane that can take off and land vertically. Another in Dubai, Ehang, says it hopes to have a passenger-carrying drone ready for service by summer.

Though the Flyer isn’t exactly a flying DeLorean, the future of human travel appears to be arriving.


via Read More Here..

North Korea Releases Video Simulating War With The U.S.

Earlier today, Vladimir Putin warned that “the situation in Korea is deteriorating” and joined China in urging all sides to “avoid belligerent rhetoric.” It was not clear what spooked the Russian president to escalate the rhetoric over North Korea, however in a move that will hardly help deescalate tensions, a North Korean propaganda outlet released a video clip on Thursday, which showed a simulated attack on the White House and declaring that “the enemy to be destroyed is in our sights.”

The video was released just days after North Korea conducted large-scale artillery drills, showing off conventional weaponry that can easily reach South Korea’s capital, Seoul. It also comes one day after the entire Senate was gathered at the White House to receive a briefing from Trump’s top generals on the situation in North Korea. At the same time, the US sub, USS Michigan, which carries Tomahawk cruise missiles, docked in the South Korean port of Busan this week. The USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier, along with the destroyers and cruiser that make up its strike group, will arrive in the Korean Peninsula area this weekend.

The clip was released by a North Korean website (Meari, or Echo) showing photos of the White House and aircraft carriers with a target on them, as if they are in the crosshair, the WaPo reported earlier. It then showed simulated footage of an aircraft carrier exploding into flames, with the caption: “When the enemy takes the first step toward provocation and invasion.”

The 2½ -minute video included scenes from the huge military parade that North Korea organized April 15 to mark the anniversary of the birth of the state’s founder, Kim Il Sung. It also showed footage of North Korean artillery and missile launches. 

 

 

Against the backdrop of missile launches, the caption read: “We will show you what a strong country that leads the world in nuclear and missile technology is capable of.”

A similar video, showing missiles arcing over the Pacific and leaving a U.S. city in flames, followed by images of a burning American flag and a cemetery filled with white crosses, was shown during a concert held April 16 and attended by Kim.

While North Korea is best known for its bombastic rhetoric and exaggerated propaganda, in recent weeks it has ramped up its output as tensions have risen. On the other hand, the country has abstained from engaging in more missiles tests (either successful or otherwise) or nuclear bomb tests, prompting some to speculate whether the recent intervention by China may have impacted Kim’s behavior.

On the other hand, if indeed the US has managed to sabotage North Korea’s missile technology as the NYT alleged several months ago, and has launch control, what Kim wants may no longer be relevant and the only variable is having all key US military assets in place before a simulated war with North Korea becomes all too real.


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After Clash, Musk Fires Head Of Key Tesla Subsidiary; Now It May Cost Him

Trouble is brewing in Elon Musk’s paradise.

Recall that two weeks ago we brought attention to a little followed disruption in Tesla’s infrastructure,  and a major potential setback for the on-time delivery of Tesla’s Model 3, when I4U reported that Tesla is facing a potential strike at its new German subsidiary. Tesla acquired Grohmann, a specialized machine manufacturer, for about $150 million several months ago and now the German Trade Union IG Metall has warned that it is exploring a worker strike at Tesla Grohmann. A key Tesla supplier, the machines built at Tesla Grohmann are used to manufacture the Model 3. As a result, the Model 3 production start in July could face another imminent delay.

According to I4U, the 660 Tesla Grohmann employees are paid 25 to 30% less than the union rate. While Tesla, which says it seeks to maintain good relations with Grohmann workers including competitive wages, has offered to pay each employee €150 per month more that does not satisfy IG Metall. Tesla has also offered to increase compensation through a Tesla stock program, however that will be a tough sell as German workers are not used to this kind of compensation.

As a result, the trade union was exploring the possibility of a strike at Tesla Grohmann next week, IG Metall Trier speaker Patrick Georg told the German Welt am Sonntag newspaper, with the union stating that “we’re checking next week if a strike is possible.”

While it is unclear if the strike at Grohmann has been given a green light, there appears to be quite a bit more to the story.

According to a Reuters report, the executive of the German subsidiary, Klaus Grohmann, was ousted last month after a clash with Elon Musk over the strategy of Grohmann’s firm, which Tesla had acquired in November, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters. As we noted, the electric carmaker is counting on Grohmann Engineering’s automation and engineering expertise to help it ramp up production to 500,000 cars per year by 2018.

At the time of the purchase, it described Klaus Grohmann and the company he founded as a “world leader in highly automated manufacturing” and said it planned to keep Grohmann on.

Grohmann wanted to stay, but the clash with Musk over how to treat existing clients resulted in his departure, the source said.

According to Reuters, Grohmann disagreed with Musk’s demands to focus management attention on Tesla projects to the detriment of Grohmann Engineering’s legacy clients, which included Tesla’s direct German-based rivals Daimler and BMW. When reached by Reuters for comment, the former executive said “I definitely did not depart because I had lost interest in working,” Grohmann said, without elaborating.

A Tesla spokesman, asked about Grohmann’s departure, praised him for building an “incredible company” and said: “Part of Mr Grohmann’s decision to work with Tesla was to prepare for his retirement and leave the company in capable hands for the future. Given the change in focus to Tesla projects, we mutually decided that it was the right time for the next generation of management to lead.”

It appears that Tesla was ready for this contingency:

The management layer below Klaus Grohmann is continuing his work, they told Reuters. But they said parts of the workforce felt insecure about becoming so dependent on one client after the founder’s departure.

Additionally, activating the hype maching Tesla is so well known for, last year the carmaker could not stop praising the recently terminated exec, saying that “under the continued leadership of Mr Grohmann, several critical elements of Tesla’s automated manufacturing systems will be designed and produced in Pruem, to help make our factories the most advanced in the world.Our factories are so important that we believe they will
ultimately deserve an order of magnitude more attention in engineering
than what they produce. At very high production volumes, the factory
becomes more of a product than the product itself,” Tesla said at the
time.

All that was long forgotten when Grohmann complained that Musk was trying to make his company a sole-source provider to Tesla, and nobody else.

Perhaps Musk was in his right: after all Tesla was the brand new owner of Grohmann, and as so can do whatever he wants. As Reuters adds, “Tesla started out as a client of Grohmann Engineering, a small unlisted company based in Pruem, that helped companies design highly automated factories. As pressure grew to increase production volumes at Tesla, Musk decided to buy Grohmann Engineering and make Pruem a base for Tesla Advanced Automation.

And, as an owner, Musk may also had the right to completely overhaul the company’s business. However, a problem emerges: as well as BMW and Daimler, Grohmann counted the auto parts maker Bosch , chip maker Intel, and pharmaceutical firms Abbott Laboratories and Roche among its clients.

Which means that Musk’s impulsive decision to convert Grohmann into a dedicated cog of the Tesla family will cost him:

Negotiations have started with some of the clients about how to compensate them for lack of resources devoted to their projects, one of the sources said.

It is unclear how much said compensation will be, but for the company that already burns through billions every year, what’s a few hundred million more.

Which then, however, goes back to our story from two weeks ago: if Grohmann is indeed so critical for Tesla, how will the labor dispute be resolved? The German labor union IG Metall has demanded that Tesla’s management formalize multi-year job guarantees and increase salaries as a way to provide assurance amid management turmoil. The alternative is a strike which could lead to further “unexpected” delays for the Model 3, and even more hyperbolic statements from Musk on his twitter account to deflect attention from increasingly growing problems in Tesla’s paradise.



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Biased Bloomberg Reporter Pans Under Armour On Huge Up Day

Kim Bhasin, a reporter at Bloomberg, Huffpo and Business Insider, has a bone to pick with President Trump — as evidenced by his recent reporting. Oh, you want me to prove it, faggot? Have a look at this ridiculousness.

Bhasin editorializes:

Meanwhile, Under Armour’s cool factor keeps getting hit. In February, Plank’s positive comments about the new U.S. president drew the ire of Curry, as well as of spokes-stars Dwayne Johnson and Misty Copeland. The company took out a full-page ad in its hometown newspaper to try to defuse the situation.

And here is today’s absurdity.

Notice a pattern?

Pray tell me, how did Under Armour lose ‘whatever swagger it had left’ after reporting better than expected results, sending the stock screaming higher by 10%? This brand of financial journalism is yellow — passive aggressive rubbish concocted inside of the mentally addled mind of a very sick person. Kim had this article written before the results came out — in an attempt to punish the CEO, Kevin Plank — because he once had the audacity to say a nice thing about President Trump.

Here was Mr. Plank’s mortal sin, for the freedom of speech hating far left.

Content originally published at iBankCoin.com


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“This Is A Coup”: Masked Men Storm Macedonia Parliament – Live Feed

Supporters of the movement "For The Common Macedonia" stormed the Macedonian parliament and attacked the deputies of the parliamentary majority, following a vote for a new speaker. In addition, journalists were detained in the press center of the Parliament.

Live Feed:

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The attack injured several members, including the leader of the opposition SDSM party, Zoran Zaev.

 

"This is a coup," shouted the deputies of VMRO-DPMNE party of former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, reports plusinfo.mk.

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The 'coup' follows the Macedonian opposition leader's calls for an end to a political deadlock that has left parliament unable to elect a speaker for three weeks. As AP reports, Zoran Zaev suggested a new speaker could be elected outside normal procedures, an idea immediately rejected by the conservative party as an attempted coup.

Macedonia has been without a government since December, when former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski's conservative party won elections, but without enough votes to form a government. Coalition talks broke down over ethnic Albanian demands that Albanian be recognized as an official second language. A quarter of Macedonia's population is ethnic Albanian.

Zaev secured the cooperation of another ethnic Albanian party, giving him 69 of parliament's 120 seats. But President Gjorge Ivanov refused to hand him the mandate to form a government.


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