Monday, September 2, 2013

China data lifts Asian shares, Aussie dollar; yen retreats

By Dominic Lau
TOKYO (Reuters) - Asian shares climbed to a two-week high on Monday, and the Australian dollar and copper gained, as China said its manufacturing expanded in August at the fastest pace in more than a year.
A delay in potential U.S. military action against Syria, as U.S. President Barack Obama sought Congressional support, also helped boost short-term risk appetite.
China's bullish purchasing managers' index added to recent positive data from the U.S. and Europe, raising hopes the global economy was on a firmer footing.
European shares were expected to open firmer, with Britain's FTSE 100 (.FTSE) seen up as much as 0.7 percent and Germany's DAX (.GDAXI) up as much as 0.9 percent, according to financial spreadbetters.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.miapj0000pus> advanced 1 percent, hitting a two-week high and extending a 2.1 percent rise in the previous two sessions, and Tokyo's Nikkei (NIK:^9452) gained 1.4 percent in light trade. U.S. markets are closed for the Labor Day holiday.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index (.HSI) climbed 1.8 percent and China's CSI300 index <.csi300> was up 0.5 percent.
Steven Englander, Citi's global head of G10 FX strategy, recommended investors short the yen on the back of the Chinese figures, the Syrian news, and a panel supporting an increase in Japan's sales tax.
China's official purchasing managers' index (PMI) rose to the highest level since last April and topped market expectations.
"This will reinforce views of China stabilization. It is a risk positive, if only because it removes some of the short-term risk that the China slowdown could spiral further downwards," Citi's Englander wrote in a note.
A separate manufacturing PMI report from HSBC, released on Monday, showed activity in privately owned factories increased over August for the first time in four months.
But India's manufacturing PMI, also from HSBC, shrank in August for the first time in more than four years, adding to the country's deepening economic malaise as the central bank struggles to defend the battered rupee currency.
The Indian rupee edged down 0.3 percent to 65.90 to the dollar after two days of gains, and was not far from a record low of 68.80 per dollar hit last week.
Indonesia's rupiah, which has also been under pressure lately, was down 0.2 percent after the country logged a wider-than-expected trade deficit.
The yen had risen recently on heightened geopolitical tensions and as investors dumped emerging market currencies to position themselves for the U.S. Federal Reserve to begin reducing stimulus, perhaps from its meeting later this month.
"I think the delay in the potential military strikes against Syria will help the global environment in terms of risk," said Mitul Kotecha, head of global foreign exchange strategy for Credit Agricole in Hong Kong.
On Monday, the yen slipped 0.5 percent to 98.62 yen to the dollar, pulling well away from last week's low of 96.81, and eased 0.3 percent to 130.21 to the euro.
The Australian dollar, which is seen as a proxy for Chinese growth because of the two countries' close trade ties, rose 0.7 percent to $0.8966.
Against a basket of major currencies, the U.S. dollar (.DXY) held steady at a four-week high.
Buoyed by the factory activity data from top-consumer China, copper prices rose 2.2 percent and were on track to end a four-day losing run.
Oil and gold prices fell as investors unwound their positions after the U.S. postponed a military strike against the Syrian government, which is accused of using chemical weapons against civilians.
Brent crude prices dropped 1.1 percent to below $113 a barrel, on track for a third day of declines. They touched a six-month peak of $117.34 last week on concerns that U.S. military intervention could lead to retaliation and disrupt crude supply in the Middle East region, which pumps a third of the world's oil.
Safe-haven gold dipped 0.3 percent to around $1,391 an ounce after falling as low as $1,379.44, a one-week trough, earlier in the session.
(Additional reporting by Ian Chua in Sydney and Masayuki Kitano in Singapore; Editing by Shri Navaratnam, Eric Meijer and Chris Gallagher)

BOJ to hold policy, debate emerging market risks

By Leika Kihara
TOKYO (Reuters) - The Bank of Japan may hold off on declaring the world's third-largest economy has cemented its recovery at a policy review this week as it waits to see the fallout on activity from slowing growth and capital outflows in emerging nations.
No change is expected in the massive monetary stimulus that the BOJ launched in April, which will see it nearly double the monetary base to 270 trillion yen ($2.75 trillion) by the end of 2014 to achieve its 2 percent inflation target.
Increasingly bright economic signs at home have been overshadowed by geopolitical risks in Syria and sharp outflows of capital from some emerging markets on expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will soon start trimming its monetary stimulus.
The central bank is thus expected to maintain its view the economy is "starting to recover moderately," instead of offering a more upbeat assessment declaring that the recovery has already taken hold, according to sources familiar with its thinking.
The two-day board meeting will start on Wednesday.
"The global economic recovery remains fragile, so there's huge uncertainty on how a sharp outflow of funds could affect financial markets and global growth," BOJ board member Yoshihisa Morimoto said last week on the risk of a bigger capital withdrawal from emerging economies.
The Indian rupee and Turkish lira have hit record lows against the dollar, the Indonesian rupiah has fallen to four-year lows, and other currencies have tumbled as investor sentiment has soured on emerging markets.
Exacerbating the move has been a rush to safe-haven currencies, such as the yen, as investors worry about the risk of United States launching air strikes on Syria.
Japan emerged from recession in 2012 and data for much of this year has shown the benefits of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's reflationary policies and the BOJ's aggressive stimulus.
Recent data have been particularly encouraging for the BOJ's battle to end 15 years of grinding deflation.
The jobless rate is at the lowest in almost five years, consumer spending has been strong and core consumer prices rose at the fastest pace in nearly five years.
But many BOJ officials want to see clearer signs of increase in wages and capital expenditure before declaring that a sustained recovery has taken hold.
Corporate capital spending was steady in April-June from a year earlier after two straight quarters of declines, Ministry of Finance data (MOF) showed on Monday.
The data also showed companies' recurring profits rose 24 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, boding well for the outlook of capital spending.
"This is a pretty strong reading. Companies reaping big profits would surely be more willing to spend on plant and equipment," said Yoshiki Shinke, chief economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute in Tokyo.
The MOF data will be used to calculate revised April-June gross domestic product (GDP) data, due on September 9, which the government has said would be among key factors in deciding whether to proceed with a planned sales tax hike from next year.
Many analysts expect second-quarter GDP growth to be revised up from a preliminary annualized rate of 2.6 percent, which may strengthen the case for Abe to go ahead with the tax hike.
"The revised GDP data will confirm the view Japan's economy is clearly heading for a recovery," said Junichi Makino, chief economist at SMBC Nikko Securities in Tokyo.
"The economy is likely to remain firm in July-September, so the dominant market view is that the environment for raising the sales tax is in place," he said.
Unless Abe changes the plan, the sales tax will be raised to 8 percent from 5 percent in April and to 10 percent in October 2015. Critics have called for a delay or watering down the tax increases for fear of undermining the economy's recovery. Abe is expected to make a final decision by early October.
($1 = 98.1150 Japanese yen)
(Additional reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by John Mair)

China factory activity up for first time in sour months in August: survey

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's factory activity expanded for the first time in four months in August as domestic demand rebounded, a private survey showed on Monday, the latest sign that the world's second-largest economy may have avoided a sharp slowdown.
The final Markit/HSBC Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) climbed to 50.1 in August, up sharply from July's 47.7 and in line with last week's flash preliminary reading.
The survey came a day after China's official manufacturing PMI showed factory activity expanded at the fastest pace in more than a year in August with a jump in new orders.
Economists cheered the upbeat data as a sign that China's economy, which has cooled in 12 of the last 14 quarters, is finally steadying.
"We are definitely stabilizing, but it's going to be a pretty weak to flat recovery," said Stephen Green, an economist at Standard Chartered.
Asian shares climbed to a two-week high and the Australian dollar and copper gained after the report. (MKTS/GLOB)
Modest growth in China's factories should still comfort financial markets, however, offering hope that a run of encouraging data in July was not a fluke.
The official PMI, which came in at 51.0 versus expectations for 50.6, is more weighted towards bigger and state-owned firms, which have easier access to credit and the scale to cope better with downturns than the smaller private firms that form the backbone of the Markit/HSBC survey.
As recently as a month ago, investors had worried that China's economy was slipping into a deeper-than-expected downturn, especially after its money market was hit by an unprecedented cash crunch in June.
But policymakers have stepped in with a series of measures aimed at stabilizing the economy, including quickening railway investment and public housing construction and introducing policies to help smaller companies with financing needs.
Senior officials have also been talking up the economy, saying there are clear signs of stabilization emerging and that the government's annual GDP target of 7.5 percent is achievable.
Data for July had showed a pickup in trade and industrial output, while foreign investment into China also quickened, adding to confidence in the economy.
"We expect some upside surprises to China's growth in the coming months," said Qu Hongbin, an HSBC economist, noting that factory activity had picked up on firms rebuilding their stocks and on recent steps taken by authorities to boost activity.
However, any expectations for a strong rebound may be misplaced. As a PMI reading above 50 indicates growth while one below 50 demarcates contraction, the latest Markit/HSBC data suggests August's expansion was only modest.
Indeed, the survey showed new export orders dipping from July to stay well below the 50-point threshold. New orders, which include domestic orders, showed marginal growth by rising to 50.8, albeit a four-month high.
HSBC said lethargic export sales remained an Achilles' heel for China, with factories citing weak U.S. and European demand behind last month's fall in overseas orders.
Other downside factors linger, too. For example, most Chinese firms still face relatively high financing costs, in part due to Beijing's campaign to curb shadow banking. A strong yuan currency is also dampening the trade picture.
Major Chinese retailers are also more downbeat that official figures might suggest.
A Reuters review of first-half earnings showed that more than 20 Chinese companies selling everything from footwear to food were not convinced the economic slowdown had bottomed out, and neither were their traditionally thrifty customers.
Also a concern is that average input costs rose in August for the first time since February on the back of higher raw material prices, HSBC said.
At the same time, slowing growth has put pressure on China's heavily indebted companies and provincial governments, raising concerns that the country's explosion in credit since 2008 could be on the verge of a meltdown.
(Reporting by Koh Gui Qing; Writing by Jonathan Standing; Editing by Kim Coghill)

11 Reasons Why We Should Not Attack Syria

Remember the last time we were told military strikes were needed because a Middle Eastern despot had used weapons of mass destruction?

Syrian children photographed in June 2013 in a refugee camp in Lebanon. Photo by  Patrick Nicholson Caritas Internationalis/CAFOD/Flickr .
As U.S. political and media leaders prepare for military strikes against Syria, the parallels to the lead-up to the war with Iraq should give us pause. Weapons of mass destruction, we are told, are being used by a cruel Middle Eastern despot against his own people. A military strike is inevitable, media voices say; we must respond with missiles and bombs. The arguments sound all too familiar.
There are a great many differences between circumstances in Syria and Iraq, of course. Nonetheless, critics warn that, much as it did in Iraq, a military incursion here could have disastrous consequences. Here are 11 reasons the United States should stay clear of military action: Meanwhile, weapons inspectors from the United Nations are on the ground investigating evidence of chemical weapons. But U.S. and European leaders are looking at an immediate strike anyway -- although Britain's Labor Party, still smarting from popular opposition to its leading role in the invasion of Iraq, has successfully pressed for a hold on military action until the results of the U.N. investigation are in.
1. We don't actually know who is behind the chemical weapons attack. An attack employing chemical weapons took place in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21 and killed 355 people, according to Doctors Without Borders. Obama administration officials say the attack was carried out by the Syrian regime, but Institute for Policy Studies analyst Phyllis Bennis points out we haven't actually been given evidence that this is the case. And, while it's unlikely that the opposition was behind the attack, NPR has pointed out that the rebels have an incentive to use such weapons to trigger outside intervention and end the stalemate they've been stuck in since late 2011.
2. A military strike would be illegal under the U.S. Constitution and the War Powers Resolution. U.S. military attacks can only be carried out by an act of Congress, unless there is national emergency created by a direct attack upon the United States. The fact that Congress has adjourned doesn't change that. "There is no provision in the Constitution or the War Powers Resolution for a 'recess war,'" says Robert Naiman, writer for Just Foreign Policy. If it was a true emergency, Congress could be called into session to pass a declaration of war.
3. It would violate international law, too. Syria has not attacked the United States, and there is no U.N. Security Council authorization for a strike on Syria. It wouldn't be the first time the United States has violated international law, but doing it again adds to a damaging precedent and contributes to a lawless world.
4. The American people oppose it. Sixty percent of Americans oppose intervention in Syria, according to a recent Reuters poll. Just nine percent support intervention. Even if the use of chemical weapons is proven, just 25 percent of Americans would support intervention.
5. Violence begets violence. According to Stephen Zunes, chair of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco, military interventions actually worsen and lengthen violence in the short term. "Countries whose dictatorships are overthrown by armed groups ... are far more likely to turn into new dictatorships, often accompanied by ongoing violence and factionalism," Zunes says in an article in Foreign Policy in Focus. In the long term, he writes, interventions only reduce violence if they are impartial, which would certainly not be the case in any upcoming conflict in Syria.
6. Foreign intervention will deepen nationalist support for the Syrian Baath Party and the Assad regime. Zunes also reports that hundreds of members of the Syrian Baath Party, a key source of support for Assad, have left the party in outrage over the regime's killing of nonviolent protesters. But, he says, "few defections could be expected if foreigners suddenly attacked the country." U.S. intervention would play into the hands of the Syrian regime, triggering an outpouring of nationalist support for Damascus. The same thing happened in 1983-84 following U.S. Navy air attacks on Syrian positions in Lebanon, he says, and in 2008 after U.S. army commando raids in eastern Syria.
7. There are no logical targets. Bombing stockpiles of chemical weapons would be untenable, since many would release poison gases into densely populated neighborhoods, according to Zunes. And there are too many ways of delivering chemical weapons -- planes, missiles, mortars, and so on -- to eliminate all of them.
8. It will be impossible to control who benefits from Western interventionamong the rebels. The Pentagon estimates that there are between 800 and 1,200 rebel groups currently active in Syria, according to USA Today. Among them are ones with avowed affiliations with Al Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusra, and other groups the United States considers to be terrorists. While the House Intelligence Committee has said it's ready to accept the risk of providing weapons to such groups, a look at the Iraq and Afghanistan shows how such plans can easily unravel.
9. Civilians will be killed and maimed. Policy analyst Phyllis Bennis points out the obvious: Strike with bombs and missiles, and, whatever your intent, civilians with no involvement in the conflict -- including children and the elderly -- will be harmed.
10. There is no apparent exit strategy. Once we are involved, it is unclear how we will extract ourselves from a massive, ugly civil conflict that could spread to involve nearby countries such as Lebanon, Israel, and Iran.
11. Yes, there is a better way. Tried, true, and boring though it may be, diplomacy often works. As Bennis told Democracy Now! this week, Syria has become a venue for a war between the United States and Russia, and between Iran and an allied United States and Israel.
What's needed, she says, are peace talks involving not only the parties who are fighting, but their backers as well. We need "all the forces on the two sides coming together to talk," she says, "rather than fighting to the last Syrian child, to resolve these wars."

Sarah van Gelder is co-founder of YES! Magazine and has been its executive editor since it began publication in 1996. Her focus at YES! is on the solutions and innovations that address the most profound issues of our time. Each issue of YES! (more...)

How far to free?

How much would it cost make every single public two- and four-year college and university in the United States tuition free for all students?  Probably less than you think.
By our estimates, after stripping off the amount that the government already spends to subsidize higher education — including at predatory for-profit institutions — the total amount of new money necessary is less than $13 billion a year.  Thirteen billion is a lot of money, to be sure, but within the scope of the Federal budget it is less than one tenth of one percent of yearly spending — merely a rounding error.
Here’s how we arrived at that astonishing figure.
In the 2011-2012 school year students spent $59.9 billion on tuition for public universities (source, page 7). It’s important to note that this is just tuition.  That’s our starting point.  But, as we said above, the government is already subsidizing that figure via various programs which would no longer be relevant if tuition were simply free.  Additionally, predatory for-profit colleges receive billions in federal subsidies which simply transfer taxpayer money straight to Wall Street investors while saddling students with worthless degrees and a debt load so high many will never be able to pay it off. Here are some of the savings that we have found. [Note: The bulk of these figures were collected by Bob Samuels during his outstanding research on public education financing.]
In 2010 the government spent $35 billion in Pell grants (Bob Samuels). How much of this went to predatory for-profit schools? “In fact, during a 2012 Congressional investigation of for-profit colleges, it was discovered that up to a quarter of all federal Pell grant money is now going to these corporate schools that charge a high tuition and graduate very few students” (Bob Samuels, footnoote vi).
There is no reason to spend even a penny of public money on these predatory for-profit colleges. This money alone would go a long way towards lowering the cost of high quality public universities. One quarter of $35 billion would be $8.75 billion saved.
Similarly, predatory for-profit schools specifically target veterans for exploitation and took roughly $1.6 billion in public money from the GI Bill in 2011 (source).
That brings us to $10.35 billion in savings, subtracted from that $59.9 billion figure above, giving us a remaining cost of $49.55 billion for 2011.
But that’s not all.  Samuels identifies tens of billions in additional savings, based on current tax expenditures on education subsidies.  These include:
  • student interest rate exemption: $1.4 billion
  • exclusion of employer-provided educational assistance: $1.1 billion
  • exclusion of interest on student-loan bonds: $0.6 billion
  • exclusion of scholarship and fellowship income: $3 billion
  • exclusion of tax on earnings of qualified tuition programs including savings account programs: $0.6 billion
  • HOPE tax credit: $5.4 billion
  • Lifetime Learning tax credit: $5.5 billion
  • parental personal exemption for students age 19 or over: $3.4 billion
  • state prepaid tuition plans: $1.75 billion
  • American Opportunity Tax Credit (which is set to expire in Dec 2017): $14.4 billion
So, in the final accounting:
  • $37.15 billion in tax expenditures
  • $8.75 billion in Pell Grants to preditory for-profit schools
  • $1.6 billion in GI Bill money to preditory for-profit schools
TOTAL SAVINGS = $47.25 billion
This means that tuition-free education at all public two and four-year colleges could be achieved for just $12.4 billion in new money.
This is less money than we currently spend on vast array of government programs.  For instance, tax subsidies to just twelve corporations totaled about $20 billion per year from 2008-2010 (source).  For another, the federal government spends around $15 billion per year on the war on drugs (source).  For the sake of comparison, US taxpayers are currently subsidizing too big to fail banks at the rate of $83 billion dollars every year. If we stopped doing that and instead provided tuition free education we’d still have over $70 billion left over! Look around, and you’ll have little trouble finding programs that receive as much or more funding than would be required for universal, tuition-free public higher education.  It’s simply a matter of priorities.
So, when you hear Congress and political interest groups arguing about the intractability of the student debt crisis, cooking up complicated schemes that funnel money to Wall St banks and for-profit colleges, ask them where their priorities really are.
Researchers interested in following up on these figures are encouraged to read Bob Samuels’ January 2013 report ‘Making All Public Higher Education Free‘.

World Bank: Money Laundering Criminals | Interview with Whistleblower Ka...

Hungary Orders Rothschild’s IMF To Vacate The Country: Now Issuing Debt-Free Money!

End Rothschild
Hungary is making history of the first order along with Iceland & Russia.
Not since the 1930s in Germany has a major European country dared to escape from the clutches of the Rothschild-controlled international banking cartels. This is stupendous news that should encourage nationalist patriots worldwide to increase the fight for freedom from financial tyranny.

A man holds up a sign during a protest in central Budapest January 2, 2012.  The demonstrators are protesting against the government and new Basic Law which replaced the country's Constitution on January 1, in a show of angst at what they say is the ruling Fidesz party's heavy-handed policies.    REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh  (HUNGARY - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
A man holds up a sign during a protest in central Budapest.
Already in 2011, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán promised to serve justice on his socialist predecessors, who sold the nation’s people into unending debt slavery under the lash of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the terrorist state of Israel. Those earlier administrations were riddled with Israelis in high places, to the fury of the masses, who finally elected Orbán’s Fidesz party in response.
According to a report on the German-language website “National Journal,” Orbán has now moved to unseat the usurers from their throne. The popular, nationalistic prime minister told the IMF that Hungary neither wants nor needs further “assistance” from that proxy of the Rothschild-owned Federal Reserve Bank. No longer will Hungarians be forced to pay usurious interest to private, unaccountable central bankers
Instead, the Hungarian government has assumed sovereignty over its own currency and now issues money debt free, as it is needed. The results have been nothing short of remarkable. The nation’s economy, formerly staggering under deep indebtedness, has recovered rapidly and by means not seen since National Socialist Germany.
The Hungarian Economic Ministry announced that it has, thanks to a “disciplined budget policy,” repaid on August 12, 2013, the remaining €2.2B owed to the IMF—well before the March 2014 due date. Orbán declared: “Hungary enjoys the trust of investors,” by which is not meant the IMF, the Fed or any other tentacle of the Rothschild financial empire. Rather, he was referring to investors who produce something in Hungary for Hungarians and cause true economic growth. This is not the “paper prosperity” of plutocratic pirates, but the sort of production that actually employs people and improves their lives.
OBAMA COMMUNISM rothschildism
With Hungary now free from the shackles of servitude to debt slavers, it is no wonder that the president of the Hungarian central bank, operated by the government for the public welfare and not private enrichment, has demanded that the IMF close its offices in that ancient European land. In addition, the state attorney general, echoing Iceland’s efforts, has brought charges against the last three previous prime ministers because of the criminal amount of debt into which they plunged the nation.
The only step remaining, which would completely destroy the power of the banksters in Hungary, is for that country to implement a barter system for foreign exchange, as existed in Germany under the National Socialists and exists today in the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, or BRICS, international economic coalition. And if the United States would follow the lead of Hungary, Americans could be freed from the usurers’ tyranny and likewise hope for a return to peaceful prosperity.
American Free Press
rothschild bank

Vatican vs Illuminati

Hedge Funds Are Dumping Monsanto Company (MON)

Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON) has had one of the most up-and-down years of the stocks we track. Shares of the ag behemoth have been unable to get on a run in 2013, as constant drama over GMOs seems to be hitting the newswires daily. With that in mind, it appears that some hedge funds want nothing to do with it. Now, according to many market players, hedge funds are seen as delayed, old investment vehicles of a forgotten age. Although there are over 8,000 hedge funds trading currently, Insider Monkey looks at the moguls of this group, around 525 funds. Analysts calculate that this group controls the lion's share of all hedge funds' total assets, and by monitoring their highest quality equity investments, we've figured out a few investment strategies that have historically outpaced the S&P 500. Our small-cap hedge fund strategy beat the S&P 500 index by 18 percentage points annually for a decade in our back tests, and since we've began to sharing our picks with our subscribers at the end of August 2012, we have outperformed the S&P 500 index by 33 percentage points in 11 months (see all of our picks from August). Just as crucial, positive insider trading sentiment is another way to look at the investments you're interested in. As the old adage goes: there are lots of stimuli for a bullish insider to drop shares of his or her company, but just one, very obvious reason why they would behave bullishly. Plenty of academic studies have demonstrated the impressive potential of this tactic if "monkeys" know what to do (learn more here). What's more, it's important to examine the latest info for Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON).

What have hedge funds been doing with Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON)?

In preparation for the third quarter, a total of 59 of the hedge funds we track held long positions in this stock, a change of -6% from one quarter earlier. With hedge funds' sentiment swirling, there exists a select group of key hedge fund managers who were upping their stakes substantially.
Out of the hedge funds we follow, Stephen Mandel's Lone Pine Capital had the most valuable position in Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON), worth close to $613.3 million, accounting for 3% of its total 13F portfolio. On Lone Pine Capital's heels is Andreas Halvorsen of Viking Global, with a $414.5 million position; 2.3% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the company. Other peers with similar optimism include Phill Gross and Robert Atchinson's Adage Capital Management, John Griffin's Blue Ridge Capital and Jason Capello's Merchants' Gate Capital.
Since Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON) has experienced declining interest from the entirety of the hedge funds we track, logic holds that there exists a select few hedgies that decided to sell off their positions entirely at the end of the second quarter. At the top of the heap, Jeffrey Vinik's Vinik Asset Management said goodbye to the largest stake of the 450+ funds we monitor, totaling close to $100.8 million in stock. Sean Cullinan's fund, Point State Capital, also dropped its stock, about $54.7 million worth. These transactions are interesting, as total hedge fund interest was cut by 4 funds at the end of the second quarter.

What do corporate executives and insiders think about Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON)?

Legal insider trading, particularly when it's bullish, is particularly usable when the company in focus has seen transactions within the past half-year. Over the last half-year time period, Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON) has seen zero unique insiders purchasing, and 10 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here). We'll check out the relationship between both of these indicators in other stocks similar to Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON). These stocks are CF Industries Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:CF), Agrium Inc. (USA) (NYSE:AGU), Mosaic Co (NYSE:MOS), Potash Corp./Saskatchewan (USA) (NYSE:POT), and Syngenta AG (ADR) (NYSE:SYT). This group of stocks are in the agricultural chemicals industry and their market caps are similar to MON's market cap.
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This Is Why Corporate America Wants High Unemployment

Fast food workers walked out in protest on Thursday demanding $15.00 an hour. They simply cannot afford to livw on the current wage structure. The American worker in general simply cannot live on the wages many companies as big as Wal-Mart and as small as a Subway franchisee are willing to pay, many with no healthcare insurance. Many of these companies say they cannot afford to or it will negatively affect their profits.
It is however much more sinister than that. Every company that has a cost structure that includes paying below subsistence wages is a company with more than a failed responsible business model. It is a company that is a drag on the economy and it is a company getting a transfer of wealth from the taxpayer to the owners and shareholders of these companies.
When companies like Walmart pay poverty wages and do not provide health insurance, the taxpayer is left holding the bag. The taxpayer pays for the welfare check the poorly paid worker qualifies for. The taxpayer pays for the Medicaid that worker qualifies for as the company gets a marginal increase in profits from their choice to marginalize the American worker.
A reporter on ABC said that workers striking for higher pay will be unsuccessful. She said that given the level of unemployment, employers have a large pool of people just waiting for a job. Unfortunately she is right. Unless the government ‘we the people’ set a minimum standard, a minimum wage that is a balance between a worker being able to live on an honest day’s work and a business the ability to make an honest profit, there will be no change. Unless the false narrative stating that only the private sector and not government are able to create jobs, there will be no change.
There is a lot that government can do now given that the private sector is unwilling to hire. There are canals to be built, high-speed rails to be built, infrastructure improvement to be done, education improvements requiring teachers and professionals and much other needs clamoring for workers. The government’s impotence led by an intransigent Right Wing that sees full employment as a risk to a selfish business class is the sole reason these job creating programs are not coming to fruition.
Unemployment is serving the corporate structure well. Their profits are soaring. They can keep necessary jobs in the United States at low wages. They can export enough jobs to keep the unemployment high enough to depress wages. And they can use their ill-gotten profits to stop politicians from raising the minimum wage or from enacting programs that would dramatically lower unemployment. This can all change. But to do so will require educating Americans through alternative media networks void of the plutocratic message. It will require citizens that when made aware of the truth are willing to throw everyone opposing working middle class policies out of Congress and completely out of the body politic.