Archive for Opinions

Cryptos: What the “Bizarre” World of Non-Fungible Tokens May Be Signaling

By Elliott Wave International

The world of cryptos includes something known as non-fungible tokens, which go by the acronym NFTs.

If you’re unfamiliar with them, they’re a bit bizarre but quite simple. Here’s what the April Global Market Perspective, a monthly Elliott Wave International publication which covers 50+ worldwide financial markets, noted:

Investors’ manic behavior has expanded to include non-fungible tokens, paying large sums of money for essentially a picture of something.

Getting more detailed, “a non-fungible token is a unique identification code that is affixed to a [digital] asset using blockchain to distinguish it from all other [digital] assets.”

The April Global Market Perspective provided more insight with this chart and commentary:

The chart shows the performance of one of the most unseasoned of all collectibles, the non-fungible token (NFT), which first hit the market in December 2017. … In addition to rocketing prices, NFTs surged into the culture at large with tokens tied to everything from basketball and football players to Passover and a Saturday Night Live skit. Capping the rage is a “digital collage” of bizarre, post-apocalyptic images called Everyday, which sold for $69.3 million through Christie’s on March 10.

Well, the NFT craziness has persisted, as the May Global Market Perspective followed up by showing this NFT and saying:

Apparently, NFTs are still a thing. Paris Hilton, who is famous for being famous, garnered a bid of $1,111,211.00 for this Iconic Crypto Queen token on [April 25]. The absurdity of it all is not lost on everyone. “Each market frenzy seems crazier than the last,” says MarketWatch.

As for one of the latest developments, on June 10, Barron’s showed this image under the headline:

‘Covid Alien’ CryptoPunk Sells for $11.75 million in Sotheby’s Sale

The reason for pointing out investors’ interest in non-fungible tokens is to emphasize the level of financial mania that has been reached.

The monthly Global Market Perspective employs Elliott wave analysis to forecast what’s next for cryptos, global stock markets, rates, metals, energy, forex and much more.

If you’d like to learn how the Wave Principle can help you analyze financial markets, you are encouraged to read Frost & Prechter’s Wall Street classic book, Elliott Wave Principle: Key to Market Behavior. Here’s a quote from the book:

In the 1930s, Ralph Nelson Elliott discovered that stock market prices trend and reverse in recognizable patterns. The patterns he discerned are repetitive in form but not necessarily in time or amplitude. Elliott isolated five such patterns, or “waves,” that recur in market price data. He named, defined and illustrated these patterns and their variations. He then described how they link together to form larger versions of themselves, how they in turn link to form the same patterns of the next larger size, and so on, producing a structured progression. He called this phenomenon The Wave Principle.

Although it is the best forecasting tool in existence, the Wave Principle is not primarily a forecasting tool; it is a detailed description of how markets behave. Nevertheless, that description does impart an immense amount of knowledge about the market’s position within the behavioral continuum and therefore about its probable ensuing path. The primary value of the Wave Principle is that it provides a context for market analysis. This context provides both a basis for disciplined thinking and a perspective on the market’s general position and outlook. At times, its accuracy in identifying, and even anticipating, changes in direction is almost unbelievable.

Good news! You can read the entirety of the online version of the book for free!

All that’s required for free access to Elliott Wave Principle: Key to Market Behavior is a free Club EWI membership. Club EWI members enjoy free access to a wealth of Elliott wave resources on investing and trading.

Just follow this link and you can have the online version of this Wall Street classic on your computer screen in moments: Elliott Wave Principle: Key to Market Behavior — free and unlimited access.

This article was syndicated by Elliott Wave International and was originally published under the headline Cryptos: What the “Bizarre” World of Non-Fungible Tokens May Be Signaling. EWI is the world’s largest market forecasting firm. Its staff of full-time analysts led by Chartered Market Technician Robert Prechter provides 24-hour-a-day market analysis to institutional and private investors around the world.

Wall Street Smart Money Is Accumulating Physical Silver Ahead Of New Basel III Regulations And Price Explosion To $44 An Ounce

By TheTechnicalTraders 

– Recently, Gold and Silver have somewhat stalled after a fairly solid upside price trend in April and May 2021.  Looking at the longer-term Weekly Silver chart, we believe Silver is ready to pounce with a big move higher.

The second half of 2021 will welcome BASEL III (likely) and a renewed focus by the US Federal Reserve (and Global Central banks) working to contain inflationary aspects of the recovering global economy while also attempting to support continued growth objectives.  I believe precious metals, in particular – Silver, have shown a very unique “Accumulation Phase” over the past 12+ months that may lead to a big upside breakout rally when it breaches the $28.50 level.

Silver Waiting For The Opportune Moment To Pounce – Are You Ready?

This Weekly Silver Futures chart highlights the On Balance Volume Accumulation Phase as well as our price cycle analysis suggesting Silver is stalling just below resistance near $28.50.  My team and I believe the new upward cycle phase, in addition to the massive Accumulation taking place, suggests that Silver is currently lying in wait – ready to pounce on a big upward price trend once the $28.50 level is breached.

ADL Model Suggests $40 To $44 Upside Target Is Real

Our proprietary Adaptive Dynamic Learning (ADL) Price Modeling system suggests a continued bullish price trend is likely on the Monthly Silver chart, shown below, and that a peak is likely near $40 to $44 near December 2021.  This bullish price dynamic is based on the ADL’s ability to map out unique price and technical setups in the past, then align those unique price DNA markers with current price setups.

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What may happen over the course of the next few weeks is that Silver may continue to attempt to consolidate below $28.50 as the markets react to the FOMC announcements and other market facets.  Once the markets digest the real factors related to inflationary concerns, what the US Fed and Global Central Banks need to do is to address these concerns, and the future expectations related to forward monetary policies and expectations. Personally, I believe Silver will move above $28.50 sometime in July (or shortly afterward) and begin to move dramatically higher – targeting $40 or higher.

My team and I believe the end of 2021 and nearly all of the next 2 to 3+ years will be full of incredibly big price trends for traders to take advantage of.  This setup in Silver suggests we are only starting a multi-year bullish price rally phase in precious metals (very similar to the 2003 to 2007 rally in Gold/Silver).  If you have followed precious metals long enough, you understand the biggest moves in Gold and Silver happened after the 2006~07 stock market peak.

That means that we are just starting to see an incredible opportunity in the US stock market and precious metals related to volatility, trends and price rotations. Now is the time you should start preparing for what is to come and learn how to take advantage of these incredible opporutnities.

Want to know how our BAN strategy is identifying and ranking various sectors and ETFs for the best possible opportunities for future profits? Please take a minute to learn about my BAN Trader Pro newsletter service and how it can help you identify and trade better sector setups.  My team and I have built this strategy to help us identify the strongest and best trade setups in any market sector.  Every day, we deliver these setups to our subscribers along with the BAN Trader Pro system trades.  You owe it to yourself to see how simple it is to trade 30% to 40% of the time to generate incredible results.

Have a great Friday!

Chris Vermeulen
Chief Market Strategist

TheTechnicalTraders.com

More than half of millennials happy to opt for digital-only banks

By George Prior

– More than half of millennials are happy to switch to or already have a digital-only bank, reveals a new poll from one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organisations.

The results from a deVere Group global poll of 550+ clients born between 1980 and 1996 show that 59% of those surveyed already only ever use digital banking services or are planning to make the switch to do so this year.

The respondents are clients who currently reside in North America, the UK, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, East Asia, Australasia and Latin America.

Of the poll’s findings, Nigel Green, deVere Group CEO and founder, says: “This is more bad news for traditional banks, which seem to have been in a perpetual game of ‘catch-up’ in recent years amid evolving customer expectations, regulatory requirements and tech advances.

“The poll’s findings are a big deal for old-school banks.

“Why? Two reasons: first, millennials because they’re the fastest-growing cohort of clients; and second, because they are becoming the beneficiaries of the Greatest Transfer of Wealth in history.”

According to some estimates, $68 trillion in wealth is to be passed down from the baby boomers – the wealthiest generation ever – to their children and other heirs (millennials) over the next few decades.

Mr Green continues: “Millennials have grown up on technology. They are ‘digital natives.’

“They’ve been influenced by the enormous surge in tech as they came into adulthood – which came around the same time of the global financial crash that hit in 2008.

“Against this backdrop, they seemingly became comfortable using fintech [financial technology] to help them access, manage and use their money rather than using a traditional bank.”

Indeed, according to a Facebook white paper entitled “Millennials + money: The unfiltered journey,” 92% of millennials distrust banks and many view them as an unreliable source of information.

“Mobile-first millennials expect easy, immediate access and control of their finances in the palm of their hand. They demand to be able to transfer money and pay bills in one tap or swipe. They want to be able to review their spending habits, be offered guidance, and have real-time access,” says Nigel Green.

“In most cases, ‘too big to fail’ traditional banks are struggling to keep pace with the tech innovations that are now driving shifting customer expectations.  Legacy technologies and clunky business models are presenting considerable transformation challenges.”

As well as the on-the-go convenience, control and flexibility that digital-only banks offer, clients are also attracted by their green credentials.

Last year, the deVere CEO noted: “Individuals and companies are increasingly embracing and expecting green, paperless banking.

“This is partly fuelled by the pressing need for us all to drastically reduce waste and better protect the environment – something the pandemic and issues such as raging wildfires has collectively focused minds on – but also because a paperless system is, typically, a more convenient and efficient one.

“Traditional banks have a long way to go to catch-up with tech-driven challenger banks and fintech firms, which are intrinsically much greener and are leading the charge to a paperless future.”

Mr Green concludes: “Mobile-first millennials’ world view, in many regards, has been shaped by tech.

“It’s natural that they turn to fintech instead of a banking system that they perceive as outdated and/or untrustworthy.”

About:

deVere Group is one of the world’s largest independent advisors of specialist global financial solutions to international, local mass affluent, and high-net-worth clients.  It has a network of more than 70 offices across the world, over 80,000 clients and $12bn under advisement.

A court ruling against Shell and votes against Exxon and Chevron add pressure, but it’s the market that will drive oil giants to change

By Paul Griffin, University of California, Davis 

From news reports, it might sound like the fossil fuel industry is on the defensive after a landmark court ruling and two shareholder votes challenging the industry’s resistance to curbing its greenhouse gas emissions.

But how much power do decisions like these really carry when it comes to pressuring the industry to change? As an academic who studies climate finance and is familiar with climate litigation, I think there’s something else at work here.

Pressure from the courts

This latest flurry of speculation about the future of the industry began on May 26, 2021, when a Dutch court ordered Royal Dutch Shell to cut its emissions 45% by 2030 from 2019 levels. That includes emissions from vehicles that burn Shell’s gasoline, something for which the oil industry has never been held legally liable.

Digging deeper into the court’s decision, it is clear that the judges paid attention to science. The court agreed that greenhouse gas emissions pose a significant risk to the climate and that only so much more carbon can be released globally if the world hopes to avoid warming the planet by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius over preindustrial levels – the limit agreed to globally under the Paris climate accord. The court held Shell partly responsible for this increase.

The decision appears to hinge on a violation of the Dutch Civil Code’s “unwritten standard of care,” which, according to the court, means that “acting in conflict with what is generally accepted according to unwritten law is unlawful.” Shell “must observe the due care exercised in society,” the court wrote.

Shell plans to appeal the ruling in the Dutch court, and that doubtlessly will involve a protracted debate on what “unlawful” means in the context of the Dutch Civil Code.

I cannot imagine that the Dutch Civil Code will hold much sway with the U.S. federal court system.

Despite dozens of U.S. lawsuits by cities, states and people facing the consequences of climate change, the industry has not yet been held liable by the Supreme Court for producing and marketing fossil fuels, even though strong evidence attributes greenhouse gas emissions to oil and gas operations. In several cases, judges ruled that climate policy is the responsibility of the executive and legislative branches, not the courts.

Courts are also very slow to act. Recall that Exxon’s response to the Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill in 1989 tied up the courts for over a decade. President Joe Biden’s ban on new oil and gas leases on federal land and water is now caught up in the courts after a federal district judge issued a preliminary injunction on June 15, 2021, halting it.

So, while the lawsuits may add public pressure, the courts aren’t the major forces of change right now.

Investors and the markets hold more power

The same day the Dutch court ruled on Shell’s case, Chevron shareholders approved a resolution to require their San Francisco-based company to also curb “scope 3” emissions – the emissions created by the use of the company’s products. And Exxon shareholders, with the support of the world’s largest investment fund manager, Blackrock, voted to oust three board members and replace them with experts in renewable energy and climate science.

With the Chevron and Exxon shareholder votes, it is important to recognize that the bulk of majority-vote proposals are either not implemented or are watered down in multiple rounds of subsequent votes. Whether they ultimately are successful depends much more on negotiations between the shareholders and the company.

It’s investors like Blackrock that can tip the scales. With Blackrock on the side of shareholders who are pushing for change, it is possible that the two oil majors will be forced to adopt a more climate-friendly investment strategy.

Blackrock, Vanguard and State Street have immense power in the boardroom. They are now the among the biggest shareholders in U.S. oil and gas companies, currently owning 18.5% of Exxon and 19.4% of Chevron. They also own around 20% of companies in the S&P 500, including a large chunk of shares in the big banks that finance these companies.

But their decisions are based on their own best interests. They are also often required to generate returns broadly equivalent to a fully diversified stock index such as the S&P 500. Blackrock said in explaining its vote: “We believe more needs to be done in Exxon’s long-term strategy and short-term actions in relation to the energy transition in order to mitigate the impact of climate risk on long-term shareholder value.”

The strongest incentive for the fossil fuel industry to change may, therefore, be the discipline of large investors in the financial markets. When large investors such as Blackrock do not receive returns on their investments commensurate with the financial risk, they take action, either by cutting back their holdings or by using their voting power to effect change.

While I believe this is a step in the right direction, don’t count on this as an ideal solution, however, because Blackrock and the other large asset funds tend to promote corporate change that benefits their investors, not necessarily the public at large.

The market has started paying attention

Several years ago, I produced evidence that when investors assessed firms with higher greenhouse gas emissions, they considered the potential costs of future lawsuits and regulation, both of which might affect stock prices. At the time, however, the market paid little attention to this liability, perhaps because of Exxon’s successful track record in defending against climate lawsuits.

In another paper, I showed that the market paid lip service to the carbon budget – the amount of carbon science shows can be emitted before the global temperature increase exceeds 1.5 degrees Celsius – and to evidence that fossil fuel assets might lose value in a warmer world.

That’s no longer the case. Markets are now paying close attention to both. The past decade has seen the strongest bull market in 50 years. Yet investments in fossil fuel stocks lost about 20% of their value over the same decade. The price of carbon in Europe, meanwhile, has doubled in the past 12 months.

Both trends have occurred, in my view, because of a greater realization of the high risks and consequences of climate regulation and lawsuits.

Can energy firms produce higher returns by embracing the energy transition to clean energy? Given their large shareholdings, it is reasonable to conclude that Blackrock, Vanguard and State Street seem to think so.

So, in my estimation, it is not the courts that will force the fossil fuel industry to curb emissions. At least in the near term, it appears that what will make the difference will be a change in investors’ strategies, away from high-risk, high-carbon investments and toward cleaner products and services that can earn superior returns for shareholders.

Time will tell. But I would bet on Blackrock, Vanguard and State Street and the financial markets as better instruments to lower or eliminate the carbon emissions of the large oil and gas companies, not the courts.

About the Author:

Paul Griffin, Distinguished Professor of Management, University of California, Davis

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

 

With Ford’s electric F-150 pickup, the EV transition shifts into high gear

By Brian C. Black, Penn State 

When President Joe Biden took Ford’s electric F-150 Lightning pickup for a test drive in Dearborn, Michigan, in May 2021, the event was more than a White House photo op. It marked a new phase in an accelerating shift from gas-powered cars and trucks to electric vehicles, or EVs.

In recent months, global auto manufacturers have released plans to electrify their vehicle fleets by 2030 or 2035, setting up a race to see who can most quickly shift entirely away from producing vehicles powered by gasoline.

Like Biden, former President Donald Trump promised to create jobs in the auto industry. But Trump sought to do it by perpetuating a fossil-fueled system that is the largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Automakers benefited from some Trump policies in the short term, including the rollback of fuel economy standards. Now, however, they seem to be embracing the challenge of competing globally in a climate-constrained future.

As an environmental historian, I see this moment as pivotal because unlike EVs from manufacturers like Toyota or Tesla, the electric F-150 does not entirely rely on green consumer choice. It places the electric vehicle transition squarely in the hands of mass-market consumers who don’t choose cars based on environmental considerations, and who are buying far more light trucks – pickups, sport utility vehicles and minivans – than cars today.

The century of gasoline

America’s 20th-century affair with gas-powered cars was not inevitable. From 1890 through about 1915, vehicles powered by horses, coal, electric batteries and gasoline jockeyed for position on U.S. streets. And electric-powered vehicles had some clear advantages. Many consumers feared that gas-powered cars were prone to explode, and there was no nationwide fueling infrastructure.

But World War I combined with a moment of technological convergence that favored the internal combustion engine. Massive new petroleum discoveries in Texas, and later in the Middle East, produced a glut of oil, just as electric lighting replaced kerosene lamps.

Soldiers assess a plank bridge over a gully.
In a photo captioned ‘Another fine example of modern engineering,’ members of the 1919 Transcontinental Motor Convoy decide whether a rickety bridge will support their vehicles.
Eisenhower Presidential Library

In 1919, Capt. Dwight D. Eisenhower joined a small convoy that crossed the U.S. in gas-powered military vehicles to test Army mobility. It took them 62 days – clear evidence that modern vehicles required better roads.

By World War II, gasoline-powered personal transportation and road-building to support it had become planks of American economic growth. In the 1950s, President Eisenhower furthered that commitment with the construction of the most extensive system of highways the world had ever seen.

Car culture and the pickup truck

Americans’ particular contribution to 20th-century transportation patterns was making automobiles part of a competitive consumer marketplace. Starting in the 1950s, a complex economy of easy financing and advertising drove consumers to buy new and buy often. Every aspect of a car was a potential marketing point, from chrome styling to hemi-powered hot rod engines and more modern options like remote starting and rear-seat theaters.

Another uniquely American marketing achievement was framing trucks – utilitarian vehicles designed for work – as rides that could also serve consumers. Advertisers used themes of grit and power to sell trucks, depicted in the muddy expanses of western landscapes, to suburban drivers.

Federal fuel efficiency standards enacted in 1978 unintentionally reinforced the idea of trucks as a consumer product. These Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards classified pickups as “light trucks,” along with sport utility vehicles and minivans, and set separate fuel efficiency standards for them.

By the year 2000, pickup trucks were U.S. automakers’ most profitable models, and manufacturers were looking for ways to make these vehicles more powerful and luxurious. Ford’s F-150 became the best-selling vehicle in the nation in 1982 and held that spot for the next four decades.

Ford calls its all-electric F-150 Lightning “the truck of the future.”
Ford, CC BY-ND

Lightning in a bottle?

Modern hybrid and electric vehicles emerged in the 1990s, driven by Japanese manufacturers’ innovations. Early versions – the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius, and later the Nissan Leaf – allowed consumers to choose automobiles that burned much less gasoline, or none in the case of the Leaf. Options like these had been unavailable during the gas crises of the 1970s.

While the Prius, which was the first mass-produced hybrid electric vehicle, will likely be remembered as transformational in the electric transition, Tesla was the first manufacturer to take the possibility of an alternative vehicle and combine it with style and prestige. Tesla brought bling and sex appeal to early EVs, many of which had functioned more like their golf-cart cousins.

Today’s hybrids and EVs aren’t just little sedans. Manufacturers including Honda, Toyota and Ford offer popular hybrid SUVs, and all-electric versions are entering the market. And now the electric F-150 breaks new ground. It’s targeted at small businesses and corporate customers, particularly construction and mining companies, which purchase many trucks. These buyers are the auto industry’s bread and butter.

Car-buying guide Edmunds suggests thinking of the electric F-150 as “a battery you can drive.”

To satisfy their needs, the Lightning has a battery large enough to travel more than 200 miles per charge (320 kilometers), and paying a bit more gets customers over 300 miles (480 kilometers). An electric motor on each axle provides faster acceleration than gas-powered models and enough torque to tow 10,000 pounds (4,535 kilograms).

In a unique feature, the truck’s battery pack can be configured to produce 9.6 kilowatts of power – enough to run an average home for three days during an outage. The Lightning also has 11 outlets that enable it to double as a worksite power station for charging tools and gear.

The base model has a sticker price just under US$40,000, and the Lightning qualifies for a $7,500 federal tax break for electric vehicle purchases that the Trump administration tried unsuccessfully to end. Combined, those factors can make it cheaper to buy than its gas-powered sibling.

Ford’s 1908 Model T may look like ancient history by comparison, but experts chose it as the car of the 20th century because it put gas-powered cars within reach for mass consumers. Judging from early consumer buzz, the electric F-150 could play a similar role for EVs today. Ford received 100,000 preorders in three weeks for the new model, which is scheduled to start rolling off the assembly line in spring 2022.

As one analyst put it, “If this truck is successful, it means you can sell an electric version of any vehicle. It could be the domino that tumbles over the rest of the market for EVs.”The Conversation

About the Author:

Brian C. Black, Distinguished Professor of History and Environmental Studies, Penn State

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Trend Is Your Friend Until It Isn’t – Dow Jones And Transportation Index Breaching Critical Price Support Ahead Of FOMC Meeting

By TheTechnicalTraders 

– Over the past few weeks, we have watched the markets continue their attempt to melt higher. Recently the Down Jones and the Transportation Index have breached a lower upward sloping support channel that suggests traders are preparing for a surprise Fed statement or a breakdown in the current bullish price trend.  My team and I believe this warning sign may be suggesting the reflation trade is over. Traders believe the US Fed will soon begin to act to contain inflation by raising rates.

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As we move closer to the FOMC statements and decisions related to the economy, inflation, and future expectations, the US major indexes usually move into an apprehensive sideways trend.  This happens because US federal reserve decisions can have a very big impact on how consumers and corporations perceive monetary policies and future opportunities.  The US markets will likely react to the US Fed statements this week with increased volatility and trend strength.  If you have not already protected your trades in preparation for the FOMC comments this week, get ready for a potentially wild ride.

Fasten your seatbelts and make sure you have your “E-Tickets” ready

The Dow Jones Industrial Weekly chart below shows how price has been moving higher (melting upward) throughout the early part of 2021 and has just recently broken below the YELLOW upward sloping price channel line.  It is our opinion that this move, below a key support level, may be an early indication that traders and the markets expect a policy change from the US Federal Reserve.  Quite possibly, the inflationary aspect of the recovering global economy is sparking greater concern for the US Fed and they may decide to act in steps that will help curb run-away inflation earlier than expected.

We’ll know soon enough as the FOMC statement is due on Wednesday, June 16, 2021.  We are expecting an increase in volatility with the potential of the FOMC comments driving a new upward or downward trend.  If the Fed issues a statement where they are taking no action and don’t believe inflation is a core issue, then the markets will likely continue to move higher.  If the Fed issues a statement that inflation and other concerns are big enough to warrant a surprise rate/policy change, then the markets may react to the downside.

This next Weekly Transportation Index chart highlights a similar type of price pattern.  The Transports have broken below a more recent upward sloping price channel, from the February 2021 lows, and has yet to break below the major upward sloping price channel line, from the COVID-19 lows.  Still, this “rollover” in the Transportation Index suggests traders are changing perspective related to future economic activities 90 to 120+ days into the future.  This sideways rollover suggests traders believe the commodity rally and inflationary pricing pressure will “abate” as we move into the end of 2021.

Logically, we would expect the Transportation Index to continue to move lower if these expectations become rooted in the broad market perspective.  If the Fed takes any action to help curb inflationary expectations, this downward trend in the Transports could move in a much more aggressive manner.

Are the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Transportation Index setups warning that the Fed may be backed into a corner?  Are we starting to see a change in trader/investor sentiment related to the current commodity rally and/or economic activity throughout the rest of 2021?  Only time will tell at this point.

What we do know is that later today, being Wednesday, June 16, 2021, The FOMC decisions and statement will likely set a tone in the markets that will drive increased volatility and trending.  This could prompt some very big trends in major market sectors such as precious metals, oil, and others.  Now is the time to get ready for some bigger trends that will likely last throughout the rest of 2021 and into 2022.

Want to know how our BAN strategy is identifying and ranking various sectors and ETFs for the best possible opportunities for future profits? Please take a minute to learn about my BAN Trader Pro newsletter service and how it can help you identify and trade better sector setups.  My team and I have built this strategy to help us identify the strongest and best trade setups in any market sector.  Every day, we deliver these setups to our subscribers along with the BAN Trader Pro system trades.  You owe it to yourself to see how simple it is to trade 30% to 40% of the time to generate incredible results.

Have a great day!

Chris Vermeulen
Chief Market Strategist

TheTechnicalTraders.com

Artisan robots with AI smarts will juggle tasks, choose tools, mix and match recipes and even order materials – all without human help

By Glenn S. Daehn, The Ohio State University 

Failure of a machine in a factory can shut it down. Lost production can cost millions of dollars per day. Component failures can devastate factories, power plants and battlefield equipment.

To return to operation, skilled technicians use all the tools in their kit – machining, bending, welding and surface treating, making just the right part as quickly and as accurately as possible. But there’s a declining number of technicians with the right skills, and the quality of things made by hand is subject to the skills and mood of the artisan on the day the part is made.

Both problems could soon be solved by artificially intelligent robotic technicians. These systems can take measurements; shape, cut or weld parts using varied tools; pass parts to specialized equipment; and even purchase needed materials – all without human intervention. Known as hybrid autonomous manufacturing, this process involves automated systems that seamlessly use multiple tools and techniques to build high-quality components where and when they are needed.

I am a professor of metallurgical engineering. My colleagues and I design the recipes to make materials and components with just the right internal structure to create properties like strength and fracture resistance. With a network of colleagues at Ohio State and other universities, I have been developing a plan to give birth to these autonomous artisans.

How things are made

Components are either mass-produced or custom-made.

Most things people touch daily have been mass-produced. Quality is assured by using well-honed processes based on testing and monitoring large numbers of parts and assuring the process is done the same way every time.

Custom fabrication – making components on demand – is often essential, sometimes to conform to a patient’s specific anatomy or to replace aircraft landing gear that was forged and is no longer being made. Processes for making metallic parts – material removal, deposition, deformation, transformation, inspection – can all be done with small tools, with incremental actions rather than the kind of bulk processes, usually with big tools and dies, used in mass production.

Automation has long been a part of mass production, which includes sophisticated robots that handle parts and weld on automobile assembly lines. Additive manufacturing, often referred to as 3D printing, is increasingly being used with a variety of materials to make components.

Now in development are robotic blacksmiths – robots that can hammer metallic parts into shape instead of cutting, building up or molding them.

Robotic arms reach into the frame of a car being manufactured
Robots have been building cars for decades, but they typically carry out simple, repetitive tasks that don’t require decision-making.
Lenny Kuhne/Unsplash

Automated customization – not an oxymoron

To automate custom fabrication, my colleagues and I are developing an automated suite of tools that can carry out all the steps for making a wide range of components, using multiple processes without human intervention. Sensors will also be central to hybrid autonomous manufacturing to control the processes and maintain and assure quality.

Such autonomous manufacturing systems will make the myriad decisions needed to create a component of the right strength, size and surface finish. Artificial intelligence will be required to handle the enormous number of choices of materials, machine settings and process sequences. Rather than finding a mass production recipe and never deviating, these autonomous manufacturing systems will choose from a very large set of possible recipes to create parts, and will have the intelligence to assure that the chosen path produces components with the appropriate material properties.

Robots could either position small tools on manufactured component or transfer the component from one piece of equipment to another. A fully autonomous system could manufacture a wide range of products with a versatile set of tools. The systems could source materials and possibly even send work out to specialized cutting and deformation tools, just like a human artisan.

The production rate of such systems would not rival those of mass production, but because robots can work continuously they can be more productive than human technicians are. Data from sensors provide a digital record of all the steps and processes with critical temperatures, machine settings and even images. This record can assure quality by, for example, making sure the material was deformed the right amount and cracks were not produced during the process and covered up.

Manufacturing at or near the operating room is one example of a process that can be enabled with hybrid autonomous manufacturing. Often when patients with bone fractures undergo trauma surgery, metallic plates of varied shapes are required to hold bones together for healing. These are often created in the operating room, where the surgeon bends plates to fit the patient, sometimes using a 3D-printed model created from medical images of the patient as a form to bend the metal against.

Bending by hand is slow and imprecise, and stressing the plate in the wrong place can cause it to fracture. A robotic technician could cut and bend and finish a plate before surgery. Patients do better and save money if they spend less time in the hospital.

The road to robotic artisans

Numerous companies are now showing the way forward in autonomous manufacturing, including three venture-funded startups. FormLogic is developing automated high-quality machine shops. Path Robotics is putting the skills of a welder into a robot. And Machina Labs is out to create robotic blacksmiths. Other companies are developing systems to automate design and logistics.

Hybridization – the ability to carry out different tasks in different ways with multiple tools – is the next step. The key pieces of hybrid autonomous manufacturing exist now, and fully autonomous systems could be common in a decade. Companies adopting this approach to custom fabrication will need to draw on a new generation of students with the skills to combine these technologies.

The investments proposed in the United States Innovation and Competition Act passed by the Senate on June 8, 2021, and those in the Biden administration’s proposed American Jobs Plan could support the development of these kinds of advanced manufacturing technologies. Funds for the development of advanced manufacturing technologies and the associated skills base could make U.S. manufacturing more competitive.The Conversation

About the Author:

Glenn S. Daehn, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, The Ohio State University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

How HIGH Can It Fly? Tilray And Cannabis ETF (MJ) Prepare To Rally 25% More To The Upside

By TheTechnicalTraders 

– Over the past few weeks, a unique opportunity continues to unfold in the Cannabis & Marijuana sector.  I highlighted this near the end of May 2021 with a research article showing how a multiple upside price wave setup may start to unfold after a recent momentum base/bottom setup across various cannabis/marijuana sector symbols.  The confluence of price patterns across a number of cannabis sector stocks suggests a bigger price trend may be about to setup.  My team and I believe this new momentum base/bottom may prompt a strong upside price trend throughout the end of 2021 and may prompt a continuation of this trend into 2022.

Sign up for my free trading newsletter so you don’t miss the next opportunity!

Today, I am revisiting these same charts/symbols to see how far things have progresses since our May 31, 2021 research post.  Let’s get started with the charts.

MJ Still Setup For A +14% Rally To Levels Near $24.50 (Or Higher)

This Weekly MJ chart shows the deep momentum base/bottom near $19.90 with moderate upside support above $20 to $21. Using a Fibonacci 100% Measured Move technique, we can identify upside targets near $22.40 and $24.50. Over the past two weeks, MJ actually reached the $22.40 target with recent highs.  Yet, price closed the week lower, near $21.59.

I am also seeing strong trading volume as this new upside price trend extends higher.  This increased volume is a good indication that the upside price trend is starting to build momentum as traders accumulate shares in anticipation of the bullish price rally phase.

My team and I still believe the upside potential in the Cannabis/Marijuana sector is relatively strong.  We believe the recent momentum base that setup across numerous Cannabis sector stocks is presenting a very clear  opportunity for traders to position trades for the pending multi-wave upside price trends.  After the first Fibonacci 100% Measured Move targets are reached, a brief pause in price should be expected, then another upside price trend should prompt an even higher price advance.  This next move will likely conform for the current rally attempt as another Fibonacci 100% Measured Move to the upside.

Tilray Inching Higher – Still Showing A Potential For A +35% Advance

Very similar to the MJ Weekly chart setup, this Weekly TLRY chart shows a fantastic momentum advance after a moderate price pullback from recent highs.  Although recent highs have touched our first Fibonacci target level, near $21.67, there is still ample opportunity for a move to the second target level near $26.70.

We are seeing strong accumulation in the recent trading volume indicated by the series of GREEN candles – suggesting the upside price trend is starting to build real momentum.  We believe the next move higher will target the $23 to $24 level – which will prompt a close above the first target level and setup TLRY on a stronger advance towards the second target level.

From the current price close, the second target level, near $26.70, represents a solid +35% opportunity for traders to profit from this initial wave higher.

GRYN Makes A Big Move – Still Showing Opportunities For Another +22% Advance

In our first research article about this unique setup in the Cannabis/Marijuana sector, we includes GRYN as a potential candidate for an explosive upside trend.  GRYN is not one of the most heavily traded symbols in this sector, yet we feel it is uniquely positioned because it has US FDA approval for its Hemp-based CBD growing and extraction processes.  This US FDA approval means GRYN can produce and sell into almost any medical, consumer, beverage, consumable or other industry as an FDA Approved supplier.

Recently, we saw a big upside in GRYN, rallying over 32% since we first published our May 31 research article.  The next move higher should target levels above $2.21 and setup a new range for the next Fibonacci 100% Measured Move higher.  If GRYN rallies to a high near $2.50 in this current trend, then the next Measured Move upside targets will be $2.79 to $3.45 if the $1.65 to $1.70 price level holds as support.  These approximate (estimated) upside targets represent another +60% to +98% rally phase for GRYN.

Overall, we believe the Cannabis/Marijuana/Alternative Medicine sector has moved away from the downside price trend that has dominated this sector over the past 2 to 3+ years.  Now, after the Reddit group targeted this sector late in 2020, we are seeing renewed focus by traders into this sector.  Once the momentum moves past moderate accumulation and into breakout trending, we may see another big explosive upside trend in a number of Cannabis sector stocks.

The one thing that could deflate this trend is if we start to see a broad US/Global market price correction. If something like a moderate 11% (or greater) US/Global market downtrend sets up, then we will likely see these Cannabis/Marijuana sector stocks attempt to move lower as well – attempting to reset/retest the recent momentum base levels.  This would present a very interesting opportunity for traders to get into positions as these base levels setup and as the accumulation starts to build again.

Want to know how our BAN strategy is ranking the Cannabis/Marijuana sector (and other sectors) for trading opportunities to identify the best opportunities for future profits? Please take a minute to learn about my BAN Trader Pro newsletter service and how it can help you identify and trade better sector setups.  My team and I have built this strategy to help us identify the strongest and best trade setups in any market sector.  Every day, we deliver these setups to our subscribers along with the BAN Trader Pro system trades.  You owe it to yourself to see how simple it is to trade 30% to 40% of the time to generate incredible results.

Have a great Monday!

Chris Vermeulen
Chief Market Strategist

TheTechnicalTraders.com

Genocide Politics: The Zenz-Xinjiang Case

By Dan Steinbock

– The Trump and Biden administrations have initiated an unsubstantiated genocide case against China. It has been opposed by White House’s own legal experts. With its dark roots, genocide politics mocks real genocides.

In July 2020, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for “using forced sterilization, forced abortion, and coercive family planning against Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang.”

In January, Pompeo, on his way out from the White House, charged China of “the systematic attempt to destroy Uyghurs in Xinjiang.” The Biden administration has adopted the same unsubstantiated allegations.

And so has international media, without slightest source criticism.

Stunningly, most based their charges mainly on just one source: a German born-again anti-Communist Christian crusader who has never been in Xinjiang.

How genocide politics trumped legal experts

According to the UN Genocide Convention (1948), genocide is defined as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such.”

In contrast, what Zenz claimed was that the fall of Uyghur birth rates and birth control measures in Xinjiang province was a proof of genocide. In the process, genocide was associated with family planning and modernization (which US agencies and foundations have implemented across the world since the postwar era).

Moreover, through the 2019s, Xinjiang actually recorded a positive overall population growth rate, with the Uyghurs growing faster than the non-Uyghur population.

Furthermore, the genocide allegation was made against explicit legal opposition. Prior to Pompeo’s January statement, the State Department’s Office of the Legal Advisor had concluded that there was insufficient evidence to prove such genocide.

Yet, both administrations simply over-ruled their own legal experts.

In April, economist Jeffrey Sachs and William Schabas, a leading international legal scholar of genocide, stressed that “the Xinjiang genocide allegations are unjustified.” As they concluded, “unless the State Department can substantiate the genocide accusation, it should withdraw the charge.”

Who is the primary source of the genocide allegation?

From God to anti-China Aussies and US defense contractors   

Adrian Zenz graduated from the hyper-Christian Columbia International University, headquartered in South Carolina, where teachers can lecture only if they affirm the Second Coming of Jesus. As Wall Street Journal once put it, Zenz feels “led by God” in his struggle against the Chinese communists.

After 2016, the German crusader suddenly became a “Xinjiang expert” with a single Foreign Affairs essay. Co-author James Leibold’s Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) has been credited as the think-tank behind Australia’s rock bottom ties with China. It is funded by Australia’s Defense Department and US State Department and Pentagon’s big defense contractors.

By 2017, Zenz’s publications were released mainly by one of the flagships journals of the Jamestown Foundation, an ultra-conservative anti-Communist think-tank launched by CIA Director William J. Casey in the ‘80s.

But Zenz’s Xinjiang pieces were published by Journal of Political Risk, led by Anders Corr who has a track-record of fake predictions and who consults Pentagon agencies and defense contractors (on his 2017 fake prediction that the Philippines will default under China’s debt slavery by 2022, see my “Whatever happened to PH debt slavery?” TMT, Oct 7, 2019).

In December 2020, Zenz released his Coercive Labor in Xinjiang in which “the assertion of genocide is concocted through fraudulent statistical manipulation, cherry-picking of source material, and propagandistic misrepresentations,” as critics have put it, rightly.

The “shocking report” was published by the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy (NISP), with the Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights (RWCHR).

NISP’s leadership features mainly US State Department officials, military and intelligence analysts who used to work for Stratfor (“Shadow CIA” as Barron’s calls it). The RWCHR positions have converged with those of US State Department and it collaborates with the anti-China cult Falun Gong and its far-right Epoch Times.

NED sponsoring Uyghur separatism 

In the US, the key role in the Zenz-fueled campaign against China belongs to the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC), whose steering committee members seem to be supported by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The WCR campaign has forced Uyghur workers out of their jobs, while compelling US apparel company Badger Sport to pay $300,000 to Uyghur exile separatists, not to the jobless workers.

Zenz’s report also features materials of Uyghur separatists, including the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) backed by the U.S. government. The WUC regards Xinjiang as “East Turkestan.” Dedicated to separatist objectives, it seeks to destabilize Xinjiang and ultimately regime change. It is a top-down umbrella for its Washington-based affiliates – including Uyghur American Association (UAA), Uygur Human Rights Project, and Campaign for Uyghurs – reliant on US funding.

The WUC and its affiliates have been supported with millions of dollars since 2004 by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).  Under its president Kuzzat Altay, the UAA’s anti-China fanaticism has escalated, while the far-right gun club Altay Defense drills combatants with ex-members of U.S. special forces (Figure).

Figure A Separatist Dream Come True

Sources: Screen captures of NED tweet showing “East Turkestan” as separated from mainland China; Altay Defense (Instagram 2020)

 

Here’s how the pro-democracy/destabilization machine works: NED transfers monies to the WUC, which uses them for its affiliates, public PR and reportedly for not-so-peaceful covert activities, while lobbying the Congress, which in turn funds the NED.

Nazi roots of fervent anti-Communism

Alarmingly, Uyghurs’ Turkey branch has ties with the far-right pan-Turkish Gray Wolves, a designated terrorist organization, which is usually characterized as ultra-nationalist, neo-Fascist and Islamophobic. It has been linked with political violence, death squads, heroin, CIA, and drugs trade, including multiple violent attacks against Chinese targets in Europe, Turkey and Thailand.

The far-right links extend to Zenz and his prestigious new host. After his Xinjiang reports, he was recruited as a senior fellow in China studies by the Washington-based Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC), a fiercely anti-Communist successor of the National Captive Nations Committee (NCNC), linked with the Ukrainian nationalist and notorious anti-Semite Yaroslav Stetsko.

Ironically, the NCNC originates from the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations (ABN), founded in 1943, at the instigation of Alfred Rosenberg, Hitler’s chief Nazi race ideologue and Minister of the East. Nazi leaders cooperated and funded Stetsko’s organized militia OUN, which butchered thousands of Jews in pogroms in 1941.

In the mid-1950s, the ABN was linked its Asian equivalent (Asian Peoples’ Anti-Communist League) in which Taiwan’s Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek played a central role; and the World Anti-Communist League (renamed in the ’90s as the World League for Freedom and Democracy) whose headquarters remains in Taiwan.

It is these dark origins of Zenz and his background forces that cast a long shadow over his allegations today.

Disconcerting lessons of genocide politics

The far-right motivations of these old-new Cold Warriors has potential to unleash a major conflict. Perhaps a new Cold War is their strategic objective, despite the huge costs to global economic prospects, especially to the most vulnerable nations.

The genocide allegations by the Trump and Biden administrations seem hypocritical, even bizarre in the light of US history, starting with the native American Indians, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and extending to series of postwar atrocities in almost every major world region.

What’s highly distressing is the way the leading international media has allowed itself to be used, with little regard to public trust – as during the Cold War.

Like the “infodemic” in the early days of the COVID-19, misinformation associated with social media trolls and conspiracy theorists blur the distinction between realities and fantasies. With the pandemic, the ensuing divisions and delays cost millions of lives, and so could the erosion of media credibility amid future genocides.

The rejection of the top legal experts of the White House for a far-right ultra-religious crusader sets a frightening precedent and tarnishes American ideals.

When the word “genocide” is exploited without a solid legal basis, the very designation is politicized and diluted. That is an insult against the real victims and legacies of the Holocaust and other genocides around the world.

About the Author:

Dr Dan Steinbock is the founder of Difference Group and has served as research director at the India, China and America Institute (USA) and visiting fellow at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (China) and the EU Center (Singapore). For more, see https://www.differencegroup.net/   

This short commentary is based on a part of the fully-referenced 4,600+-word analysis, published by The European Financial Review on June 11, 2021. https://www.europeanfinancialreview.com/playing-genocide-politics-the-zenz-xinjiang-case/ The print version will ensue later in June.

Historic change: Arab political parties are now legitimate partners in Israel’s politics and government

By Morad Elsana, American University

The next government is not going to be a typical one for the citizens of the state of Israel, and especially for members of the Palestinian Arab minority, who are 20% of Israel’s population. This is the first time the Zionist political parties forming the government are including an Arab party.

It is ironic that the prime minister of this government would be Naftali Bennett. Bennett is the leader of the radical right-wing political party Yamina, whose ideologies and interests contradict the Arab party’s interests, and which has opposed Arab participation in the coalition or government. His national-religious political movement, which represents many Jewish settlers, signed the coalition agreement with Ra’am, the Islamic Arab party.

In the 73-year history of Israel, it was an unwritten rule that any government coalition would be formed only by the Jewish Zionist parties. There was only one exception, when the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin relied on the support of an Arab party in the wake of the Oslo Peace Accords in the 1990s. The agreement, however, did not formalize that party’s entry into the ruling coalition.

The chain of events Rabin triggered was considered an unforgivable sin by the Israeli right, which depicted Rabin as a traitor – as they do now with Bennett – and which ultimately led to Rabin’s assassination.

Changing Israeli politics

What drove the first Arab party into a ruling coalition now was not the desire for a peace agreement. It was the poor state of Israeli politics after four election rounds in two years without a clear winner, combined with the strong desire of the opposition, called the “Change Bloc,” to oust longtime Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Arabs did not forget Netanyahu’s hostile remarks during the previous elections. That’s when he urged the settlers to cast their votes against the Arabs who “are voting in droves.”

After failing in the latest election to both discourage the Arab vote and ensure a majority of his own, it was Netanyahu who first understood the potential need to cooperate with the Arab parties. After all other efforts to form a ruling coalition failed, he tried to lure Ra’am leader Mansour Abbas to his side even before Bennett did, but to no avail.

For his part, Abbas proposed to change the way Arab parties deal with the Jewish parties and politics in Israel.

“I say here clearly and frankly: When the very establishment of this government is based on our support … we will be able to influence it and accomplish great things for our Arab society,” Abbas said.

For decades, Palestinian Arab political parties would not join Israeli governments that continued to support the occupation of their Palestinian brothers, oppressed them and denied their basic rights. And they were kept out of leadership coalitions by the Jewish parties’ fear of cooperating with them.

Abbas’ call for pragmatism means that he will support political coalitions committed to meeting the immediate and urgent demands of the Arab minority in Israel. Chief among those demands is addressing the issues of violence, house demolitions, planning in new Arab villages and towns, education and equality.

Significant promises made

Abbas’ approach was rejected by the rest of the Palestinian political parties, and thus split up the Joint List, which was a political alliance of four of the Arab political parties in Israel: Balad, Hadash, Ta’al and Ra’am, that they had formed for the previous elections.

The February 2021 election results meant Ra’am entered Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, with four members. Those four can prove decisive in this politically fractured situation.

For now, it appears that Abbas achieved what he wanted. Despite the serious disagreement among the Arabs over his approach, he is convinced that his party’s governing responsibilities will change the face of Israeli politics in all matters related to the Arab minority and will show positive results for the rights and status of Arab citizens in Israel.

“We have reached a critical mass of agreements in various fields that serves the interest of Arab society and that provide solutions for the burning issues in Arab society – planning, the housing crisis, and of course, fighting violence and organized crime,” Abbas said.

To help the Arab sector, among the promises he got from his new partners in the incoming government are the adoption of a five-year economic development plan for the Arab community with a budget of 30 billion shekels, or $US9.3 billion, as well as plans to combat crime and violence in the Arab community, to improve infrastructure, to advance Arab local authorities, and to reconsider the Kaminitz Law, which has led to increased demolitions of, and evictions from, Palestinian property.

The agreement also includes recognition of several Bedouin villages in the Negev, the southern district of Israel where a majority of the country’s Bedouins live.

Historic achievement

Many in the Arab community, and especially among the Bedouins, see Abbas emerging from this election as a victorious leader. He has recorded for himself and the Islamic movement several historical achievements on many important levels.

On the material level, he has secured programs, budgets and decisions that support needs of the Arab minority.

But the most important achievement is the fundamental change signaled by the acceptance of Arab parties into Israeli politics and the recognition of Arab political parties as legitimate partners in the politics and power-sharing in Israel.

This is a paramount goal the Arab parties have failed to achieve since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. After two years with four elections, it’s not certain that this government will last either, but, regardless of what happens, this is a historic change.

About the Author:

Morad Elsana, Adjunct Professorial Lecturer Critical Race, Gender, and Culture Studies (CRGC)., American University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.