Microsoft: Don’t Get ‘Scroogled’ By Google Search Results

first_imgMassive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… markhachman IT + Project Management: A Love Affair Bing, for its part, chose the Samsung Infuse 4G, released in May 2011, the superb Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX, and the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc as its top three choices. At fifth, it placed the Apple iPhone 4s. At sixth, however, Bing chose the T-Mobile MyTouch 3G, a phone that was released in 2009 and available from just one store. The T-Mobile G2, one of the very first Android smartphones, is seventh, one place above the Microsoft-powered Nokia Lumia 920. Wow.(Interestingly, if one searches for “smartphone” – not “best smartphone” – on both sites, Bing’s results bury the iPhone 4S farther down, bump up the Lumia, and include the original, much-despised BlackBerry Storm. Google places the Apple iPhone 4S and the iPhone 4 in the first three results.)A more significant problem is the exclusion of Amazon in search results. This kind of thing happen all the time; search flight listings on Kayak.com and you’ll quickly find that the results exclude Southwest Airlines. But Kayak at least lists the flight times, even as it excludes the prices; on Google, you’ll need to remember to check Amazon to see if the company even sells the item. That’s a problem.“So for this holiday season, we just want to make sure shoppers know that when searching for that perfect gift for Cousin Harry on Google Shopping, the results they are seeing are partially optimized to benefit Google’s revenue, not a shopper’s pocketbook,” Microsoft’s Nichols wrote. “If this practice has you concerned, then please try Bing for an honest search.”The conclusion? Yes, more Microsoft FUD. But this time it just might be justified. Tags:#e-commerce#Google#Microsoft#search Related Posts center_img On Wednesday, Microsoft began running a national ad campaign to warn users to avoid being “Scroogled” by Google search results that have been influenced by paid placement.Specifically, Microsoft’s campaign attempts to portray Google as basing its Google Shopper search results on the amount of money each vendor has paid, rather than the accuracy of the results themselves. More practically, Microsoft claims that popular online retailer Amazon opted out of Google’s search, but that Bing users will be able to compare prices against the Web’s largest e-tailer. Who Is More Unbiased?With the new campaign, Microsoft is taking the side of the angels, using semi-patriotic language reminiscent of the recent presidential election. “Today, Bing renews its commitment to the old rules – to honoring our side of the bargain with shoppers by delivering better, more objectively ranked search results,” Mike Nichols, a corporate vice president and chief marketing officer for Bing, said in a blog post. “We won’t let who pays us for ads or other services affect what you see in your search results. Search results are one thing; ads are another. We won’t switch to pay-to-rank to allow some shopping search results to appear higher than others. We don’t believe shoppers should risk paying more, simply because they started their search at Google.”Hoist By Its Own Petard?Now that the program is in place, Microsoft is positioning its own results as complete and unbiased, and a better alternative for shoppers this Holiday season. And the company is going full bore: not only has it launched a “Scroogled” Web site that invites shoppers to submit their examples of being “Scroogled,” but it has peppered the site with links to the Google founders’ letter, where Larry Page and Sergey Brin claimed, in the famous “Don’t Be Evil” paragraph, that their company’s search results “are unbiased and objective, and we do not accept payment for them or for inclusion or more frequent updating.”Damningly, Microsoft is also using Google’s more recent words against it, citing the language used by Google in announcing an update to Google Shopping announced this spring:“Ranking in Google Shopping, when the full transition is complete this fall, will be based on a combination of relevance and bid price – just like Product Listing Ads today,” Sameer Samat, vice president of product management for Google Shopping, wrote in a blog post. “This will give merchants greater control over where their products appear on Google Shopping.”While Microsoft’s campaign must be seen as a classic example of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) tactics it has honed over the decades to fight everything from Netscape to Linus, the company suggests that shoppers won’t be best served by the pay-to-play rankings. Like Amazon, merchants may choose not to pay to rank results preferentially for low-margin products, which could affect their supply, and specialty merchants might be excluded as well. Microsoft also called out Google’s search results, which claim to be defined by “relevance”.If one clicks on a particular product, Google opens a separate page listing stores and prices, with a box that encompasses all of the results and defines them as “sponsored.” “Google is compensated by these merchants,” an informational blurb reads, but only if the user clicks on the “i.” But on the main results page, Google hides the pay-to-play results under the link, ‘Why these results?” – a difference in language Google couldn’t explain.“While good deals and wide selection take a back seat on Google Shopping thanks to its policies, the way to look at the deception taking place is how Google hides its disclosure policy to customers behind a little link on the side of the page and offers a vague explanation of the factors that may influence ranking, including payment,” Stefan Weitz, the senior director at Bing, said in an emailed statement to ReadWrite.For its part, Google wouldn’t specifically address the pay-to-play charge, but characterized Google Shopper as a useful tool.“Google Shopping makes it easier for shoppers to quickly find what they’re looking for, compare different products and connect with merchants to make a purchase,” a Google respresentative said in an emailed statement. “With new 360-degree, interactive product images, social shopping lists and a fast growing inventory of more than a billion products worldwide, Google is a great resource for shoppers to find what they need, at great prices for their loved ones this holiday season.”Does Pay-to-Play Affect Search Results?The problem in comparing the two search engine results is that the results are rarely, if ever, clear-cut. In one test ReadWrite conducted (without input from Google) Microsoft’s results seemed less relevant. But on others, an observer could conclude that a vendor paid for placement – but might also believe that the search engine simply returned a more relevant result.Take a search for “telescope,” for example. On Google, the first five results are for Celestron telescopes, then the Tasco Specialty 49TN. On Bing, the first two results are for Celestron products, then the Tasco 49TN, the BARSKA StarWatcher, and then two more Celestron scopes. The searches are different, but is one better than the other? 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now The answer might lie in comparing the searches that you (or an acknowledged expert) might make himself. When shopping for the “best smartphone” on Google, Google ranked the Sony Xperia S as the most relevant result – an odd choice, given that few U.S. reviewers had actually reviewed it, let alone given it top marks. (CNET gave it three stars, though PhoneArena’s review said that Sony “hit the nail on the head”). Google’s next choices were the Samsung Captivate Glide (ranked 3 out of 5 or 4 out of 5 in most reviews, and then the Samsung Galaxy S II, the older version of the well-reviewed Galaxy S III now on store shelves. Google did not place an Apple product in the first page (18 products) of results. Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of…last_img read more

Gibdock 1st Baleària Ferry Converted to LNG

first_imgzoomThe converted Nápoles alongside at Gibdock before reentering service with Baleària. Image Courtesy: Gibdock Baleària’s ferry Napoles has started operating using LNG as fuel following the completion of a major conversion project carried out by Gibraltar’s Gibdock shipyard.The 186-meter long Napoles, which has a capacity for 1,600 passengers and 1,430 lane meters of cargo, is the first of six ships that Baleària plans to convert to dual fuel operations to comply with International Maritime Organization (IMO) sulphur cap regulations.Gibdock has secured a contract to convert a second vessel, Sicilia, which is due to arrive at the yard later this year.Napoles arrived at Gibdock in mid-November 2018, with the yard already having pre-fabricated two LNG bunker fuel reception stations for later installation. The majority of subsequent work took place alongside the yard’s main repair wharf, with some elements of the LNG conversion undertaken in Gibdock’s Panamax size Dock No.1.The project included the installation of dual-fuel LNG and diesel engines produced by MAN Energy Solutions as well as a Wärtsilä tank for LNG storage.According to Gibdock, one of the key elements of the project was the modification of the MAN 9L 48/60-A main engines to 9L 51/60DFF, completed by MAN Primeserv. Extensive automation system and cabling work was also carried out by Gibdock.With this change in fuel, Nápoles is expected to reduce its CO2 emissions by 9,113.45 tons and NOx emissions by 871.37 tons a year as well as fully eliminate all sulphur and particle emissions, the ferry company earlier explained.After its departure, Napoles began working on a new passenger and Spanish freight route connecting Huelva and the Canary Islands.last_img read more

Paperny Force Four to move under eOne TV banner

first_img LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Toronto-headquartered Entertainment One is bringing its Canadian unscripted properties under one roof, realscreen has confirmed.The company will amalgamate the operations of Paperny Entertainment and Force Four Entertainment, both of which joined the eOne umbrella in 2014, under the eOne Television brand in the coming months.The move will look to optimally position eOne’s Canadian-based unscripted television unit for future growth, while complementing eOne’s U.S.-based alternative programming efforts. Advertisement Paperny executive VP Cal Shumiatcher will lead the combined business, overseeing the consolidation process with Force Four’s John Ritchie also taking on a new leadership role within the merged business.David Paperny (pictured), Paperny Entertainment founder and president, will remain with the company to ensure a smooth transition before exiting on July 31, while executive VP Audrey Mehler will depart the company in the coming days. Force Four chief operating officer Gillian Lowrey, meanwhile, will exit April 1.Paperny, which has produced such series as Yukon Gold and Klondike Trappers, was acquired in 2014 for CAD$29.2 million (US$27.2 million). Vancouver-based Force Four, meanwhile, was picked up in August 2014 and has previously produced Slice’s First Dates and Global’s Border Security: America’s Front Line.eOne’s Canadian unscripted business will continue to have offices in Vancouver and Toronto, with a satellite office in New York.By Daniele Alcinii Login/Register With: Advertisement Advertisement Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

Caravan on Hwy 401 slows traffic on Canadas busiest road in support

first_imgTom FennarioAPTN NewsTraffic was backed up on different parts of Hwy 401 Friday by a caravan of mainly from the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, who purposely drove slowly in a show of solidarity for members of the Wet’suwet’en Nation.One caravan began near Cornwall, Ont. and headed west, while another close to London, Ont.Reports suggested they were driving between 45 km/h to 60 km/h. The speed limit is 100 km/h.The Ontario Provincial Police basically provided an escort for the rolling blockades.Brandon Doxtator photo.RCMP took 14 people into custody Monday after rushing a homemade checkpoint on Gidimt’en territory set up to block Coast GasLink employees from reaching a healing centre on Unist’ot’en territory.Coast GasLink wants access through the Unist’ot’en camp 20 kilometres up the Morice River road from the Gidimt’en check point to complete preparatory work on the 670-kilometre pipeline.The camp has been standing for nearly a decade to prevent three proposed pipelines from cutting through Wet’suwet’en territory.The company has signed agreements with elected representatives of 20 First Nations along the pipeline route.Anger greeted news Wednesday that hereditary Wet’suwet’en chiefs brokered a peaceful end to a potentially violent pipeline standoff.Leader Freda Huson stormed out of a closed-door meeting at the Unist’ot’en camp south of Houston, B.C., and slammed the door.She just learned chiefs promised the RCMP she and her partner Warner Naziel would abide by rules of an interim court injunction in exchange for calling off a police raid.tfennario@aptn.ca@tfennariolast_img read more

Ottawa say Fairfax Financial Holdings interested in broken Churchill rail line

first_imgOTTAWA – The federal government says a Toronto-based holding company is interested in becoming a new partner in a possible deal for a takeover of the broken rail line that runs to Churchill in northern Manitoba.Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr says Fairfax Financial Holdings Inc. has expressed interest in the Hudson Bay Rail line, the Port of Churchill and other associated assets.Carr says Fairfax is considering partnering with Missinippi Rail and One North to acquire the line from Omnitrax.Severe flooding damaged the rail line last spring, cutting the only land link to Churchill, a town of 900 on the west coast of Hudson Bay.The situation is hurting the region’s tourism industry and raising the price of food and fuel.Carr, the MP for Winnipeg South Centre, says having Fairfax involved is an important step toward a positive solution for the people of Churchill.“This development has the potential to contribute to an arrangement supported by First Nations and communities in northern Manitoba,” he said Thursday in a release.“This would enable a sustainable business approach that results in a safe and reliable rail line.”Fairfax president Paul Rivett said the company is optimistic about the north. He said the Churchill rail corridor and the Port of Churchill are important pieces of infrastructure for northern communities and Canada’s economy.“Partnering with First Nations and communities is the right model for this investment,” he said in a release.“We have deep experience in infrastructure projects and have the necessary operational expertise to run shortline railways in partnership with our investee company AGT Foods. The key is that the plan has to be viable and profitable in the long term as a business.”Carr’s comments come only days after Ottawa filed a lawsuit against Denver-based Omnitrax.The lawsuit alleges Omnitrax has failed to repair and maintain the rail line in violation of a 2008 agreement that saw the company receive $18.8 million in federal aid for maintenance and upgrades. The lawsuit seeks repayment of the money.Omnitrax has said it plans to file a complaint against the federal government under the North American Free Trade Agreement.The company has said the federal government’s decision to end the Canadian Wheat Board’s monopoly on western grain in 2012 drastically cut grain shipments along the rail line and through the Port of Churchill.last_img read more

Naya Pakistan should demonstrate Naya action on terror India

first_imgNew Delhi: Pakistan will be judged not by words but on basis of the action it takes to dismantle terror infrastructure on its soil, India said Saturday, asserting that its non-military strike on the JeM terrorist training camp in Balakot achieved its desired objective. External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said if Pakistan claims to be a ‘naya Pakistan’ (New Pakistan) with a ‘nayi soch’ (new thinking), then it should demonstrate ‘naya’ action (new action) against terror groups operating with impunity from its soil. The MEA’s comments came a day after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said he will not allow Pakistani soil to be used for terror directed at other countries. Khan has been saying that a ‘Naya Pakistan’ is embarking on a new journey under his leadership. Kumar said Pakistan has been making identical statements after separate terror attacks and now Islamabad will have to take up the concrete action the international community expected it to take and must rein in terror groups operating from its soil. “We remain resolute in our determination to persuade the international community of the necessity of compelling Pakistan to move beyond mere words and to show credible, verifiable and sustained actions. We have and we will continue to act with responsibility and maturity,” he said at a media briefing. Kumar said the widespread presence of terrorist camps in Pakistan is public knowledge and repeated requests by India and the international community for Pakistan to take action against such groups has been met with “denial”. “In 2004, the then President of Pakistan had made a solemn public commitment that they would not allow any territory under their control to be used for terrorist activity in any manner,” he said. “But till today, however, Pakistan has failed to take any credible action against Jaish-e-Mohammed and other terrorist organisations, which continue to operate with impunity from Pakistan,” he said, adding Pakistan will be judged not by its words but on the basis of action it takes to dismantle terror infrastructure. Tension between the two nuclear-armed neighbours escalated after the February 14 Pulwama terror attack and subsequent aerial strike by India on a training camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in Balakot on February 26. Pakistan retaliated the strike next day by unsuccessfully attempting to target Indian military installations. The JeM claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack. “Our non-military counter terrorism strike of February 26 achieved the intended objective. It has demonstrated our firm resolve to take decisive action against cross-border terrorism,” Kumar said about Balakot strike. He, however, evaded questions on number of casualties in the strike. Kumar said the fact that Pakistan refused access to journalists from visiting the site of the strike in Balakot meant that they have “plenty to hide”. “So the initial bravado that everything is open please come and visit has disappeared. We are absolutely confident that strikes on Balakot has been successful and achieved the desired objectives,” he asserted. On Pakistan’s retaliatory strike, he said instead of taking action against terrorist groups on its soil, Islamabad chose to escalate through an “act of aggression” by violating Indian airspace and attempting, unsuccessfully, to target military facilities. Kumar also accused Pakistan of propagating a “false narrative” of the events of the day when Pakistani jets unsuccessfully attempted to target Indian military installations. In the aerial combat India had lost a Mig-21 Bison aircraft and its pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was captured by Pakistan. Pakistan claimed it downed two Indian jets, and rejected IAF’s assertion that a F-16 aircraft was shot down by it during the dogfight. “Only one aircraft was lost by us. If, as Pakistan claims, they have a video recording of the downing of a second Indian aircraft, why have they not shown it to the international media even after more than one week? “Questions should be asked to them as to where the fuselage of the aircraft is and what has happened to the pilots? As we have already said, there are eyewitness accounts and electronic evidence that Pakistan deployed F-16 aircraft and that one F-16 was shot down by Wing Commander Abhinandan,” Kumar said. He said Pakistan should explain why it continues to deny that its F-16 aircraft has been shot down. “We have asked the United States to also examine whether the use of F16 against India is in accordance with the terms and conditions of sale,” he added. Kumar said India’s armed forces continue to maintain strict vigil and will remain determined in the defence of the nation and its citizens. Hitting out at Pakistan for remaining in a state of denial, he said, “It is regrettable that Pakistan still continues to deny Jaish-e-Mohammed’s own claim of taking ownership of the Pulwama attack.” The MEA spokesperson referred to the Pakistan foreign minister’s interview to BBC on March where he talked about “some confusion” about JeM’s claim on the Pulwama attack. “Is Pakistan defending the Jaish-e-Mohammed and acting as its spokesperson? Does Pakistan’s claim have any credibility,” Kumar asked. He said despite the media interviews by Pakistan’s foreign minister and former president Musharraf acknowledging the presence of JeM in Pakistan, the spokesperson of the Pakistan armed forces openly denied the presence of the terror group in the country.last_img read more

Two Naveen Kasana gang members held

first_imgNew Delhi: Delhi Police on Thursday said that Crime Branch officers from Shakarpur arrested two members of the notorious Naveen Kasana gang on April 1, thus recovering two pistols and several live cartridges.Identifying the arrested as Ravinder (28) and Anil Kumar (23), DCP Crime Ram Gopal Naik said that the two gang members were involved in several cases of robbing jewellers and business-people at gunpoint with their accomplices, Police said that they received a tip-off about Ravinder arranging a meeting with one of his accomplices near Preet Vihar metro station and laid a trap for him on April 1. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderRavinder was apprehended from Preet Vihar metro station following a short chase. Police claimed that upon sustained interrogation, he disclosed the location of one of his accomplices and another member of the gang, Anil Kumar, who was also arrested on the same day. According to police, during sustained interrogation, both the accused confessed to their involvement in robbing a Karol Bagh jeweller off Rs 2 crore and a cloth merchant off Rs 15 lakh near Shalimar Bagh area. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsDuring police questioning, the two finally gave up the location of one of their hideouts in New Govindpura, where one semi-automatic pistol with two live rounds and one country-made pistol with two live cartridges were found. Addressing a press conference, DCP Naik said that the Naveen Kasana gang has been operating in the Trans-Yamuna region since 2010 and efforts were being made to apprehend members since then. Sources familiar with developments said that with the arrests of Ravinder and Kumar, only two members of the gang are left to be apprehended.last_img read more

International experts confirm Nicaragua caused irreparable damage to Costa Rican wetlands

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica begins mitigation of Nicaragua’s canal work in disputed area Costa Rica adds yet another claim to ongoing border dispute with Nicaragua Costa Rica begins repairing damages on island disputed by Nicaragua International Court of Justice to rule on Costa Rica-Nicaragua border dispute on Dec. 16 Costa Rican Environment Vice Minister Ana Lorena Guevara reiterated on Thursday that Nicaragua’s dredging of two artificial canals in Costa Rica’s northeastern region had caused considerable environmental damage to protected wetlands.“The environmental damage is so severe that it makes it impossible to fully restore the wetlands to their original state due to at least one of the two 200-meter canals,” Guevara said at a press conference on Thursday.“The depth of the canal created by dredging did not leave sufficient substrate for species to grow back,” she said.Environment Ministry (MINAE) officials joined a group of experts from the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, or Ramsar, which included specialists in hydrology and marine biology.The mission on Monday conducted air, aquatic and ground inspections in an area known as Isla Portillos, or Isla Calero,  a small wetland of 1.2 square miles that both countries claim as their own. The case is being heard by the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands.The wetlands, declared of international importance in 1996, were invaded by Nicaragua in 2010 with the goal of opening an artificial passage connecting the San Juan River and the Caribbean Sea for navigational purposes. The move led to an international dispute at The Hague-based court.Recommended: A timeline of the disputeOn November 22, the world court ordered the removal of all dredging equipment, military personnel and civilian groups in the area, except Ramsar and Costa Rican environmental experts, who are conducting damage assessments.Prior to the court rulings, Costa Rica in September released satellite photos showing the excavation of two canals in the disputed wetland, and this week’s inspection confirmed the canals currently have widths ranging from 12-28 meters, and depths ranging from 50 centimeters to 2 meters.Material removed by the dredges formed small islands of sediment at various points in the previously flooded areas. “We could even walk over them,” Guevara said.Trees and native vegetation also were removed. Inspectors found extensive damage to a never-before-registered mangrove, which is unique in this region of the Caribbean coast.The western canal, located some 300 meters from the eastern canal, caused less damage, mostly deforestation, and MINAE believes the area could be naturally restored.The eastern canal begins near the Caribbean shoreline, and officials say the world court rulings have prevented Nicaragua from finishing the canal, which would have led to the mixing of sea water and freshwater in the wetlands.Experts on Monday found sand excavations on the beach and an artificial dam that drops three feet from the beach level to the dredging area.“If they [Nicaragua] had finished this work, there would have been an intrusion of salt water into the wetlands’ fresh water that would have been catastrophic for the flora and fauna, which most likely would have disappeared,” the vice minister said.Under surveillanceAs in past MINAE missions, a Nicaraguan Army vessel followed the group throughout the day, starting at the San Juan River. Soldiers filmed and photographed the inspection. At one point a verbal confrontation took place between the two groups when soldiers tried to force inspectors to leave, Guevara said.“We told them our group was part of an official mission of the Costa Rican government and the Ramsar Convention, and according to provisions of the world court at The Hague we had complied with the requirement of sending a written notice to the Foreign Ministry in Managua,” the Costa Rican official said.María Rivera, a Ramsar adviser for the Americas, also spoke with soldiers. “She told them we had permission to be in the area and that a full report of the inspection would be sent to the Nicaraguan government in coming days,” Guevara said.During past trips to the area, Nicaraguan soldiers blocked visits by experts by denying them navigation permits on the San Juan River. This time, inspectors entered the area by air.The Ramsar experts will prepare a report of the inspection, which is expected to be made public in early April. That report will include recommendations for mitigating the environmental damage to the area. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

In This Issue… Dollar gets sold on weak data…

first_imgIn This Issue… * Dollar gets sold on weak data… * Gold trades past $1,600 again.. * Brazil reverses dollar swaps… * Re-pricing gold? And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! U.S. Manufacturing Plunges! Good day… And a Tom Terrific Tuesday to you! I’m very sorry for all the time I’ve been missing lately due to being “under the weather”… I am staying home again today, but more of a rest and recover than anything else. I had planned on being gone the rest of the week before all of this, so one more day will be fine. I spent the day, yesterday, seeing 3 different doctors… So, at least I was having fun while away from the office! Since I missed the first day of July… Welcome to July, and keeping with tradition… There I was on a July morning… looking for love. with the strength of a new day dawning, and the beautiful sun…. A little Uriah Heep to start our day never hurt anybody! I did not look at the markets at all yesterday, as I tried to nap whenever I could. So, this morning, I had to dive deep into the research available to me at home. But one thing I did see yesterday was the awful print on the U.S. Manufacturing Index (ISM) I’ll get to that in a minute, but first I want to say that as far as I can see this morning, the dollar is weaker going into the 4th of July Holiday, but the weakness is pretty much muted with all the goings on in Europe still lingering on the markets minds. OK… I saw a headline yesterday that said, “Markets are surprised by weak Manufacturing data”.. What? Well, at least you dear readers weren’t surprised to see the Manufacturing Index hit its lowest point since mid-2009.. for those of you keeping score at home.. the ISM Manufacturing Index fell to 49.7 from 53.5 (in May)… remember, any number below 50 represents contraction in manufacturing… You dear readers had been alerted to this potential weakness in manufacturing, by me, as we tracked the regional data, which showed weakness all around. And then we have the other thing hanging over manufacturing like the Sword of Damocles.. and that is the dollar… Now, in one of presentations I highlight this because in January, the President said we were going to “double manufacturing” this year…. Well, I point out that if that’s the way it was going to be, then the President just signaled major weakness for the dollar… For manufacturing needs that weaker dollar to make their exports more competitive overseas. Well… we didn’t really get that weaker dollar did we? the goings on in Europe, really threw a spanner in the works for the “plan”…. the dollar has been relatively stronger, and the Manufacturing sector circles the bowl… So, we knew about the regional weakness, we knew about the relative strength of the dollar, and… in our back pocket we know that Chuck has called for the U.S. economy to be hit by the back side of the financial storm that hit us first in 2008… So, surprised that manufacturing was weak? Hardly! Not us! OK… moving on.. these are not the droids we’re looking for… HA! In Australia, today, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) will meet, but I doubt they will move rates either way… Australia did see some very strong housing data last night… the number of building permits granted to build or renovate houses and apartments in Australia jumped a record 27.3% in May from April’s number… So… the Aussie dollar (A$) is stronger this morning, and knocking on the door to $1.03.. I see that Gold has moved past $1,600 this morning… the big rally in the metals last week, especially Gold & Silver, was a directly reaction of the results of the European Summit. I told you last week that the markets were pricing in disappointment for the Summit, and quite frankly they were so negative toward what might come or not come from the meeting, that anything positive would have kicked off a rally. I mean the markets were THAT negative.. Shoot Rudy, I even thought there would be disappointment… So, the fact that there was some real traction, with more coming (as promised), was real reason to reverse the shorts that had been put on in Gold & Silver. I still don’t believe for one iota that the Eurozone is out of the woods, folks… the Eurozone leaders have taken a step, but there are many more that need to be taken… On Thursday, this week, the European Central Bank (ECB) will meet, and unfortunately, I believe and believed this last month too, but was wrong then, that ECB President, Draghi, is going to feel as though he needs to cut rates to promote growth… He resisted last month, but the pressure on him now is double what it was last month… So, I’m going to go out on the limb again, and say the ECB will cut rates on Thursday… One wild and crazy currency lately has been the Brazilian real.. beaten and battered for some time now as the Gov’t does everything they can to weaken the currency… the latest move by the real has been one of recovery… And this morning it rallied to a level below 2 for the first time in what seems like a month of Sundays! (remember, real is a European Priced currency, so the lower the number the greater return in dollars) I read this morning, that the Brazilian Gov’t has been reversing the dollar swaps they did to weaken the currency… in the swaps they were selling real and buying dollars… this is very strange, but not a surprise, for you long time readers will recall me telling you that the Gov’t will realize sooner or later that they need foreign investment in their country to help finance the infrastructure needed for the upcoming World Cup and Olympics… If this reversing of the dollar swaps continues.. then the Brazilian Gov’t realized their dilemma sooner…. So.. the currency rally this morning isn’t a one for all and all for one kind of rally, in that there are a few currencies being left behind… Like the Japanese yen, and the U.K. pound sterling… In the U.K. this morning, there are a ton of rumors swirling around about the Bank of England (BOE) and their involvement in the LIBOR fixing scandal… There are also rumors going around that someone’s underground and she will rock you in the night.. No wait! no Witchy Woman rumors, Chuck! rumors that the BOE is going to implement another round of Quantitative Easing… We might hear about that as soon as Thursday when the BOE meets… And you know what I’ve said for about 5 years now… What happens in the U.K. normally hits our shores a few months later… Then There Was This… I did read the Daily Reckoning (D.R.) yesterday afternoon, and there was an article written by Dan Amoss at the D.R. about how countries will re-price Gold to put their books in order… You know, the talk that has been going around for years now about how if the U.S. re-priced its Gold, their problems would be solved… remember when I gave you the math, and showed you the total ounces of gold that the U.S. supposedly owns, and that by re-pricing it to $10,000 still didn’t ease our problems… Well… here’s a snippet of what Dan has to say regarding all this… you can read the whole article by clicking here. “There’s a plausible path to $10,000 an ounce gold. And it doesn’t require a breakdown in civil society… Speculators see central bankers as modern-day superheroes, able to push markets around with a single phrase. In the minds of most investors, Ben Bernanke, Mario Draghi and Masaaki Shirakawa might as well be wearing tights, masks and capes. These superhero central bankers continuously swoop down into the financial markets to defend them from downticks…and to insure that they always deliver capital gains. The reality, of course, is that these superheroes are frauds. They have no superpowers…other than the power of mass delusion. The powers of Mario Draghi and the other central bankers in Europe are waning. Excess debt is like kryptonite: Each new wave of printing has less impact on markets. As the popular phrase goes: “This is a solvency problem, not a liquidity problem.” Right now, central bankers are diluting the value of debt very slowly by pushing interest rates below the rate of inflation. Some call this “financial repression.” It’s an unspoken policy that has many negative consequences. What is an alternative, since all attempts to “fix” the current system with more borrowing and printing are failing? How about the classical gold standard, which stands out as the least flawed of all the systems we’ve tried. Each nation could choose to peg its local currency to gold at a price that allows for enough growth in bank reserves to greatly reduce the burden of public- and private-sector debts” Chuck again… the number for the U.S. would have been greater than $10,000, folks… but isn’t that pie in the sky for gold holders? you bet it is! To recap… the currencies, for the most part, are stronger today, as dollar weakness is the call going into the July 4th holiday here in the U.S. The U.S. Manufacturing Index plunged below 50 in June.. no surprise to us, but a surprise to the markets. The RBA meets today, and will keep rates unchanged, which will help support the rise in the A$. Currencies today 7/3/12… American Style: A$ $1.0265, kiwi .8025, C$ .9845, euro 1.2590, sterling 1.5680, Swiss $1.0480…, European Style: rand 8.1285, krone 5.97, SEK 6.9350, forint 226.80, zloty 3.3430, koruna 20.2870, RUB 32.32, yen 79.80, sing 1.2625, HKD 7.7540, INR 54.26, China 6.35, pesos 13.35, BRL 1.9860, Oil $84.27, 10-year 1.59%, Silver $27.92, and Gold… $1,609.10 That’s it for today… the 4th of July… Long time readers will recall me talking about my dad, and what a patriot he was… I always think of him a bit more on the 4th of July, because of the great times we had as kids around him on that day… the 100 + degrees days saw a brief break yesterday afternoon as storms rolled through the area. I love hot summer days, but truly look forward to the “breaks”! This is pretty late today, so I had better stop here and get it to Mike for him to send out… Thanks for reading the Pfennig, and now let’s go have a Tom Terrific Tuesday, and a Fabulous 4th! Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837 www.everbank.comlast_img read more

Oil still cant find a bottom… As Dispatch reade

first_imgOil still can’t find a bottom… As Dispatch readers know, the oil market is in crisis. Since June 2014, oil has plunged 69%. It dropped 31% in 2015 alone. So far, 2016 has been even worse. The price of oil has fallen every day this year. On Friday, it closed at $32.88 a barrel, its lowest price since February 2004. Oil is already down 11% this year. In October, Doug Casey predicted lower oil prices at the Casey Research Summit in Tucson, Arizona. I don’t know how long [oil prices] will stay low. But they’re going lower for the time being. Production is stable to up, but consumption is headed down with a slowing economy. …I’m still short oil at the moment. •  The world has too much oil… As you likely know, new technologies like “fracking” have unlocked billions of barrels of oil that were impossible to extract before. U.S. oil production has nearly doubled since 2008. In June, U.S. oil production hit its highest level since the 1970s. Global oil output hit an all-time high in 2014. •  Falling oil prices have slammed the world’s largest oil companies… The world’s five largest publicly traded oil companies – Exxon Mobil (XOM), Chevron (CVX), Royal Dutch Shell (RDS-A), BP (BP), and Total S.A. (TOT) – lost $205 billion in value last year, according to The Wall Street Journal. Shell, the worst performer of the five, dropped 24% in 2015. Total, the best performer, dropped 3%. Oil services companies, which sell “picks and shovels” to the oil industry, have also tanked. The Market Vectors Oil Services ETF (OIH), which holds 26 oil service companies, has plunged 59% over the past 18 months. Schlumberger (SLB) and Halliburton (HAL), the two largest oil services companies, are down 39% and 44% in the same period. Eventually, this cycle will end with absurdly low prices for oil stocks. We’ll get an amazing opportunity to buy oil stocks at fire-sale prices. But, for now, we recommend staying away until the world works through some of its oversupply of oil. •  Saudi Arabia is in crisis… Saudi Arabia depends more on oil revenues than any other country. Oil makes up 83% of its exports. And about 80% of the country’s government revenue come from oil sales. Last year, the Saudi government spent $98 billion more than it took in…its first budget deficit since 2009. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects the Saudi government to post a budget deficit as high as -19% of GDP in 2016. For comparison, the U.S. government has not posted a deficit higher than -9.8% since World War II. The IMF says Saudi Arabia could burn through its $650 billion cash reserve by 2020 if oil prices stay low. Since oil crashed in the summer of 2014, the country has already withdrawn at least $70 billion from its cash reserve. •  To raise cash, the Saudi government may sell its crown jewel… Saudi Aramco is Saudi Arabia’s government-owned oil company. As the world’s largest oil company, it owns the biggest oil fields in the world, and produces 13% of the world’s oil. The Saudi government has controlled the country’s oil industry since the 1970s. Last week, Financial Times reported that Saudi Arabia is considering an initial public offering (IPO) for Aramco. An IPO is when a company sells shares to the public. According to Financial Times, an IPO would likely value the company “in the trillions of dollars.” To put that in perspective, Apple (AAPL), the world’s largest publicly traded company, is worth just $538 billion. Some estimates put the value of Saudi Aramco at more than 10 times that of Exxon Mobil – the world’s largest publicly traded oil company. Biggest Accounting Fraud Since Enron? Get ready for another accounting scandal…one so big that it could trigger the next major financial crisis in America. According to Jim Rickards, this could be 525 times bigger than Enron. It’s not just employees and investors of a specific company who are in danger… All 300 million American citizens are potential victims of this massive accounting hoax. Click here to find out if you’re in danger. CASEY: “Severe but survivable” event coming This event will have repercussions on everything from how and where you shop and seek medical care…to how you invest and receive fixed income benefits, such as Social Security. Click here to learn more. — Recommended Linkscenter_img •  Switching gears, the U.S. automobile industry is setting record highs… U.S. automakers sold an all-time record 17.5 million vehicles in 2015. The industry sold 5.7% more vehicles last year than it did 2014. Auto sales have now grown six years in a row. Despite record sales, U.S. automaker stocks are struggling. Ford (F) was down 9.1% in 2015, and has only gained 17% since the beginning of 2012. General Motors (GM) was down 2.6% in 2015, and has gained 46% since the beginning of 2012. Both stocks have performed worse than the S&P 500, which has gained 53% since the beginning of 2012. Companies that sell parts and services in the auto industry have done much better. Tire maker Goodyear (GT) has climbed 99% over the past four years. Repair and parts shop AutoZone (AZO) is up 119%. •  Cheap credit has fueled the boom in the auto industry… Forbes reported last month: During the third quarter of 2015, Experian determined the average amount financed for a new vehicle was $28,936, which is up $1,137 from the same period in 2014. What’s more, 44 % of buyers are now taking out loans for between 61 and 72 months, with 27.5% extending their new-vehicle indebtedness to between 73 and 84 months, with the latter representing an increase of 17.1 percent over the past year. As Casey readers know, the Federal Reserve has made it incredibly cheap to borrow money. In 2008, the Fed cut its key interest rate to effectively zero to fight the financial crisis. It has held its key rate at extremely low levels ever since. Today, its key rate is just 0.25%…far below the historical average of 5%. The average interest rate on a car loan is just 4.3% today. In 2007, the average car loan rate was 7.7%. •  E.B. Tucker, editor of The Casey Report, isn’t surprised by the auto industry’s record year… Here’s E.B.: Of course the auto industry had a record year…how could it not? I’ve seen auto rates as low as 0% for 84 months. When money is free, people buy now and think later. The U.S. auto loan market has grown 18 quarters in a row. Last year, it topped $1 trillion for the first time ever. There is now 47% more auto debt outstanding than credit card debt in the U.S. E.B. says this will end badly. The auto leasing market is also booming because of easy money. Leasing made up 27% of car sales during the first quarter of 2015. Those leases will expire 40 months from now. And someone has to buy those vehicles. This year, over 3 million leased cars will hit the market. Even more will hit the market next year and the year after. All these used cars will create a huge glut. If the free money dries up at the same time, things will get ugly fast. That’s how booms built on easy money come to an end. Chart of the Day Oil has plunged to its lowest level in 12 years. Today’s chart shows the price of oil going back to 2004. As you can see, oil has sunk to its lowest level since February 2004. It’s now down 77% from the all-time high it set in 2008. As we’ve explained, the world simply has too much oil. Oil is now cheaper than it was during the worst of the global financial crisis in 2008-9. – Regards, Justin Spittler Delray Beach, Florida January 11, 2016 We want to hear from you. If you have a question or comment, please send it to feedback@caseyresearch.com. We read every email that comes in, and we’ll publish comments, questions, and answers that we think other readers will find useful.last_img read more