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“Black Mirror” Creator Abandons Writing Because We’re ‘Already In A Dystopia’

“Black Mirror” Creator Abandons Writing Because We’re ‘Already In A Dystopia’

Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker told UK’s Radio Times that his audience might not be able to “stomach” another season of his dystopian Netflix series. He said the public mood is not suited for another season considering the world has been thrown into dystopia via the virus pandemic. 

When Brooker was asked for an update on the writing of season 6; he responded by saying: 

“I’ve been busy doing things,” he said. “I don’t know what I can say about what I’m doing and not doing. At the moment, I don’t know what stomach there would be for stories about societies falling apart, so I’m not working away on any of those [Black Mirror episodes]. I’m sort of keen to revisit my comic skill set, so I’ve been writing scripts aimed at making myself laugh.”

Black Mirror, which airs on Netflix, has produced five seasons so far. The last season was released in June 2019 and consisted of just three episodes. The Emmy-winning series plunges its audience into a nightmarish dystopia where technology is making people’s lives living hell. 

With the world caught in the middle of a pandemic, economic crash, and geopolitical tensions soaring between superpowers, as a surveillance state is being erected across the world under cover of the virus outbreak, Brooker does not want to give his audience any more negative ideas. 

Quarantines and an economic crash have resulted in isolation and anxiety for many. This is a recipe for substance abuse and mental illness as a byproduct of today’s chaos could trigger a wave of suicides

Brooker is moving away from death and despair to a comedy special on BBC titled “Antiviral Wipe” will air in the UK on May 14. The world needs hope and light amid these unprecedented times…  

Stock Market Crash: The Dow Has Fallen Nearly 2,500 Points And FAANG Stocks Have Lost A TRILLION Dollars In Value

Stock Market Crash: The Dow Has Fallen Nearly 2,500 Points And FAANG Stocks Have Lost A TRILLION Dollars In Value

Thanksgiving week was not supposed to be like this.  Normally things are slow in the days leading up to Thanksgiving as investors prepare to gorge themselves with turkey and stuffing as they gather with family and friends.  But this year the stock market is crashing, and Wall Street is in panic mode.  On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 24,465.64, which is nearly 2,500 points lower than the all-time high of 26,951.81 that was set in early October.  But as I noted yesterday, what has been happening to tech stocks is even more dramatic.  Each one of the FAANG stocks is now down by more than 20 percent, and they have combined to lose more than a trillion dollars in value.  We haven’t seen anything like this since the financial crisis of 2008, and at this point all of Wall Street’s gains for 2018 have been completely wiped out.

Fear is a very powerful motivator, and right now a lot of investors are feverishly getting out of the market because they are afraid of losing their paper profits.

One analyst is describing what is going on as a rush for the exits

“The highways will be crowded this evening as the Thanksgiving rush will begin in earnest, but this morning investors are rushing for the exits,” Paul Hickey, co-founder of Bespoke Investment Group, wrote to clients on Tuesday.

But for many tech investors, the truth is that the cattle have already left the barn.

Just check out how much market capitalization the “big five” have already lost.  The following numbers come from CNBC

  • Facebook: $253 billion
  • Amazon: $280 billion
  • Apple: $253 billion
  • Netflix: $67 billion
  • Alphabet: $164 billion

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Friday Hasn’t Even Started Yet, But It’s Already Ugly

Friday Hasn’t Even Started Yet, But It’s Already Ugly

The FANGMAN stocks went to heck afterhours.

Just a note to show how decrepit and ephemeral the enthusiasm for stocks is.

So far in October, the S&P 500 has booked 13 losing days, including October 10, when the index dropped 3.3%, and October 24, when it dropped 3.1%. Then came today, with the feel-good moment of a boisterous 1.9% gain. And then came after-hours trading, and nearly everything went to heck, particularly the FANGMAN stocks that weigh so heavily on the index with their $4-trillion market cap. And Friday morning looks already ugly. All of the FANGMAN stocks were in the red in late trading:

  • Facebook [FB]: -2.3%
  • Amazon [AMZN]: -7.4%
  • Netflix [NFLX]: -2.8%
  • Google’s parent Alphabet [GOOG]: -3.7%
  • Microsoft [MSFT]: -1.5%
  • Apple [AAPL]: -0.4%
  • NVIDIA [NVDA]: -2.8%

There were some standout reasons:

Amazon plunged after it reported record profit but missed on revenues and guided down Q4 expectations for sales and profits, a sign of slowing revenue growth. It was down as much as $150 a share, or almost 9%.

Google’s parent Alphabet reported that revenues grew 22%, which missed expectations. Earnings beat, but a considerable slice – $1.38 billion! – of those earnings came from the gains in its portfolio of equity securities. CFO Ruth Porat warned that traffic acquisition costs would increase further as consumers are shifting search activity from desktop computers to mobile devices. Shares plunged up to 5%.

Intel [INTC] reported earnings that beat expectations, and shares initially jumped, but during the earnings call, things got muddled fast, and shares gave up their gains.

Advanced Micro Devices [AMD], an Intel competitor, had plunged 15% during the day despite the big rally in tech shares, after reporting results and discussing a graphics-chip glut resulting from the collapse of the crypto-mining business. It lost another 3% after hours.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Not Just Fangs: Manias and Echo Bubbles Abound

It’s not just the FANGs investors should be worried about. A Tweet and an article explain.

“With the FANG stocks faltering lately investors are starting to become concerned about their impact on the broader market. And there is certainly something to this.”https://app.hedgeye.com/insights/69386-it-s-more-than-just-fang-stocks-investors-should-be-worried-about?type=guest-contributors 

It’s More Than Just FANG Stocks Investors Should Be Worried About

What investors really should be worried about then is the possibility that the reappraisal of the FANG stocks is representative of a much wider reappraisal that began back in February.


Echo Bubbles Abound

Pater Tenebrarum at Acting Man discusses Stock Market Manias of the Past vs the Echo Bubble.

The Big Picture

The diverging performance of major US stock market indexes which has been in place since the late January peak in DJIA and SPX has become even more extreme in recent months. In terms of duration and extent, it is one of the most pronounced such divergences in history. It also happens to be accompanied by weakening market internals, some of the most extreme sentiment and positioning readings ever seen and an ever more hostile monetary backdrop.

The above combination is consistent with a market close to a major peak – although one must always keep in mind that divergences can become even more pronounced – as was for instance demonstrated on occasion of the technology sector blow-off in late 1999 – 2000.

Along similar lines, extremes in valuations can persist for a very long time as well and reach previously unimaginable levels. The Nikkei of the late 1980s is a pertinent example for this. Incidentally, the current stock buyback craze is highly reminiscent of the 1980s Japanese financial engineering method known as keiretsu or zaibatsu, as it invites the very same rationalizations.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Economy is Cracking Up. Are You?

The Economy is Cracking Up. Are You?

Economic cracks big enough to drive a car industry into are opening up all over the globe. Trade gaps are opening up between major allies. Widening spreads between the dollar and other currencies are shredding emerging markets. As we start into summer, these cracks and several others described below have become big enough to get everyone’s attention, just as I said last year would become the situation.

I had, as readers here know, predicted the same for last summer but revised my timing to this summer after Trump was elected and the hope for tax cuts lit on fire one of the world’s greatest stock rallies. Those tax cuts are also creating another rapidly rising gap between government revenue and government spending.

That rally died, pretty much as I said it would, almost as soon as those tax cuts became law. In fact, it died sooner than I said it would because I thought the tax cuts would provide more economic levity than they have. The Dow and S&P 500, as of last Monday’s close, hit their longest correction period since 1984! That’s more than half of my lifetime since we saw a correction period last this long.

However, now that the trade war is officially engaged, FANGMAN stocks (Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and NVIDIA) are taking the market up again. Whether they will undo my prediction that the second leg down in the stock market will occur in early summer … remains to be seen.

Even so, this past Monday, when nearly every expert fully expected Netflix would blaze the trail upward as markets refocused on “earnings”, Netflix shares got slammed (down 13% in one mammoth stomp) because it had almost 20% fewer new subscribers than it had projected in April.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Morgan Stanley: The Tech Bubble “Can Burst At Any Moment, Without Warning”

Earlier this week, Goldman Sachs, whose market-timing calls leave much to be desired, declared that tech stocks are “not a bubble”, and went so far as to predict that the secular increase in tech names could continue for decades, spawning vivid memories of Goldman’s May 2008 prediction of $200 oil just months before the start of the second great depression, and before oil crashed more than $100/barrel, wiping out a generation of muppets.

However, it is now safe to say that with the exception of some truly naive individuals, virtually nobody believes Goldman any more, and thus Goldman’s “all clear” may be just the top-tick so many had been waiting for.

One skeptic is Bank of America’s Michael Hartnett who back in March, just as the tech sector suffered its first big rout of 2018, had the gall to tell the truth and observe that the “e-Commerce” sector, which consists of AMZN, NFLX, GOOG, TWTR, EBAY, FB, was now up 617% since the financial crisis, making it the 3rd largest bubble of the past 40 years, and at this rate – assuming no major drop in the 6 constituent stocks – was set to become the largest bubble of all time over the next few months.

Hartnett followed up this this week by noting that while so far Tech stocks have seen record inflows as they have emerged as the “defensive growth” sector of the late market cycle…

… the “big risk” is “as in 1998, that credit tremors spread and investors forced to deleverage from risk assets, raise cash”, while the “biggest risk” is a “quick, deep tech selloff.  Or, as Bloomberg’s Andrew Cinko put it on Friday it, “if the times get tough and investors must delever they will sell “what they own,” and that “those who are rotating to financials and banks this week and away from tech may simply be trading the frying pan for the fire.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

WATCH OUT BELOW: Dow Jones Index Next Stop… 19,000

WATCH OUT BELOW: Dow Jones Index Next Stop… 19,000

As investors continue to believe the stock market correction is over, the next big stop LOWER for the Dow Jones Index is 19,000.  When the Dow falls below 19,000, all doubt will be removed as the best investment strategy would be to sell the rallies, rather than buy the dip.  However, most investors buy at the top and sell at the bottom.  So, it looks like investor carnage will continue for the foreseeable future.

I am quite surprised that investors don’t see the writing on the wall as it pertains to the most overvalued stock market in human history.  While the PE Ratio of the S&P 500 isn’t as severe as it was in 1999, the debt, leverage, and margin are orders of magnitude higher.  For example, in 1999 the U.S. Govt. debt was only $5.6 trillion compared to the $21 trillion today.  Also, with higher debt levels comes higher interest payments.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Government and the economy is in a nasty feedback loop heading towards complete destruction.  You can’t continue to print money, increase debt and leverage without causing severe disruptions in the future.

Today, investors have become way too complacent as the broader markets trade near their highs.  However, as the markets really start to fall, complacency will eventually turn into panic.  According to my analysis, the next critical level for the Dow Jones Index is 19,000:

I picked the 50-month moving average (MMA), shown in the blue line as the first critical level.  Once the Dow Jones Index falls below 19,000, the next critical level will be 13,000, or the 200 MMA (in red).  These levels aren’t “possibilities,” but rather, “guarantees” to occur over the next few years.  Why do I say a guarantee?  Well, if we look at some of the insane stock price charts below, you would have to be a complete imbècil to arrive at a different conclusion.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…


Goodbye Net Neutrality; Hello Competition

Goodbye Net Neutrality; Hello Competition

We should take our deregulation where we can get it.  

At long last, with the end of “net neutrality,” competition could soon come to the industry that delivers Internet services to you. You might be able to pick among a range of packages, some minimalist and some maximalist, depending on how you use the service. Or you could choose a package that charges based only on what you consume, rather than sharing fees with everyone else.

Internet socialism is dead; long live market forces.

With market-based pricing finally permitted, we could see new entrants to the industry because it might make economic sense for the first time to innovate. The growing competition will lead, over the long run, to innovation and falling prices. Consumers will find themselves in the driver’s seat rather than crawling and begging for service and paying whatever the provider demands.

Ajit Pai, chairman of the FCC, is exactly right. “Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the internet. Instead, the F.C.C. would simply require internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that’s best for them.”

A Fed for Communication

The old rules pushed by the Obama administration had locked down the industry with regulation that only helped incumbent service providers and major content delivery services. They called it a triumph of “free expression and democratic principles.” It was anything but. It was actually a power grab. It created an Internet communication cartel not unlike the way the banking system works under the Federal Reserve.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The “Experimenter”: Understanding Why Shit Happens and How Conformity Kills

The “Experimenter”: Understanding Why Shit Happens and How Conformity Kills

During inclement weather days, late nights, lazy weekends, and when one’s eyes tire of small print or words and images levitating in digital ether, Netflix offers a video library of sorts allowing the viewer to recline, and imbibe knowledge in a relatively easy way.  Many of Netflix’s films consist of documentaries, nonfiction stories originating from books, historical retellings, or fictionalized narratives derived from actual circumstances and people. Two such films, recently viewed by the author of this post, are historical accounts, originated from books, and retold from the perspective of the actual persons who lived the events recounted therein. These two films, currently showing on Netflix, include: “First They Killed My Father” (2017) and “Experimenter” (2015).

The former film is a Netflix Original and based upon the 2000 book, “First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers”, written by Loung Ung.  Loung was a five-year-old Cambodian girl living in Phnom Penh when Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge subjugated the city forcing the Ung family to flee into what later became known as the Cambodian Killing Fields.  The latter film retells the story behind the Stanley Milgram obedience experiments which took place at Yale University in 1961.

Loung Ung’s father was a Captain in the military police for the Lon Nol government.  He correctly believed it was wrong for Cambodians to have placed their faith in the resolve of the lying and politically schizophrenic United States Government during the Vietnam War.  Yet, at the same time, he feared the Khmer Rouge regime under Pol Pot and the unification of Cambodia under the Communist Party of Kampuchea.

The Ung family lived a comfortable upper-middle-class existence right up until the Khmer Rouge defeated the Khmer Republic of Lon Nol; and everything changed terribly when the rebels marched into the city of Phnom Penh on April 17, 1975.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Why The Markets Are Overdue For A Gigantic Bust


Why The Markets Are Overdue For A Gigantic Bust

It’s just not possible to print our way to prosperity
Let me begin with a caveat: confirmation bias is an ever-present risk for an analyst such as myself.

If you’re not familiar with the term, ‘confirmation bias’ suggests that once we’ve invested time and emotional energy into developing a worldview, we’ll then seek information to confirm that view.

After writing about the economy for so many years, I’m now so convinced that we can’t print our way to prosperity that I find myself seeing signs confirming this view everywhere, every single day. So that’s the danger to be aware of when listening to me.  I’m going to keep repeating this mantra and Im going to keep finding data that supports this view.

Based on lots of historical inputs, I have concluded that Printing money out of thin air can engineer lots of things, including asset price bubbles and the redistribution of wealth from the masses to the elites.  But it cannot print up real prosperity.

As much as I try, I simply cannot jump on the bandwagon that says that printing up money out of thin air has any long-term utility for an economy. It’s just too clear to me that doing so presents plenty of dangers, due to what we might call ‘economic gravity’: What goes up, must also come down.

Which brings us to this chart:

The 200 bubble blown by Greenspan was bad, the next one by Bernanke was horrible, but this one by Yellen may well prove fatal.  At least to entire financial markets, large institutions, and a few sovereigns.

It’s essential to note that more than two-thirds of the net worth tracked in the above chart is now comprised of ‘financial assets.’  That is, paper claims on real things.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Sleepwalkers Awaken

The Sleepwalkers Awaken

A host on bubblevision this afternoon noted that the S&P 500 is now down $2 trillion for the year and wondered if his panel could explain “what’s happened since January 1st?”

The implication, of course, was that since no new recessions have started—- nor have any new wars been declared, polar glaciers melted or Wall Street banks gone down for the count——that the market’s worst ever start of the year was surely overdone. Maybe it was even BTFD time again.

Then again, maybe the outlook is just as bad as it was before January 1st, but that the outlookers have acquired a new outlook. Stated more baldly, perhaps the sleepwalkers have finally awakened.

That would certainly seem to be the case with the market’s high flyers. Most of this year’s spectacular flameouts have reported nothing new nor issued any disturbing 8-Ks. Amazon apparently had a swell Christmas, for example, but its share price is now down 19% from the bubblevision man’s line of demarcation.

Indeed, Amazon and its fellow FANGs (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google) succinctly explain the pivot. They have actually been the canary in the coal mine all along; it just now that their warnings signals are being noticed.

As we have previously pointed out, the FANGs were the “beard” that hid the market’s initial breakdown during 2015. They gained $485 billion of market cap (+66%) while the other 496 companies in the S&P 500 actually deflated by more than half a trillion dollars.

Needless to say, that happened before the calendar year turned. Yet when the stock market’s advance drastically narrows to just a handful of ultra-momentum stocks, the bull’s days are numbered, and always have been.

That truth goes back to the Four Horsemen of the tech bubble, the Nifty Fifty of the early 1970s and even the pyramided investment trusts of 1929.

Just call this the Last Stocks Standing (LSS) syndrome.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Amazon And The Fantastic FANGs——A Bubblicious Breakfast Of Unicorns And Slippery Accounting

Amazon And The Fantastic FANGs——A Bubblicious Breakfast Of Unicorns And Slippery Accounting

Self-evidently this was a flashing red warning signal that the end of the third great central bank fueled financial bubble of his century was near. AMZN and its three other FANG amigos had accounted for a $530 billion gain in market cap while the other 496 stocks in the S&P 500 had declined by an even larger amount.

That is, the apparently flat S&P 500 index of 2015 was hiding an incipient bear—–owing to a market narrowing action like none before. Compared to the Fabulous FANGs (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google), the early 1970s Nifty Fifty of stock market lore paled into insignificance.

After the worst start to a year in history, some of the air has now been let out of the bubble. Amazon’s market cap is now down by $53 billion or 16% and the story has been roughly the same for the rest of the FANGs.

After Wednesday’s plunge, Goggle is now also down by $52 billion or 10%; Facebook is lower by $33 billion or 10%; and Netflix is off by $6 billion or 11%. In all, the FANGs have given back in eight trading days about $144 billion or 28% of their madcap gains during 2015.
AMZN Market Cap Chart

AMZN Market Cap data by YCharts

Call that a start, but in the great scheme of things it doesn’t amount to much. Consider the case of Amazon. Its PE multiple on LTM net income of $328 million has dropped from 985X all the way to…….well, 829X!

Likewise, it’s now valued at 97X its $2.8 billion of LTM free cash flow compared to 117X at year end.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

When “Story Stocks” Crash Like this, the Market is Kaput

When “Story Stocks” Crash Like this, the Market is Kaput

Reality suddenly mucks up the rosy scenario.

Many of our heroic “story stocks” are getting totally destroyed. Yet not much has changed: Their business model, if any, is the same; they’re still losing money hand over fist; and they’re still trotting out the same custom-designed metrics that seduced analysts and the media once upon a time. But it’s not working anymore.

After the drubbing on Wednesday – the Nasdaq plunged 3.4% and is down 13.5% from its high – we know one thing for sure: there will be a rally someday that lasts longer than a few hours. But something big has changed.

There was the old guard of new tech. Netflix plummeted 8.6% on Wednesday and is down about 20% from its 52-week high. Apple dropped 2.6% and is down 28% from its 52-week high. Facebook lost 3.9% and is 14% off its 52-week high. The list goes on.

But the real drubbing was reserved for the new darlings, the fruits of the recent IPO boom, and other “story stocks”:

Etsy dropped 4.9% for the day to a new low of $6.99. After its IPO at $16 in April last year, it spiked to $35.74 and has gotten whacked down 80% since. Twitter plunged 4.8% to a new low of $18.68. After its IPO at $26, it spiked to $78, from which it has now plunged 76%. Shopify plunged 10% during the day and is down 48% from its high in June.

Mobileye, which makes software for camera-based systems and sensors for (self-driving) cars, plunged 10.3% for the day, and 47% from its 52 week high. And yet, self-driving car tech is one of the hottest, most hyped wonders of the day.

Oh, and GoPro! In after-hours trading, shares plunged 25% to $11 a share. But it’s an exception among our IPO heroes: it has actual profits and a real P/E ratio! And it has a real business model, even if it resembles a one-trick pony that’s getting tired.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Bear Market: The Average U.S. Stock Is Already Down More Than 20 Percent

Bear Market: The Average U.S. Stock Is Already Down More Than 20 Percent

Angry BearThe stock market is in far worse shape than we are being told.  As you will see in this article, the average U.S. stock is already down more than 20 percent from the peak of the market.  But of course the major indexes are not down nearly that much.  As the week begins, the S&P 500 is down 9.8 percent from its 2015 peak, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 10.7 percent from its 2015 peak, and the Nasdaq is down 11.0 percent from its 2015 peak.  So if you only look at those indexes, you would think that we are only about halfway to bear market territory.  Unfortunately, a few high flying stocks such as Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google have been masking a much deeper decline for the rest of the market.  When the market closed on Friday, 229 of the stocks on the S&P 500 were down at least 20 percent from their 52 week highs, and when you look at indexes that are even broader things are even worse.

For example, let’s take a look at the Standard & Poor’s 1500 index.  According to the Bespoke Investment Group, the average stock on that index is down a staggering 26.9 percent from the peak of the market…

Indeed, the Standard & Poor’s 1500 index – a broad basket of large, mid and small company stocks – shows that the average stock’s distance from its 52-week high is 26.9%, according to stats compiled by Bespoke Investment Group through Friday’s close.

“That’s bear market territory!” says Paul Hickey, co-founder of Bespoke Investment Group, the firm that provided USA TODAY with the gloomy price data.

So if the average stock has fallen 26.9 percent, what kind of market are we in?

To me, that is definitely bear market territory.

The rapid decline of the markets last week got the attention of the entire world, but of course this current financial crisis did not begin last week.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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