Barrick Gold’s Australian super pit stake sale draws interest from Kinross, Zijin — Financial Post – Top Stories

Barrick Gold Corp.’s stake in the Kalgoorlie Super Pit mine has drawn interest from Kinross Gold Corp. and Zijin Mining Group Co. in a sale that could fetch as much as US$1 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said. Australian producers Newcrest Mining Ltd., Northern Star Resources Ltd. and Evolution Mining Ltd. are also reviewing data…

via Barrick Gold’s Australian super pit stake sale draws interest from Kinross, Zijin — Financial Post – Top Stories

Is this a “study” in contrasts or what! As “they” say, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Well, I say, this photo is surely speaking volumes. I have a question for you, the reader. What thought or thoughts first popped into your mind upon seeing the above photo? Let’s not try to get philosophical, I mean your “gut” reaction. Mine was one of contrasts. There are really two “photos” one might say, did someone use PhotoShop software to enhance this photo? Of, course, not. (At least I don’t think so.) The photo in one sense seems like the yin and yang symbol of the Chinese culture, representing opposite forces. There is the huge gaping hole of the humanly engineered-mine and the huge human civilization existing right along side it.

The mine represents “forces of an economy.” By that I mean in this case a “scarce” resource (gold) being used to support jobs, a capitalistic enterprise i.e., a mining company, and creating a “local” economy for the region where the mine is located. But it is still a gaping hole in the earth, a wound in the earth’s surface. I am discovering that I am writing not only about “human” economics but environmental economics as well. Here’s a quote from the article:

The Barrick asset, known as the Super Pit, is 3.5 kilometers long and ranks as Australia’s largest open-pit gold mine, its website shows. It’s located in Kalgoorlie, a city in Western Australia where the metal has been produced continuously since a late 19th-century gold rush.

I recently wrote another blog article motivated by another striking photo:
Saskatchewan water.

We are living in the “age of shock.” In order to get people’s attention, many times abrupt, jarring tactics are used by the media, or others to gain attention to an event, a product, a person, you name it.

So do we just get more numb in order to counter-act the shock? Have you seen any “yin and yang” contrasts? It creates food for thought and perhaps hopefully civil conversation.

Recap of Financial Week: September 9, 2016

Well, I guess it’s time for a “recap” of the “week that was.” I have previously recapped the following financial “points in time” for my and my readers’ edification. Enjoy the “looking glass” view if you wish:
Recap of September, 2015 U.S. stock market
Market recap for week of January 8, 2016

Or, continue to the next paragraph for this week’s catalytic effects on the financial markets. Here’s my candidates “naughty actors” that contributed to the downward drop or behavior of the “DOW” (Dow Jones Industrial Average)

• The Hanjin container ships marooned at sea drama Hanjin. Also see my blog item: Ghost Ship
• Fear of a Fed interest rate increase Federal Reserve Rate Increase?
• “Bad” behavior of Wells Fargo Bank Banks behaving Badly
• North Korea “flexing” their military muscles North Korea
• End of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s financial conference at Jackson Hole Federal Reserve at Jackson Hole. Here’s another blog item I wrote regarding the conference Woodstock for Economists.

and, just for a “light” bit of humor:
• It was only a 4-day work week in the U.S.

I have read and heard on the news recently that the months of September and October are “tricky” or perhaps a better word is “dangerous” months for the “markets.” Well, who am I to argue with that, the 1929 stock market crash happened in October of 1929, the 1987 crash happened in August, 1987 (close enough to September for me). (Incidentally, I was watching a financial TV program the day of the “’87” crash, and yes, I can remember where I was and who was with me at that time.) I lost a couple of “bucks” in the Dot Com crash in 2001. Next came the housing bubble in 2009, seems to me that I starting hearing about “housing” credit problems in the summer of 2008 but anyway, I do know that there was no snow on the ground when the dominoes started to fall.

So, that’s my list of reasons for the U.S. stock market “readjusting” itself today and closing down around 2% or so.

“Show me the money!”

Author update, 8/15/2016: Here’s an update on the rules being enforced in order to choose the Presidential debate candidates. This update is courtesy of CNN.com: CNN debate update

After the Labor Day holiday, the Presidential debates will begin. There are three (3) presidential debates scheduled on September 26, October 9, and October 19, 2016. There is one vice-presidential debates scheduled for October 4, 2016.

Just as I created a blog entry to links for the multiple Republication and Democrat candidates’ economic platforms while seeking their party’s nomination, this time I’m focusing on the winners of those contests, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Hillary Clinton (Democratic nominee)
Official website: https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/om-an-economy-that-works-for-everyone/
Factcheck.org analysis of Hillary Clinton’s economic speech: http://www.factcheck.org/2016/08/clintons-economic-speech/

Donald Trump (Republication nominee)
Official website: https://www.donaldjtrump.com/positions/economic-vision
Factcheck.org analysis of Donald Trump’s economic speech: http://www.factcheck.org/2016/08/trumps-economic-speech/

Although the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson, will probably not be participating in the Presidential debates, I’m including his Party’s web site: https://www.lp.org/platform

The Green Party also has a candidate, Jill Stein, planning to run for President. Here’s the link to their website: http://www.gp.org/

The criteria for inclusion in the Presidential debates is that each candidate must command at least 15% in five (5) mainstream polls. Here’s some information on that:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-gary-johnson-libertarian-debate-edit-20160805-story.html

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-welch-debates-johnson-stein-20160810-snap-story.html

In some of my blog posts, I make reference to a motion picture, or perhaps a TV or radio show, the film that comes to mind, relative to this posting, is the movie, Jerry McGuire. To me, one of the great lines in the movie is “show me the money”, which was uttered by Cuba Gooding Jr. Here’s a trailer clip from the movie that contains that scene: http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi878683161?ref_=ttvi_vi_imdb_1

The “economic” themes in the candidate’s platforms include tax treatment, infrastructure investment, military readiness, treatment of immigrants (legal or ortherwise), to name some of them. Each candidate has his or her way of “showing the money” or perhaps “stowing” the money through various taxation techniques.

Being an informed voter is more important than ever. Casting one’s vote is more important than ever. Making “the right” choice for our country is more important than ever. I hope that everyone who is a legal and registered voter, does vote. Unfortunately, the issue of being “registered” is rearing its ugly head again. We just can’t seem to “get it right!” Well, that’s a topic for another blog item.
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Confused

Are the “Boomers” causing a Business Bust?

I guess the “Boomers*” are now being blamed for the short-sightedness and “short-term” instead of “long-term” planning that Corporate America should have been doing all along. Here’s an article in the Chicago Tribune® written by Rex Huppke: As boomers leave workforce, transfer of knowledge is key. Basically as the Baby Boomers are retiring their “job-related” knowledge retires with them!

*Post WWII babies born between 1946 and 1964)

Here’s a very short story of mine about the value of “tacit knowledge” as it was named by Prof. Dorothy Leonard in Mr. Huppke’s above article:

We needed a plumber (ha, who doesn’t need a good plumber) and thus called one to our home. During his visit with us, the plumber commented how difficult it was to find new help for his business. He said that the men (in this case) came with the requisite “book” knowledge but did not have the “trouble-shooting” knowledge needed in order to “problem-solve” plumbing issues. Unfortunately, that “tacit knowledge” only comes with years of working the “plumber’s trade” and being presented with hundreds of flooding basements, leaky faucets, over-flowing toilets, plugged drains, and the milieu of plumbing problems that only a really handy husband, friend, or expert plumbing can solve.

Of course, apprenticeships and trade schools were common here in the States during the 40s, 50s, and 60s. During high school, there were courses called “shop” meaning those courses that introduced teenaged students to blue-collar-type skills such as carpentry or auto repair. Here’s an article from Forbes.com (a business magazine) written in 2012 that talks about California eliminating “shop classes”: The Death of Shop Class and America’s High Skilled Workforce.

Call these “unintended” consequences of “off-shoring”, H1-B visa permits, trade agreements, cost-cutting measures for financial/economic reasons… call it or point a physical or virtual finger at whatever one’s wishes to blame but… we “are” economically where we “are.” First, blue-collar jobs were “lost” in the US to lower-paying jobs in companies in other countries, then white-collar jobs started vanishing in the US, funny thing about some of those jobs, the “jobs” still might remain in the US but the guy or gal in the cubicle next to you was hired by a contractor agency who was not domiciled in the US and the co-worker might be working here with one of those H1-B work visas.

Now we can get into “lack” of skilled workers to fill the positions, etc.; but just like China’s One Child Policy has really come to slap them in the face, US citizens have been smacked in the face for several decades due to short-sighted policies, lack of proper training policies, or lack of long-range planning (to name a couple of reasons).

I have written a six-part blog series on the subject of jobs. Here are the links for your edification, enjoyment, amusement, or gain in “tacit knowledge”.

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Youth
Expert

Banks and Banking in Year 2016

Here’s what’s happened to the “big” banks and banking in general since the Great Recession. Bloomberg.com has published a piece by Yalman Onaran called “Citigroup, HSBC Jettison customers as Era of Global Empires Ends.”

Executive Summary of article

  • Citigroup®
    Since crisis has doubled derivatives contracts to $56 trillion dollars.
    Focuses on trading.
    Focuses on richest customers—high-net-worth individuals
  • HSBC Holdings PLC®
    Quits “retail” banking and stops serving 80 million customers
    Relys more on investment banking.
    Eliminated 1,600 U.S. locations in U.S.
    Closed 500+ branches in U.K.

“All this retrenchment hasn’t silenced calls to break up big banks. In the U.S., both the Republican and Democratic platforms call for reinstatement of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act, which separated consumer and investment banking” writes Onaran.

Onaran mentions Internet banking in his article and “that near-zero interest rates have made traditional banking less profitable,” quoting KBW’s Cannon.

All in all, I guess using the U.S. Postal Office as a bank is a pretty good alternative. See my posting entitled “Back to the Future, using the USPO as a bank.” What do you think?

Author’s note, 9/24/16: Here’s a couple of articles on the Wells Fargo fiasco:
Hole dug by Wells Fargo Bank
How fragile is our Financial System?
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Panic
Value

It doesn’t really matter! (I guess)

What I’m referring to is the U.S. Presidential election and the U.S. stock market.

There is a saying “on Wall Street” that the stock market projects six (6) months “down the road.” This means that “the markets” are already anticipating the future or have “a forward looking view.” In other words, “the market” is probably not responding to the news which is happening now (e.g. July 20, 2016), or this week or perhaps even this last month, but rather “the markets” are acting positively or negatively towards “the future”.

The U.S. Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is bumping it’s head up against ANOTHER “all-time high.” To quote the New York Times, “The Dow Jones industrial average inched 25.96 points, or 0.1 percent, higher for its eighth consecutive gain to set another record at 18,559.01.”

Here’s how the Canadian newspaper, the Globe and Mail relates the U.S. stock market in relation to the U.S. presidential election.

CNBC has an interesting “take” on the stock market vs. presidential election phenomenon: History shows stocks rally

If you are interested in “market indicators”, here are two (2) blog posts which focus on this subject:

What are Economic Indicators?

U.S. Economic Indicators

Update to R2D2 where are you?

Here’s the latest news on U.S. Bill HR1599: Looks like it will be placed on the President’s desk for signature and enactment, see Chicago Tribune article: http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-genetically-modified-food-labels-20160714-story.html

Below is a copy of my original blog: —————————————————————————–

Well, I guess I have another reason to finally succumb to the purchase of a smartphone. Why? So I am able to read ingredient labels of products that are represented by QR codes! Oh, it’s not that I’m illiterate…far from it. It’s that I’m NOT the robot R2D2 from Star Wars.

If you are part of the “older” generation which grew up around “billboards” and “Burma Shave” roadside ads, QR codes are obviously “from outer space.”  QR codes are like the bar codes used on products so the item can be “digitally scanned by a computer. There is vital information stored “on” the barcode BUT only a computer-type device with specialized software can read the codes or “images” displayed. Well, my eyes and brain are programmed to read written language not “computer” language and…there’s the “rub”, a computer must intervene.

The Chicago Tribune article that I’ll refer you to is entitled: Will food shoppers really seek out GMO information using QR codes?  I read Nutrition labels. I look for sugar content, salt content, and fat content of the product. One issue raised by the news article is that GMOs  (genetically modified organism) information present in the product will not necessarily be mentioned on a printed ingredients label (if there is a human-readable label present to read!

There is a U.S. House of Representatives bill being “considered” for passage this week in the House. It is  H.R. 1599. There are “those” who do not want product labeling to specify whether GMO-type ingredients are in a product or in the case of meats (for example) if the live stock was fed GMO-type animal feed. I, for one, want to know these things because I’m trying to “clean up” my eating habits. It’s hard but one tries as well as one can.

My feeling is that if you want us to buy your product, tell us what’s in it. The thing about capitalism is that money “votes” yes or no on the success of a product. The obvious fear about the consumer knowing that GMOs are present in a product, maybe the consumer won’t buy the product. Guess what you are right! I vote with my wallet. I don’t want any GMOs or scientifically modified products, if I can avoid them. I have enough “health” issues and if avoided potential timebombs helps me eat better than I’d try to avoid them.

Unlike R2D2, my body parts aren’t so interchangeable and if they do need changing another human may have to donate that body part to me  (if I’m lucky).

Not only are GMOs a health issue, they are an economic issue, a financial issue (for the consumer and the manufacturer/producer), a monetary issue (affordability vs. safety perhaps), an ethics issue and perhaps a moral issue.

Now that I’m “issued” to death, how do you feel about eating GMO modified foods? Given a choice the consumer can vote “yes” or “no” to his/her purchase.

R2D2 where are you?

 

Well, I guess I have another reason to finally succumb to the purchase of a smartphone. Why? So I am able to read ingredient labels of products that are represented by QR codes! Oh, it’s not that I’m illiterate…far from it. It’s that I’m NOT the robot R2D2 from Star Wars.

If you are part of the “older” generation which grew up around “billboards” and “Burma Shave” roadside ads, QR codes are obviously “from outer space.”  QR codes are like the bar codes used on products so the item can be “digitally scanned by a computer. There is vital information stored “on” the barcode BUT only a computer-type device with specialized software can read the codes or “images” displayed. Well, my eyes and brain are programmed to read written language not “computer” language and…there’s the “rub”, a computer must intervene.

The Chicago Tribune article that I’ll refer you to is entitled: Will food shoppers really seek out GMO information using QR codes?  I read Nutrition labels. I look for sugar content, salt content, and fat content of the product. One issue raised by the news article is that GMOs  (genetically modified organism) information present in the product will not necessarily be mentioned on a printed ingredients label (if there is a human-readable label present to read!

There is a U.S. House of Representatives bill being “considered” for passage this week in the House. It is  H.R. 1599. There are “those” who do not want product labeling to specify whether GMO-type ingredients are in a product or in the case of meats (for example) if the live stock was fed GMO-type animal feed. I, for one, want to know these things because I’m trying to “clean up” my eating habits. It’s hard but one tries as well as one can.

My feeling is that if you want us to buy your product, tell us what’s in it. The thing about capitalism is that money “votes” yes or no on the success of a product. The obvious fear about the consumer knowing that GMOs are present in a product, maybe the consumer won’t buy the product. Guess what you are right! I vote with my wallet. I don’t want any GMOs or scientifically modified products, if I can avoid them. I have enough “health” issues and if avoided potential timebombs helps me eat better than I’d try to avoid them.

Unlike R2D2, my body parts aren’t so interchangeable and if they do need changing another human may have to donate that body part to me  (if I’m lucky).

Not only are GMOs a health issue, they are an economic issue, a financial issue (for the consumer and the manufacturer/producer), a monetary issue (affordability vs. safety perhaps), an ethics issue and perhaps a moral issue.

Now that I’m “issued” to death, how do you feel about eating GMO modified foods? Given a choice the consumer can vote “yes” or “no” to his/her purchase.

What is the REAL cost of doing business in the U.S.?

Answer: It’s pretty cheap when you are passing the “cost of doing business” on to the consumer* of your goods and services!

(*or perhaps an employee or “independent contract employee)

Here I am reading my “hard copy” newspaper, the Chicago Tribune®; actually, I get many of my blog posting ideas from reading the newspaper. Anyway, an article in the Friday, July 01, 2016, Business Section of the Trib is entitled “Grubhub delivery drivers sue over contractor status.” Several terms are used in the news article: gig economy, sharing economy and on-demand economy. Reading this article made me think of the Uber® lawsut, here’s a link to those details: Uber lawsuit.

I have written previously about “Killer Apps”, the software** used on smartphones in order to call, locate, hire, order, purchase, contact, WOW…I’m running out of active verbs!

**Google definition: What is mobile programming?

Mobile application development is a term used to denote the act or process by which application software is developed for handheld devices, such as personal digital assistants, enterprise digital assistants or mobile phones.

Anyway, it all boils down to JOBS! Another posting that I have written, Peripheral Stuff also addresses the “work world” in which we are now living. Working “temporary” in past decades was considered “temporary” most of the time. It evolved into “permanent” temporary work for many during the 1980s. Another concept, “the independent consultant” also evolved during the 1980s, and 1990s. After the dot-com crash in 2001 and that happened just before the “9-11” tragedy in September of 2001, thousands of people were working as “independent consultants.”

Every time a company wants me to accept a digital copy of a statement or invoice, it “grates me”. This is a “cost of doing business.” They “save” money by not having to generate, print, and mail a “hard copy” to me. So, OK, they email it to me. Guess what! I have to “print out” the statement or invoice. Company ABC just passed on their “cost of doing business” to me. I believe in having a “hard copy” for record purposes. Speaking of “temporary”, what’s temporary is literally everything that’s stored digitally! Lose electricity, have a magnet pass over stored data, break a CD (that happened to me) and, gee, your data is gone. That’s what “back-ups” are all about. So, mine are “hard copies.” (Here’s my “take” on digital currency, Bitcoin and the Perception of Value.)

Getting back to the theme of my post, “independent contractors” are rebelling. Business models are reliant on the use of “cheap labor,” low cost of labor, low operating margins and high profits. Guess I’m ranting about “capitalism” in general but the United States has been built on capitalism. So I’m not against “capitalism”, after all it “gave” me several jobs.  In another blog post, The Idea of a Resume is so passé, I have commented about the mechanics and “orchestrations” involved in successfully getting a job circa 2016.

As usual, I’m just pointing out the “yin” and the “yang” of issues. When is a job “a job” and not just a “side-job”? The IRS has a measurement for determining whether income reported, was generated from a ‘hobby” or from “taxable work.” This is for “expense” reporting purposes. In other words, can you deduct the gasoline, car repairs, office supplies, etc., from your income, and thus not pay income tax on the income generated by your work-related activity. Is the expense a legitimate deduction? A company expenses such items as a “cost of doing business.”

I have written a 6-part series on jobs, here’s a link to them: Signs of the Times #3: Thoughts on jobs and jobs training. By the way, I wish you luck and good fortune in your “PERMANENT” job hunts.
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Fifty

Numbers #9: U.S. Economic Indicators

All you ever wanted to know about economic indicators! Well, maybe. 

Here’s the list of official economic statistics supplied by the U.S. Census Bureau:  http://www.census.gov/economic-indicators/calendar-listview.html.

Before we get any further into the nitty-gritty of the numbers, here are some definitions from the folks at Investopedia.com:  http://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/economic_indicator.asp?layout=infini&v=5C&adtest=5C&ato=3000

As if putting the raw numbers into some context isn’t difficult enough, these numbers are not “static”, in other words they can change. “The powers to be” can revise them up or down! It’s not a whimsy thing; at least I don’t think so. Factors, when seen in the “rear view mirror” look differently, so that’s why you may hear about “adjusted” economic numbers. It happens frequently! A frequent example of an adjusted economic indicator is the number of unemployed. This number is calculated by the U.S. Department of Labor: http://www.bls.gov/

There are three categories of economic indicators:

  • Leading economic indicators
  • Coincident economic indicators
  • Lagging economic indicators

Investopedia.com, as usual, does a good job of defining them: http://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/177.asp

Bankrate.com simplifies it a little bit by highlighting five economic indicators:

  1. Personal income and outlays
  2. Retail sales
  3. Consumer price index
  4. New-home sales
  5. Employment

Read more: http://www.bankrate.com/finance/investing/5-economic-indicators-to-watch-1.aspx#ixzz49Q6YiYHN

The Conference Board also publishes many economic indicators:

“The composite indexes of leading, coincident, and lagging indicators produced by The Conference Board are summary statistics for the U.S. economy. They are constructed by averaging their individual components in order to smooth out a good part of the volatility of the individual series.  Historically, the cyclical turning points in the leading index have occurred before those in aggregate economic activity, cyclical turning points in the coincident index have occurred at about the same time as those in aggregate economic activity, and cyclical turning points in the lagging index generally have occurred after those in aggregate economic activity.”  Web site:  https://www.conference-board.org/data/bci/index.cfm?id=2160

Here’s a white paper written by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. It highlights: “Why  do  central  banks  collect  and  analyze  so  many  indicators?  To understand the answer, it is first important to recognize that monetary policy affects economic activity and inflation with long and variable lags.”

https://www.kansascityfed.org/publicat/econrev/pdf/3q01kozi.pdf

This “stuff” may be boring but it is what “drives” the political and economic policies of the United States and other countries of the world. When the politicians talk about “free trade” or interject trade policies in the country’s economic system, it affects “the numbers.” Whenever the Federal Reserve Bank interjects a change in monetary policy it affects “the numbers.” Literally nothing in our age is invoked as economic, wage, banking, foreign, national, or other “labeled” policy that does not affect other economic indicator numbers, which are the life-line indicators of our nation’s health. In an earlier posting, By the Numbers #3: Those Naughty Market Indices, They Move Up and Down!, I referenced a life-support monitor used in a hospital as a way of identifying and monitoring the health of the stock market. I guess the same analogy can be used for monitoring the nation’s economic ‘state of health”.

What’s scary is that the “life monitor” came so close to “straight-lining” in the year 2009. Below are posts that I wrote in 2015 that reference the events and “stop-gaps” that were instituted and invoked to avoid the collapse of the U.S. economy in 2009. The documentary producers  at “Frontline” did a great job of summarizing many of these actions and events.

There are several postings involved, enjoy viewing them separately as each one is an hour-long documentary. Each posting link is indicated in the posting:  Great Recession Retrospective Redux

Popcorn optional, actually a scotch and water might be more appropriate while viewing!

Cheers!

P.S. If you’re up to it, here’s  “A Guide to Tracking the U.S. Economy” written by Kevin L. Kliesen of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis (dated 2014):

https://research.stlouisfed.org/publications/review/2014/q1/kliesen.pdf