After Meltdown, Tech-Bottom Signals Have Yet to Scream ‘Buy Now’

Calling the bottom in the tech-sector meltdown isn’t easy, even after a $5.5 trillion wipe-out, yet there are some signals giving investors hope.

Tech stocks have been hammered this year as rising interest rates, slowing economic growth and soaring inflation form a perfect storm of negative catalysts. That’s hurt everyone from retail investors who loaded up on Cathie Wood’s Ark Investment exchange-traded funds last year to deep-pocketed asset managers who invested in Apple Inc.

The price charts paint a dire picture: The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 Index just capped its seventh straight week of declines, the longest such streak since 2011, and has shed nearly 30% from its peak last year. The U.S. trillion-dollar quartet of Apple, Microsoft Corp., Amazon.com Inc. and Alphabet Inc. has led the charge lower in the latest leg of this selloff.

Yet a number of investors are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. The Nasdaq 100 now trades for about 20 times its estimated forward earnings — in-line with long-term averages — as frothy valuations built up during the pandemic recede. The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index, home to chipmakers including Intel Corp. and ASML Holding NV, trades at about 15 times expected earnings for the next 12 months, well below a peak of 24 hit in early 2021.

“It’s hard to be patient when there’s been so much carnage. But the pain should end, possibly soon,” said Jordan Stuart, client portfolio manager at Federated Hermes. “Our recommendation is growth investors need to be ready.”

Last week, Jefferies strategists turned bullish on the information-technology sector, saying in a note that a “dash for cash” by investors discounting extreme interest-rate scenarios “has been more than reflected in the compression of market multiples.”

Source: After Meltdown, Tech-Bottom Signals Have Yet to Scream ‘Buy Now’

The stock market, as measured by the S&P 500 Index SPX, +0.01%, got off to a rocky start this week. But that produced enough of an oversold condition that buyers stepped in and have taken the benchmark index all the way back to the top of its trading range, at 4700 points.

The lower end of the trading range is 4500 (see the accompanying chart, below), although there is also support at this week’s lows, 4530. SPX has tried many times to break out over 4705 and hold those gains but has been unable to do so. But market internals have improved somewhat, so maybe this time it will do so.

The extreme volatility that has been on display within the trading range has pushed the 20-day historical volatility (HV20) of SPX up to a historically large 21%. That is a sell signal in itself. Only if that volatility begins to retreat (falls below 15%, say), will this sell signal be terminated.

Equity-only put-call ratios have continued to rise — until yesterday (December 22nd), when they plateaued a bit. However, our computer analysis programs are still “saying” that these ratios are on a sell signal. Obviously, they are quite high on their charts, meaning they are oversold.

So a potential buy signal exists, but we need to see them begin to trend lower (and for the computer analysis programs to agree) before we can say that they are on buy signals.

Market breadth was abysmal when the market was going down. But it has recovered strongly with the rally since Monday, and now both breadth oscillators are on buy signals. We had a contingent bull spread recommendation in place and those contingencies have been fulfilled.

These oscillators had reached extreme oversold conditions in late November and early December — extremes not seen since the pandemic selling of March 2020. That sets the stage for a strong buy signal, and it is usually the second such one that is the “true” buy signal. This current signal is that second one, so this is promising for the bulls. For the record, the cumulative breadth indicators are nowhere near their old highs.

New 52-week lows have continued to outnumber new 52-week highs, even with the market rallying back this week. This situation could reverse in the coming week, but so far it has not. That means this indicator is still clinging to a sell signal. In a broad sense, it is not a constructive thing for SPX to be right at its highs, yet there are more stocks making new 52-week lows than making new 52-week highs.

The implied volatility indicators are mostly bullish, but not totally. First, the VIX “spike peak” buy signal remains in effect. Action was wild in VIX, though, as it exploded to above 27, then closed below 23 on one day (Monday, December 20th).

It is the trend of VIX that represents something of a problem. That is, VIX has continued to close above its 200-day moving average, which is just below 19 and going sideways. VIX has nearly fallen to that level for the first time in a month (note the box on the accompanying VIX chart). A clear close below that 200-day MA will be another bullish sign for stocks.

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Twitter Will Add Warning Label to Tweets it Deems ‘Viral Misinformation’

Twitter recently announced its new “crisis misinformation policy” which will seek to suppress posts the company deems “viral misinformation.” The update will allow Twitter employees to label, and censor posts they determine to be misleading or false. The company claimed that the new tools will only be used in the case of a “humanitarian crisis.”

“Today, we’re introducing our crisis misinformation policy – a global policy that will guide our efforts to elevate credible, authoritative information, and will help to ensure viral misinformation isn’t amplified or recommended by us during crises,” Twitter wrote in a blog post Thursday. “In times of crisis, misleading information can undermine public trust and cause further harm to already vulnerable communities.”

Twitter went on to define such crises as “situations in which there is a widespread threat to life, physical safety, health, or basic subsistence.”“This definition is consistent with the United Nations’ definition of a humanitarian crisis and other humanitarian assessments,” the company added.Hoax tweets and other misinformation regularly go viral during emergencies, as users rush to share unverified information. The sheer speed of events makes it difficult to implement normal verification or fact-checking systems, creating a significant challenge for moderators.

As part of its new “misinformation policy”, Twitter will employ a variety of tools, including the removal tweets from recommendations and disabling engagement on “misleading” posts. In addition to a label, users will not be able to like, retweet or reply to flagged tweets.“To reduce potential harm, as soon as we have evidence that a claim may be misleading, we won’t amplify or recommend content that is covered by this policy across Twitter – including in the Home timeline, Search, and Explore,” Twitter explained.

“In addition, we will prioritize adding warning notices to highly visible Tweets and Tweets from high profile accounts, such as state-affiliated media accounts, verified, official government accounts.”Under the new policy, tweets classified as misinformation will not necessarily be deleted or banned; instead, Twitter will add a warning label requiring users to click a button before the tweet can be displayed (similar to the existing labels for explicit imagery).

The tweets will also be blocked from algorithmic promotion.The stronger standards are meant to be limited to specific events. Twitter will initially apply the policy to content concerning the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, but the company expects to apply the rules to all emerging crises going forward.

For the purposes of the policy, crisis is defined as “situations in which there is a widespread threat to life, physical safety, health, or basic subsistence.”The policy comes at a delicate time for Twitter, with the company’s approved sale to Elon Musk in a confusing limbo.

Musk has pledged to scale back moderation systems at the company in favor of a maximalist view of free speech. But with Musk claiming the deal is on hold pending a bot investigation, it’s unclear when or how his ideas will be implemented.The social media giant infamously flagged the New York Post’s bombshell Hunter Biden laptop story just weeks before the election.In order to suppress the story — which included emails, text messages, photos and financial documents detailing foreign business dealings of the Biden family — Twitter cited its “hacked materials” policy. This policy, like many sections of Twitter’s terms of service, has been applied selectively on numerous occasions.

In a recent example, an illegally obtained list of donations to Canada’s Freedom Convoy protesters was allowed to be freely shared on the platform. The list included names, addresses and phone numbers of anyone who donated as little as $25 to the protest movement. Despite the fact that the information was obtained through a hack, Twitter took no action.Many believe Twitter’s “crisis misinformation policy” will be yet another policy that is selectively applied to conservatives.

This would give the San Francisco-based platform even more power to meddle in election outcomes, as they did in 2020. A poll conducted by The Post Millennial this past March found that 16% of Biden voters would not have voted for him if they were aware of the laptop scandal.

Source: Twitter Will Add Warning Label to Tweets it Deems ‘Viral Misinformation’

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US pours $3.5 Billion Into Direct Air Capture Hubs For Carbon Removal

As part of its ambitions to move to a net-zero economy by 2050, the US Department of Energy (DOE) has been ramping up its plans to facilitate removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and drive down the cost of the technology required to do so. These efforts are set to receive a massive cash injection, with the Biden administration announcing US$3.5 billion in funding for a set of regional direct air capture hubs.

The announcement follows a string of far smaller investments that began with $22 million in 2020 and a further $24 million last year, designed to accelerate research into carbon capture technology. As part of the the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) signed by President Biden in November last year, the the DOE also announced its Carbon Negative Shot initiative. This is centered on deploying carbon capture technologies on a gigaton scale by 2050, by driving down the cost of carbon capture and storage to $100 per ton.

A gigaton is equivalent to one billion metric tons, and to put things into perspective, the world’s largest direct air capture plant currently collects around 4,000 tons of CO2 each year. Humans pump out around 30 billion tons each year, while a single gigaton is about the amount generated annually by the US’s entire light-duty vehicle fleet.

The DOE has today released a Notice of Intent, which acts as a kind of high-level draft ahead of an official funding opportunity announcement later in the year. The $3.5 billion in funding will go towards hubs that will act as regional centers for direct air capture projects, with applicants needing to demonstrate an ability to capture carbon from the atmosphere and store it. The DOE expects each of these hubs to permanently sequester a million metric tons of CO2 each year.

“The UN’s latest climate report made clear that removing legacy carbon pollution from the air through direct air capture and safely storing it is an essential weapon in our fight against the climate crisis,” said US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is funding new technologies that will not only make our carbon-free future a reality but will help position the US as a net-zero leader while creating good-paying jobs for a transitioning clean energy workforce.”

The project in question, the Regional Direct Air Capture Hubs program, is funded under the bipartisan infrastructure law and will involve the construction of four regional hubs for carbon dioxide removal.CO2 removal involves sucking carbon dioxide from the surrounding air and either storing it underground or using it for products that do not release it back into the air.

It is a separate process from carbon capture, which aims to prevent the initial release of emissions outright.“CDR is a key element in scenarios that likely limit warming to 2°C or 1.5°C by 2100,” the report states. “Strategies need to reflect that CDR methods differ in terms of removal process, timescale of carbon storage, technological maturity, mitigation potential, cost, co-benefits, adverse side-effects, and governance requirements.”

Source: US pours $3.5 billion into direct air capture hubs for carbon removal

Carbon removal is the process of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and locking it away for decades, centuries, or millennia. This could slow, limit, or even reverse climate change — but it is not a substitute for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. This is because carbon removal is generally slow-acting and may not be able to be deployed at scales commensurate with society’s current greenhouse emissions. Carbon removal is sometimes referred to as carbon dioxide removal or CDR, and technologies for implementing carbon removal are sometimes called Negative Emissions Technologies (NETs).

Some prominent ideas for carbon removal include:

  • planting massive new forests (afforestation/reforestation)
  • using no-till agriculture and other practices to increase the amount of carbon stored in soils (soil carbon sequestration)
  • creating charcoal and burying it or plowing it into fields (biochar)
  • capturing and sequestering carbon from biofuels and bioenergy plants (bioenergy with CCS or BECCS)
  • spreading crushed rocks over land to absorb carbon dioxide from the air or exposing them to carbon dioxide-rich fluids (enhanced mineralization)
  • building machines that would suck carbon dioxide directly out of the atmosphere and bury it (direct air capture)
  • oceans-based methods, including:
  • spreading alkaline materials, such as lime, over the ocean (ocean alkalinization)
  • fertilizing selected areas of the ocean by spreading nutrients, such as iron, over the surface (ocean fertilization)
  • fertilizing selected areas of the ocean by pumping nutrient-rich waters from the depths to the surface (artificial upwelling)
  • accelerating the transport of carbon to the ocean depths by pumping surface waters downward (artificial downwelling)

More contents:

The trouble with negative emissions”.

The Oxford Principles for Net Zero Aligned Carbon Offsetting” 

Forests and climate change”.

Forest Protection & Climate Change: Why Is It Important?”

“Greenhouse Gas Removals: Summary of Responses to the Call for Evidence”

Managing woody bamboos for carbon farming and carbon trading”

“Carbon Farming

“Carbon Farming: Hope for a Hot Planet – Modern Farmer

Can Dirt Save the Earth?

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Inflation Increases Risk of Recession In Global Economy

The Federal Reserve’s bid to calm inflation by raising interest rates and withdrawing emergency stimulus programs is gearing up just as the global economy is displaying worrisome signs of weakness, aggravated by the war in Ukraine and covid’s continuing hold on industrial supply chains.

The risk, some economists said, is that the Fed and other central banks that are implementing similar anti-inflation policies may adjust too slowly to a complex and fast-changing global landscape.

However, the persistence of a tight labour market and high inflation pose concerns for the Biden administration and the Federal Reserve. This week, the US central bank raised its benchmark interest rate by 0.5 percentage points for the first time since 2000 — to a target range of between 0.75 and 1 per cent — to curb rising prices. Inflation in the US is currently running at a 40-year high.

Meanwhile, US stocks fell on Friday, extending sharp losses from the previous session, as signs of a tightening jobs market compounded inflation worries. European shares also declined, with the regional Stoxx 600 index losing almost 2 per cent, putting it on track to end the week more than 4 per cent down. London’s FTSE 100 lost 1.3 per cent and Germany’s Xetra Dax also fell 1.3 per cent.

The Nasdaq Composite, comprised of many of the largest US technology companies, closed down 5 per cent yesterday, in its biggest one-day decline since 2020. The blue-chip S&P 500 index also declined on Thursday with a 3.5 per cent loss. As the world continues to deal with the economic impact of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine is exacerbating inflationary problems.

Central banks are faced with the risk that controlling rising prices could lead to economic decline. The Bank of England warned yesterday that the UK economy was heading towards a recession and inflation would hit 10 per cent this year, as it lifted the interest rate to 1 per cent, the country’s highest level since 2009.

With UK prices likely to rise at their fastest rate in more than 40 years as sustained double-digit inflation becomes possible for the first time since the 1970s, the BoE — which is celebrating 25 years of independence this week — faces challenges that it has not encountered in the past quarter of a century, writes economics editor Chris Giles.

Line chart of CPI inflation and successive BoE forecasts, 2021-22 (%) showing The Bank did not expect to have to tackle double-digit inflation Latest news Ukraine urges Médecins Sans Frontières to evacuate wounded from Azovstal steel plant Glass Lewis advises Amazon shareholders to vote against pay policy German industry suffers biggest drop in output since start of pandemic For up-to-the-minute news updates.

Need to know: the economy China’s president Xi Jinping has reaffirmed his commitment to the country’s controversial zero-Covid strategy, warning against “any slackening” in the effort and vowing to crack down on criticism of the policy despite signs of damage to the economy. US homebuyers are stretching their budgets to buy new homes and rushing to strike deals to avoid higher mortgage financing costs, according to the latest industry data.

Mortgage rates have reached their highest levels in more than a decade, according to the recent Freddie Mac survey. Latest for the UK/Europe Momentum is building for the European Central Bank to raise interest rates in July to fight soaring inflation, after dovish policymakers indicated they were ready to accept an end to almost eight years of negative borrowing costs.

The EU is considering providing more time and money to Hungary to adapt to an embargo on Russian oil after talks on Brussels’ plans for imposing sanctions became “stuck”. Vodafone, the UK telecoms group under pressure from an activist investor, has strengthened its board with two appointments. They are Simon Segars, former chief executive of Arm, the UK-based chip business, and Delphine Cunci, an industry heavyweight in France.

Europe’s largest activist fund Cevian Capital has been pushing the mobile group to refresh its management, which it believes has insufficient experience. Help us compile our ranking of Europe’s Diversity Leaders. Employees and workplace experts are invited to complete a short survey to assess companies’ progress on inclusivity by June 12.

Coronavirus infections in England have fallen to their lowest level since the start of the year, according to official data published today, as the spread of the disease slows across the UK. Global latest US regulators have travelled to mainland China to discuss a potential compromise over audit disclosures that could stop around 270 Chinese companies from being delisted by New York exchanges, according to two people close to the matter.

Tomorrow you can hear Henry Kissinger, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and more at our inaugural US FTWeekend Festival in Washington, DC. Business German sportswear group Adidas has warned that its operating profit this year would be lower than previously expected, as the company struggles with disrupted supply chains, closed shops in China and rising costs.

Operating profit tumbled 38 per cent to €437mn in the first quarter as the company was hit by the economic fallout from China’s strict Covid policies. Australia’s biggest investment bank Macquarie Group profited from volatility on global commodity markets and record dealmaking, driving full-year net profit up 56 per cent from the previous year to a record high of A$4.7bn ($3.3bn).

British Airways has been forced to cut flight schedules further as it struggles to hire staff quickly enough to meet renewed demand for travel after culling nearly 10,000 jobs during the pandemic, raising concerns that the carrier could miss out on a bumper summer for European airlines. France has warmly welcomed Binance’s bid to put down roots in one of Europe’s top financial centres, drawing a deep divide with watchdogs in the UK that rejected the crypto giant.

Binance this week received a nod from French financial regulators, a move that clears the way for the crypto exchange to establish a significant presence in the G7 nation that could also help the company unlock access to other jurisdictions across Europe. Boeing will move its headquarters to the Washington, DC area from Chicago, bringing the company closer to federal lawmakers and rival defence contractors.

The move comes during a tumultuous period for the company, which has been subject to greater regulatory scrutiny following two fatal crashes of its 737 Max jet in 2018 and 2019 as well as the discovery of flaws in its 787 Dreamliner. Science round-up The true total global pandemic death toll was about 15mn by the end of 2021, based on an analysis of excess mortality, said the World Health Organization.

Source: Federal Reserve is raising interest rates even as the global economy struggles – The Washington Post

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Despite The Crypto Crash, Bitcoin Still Has a Bright Future

You might call it the cable that changed history. In the mid-19th century there were various attempts to lay cables across the Atlantic Ocean between Britain (Ireland) and the US.

It took several failures, numerous bankruptcies and over ten years before they got it right. But eventually they did and on July 27 1866 Queen Victoria broadcast a message to US President Johnson…

Money is a form of communication technology

Here’s what the first transatlantic cable said:

Osborne, July 27, 1866 

To the President of the United States, Washington 

The Queen congratulates the President on the successful completion of an undertaking which she hopes may serve as an additional bond of Union between the United States and England.

Johnson replied:

Executive Mansion Washington, July 30, 1866 

To Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland 

The President of the United States acknowledges with profound gratification the receipt of Her Majesty’s despatch and cordially reciprocates the hope that the cable which now unites the Eastern and Western hemispheres may serve to strengthen and perpetuate peace and amity between the governments of England and the Republic of the United States.

To send a message by ship could take ten days or more; now it was a matter of minutes. So somebody came up with the slogan “two weeks to two minutes”.

Transmission speeds improved rapidly; Morse code became words and it was soon possible to send multiple messages at once. By the end of the 19th century, Britain, France, Germany and the US were all linked by cable.

Personal, commercial and political relations were altered for all time.  Back then gold was money, of course, as were paper notes representing gold. You couldn’t send gold down the cable, however, nor paper. But you could send a promise.

And, within a fortnight of Queen Victoria’s message, that’s what two parties who trusted each other did. An exchange rate between the dollar and the pound was agreed and then published in the New York Times on 10 August. That is why, to this day, GBP/USD exchange rate is known as “cable”.

My purpose with this story is to illustrate a point: what is money, but a form of communication?

Look at a £20 note (if you still use them) and you will see the words “I promise to pay the bearer”.  Of course, promises disappear; gold doesn’t. The two are quite different forms of money: one is belief, the other is real.

Nevertheless, since the dawn of civilisation, we have been using promissory money. In Ancient Mesopotamia, people used mud tokens, representing sheep or barley, baked inside clay balls to log debts owed. They found it more efficient to draw pictures of the tokens in the mud for the same purpose, which is how the first system of writing developed.

In Ancient China, people recorded their debts on bits of leather; after the invention of printing they started using paper. Today the promises are recorded and exchanged between trusted third parties on computers.

Millions, probably billions, of promises are sent across the internet every second, transferring as quick as words, probably quicker. Not only does (promissory) money evolve with communication technology, it is often the spur, the impetus for communication technology to evolve.

Now bitcoin, with its blockchain, obviates the need for trusted third parties altogether – that is one of many reasons it is so special. Here is a money communication network backed instead by mathematical proof and the most powerful and resilient computer network ever known to man: the trusted third party is the blockchain.

Why would you not want to own a share of such a breakthrough technology? That, effectively, is what owning some bitcoin is – owning shares in a new monetary technology. And it’s not like they are doing any roll backs.

Money has evolved like language

I want to explore this idea of money as communication further.  It’s often said (by me at least) when considering politicians: look at what they do, not at what they say. What we do says more about us than what we say – what we do with our money says even more.

And what we do with our money communicates value, not just between buyer and seller, but across the economy. What is the price of this thing? What is its value? The answer is constantly being sent and received, digested and acted upon; and so does the economy constantly, incrementally evolve and develop with each new signal: the how, why and when, of what needs producing and where.

Money, then, is like a language, constantly evolving and changing. Nobody is really in charge – it wasn’t really planned, it has just constantly evolved. The architects of fiat money did not plan what we have today, they just used it to get out of a tight fiscal spot – extenuating circumstances at the time.

Similarly, nobody planned the language we speak today. Language is hard to plan and regulate, try as many have over the years – and still do. The English we speak today is a long way from the English of Chaucer, Shakespeare or Dickens. There are probably fewer words; certainly fewer tenses. Grammar is simpler. Yet English is far more widely spoken. The network has grown.

Mandarin may have three or four times more native speakers, but English is more widely spoken. There may well come a time when everybody in the world speaks it. It is the dominant linguistic network.

Meanwhile, other languages fade away. Cornish has gone. Few now speak Welsh or Gaelic. The local dialects of France and Italy are disappearing. Similarly, there are no doubt a plethora of African, Asian and American languages that are on the way out, if they haven’t already gone.

The question to ask is this: how scalable is the language? English has the potential to become the default language of the world. Despite having more native speakers, that’s unlikely to be the case with Mandarin. It’s certainly not going to happen to Gaelic, Neapolitan or Swahili.

How many different monies have there been in history? Shells, whale teeth, metals, paper, cigarettes, mackerel packs, cognac, Zimbabwe dollars, reichsmarks, denarii, farthings, shillings. Most have died. Only gold goes on.

But, as with transatlantic cables, you can’t send gold over the internet. Only golden promises between trusted parties.

Bitcoin is money for the internet

The US dollar is the global reserve currency. You can send that over the internet. But it’s hard for people who aren’t American to get US dollar bank accounts. Foreign exchange fees are expensive. Money transfers can take several days sometimes.

It’s a national currency that is used internationally. A country – and several do – could use it as their national currency, but they would be importing US monetary policy too, and so subjecting themselves to US political whims. Which is why most countries with their own political agenda issue their own currencies.

Thus, though “international”, as a national currency, the US dollar is limited by its national borders and its politics. The same goes for any national currency.

But language is not limited by national borders – or at least English isn’t. If only there was an apolitical, borderless currency for the borderless economy that is the internet, then that really would be scalable in a way that no national currency is. A network that has evolved organically, and is constantly growing.

You don’t need a bank account to start using bitcoin. You only need a phone with an internet connection. We are not far off that point when everyone who wants one has one. My argument is this: if money is language, then bitcoin is English. It has a potential to scale that no other currency has.

Just as an aside on how quickly money evolves – it’s worth remembering that as recently as the 19th century, the pound had greater global recognition than the dollar. In emulation of Jules Verne’s Phileas Fogg, who went Around The World in 80 Days, in 1889-1890 American journalist Nellie Bly went on a trip around the world in 72 days.

She took pounds, but she also brought some dollars, “as a test to see if American money was known outside of America”. She went east from New York, and did not see American money until Colombo, Sri Lanka, where $20 gold pieces were used as jewellery. They accepted her dollars – but only at a 60% discount.

It’s a bit of an ask – though possible – to get people to accept bitcoin in the physical world. But that is not what it is for. It is money for the internet.

Dominic Frisby author headshot

Source: Despite the crypto crash, bitcoin still has a bright future | MoneyWeek

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