- Fed stays the course… but for all the wrong reasons
- Biogen stock tanks 28% as Alzheimer’s drug shelved
- Elizabeth Holmes: The vampire of Silicon Valley
- Retire rich and limber with weed
Fed Stays the Course
But for all the wrong reasons
The Federal Reserve is one of the few subjects where “no news” is a front-page headline.
Yesterday, Fed Chairman and Trump’s punching bag, Jerome Powell, announced that there would be no rate hike in March and signaled it will not raise interest rates for the rest of the year.
President Trump has been hammering poor Jerome for months to halt interest rate hikes in the hopes of stimulating the U.S. economy.
Trump has finally got what he wanted from the Fed. But the announcement was a bit of a poisoned chalice (filled with Diet Coke, presumably). The Fed parceled the news with a downbeat outlook for the U.S. economy this year.
At the post-announcement press conference yesterday, Powell said that weakness in business investment and consumer spending “suggest that growth is slowing somewhat more than expected.”
In fact, the Fed’s numbers for economic growth look a lot different from the figures coming out of The White House.
Trump’s camp predicts 3.2% growth in 2019, up from 2.9% last year. But the Fed is expecting something closer to 2.1% and expect that to fall to 1.9% in 2019.
In an attempt to reassure the markets, Powell added that the U.S. economy was in a “good place” and that the fundamentals were strong.
The DJIA initially seemed to react positively but finished up the day down 143 points. (Maybe that’s because the only people who say they’re in a “good place” are folks who just went through a nasty breakup and are having a terrible time.)
Powell also noted that the European and Chinese economies had slowed substantially and “just as strong global growth was a tailwind, weaker global growth can be a headwind to our economy.”
But Dark Money editor, Nomi Prins, says there’s a hidden narrative being completely missed by the mainstream media here:
The past decade has really perverted the primary duties of central banks.
The idea behind monetary policy related to the economy that prevailed during the height of the financial crisis was that cheap money would enable the provision of credit on better terms for people and small businesses. They would, in turn, use that money to enhance the economy through buying, investing and growing.
But the numbers don’t bear that out.
As we enter the second decade of collusive dark money policies around the world, it’s been governments that are borrowing – a lot. Central bank policies have allowed them to borrow money, or issue bonds, as a result at cheaper rates, increasing their debt loads relative to GDP.
Thus, the Fed and its cohorts have stimulated markets far more than the real economy. In fact, very little the Fed has done has spilled over into the real economy, and sustained economic growth remains elusive. Meanwhile, many Americans are drowning in debt and falling behind.
When the next shoe drops from our inflated bubble markets, it will be the debt markets that lead the way. Whether the financial bubble begins to pop in emerging markets, over-leveraged corporate sectors or from over-stretched consumers — the reality is that a storm is brewing. All of this is a recipe for another crisis.
The main difference between 2008 and now is that central bank balance sheets are dramatically larger today. They just don’t have the room to accommodate nearly as much easing this time around, and even if they did, it would be pushing the can down the road again.
Simply put, if you’ve ever felt the market was rigged against you… you’re right.
And what Nomi’s team has discovered will confirm your deepest, darkest suspicions.
But it could also make you very rich.
It all has to do with a mysterious pattern. A pattern that’s historically delivered opportunities to collect gains as high as 11,333%.
Nomi calls these “dark money spikes.” And she estimates it’s more than 94.7% likely one of these spikes will unleash billions into the market tomorrow, between exactly 12:45 p.m. and 1:15 p.m.
Biogen Stock Tanks 28% as Alzheimer’s Drug Shelved
Biogen (NASDAQ: BIIB) is taking a hammering in the markets today, after it cut short stage 3 trials of an experimental Alzheimer therapy.
Biogen’s stock tumbled more than 28% this morning. And they dragged their research partner Eisai Co. (-31%) right off the cliff with them.
Biogen and Eisai Co. had high hopes for the Alzheimer’s drug Adacanumab (terrible name for a drug and possibly one of the Unforgivable Curses from Harry Potter).
The drug was developed on the assumption that the majority of new Alzheimer’s research is based upon: memory loss is caused by the buildup of a substance called Beta-amyloid in the brain.
(Basically, your brain gets all jammed up with this sticky gunk that makes it harder to think. Adacanumab was like supposed to scrub your brain clean and get those wheels turning again.)
Unfortunately, an independent committee ruled that the drug was an ineffective treatment for the disease.
Biogen may have lost an estimated $18 billion in market value today. But the real loss is to Alzheimer’s research and sufferers of the disease.
A promising, close-to-market treatment has been scrapped. And if the buildup of Beta-amyloid is not, in fact, the cause of the disease that can only mean one thing:
Alzheimer’s researchers have been on the wrong track for years… and now they’re back to square one.
As Biogen CEO Michel Vounatsos said, “this disappointing news confirms the complexity of treating Alzheimer’s disease and the need to further advance knowledge in neuroscience.”
Full disclosure: My grandfather had Alzheimer’s when he died. Which means I’m statistically more likely to get that the disease. So, you know, we need to $%@&ing hurry up with the research here, guys.
Elizabeth Holmes: The Vampire of Silicon Valley
Elizabeth Holmes is back in the spotlight this week, ahead of two documentaries about the Theranos blood-diagnostic scandal.
Theranos was supposed to be a revolutionary health tech company. But in practice, it was closer to a religious cult with investors. (Kind of like Apple, except Apple actually makes cool stuff.)
Theranos was founded in 2003 by then-19-year-old Holmes. And for a time, the company was looking rather promising.
All about the bass: Apparently, Holmes’ distinctive, deep baritone voice was faked to create an air of authority. This “revelation” isn’t surprising to anyone that heard her speak. (She wasn’t good at it)
Holmes promised investors a new tech that would revolutionize blood testing forever. At the center of this claim was a blood-testing machine the size of a bread maker.
According to Holmes, this machine could run a full bevy of tests with just a pinprick of blood, instead of the vials and vials and vials usually required. (What are they doing with all that blood? I had to get a full blood-screening last year and I left the doctor’s office about a gallon lighter.)
Of course, we now know that this incredible tech never existed. Like, ever. It wasn’t even that they were close to a breakthrough and Holmes was exaggerating a little.
The whole idea was a complete fantasy cooked up by Holmes. (I too fantasize about a good bread maker, Elizabeth).
Even as her own researchers were telling Holmes that it was impossible, Theranos was rolling out its unvetted products onto Walgreen’s shelves.
And people fell for it:
Over the years, Theranos raised more than $700 million from venture capitalists and private investors, resulting in a $10 billion valuation at its peak in 2013 and 2014.
The company’s 12-member board was stacked with influential figures such as Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Navy Admiral Gary Roughed, and General James Mattis. (Sounds like somebody was expecting a war.)
In 2015, Forbes would name Holmes the Youngest Female Self-Made Billionaire. (That title now lies with the genius, visionary Kylie Jenner.)
Two years later, after the Wall Street Journal broke the story in a bombshell article, Holmes was conspicuously missing from Forbes’ list.
Today, Holmes and former Theranos President Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani are awaiting trial on nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
As well as the two documentaries, Adam McCay, director of Vice and The Big Short, is working on a film adaptation of Holmes’ life starring Jennifer Lawrence. (Defrauding millions of dollars from investors is the quickest way to your own biopic.)
Oh, and reportedly, Holmes is currently seeking funding to launch a new health tech company.
Because she did such a good job of it the last one.
ONE LAST THING
Retire rich and limber with weed
According to a study in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, weed will keep older adults working longer. (And watching cartoons and eating Doritos longer.)
The study is based on more than 100,000 survey responses from people ages 51 and older over the last 20 years.
There were three main takeaways from the study:
- Active state medical marijuana laws lead to lower pain and better self-assessed health among older adults. (Of course, they’re “self-assessing” that their health is better. They’re high all the time.)
- State medical marijuana laws lead to increases in older adult labor supply. (Better symptom control and pain management allows folks to work longer.)
- Third, the effects of medical marijuana laws are largest among older adults with a health condition that would qualify for legal medical marijuana use under current state laws.
Researchers found that those who qualified for medical marijuana reported a 4.8% decrease in pain. There was a 6.6% increase in reported good or excellent health.
And those who qualified for medical marijuana saw a 7.3% increase in full-time work. (And here we are telling our teenagers to quit weed and get a job.)
This is all great of course… but what if there was a way to smoke your cake and eat it too? (That’s a really bad metaphor. I just mean to enjoy the benefits of medical marijuana AND retire early and rich.)
The Weed-Tirement Program
About a month ago, one of our researchers came across an unadvertised “secret” program that could allow anyone to retire rich from marijuana.
It’s early days yet. We’re still investigating the ins and outs of this opportunity.
But our researcher thinks that this 100% fully legal program could be your ticket to financial security.
He gave me a sneak peek at his research earlier this week. And if these numbers are right, just a single dollar invested in “Weed-Tirement” when this program started would have grown into $6,638.
That’s a 663,700% gain — enough to turn $100 into $663,700 or $1,000 into 6.6 million.
Like I said. It’s early days yet. But it’s looking really promising.
As soon as I know more, you’ll be the first to know.
Closing Data for 3/20/19:
|S&P Index 500||2,824.20||↓ 0.30%|
- Levi Strauss & Co. (NYSE: LEVI) started trading this morning at $22.22 a share, despite having priced its initial public offering at only $17 a share last night.
- Facebook Scandal Watch: Facebook stored passwords for hundreds of millions of users in plain text, exposing them to anyone who had access to the files for years.
- The two Boeing 737 Max airliners that crashed were missing key safety features that would have cost the airline more money.
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Are we going to see the same legal issues with these companies that other gig share economies have recently faced?
— Nanette P.
Hard to say really. Uber and Lyft are pretty sophisticated legally. They’ve found dozens of ways to circumvent local laws all over the world. But there will always be holdouts. Bans in individual cities are certainly possible, like we saw with Airbnb in New Orleans. You might be able to make the case that they are killing competition and that’s bad for the consumer. But as long as the consumer is happy, the current U.S. anti-trust laws won’t apply to them.
If Disney owns Fox, won’t all those shows be available on their streaming service? I’ve got kids! How do I explain to them they can’t watch DISNEY without supervision? They’re young, they can’t watch Deadpool! What was Disney THINKING? You don’t SEX UP kid’s stuff! Disgraceful.
— Gracey L.
The Disney+ streaming service should have a kids lock that’ll give you an option to block adult content, just like Netflix. The real question is will Disney shift focus to adult content in the next few years. Kids can motivate their parent’s wallets. But Disney knows that millennials aren’t having babies.
Stadia could be a game changer, but I don’t see it working without massive upgrades in internet speeds. Maybe this will push Google to double down on it fiber rollout. Or try a little harder on the VR front…
— Patrick G.
If this somehow leads to Google Fiber making its way to my home in the center of Baltimore, I will be a very happy man. Maybe that’s part of their plan. Or maybe they’re banking on the rise 5G to carry their service. Either way, Google rarely does anything without mountains of research. Which begs the question: what do they know that we don’t?
Editor, One Last Thing