READ THIS FIRST - 05/02/2019

To those that asked "who is Jim Gaffigan" that I referenced in yesterday's rant I urge you to go to Netflix immediately and watch a few of his stand-up routines. Jim is a lot like me..except a few pounds heavier, a few shades paler, and 100 times more funny My only issue with Jim relates to cookies.  I think Chocolate Chip are best and Oatmeal are in second.  Jim claims Chocolate Chip are best and Oatmeal cookies aren't even cookies. He claims oatmeal is health food and that Oatmeal "cookies" then are not even REAL thing.  He is an Oatmeal cookie Atheist and I can just not support discrimination like that... 

Wikileaks leader, Julian Assange, gets 50 weeks in jail in England.  Assange was due in court when he "skipped bail" and sought asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. They sentenced him to just short of the max "1 Year". If you think it is a coincidence that it should take about a year for the "extradition to the USA procedure" to play out, you're naive. The only major roadblock to releasing Assange to the USA for prosecution is that England has said they will not send him if he faces the death penalty.  I am no defender of Assange, but if you read the news outside of the USA some consider him a reporter, some a hero-whistle blower, and some think he is a weasel.  His actions are easy to define: He published embarrassing things.  Some of those things were stolen things.  Is he a "reporter" that had a scum bag source?  Or was he unlawfully in possession of classified and stolen material?.  I guess a Judge and Jury decide that in a years time .. The UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, fired the Secretary of Defense for leaks to the Press. The Minister denies his office was the source of the leaks. But, he is GONE.  I think that's good. If you are part of an administration that you think is not "Doing the right thing" then resign.  Government secrets should be SECRET.  If you believe a crime is being committed, report it to the FBI (or in this case, the GCHQ, or MI6) don't "leak it" to the press...Back here in the USA, Florida approved "guns in schools" for security guards and teachers".  This (obviously) in response to the school shootings they have had there. My two cents??: Its a good idea IF the people are trained and IF there is a reasonable plan for making sure a thug-scum bag-teenager doesn't steal them from the teacher.. I am not saying its a great idea to have a gunfight in a school. But, even crazy people are going to think twice when they know there are a dozen people in the school that are gonna SHOOT BACK... The Federal Reserve Bank left interest rates unchangedand did not seem eager to raise them or lower them anytime soon ..The Covington Kids filed a $275 Million lawsuit against NBC for defamation (and other stuff).  That's in addition to the $250 Million suit against the Washington Post and $275 million against CNN.  I was thinking, "Yeah, you aren't seeing much of THAT in the news, eh?"  But, to be fair, someone getting sued shouldn't really talk publicly about the suit.. So, if you are the news agency getting sued you cannot really report on it.  Ill say this, These news agencies didn't "Make a Mistake".  There is hard evidence they ran this story that "The Catholic School Boys assaulted a poor old Native American Veteran that was just minding his business".  They had the whole tape.  They KNEWthe Native American was an agitator for YEARS in DC, and they knew the Native American approached the boys that were waiting for their bus (Not the other way around).  Its purposeful deception and its defamation.  They are GUILTY. ..and the trials are going to take place in Kentucky not some Liberal Heaven like NY or LA. ...Speaking of CNN, their ratings continue to spiral downwards.  They were down another 26%. They are scrambling for explanations.  Really?  Really guys?  Explanations? You LIE to your audience EVERY DAY.  You tell some people what they want to hear and they eat it up.  But, after being exposed OVER and OVER (see above, and dozens of other stories) you screwed up "The Big One".  The Trump haters HAD to see the Mueller Report come back "GUILTY". They wanted it.. you promised it.. and you let them down.  You're a bunch of bad talk show hosts with Google.  Go out and TRY to be a journalist and cover ONE real story..  Down in the Swamp:  Attention Residents of Hawaii:  Really?  This dopey, lowlife is what you send to Washington to represent your State? Attorney General Barr sat and answered questions from Senators for hours, yesterday.  Most Democrats (in the Senate and on Social media) whined about the Mueller report and most Republicans echoed, "The report was made public. MOVE ON".  Senator Hirono of Hawaii used her time to insult and smear the Attorney General who was there voluntarily to answer questions about the final Mueller report decisions. She didn't ask any questions, just started insulting him until the Chairman told her to ZIP IT..   She is not a very smart human and she disgraced herself and her State.  Hawaii, you HAVE to have better than that!! .Attorney General Barr volunteered to testify to Congress today after testifying in the Senate yesterday. Barr has cancelled his appearancebecause Judicial Committee Chairman Nadler wanted to make the hearing a "Trial" of sorts.  He wanted staffers and professional prosecutors to interrogate Barr.  Barr agreed to answer questions of the elected Congressmen but won't attend an interrogation from staffers.  Nadler vowed to subpoena him.  Other members of the House Committee blasted Nadler for "torpedoing our hearing." They said, "Barr sat for hours and answered Senators questions.  We could have done the same.  If Nadler wanted prosecutors to interrogate they could give him a list of questions to ask" . Geezz.. and these people have the NERVE to get angry when the USA calls them "Swamp Creatures"?? .. SPORTS:  MLB:  Indians Pitcher Corey Kubler took one of the arm last night and left the game.  Line Drive Broken Arm.  MAN, that has to hurt..  NHL: Carolina beats the Islanders and takes a 3-0 lead (Geez, remember two weeks ago when the Islanders SWEPT the Penguins?) .. and Dallas wins 4-2 and ties the series 2-2 with St Louis... NBA: Portland over Denver 97-90 to tie the series at 1-1.  GOLF:  PGA Tour at Quail Hollow for the Wells Fargo.  Rory McIlroy has the best record on this course.  Can he win it? ..  CELEBRIDIOTS:  RIP to Boon Gould who died suddenly at 64.  Gould was the guitarist for Level 42 and wrote songs like, "Something about you" and "Lessons in Love" ... Conservative Talk show host and pundit, Ben Shapiro was the subject of death threats against himself and his family.  Police, working with the FBI, caught the guy in Kent, WA.   First, I think the "Death threat" thing is awful and needs to be taken seriously. Second, great work by our law enforcement agencies.. but.. Third, how come we never hear about guys being caught like this?  Right?  All of these stars and political figures that are claiming they are "getting death threats" and this is the first time I can remember catching the guy.. .and then there were the Billboard Music Awards.  There were a few "Shower Curtain Wearers" Sofia Carson HERE  and  something named Yung Miami HERE .. Ill give them the "What Were You Thinking" Award .. and Julianne Hough went with the "I dance and work out 8 hours a day so I can wear this..and you CAN'T" look HERE .and she is right.. she puts in the work...but.. I think Ill give the "WIN" to newcomer, Kiernan Shipka HERE   Cute, sexy, not over the top.  Right??  (Yes, I checked. She is 19) .. and NO Kiernan.  No Rajtub for YOU.  Call me in like.. a DECADE!! 

From Seekingalpha.com

Vegan burger maker Beyond Meat has priced its initial public stock offering at $25 per share, the top of its anticipated range in a reflection of brisk investor demand. At this price, the company raised around $240M at a $1.5B valuation, including underwriters' options. The company starts trading today on the Nasdaq under symbol "BYND" as consumers increasingly opt to eat less meat or turn to vegan or vegetarian foods. Beyond Meat will use the proceeds from its IPO to invest in new manufacturing facilities and R&D, stepping up competition with rival Impossible Foods.

Futures look past Fed meeting

For all the political pressure to ease policy and the mixed signals on growth and inflation, the Fed refused to signal anything other than that it was still on pause, while Chair Jerome Powell said the factors dragging on inflation might be "transitory," not "persistent." That cooled over-excited U.S. shares on Wednesday, snapping the S&P 500's three-day winning streak and dragging down Wall Street. U.S. futures this morning are turning higher once again - with the DJIA up 59 points - as the focus shifts to the next round of corporate earnings as well as economic data on U.S. jobless claims and factory orders.

Chip stocks faced with mixed signals

Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) better-than-expected report on Tuesday evening was in contrast to a lackluster quarterly sales forecast last night from semiconductor giant Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM). "You're going to see Chinese weakness reflected in the next couple of quarters," CEO Steve Mollenkopf declared, sending shares down 3.5% AH, although Qualcomm also said it expects to receive $4.5B-$4.7B from its royalty settlement with Apple (AAPL). Ssince the deal on April 16, the chipmaker's stock is up over 43%.

Facebook closer to FTC settlement

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and the FTC are negotiating a potential settlement that would create new serious privacy practices and roles along with an expected multibillion-dollar fine, Politico reports. But the current plan doesn't have new restrictions on the company's data handling, nor does it call for any checks on CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself, nor his removal as chairman. Facebook's earnings report last week was marked by a legal expense charge of $3B it took on in anticipation of an FTC fine and it's provided for that sum to rise to $5B.

Iran feels pinch from oil ban

U.S. waivers on purchasing Iranian oil expired overnight for eight countries, including Iran's main oil customer, China. Speaking at an oil conference in Tehran, OPEC secretary-general Mohammed Barkindo said his group is working to "depoliticize oil" and "insulate our organization against geopolitics," but didn't directly address the U.S. sanctions. Some Iranian and U.S. officials project that the country's exports might fall as low as 400K barrels a month by this summer (before the U.S. exit from the nuclear deal, Iran exported 2.5M barrels a day).

BOE likely to keep rates steady

Policymakers at the Bank of England are set to keep rates on hold this morning, but may adopt a more hawkish tone aimed at preparing financial markets for the possibility of a hike this year. It'll be the first meeting since the U.K. and EU agreed to kick the Brexit can down the road until jack-o'-lanterns come out in October. Meanwhile, Theresa May faces big losses in local elections today as voters register a protest against the prime minister's handling of Brexit.

Shell gets boost from trading, LNG sales

Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS.A) rose nearly 3% premarket after reporting a 2% fall in Q1 profits to $5.43B, but easily beat expectations as lower oil prices and refining earnings were offset by stronger trading and higher LNG prices. Shell also announced the latest tranche of its $25B buyback program, which it had promised after its BG Group deal. The share repurchases, which were launched in July 2018, will amount to nearly $2.8B in the coming quarter.

Merck steps up MMR vaccine production

Merck (NYSE:MRK), the sole U.S. supplier of measles vaccines, has increased output to meet an uptick in U.S. demand amid the country's biggest outbreak in 25 years. "The demand side of the equation hasn't been outstripping our underlying capacity," Chief Marketing Officer Mike Nally said in an interview. The CDC reported 704 cases of measles as of April 26, a 1.3% increase since the 695 reported the week before, with the vast majority of cases occurring in children who have not received the MMR vaccine.

What else is happening...

Contributer Dave Kranzler talks more about semiconductor chips, likening them to "modern Dutch tulip bulbs."

The EU will seek a sharp increase of LNG imports from the U.S.

USMCA deal faces mounting resistance in the Democratic House.

Pork is the next target of a widening spat between China and Canada.

PG&E (NYSE:PCGseeks court approval for a $105M fund to help wildfire victims.

Maine becomes the first state to outlaw single-use Styrofoam.

U.S. House panel sets a May 15 hearing for Boeing's (NYSE:BA) 737 MAX.

Wednesday's Key Earnings

Annaly Capital (NYSE:NLY) -1.6% AH on plans to cut Q2 dividend. Apache (NYSE:APA) -2.2% AH after big Q1 earnings miss. CVS Health (NYSE:CVS) +5.4% raising EPS guidance. Enterprise Products (NYSE:EPD) +1.6% with crude volumes at quarterly record. Fitbit (NYSE:FIT) +2.1% AH as revenues grew near 10%. MetLife (NYSE:MET) unchanged after mixed results. Southern Co. (NYSE:SO) -1.3% missing expectations. Square (NYSE:SQ) -6.1% AH amid weaker payment volumes. Qualcomm (QCOM) -3.5% AH on lackluster sales forecast. Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) +9.8% AH smashing bookings estimates.

Today's Markets 

In Asia, Japan closed. Hong Kong +0.8%. China closed. India -0.1%.  In Europe, at midday, London -0.1%. Paris -0.5%. Frankfurt +0.2%.  Futures at 6:20, Dow +0.2%. S&P +0.2%. Nasdaq +0.3%. Crude -1.1% to $62.88. Gold -0.9% to $1272.10. Bitcoin +1.3% to $5367.  Ten-year Treasury Yield +1 bps to 2.52%

Today's Economic Calendar

Auto Sales 7:30 Challenger Job-Cut Report 8:30 Productivity and Costs 8:30 Initial Jobless Claims 10:00 Factory Orders 10:30 EIA Natural Gas Inventory 4:30 PM Money Supply 4:30 PM Fed Balance Sheet

Regards,

Roger “Raj”  Searing rajsearing@gmail.com

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