Read this First 05/14/2019

BRING IT ON !!! .. Tech-nerds and other prognosticators claim that by 2050 there will be more sex between "person and robot" than "person to person".  Sheri of "Sheri's Ranch" (the largest brothel in Nevada ..and maybe the USA) says, "Robots can't compete!  We're not afraid of the competition..  We offer WAY more.  We offer listening, understanding, and the human connection". Ya know, half of me agrees with that.. and half of me cannot even believe this is a conversation in today's America...  anyways...... If you thought you were tired of hearing, "Muller Report this." and "Muller report THAT" .. you'd better get ready for "Durham Report".  Attorney General Barr has assigned US Attorney from Connecticut, John Durham, to look into the origins of the "Russia Investigation" to find out if it was opened under legal circumstances or if it was an attempted Coup de etat.  If nothing else, this is gonna make GREAT material for the RANT!!! .. .. and.. Was the FIX IN?? Several Generic Drug makers are being charged with price fixing of medications. Prosecutors are alleging that 19 Drug companies conspired to inflate prices and agreed to "go along" when competitors raised their prices.  These companies are SCREWED.  Prosecutors have texts, emails, and taped phone calls.  You can collude when you are OPEC.  Other than that, it's a CRIME... and..Over in the Middle East, no one is coming right out and saying it, but it is being discussed that Iran is behind the "Sabotage" of tankers in the Persian Gulf.  The White House says 120,000 Troops are ready to be deployed if Iran tries anything fishy. You might say, "why would they do that? The USA will crush them".  Well, yeah.. but the USA has cut IRAN off from many world markets over sanctions.  When rabid animals are backed into a corner, bad things happen ... and...  France and New Zealand are leading a campaign to "End Extremism on the Internet" . Uh.. yeah.. sure..  you cannot begin to censor and have it end well.  Watch it, control it, and arrest people when they call for violence.  But, if politicians are going to start censoring the internet we are ALL SCREWED ... The Supreme Court ruled that a lawsuit brought by APP users against Apple may proceed.  The suit alleges that Apple overcharges for Apps.  Apple argued that since the App creators set prices the users cannot sue Apple.  The SCOTUS disagreed.  Well, actually, the Conservatives agreed.  The Liberals wanted the case to proceed and Justice Kavanaugh sided with the Liberals.  The case argues that Apple Charging 30% to the App makers inflates the cost and leads to price gouging.  Not sure where they are going with this. Most Apps are FREE ...NY MayorDeblasidiot, who is really stupid enough to think he can run for President and win more than 12 votes, held a "pop-up press conference" at Trump Tower in NYC.  deblasidiot pushed a "Green Deal 2030" campaign and said he will hold the Trump Organization accountable and fine them if they do not retrofit their 8 large NYC buildings with "Greener" technology by 2030. (DUH, deblasidiot will be gone LONG before that). The Stunt backfired. While he tried to speak people held up signs, "worst Mayor Ever" and heckled him.. and then started playing really loud music so you could not hear him.  I'm guessing the aide that came up with this idea got fired on the way back to the office... also in NY, Senator Kristin Gillibrand is blaming, "Gender Bias" for the fact she is projected to get ZERO percent of votes in the Democratic Presidential Primary. AHAHAHHA..  Yeah, it could be you're a woman.. and it could be you're an egomaniac NY Politician and other than NY, NJ, CT and California Americans HATE everything you stand for..So, it MIGHT be the Gender thing.. lemme do more research...  Former President Jimmy Carter had emergency surgery after falling and breaking his hip. Carter is 94, so there is NO THING as "simple surgery" but he appears to be OK.  Hang in there, Jimmy.  Don't die until it warms up and we can play golf on your National Day of Mourning..  .. SPORTS:  NHL: St Louis wins to tie the Series 1-1 with the San Jose Sharks .. NBA: The ping pong ball pick is tonight. NY and Cleveland have the best odds to get the #1 pick .. and.. John Beilein will be leaving the University of Michigan to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers. My son read the article outloud and said.. "Huh, he won exactly ZERO championships at Michigan so they want him in the NBA??"   Well, think about it.. if you're a superstar winning coach .. and the Head Coaching job is open at the LA Lakers, Phoenix, Memphis and Cleveland.. where are you gonna go?  So, Cleveland's gotta take what they can get!! ..  Doesn't matter.  You could hire Steve Kerr AND Phil Jackson AND Bill Belichick .. or ME and Cleveland will make the playoffs the SAME AMOUNT of times in the next 10 years.. ZERO.. ZERO TIMES..  GOLF:  Justin Thomas withdraws from the PGA with a wrist injury. So, if you bet on him, pick someone else..  ....CELEBRIDIOTS:  RIP to Doris Day who died at 97.  Is that sad?  Or is 97 "Long enough" ??  ....The TV Show, "Empire" will be cancelled after season 6.  The producers say there is no plan to bring back Jussie Smollett.  So, that is the last you will hear about him except for court cases, I am predicting..  .. Felicity Huffman pleaded guilty in an LA court to "College Admission Scandal" crimes and agreed to pay $20,000 in fines.  Prosecutors are asking for 4 months in jail and then 1 year of house arrest supervision.  Judges like remorseful, first offenders who take deals.  I'll bet she does less than a month in actual jail.  Maybe even a week...on the other hand, Lori Loughlin had better start watching prison porn to get herself ready.  She is going in for a looooonnngggg timmmmeeeee... and Network TV will NOT be airing the Victoria Secret Fashion Show anymore.  HERE VS said that Network TV is NOT the right option for them.. They will use "Other Mediums" going forward.. For those speculating it will be on RAJ LIVE, don't get your hopes up !!!  I'm just getting a basic WEBSITE running after 16 years.. I won't be ready to stream live from the Raj Tub for YEARS!!! 

From Seekingalpha.com

Equities in Asia fell overnight, playing catch-up to yesterday's selloff on Wall Street, which saw the Dow dive 617 points as China retaliated against new U.S. tariffs with its own $60B in levies on American imports. There's now a refreshing sea of green being seen across major European markets, as well as in the U.S., with DJIA and S&P 500 futures up 0.7% and Nasdaq ahead by 1%. Some optimism? President Trump has not ruled out the prospect of a trade accord being reached within weeks and said he was prepared to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at the coming G20 summit in June.

Another round of aid for U.S. farmers

The Trump administration is planning on providing about $15B in aid to help U.S. farmers whose products may be targeted by the newly unveiled Chinese tariffs. The group has been among the hardest hit in the trade war, with U.S. soybean futures falling to their lowest in a decade on Monday and shipments of the most valuable U.S. farm export to China dropping to a 16-year low in 2018. A new aid program would be the second round of assistance for American farmers, after the Department of Agriculture's $12B compensation plan last year.

One-day shipping latest retail salvo

Walmart (NYSE:WMT) is firing back against Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), which on April 25 promised one-day delivery for all Prime members and announced it would spend $800M toward the shipping goal in the second quarter alone. Walmart's service will begin in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Southern California, with expansion plans of reaching roughly 75% of American consumers by the end of 2019. While customers won't have to be part of a loyalty club, orders have to be worth at least $35 to qualify.

That means lots of deliveries

In need of more drivers, Amazon (AMZN) is offering $10,000 and three months of pay to its employees who quit to start delivery firms. Demand for so-called last-mile delivery is booming as more Americans shop online, but drivers are increasingly scarce due to the tightest U.S. labor market in 50 years. As the program grows, Amazon is likely to cut back on the amount of business it gives to the other big competitors, directing fewer packages to UPS (NYSE:UPS), FedEx (NYSE:FDX) and the Postal Service.

$6K, $7K, $8K

While it was trading under $6,000 just over a week ago, Bitcoin (BTC-USD) is continuing its record run, soaring over 16% overnight to $8,175 amid a broader crypto rally. Some bullish news was seen from Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) decentralized project, Ion, on Bitcoin blockchain, as well as Bakkt's Bitcoin Futures contract launch in July. Another reasonable speculation is major institutional money flowing into cryptocurrencies as managers seek some hedges while U.S. equities sell off.

More Roundup trouble for Bayer

A Northern California jury has ordered Bayer (OTCPK:BAYRY) to pay more than $2B to a couple who say they were diagnosed with cancer after using the company’s glyphosate-based weedkiller Roundup. Bayer said it was disappointed with the jury’s decision and planned to appeal, adding that it "conflicts directly" with the EPA's finding that there are "no risks to public health from the current registered uses of glyphosate." It's the third lawsuit the company has lost related to Roundup, an herbicide produced by Monsanto, which Bayer acquired last year for $63B.

Supreme Court rules against Apple

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares slipped 5.8% yesterday as the Supreme Court ruled against the tech giant in its App Store antitrust case. Hundred of millions of dollars in penalties are at stake in the issue. While four iPhone owners had sued the company saying it had unlawfully monopolized the aftermarket for apps, Apple had tried to dismiss the suit saying the owners couldn't sue because they weren't direct purchasers.

Wages, spyware, breakup

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is hiking its $15 minimum wage for all U.S. contract workers - up to $22 in some areas - committing to a "higher standard that better reflects local costs of living." WhatsApp has confirmed that its phone conversations could have potentially been tapped by a third party amid reports outlining allegations that Israel-based NSO Group was able to successfully install malware. Lastly, Joe Biden announced he would be open to breaking up Facebook, marking the latest Democratic presidential candidate to press for greater regulation of prominent Silicon Valley companies.

Vodafone tackles debt burden with dividend cut

Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) has slashed its annual dividend by 40% to €0.09, reversing a pledge to maintain the payout in order to secure enough firepower to build 5G networks and complete its acquisition of Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA) assets. Nick Read, the former CFO who has been in the top job since October, said the decision had not been taken lightly. Yesterday, Vodafone agreed to sell its New Zealand operation for an enterprise value of €2.1B, to a consortium of private equity including Infratil (OTC:INFTY) and Brookfield Asset Management (NYSE:BAM). VOD +2.6% premarket.

Uber CEO warns of 'tough' market ahead

Uber (NYSE:UBER) shares fell another 11% on Monday, more than doubling their losses since the ride-hailing giant's poorly received market debut. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said he expected the stock to remain under pressure in the coming months, but "we have all the capital we need to demonstrate a path to improved margins and profits." Investors have also struggled to figure out how much Uber and Lyft (NASDAQ:LYFT) are worth, given both companies have not estimated a timeline for turning a profit.

What else is happening...

'Masters Of Cloud' series continues in a new article from contributor High Watermark Investment.

Approval for CVS-Aetna merger may come after final hearings.

Twitter (NYSE:TWTRbug shared some iOS user location data.

Germany's biggest IPO in 2019... Volkswagen (OTCPK:VWAGY) trucks unit Traton.

Nissan (OTCPK:NSANY) flags weakest profit in 11 years after Ghosn arrest.

Saudi Arabia, Argentina weighting added to MSCI Emerging Markets Index (ETF: EEM).

Direct listing of messaging app Slack (SK) coming June 20.

Contributor Dividend Sensei discusses portfolio changes that will profit from the trade war.

Today's Markets 

In Asia, Japan -0.6%. Hong Kong -1.5%. China -0.7%. India +0.6%.  In Europe, at midday, London +0.9%. Paris +1.1%. Frankfurt +0.6%.  Futures at 6:20, Dow +0.7%. S&P +0.7%. Nasdaq +1%. Crude +0.7% to $61.46. Gold -0.3% to $1298.40. Bitcoin +16.1% to $8175.  Ten-year Treasury Yield flat at 2.41%

Today's Economic Calendar

3:15 Fed's Williams Speech 6:00 NFIB Small Business Optimism Index 8:30 Import/Export Prices 8:55 Redbook Chain Store Sales 12:45 PM Fed's George speech

Regards,

Roger “Raj”  Searing rajsearing@gmail.com

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