Monday, June 24, 2013

Monday Morning Links And News

Active rigs: 189 (no change)

RBN Energy: PADD 1 NGL storage requirements

Two energy blackouts: yesterday The Williston Herald tweeted that there was a spate of electricity outages across the city of Williston; no explanation given; probably resolved. Then this morning, The LA Times is reporting that the central California coast experienced widespread blackouts affecting 145,000 customers; the utilities do not know the cause of the widespread blackouts.  

WSJ Links

Section D (Personal Journal): I can't even imagine reading the "conversation with the president's chief economic adviser on "the economic view from the White House." More interesting, I would assume, is the article on "The Pension Crisis." Hopefully the other sections have better selections.

And it looks like we will have some interesting stories in Section C (Money & Investing). I had the opportunity to visit Brazil many years ago, specifically looking at its military-industrial complex, and I came away with doubts that Brazil would be all that folks said it could be. I am not surprised by the Journal's pessimistic view of the BRICS. The Journal has a very interesting article suggesting that "emerging markets are on their own":
It is high time investors demerged emerging markets.
Protests on the streets of Brazil and Turkey, a cash crunch in China's financial system, strikes in South Africa: These all indicate rising stress in developing economies. Add in signals the Federal Reserve may soon scale back its bond-purchasing program, and things are looking ugly for countries that have delivered about 75% of global growth over the past decade.
After a decade or so in which emerging markets reliably juiced the global economy, this is a wake-up call for investors.
These countries vary in terms of economic and political development. Protesters in different places have particular grievances, from Brazilians facing higher bus fares to Turks fearing the destruction of a park.
As mentioned some time ago, I was initially excited by Petrobras but I quickly got over that when I realized that the Brazilians would never risk their sandy beaches with offshore drilling. China, I don't know: the culture and the government are completely different. But Turkey has major political issues and that country, too, could take a serious turn for the worse.  The economic story for investors is one story; I think the political story is going to be the BIG story for most of these countries. I think Brazil has a bigger problem than most people realize.

In Section B (Marketplace) there's a nice short piece about the Fed and tapering, suggesting that the wrong question is being asked. It's not whether the Fed will taper; it's whether the Fed "can" taper; it risks pushing the economy back into a recession. Bottom line: even with all the stimulus there hasn't been much improvement in the economy, and the unemployment picture has hardly improved despite the spin from the government and the mainstream media.

All that talk about using your electronic devices while flying? Not so fast. It looks like the excitement was overdone. And all those suspicions that cyberattacks were coming out of China may have been misplaced; there is evidence that the recent spate of cyberattacks were coming out of India.

The headline story in Section A is, of course, the Snowden story. The story line is certainly different than it would have been had this occurred under the Bush administration. President Obama's name comes up twice in the article; had this story broken during the Bush administration, "it" would have been all about Bush-Cheney and almost nothing about Snowden.

I assume President Obama's speech tomorrow on climate change will be a "state of the union address" with a long laundry list to appease his faux environmental base. As long as he does not invoke any executive orders it will be a non-event by a very, very lame duck president.

I have no dog in this fight, and I've lost interest in the whole story, but for those of you who still like solar energy, you may enjoy this, the power struggle between utilities and solar-using homeowners:
At issue in an Iowa lawsuit is whether solar-system marketers can sell electricity in territories where local utilities have exclusive rights to customers. Such an arrangement isn't allowed or is under dispute in many states, limiting solar firms to sales of panels to homeowners and businesses.
But if they win in Iowa, it could pave the way for fledgling solar industries to expand in other states. The case is being watched closely elsewhere in the Midwest, where policies granting utilities a monopoly on electricity service are one reason a solar-construction boom hasn't occurred, unlike in states such as California and New Jersey.
Most interesting: there are thirteen headline stories in "world news." Not one headline has anything to do with Syria. Not one. Ten days ago, Syria was ready to implode and bring down the world with it. And today: nothing. The closest any article comes is a story on deadly fighting erupting in Lebanon. So, I suppose the etat du jour will be Lebanon. And so it goes.

Will op-eds being any better? They are all pretty good, but not worth separating out. If interested, here is the link to today's WSJ op-ed page.

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