Merk Investments | Merk Research

As part of Merk’s in-house research we regularly evaluate a consistent set of charts covering the economy, equities, fixed income, commodities and currencies.

The aim is to keep our eyes open and to look through the noise of the headlines, avoiding the distractions of sensationalized click-bait.

Source: Merk Investments – Merk Research

Dozens Of CIA Agents Running As Democrats In 2018 Elections

The international socialists report: “One quarter of all the Democratic challengers in competitive House districts have military-intelligence, State Department or NSC backgrounds.

This is by far the largest subcategory of Democratic candidates. National security operatives (57) outnumber state and local government officials (45), lawyers (35), corporate executives, businessmen and wealthy individuals (30) and other professionals (19) among the candidates for Democratic congressional nominations.”

Source: Jimmy Dore Show: Dozens Of CIA Agents Running As Democrats In 2018 Elections

Merk University | The Business Cycle

As part of Merk’s in-house research we regularly evaluate a consistent set of charts covering the economy, equities, fixed income, commodities and currencies. The aim is to keep our eyes open and to look through the noise of the headlines, avoiding the distractions of sensationalized click-bait.

Source: Merk University: The Business Cycle

Wind turbines are getting taller, bigger, and more powerful | Vox


The history of wind power development has been the history of engineering taller and taller turbines with bigger and bigger blades. It’s a tricky and delicate business.

Tall, skinny things, placed in higher winds, tend to bend and flex. When long turbine blades bend, they can crash into the tower, or hub, like this Danish system did in 2008 after its “brake” failed and it spun out of control ..

Source: Wind turbines are getting taller, bigger, and more powerful – Vox

U.S. strike on China’s ZTE another blow for Qualcomm


The U.S. Department of Commerce slapped a seven-year ban on sales to ZTE on Monday for breaking terms of an agreement reached last year after it was caught illegally shipping goods to Iran.

Caught in the crossfire is Qualcomm, whose products account for the lion’s share of chips inside ZTE smartphones. The Chinese company shipped an estimated 46.4 million phones last year, according to IHS Markit.

“If you look at ZTE it sells around 45 million smartphones per year globally, and almost half of them have Qualcomm chips,” said Neil Shah, research director at Counterpoint Research.

Source: U.S. strike on China’s ZTE another blow for Qualcomm

Sinclair’s pro-Trump news is taking over local TV. See if they own your station. | Vox


The video, from Deadspin’s Timothy Burke, shows local anchors around the country reciting the same scripted lines that Sinclair provided.

They all say they are “concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country.” It’s the local news version of Sean Hannity or Tucker Carlson complaining that the “mainstream media” is lying to Americans.

But now it’s not just happening on one influential station; it’s an organized effort happening on hundreds of stations, all around the nation.

Source: Sinclair’s pro-Trump news is taking over local TV. See if they own your station. – Vox

A Big European Win For Agile: Spotify’s Wall Street Debut Succeeds


Spotify’s listing on the NY Stock Exchange sympolized a number of things. It symbolized the emergence of streaming as the new dominant format in music.

And just as important, it symbolizes a big win for a firm that has been a prominent implementer of Agile management from the outset.

The “Spotify model” of Agile was widely disseminated by several famous YouTube videos here and here.

Its approach of “squads”, “tribes” and “chapters” has been emulated by many companies around the world, both large and small.

It is Agile management that has been key in enabling Spotify to compete—and succeed—in the face of much better funded rivals like Apple and Amazon.

Source: A Big European Win For Agile: Spotify’s Wall Street Debut Succeeds

Western allies expel scores of Russian diplomats over Skripal attack | The Guardian


The EU members Germany, France and Poland are each to expel four Russian diplomats with intelligence agency backgrounds. Lithuania and the Czech Republic said they would expel three, and Denmark, Italy and the Netherlands two each. Estonia, Latvia, Croatia, Finland, Hungary, Sweden and Romania each expelled one Russian. Iceland announced it would not be sending officials to the World Cup in Russia.

Ukraine, which is not an EU member, is to expel 13 Russian diplomats, while Albania, an EU candidate member, ordered the departure of two Russians from the embassy in Tirana. Macedonia, another EU candidate, expelled one Russian official.

Canada announced it was expelling four diplomatic staff serving in Ottawa and Montreal who the Canadian government said were spies. A pending application from Moscow for three more diplomatic posts in Canada is being denied.

Australia confirmed that it too would expel two Russian diplomats who were in the country as undeclared intelligence officers, giving them seven days to leave.

Source: Western allies expel scores of Russian diplomats over Skripal attack | World news | The Guardian

Nevada lawmaker: ‘Rumor mill’ says Ryan headed for exit | TheHill


“The rumor mill is that Paul Ryan is getting ready to resign in the next 30 to 60 days and that Steve Scalise will be the new Speaker,” Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.) told Nevada Newsmakers, referring to the Majority Whip from Louisiana.

Source: Nevada lawmaker: ‘Rumor mill’ says Ryan headed for exit | TheHill

Canadian consumer debt hits new high amid watchdog warnings | Financial Post


Equifax Canada said Monday that the country’s consumers owed $1.821 trillion as of the fourth quarter of 2017, a new high that was up 1.3 per cent from the previous quarter and six per cent from a year earlier.

The Swiss-based BIS said in its report that some credit-related indicators “point to vulnerabilities in several jurisdictions,” and added that Canada was one of those that had stood out, with both its credit-to-GDP gap and debt service ratio “flashing red” under the group’s color-coded scheme.

The credit-to-GDP gap is the difference between the credit-to-GDP ratio and its long-term trend, while the debt service ratios track interest and principal payments compared to income.

Source: Canadian consumer debt hits new high amid watchdog warnings | Financial Post