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Wall Street Strategies has been providing independent stock market research since 1991 to individual, retail and institutional clients through a balanced approach to investing and trading. Charles Payne, our founder and chief analyst, is routinely sought after for his stock market, political,... More
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  • Barbarians Inside The Gate By Charles Payne

    On Friday, shares of National Bank of Greece (NYSE:NBG) were halted for trading the last print of $0.16 a share. This stock once changed hands at $700 a share! I struggle to put this in perspective-I am just not sure what the comparison is. After all, Lehman was a much bigger fail, with respect to raw numbers, but as for being the premiere financial proxy for an entire nation, this is the National Bank of Greece.

    I am not sure if the news coming out of Greece will begin to influence our markets again. Once terror slips from the front pages, the world will have to deal with European nations that are in trouble again. Yes, you can kick the can down the road, but the can gets heavier and the distance gets shorter until it doesn't budge.

    Perhaps the scariest statistic that I've read is about Greek sex workers.

    According to a new study, Greek sex workers are charging on average $2.12 for thirty-minute sessions; many are engaging as sex workers in exchange for food.

    In the meantime, the Greece Gross Domestic Product (NYSE:GDP) is failing further into a recession.

    In addition, Italy has had its share of mounting problems; along with Portugal that just announced it's going back to some of its old lavish pay programs, including two-month bonuses. But they don't have the money.

    Recently, Congress joined with President Obama to ease back from provisions in sequestration because everyone knows America is flush with cash. Europe probably missed a golden chance for real reforms. Now, it's dealing with terrorism and a migrant crisis that will squeeze budgets even tighter.

    Moreover, there's no doubt that Greece will come to regret not facing itself with tougher love. Its efforts to create soft landings after decades of profligate spending and promising must come home to roost. The effort to portray themselves as a rich and successful nation will mean waking up one day to find the barbarians are inside the gates- and it's them.

    Today's Session

    Stocks look to open slightly higher but without much conviction as the experts try to spin Thanksgiving and Black Friday retail results. There is no doubt the numbers were less than hoped for but whether it is because folks began shopping earlier remains to be seen. Today is Cyber Monday and there can be no excuses if it comes up short of expectations.

    According to ShopperTrak Thanksgiving and Black Friday generated $12.1 billion sales which are lower year over year while online sales surged 21.5% on Black Friday from a year earlier according to IBM Watson Trend. With advancements in smart phone technology fewer people need to wait until Monday to catch cyber sales opportunities. Still, today has to be big for the retail space which has been in a rut.

    Nov 30 11:48 AM | Link | Comment!
  • Deep Pocketed ISIS & Cost Of Terror By Charles Payne

    The United States has joined Russia in targeting ISIS' oil trucks, launching at least 283 strikes over the weekend. It's a step in the right direction; it is likely too little, and maybe too late. According to a number of sources, ISIS has expanded into an economic powerhouse with various streams of income.

    ISIS has numerous sources of revenue, including:

    ISIS 2014 Money

    Million USD













    Source US Treasury, Islamic State Financial documents &Bloomberg

    As much as we may loath to admit it, ISIS is a state. ISIS controls 50% of Syrian wheat, 33 % of Iraqi wheat, and 40% of Iraqi barley production.

    With this in mind, it is time to fight ISIS the way we would fight a nation, which means a scorched-earth and going after all assets. If this is the case, it seems bewildering not to have a plan, and then to fight a war based on public relations instead of a plan to win. While we dither, look at the wide swath of land already controlled by the 'junior varsity team.'

    Global Terror Cost

    However, I must admit that after listening to President Obama yesterday, I have little hope ISIS will even be contained; let alone defeated. For now, terrorism will probably continue to be a global phenomenon. There were attacks yesterday in Tunisia and in Egypt that killed a lot of people; it probably felt like any other day.

    According to Institute for Economics and Peace, the direct and indirect global cost of terrorism tallied close to $53.0 billion last year. The organization's Vision of Humanity unit tallies the numbers and calls them conservative.

    I also suspect that the tally is a lot more- financially and emotionally. The growth of the global middle- class only happened as a peace dividend. Africa is on the cusp of joining, which makes it Ground Zero for terrorists.

    However, vanity targets are in the west, including the United States.

    As we head into the holidays, we must be vigilant, but not cower. In the meantime, we'll have to find ways to reestablish leadership and restore calm and confidence as the nation is poised to go off the rails.

    Today's Session

    Lots of economic data pouring in today and we will have more details in the afternoon note but I want to point out personal income and spending. Income came in at solid 0.4% increase paced by a robust 0.6% increase in wages. But, the spending needle barely moved as savings continues to climb. Once again, I say it's a reflection of a lack of confidence in leadership that spreads to the lack of confidence in all factors of life- hence squirrel away the cash and see what happens.

    State of Consumer


    Personal Income


    Personal Spending




    The stock of the morning is Deere (NYSE:DE) which blew away earnings estimates even as revenues decreased 25% from a year ago. Guidance hints as the construction slowed down maybe coming to an end in 2016 as those sales are seen down only 5%.

    Nov 25 10:34 AM | Link | 1 Comment
  • Welfare Utopia Become Economic & Security Hades By Charles Payne

    The manhunt continues in Belgium and other parts of Europe for one of the planners of the Paris terror attacks. This would be a great time to zero in on economic woes in Europe that not only persist, but also have opened the door to terror. In many ways, we could say that the welfare state replaced not only traditional capitalism, but it also allowed and encouraged the entire continent to forego population growth.

    Migrants from the Middle East are pouring into Europe at unprecedented numbers. Long treks from places such as Syria to Germany underscore that this might be a humanitarian crisis, but migrants are still looking for top dollar. It's really remarkable that such programs haven't gone through massive reductions in the aftermath of the global recession; however, the amounts are a huge lure for someone coming from any Middle Eastern nation.

    There are separate programs for migrants that vary from nation to nation. For citizens, the great welfare lure is and has become a death trap. It's not so ironic that America is beginning to rival Europe, as the current administration has been busy building a Great Welfare Utopia. For a household in Washington, D.C., just the top six benefits (out of 100) would see an income of $34,963. This is why the United States has suddenly seen more and more refugees show up at our southern border.

    Welfare Utopias

    Washington DC










    Source: Cato Institute

    However, importing would-be terrorists is just one of the problems with exorbitant welfare programs that deter work. The biggest problem has been the massive slowing of production and fading prosperity.

    There are a few nations, including Greece that were forced to make some reductions, which explains why that nation is more of a thoroughfare for migrants these days rather than a final destination. For the people of Greece who fought tooth and nail against any reforms, despite desperately needed bailouts, this continues to be an area of contention.

    Greece's welfare state is still immense and its legacy lives on nonetheless. Kicked off the front pages, the issues of Greece's future are as murky as ever underscored with the decline of share price for the National Bank of Greece (NYSE:NBG) to an all-time low. I am a little worried that Europe could become headline news once terror begins to fade.

    Of course, the bar is so low for Europe; it won't take too much clear expectations, but that will only mask the need for more welfare reform, lower taxes, and maybe ditching the Euro.

    The welfare state is a dead end; these days, it not only rots great nations, but it also brings actual death, too.

    Today's Session

    Well the plot thickens this morning after Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet over Syria. Conflicting reports on why this happened with Turkey claiming it issued 10 warnings over five minutes after the plane crossed into its airspace.

    Apparently one pilot died and the other has been captured by rebels.

    Turkey is a NATO member and has already called for a meeting. This will make an already tense situation even more difficult. NATO didn't invoke Article 5 when ISIS blew up Paris and it's unlikely they want to ratchet up this situation.

    Russia is saying it's been "stabbed in the back" and there will be some form of retaliation. There is a lot of economic data out this morning including the latest on 3Q15 GDP reversed to 2.15 from 1.5%. There are lots of moving parts this morning including numerous wildcards.

    Nov 24 9:43 AM | Link | Comment!
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