Thursday, March 31, 2016

Oil Producers Not Alone in Downturn

Oil Producers Not Alone in Downturn
By Anthony Jerdine | March 30, 2016
Much is written about the plight of shale oil producers stemming from the downturn in oil prices. Forty-two oil companies declared bankruptcy in the U.S. in 2015, according to Haynes and Boone, and management consulting companies like Deloitte predict much more will experience the same fate in 2016. (For more, see: 5 Energy Companies Crushed by Low Oil in 2016.) Oil producers are not the only ones suffering in the oil downturn. Many other sectors related to oil production are also facing challenges as the number of Exploration and Production (E&P) companies declaring bankruptcy grows.
Midstream Companies
Oil transportation companies, also known as midstream companies, are feeling the pressure of low oil prices. E&P companies, or upstream companies, are hoping to exit deals made with these midstream transportation companies as oil producers seek bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 restructuring, reports Oil & Gas 360. It is an unusual move because these transport contracts are usually unbreakable and remain in place even after production is sold to a new owner post-bankruptcy. In this lower oil price environment; however, upstream companies that are burdened with high debt loads are seeking alternative ways to free themselves from other financial obligations to provide more flexibility during bankruptcy proceedings.
This is a real headache for midstream companies that negotiated transportation contracts when oil prices were significantly higher than they are today. Bankrupt E&P companies are no longer able to pay previously negotiated prices and are trying to cancel pipeline contracts to clear the way for possible acquisition deals. For example, Quicksilver Resources Inc. is seeking to cancel its pipeline transportation contract with Crestwood Midstream Partners LP(CEQP) by March 31 to close the sale of its U.S. assets to BlueStone Natural Resources for $245 million, Reuters reports.
In another deal, Sabine Oil & Gas filed a motion in court to cancel its midstream contracts. Sabine argued that it “could not deliver the required minimum amounts of gas and condensate and that rejection would save Sabine as much as $115 million,” according to the law firm Jones Day. Fitch Ratings, a credit rating agency, said in a press release related to Sabine Oil & Gas’s motion to cancel its contracts with the midstream service providers that “counterparty risks continue to be a concern for the midstream service space given expectations for continued E&P bankruptcy activity.”
Offshore Drillers
Another sector that is under a lot of pressure is the offshore drilling sector. Moody’s, another credit rating agency, says the offshore drilling industry is going through a severe cyclical downturn, and the agency expects day-rates to remain depressed over the next several years because of low producer spending and rig oversupply.
Paragon Offshore plc filed for bankruptcy on February 15, affecting $2.4 billion worth of debt, according to Moody’s. Paragon joins several other energy companies that have sought creditor protection amid the oil rout. Hercules Offshore Inc., the owner of the largest fleet of shallow-water drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, said Feb. 11 that it’s exploring strategic alternatives — just three months after emerging from bankruptcy, Bloomberg reports.
At the end of February, Moody’s concluded rating reviews on six U.S. offshore drilling companies. Moody’s downgraded two companies’ ratings three notches, three companies’ ratings four notches and one company’s rating (Ensco plc) five notches to B1 from Baa2. The sharp downgrade reflects Moody’s view that Ensco’s leverage will increase to very high levels as more of its rigs roll off contracts in an extremely challenging offshore contract drilling market.
Multiple notch rating moves are rare for the rating agencies and are usually reserved for industries or companies under considerable financial strain.
Rig Contractors
Rig contractors have suffered the double blow of declining customer demand due to tumbling oil prices and a glut of vessels that continue to be built to meet orders made before the rout, Rigzone reports. Transocean Ltd. (RIG) leads the industry in reducing its fleet, with 24 rigs scrapped since the downturn began and it could retire another eight to ten over the next year to 18 months. In the meantime, Schlumberger (another oil industry service provider) said it’s not expecting a meaningful recovery in its own activity until next year.
Bank Loan Exposure
Debt has fuelled the shale boom, but as prices fell, companies that borrowed too much have started to find themselves under strain. This is also putting pressure on the banks that lent to these companies to fund the expansion. IMF economists warned in February that commodity price shocks could weaken banks in developing economies. It is not just regional banks in the US that are feeling the pain—big international banks have exposure to the oil sector too.
As an example, bankrupt Paragon Offshore mentioned earlier, has debt that includes $708 million due under a revolving credit agreement and $642 million due under a secured term loan, both organized by JPMorgan Chase Bank, Bloomberg reports. As a result, several major banks are reducing their exposure to the energy sector by attempting to sell off souring loans, declining to renew them or clamping down on the ability of oil and gas companies to tap credit lines for cash, the Wall Street Journal reports.
It is not just production companies that are hurting from the drop in oil prices. Everyone from businesses that sell ancillary services such as transportation to the banks that finance the industry is feeling the effects of low prices. If oil prices stay at depressed levels for an extended period, then the number of companies filing for bankruptcy is likely to rise and will extend beyond just the upstream producers.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Apple Encryption Case

Apple Encryption Case: FBI Cracks Shooter’s iPhone (AAPL)
By Anthony Jerdine| March 29, 2016
The Department of Justice has brought an abrupt end to the encryption fight it had been waging with Apple Inc. (AAPL) over an iPhone used by Syed Rizwan Farook. In a two-page filing Monday, the government said it had gained access to the phone’s data and no longer required Apple’s assistance:
“Applicant United States of America, by and through its counsel of record, the United States Attorney for the Central District of California, hereby files this status report called for by the Court’s order issued on March 21, 2016. (CR 199.)
“The government has now successfully accessed the data stored on Farook’s iPhone and therefore no longer requires the assistance from Apple Inc. mandated by Court’s Order Compelling Apple Inc. to Assist Agents in Search dated February 16, 2016.
“Accordingly, the government hereby requests that the Order Compelling Apple Inc. to Assist Agents in Search dated February 16, 2016 be vacated.”
The government had wanted to force Apple to provide assistance to the FBI in unlocking the phone, which was used but not owned by one of the shooters who killed 14 people in San Bernardino in December (the owner consented to have the phone searched). Due to security features Apple had developed – largely in response to Edward Snowden’s 2013 revelations about government snooping – the phone could potentially have erased all of its data if officials had entered the passcode incorrectly ten times.
Apple refused to help the FBI, arguing that doing so would in effect create a “back door” to its products that could be exploited by any number of government or criminal actors. In an interview, CEO Tim Cook called the software the FBI was requesting “the equivalent of cancer.”
On March 21, the DOJ said in a filing that the FBI may have found another way to bypass the phone’s security measures, as an unnamed third party had come forward offering assistance. If Monday’s filing is to be believed, that party, which remains unidentified, was successful.
In response to the news that the DOJ would drop its dispute with Apple, the company released the following statement to the media:
“From the beginning, we objected to the FBI’s demand that Apple build a backdoor into the iPhone because we believed it was wrong and would set a dangerous precedent. As a result of the government’s dismissal, neither of these occurred. This case should never have been brought.
“We will continue to help law enforcement with their investigations, as we have done all along, and we will continue to increase the security of our products as the threats and attacks on our data become more frequent and more sophisticated.
“Apple believes deeply that people in the United States and around the world deserve data protection, security and privacy. Sacrificing one for the other only puts people and countries at greater risk.
“This case raised issues which deserve a national conversation about our civil liberties, and our collective security and privacy. Apple remains committed to participating in that discussion.”
Unresolved Questions
The outcome leaves a number of difficult questions brought up by the case unanswered. The appropriate role of the 18th-century All Writs Act, which the government had used to try to compel Apple to help it unlock the phone, is still unsettled. The larger debate over the balance that government and business should strike between security and privacy concerns is also unresolved.
That debate had widened to the point that, by late February, a host of public luminaries had come out on either Apple’s side or the FBI’s, with President Obama decrying the urge to create “black boxes” that no warrant could gain access to, and Silicon Valley CEOs such as Mark Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai supporting the stand taken by their Apple counterpart. The public also became involved, with 89% of respondents to a February 18-21 Pew Research Center poll expressing an opinion on the case:
From Cook’s perspective, it is likely a relief not to be involved in an ongoing dispute with the U.S. government. He is no longer in danger of being declared in contempt of court and jailed over the original court order, issued on February 16, which might eventually have compelled Apple to provide the software the FBI wanted.
On the other hand, Apple’s encryption has been shown to be vulnerable. The government, in short, may have created its own back door, which may worry iPhone owners and which begs the question: will Apple now create even stronger encryption, perpetuating the arms race between security forces and privacy advocates? The answer is almost certainly yes, so the issue is likely to resurface.
The Verdict
The FBI, according to a court filing, has found another way into the iPhone used by Syed Rizwan Farook, presumably through the assistance of the unnamed third party it mentioned last week. It is not certain that the government has in fact been able to access the phone, but in any case it’s abandoned its pursuit of Apple’s assistance, which CEO Tim Cook had bitterly resisted giving. That leaves the broader debate over the balance between privacy and security in the post-Snowden, post-9/11 era unresolved. In addition, iPhone owners are likely wondering whether the government can now bypass their encryption.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Brokered Convention

Brokered Convention: What Would It Mean for Republicans?
By Anthony Jerdine| Updated March 28, 2016
As former Right to Rise Super PAC chief Mike Murphy told the Weekly Standard after Jeb Bush dropped out of the race, things were different before there were political primaries. “You’d just pack a quart of liquor, a revolver, and go to the convention.” Those days are gone, but on the Republican side at least, they may be about to make a comeback.
As of Thursday, March 24, real estate mogul Donald Trump leads the much-thinned-out Republican pack with 739 delegates. Texas Senator Ted Cruz trails him by a significant margin, with 465, while Ohio Governor John Kasich has 143 (Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who dropped out earlier this month, has 166).
If the nomination simply went to the candidate with the largest tally, Trump’s task would be simple. But the Republican National Convention requires its nominee to win the majority of the party’s 2,472 delegates. The magic number, in other words, is 1,237. If no candidate hits that threshold in the convention’s first ballot, the party holds a dreaded “brokered” convention, leaving the door open for a candidate without an unassailable mandate to win the nomination.
What are the Odds?
Kasich, who won the state he governs outright and has picked up delegates here and there in states that award them proportionally, seems determined to stay in the race, despite his failure to pick up any delegates in Tuesday’s contests in Arizona, Utah and American Samoa. Assuming the three-man race continues, things could go awry for Trump in large states that award delegates proportionally – such as California on June 7 – and he could find himself short of the magic number come July 18.
Then what happens? Depending on the size of his shortfall, Trump could still become the nominee when the delegates cast their first ballot in Cleveland, since over 100 unbound and uncommitted delegates’ votes will be up for grabs. In Pennsylvania, for example, the primary is mostly cosmetic, and 54 of the state’s 71 delegates vote as they please. Then there are the 181 delegates that were awarded to candidates who have since dropped out: these are reassigned according to a bewildering array of state laws and rules.
What are the odds there’s still no nominee after the first ballot is cast? According to Paddy Power, the safer bet is that the first round yields a nominee, with odds of 1/3 (implied probability of 75%) as of Wednesday, compared to 9/5 for a second round (implied probability of 36%).
Brokered Conventions of Yesteryear
For the sake of argument, say that it does come to a second vote. Then the quarts come out, and the power brokers retreat to their smoke-filled rooms. Since the process was revamped after 1968, Republicans have not had a brokered convention. The last one was in 1952, when Eisenhower clinched the nomination despite trailing Ohio Senator Robert Taft in the initial tally.
From 1860 to 1948, nine Republican conventions came to multiple ballots. In six of those conventions, the eventual winner did not start off with the most delegates. In 1880, James Garfield came to Chicago without a single delegate and left with the nomination. The next year he moved into the White House.
Today’s hypothetical open convention would probably differ from these precedents. For example, describing these conventions as “brokered” evokes the political bosses who ran the show in the old days, but the bosses are mostly a thing of the past. The Party Establishment, as much as it is maligned and blamed for Republicans’ woes, has seen its power wane in recent years, so “open convention” – with its ring of chaos – is probably the better term.
The Rules
If the first ballot does not yield a nominee, most of the delegates would then become “unbound” and free to vote as they pleased in the second ballot. At that point, a sizeable anti-Trump faction within the party would likely attempt to rally support around another candidate. That candidate could be Cruz, Kasich, or someone who did not even appear on the primary ballot.
Gary Emineth, an unbound delegate from North Dakota, speculated to CNBC on March 16, “It could introduce Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, or it could be the other candidates that have already been in the race and are now out of the race [such as] Mike Huckabee [or] Rick Santorum. All those people could eventually become candidates on the floor.”
That possibility remains as long as the RNC does not keep Rule 40b for the 2016 convention, requiring the nominee to win the majority of delegates in at least eight states. If the rule were kept, Trump would probably be the only eligible nominee. An important caveat: the votes in question are not based on results from primary contests, according to RNC Rules Committee member and North Dakota unbound delegate Curley Haugland, but the votes taken by delegates at the start of the convention. Those results are not necessarily one and the same.
What if the second ballot doesn’t yield a nominee? Then they hold a third, a fourth, a fifth and so on. Rule 40e states, “If no candidate shall have received such majority, the chairman of the convention shall direct the roll of the states be called again and shall repeat the calling of the roll until a candidate shall have received a majority of the votes entitled to be cast in the convention.” In 1880 the Republicans held 36 rounds of voting before settling on Garfield, although that’s nothing compared to the 103 the Democrats held in 1924.
The People Speak
Barring total gridlock, the likely result of an open convention situation would be horse-trading among the de facto leaders of various party factions, leading some to question the democratic merits of the process as it’s currently structured. Party representatives have only fed into this line of criticism. Asked on CNBC why the GOP bothers to hold primaries at all if the party, rather than voters, decides the nominee, Haugland answered, “That’s a very good question.”
In the same vein, Diana Orrock, a Nevada delegate and Trump supporter, told CNBC Monday, “People are under the misconception that it’s the results of the caucus and the results of the primary that determines who becomes the nominee. In actuality, it’s the delegates at the national convention that are supposed to pick the nominee.”
Donald Trump has anticipated the possibility that he could lose the nomination, remarking to CNN on March 16, “I think you’d have riots. I think you’d have riots.” Earlier that day, Cruz said something similar about the prospect of a brokered convention: “I think that would be an absolute disaster. I think the people would quite rightly revolt.” (See also: The Changing Demographics and the 2016 Elections.)
The Bottom Line
Since revamping the primary process after 1968, the Republicans have not held a brokered convention. That doesn’t make it impossible, however, and history shows that almost anything can happen once the second – or 36th – ballot is cast, from a comfortable win for the front-runner to a nomination for the zero-delegate also-ran. In other words, Kasich isn’t out of the race yet. Neither, for that matter, is Rubio. Or Romney.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

7 Things that Successful Entrepreneurs do differently

Posted by Anthony Jerdine | March 27, 2016
There is a popular trend on social media at the moment that talks about us all having the same amount of hours in the day as Oprah and Richard Branson. How do some entrepreneurs get so much done in one day? It’s been proven that working longer and harder is not in itself a recipe for success. So what exactly are the successful ones doing differently? Here are seven of their dirty little secrets.
1. Love What you Do
Successful entrepreneurs stay in high vibration doing work they love. Passion and inspiration are a powerful combination. And as Steve Jobs reminds us ‘the only way to do great work is to love what you do.’
Find your passion and even when you’re distracted and swayed, stay there.
2. Eye on the Prize
The more clarity you have on your vision the more real it becomes. The power of visualization is not just about seeing, it’s also about feeling. Successful entrepreneurs feel what it’s like being on top of the mountain, not the climb to get there. They see their path as one of greatness, taking them to their destiny.
Connect with your vision daily, through a vision board, mantras, a quiet walk, meditation, whatever works for you.
3. Present and Real
Big hairy ass goals are great but they can also be damn hard to achieve. Successful entrepreneurs accept where they are now. They start with small steps whilst keeping an eye on the big vision. Goals are more achievable when broken down into manageable stages, ninety-day challenges or weekly goals.
Set a daily focus and ask yourself, for each activity you do, ‘is this taking me closer to my goal?’
4. Pay to Play
Successful people rarely resemble the person they started out as in business. Investing in personal and business development is a non negotiable for all successful entrepreneurs. Further education, programs, books, coaching, summits and seminars all play a part. This passion for learning, expanding and growth is inherently in their genes.
Learn from those that have gone before you how to grow and develop in your business, so that you can in turn inspire others.
5. Mindset Mastery
The mindset piece is hands down, the most important piece to the puzzle.
Mastering your mind is a lifelong journey. Until you get comfortable going deep with the things that are holding you back, you can’t truly expand and flourish. As Mike Dooley reminds us, ‘thoughts become things.’ Everything you’re thinking gradually starts to become your reality. Get some perspective on those thoughts and speak to yourself like you speak to a loved one.
Meet your shadows, recognize your fears and move past them. Something great awaits on the other side of fear.
6. A Meeting of Minds
Tim Ferris says ‘we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.’ So choose carefully. If we could manage to achieve everything on our own we’d more than likely have achieved it all by now, right? Successful entrepreneurs have support around them, like-minded people who inspire them and keep them accountable.
Surround yourself with like-minded people who can support you, propel you forward and keep you accountable.
7. A Deep Desire
This drive for achievement and success, or ‘hunger’ as Tony Robbins calls it, is something that sets the successful apart. It’s this hunger that fuels the body and keeps the tank full. It’s linked to your passion and your why from point number one. The ‘hungry’ have a clear purpose and an unwavering focus on the end result.
No matter how you feel, you need to get up, show up and never give up. Are you incorporating these habits into your daily routine? Keep them consistent and you will soon start to see the difference. Here’s to your success!
Thanks again to Helen Roe for the great insight!

ChartAdvisor 3/27/16 (SPY,DIA)

By Anthony Jerdine| March 27, 2016
The U.S. markets moved lower over the past week, as of Thursday’s close, with the steepest declines coming from small-cap stocks in the Russell 2000. With crude oil prices falling nearly 4%, hopes that the crude market rally could save struggling U.S. oil producers were dashed by record levels of supply build-up. There is also growing concern over the weakening of U.S. manufacturing, particularly amid dovish monetary policy decisions out of the European Central Bank (ECB) and Bank of Japan (BOJ).
International markets were mixed over the past week, as of Thursday’s U.S. close. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 1.3%; Germany’s DAX 30 fell 1%; and, Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 1.2%. In Europe, Markit PMI readings picked up in March in a sign that the region avoided a further slowdown in March. In Asia, China has shown some signs of strength during the first quarter of this year, although regulators believe that there’s still a lot of reforms that need to be pushed through to grow.

inRead invented by Teads
The S&P 500 SPDR (ARCA: SPY) fell 0.69% over the past week, as of Thursday’s close. After briefly touching its R2 resistance at 204.98, the index moved lower toward its trend line support. Traders should watch for a breakdown toward the 200-day moving average at 199.58 or a rebound to retest its R2 resistance. Looking at technical indicators, the RSI remains overbought at 63.75, while the MACD could see a bearish crossover over the near-term.
SPY Chart
The Dow Jones Industrial Average SPDR (ARCA: DIA) fell 0.43% over the past week, as of Thursday’s close. After briefly breaking through its R2 resistance at 175.42, the index retreated toward its trend line support. Traders should watch for a breakdown to R1 support at 170.01 or a rebound higher to retest its prior highs just above its R2 resistance. Looking at technical indicators, the RSI is overbought at 68.36, while the MACD could be coming to the end of an uptrend.
DIA Chart
The PowerShares QQQ Trust (NASDAQ: QQQ) fell 0.1% over the past week, as of Thursday’s close. After briefly breaking above its 200-day moving average, the index fell lower toward its R1 support at 106.27. Traders should watch for a rebound toward R2 resistance at 110.35 or a move lower toward its 50-day moving average at 102.81. Looking at technical indicators, the RSI appears modestly overbought, while the MACD may experience a bearish crossover.
QQQ Chart
The iShares Russell 2000 Index ETF (ARCA: IWM) fell 2.23% over the past week, as of Thursday’s close. After nearly reaching its R2 resistance at 110.19, the index fell to its R1 support at 106.03 and has remained near those levels. Traders should watch for a rebound to its R2 resistance or a drop to its trend line support at around 102.50. Looking at technical indicators, the RSI remains neutral at 55.42, but the MACD could see a near-term bearish crossover.
IWM Chart
The Verdict
The major indexes moved lower over the past week, as of Thursday’s close, but many still appear overbought based on their RSI readings. Next week, traders will be closely watching several important economic reports, including crude oil inventories on March 30 and employment data on April 1.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Plastic Water Bottles Safe?

It wasn’t that long ago that reusable bottles made of clear, polycarbonate plastic were all the rage — remember the Nalgene bottle every college kid in the country was toting around?
Then the National Toxicology Program released a report about the potential health risks from a chemical in the polycarbonate known as bisphenol A, or BPA — an additive that makes the plastic more shatter-proof.
BPA acts as a faux-estrogen and has been linked to a long list of maladies, including asthma, cancer, infertility, low sperm count, heart disease, liver problems and ADHD. And, in some cases, the effects appear to have been passed down, meaning the chemical reprograms an individual’s genes and causes disease in future generations.
Consumer outrage ensued. In response, manufacturers, including Nalgene, which had become the poster child for this type of plastic, announced they would replace their polycarbonate bottles with a new version that was BPA-free. Problem solved? Not exactly.
CamelBak-brand water bottles on display at an outdoor supply store in Arcadia, Calif., in 2008. The company removed BPA from the plastic in its bottles.
CamelBak-brand water bottles on display at an outdoor supply store in Arcadia, Calif., in 2008. The company removed BPA from the plastic in its bottles.For all intents and purposes, the new co-polyester BPA-free plastic is an almost undistinguishable substitute. Marketed as a safe alternative to polycarbonate, it is just as hard, just as sleek and just as durable But there is one very big caveat — it’s not clear just what the BPA was replaced with, and whether or not that chemical has been tested for estrogenic activity.
As it is, there are more than 80,000 chemicals that are used in commerce in the United States, and only a very small fraction of these have ever been tested for safety. Under the U.S. regulatory system, chemicals are generally presumed safe until proven otherwise. This is how BPA slid under the radar for so long.
But BPA is not the only chemical in plastics that could act like estrogen.
There are two known BPA replacement chemicals: Bisphenol S and F, known as BPS and BPF. These two compounds function very similarly to BPA, helping the plastic achieve a solid and sturdy consistency. Research published last year indicated that BPF and BPS may act as endocrine disruptors messing with hormones — similar to what BPA does. And based on these findings, the authors conclude that these two BPA substitutes are both as “hormonally active as BPA.”
Just how many other chemicals could be cause for consternation? According to George Bittner, professor of neuroscience at the University of Texas at Austin, there are at least a couple hundred other chemicals that are used to make some kinds of plastics that are almost certainly as much a problem as BPA.
In an analysis of 450 BPA-free plastic containers — including baby bottles, sippy cups and water bottles — Bittner and his colleagues found:
“Almost all commercially available plastic products we sampled, independent of the type of resin, product, or retail source, leached chemicals having reliably-detectable estrogenic activity, including those advertised as BPA-free. In some cases, BPA-free products released chemicals having more than BPA-containing products.”
The only problem is that these tests were unable to determine the culprit. But just like BPA, the problematic chemicals used in these plastic products did lead to endocrine disruption, which is associated with higher rates of certain cancers, altered reproductive functions, early puberty, obesity, learning disabilities and behavioral changes.
As the biological research on the health hazards of plastic products continues to pile up, the obvious question becomes: Why aren’t manufacturers providing more transparency when it comes to the chemicals being used? Well, the short answer (and the frustrating one) is that they simply don’t have to.
In the United States, bottled water and tap water are regulated by two different agencies — the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates bottled water and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates tap water. And the disparity is astonishing.
The Safe Drinking Water Act empowers the EPA to require water testing by certified laboratories and that violations be reported within a specific time frame. Public water systems must also provide reports to customers about their water, noting its source, evidence of contaminants and compliance with regulations.
The FDA, by comparison, regulates bottled water as a packaged food item, and cannot require certified lab testing or violation reporting. The FDA also does not require bottled water companies to disclose where the water came from, how it has been treated or what contaminants it contains.
The University of Iowa Water Confidence Report
The BPA issue did little to influence the FDA’s protocol and mandates. In fact, in February of 2014, a group of FDA scientists published a study finding that low-level exposure to BPA is safe. They touted this study as evidence that the long-standing concerns about the health hazards of BPA were unfounded. That is — the roughly 1,000 published studies which found that low-level exposure to BPA can lead to serious health problems were simply inaccurate.
The plastics industry and the agencies that regulate BPA sided with the FDA’s position.
While regulators and the plastics industry continue to challenge the science on the real-world harms of plastic water bottles, many scientists are saying the stakes are simply too high, and the alternatives too easy, to ignore.
The bottom line is that most plastics are made from petroleum (oil or natural gas) and can contain a whole host of other chemicals that are never labeled and that can be toxic. And amidst the murky waters of marketing — where we are lead to believe that bottled water is cleaner and more pure, and BPA-free means you are in the clear — arming yourself with knowledge and becoming more cognizant about what you are ingesting is your best defense.
The next time you fill your plastic water bottle up, or purchase a disposable bottle, check the container’s resin identification number — the number found inside the triangle of chasing arrows. While not all plastics labeled “7” — a category that is a general catch-all for plastics than do not fit into categories 1-6 — contain BPA, it’s still a good identifier, as are the letters “PC.” Also take caution that many of the bottles labeled as “BPA-free” also fall into this category.
Plastic bottles with recycling code “3” should also heed caution, as they may contain phthalates. Known as the “everywhere chemical,” phthalates are a group of man-made chemicals that help make plastics more flexible and more difficult to break, and have been shown to leach into bottled water over time. Recent research has linked phthalates to an increased risk of high blood pressure and diabetes in children and adolescents, and a higher risk of miscarriage in women. And still other studies have associated phthalate exposure with reproductive and genital defects, lower testosterone levels in adolescent males, and lower sperm count in adult males.
Plastic #1, or PET, short for polyethylene terephthalate, also warrants a cautious eye. Studies suggest that PET plastics used for water bottles leach antimony, a metalloid element that is a classified carcinogen. In small doses, antimony can cause dizziness and depression. And in larger doses, it can cause nausea, vomiting and death. And while the study does stress that the amounts of antimony were well below official recommended levels, it also discovered that the levels almost doubled when the bottles were stored for three months.

Trade Forex On Herd Instinct

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The herd instinct refers to the tendency to follow an established trend.
Six currency pairs account for two-thirds of all forex​ trading volume. Currency traders closely monitor each and use technical analysis to spot buy and sell signals. Once a key technical sign appears, other traders jump in and reinforce the trend.
You can use the herd instinct to your advantage by trading on the majority view and established trends in global markets.
Currency action over recent years has revealed a few common herd instinct trades.
When the Chinese economy is growing strongly, consider going long on the Canadian and Australian dollar versus the greenback.
When global growth slows, short the Canadian and Australian dollars and go long on the U.S. dollar and Swiss Franc.
Remember that the yen is volatile. Plan your exit even before determining your entry into a yen-based currency carry trade.
Inexperienced forex traders should consider a few additional tips:
  1. Stale or long-lived trends can reverse quickly and sharply.
  2. Plot your exit strategy in advance.
  3. Use stop losses to maintain trading discipline.
  4. Remember that being long on one currency means you’re short another. Avoid complacency that turns a profitable position into a losing one.
  5. Try not to add to a losing position.