Market Morning: SocGen Gets Socked, Canada Fights Back, Schultz Resigns, Solar Dumps

SocGen Gets Socked With Generous $860M Fine From Department of Justice

It’s a circle of bribery, and it moves us all. French bank giant Societe Generale (OTCMKTS:SCGLY) reportedly paid off a Libyan broker to the tune of $90 million over 4 years starting in 2004, made $523 million in profits off the bribe, and now has to bribe the US Department of Justice $860 million to get them off their backs for bribing the Libyan broker. The bank also supposedly manipulated the London InterBank Offered Rate (LIBOR), by pretending to be able to borrow at lower rates than they could, making themselves look financially healthier than they actually were. LIBOR is manipulated every day by central banks who print money, to keep the rate within a certain range, but SocGen is really not allowed to do that. Only central banks are. The DoJ alleges that this LIBOR scheme altered interest rate swaps and futures contracts, which is also what central banks do pretty much around the clock.

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Canada Fights Tariffs With More Tariffs, Eh?

The global trade war President Trump has started, is spreading like maple syrup on a pancake. Canada is peeved about the United States’ self-imposed blockade of 10% aluminum and 25% steel tariffs last week, so it has decided to blockade itself against too much maple syrup, and other things. The Canadian legislature has proposed tariffs on ball point pens, mattresses, toilet paper, maple sugar and maple syrup. Canada imports $13.1M in maple syrup from Maine every year.

The maple syrup trade in Canada is heavily cronyized, with the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers dictating quotas to producers and maintaining a strategic maple syrup reserve to stabilize prices, or in the event of the apocalypse so Canadians can still have syrup.

Schultz Resigning From Starbucks After Turning It Into World’s Largest Public Bathroom Chain

Howard Schultz, former CEO and now former Chairman of Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) is resigning from the board and stepping away from the coffee chain he built, and then once again rescued in 2008. There is speculation that he might run for president in 2020, which would pit CEO vs CEO in what would surely be an entertaining political campaign for the masses. When asked if he would run for President, he didn’t say no explicitly as other eventual presidential candidates have said no in the past, like Donald Trump and John Kerry. Instead, Schultz said, “I intend to think about a range of options, and that could include public service. But I’m a long way from making any decisions about the future.”

There is speculation that Schultz is resigning now before the effects of his new policy to allow anyone into Starbucks whether or not they intend to buy anything become obvious.

Economy Feud: Recession By 2020? Survey Says…Yes!

The National Association for Business Economics surveyed a bunch of economists, the majority of whom predicted that the next recession would be here by Q4 2020. Half of respondents to the survey said it would be even earlier, between Q4 2019 and Q2 2020. A third believe that it would be later than Q4 2020. The survey collected opinions from 45 economists. The biggest concern among the group was trade, which is the essence of all economic activity at every level.

Solar Stocks Collapse As China Moves to Prevent Heat Stroke

China pulled the rug out from under its solar industry yesterday by removing subsidies for solar farms and reducing benefits for those who use solar power for energy. Hardest hit by the announcement was Canadian Solar (NASDAQ:CSIQ) which plummeted nearly 14% yesterday, followed by JinkoSolar (NYSE:JKS) which sold off 9% and hit lows not seen since 2013. China’s state-run renewable energy fund is $15.6 billion in the hole, showing that the purported efficiency of solar power is not all its shined up to be.

 

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