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Buying Albermarle today for my Jubak Picks Portfolio

Who says the collapse of the Turkish lira and of the Turkish stock market isn’t good news for anyone? While it’s certainly true that the troubles in Turkey–which have become worse as the country’s relationship with the United States has tipped for mild disagreement to disfunction–have sent a shudder through all emerging markets at a time when those markets don’t need anything new to worry about. But the sell off in Turkey and the weakness in emerging markets has also led to a knee-jerk retreat in commodity prices. Which is actually good news if you were looking to buy a commodity stock today–which I was–and if the commodity in question has nothing to do with the Turkish market or economy. Let’s get this straight. I was going to add shares of lithium producer Albemarle (ALB) to my Jubak Picks Portfolio anyway today.

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Rebuying Equinor call options at $25 for my Volatility Portfolio

When  I sold my options on Equinor (EQNR) out of my Volatility Portfolio back on July 18, the idea was to take some profits (I was looking at a better than 50% gain and the shares were trading at $26.42) and to roll the calls with an October 19, 2018 expiration with a strike price of $25 into something with more time until expiration. My hope was that I might even get a break and be able to buy on a dip. I thought $25 as share on the stock would be a good re-entry point. It increasingly looks like $25 a share isn’t going to happen. The stock is hanging tough closer to $26. (The shares are at $25.61 at 3 p.m. New York time today.) But the options themselves have pulled back to an attractive price.

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Another day, another retaliatory tariff

Today the Chinese Commerce Ministry announced 25% tariffs on an additional $16 billion in U.S. exports. The tariffs will go into effect on August 23 and target cars, crude oil, medical instruments, natural gas, and coal along with hundreds of other items. The tariffs are a retaliation for a new round of U.S. tariffs on $16 billion of Chinese goods. Those tariffs will hit products ranging from motorcycles to railway cars. The Trump administration on Tuesday announced that this latest round of tariffs will go into effect on August 23. This is unlikely to be the end move in the tariff game.

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Middleby bounces back strong, up 14%, on Q2 earnings report today

That’s better. Today, before the market opened in New York, Middleby (MIDD) reported second quarter earnings of $1.63 a share. That was 7 cents a share above Wall Street projections and 20.&% higher than the $1.35 a share reported for the second quarter of 2017. Revenue climbed 15.3% year over year to $668.1 million, well above analyst consensus act $$645.9 million. On the news shares closed up 13.66% today to $120.18.

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China stocks bounce big, but there’s reason to think the recovery won’t stick

Stocks in Hong Kong and Shanghai rallied strongly today, Tuesday August 7, after The China Daily, citing an unidentified official at the National Development and Reform Commission, reported that the government would roll out more policies to improve investor appetite for stocks. The report contained no details.. The China Business Journal also reported that rail investment would be higher than planned. The Shanghai Composite index was up 2.74% (and is now up 1.17% over the last month) on a huge bump in shares of property developers. The property index on the Shanghai exchange was up 4.4% today. This still leaves the Shanghai Composite down 13.5% from its May 22 local high and 22% from its January high.

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A bad day for European currencies

The pound is down today against the dollar on Brexit fears. And the euro is also lower against the U.S. currency on a surprise slump in German economic growth. Not good news for U.S. exports to Europe (which get pricier as the pound and euro fall) or for a global financial system already coping with the negative effects of a stronger dollar on countries and companies that have borrowed in dollars.

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Falling Yuan drives proposed U.S. tariff increase on Chinese imports

What’s the relationship between the slide in the Chinese yuan–now down 6% since the start of the summer–and the tariff war between the United States and China? The Trump administration clearly believes that the drop in the yuan is a provocation, another example of the way that China manipulates its currency to push Chinese exports at the expense of the United states. From this point of view a drop in the Chinese currency is an effort to offset the tariffs imposed so far by the United States on Chinese imports. Olivier Blanchard, former chief economists at the International Monetary Fund, estimates that the drop in the yuan against the dollar since April will effectively erase the impact of the first round of tariffs

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The two minor–but very important–flaws in Apple’s great quarter

If Apple (AAPL) hadn’t climbed to become the first $1 trillion company by market cap, these flaws probably wouldn’t be worth talking about. But when investors and traders have driven a stock’s valuation up to these levels–in clear anticipation that someone not too far down the road is going to be willing to pay more for these shares–it’s worth looking at any signs that, well, cracks might be showing up in the company that could change assumptions about the company’s unlimited upside.

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Don’t make too much of the headline miss on jobs–U.S. economy adds average of 224,000 jobs in past three months

This morning the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the U.S. economy added 157,000 jobs in July. That was significantly below the 190,000 economists surveyed by Briefing.com had predicted. But before you panic, please note that the government’s statisticians revised the June number up to 248,000 jobs (from 213,000) and the May total to 260,000 (from 239,000.)

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