With only eight days remaining in the 2014-15 regular season, it’s time to check in on FiveThirtyEight’s NBA Power Ratings. If you’re wondering how these numbers work, the short version is that all 30 NBA teams are ranked according to a projection of their true talent over the upcoming week — and the upcoming week only — using Real Plus-Minus (RPM) player ratings provided by Jeremias Engelmann and Steve Ilardi. For more details on the methodology,1This week, we tweaked the simulation methodology to include the NBA’s official tie-breaking procedures. Before this week, we had been approximating tie breakers. see our introductory rankings post.The Eastern Conference playoff plot continues to thicken. Last Monday in this space, our model listed the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers with playoff probabilities of 76 percent and 50 percent, respectively, with the Brooklyn Nets (38 percent) and Boston Celtics (25 percent) likely to be on the outside looking in.Now, the tables have turned.The Celtics, aided by a 3-1 record over the past week (and an improved power rating), now sport a 57 percent playoff probability and more expected end-of-season wins than either Miami or Indiana. Likewise, the Nets leapfrogged the Pacers and Heat by an even greater margin after going 4-1 over the past week-plus. Brooklyn’s chances of making the playoffs are now nearly 77 percent, a radical departure from its 17 percent postseason probability of two weeks prior.And if Brooklyn and Boston are now in the driver’s seats for the final pair of Eastern Conference playoff berths, that means the Heat and Pacers are currently both underdogs to make the postseason. Miami has lost four straight games, and its power rating is down because several of its good RPM players (such as Luol Deng, Hassan Whiteside and Chris Andersen) are listed as day-to-day with injuries. And for its part, Indiana went 2-2 on the week-plus, but even at .500, the Pacers lost ground to the surging Celtics and Nets.The Heat have things a bit better than the Pacers. They face an easier remaining schedule, and the league’s tie-breakers favor them in the event of a tie with Boston and/or Brooklyn, which accounts for Miami’s superior playoff odds despite a projected win tally identical to that of Indiana. But for each team, it’s a big reversal from where they stood just a week ago.So while there’s little time left in the schedule, the Eastern Conference playoff picture is no clearer than it’s been the past few weeks — the front-runners to get in are just different.
Former Liverpool and Roma midfielder Alberto Aquilani has bought Spes Montesacro 1908 the club where he started his career.Aquilani, 34, fondly known as “Il Principino” came through the Giallorossi youth system, but he was first spotted while playing for a local amateur side.Now the former Liverpool star has decided to purchase 100 percent of the shares in Spes Montesacro.“My journey started here, on a dirt pitch in Montesacro, my footballing house is Spes,” Aquilani wrote on Instagram.“From there I started a long journey, one of sacrifice and commitment which led me to wear different glorious shirts in important stadiums.“I achieved a lot of satisfaction, but I never forgot my first time on a football pitch. I return with a wealth of experience to be transmitted to small dreamers.“This will be a new challenge for me, but thanks to the values and teachings of my family I’m sure I can commit to the continuity and excellence of Spes.“A new journey begins here… ours.”
Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee congratulated party workers on the Trinamool Congress turning 21 on Tuesday. The TMC was founded on January 1, 1998. “The journey which began on January 1, 1998 has been full of struggles, but we have been steadfast in our resolve to fight for the people #Trinamool21,” Banerjee said in a tweet. “We are thankful to Maa-Mati-Manush for their constant support. And the workers who work hard 365 days a year for the people. A big salute to you,” she said. The TMC leadership had last week issued instructions to conduct various programmes across the state on Tuesday to mark the occasion. The district leaders have arranged for party flag-hoisting programmes and street corner meetings to discuss and highlight achievements of the party in the last six-and-a-half years.
In This Issue. * BOJ between a rock and a rock. * S&P raises U.S. outlook. * Canada posts another strong report. * Chuck wants to ask Central Bankers a question. And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! BOJ Disappoints. Good day. And a Tom Terrific Tuesday to you! Writing from home this morning, which works out OK, given that I don’t have to get in my car and drive to do it! The U.S. received some good news, sort of, yesterday, the euro is pushing the currency appreciation envelope near the 1.33 handle, the Aussie dollar (A$) has dropped another cent overnight, and the 10-year Treasury has hit a high water mark in yield that we haven’t seen in awhile. All this and more awaits you this morning in the Pfennig! Yesterday, the currencies basically traded in the same clothes all day, the euro held steady Eddie, along with Gold, and all the little dogs stayed on the porch, as they were not allowed to chase the dollar down the street. There was little data around the world to trade off, so things remained the rest of the day, as they were in the early morning. Overnight, we have some movement though. The Bank of Japan (BOJ) decided to leave things as they are last night, and that has triggered some movement in the currencies and Gold. The BOJ decided to stick to their plan to double the monetary base, in an effort to rekindle inflation and wake up economic growth. Recall, that yesterday, I said that I thought the BOJ would think they needed to “fix things” as the volatility in bonds and the Nikkei was really becoming a problem. The BOJ is between the proverbial rock and, well, another rock! You see, they made the mistake back in April of saying that they would do everything available to them to bring about higher inflation and economic growth, and said they would go “all-in” on bond buying. Well, at first, the sheeple believed the BOJ, and bought Japanese stocks like their brothers in the U.S. were buying stocks, based on the same bond buying scheme. But now, it appears that BOJ Gov. Kuroda, and Prime Minister Abe, are backing off that promise to go “all-in” So. bonds and stocks get sold, and guess what Japanese yen does? It rallies. Yes, all the shorts put on to weaken yen in response to the “all-in” promise are being reversed.. Too soon? I think so. As I said in my video the other day, I think the Gov’t will win here, and get yen weaker, which is their main tool in rekindling inflation. So, the BOJ is damned if they do, and damned if they don’t. Proves to me that Central Banks need to get out of “stimulating economies”. They’ll end up messing it up, that’s all they do! So. that news out of Japan set us up for the overnight trading last night and into the European session this morning. As if the Aussie dollar (A$) needed any extraordinary reason to weaken, it found one in the BOJ announcement.. The A$ has dropped 11-cents in the past couple of months, which has to be making the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) happy these days, as they have been big babies about the A$ strength, crying and whining about the strong A$… It doesn’t make A$ holders very happy though. The currency hasn’t been this low (.9345) since September 2010. I think that the RBA is really going to go for the jugular here, by cutting rates no matter what the economic data tells us, and forcing holders to bail. I used to think that the RBA had their head screwed on straight, but they are just like the rest of the bunch. shame on you RBA. Well. The U.S. received some good news yesterday, and it didn’t come in the form of trumped up or cooked books data. No, this time it was from Standard & Poors (S&P), of whom you may recall, was the only credit rating agency to cut the U.S.’s credit rating from AAA 2 years ago. This time S&P decided to raise its outlook on the U.S. Credit Rating to stable from negative, citing the strength of the U.S. economy. So the credit rating remains a notch below AAA, but the outlook was raised to stable from negative. This is positive news folks. However, you know me. and I’m going to look at the dark side of the moon on this announcement, and to me, the key here is S&P’s view that there’s strength to the U.S. economy. I guess if you lower your standards, or the bar, you can get “strength in an economy” that’s supposed to be the world’s engine, at 1.9%… Which is where 1st QTR GDP stands right now, before the final revision. Oh, and don’t let the fact that the strength we do see is mostly generated by Gov’t activity. I wonder what S&P will think about this change once the Fed decides to keep Quantitative Easing (QE), and Zero interest rates (ZIRP) because of their fear that the economy doesn’t have the strength to run, let alone stand, on its own. Can you say, egg on their faces? I thought you could! And the A$’s kissin’ cousin across the Tasman, kiwi, is also seeing ,major weakness, which is also making the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) Gov. Wheeler, happy as a lark. Recall, that Wheeler, and his predecessor at the RBNZ, Bollard, had long dissed their currency whenever they had the opportunity. So, here’s my question I would ask if I had all these knucklehead Central Bank Governors in a room. “So, if you all think that debasing your currency to promote growth is a good idea, what are you debasing it against? If your neighbor is also debasing against your currency, who wins?” OK. As I said at the top, the euro is pushing toward 1.33. The long awaited German constitutional court hearing on ECB policy begins as I write this morning. I really don’t think the court will admonish the ECB for what they have done, nor find any of it unconstitutional, what I do see them doing though is setting boundaries for the ECB to work with going forward. Remember, when the ECB was implementing measures in an effort to keep the Eurozone afloat, it was unchartered waters, and had not been tested or measured against the German constitution. Here’s the problem with all this. the decision of the court may not come down for several weeks. By then, we will have forgotten that all this weighed on the euro at some time in the past! They key with the euro these days is simply that the threat of a sovereign default has passed, the threat of a Eurozone breakup has passed, and the threat of a collapse of the euro has passed. this all goes back to last year, when I started talking about the “relative calm” that had come over the Eurozone. And for all those people that believe the U.S. dollar is “strong” right now, explain to me how the euro, which is the offset currency to the dollar, is rising? What does that really tell you about what the markets think about the dollar? Well, the S&P news for the U.S. isn’t helping U.S. Treasuries this morning. The 10-year Treasury yield has risen to 2.25%… A level we haven’t seen in sometimes. (remember, as bond yields rise, the price of the bond goes down, so this rise in yields from 2.05% last Friday, to 2.25% represents losses for holders) Looks like it’s time for the Fed Reserve to buck up, eh? Not that I want the Fed to step in an intervene here to lower yields again, I’m just saying that this has been where the Fed usually steps in. My friend, Bill Bonner, wrote a very good piece for his newsletter the other day, that reminded me of a speech he made in Vancouver many years ago, called: A Farewell to Arms, which was about the end of adjustable rate mortgages due to what he believed was going to be a mortgage meltdown. Of course the meltdown did happen, and his speech has stuck in my mind all these years. Well, Bill’s latest thought could have been called: A Farewell to bonds. For he is of the thought that the great bond rally is over.. .Something that I called for a couple of years ago, but has taken a long time to get here! UGH! If you’re interested in reading the whole article from Bill Bonner, click here: you’ll have to click on the archives for the story titled: Say “Bye-Bye to Bonds” Well, yesterday, I told you about the very strong employment number from Canada that printed on Friday. It was the 2nd largest monthly gain in jobs on record! Well, Canada followed that strong report up with another strong report yesterday. Canadian Housing Starts jumped 13.8% in May, which puts the number of starts at 200,200 in May, up from 175,900 in April. Combine these two reports and we should be looking at a stronger Canadian dollar / loonie this morning. ahem. well. that’s not to be! The loonie is weaker this morning, but that’s OK. We all know the strength in this currency is hidden in there somewhere! The price of Gold held steady all day yesterday, but is off $16 this morning as the stimulus tapering campers are out in force. The other thing weighing on the price of Gold is the fact that China is on holiday through tomorrow, which eliminates the physical buying that has supported Gold. I really like the idea that my friend Addison Wiggin came up with, calling the separation of the physical price of Gold and the paper price of Gold: Zero Hour. Yes, this is something I would love to see. And it plays well with my call for over a couple of years now that if everyone bought physical Gold, that it would bring the paper Gold price manipulators to their knees. You should check out the Zero Hour scenario that Addison is laying out. He reports on it every day in the 5 Minute Forecast. A dear reader asked me yesterday why I hadn’t commented on the NSA thing. I can’t. that’s why. And that’s all I’ll say about that! But. Hey, you knew I couldn’t just let this hang out there. But. you have to wonder just what the heck is going on in this country, right? But I could tie it all in with the dollar’s value if I wanted to.. Confidence in the U.S’s ability to attract foreign investment to help finance the debt, is a BIG thing, folks. and when things begin to stack up against the country like we’re seeing right now, plays into this confidence thing. And that’s all I can say about that! Jen and I were having a brief discussion yesterday about currencies, and I mentioned how far the Indian rupee had fallen. Well, this morning I noticed a story title that recognized that the rupee had fallen to the lowest value on record! Hmmm. And just the other day, I saw an interview with Dr. Faber, who said that India was the best country in Asia. OK, something has to give here. If Dr. Faber is correct, then rupees at these record low levels would seem to be a basement bargain. but if he’s wrong, then the basement could go lower, eh? For What It’s Worth. I have a double treat for you this morning. First, Fed St. Louis President, James Bullard talks about extending QE. And then former chief economist at the IMF, Ken Rogoff talks about needing more inflation. they play together very nicely, folks. From Bloomberg: “Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard, who has voted this year in favor of maintaining stimulus, said inflation below the central bank’s 2 percent target may warrant prolonging the “aggressive” use of bond buying to spur growth and bring down unemployment. While “labor market conditions have improved since last summer,” Bullard said today in remarks during a panel discussion in Montreal, “surprisingly low inflation readings may mean the Committee can maintain its aggressive program over a longer time frame.” The Federal Open Market Committee, which meets next week, is discussing when to slow $85 billion in monthly bond purchases, with San Francisco Fed President John Williams saying last week a “modest adjustment downward” in the buying is possible as “early as this summer.” Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart said “very mixed” economic data makes him “more cautious” about a near-term reduction in purchases.” And the Moneynews.com, here’s Ken Rogoff. “Instead of dreading inflation, central banks need to learn to love it, advises Kenneth Rogoff, former chief economist at the IMF, in an article for Project Syndicate. Rather than preparing to take away the punch bowl, central banks should be spiking it, argues Rogoff, a Harvard University economics professor who co-authored the book, “This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly.” The Federal Reserve may soon end quantitative easing (QE) to “take away the punch bowl before the party gets going” and head off inflation before reaching its employment target. “The trouble is that this is no ordinary recession, and a lot people have not had any punch yet, let alone too much.” Chuck again. Oh, yes, listen to these guys and extend QE, so that inflation can get roaring. Serenity NOW! I’m back now, I had to go yell at the walls, but quietly, I must add, since I’m writing from home, and everyone is sleeping! To recap. The currencies and Gold held steady Eddie throughout Monday, but overnight has been different, as Gold and the A$ lead most currencies down, except yen and euros. The BOJ declined to fulfill their promise to do everything possible to introduce inflation and economic growth last night, by not doing anything, when the markets wanted them to. The yen shorts are being reversed, as now the markets believe that this has been just another false dawn for Japan. Chuck still believes the Japanese Gov’t and BOJ will win, and take yen lower eventually. Currencies today 6/11/13. American Style: A$ .9340, kiwi .7770, C$ .9760, euro 1.3285, sterling 1.5555, Swiss $1.0790, . European Style: rand 10.2960, krone 5.7855, SEK 6.5870, forint 225.25, zloty 3.22, koruna 19.2850, RUB 32.44, yen 97.05, sing 1.26, HKD 7.7645, INR 58.39, China 6.1620, pesos 13.02, BRL 2.1470, Dollar Index 81.39, Oil $94.60, 10-year 2.25%, Silver $21.66, and Gold .$1,375.35 That’s it for today. The sun is coming up and it appears to be a nice day outside. That’s great! Hey. I wanted to highlight a story that appeared on the Forbes website that was an interview with Big Boss, Frank Trotter. You can read it here. I’m about out of battery on my laptop, and can’t find my power cord, so I’ll have to get this out the door, before the red light comes on! No. wait! Kathy to the rescue! My beautiful bride, knew where the cord was! YAHOO! OK. Our little Delaney Grace is in the chorus for the summer play production of Annie that starts tonight. Good luck little d! And Alex continues to work out with the Junior Olympics water polo team from this area. He’ll be traveling with the team to California at the end of July for games. I’ll be in Vancouver.. Alex mentioned the other day that his birthday is coming up. He’ll be 18 at the end of this month. I told him that when I was 18, I was traveling around the country in a VW micro-bus playing my guitar with hair down to my shoulders. He just laughed. Oh well.. time to get this out the door. I hope you have a Tom Terrific Tuesday! Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837