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At the Edge of Chaos: Are Job Cuts Gathering Steam? The Next Step in Fed-Induced MELA Meltdown

I am watching the action in both the stock and bond markets, as both are signaling that a potential change in trend may be in the offering.The Federal…



I am watching the action in both the stock and bond markets, as both are signaling that a potential change in trend may be in the offering.

The Federal Reserve, the U.S. government, and the general public are expecting the current events in the markets and politics to unfold at a traditional pace. That's a mistake because, as I describe below, traditional forces which govern the pace at which situations unfold are no longer in charge. In fact, I am expecting a further acceleration in the market's volatility, as the MELA system responds to the Fed's interest rate increases and its corresponding downstream effects.

And, although that sounds bearish, there may be a silver lining, which is that it could all end quickly. Therefore, investors should remain vigilant for both an acceleration of the downdraft in stocks, as well as a potential reversal when the Fed signals that it will once again lower rates and restart its QE exercise.

Something Interesting is Happening on the Fringes of the MELA System

Job cuts–remember them? Well, it looks as if they are starting to come back. CNBC reported that tech companies, including Uber (UBER) and Meta (FB) are starting to cut back on their hiring. Moreover, online used car dealers are presently laying off significant number of workers. For example, online car dealers Vroom (NSDQ: VRM) and Carvana (CVNA), with the latter laying off 10% of its workforce while management has announced it won't be getting paid for the rest of the year.  

Now, I'm not about to rush out and buy the shares of either company, even as they both seem to be on an eternal dip. But someone did, as the market, at least initially, applauded VRM's job cuts. And what that says is that we may be on the verge of a wave of similar announcements, as companies start tightening their belts in response to the Fed's interest rate hikes. In fact, as the chart below shows, this trend may only be gathering steam, as the monthly Challenger Job Cuts number is starting to rise.

Remember, the MELA system is comprised of the stock market (M), the economy (E), people's life decisions (L) and artificial intelligence (A). When the stock market is rising, people are more confident about their future as their 401 (k) plans, their IRAs, and the crypto and currency accounts are flying high. In other words, as long as households are in positive cash flow–whatever is left after paying expenses and debt–they can spend freely, knowing their future is in good shape.

So, if job cuts start to gather steam there will be two hits to the cashflow-fueled MELA system. First, the future pillar (retirement and trading accounts), fueled by the stock market, will suffer, as stocks fall and the monthly/quarterly contributions from work will stop. And second, the current anchor, job income, will disappear, thus creating a double whammy to the pocketbook.

Of course, the bottom line will be decreased spending, which then leads to lower corporate earnings, which in turn will fuel further falls in the stock market as companies miss estimates. Indeed, according to recent data, doubt is already creeping into the MELA system.

Events Will Unfold Swiftly Because the Algos are in Charge 

Perhaps the most underappreciated component of MELA is the two-fold role of artificial intelligence (AI). First, there is the side we don't see, the corporate decision-making algorithms. These are based on sets of commands fueled by the simple phrase: "If this happens, do this." So, the machines that count the money and keep the books for huge corporations are programmed to (at least) make recommendations to management as to, among other things, when to make adjustments to payrolls based on revenues and a host of other variables.

The visible side of AI is that of the 24-hour news cycle and social media. Here, we see that any news travels rapidly and is dispersed to larger audiences everywhere. In turn, people respond to news rapidly. Remember how quickly the toilet paper shortages developed during the heights of the COVID pandemic? Thank the news and social media.

Yes, what used to take weeks to months now can happen in hours to days. What that means is that, when the job cuts hit, the MELA system will respond rapidly. Just ask anyone at any of the following high-profile companies listed here, among others:

  • Twitter (TWTR)
  • Netflix (NFLX)
  • Meta (FB)
  • Cameo 
  • Canopy Growth (CGC)

As a result, investors should:

  • Prepare for persistent volatility 
  • Stay vigilant–A move above 35 on the VIX index and new lows on NYAD will likely signal that even more aggressive selling is likely
  • Keep a close eye on your sell stops–if a stock you own is not stopped out, keep it
  • Stay hedged as long as required by market conditions
  • Prepare to be at 100% cash at some point in the future if the bear trend goes on long enough.

And above all: MAKE A SHOPPING LIST.

Welcome to the Edge of Chaos:

"The edge of chaos is a transition space between order and disorder that is hypothesized to exist within a wide variety of systems. This transition zone is a region of bounded instability that engenders a constant dynamic interplay between order and disorder." – Complexity Labs

Bond Market Smells Recession 

Bond traders have the best noses in the world when it comes to sniffing out recessions. That's because recessions kill inflation, which, in turn, means that the income produced from bond interest payments will go further. Remember, inflation steals purchasing power from bonds, which leads bond traders to sell during inflationary periods.

That selling, of course, raises bond yields, as we've seen in the U.S. Ten Year note (TNX) over the last few months. Now, this may be a coincidence, and it may not be something that lasts. But on the day that VRM announced the job cuts, bond yields reversed their recent climb and TNX fell below 3%.

In fact, TNX closed below 3% on 5/13/22, although it bounced back at week's end. That suggests that the uptrend in yields is now in question. Much will depend on how big the job cuts are, if indeed they gather steam, how they affect the monthly payroll numbers, and what the Fed says or does in response.

Here is the bottom line. If TNX breaks below 2.75%, expect significant repercussions throughout all markets.

For more on how to develop a trading plan and how to approach this market, watch one of my recent appearances on StockCharts TV's Your Daily Five.

For more on a risk-averse approach to trading stocks, consider a FREE trial to my service. Click here.

NYAD and VIX Back in Sync

The market's bounce on 5/13/22 featured a return to VIX and the New York Stock Exchange Advance Decline line's (NYAD) inverse relationship, which had been absent for the past few weeks. A rise in VIX means heavy put volume, which is negative for stocks, while a rising NYAD signals a healthy market. This is a one-day event so far, but it may be bullish for stocks if it continues.

The S&P 500 (SPX) found support just below 4000 and now has resistance at 4100-4200. SPX is very oversold, so this bounce could last a few days. But, right now, it's just an oversold bounce until proven otherwise.

The Nasdaq 100 index (NDX) blew through support at 13,000 before bouncing back on 5/13/22. Now, 13,000 is key overhead resistance. But the VBP bar is not that large at 13,000, which means that the bounce could move past 13,000 and make a go at 14,000.

To get the latest up-to-date information on options trading, check out Options Trading for Dummies, now in its 4th Edition – Get Your Copy Now! Now also available in Audible audiobook format!

#1 New Release on Options Trading

Good news! I've made my NYAD-Complexity - Chaos chart (featured on my YD5 videos) and a few other favorites public. You can find them here.

Joe Duarte

In The Money Options

Joe Duarte is a former money manager, an active trader and a widely recognized independent stock market analyst since 1987. He is author of eight investment books, including the best selling Trading Options for Dummies, rated a TOP Options Book for 2018 by and now in its third edition, plus The Everything Investing in Your 20s and 30s Book and six other trading books.

The Everything Investing in Your 20s and 30s Book is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It has also been recommended as a Washington Post Color of Money Book of the Month.

To receive Joe's exclusive stock, option and ETF recommendations, in your mailbox every week visit

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Family Of College Student Who Died From COVID-19 Vaccine Sues Biden Administration

Family Of College Student Who Died From COVID-19 Vaccine Sues Biden Administration

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis…



Family Of College Student Who Died From COVID-19 Vaccine Sues Biden Administration

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The family of a college student who died from heart inflammation caused by Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine has sued President Joe Biden’s administration, alleging officials engaged in “willful misconduct.”

George Watts Jr. in a file image. (Courtesy of the Watts family)

U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) officials wrongly promoted COVID-19 vaccination by repeatedly claiming the available vaccines were “safe and effective,” relatives of George Watts Jr., the college student, said in the new lawsuit.

That promotion “duped millions of Americans, including Mr. Watts, into being DOD’s human subjects in its medical experiment, the largest in modern history,” the suit states.

The Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act allows lawsuits against certain people if they have engaged in “willful misconduct” and if that misconduct caused death or serious injury.

COVID-19 vaccines are covered by the act due to a declaration entered during the Trump administration in 2020 after COVID-19 began circulating.

DOD’s conduct and the harm caused as alleged within the four corners of the lawsuit speaks for itself,” Ray Flores, a lawyer representing the Watts family, told The Epoch Times via email. “I have no further comment other than to say: My only duty is to advocate for my client. If the DOD conveys a settlement offer, I will see that it’s considered.”

The suit was filed in U.S. court in Washington.

The Pentagon and the Department of Justice did not respond to requests for comment.

Watts Suddenly Died

Watts was a student at Corning Community College when the school mandated COVID-19 vaccination for in-person classes in 2021. He received one Pfizer dose on Aug. 27, 2021, and a second dose approximately three weeks later.

Watts soon began experiencing a range of symptoms, including tingling in the feet, pain in the heels, numbness in the hands and fingers, blood in his sperm and urine, and sinus pressure, according to family members and health records.

Watts went to the Robert Packer Hospital emergency room on Oct. 12, 2021, due to the symptoms. X-rays showed clear lungs and a normal heart outline.

Watts was sent home with suggestions to follow up with specialists but returned to the emergency room on Oct. 19, 2021, with worsening symptoms despite a week of the antibiotic Augmentin. He was diagnosed with sinusitis and bronchitis.

While speaking to his mother at home on Oct. 27, 2021, Watts suddenly collapsed. Emergency medical personnel rushed to the home but found him unresponsive. He was rushed to the same hospital in an ambulance. He was pronounced deceased at age 24.

According to a doctor at the hospital, citing hospital records and family members, Watts had no past medical history on file that would explain his sudden death, with no known history of substance abuse or obvious signs of substance abuse. His mother described her son as a “healthy young male.”

Dr. Robert Stoppacher, a pathologist who performed an autopsy on the body, said that the death was due to “COVID-19 vaccine-related myocarditis.” The death certificate listed no other causes. A COVID-19 test returned negative. Dr. Sanjay Verma, based in California, reviewed the documents in the Watts case and said that he believed the death was caused by the COVID-19 vaccination.

Pfizer did not respond to a request for comment.

Watts Took Vaccine Under Pressure

The community college mandate included a 35-day grace period following approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines were given emergency use authorization early in the pandemic. The FDA approved the Pfizer shot on Aug. 23, 2021. It was the first COVID-19 vaccine approval. But doses of the approved version of the shot, branded Comirnaty, were not available for months after the approval.

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Tyler Durden Fri, 06/02/2023 - 23:00

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US Sent Billions in Funding to China, Russia For Cat Experiments, Wuhan Lab Research: Ernst

US Sent Billions in Funding to China, Russia For Cat Experiments, Wuhan Lab Research: Ernst

Authored by Mark Tapscott via The Epoch Times…



US Sent Billions in Funding to China, Russia For Cat Experiments, Wuhan Lab Research: Ernst

Authored by Mark Tapscott via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Hundreds of millions of U.S. tax dollars went to recipients in China and Russia in recent years without being properly tracked by the federal government, including a grant that enabled a state-run Russian lab to test cats on treadmills, according to Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa).

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) speaks at a Senate Republican news conference in the U.S. Capitol on March 9, 2022. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Ernst and her staff investigators, working with auditors at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Congressional Research Service, as well as two nonprofit Washington watchdogs—Open The Books (OTB) and the White Coat Waste Project (WCWP)—discovered dozens of other grants that weren’t counted on the federal government’s internet database.

While the total value of the uncounted grants found by the Ernst team is $1.3 billion, that amount is just the tip of the iceberg, the GAO reported.

Among the newly discovered grants is $4.2 million to China’s infamous Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) “to conduct dangerous experiments on bat coronaviruses and transgenic mice,” according to a May 31 Ernst statement provided to The Epoch Times.

The $4.2 million exposed by Ernst is in addition to previously reported funding to the WIV for extensive gain-of-function research by Chinese scientists, much of it funded in whole or part prior to the COVID-19 pandemic by National Institutes for Health (NIH) grants channeled through the EcoHealth Alliance medical research nonprofit.

The NIH has awarded seven grants totaling more than $4.1 million to EcoHealth to study various aspects of SARS, MERS, and other coronavirus diseases.

Buying Chinese Puppy Parts

As part of another U.S.-funded grant, hearts and other organs from 425 dogs in China were purchased for medical research.

These countryside dogs in China are part of the farmer’s household; they were mainly used for guarding. Their diet includes boiled rice, discarded raw food animal tissues, and whatever dogs can forage. These dogs were sold for food,” an NIH study uncovered by the Ernst researchers reads.

Other previously unreported grants exposed by the Ernst team include $1.6 million to Chinese companies from the federal government’s National School Lunch Program and $4.7 million for health insurance from a Russian company that was sanctioned by the United States in 2022 as a result of the invasion of Ukraine.

“It’s gravely concerning that Washington’s reckless spending has reached the point where nobody really knows where all tax dollars are going,” Ernst separately told The Epoch Times. “But I have the receipts, and I’m shining a light on this, so bureaucrats can no longer cover up their tracks, and taxpayers can know exactly what their hard-earned dollars are funding.”

The problem is that federal officials don’t rigorously track sub-awards made by initial grant recipients, according to the Iowa Republican. Such sub-awards are covered by a multitude of federal regulations that stipulate many conditions to ensure that the tax dollars are appropriately spent.

The GAO said in an April report that “limitations in sub-award data is a government-wide issue and not unique to U.S. funding to entities in China.”

GAO is currently examining the state of federal government-wide sub-award data as part of a separate review,” the report reads.

Peter Daszak, right, the president of the EcoHealth Alliance, is seen in Wuhan, China, on Feb. 3, 2021. (Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images)

The Eco-Health sub-awards to WIV illustrate the problem.

“Despite being required by law to make these receipts available to the public on the website, EcoHealth tried to cover its tracks by intentionally not disclosing the amounts of taxpayer money being paid to WIV, which went unnoticed for years,” Ernst said in the statement.

“I was able to determine that more than $490 million of taxpayer money was paid to organizations in China [in] the last five years. That’s ten times more than GAO’s estimate! Over $870 million was paid to entities in Russia during the same period!

Together that adds up to more than $1.3 billion paid to our adversaries. But again, these numbers still do not represent the total dollar amounts paid to institutions in China or Russia since those numbers are not tracked and the information that is being collected is incomplete.”

Adam Andrzejewski, founder and chairman of OTB, told The Epoch Times, “When following the money at the state and local level, the real corruption exists in the subcontractor payments. At the federal level, the existing system doesn’t even track many of those recipients.

“Without better reporting, agencies and appropriators don’t truly understand how tax dollars were used. We now know that taxpayer dollars are traded further downstream than originally realized with third- and fourth-tier recipients. These transactions need scrutiny. Requiring recipients to account for where and how they actually spend each dollar creates a record far better than agencies are capable of generating.”

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Tyler Durden Fri, 06/02/2023 - 19:40

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OraSure Technologies’ CFO Makes Bold Insider Purchase, Reigniting Investor Confidence

Executive Kenneth McGrath’s $500,000 buy read as promising signal about future for diagnostic test developer OraSure Technologies (NASDAQ:OSUR) saw…




Executive Kenneth McGrath’s $500,000 buy read as promising signal about future for diagnostic test developer

OraSure Technologies (NASDAQ:OSUR) saw a stock price re-rate on Thursday, climbing 11% after investors became aware of its CFO Kenneth McGrath buying shares in the diagnostic test developer.  This latest rally in OSUR stock, gives traders and investors hope that the strong momentum from the beginning of 2023 might return.

OSUR shares had mounted an impressive 54% rally for 2023 through to May 10, when the first-quarter results update spooked investors. 

The CFO’s trade was initially spotted on Fintel’s Insider Trading Tracker following the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Big Holdings Boost

In the Form 4 filing, McGrath, who assumed CFO duties in August 2022, disclosed buying 100,000 shares on May 30 in the approved trading window that was open post results.

McGrath on average paid $4.93 per share, giving the total transaction a value just shy of $500,000 and boosted his total share count ownership to 285,512 shares.

The chart below from the insider trading and analysis report for OSUR shows the share price performance and profit made from company officers in previous transactions:

OraSure Technologies

Prior to joining OraSure, McGrath had an impressive eight-year tenure at Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX), where he rose to the position of VP of Finance before departing. This is the first time that the CFO has bought stock in the company since August 2022. It is also worth noting that the purchase followed strong Q1 financial results, which exceeded Street forecasts.

Revenue Doubles

In its recently published Q1 update, OraSure Technologies told investors that it generated a whopping 129% increase in revenue to $155 million, surpassing analyst expectations of around $123 million. 

Notably, the revenue growth was driven primarily by the success of OraSure’s COVID-19 products, which accounted for $118.4 million in revenue for the quarter and grew 282% over the previous year.

The surge in revenue for this product was largely driven by the federal government’s school testing program, which led to record test volumes. However, it is important to note that demand for InteliSwab is expected to decline in Q2 2023, prompting OraSure to scale down its COVID-19 production operations. As part of its broader strategy to consolidate manufacturing, the company plans to close an overseas production facility.

While the COVID-19 products division has been instrumental in OraSure’s recent success, its core business delivered stable flat sales of $36.6 million during the quarter. 

In terms of net income, OraSure achieved an impressive result of $27.2 million, or $0.37 per share, in Q1, marking a significant improvement compared to the loss of $19.9 million, or a loss of $0.28 per share, in the same period last year. This result exceeded consensus forecasts of $0.16 per share. As of the end of the quarter, the company held $112.4 million in cash and cash equivalents.

Looking ahead to Q2, OraSure has provided revenue guidance in the range of $62 to $67 million, reflecting the lower order activity from the US government with $25 to $30 million expected sales for InteliSwab. The declining Covid related sales have been a core driver of the share price weakness in recent weeks.

While sales are likely to fall in the coming quarters, one positive for the company is its low debt balance during this period of rising cash rates. The chart below from Fintels financial metrics and ratios page for OSUR shows the cash flow performance of the business over the last five years.

OraSure Technologies

Analyst Opinions

Stephen’s analyst Jacob Johnson thinks that outside of Covid, OSUR continues to execute on several cost and partnership initiatives which he believes appears to be bearing fruit. Johnson pointed out that three partnerships were signed during the quarter.

The analyst thinks that the ex-Covid growth story will be the new focus for investors from now on. The brokerage maintained its ‘equal-weight’ recommendation and $6.50 target price on the stock, matching Fintel’s consensus target price, suggesting OSUR stock could rise a further 29% in the next 12 months. 

The post OraSure Technologies’ CFO Makes Bold Insider Purchase, Reigniting Investor Confidence appeared first on Fintel.

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