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If there was any question whether America faces simmering racial and economic challenges, it was answered yesterday with rioting, fires and civil unrest in several pockets of Baltimore.
Protesters threw bottles and rocks at police, smashed and burned cars, looted stores and destroyed property, injuring at least 15 officers in the process. Maryland officials responded by calling in the National Guard overnight, instituting a citywide curfew and canceling school today.
The outbreak followed the funeral of Freddie Gray, a black man who died April 19 in police custody due to a spinal cord injury. Results of an investigation into the circumstances of Gray’s death have not been released.
|Protesters in Baltimore threw bottles and rocks at police, smashed and burned cars, looted stores and destroyed property.|
But protesters launched several days of mostly peaceful marches, followed by yesterday’s riots, anyway — citing other incidents involving white police and black victims in places like Ferguson, Missouri as motivation. Gray’s own family members and several community leaders urged calm, but to no avail.
As many as 5,000 police officers from the larger region and 1,500 members of the National Guard appear to be helping calm things down today. The question is, will the peace hold?
Frankly, this isn’t the first time in the past year we’ve seen chaos break out over police actions. That points to an undercurrent of dissatisfaction and tension that we can’t seem to shed as a nation, no matter how hard many people try. Anger over immigration policy and racial unrest has also led to similar protests and civil disobedience in Europe.
|“Anyone who breaks the law — protester or police — should get the punishment they deserve.”|
I’m hopeful that more rational heads will prevail, and that protestors will realize that destroying their own communities doesn’t help anything. I also believe that anyone who breaks the law — protester or police — should get the punishment they deserve. But no one should rush to judgment about who’s to blame in these incidents before the facts are known.
Will that common sense approach prevail? Or are we doomed to face more days like yesterday? What’s the solution to this long-simmering problem in America? Let me know over at the Money and Markets website when you have a chance.
|Our Readers Speak|
What is Greece trying to accomplish? That’s what you were discussing over at the website last night.
Reader Ian said that a new stopgap deal in Europe won’t mean much over the longer term. His take: “So they get another loan. Great, all is well? It’s just to pay wages, pensions and some other loans, so that leaves them where they began. Maybe Greece will win a few American lotteries!”
Reader Bill M. added: “With respect to Greece and what the impact to Europe, the U.S., and other countries would be if they vacate the EU is really quite simple. If they’re allowed to stay, their debt will continue to steadily rise and slightly impact the countries they borrowed from. If they are removed for whatever reason, the country goes bankrupt, and will have the biggest impact on countries they borrowed the most from.”
Finally, Reader Diya G. said: “Regarding Varoufakis’ exit: Master stroke played by Greece. First he plays ultra-rough. Then Tsipras plays ‘good cop’ by publicly ‘removing’ him and they get an instant ‘we are sincere — we want to solve this problem’ tag.
“No doubt this will make negotiations easier for them on a few fronts. But all along, it has been fairly clear that none of the sides can afford to let go. Greece can’t survive on an independent status. They just don’t have the will or form to survive outside the euro. And the EU can’t let go — too much in the money and pride stakes there. Meanwhile the drama continues.”
On a different topic, Reader Fairmon weighed in on the Freeport-McMoRan (FCX, Weiss Ratings: C) debate with the following:
“FCX and other producers of things people must have are good long-term investments even if their next move is down. Those must-have providers are the kind of stocks you buy when they are at or near all-time lows. Should they go down more and the company is being managed well, buy more and be patient for years if necessary.”
Thanks, everyone! I think Diya is on to something regarding the brooming of Tsipras’ finance minister. He could be just the fall guy the Europeans needed to see before signing off on a deal. The euro has clearly been rallying the past several days in anticipation of progress.
Now, we have to see if it can hold the 50-day moving average it poked above yesterday. You know I believe the dollar is topping, and that it has much more room to fall after the epic, massive, wildly overdone rally of 2014!
Agree? Disagree? Want to tell me where to take my starting-to-devalue greenbacks? Then don’t hold back! Here’s the link to share your thoughts.
|Other Developments of the Day|
The world’s tech darling, Apple (AAPL, Weiss Ratings: A+), reported stronger-than-expected earnings and sales after the market closed yesterday. Net income jumped 33 percent to $13.6 billion, or $2.33 per share, while revenue climbed 27 percent to $58 billion.
Across its product lines, iPhone sales surged 40 percent to 61.2 million units. Analysts were expecting around 58 million. Mac sales climbed 10 percent to 4.56 million, slightly below expectations, while iPad business tanked 23 percent. That unit is suffering because larger phone screens are causing consumers to question the need to shell out for more expensive tablets.
After opening strong, shares of Apple ended down 1.6 percent on the day.
Prime Minister Sushil Koirala warned that Nepal’s death toll could ultimately top 10,000 in the wake of the weekend’s devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake and subsequent aftershocks. Thousands of citizens are homeless, and domestic and international aid teams are having trouble reaching some of the most remote, hardest-hit regions outside of Katmandu.
The Federal Reserve began its latest, two-day policy meeting today. We won’t find out what they decided to do until tomorrow afternoon, but investors aren’t waiting to speculate about the outcome of the meeting. Some of the variables that come into play include the first-quarter economic slowdown, and the deflationary impact of the dollar’s surge in 2014 and early 2015.
Speaking of the dollar, it’s breaking down further against even MORE currencies. The Australian dollar surged a full cent against the buck in early trading, putting it at the highest level since mid-January. The British pound rose again as well, while the Canadian dollar closed to within two cents of a 2015 high.
Meanwhile, China is poised to follow other countries around the globe into the netherworld of radical monetary policy. The People’s Bank of China is reportedly going to let private banks swap local government bonds for loans. The move is designed to ease credit directly, and it differs from previous indirect methods like interest rate cuts.
So what do you think the Fed will do? Is the dollar done rising, as I’ve been maintaining? And is there anything we should be doing as a country to better aid the victims in Nepal? Here’s the website link, which you can use to add your voice to the mix.
Until next time,