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If the fiduciary rule was on its last legs before, it is really in trouble now. The DOL’s rule suffered its first significant court defeat this week. A US circuit court struck down the rule, saying it was too broad and “unreasonable”. The court found fault with the government’s broadened definition of what constitutes financial advice and who gives it. The loss means circuit courts have split on the fiduciary rule and it now appears likely the Supreme Court will take up the case.

FINSUM: This is a major blow to the fiduciary rule, and may help usher an even quicker departure for it. It will certainly give the DOL more ground to shift to a new rule co-drafted with the SEC.

Friday, 16 March 2018 11:26

Mueller Just Subpoenaed Trump


Special counsel Robert Mueller may very well have just crossed one of Trump’s red lines in his investigation into the White House’s connections to Russia. Mueller has just subpoenaed the Trump organization. The Trump organization has been voluntarily giving the special counsel documents to assist with its investigation, but now faces an official subpoena. The tactic mirrors the approach used by Mueller during his investigation into the White House itself. The story of the subpoena was first issued by the New York Times.

FINSUM: It will be interesting to see how sharply, if at all, Trump reacts to this move. Is this the action that moves him to try to end the investigation?


Stocks may do well after the midterm elections, but Barron’s is arguing that rise will be preceded by a fall in share pricing leading into the elections. The contention is based on two arguments which rely on historical trends for the market. One is that markets do well in the third year of a presidential cycle, and the other is that stocks tend to do poorly in the summer. All of that points to a market that is likely to start rallying in the Autumn, specifically November 1st, says Barron’s.

FINSUM: While Barron’s does point it out, it is very worthwhile to bear in mind that these types of calls are only as good as the actual catalysts one sees that could really drive them. In this case, the uncertainty over how the Republican party will fair in the midterms may be a key factor.

Friday, 16 March 2018 11:24

Big Scandal Pending for Walmart?

(New York)

Walmart stockholders beware, the company might be in for a big scandal. A whistleblower internal to the company has come out claiming that Walmart is using misleading ecommerce results to make investors believe it is catching up to Amazon. A former director of business development says he was fired after raising concerns at the company about its “overly aggressive push to show meteoric growth in its e-commerce business by any means possible -- even, illegitimate ones.” “Wal-Mart sacrificed and betrayed its founder’s key principles of integrity and honesty, pushing those core values aside in its rush to win the e-commerce war at all costs”, said the whistleblower.

FINSUM: So reading these claims, we do not see any evidence of the claimant saying Walmart actually falsified financial results, only that it used aggressive tactics (such as underpaying vendors), so the damage may not be that bad.

Friday, 16 March 2018 11:22

Bitcoin is at its Death Cross

(New York)

Despite a very poor three months, there have been increasing amounts of articles arguing that Bitcoin may be a tipping point where it moves higher. However, Bloomberg has published a piece saying it is at a so-called death cross. The cryptocurrency’s 50-day moving average has dropped to its nearest point to its 200-day moving average in nine months, a move which spells doom for technical analysts. If it crosses below the 200-day threshold, it would signal the “death cross”.

FINSUM: While this does seem significant, we would argue that technical analysis is not as relevant in Bitcoin. The reason why being that the fundamentals of the market (e.g. a sound regulatory environment) are unstable, and there is little trading history from which to weigh technical indicators.

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