50 Most (and Least) Popular Star Wars Characters

50 Most (and Least) Popular Star Wars Characters

Upon its release in May 1977, “Star Wars” opened in just 42 theaters. The film quickly broke box office records, was ordered to a greater number of theaters, and began to make history as the biggest franchise in cinema history.

Film critics point to a number of reasons behind the film’s success. The film that would eventually be called “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope” portrayed a hero’s journey on an epic, intergalactic scale, employed cutting-edge special and visual effects that still hold up today, and had one of the most recognizable film scores of all time. But perhaps the most important element in the film’s enduring quality was its characters.

The Star Wars franchise contains some of the most beloved characters in cinema history. And in a film series as rich in detail as Star Wars, even many of the lesser-known, minor characters make a strong impression on the audience.

To determine the most and least popular Star Wars characters, 24/7 Wall St. created an index based on each character’s screen time, dialogue, internet popularity, and other factors.

Click here to see the most popular Star Wars characters.
Click here to see the least popular Star Wars characters.

Click here to see our detailed findings and methodology.

FOMC Statement and Forecasts

FOMC Statement and Forecasts

FOMC Statement and Forecasts

December 13, 2017

The FOMC met market expectations in raising the federal funds rate by an as-expected 25 basis points to 1.25-1.50%. But the vote was 7-2, with Chicago Fed President Evans joining Minneapolis Fed President Kashkari in favoring no change in the rate. A fairly upbeat statement observes that unemployment (now 4.1%) has declined further and that growth in jobs and overall GDP have been solid. The policy stance is still considered accommodative, and forward guidance stipulates that

The Committee expects that economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant gradual increases in the federal funds rate; the federal funds rate is likely to remain, for some time, below levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run. However, the actual path of the federal funds rate will depend on the economic outlook as informed by incoming data.

Inflation is still running below the 2.0% target, and both market-based compensation for inflation and survey-based measures of expected inflation are low and little changed.

Released updated growth and inflation projections, which the FOMC does quarterly, revised projected GDP growth upward by 0.4 percentage points to 2.5%, presumably to account for fiscal tax cuts, but leave inflation forecasts of 1.9% next year and 2.0% in both 2019 and 2020 unchanged.

Copyright 2017, Larry Greenberg. All rights reserved. No secondary distribution without express permission.

Tags: FOMC statement and forecasts




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Commodities Technical Analysis, December 11th — December 15th

Commodities Technical Analysis, December 11th — December 15th

The technical analysis, that includes the indicators’ data and major pivot points for WTI Oil, Gold, Silver and Copper as traded on spot market as of December 10th, 2017:

Crude Oil

Indicators

Moving Averages RSI Parabolic SAR CCI
Long Neutral Short Neutral

Crude Oil - Indicators as of Dec 10, 2017

Floor pivot points

3rd Sup 2nd Sup 1st Sup Pivot 1st Res 2nd Res 3rd Res
53.91 54.86 56.12 57.07 58.33 59.28 60.54

Crude Oil - Floor pivot points as of Dec 10, 2017

Woodie’s pivot points

2nd Sup 1st Sup Pivot 1st Res 2nd Res
54.94 56.29 57.15 58.50 59.36

Crude Oil - Woodie's pivot points as of Dec 10, 2017

Camarilla pivot points

4th Sup 3rd Sup 2nd Sup 1st Sup 1st Res 2nd Res 3rd Res 4th Res
56.17 56.78 56.98 57.19 57.59 57.80 58.00 58.61

Crude Oil - Camarilla pivot points as of Dec 10, 2017

Fibonacci retracement levels

0.0% 23.6% 38.2% 50.0% 61.8% 100.0%
55.80 56.32 56.64 56.91 57.17 58.01

Crude Oil - Fibonacci retracement levels as of Dec 10, 2017

Gold

Indicators

Moving Averages RSI Parabolic SAR CCI
Short Neutral Short Short

Gold - Indicators as of Dec 10, 2017

Floor pivot points

3rd Sup 2nd Sup 1st Sup Pivot 1st Res 2nd Res 3rd Res
1201.66 1222.55 1235.16 1256.05 1268.66 1289.55 1302.16

Gold - Floor pivot points as of Dec 10, 2017

Woodie’s pivot points

2nd Sup 1st Sup Pivot 1st Res 2nd Res
1220.48 1231.03 1253.98 1264.53 1287.48

Gold - Woodie's pivot points as of Dec 10, 2017

Camarilla pivot points

4th Sup 3rd Sup 2nd Sup 1st Sup 1st Res 2nd Res 3rd Res 4th Res
1229.36 1238.57 1241.64 1244.71 1250.85 1253.92 1256.99 1266.21

Gold - Camarilla pivot points as of Dec 10, 2017

Fibonacci retracement levels

0.0% 23.6% 38.2% 50.0% 61.8% 100.0%
1243.43 1251.34 1256.23 1260.18 1264.13 1276.93

Gold - Fibonacci retracement levels as of Dec 10, 2017

Silver

Indicators

Moving Averages RSI Parabolic SAR CCI
Short Oversold Short Short

Silver - Indicators as of Dec 10, 2017

Floor pivot points

3rd Sup 2nd Sup 1st Sup Pivot 1st Res 2nd Res 3rd Res
14.71 15.16 15.48 15.93 16.25 16.70 17.02

Silver - Floor pivot points as of Dec 10, 2017

Woodie’s pivot points

2nd Sup 1st Sup Pivot 1st Res 2nd Res
15.13 15.43 15.90 16.20 16.67

Silver - Woodie's pivot points as of Dec 10, 2017

Camarilla pivot points

4th Sup 3rd Sup 2nd Sup 1st Sup 1st Res 2nd Res 3rd Res 4th Res
15.39 15.60 15.67 15.74 15.88 15.95 16.02 16.23

Silver - Camarilla pivot points as of Dec 10, 2017

Fibonacci retracement levels

0.0% 23.6% 38.2% 50.0% 61.8% 100.0%
15.60 15.78 15.89 15.99 16.08 16.37

Silver - Fibonacci retracement levels as of Dec 10, 2017

Copper

Indicators

Moving Averages RSI Parabolic SAR CCI
Short Neutral Short Short

Copper - Indicators as of Dec 10, 2017

Floor pivot points

3rd Sup 2nd Sup 1st Sup Pivot 1st Res 2nd Res 3rd Res
270.29 280.55 287.47 297.73 304.65 314.91 321.83

Copper - Floor pivot points as of Dec 10, 2017

Woodie’s pivot points

2nd Sup 1st Sup Pivot 1st Res 2nd Res
279.72 285.81 296.90 302.99 314.08

Copper - Woodie's pivot points as of Dec 10, 2017

Camarilla pivot points

4th Sup 3rd Sup 2nd Sup 1st Sup 1st Res 2nd Res 3rd Res 4th Res
284.95 289.68 291.25 292.83 295.97 297.55 299.12 303.85

Copper - Camarilla pivot points as of Dec 10, 2017

Fibonacci retracement levels

0.0% 23.6% 38.2% 50.0% 61.8% 100.0%
290.80 294.85 297.36 299.39 301.42 307.98

Copper - Fibonacci retracement levels as of Dec 10, 2017

If you have any questions or comments on this commodity technical analysis, please feel free to reply below.

Could Central Banks Dump Gold in Favor of Bitcoin?

Could Central Banks Dump Gold in Favor of Bitcoin?

Exhibit One: here’s your typical central bank, creating trillions of units of currency every year, backed by nothing but trust in the authority of the government, created at the whim of a handful of people in a room and distributed to their cronies, or at the behest of their cronies.

And this is a “trustworthy” currency?

Exhibit Two: central banks can’t become insolvent, we’re told, because they can create as much currency as they want, whenever they want. And this is a “trustworthy” currency?

Exhibit three: and here’s what happens when trust in the currency is lost due to excessive currency issuance: the currency goes from 10 to the US dollar to 5,000 to $1 and then to 95,000 to $1, on its way to 2,000,000 to $1:

Yes, this was once a “trustworthy” currency.

While many people expect China to issue a gold-backed currency some day, they overlook the inconvenient reality that China is creating far more fiat currency than it is adding in gold reserves. They also overlook that gold-backed means nothing if the currency isn’t convertible into gold.

If it isn’t convertible, it isn’t gold-backed. Claiming there’s gold somewhere in a vault doesn’t make a currency gold-backed, as the central bank can devalue the currency it issues at will. Gold-backed means the currency is pegged at X units of currency to 1 unit of gold, and X units of currency can be exchanged for 1 unit of gold.

All of which brings us to the “crazy” idea of backing fiat currencies with cryptocurrencies, an idea I first floated back in 2013, long before the current crypto-craze emerged: Could Bitcoin (or equivalent) Become a Global Reserve Currency?(November 7, 2013)

Since there is no real-world commodity backing the digital currency, its value must be based on scarcity and its ubiquity as money. The two ideas are self-reinforcing: there must be demand for the digital money to create scarcity, and the source of demand is the digital currency’s acceptance as money that can be used to buy commodities, goods, services and (the ultimate test) gold.

Speaking of gold, correspondent Liberty Philosopher recently posed a scenario that was new to me: if gold continues losing value, could central banks dump their gold in favor of cryptocurrencies?

Yes, I realize this is anathema to those who anticipate a gold-backed currency becoming the dominant form of centrally issued currency, but the idea of governments that have debauched their currencies building reserves of decentralized and limited-in-issuance cryptocurrencies may not be as farfetched as you might imagine.

Here is Liberty Philosopher’s commentary:

My understanding is that gold is kind of a reserve asset held by governments that provides the ultimate assurance that they are able to pay their debts. If the value of the assets they hold, which are a guarantee of their ability to pay, begins to erode, and the erosion in value is not a temporary or passing phenomenon, but a continuous and long-term trend, this would imply that the ability of governments to ultimately pay their debts would be eroding. If the value of gold begins to decline, governments who have gold reserves, but whose ability to pay their debts may be somewhat in question, would come under pressure to fortify their reserves as proof that they remained able to pay their debts.

If the price of gold were to continue to decline, my thought is that governments would be under pressure to sell the reserve asset that was declining in value, because the continuing decline in value would call into question their ability to repay their debts. They couldn’t just sit there and allow their reserves to decline in value year after year. They would have to act. If the need for having some kind of “hard” currency reserve remains (creditors may not want to accept newly printed bank notes in lieu of “hard” reserves), and they are forced to begin selling their gold reserves, what other hard reserve asset could they obtain or purchase? I think they could become purchasers of the most valuable cryptocurrencies as a replacement for their gold reserves.

The ideal reserve gains in purchasing power over time. If Venezuela had purchased bitcoin in size when it was $100, or even $1,000 in January 2017, its own currency wouldn’t be heading to near-zero quite so quickly.

In my book A Radically Beneficial World, I proposed that nations which had debauched their centrally issued fiat currency could acquire the labor-backed currency I propose as reserves.

The acquisition of decentralized cryptocurrencies as reserves may sound crazy now, but as central banks destroy the purchasing power of their fiat currencies, all sorts of ideas that seem crazy now will start looking practical once the death spiral of the current unstable monetary regime begins. 

I’m offering my new book Money and Work Unchained at a 10% discount ($8.95 for the Kindle ebook and $18 for the print edition) through December, after which the price goes up to retail ($9.95 and $20).

Read the first section for free in PDF format. 

If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.

BLS: Job Openings "Little changed" in October

BLS: Job Openings "Little changed" in October

by Bill McBride on 12/11/2017 10:06:00 AM

From the BLS: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

The number of job openings was little changed at 6.0 million on the last business day of October, the
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the month, hires increased to 5.6 million and
separations were little changed at 5.2 million. Within separations, the quits rate and the layoffs and
discharges rate were little changed at 2.2 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively. …

The number of quits was unchanged at 3.2 million in October. The quits rate was 2.2 percent. The
number of quits was little changed for total private, for government, and in all industries. In the regions,
the number of quits increased in the South and decreased in the Midwest.
emphasis added

The following graph shows job openings (yellow line), hires (dark blue), Layoff, Discharges and other (red column), and Quits (light blue column) from the JOLTS.

This series started in December 2000.

Note: The difference between JOLTS hires and separations is similar to the CES (payroll survey) net jobs headline numbers. This report is for October, the most recent employment report was for November.

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey Click on graph for larger image.

Note that hires (dark blue) and total separations (red and light blue columns stacked) are pretty close each month. This is a measure of labor market turnover.  When the blue line is above the two stacked columns, the economy is adding net jobs – when it is below the columns, the economy is losing jobs.

Jobs openings decreased in October to 5.996 million from 6.177 in September.

The number of job openings (yellow) are up 7.3% year-over-year.

Quits are up 3.3% year-over-year. These are voluntary separations. (see light blue columns at bottom of graph for trend for “quits”).

Job openings are mostly moving sideways at a high level, and quits are increasing year-over-year.  This is a solid report.

Strong U.S., Japanese, Chinese, French and Canadian Data Reported and Brexit Talks Take a Step Forward

Strong U.S., Japanese, Chinese, French and Canadian Data Reported and Brexit Talks Take a Step Forward

Strong U.S., Japanese, Chinese, French and Canadian Data Reported and Brexit Talks Take a Step Forward

December 8, 2017

There have been some impressive stock market advances overnight in Asia (Japan 1.4%, Hong Kong 1.7%, Singapore 1.1%, and India 0.9) and Europe (Italy 1.3%, Germany 0.9%, Spain 0.8% and the U.K. 0.7%). The S&P is 0.4% firmer in early U.S. trading.

The dollar is closing out the week on a high note, having risen today 0.5% relative to sterling, 0.3% versus the yen and 0.2% against the euro.

The ten-year British gilt yield climbed 4 basis points, and its German and U.S. counterparts are a basis point firmer.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil climbed 0.9% to $57.22 per barrel. Comex gold at $1,252.20 per ounce is little changed.

British negotiators worked out a deal with the EU to begin talks on the nature of post-Brexit economic arrangements. This constitutes rare good news for Prime Minister Theresa May.

U.S. non-farm payroll jobs increased more than 200K for a second straight month in November, rising by a greater-than-forecast 228K after a 244K increase in October. The jobless rate stayed at 4.1%. Weekly hours worked ticked up to 34.5 hours. Average hourly earnings rose 0.2% on month and were 2.5% above the year-earlier level.

Japanese quarterly real GDP growth in 3Q got revised upward by 0.9 percentage points to 2.5% annualized. Non-residential investment grew 4.3% instead of 1.0% as estimated initially, and government spending exerted a smaller drag than first thought. Real GDP was 2.1% greater than  in the third quarter of 2016, but the GDP price deflator posted only a 0.1% on-year uptick.

Japan’s economy watchers index went up another 2.9 points to a reading of 55.2 in November, the best in well over a year. Bankruptcies in November were 2.3% fewer than a year earlier in contrast to increases in both September and October.

China’s trade surplus climbed to a 3-month high of $40.21 billion in November on the first double-digit on-year advance of exports since June.

French industrial production in October had been projected to stagnated but instead jumped 1.9% on top of a 0.8% monthly rise in September. This left output in the latest three reported months 1.1% greater than in the prior three months and showing a solid 3.2% on-year increase.

Canadian housing starts swelled to a 67-month peak of 252.2K in November, and capacity utilization in the third quarter of 85.0% was the most in a decade.

The German seasonally adjusted trade surplus of EUR 19.8 billion in October was only a tad less than the January-September average of EUR 20.4 billion per months and last year’s mean of EUR 20.7 billion. Exports fell 0.4% on month but rose by a decent 6.8% on year. The unadjusted current account surplus of EUR 18.1 billion in October compares to a surplus of EUR 18.4 billion a year earlier.German labor cost pressure remained benign last quarter in posting an on-year increase of just 2.2%.

British data reported today were mixed. Industrial production in October was unchanged from September, and construction output registered an unexpected and large monthly slide of 1.7%. However, trade deficits in October of GBP 10.781 billion on merchandise and GBP 1.405 billion on goods and services combined were smaller than assumed.

In the year to November, consumer prices rose 2.8% in Brazil, 2.5% in Hungary, and 1.1% in Greece.

Spain’s indices of leading and coincident economic indicators rose 0.3% and 0.1%, respectively, in October.

Icelandic GDP posted a quarterly 2.2% advance in 3Q that yielded a 3.1% increase from a year earlier.

Turkish retail sales and industrial production recorded October-over-October advances of 2.4% and 7.3%.

The University of Michigan/Reuters index of U.S. consumer sentiment dropped to a 3-month low of 96.8 in December from 98.5 in November and 100.7 in September, reflecting in part the middle class misgivings about the tax cut legislation and Republican intentions to reduce entitlement programs next year. President Trump’s voter approval rating has dropped to a new low of 32%.

Copyright 2017, Larry Greenberg. All rights reserved. No secondary distribution without express permission.

Tags: foreign exchange, German and British trade, Japanese GDP, U.S. labor force survey




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Market events to watch for the week of Dec. 12

Market events to watch for the week of Dec. 12

Market events to watch this week:

Tuesday, December 12
4:30 am GBP CPI y/y
8:30 am USD PPI m/m

Wednesday, December 13
4:30 am GBP Average Earnings Index 3m/y 
8:30 am USD CPI m/m
8:30 am USD Core CPI m/m
10:30 am USD Crude Oil Inventories

2:00 pm USD FOMC Economic Projections
2:00 pm USD FOMC Statement
2:00 pm USD Federal Funds Rate
2:30 pm USD FOMC Press Conference
7:30 pm AUD Employment Change
7:30 pm AUD Unemployment Rate
9:00 pm CNY Industrial Production y/y

Thursday, December 14 
3:30 am CHF Libor Rate
3:30 am CHF SNB Monetary Policy Assessment
4:00 am CHF SNB Press Conference
4:30 am GBP Retail Sales m/m
7:00 am GBP MPC Official Bank Rate Votes

7:00 am GBP Monetary Policy Summary
7:00 am GBP Official Bank Rate
7:45 am EUR Minimum Bid Rate

8:30 am EUR ECB Press Conference
8:30 am USD Core Retail Sales m/m
8:30 am USD Retail Sales m/m
8:30 am USD Unemployment Claims

*All times EDT

About the Author

Alfonso Esparza, senior currency analyst at OANDA, specializes in macro forex strategies for North American and major currency pairs. Upon joining OANDA in 2007, he established the MarketPulseFX blog and he has since written extensively about central banks and global economic and political trends.