It’s getting harder and harder to crack into the 1%, according to latest IRS data

When hedge-fund billionaire Ray Dalio asked a crowded ballroom at a Milken Institute conference earlier this year whether they agreed that the current economic system needs to be renovated, most hands were raised.

“If we don’t agree, we’ll have some form of revolution; that could be to abandon capitalism or to go to another extreme,” said the co-founder of Bridgewater Associates. There may not be a revolution as of yet, but the chasm between the rich and the poor continues to grow.

According to the most recent data from the Internal Revenue Service cited by Bloomberg, it took earnings of $515,371 in 2017 to crack into the top 1%. That is a rise of 7.2% from the year prior, even after adjusting for inflation. Since 2011, when the Occupy Wall Street protests were raging, the threshold to break out of the 99% has risen by an inflation-adjusted 33%.

This chart breaks down the various percentiles:

As you can see, to push into the rarefied air of the 0.1% of U.S. earners, you’d need to have been paid $2.4 million in 2017, a jump of 38% from the year before. To hit the even-loftier air of 0.001%, reserved for only the gilded 1,433 taxpayers, you would have to have earned $63.4 million, up 51% from the 2016.

Numbers like these explain why income inequality and the wealth tax are such hot-button topics ahead of the 2020 election. Presidential-hopeful Elizabeth Warren, with her proposal for a wealth tax of 2% on all assets above $50 million, is at the forefront of the battle.

“Look I don’t have a beef with billionaires,” the Massachusetts senator said during Tuesday’s Democratic debate. “My problem is you made a fortune in America — you had a great idea, you got out there and worked for

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Hedge Funds Hurt by Seoul’s Too-Good-to-Fail Bonds

In its desperation to create more tech stars, South Korea’s government bears some of the blame for spreading moral hazard in the nascent local hedge-fund industry.

Lime Asset Management Co., the country’s biggest hedge fund, has frozen $710 million in withdrawals and come under regulatory investigation while struggling to meet redemptions in a dangerously too-good-to-fail form of convertible bonds aimed at boosting tech startups. The government encouraged Lime and other funds to load up with such instruments, but they have found it extremely difficult to exit when a surge of investors have tried to pull out their money.

Convertible bonds are popular in volatile sectors like tech for investors looking for the safety of fixed income and interest as well as the benefits of an equity upside. Witness the clamor early this year in China for convertibles. So hot was demand as the stock market surged that regulators took steps to cool the frenzy, including preventing their purchase through multiple accounts. The problem in South Korea is that high volumes of convertibles kept being issued while the Kosdaq index of mainly small-cap technology stocks has fallen. That’s because these bonds have a uniquely Korean flavor — an incentive in the form of refixing clauses that allows an investor to negotiate a lower equity strike price whenever shares fall.

This ability to keep lowering the equity conversion price as markets tank meant that hedge funds faced little risk in buying them. The phenomenon “posed a serious moral hazard problem — I think South Korea is the only country that allows this kind of refixing,” said Bruce W. Lee, chairman of an environmental, social and corporate governance research firm, Who’s Good.  

As if that wasn’t attractive enough, the government gave tax breaks for investments in Kosdaq stock and convertibles. No wonder funds piled in.

 The government was effectively incentivizing the hedge-fund industry to foster new blood in technology. Asia’s  fourth-largest economy has struggled to nurture entrepreneurship in the smothering shadow of such giants as Samsung Electronics Co. The top 10 family-run conglomerates control more than a

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Why stock investors shouldn’t ignore this warning signal from the oil market – MarketWatch

Oil prices might be acting like a warning light when it comes to the stock market, which is trading near all-time highs despite growing concern over the U.S.-China tariff battle and rising global trade tensions.

“Equity and corporate bonds in the U.S. have so far shrugged off the worrying signs for the global economy coming from lower oil prices. But we suspect that it won’t be long before slower global growth, including in the U.S., takes a toll on both,” said Simona Gambarini, markets economist at Capital Economics, in a Friday note.

Stocks gained ground over the past week, with the S&P 500 SPX, -0.39%  putting in a 0.5% advance, while the Nasdaq Composite COMP, -0.83%  saw a 0.4% weekly rise, though the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.95%  slipped 0.2%. That left the S&P 500 1.3% away from its all-time closing high set in July.

Oil, meanwhile, retreated, with West Texas Intermediate crude futures CLX19, -0.15%  falling 1.7% over the past week, dragging the U.S. benchmark lower on the month and leaving it more than 23% off its 2019 high and down nearly 30% from its October 2018 high above $76 a barrel.

Concerns over global economic growth might explain why oil has struggled in the wake of attacks on Saudi Arabian oil-processing facilities last month that temporarily knocked a whopping 5.7 million barrels of day of production offline. While the Saudis are believed to have restored output, that effort was seen depleting the world of much its spare production capacity. That means another disruption anywhere in the world could have a lasting impact on supply. The lack of a more meaningful oil price premium has confounded some market analysts.

Meanwhile, signs of concern about global growth weren’t hard to find. The International Monetary Fund on Oct. 16 updated

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Shipping ETF Rallies on Increased Geopolitical Risks

A shipping themed ETF has been quietly outperforming as tanker rates surged to record heights amidst a spike in geopolitical uncertainty.

The Invesco Shipping ETF (SEA A+), which tries to reflect the performance of the Dow Jones Global Shipping Index, surged this month, rallying around 10.6% since the October 2 lows. SEA includes a 36.8% tilt toward energy sector-related shipping.

According to estimates from Clarkson Platou Securities AS, shipping rates have jumped so high that a secondhand supertanker could pay for itself in a couple of voyages, compared to the normal payback period of about a decade, Bloomberg reports.

For instance, the combined market value of Frontline Ltd. and Euronav NV, two pure play shipping owners, surged by 78% to $4.8 billion since mid-August. SEA includes a 3.3% tilt toward Frontline and Euronav is 5.9%.

A number of factors has helped prop up the shipping sector. The primary bullish support may be attributed to U.S. sanctions on two units of a Chinese shipping company in September, which put a part of its fleet of oil carriers off-limits to traders. Consequently, the freight market rallied after already strengthening from the increased Middle East tensions this year.

“This is an exciting dynamic that could create the foundation for a steady improvement in rates and a sustainable period of out-sized cash generation,” Robert Hvide Macleod, the chief executive officer of Frontline’s management company, told Bloomberg. “Given the geopolitical climate, we wouldn’t be surprised to see episodic periods where rates spike in the future as well.”

Oil Shipping Rates Stand Out
Oil shipping rates have stood out, with daily rates on very large crude carriers to ship oil to China from the Persian Gulf surging by 90% to a little over $300,000 per day at the end of last week. To put those numbers in perspective,

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Here is the world’s shortest (1.5 minutes) and longest (19.5 hours) commercial flight

It very well could take you longer to read this story than it would to ride on the world’s shortest scheduled passenger flight.

Loganair, a Scottish regional airline, holds that title thanks to its itinerary between Westray and Papa Westray, two of the Orkney Islands located north of Great Britain. The flight, which travels 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometers), lasts only 1.5 minutes in the air. The cost of a one-way ticket starts at 17 pounds (roughly $22).

That’s a blip compared to the 19.5-hour flight that Australian carrier Qantas QAN, -0.50% QABSY, +0.67%   is testing this week. The 10,000-mile nonstop voyage on a Boeing BA, -6.79%   787-9 from New York to Sydney will be the world’s longest flight.

The title was previously held by the New York-Singapore route flown by Singapore Airlines SINGF, +3.31% . That trip takes nearly 18 hours — some 1,080 times longer than the Loganair flight, give or take a minute.

The Westray-Papa Westray route isn’t the only short flight that Loganair offers. The journey between Eday and Kirkwall, another two of the Orkney Islands, takes a staggering 10 minutes to complete.

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Looking to take a short trip closer to home? United Airlines UAL, +0.70%  operates the shortest flight in the continental U.S., a 16-minute trip between San Francisco and Santa Rosa, located in the Sonoma County wine region. (Sightseeing flight operator Greater Toronto Airways boasts the shortest flight in North America, a 10-minute route between Toronto and Niagara.)

In Hawaii, travelers can take a 15-minute flight between the Kalaupapa and Ho’olehua airports on Moloka’i for as little as $50 on Mokulele Airlines.

Of course, flying is particularly bad for the environment — aircraft are responsible for 2.5% of total global carbon dioxide emissions. So travelers concerned about their carbon

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Jennifer Aniston declined my ‘Friends’ request — but she racked up 14.8M followers on Instagram in 5 days

Television and movies are New York City’s best friends.

In 2011, I gave away most of my belongings and moved to Manhattan. I had spent 10 years writing about Ireland for Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal, and when the country’s economy finally stabilized after the bottom had fallen out of both the housing market and the government’s finances I upped and left. Seduced by television shows like “Friends,” which celebrates its 25th anniversary this month, I was ready to write a new chapter.

I had only ever visited New York for weeks at a time, and I had an outsider’s view of Manhattan life. I had consumed TV shows and movies set in New York. I liked glossy, aspirational fare like “The Last Days of Disco” and “Six Degrees of Separation” that cleverly delivered a serious social message. As a child, American TV provided an escape from the unending stream of sectarian violence in the British province of Northern Ireland, a constant theme on our TV screens.

On Tuesday, Aniston joined Instagram by posting a photo with her five ‘Friends’ co-stars. Aniston, perhaps, gets to promote her own projects and beat the paparazzi by controlling her own narrative.

We had four TV channels in Dublin and they were crammed with U.S. programming — all of life’s parade at our fingertips: Lavish soap operas, comedies where the characters’ problems were resolved in 30 minutes, and a story about a lovely lady and mother of three girls and stepmother to three boys living in a split-level house in sunny California with one bathroom — plus, a live-in-housekeeper called Alice that middle-class Americans could never afford today.

Everyone in America was either middle class, upper-middle class, or plain-old filthy rich — at least, according to these imported shows. By

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Coca-Cola, Weak China Growth, AT&T, GM, Aramco IPO – 5 Things You Must Know

Here are five things you must know for Friday, Oct. 18: 

1. — Stock Futures Mixed as China’s Growth Slowdown Deepens

U.S. stock futures were mixed Friday after China posted its weakest quarterly economic growth rate in nearly three decades, re-centering focus on the fate of ongoing trade talks between Washington and Beijing.

China’s growth rate in the third quarter was 6%, the slowest pace since the first quarter in 1992.

With slumping exports, halted manufacturing and eroding domestic demand, China faces significant headwinds in the coming months, regardless of the outcome of trade negotiations with the United States. China, the world’s second-largest economy, may look to add further monetary and financial stimulus to shore up growth and avoid deterioration in the country’s labor market.

“More aggressive stimulus can be expected,” said Bill Adams of PNC Financial Services Group.

Contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 5 points, futures for the S&P 500 rose 1.60 points, and Nasdaq futures fell 3 points.

Stocks finished with mild gains Thursday following solid earnings reports from Netflix (NFLXGet Report) and Morgan Stanley (MSGet Report)  and after U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that Britain reached a tentative Brexit agreement with the European Union.

The Dow gained 24 points, or 0.09%, to 27,026, the S&P 500 rose 0.28%, and the Nasdaq advanced 0.40%.

2. — Coca-Cola, Schlumberger and American Express Report Earnings

Coca-Cola (KOGet Report)   said it sees improving earnings for this year, despite stiffer headwinds from a stronger U.S. dollar, as growth of its trademark soft drink, as well as zero-sugar and healthier options, drove solid third-quarter sales growth.

Schlumberger (SLBGet Report)  beat third-quarter adjusted earnings and sales estimates as the oilfield services company’s international operations buoyed the results.

American Express (AXPGet Report)  also is expected to report earnings later Friday.

Schlumberger is

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Tesla speeds toward unpleasant earnings turn, Boeing faces tough questions

Prepare for an earnings onslaught in the week ahead, headlined by Tesla Inc., Boeing Co. and a flurry of big tech names.

A quarter of the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.39%  is set to report results in the coming week, along with a dozen Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.95%  components, more than a third of the index.

Following this rush of numbers, investors will have a better sense of whether the S&P 500 will likely remain in an earnings recession, which occurs if the index sees average earnings fall for at least two straight quarters.

Read: 5 prominent U.S. companies are most at fault for the earnings recession

Tesla TSLA, -1.92%  looks likely to see year-over-year revenue decline in its first quarter and its third consecutive unprofitable quarter, despite selling a record number of cars. Investors will be looking for positive free cash flow, a forecast for profit or any signs that Tesla is on a path to profitability, or at least that demand is still strong for Tesla’s cars.

After Tesla announced its third-quarter delivery total, formerly bullish JMP Group analysts downgraded the stock to “hold” and said it was “the first time since covering the stock that we found ourselves wondering whether demand growth for (Tesla’s) cars might be leveling off.”

Chief Executive Elon Musk will attempt to counter that notion while attempting to get production started in China and prepping for the launch of the Model Y. An RBC analyst believes Tesla might move up that mid-SUV — which is expected to start production late next year — to help jolt growth.

Full preview: Tesla is about to show investors if it’s back on the road to profitability

Boeing BA, -6.79%  , which was the biggest contributor to the S&P 500’s earnings decline in the second

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Open Big Data to help Farmers weather climate change

Open Big Data to help Farmers weather climate change – Business News Today – EIN News

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Boeing, Caterpillar, Intel, McDonald’s, Microsoft and More Dow Earnings Coming This Week

Twelve of the 30 Dow Jones industrial average components are scheduled to report their latest quarterly reports this week. The Dow is within 2% of its all-time high, just as the new earnings season ramps up, and some investors may be looking to raise the ante if this pattern continues.

24/7 Wall St. has put together a preview of those Dow companies scheduled to report their quarterly results this week. We have included the consensus earnings estimates, as well as the stock price and trading history.

Be advised that the earnings and revenue estimates may change ahead of the formal reports, and some companies may change reporting dates as well.

Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) will report its latest quarterly earnings before Tuesday’s open. The consensus forecast is $1.24 in earnings per share (EPS) and $17.43 billion in revenue. Shares ended last week at $117.47, in a 52-week range of $84.86 to $125.36. The consensus analyst target is $124.00.

United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) is scheduled to post its quarterly report first thing Tuesday. The consensus estimates are $2.03 in EPS on $19.3 billion in revenue. Shares were trading at $136.80 as the week ended. The stock has a 52-week range of $100.48 to $144.40, and the consensus price target is $155.47.

Travelers Companies Inc. (NYSE: TRV) also will report its latest quarterly earnings before Tuesday’s opening bell. The consensus estimates call for $2.35 in EPS and $7.37 billion in revenue. Shares closed at $141.36, in a 52-week range of $111.08 to $155.09. The consensus analyst target is $148.38.

McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) is expected to report its most recent quarterly results Tuesday morning. The consensus analyst estimates are $2.21 in EPS and revenue of $5.49 billion. Shares of McDonald’s traded at $208.50 most recently. The consensus price

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