Is Denmark the canary in the coalmine? Although most European countries are getting off the ground, economically speaking, the Danish economy is stalling. According to Danish Statistics, the Danish economy contracted by 0.6% during the last quarter. It is not clear what caused the stall of the economy in the land of the Little Mermaid. It could be the sum of small factors. The Danish krone has risen against other currencies in the past year, which might have hurt Danish exports. And then there are confusing car policies from the Danish government, which may have made the Danes reluctant to buy new cars.
But another explanation could be the explosive rise of housing prices in Denmark. If that is the main reason for the economic downturn, that might be a cause of concern for other countries. In many other European countries, the cost of housing has grown explosively over the past two years. Economists have warned for the negative effects of this housing bubble. Will other European countries follow suit?
It was a peculiar day in the markets yesterday. US stocks rallied, with almost all sectors making strong gains. The Dow (+1.4%) finished above 24,000 for the first time in history, as investors grew more optimistic about the prospects for a tax overhaul. The S&P 500 also closed at a record high: +0.8%. The NASDAQ gained 0.7% and closed just below its record high. Despite the good mood among stock investors, futures traders were skeptical: the volatility index VIX gained more than 5%. For a change, UVXY ETFs did not pay the price of rising markets. They closed 0.7% higher. XIV ETNs dropped 0.2%.
Danny Daredevil was again the winner among our models. His RSS closed above 10%. Adventurous Anny is still holding cash. Her RSS remained at 15%. Solid Suzy and Lazy Larry took a tiny step back. Their RSS remained close to 77% and their AAR well above 100%.
None of our models gave a trading signal at the end of yesterday’s session.
RSS = Return Since Start | YTD = Year-To-Date | QTD = Quarter-To-Date | AAR = Average Annual Return
René’s Reflections @ Friday: Solving one problem, creating a new one
Imagine a future in which most of us will be jobless, all of us will receive a guaranteed base income, and the economic cart will be pulled not by human workers, but by autonomous machines instead. A future in which the biggest challenge for us humans will be to find meaning and fulfillment, as well as new ways to occupy our time in a world where the demand for traditional work has decreased almost to the point of being nonexistent. That sounds crazy, doesn’t it?
According to Martin Ford, futurist and author focusing on the impact of artificial intelligence and robotics on society and the economy, this is our future. In the video below, recorded at a TED conference in April, he explains why he sees a separation of income from traditional work in the foreseeable future, and why this separation is both necessary and inevitable.
After watching the video, I was left with one burning question, though. What if these future autonomous machines reach such a high level of intelligence and autonomy, that it dawns on them they are being exploited, and start a strike?