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By One Metric, Earnings Season Is Shaping Up To Be A Disaster

With the bulk of S&P companies set to report this week, the core of earnings season is upon us, and the "moment of truth" for US corporations - as Morgan Stanley dubbed it - is about to be revealed...

... and we don't mean the actual earnings: we already know that Q1 earnings will be the worst in three years, with EPS set to drop by about 2% even as revenues grow by about 6%.

Instead, as Morgan Stanley's Mike Wilson said two weeks ago, it is all about the guidance since S&P 500 1Q estimates are now very achievable, having fallen close to 10% over the past 9 months, with corporate margins the big wildcard.

And unfortunately, as Bank of America points out in its latest weekly earnings tracker, by this one critical measure, earnings season is shaping up to be a disaster. While it is the case that only a handful of companies have reported so far, guidance instances so far have been very disappointing: indeed, the handful of guidance instances from companies reporting so far have largely been split between in-line with or below-consensus.

Case  in point, for companies that have reported so far, commentary on earnings calls has continued to suggest slowing trends: mentions of "better" or "stronger" vs. "worse" or "weaker" are tracking the lowest since 1Q16, while mentions of "optimism" are also waning, and are so far the lowest since 4Q16, as shown in the chart below.

What is also concerning is that while the average S&P EPS change for Q1 has been posting a modest improvement, the ratio of above- vs. below-consensus guidance has weakened over the past several months as it typically does in 1Q when management sets a low bar; And while BofA notes that it will be watching for any shift upward this earnings season as this could be a positive catalyst for the market, the market is far less forgiving and unlike last quarter, traders are penalizing missing companies far more than they are rewarding "beaters."

Recall, that in the midst of the biggest market rally in decades, during the Q4 earnings season in February, we noted that the euphoric market has had the best price reaction to negative EPS surprises in year. Well, 3 months later the picture has flipped by 180 degrees, and as Bank of America notes, price reactions to results have been far more skewed to the downside so far.

Indeed, EPS and sales beats have outperformed the S&P 500 by 1.2ppt on average the next day, below the long-term average of 1.6ppt, while misses have underperformed by 3.0ppt, more than the historical average of 2.4ppt.

One explanation is that given how dramatically estimates had come down heading into the quarter, misses may be more scarce (and thus drive a bigger reaction) than beats. Another, and more likely, explanation is that the market is priced beyond perfection, and with stocks soaring 25% into the first earnings recession since 2016, even the smallest reminder that the rest of the year could be just as ugly as Q1 in terms of corporate profits and that traders have gotten way ahead of themselves in timing an inflection point, could be the catalyst that finally kills the rally that started when Steven Mnuchin called the Plunge Protection Team, and brings out the sellers in size, as algos retest what the strike price on the "new and improved" Fed put is ahead of the next recession.

Meanwhile, if the early guidance companies are disclosing is accurate - and nothing short of disastrous-  it is only a matter of time before the selling pressure drowns out the buybacks, gamma imbalanced dealers, short coverers and the BTFDers, and the next leg lower finally arrives.

Washington student, Denver man among the dead in Sri Lanka blasts

A fifth-grade student at an exclusive private school in Washington, D.C., and a Denver man on a business trip were among the U.S. residents killed in the Sri Lanka Easter attacks, a media report and the man's employer said on Monday.

Trader Warns "One Group Will Be Spectacularly Wrong"

Authored by Kevin Muir via The Macro Tourist blog,

In all my time studying markets, I can’t recall a single instance when the split between “pros” and “retail” has ever been higher.

What do I mean by that?

Well, amongst the professionals who manage money for a living, there seems to be a universal bearishness regarding the outlook for the stock market in the coming months. But wait! I can hear the push-back already - there are plenty of bulls out there spouting their optimistic forecasts all over the financial news networks. And yes, that is correct. However, these are almost all perma-bulls. When Reformed Broker Josh Brown whispers sweet-nothings about stocks it means squat as he is always bullish. On the other side of the coin, when Peter Schiff howls about the coming equity market collapse, it’s simply another day of the week that ends in the letter Y. To get a sense of the true sentiment amongst professionals, you need to ignore the perma-bulls and bears - instead focus on the group who actually change their opinion based on circumstances.

Professional sentiment

There is little doubt that amongst these professionals almost everyone is bearish. They might not be forecasting another 1987 market crash, but there are precious few who believe this rise is justified by fundamentals and due to continue. The pain from last year’s December swoon is too fresh in their minds.

Whether it is CNBC-regular Dennis Gartman worrying about the prevalence of money-losing IPOs;

Or this quite-funny tweet about the possibility of a “melt up”;

There are practically zero professionals who believe this rally has legs and will continue to blast through to new highs.

Want some actual data as opposed to anecdotes?

How about this chart from Sentiment Trader that measures hedge fund exposure to the equity market:

And it’s not just Sentiment Trader’s data that is showing hedge funds underweight equities. Nomura strategist Charlie McElligott has recently highlighted the extreme low beta reading from long-short funds.

There is little doubt in my mind that the more sophisticated of an investor you are, the more likely you are to be bearish up here.

And who would blame anyone for this skepticism?

Since the infamous Christmas-Eve-bottom, the S&P 500 is up on a stick. In less than four months, it has risen almost 25%!

It’s easy to see why the professionals are bearish. This whole rally has not been on the back of sharply rebounding earnings, but instead almost exclusively the result of an expanding forward P/E ratio.

Let’s see - stocks severely overbought with fundamentals clearly not keeping up with price action, no wonder the pros are fading this rally.

Retail sentiment

What about retail? Although I don’t have a lot of interaction with retail, I will rely on my buddy Zach Abraham’s comments about the froth steaming through this segment of the market:

Lest you think this is once again just anecdotal evidence, I point you back to Jason Goepfert’s great site SentimenTrader.com where his recent blog post outlined that “dumb money” was as optimistic as it has been for over a decade:

There are similar sentiment readings in a variety of other retail indicators that corroborates this conclusion. Retail investors are chasing stocks like a group of 45-year Moms spotting Simon LeBon outside a Duran Duran concert.

Clashing views

This leaves us in an awkward position. The professionals are bearish and believe this rally should be sold.

Yet retail is hoovering up stocks like a brand-spanking-new triple-action model with the red trim and all the options.

In the old days it would make sense to go with the professionals - after all they do this for a living.

But in this age of limited alpha, I believe the choice is not nearly as clear.

Ironically, the weak hands are no longer retail and they are not nearly as “dumb” as Wall Street believes. Retail investors don’t have the pressure of monthly return comparisons. They don’t have consultants threatening to pull money at the first sign of underperformamce.

This might sound absurd, but I would rather be on the side of retail. I know that would mean buying stocks up here at plus 25%. As a professional trader, that’s almost the same as a Michelin-Chef putting ketchup on a steak, but remember - the best trades are often the hardest.

Regardless of where you come down on this debate, be aware that this is truly a peculiar period. The two sides are as far apart as I have ever seen. One of them will be spectacularly wrong. I know it’s tempting to come down on the side of the professionals. Just be careful as trading is seldom as easy as taking advice from this group - after all, don’t forget that Erlich Bachman is also a pro.

What Your Favorite Emoji Really Mean

For an image to receive the coveted status of becoming an official emoji, it needs to satisfy multiple requirements set forth by the Unicode Consortium, the nonprofit that reviews all emoji applications.

Among the factors taken into account are: expected usage level, image distinctiveness, and compatibility with apps that regularly use emoji, such as Snapchat and Twitter. But it's also important that the emoji have references beyond its most literal meaning. The example that Unicode offers applicants is a shark, which can be used as the large saltwater fish, or, more creatively, to describe a card shark or loan shark. (Whether or not Unicode predicted how users would interpret the eggplant — which is, at heart, just a vegetable — is up for debate.)

But beyond metaphorical meanings, there are also the emoji that we think mean one thing, but were actually intended for other uses. The peace sign? Nope, it isn't actually a peace sign. The angry face blowing steam? Nope, it isn't actually angry.

Click through to see 29 of the most surprising meanings behind your favorite emoji — including some of the new 2019 emojis. If your mind is blown, you'll definitely want to check out the full dictionary here.

This article was originally published on August 16, 2016 at 5:20 p.m.

Looks like: *Shrug*

Is really: The upside down face (also known as the sarcasm and silly faces).

Use when: You're text-flirting and take the plunge by sending a bold "I like you" text. Nothing like a kind of joking, kind of serious emoji to soften the blow.

Looks like: A face with a prominent nose.

Is really: A Pinocchio-esque lying face.

Use when: You catch your friend in a little white lie (or when you confess to having lied yourself).

Looks like: Meh.

Is really: A confused face. (Formerly, the :S emoticon.)

Use when: You don't know who or what to believe!

Looks like: You ate a burrito that isn't agreeing with your stomach.

Is really: A woozy/drunk face.

Use when: You've had one too many drinks and you sent a text you know you'll regret tomorrow.

Looks like: A tearful face.

Is really: A pleading face.

Use when: You really want your friend to meet you for brunch, even though it's subzero outside.

Looks like: The signaling of a certain appendage being particularly small...

Is really: A pinching hand.

Use when: You need to indicate the small size of something. Anything.

Looks like: A single drop of blood.

Is really: Associated with blood donation, medicine, and menstruation, according to the Unicode website. This is one of Unicode's new 2019 emojis.

Use when: You're on your period and you want to text about it!

Looks like: A tearful person.

Is really: A disappointed but relieved face.

Use when: Your friend cancels the plans you had but you're secretly relieved because you wanted to stay home anyway.

Looks like: Someone with a cold

Is really: A sleepy face

Use when: You're so tired that you're drooling on your pillow

Looks like: Someone who uses very expressive hand gestures to convey their excitement.

Is really: A hugging face.

Use when: The heart emoji just isn't enough.

Looks like: Someone having a temper tantrum.

Is really: A pouting face.

Use after: Being told the one product you wanted on Black Friday is already out of stock.

Looks like: Someone who is very sad.

Is really: A pensive face.

Use after: Watching the latest episode of Westworld or reading a fan theory about the show.

Photo: Apple.

Looks like: Someone who is really pissed off (hence the steam coming out of their imaginary nose).

Is really: A triumphant face.

Use after: Finishing a tough workout, winning an argument, or giving a kick-ass presentation at work.

Photo: Apple.

Looks like: Someone excitedly getting to work.

Is really: A person bowing deeply or apologizing.

Use when: Acknowledging that your friend was right and that you should have tried the new Thai place instead of the sushi spot you picked instead.

Photo: Apple.

Looks like: A flower with a pink design.

Is really: A fish cake, often made of pureed white fish in Japan.

Use when: You're actually eating a fish cake in Tokyo, or to tell someone that you're craving a pastry or cake (minus the white fish).

Photo: Apple.

Looks like: Someone who can't believe what they're hearing or seeing.

Is really: A girl "gesturing okay."

Use when: Telling friends you're game for this weekend's plans.

Photo: Apple.

Looks like: A shooting star.

Is really: A dizzy symbol.

Use when: You celebrated a little too hard last night.

Photo: Apple.

Looks like: A surprised cat.

Is really: A weary cat.

Use when: Your cat is sleeping in an adorable position, or you're watching endless YouTube videos of cute, tired kittens.

Photo: Apple.

Looks like: Someone who is frustrated and whiny.

Is really: A tired face.

Use when: You don't feel like leaving the warm heaven that is your bed on Monday morning.

Photo: Apple.

Looks like: A town hall.

Is really: A school.

Use when: You're laughing about your painfully bad first kiss in sixth grade.

Photo: Apple.

Looks like: Some sort of waterside plant.

Is really: A sheaf of rice.

Use when: You're going into the fields to do some harvesting. Or, you're Instagramming a field of rice (a slightly more likely scenario).

Photo: Apple.

Looks like: Someone who can't believe what they're seeing.

Is really: A dizzy face.

Use when: You sit up too quickly post-massage and can't see straight.

Photo: Apple.

Looks like: A peace sign.

Is really: A victory hand.

Use after: Signing a lease on a gorgeous, natural light-filled apartment, or getting a killer deal on new shoes.

Photo: Apple.

Looks like: Any old plant (poison ivy, perhaps?).

Is really: An herb.

Use when: You need your roommate to pick up dill for dinner.

Photo: Apple.

Looks like: "Hey, girl."

Is really: A woman who works at an information desk.

Use when: This emoji will always be the sassy "Hey, girl" in our minds, but if you're posting a note asking for travel advice, she's your go-to girl.

Photo: Apple.

Looks like: Someone who is annoyed beyond belief.

Is really: The face of someone who is persevering.

Use when: You're fighting a late-Friday-afternoon slump and feeling like the weekend can't come soon enough.

Photo: Apple.

Looks like: A steaming plate of food.

Is really: A hot spring.

Use when: You're going for a relaxing dip at one of the rejuvenating hot springs in Colorado or visiting the equally warm Blue Lagoon in Iceland.

Photo: Apple.

Looks like: A strange red box.

Is really: The ultimate anger symbol.

Use when: You are so furious with someone that words and sassy anger emoji just won't do.

Photo: Apple.

Looks like: A bowl of salad

Is really: Stuffed flatbread

Use when: You've had your daily dose of greens.

Looks like: Someone who has just eaten their least favorite food.

Is really: A confounded face

Use when: You see someone Tweet something that's completely tone deaf.

Looks like: A whitewalker

Is really: A cold face, but not necessarily due to the weather

Use when: You feel like you're being frozen out by your friend, or something's so cool you're now frozen.

Related Video

produced by Lauren Paige Magenta; appearance by Lucie Fink; produced by Lucie Fink.

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Is This The Jihadi Imam Who Planned The Sri Lanka Bombings?

No group has yet to take credit for the Easter Sunday bombings that killed nearly 300 people in Sri Lanka, though authorities have pinned the attacks on a home-grown jihadist group called the National Thowheeth Jama’th, which was likely aided by an international jihadist network. But according to early unconfirmed reports, the alleged mastermind of the attack was NTJ Imam and prolific lecturer Moulvi Zahran Hashim. Reports alternatively identified him as the mastermind of the bombings, and as one of the suicide bombers who carried them out.

Hashim

Moulvi Zahran Hashim.

But while left-wing critics have accused those sharing this speculation as Islamophobic, it's worth considering: Who is Hashim? And was he connected to Sunday's attacks and if so, how?

Indian media's blatant Islamophobia at display #SriLanka #EasterSunday https://t.co/hZUHNvSpMD

— Saif Khalid (@msaifkhalid) April 21, 2019

First, regardless of whether Hashim was responsible for the attacks or not, another reformist Imam questioned why so many of his lectures which encouraged young Muslims to participate in jihad and kill 'kafir' - infidels - remained up on YouTube (in the wake of the attacks, it appears some of his videos have finally been removed).

The terrorist behind one of the bombings in Sri Lanka was an Islamist Extremist Imam and preacher by the name of Moulvi Zahran Hashim (with many lectures online and YouTube - makes you wonder why YT never banned him for his terrorist ideology). Anyway, here’s part of the report: pic.twitter.com/zOB2hdXuuh

— Imam Mohamad Tawhidi (@Imamofpeace) April 21, 2019

According to the Jerusalem Post, Hashim has a history of "racism and Islamic superiority." In July 2017, it was reported that NTJ's leaders were being prosecuted for making derogatory remarks about Buddhists. Trying to incite inter-religious strife on the diverse island country is a crime in Sri Lanka. He had also posted several videos of what could be described as "incitement".

It has also been reported that Hashim and the NTJ had planned to attack the Indian embassy in Sri Lanka earlier this month as retribution for India's treatment of its minority Muslim population.

Sri Lanka has experienced a spike in jihadist activity since 2017. Police have arrested roughly two dozen suspected members of NTJ since the attacks, and have vowed to hold those who planned the attacks responsible.

Kraft Heinz hires global brand expert Patricio as CEO

Kraft Heinz Co named Miguel Patricio as its next chief executive on Monday, hoping the 30-year marketing veteran will revitalize brands such as Planters nuts and Oscar Mayer bacon at one of the world's largest packaged food companies.

Kraft Heinz banks on Anheuser-Busch exec in strategy shift

Kraft Heinz Co said on Monday it would replace Chief Executive Officer Bernardo Hees with Anheuser-Busch InBev marketing chief Miguel Patricio, as one of the world's largest packaged food companies looks to reinvigorate its brands after years of cutting costs dented their value.

Samsung delays Galaxy Fold launch after early models broke

Samsung will not launch its innovative, expensive and troubled Galaxy Fold on schedule.

Auto Sales Aren't Nearly As Strong As Reported

Authored by Lance Roberts via RealInvestmentAdvice.com,

Steve Goldstein recently reported for MarketWatch that closely watched auto sales were leading economists to be more confident in their economic outlook for the rest of the year. To wit:

“Motor vehicle sales reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 17.45 million in March, up from 16.57 million in February, according to data from Autodata. That’s the highest reading in three months and represents a recovery from a downbeat start to the year. The MarketWatch-compiled consensus expectation was for a 16.8 million rate.”

Jim O’Sullivan of High-Frequency Economics also made a similar point.

“The data reinforce our view that the slowing in retail sales through February was exaggerated.”

Of course, the March retail sales report out last week was led primarily by a pickup in auto sales as well as gasoline prices. (About 60% of the entire increase in retail sales came from these two components.)

There is an interesting dichotomy currently occurring within the economy. While consumer confidence, as reported by the Census Bureau, soared to some of the highest levels seen since the turn of the century, the hard economic data continues to remain quite weak. As noted by Morgan Stanley just recently:

“Compare the New York Federal Reserve Bank’s current 1Q GDP tracking vs ours – FRBNY is currently tracking 1Q GDP at 3.0% versus us around 1%. The difference is larger than usual and is being driven by the fact that the New York Fed incorporates soft data into its tracking (attempting to tie it econometrically to GDP, a very hard thing to do especially in real-time). Our method translates the incoming hard data into its GDP equivalent. Note that the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow tracking also focuses on hard data and is currently tracking 1% for 1Q GDP.”

Since then, estimates for Q1-GDP have drifted higher, but optimism may be misplaced if the recent CFO survey is any indication:

The survey generated responses from more than 1,500 chief financial officers, including 469 from North America, and showed that:

  • 67% of those surveyed predicted the U.S. economy would be in recession by the third quarter of 2020,
  • 84% believe a recession will have begun by the first quarter of 2021; and,
  • 38% of respondents predicted a recession by the first quarter of next year.

Event Horizon

Economic cycles do not last indefinitely.

While fiscal and monetary policies can extend cycles by “pulling forward” future consumption, such actions create an eventual “void” that cannot be filled. In fact, there is mounting evidence the “event horizon” may have been reached as seen through the lens of auto sales.

I recently discussed this point with my friend Simon Constable specifically. but the entire Video Cast is excellent.

He is right.

Following the financial crisis the average age of vehicles on the road had gotten fairly extended so a replacement cycle became more likely. This replacement cycle was accelerated when the Obama Administration launched the “cash for clunkers” program which reduced the number of “used” vehicles for sale pushing individuals into new cars.

Combine replacement needs with low interest rates, easy financing, and extended terms and you get a sales cycle as shown below. The problem, as always, is there are only a finite number of people to sell to and once they have bought a car, they aren’t coming back for a while.

This is why auto sales are very cyclical in nature. Not surprisingly, due to the cyclical nature of autos, sales tend to flatten and decline as an economic recession approaches. (Note: When auto sales are reported each month they are annualized. The bar chart shows the over/underestimation of auto sales each month as compared to what actually occurred on an annual basis.)

While the media touts the “jump in auto sales,” it is a far different story when compared to the increase in the population. With total sales only slightly eclipsing the previous record, given the increase in the population, this is not the victory the media wishes to make it sound. In fact, the current level of auto sales on a per capita basis is only back to where near the bottom of recessions with the exception of the “financial crisis.” 

Furthermore, the annual rate of auto sales has slowed dramatically and is approaching levels normally associated with more severe economic weakness.

But slowing auto sales is only one-half of the problem. The problem for automakers is, as always, they continue to produce inventory even though demand is slowing. The cars are then shifted to dealers which have to resort to increasing levels of incentives to get the inventory sold. However, eventually, this is a losing game.

The chart below shows the current 12-month average of the annual rate of change in auto sales as compared to the inverted inventory-sales ratio. As you can see, there is a correlation to rising auto inventories and declines in auto sales. The current data suggests further weakness in auto sales coming.

With more and more dealers offering special incentives to lure buyers as demand slows, we are back to seeing commercials of “employee discounts,” “zero down at signing,” and “additional cash bonuses.” There is a limit to the level of incentives that dealers can provide to move inventory. Eventually, the inventory overhang will be problematic.

Data suggests that is happening now according to the Houston Chronicle:

“New car sales locally and nationally are falling as interest rates have soared and automakers have pulled back on incentives. Interest rates on new financed vehicles averaged 6.4 percent in March, the highest in a decade, according to Edmunds, a California-based automobile data provider.”

Subprime Returns

As we discussed in “People Buy Payments,” Americans are drowning in auto loan debt and changes in interest rates matter…a lot. A new report from the California Public Interest Research Group, or Cal-PIRG, finds the average car loan has increased 75% over the last decade. In all, Americans owe roughly $1.2 trillion in auto loans.

“Americans are taking out more loans, they are taking out much larger loans, and they are taking those loans out for a longer period of time,” said Emily Rusch, executive director for Cal-PIRG.

Given the lack of wage growth, consumers are needing to get payments down to levels where they can afford them. Furthermore, about 1/3rd of the loans are going to individuals with credit scores averaging 550 which carry much higher rates up to 20%. In fact, since 2010, the share of sub-prime Auto ABS origination has come from deep subprime deals which have increased from just 5.1% in 2010 to 32.5% currently. That growth has been augmented by the emergence of new deep sub-prime lenders which are lenders who did not issue loans prior to 2012.

“Recent dire warnings about practices in the subprime car loan industry have drawn comparisons to the 2008 mortgage crisis. In an interview with Bloomberg TV in 2017, investor Steve Eisman—who famously profited off the financial crisis by betting against the market—singled out the auto loan industry. ‘We are in an environment where credit quality has never been this good in anyone’s lifetime, with the one exception of subprime auto,’ said Eisman.

Those lending patterns are now being repeated: Many Wall Street lenders have been pushing auto loansaggressively on subprime borrowers on iffy terms. These loans are then spun up into bonds and sold to investors hungry for auto-loan-backed securities.”

While there has been much touting of the strength of the consumer in recent years, it has been a credit-driven mirage. With income growth weak, debt levels elevated, and rent and health care costs chipping away at disposable incomes, in order to make payments even remotely possible, terms are often stretched to 84 months.

The eventual issue is that since cars are typically turned over every 3-5 years on average, borrowers are typically upside down in their vehicle when it comes time to trade it in. Between the negative equity of their trade-in, along with title, taxes, and license fees, and a hefty dealer profit rolled into the original loan, there is going to be a substantial problem down the road. As noted by Reuters:

Typically, car dealers tack on an amount equal to the negative equity to a loan for the consumers’ next vehicle. To keep the monthly payments stable, the new credit is for a greater length of time. 

Over the course of multiple trade-ins, negative equity accumulates. Moody’s calls this the ‘trade-in treadmill,’ the result of which is ‘increasing lender risk, with larger and larger loss-severity exposure.’ 

To ease consumers’ monthly payments, auto manufacturers could subsidize lenders or increase incentives to reduce purchase prices, though either action would reduce their profits, the report said.”

With more sub-prime auto loans outstanding currently than prior to the financial crisis, defaults rising rapidly and a large majority with negative equity in their vehicles, swapping out to a new car is becoming a near impossible option.

The Federal Reserve recently reported the number of borrowers with auto loans more than 90-days delinquent shot up by 1.5 million in the fourth quarter, reaching a total of 7 million — the highest mark ever in absolute numbers, though not as a percentage of the auto-loan market, which has ballooned over the past seven years.

Consumer pain tends to be a leading indicator for broader economic struggles: An increase in delinquencies could signify waning consumer health, foreshadowing a drop in confidence and an overall spending slowdown, which affects nearly every industry.

As reported by Business Insider:

“Bad consumer loans could also inflict losses on major institutions invested in the loans, which are packaged up and sold as asset-backed securities (ABS). That has the potential, if it gets out of hand, to create systemic risk, as we saw with mortgage-backed loans in the last crisis.

So ugly consumer data is a siren alerting investors, trauma-scarred from the mortgage meltdown, to the next proverbial canary in the coal mine.

The surge in auto defaults has been a source of both confusion and consternation. The Fed called the development surprising, and Goldman Sachs analysts referred to it as “something of a puzzle,” given the broader economic and labor-market strength, and the lack of distress in other consumer credit products, such as mortgages and credit cards.”

While the “cash for clunkers” program by the Obama Administration caused a massive surge in used vehicle prices due to the rapid depletion of inventory at the time, much of that inventory has now been rebuilt. Now, used vehicle prices are dropping sharply, as the market is flooded with off-lease vehicles and consumer demand is weakening.

As noted above, the issue of the trade-in treadmill” is a major issue for auto lenders as default risk continues to increase. Per Moody’s:

The percentage of trade-ins with negative equity is at an all-time high, as is the average dollar amount of that negative equity. Lenders are increasingly faced with the choice of taking on greater risk by rolling negative equity at trade-in into the next vehicle loan. We believe they are increasingly taking this choice, resulting in mounting negative equity with successive new-car purchases.”

And sales of new automobiles isn’t nearly as robust as media headlines purport.

Given the importance of automobiles to the domestic manufacturing sector of the economy, it is becoming apparent the sales of autos to consumers has reached an important inflection point.

The previous recessionary warnings from autos were dismissed until far too late. It is likely not a good idea to dismiss it this time. 

You Won't Believe How Much Maisie Williams Has Changed

Part of devoting nearly eight years of Sunday nights to an epic show like Game of Thrones means watching not just your favorite characters, but the young actors behind them grow up right before your eyes. Over the past 69 episodes, Maisie Williams — as Arya Stark — has gone from a precocious aspiring knight to a girl with no name who's put her dancing lessons with Syrio Forel to good use on more than one occasion. (If you need even more of a reminder of how much Arya has grown over the past seven seasons, look no further than last night's sex scene.)

But Arya's evolution isn't limited to her on-screen transformation: Williams herself has also gone from a baby-faced 12-year-old just getting her start in the acting world to a 22-year-old woman who's come to terms with leaving her beloved character behind (even if we're not ready to let go).

As Arya marches on in the life-or-death battle against the White Walkers, we're taking a walk down memory lane with Williams' remarkable red-carpet transformation over the last decade. When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die — but when it comes to Williams' red-carpet looks, it's win after win after win.

2012

At a premiere celebrating the release of season 1 on DVD, Williams arrived with a coral lip, thick black liner, and the shortest haircut we've seen on her.

Photo: Tim Whitby/Getty Images.

2013

A year later, Williams was rocking a few extra inches of hair and a little more makeup than she'd worn on her first red carpet.

Photo: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic.

2014

This was Williams' year of red lipstick: She sported the bold lip color to numerous appearances. (Arya's on-screen look at the time was just a little more casual.)

Photo: Karwai Tang/WireImage.

2015

We got serious Hollywood romanic vibes from the then-18-year-old on this red carpet, courtesy of her flushed neutral makeup and loose strands of hair framing her face.

Photo: Dave M. Benett/WireImage.

2016

Williams showed off her darker side with a deep cobalt hair color that gave us a hint of edgier looks to come.

Photo: Luca Teuchmann / WireImage.

2016

At the 2016 Emmys, Williams wore a set of choppy bangs and bold green eyeshadow that proved her penchant for switching up her look.

Photo: Gregg DeGuire/WireImage.

2017

This grown-up, Old Hollywood-inspired hair and makeup would make any GoT fan do a double take.

Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage.

2017

Williams showed off her love of experimenting with color with this emerald green eye makeup.

Photo: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic.

2018

Williams' pivot to pink hair was more than just a fun color change — it was her way of saying goodbye to Arya... and her full-time job. "I dyed it because I didn’t want to work," she told Rolling Stone. "It’s a pretty good way of stopping that. And it just feels so good, so me. I’ve battled my whole adolescence with trying to put a stamp on my appearance, but also be a blank canvas as an actor."

Photo: Samir Hussein/WireImage.

2019

For the final premiere of Game of Thrones, Williams played with purple hair and an on-trend black bow updo.

Photo: Jamie McCarthy/WireImage.

2019

Should we expect a wider range of pastel hair colors now that the actress has the freedom to change it up? We hope so — and we can only hope her on-screen sister Sophie Turner follows suit.

Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images.

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The Low-Key Spring Closet MVP Might Just Be The Wrap Dress

The wrap dress is now 45 years old (thank you, Diane von Furstenberg) and, after a few facelifts, the consistently flattering frock has only gotten better with age. This curve-complimenting, neck-lengthening, waist-trimming garment has accomplished more for women than any other piece of clothing. Sure, that may sound dramatic, but at its peak, 25,000 wrap dress were sold per week. Needless to say, they were onto something.

Today, however, cool textures, trippy prints, and varied hemlines dominate the classic style. And that's why we consider the wrap dress to be our wardrobe's knight in shining armor. If you're looking for that go-to dress, ahead you'll find the best of the swathed bunch for the next time you need to just throw something on and go. (Like, tomorrow morning.)

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

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Refillable Beauty Products Will Help Save The Planet โ€” & Your Money

While trying to make my beauty routine plastic-free, there was one thing I picked up on pretty quickly: Refillable was better than recyclable. Of course, recyclable packaging is certainly preferable to throwaway plastic, but it’s even better if you can avoid waste altogether by using products that can be refilled.

In terms of sustainability, recycling is problematic. Due to the long lifespan of plastics, including those designed to be recyclable, disposing of them is difficult, and can often place huge pressure on resources and the environment — whereas if you buy a refill instead of a completely new product, you save 70% on CO2, 65% on energy, and 45% on water, according to research conducted by The LCA Centre. Up until earlier this year, China dealt with the majority of the world’s recycling (the UK alone shipped 2.7 million tons of plastic to China and Hong Kong in the last five years, Greenpeace reported), but with the Chinese government banning imports, the recycling problem is set to get worse.

This is why, when makeup artist Kirsten Kjaer Weis created her eponymous beauty line, Kjaer Weis, investing in a refillable system was key. Each of the brand's luxe products is housed in a weighty keep-forever metal case which can be refilled when finished. “Refillable packaging is very important to me because it really cuts down on the overall amount of waste that we produce and leave behind on this planet," Weis says. "We see the consequences of not recycling everywhere, especially in the oceans with the enormous amount of plastic buildup. It has had serious ramifications that haven’t been paid enough attention to."

While Kjaer Weis is one of the big names pioneering this movement, with more and more consumers now looking for eco-friendly alternatives, a whole host of beauty brands are starting to offer refillable options. Even better, refills are often also wallet-friendly; much like when you get a discount for bringing a reusable coffee cup for your latte, buying refills is often cheaper than a brand new product.

Convinced yet? Click through to discover some of the best refillable beauty brands out there.

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission. This story was originally published on Refinery29 UK.

L'Occitane

From its truly therapeutic foaming lavender bath bubbles to its spa-worthy almond oil body wash, L'Occitane knows the products you can't get enough of. To make sure those products never run out, the brand stocks a whole array of wallet-friendly refills of its best-sellers that will have you smelling like the French countryside until the end of time.



L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil, $42, available at L'Occitane

Myro

Even the deodorant industry is keen to this zero-waste trend. Thanks to the direct-to-consumer company Myro, you can pick out a cute little deodorant case, a deodorant scent of your choosing, and then sign up for its subscription service, which periodically sends you new scent cartridge refills that are ready to be popped in whenever you're running low.



Myro Deodorant, $10, available at Myro

Kjaer Weis

Chances are you’ve spotted Kjaer Weis' innately Instagrammable metal packaging on your feed. Designed by Marc Atlan (the creative force behind the iconic Comme de Garçons and Helmut Lang packaging), the beautiful silver compacts can be used again and again. Simply pop out the cartridge and refill with a fresh new one (sold separately for $32). This buttery-soft blush blends like a dream — it lends cheeks a subtle hint of dewy color and that natural-looking flush we all crave.



Kjaer Weis Cream Blush Makeup Compact, $56, available at Neiman Marcus

Le Labo

Cult-favorite fragrance brand Le Labo, known for their minimalist shelfie-worthy bottles and standout scents, offer a refillable service in stores. Take your much-loved perfume into one of their boutiques, where they'll refill the bottle and give you 20% off the original price. This fragrance offers a modern take on the classic Grasse rose, with the addition of warm and woody notes such as cedar and centifolia. It's a fragrance that always gets compliments.



Le Labo Rose 31 Eau de Parfum, $184, available at Le Labo

Rituals

Ayurveda-inspired bath and body brand Rituals has recently committed to a number of greener practices, and now offers eco-friendly refills for their body creams, day and night creams, hand washes, and fragrance sticks. Packed with hyaluronic acid and Indian rose, this deeply hydrating night cream works while you sleep to ensure you wake with plump and glowing skin. When you're finished, pop out the bottom of the jar and replace with a refill, available online for $37.



Rituals The Ritual of Namasté Hydrating Overnight Cream, $43, available at Rituals

Surratt Beauty

The brainchild of celebrity-favorite makeup master Troy Surratt, the high-performance yet skin-friendly products from the artist's eponymous brand have earned a loyal legion of fans. The company is taking steps to reduce packaging, starting with selling refillable cartridges for eyeliners and brow pencils. Inspired by the tools used in Japanese calligraphy and artistry, this inky black eyeliner lets you create a super sharp cat-eye that stays put all day — and, at $18 a pop, the refills are a downright steal.



Surratt Auto-Graphique Eyeliner, $42, available at Sephora

Buxom Cosmetics

Do you struggle to find an eyeshadow palette where you actually use all the shades? Buxom might just have the solution. Their refillable palette, which costs $13, lets you pick your very own colors from the brand's wide range, and then simply repurchase as singles when you’ve hit pan on one of your favorites. Highly pigmented, every one of these shades gives amazing good color payoff. Throw the primer-infused formula into the mix, and you have the makings of the perfect long-wear eyeshadow.



Buxom Cosmetics Eyeshadow Bar Single Eyeshadow, $12, available at Buxom Cosmetics

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The Next Must-Have Accessory Isn't Shoes Or A Bag, It's High-End Reusable Straws

Straws are undeniably chic. Not only do they keep our lipstick in tact and make our cheekbones look (slightly) more like Naomi Campbell’s, they allow us to slurp our morning coffee at about twice the rate we otherwise might. A quicker caffeine intake means more energy means getting shit done. But single-use plastic straws, which cities like New York, Miami Beach, and Oakland are pledging to fully ban in the coming years, are suddenly so out of fashion they might as well be Crocs. Worn unironically. Thankfully, given our love of both cold brew and bold lips, there are plenty of sustainable alternatives, some of which are so statement-making they could become the next It accessory. (That’s right, in 2019, there are no It bags, only It sustainable goods.)

Etsy, which has over 4,000 reusable straws available for purchase, including ones made of glass and ceramic, has seen a 198 percent increase in search volume for the term over the past year. “People are becoming more and more aware and conscious and opting for those other options,” says Etsy’s trend expert Dayna Isom Johnson. “And when you look into it, it takes 200 years for one plastic straw to break down, so you can make quite an impact.”

We first conceived of straws as potentially covet-worthy in 2018, when Tiffany & Co., trendsetter that it is, began offering $250 sterling silver straws and $375 gold vermeil ones. The internet exploded as we collectively wondered aloud, who the hell would pay almost $400 for a straw? At the time, it seemed completely ludicrous. Now, it seems only a little bit ludicrous. What a difference a year and some local legislation can make!

While we probably still wouldn’t personally spring for such a pricey straw, we also wouldn’t toss one to the curb if some well-off relative bought us one for graduation in lieu of a silver Infinity bracelet. And lest you assume a straw from Tiffany’s might be used for, um, things other than drinking water, there’s a pigtail-like curl at the top to assure you that it’s not. There’s also an unmistakable Tiffany blue stripe, because if you’re going to spend that much on a straw, people should know about it.

Since the debut of what appears to be the fanciest straw on the market, other brands have followed suit. Goop, bastion of earthiness that it is, offers several straws, including a $68 option that has a rose quartz crystal at one end, a $95 package of six brass ones in a sleek brown walnut holder, and an $18 set of four bamboo ones that come accompanied by a wire cleaning brush. Tableware designer Kim Seyburt has a six-piece set of very useful-looking spoon/straw hybrids for $140. Makeup brand Jeffree Star offers a four-pack of pink-toned metal straws for $20. Meanwhile, CB2, West Elm, and Urban Outfitters all offer cheaper, more utilitarian options.

Glacce, maker of the aforementioned crystal straws, broke onto the lifestyle market in 2015 with crystal-embellished water bottles. As embellished bottles of all stripes became must-haves, Glacce gained enough of a cult following to warrant a profile in Vanity Fair. The straws, introduced last year, seem like a natural extension of their brand — which leads us to wonder how long it might be before trendy bottle behemoths like S’well and Soma decide to get in on the action.

“It’s funny because the Glacce bottle came to me in a dream, and then this idea came to me when I was up really late one night sketching and designing, almost like a sleep deprivation kind of thing,” says co-founder Sharon Leslie. “And then we realized there were no straws on the market that worked like this.”

The Glacce straw screws into two pieces, which makes it easier not only for cleaning, but for drinking from a cocktail glass or even sharing with a straw-less companion. Leslie also notes that the crystal can be removed from the straw and worn on a chain as jewelry. “The straws make a perfect bar tool,” she says. “I think it’s a really nice thing to have at your house, also as a decorative piece.”

In our era of minimalism, itemized wishlists, and people who seem to “have it all” in every sense of the phrase, gifting has become increasingly fraught. What do you get for someone that’s both useful and beautiful and isn’t a scented candle? The best answer just may be a reusable straw. And let us take this opportunity to remind you: Mother’s Day is just around the corner.

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7 Beauty Brands That Make Recycling Their Packaging Easy

When considering your skin and hair-care routines, it may be what's inside a product that counts — but in 2019, the packaging is also worthy of your attention. As consumers and beauty fanatics, it's both impossible and irresponsible to ignore the industry's carbon footprint. While it's fantastic progress that microbeads were banned last year, and that we're buying more natural formulas than ever, it's also important to address the container.

Accounting for just over 40% of total plastic usage, but with only 14% of it being recycled, packaging has a huge impact on the environment. The solution? Along with reducing your water waste with shorter showers, cutting open bottles to make the most of the product inside, and buying dual-use products that work harder, you can buy from brands that are committed to placing sustainability front and center.

From no-waste bottles to recycled and recyclable cardboard boxes, we've found the companies doing just that. Click through to shop the beauty brands we're lining our bathroom shelves with in a bid to help the planet.

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

Ethique Beauty

Ethique Beauty has completely shunned plastic packaging for paper, encasing all of its bar products — from shampoos and conditioners to body washes — in recyclable paper. Since launching in 2012, the company has stopped more than 3.3 million plastic bottles from being made and disposed of into landfills. Additionally, 20% of their annual profit goes to charities focused on the environment.



Ethique Beauty Pinkalicious, $16, available at Ethique Beauty

Āether Beauty

Last year, Āether Beauty created the first-ever zero-waste and entirely recyclable eyeshadow palette. After removing the little tin eyeshadow pans, you could chuck the whole thing into the recycling bin and know it was going to the right place. Since then, the brand's founder Tiila Abbitt has launched two more palettes and even a single eyeshadow pan crafted with tin that can be recycled, too.



Aether Crystal Grid Gemstone Palette, $58, available at Aether

Farmacy

Thanks to its farm-grown ingredients, Farmacy has fast become a staple of editors' bathroom shelves. All products are free from parabens, formaldehyde, and artificial coloring — making it a winner for the natural and green beauty fans among us.

But Farmacy is about more than what's inside its jars. Printing ingredients and product information with soy ink onto FSC (Forest Stewardship Council)-certified paper harvested from well-managed forests, the company has put sustainability behind its designs. Products are housed in recycled and recyclable glass, too.

Perhaps the coolest (and award-winning) aspect of the brand's thoughtful packaging is the fact that the cardboard boxes holding the products fold out, origami-style, into info sheets, with the story of the ingredients, brand, and product printed inside – eliminating the need for extra paper. Genius.



Farmacy Honey Potion, $38, available at Farmacy

Lush

While Lush has been a leader in the ethical, fresh, and vegan beauty space for some time, this winter it made real waves with its launch of a packaging-free product range.

Offering 80% of seasonal products without any packaging, products typically needing some kind of container were made solid to avoid such waste. From shower gels and lip scrubs to body conditioners, products are formulated with little to no water, meaning they stay solid at room temperature and are self-preserving. Plus, by replacing water with ingredients like cocoa butter (Fair Trade, of course), bathside bacteria is kept at bay, keeping your product clean.

Lush also operates a return-for-rewards system on the products that do need packaging. Once you've used up five of its signature black pots, clean them out, bring them into a store and you'll get a free face mask of your choosing. Those pots are then recycled into new ones at the brand's Green Hub in Dorset.



Lush Youki Hi, $7.95, available at Lush

Kevin Murphy

As well as collaborating with Al Gore's climate change programme The Climate Reality Project, industry favorite Kevin Murphy has partnered with Green Circle Salons, an initiative that helps salons become more carbon-neutral via waste management. All salons linked with the organization reduce waste by sending foils, plastic tubes, and applicators to GCS for recycling.

The products' square packaging was also a conscious decision, because they can be packed up and shipped more efficiently — sort of like a game of Tetris — and therefore use less fuel for transportation when delivering the products globally. The square bottles also use 40% less resin than traditional packaging. Win-win.



Kevin Murphy Killer Curls Cream, $38.98, available at Amazon

Bleach London

Alongside its vegan formulas – meaning bold hair color and playful makeup with a conscience – Bleach London ensures its packaging is sustainably focused, too. Cofounders Alex Brownsell and Sam Campbell made certain that all of last year's relaunched packaging was made from recycled and eco-friendly materials, made from 100% recycled cardboard.

This waste-not attitude led to the brand's customization palette, which allows you to buy individual eyeshadow colors and collect them in a magnetic box (a larger size to keep at home, and a smaller one for nights out and on-the-go). Solving the problem of only ever using two shades in an eyeshadow palette, you can curate your own kit and refill when you run out — meaning less wasted product, and no unnecessary packaging.



Bleach London The Big Pink Super Cool Colour, $8, available at LookFantastic

Tata Harper

As if we needed more reasons to love Tata Harper, sustainability is high on the brand's agenda. Already a cult hit, thanks to its 100% natural ingredients, Tata's eponymous brand is EcoCert certified, meaning everything production-wise — from the imports to distribution — has been evaluated green from start to finish.

The majority of Tata Harper's luxurious products come in glass bottles. Being composed of natural materials, glass is more efficiently recycled and reused. "For every 10% increase in recycled glass, CO2 emissions go down 5% – so recycling our (and all) glass packaging is very important for the environment," a spokesperson from the brand says.

What isn't glass is as sustainable as possible, with plastic resin derived from corn (a renewable alternative to petroleum), and the brand also uses soy-based ink to print (in part due to its low petrochemical content).



Tata Harper Clarifying Mask, $68, available at Nordstrom

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Kanye West Is Selling Church-Themed Coachella Merch โ€” & The Internet Has Thoughts

After some back and forth about the set design, Kanye West actually did perform at Coachella 2019, bringing his weekly Sunday Service to the masses on Easter. And because no 'Ye performance is complete without a selection of merch for his fans to shop, the rapper presented "church clothes."

#Coachella pic.twitter.com/3E28Ui21Rc

— Def Jam Recordings (@defjam) April 21, 2019

The 8-piece collection included neutral-hued items bearing slogans often heard in church. He included sweatshirts priced from $165 to $225 and bearing the phrases "Holy Spirit" and "Trust God," as well as a pair of $50 socks that read "Jesus Walks." Onlookers immediately took to social media to call West out for selling "church socks on Easter," branding him "a real Prophet for Profit." One user even labeled him sacrilegious. "You don’t think selling $225 holy hoodies and $50 church socks on EASTER SUNDAY is some straight-up BLASPHEMY??," they wrote.

Nigga sold y’all church socks on Easter you can’t make this kinda shit up hahahhahahahahhahahahhahahahahahah

A real Prophet for Profit.

— CHASE (@ChaseNCashe) April 21, 2019

You don’t think selling $225 holy hoodies and $50 church socks on EASTER SUNDAY is some straight-up BLASPHEMY?? pic.twitter.com/2igqRYIzEV

— ⬛️⬛️⬛️ Miss Em, First of Her Name (@fabmissem) April 21, 2019

"I have weird very-not-good feelings abt Kanye capitalizing imagery of the Black church while selling bare min t-shirts & socks at $50-70 a pop & providing others viewership to his spectacle through an actual peephole lens. I cant entirely enunciate my disdain for it but its there," @jongrabwb writes.

I have weird very-not-good feelings abt Kanye capitalizing imagery of the black church while selling bare min t-shirts & socks at $50-70 a pop & providing others viewership to his spectacle through an actual peephole lens. I cant entirely enunciate my disdain for it but its there pic.twitter.com/gh8FZAzIGk

— Jonathan H. Gray @ TCAF 🤪 (@jongraywb) April 21, 2019

But beyond the price point, many people took issue with West commodifying a sacred Black cultural practice after saying that slavery was a choice and continuing to show support for Donald Trump. Actress Natasha Rothwell tweeted "Yeah, no. I REFUSE to support a man who proudly supports a racist, homophobic, xenophobic, transphobic, Islamaphobic, anti-Semitic president whose policies endanger the very people who subsidized his career just because he's selling redemption dressed up in church clothes. GTFOH."

Yeah, no. I REFUSE to support a man who proudly supports a racist, homophobic, xenophobic, transphobic, Islamaphobic, anti-Semitic president whose policies endanger the very people who subsidized his career just because he's selling redemption dressed up in church clothes. GTFOH.

— Natasha Rothwell (@natasharothwell) April 21, 2019

Scottie Beam shared a previously recorded clip of her on the Revolt show State of the Culture where she addressed West and his Sunday Service performances with the caption "you can have those fake ass sermons." In shared clip, Beam says "using God as a ploy to get Black people to forgive you, because a lot of people do that. A lot of people bring up God, pull out God whenever its convenient for them because you've done fucked up so bad, is when you bring up our Lord and Savior."

Controversy aside, Kanye fans still stood in long lines to get their hands on his latest round of merch. The collection is also available online for a limited time.

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NJ Governor Wants To Punish Low-Income Gun Owners With Insane New Fees

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D) wants to significantly increase the cost of owning a gun in the state - proposing fees that would be among the highest in the country, according to the New York Times

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D)

Currently, a firearm identification costs $5, a permit to own a gun $2, and a permit to carry a gun costs just $20. Murphy wants to raise that to $100 for the ID, $50 to own a gun and $400 to carry. In addition, Murphy wants to slap a 10% excise tax on ammunition and a 2.5% firearms excise tax. 

The proposals are part of the state budget which must be passed by June 30. 

The new fees would - as they always do - disproportionately punish low-income, law-abiding, mostly minority gun owners who wish to defend themselves and their families in high-crime areas. 

While Murphy lives in mostly white Princeton, NJ - which has an average income of $125,000 and virtually no violent crime, residents of predominantly black Asbury Park - with an average income of $37,737 (2016) and more than double the national crime rate, would be much harder pressed to come up with the extra $523 to legally defend themselves. 

Murphy claims that there is no "war on responsible gun owners," and that the funds raised from the fee hike would go towards anti-violence initiatives. 

"We can support the efforts of the attorney general, state troopers, county and local law enforcement, to do the stuff we need to do: track crime, track gun violence, combat trafficking of illegal guns," Murphy added. 

"I was in Jersey City," said the governor. "It’s at least $10 to get a dog license in Jersey City. It’s still $2 to get a permit to purchase a firearm in New Jersey."

At least 12 states, including New York, Connecticut and Washington, have moved to increase fees and taxes on guns and ammunition since the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012, according to a study by Southern Illinois University.

Though higher fees might discourage some people from buying firearms, gun control advocates and researchers said they were not certain that higher fees alone would reduce violence. -New York Times

"Most crime guns in the Northeast are thought to come from the ‘iron pipeline’ from the South, and then they’re sold on the street," says professor Daniel Feldman of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, referring to guns bought in states with looser restrictions and then illegally resold in states with strict gun control. 

Gun owners aren't taking kindly to Murphy's proposal.

"This is clear bullying of law-abiding gun owners in the state," said Cody McLaughlin, spokesman for the pro-hunting New Jersey Outdoor Alliance. "You’re talking about sportsmen that are already paying hundreds of dollars a year in license fees." 

New Jersey Democratic leaders aren't so sure either

Even in deeply blue New Jersey, Mr. Murphy faces resistance. Democratic legislative leaders are tepid on the governor’s proposal, with some making the case that the state’s residents already pay more than enough in taxes and fees.

“I think we’ve done a lot of gun reform in this state. We are the most progressive state in the nation when it comes to gun reform,” said Stephen M. Sweeney, the Senate president. “Just to check a box to say you did something, I’m not sure that’s necessary. I don’t think it’s going to raise a lot of money.” -New York Times

The fees and taxes are projected to raise around $9 million, according to the State Treasury Department - which the Times notes is a fraction of the $38 billion budget. 

Meanwhile, a leading gun rights group has threatened to sue of Murphy's proposal becomes law, while the state's hunting community is also lobbying against it. 

"It’s going to affect gun shops tremendously," said Lisa Caso, owner of Caso's Gun-A-Rama in Jersey City. "It’s going to deter a lot of people from buying permits. In our business, you have people coming in who barely have money to buy the most modestly priced guns, which are around $300."

Lisa Caso, owner of Caso’s Gun-A-Rama in Jersey City, criticized Gov. Phillip Murphy’s proposed fee increases –- from $27 up to $550 to own and carry a gun.

Meanwhile, Caso says she has heard reports that people are rushing to get gun permits now ahead of the potentially higher fees. 

"I think what Murphy would want to happen," said Caso, "is for every gun shop in the state of New Jersey to just close."

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