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It's Official: Austria Repatriates Gold, Confirms Loss Of Faith In Bank Of England

Earlier today the Austrian Central Bank confirmed the Kronen-Zeitung report, and said that by the year 2020, it would hold 50%, or 140 tons, of its gold domestically, up from 17% currently. This means that Austria will withdraw some 140 tons of gold from the BOE which holds 80% of Austria's gold currently and send 92.4 tons back home to Vienna with another 47.6 tons being sent to Switzerland. Which is also the biggest news: Austria is explicitly demonstrating a lack of confidence in the "pro-western" system of which the Bank of England is a critical cog, and instead opting for "neutral" Switzerland, which will hold nearly 50 tons of the gold formerly located at the Bank of England.



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The American "Economy" (Summed Up In 1 Cartoon)

Having previously explained why "average joe" will never be wealthy from the stock market, we thought this summed up the new-normal America perfectly...



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"The Greek Endgame Is Here": Probability Of IMF Default Now 70%, Says Deutsche Bank

Amid accelerating deposit outflows and an hourly flow of conflicting headlines, Deutsche Bank is out with a fresh take on the Greek endgame including an analysis of both the political wrangling that would need to take place in order for parliamentary approval of concessions to creditors and the mechanics of a default to the IMF.



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How Healthcare Is Dooming the U.S. Economy (In Just 3 Charts)

As it stands now, U.S. healthcare will bankrupt the nation and doom it to permanent stagnation and recession. It's our choice: live with a bankrupt system built almost entirely of perverse incentives, or begin an adult discussion about a system that delivers responsible care to the elderly in line with other advanced nations, but at a fraction of the current cost.



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ECB Cracks A Joke, Says It Will "Publicly" Respond To Allegations It Privately Leaks Market-Moving News



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Crude Prices Bounce On Inventory Draw Despite Biggest Production Spike In 19 Months

Following last night's surprise inventory build (as reported by API), as one trader noted, "inventory declines are expected this time of yr and more or less expected, we need to see inventory draws accelerating," and DOE didn't disappoint reporting a 2.8 million barrel draw (against expectations of a 2 million barrel draw). Inventories remains massively high though and Crude Production soared 3.28% - the biggest rise since Oct 2013. Crude prices initially ripped on the inventory news but are fading.



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Oil Prices Drop To 7-Week Lows - Here's Why

WTI Crude hit new 7-week lows, dropping below $57 (front-month) for the first time since April 15th's 'inventory draw' rip. In addition to reports from Reuters of leaked details about OPEC not expectated to cut production (did anyone really expect that), a combination of renewed inventory builds (as reported by API last night) and reports that Iraq is increasing its supply to new record highs is forcing futures prices to catch down to physical markets.



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Pending Home Sales Jump Most Since September 2012 To Highest Since 2006, Driven By The Northeast

Following the March pending home sales report which saw growth moderate after February's 3.6% surge to 1.1%, the flurry of contract signings, not actual purchases, in April rebounded by 3.4% - the biggest jump since September 2012 - far above the 0.9% consensus estimate and 14% higher than a year ago, pushing the pending home sales index to 112.4, the highest level since 2006. The driver: pending sales in the Northeast, which soared 10.1% from the month before, and 9.4% from a year ago.



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Consumer Comfort Plunges For Longest Streak In 7 Years

With business confidence collapsing, Bloomberg's Consumer Comfort index - after dropping to its lowest since December - plunged once again this week to 40.9 (from 42.4). This is the lowest since Novemeber and extends the losing streak to 7 weeks - something we have not seen sionce May 2008. This confirms Gallup's weekly tracking of consumer confidence dropped back to its lowest levels since early December 2014 with 53% of Americans now saying the economy is getting worse. Despite all the exuberance over lower oil prices, Consumer Comfort in The South is crashing. Perhaps even worse - for a consumer-driven economy - is that the "buying-climate"suffered its biggest drop since Dec 2011.



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Putin Slams US Over FIFA Arrests: "Another Blatant Attempt By The US To Meddle Outside Its Jurisdiction"

Following yesterday's surprise DOJ indictment in which 14 FIFA affiliates were perp-walked out of Zurich's swankiest hotel just days ahead of Sepp Blatter's re-election, one person was quite displeased with this latest US intervention on the international arena: Russian president Vladimir Putin who accused the United States of meddling outside its jurisdiction by arresting officials from FIFA, further hinting that it was part of an attempt to take the 2018 World Cup away from his country.



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Military "Accidentally" Sends Live Anthrax To 9 States Via FedEx

The US military inadvertently shipped live anthrax samples to labs in nine states and one lab in South Korea. The army says it simply doesn't know what went wrong at the Dugway, Utah site from which the samples originated. Dozens of people are now being treated for possible exposure.



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Financial Insanity Grips The World

Rare is the person who is a realist. We collectively live in a world of pretend and extend. Every one of us wants our present civilization to continue, though for countless millions the world has already turned upside down as unemployment has soared and war and terrorism proliferate. The very structure of life in our world is threatened because madmen have undermined the financial system through the creation of debt instead of wealth. We have collectively borrowed against our children’s future until their very future is in doubt.



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Initial Jobless Claims Rise, Miss Expectations - Gone Nowhere Since The End Of QE3

With the biggest miss to expectations in 6 weeks, initial jobless claims rose to 282k (against 270k exp). For context this means jobless claims have gone nowhere since the end of QE3. The smoothed average ticked up very modestly but hovers near 15-year lows. Continuing Claims rose 11k to 2.222 million, missing expectations for the first time in 6 weeks.



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Virtu Revenue In Peril: Reuters, BATS Launch Crackdown On Algo FX Manipulation

Recall that back in December it was first reported that both Deutsche and Barclays "algos" were busted for FX rigging: something we alleged was taking place about 3 years ago. And now, six months later, exchanges are finally admitting that this too conspiracy theory was in reality fact, and quietly have started to clean up their game before the DOJ comes knocking. As the WSJ reports, Thomson Reuters Corp. and BATS Global Markets Inc. will limit the practice known as “last look", also known as quasi-FX spoofing, on their platforms in coming weeks "in a move aimed at increasing transparency in the foreign-exchange market.""



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Bull Market Dealt A Significant Blow?

While there were certainly concerning bits of evidence piling up regarding the longer-term fate of U.S. stocks, the most important factors in the immediate-term – such as the ongoing confirmation of new highs by the NYSE Advance-Decline Line – continued to support the bull market. That may be starting to change...



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