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ISIS' First Administration Casualty: Chuck Hagel Resigns Under Pressure From Obama

It appears some folks might be scapegoated... As NY Times reports, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is stepping down, under presssure. President Obama made the decision to ask his defense secretary — the sole Republican on his national security team — to step down last Friday, as a recognition that the threat from the Islamic State would require a different kind of skills than those that Mr. Hagel has, and that his team has struggled to stay ahead of an onslaught of global crises.



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The Mystery Of America's "Schrodinger" Middle Class, Which Is Either Thriving Or About To Go Extinct

On one hand, the US middle class has rarely if ever had it worse. At least, if one actually dares to venture into this thing called the real world, and/or believes the NYT's report: "Falling Wages at Factories Squeeze the Middle Class." In short, it says that America's manufacturing sector, and thus middle class, is being obliterated: "A new study by the National Employment Law Project, to be released on Friday, reveals that many factory jobs nowadays pay far less than what workers in almost identical positions earned in the past. And then, paradoxically, at almost the same time, there's this from Bloomberg: "Lower-wage workers saw bigger pay gains over the past year than the highest earners, reversing the trend from earlier stages of the recovery." In short: the state of the US middle class is truly in the eyes of the beholder.



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Iran Nuclear Talks Extended 7 Months; $700 Million In Monthly Sanctions Lifted

In what is hardly a surprising outcome, the parties involved in the Iran nuclear talks have decided it best for all to extend (and pretend) the discussion for another 7 months:

*IRAN NUCLEAR TALKS EXTENDED UNTIL JULY 1, OFFICIALS SAY

Diplomatic teams will reconvene in December and the US State Department is proclaiming "good progress" in a brief statement. 7 more months of sanctions, a call with Putin today, and OPEC later in the week... one wonders if any of this will be relevant in 7 months. Additionally, it seems beggars can be choosers as P5+1 says Iran can get $700 million per month in frozen assets back...



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Central Banks: When We Succeed, We Fail

Goosing stocks ever higher will eventually push wealth inequality to the point that it unleashes social instability.



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Frontrunning: November 24

  • Grand jury expected to resume Ferguson police shooting deliberations (Reuters)
  • PBOC Bounce Seen Short Lived as History Defies Bulls (BBG)
  • Home prices dropped in September for the first time since January (HousingWire)
  • UPS Teaches Holiday Recruits to Fend Off Dogs, Dodge NYC Taxis (BBG)
  • US oil imports from Opec at 30-year low (FT)
  • Hedge Funds Bet on Coal-Mining Failures (WSJ)
  • Putin Woos Pakistan as Cold War Friend India Buys U.S. Arms (BBG)
  • How the EU Plans to Turn $26 Billion Into $390 Billion (BBG)
  • The $31 Billion Bet Against Brazil’s New Finance Minister (BBG)


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Futures Poised For New Record Highs On Weekend Central Bank Double Whammy

Another day, another case of central banks, not one but two this time, dictating "price" action.



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RANsquawk Week Ahead - 24th November 2014



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Your Role In The World Explained (In 1 Simple Sketch)

Presented without comment...



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There Goes The Shopping Spree: Nor'easter May Hit East Coast For Thanksgiving

Forget Black Friday and Q4 GDP... it appears, from the most recent forecasts that from Wednesday on this week, the eastern US faces a 'White Five-Day' as Accuweather reports "an increasing likelihood for a swath of heavy snow stretching from eastern Pennsylvania through New York's Hudson Valley and across much of New England before all is said and done." Furthermore, as WaPo notes, Wednesday’s possible storm has a chance to develop into a legitimate Nor’easter (though current models offer 3 scenarios).



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NATO Jets Surrounding Russia: Before And After



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American CEOs Sum Up The Economic Outlook: "Softness, Stagnant, Cautious, Challenging"

Since May, CEO confidence among America's largest companies had stagnated - even as stocks did what they do and rise, rise, rise. That changed when Bullard (now explained as "misunderstood" by the market) set fire to stocks with his QE4 hints and Plunge Protection Team rescue. However, the last 2 weeks have seen a noticable collapse once again in CEO confidence, according to Bloomberg's Orange Book index, even as stocks reach new higher all-time-er highs. As Bloomberg's Rich Yamarone notes, recent earnings calls highlight the headwinds companies face: Executives cite “softness in consumer spending,” a “challenging” climate, “fairly stagnant economy,” and “cautious” optimism. Currency valuations are front and center.



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Pressures On The US Economy Just Increased

"Even if economic conditions continue improving, equity prices are bound to fall sharply at some point, inflicting painful losses on investors. This is what happened in 1987, roughly five years into the last structural bull market. Boom-bust cycles are inevitable because improving economic conditions encourage speculative excesses, which are then blown away as greed gives way to fear."



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The Japanization Of Europe In 9 "Different This Time" Charts

Still convinced it's different this time? Think again... these 9 charts suggest Europe is very much on its way to Japan... and remember Japan was doing QE through this period too...



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The Massively Crowded 'Long-USD, Short-Treasuries' Trade Just Got Crowded-er

The epic voyage of USD Longs and Treasury Shorts continues...



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Saxobank CIO: "Non-Productive Society Reigns Supreme In Most Developed Countries"

While reflecting on how many of 2014's "outrageous predictions" came true (and the still strong US equity markets), Saxobank CIO and Chief Economist Steen Jakobsen warns 2015 will see "deeper and deeper market corrections." If we continue to apply medicine to keep the patient alive, instead of dealing with the disease Jakobsen ominously warns, 2015 will see increased volatility and mean-reversion, "think in terms of October 1987 or 9/11."



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