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A Revolving Door Farce: CFTC Commissioner Bails To Head Regulator's Biggest Opponent

There is no better way to describe what the recently departed CFTC commissioner Scott O'Malia just did when he bailed from the commodity watchdog to become the new head of the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, aka ISDA, the biggest banking group that has constantly opposed every intervention and attempt to regulate the swaps market by the CFTC since the Lehman crisis, than an epic farce.



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Two-Thirds Of Chinese Consumers No Longer Trust Western Fast-Food As "Meat Scandal" Spreads Across Asia

As if the Chinese meat scandal was not a big enough concern for Western fast-food firms, The WSJ reports that the crisis is spreading across Asia as Yum Brands and McDonalds sever links with US-owned Shanghai Husi Food Company, which is accused of selling expired beef and chicken, pulling supplies of chicken from restaurants in Japan. Perhaps even more worrisome for American fast-food companies who have expanded aggressively and over-hyped the growth opportunities in China, a second Sina survey started yesterday, featuring 25,000 respondents, found 77% believed the restaurant brands affected had been aware of Husi’s faulty practices, while 69% said they would no longer dine at the restaurants run by the Western companies.



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"The West's Public Enemy Number One"

Newsweek's "triumphal" return to print with its expose on the wrong Satoshi Nakamoto (of "Bitcoin founder" fame) was less than, well, triumphal. So what is the eyeball starved media outlet seeking a second life to do? A screaming "grab me" epiphany of jingoist groupthink, in which we read that last week's events in Russia was "Putin's Lockerbie moment", should certainly help (and indeed it's very kind of Newsweek to have conducted all the forensic analysis and tests which confirm its magazine-selling allegations).



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This Is What A 8900% 1-Day Profit Looks Like

When the lottery tickets are scattered around like this (and mal-investment concerns at record-low levels), is it any wonder the world and his mum is buying Biotech stock options, what could go wrong?



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When Twitter Word Order Goes Badly Wrong



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Want To Outperform The Market, Buy Illiquid Stocks (And Pray)

As part of Bernanke's and now Yellen's experiment in market central-planning, in which newsflow no longer matters to a market that has lost all ability to discount anything except how big a central bank's balance sheet will be and where HFT momentum is far more important than fundamentals, one of the greatest investing perversions to emerge has been our finding from two years ago since confirmed on a monthly basis, that the best performing asset classes happens to also be the most hated one, as the most shorted stocks have outperformed the market better than twofold just since 2012.



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51 Dead As TransAsia Flight Makes Forced Landing In South China Sea

A TransAsia Airways flight from Kaohsiung to Penghu made an forced landing in Taiwan, according to TVBS, leaving 51 dead and 7 injured. The crash occurred on Makung, one of Taiwan's offshore islands.

*TRANSASIA PLANE MADE EMERGNCY LANDING IN MAKUNG, TVBS SAYS
*51 DEAD, 7 INJURED IN TRANSASIA CRASH IN TAIWAN: TVBS

On the positive side, at least it wasn't Malaysian Airlines but it does make us wonder as a Taiwanese flight crashes over South China sea... how long until Taiwan accuses China of shooting it down?



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Rebels Shoot Down Two Ukraine Fighter Jets, Defense Ministry Reports - Video Coverage

At this point it is beyond any one (or countless number of) human beings to distinguish truth from lies from epic propaganda, so we won't even try. Here is the latest relevant news that just crossed the stream from Ukraine's defense ministry, according to which moments ago Pro-Russian rebels have shot down two Ukrainian fighter jets, a spokesman for Ukraine's military operations said on Wednesday. The spokesman said the two were downed near Savur Mogila in eastern Ukraine. No details were known about the pilots.



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Caption Contest: The Lifecycle Of An ISIS Fanatic

From life-saver to life-taker...



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An Annotated History of World Oil Price Shocks

A sharp increase in Middle East geopolitical tensions, first with the resurgence of a radical al-Qaeda affiliate – now called the Islamic State – making substantial territorial gains in major oil producer Iraq, and more recently with an escalating military conflict between Israel and Hamas, has barely caused a blip in global markets and even in oil prices despite the fact that oil supply today is tight. At the same time, the conflict between Ukraine and Russia – the largest oil producer globally – has reached a more dangerous level, also with little oil price response. Indeed, it is difficult to identify another point in recent history when the Middel East – for all its troubles – was in such a precarious state; yet, as Goldman, rather rhetorically asks, this raises the question of whether the markets are being too dismissive about the recent turn of events.



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Insolvent Chinese Construction Company Gets Last Minute Bailout, Avoids China's Second Bond Default

Those keeping track and hoping the second default would finally hit have to hold their breath again after yet another last minute bailout has now made a complete mockery of China's "deliberate" intentions to clear up the rot plaguing its bond market. As Reuters reports, Huatong avoided a "landmark bond default at the last minute on Wednesday, raising enough funds to pay off both principal and interest on a 400 million yuan ($64.51 million) bond." Who bailed it out? Why the same government which continues to say one thing and do something totally different.



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Frontrunning: July 23

  • Here come the gates which we predicted in 2010: SEC Is Set to Approve Money-Fund Rules (WSJ)
  • Dick's cuts 400 jobs as golf now less popular (MW)
  • Kerry arrives in Israel, pushes for peace (Reuters)
  • Pay Penalty Haunts Recession Grads as U.S. Economy Mends (BBG)
  • Appeals Courts Issue Conflicting Rulings on Health-Law Subsidies (WSJ)
  • Rebel Stronghold Donetsk Holds Breath as Shellfire Mounts (BBG)
  • Business executive wins Georgia Republican runoff in U.S. Senate race (Reuters)
  • Five held in China food scandal probe, including head of Shanghai Husi Food (Reuters)
  • Jobs Hold Sway Over Yellen-Carney as Central Banks Splinter (BBG)


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Overnight Futures Levitation Mode Engaged But Subdued

Despite yesterday's lackluster earnings the most recent market levitation on low volume was largely due to what some considered a moderation in geopolitical tensions after Europe once again showed it is completely incapable of stopping Putin from dominating Europe with his energy trump card, and is so conflicted it is even unable to impose sanctions (despite the US prodding first France with BNP and now Germany with the latest DB revelations to get their act together), as well as it being, well, Tuesday, today's moderate run-up in equity futures can likely be best attributed to momentum algos, which are also rushing to recalibrate and follow the overnight surge in the AUDJPY while ignoring any drifting USDJPY signals.



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"Is College Worth It?" - Here Is The Fed's Answer In One Chart

The topic of whether college is worth it (costs vs benefits) has been discussed at length (here, here, and here most recently) but no lesser entity than the San Francisco Fed's PhDs have crunched the numbers and found that in the new normal, median starting wages of recent college graduates have not kept pace with median earnings for all workers. Furthermore, they are not optimistic - "because college grads face wages and hiring conditions that are especially responsive to business cycle conditions, this low earnings growth, together with shifts in the distribution of graduates’ labor market status, suggests continued weakness in the overall economy."



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US State Department "Confident" MH17 "Mistakenly" Downed By Separatists, Finds No Direct Link To Russia

UPDATE: US Intelligence officials identify Rostov as Russian military installation providing support to separatists... offers more evidence-less proof - Senior U.S. intelligence officials cited sensors that traced the path of the missile, shrapnel markings on the downed aircraft, voiceprint analysis of separatists claiming credit for the strike, and a flood of photos and other data from social media sites. With a somewhat shocking lack of evidence, AP reports that US officials (on condition of anonymity) have stated that intelligence suggests Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was mistakenly shot down by separatists and can find no link to Russia. However, the unnamed non-proof-providing officials believed Russia "created the conditions" for the downing of MH17. For now there is not even a YouTube clip to confirm this... as officials do not make the new technical evidence public...



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