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5 Things To Ponder: Is This "THE" Correction?

"The current levels of investor complacency are more usually associated with late stage bull markets rather than the beginning of new ones. Of course, if you think about it, this only makes sense if you refer back to the investor psychology chart above. The point here is simple. The combined levels of bullish optimism, lack of concern about a possible market correction (don't worry the Fed has the markets back), and rising levels of leverage in markets provide the "ingredients" for a more severe market correction. However, it is important to understand that these ingredients by themselves are inert. It is because they are inert that they are quickly dismissed under the guise that 'this time is different.' Like a thermite reaction, when these relatively inert ingredients are ignited by a catalyst they will burn extremely hot. Unfortunately, there is no way to know exactly what that catalyst will be or when it will occur. The problem for individuals is that they are trapped by the combustion an unable to extract themselves in time."



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NSA Abused Heartbleed Bug For Years, Left Consumers Exposed To Attack

It is one thing for the NSA to spy on everyone in the world, especially US citizens because all of them are obviously potential "terrorizers" just waiting for their opportunity to blow shit up (except for anything in close proximity to the Boston marathon - those things the NSA promptly filters out), but when the NSA itself is found to have not only known and itself abused the prevalent and widespread Heartbleed bug, but left consumers exposed, then it may be time to finally launch a class action lawsuit against Obama's favorite means to eavesdropping on the entire world.



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Herbalife Tumbles 14% On News Criminal Probe Has Been Launched Into Company

The Herbalife drama - perhaps the biggest billionaire pissing contest of 2013 - just got excting again, following FT news that a criminal probe has been launched into Herbalife. "The US Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are investigating Herbalife, the multi-level marketing company that hedge fund manager Bill Ackman has alleged is a pyramid scheme, according to people familiar with the matter. The criminal investigation by the FBI and US attorney’s office in Manhattan raises the stakes for Herbalife, which is already facing civil inquiries from multiple government agencies that are looking into the Los Angeles-based company and its associated network of independent distributors."



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Nasdaq Breaks 4,000; Collapses To Worst Week Since June 2012

Equity markets opened down hard, bounced into Europe's close, and then pushed to new cycle lows into the last hour of the day. The Nasdaq hit 4,000 for the first timein over 2 months and closed at its lowest close in 4 months. Around 3pm we saw the standard ramp attempt but it was weak and faded back towards the lows by the close. EURJPY ran the show this afternoon. This is the Nasdaq's worst week since June 2012 (with Nasdaq and Russell -3.5% from the FOMC Minutes alone). All major US equity indices closed red for 2014 (first time in over 2 months). Biotechs fell for the 7th week in a row (the longest losing streak since 1998) in a bear-market -21%. Away from the bloodbath in stocks, bond yields tumbled 8-11bps on the week (with the short-end modestly outperforming)... with 30Y yields (3.47%) at their lowest in 10 months. CAD and EUR weakness today supported modest USD buying but USD Index is -1.3% on the week (biggest weekly drop in 9 months).Commodites were flat today (despite a pump-and-dump in copper early and WTI later) with gold ending the week +1% at $1318.

 



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"This Is The Power Of A Crowd Looking At A Crowd... And It's A Bitch"

What we’re witnessing right now in US markets is a shift in the Narrative structure around Fed policy, and it’s hitting markets hard because the Narrative structure around the Fed as an institution has never been stronger or more constant... "So now we will all start to act as if the statements are true for Fed policy, no matter what we privately think the Fed will do or not do, and that behavior becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, a snowball rolling downhill, as more and more of all of us start to believe that this is what all of us believe. This is the power of a crowd looking at a crowd, and it’s a bitch."



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GM CEO Barra Lied To Congress: Docs Reveal She Knew About Steering Problem Years Ago

Despite her vehement denial of knowing anything about the ignition switch problems at GM (until late December, early January), documents revealed by the Energy and Commerce Department show:

*GM'S BARRA TOLD OF STEERING PROBLEM IN 2011, DOCUMENTS SHOW
*DEGIORGIO SAYS COST FOR ALL COBALT MODELS WOULD BE $10 EACH

We are sure the lawyers will be carefully crafting her PR response to this disaster but as Chairman Fred Upton notes, "There is still much left to examine and we will continue to follow the facts... These initial documents revealed failures within the system." It seems this was the last straw for the hedge funds (GM is the most widely held) as the stock is dumping.

 



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Head Of Asia's Largest Clothing Retailer: "I Don’t Have An Optimistic View About Consumption In Japan"

Today we get some more on the ground perspective on the abysmal (second) reign of Abe, where the stock market may be approaching bear market territory (after everyone was convinced the Nikkei was set to soar in 2014), but it is really the economy which is about to get it, most likely resulting in Abe's second premature evacuation stage left (with the now traditional Imodium scapegoat) well before the work of Abenomics is completed, in the process sending the USDJPY once again back into double digit territory. The bottom line: “I don’t have an optimistic view about consumption in Japan,” Yanai told reporters yesterday in Tokyo. He said he had yet to see an effect on sales from the tax increase. He will quite soon, and he won't be happy with what he sees.



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Stocks Plunge To New Lows For The Day

The Dow, S&P, and Russell 2000 just pushed to fresh lows for the day after some dead-cat-bouncing hope intraday. Weakness in stocks is worse than FX carry for now but more in line with bond strength as Treasury yields push to new cycle lows. WTI Crude is up and gold is holding gains as the USD is stable.



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The Diet Coke Bubble Also Pops

With everyone focusing on the stock market and debating whether the second tech bubble has finally popped as it tends to do every so many years, another bubble also appears to have burst, and this time it is literally a bubble - that in carbonated diet coke. The WSJ reported that "for 13 years running, Americans have been drinking less Coke. Now Diet Coke sales are falling off a cliff. Globally, sales growth of soda is slowing amid concerns about sugar intake and obesity."



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US/UK Investigating New Assad Chemical Attacks In Syria

It seems tensions in Ukraine are not escalating fast enough for the US warmongers. As The Daily Mail reports, allegations have emerged that Syria's Assad regime has carried out four new chemical attacks in the suburbs of Damascus. We can only assume that there is clear "YouTube-able" proof of this as The White House said it was "monitoring reports." The attacks were carried out using industrial rather than weaponised agents to lessen the chances of military intervention from Western powers, it was reported. UK diplomats added that they're "aware of the allegations but not able to corroborate them at this time." The Syrian National Coalition said, "we condemn the Assad regime’s gas attacks," and called on the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to carry out an investigation.



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Guest Post: Watching For The Goldman Ticket

In a world filled with innuendo, false flags, and more one thing remains constant: What is Goldman Sachs (GS) up to and more importantly – why?



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Best And Worst Performing Hedge Funds Of 2014: The Full List

We have already reported that when it comes to hedge fund performance, the last couple of weeks have been a slaughter, especially for the high-beta, biotech, social-networking, Russia and Japan focused hedge funds. For everyone curious what this translates into numerically, here is the latest HSBC hedge fund performance report, with select brand name hedge funds highlighted relative to the broader stock market. The good news: unlike in the past 5 years, the S&P500 is only outperformring about half the marquee names (as opposed to 90%+). The bad news: this is a delayed report and we can't wait to see what kind of carnage the week that is about to end has wrought in the space.



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China Drills Into The "Roof Of The World" To Alleviate Foreign Dependence

From copper to iron to oil, China is the world’s leading importer of almost every raw mineral. Wary of the risks this dependence brings, Beijing is looking ever inward to exploit the mineral wealth of its interior, including the politically contentious and technically challenging Tibetan Plateau. The most recent development is a 7-kilometer deep borehole drilled by Chinese resource exploration teams. The exact location of the borehole, the deepest ever drilled at such a high altitude, as well as the companies involved in the exploration are being kept secret.



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Liberation Of Europe From Gazprom Due To Nat Gas Exports Is Nonsense, Cheniere CEO

Despite the ongoing propoganda machine's push for a bailout plan to 'liberate Europe from Gazprom's claws', The FT reports that the head of Cheniere Energy, which is due to become the US’s first new natural gas exporter next year, said the ability of US energy to save Europe from its dependence on Russian supplies had been overstated. Simply put, as Putin knows all too well (but Obama and his merry men in the mainstream media seem destined to perpetuate), Cheniere's CEO blasts "It’s flattering to be talked about like this, but it’s all nonsense. It’s so much nonsense that I can’t believe anybody really believes it."



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Here Is The Reason Why Half Of Today's IPOs Were Pulled

The market is 4% off its all time highs which means the time to pull IPOs due to "market conditions" has come. Here's why.



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