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S&P 500 Hits Record High As Tepper Turnaround Trumps Draghi Disappointment

The initial exuberance over Draghi's actions (and promises) faded quickly with Treasury yields falling and the EUR surging back higher (to close at 10-day highs)... but thanks to sterling work by AUDJPY and some well chosen 'I'm not scared anymore' comments from David Tepper, US equities soared in a world of their own (as VIX dropped). Volume was also heavy (but the siz came on the downswing after the initial jerk higher from the ECB). The Russell 2000 soared ~2% (best day in 3 months), Treasury yields closed lower, the USD closed lower (as EUR surged) and unchanged on the week, and gold and silver jumped. VIX also helped to support stocks at it dropped modestly (but remains notably disconnected from the equity exuberance). NFP tomorrow... time to sell vol for sure!!


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More On China's "Missing Commodity" Scandal: Fallout Spreads As Banks Get Involved

As we reported yesterday, the third largest Chinese port of Qingdao is being investigated for after a source at a local warehouse said that "it appears there is a discrepancy in metal that should be there and metal that is actually there... We hear the discrepancy is 80,000 tonnes of aluminium and 20,000 tonnes of copper... It's either missing or it was never there - there have been triple issuing of documentation." This has resulted in a prompt and acute selloff of copper and other commodities as we further documents, but the problems may only now be starting and the banks. As Reuters reports, worries over a probe into commodity stockpile financing at China's Qingdao port appeared to deepen on Wednesday as Standard Bank Group and a part-owned unit of Louis Dreyfus Corp warned of potential losses and copper prices fell further."


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"We Have Nothing To Fear But The Lack Of Fear Itself"

"It's a record!" No not the S&P 500 - the total and utter lack of fear in the marketplace... Adding up Bearish AAII professionals, those who believe a Correction is coming, and the VIX; we have never (ever) been more complacent about stocks. Seems like the Fed's communications policy (about complacency being a concern) is not working...


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White House Demands China "Account For" Tiananmen Square Victims

Just as the cyber-spat is off the headlines for a day... and no one from Treasury has discussed the need for the Renminbi to strengthen... The White House drops another well-timed China shot, calling on Chinese authorities to account for those killed, detained or missing in connection with the military assault on pro-democracy demonstrators at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square 25 years ago. Diplomatically, this could be a little awkward as China forbids public acknowledgment of the anniversary in the state-run media and censors the Internet to wipe away both direct and indirect references to the crackdown.


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The Rich Get Richest: Household Net Worth Rises To All Time High Courtesy Of $67 Trillion In Financial Assets

Another quarter, and another confirmation that in the New Normal only the rich get richer, pardon: richest.


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Ukraine Closes 8 Border Crossings On Reports Of Russian Troop Movement

On the eve of Obama and Putin coming face-to-face on the beaches in Normandy, tensions appear to be re-escalating in the south and east of Ukraine. As Ukrainian forces continue their "anti-terrorist" operations, newly 'elected' President Poroshsenko is steppung up the protection of his sovereignty:

*UKRAINE CLOSES 8 BORDER CROSSINGS WITH RUSSIA
*POROSHENKO: 'TERRORISTS' BEING SENT INTO UKRAINE TO SOW CHAOS

There is a great deal of chatter about Russian troop movements into Ukraine with " major accusations today that small units of well-armed militants, some of whom are traveling in armored vehicles, are crossing the Russian border and engaging in firefights with Ukrainian border guards." As if that was not enough, there are now reports that the Chief of Poroshenko's presidential campaign administration has died after an assassination attack in Nemirov city.


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The ZIRP Economy Unmasked, Part 1: Zero Growth In Private Labor Hours Since 1998

Every now and again the apparatchiks who dutifully tend Washington’s statistical sausage factories accidently let loose a damning picture of what actually goes on inside. In that vein the BLS has just published the equivalent of a smoking gun. Namely, a study showing that in 2013—the year of 32% stock returns—the business sector of the US economy generated no more labor hours than it did way back in Bill Clinton’s blue dress period (1998) yet purportedly produced 42% more output in real terms... Stated different, the truth about the Fed’s dangerously misguided ZIRP policy is that it generates a ZIRP economy.


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JPY & Nikkei Pop On Abe's Call For More Stocks In Pension Fund

As if this morning's Draghi moves were not enough to show that there are no markets - just manipulated prices from central planners - Japan's Shinzo Abe just dropped another 'random US session' tape bomb:

*JAPAN’S ABE ASKS PENSION FUND TO RAISE STOCK INVESTMENT: NIKKEI

USDJPY and the Nikkei 225 futures are popping in this news - which is not so much news as he has been pushing for this risk-seeking behavior from the nation's pension fund for months. His efforts this time are for health and welfare minister Tamura to announce the move in September (before the original year-end deadline). Of course, with Abe's ratings in lockstep with the stock market, it's no surprise...


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SEC's Mary White Pays Lip Service To "Rigged" Market Structure Changes

Committees, investigations, concerns... but no actions. The SEC's Mary White spoke about market micro-structure this morning but mereley asked a lot of questions - as opposed to answered any. Two things she did mention of note: increased transpraceny for dark pools and internalizers; and forcing more high-frequency traders (and prop shops) to register as broker-dealers (and thus come under closer regulatory scrutiny). However, by the time any of this becomes 'law', we suspect the lobbyists will have created loopholes the size of Draghi's ego for HFTs to walk through. As WSJ reports, the SEC's enforcement division is investigating whether some high-speed traders are using order types - commands exchanges provide that determine how traders' buy and sell orders will be handled - in ways that can give them an advantage over less-savvy investors. We apologize for not seeing this 'investigation' as a positive but we've been here before with every other regulator... vested interests remain strong.


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Draghi's Action Plan Cheat Sheet: "Not Many Options Left"

Between Eurostat's lengthy forecasts, the press release, and Draghi's droning on... it's easy to get lost in what was delivered, what was promised, and what it means... here is the ultimate ECb announcement cheat sheet. Simply put, Draghi does not have many options left.


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EU Warns Greece Is "A Cause Of Serious Concern" As Top Tax-Collector Resigns

Haris Theocharis, the Troika-supported general secretary of Greece’s public revenues was forced to resign following press leaks about "government discontent" at his handling of tax issues - most notably the retroactive taxation of gains on Greek government bonds. As KeepTalkingGreece notes, Theocharis was a hardliner, a devoted supporter of the loan agreements and their implementation and kept loading the Greek taxpayers with new burdens and exorbitant fines. However, the resignation of the country's top tax-collector is "a cause of serious concern," according to EU spokespersons.


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Stocks Hit Record Highs As Bonds & Euro Shrug At ECB

The most critical asset to be impacted by the ECB - EURUSD - is not reacting and is now actually higher than before Draghi unleashed his mini-LTRO. US Treasury yields are also unchanged - having roundtripped 7bps. But while bonds and FX don't care - Gold and stocks are loving it... Gold is up $10 from pre-ECB and the S&P 500 - at new record highs - is up 7 points.


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Bill Gross Doesn't Own A Cell Phone, Explains Why The "New Neutral" Will Be Frigid

Borrowing heavily from Albert Edwards "Ice Age" analogy of our new normal, PIMCO's Bill Gross, after explaining why he does not have a cell phone, discusses the "frigidly low" levels of "The New Neutral" in this week's letter. Confirming Ben Bernanke's "not in my lifetime" promise for low rates and a lack of normalization, Gross explains that the "the new neutral" real policy rate will be close to 0% as opposed to 2-3% (just as in Japan) leaving an increasingly small incremental rise in rates as potentially responsible for popping the bubble. Gross concludes, "if 'The New Neutral' rates stay low, it supports current prices of financial assets. They would appear to be less bubbly," clearly defending the valuation of bonds knowing that he can't expose stocks as 'bubbly' without exposing his firm to more outflows.


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UK May Home Prices Surge By Most Since 2002

Two weeks ago we asked, rhetorically, "Whose Housing Bubble Is Bigger?" and showed the April home price increases in the UK and China.  Today, we have our answer. As the WSJ reports, "U.K. house prices rose at the fastest monthly pace in almost 12 years and to the highest level since before the global credit crisis in May, a survey showed Thursday, as demand for homes continues to outpace supply despite tougher new mortgage rules."


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