GM Announces Another 718K Recalls, Bringing 2014 Total To Nearly 30 Million

It had been almost a month without a GM recall announcement of some sort. So, as many knew was long overdue three weeks into the second half, GM just did what it truly excels in (aside from being bailed out by taxpayers at a massive loss): admit that it had skimped on the quality control and safety check of  another 717,950 cars, all of which were new models bult 2010 and later including Camaro, Equinox, Caprice, Regal, Malibu and so on. In other words, all cars built after GM emerged from bankruptcy. This bring the total number of recalls year to date to a ludicrous 29.2 million around the globe, or well over three time the total number of cars sold in the past three years.

Obama Prepared To Unleash More Sanctions On Russia

With almost metronomic frequency, and perhaps related to Putin's emergency meeting of the State Duma, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Obama administration is prepared to expand a new set of economic sanctions against Russia if the country doesn't take steps to end Ukraine's conflict with pro-Russia separatist fighters. No details were exposed by the senior administration official, but as WSJ notes, current sanctions don't prevent U.S. entities from doing business with the Russian firms or freeze their assets. We await the new boomerang.

Argentina Debt "Mediation" Goes Surreal As Neither Side Turns Up For Meeting, Black-Market Peso Tumbles

Despite Judge Griesa's demands that the holdouts and the Argentinian government hold "continuous" mediation until the debt conflict is resolved "or fear the worst," this morning's headlines are somewhat surreal:

*NEITHER SIDE IN ARGENTINE DEBT CONFLICT HAS ARRIVED TO MEETING

Argentina decided not to send the economy minister (just a 'delegation') as BTG analysts warn that "all the music from the Argentine government indicates default," and judging by the tumble in Argentina's black-market Peso (Dolar Blue) the last few days, that risk is starting to rise.

FX-Rigging Probe Settlement Accelerates With UK Regulator

As the proof piles up, and retired/suspended traders increase, Bloomberg reports that talks to reach the first settlement in the FX-rigging probe are accelerating, with Britain’s markets regulator preparing to reach a deal with a group of banks this year, people with knowledge of the talks said.

*FCA SAID TO BE SEEKING FAST-TRACK SETTLEMENT WITH NARROW SCOPE
*FCA TALKS SAID TO INCLUDE BARCLAYS, CITIGROUP, JPMORGAN, UBS, RBS, AND HSBC

The question remains, will guilt be admitted... or is the pending fine just another cost of doing business in the trillion dollar market manipulation miasma in which we find ourselves.

The Future Is Smaller - That's The Only Way This Works

History tells us that large governments almost invariably lead to waste, corruption, and overextension of power. It’s the large governments that rattle the sabers and constantly threaten warfare. It’s large governments that maintain police states, that spy on their citizens, and commandeer nearly every personal choice imaginable with regulatory agencies that tell us how to educate our children and what we can/cannot put in our own bodies. As Kohr theorized, bigness often leads to tyranny.

Putin Recalls State Duma From Vacation, "Planning Something" On Ukraine Situation

In a somewhat disconcerting move, Russian President Vladimir Putin has recalled The State Duma from a planned vacation to participate in an unscheduled meeting because of the situation in eastern Ukraine. As Ukrinform reports, sources confirm "Something is being planned, because many deputies come, probably for a quorum." Rumors are spreading that Putin is set to issue Kiev an ultimatum over recognizing separatists or face military intervention.

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.

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.

"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).

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?

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.

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?

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.

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.