Is Insider Trading Legal Following Appeals Court Tossing Out Two Hedge Fund Convictions

In a stunning rebuke of Preet Bharara's insider-trading prosecutions record, Businessweek reports a federal appeals court overturned and threw out the guilty verdicts of two hedge fund managers, Todd Newman and Anthony Chiasson, ruling jury instructions tainted their verdicts and imperiling other cases brought in his multiyear probe. In a 28-page decision that could rewrite the course of insider trading law, sharply curtailing its boundaries, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan tossed out the case on technicalities which could also lead to the release of SAC's Michael Steinberg - Bharara's signature prosecution - as Steinberg's lawyer remarked, "it sends a loud and clear message that the government will be rebuked when it tries to turn innocent conduct into a crime." So insider-trading is legal now... with the right lawyer and judge. We wonder how many shipments of Picassos to the three appeals court judges did the verdict cost Steve Cohen?

"These Are Astonishing Figures, Evidence Of A 1930s-Style Depression"

"...What is clear is that the world has become addicted to central bank stimulus. Bank of America said 56pc of global GDP is currently supported by zero interest rates, and so are 83pc of the free-floating equities on global bourses. Half of all government bonds in the world yield less that 1pc. Roughly 1.4bn people are experiencing negative rates in one form or another. These are astonishing figures, evidence of a 1930s-style depression, albeit one that is still contained. Nobody knows what will happen as the Fed tries break out of the stimulus trap, including Fed officials themselves."

Why US Shale May Fizzle Rather Than Boom

The Shale Revolution may not really end up being a revolution after all. A new study in Nature finds that the estimates for shale gas production could be vastly overblown, and production could peak within the next decade.

The Treasury's Worst-Case Scenario: Over $3.3 Trillion In Student Loans In A Decade

"... If the unemployment rate were to edge up after reaching a trough in two years and the gap between U-6 and unemployment remains as wide as it is today – in excess of historical norms – the size of the program would be expected to reach roughly $3.3 trillion in 2024, $1.7 trillion more than in the base case." - TBAC

European QE Postponed Indefinitely? Leaked EU Draft Shows "Lack Of Political Cover" For Draghi

Today things for the former Goldman banker went from bad to worse, when as the FT reports, the ECB lost its "normal political cover" to make a bold decision, in fact the boldest decision in the ECB's history: one which could lead to a political and legal retaliation by Germany itself. The reason, as FT's Peter Spiegel explains, is that unlike previously when EU summits resulted in "greenlighting" blueprints which, if only on paper, enabled Draghi to proceed unconstrained, this time there was no such blank check compact. The bottom line, as Spiegel concludes, is that "Draghi won’t have the normal political cover he needs to make a bold decision early next year – a problem only compounded by the European Commission’s decision last month to put off the day of reckoning for France and Italy over whether they will face sanctions for failing to live up to the EU’s crisis-era budget rules."

WTI Crude Crashes To $60 Handle As Saudis Shun Cuts

Brent Crude crossed below $65 for the first time since 2009 this morning and WTI began to slide as inventories showed a bigger-than-expected build. But it was Saudi Arabia's oil minister al-Naimi who sparked the latest dump:

*NAIMI SAYS `WHY SHOULD I CUT PRODUCTION'?

And with that WTI plunged to a $60 handle on heavy volume...

Ukraine Bonds Crash To Record Low After Economy Minister Asks For More IMF Bailouts

Ukraine bond prices have crashed to new record lows this morning - with even 2015 maturing debt trading at a 25% discount to face - following calls (admissions) by Ukraine's new (Lithuanian) economy minister that the government will need more IMF help on top oif its current $17 billion package. The country may need another $19 billion next year!!!

Central Banks Have Failed Because They Can't Push Wages Higher

The game has been lost, but central bankers are still on the field, wandering around in disbelief that their unspeakable powers to issue money and credit have failed. You can print all the money you want, but it will never boost wages to keep up with prices.

Looks Like Credit Was Right...

Remember yesterday? When talking heads proclaimed the lows were in and due to the strength of energy stocks, this must mean the worst is over? And remember we - quietly - showed the massive divergence between crashing energy credit markets and the stocks on the day...? Well guess who was right?

Crashing Crude's First Casualty: One-Time Commodities Giant Phibro Liquidating

While we were expecting that one-time "god of crude oil trading" would have a poor year as a result of his consistent bullishness on the crude space, we were quite astounded to learn, as Bloomberg first reported yesterday, that Andy Hall - the man whose name was for a decade legendary in the commodity space - would call it a day. And yet that pales in comparison to the WSJ report overnight than Phibro itself, Andy Hall's 113 year old employer currently owned by Occidental Petroleum after its sale by Citigroup, would liquidate in the US after it failed to buy a buyer, marking the end of an era.

No Time Like The Present

At the latest ECB press conference Draghi said that. “The monetary policy team had this week discussed buying all assets except gold”; qualifying a claim by fellow member Yves Mersch two weeks ago that gold bullion could be included.” If central bankers truly believed in sound monetary policy the headline would have said “We’ll buy all your gold”. That would have propelled both gold and the European equity markets upwards. As it is markets on the continent get cheaper as the good doctor fiddles.

GREXIT Fears Spark European Peripheral Contagion, Silver Surging

Yesterday's greek carnage continues as stocks and bonds in the Hellenic State collapse further. The Athens Stock Exchange Index is now down over 18% from Monday's highs and yields on the 3Y GGB have exploded to 9.35% (pre-bailout levels) and are 75bps inverted to 10Y. The ongoing fear of fallout from a snap-election victory for anti-EU Syriza has also spread to the rest of the perihpery where Portuguese, Italian, and Spanish bond spreads have all started to crack wider. The beneficiary of this risk aversion so far are Bunds and Treasuries and precious metals where silver is surging higher.