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Take A Dive In The "Dash For Trash" Waterfall With Goldman Sachs

As we have discussed numerous times, the dash-for-trash in US equities has been insatiable as any and every consequence of screwing up is slowly removed from capitalism (and capital markets). As Goldman's David Kostin notes, companies with weak balance sheets have outperformed peers with strong balance sheets by 49 percentage points during the past two years (89% vs. 40%) with realized volatility of just 7%. Although the trend is daunting - to say the least - Goldman believes it will continue for three reasons...


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AT&T Buys DirecTV In $67 Billion Deal; Pfizer Makes "Final Proposal" To Buy AstraZeneca, Boosts Offer To $119 Billion

In what is setting up to be a scorching merger Monday, moments ago we got confirmation of news that had been leaked days in advance, namely that both the boards of AT&T and DirecTV had agreed to a transaction whereby AT&T would buy DirecTV in the latest chapter of what we dubbed several months ago the "M&A bubble", for $95/share in a $67.1 billion transaction including debt, consisting of $95/share in stock, $28.50/share in cash. According to the public announcement, the DirecTV purchase represents a 7.7x multiple of its 2014E EBITDA.  Additionally, as the press release states, "AT&T expects the deal to be accretive on a free cash flow per share and adjusted EPS basis within the first 12 months after closing." In other news, almost concurrently with the AT&T announcement, Pfizer also did what many expected it to do, when it announced that as part of its "final offer" it would boost its proposed purchase price for AstraZeneca by 15%.


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Russia's "Holy Grail" Gas Deal With China Now "Only One Digit Away"

We have previously profiled the "holy grail" gas deal between Russia and China on several occasions, and noted last week how it is expected to be signed this week - pending some final price negotiations. It appears that was spot on as Reuters reports, Russian state-run Gazprom said it was still "one digit" away from finalising a 30-year gas supply deal with Beijing which is expected to crown Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to China next week. On the heels of Russia's de-dollarization meetings, the coming week appears a crucial one for the history books of the US Dollar as reserve currency (or will China leverage Russia's need to diversify from Europe and stall the deal once again?)


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Cisco CEO Warns Obama To Rein In NSA Or Face Collapse Of Trust In US Technology (And Cisco Sales)

Back in November, Cisco stock cratered after the company was forced to reset its future revenue guidance when as a result of crashing Chinese sales, it became clear that some $2 billion in quarterly revenue had been wiped away from the previous trendline.  Since then, Cisco has managed to regain some of the lost market value as investors have readjusted to what now appears to be a far slower growth rate for the company. However, one question remained - what was it that caused the collapse in sales, and especially those targeting the Chinese market. For a long time, the most likely speculated reason for the Chinese revulsion against Cisco and its peers were the factual revelations by Edward Snowden detailing the NSA illicit espionage activities, and the role of corporations such as Cisco in them. Today, this speculation is confirmed, following news that none other than Cisco CEO John Chambers has written a letter to Obama, "warning of a collapse of trust in US technology after evidence emerged showing the National Security Agency breaking into his company’s equipment."


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"Left Coast Lifter": See The World's Largest Floating Crane Building The $3.9 Billion Tappan Zee Bridge

It has taken the US a while to realize that the best way centrally-planned economies "grow" (think China) is by allocating taxpayer funds for capex projects: be it replacing windows (of course), roads, highways, building brand new ghost cities, or in this case bridges. As the newnybridge.com website explains, the $3.9 billion replacement for the Tappan Zee bridge over the Hudson river, built by Tappan Zee Constructors, or TZC, LLC, has begun construction. But the most important entity by far in the construction of the replacement bridge is what is known as the "Left Coast Lifter", or what is said to be the world's largest floating crane. Here, courtesy of Bloomberg, is a look at the monster crane, and it's journey to New York.


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Net Worth Of College Grads With Student Debt Is 20% Less Than High School Grads With No Debt

Yesterday we provided a detailed breakdown of the cost aspect of a college education, particularly for young people who have no choice but to fund their education with student debt, a key part of the equation that the San Fran Fed in its particular cost-benefit "analysis" of college education avoided. There is much information in the post, but one particular aspect of the Pew analysis that the article was based on bears repeating and highlighting for all those less than "1%" young Americans debating whether a college education is worth the tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans: the median net worth of "young" households, those where the head is younger than 40 years old, is $8,700, or 20% less than not college educated households with no student debt.


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Fukushima Seawater Radiation Rises To New All Time High

The mainstream media may have long forgotten about the Fukushima tragedy (as it certainly goes against the far more popular and palatable meme of a Japan "recovery" courtesy of Abenomics) but that does not mean it is fixed or even contained. Quite the contrary. As a rare update from Japan's Jiji news agency reminds us, on Friday radiation at five monitoring points in waters adjacent to the crippled Fukushima No. 1 power station spiked to all-time highs according to the semi-nationalized TEPCO.


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Deutsche Bank Scrambles To Raise Capital: Will Sell €8 Billion In Stock At Up To 30% Discount

Just out from Bloomberg:

  • Deutsche Bank preparing a capital increase, aims to raise EU8 billion through new shares by end of June, Handelsblatt says, citing unidentified people in the finance industry.
  • Deutsche Bank likely to get new single investor
  • Deutsche Bank new investor may hold 5%-8% of shares
  • Deutsche Bank declined to comment: Handelsblatt

And the punchline: Bank’s new shares may be sold with 25%-30% discount. In other words, it is liquidity scramble time, and the bank is willing to give anyone with deep enough pockets a 30% discount to market price just to get some additional short-term funding.


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Selling War: The World's Biggest Exporters Of Weapons

One glance at the following chart prepared by the Economist, showcasing the world's largest importers of weapons, and more importantly, exporters, and one could almost imagine why both the US and Russia have an interest in a "contained" (or not so much) regional war...


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Vast Majority Of Swiss Reject $25 Minimum Wage In National Referendum

Six months ago, it was this same Switzerland that, contrary to the prerogatives of the pervasive "fairness doctrine" taking the new socialist world by storm, rejected imposing limits on executive pay. Then mere hours ago, in a move that would give president Obama wealth redistribution nightmares for months, a whopping 77% of Swiss voters rejected an initiative for a national minimum wage of 22 francs, or just under $25, per hour, according to projection by Swiss television SRF. And confirming that when it comes to anti-socialism, Switzerland may well be the last bastion, not a single canton supported the measure.


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Over 3000 Chinese Evacuated (By Boat & Plane) As Vietnam's Anti-China Riots Escalate; Taiwan Also On "High Alert"

China began evacuating hundreds of its nationals from Vietnam (via at least 2 planes and 5 ships) as the anti-China protests have become increasingly deadly following Beijing's attempt to deploy an oil drill in Vietnamese dispuited waters (detailed here, here, here, and here)...

  • *CHINA SENDING 5 SHIPS TO VIETNAM TO EVACUATE CHINESE: XINHUA
  • *HUNDREDS OF VIETNAMESE SECURITY IN CENTRAL HO CHI MINH CITY
  • *VIETNAM PRIME MINISTER ISSUES DIRECTIVE TO PREVENT PROTESTS
  • *VIETNAM GOVT TAKES ACTION TO PREVENT RIOTS: BINH

Hundreds of police and security forces are in central Ho Chi Minh city and the Chinese consulate is under heavy guard. Tensions across the ASEAN region are growung as Taiwan is on "high alert" but the bloc’s inability to craft a united response to Chinese aggression signals a further decline in its regional clout.


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Where the World's Unsold Cars Go To Die

In the past several years, one of the topics covered in detail on these pages has been the surge in such gimmicks designed to disguise lack of demand and end customer sales, used extensively by US automotive manufacturers, better known as "channel stuffing", of which General Motors is particularly guilty and whose inventory at dealer lots just hit a new record high. But did you know that when it comes to flat or declining sales and stagnant end demand, channel stuffing is merely the beginning? Presenting... Where the World's Unsold Cars Go To Die


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This Is What Happens When You Leave A Tank Parked On A City Street In Ukraine

As Jalopnik reports, a BMP light tank was reportedly left stalled on a city street near Mariupol... A gassed-up, fully-loaded tank. Ready to roll. Ready to obliterate some separatists. This is what happened next...


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The FCC Issues its Proposal On Net Neutrality; Protesters Are Tossed from Hearing

As spring unfolds here in the Northern Hemisphere, the future of the free and open Internet hangs in the balance. As such, I strongly believe everyone should have at least some understanding of what is at stake. When most people hear or read the words “net neutrality” their eyes glaze over with a feeling of confusion and despair: “I can’t remember, am I supposed to be for or against this?” This is exactly how the lawyers and lobbyists in D.C. want it, but unless the citizenry is informed we could lose the most important weapon of free speech in the history of mankind. The FCC voted on its proposal this week and it passed with a 3-2 vote... and this is a glimpse of the "room full of lawyers and cops... and a few real human beings speaking reality to them" before they were escorted out.


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Bernanke Shocker: "No Rate Normalization During My Lifetime"

Forget all the talk about "dots", "6 months", or any other prognostication from the Fed's new leadership about what will happen in the near and not so near future. For the real answer prepare to shelve out the usual fee of $250,000 for an hour with the Chairsatan, or read Reuters' account of what others who have done so, have learned. The answer is a stunner. "At least one guest left a New York restaurant with the impression Bernanke, 60, does not expect the federal funds rate, the Fed's main benchmark interest rate, to rise back to its long-term average of around 4 percent in Bernanke's lifetime. "Shocking when he said this," the guest scribbled in his notes. "Is that really true?" he scribbled at another point, according to the notes reviewed by Reuters."


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