Mosul's Damn Dam

Last week, the barbaric Islamic State seized the vitally important Mosul dam, dramatically impacting tactical options against them and potentially changing the future of the Middle East. When the US coalition forces invaded Iraq in 2003, military intelligence developed invasion scenarios.  One scenario included Iraqi forces placing detonation charges at the vitally important dam.  If US forces were able to safely secure the dam, then they had a contingency plan to operate it and ensure critically important maintenance.  The US quickly discovered the necessity for $27 million worth of frantically urgent repairs. A dam break does not require sabotage.  Maintenance failure has the same result.

5-Day Gaza Ceasefire Over In 5 Minutes As Hamas Fire Rockets, Israel Sends Warplanes

This just happened...


For the record, Hamas denies responsibility for the rockets. We presume that "ceasefire" means something different in Gaza?

Stocks Up, Bonds Up, Gold Up, Oil Up, Dollar Up, F'd Up

Worst Japanese consumer spending data drop ever - BTFD. China financing slowed - BTFD. European industrial production tumbled - BTFD. US retail sales miss dramatically - BTFD. The worse the news the better the buy-the-dippiness as between JPY (102.50) and VIX (12 handle), US equities shrugged off shitty data and worsening geopolitics to jump to August highs. But it wasn't just stocks... investors piled into Treasuries (slamming yields 7bps lower from pre-retail sales), bought gold (back over $1310), bid for US Dollars (now up 0.25% on the week), and lifted oil prices (WTI $97.50). S&P futures volume was the worst of the week (50% below average). Notable oddities: Copper clubbed today (-2% on the week), Brent-WTI jumped $1.50, and the VIX curve remains inverted for 14th day in a row.

Anonymous Releases Police Audio From Day Of Mike Brown Murder

The hackers' group "Anonymous" has released the full audio recordings of the St.Louis Police Despatch from the night of Mike Brown's murder.

"be advised officer involved shooting... observation came from the news! ...All cars, be advised we are switching over to the riot channel. riot A"

These Guys Used To Issue The World's Reserve Currency Too

It’s common for the world’s most powerful country to issue a currency that becomes adopted around the world as the standard for international trade. But whenever that country reaches a point of epic, terminal decline, and especially when it rapidly debases its currency, the rest of the world seeks an alternative. The US has been enjoying this special privilege for decades now. And while these changes never happen overnight, it’s clear that the dollar is quickly losing this status.

BofAML Warns "Start Looking For An S&P Top"

"It's time to start look for a top in the S&P500," are the cautious words that BofAML's Macneil Curry begins his latest note, adding that this corrections will pressure 10Y yields to new cycle lows.

Russia Sanctions Blowback: Finland's Largest Dairy Lays Off 800, Spain Seeks EU Aid, Poland Complains To WTO

Well that didn't take long. Mere day after Russia announced its ban on Western nation food imports, European countries are scrambling (as we explained why here). Greece has already expressed dismay, but now Spanish officials will meet with EU leaders to discuss offsetting the country’s estimated up to $800 million in food and agriculture losses due to sanctions. Poland is pissed and has complained to the WTO claiming "Russia has broken international law in both its embargo;" and Finland's largest dairy producer has announced 800 layoffs due to the sanctions. When does Europe tell Washington - enough!

A Look At The Typical State Employee Health Plan: Full Breakdown By State

According to a new report by the Pew Trust, states in the US collectively spent $31 billion to insure 2.7 million employee households in 2013, an uptick in spending from 2011 and 2012 after adjusting for inflation. The average per-employee per-month premium for employees’ and dependents’ coverage was $963. States paid $808 (84 percent) of the total on average, and employees covered the remaining $155 (16 percent). However, this average masks sharp differences across the states, due to factors such as plan richness, average household size, provider price and physician practice patterns, as well as the age and health status of enrollees. There is much in the full report but for those pressed for time here is the full breakdown of the average health plan by each state, showing plan premiums as well as average employer and employee contributions.

Ebola Control Goes 'Medieval': From Patient Zero To Pandemic In 7 Months

A report in The New England Journal of Medicine traces the spread of the recent Ebola outbreak from Gueckedou, Guinea, to nations worldwide. As The NY Times reports, West African governments have gone 'medieval' as they have revived a disease-fighting tactic not used in nearly a century: the “cordon sanitaire,” in which a line is drawn around the infected area and no one is allowed out. And most worryingly, Reuters reports that a nurse who had close contact with a Liberian Ebola patient skipped quarantine in Lagos and went to her home in the eastern city of Enugu, where she made contact with 20 other people.

Obama Plans "Non-Boots-On-The-Ground Humanitarian-Adviser-Marines-Led" Yezidi Rescue Mission In Iraq

Last night we nearly exploded when the adminstration tried to explain how the 130 Marines (military advisers) were non-combat troop 'boots-on-the-ground' in Iraq. Today, the State Department, Pentagon, and White House are all out with mind-numbing propaganda to reassure an anxious America that a planned rescue mission of 'thousands' of Yezidi will be entirely supported by non-combat troops.

10 Year Paper Auctioned Off With A Small Tail As Yield Drops To Lowest Since June 2013

The not so good news about today's Treasury auction, the second of the week in which $24 billion in 10 Year paper was sold, is that the yield came at 2.439, which was a 0.4 bps tail to the When Issued. The good news is pretty much everything else: the Bid To Cover jumped from July's 2.57 to 2.83, well above the TTM average of 2.68. Indirects took down 47% of the auction, also an improvement of the 39.6% last month, and above the past year average as Direct takedown also rose modestly from 13.9% to 15.1%, which however was just below the TTM average print. The plug, dealers, were left holding 37.9% of the auction: the least since May.  Overall, a rather uneventful auction.

Bill Ackman On Why Using Debt To Buyback Stock Is Great And Much More: Full Q2 Investor Letter

Now that everyone is finally focusing on the strategy of bloating any available company with massive leverage in order to use the proceeds to either buyback stock or engage in "synergy-creating" M&A (leading to countless pink slips), which is affectionately known as "activism", here is Bill Ackman's latest, Q2, letter with his take on this topic of how massive leverage which is great for shareholders now, but a disaster waiting to happen for employees and bondholders in the future as soon as rates rise, is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Market Catalyst? East Ukraine Rebel Leader Strelkov "Gravely Injured" According To A Russian Media Report; Promptly Denied As Fake

Update: it took minutes for another media outlet, a Russian one again, this tima RIA, to deny the Itar-TASS report.

Moments after the tragic news that Brazil's presidential candidate Eduardo Campos died in a plane crash, Russian Itar-Tass reported, citing press agency Novorossya, that another prominent public figure, this time the leader of the Donetsk rebels and the minister of defense of the Donetsk People's Republic has been "seriously injured."

Brazilian Presidential Candidate Dies In Jet Crash


Brazil's stock market is reeling this morning as rumors and now news hit that Brazilian Presidential candidate Eduardo Campos was on board a private jet that crashed in the city of Santos. Polls had put Mr. Campos head-to-head with Ms. Rousseff (but behind Ms. Silva). A police official in Santos said there were "certainly" fatalities in the crash, but could not say how many or provide any additional information. Campos had run on a platform of less government intervention and proposed a bill to ensure central bank indpendence.

We're Relying On Phantom Wealth To Fund Our Retirement

Phantom wealth cannot possibly fund unprecedented retirement and healthcare promises. Only real wealth can do that, and central bank liquidity and the asset bubbles it inflates are not real wealth.