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Spot The Two Ukraine Army Snipers

Look closely at this photo. There are 2 snipers from the Ukrainian army near the Ukraine army base around 20km from pro-Russian held Slovyansk.

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Nasdaq Plunges As AMZN Dump Destroys AAPL/FB Pump

Well that didn't take long... for now USDJPY 102 is the US equity market's best friend. Only the S&P 500 is green for the week now as Nasdaq's gains from AAPL/FB are wiped away by the 10% plunge in AMZN.

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"As Good As It Gets?" UMich Current Consumer Conditions Hit 7-Year High

After 5 years in a row of April preliminary-to-final upward revisions, 2014 did not disappoint as the flash 83.0 was upgraded to 84.1 final and near the highest since the crisis. This is the biggest beat since November as current conditions and outlook both rose as did short-term inflation expectations. Current Conditions is at its highest since July 2007 - mission accomplished.

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Markit US Services PMI Drops; Job Creation Near 2-Year Lows

Markit's US Services PMI dropped and missed expectations input and output prices soared, employment tumbled, and business activity slowed. Staffing levels increaed at the slowest pace since June 2012 and the latest expansion of new business was only slightly faster than the 18-month low seen in March, and weaker than recorded at any time in 2013. So much for that post-weather pent-up-demand surge...

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RIP Diplomacy: Merkel Says Geneva Accord Has Failed; G-7 Preparing Action Against Russia

Last Thursday, when to much fanfare, the latest diplomatic iteration of the Ukraine "de-escalation", i.e., the Geneva Accord, was revealed, we said "Everyone knows that the half-life of these pointless diplomatic summits  aimed at "de-escalating" geopolitical tensions is measured in days if not hours..." Looks like many did not know. So moments ago Angela Merkel finally explained it for them, and even the slowst algos:


During discussions with Vladimir Putin today, Merkel said Russia had a chance to convince Ukraine separatists to back down but "that chance has now gone."Perhaps even more concerning is her concluding remark that:


.... To be followed shortly thereafter by the Russian "scorched earth" response to NATO we discussed earlier?

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The Amazin' Amazon Delayed Algo Reaction

It seems for a brief period, Amazon traders were in denial... but a mere 12 hours after reading our six simple charts explaining the ugluy reality behind this greatest of all momentum stocks, it seems the algos have finally got the message and the game-theoretical first mover advantage is kicking in... Amazon is down almost 6% this morning (and down almost $40 from its post-earnings highs) suggests the Bezos magic money machine is fading fast.

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Goldman's Q1 GDP Forecast: From 3.0% To 1.0% In Under Three Months

Overnight, four months after our prediction, the FDIC-backed hedge fund not only that, but so much more that even we were shocked, because from a Q1 GDP which Goldman had originally predicted was going to be 3%, the crack team of economists - or is that team of economists on crack - lowered its Q1 GDP to, drumroll, 1%! And that's in the aftermath of the stronger than expected Durable Goods reports. Because it's only logical that good news is bad news. And vice versa.

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NATO Allies "Unreassured" As US Destroyer Departs Black Sea

Just 2 weeks ago, the USS Donald Cook entered The Black Sea on a mission to "reassure NATO allies and Black Sea partners." So, one wonders what it is to be made of the fact that, as ITAR-TASS reports, the US warship USS Donald Cook with the Aegis missile defense system onboard has left the Black Sea, according to a Russian Defense Ministry source. This leaves only the USS Taylor on its mission of "peace and stability"... should NATO allies be un-reassured?

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Ukraine Warns Putin "We Will Eliminate Invaders" After Pro-Russian Forces Down Ukraine Chopper

UPDATE: Ukraine Says Provocations Possible Over May 1-9 Holidays

The fighting-talk (and actions) is growing louder from Eastern Europe.  Following Lavrov's "bloody justice" comments, Ukraine's Acting Head of the Presidential Administration Serhiy Pashynskyi expects a Russian invasion is imminent, warnings that "in case Russian troops cross the Ukrainian border we will qualify it as military invasion and eliminate invaders." These strongly worded comments come after a Ukrainian military helicopter exploded at a base near the eastern town of Kramatorsk (held by pro-Russian forces) on Friday after being hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. Pashynskyi concludes, rather ominously, "I would not recommend Mr. Putin experiment with lives of his servicemen."

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Ruble Tumbles Despite Russian Rate Hike

The USDRUB rate is back above 36.00 - nearing its record lows - despite a surprise Russian rate hike this morning aimed at stalling the capital outflows. It seems Lavrov's comments that Kiev will face "bloody justice" geopolitical angst is trumping any arbitrage or macro data flows for now. Russian stocks are also fading.

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Gold Tops $1300 As Russian Rumblings Stumble Stocks

Bonds, Gold, and JPY are bid this morning as US equity futures are fading fast. The Dow and S&P futures are now back below pre-AAPL/FB levels and Nasdaq futures falling fast. Gold is back above $1300 (up over $30 from yesterday's pre-Putin lows). Treasuries, led by the long-end, are rallying as safe-haven bids appear across the whole complex. 30Y yields are down to 3.53 - the lowest since July. JPY is bid once again as USDJPY tests back to the crucial 102 level.

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Ford Misses Top- And Bottom-Line, Blames Weather And FX

Claiming $100 million in North American weather-related costs, and $310 million losses due to the devaluation of the Venezuelan currency, Ford Motor Company missed revenues and earnings quite significantly:


Furthermore, Ford lost market share (for 0.6 percentage points to 15.3%) and expected operating cash flow in 2014 to be substantially lower than 2013. Ford is trading down 3% in the pre-market.

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Frontrunning: April 25

  • Russia raises interest rates to 7.5% (FT)
  • Shanghai to Allow Raw Material Exchanges in Trade Zone (BBG)
  • US, Japan Fail to Clinch Trade Deal (WSJ)
  • 'We don't have a magic wand', says ECB's Constancio (Reuters)
  • Tokyo Inflation Quickens to Fastest Since 1992 (BBG)
  • Demand for Home Loans Plunges (WSJ)
  • EU banks urged to grasp chance to raise capital (FT)

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Ukraine Accuses Russia Of Wanting To Start World War III

  • Russia has done nothing to implement Geneva accord
  • Ukraine will continue to comply with Geneva accord
  • Ukraine urges Russia to keep promises, condemn extremists
  • Ukraine calls on international community to unite against Russia,
  • Russian invasion will turn into Europe-wide conflict, and the punchline:
  • Russia Wants to Start Third World War

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52 Year-Old French Banker Jumps To Her Death In Paris (After Questioning Her Superiors)

There have been 13 senior financial services executives deaths around the world this year, but the most notable thing about the sad suicide of the 14th, a 52-year-old banker at France's Bred-Banque-Populaire, is she is the first female. As Le Parisien reports, Lydia (no surname given) jumped from the bank's Paris headquarter's 14th floor shortly before 10am. FranceTV added that sources said "she questioned her superiors before jumping out the window," but the bank denies it noting that she had been in therpapy for several years.

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