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Ukraine Region Declares Independence Sending Dollar Bonds To Record Low; Russian Ruble Tumbles To 5 Year Low

The events in the Ukraine continue to deteriorate. Moments ago Lawmakers in Ukraine’s Lviv region, declared independence after backers evicted appointed governor overnight. Lviv’s parliament formed executive committee with department heads in Governor Oleh Salo’s administration that will take over functions of regional government, Oksana Dmetryv, a spokeswoman for Speaker Petro Kolodiy, said today by phone from Lviv. Protesters also seized headquarters of security services in Lviv, a region of 2.5 million people bordering Poland. Elsewhere, there were reports of more military vehicles crossing through Kiev: if there are any more Molotov Cocktail video follow ups we will be sure to capture them.


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Frontrunning: February 19

  • Ukraine leader denounces coup bid, West weighs sanctions (Reuters)
  • Time to buy Imodium calls: Kuroda Easing Doomed as Yen Seen Missing 120 Level (BBG)
  • Teens Disappear From U.S. Workforce (BBG)
  • Fed Sets Rules for Foreign Banks (WSJ)
  • Quant Funds Feel Investor Bite After Underperforming (BBG)
  • China Probes Qualcomm, InterDigital Over Monopoly Concerns (WSJ)
  • Capital One says it can show up at cardholders' homes, workplaces  (LATimes)
  • SEC Gains Power to Take Profit Made From Insider Trading (BBG)

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Futures Dragged Down By Stronger Yen

After surging yesterday for no reason whatsoever because as we explained on several occasions, there were no surprises in the Tuesday BOJ statement, and the doubling and extension of its loan facilities was implicit and factored into the doubling of its monetary policy (as goldman explained quite well), both the Nikkei and the USDJPY has been forced to revert, with the latter all important carry funding pair back to 102 and in danger of sliding lower, as a result ES is now below yesterday's lows. Which is why the 102 USDJPY "invisible hand" tractor beam will be all important today especially if the market finally starts paying attention to the proxy civil war that has gripped the Ukraine. Stocks traded lower, albeit in a relatively range-bound range this morning, with the Spanish IBEX-35 underperforming. Banking names remained under pressure, with focus still on yesterday’s reports that Spanish banks' bad loans marked a fresh record, together with comments by ECB's Weidmann, who said that sovereign debt purchases would constrain the central bank via political pressure. Similar view was also echoed by ECB’s Nowotny, who said that government bond buying US Fed-style would be difficult to do under ECB's mandate.


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The 1% Don't Feel The Weather: Ferrari Posts Record Sales In US; Doubled In Jan

First Mercedes, then Porsche, and now Ferrari and Maserati post record US sales in January...

*FERRARI POSTS RECORD SALES IN U.S. AND U.K. IN 2013
*FERRARI AND MASERATI GLOBAL MORE THAN DOUBLE IN JAN TO 2,400

...a month where the non-1%-auto-makers struggled mightily. Of course, the latter missed expectations are blamed on weather (as opposed to dealer inventories stuffed at record levels, a replacement cycle that has run its course, or a consumer that is once again credit-tapped out). So, the clear findings from this is that the 1% - who are buying more luxury cars than ever before in January - clearly don't feel the weather...


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This Is How Ukrainian Protesters Attack An Armored Personnel Carrier

Watch as sparks fly between a Ukrainian military APC, possibly the same one we revealed earlier, as it gets into some blazingly close encounters with the Kiev protesters. It is unclear who won however it is quite clear that at this point the proxy war in Ukraine between Russia/Gazprom and the European Union/US State Dept/Saudi/Qatar can be upgraded to "hot."


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Kappa Beta Phi Exposed (Redux)

As we initially exposed over five years ago, with luminary frat brothers and sister such as Jimmy Cayne, Richard Fuld, Stan O'Neil, Martin Gruss, Michael Bloomberg, Jon Corzine, Mary Shapiro, Alan Schwartz, Larry Fink, Larry Fink, Wilbur Ross, James McDonald, this "secret" organization puts the Masons, Bilderbergs, Skull and Bones, Templars, Fight Club and all other secret societies to shame. Now, as New York Magazine infiltrates the inner workings of the "Kappa Beta Phi" society, Liberty Blitzkrieg's Mike Krieger notes the following will confirm what everyone already thought - that a great many of these oligarch financiers are complete and total sociopaths and a menace to society


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China Demands Japanese Explanation About "That Other Plutonium"

The world has grown tired of the inexorable rise in radiation levels and propaganda-talk sourrounding nuclear issues in Japan from the government in the last few years since Fukushima changed the nation's future. However, there is another source of nuclear materials that is increasingly angering the Chinese. The tensions and rhetoric, from WWI analogs to Nazi comparisons, have risen recently; but this time, the Chinese are asking a legitimate question... "If a country claims that it sticks by the three non-nuclear principles but at same time hoards far more nuclear materials than it needs, including a massive amount of weapon-grade plutonium, the world has good reason to ask why.... After all, Abe and his cabinet have already caused too much trouble to regional peace and stability." Of course, this places "ally" President Obama in an awkward position given his anti-proliferation stance... though we suspect he will have an angle: "if you like your plutonium stockpile, you can keep it."


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Marc Faber: "It's Too Late To Buy US Stocks"

By early March "the US will be in the 2nd longest bull market of the last 80 years," and as Marc Faber warns, "usually, these long bull markets end badly." Simply put, The Gloom, Boom, & Doom Report publisher notes "it's too late to buy US stocks," warning of previous major declines like 1987, 2000, and 2007. "It's not an opportune time" to buy US stocks but while it might be too early to buy some of the beaten-down emerging markets at these levels, Faber believes investors can make money in the longer-term - "I think I can make the case that over the next five to 10 years, I will make more money by buying now in the emerging economies then in the U.S."


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Americans Are Angrier & More Frustrated Than Ever: 19 Furious Facts

Have you noticed that people are becoming angrier?  You can see it everywhere – in our homes, in our schools, in our workplaces, in our television shows, in our movies, and certainly in Washington.  In fact, many have said that there is an “epidemic” of anger in America today.  And it is undeniably true.  As you will see below, a whole host of surveys and opinion polls show that America has become a seething cauldron of anger and frustration unlike anything that we have ever seen before. The very fabric of our society is coming apart at the seams and the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted is beginning to disappear.  What is America going to look like if we continue to go even farther down this road?


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China Sold Second-Largest Amount Ever Of US Treasurys In December: And Guess Who Comes To The Rescue

While we will have more to say about the disastrous December TIC data shortly, which was released early today, and which showed a dramatic plunge in foreign purchases of US securities in December - the month when the S&P soared to all time highs and when everyone was panicking about the 3% barrier in the 10 Year being breached and resulting in a selloff in Tsy paper - one thing stands out. The chart below shows holdings of Chinese Treasurys (pending revision of course, as the Treasury department is quite fond of ajdusting this data series with annual regularity): in a nutshell, Chinese Treasury holdings plunged by the most in years, after China offloaded some $48 billion in paper, bringing its total to only $1268.9 billion, down from $1316.7 billion, and back to a level last seen in March 2013! This was the second largest dump by China in history with the sole exception of December 2011.


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GMO: "US Markets Are Not A Little Bit Overvalued — They Are Overvalued By A Hefty Margin"

Valuations are stretched. Profit margins are stretched. And given that these two have been reliable mean-reverting indicators, they are what drive our sobriety. We’re not saying the party’s over. For all we know, 2014 could post another positive year for the risk markets. There’s enough good news out there in terms of cash on the sidelines, declining unemployment numbers, U.S. as a safe haven in the event of an emerging meltdown ... yada, yada, yada. All we’re saying is that, as value investors, we’re nervous about the longer-term prospects for equities, especially in the U.S.  Markets in the U.S. are not a little bit overvalued—they are overvalued by a hefty margin, especially small-cap stocks. And it is this concern, above all else, that will be driving our asset allocation decisions.


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"We Are From The Government And We Are Here To Offer You A No Risk, Guaranteed Return Investment Product"

And just like that, the MyRA propaganda goes full Goebbels retard. Unfortunately, due to time differences, neither Pravda, nor Izvestia or Moskovskij Komsomolets could reply with affirmative comments due to time constraints


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Guest Post: Has QE Ever Worked In History?

Now that Ben Bernanke has handed over the keys of the Federal Reserve, there are all sorts of theoretical arguments, pro and con, concerning his bold quantitative easing (QE) programs, in which the Fed massively expanded its balance sheet. Many critics have worried that this will disrupt the proper functioning of credit markets, and threatens to severely debase the US dollar. The defenders of Bernanke have argued that he spared the US (and indeed the world) from a second Great Depression. One of the odd (more farcical) points that people raise in Bernanke’s defense is the case of Japan...  We do have historical examples of central banks ruining their economies/currencies through massive expansions of their balance sheets (Weimar Germany, Zimbabwe, etc.). To our knowledge, this has never actually worked anywhere in history...


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71% Of Obama Voters "Regret" His Re-Election

Over 7 in 10 Obama voters, and 55% of Democrats, regret voting for President Obama's reelection in 2012, according to a new Economist/YouGov.com poll. As The Washington Examiner reports, the poll was conducted to test the media hype about a comeback by 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. While the poll found voters still uninspired by Romney, they are also deeply dissatisfied with Obama (though given the choice of Obama versus Romney, Obama supporters said they would stick with their guy, 79% to 10% for Romney) giving Obama, as The Examiner notes, very early lame duck status before the midterm elections.


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