WTI Crude Slides To $48 Handle As Chevron Cuts Costs, Ramps Production

The almost-$2 surge in WTI crude prices on Friday - proving recovery is here and stability is back - is gone... long gone. Following comments from Chevron of major cost cutting, slashing capex (down 13% YoY), but ramping production of shale and tight assets, WTI crude has tumbled back to a $48 handle.

Central Banks Are Crack Dealers & Faith Healers

The entire formerly rich world is addicted to debt, and it is not capable of shaking that addiction. Not until the whole facade that was built to hide this addiction must and will come crashing down along with the corpus itself. Central banks are a huge part of keeping the disease going, instead of helping the patient quit and regain health, which arguably should be their function. In other words, central banks are not doctors, they’re crack dealers and faith healers. Why anyone would ever agree to that role for some of the world’s economically most powerful entities is a question that surely deserves and demands an answer.

Dear Treasury Secretary Lew: Here Is All You Need To Know About HFT

LEW SAYS GOVERNMENT TRYING TO UNDERSTAND HIGH-FREQUENCY TRADING

"The chart below illustrates our daily Adjusted Net Trading Income from January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2014. The overall breadth and diversity of our market making activities, together with our real-time risk management strategy and technology, have enabled us to have only one overall losing trading day during the period depicted, a total of 1,485 trading days..." - Virtu S-1

Consumer Spending Tumbles: BofA Blames Snow, Oil; Claims Its Models Are Right, Reality Is Wrong

Stick a fork in the now proven wrong theory that plunging gas prices would boost consumer spending. Why? Because 4 months after the full impact of tumbling gas price was said to become apparent, consumer spending is not only not picking up, it is in fact slowing down more, especially in those places where there was snow in the winter, and gasp, where oil price actually fell the most!

White House Admits "Strong Dollar Is Headwind For Growth" As Greenback Surges At Fastest Pace In 34 Years

Forget 2013's "taper tantrum", FX markets are roiling over a full-blown "rate-hike-rage" as the USD Index surges to a new 12 year high, rising 23% in the last 8 months - the fastest surge since 1981. Not only is this dramaticaly bad for the US equity earnings picture but the carnage being unleashed across developed and emerging market currencies is almost unprecedented. Despite reassurance from The Fed that a strengthening dollar is positive for US jobs, The White House has now issued a statement that a "strengthening USD is a headwind for US growth."

Wikipedia Founder Sues NSA, Demands "End To NSA’s Dragnet Surveillance Of Internet Traffic"

Today, the founders of Wikipeia announced they are filing a lawsuit against the National Security Agency "to protect the rights of the 500 million people who use Wikipedia every month. We’re doing so because a fundamental pillar of democracy is at stake: the free exchange of knowledge and ideas.  Our lawsuit says that the N.S.A.’s mass surveillance of Internet traffic on American soil — often called “upstream” surveillance — violates the Fourth Amendment, which protects the right to privacy, as well as the First Amendment, which protects the freedoms of expression and association. We also argue that this agency activity exceeds the authority granted by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that Congress amended in 2008."

Off-Balance Volume

"Buying" versus "selling" volume has diverged dramatically in the last few weeks as AAPL-buyback-driven exuberance has lifted US stocks to record-er highs (amid record selling from insiders). We've seen this pattern before but that time The Fed was neck deep in QE3 and Janet was proclaiming everything was awesome (with a dovish reassurance that they'd keep pumping)...

Venezuela's Maduro Mocks Obama, Grants Himself "Special Powers" To Defend Against "Imperialist Aggression"

Perhaps because the soap-opera factor of the puppet proxy civil war in east Ukraine is dying down, it is time for another geopolitical diversion, and it appears that the administration's attention this time has fallen on Venezuela. Yesterday Obama issued and signed the executive order which declared Venezuela a national security threat and ordered sanctions against seven officials. Maduro had a prompt response: "President Barack Obama, representing the US imperialist elite, has personally decided to take on the task of defeating my government and intervening in Venezuela to control it,”and "I have put together a special law that gives me special powers to preserve the peace, the integrity and the sovereignty of the country before any situation that presents itself due to this imperialist aggression.

Frontrunning: March 10

  • Dollar at 12-year peak versus euro, emerging markets spooked (Reuters)
  • CIA sought to hack Apple iPhones from earliest days (Reuters)
  • Draghi Urged Greece to Allow Troika Back Before It’s Late (BBG)
  • Brent crude dips below $58 on strong dollar and supply (Reuters)
  • Credit Suisse replaces CEO Dougan with Prudential's Thiam (Reuters)
  • More "distressed" energy M&A: Verisk buys Wood Mackenzie for £1.85bn (FT)
  • Prepare for a surge in defaults: Investors Are Buying Stocks and Bonds From Energy Producers Amid Oil Price Drop (WSJ)
  • Private equity executive ordered to pay £72m to ex-wife (FT)
  • Democratic donors unfazed by Hillary Clinton's use of private email (Reuters)
  • Expensive Hepatitis C Medications Drive Prescription-Drug Spending (WSJ)
  • 'ISIS Hackers' Almost Certainly Not ISIS Hackers (NBC)

Futures Sell Off As Soaring Dollar Weighs On Risk, European Yields Slide To Fresh Record Lows

As noted earlier, starting early with the overnight session there was already some serious fireworks in Asia, when first the USDJPY soared then tumbled, pushing the Nikkei lower some 0.7% with it, driven entirely by the surge in Dollar which rose to a fresh 12 year high overnight after gaining as much as 0.59%, in an extension of Friday’s post-NFP gains. Additionally, the EUR/USD slipped below 1.0800 to touch its lowest level since Sept’03 while USD/JPY rose above 122.00 for the first time since Jul’07, after breaching long-term resistance at 121.85. However, in recent trade the pair has seen a straight line sell-off which in turn has sent US equity futures sliding, and the ES down about 14 points as of this moment. Meanwhile, the frontrunning of the ECB continues, with German 10 Year yields sliding -3bps to 0.281%, the lowest in series history. Also touching fresh record lows were Austrian, Belgian, Dutch, Finnish, Irish, Italian, Spanish 10 Year rates.

Some Markets Are Turmoiling In Asia

No catalyzing event - China CPI modestly hotter than expected and Aussie confidence weak - but FX markets are fast in the Asia session with USDJPY surging above 122.00 for the first time since July 2007 and EURUSD dropping below 1.08 as USD strength dominates (up 1.65% from payrolls). Japanese stocks have decoupled from USDJPY's rally and are down notably and despite the USD strength,  WTI crude has jumped (perhaps on news of Iraqi forces taking back an oil field near Tikrit). Gold is falling as Offshore Renminbi weakens. All in all - markets are turmoiling for no good reason...

The 17 Elements Of Martial Law

The term “Martial Law” is thrown around with reckless disregard..."Martial law occurs when the prevailing regime feels threatened by the message being offered by the loyal opposition. When normal means of censorship and marginalization fail, despotic regimes resort to martial law with all intended brutality of a violent crackdown on all of those being perceived as the 'enemy'." Just how many intrusive government policies are in place in the following video?

China Completes SWIFT Alternative, May Launch "De-Dollarization Axis" As Soon As September

Following a year of threats that the west would kick Russia out of SWIFT, Moscow finally took the plunge and created its own international payment system alternative. And now, seeing how easy and fast it can be done, here comes China next with its own "China International Payment System" or CIPS, as one after another major global powers wave goodbye to a dollar-based, Washington-controlled (and NSA-supervised) international funds-transfer protocol. One that no longer relies on the US Dollar.

Venezuela To Start Fingerprinting Supermarket Shoppers

Back in August, when we wrote about the latest instance of trouble in Maduro's socialist paradise, we cautioned that as a result of the economic collapse in the Latin American nation, Venezuelans soon may need to have their fingerprints scanned before they can buy bread and other staples.  Privacy concerns aside (clearly Venezuelans have bigger, well, smaller fish to fry) there was hope that this plunge into insanity would be delayed indefinitely, as the last thing Venezuela's strained economy would be able to handle is smuggling of the most basic of necessities: something such a dramatic rationing step would surely lead to. Unfortunately for the struggling Venezuelan population, the time has arrived and as AP reported over the weekend, Venezuela "will begin installing 20,000 fingerprint scanners at supermarkets nationwide in a bid to stamp out hoarding and panic buying" as of this moment.