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Head Trader Of World's 4th Largest Hedge Fund Caught In HFT Frontrunning Scandal

Shortly after we reported the latest market-rigging scandal, in which ITG was busted for frontrunning sellside clients in its dark pool in what has been since dubbed a "trading experiment" (because it sounds better than criminal conspiracy to defraud clients), and which will cost the company a record for a private Wall Street firm $22 million settlement, we had one question for AQR's Cliff Asness yesterday morning: "Hi @Cimmerian999, is Hitesh Mittal the AQR employee who was formerly at ITG and is part of the SEC settlement?"   We got no answer from the AQR head, but luckily Bloomberg noticed, and as it turns out the answer to our question was a resounding yes.



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Gold Surges Back Above $1100 As Dollar Dumps After Wage Data

Paper gold prices continue their extreme volatility ride, spiking $20 as the dismal ECI data hit this morning (as we pre-suppose weak data means moar money printing inevitably coming down the pike)...



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Chicago PMI Jumps To 6-Month Highs As UMich Consumer "Hope" Tumbles To 2015 Lows

It appears Chicago businesses are immune to the vaguaries of the worst quarterly wage growth in US history. Following significant weakness earlier in the year, Chicago PMI surged to 54.7, the second highest in 2015, smashing expectations of a 50.8 print. Having flashed its recessionary warning lights, while 7 underlying factors improved led by increased production and new orders (and prices paid), employment continued to fall (though at a slower pace). After missing in July's preliminary print (93.3 vs 94.0), UMich consumer sentiment final print for July dropped even further to 93.1, heading back towards the lows of the year as hope plunged from 87.8 to 84.1 - the lowest since Nov 2014.



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"Western Central Banks Have Set Us Up; You'll Hear The Printing Presses From Mars"

As Marc Faber said at SocGen's January conference, if he could short central banks directly he would do so, but gold is the next best thing; and despite it being sucked into the general commodity malaise, Albert Edwards says "Gold is a must-have holding in this world."



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Worst Wage Growth In History Sparks Bond & Stock Buying Frenzy, Rate Hike Expectations Crater

Bad news is great news again... Stock are surging (and bond yields tumbling) following the worst wage growth in history this morning. The US Dollar is getting hammered and the Fed Funds Futures (price) curve is surging (as rate hike hopes are priced out).



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Earnings Shocker: Quarterly Increase In Wages Is Smallest On Record

The quarterly increase in US wages was just 0.2% - a third of the 0.6% rise expected - and a meager 2% increase Y/Y in line with all the other depressed BLS data, which dashes the "wage growth is looming" meme and crushed the 0.7% rise in Q1 that had so many hopeful of escape velocity any day now.



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Exxon Earnings: Carnage

Moments ago energy titan Exxon Mobile, which not too long ago was bigger than AAPL by market cap, and is now roughly half the size of the phone maker, reported earnings which were, in a word, a bloodbath.



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Deutsche Bank "Loses" LIBOR Chat Records; Will Try Hard To Find Them

Deutsche Bank says a "software glitch" caused an "unknown" number of electronic chats dating back to 2005 to be deleted (possibly forever), a "mistake" that could endanger the bank's record $2.5 billion LIBOR settlement with regulators. 



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Frontrunning: July 31

  • U.S. stock futures slip amid lukewarm earnings, fall in commodities (Reuters)
  • Stressful times for low-polling Republicans who may miss debate stage (Reuters)
  • Trump shows staying power with surge ahead of first debate (Reuters)
  • China Market Manipulation Probe Targets Spoofers After Crash (BBG)
  • Beijing Chosen to Host 2022 Winter Olympics (WSJ)
  • Obama Warns Support on Iran Deal ’Getting Squishy’ Amid Pressure (BBG)
  • Pacific trade negotiators chase elusive final deal in tough talks (Reuters)


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Italy Youth Unemployment Hits Record High 44.2%, Concerns Rising "Recession Exit May Be Unsustainable"

While the overall unemployment rate for the Eurozone also unchanged at 11.1%, it was renewed concern about what is going on in Italy, where unemployment rose from 12.5% to 12.7%, while Italy's youth unemployment rate, which surprisingly jumped by nearly 2% to 44.2%, a record level.  As Bloomberg put it, "Italy’s jobless rate unexpectedly rose in June as businesses continue to dismiss workers amid concerns that the country’s exit from recession may not be sustainable."



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Chinese Stocks Drop, End Worst Month Since August 2009; US Equity Futures Flat

In a repeat of Thursday's action, Chinese stocks which had opened about 1% lower, remained underwater for most of the session before attempting a feeble bounce which took the Shanghai Composite fractionally into the green, before the now traditional last hour action which this time failed to maintain the upward momentum and the last day of the month saw a surge in volume which dragged the market to its lows before closing roughly where it opened, -1.13% lower.  This caps the worst month for Chinese stocks since since August 2009, as the government struggles to rekindle investor interest amid a $3.5 trillion rout, one which has sent the Shanghai market lower by 15% - the biggest loss among 93 global benchmark gauges tracked by Bloomberg.



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Donald Trump's Soaring Popularity "Is The Country's Collective Middle Finger To Washington"

Donald Trump’s ascendance as the early GOP front-runner is symbolic of a greater global trend: growing pushback against institutional political and economic power.



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Debt Slaves: 7 Out Of 10 Americans Believe That Debt "Is A Necessity In Their Lives"

Could you live without debt? Most Americans say that they cannot. According to a brand new Pew survey, approximately 7 out of every 10 Americans believe that “debt is a necessity in their lives”, and approximately 8 out of every 10 Americans actually have debt right now. Most of us like to think that “someday” we will get out of the hole and quit being debt slaves, but very few of us ever actually accomplish this. That is because the entire system is designed to trap us in debt before we even get out into the “real world” and keep us in debt until we die. Sadly, most Americans don’t even realize what is being done to them.



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Secret Memo Reveals US Was Aware Of Americans Killing Zimbabwe Lions; Only Concern Was Getting Caught

"One safari operator accused an American, by name, of killing a lion illegally and then smuggling its hide out through South Africa.  Given the rampant smuggling of other animal products across Zimbabwe's southern border (reftel), this is not unlikely.  As reported in reftel, American hunting dollars are vital to Zimbabwe's conservation efforts, but there are also serious risks that Americans could be implicated in smuggling and poaching operations."



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Chinese Stocks Extend Yesterday's Plunge Despite Regulators "Asking" Insurers To Stop "Net Sales"

Following last night's afternoon session plungefest (with ChiNext's biggest drop in a month), as it appeared the government experimented with 'free' markets briefly, regulators have "asked" insurance companies to be "net sellers" of stocks going forward. With margin debt dropping for the 4th day in a row (to fresh 4-month lows), Markit noted that accusations of foreigners short selling shares is “overblown” by Chinese market regulators and not the cause of a recent rout in the stock market, according to the SCMP. The requests and threats appear to not be working as CSI-300 futures open down 0.7%.



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