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Live Feed From Ukraine Border Where Russian Humanitarian Convoy Is Being Inspected By Border Guards

It seems like an eternity ago when futures tumbled last Friday on reports of Ukraine shelling, and "destroying", Russian military vehicles that had entered Ukraine (only to rebound to an unchanged print). It didn't take long for the world to forget all about this latest unsubstantiated incident and move on to "de-escalation" hopes, which this morning have catalyzed yet another rise in futures on expectations that upcoming talks between Putin and Poroshenko in Minsk next week will lead to further easing of tensions. In the meantime, the world media appears to have piled up at the border checkpoint and there is even a live feed of the Russian trucks entering Ukraine. Which is why expect this to be as exciting as watching the S&P levitate on no volume.



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Initial Jobless Claims Drop Back Under 300k; Continuing Claims Lowest Since June 2007

Following last week's surge back over the 300k Maginot Line, the Labor Department print this week is 298k (sigh of relief heard around the world). This is also the week that BLS surveys for the Augsut NFP print. Continuing claims fell once again to 2.500 million - the lowest print since June 2007. So great news... that explains why stocks are fading modestly off the highs in reaction.



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The Crazy-Making Fed

The Federal Reserve's communications and policies are a form of crazy-making double bind. No wonder the economy and everyone participating in it are beset by various manifestations of mental and physical illness. On the one hand, the Fed insists the economy is expanding and all is well. If this is true, then the Fed should allow interest rates to normalize, i.e. be unleashed from the Fed's financial prison and allowed to rise to whatever the market of borrowers and lenders sets as fair in the current climate. But the Fed also insists that it cannot allow rates to rise. The ultimate Fed crazy-making double-bind is this: you can't live without us, your financial Overlords who keep you safe from recession and the volatility of creative destruction, but you can't be free or prosperous with us in control.



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U.S. Doctor Infected With Ebola To Be Released From Atlanta Hospital After Treatment

It was nearly three weeks ago when American missionary doctor Kent Brantly, who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia, was brought to Atlanta's Emory University Hospital. Today, following a treatment with an experiment drug ZMapp made by Mapp Biopharma, it appears that Brantley has recovered enough that he will be discharged later on Thursday.



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Frontrunning: August 21

  • FTW: Europe Stocks Rise as Data Signals Need for Stimulus (BBG)
  • More de-escalation: Dozens die in Ukraine in street battles, Donetsk shelling (Reuters)
  • Calm largely holds in Missouri after grand jury opens shooting investigation (Reuters)
  • Attorney General Eric Holder Vows Thorough Probe of Ferguson Shooting (WSJ)
  • World’s Biggest Wealth Fund Slows Emerging Market Investment (BBG)
  • Market Chilly to Argentine Debt Proposal (WSJ)
  • Israeli air strike kills three Hamas commanders in Gaza (Reuters)
  • Retooled Hamas Bloodies Israel With Help From Hezbollah (BBG)
  • Investors Pour Into Vanguard, Eschewing Stock Pickers (WSJ)
  • Fed Debates Early Rate Increases (WSJ)


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Futures Levitate To Fresh Record Highs On Just Right Mix Of Bad News

With the FOMC Minutes in the books, the only remaining major event for the week is the Jackson Hole conference, where Yellen is now expected to talk back any Hawkish aftertaste left from the Minutes, and which starts today but no speeches are due until tomorrow. And while the Minutes were generally seen as hawkish, stocks continue to levitate, blissfully oblivious what tighter monetary conditions would mean to an asset bubble, which according to many, is now the biggest in history. And speaking of equities, US futures climbed to a fresh record high overnight on just the right mix of bad news.



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It's Official: "We Are All Terrorists Now"

On the heels of the gruesome and disgraceful ISIS clip of the beheading of American journalist James Foley, The UK's Scotland Yard, according to The Guardian, warned the public that viewing, downloading or disseminating the video within the UK might constitute a criminal offence under terrorism legislation. In other words - 'if you watch terrorism, you're also a terrorist'.



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Ferguson Tonight: Thunder Storms, Peaceful Protests, "Go Kill ISIS And Leave Us Alone" - Live Feed

One glimpse at the ominous clouds approaching Ferguson this evening was enough to suggest the end of the world was approaching but for now peacfeul protesters are once again walking (not allowed to stand) chanting "No Justice, No Peace" amidd dramatic lightning storms. The weather, for now, appears to have subdued the crowds but one protesters banner proclaiming "Go kill ISIS and leave us alone" caught our eye. Police presence is evident but not forceful for now as protesters proclaim "We want justice, here's your peace" suggesting tensions are de-escalating.



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Car Repos Soar 70% As Auto Subprime Bubble Pops; "It's Contained" Promises Fed

The auto loan subprime bubble may be the latest to burst (after student loans) as the rate of car repossessions jumped 70.2 percent in the second quarter, with much of that increase coming from finance companies not run by automakers, banks or credit unions. "The number of delinquencies and repossessions rising is what we would expect as the auto industry sells more vehicles," "But this slight uptick is one to keep an eye on." The surge in delinquencies and repossessions is being driven primarily by borrowers with subprime and deep subprime credit scores.



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Goldman Warns Additional Chinese Stimulus Risks Global Financial Stability

The soft July data have once again generated expectations of monetary easing from China. Goldman however thinks further monetary easing would have incrementally less of an impact and would come at the cost of financial stability. This diminishing impact, they argue, would result as overcapacity/oversupply restricts long-term borrowing demand and due to interest rate deregulation, which tends to move the long-term risk-free interest rate to a higher equilibrium, as seen in recent data. As the tradable sector continues to recover on the back of an improved global outlook, Goldman believes that a combination of sectoral policies aimed at easing financial stress and structural adjustment would be a better policy option. They do not expect broad macro easing or an interest rate cut in what remains of this year.



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Ferguson Cop Points Gun At Protesters And Press, Screams "I Will F***ing Kill You", Has Been "Relocated"

In the aftermath of recent violent events and now that even the US Attorney General has arrived, one would assume that the Ferguson police had at least some "sensitivity" training about how to approach protesters, especially those "armed" with cameras. Not in this case. The footage below out of Ferguson shows a police officer pointing his gun directly at protesters and reporters while screaming "I’m going to f***ing kill you!"



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"The Financial System Is Vulnerable," NYFed Asks "Could The Dollar Lose Its Reserve Status?"

When a tin-foil-hat-wearing blog full of digital dickweeds suggest the dollar's reserve currency status is at best diminishing, it is fobbed off as yet another conspiracy theory (yet to be proved conspiracy fact) too horrible to imagine for the status quo huggers. But when the VP of Research at the New York Fed asks "Could the dollar lose its status as the key international currency for international trade and international financial transactions," and further is unable to say why not, it is perhaps worth considering the principal contributing factors she warns of.



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Despite Collapsing Economy, Japanese PMI Surges To 5-Month High; China PMI Tumbles, Misses By Most On Record

Following New Zealand's biggest monthly plunge in consumer confidence in over 2 years, Japan's Manufacturing PMI surged to its highest since March at 52.5 (handily beating expectations of 51.5). Almost the entire suite of subindices were positive except JPY weakness-inspired margin compression as output prices tumbled and input prices surged. All of this in the face of collapsing and disappointing hard data. Meanwhile, China Manufacturing PMI plunged to 51.5, missing by the most on record, as China's apparent 'hard' data shows improvement. Perhaps it is time to recalibrate the seasonal magic in these PMIs...



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China Push For Gold Pricing Power Continues, Grant 3 New Import Licences

Three more banks have been permitted to import gold to China, as IBTimes notes, the country redoubles its efforts to attain pricing power of the commodity. The move, which brings the number of firms allowed to import gold into China to 15, comes ahead of the SGE launching its Yuan settled bullion exchange, in hopes of replacing the now discredited London Fix and become a price-discovery center. Shanghai Pudong Development Bank and China Merchants Bank were joined by Standard Chartered - only the 3rd foreign bank to be allowed to import gold into China as the nation continues to increase the pace of liberalisation of the gold market following the approval last year of the country's first gold-backed WTFs.



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St.Louis PD Release 'Suicide-By-Cop' Shooting Clip

As we noted previously, just days after the fatal shooting of Mike Brown in Ferguson, a 2nd officer-involved shooting ended in death for the suspect just miles from Ferguson. St.Louis Police Department - in the interests of transparency -  have released video of both the alleged shoplifting and the so-called 'suicide-by-cop' shooting itself of 25-year-old Kajieme Powell.."Powell approached the officers when they arrived, yelling at them to shoot him already. When he ignored commands to drop the knife, the two officers fired a total of 12 shots."



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