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With Futures On The Verge Of A Major Breakout, Greece Drags Them Back Down; German 10Y Under 0.1%

Just as the S&P appeared set to blast off to a forward GAAP PE > 21.0x, here comes Greece and drags it back down to a far more somber 20.0x. The catalyst this time is an FT article according to which officials of now openly insolvent Greece have made an informal approach to the International Monetary Fund to delay repayments of loans to the international lender, but were told that no rescheduling was possible.  The result if a drop in not only US equity futures which are down 8 points at last check, but also yields across the board with the German 10Y Bund now just single basis points above 0.00% (the German 9Y is now < 0), on its way to -0.20% at which point it will lead to a very awkward "crossing the streams" moment for the ECB.



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Ben Bernanke To Join World's Most Levered Hedge Fund: HFT Powerhouse Citadel

Several years ago, Zero Hedge first, and to our knowledge only, reported that when it comes to unofficially executing trades in the equity market the NY Fed - through a slightly more than arms-length arrangement - does so using Chicago HFT powerhouse Citadel. In other words, while Citadel was instrumental in preserving the smooth, diagonal ramp in stocks since 2009 and igniting upward momentum just as everyone else stared to sell when the Markets Group of the NY Fed called, it was also paid handsomely: after all, nobody checks the Fed's broker commission statement. In fact according to some, indirect Fed compensation to what is the world's most leveraged hedge fund has been in the billions over the past decade. Well, now it's payback time, and as the NYT reported overnight, the Brookings Institution favorite blogger, former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, has joined none other than Citadel as an advisor.



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Why Is WalMart Mysteriously Shuttering Stores Nationwide For "Plumbing Issues"?

WalMart has abruptly closed multiple stores across the country affecting an estimated 2,000 employees over the past several days citing "ongoing plumbing issues" which it will apparently take the company 6 months or more to fix. Interestingly, the stores are geographically distinct, and have nothing in common other than "clogs and leaks," and no plumbing permits have been obtained for any work. 



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Meet The Woman Who Attacked Mario Draghi: In Her Own Words

The biggest star of today's ECB's press conference was not Mario Draghi but 21-year-old German feminist, Josephine Witt, an ex-Femen activist who jumped on Draghi's desk wearing an "ECB Dick-tatorship", a slogan she repeatedly screamed as she was led away by security guards. She threw paper copies of her demands at Mr Draghi, while showering him with confetti that were created from her finely chopped up manifesto. Who is Josephine Witt and what is her message?



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The Collapse Of The Petrodollar: Oil Exporters Are Dumping US Assets At A Record Pace

Back in November we chronicled the (quiet) death of the Petrodollar, the system that has buttressed USD hegemony for decades by ensuring that oil producers recycled their dollar proceeds into still more USD assets creating a very convenient (if your printing press mints dollars) self-fulfilling prophecy that has effectively underwritten the dollar’s reserve status in the post WWII era. Now, with oil prices still in the doldrums, oil producers are selling off their USD assets in a frenzy threatening the viability of petrocurrency mercantilism and effectively extracting billions in liquidity from the system just as the Fed prepares to hike rates.



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The Four Chartsmen Of The Recession



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Artist's Impression Of China's Soft Landing

The following clip seemed to sum up perfectly just what The PBOC is attempting to do (and just exactly how it will end). With Chinese equities entirely decoupled from any sense of fundamentals, elementary-school-educated people piling their life savings into a market that is up 100% YoY amid the worst economic conditions in a decade or more, and margin trading that is surging (and now being probed - as Reuters reports, PBOC Shanghai has asked banks to check margin trading risks); how could anything go wrong?



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"Bonds Don't Bring Breakups, Banks Do"; UBS Says Europe Risks Bank Runs On Grexit

"Financial markets are treating the risks around Greek exit with too little regard for the probable dangers," UBS says. Put simply, bond yields don't matter, meaning that ECB-controlled sovereign spreads can't possibly be taken as a serious indicator when it comes to assessing the contagion risk from a possible Grexit. What matters are bank runs because to the degree depositors feel that redenomination risk is real, everything else goes out the window and the lines start to form at the doors of periphery banks.



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CLO Volume Hits Record As PE, Wall Street Look To Stay Ahead Of New Rule

March was a record month for CLO issuance with $15.2 billion in deals coming to market, bringing the YTD total to $29 billion and making Q1 2015 the best first quarter in history for CLO new issue volume. And while a JPM analyst who spoke to Bloomberg says managers “want to get deals done early before risk retention kicks in,” we're confident that it’s all about keeping credit flowing to deserving borrowers and not at all about a desire to keep exposure to 5% of a collateral pool littered with loans to “companies that are of lower credit quality or that do not have a third-party evaluation of the likelihood of timely payment of interest and repayment of principal” off of the books.



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Proof That The US Peaked During Ronald Reagan's Presidency

On March 16, 1936, the government of the United States published the very first edition of the Federal Register - which would contain a complete set of every rule, regulation, code, and proposal issued by each of the executive agencies. The first edition was sixteen pages. Every single work day since then, without fail, the government has published the Federal Register. President Obama has averaged nearly 80,000 pages per year, far and away the highest of any President in US history. We've seen this theme countless times throughout history.



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The World Has Gone Mad - Fed's Lacker Edition

During a Q&A this evening, Richmond Fed's Jeffrey Lacker unleashed a stream of what can only be described as total idiocy:

*LACKER: INDICATORS POINT TO NEED TO RAISE RATES THIS YEAR (US macro data is the worst since Lehman?)
*LACKER: I'M UNDETERRED BY RECENT WEAKNESS IN DATA, "CAN'T GO ON FOREVER" (Hope is a strategy?)
*LACKER: DON'T EXPECT UNUSUAL MARKET VOLATILITY AROUND RATE RISE (because the Taper Tantrum went well?)

These are the people that the world trusts to centrally plan the world? The people that are there to 'save' investors at the merest downtick in stocks? They seriously have no clue whatsoever!!



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China's True Economic Growth Rate: 1.6%

While the world gasped last night when China's production-based, and goalseeked GDP number came in at 7.0% - the lowest in 6 years the truly scary numbers were in the details, which revealed unprecedented deterioration. Details which suggest China is now growing at a 1.6% annual pace: the lowest in modern history.



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Algos Celebrate Virtu's IPO With Massive Euro Stop Smash

EURUSD just exploded 80 pips higher as Japanese markets opened (once again for no good reason - just like DAX at the EU close). No ther markets are moving with it (as both spot and futures are poked higher on relatively heavy overnight volume). We assume this is just the machines over at Virtu (which IPO'd at a $19 price tonight) celebrating... after all they said the FX market was the next to be rigged by them (allegedly)...



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The Weak Suffer What They Must: Yanis And The End Of Europe

Yanis Varoufakis’ publisher, Public Affairs Books, posted a promo for an upcoming book by the Greek Finance Minister, due out only in 2016 that reveals a few things that haven’t gotten much attention to date. Varoufakis simply analyzes the structure of the EU and the eurozone, as well as the peculiar place the ECB has in both. Some may find what he writes provocative, but that’s beside the point. It’s not as if Europe is beyond analysis; indeed, such analysis is long overdue. Indeed, it may well be the lack of it, and the idea in Brussels that it is exempt from scrutiny, even as institutions such as the ECB build billion dollar edifices as the Greek population goes hungry, that could be its downfall. It may be better to be critical and make necessary changes than to be hardheaded and precipitate your own downfall.



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The Fed Never Learns - Another Inventory Dump Is Brewing

The fairy dust peddlers who moonlight as Wall Street economists were out in force yesterday after March retail sales came in with a positive m/m change for the first time since November.  This purportedly confirms that we’re back on track for a big rebound in Q2. In any event, what happens next is not too hard to figure. Unless you are a Wall Street economist.



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