“Maybe the American people or the government or whoever raises their eyebrows can say how could the Europeans be so moderate on the debate over sanctions.
Guess what? You don’t want to sanction anyone you depend on,”
The soon-to-be-renamed-Boring-Book, for its constant uniformity of mediocre Goldilocks data offered little to strengthen bulls or bears (as usual) but it seems weather was the key once again. With 119 references to "weather" (6 times more than the January report), they remind us that:
- *FED SAW ECONOMY GROW EVEN AS HARSH WEATHER SLOWED HIRING, SALES
- *FED SAYS OUTLOOK 'AMONG MOST DISTRICTS REMAINED OPTIMISTIC'
But - the "m" words continue to dominate:
- *FED SAYS MOST REPORTS OF IMPROVEMENT WERE 'MODEST TO MODERATE'
As 8 of the 12 districts "reported improved levels of activity"... but but but the weather. Healthcare concerns were cited 16 times.
Assuming that the dismal non-farm-payrolls print in January was "due to the weather," we suspect economists, strategists, and weather-forecasters everywhere are holding their breaths over the February print given the following 2 charts...
Many observers have focused on the relative paucity of the West's diplomatic and military options in Ukraine. Others focus on Russia's sources of leverage: cutting off natural gas to western Ukraine and Europe and/or dumping its reserves of U.S. dollars. All those focusing on the West's lack of leverage are forgetting that the Empire retains multiple way of striking back. For example, bringing the costs of misadventure home to Russia's politically influential 1/10th of 1%.
Moments ago, the Senate was supposed to vote through Debo Adegbile, Obama's nominee for the civil rights division at the Department of Justice and who represented cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. It failed, when the Democrats in the Senate couldn't get enough votes to pass a simple majority with 8 Democrats voted against Adegbile: Casey, Coons, Donnelly, Manchin, Walsh, Heitkamp, Pryor. Reid voted no in order to reconsider nom later.
When Canadian authorities scrapped their 'investor visa' scheme a month ago, we warned that the nation was removing a critical pillar of support for its real-estate bubble market. However, with an estimated 45,000 Chinese millionaires still in the queue, the wealthy hoping to get their cash out of China are not happy. As The South China Morning Post reports, a group of wealthy mainlanders has criticized the Canadian government for scrapping its investor visa scheme and are threatening legal action if the decision is not overturned - arguing "we had set aside a lot of money to meet the investment requirements and over the years passed up on many opportunities... A refund of our application fees will not make up for all the preparation put in."
Just Bloomberg headlines for now which don't mesh well with the whole "detente" narrative, supposedly unleashed by Putin's conference yesterday in which he was said to "blink", which he didn't but algo-driven stocks are convinced he did and algos are always right: UN ENVOY KIDNAPPED IN SIMFEROPOL, IFX CITES UKRAINE FOREIGN MIN - It is certainly not clear who the kidnappers were. So just another provocation, simple lie, or for once, the truth? We hope to find out soon. Update: and now we know the answer - lie and borderline provocation, once again by the Ukraine foreign ministry: DEPUTY U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL ELIASSON DENIES REPORTS U.N. REPRESENTATIVE SERRY WAS KIDNAPPED, SAYS SERRY WAS THREATENED.
481 Barclays Employees Paid Over 1 Million Pounds In 2013, Increase Of 53 From 2012 Despite Losses, Mass LayoffsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/05/2014 - 11:40
It was less than a month ago when Barclays announced it would fire 12,000 workers after posting abysmal earnings with Q4 banking income crashing 37% and overall income sliding 9%. So, one would think, its employees would be punished with lower pay - those that are lucky enough to keep their jobs of course. One would be wrong. Reuters just reported that 481 of Barclays employees were paid 1 million pounds ($1.7 million) or more last year, 53 more than in the year before, and most of them were based in the United States. Barcalys' immutable rationale - fear of losing the traders to a better-paying competitor. Like who - is the Fed hiring again?
Minutes ago, the chief of police of the Donetsk regional state administration (in Eastern Ukraine and the home region of Yanukovych) explained how the situation was "stable" and "everything is under control"... So perhaps he better look out the window:
*RUSSIAN-FLAG WAVING CROWD SAID TO STORM DONETSK BUILDING: AP
*PRO-RUSSIAN PROTESTERS ON WAY TO STORM DONETSK TREASURY: TV5
So, apart from the protesters storming buildings and breaking into the Treasury, things are "under control."
Today's economic data has been absolutely abysmal. We know, we know, snow. However, first the atrocious ADP number, and then the abysmal Services ISM employment index plunging at an unseen pace, should give some pause for thought. It appears to have done so with Goldman's chief economist, the same guy who a month ago was expecting 3.0% GDP growth in Q1, and who just cut his February NFP forecast for this Friday from 145K to 125K. To wit: "As a result of the sharp decline in the employment component of the nonmanufacturing index, we have reduced our payrolls forecast to 125k and our private payrolls forecast to 130k"
Retweets are not endorsements... but they really usually are. Which is the reason some are wondering just why did the FTC show a specific appreciation of this particular tweet sent out yesterday by a user who appears to have a bone to pick with Herbalife, Nu Skin and other alleged pyramid schemes.
#NCPW2014 Why have you not shut down pyramid schemes like Herbalife, Nu Skin and others? What is the FTC waiting for?
— AS (@ArbitrageIt) March 4, 2014
Following warnings from US and European nations over economic (and travel) sanctions against Russia, the upper house of Russia's parliament has struck back. As RIA reports, Russia is mulling measures allowing property and assets of European and US companies to be confiscated in the event of sanctions being adopted. Layers are studying the costitutionality of the 'confiscation' but cite Europe's standards (i.e. Cyprus) as precedent. This is further to the threat to "dump US goverment bonds" issued earlier in the week.
ISM Services headline index collapsed to 51.6 (missing expectations of 53.5) to its lowest since February of 2010. We are sure many will proclaim this as "weather-related" but remember the strong performance of the Manufacturing print. Respondents worried about weather, Obamacare, and oil prices... as the employment sub-index crashed from 56.4 (highest since Nov 2010) to 47.5 (lowest since Mar 2010) - the biggest drop since Lehman!
On the heels of yesterday's confessions (as we detailed here), ex-Fed chair Ben Bernanke continues his contrition:
- *BERNANKE SAYS HE UNDERESTIMATED IMPACT OF SUBPRIME PROBLEM
- *BERNANKE SAYS HE THOUGHT SLOWDOWN WOULD BE 'MODERATE'
But apart from that, "nailed it." What a great way to earn $250,000 per appearance (a year's Fed salary): by admitting your mistakes destroyed the middle class.