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BofAML Warns VIX Complacency Suggest Stocks Fall Further

While US equities have spent much of the past several weeks under pressure (the NASDAQ bio tech index has fallen over 21%, the NASDAQ Comp is down over 8% and the S&P500 is down over 4%), BofAML's Macneil Curry is concerned that the VIX index suggests conditions should deteriorate further before greater signs of a base materialize.



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RANsquawk - Week Ahead - 14th April 2014



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Frontrunning: April 14

  • Three dead in shootings at Kansas Jewish centers; man to face charges (WSJ)
  • Sanctions Blowback in Russia Targets Burgers to Movies (BBG)
  • Deadly Virus's Spread Raises Alarms in Mideast (WSJ)
  • China group buys $6bn Glencore Peru copper mine (BBG)
  • Iran lodges complaint against United States over U.N. envoy ban (Reuters)
  • Russian assets down sharply on Ukraine conflict fears (Reuters)
  • ECB comments knock euro, but not much (Reuters)
  • World-Leading $25 Hourly Wage Roils Swiss Businesses (BBG)


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Futures Tread Water As Geopolitical Fears Added To Momentum Collapse Concerns

Futures are treading water once more now that Ukraine has stormed to center stage from the backburner after everyone was convinced Putin would let the situation cool off after annexing Crimea. Guess not. Adding the renewed geopolitical jitters to what has already been a beta stock bloodbath into a holiday shortened week assures some high volatility fireworks. Cautious sentiment was observed over in Asia (Nikkei 225 -0.36%) amid renewed fears that geopolitical tensions in Ukraine will flare up again following reports of exchange gunfire with pro-Russian militants. This sentiment carried over into the European session with stocks lower across the board (Eurostoxx50 -0.71%). EUR is lower after ECB’s Draghi said any further strengthening of the EUR would warrant further action by the ECB, including non-standard measures such as quantitative easing - it is amazing how frequently and often the Virtu algos still fall for Draghi's jawboning trick which has now become all too clear will never be implemented and certainly not if he keeps talking about it daily, as he does.



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"Shadows Of March 2000" - Goldman On The Great Momo Crash Of 2014

We have bad news for hedge funds who, like Hugh Hendry in December of last year, threw fundamentals and caution to the wind and, with great reservations, jumped into this momo bandwagon in which mere buying beget more buying until nobody knew why anyone bought in the first place... and then everything crashed, leading to the worst day for hedge funds in a decade: according to Goldman's David Kostin, whose job is to be a cheerleader for the intangible "wealth effect" leading to all too tangible Goldman bonuses: "The stock market will likely recover during the next few months... but not momentum stocks."



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Did CIA Director Brennan Visit Kiev Recently?

Just a few weeks ago, someone (allegedly Russia) leaked a recorded phone conversation of Victoria Nuland commenting "fuck the EU" and how she (the US) wanted the political stage set in Ukraine. A lot has happened since then but as multiple pro-Russian sources have now 'confirmed', the new puppetmaster appears to be in town (or was). As Interfax reported, citing sources inside the Ukrainian parliament, none other that CIA Director John Brennan landed in Ukraine on Saturday under an assumed name and held a "series of secret meetings" with the country's "power bloc" Interfax reported. Commenting on the report, deputy chairman for the State Duma's Defense Committee Frants Klintsevich said that he would view such a visit as a challenge to Russia.



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Ukraine Mobilizes Military, Gives Separatists Ultimatum; Russia Slams Escalation As "Criminal", Yanukovich Warns Of Civil War

If Russia's intention was to give Ukraine enough "escalation" rope with which to hang itself once again, it may have succeeded when a little over an hour ago acting president Oleksander Turchinov said in a televized address that Ukraine has mobilized its armed forces to launch a "full-scale anti-terrorist operation" against pro-Russian separatists. Furthermore, knowing the only real escalation Kiev can engage in is in the war of words department, Ukraine set an 0600 GMT Monday deadline for pro-Russian separatists to give up their weapons and leave buildings they have occupied in the east of the country, a presidential decree said. It is unclear if this would be the catalyst to launch the military operation, but should Kiev indeed bring in the army it is certainly clear that Russia will respond in kind.



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Beta Earthquake

What is an underlying explanation that can account for Momentum failing and Value working, but Quality NOT working? When one of my colleagues here at Salient saw these charts he said, “looks to me like the market is trading on a narrative of risk appetites and fear rather than toward some notion of seeking fundamentals or selling overbought growth stocks; otherwise Quality would be working, too.” To which I replied, “Amen, brother!” The notion that this market sell-off is limited to biotech or Internet or some other high-flying sub-sector because the market “realized” that these stocks were too expensive or out of concern with earnings this quarter (both explanations that I’ve seen of late in the WSJ and FT), just doesn’t hold water. These high-beta stocks are being hit hardest because they are at the epicenter of a broad market or beta earthquake. This is what it means to be high-beta…you live by the broad market sword and you die by the broad market sword.



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Gold Jumps To 3-Week Highs, EUR Fades As Tensions Rise In Ukraine

Early weakness in US equity futures was rescued when Asia opened and JPY was mysteriously bid but it's fading back now as the UN session escalates into he-YouTube'd-she-YouTube'd. The bigger moves on the night so far are gold (which jumped back over $1325 and 3-week highs) and EUR which fell around 40 pips to 1.3850. We suspect as Ukraine's red-line deadline draws near the bid for safe-havens may accelerate somewhat.



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UN Security Council Begins Discussion Of Situation In Ukraine

Churkin: "In just a few hours things may take an irreversible turn for the worse"

Today's emergency session in the UN summoned by none other than Russia, whose representative Churkin has just started to speak, has begun.

*WEST, KIEV 'HENCHMEN' GOVT RESPONSIBLE FOR INSTABILITY: CHURKIN
*RUSSIA 'SPREADING FICTION, WE MUST STOP THIS TONIGHT,': POWER

The live webcast below.



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CME Sued For Giving "High-Frequency Traders Peek At Market" Since 2007

Now that both the FBI and the DOJ have woken up from a half-decade slumber realizing there was riggedness, RIGGEDNESS going on in these here stock markets courtesy of Michael Lewis' book, it wasn't long before those most impacted by the frontrunning startegies of HFTs spoke up - anyone who has lost money in the stock market since Reg NMS was conceived. Sure enough, in a lawsuit that was just filed by lead plaintiff William Charles Braman, seeking class-action status, and filed on behalf of all users of real-time futures market data and futures contracts listed on the CBOT and CME from 2007 to now, the CME is allegd to have sold order information to high-frequency traders ahead of other market participants.



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Obama On The Red Line And On The Rat Line

Read Seymour Hersh’s devastating account of Obama’s Red Lines and Rat Lines and weep for the Republic. It is no more.



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Guest Post: If It's Such A Privelege, Why Do They Have To Stick A Gun In Your Face?

Two. Billion. Hours. That’s how much time people in the Land of the Free waste each year preparing and filing their tax forms to the IRS– roughly 13 hours for each of the ~150 million individual returns filed.

Taxes are morally reprehensible. Taxes rob an entire population of its financial resources in favor of a tiny political elite that has a long-term track record of incompetence and deceit.

Unfortunately, though, this humiliating exercise is forcibly perpetrated at gunpoint.



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"The Next America" - Two Dramas In Slow Motion

That America has - or perhaps more accurately that the administration is desperate to create - a wealth divide, gender divide, and certainly ethnic divide, is hardly a secret. Yet all of those may pale in comparison to the transformation that the US is undergoing currently, according to the most recent Pew research study, one which finds that the world's one time superpower, is in the midst of two slow-motion dramas right now. "Our population is becoming majority non-white at the same time a record share is going gray. Each of these shifts would by itself be the defining demographic story of its era. The fact that both are unfolding simultaneously has generated big generation gaps that will put stress on our politics, families, pocketbooks, entitlement programs and social cohesion.



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31-Year-Old Hedge Fund Trader Made More Than The CEOs Of The Six Biggest Banks Combined

Over the weekend, there has been some consternation over the report that the CEOs of the 6 largest US banks: JPM, BAC, GS, MS, C and WFC, collectively made $96.1 million in 2013, more than $86.3 million the year before and the most since the financial crisis. However, we are confident those same people would have an aneurism if they were to learn that James "Jimmy" Levin, a 31-year-old hedge fund trader - head of global credit and an executive managing director at Och-Ziff - last year made a whopping $119 million, or more than all of the CEOs of the six largest firms combined.



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