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McDonalds Reports Disturbing Numbers, Misses Across The Board; Stock Jumps

Moments ago McDonalds reported its latest sales numbers which were basically atrocious, worse than usual, and missed across the board. At this point the operational challenges facing the company are clearly unfixable in its current iteration which is broken beyond merely a CEO switch, and not even a "buy 1 Big Mac, get 3 Big Macs (and Joseph A Banc suits) free" strategy will fix the ailing fastfood maker, whose secular collapse is best captured by the charts below. So what does the stock do? It jumps.



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The Swiss Franc Is Plunging After SNB Comments

Following comments from the Swiss National Bank, reducing the group of sight deposit account holders that are exempt from negative interest rates, has sent Swissy tumbling...



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EU Formally (And Spitefully) Files Anti-Trust Charges Against Gazprom

With talks between Greece and its creditors expected to go mostly nowhere in Riga later this week, and with speculation about an energy deal between Athens and Moscow (i.e. the precursor to the dreaded "Russian pivot") looking less like speculation and more like reality with each passing day, Europe is going the spite route by filing anti-trust charges against Gazprom.



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UK "Flash Crasher" Refuses To Be Broken Market Scapegoat, Will Fight Extradition Request Facing Decades In Prison

While we eagerly await for the SEC to retract its official 104 page report summarizing the "Findings regarding the market events  of May 6, 2010" in light of "recent developments", and as we follow the shift in the official narrative to the outright bizarre, in which the entire Flash Crash is now blamed on just one man (as opposed to just Waddell & Reed as per the previous narrative), we learn that the latest scapegoat for a broken, fragmented and manipulated market, Navinder Sarao, is not quite so eager to go to minimum security prison in the US for doing what leads to a slap on the wrist when someone like Citadel or Virtu does it, and will challenge the CFTC's attempt to pin everything on him.



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Frontrunning: April 22

  • Because it just gets funnier: UK speed trader arrested over role in 2010 'flash crash' (Reuters)
  • ... and funnier: Mystery Trader Armed With Algorithms Rewrites Flash Crash Story (BBG)
  • Presidential hopeful Rubio reaches out to gay Republicans (Reuters)
  • Varoufakis Sees Differences Narrowing in Creditor Talks (BBG)
  • China Debt Mess Brings Out the Yin and Yang in Policy Makers (BBG)
  • Hedge Fund That Made 18% on Dollar Strength Now Bets on Drop (BBG)
  • Whistleblower Jim Marchese Scores Millions in Payout—Again (WSJ)
  • Release of Benghazi Report on Hillary Clinton Likely Pushed to Election Season (BBG)


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Asian Euphoria Sends Nikkei Above 20,000, Fizzles In Europe On More Greek Fears; US Futures Down

Whether it is in sympathy with the now relentless surge in the Shanghai Composite which tacked on another 2.44% overnight to close at a fresh multi-year high just shy of 4400, well more than double from a year ago, or because Mrs Watanabe was unable to read the latest Japan trade data whose first trade surplus in 3 years hinted that there will be no new easing by the BOJ any time soon, but overnight the Nikkei closed above 20,000 for the first time in 15 years, with "makers of chocolate, mayonnaise, potato chips and household appliances" helping lift the Tokyo market according to the WSJ. The now daily Asian euphoria however did not last long in the European session, and after opening higher, the Stoxx Europe 600 slipped into negative territory just an hour into trading, and was down 0.4% by midmorning, lead by a near 1% decline on Athens' mains stock index, which has since recouped losses stemming from the overnight report that the ECB is considering an up to 50% haircut on Greek bank collateral, a move that would wipe out the Greek financial sector with ease.



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ECB Prepares To Sacrifice Greek Banks With 50% Collateral Haircut

In what seems like a coincidental retaliation for Greece's pivot to Russia (and following Greece's initiation of capital controls), the supposedly independent European Central Bank has decided suddenly that - after dishing out €74 billion of emergency liquidity to the Greek National Bank to fund its banks - as The NY Times reports, the value of the collateral that Greek banks post at their own central bank to secure these loans be reduced by as much as 50%, and the haircut scould increase if negotiations with Europe remain at an impasse. As we detailed earlier, this is about as worst-case-scenario for Greece as is 'diplomatically' possible currently, and highlights an increasingly hard line by The ECB toward The Greeks as the move will leave banks hard-pressed to survive.



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Battlefield America: The War On The American People

“A government which will turn its tanks upon its people, for any reason, is a government with a taste of blood and a thirst for power and must either be smartly rebuked, or blindly obeyed in deadly fear.” - John Salter



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The Mystery Of China's Gold Holdings Is Coming To An End

While the reality is that nobody has a clue what China's actual gold holdings are, the good news is that the answer is coming. As noted above, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has asked the head of the International Monetary Fund to include China's yuan currency in its special drawing rights (SDR) basket.  If indeed China is serious about CNY inclusion in the SDR, it will finally have to reveal its cards, which would mean it finally will provide an update, with a 6 year delay, of just what its latest gold holdings are. As such, don't be surprised to wake up one morning to headlines blasting that Chinese gold holdings have gone up by 2x, 3x, 5x or (more x) since 2009, a long-overdue update which will catalyze the next major leg higher in the precious metal. 



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Why An American And A Russian General Are Suddenly Very Worried About Nuclear War

"We find ourselves in an increasingly risky strategic environment. The Ukrainian crisis has threatened the stability of relations between Russia and the West, including the nuclear dimension — as became apparent last month when it was reported that Russian defense officials had advised President Vladimir V. Putin to consider placing Russia’s nuclear arsenal on alert during last year’s crisis in Crimea. Diplomatic efforts have done little to ease the new nuclear tension. This makes it all the more critical for Russia and the United States to talk, to relieve the pressures to “use or lose” nuclear forces during a crisis and minimize the risk of a mistaken launch."



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Who Is Saudi Arabia Really Targeting In Its Price War?

Saudi Arabia is not trying to crush U.S. shale plays. Its oil-price war is with the investment banks and the stupid money they directed to fund the plays. It is also with the zero-interest rate economic conditions that made this possible. Saudi Arabia intends to keep oil prices low for as long as possible.



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Warning: This Measure Of Credit Is At Its Worst Level Since The Crisis

Despite goldilocks (to use a financial market cliche) conditions characterized by the interplay between yield-starved investors, rock-bottom borrowing costs, and companies’ propensity to leverage their balance sheet in order to inflate earnings and underwrite their stock price, at least one leading indicator is flashing red.



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Japan Breaks 48-Month Deficit Streak, Manages Marginal Trade Surplus On Collapse In Imports

After 48 months of trade deficits, March saw a very modest JPY3.3bn surplus (vs JPY409bn deficit expectations), driven by a collapse in imports. Exports rose 8.5% (as expected) but against already dismal expectations of a 12.6% drop, March saw Japanese imports crash by 14.5% - the most since Nov 2009 (driven by the plunge in oil prices - aleviating some of the post-Fukushima fuel demands cost). Of course this is terrible news for stocks as it means less stimulus from the BoJ...asnd JPY is strengthening modestly.

 



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Assessing The Bund Shortage And Weighing Mario Draghi's Q€ Expansion Options

30% of German debt trades at or below the depo rate and some 60% carries a negative yield. The way things are going now, central bank Bund purchases will have to be in maturities of 7 years or more within just 6 weeks, and of course that timeframe could accelerate meaningfully should things take a turn for the worst in Athens. Ultimately, the math doesn't add up and it appears as though modifications to PSPP's structure will be necessary (perhaps at the ECB's September meeting) in order to prevent a forced taper.



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