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Total War Over The Petrodollar

The conspiracy theories surrounding the death of Total SA’s chief executive, Christophe de Margerie, started the second the news broke of his death. One has better odds of being struck by lightning at an airport then a snow plow, or any other ground support vehicles hitting a plane and killing all inside the plane. Did this direct threat to the petrodollar make this “true friend of Russia” - as Putin called de Margerie - some very powerful and dangerous enemies amongst the power that be, whether in the French government, the EU, or the US? How many other Western executives who dare to help Russia bypass sanctions - and turn it into an energy powerhouse - will die under suspicious circumstances?



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Clip Of Unmanned NASA Rocket Exploding Shortly After Takes Off

Several months ago, a Russian rocket, carrying Russia's most advanced communications satellite, exploded on launch and the west was amused at Russia's seeming incompetence, while birthing extensive speculation of the NSA's involvement. Well, moments ago either Karma, or Russian hackers, intervened, and 6 seconds after launch, the NASA unmanned Antares rocket of rocket-maker Orbital Sciences, likewise ended its mission prematurely in a massive flaming fireball.



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The Many Ways The State Taxes The Poor

Most defenders of the state assume that government services help the poor. And, sometimes, some poor people do benefit financially from government programs. But there’s a hidden cost: taxation and mandatory programs (Social Security, for instance) that hurt the needy by restricting their choices. Government taxes away income that low-income households could invest in improving their lives. At the same time, state-sponsored benefits create incentives that keep the poor trapped in poverty.



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FaceBook Crashing After Hours After Guiding Sharply Lower Q4 Revenue Growth

Update: the reason FB stock is now crashing is because moments ago, the CFO stunned the investing community when he announced that FaceBook costs next year will go up by 55-75% without giving guidance on 2015 revenue. He also announced that WhatsApp, FB's $19 billion acqusition, was "accretive" to the tune of a $232 million loss in the past 6 months. Stock now down over 10%.

Facebook reported that its Monthly Active Users for the US and Canada - the segment that generates roughly half of all FB sales - rose to a record 206 million. Putting that number in context: in the same two countries, there are currently about 155 million people employed. In other words, there are about 1.3 Facebook users for every single employed person in the US and Canada.



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Nomi Prins: Why The Financial & Political System Failed And Stability Matters

The recent spike in global political-financial volatility that was temporarily soothed by ECB covered bond buying reveals another crack in the six-year-old throw-money-at-the-banks strategies of politicians and central bankers. The very fact - that without excessive artificial stimulation or the promise of it - more hell breaks loose - is one that government heads neither admit, nor appear to discuss. But the truth is that the global financial system has already failed. The political system that stumbles to sustain the illusion that economies can be built on rampant financial instability, has also failed us. Past presidents talked of a square deal, a new deal and a fair deal. It’s high time for a stability deal that prioritizes the real financial health of individuals over the false one of financial institutions.



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Historic Short Squeeze, Biggest In 3 Years, Sends Small-Caps Soaring; Dow Tops 17,000

In a strangely familiar case of deja vu all over again, stocks surged (alone in the cross-asset class world of economic reality) on the day before an FOMC statement. The Russell 2000 has had its best 10-day run in 3 years, best day of the year, and managed to scramble back to its 100- & 200-day moving-average. Dow 17,000 was another key technical level that was achieved. S&P 500 was levitated on volume around 40% below average into the green for October. VIX was banged under 15 and tracked stocks. Away from the equity-vol complex, asset-classes were unimpressed - HY credit, bonds, JPY, and the USD all diverged from stocks. USD weakened slightly, and commodities all gained on the day. TSY yields were up 2-3bps and HY closed practically unchanged. "Most shorted" stocks rose almost 3% - the biggest squeeze since Dec 2011 - smashing the Russell 2000 higher.



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Stocks Now Most Overbought In A Year

Just two words - "Volumeless" and "Overbought" - but when has that mattered...



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FBI Raids Federal Contractor's Home – Has The Government Identified The "Second Leaker"?

Anyone who has been following Edward Snowden’s heroic whistleblowing, and the reporting of Glenn Greenwald on the classified documents that prove egregious violations of the United States Constitution by the NSA, will also be aware of speculation that a “second leaker” had emerged earlier this year. It appears this person may have been identified by the FBI.



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This Has Never Happened Before Without A Massive Bubble Bursting

As the chart demonstrates, there has never been a time when the all important leading indicator that is the San Fran housing market (see here for the reasons why) has posted such a steep slowdown in annual price increases without a bubble of some sort, be it the dot com, the first housing or the European sovereign debt bubble, having burst. Will this time finally be different?



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Ebola Discoverer Warns Deadly Virus Will Hit China

Having previously warned of "an unimaginable tragedy," Peter Piot, one of the scientists who discovered Ebola, has warned that China is under threat from the deadly virus because of the huge number of Chinese workers in Africa. While offering a silver(ish) lining that the pandemic will be over in 6-12 months, Piot stresses "it will get worse before it gets better," and the director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine explained that "widespread screening [of arrivals] in airports is not that effective," and he "assumes that an outbreak of Ebola in China will happen."



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Obama Explains What "Quarantine-Like Isolation" Really Means - Live Feed

Having confirmed earlier that Ebola Czar Ron Klain did not take the weekend off, and ensured the American public knows the decisions on what Chuck Hagel called "quarantine-like" isolation (though obviously not quarantine because the polls suggest that word would not play well with core liberal voters) are still under discussion; we anxiously await President Obama to explain how the mixed messages from various government entities and individual states (with Christie re-flopping to strict quarantines again today) all make sense and are not, as Christie said "incredibly confusing."



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Forget "Free Trade" - Focus On Capital Flows

In a world dominated by mobile capital, mobile capital is the comparative advantage. Mobile capital can borrow billions of dollars (or equivalent) in one nation at low rates of interest and then use that money to outbid domestic capital for assets in another nation with few sources of credit. Mobile capital can overwhelm the local political system, buying favors and cutting deals, all with cash borrowed at near-zero interest rates. Mobile capital can buy up and exploit resources and cheap labor until the resource is depleted or competition cuts profit margins. At that point, mobile capital closes the factories, fires the employees and moves on. Where is the "free trade" in a world in which the comparative advantage is always held by mobile capital?


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Biderman Blasts "Either Obama Is Ignorant, Or He Is Hiding The Truth"

According to the official government data, the United States asserts its future obligations, as of Q2 2014, are $16.5 trillion. However, TrimTabs founder Charles Biderman says that is wrong, the actual figure of the country’s future obligations, which is $98 trillion. "This does not bode well for future generations," Biderman warns, adding "either Obama is ignorant of future US government obligations or he is hiding the truth."



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Despite "Healthy" Stress Test, Deutsche Bank Replaces CFO With Goldman Sachs Partner

Deutsche Bank executives are dropping like flies. Just days after receiving a clean bill of health from Europe's oh-so-stressful stress-tests, Deutsche Bank has decided that longtime finance chief Stefan Krause needs to be replaced. Perhaps most interesting is the bank that faces 'serious financial reporting problems' in the US and has a derivatives book literally the size of (actually 20 times bigger) than Germany, has decided the right man for the job is an ex-Goldman Sachs partner. Marcus Schenck, according to WSJ, will replace Krause, having worked at German utility E.ON until last year when he joined Goldman.



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Last 2 Year Auction Of QE3 Prices At Lowest Yield Since May, Lowest Bid-To-Cover Since September 2013

Altogether, an unremarkable auction in a week where the longer-maturities will be far more closely watched, especially after tomorrow once the FOMC announcement is in the history books.



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