While Ukraine continues to plead with the international community that the Russian annexation of Crimea is illegal and against all international norms and directives, and just after it voted to end its non-aligned status and work towards Nato membership, a move Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called "counterproductive" and said it would boost tensions, overnight Kiev had little problems with leaving "its" population in the Black Sea peninsula in the dark on Christmas eve.
Europe is mostly closed on Christmas Eve, which means that only the junior algos are lifting every offer, few as they may be, on the other side of the Atlantic today and eagerly awaiting the 1:00PM Eastern close of the NYSE megahub in Mahwah, NJ. Here is the full schedule of early market closures today.
- Russia says NATO turning Ukraine into 'frontline of confrontation' (Reuters)
- Oil Drillers Under Pressure to Scrap Rigs to Cope With Downturn (BBG)
- Demonstrators Defy NYC Mayor's Call to Suspend Police Protests (BBG)
- U.S. to send more private contractors to Iraq (Reuters)
- ISIS Shoots Down Jet From U.S.-Led Coalition, Syrian Monitors Say (NYT)
- Russians Race to Secure Mortgages Before Costs Spiral (BBG)
- Abe Brings in Former Soldier Nakatani as Defense Minister (BBG)
- At Coke, Newest Flavor Is Austerity (WSJ)
- Fear and retribution in Xi's corruption purge (Reuters)
- UBS Raises Flag on China’s $1 Trillion Overseas Debt Pile (BBG)
Just days after two NYPD officers were brutally executed in broad daylight in what is said to be a retaliation for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, overnight, amazingly, just miles away from the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson where Michael Brown was shot in August, an 18 year-old black man was shot and killed by police at a gas station in the St. Louis suburb of Berkley late on Tuesday, in a development that is certain to inflame racial, and local police department, tensions even further beyond their breaking point.
Today's early close across markets likely means that the blow-off top multiple-expansion mania phase (because forward EPS estimates over the past couple - that means 2 to Janet Yellen fanatics - weeks have in fact declined) of 2014 may be coming to an end. However with already abysmal volumes literally grinding to an early halt at 1:15 pm Eastern today, and with a market as boring as this one, where any news is immediately interpreted as good, not matter how bad it actually is or how "revised" or "goal-seeked", we may see futures, which already are trading some 4 points above fair value, successfully levitate by another 20 points and hit Goldman's 2100 year end target - year-end for 2015 that is - one year ahead of time.
So what did Americans supposedly spend so much more on compared to the previous revision released one month ago? Was it cars? Furnishings? Housing and Utilities? Recreational Goods and RVs? Or maybe nondurable goods and financial services? Actually no. The answer, just as we predicted precisely 6 months ago is... well, just see for yourselves.
The events of the past few months seem astounding when taken in all at once. The plan to destroy the U.S. dollar and the American middle class is moving at an ever increasing speed. There are three lessons that many people will learn in the coming months. If you do not have it already you may not be able to get it. If you do not have it physically in your hands you do not own it. If you cannot protect it you will not have it for long.
From no greater laureate than UBS' NYSE Floor director Art Cashin... the year behind us (and the one ahead) in rhythmic narrative.
As the following snapshot from January 2009 shows, the 12 month, $25 contango back then was without precedent, and as a result there was an epic scramble by hedge funds, banks and various other speculators to store about 100 million barrels on tankers with the intention to sell later. Since the contango was so wide one could easily lease any number of VLCCs and still be profitable on the trade. In fact, a big reason for the renormalization of the crude curve back then was because so many funds jumped on this arb. Fast forward to today, because the "risk-free" contango trade is back.
According to the most recent report from the US Department of Agriculture's Office of Inspector General, government "mis-spent" $2.4 billion on food stamps. While $2.4bn may feel like small amount in the present day of trillion-dollar debts, as The Daily Signal's Alexandra Gourdikan notes, the fact itself should raise concerns adding that the food stamps program is in need of reform. First and foremost, policymakers should focus on promoting work. Americans are willing to help those in need, but they also believe that people must do what they can for themselves.
Presented with no comment...
Despite the widely held belief that 2015 will be the year in which a patient Fed finally begins to normalize rate policy, we believe the Fed has no possibility of withdrawing the stimulus to which it has addicted us. QE4 was always much more probable than anyone in government or on Wall Street cares to admit. A recession and a financial panic caused by sub $60 oil will significantly quicken the timetable by which the Fed cranks up the presses. When it does, oil could once again increase in price, along with all the other things we need on a daily basis. That should finally dispel any remaining illusions that the Fed could successfully land the metaphorical plane. More QE may minimize the damage in the short-term, but we believe it will keep us trapped in our current cocoon of endless stimulus, where we will slowly suffocate to death.
At present, the choice between the two available models on the planet seems stark indeed: Eurasian integration or a spreading empire of chaos. China and Russia know what they want, and so, it seems, does Washington. The question is: What will the other moving parts of Eurasia choose to do? All these interlocked developments suggest a geopolitical tectonic shift in Eurasia that the American media simply hasn’t begun to grasp. Which doesn’t mean that no one notices anything. You can smell the incipient panic in the air in the Washington establishment. So long to the unipolar moment... 2015 is "going to be a real hardcore year."