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Sony Will Stream "The Interview" Online Starting Today (Except on iTunes)

"It was essential for our studio to release this movie, especially given the assault upon our business and our employees by those who wanted to stop free speech,"

SONY THE INTERVIEW TO STREAM FOR RENT AT 1:00 PM ET TODAY

"We chose the path of digital distribution first so as to reach as many people as possible on opening day, and we continue to seek other partners and platforms to further expand the release."



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Did The Saudis And The US Collude In Dropping Oil Prices?

The oil price drop that has dominated the headlines in recent weeks has been framed almost exclusively in terms of oil market economics, with most media outlets blaming Saudi Arabia, through its OPEC Trojan horse, for driving down the price, thus causing serious damage to the world's major oil exporters – most notably Russia. While the market explanation is partially true, it is simplistic, and fails to address key geopolitical pressure points in the Middle East.



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Best Description Of The Just Concluded 7 Year Auction: Plunging Directs, Soaring Indirects, Small Tail

There was some concern that in today's ultra thin tape, there may just not be enough demand (or volume) to absorb the $29 billion in 7 Year paper that was to be auctioned off at 11:30am. That wasn't exactly the case, and moments ago the Treasury sold, almost without a glitch, CUSIP G87 due December 31, 2021 at a high yield of 2.125%, which was a 0.5 bps tail to the 2.12% When Issued moments before the auction. Some of the more notable features of today's auction: the Bid to Cover was 2.388, the lowest since 2.36 in November 2013, and while Direct Bidder interest tumbled, and at 5.92% of the final takedown was the lowest since February of 2011, this was more than offset by the Indirects (read Japan's GPIF and comparables), whose take down of 56.5% was the highest since the 64.2% from December 2010, when the yield was 2.83%, or 70 bps wider than today's auction.



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Russia Says It Has Evidence From Ukraine Military Defector Kiev Was Responsible For MH-17 Crash

Back in July it was all everyone could talk about: who shot down Malaysian Airlines flight MH-17 flying over east Ukraine? A hurriedly-prepared official report (by Western authorites) quickly put the blame on Russia, ignoring any suggestion the downing may have been the result of a Ukraine fighter jet, and said the catastrophe was the result of a Russian-made missile shot by Russian separatists. Then the story promptly disappeared. Russia, however, continued digging, and overnight, Russia’s Investigative Committee says it has uncovered evidence Ukraine was involved in the crash citing a military defector from the Ukraine.



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Armed Robber Flees After Failed Attempt To Rob Of Zurich Bank

Update: the robber has supposedly managed to flee the scene.

While it has yet to make the major wires, there are numerous reports of an attempted robbery taking place at a branch United Mizrahi Bank Schweiz on Nyushelershtrasse in Zurich.  According to RIA the scene has been cordoned off with a large police presence as seen in the photos below. As RIA further adds, the police is preparing to storm the bank building, where, allegedly armed robbers have barricaded themselves and may have taken hostages.



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EIA December Crude Inventories Surge To Record Highs

WTI Crude is down over 3.5%, dropping back towards $55 - dismissing yesterday's dead-cat-bounce deja vu - as EIA inventory builds more than expected at 7.27 million barrels (biggest build in 2 months to 6-month highs). This is the largest inventory for the time of year since records began. Of course, while energy stocks are fading broad equity indices do not care at all...



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Calling 'BS' On Projections Of A Decade of $20 Oil

The ability of oil exporters to trigger a short-term collapse in price does not automatically translate into an ability to control the financial conflagration such a crash ignites.



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"The Fed Is Heading For Another Catastrophe... Central Banking Has Lost Its Way" Stephen Roach Warns

America’s Federal Reserve is headed down a familiar — and highly dangerous — path. Steeped in denial of its past mistakes, the Fed is pursuing the same incremental approach that helped set the stage for the financial crisis of 2008-2009. The consequences could be similarly catastrophic. The Fed’s incrementalism of 2004-2006 was a policy blunder of epic proportions. The Fed seems poised to make a similar — and possibly even more serious — misstep in the current environment. In these days of froth, the persistence of extraordinary policy accommodation in a financial system flooded with liquidity poses a great danger.



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ISIS Shoots Down US-Led 'Coalition' Jet, Captures Jordanian Pilot

Fighters from Islamic State (ISIS) claim to have shot down a US-led coalition warplane in northern Syria and taken the Jordanian pilot captive, according to The Times. The Jordanian army confirmed that one of its planes had crashed and the pilot had been captured, and said: “Jordan holds the group and its supporters responsible for the safety of the pilot and his life”. As The NY Times reports, the strike and capture signals the harshest blow yet to the coalition and could affect the resolve of the Arab nations that have joined the United States in its air campaign.



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2015 - What Does Cycle Analysis Suggest?

Will 2015 be the seventh (7th) consecutive year of the current bull market cycle? It is possible. But with 100% of all analysts and economists betting on that outcome, it is quite possible that something else will happen.



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Ukraine Temporarily Cuts Off Power To Crimea

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.



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Today's Early Market Closure Schedule

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.



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Frontrunning: December 24

  • 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)


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18-Year-Old Black Teen Who Drew Gun Shot Dead By Police In St. Louis Gas Station

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.



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Even The Algos Are Looking Forward To Today's Early Close

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.



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