In a 'ripped from The Onion'-esque headline, WSJ reports that David Petraeus - the former director of the US Central Intelligence Agency - will plead guilty to a charge of mishandling classified information. The reitred military general, whose career was cut short by a very public affair with his biographer, reached a plea deal over sharing unauthorized information with her, in order to avoid an embarrassing trial. To summarize, the man trusted with all of the America's most secret secrets just plead guilty to pillow-talk-sharing of classified information...
Going into 2015 the economic outlook held by the U.S. investment establishment could not have been much more positive, and more unified. Pundits saw all the variables aligning to create the best of all investment worlds, a virtual "no-brainer" of optimism. High degrees of certainty can be dangerous. Herd mentality can cause investors to chase returns en masse and pile into positions that may already be overvalued. But herds can be spooked, most often by unexpected developments which can catch the herd wrong-footed and spark major movements when the masses scatter at the same time. When that occurs, those who resisted the herd may find themselves rewarded. We believe that we are approaching such a point.
Yesterday we warned that with the BOJ greedily sucking up all gross JGB issuance and stoking volatility in the process, all it will take is a couple of more weak debt auctions for things to go awry — and that’s just what happened overnight as demand was tepid at March's 10-year auction.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address the US Congress this morning at 11ET to issue a high-profile warning against what he considers an ill-advised nuclear deal with Iran. This brings to a head weeks of tension between Israel and The White House and numerous politicians (including The President) will boycott be absent during Bibi's speech. In what NYTimes calls an 'implicit challenge to Obama', Bibi plans to outline his case for a tougher strategy to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and to dissect the flaws of an agreement that has been emerging from American-led negotiations; gambling that disclosing compromises the U.S. made in trying to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran will delay or derail any agreement.
One person who was obviously delighted by the latest Clinton scandal is her main Republican competitors, Jeb Bush, whose camp on Monday was quick to pounce on the email scandal, while also invoking the farcical IRS Lois Lerner "excuse" that emails were lost due to failed hard drives: "Hillary Clinton should release her emails. Hopefully she hasn’t already destroyed them,” Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said. But while one could ascribe victory to the Florida republican in this latest scrimish, the real victor of this spat between the so-called "left" and "right" is the firm that stand to benefit no matter who wins: Goldman Sachs.
The S&P 500 has given back all the gains from the US Open yesterday... when the CBOE "broke" and stocks went vertical... it seems it is time for the market to break again...
And sure enough - CBOE just broke again!
Under-employed? Over-indebted? Under-paid? Forget about it... the clever economists that run the world have news for you. Based on economist Arthur Okun's "Misery Index" - which combines inflation and unemployment rates - Americans are the least miserable since 1959... or... perhaps, just perhaps, the government supplied data on inflation and unemployment is entirely fallacious? You decide...
To be sure, we’ve written quite a bit lately about the ECB’s upcoming plunge into the world of 13-figure debt monetization (or as we call it, Draghi’s Waterloo), and while we hate to beat a dead horse, the sheer lunacy of a bond buying program that is only constrained by the fact that there simply aren’t enough bonds to buy, cannot possibly be overstated. Here is everything you need to know about Q€ ahead of the ECB's Thursday meeting.
"What’s Going On" - Traders Stumped As HFTs Frontrun Last Night's Australia "Surprise" Rate DecisionSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/03/2015 - 08:46
Yesterday at 10:30pm eastern, or alternatively today at 2:30pm local time, Australia's central bank unexpectedly did not cut its key interest rate, keeping it at 2.25% even as the majority of economists had predicted a rate cut. However, not everyone was surprised. Just a minute before the official announcement at bottom of the hour sharp, the AUD surged by 0.6%, rising from 0.7774 to 0.7822, suggesting that at least one algo and likely more, had advance knowledge of the unchanged decision, as shown in the chart below.
Ukraine's infamous pink Porsche-driving central bank governor, Valeriya Gontareva, raised the nation's refinancing rate from 19.5% to a stunning 30% (effective Wednesday) in order to "stabilize the situation in the money and lending markets," and imposed some 'capital controls' on exporters holding foreign cash. For now, the hink to the highest rate since 2000 is having a positive effect as UAH has rallied 2-3 handles back to one-month highs against the USD - having lost over 60% of its value in the last year (though we note these are the 'official' rates and may not represent actual UAH transactions in the real world). "The central bank is trying to send a strong signal that it is in charge," noted on analyst as the country desperately waits for its $17.5bn bailout from US taxpayers The IMF.
- 3 days after Zero Hedge, here's Bloomberg: Company Cash Bathes Stocks as Monthly Buybacks Set Record (BBG)
- Israel's Netanyahu to address Congress in speech that has strained ties with Obama (Reuters), Risks Diplomatic, Political Pain If Speech Falls Flat (BBG)
- Before Key Speech, Netanyahu Hails U.S. Ties (WSJ)
- $1.92 bilion FX rigging charge: Barclays Posts Loss as Foreign-Exchange Provisions Rise (WSJ)
- Barclays Awards Jenkins First Bonus as CEO, Cuts Pay Pool (BBG)
- Exxon’s Russia Exposure Surges as Long View Outweighs Sanctions (BBG)
- Obama says Iran must halt key nuclear work for at least a decade (Reuters)
- Yellen Turning from Friend to Foe for Dollar Bulls (BBG)
Hillary Clinton's Latest Scandal: Former SecState Exclusively Used Undocumented, Personal Email AccountSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/03/2015 - 07:32
While the Hillary Clinton campaign seems unperturbed by recent problematic disclosures by Politico into the Hillary Clinton Foundation, the former first lady and current democrat presidential hopeful will have a field day explaining why, as the NYT reported overnight, Hillary - in her role as Secretary of State - "exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business" according to State Department officials in violation of "federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record." Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act.
With little newsflow out of Europe, and just as little on deck out of the US (just NY ISM and auto sales later today), the main overnight events were out of Asia where first the RBA decided to leave rates unchanged but not before the announcement was leaked up to a minute early. In China, the rate-cut euphoria lasted just one day, and after a feeble 0.8% bounce on Monday, the SHCOMP was down 2.2% this morning over fears the PBOC is doing too little, too late to halt what is now perceived by many as a massive "tightening" capital flight out of China. Finally, Japan made the newsflow, after it JGBs continued to slide following a weak auction, fears that the BOJ is done easing after Abe advisor Etsuro Honda warned against overheating, and after the biggest jump in base pay in over a decade led some to think the BOJ may soon have to halt easing altogether, especially if real wages proceed to rise