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US Yield Curve Collapses To 6.5 Year Lows

As yields across the Treasury complex continue to rise this week - amid desks complaining of no liquidity at all (and following yesterday's weak auction) - the yield curve (5s30s) has collapsed to 108bps, its flattest since June 2008. 2s30s continues to slide also (at 212bps) almost eerily perfectly tracking the plunge in the curve of the early 2000s...



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St. Louis County Police Releases CCTV Clip Detailing Events Of Last Night's Shooting

In a modification of the infamous Greedo scene from Star Wars, tonight's latest fatal shooting at a gas station in Berkeley, MO boils down to one thing: who threatened to shoot whom first. As a reminder, the local police department said that "the man had pointed a handgun at an officer who approached him and another man outside a gas station where the officer was conducting a routine business check in the suburb of Berkeley. Fearing for his life, the Berkeley Officer fired several shots, striking the subject, fatally wounding him." Moments ago, in order to quell further speculation, the St. Louis County Police just released a CCTV clip (shown below), highlighting the moments just before the fatal shooting which, indeed, appears to show the victim pointing a gun at the officer first, in which case this is nothing than a case of an officer engaging in self-defense.



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Global Investors Rush To BTFRD

If you have been watching (or reading) mainstream financial media, you would be entirely unaware of the fact that global investors have surged to Buy-The-F##king-Russian-Dip. Withe the plunge in US equities last week predicated on Russian instability, it appears the critical need to maintain the Santa Claus rally has pushed Russian stocks up a stunning 41% in the last 6 days (as the Ruble strengthened over 30%)...



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"Twas The Day Before Xmas, And All Through The Fed..."

"A world drowning in debt, weighed down with deflation,
Was saved once again by more asset inflation.
And I heard her exclaim, as she cranked up her press,
Wish your kids Merry Christmas, they'll inherit this mess!"



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Happy Holidays Hollande: French Joblessness Surges To Another New Record High

Having proclaimed the creation of jobs-jobs-jobs as his mandate when elected in 2012, Francois Hollande has so far overseen the loss of nearly 600,000 French jobs. At 3.488 million, French joblessness has never been higher (and French bond yields never lower) and has ben rising - practically unabated - for the 31 straight months since his 'raise taxes on the wealth' election (and 42 months straight overall). The cries for lower rates and Sovereign QE remain but, we ask in a desperate plea for sanity, what is it that QE-driven lower-rates will do going forward that they have utterly failed to do for the last three-and-a-half years?



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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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