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Two Weeks After Upgrading Stocks, Goldman Downgrades Stocks

Yesterday, in what was probably a case of moronic drivel penner's remorse, the same firm which just upgraded its S&P price target by 150 points two weeks ago, decided to... downgrade stocks. But only kinda, sorta and only for the next 3 months: Kostin is unwilling to go so far as to tell the whole truth so while he did downgrade stocks to Neutral through October, he is still Overweight equities over the next 12 months. In other words, sell in July but don't go away, and keep on buying over the next 12 months, or something. To wit: "We downgrade to neutral over 3 months as a sell-off in bonds could lead to a temporary sell-off in equities. This makes the near-term risk/ reward less attractive despite our strong conviction that equities are the best positioned asset class over 12 months, where we remain overweight."



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Following First Ebola Death Nigeria "On Red Alert", Deploys Specialists To Airports For Containment

Shortly after our report yesterday that the Liberian man suspected of carrying the Ebola virus has died while quarantined in Nigeria, the local health ministry confirmed that he was indeed the first confirmed Ebola death in the Nigerian city of Lagos, which with a population of roughly 20 million, is the largest city in Africa and the fourth largest in the world. The victim, who worked for the Liberian government, collapsed at Lagos international airport after arriving on a flight from Monrovia via the Togolese capital Lome on Tuesday, according to the Nigerian government. And now the "red alert" scramble begins in Nigeria, with a population fo 170 million, to isolate who else the deceased may have come in contact with. And while borders have not yet been closed, health specialists have been deployed to all sea ports and international airports to identify any passengers displaying symptoms associated with Ebola.



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US Evacuates Libya Embassy Following Biggest Local Violence Since Gadhafi Ouster

The middle east is burning again: first it was the fascinating ascent of the brutal Al-Qaeda spinoff ISIS, creating its own Caliphate in northern Iraq and in the process taking over a third of Syrian territory as well as all of its oil infrastructure. Then, the latest iteration of the Israel vs Gaza conflict has now claimed over 1000 lives and is dragging virtually all neighboring countries into it as well. And the cherry on top is that the Libyan "liberation" by the US has just gone full circle, as the country is is now witnessing one of its worst spasms of violence since Gadhafi’s ouster. End result: nearly two years after the deadly attack on the US embassy in Benghazi, moments ago the US once again shuttered its embassy in Libya, this time in Tripoli, evacuating more than 150 Americans to Tunisia.  This is happening just 24 hours after the US Secretary of State was literally next door in Egypt, assuring the region that peace and stability are just around the corner.



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Company In Which Joe Biden's Son Is Director Prepares To Drill Shale Gas In East Ukraine

Recall what we said earlier today: the proxy war Ukraine conflict, just like that in Syria preceding it, "is all about energy." Recall also the following chart showing Ukraine's shale gas deposits, keeping in mind that the Dnieper-Donets basin accounts for approximately 90 per cent of Ukrainian production. Finally, recall our story from May that Joe Biden's son, Hunter, just joined the board of the largest Ukraine gas producer Burisma Holdings. Now put it all together and you will like figure out what will happen next.



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ObamaFraud: GAO Study Finds Almost All Fake Applicants Are Approved For Subsidized ObamaCare

Well the hits just keep on coming. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), recently conducted a study in which investigators attempted to use fake identities to sign up for subsidized healthcare under ObamaCare. The results are frightening. All but one phony applicant was successful. Moreover, the GAO more broadly notes that “about 2.6 million ‘inconsistencies’ existed among applicants who had chosen a health plan.”...  The GAO’s account of fictitious applicants obtaining subsidized coverage goes beyond a related problem that surfaced this spring and that the investigators also cited: The government may be paying incorrect insurance subsidies to a significant share of the 5.4 million Americans who signed up for health plans for this year through the federal marketplace.



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Economic Laws Are Not Optional

Economic laws are not optional. They are like the laws of physics - inexorable!



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Gold Trends: 2014 & Beyond

Along with Incrementum's 94-page extravaganza on gold, this infographic, the final in our 2014 Gold Series (part 1, part 2, part 3, & part 4 here) looks to the future, covering gold trends that investors should be watching through the rest of the year and beyond. With input from some of the most important names in gold such as Brent Cook, Doug Casey, Frank Holmes, Bob Moriarty, and James Fraser, we aim to cover the broadest and most important signals for investors to watch. Those include Chinese wealth, Indian demographics, money printing, debt, and a lack of significant gold discoveries.



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De-Dollarization Spreads: Swiss & Chinese Central Banks Enter Swap Agreement

The trend of the end of the dollar hegemony continues to slowly creep through the world's financial systems (no matter how many mainstream media 'king dollar' stories we see). The Swiss National Bank and the People’s Bank of China reached a currency swap agreement this week. While this is not a huge trend changer in the near-term, it demonstrates the continued rising roled of China as the largest economy and to be the next financial capital of the world when Europe and the USA blow themselves apart with defaulting socialism.



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Ebola Victim On The Run In West Africa Capital

It's gone from bad (Mapping Africa's "Totally Out Of Control" Ebola Epidemic)  to worse, (Head Doctor Fighting Africa's "Out Of Control" Ebola Epidemic Contracts The Virus), to much worse (Liberian Man Tested For Ebola In World's Fourth Most Populous City), to having run out of comparaitves - although we are leery of using a superlative just yet as we have a feeling Africa's Ebola's epidemic will deteriorate before it gets better. But the latest news is bad enough: as Reuters reported moments ago, Sierra Leone officials appealed for help on Friday to trace the first known resident in the capital with Ebola whose family forcibly removed her from a Freetown hospital after testing positive for the deadly disease.



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First Syrian Rebels, Now Hamas: Qatar Once Again Emerges As "Mystery" US-Backed Sponsor Of War

It was a little over a year ago when the "Mystery Sponsor Of Weapons And Money To Syrian Mercenary "Rebels" Was Revealed" as none other than the uber-wealthy Qatar (also known as the tiny but filthy rich state in the Persian Gulf that hosts the US Fifth fleet, better known as infinite leverage vis-a-vis the United States), which effectively had been pulling the US interventionist strings in hopes of taking out the Assad government and installing a puppet regime, one which would be helpful in facilitating the passage of a natgas pipeline beneath the country, which would then proceed into Turkey and all the way into Europe, as a means of bypassing Europe's reliance on Russia (which as recent events have shown has all the leverage when it comes to Europe).  It failed. As a result it had to redirect its puppetmastery skills elsewhere. That "elsewhere" appears to be none other than Hamas,



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Did The "Dash For Trash" Just End?

For almost three years there has been one recurring simple strategy to outperforming the market - find the worst company you can, and buy its stock with both hands and feet... As we have discussed numerous times, the massive outperformance of "weak balance sheet" companies over "strong balance sheet" companies - the absolute sign of a massive mal-investment boom - has been a straight line to profits with hardly a hiccup since the Fed unleashed QE2. However, the last week or so, as geopolitical risks rise and it appears ever more likely that the Fed's free money pipe will dry up, the dash-for-trash has reversed. The last 5 days saw "strong" companies outperform "weak" companies by the most in 3 years... something is changing.



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Please Don't Blame The Fed: Alan Greenspan Says "Bubbles Are A Function Of Human Nature"

After all this time Greenspan still insists on blaming the people for the economic and financial havoc that he engendered from his perch in the Eccles Building. Indeed, posturing himself as some kind of latter day monetary Calvinist, he made it crystal clear in yesterday’s interview that the blame cannot be placed at his feet where it belongs:

"I have come to the conclusion that bubbles, as I noted, are a function of human nature."

C’mon.



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Stocks Slide, Gold Soars On Weak Earnings, Geopolitical Fears

Despite an impressive ramp by USDJPY in the last two hours of trading (thank you Nomura and BOJ) whose purpose was to get the DE Shaw and all other correlation algos to push spoos higher, today's trifecta of the ugly guidance by Visa (which dominated the DJIA), very ugly earnings by Amazon (which dominated the Nasdaq) and the CME ES margin hike just proved too much, and while Friday may have been the new Tuesday following 11 "green" DJIA Fridays in a row, today's 123 point drop stopped the trend before lucky 12 out of 12.



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Africa's Largest Refinery Finds 2.7 Tons Of Gold "Missing" After Computer System Upgrade

It's one thing to implicitly admit that there is a physical gold shortage and as a result nations - such as Germany - are unable to repatriate their physical gold held in the safe and trusted confines 90 feet below the NY Fed, gold which may or may not be there and has likely been leased out exponentially to cover paper shorts by virtually every BIS-overseen central bank (and the BIS paper gold selling team itself of course). It is something totally different to corzine, as in vaporize, 87,000 ounces of physical gold, some 2.7 tons, and blame it on a computer upgrade glitch. Which is precisely what Rand, Afrrica's largest refinery and processor of about a third of the world's gold since 1920, has done after it "discovered" that $113 million in precious metal was missing after "adopting a new computer system."



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No Inflation Friday: Dollarized Panama Issues Price Controls For Basic Goods

Less than four weeks after starting his new job, Panama’s President Juan Carlos Varela already has a serious challenge to deal with: empty grocery shelves. This is largely a self-inflicted wound that was bound to happen. 
Fresh on the heels of his victory in May, the then President-elect announced that one of his first orders would be to regulate prices for staple food products. He followed through on his promise, establishing price controls on certain brands of roughly two dozen items like chicken, rice, eggs, and bread.  And within a matter of weeks, many grocery store shelves are already empty, at least for the regulated items.  It’s not quite Venezuela or Cuba where it can be downright impossible to buy a roll of toilet paper. But it’s more proof that price controls almost always backfire.



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