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Economic Confidence Languishes Near 2014 Lows; 62% Don't See It "Getting Better"

Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index dropped slightly to -17 for the week ending August 10th, hovering just off the lows of 2014 as only 38% of Americans believe the economy is "getting better." Perhaps even more concerning, given record high stock prices and cycle low unemployment rates, only 19% of Americans said the economy is "excellent" or "good," - the lowest in 5 months. Gallup concludes, generally speaking, Americans remain more negative than positive about the economy, but are less negative than they were in the first few years after the Great Recession - $4 trillion later.



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ISIS And The Coming Escalation In Iraq

ISIS has attracted an entire generation of radicalized Sunni militants to the region. If one watches interviews with their enemies such as e.g. Peshmerga fighters, one topic that is occasionally mentioned is that they don't seem to fear death much. Combined with their well-known brutality, this undoubteldy makes them a formidable fighting force. However, there is evidently far more to ISIS than that. All of the above suggests that it will be exceedingly difficult to effectively destroy ISIS. It seems to us that if the goals the president has announced in recent days are to be achieved, nothing short of a full-scale invasion of Iraq (as well as of Syria for good measure) is likely to suffice – and even then, success is by no means guaranteed.



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3 Year Auction Prices At Lowest Yield Since April, Bid To Cover Tumbles To June 2013 Level

There was some doubt, when the 3 Year auction priced at 0.992% or the highest since May 2011, if the August auction would finally see 3Y paper pricing wide of 1%. It did not: in fact, with a When Issue of 0.93%, the auction priced through moments ago, at a high yield of 0.924%, surprisingly the lowest level since April. The internals were somewhat more exciting, with the Bid to Cover dropping to just 3.04, the lowest coverage since June of 2013, which as the only BTC with a 2-handle going back all the way to 2010. As for the takedown, Indirects were largely unchanged at 36.2%, just below the 38.2% last month, offset by a jump in Directs from 12.7% to 19.0%, both in line with average, which meant that Dealers were left holding just 44.8% of the final allocation, the lowest since February.



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The Ukraine War Caption Contest

It may be war, but there's no reason one can't poke some fun at the warring parties. Everything appears to be going according to plan...



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Carl Icahn Reiterates "We Are In A Major Asset Bubble"

A month ago, Carl Icahn told told CNBC that he was "very nervous" about US equity markets. Reflecting on Yellen's apparent cluelessness of the consequences of her actions, and fearful of the build of derivative positions, Icahn says he's "worried" because if Yellen does not understand the end-game then "there's no argument - you have to worry about the excesssive printing of money!" Today he follows up that warning with an op-ed that states "we are in a major asset bubble that continues to grow," supporting Stiglitz comments that "these very strong stock market prices are in a sense a symptom of the weak economy, not a symptom that we are about to have a strong recovery to our real economy."



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The Privilege Of Watching War

The prospect of renewed war has little effect on the public anymore. But in reality, we can’t begin to understand how it feels to live under the threat of bombs and shrapnel every day. As Americans, and Westerners, we are gifted with the option to not partake directly in war, but play the casual observer. Is this really human progress? Have we reached the pinnacle of human existence where men can live comfortably cheerleading for mass murder? Did anybody think to question this outcome of secular materialism before celebrating its benefits?



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Bubble Market Stunner: Revenueless Biotech Goes Public, Drops, Trades For Six Days, Then Voids Entire IPO

Glass breaking in slow motion reversed In what is certainly a historic, and quite stunning, market first, not to mention prima facie evidence that Janet Yellen was right about the biotech (and not only) bubble, last week the equity markets experienced something that has not happened in decades: a biotech firm went public, traded for six days, only to announce Friday that it would void its IPO and won't issue shares after all, thanks to a key investor's failure to follow through on a commitment to buy stock. In other words, days after going public, yet another darling of the momo bubble mania du jour, decided to undo everything, and went back to being private (and soon: bankrupt).

Huh?



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France's 'Recovery' In 1 Hard-To-Believe Chart

With French government bonds trading at record low yields under 1.5%, it is hard to argue that the troubled socialist nation is 'priced' for either recovery or credit risk... but then again, thanks to Draghi's promise and domestic banks' largesse, none of that matters. With joblessness at record highs, the following chart of France's "recovery" shows near-record high bankruptcies and record-low profitability. Oh the beauty of socialism...as Europe's core diverges dramatically.



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If You Like Your "Boots On The Ground", Here's More - Obama Plans To Send 75 More 'Advisers' To Iraq

Despite reassurances that there will be "no US combat troops in Iraq again" on Friday, it appears - thanks to nuance of spin - that President Obama has changed his mind...

*OBAMA SAID TO CONSIDER SENDING ABOUT 75 MILITARY ADVISERS TO IRAQ: CNN

The question we have is - when does a "military adviser" stop being an 'assassination consultant' and start being a troops' boot on the ground?



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China Begins Direct Sales Of Fruit & Vegetables To Russia

Despite the ongoing mainstream media meme that Russia is becoming 'isolated' from the rest of the world thanks to Western sanctions, it appears they have found a few new 'old' friends to become un-isolated with. On the heels of Russia's food-import-ban sanctions last week, Russian and Chinese officials have announced an agreement that China will start selling fruit and vegetables directly to Russia via a special logistics center in Russia's far east. Notably, this week saw Russia's GDP beat consensus expectations, Ruble rally, and stocks jump as German confidence plunged - can you say blowback?



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Will A Hawkish Janet Yellen Be JOLTed By Most Job Openings Since 2001?

Now that even the Fed has admitted the BLS' nonfarm payroll and unemployment rate are meaningless due to the "noise" from a record number of workers dropping out of the labor force, Janet Yellen is left with one fallback "favorite" indicator, the JOLTS survey (Job Openings and Labor Turnover). It is here that something rather unexpected just happened, when moments ago the BLS reported that US employers reported a whopping 4671K job openings in the month of June, beating expectations of a 4.6MM print and well above the downward revised 4,577K in May. This was the highest openings print since February 2001, and one which suddenly puts the "hawkish" Janet Yellen back in play as it suggests that slack in the labor market, at least based on the number of job openings, has not only filled the gap, but it is now overflowing!



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When (Ukraine) Intervention Fails

The Central Bank of Ukraine has intervened 3 times this week... demanding the market listen to it that the Hryvnia is under-valued. However, with UAH reaching record lows over 13.5 this morning, it appears they are going to need more USDs to sell...



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Ukraine Blocks Russian Humanitarian Convoy, Accuses Kremlin Of Sending "Disguised Military Gear"

It took virtually no time from the announcement of the massive, 300-vehicle strong Russian humanitarian convoy destined to alleviate the crisis in east Ukraine, to its departure, leading many to assume - correctly - that the operation had been planned weeks in advance. However, with the trucks currently in transit from a point sourthwest of Moscow and set to enter Ukrainian territory through a customs checkpoint in the Kharkiv region, according to former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, a snag has appeared: Ukraine, which previously blessed the Russian convoy's entry into the country has had a change of heart and has announced it would not allow the convoy in its current state.



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No Bid: Revel Casino To Close After No Buyer Emerges For Twice Bankrupt Property

Anyone desperate to find clues to the "great American recovery" is strongly urged to stay away from Atlantic City, where shortly after the Revel hotel and casino filed for its second bankruptcy in 16 months, the struggling property announced it would shutter its doors for one final time in September, when not a single qualified buyer emerged during the bankruptcy auction. The good news: there will not be a Chapter 33 for the doomed from the beginning property. The bad news: the DOL will have to find a major seasonal adjustment to absorb the 3,100 jobs that were just lost. It also means that Atlantic City is set to close the year with 25% fewer casinos than it started with, following the shuttering of three other properties including the Showboat and Trump Plaza.



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It's Not Just Healthcare That's Bankrupt - It's Our Legal System, Too

Yes, there is malpractice, but our current system is insane.



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