"Seeing the site of the accident was harrowing," said Lufthansa's CEO yesterday after the mysterious crash of the Germanwings Airbus A320 with 150 people aboard as local reporters said of the scene, we "can't even identify anything that looks like a plane.". But today, investigators are no further forward in understanding the reason for the unexplained accident. As NBC News reports, some Germanwings crew members have refused to fly until an explanation is found and the discovery of the "slightly damaged" black boxes is hoped to hold the key to explain the lack of communication from the crew, rapid descent, and apparent cessation of the un-override-able fly-by-wire auto pilot.
For the 3rd of the last 4 months, Durable Goods Orders fell and missed expectations (the worst run since Lehman). A 1.4% drop (against expectations of a 0.2% rise) is made worse by downward revisions of the last month's modest bounce. Across the board the numbers are a disaster - Ex-Trans fell 0.4%, Ex-defense fell 1%, Capital Goods Shipments fell 1.4% with capital goods ex-air dropping a stunning 7.6% YoY. Paging negative Q1 GDP print expectations...
- ECB Tells Greek Banks Not to Boost Exposure to Athens Government’s Debt (WSJ)
- Search teams probe wreckage of jet in French Alps (Reuters)
- Flight Recorders Offer Best Hope of Explaining Jet’s Fatal Drop (BBG)
- Yemen Houthi militia sweeps toward Aden in threat to president (Reuters)
- In Nigeria, Oil Price’s Slide Deters Theft (WSJ)
- Saudi Arabia building up military near Yemen border (Reuters)
- Quant Who Shook the Financial World Tries More Humble Approach (BBG)
- Executive Pensions Are Swelling at Top Companies (WSJ)
After three days of unexpected market weakness without an apparent cause, especially since after 7 years of conditioning, the algos have been habituated to buy on both good and bad news, overnight futures are getting weary, and futures are barely up, at least before this morning's transitory FX-driven stop hunt higher. Whether this is due to the previously noted "blackout period" for stock buybacks which started a few days ago and continues until the first week of May is unclear, but should the recent "dramatic" stock weakness persist, expect Bullard to once again flip flop and suggesting it is clearly time to hike rates, as long as the S&P does not drop more than 5%. In that case, QE4 is clearly warranted.
Thousands Of Layoffs Coming After Buffett Merges Heinz With Kraft, Creating 5th Largest Food Company In The WorldSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/25/2015 - 06:37
Another day, another mega-M&A deal taking advantage of abnormally low bond rates, this time however not involving biotechs or a specialty pharma seeking to purchase a debt-free balance sheet, but one involving the Oracle of Omaha himself, and his Heinz investment, which will merge with Kraft Foods whose market cap was over $40 billion this morning on the news of the merger, and create the third largest food and beverage company in the US, and 5th largest in the world. And while the resulting company will certainly be a food giant, here is the rationale behind the deal and the punchline for American workers: "significant synergy opportunities." Translation: thousands of layoffs imminent.
Yesterday, in a vote that largely slid under the radar, the House of Representatives passed a resolution urging Obama to send lethal aid to Ukraine, providing offensive, not just "defensive" weapons to the Ukraine army. The resolution passed with broad bipartisan support by a count of 348 to 48. Russia's response came promptly: Washington's decision to supply Ukraine with ammunition and weapons would “explode the whole situation” in eastern Ukraine and Russia would be forced to respond “appropriately,” Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said at the end of February.“It would be a major blow to the Minsk agreements and would explode the whole situation,”
In recent years we have seen an increasing number of Americans strategically relocate to another region of the country. They can see our society breaking down and they can see the storm clouds on the horizon and they want to do what they can to prepare themselves and their families for what is ahead. So is there a “best place to live” in the United States? Are there some areas that are preferable to others? The following are 9 maps to consider...
Did De-Dollarization Just Reach Escape Velocity? China's New Silk Road & Putin's Eurasian Trade NetworkSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/24/2015 - 23:00
The New Silk Road, actually roads - boosted by a special, multi-billion-dollar Silk Road Fund and the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which, not by accident, has attracted the attention of European investors - symbolizes China’s pivot to an old heartland: Eurasia. Beijing has been quick to dismiss any notions of hegemony. It maintains this is no Marshall Plan. China, on the other hand, is focused on integrating “emerging economies” into a vast, pan-Eurasian trade/commerce network. And that, crucially, would have to include Russia, which is a vital part of the New Silk Road through an upcoming, Russia-China financed $280 billion high-speed rail upgrade of the Trans-Siberian railway. This is where the New Silk Road project and President Putin’s initial idea of a huge trade emporium from Lisbon to Vladivostok actually merge.
The best spots for riding out a zombie apocalypse are sparsely populated areas of Montana and Nevada, which remain untouched even four months, according to a new study by researchers at Cornell University who have developed a statistical model for simulating the spread of a fictional zombie epidemic. Stay away from Scranton, PA!
"There's a liquidity conundrum in fixed income markets facing policy makers and investors: how it’s resolved will have long term investment implications across banks, asset managers and infrastructure players," a new report from Morgan Stanley and Oliver Wyman notes. The joint effort is an attempt to dig deep into the all important issue of credit market liquidity (or lack thereof) and determine the short term and long term implications.
If the US intervention in Iraq created the “unintended consequences” of ISIS and al-Qaeda, how is it that more US intervention can solve the problem? A war based on lies cannot be fixed by launching another war. We must just march home. And stay home.
In the same week as Japan unveils its Pacific-Rim-esque anti-tsunami wall public works project, and Japanese government auditors say the operator of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant has wasted more than a third of the 190 billion yen ($1.6 billion) in taxpayer money allocated for cleaning up the plant after it was destroyed by a March 2011 earthquake and tsunami; Science Journal reports, Fukushima won't be truly safe until engineers can remove the reactors' nuclear fuel. But first, they have to find it... And so, in February of this year two muon detectors were installed outside the Fukushima Daiichi unit-1 ruins at reactor vessel height for the purpose of finding that ‘missing’ reactor fuel.
"I'm not sure [European QE] is going to do anything - certainly, nothing that's good. The fundamental problem here, as I see it anyway, is that the European banking system is still broken... I think, increasingly, bankers are discomforted more than anything else (it's not just the ex central bankers but increasingly the people that are still holding the levers)... they are starting to ask whether they have somehow been backed into a place where they don't really want to be.... Unfortunately, [it] is getting bigger and bigger. There is a possibility at least that this whole exercise could end very badly."