At the end of September 2011, just days before his passing, the company that Steve Jobs founded had a $25 billion cash hoard. Nearly half of this was stashed overseas. His personal share of the untaxed offshore booty was obviously substantial. Did this make him ‘unpatriotic’?
Was the guy who revolutionized five industries and touched the lives of billions of people some nefarious traitor because he held so much money offshore? Of course not.
While we previously exposed the 1430ET NYMEX Close Ramp trade, it appears a new algo-idiot trade has made an appearance. "Sell API Inventory data, Buy DOE Inventory Data"
Ukrainian authorities decision to halt gas supplies to Donetsk amid the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe occurring there "bear the hallmarks of genocide," blasted Russia's Vladimir Putin during an awkward press conference with Cyprus' President Nicos Anastasiades (who he had just agreed bilateral military and trade deals with). "Apparently, some responsible leaders of the modern-day Ukraine are unable to understand the importance of humanitarian issues," Sputnik News reports Putin concluded. In an attempt to gain leverage and force Ukraine's hand however, Russia's Gazprom has indicated it intends to suspend gas deliveries to Ukraine (and thus Europe via pipelines) unless Kiev makes a further prepayment.
Is it time to spread Heating Gas and Gasoline in anticipation of the arrival of Spring? Is China "devaluing" the Yuan as policy? Is Ms. Yellen is taking rather more of a gamble than she is willing to admit?
If yesterday's strong 2 Year bond auction confirmed that there was not a hawkish cloud on the bond market's horizon, then today's just concluded 5 Year bond auction doubled down on the strength of the short-end, when moments ago the Treasury sold $35 billion in 5 year paper at a yield of 1.480%, stopping 0.3 bps through the 1.483% when issued. The Bid to Cover of 2.54 also posted a modest increase to last month's 2.49, if a below the TTM average of 2.71. The internals were also in line, with Directs getting 7.5%, Indirects a far stronger than average 60.1%, and Dealers left holding 32.4% of the auction.
It is not entirely unusual for revisions to be made to the flow of funds data published by the Fed. Nothing about this time seemed remarkable, until one gets to corporate non-financial debt. Apparently, all that debt that has been taken on by companies in recent years has suddenly disappeared, as if by magic...
Another quarter of leaks of ubiquitous US espionage in every corner of the world, and sure enough we get another quarter of China just saying no to spending any more money on companies which are, as far as Beijing is concerned, a natural extension of the NSA. According to Reuters, China has just dropped some of America's leading technology brands from its approved state purchase lists, chief among them Cisco (which already was hammered a year ago due to the Snowden revelations), and everyone's favorite $1 trillion market cap or bust cell phone maker, Apple. At the same time China shifted production focus away from foreign production approved thousands more locally made products. The reason according to Reuters, and pretty much anyone else: a response to revelations of widespread Western cybersurveillance.
"Greeks consider taxes as theft," which, among other things, explains, as WSJ reports, at the end of 2014, Greeks owed their government about €76 billion in unpaid taxes accrued over decades; the government says only €9 billion of that can be recovered, with most of the rest lost to insolvency. Syriza is now making tax collection a top priority among the measures promises the new Troika, but as one government official warned, "the Greek economy would collapse if the government were to force these people to pay taxes." The bottom line is that "normally taxes are considered the price you have to pay for a just state, but this is not accepted by the Greek mentality," and perhaps with this latest round of deference to the EU overlords, it is clear why...
Ukraine Enters Hyperinflation: Currency Trading Halted, "Soon We Will Walk Around With Suitcases For Cash"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 02/25/2015 - 11:02
The Ukraine central bank tried to call a halt on Wednesday by banning banks from buying foreign currency on behalf of their clients for the rest of this week. Although banks could still trade with each other, by mid-morning there were no registered trades at any rate, leaving the currency in limbo. A construction worker exchanging dollars at a kiosk in a grocery shop in return for a bag filled with thousands of hryvnia, laughed and told shoppers: "Soon we will have to walk around with suitcases for cash, like in the 1990s."
While the actual number of new homes sold has barely budged during the so-called Recovery, the incentive for the builders, is right there, and as can been by median new home prices which continue to rise, and in fact hit an all time high as recently as December!
Oil prices dumped (last night's major 8.9 million barrel inventory build from API), pumped (the Saudi minister claiming "demand is growing" - which just seems like total fiction given economic backdrops and China's VLCC count plunge), and then this morning, dumped setting the scene for this morning's EIA inventory data. Against expectations of an 8 million barrel build, crude inventories saw a 8.43 million barrel build (5 times higher than the 5 year average). Record levels of production and record total inventrory sent WTI plunging out of the gate but it is stabilizing for now...
When existing home sales missed expectations, the fault was laid squarely at the foot of the meteorological conditions (despite a rise in NorthEast sales). New Home Sales beat expectations in January, printing 481k vs 470k expectations (though very modestly lower than December's revised 482k) and - destroying the meme that weather is to blame - sales soared in The Midwest. Median prices dropped MoM to the lowest since September but remain up an impressive 9% YoY. Lack of inventory continues to be blamed for weak sales - but, we ask rhetorically, doesn't price rise when supply drops?
While this morning's prepared remarks will be the same hodge podge of three-armed economist-speak, we suspect the Q&A will be a little aggressive as Fed Chair Janet Yellen faces The House Financial Services Committee. Having told the markets that "valuations are somewhat higher than normal," and "heightened leverage and weak underwriting terms are close to levels preceding the financial crisis," we are sure the Congressmen (and women) will focus attention on financial stability concerns - as opposed to back-patting celebrations of how well The Fed has done.
We don't get it, and we definitely don’t get why nobody is asking any questions. The IMF and EU make a lot of noise – through the Eurogroup – about all the conditions Greece has to address to get even a mild extension of support, while the same IMF and EU keep on handing out cash to Ukraine without as much as a whisper – at least publicly...