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Aircraft Carrier CVN-77 Parks Next Door To Syria Just As US Urges Americans To Leave Country "Immediately"

Yesterday we reported that the Arab League (with European and US support) are preparing to institute a no fly zone over Syria. Today, we get an escalation which confirms we may be on the edge. Just out from CBS: "The U.S. Embassy in Damascus urged its citizens in Syria to depart "immediately," and Turkey's foreign ministry urged Turkish pilgrims to opt for flights to return home from Saudi Arabia to avoid traveling through Syria." But probably the most damning evidence that the "western world" is about to do the unthinkable and invade Syria, and in the process force Iran to retaliate, is the weekly naval update from Stratfor, which always has some very interesting if always controversial view on geopolitics, where we find that for the first time in many months, CVN 77 George H.W. Bush has left its traditional theater of operations just off the Straits of Hormuz, a critical choke point, where it traditionally accompanies the Stennis, and has parked... right next to Syria.



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Record Low Yield At 7 Year Auction, Second Highest Bid To Cover Ever Sends Total US Debt Over $15.1 Trillion

As the panic from the busted German 10 Year auction earlier has settled, the money has gone to the last "safe" place for fiat (until the world wakes up to the fact that the "US is not Germany" and comprehends that it actually is) and flooded today's final of the week $29 billion 7 Year auction. The auction was a massive success: it priced at 1.415%, the lowest yield ever, and well inside of the WI which was trading at 1.44%. Not only that but the Bid To Cover soared from 2.59 to 3.20, the second highest ever except for May's 3.24. The internals were a little shaky, with Directs taking down a record 18.85%, and Indirects responsible for 39.88% (the balance going immediately to repoing Dealers). Still there is no denying it: when the panic is palpable, the last safe place for the time being are US bonds. And with that auction, total US debt, which was at $15.042 trillion, has now been pushed above $15.1 trillion a few days after we passed $15 trillion for the first time ever, once the $60 billion in new debt issued this week settles. As a reminder, the debt ceiling currently is at $15.194 trillion, which means there is about two auctions worth of issuance left before the US has to deal with the whole temporary debt ceiling hike all over again - luckily it will be merely a Senate vote (democrat controlled), so there will be no full blown scandal. The scandal will come soon enough.



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Mid-November Hedge Fund Performance: Mixed

How are all the major hedge funds doing month and year to date? Here is your answer.



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Egan Jones Does Not Back Off On Jefferies, Warns Will Cut Again "Without A Major Deleveraging"

Following the earlier spirited defense of JEF by Oppenhemier and outright bashing of Egan Jones, Sean Egan fires right back. "Synopsis: Prior reports excluded projections because of the skewed financials relating to the FYE change; a more granular liquidation analysis is avail. upon request. JEF needs to raise equity (i.e., $1B) AND deleverage to reduce its 9.5+% LT yield. JEF's total debt to capital is 90.4% vs. 67% for IBKR, 62% for RJF and 43% for GFIG. GS and MS have ratios near 88% but they are significantly larger and should have some federal support via their banking charters. Furthermore, MF's freezing and shortchanging client funds have increased scrutiny of other medium-sized brokers. Raising $1B in new equity and reducing assets by $5B would reduce total debt to capital to only 86%. Watch the cost and availability of funding. We will cut without a major deleveraging."



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Uncle Sarko Kindly Demands Your Independence

After the smart Sarkozy spoke earlier, it is now time for the not so smart one to express what many are increasingly branding as Fascist intentions of forced cohesion:

  • SARKOZY SAYS EURO ZONE MUST FURTHER INTEGRATE
  • SARKOZY SAYS TROUBLED EURO COUNTRIES DIDN'T UNDERTAKE REFORMS
  • SARKOZY SAYS EURO ZONE MEMBERSHIP IMPLIES OBLIGATIONS
  • SARKOZY SAYS EUROPE'S FUTURE REQUIRES CONVERGENCE

In other words, please hand over your sovereignty to France and the rest shall be ok.



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Europe Closes At Day's Lows As Sovereign Curves Invert

European equities marginally outperformed credit markets on the day but both ended dreadfully as markets went bidless into the close. Ending the day the lows, having retraced over 75% of the 9/23 to 10/28 swing rally, equity and credit markets are well into bear market territory as sovereign risk morphs back into financials and on into corporates. Sovereign spreads may look 'optically' marginally improved if one focuses merely on the 10Y levels, but a little more digging shows that almost without exception sovereign spread curves all bear flattened considerably today with the short-dated risk rising dramatically relative to mid maturities as jump risks become more and more of a concern.



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Guest Post: Kazakhstan Now World's Largest Uranium Miner

Kazakhstan’s international energy image is now that of one of the world’s rising oil exporters, an extraordinary feat given that, two decades ago its hydrocarbon output was beyond insignificant when the USSR collapsed. The vast Central Asian nation, larger than Western Europe,  has now quietly passed another energy milestone. Kazakhstan produces 33 percent of world’s mined uranium, followed by Canada at 18 percent and Australia, with 11 percent of global output. Kazakhstan contains the world's second-largest uranium reserves, estimated at 1.5 million tons. Until two years ago Kazakhstan was the world's No. 3 uranium miner, following Australia and Canada. Together the trio is responsible for about 62 percent of the world's production of mined uranium.



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European Liquidity Downgraded From Ice To Carbonite

Chatter across European trading desks, since confirmed by the EBA, is that medium- and long-term funding in Europe is now completely frozen. With Rehn still in denial and pointing to the problems in US and China, it seems things just got a little more desperate. Basis swaps at crisis levels, FRA-OIS at crisis levels, European GDP-weighted sovereign risk at all time highs, Belgium and Austria dislocating today, and EURUSD cracking through 1.3350.



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Sarkozy: Europe's "Liquidity Run" Has Begun Because There Is An Unsolvable $30 Trillion Problem

No, not that Sarkozy. His half-brother - the one who actually can use a calculator. In an interview on CNBC, the Carlyle group head had the temerity to tell the truth, the whole truth, and use math - that long-forgotten concept which one has to scour various backwater blogs to rediscover - to explain nothing but the truth which is that Europe needs many more trillions than either the EFSF or the ECB can afford to give. Actually, we take that back. The ECB can inject the needed €3-5 trillion, but after that concerns about localized episodes of (hyper)inflation, especially now that Kocherlakota has confirmed that the transmission mechanism between bank reserves and inflation may be broken, will be all too justified. In the meantime, Sarkozy on Europe math fail: "The math i'm working with is very simple. In the US banking sector, we had 3 trillion of wholesale funding that needed to be stabilized, got stabilized by the implementation of TARP which saw the US treasury buy $212 billion worth of preferred in the banking sector to stabilize that $3 trillion, give our banks the time to work through hair problem their problem assets. In Europe, that $3 trillion is $30 trillion. so if you multiply the $212 by 10, you get the $2.12 trillion. In my view, the issues on the European banks are bigger than the issues on the books of the US Banks. So if you want to stabilize that $30 trillion and in my view it's not that you want to, it's that you have to, you do not have a choice, you're going to have to be at least at 2.1 trillion and i suspect it may need to be more." Q.E.D. - there, the math wasn't that difficult, was it?



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Euro Tumbles As JPM Predicts ECB Rate Cut To 0.50%, "Deep Euro Area Recession"

The ECB may soon have to change its policy of keeping a 1.00% rate floor if JPM is correct.In a note just released by JPM's Greg Fuzesi, the JPM analysts says that "with the Euro area economy entering a potentially deep recession, we now think that the ECB will cut its main policy interest rate to just 0.5% by mid-2012. We expect the interest rate corridor to be narrowed to +/-25bp, so that the deposit facility rate will be 0.25%. We recognise that the ECB did not cut rates below 1% during the 2008/9 recession. It never fully explained why it did not, but we think that the two most likely reasons will be less important this time." And when the ECB does cut which it will have no choice considering Germany's stern reluctance to allow it to print outright, Hugh Hendry will make some serious cash. As a reminder, 'He’s made bets that he says will deliver a 40-to-1 return if the ECB cuts rates below 1% next year." Lastly, and as fully expected, the EURUSD is tumbling on the news.



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[INSERT GROUPON JOKE HERE]

Presented with no comment - none at all, not even a wry schadenfreude-ridden smirk. GRPN -13% at $17.40



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Devastation In Adjusted Euro-Sovereign Basis Trade Resumes: Generali And Allianz CDS Update

Continuing our coverage of our favorite European implosion derivative trade for entities which, unlike countries, are not too big to fail, namely Italian and German mega insurers loaded to the gills with Italian and other Euro sovereign debt, Generali (ASSGEN) and Pimco parent Allianz (ALZ), we find that their CDS continue to implode (or soar as the case may be), more or less as expected. We anticipate that more and more traders will proceed to switch basis trade hedges not with sovereigns (where the CDS is now clearly defunct) but with sovereign derivatives such as insurers which can certainly fail (at least for the time being). In the meantime, below is a refresh on how ASSGEN and ALZ has done since we suggested buying protection in the two companies.



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Eurozone Contagion Deepens After Disastrous German Auction; Silver Supply Issues

Gold is lower in all major currencies today except euros with euro gold having risen 0.25% to EUR 1,263/oz. The euro came under pressure due to the surprise collapse in new Eurozone industrial orders which led to Germany failing to get bids for 35% of bunds offered. The German 10-year bund yield rose sharply from 1.92% to over 2.06%. This is one of Germany's worst auctions since the launch of the Euro with the Bundesbank having to pick up nearly 40% of the 6 billion euros on offer. The German auction in turn led to further weakness in European equity markets. Asian equity indices followed US equities lower after news of a new US bank stress test and then the poor Chinese manufacturing data. Gold will be supported at these levels as the euro zone debt crisis continues to degenerate with the periphery increasingly affecting the core – leading to contagion. The bond auction in Germany is a disaster. If Germany has to buy its own bonds, it is frightening to think how other European nations, including France, will fare at bond auctions in the coming weeks. Gold remains possibly the most under-owned asset in the world, and definitely the most infrequently and poorly covered in the mainstream media.



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Is ECB's Non-Intervention Sending A Message To Belgium?

Presented with little comment (Belgium spreads +26bps) - but with Fitch worrying over France and Dexia becoming more of an anchor, perhaps the ECB is applying its own special type of pressure to get the deal done (or to force Rehn's austerity measures) - by not intervening.



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