China, Russia Unveil First-Ever Mediterranean Joint Naval Exercise

Sabre-rattling much? For the first time in history, Chinese and Russian navies will begin a significant joint naval exercise in The Mediterranean Sea in mid-May. As RT reports, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng, "The aim is to deepen both countries' friendly and practical cooperation, and increase our navies' ability to jointly deal with maritime security threats," but diplomatically added "these exercises are not aimed at any third party and have nothing to do with the regional situation." Against a background of this week's "upgraded Japan-American military relationship" following Abe's visit to Obama, as one analyst notes, "the geopolitical significance of its exercising alongside Russia will not be lost on the U.S. and NATO."

Frontrunning: May 1

  • Record month ends in pain as biotech, small-caps, Apple tumble (BBG)
  • Japan inflation rises for first time in nearly a year (WSJ)
  • US Navy starts to accompany ships in strait where Iran seized cargo carrier (WSJ)
  • Russia may be readying for new Ukraine offensive: NATO commander (Reuters)
  • Big banks use loophole to avoid ban (WSJ)
  • China April official PMI shows factories struggling to grow (Reuters)
  • CME suspends traders for alleged Sarao-like manipulation (BBG)

Futures Flat As Global Markets Closed For May Day

Holidays in Europe and Asia left things quiet overnight after some traders used the last day of April to frontrun the old "sell in May and go away" market adage. Market closures also kept the Chinese day trading hordes from using a tiny beat on the official manufacturing PMI print as an excuse to pile more money into the country's equity mania, while Japanese shares ended mostly unchanged as investors fret over when the BoJ will deliver the next shot of monetary heroin. In the US we'll get a look at ISM manufacturing and the latest read on consumer confidence as we head into the weekend.

Baltimore As A Microcosm Of America

Baltimore, Maryland is in many ways the perfect microcosm for these United States of America.

If you still don’t get that, you’ll be in for a rude awakening in the years ahead.

One More Reason Why The Student Debt Bubble Is About To Get A Lot Larger

Although nearly 93% of parents say they expect their children to attend college, only 57% have either saved money or plan to save money for tuition. Those two figures don't match up, meaning someone will have to step in and fill the education funding void. Can you guess who it will be? 

Inching Toward Conflict: US Navy To Escort Cargo Ships In Persian Gulf; Iran Refuses To Back Down

Moments ago there was yet another step up in the Persian Gulf naval escalation when CNN reported that the U.S. Navy will escort U.S.-flagged cargo ships through Strait of Hormuz in wake of Iran seizure this week, a US official says. Specifically, the Navy will henceforth accompany ships on concern that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard may seize them, CNN’s Jim Sciutto says in Twitter post, citing CNN’s Barbara Starr. It is unclear what happens if either the accompanied cargo ship, or the US Navy warship leaves international waters, and enters Iran territory, which as the Bab el-Mandeb Strait is virtually assured: a strait which as the following US Naval update map has become as busy for US traffic as the 405 Freeway during rush hour.

The War On Cash: Transparently Totalitarian

"The War on Cash is the attempt by governments to phase cash out of their economies. Governments hate cash because they hate the financial privacy cash makes possible. And they prefer that you keep your money in a bank to help prop up an unsound fractional reserve banking system." As Ron Paul warned, “The cashless society is the IRS’s dream: total knowledge of, and control over, the finances of every single American.”

Saudis, Russians No Longer Buying Gold In Dubai As Oil Slump Curbs Precious Metals Shopping

“The market is dead,” one industry insider tells Bloomberg, referring to demand for tax-free physical gold in Dubai. As it turns out, the ill-effects of sliding crude prices aren't confined to Alberta's housing market, cash-strapped oil boom towns and the market for blue collar jobs in Texas. The pain is also being felt by gold vendors who are quickly discovering that when oil revenue begins to run short, fewer Saudis and Russians go on precious metals shopping sprees.

The Pentagon's "Long War" Pitches NATO Against China, Russia, & Iran

Whatever happens with the nuclear negotiations this summer, and as much as Tehran wants cooperation and not confrontation, Iran is bound to remain - alongside Russia - a key US geostrategic target. What the Pentagon - with customary hubris - does not see is Moscow and Tehran easily identifying the power play; the US government's hidden agenda of manipulating a "rehabilitated" Iran to sell plenty of oil and gas to the EU, thus undermining Gazprom.

First Blythe Masters, Now Goldman Investing In Bitcoin

First it was Blythe Masters (and the Fed). Now, the most important FDIC-insured hedge fund in the world, Goldman Sachs, adds its name to a growing list of Wall Street institutions exploring digital-currency technology’s potential to provide faster and cheaper financial transactions and payments.

Is Your State Racist?

With the topic of racial division increasingly top of mind in America, The Washington Post reports a new study suggests that the rural Northeat and South are the most racist regions of America. The study, based on Goggle searches for race-related phrases, shows racist people in the U.S. appear to be clustered along the Appalachian Mountains from Georgia, through New York and all the way up to Vermont. West of Texas, no region falls into the "much more than average" category.

LInkedIn Crashes 25% After Missing Revenues, Cutting Outlook

LNKD has collapsed 27% on the back of missed revenues and lowered outlooks for Q2 and 2015 drastically. What is most dramatic - just as was seen with YELP and TWTR is the velocity of repricing which indicates just how far expectations for growth in the tech sector are from reality... and strongly suggests all is not well as El-Erian's "wedge" between markets and fundamentals snaps shut...