Frontrunning: April 24

  • French election relief sends Europe soaring (Reuters)
  • Gloves off as Le Pen and Macron pitch for final battle (Reuters)
  • French Runoff Creates Fresh Political Divisions (WSJ)
  • U.S. Government Shutdown May Hinge on Trump’s Demand for Mexico Wall (BBG)
  • Congress returns as Trump pressures Democrats ahead of funding deadline (Reuters)

A Delighted Wall Street Reacts To The French Election

With European stocks on fire, and US futures moving fast to recoup recent all time highs, it is no surprise that Wall Street is feeling particularly bullish this morning. Below is a sample of slleside analyst reaction to Sunday's outcome.

Euphoria Returns: European Stocks Soar, Dax Hits Record; S&P Futs Surge In "French Relief Rally"

Risk is definitely on this morning as European shares soar, led by French stocks a new record high in Germany's Dax, and S&P futures up 1.2% after a "French relief rally" in which the first round of the country’s presidential elections prompted investors to bet that establishment candidate Emmanuel Macron will win a runoff vote next month. Asian stocks also surged, expect for China, which suffered its biggest drop of the year, down 1.4%, ending the streak of losses no greater than 1% going back to December.

One Trader Is Surprised At Market Euphoria From A "Result That Was Everybody's Base Case"

"I guess it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. It truly unnerved the commentariat that the unpredictable seemed to be unpredictable. The second vote is apparently now knowable with certainty. Europe is saved. Populism is about to be vanquished. A strong euro is a good thing for the economy. And ECB President Draghi can begin normalizing rates. Presto chango. Not bad for a result that was everybody’s base case."

Le Pen, Macron Progress To Second Round As Establishment Parties Crash

With more numbers coming from the French Interior Ministry, as of 11:31 p.m. local time Macron's lead is growing to 23.61% as more city votes are counted, vs Le Pen 22.20%, with 41 Million votes counted, or 85.4% of the total. The gap is likely to expand as the final votes are tallied.

Caught On Tape: U.S. Security Contractors Open Fire On Somali Pirates

For years Somali pirates were able to easily board ships and hold their crew for ransom, at times even going so far as to torture or kill hostages until their demands were met. But, as the following video shows, it looks like the pirate business has gotten significantly more dangerous for maritime criminals who are often under-equipped and travelling in speed boats.

Ukraine, Korea, Syria, Iran... Falsifying History Is Uncle Sam's Way To War

Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the International Arctic Forum this week on the real and present dangers from falsifying history. He said such deliberate distortion of history erodes international law and order, creating chaos and leading to further conflict. The Russian leader deplored the use of history as an «ideological weapon» to demonize others, and he said that without proper understanding of history we are bound to repeat mistakes of the past.

Chinese Stocks Are Plunging

Despite a liquidity injection and the rest of the world in 'risk-on' mode over the French election results, Chinese markets are tumbling... It seems the catalyst is further crackdowns on shadow-banking.

These Are The Tallest Buildings In Each State

The Empire State Building, The Burj Khalifa, and other tall buildings were built, in part, to say to the rest of the world: "Look what we can do!" There hasn't just been competition between countries, either - there has been some competition within the United States too! 

FX Volatility Crashes As Traders Unwind "Existential Euro" Hedges

Heading into today's vote, FX options markets had seen massive demand for downside protection against a result that threatened the euro's existence. That didn't happen and so those hedges are being unwound en masse with the biggest drop in EURUSD implied vols in history...

Outrage After At Least 5 EU Nations Elect Saudi Arabia On UN Women's Rights Council

“Saudi discrimination against women is gross and systematic in law and in practice. Every Saudi woman must have a male guardian who makes all critical decisions on her behalf, controlling a woman’s life from her birth until death. Saudi Arabia bans women from driving cars,” he continued. “Why did the UN choose the world’s leading promoter of gender inequality to sit on its gender equality commission?”

Seven Charts For Bullish Investors To Ignore

Wall Street still exudes widespread optimism that 2017 will provide another year of solid gains for stocks amid stable albeit unspectacular economic growth and only gentle interest rate rises. However, as The FT details, all is not well in reality, and the following seven charts will hearten investors of a more bearish persuasion...

Key Highlights From Trump's AP Interview

Following market moving interview with the FT and especially the WSJ, on Sunday the Associated Press released the full transcript from its interview with President Trump. Below, we point out some of the market-moving highlights.

Confronting Russophobia

There is a paranoid, hysterical quality to the public discourse on Russia and all things Russian in today’s America.  The corporate media machine and its Deep State handlers have abdicated reason and common decency in favor of raw hate and fear-mongering.  We have not seen anything like it before, even in the darkest days of the Cold War.