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Missouri Auditor, Governor Hopeful, Dies Of Apparent "Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound"

Over the past year, there had been a perplexing spike in suicide events involving bankers, especially those of Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan. Overnight, the first prominent public sector suicide shook the state of Missouri when its state auditor Tom Schweich died in St. Louis in what is said to be an apparent suicide, at the age of 54, around 9:48 am on Thursday, when Clayton Police Chief Kevin Murphy said paramedics responded to an emergency call from his home. Schweich was then taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead from a single gunshot wound. The Police chief was quoted by Kansascity.com, who said that “What we know at this point suggests an apparent suicide.”



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The "Cashless Economy" Is A Myth

Forget what you think you know about credit and debit cards, PayPal, bitcoin, Apple Pay and any other modern conveniences meant to displace physical currency. The truth is that transactional currency ($1 through $20 bills) in circulation per capita today in America is essentially where it was, inflation adjusted, in 1994: $661 then and $649 today. Simply put, despite the mainstream media buzz, the “Cashless economy” is myth.



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RANsquawk - Weekly Wrap - 27th February 2015



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Presenting AAPL's Reaction To The Worst Manufacturing Report In 6 years

Ugly data this morning had stock markets leaking lower into and beyond the open, and then Chicago PMI's total and utter collapse hit the tape... and this happened...



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Pending Home Sales Miss For 5th Month In A Row

Despite a modest 1.7% rise (after dropping 1.5% in December), Pending Home Sales missed expectations of a 2.0% rise - the 5th monthly miss in a row. It appears NAR's chief economist Lawrence Yun has flip-flopped: On existing home sales, NAR blames drop on lack of supply (as prices drop); on pending home sales, NAR says buyers overcame lack of supply.



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UMich Consumer Sentiment Tumbles Most In 16 Months

Despite modestly beating the flash print earlier in the month, it appears consumers are less enamored with how awesome everything is in America. Printing 95.4 against January's 98.1 - this is the biggest MoM drop since Oct 2013. Both current conditions and future expectations dropped from January with fewer people expecting higher incomes, and a plunge in favorable business expectations over the last few months.



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Chicago PMI Crashes Most Since Lehman To Lowest Since July 2009

January's brief 'hope' bounce following 3 months of weakness is long forgotten as February's Chinago PMI crashes to 45.9 (missing expectations of 57.5) - its lowest since July 2009. This is the biggest MoM drop since Lehman in Oct 2008. New Orders suffered the largest monthly decline on record, leaving them at the lowest since June 2009. Seems like it is time to blame the weather... PMI says it is "difficult to gauge magnitude of weather and port strike" but blames it nonetheless.



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Piraeus Bank Denies Rumor It Has Run Out Of Cash

UPDATE: *PIRAEUS BANK CFO DENIES SPECULATION OF CASH SHORTAGE

It appears the worst fears of many Greeks may be coming true following a Stratfor report that Piraeus Bank ATMs in downtown Athens appear to have run out of money - telling "customers that there is no cash and the situation will last through the weekend." However, locals, reporting on Twitter, claim this is false. Greek stocks (especially banks) are down hard, as is the EURUSD.



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Q4 GDP Revised Down To 2.2% From 5.0%: Full Breakdown

There was much hope that when Q3 GDP soared to 5%, primarily on the back of Obamacare spending recalendarization and a massive consumption/personal saving data revision, that the US economy would finally enter lift-off mode. Those hopes were reduced by about 60% when moments ago the BEA announced that Q4 GDP was revised from the original 2.64% print to only 2.18%, which while better than expected, was the lowest economic growth rate since the "polar vortex."



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"Panic Must Be Stopped" Ukraine Central Bank Head Says, Boosts Capital Controls

Yesterday, when we observed the latest record plunge in the Ukraine currency we predicted that the imploding, hyperinflating nation will "halt currency trading any minute." Well, Ukraine has so far not fully blocked all trading... yet, however hours ago Ukraine’s central bank did the next best thing when it announced it would "boost restrictions on capital operations as it fights to quell panic that has triggered deposit withdrawals and depleted foreign-exchange reserves, Governor Valeriya Gontareva said." The punchline, almost literally, "Panic must be stopped and we are doing that now,” Gontareva said. Because there is nothing that creates more panic than warning "panic must end or else..."



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Frontrunning: February 27

  • Central Banks With Negative Rates Spur Question of How Low to Go (BBG)
  • DHS to keep running: Congress edges toward domestic security funding patch (Reuters)
  • Setbacks for Tsipras Stir Discord in Greek Ruling Party (BBG)
  • Greece’s Challenge: Appeasing Its Creditors and Its Population (WSJ)
  • Buffett, a cheerleader for America, takes his checkbook abroad (Reuters)
  • Oil’s Big Swings Are the New Normal: Market has rarely been more volatile (WSJ)
  • Ukraine Left Behind as Russian Stock Gains Are Unmatched (BBG)
  • Brent rises to $61, set for first monthly gain since July (Reuters)


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German Parliament Approves Greek Bailout After Schauble Makes It Clear Germany Remains In Charge

If Bild's expectation that its "Nein to more Greek bailout" campaign would lead to a near unanimous vote in the Bundestag for a Greek bailout, then it achieved its goal when a massive majority of lawmakers, some 542 of them, voted in favor of giving Greece the prenegotiated 4 month extension to its current bailout. Still, as many pointed out, of the 32 votes against, a record margin for a euro vote, or 29, came from Merkel's own CDU/CSU block. This was up from 13 voting against the second Greek bailout. Indeed, as the Guardian's Ian Traynor summarizes "Merkel's biggest majority on Greece but also biggest rebellion in her ranks while linke votes for Syriza pals, also a 1st."



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Market Wrap: Futures Fractionally Red Ahead Of Pre-Weekend "Nasdaq 5000" Push

If there isone thing that is virtually certain about today's trading (aside from the post Rig Count surge in oil because if there is one thing algos are, it is predictable) is that despite S&P futures being a touch red right now, everything will be forgotten in a few minutes and yet another uSDJPY momentum ignition ramp will proceed, which will push the S&P forward multiple to 18.0x on two things i) it's Friday, and an implicit rule of thumb of central planning is the market can't close in confidenece-sapping red territory ahead of spending heavy weekends and ii) the Nasdaq will finally recapture 5000 following a final push from Apple's bondholders whose recent use of stock buyback proceeds will be converted into recorder highs for the stock, and thus the Nasdaq's crossing into 5,000 territory because in the New Normal, the more expensive something is, the more people, or rather algos, want to buy it.



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The Stage Is Set For The Syrian Invasion

One week ago, when reporting on the latest bizarre plan presented by the Pentagon, namely providing Syrian rebels (but only the moderate ones, not the jihadists like al Nusra, or, well, ISIS) with B-1B Bomber air support in their attacks on ISIS, when we wrote that this "means in the coming weeks and months look forward to a surge in false flag "attacks" blamed on the Assad regime, aiming to give Obama validation to expand the "War against ISIS" to include Syria's regime as well." We didn't have long to wait: in an entirely unsourced Time article written today by Aryn Baker, the Middle East Bureau Chief, the stage for the second attempt at invading Assad regime is finally set.



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Greenspan: "The Stock Market Is Great", But The Economy Feels Like In "The Late Stages Of The Great Depression"

While conflicting economic data leaves hope for both buills and bears, Alan Greenspan warns that, unlike Yellen, "US economic growth is not strong." The maestro then breaks the golden rule of central bankers and explains how The Fed was, in fact, the main driver of the P/E multiple expansion in stocks; and when asked if this ends as badly as last time? He concludes "It depends...When real interest rates start to move up, that's when the crisis could hit," concluding with a warning that global "effective demand is extraordinarily weak - tantamount to the late stages of the great depression."



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