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5 Things To Ponder: The Everything Boom

"We’re in a world where there are very few unambiguously cheap assets...If you ask me to give you the one big bargain out there, I’m not sure there is one." But frustrating as the situation can be for investors hoping for better returns, the bigger question for the global economy is what happens next. How long will this low-return environment last? And what risks are being created that might be realized only if and when the Everything Boom ends?



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Watch As 6.8 Magnitude Quake Shakes The Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant

Fast forward to 1 minutes 6 seconds into the clip (equivalent to 4:22am local time, and where every second is equvalent to 6 seconds in real-time) to see what the 6.8 magnitude earthquake, which we reported earlier, was all about. Luckily, this time, it was nothing to write home about. Let's hope it stays that way for all future earthquakes as well, or otherwise Abe will have much bigger problems on his hands than just a flaccid "third arrow."



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Russell 2000 Slumps Into Red For 2014; Gold Best Year-To-Date

The Russell 2000 closed down almost 4% from last Thursday's early close - its worst week in 3 months (and in the red year-to-date). The Nasdaq miraculously scrambled back to unchanged from Payrolls but all major indices closed red for the week. Away from stocks, the USD closed unchanged (with notable CAD weakness and JPY strength). Treasury yields tumbled 13bps on the week - the most in 4 months. Gold and silver rose 1.3% on the week to new 4-month highs (6th green week in a row) as WTI Crude slumped back under $101 (-3.3% on the week). VIX rose around 2 vols back above 12 as "most shorted" stocks plunged over 5% - the biggest weekly drop in 25 months! VIX was slammed lower late-on to give the impression of confidence in stocks into the weekend but credit was notably not buying it at all.



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... In Which SocGen Starts A Rumor That The Next QE Will Come From China

The US is tapering, with the Fed knowing any further monetization of private sector bonds will lead to a crash in the already illiquid bond market; Japan is stuck with its massive QE, jawboning every day a rumor that first appeared in November of 2013 (and which sent the USDJPY 500 pips higher and has so far been nothing but a lie) that it may do more, but has unleashed such a firestorm of imported inflation, plunging real wages and collapsing exports that there is nothing Abe or Kuroda can do to boost the Nikkei "wealth effect" or halt what now appears an almost certain 2014 recession.  Europe, too, saw a rumor emerge in November 2013 that it would also launch QE, however it won't: instead the ECB just went NIRP and is threatening to do ABS purchases, which just like the OMT pipedream will never happen simply because there aren't enough unencumbered assets to monetize (most of which are already have liens with local banks) while an outright QE would require redrafting Article 123. So what is a world starved for "outside money" to do? Why make up another rumor, this time focusing on the last possible source of QE: China.



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Michael Bloomberg Calls Colorado A "Rural and Roadless" Backwater For Challenging His Gun Control Agenda

We've noticed a bizarre trend this year - Northeast establishment politicians attacking the state of Colorado for its own internal decisions. This time, the man who puts his foot in his mouth more than pretty much anyone else, former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, called Colorado “rural” and “roadless” in a recent Rolling Stone article (which has since been pulled, but is supposed to be back up Monday) for the backlash against his gun control agenda from parts of the state.



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6.8 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Near Fukushima, Tsunami Warning Issued

Moments ago, at 4:22am local time, a major 6.8 magnitude quake struck eastern Japan, off the Fukushima coast.

FLASH:M6.8 QUAKE JOLTS OFF FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN, TSUNAMI ALERT
EARTHQUAKE EARLY WARNING ISSUED FOR JAPAN, OFF FUKUSHIMA:JMA
EARTHQUAKE EARLY WARNING ISSUED FOR JAPAN, OFF FUKUSHIMA:JMA
TSUNAMI WARNING ISSUED AFTER JAPAN QUAKE: AP



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Martin Armstrong: Understanding The Extremes On Both Sides

"To make this perfectly clear, extreme views on the left or the right end up meeting in the same back parking lot where they agree the people are the great unwashed and are too stupid to see they need to be manipulated and controlled." The people behind the curtain do not change with the change between left and right up in front of the curtain. It is always about power regardless of the side of politics.



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The Number Of US Firms Willing To Trade in Chinese Yuan Has Tripled This Year

As the US spreads its message of cheer around the world, it appears an increasing number of trade 'partners' are more than willing to consider alternatives to the hegemony. As AFP reports, China's Yuan usage in global trade and finance has more than doubled this year. While still notably below USD usage in international payments it remains firmly in second place for trade finance and according to a recent survey by HSBC, the number of US companies planning to use Yuan has almost tripled this year (from 8% to 22%). De-dollarization continues...



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The World Still Needs Saudi Arabia's Oil

Economic analysts are torn as to how important Saudi Arabia will prove to the global economy in years ahead. In the first half of 2014, the US surpassed Saudi Arabia to become the world’s foremost oil producer. This sparked widespread predictions that the US would soon become an oil exporter, reducing its dependency on Riyadh and harming Saudi Arabia’s leading role in the Middle-East. However, the ISIS invasion of Iraq and Syria, the Boko Haram insurgency and continued oil theft in Nigeria, unrest in Venezuela and ongoing violence in Sudan and South Sudan have changed the deal.



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The VIX Seasonal Summer Slumber Is Over: It's All Uphill From Here

When even the Fed is lamenting the VIX's summer doldrums, having recently printing at all time lows on an unadjusted basis, one knows that Kevin Henry's VIX selling skills will soon be obsolete. In fact he may even have to learn how to, gasp, buy VIX (with Citadel's help of course). But maybe he won't have to As FBN's JC O'Hara shows, one of the factors contributing to the record low VIX may not just be the global central banks' attempts at vol supression: it may be the seasons themselves. As the chart below shows, every year vol tends to hit its lowest level, at least based purely on annual trading patterns, just around independence day. After that it goes in a straight line higher, until it hits its annual peak in the first half of October before it once again tumbles just in time for Christmas.



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WTI Crude Drops Below $101 - Lowest in 2 Months

Worried about tensions in Kuwait, Jordan, and Iraq... the 'market' is not. With the spec positioning significantly net long, it appears 'they' have found another pain trade... as WTI Crude loses $101 and drops to 2-month lows...



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UN Demands Europe "Open Its Doors" As Syrian Refugees Reach "Saturation Point"

Syrian refugees, whose numbers are set to pass 3 million in the next few weeks, are almost all in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, with smaller numbers in Iraq and Egypt. But, as Reuters reports, that looks set to change: UNHCR chief spokeswoman Melissa Fleming exclaimed that Europe must open its doors to more Syrian refugees, having welcomed only a "miniscule" number while Syria's neighbors have reached "saturation point."



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CME, Reuters Picked To Replace Silver Fixing In Process Supervised By Former Gold Fixer

The person in charge of navigating the "transition" from the old fixing mechanism, of which he was part as recently as April, was a person who was, drumroll, supervising said transition. Surely, his "consulting" was fair and impartial. Naturally, Mr. Spall is no longer at gold-rigging Barclays, a bank which is for all intents and purposes, falling apart but at GCubed Consultants: enjoy perusing the company at the following link.Said another way, one of the Barclays guys who was accountable in the Gold Market Fixing Company for the price manipulation of his trader (the infamous Daniel Plunkett) is then rewarded by the LBMA to conduct an independent review of the applicants to run the Silver fix!



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The World's Two Most Expensive Cities For Expats Are Located On This Surprising Continent

America, Europe or Asia: those are the usual continental suspects which come to mind when asked where the world's most expensive cities for expats are located. They are also incorrect. According to the most recent study conducted by Mercer consultants not only the world's most expensive city, but also the second most expensive place for foreigners to live at this moment, are located in the one continent which we predicted two years ago, would become a Chinese colonial feeding ground. Africa.



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