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Introducing Ghost Skyscrapers... In New York City

Manhattan has been transformed into nothing more than an oligarch playground, or as some call it, “Disneyland for Wall Street.” We have discussed at length the head-shakingly insane money-laundering inflows that are 'stashed' into NYC real estate but, as the following reports, one of the most shocking and disturbing revelations from that article was the fact that: "The Census Bureau estimates that 30 percent of all apartments in the quadrant from 49th to 70th Streets between Fifth and Park are vacant at least ten months a year." Forget China, ghost residences come to the US. Welcome to Planet Oligarchy, where empty skyscrapers loom over the hordes of freedom-hating, destitute slaves.



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11 Disturbing Charts About The Chinese Economy

Day in, day out, China 'bulls' (which implies 'everything' bulls as China is the ultimate fall-back save of growth in the world) will use the government-provided PMIs (at 2014 highs) as an indication that everything is tip-top and all those concerns about China's shadow-banking system, CCFD unwinds, guarantor bankruptcies, money-market rate surges on liquidity demand, and tumbling house prices are storms in a teacup to be ignored. Well in the interests of 'beating' a dead horse (and remembering just how bad soft-survey-based PMI data is at predicting future growth), we show below 11 examples that suggest China is anything but healthy.



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Baupost Revealed As 2.3% Banco Espirito Santo Stakeholder

As the world awaits the last day of the week and hopefully some clarity on the fate (or even state) of Portugal's Banco Espirito Santo ("BES"), which ultimately is controlled by the nebulous and unpublished accounts of the topmost HoldCo, Espirito Santo International, which in turn is merely a family investment vehicle of the Espirito Santo family as we showed this morning, moments ago BES issued two press releases whose purposes was to provide an updated org chart of the troubled financial entity, and more importantly, to boast that as of today, the deepest of value investors, Seth Klarman's Baupost was a 2.27% investor in the company.



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Where The Wealth Is (and Is Not)

On the heels of Wal-Mart explaining that America is anything but recovering, we thought a look at the state of the union's wealth would be useful. To wit, the following map of household incomes shows where the "haves" and the "have-nots" reside...



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Tropical Storm To Slam Fukushima In Hours, Workers Brace For "Overflow"

Despite being responsible for some deaths and numerous injuries already, the downgrade from SuperTyphoon to Tropical Storm means the mainstream media has lost interest in the impact of Neoguri on Japan. TEPCO hasn't! As NHK World reports, the operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is bracing for damage; pumping out water accumulated in barriers surrounding storage tanks for radioactive water to prevent it from overflowing the barriers. The building of "The Ice Wall" has been delayed as just like last Summer, when heavy rains overflowed protective barriers, spilling radioactive cooling water. Neoguri is expected to hit Fukushima Friday early morning.



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Ex-Goldman Banker Confirms "Profits Above Principles" With 100%-Plus Business Loans

Confirming every Wall Street stereotype that "ethics are all well and good, but money is more important," the ex-Goldman Sachs banker who wrote a book on whether the bank always put "profits above principles" has started a firm charging extremely high rates of interest (above 100% in some cases) for struggling small businesses... oh the irony.



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The Polar Vortex Is Back... In The Middle Of July

just to make sure that the abysmal Q1 GDP which has now spilled over into Q2 and will likely see the US economy growing in the mid-2% range, has a sufficiently broad "excuse" in the third quarter of the year, here comes - in the middle of July - the polar vortex 2.0.  As WaPo reports, "However you choose to refer to the looming weather pattern, unseasonably chilly air is headed for parts of the northern and northeastern U.S at the height of summer early next week."



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Bubbles, Bubbles Everywhere

Is there any doubt that we are living in a bubble economy? At this moment in the United States we are simultaneously experiencing a stock market bubble, a government debt bubble, a corporate bond bubble, a bubble in San Francisco real estate, a farmland bubble, a derivatives bubble and a student loan debt bubble. And of course similar things could be said about most of the rest of the planet as well. And when these current financial bubbles in America burst, the pain is going to be absolutely enormous.



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Banker Suicides Return: JPMorgan Executive "Blasts Wife, Kills Self" With Shotgun

With Russia and China having briefly taken over the hub of global executive suicides, the sad trend has returned back to America. In what appears to the 15th financial services executive suicide this year, yet another JPMorgan Director took his own life. As IBTimes reports, Jefferson Township (New Jersey) police report that the Global Network Operations Center Executive Director, "Julian Knott, age 45, shot his wife Alita Knott, age 47, multiple times and then took his own life with the same weapon." They are survived by 3 teenage children... 



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Time For Regime Change At The Eccles Building: Interest Rate Pegging Is Destroying Capitalism

Maybe its time for a new version of the old regime at the Fed. That is, for the Eccles Building to eschew interest rate-pegging and ZIRP entirely, and thereby allow financial markets to once again engage in honest price discovery and two-way trading; and to allow the natural business cycle to meander along its own capitalist path as determined not by the 12 members of the monetary politburo, but the 317 million consumers, producers, investors, entrepreneurs and even speculators who comprise the real main street economy.



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Las Vegas Is More "Screwed"; Drought Drains Lake Mead To Lowest Since Hoover Dam Built

Two weeks ago we highlighted just how "screwed" Las Vegas is due to the catastrophic drought that is occurring (combined with almost total ignorance that this is a problem). As Bloomberg's James Nash reports, about 55% of Nevada, already the nation’s driest state, is under “extreme’’ or “exceptional’’ drought conditions, the worst grades on the U.S. Drought Monitor; but recently the situation has got even worse. Lake Mead, the man-made reservoir that supplies 90 percent of the water for 2 million people in the Las Vegas area, has been reduced by drought to the lowest level since it was filled in 1937, according to the federal government who explained "It concerns us all very much," as it is a resource used by 3 states. Simply put, The shortfall is endangering water supplies to the residents and 43 million annual visitors to the driest metropolitan area in the country.



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The Current Repo Fails Issue Rebukes Any Notion That The Fed Is In Control

The current repo fails problem “directly rebukes” the idea that the Fed has “all possible scenarios covered.” The FOMC wants, actually needs, to instill confidence that it can transform itself from its QE legacy (however much tarnished it has grown). This only heightens the idea that stability is a paperlike illusion that may be undone with only the slightest “shock” or disruption – the hidden asymmetry that is the hallmark of fragility. This severely, in my opinion, undermines the credibility of even the idea of the rate floor.



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Gold Nears 4-Month Highs As Stocks Dump-And-Pump

European markets were ugly going in: Portugal's largest bank on the ropes and macro data weak. US earnings calls confirmed no Q2 bounce back and macro data piled on (along with various GDP downgrades). Equity markets opened gap down with a big flush of "most shorted" longs and Russell 2000 dipped into the red for 2014. Then the rally-monkey turned up, slamming VIX and lifting USDJPY to squeeze shorts and drag stocks "off the lows." Once shorts reache dunch, stocks limped lower "off the highs." Away from the v-shaped recovery in stocks, Gold broke above $1340 (4-month highs) and silver gained. Oil turned around early losses closing up for 1st time in 9 sessions ($103). The USD rose (on EUR weakness) but remains lower on the week. VIX ened 0.8 vols higher at 12.5 (well off its intraday highs though). The day ended with Carl Icahn warning that "it's time be cautious about US markets." VIX pushed higher into the close as investors remember Europe opens in 8 hours.



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What's Wrong With This Chart?

The consensus estimate for US GDP growth in 2014 has collapsed. 4 months ago, the world of serial extrapolators and mean-reverters prognosticated that 2014 GDP would reach the lofty heights of 2.9%. Today - on the heels of numerous micro- and macro-fundamental realities, consensus US GDP growth for 2014 has been marked down to 1.7%. Is it any wonder US equity markets are within 1% of their all-time highs?



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"Unrigged?" The Bulk Of Odd Lot Trades On US Exchanges Are 1-Share-Lots!

If the market's are not 'rigged' by HFT teasers front-running any 'real' flow that happens to take its chances on the public stock exchanges, then please - - someone explain this chart.



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