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On Dominoes, WMDs And Putin's "Aggression": Imperial Washington Is Intoxicated By Another Big Lie

Imperial Washington is truly running amuck in its insensible confrontation with Vladimir Putin. The latest round of new sanctions is a counter-productive joke. But it is the larger narrative that is so blatantly offensive - that is, the notion that a sovereign state is being wantonly violated by an aggressive neighbor arming “terrorists” inside its borders. Once again, the American Warfare State has confected a false narrative to justify policies and missions that have nothing to do with the safety and security of the citizens of Lincoln NE and Wooster MA. Unfortunately, false narratives are what the Warfare State does.



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China Meat Scandal Spreads: McDonald's Japan Slashes Guidance

We warned last week that the scandal over Chinese meat supplier OSI was spreading (and Asians were increasingly shunning western fast-food restaurants) and now, as The FT reports, McDonald’s Japan has pulled its full-year profit guidance on the back of falling sales. It had previously forecast sales of $2.45bn for the year to December but warned it could not commit to new targets as it was too soon to estimate the scandal’s full impact. McDonald's is hardly ready to cope with this as sales are slumping and Russia is banning certain products.



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"End Torture," Ron Paul Demands "Shut Down The CIA!"

Revelations of US secret torture sites overseas and a new Senate investigation revealing widespread horrific CIA torture practices should finally lead to the abolishment of this agency. Far from keeping us safer, CIA covert actions across the globe have led to destruction of countries and societies and unprecedented resentment toward the United States. For our own safety, end the CIA!



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Jim Grant: "Gold Is The Ultimate Inoculation Against Harebrained Central Bankers"

"The central bank imposed interest rates are the source of global financial instability now and in the future," warns Grant's Interest Rate Observer's Jim Grant, adding that "The Fed... has manipulated us into a period of quite eerie stability and measured volatility." Grant believes, given the values (and aware of the risks) that Russian "stocks stand to do very well," and also likes mining stocks as he warns credit markets are overvalued (especially sovereign debt). His conclusion, own gold as "it stands to benefit from the demonstrated, as opposed the theoretically likely, crack up of the [current] monetary arrangements."



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Boots On The Ground In Ukraine: "I Needed To See This For Myself"

...just as the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand 100 years ago led politicians to make a series of pitiful, short-sighted decisions that led the world into the most destructive war it had ever seen, today's "leaders" are raising the stakes towards an even more destructive kind of war. This new kind of war is fought with bits and bonds rather than steel. But it's one that affects almost everyone on the planet. Change is very clearly afoot. And it's time to start paying very close attention to the canary in the coalmine.



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Yellen Capital Humiliated After First Facebook And Now Twitter Surge Higher: TWTR's Quarter In Charts

Moments ago TWTR reported Q2 earnings which beat EPS expectations of a 1 cent loss, posting non-GAAP EPS of $0.02 (let's ignore that the GAAP EPS was actually -$0.24 and that GAAP Net Loss was $144.6 million, much worse than the $42.2 million a year ago, all driven by stock-based compensation expense, because clearly retaining employees is never a factor when calculating earnings). And yet, the stock has exploded by 30% after hours on what appears to be a super squeeze after hours, as the company also reported revenue of $312 million up from $139.3 million a year ago and some $54MM in EBITDA, up 461% Y/Y. This is just a little awkward for the Federal Reserve which some 2 weeks ago was warning about a bubble in social networking stocks, just before first Facebook and now Twitter have exploded higher on what can best be described as yet another massive short squeeze of those who decided to not fight the Fed on this one.



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Tumble Tuesday: Stocks Slide On Sanctions Blowback Fears, Dollar Jumps

Equity markets were lifted on a sea of USDJPY stops this morning to open higher and press to the week's highs. Once 102.00 was achieved and Europe closed, headlines started to stall stock exuberance. The  initial downturn was when BES cancelled its shareholder meeting, the dip was bought, then Europe unveiled its sanctions started to take stocks down and then the US unleashed a further round of sanctions targeted at banks and that dragged stocks to the lows of the day. Trannies were worst down 4 days in a row. This move merely caught stocks down to bond's less-than-exuberant day. Treasuries rallied with yields dropping 2-3bps on the day. The USD surged to 6-month highs, ending up 0.2% from Friday. Credit markets continue to sell off notably. VIX closed back above 13 (highest in 2 weeks). The Russell is -1.65% YTD and 4.5% in July (on course for worse month in over 2 years). It appears sanctions fears trumped turbo Tuesday.



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The New York Times' Revenue Since Hiring Paul Krugman

Correlation or causation?



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China's Billionaire Ex-National Security Chief Investigated For "Serious Disciplinary Violation"

With an estimated net worth of $14 Billion, Zhou Yongkang, the man formerly in charge of China's vast security apparatus, was one of the nine most senior politicians in China until 2012. But now, as The BBC reports, state media have announced he is being investigated for "serious disciplinary violation", a term usually used to refer to corruption. The news ended months of speculation about his fate as numerous people in his sphere of influence are either under investigation or have been sentenced to death. This move confirms Xi Jinping's determination to root out corruption but could also be seen, given Zhou's influence, as an effort to eliminate a center of power in China's factional political system.



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President Obama To Explain How These New-New Sanctions Will Really Make Putin Mad - Live Feed

We are sure President Obama must be happy that the European leaders finally stepped in line behind him and layered new goldilocks sanctions on Russia. With business leaders on both sides of the Atlantic urging him not to, for fear of the dreaded 'boomerang' from Putin (which has already been targeted at MSFT, IBM, MCD, INTC, AMD, and car manufacturers), President Obama is set to explain how his new-new sanctions (which include several Russian banks including VTB, Russia's second largest ) and will be the message that Putin needs to leave, fold to NATO, handover everything, and retire to the Gulag. Yet, oddly enough, Gazprom is once again missing from the sanctions list. The whole market is sliding heading into his speech (including the Russian ETF). We await the retaliation.



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The One Rate That Is Not Only Not Going Down, But Is At A 13-Year High

With 77 million Americans having debt past due and the average household owing more than $15,000 in credit card debt, it appears the Fed's supposed plan to 'help Main Street' is not working so well. As the following chart from NewEdge's Brad Wishak shows, despite Fed Funds at practically zero, US credit card variable interest rates continue to rise - now at their highest since July 2001.



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Bonds & Peso Slide As Fernandez Slams Holdouts For "True Aggression Against Argentina"

With hours to go until Argentina's grace period runs out and default occurs, investors are less than frantically selling Argentine bonds and pesos. They are lower but do not appear in full panic mode as we presume investors cling to hope that Argentina folds and pays off the holdouts (though there has been no sign of that so far). ARG 2033 bonds are down 3 points to 81 and the black-market peso is modestly weaker at 13.0 (near its record lows). Argentine CDS tightened modestly (as BofA warns the facts surrounding Argentina’s bond payments continue to be unique and deciding if CDS are triggered could take longer than expected) but 1Y CDS are holding at 4600bps (equivalent) - a 52% probability of default. Paul singer continues to defend himself (and the holdouts) from claims they are "dangerous fundamentalists" hell-bent on making it impossible for foreign sovereigns to restructure their debts.



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NY Regulator Demands Government Monitors "Inside" Barclays And Deutsche Bank

With the NY Fed already warning of "significant operational risk," and former Fed officials proclaiming Deutsche Bank is "horribly under-capitalized," along with Barclays 'dark pool' and gold manipulations, it is perhaps not a total surprise that, as WSJ reports, New York's banking regulator is pushing to install government monitors inside the U.S. offices of Deutsche Bank and Barclays as part of an intensifying investigation into possible manipulation in the foreign-exchange market. These two banks were selected because they had the 'greatest potential problems' based on a preliminary investigation.



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Deadbeat Nation: A Shocking 77 Million Americans Face Debt Collectors

We have been warning for years that as a result of the Fed's disastrous policies, America's middle class is being disintegrated and US adults are surviving only thanks to insurmountable debtloads. But not even we had an appreciation of how serious the problem truly was. We now know, and it is a shocker: according to new research by the Urban Institute, about 77 million Americans have a debt in collections.



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Strong 5 Year Bond Auction Has Record Low Dealer Takedown, Directs Surge

If yesterday's 2 Year bond auction was a snoozer, today's 5 Year was anything but. First, the pricing was solid, and while the high yeild of 1.72 was the highest since May 2011, it stopped 1.2 bps through the 1.732% When Issued. The Bid to Cover was also solid, rising from 2.74 to 2.81, the highest since March and now appears to have decisively broken the downtrend in BTCs seen through the end of 2013. The most notable features of today's auction however were the internals, where we saw the Direct takedown soar from 9.3% to 25.9%, the second highest on record and only lower than the 30.4% in December 2012. And while Indirects were again flat like in yesterday's auction at 48.2%, it was the Dealers who had to make space, and the resulting Dealer allotment of 25.9% was far lower than the 38.2% in June, and the lowest in auction history.



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