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US Busts Alleged Russian Spy Ring In Manhattan

Federal prosecutors in New York charged three men in an alleged Russian spy ring centered in Manhattan and the Bronx, according to a Jan. 23 complaint unsealed today by the office of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. According to CNN's Shimon Prokupecz, Evgeny Buryakov, working with Igor Sporyshev and Victor Podobnyy, was trying to recruit NYC residents as intelligence sources for the Russian Federation.

 



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Spot The Uber Arbitrage



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Saxo Bank: The Syriza Victory Is A Disaster For Europe

The Greek election result was worse than expected - the anti-austerity vote is massive, but it could be an empty gesture as Greece in reality has little choice: Comply with the Troika or leave the EUR. Saxo Bank's Steen Jakobsen doubts the latter will happen with the same vote as the Greeks are tired of austerity but not of being European. However, game theory dictates that some solution will be found which is sub-optimal for all parties, but the risk it will take longer than market have nerves for. There remains a consensus that “things will be ok...” but the early comments indicate the positioning is already starting...



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The Timestamps Begin: "The Impact Of The Blizzard On Employment Will Be Near Zero"

Just because we enjoy collecting snippets of soundbites and information, especially when the originators of said soundbites do a U-turn a few weeks later, here are the first two "timestamps" regarding the impact of what may be the biggest blizzard (and certainly one of the Top 5) in New York city history.



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S&P Cuts Russia To Junk, Ruble Plunges To 6-Week Lows - Full Text

With the Ruble having plunged 3 handles today alone, it appears perhaps more than a few could see this coming...

  • RUSSIAN FEDERATION RATINGS CUT TO JUNK BY S&P
  • RUSSIAN FEDERATION CUT TO BB+ FROM BBB- BY S&P; OUTLOOK NEG

Putting it below investment grade for the first time in a decade. Of course, this happens just 6 days after the news first leaked that S&P would pay a $1.5 billion settlement to the US DoJ over downgrading America: one wonders just what else was in the small print?



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From Keynesian Shangri-La To Outright War

The problem with all Keynesian styled philosophy is, it works well, and seems utterly brilliant on paper and in the classrooms of academia - when trouble arises its "To the text books!" for answers and BAM! – crisis solved. However in the real world it doesn't work that way. Just like war, when the battle starts, all earlier plans get thrown in the dust heap. And make no mistake, this was all started via armchair generals who believed monetary policy could be managed from within the Ivory Towers of academia and the consequences of these policies are multiplying by the day. As Mike Tyson once said so eloquently: (I’m paraphrasing) "Everybody's got a plan – till someone punches them in the face." The SNB has just landed the first blow. Now what?



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When A Soaring Dollar "Reflects Loss Of Investor Confidence And Is Potentially Devastating"

"The Ruble has fallen by 50% in a year. The price of oil has halved, the price of copper, iron ore and many other commodities has tumbled. The Swiss franc has been  de-floored and the uproar was huge. All random events, all part of a pattern. Financial markets are feeling the effects of a pick-up in volatility that has followed the end of Fed QE. While zero rates were augmented with Fed bond-buying, investors went around the world in search of higher yields, in all sorts or assets and currencies. Traders and investors of one kind or another resorted to leverage to reach the yield targets they needed to match their required investment returns. All of which was fine while the party went on forever, but now that it’s ending, the outcome is anything but fine."



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Swiss Franc Slumps Most Since September 2011

The fallout from the monetary policy machinations in Europe over the last two weeks are far from over. After notable weakness last week, the Swiss Franc collapsed 2.7% today against the USD - its largest single-day drop since Sept 6th 2011. Whether this is SNB re-intervention, natural kneejerk reactions to the massive move on SNB day, covering of positions as FX brokers try to unwind positions, or Swiss recession fears is unclear; but one thing is obvious, higher-er margins and lower-er leverage is on the way as these moves are colossal on a historical volatility basis...



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IBM Stock Disappointed That Company Isn't Firing A Mindboggling 110,000

Over the weekend, in a repeat of rumors that were widespread last year, Forbes 'reported' about Project Chrome, a massive corporate reorganization for IBM that would see Big Blue cull over a quarter of its staff – in real terms that means over 110,000 employees, as early as next week. IBM stocks surged higher on this 'great' news... and then, disappointment started as "the largest corporate restructuring in history" was denied by the company...



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Is Mattel CEO "Resignation" A Sign Of Things To Come For Retail Execs?

In the three years since Bryan Stockton took over as CEO of Mattel, the company's revenues have tumbled and debt load has soared over 30% as - despite share buyback bonanzas, the stock price has greatly rotated to unchanged since Jan 2012 when he took over. However, what is most important about today's "resignation" is it accompanied dramatic guide down on earnings as, among other things, Barbie doll sales collapsed 21% in Q3. So the question now is, will every retail 'miss' be accompanied by a CEO 'execution' or is this widespread weakness - despite the unambiguously good low oil price tax cut - merely transitory and Q1 will be awesome...?



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2 Foot "Quad-Copter" Crashed On White House Grounds

Over the past few days someone figured out that while there is an extensive barrier surrounding the White House, it only stretches about 8 feet above the ground. Everything above that is open air, or, as it is better known in this day and age of pervasive drone overflights: "a direct path."



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"Unambiguously Good"? Dallas Fed Collapses To 20-Month Lows As Orders Plunge

Who could have seen this coming? Well apparently all but one economist (TD Securties Greene and Mulraine had a -5.0 est) as the -4.4 print is almost a 4 standard deviation miss from extrapolator's and hockey-stickers' dreams. Following December's drop and miss, the Dallas Fed Manufacturing index is now at its lowest since May 2013. All components dropped, apart from inventories as 11% of firms reported layoffs and wage pressures eased.



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Is 4th Time The Charm For Today's Slam-Silver-Surge-Stocks Algo?

Silver just got monkey-hammered below $18 - on no news catalyst - as for the 4th time today, it appears the triangle of doom between precious metals, USDJPY, and US equities is initiated to ensure Greek fears do not harm wealth creation... Today's weapon of choice in the levitation is "most shorted" stocks - which have been squeezed up over 1% since the open, dragging the indices higher with them...



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"Leverage Mismatches" - Why Q-ECB May Not Be A Favorable Development

It’s not entirely clear what will happen in the near term, but the financial markets are already pushed to extremes by central-bank induced speculation. With speculators massively short the now steeply-depressed euro and yen, with equity margin debt still near record levels in a market valued at more than double its pre-bubble norms on historically reliable measures, and with several major European banks running at gross leverage ratios comparable to those of Bear Stearns and Lehman before the 2008 crisis, we're seeing an abundance of what we call "leveraged mismatches" - a preponderance one-way bets, using borrowed money, that permeates the entire financial system. With market internals and credit spreads behaving badly, while Treasury yields, oil and industrial commodity prices slide in a manner consistent with abrupt weakening in global economic activity, we can hardly bear to watch...



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