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Nuclear Power Plant In South Korea Hacked

Since the ultimate goal of the ongoing hacking scare tactic appears to be the implementation of an Internet "Kill switch" which would likely be achieved by a controlled take down of the energy grid to demonstrate just how scary "hackers" may be, here comes the "other" Korea with an appetizer of what is to come to the US on short notice. According to RT, a South Korean nuclear plant operator’ computer system was hacked. The perpetrator has leaked blueprints and manuals, says if his demands for three reactors’ closure aren’t met, those living near the facilities should “stay away” from home.



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Bonds Triple Dow Gains For The Year

But, but, but... who would buy bonds when they only yield 2%? It appears, for the 10th year in a row that the smartest people in the room have been totally and utterly wrong about the direction of interest rates. As 2014 draws to a close with stocks at all-time highs and 1% of the nation cock-a-hoop at the wealth being created, we wondered just how many know that mid- to long-duration bonds are up around 24% year-to-date, almost triple the 8.3% gains for The Dow...



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"Off The Grid" Economic Indicators – Q4 2014

ConvergEx's Nick Colas quarterly review of “Off the grid” economic indicators tells a story somewhat less sanguine than the typical government data. Confidence is returning, yes. But consider just how low it got: the top 3 Google autofills for “I want to sell my …” featured “kidney” for the first 3 quarters of this year. It was replaced in the current quarter with “Laptop”. Progress, of a sort...



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The Marketing Campaign Is Now Complete: Sony To Release The Interview On December 25 After All

And so, what is perhaps the greatest marketing campaign in movie history, comes to a close with the following update from Bloomberg, Sony executives talking about possibility of releasing “The Interview” on Dec. 25 during a conference call scheduled for 10am in Dallas, Dallas News reports, citing people familiar.

The terrorists un-win!



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The Greater Abomination: Washington's Lies About TARP's "Success" Are Worse Than The Original Bailouts, Part I

The mainstream economics narrative is so far down the monetary rabbit hole that the blinding clarity of the chart below has no chance whatsoever of seeing the light of day. That’s because it dramatizes the real truth regarding all the Fed gibberish about “accommodation” and “stimulus”. Namely, that what lies beneath its “extraordinary measures”, such as ZIRP, QE, wealth effects and the rest of the litany, is a central banking regime that systematically destroy savers. Period. TARP wasn’t “repaid” with a profit. It was simply perpetuated and  morphed into a new form of destructive state subvention and malinvestment.



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T. Boone Pickens Rages On CNBC: "I Am The Expert, Not You", Says Oil Down Due To "Weak Demand"

Narrative, we have a problem! No lesser oil-man than T. Boone Pickens made quite an appearance on CNBC this morning - stunning the cheerleaders into first defense then silence as he broke the facts on oil's collapse to them. Oil is down "mainly due to weak demand," he explains... the anchors deny, "I am the expert, not you" Pickens rages as he warns drilling rigs will be laid down on a very wide scale (just as we have noted previously). Arguing over 'peak oil', he calls CNBC chatter "bullshit" and laid out a rather dismal short- to medium-term outlook for the oil & gas sector - not what the cheerleading tax-cut slurping media narrative wants to hear at all...



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Will The Fed Intervene In The Oil Market?

In a larger sense, the Fed is already intervening in the oil sector via its zero interest rate policy (ZIRP) and its unlimited liquidity for financial speculation.Should the Fed turn the dial of intervention up by buying futures and oil-based bonds, it is not a new policy--it is simply a matter of degree. The intervention has been going on in every sector since 2008. The implosion of the oil sector is simply the latest outbreak of consequence following cause.



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The Housing Recovery Remains Cancelled Due To 6 Months Of Downward Revisions

Following last month's surge to record high home prices, it is perhaps no surprise that for the 6th month in a row, home prices have been revised lower. New Home Sales printed 438k, down from prior revised lower 445k and missing expectations of a surge to 460k... missing for 8 of the last 10 months. However, the key focus should be on the epic revisions of the (by now useless) home sales. For the period May - November, the initial new home sales prints amount to 2.779MM houses. Post revision, the number plunges by 22% to 2.168K. There goes the housing pillar of recovery (let's hope economists are wrong and rates don't rise next year eh?)



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UMich Consumer Confidence Near 8-Year High, Inflation Expectations Hit 4-Year Lows

Despite the collapse of inflation expectations in last month's UMich confidence, the push to 7-year highs was unstoppable (though missing expectations)...after soaring confidence amid Ebola scares and crashing stocks in October, even the surveyers were questioning the respondents' replies "it would be surprising if recent declines in household wealth did not reverse some of the recent gains in optimism in the months ahead." But sure enough, to maintain the magic, UMich consumer confidence rose from November's missed expectations to the highest since Jan 2007 at 93.6. Inflastion expectations for the next year fell from the preliminary to the lowest in over 4 years.



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Dow Tops 18,000 Following 1000-Point 5-Day Rip

What more is there to say really... over 1000 points off the Yellen lows in less than 5 days. Dow 18,000 - can't you just feel the wealth being created? Golf clap...



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Fed Tightening On Deck After Q3 GDP Soars To 5% On Revisions, Highest Since 2003

And just like that Q3 GDP, the one for the quarter ended Sept.30, was revised from 3.9% (which in turn was revised higher from 3.5%) to a mindblowing 5% - the highest print since Q3 2003 when GDP rose by 6.9%. This was above the highest Wall Street forecast of 4.7%, higher even than Joe Lavorgna's. The drivers: unprecedented revisions to Personal Consumption which supposedly rose by 3.2% in Q3 as opposed to the 2.2% prior reported, and 2.5% expected. Consumption accounted for 2.21% of the final 5.0% GDP print: this was the highest since Q4 2010 when it rose 2.8%. In fact, everything was revised higher: fixed investment rose 1.21% compared to the 0.97% reported previously; private inventories were virtually unchanged after allegedly subtracting 0.6% from growth in the original Q3 GDP estimate; net trade was unchanged adding 0.77% to GDP and finally the government boosted GDP a little as well, contributing 0.8%.



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Durables Goods Data Ugly Across The Board, Worst Since Polar Vortex

Against expectations of a jubilant 3% surge in November, Durable Goods Orders slipped 0.7% - the biggest miss since December 2013. Perhaps even more worrisome, YoY Durable Goods Orders rose at a mere 0.3% - the slowest since the Polar Vortex. Across the board the data was a disaster, ex-Transports -0.4% (against expectations of a 1% rise), Cap Goods Order non-defense were unchanged (against expectations of a 1% rise) and shipments rose just 0.2% (missing expectations of a 1.3% rise)... But apart from that, everything's great.



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How Walgreen EPS Just Beat Consensus Even As Its Revenues Missed

So how did Walgreen succeed in boosting its aftertax EPS to beat expectations even as revenues missed expectations, especially with operating income in the quarter virtually unchanged from a year ago? The answer, as shown in the chart below is simple: WAG used the oldest trick in the book, and stretched its effective tax rate for GAAP purposes in the quarter to the lowest it could go.



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Frontrunning: December 23

  • Christmas rally enters sixth day in Europe (Reuters)
  • Downing North Korea's Internet not much of a scalp (Reuters)
  • North Korean Internet Access Restored After Hours-Long Outage (BBG)
  • At U.N. council, U.S. calls life in North Korea 'living nightmare' (Reuters)
  • Ukraine Cuts Gold Reserve to Nine-Year Low as Russia Buys (BBG)
  • De Blasio Seeks to Heal Rifts With Police After Officers Slain (BBG)
  • Oil steady around $60 on hopes of strong U.S. data (Reuters) - so it fell below $60 because...
  • Australian Dollar Hits Four and a Half Year Low on Chine Growth Worries (Reuters)


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Greece On The Edge After Second Failed Presidential Vote

A week after the Greek Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras, was unable to push through his nominee for president, Stavros Dimas, in a vote in parliament that needed 200 votes to pass, hours ago the second presidential vote took place and just like last week it again failed to secured the needed 200 votes, with just 168 lawmakers voting for the designated appointee. This means that in the third and final voting round next week, on December 29 - a trading day where bad news will propagate like wildfire in the absence of any market liquidity and means Kevin Henry will have to work overtime buying ETFs - New Democracy's Samaras has to find (or bribe) another 12 votes or else Greece is facing a snap election where the anti-bailout/anti-austerity leftist Syriza party is expected to win, and set off a chain of events that may result in Greece being kicked out of the Eurozone at least if the jitters seen during the summer of 2012 are any indication.



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