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Homebuilder Confidence Misses For 4th Month In A Row

NAHB confidence missed expectations once again - the 7th miss in the last 8 months - as the 'hope' priced into this index is eroded and collapses back to the reality of actual sales. The index was up very modestly but all thanks to yet more "hope" as Future (expected) single-family sales expectations rose to 57 (the highest since Jan). The Northeast saw prospective buyer traffic rise while all other regions fell with the West collapsing.



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Watch As Donetsk Locals Stop A Ukraine Tank

Something tells us this will not get as much footage as the infamous "tank man" stand off on Tiananmen Square.



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Ukraine Troops, APCs Storm Occupied Slavyansk

As we reported earlier, Ukraine finally unleashed a military action to the "pro-Russian separatists" in "pro-Russian separatist" occupied Slavyansk and other east Ukraine towns. And now, we get to see it in action. From Bloomberg:

  • UKRAINE UNITS STORMING CITY HELD BY PRO-RUSSIAN PROTESTERS: RIA
  • UKRAINIAN TROOPS, APCS ENTER SLOVYANSK, RIA SAYS
  • MILITARY STORM AIRFIELD IN E. UKRAINE, WOUNDED REPORTED: RT
  • UKRAINE GOVT: RUSSIAN 45TH AIRBORNE IN SLOVYANSK, KRAMATORSK

The response by Putin, who has repeatedly warned against precisely this escalation, is now expected momentarily.



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The S&P 500 Enters "Vertical Straight Line Up" Formation

The comedy from yesterday continues. Sure enough it is market open on a Tuesday (remember - the market never goes down on Tuesday) - the two most bullish catalyst to momentum ignition vacuum tubes. The rest is indescriminate panic buying history.



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Gold Futures Halted Again On Latest Furious Slamdown

It seems the two words "fiduciary duty" are strangely missing from the dictionary of the new normal's asset management community. This morning, shortly before 8:27am ET, someone decide that it was the perfect time to dump thousands of Gold futures contracts worth over half a billion dollars notional. This smashed Gold futures down over $12 instantaneously, breaking below the 200DMA and triggered the futures exchange to halt trading in the precious metal for 10-seconds. Palladium also got clobbered and was also halted. This is gold's worst since Bernanke 'tapered' in December.



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GMO Shows Why BTFD In Small Caps Is Dead (In 1 Simple Chart)

The future for US Small Caps is not a bright one, according to GMO. While High Quality US equities are expected to return a meager 2.1% annually over the next 7 years, Small Caps have become so egregiously over-valued that GMO's forward-looking estimate of Small Cap performance is a dismal 4.9% annual loss over the next 7 years (compared with a 6.5% annual return average for broad US equities). It seems the BTFD easy money has been made in this bubble...



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Copper Joins Precious Metals Rout, Tumbles Below $3.00

The fears over ongoing commodity-financing restrictions and slowing money supply growth are contagiously spilling over into other collateral. Copper prices are in free fall this morning, crashing through critical levels (especially Dennis Gartman's "long punt") and back below the Maginot Line of $3.00. These are near 3-week low levels and the biggest drop since the cash-for-commodity financing deals came under real pressure.



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March CPI Higher Than Expected, Driven By 16.4% Annual Spike In Utilities, Increase In Shelter Index

Following the hotter than expected PPI data, it was the turn of CPI to come in stronger than consensus had hoped for, and sure enough, moments ago the BLS reported that March consumer inflation printed higher than the expected 0.1%, coming at 0.2% for both headline and the core (excluding food and energy) components, driven mostly higher by a surge in Utility costs which soared by 7.5% M/M, and a whopping 16.4% Y/Y. Curiously, the energy services spike of 2.6% of which utilities is a part, was offset by a drop in energy commodities, mostly fuel oil, whose cost dropped 2.9% in March and by gasoline down 1.7%, and down 4.7% Y/Y.  The BLS also noted the rapid increase in the shelter price index: "Almost two-thirds of this increase was accounted for by the shelter index, which rose 0.3 percent. The indexes for rent and owners’ equivalent rent both rose 0.3 percent, while the index for lodging away from home rose 1.5 percent." Is the housing bubble - both purchase and rent - and which has already burst across much of the nation, finally being noticed by the Fed?



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Empire Manufacturing Misses By Most In 15 Months, Drops To 2014 Lows

For the 8th month of the last 9, the Empire Manufacturing missed expectations. Tumbling to its lowest since December (despite the apparent let-up in weather freakishness), this is the biggest miss since Jan 2013. The average workweek slowed significantly, but the overall index was modestly saved by a push higher in 'hope' as the six-months-forward index jumped back to Feb highs. Perhaps most concerning, given the supposed pent-up demand that we have been told to expect when the weather picked up, was the tumble in new orders to their lowest since November.



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Gold Tumbles Most In 4 Months On China Demand Slowdown Fears

Gold prices are down almost 2% this morning (over $25) as last night's slowdown in Chinese money-supply growth and fears that China's insatiable gold demand has become less insatiable send the barbarous relic back towards $1300. Slowing GDP expectations, increasing restrictions on shadow-banking commodity-backed financing, and a need for liquidity are all factors weighing on the precious metal this morning.



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Ukraine Launches Military Operation Against Separatists, Russian PM Says Country "Anticipating Civil War"

Following last night's protest in front of the Kiev parliament by Maidan faithful and others who had gotten sick and tired by their government doing absolutely nothing to preserve the cohesion of the Ukraine - both west and east - this morning acting president Turchynov, realizing he is between a rock and a hard place and suddenly his position is quite precarious, finally announced that he had issued an order to the country's military to begin operations to retake government buildings seized by pro-Russia separatists in eastern areas.  Oleksandr Turchynov, also the parliament speaker, said the deployment had begun in the Donetsk region, where many of the approximately 10 towns affected by the protests are located.



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Frontrunning: April 15

  • Ukraine forces move against separatists (FT)
  • China GDP Gauge Seen Showing Deeper Slowdown (BBG)
  • China Is Losing Its Taste for Gold (WSJ)
  • Regulators Weigh Curbs on Trading Fees (WSJ)
  • Obama, Putin Talk as Unrest Roils Eastern Ukraine (WSJ)
  • Japan PM talks with BOJ chief, does not push for easing (Reuters)
  • BRICS countries to set up their own IMF (RBTH)
  • IMF Members Weigh Options to Sidestep U.S. Congress on Overhaul (WSJ)
  • Zebra to Buy Motorola Solutions Unit for $3.45 Billion (BBG)
  • Chinese Thunder God Herb Works as Well as Pain Therapy (BBG)


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Futures Ignore Overnight Newsflow, Prepare For More Yen-Driven Momentum Ignition

One can see that while the traditional 6:00 AM USDJPY buy program is just duying to resume aggressive upward momentum ignition, futures are still leery and confused by the recent post-open high beta selloffs. Then again, things like yesterday's ridiculous no news 3:30pm ramp happen and confused them even more just as momentum is about to take a downward direction. Stocks in Asia (ex-China) advanced amid a reversal in sentiment after Citigroup (+4.15%) inspired positive close on Wall Street, however Shanghai Comp (-1.4%) underperformed as concerns over GDP data on Wednesday following weak money supply data weighed on sentiment. Stocks remained on the back foot (Eurostoxx50 -0.42%), with Bunds supported by the release of lower than expected German ZEW survey and also ongoing concerns surrounding the stand-off between Ukraine/Russia. Short-Sterling bear steepened after UK CPI fell to its lowest level since October 2009, but house prices across Britain posted its biggest rise since June 2010, reviving concerns over an overheating market.



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Chinese Yuan (And Copper) Tumbles As Money Supply Growth Plunges To 13-Year Lows

Today's 'bounce' in US equity markets is not translating into Asian equity market strength as China, India, Indonesia, and Thai stocks are fading. Copper is crumbling and just stopped out Dennis Gartman's long. In China, the PBOC withdrew 172bn Yuan (highest since Feb 2013) and pushed the currency back towards its weakest since Feb (which is the weakest since the PBOC began its erstwhile carry-killing-policy). Lots of odd moving-parts in Chinese data tonight with M2 YoY growth tumbling to 12.1% (missing expectations) - its slowest since Jan 2001 but Total Social Financing smashed expectations at 2.07tn Yuan (vs 1.86tn expected). It seems, try as the PBOC might to control it, credit creation continues to balloon in China.



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Bart Chilton Joins America's Largest Law Firm As Policy Advisor

It seems like it was only yesterday (actually it was early November) when infamous CFTC commissioner, legendary threat to gold manipulators nowhere, and Alexander Godunov impersonator, Bart Chilton made a very dramatic exit stage left. At the time, we asked rhetorically if said dramatic depature was just for show. The rhetorical answer to the rhetorical question: of course it was, confirmed moments ago when Chilton became just the latest "regulator" to take the great revolving door out of a worthless public service Washington office into a just as worthless, but much better paying private-sector Washington office. Presenting the latest employee of DLA Piper, the largest law firm in the US, and possibly the world, by number of partners - Bart Chilton, poet.



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