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German DAX Rises Above 11,000 For First Time After European GDP Surprises To Upside





Who would have thought all it takes for Eurozone Q4 GDP to print above expectations, even if by the smallest of possible margins - one which even the Chinese goalseek-o-tron bows its head down to in respect - which at 0.3% Q/Q was above the 0.2% expected and above Q3's 0.2%, was for Europe to admit it has finally succumbed to deflation. Oh, and for the ECB to admit the situation has never been more serious by launching Q€. Oh, and add the "estimated contribution" to GDP from hookers and drugs. Put all that together and on an annualized basis, the European economy grew by 1.4%. Whatever the reason, Q4 GDP was the best print since Q1, even as Germany blew not only consensus of 0.3%, but the highest GDP estimate of 0.6% out of the water when it reported that courtesy of a spike in spending, its economy grew by 0.7% in the fourth quarter, up from the near-recessionary 0.1% in Q3. That, together with QE and ZIRP now raging across the continent, was enough to push the DAX above 11,000 for the first time ever.

 
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Now On The Endangered Species List: Bond Traders





The bond market may have gotten so fragmented in recent months that even Bloomberg was amazed at how little trading volume it necessary to make a price impact, the amount of bond traders (and certainly salesmen), and certainly their bonuses, appeared to only go up. "Appeared" being the key word, however, because as Bloomberg reports, "the average number of dealers providing prices for European corporate bonds dropped to a low of 3.2 per trade last month, down from 8.8 in 2009, according to data compiled by Morgan Stanley."

 
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Investors Are "Panic Buying" US Bonds & Stocks





Since the miserable US retail sales data hit, it appears the world's investors have decided that buying US stocks and US bonds is the thing to do...

 
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Market Wrap: Whirlwind Manic-Depressive Session Sees Futures Slide Then Surge





So far it has been an overnight session which clearly forgot to take its lithium, with futures first tumbling after CNBC's "leak" that a Greek deal had been reached was refuted, only to surge subsequently on both the Riskbank's foray into NIRP and QE which crushed the Swedish currency and sent its stocks to recorder highs, and more importantly, on the latest ceasefire out of Minsk which has pushed Russian and European assets substantially higher. While only the most naive believe that any palpable end to Ukraine hostilities will emerge as a result of today's delay, expect for Greek headlines to return with a vengeance as today it is Tsipras' turn to speak at a summit of the 28 European Union leaders set to begin momentarily.

 
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Ukraine Ceasefire Deal Agreed After Negotiations All-Nighter; Doubts Remain About Its Implementation





It would have simply been too much to handle for Europe and the risk off algos if hours after the embarrassing failure of the emergency Eurogroup meeting in Brussels failed to reach any deal involving Greece, the Ukraine ceasefire negotiations in Minsk were also to fall apart. Again. Which is probably why after a marathon session lasting 17 hours, and following repeated trial balloons that a deal had and/or had not been reached, a short while ago all major media outlets were delighted to finally blast some Risk On news namely that leaders of France and Germany brokered a renewed deal to end Ukraine’s 10-month civil war in the separatist eastern region, which means that we have a Minsk-signed Ukraine ceasefire. Again.

 
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Goldman: Markets Ignore Grexit Threat Due To ECB QE, But If There Is A Grexit Then All Bets Are Off





It looks reasonable that investors would not ask for an additional compensation for a source of risk that has limited direct economic bearing for other asset classes.... Such a conclusion would cease to hold, in our view, if Greece were to leave the common currency. Indeed, ‘Grexit’ would constitute a non-diversifiable event, affecting all financial assets. This is because, upon the departure of one of its members, EMU would likely be seen as a fixed exchange rate arrangement between countries which can elect to adhere or leave. Convertibility risk would resurface, exposing the possibility of a collapse of the entire project.

 
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Stocks Coiled In Anticipation Of Today's Eurogroup Meeting





The only question on traders' minds today, with the lack of any macro news out of the US (except for the DOE crude oil inventory update at 10:30am Eastern expecting a build of 3.5MM, down from 6.33MM last week, and the 10 Year bond auction at 1pm) is which Greek trip abroad is more important: that of FinMin Varoufakis to Belgium where he will enter the lion's den of Eurogroup finance ministers at 3:30pm GMT, or that of the foreign minister Kotzias who has already arrived in Moscow, and where we already got such blockbuster statements as:

LAVROV: RUSSIA WILL CONSIDER AID REQUESTS, IF GREECE MAKES THEM; KOTZIAS: GREECE IS WILLING TO MEDIATE BETWEEN EU, RUSSIA

Or perhaps both are critical, as what happens in Brussels will surely impact the outcome of the Greek trip to Russia?

 
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If You Listen Carefully, The Bankers Are Actually Telling Us What Is Going To Happen Next





Are we on the verge of a major worldwide economic downturn? Well, if recent warnings from prominent bankers all over the world are to be believed, that may be precisely what we are facing in the months ahead.

 
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Halliburton To Cut Up To 6,500 Jobs As Crude Carnages To Crucial $50 Level





But everything was supposed to be fixed?

*HALLIBURTON WILL CUT 5,000-6,500 JOBS: HOUSTON BUSINESS JOURNAL

WTI is tumbling down 5%, nearing the crucial $50 level...

 
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Stocks Slide As Europe Talks Back Its Greek 'Bailout Extension' Trial Balloon





Having achieved only modest gains in risk assets from the 'rumored' six-month-extension trial balloon for Greece, it appears European leaders are standing in line to refute the fact that they "folded" and talk back the non-bailout bailout. First, Italy's FinMin Padoan denying he has seen any plan; then the European Commission stating unequivocally that "there is no formal proposal," and finally none other than Jeroen Dijsselbloem bleets that "discussions with Greece have yet to start." But apart from that, everything is fixed...

 
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Market Wrap: Stocks Drift, Dollar Stronger, Oil Snaps Rally, Treasurys Slide On Microsoft Deal





So far it has been largely a repeat of the previous overnight session, where absent significant macro drivers, the attention again remains focused both on China, which reported some truly ugly inflation (with 0.8% Y/Y CPI the lowest since Lehman, just call it deflation net of the "goalseeking") data (which as usually is "good for stocks" pushing the SHCOMP 1.5% higher as it means even more easing), and on Greece, which has not made any major headlines in the past 24 hours as patience on both sides is growing thin ahead of the final "bluff" showdown between Greece and the Eurozone is imminent. The question as usual is who will have just a fraction more leverage in the final assessment - Greece has made its ask known, and it comes in the form of 10 billion euros in short-term "bridge" financing consisting of €8 billion increase in Bills issuance and €1.9 billion in ECB profits, as it tries to stave off a funding crunch, a proposal which will be presented on the Wednesday meeting of euro area finance ministers in Brussels. The question remains what Europe's countrbid, if any, will be. For the answer: stay tuned in 24 hours.

 
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A Bull In A China Shop





China’s stock market is on fire but its economy is cooling off.  Can the divergence last? And what’s next for China? Stay tuned to find out.

 
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