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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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"The Next America" - Two Dramas In Slow Motion





That America has - or perhaps more accurately that the administration is desperate to create - a wealth divide, gender divide, and certainly ethnic divide, is hardly a secret. Yet all of those may pale in comparison to the transformation that the US is undergoing currently, according to the most recent Pew research study, one which finds that the world's one time superpower, is in the midst of two slow-motion dramas right now. "Our population is becoming majority non-white at the same time a record share is going gray. Each of these shifts would by itself be the defining demographic story of its era. The fact that both are unfolding simultaneously has generated big generation gaps that will put stress on our politics, families, pocketbooks, entitlement programs and social cohesion.

 
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Carl Icahn Warns: "Easy To Fake Earnings" Thanks To Fed; "Major Correction Coming"





"Everybody loves this market," jokes a hursuit Carl Icahn fresh from his eBay exigencies, "everybody is buying this and buying that... we have a lot of hedges on." However, Icahn - who knows better than most just how one can financially engineer a company - says "there is reason to be cautious... a lot of the earnings are sort of artificial." While proclaiming that the Fed "did a great job in saving the economy," Icahn laughs that "with these low interest rates it's easy to fake earnings... and I don't think that can continue forever." Simply put, the billionaire activist investors concludes, you can't print money forever and "that there will be a major correction."

 
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Frontrunning: April 10





  • J.P. Morgan's Dimon Describes Year of Pain (WSJ)
  • SAC Faces a Final Reckoning for 14 Years of Insider Scam (BBG)
  • New Standards for $693 Trillion Swaps Market Increase Risk of Blowup (BBG)
  • China says no major stimulus planned; March trade weak (Reuters)
  • As we said in 2012 would happen: Record Europe Dividends Keep $3 Trillion From Factories (BBG)
  • Blame it on the algo: Deutsche Bank Said to Find Improper Communication in FX Case (BBG)
  • Coke Sticks to Its Strategy While Soda Sales Slide (WSJ)
  • Ukraine’s Rust Belt Faces Ruin as Putin Threatens Imports (BBG)
  • RBC Joins Goldman in Suing Clients After Singapore Crash  (BBG)
  • U.S. House panel to look at aluminum prices, warehousing (Reuters)
  • Brooklyn Apartment Rents Jump to a Record as Leases Surge (BBG)
 
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Is The Drone War Finally Being Questioned? (Spoiler Alert: Not Really)





The ethical problems associated with the US 'drone war', as well as the enormous blow-back potential it harbors are seemingly finally rousing Congress into asking questions. After hundreds of civilian deaths and the enormous help they have reportedly provided to Al Qaeda's recruitment drive in the regions concerned, it may indeed be time to wonder 'who is actually killed' by US drone strikes. It would surely be a case of 'better late than never', but one should actually better not get one's hopes up...

 
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Frontrunning: April 3





  • Russia says expects answers on NATO troops in eastern Europe (Reuters)
  • Dealers say GM customer anxiety rising, sales may take hit (Reuters)
  • China Unveils Mini-Stimulus Measure (WSJ)
  • Londoners Priced Out of Housing Blame Foreigners (BBG)
  • New earthquake in Chile prompts tsunami alerts (Reuters)
  • Ukrainian Billionaire Charged by U.S. With Bribe Scheme (BBG)
  • Chinese Investments in U.S. Commercial Real Estate Surges (BBG)
  • Old Math Casts Doubt on Accuracy of Oil Reserve Estimates (BBG)
  • US secretly created 'Cuban Twitter' to stir unrest (AP)
 
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Frontrunning: April 2





  • Why did Yellen use criminals in her employment case studies? Hilsenrath explainz (Hilsenrath)
  • GM avoided defective switch redesign in 2005 to save a dollar each (Reuters)
  • Xuzhou Zhongsen Said to Avert Bond Default on Guarantor Aid  (BBG)
  • France's New Finance Minister Faces Fiscal Challenge (WSJ)
  • The magic is gone: Draghi’s Attempt to Talk Down Euro Lost on Traders (BBG)
  • Another John Kerry smashing success: U.S. Gambit on Mideast Peace Talks Falters (WSJ)
  • Combat-Ready China Military Seen as Xi’s Goal in Graft Battle (BBG)
  • Huge earthquake off Chile's north coast triggers tsunami (Reuters)
  • Pressure rises on Gross as investors pull $3.1 billion from Pimco's flagship fund (Reuters)
 
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Citi Tumbles Below $5/Share On A Split-Adjusted Basis After Failing Another Fed Stress Test





Another year, another failure by Citigroup to i) pass the Fed's stress test and ii) be able to stop investing cash in such idiotic fundamental concepts as CapEx, and instead reward activist shareholders with increased dividends and buybacks. As the WSJ reports, Citigroup "failed to get Federal Reserve approval to reward investors with dividends and stock buybacks, a significant blow to Chief Executive Michael Corbat's effort to bolster the bank's reputation following a 2008 government rescue." Hardly surprising for a bank which effectively was wiped out in the crisis and which only survived thanks to the Fed-backed crammed-up, spinoff of billions of toxic assets into a bank bank, however certainly surprising for a bank that is supposed to be "fixed" five years into a "recovery." What's worse, the stock is now trading below the infamous $5 level on a pre-split adjustment level - the same split that was supposed to at least optically, give the impression that things at Citi are ok. Turns out optics is only half the answer.

 
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Two Years Later, Larry Fink Confirms Zero Hedge Was Right





Two years ago, on April 2, 2012, long before it became abundantly clear to even the most clueless CNBC hacks, we said that there will be no capex boom as long as corporate management teams abuse ZIRP (and yes, it is all the Fed's fault as we further explained) to allocate capital, most of it courtesy of low-cost debt, by providing quick returns to activist investors through dividends and buybacks, instead of reallocating the funds to grow the company by investing in Capex (the latest proof of the unprecedented lack of capital spending growth increase came earlier today) and SG&A or at least M&A. Two years later after our post, whose conclusion has been proven empirically by what has happened in the US economy where CapEx still refuses to pick up despite endless lies of some recovery that refuses to materialize except in talking head year-end bonuses, none other than the head of the world's largest asset manager, BlackRock's Larry Fink admits we were right all along.

 
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Frontrunning: March 26





  • One-Ship Ukraine Navy Defies Russia to the End (WSJ)
  • Crimea-Induced Trading Surge Stokes Moscow Exchange Rally (BBG)
  • Moscow says Ukraine stops Russian crews disembarking in Kiev (Reuters)
  • New images show more than 100 objects that could be plane debris (Reuters)
  • Anger of Flight 370 Families Explodes in Beijing (BBG)
  • Murdoch Promotes Son Lachlan in Succession Plan for Empire (BBG)
  • Facebook to buy virtual reality goggles maker for $2 billion (Reuters)
  • Syrian Regime Exploits Rebel Despair (WSJ)
  • King Digital IPO price may not bode well for stock (Reuters)
  • Rothschild in Twitter Spat as Bakries Cut Ties With Miner (BBG)
 
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"Anarchy" Returns To Ukraine As Ultra-Nationalist Leader Killed By Police





The Russian foreign ministry proclaimed the recent robbing of passengers traveling from Russia to Moldova (via Ukraine), by an ultra-nationalist Insurgent Army, is a manifestation of "anarchy" and was "bewildered" by the refusal of the Ukrainian police to take any action (against the groups that are largely responsible for the overturn of Yanukoych's government just a few weeks ago). However, as RT reports, that changed this morning as the notorious Ukrainian ultra-nationalist known as Sashko Bilyi was shot dead during a police raid against his gang. The story just gets worse though as now the activist 'right sector' has stated it will seek revenge for the killing of their leader.

 
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Frontrunning: March 20





  • Possible debris off Australia a 'credible lead' for missing Malaysia jet (Reuters)
  • Maldives and Afghanistan: Theories Blossom for Airliner (BBG)
  • Ukraine Military Concedes on Crimea as Russia Takes Hold (BBG)
  • Asia Stocks Drop on Fed; H-Share Index Enters Bear Market (BBG)
  • Scientists say destructive solar blasts narrowly missed Earth in 2012 (Reuters)
  • GM’s Ignition Victims Need Help From Bankruptcy Judge (BBG)
  • U.S. Alleges Inside Traders Used Spycraft, Ate Evidence (WSJ)
  • God Meets Profit in Obama Contraceptive Rule Court Case (BBG)
 
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Frontrunning: March 19





  • How Putin Parried Obama's Overtures on Crimea (WSJ)
  • West Readies Tighter Sanctions After Russia Seals Crimea Claim (Bloomberg)
  • Putin says U.S. guided by 'the rule of the gun' in foreign policy (Reuters)
  • JPMorgan Said to Agree on Commodities Unit Sale to Mercuria (BBG)
  • Short Sellers Target Chinese Developers as Rout Deepens (BBG)
  • HFT finally under the spotlight: High-Speed Trading Firms Face New U.S. Scrutiny (WSJ)
  • Chinese Dollar Bond Investors Demand Higher Yields After Default (BBG)
  • According to Joe LaVorgna it's the snow's fault: Deutsche Bank Said to Plan Job Cuts at Investment Bank (BBG)
  • Israeli airstrikes kill 1 Syrian soldier, wound 7 (AP)
 
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RIP - The Truman Show of Bubble Finance, 1987-2014





Seth Klarman recently remarked:

"All the Trumans – the economists, fund managers, traders, market pundits –know at some level that the environment in which they operate is not what it seems on the surface…. But the zeitgeist is so damn pleasant, the days so resplendent, the mood so euphoric, the returns so irresistible, that no one wants it to end."

Klarman is here referring to the waning days of this third and greatest financial bubble of this century. But David Stockman's take is that the crack-up boom now nearing its dénouement marks not merely the season finale of still another Fed-induced cycle of financial asset inflation, but, in fact, portends the demise of an entire era of bubble finance.

 
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Frontrunning: March 14





  • Ukraine anxiety triggers flight to safety, stocks tumble (Reuters)
  • Woodrow Wilson’s Ukraine Failure Foreshadows West’s Dilemmas (BBG)
  • Fortress Executives Join Peers Selling Stock After Rally (BBG)
  • 303 Deaths Seen in G.M. Cars With Failed Air Bags (NYT)
  • Putin Deports Executives for Speeding as Sanctions Loom (BBG)
  • Russia blocks internet sites of Putin critics (Reuters)
  • China Bond Risk Exceeds Ireland as Defaults Unavoidable (BBG)
  • China H-Shares Post Biggest Weekly Drop Since October (BBG)
  • Surge in Rail Shipments of Oil Sidetracks Other Industries (WSJ)
  • Blackstone’s Home Buying Binge Ends as Prices Surge (BBG)
 
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