Recall that about a month ago we reported that shortly after France was stunned to see its largest bank slammed by its bestest buddy, the US, with a record $9 billion fine, "France responded to the fine by announcing it will train hundreds of Russian seamen to operate the French-Made Warship", the Mistral. In other words, for all the angry rhetoric of sanctions against Russia, France was merely the latest country to admit that it too can't exist without Russian business (not to mention natural gas) even if, or especially if, it means incurring US wrath which is taken out on its banking institutions. After all, if the US is engaging in scorched earth tactics France needs a stable trade partner, especially if it is one who turns on the gas, so to speak. However, it turns out that was only a small part of the story. Earlier today, when speaking to Russian diplomats in Moscow, Vladimir Putin accused the U.S. of blackmailing France to scrap a contract to sell Russia Mistral warships by offering to cut a record $8.97 billion fine against BNP Paribas.
Here are the best and worst performing assets broken down by the three key time periods as we leave the first half of 2013 (it's not been a good year for wheat).
- Ceasefire over, Ukraine forces attack rebel positions (Reuters)
- No Good Iraq Options for Obama as Russia, Iran Jump In (BBG)
- Japan’s Cabinet Agrees to Allow Military to Help Defend Allies (BBG)
- Obama says to reform immigration on his own, bypassing Congress (Reuters)
- South Stream Pipeline Project in Bulgaria Is Delayed (NYT)
- Foreign Banks Still in the Dark About Missing Metals in China (WSJ)
- Quelle indignity: several bankers at French bank BNP Paribas will face demotions and cuts to their pay and bonuses (FT)
- Symantec Warns of Hacker Threat Against Energy Companies (BBG)
- Shrinking Office Spaces Slow Recovery (WSJ)
- Rand Paul Slams ‘Fat Cats’ With Hedge Fund in Top Donors (BBG)
Anyone curious how real, GAAP EPS performed in the just completed quarter, should look at the chart below. It shows that GAAP EPS (helped by a record amount of corporate buybacks) in the first quarter of 2014 actually dropped 2.2% from Q1 2013 even as Non-GAAP suggested a nearly 5% increase!
The holiday shortened, and very busy, week includes the following highlights: [on Monday] US Chicago PMI; [on Tuesday] US ISM Manufacturing, Construction Spending, and Vehicle Sales, in addition to a host of PMI Manufacturing in various countries; [on Wednesday] US ADP Employment, Factory Orders; [on Thursday] US Non-farm Payrolls and Unemployment, MP Decisions by ECB and Riksbank, in addition to various Services and Composite PMIs; [on Friday] US holiday, Germany Factory Orders and Sweden IP.
- Facebook Researchers Manipulated News Feeds in 2012 Study (BBG)
- Argentina at Brink of Default as $539 Million Payment Due (BBG)
- Hedge fund correlation risk alarms investors (FT)
- As China Flexes Muscle, Obama Frets Over Rival’s Weakness (BBG)
- As caliphate declared, Iraqi troops battle for Tikrit (Reuters)
- Dubai Caps Worst Month Since 2008 as Real Estate Stocks Tumble (BBG)
- Russian Advisers Ready Iraq to Use New Combat Aircraft (BBG)
- Blackstone Readies Big-Bet Hedge Fund (WSJ) - so what was GSO?
- Pope says communists are closet Christians (Reuters)
- Thomson Reuters revising FX trading standards (Reuters)
With US equity markets hovering near record-er highs, we thought a quick summary of the state of the world's growing geopolitical risks would 'help' rationalize the BTFATH mentality. Here is Deutsche Bank's map of the most potentially destabilizing risks around the world...
- Yellen Spending Recipe Lacking Key Ingredient: Bigger Wage Gains (BBG)
- Ukraine signs trade agreement with EU, draws Russian threat (Reuters)
- GM Documents Show Senior Executive Had Role in Switch (WSJ)
- Australian Report Postulates Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Lost Oxygen (WSJ)
- World’s Biggest Debt Load Lures Distressed Funds to China (BBG)
- GPIF Rushing Into Riskier Assets Before Ready, Okina Says (BBG)
- Japan Prices Rise Most Since ’82 on Tax, Utility Fees (BBG)
- Italian Debt Swells to Rival Germany as Bond Yields Slide (BBG)
- China’s Manhattan Project Marred by Ghost Buildings (BBG)
- BOE's Carney Says Rates Won't Rise to Levels Previously Considered Normal (WSJ)
With stocks at record-er and record-er highs, TPTB must be confused as as to how confused the American public is. While 'government' data showed confidence at Jan 08 highs, Gallup's latest survey shows, only one in five Americans (22%) say the economy is excellent or good, while 34% say it is poor; and worse still, Americans continue to be less optimistic about the economy's future - 38% say the economy is getting better, while 58% say it is getting worse - the worst differential since 2013. Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index lost another point last week, the third week in a row, dropping to its lowest in over 2 months. The bottom line, sadly, is that in spit of all the sound and fury, Americans may not have shifted much in their perceptions of the economy's current status, but over the past month, they have become more negative about the economy's future.
- Must be an early winter: Housing Falters as Forecasters See U.S. Sales Dropping (BBG)
- China Property Failures Seen as $33 Billion in Trusts Due (BBG)
- Polish Prime Minister Says Recording Scandal May Trigger Early Election (WSJ)
- Iraqi forces ready push after Obama offers advisers (Reuters)
- Priorities: U.S. cuts aid to Uganda, cancels military exercise over anti-gay law (Reuters)
- Kurds' Takeover of Iraqi City of Kirkuk Strengthens Their Hand (WSJ)
- U.S. says government lab workers possibly exposed to anthrax (Reuters)
- Netflix Up 21% With Tesla: The best U.S. stocks this month are ones that just a few months ago were the biggest losers (BBG)
- Architects of Iraq Invasion Return to Blame Obama (BBG)
- Nato claims Moscow funding anti-fracking groups (FT)
- Lawmakers Skeptical GM Bosses Were Unaware of Defect (WSJ)
- Corinthian Colleges Warns of Possible Shutdown (WSJ)
- Taiwan's Quanta to start mass production of Apple's smartwatch in July (Reuters)
An indication of just how off the charts the 2014 edition of the full retard bond bubble is comes from Kenya which priced a debut $2bn eurobond yesterday and in the process managed to break the record for the largest debut for an African country in the sovereign bond market. One tranche of the offering was a $1.5bn 10 year note that priced at a yield of 6.875%. Kenya is rated B+ and the deal came several days after a large-scale terrorist attack in Kenya. The punchline: according to the FT, the orderbook was more than four times oversubscribed which is roughly equivalent to around 20% of the country’s GDP according to Bloomberg data.
Fresno police have arrested a 64-year-old man suspected of cooking methamphetamine in his apartment at a retirement community. KFSN-TV reports Robert Short was pulled over as part of a routine traffic stop late Saturday and officers found meth in his car. Investigators then went to Short’s apartment in the California League-Fresno Village, where they found a half pound of meth, heroin and materials for a meth lab.
While we noted last week the death of the Japanese bond market as government intervention has killed the largest bond market in the world; it is now becoming increasingly clear that the dearth of trading volumes is not only spreading to equity markets but also to all major global markets as investors rotate to derivatives in order to find any liquidity. Central planners removal of increasing amounts of assets from the capital markets (bonds and now we find out stocks), thus reducing collateral availability, leaves traders lamenting "liquidity is becoming a serious issue." While there are 'trade-less' sessions now in Japanese bonds, the lack of liquidity is becoming a growing problem in US Treasuries (where the Fed owns 1/3rd of the market) and Europe where as JPMorgan warns, "some of this liquidity may be more superficial than really deep." The instability this lack of liquidity creates is extremely worrisome and likely another reason the Fed wants to Taper asap as DoubleLine warns, this is "the sort of thing that rears its ugly head when it is least welcome -- when it’s the greatest problem."
- Iraq Army Tries to Roll Back Sunni Militants’ Advance (BBG)
- Starbucks to Subsidize Workers' Online Degrees (WSJ)
- ‘Bitcoin Jesus’ Calls Rich to Tax-Free Tropical Paradise (BBG)
- Medtronic Is Biggest Firm Yet to Renounce U.S. Tax Status (BBG), Medtronic to buy Covidien for $42.9 billion, rebase in Ireland (Reuters)
- Oil Topping $116 Seen Possible as Iraq Conflict Widens (BBG)
- Putin Seeks Paris Landmark as Hollande’s Russia Ties Defy Obama (BBG)
- GM Says It Has a Shield From Some Liability (WSJ)
- BOJ’s Bond Paralysis Seen Spreading Across Markets (BBG)
We believe Jeffrey Gundlach, et al. are wrong regarding the 10-Year Bond yield staying below 2.80% over the second half of the year.