Ford

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Frontrunning: September 18





  • House votes to arm Syrian rebels (Reuters).... aka ISIS
  • Fed Plots Cautious Course on Rate Rises  (Hilsenrath)
  • Scots vote in independence referendum to seal the United Kingdom's fate (Reuters)
  • Yes or No, the Winner of the Referendum Is Brand Scotland (BBG)
  • Draghi Loan Plan Missing Estimates Hampers ECB Stimulus (BBG) - get with the spin, it simply means "Moar QE"
  • Obama Plans to Tightly Control Strikes on Syria (WSJ)
  • IMF warns of risks from 'excessive' financial market bets (Reuters)
  • Russia Praises Ukraine's Autonomy Law for Rebel Areas (WSJ)
 
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Frontrunning: September 17





  • -0.07%: Germany Secures Record Low Funding Cost at Bond Auction (WSJ)
  • Pentagon Sees Possible Role for U.S. Ground Forces Against Islamic State Militants (WSJ)
  • China Joins ECB in Adding Stimulus as Fed Scales Back (BBG)
  • Stealthy or Normal? Analysts Diverge on PBOC’s Action (BBG)
  • Sony Forecasts Massive $2B Loss as Smartphones Lag (AP)
  • Islamic State campaign tests Obama's commitment to Mideast allies (Reuters)
  • Brent Crude Rebounds as Libya’s Sharara Oilfield Shut (BBG)
  • Market calm over Scottish vote at odds with disaster warnings (Reuters)
 
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Frontrunning: September 16





  • Thank you market Chief Risk Officer Bernanke/Yellen: Calpers to Exit Hedge Funds, Divest $4 Billion Stake (BBG)
  • World stocks hit one-month low, caution ahead of Fed (Reuters)
  • U.S. Efforts to Build Coalition Against Islamic State in Iraq, Syria Are Hampered by Sectarian Divide (WSJ)
  • Time to throw away some more good money: Sears Borrows $400 Million From Lampert’s ESL Investments (BBG)
  • Wildfires rage in California drought, hundreds forced to flee (Reuters)
  • United Offers $100,000 Buyouts to Flight Attendants (BBG)
  • Biggest Banks Said to Overhaul FX Trading After Scandals (BBG)
  • You mean you have to pay? Administration threatens to cut off ObamaCare subsidies to 360,000 (The Hill)
  • RBS Said to Dismiss Most of Team Overseeing Central Europe Debt (BBG) they will be hired by the ECB
 
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Frontrunning: September 15





  • Snow is coming: OECD Cuts Economic Growth Forecasts (WSJ)
  • World waits for white smoke from U.S. Fed (Reuters) - Understandable error: they meant "green"
  • Scots Breakaway at 45% Odds as Economists Warn of Capital Flight (BBG)
  • Ukraine President Poroshenko Faces Backlash Over EU Trade Deal Delay (WSJ)
  • German Anti-Euro Party Advances in Merkel Homeland Voting (BBG)
  • Clinton Hints at 2016 Run as Super-PAC Packs Iowa Steak Fry (BBG)
  • Air France, Lufthansa Hit by Strikes in Fight for Future (BBG)
  • U.S. sees Middle East help fighting IS, Britain cautious after beheading (Reuters)
  • Ex-Billionaire Charged by Brazil With Financial Crimes (BBG)
 
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Art Cashin: "Things Could Theoretically Turn Into What I Call A Lehman Moment"





Q. What are traders talking about at the present time here at the New York Stock Exchange?

Cashin: We are concerned about two questions. First, how will the Fed do in keeping money reasonably easy without causing inflation? Second, where do we stand with the current geopolitical challenges? For now, these challenges seem to be short term concerns. But should we begin to see a financial contagion and pressure building on banks in Europe, perhaps out of the Ukraine situation, things could theoretically turn into what I call a «Lehman moment». That is when markets come under pressure but seem to be under control, and then things change suddenly.

 
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Frontrunning: September 12





  • Russia faces new U.S., EU sanctions over Ukraine crisis (Reuters)
  • Glasgow pulls no punches in welcome to 'Save the Union Express' (Guardian)
  • Pound Seen Tumbling Up to 10% on Scottish Yes Vote (BBG)
  • Moscow stifles dissent as soldiers return in coffins (Reuters)
  • Ukraine's leader sees no military solution of crisis, eyes reforms (Reuters)
  • Venezuela Threatens Harvard Professor for Default Comment (BBG)
  • Australia Raises Terror Alert to Highest Level in a Decade (BBG)
  • Activist Investors Build Up Their War Chests (WSJ)
 
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Frontrunning: September 11





  • Obama orders U.S. airstrikes in Syria against Islamic State (Reuters)
  • Obama Relying on Mideast Allies to Counter Islamic State (BBG)
  • Scotland Nationalists Claim U.K. Oil in 40-Year Campaign (BBG)
  • Scottish Polls Embolden Catalans Pushing Rajoy for Vote (BBG)
  • Royal Bank of Scotland: RBS will leave Scotland if voters back independence (Guardian)
  • Most Hedge-Fund Managers Are Overpaid, Unigestion Says (BBG)
  • China Inflation Softens to Four-Month Low (WSJ)
  • Munger Hosts Groupies, Mocks Wall Street, Praises Buffett (BBG)
 
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Alan Greenspan's Nine Reasons "Why The Economy Stinks"





Yesterday, former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan was the keynote speaker at KPMG’s 2014 Insurance Industry Conference Tuesday, where he answered questions such as 1) where the economy is going, 2) why, and 3) when (if ever) is it likely to improve. The answers, as reported by Property Casualty 360, are: 1) nowhere fast, 2) because nobody is willing to invest, and 3) eventually, but nobody can tell when. He listed 9 specific reasons why the "economy stinks", although surprisingly, nowhere did he mention the fact that the current and future economic disaster is all a direct result of his ruinous reign at helm of the Fed where as a result of his "great moderation" and the Fed's catastrophic monetary policies conceived mostly under Greenspan himself, the economy is now perpetually stuck in a boom-bust cycle, and where every time a bubble bursts another has to replace it or else the entire western way of life will be gone in a heartbeat.

 
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Frontrunning: September 10





  • British PM begs Scots: Don't rip apart our UK 'family of nations' (Reuters)
  • Obama has become Bush: Obama’s Task: Rally U.S. Public, Allies in Terror Fight (BBG)
  • Alibaba's record IPO covered after first few roadshow meetings (Reuters)
  • Ferrari chairman Luca Di Montezemolo to quit after 23 years (BBC)
  • Combat Reversals Pressure Assad (WSJ)
  • Top LBO Fund Investors Pile on Leverage to Boost Returns (BBG)
  • BOJ's Iwata upbeat on economy, unfazed by post-tax hike slump (Reuters)
  • Carney Can’t Escape Housing as Debt Colors BOE Policy (BBG)
  • Detroit Clears Crucial Hurdle on Bankruptcy (NYT)
 
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Frontrunning: September 8





  • Scotland split jitters send sterling to 10-month low (Reuters)
  • S&P 500 Beating World Most Since 1969 Doesn’t Spark Flows (BBG)
  • Happy ending guaranteed: Vietnam building deterrent against China in disputed seas with submarines (Reuters)
  • China Posts Record Surplus as Exports-Imports Diverge (Bloomberg)
  • Russia, U.S. to hold talks on 1987 arms accord (Reuters)
  • Halcon’s Wilson Drills More Debt Than Oil in Shale Bet (BBG)
  • Deadly Disappointment Awaits at Ebola Clinics Due to Lack of Space (WSJ)
  • Latinos furious at Obama on immigration delay, vow more pressure (Reuters)
  • Japan GDP Shrinks at Fastest Pace in More Than Five Years (WSJ)
 
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Frontrunning: September 5





  • Euro left reeling after ECB's liquidity splurge (Reuters)
  • Coalition Emerges to Battle Islamic State Militants (WSJ)
  • Ukraine Gas Chief Takes on Gazprom in Race With Winter (BBG)
  • Nato leaders fail to agree spending targets (FT)
  • JPMorgan Had Exodus of Tech Talent Before Hacker Breach (BBG)
  • Mercedes-Benz Sales Rise Despite Weak German Demand (WSJ)
  • Secret Network Connects Harvard Money to Payday Loans (BBG)
  • ICE looks to crack financial data market (FT)
 
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Unions Are Not Capitalism





Labor unions are a dying breed. According to the Pew Research Center, union membership in America “is at its lowest level since the Great Depression.” In 1983, there were approximately 17.7 million union workers. Today, that number stands at 14.5 million, with every estimate showing a continued downward trajectory. Clearly, the Norma Raes of the world are going extinct. But as Samuel Johnson quipped, one should never dismiss the triumph of hope over experience. With economic growth still staggering, the decline of union membership can’t come soon enough. Freed from the demands of overpaid bargainers, innovation and productivity inevitably rise. Increasing numbers of Americans are migrating to states with less strenuous union laws. When given a choice, workers go where the money is; not where there’s tough talk about bargaining rights. Ayn Rand had unions pegged best when she declared their purpose has never been to empower the average worker. “Unions and trade associations,” she wrote, “are not directed against employers or the public but against the best among their own members.” The goal has never been about “raising the weak in any way whatever, but simply forcing the strong down to the level of the moron.”

 
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"God of Crude Oil Trading" Goes All In On Crude At $150 Bet





Andy Hall - known as the God of Crude Oil Trading to some of his peers - has, according to Bloomberg, built his success on a simple creed: Everyone who disagrees with him is wrong. He was one of the few traders who anticipated both the run-up in and the eventual crash of oil prices in 2008. Hall has made billions for the companies for which he’s traded by placing one aggressive bet after another; and now, he is all-in again. Hall is going all in on a bet that the shale-oil boom will play out far sooner than many analysts expect, resulting in a steady increase in prices to as much as $150 a barrel in five years or less. As one industry CEO warned, "anybody who bets against Andy Hall might be making a poor bet."

 
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Frontrunning: September 3





  • Confusion as Ukraine and Russia announce progress towards peace (Reuters)... but not for stock buying algos, they know everything
  • Obama Expresses Skepticism About Possible Ukraine Cease-Fire (WSJ)
  • Fighters Unwind in Russia Where Beer Doesn’t Spell Death (BBG)
  • Despite dangers, U.S. journalist Sotloff was determined to record Arab Spring's human toll (Reuters)
  • New Beheading Video Spurs Calls for Global Response (BBG)
  • Christie’s Spending on Outside Lawyers Passes $50 Million (BBG)
  • IEX to Apply for Exchange Status (WSJ)
  • UK says not ruling out airstrikes against Islamic State, says hostage video genuine (Reuters)
 
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Leverage, Derivatives, And The Heresy Of Opposing The 'Status Quo Institutions'





Does the use of leverage (properly defined) and derivatives (properly defined) create trading risks that wouldn’t be there if you just bought the Vanguard 60/40 fund and called it a day? Sure. But we believe risk-balancing strategies mitigate far more dangerous risks to a public pension portfolio – particularly an over-reliance on equity markets. Public pensions are complex entities whose liability structures are often many times greater than the size of their investment portfolios. The common practice to resolve this dilemma has been to pursue an equity-dominated asset structure that has greater chances of achieving the required return to make the entire structure work. The problem is that equities are themselves leveraged, but it’s hidden leverage and thus hidden risk.

 
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