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Frontrunning: March 3





  • Russian markets hit as Putin tightens grip on Crimea (Reuters)
  • Ukraine Sees More Russian Incursions as Standoff Worsens (BBG)
  • Ukraine Crisis Roils Global Markets (WSJ)
  • Cold War Ghosts Haunt East Europe in Moves for Crimea (BBG)
  • How Moscow Orchestrated Events in Crimea (WSJ)
  • Russia Gas Threat Shows Putin Using Pipes to Press Ukraine (BBG)
  • Euro-zone PMI slowed less sharply than estimated (MW)
  • Two top Microsoft execs to leave in reshuffle (Reuters)
  • Soaring Luxury-Goods Prices Test Wealthy's Will to Pay (WSJ)
  • IQ-Boosting Drugs Aim to Help Down Syndrome Kids Learn (BBG)
 
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Frontrunning: February 28





  • Yuan suffers biggest weekly loss as PBOC punishes speculators (Reuters)
  • Euro Gains as Bonds Decline With Stocks on Inflation Data (BBG)
  • Biggest Sovereign Fund Forced to Sell Stocks as Mandate Breached (BBG)
  • Because we don't already have enough fried foods.. (Reuters)
  • Putin: Russia to Consider Aid to Ukraine (AP)
  • Wall Street Hates JPMorgan Fee for $1 Trillion Junk Loans (BBG)
  • Yellen Sticks to Plan Amid Weather Doubts (WSJ)
  • U.S. Retail Chains See First Profit Decline Since Recession (BBG)
 
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Morgan Stanley Underwrites TSLA Convertible Offering Day After 100% Stock Price Upgrade





Tesla has just announced it intends to issue a $1.6 billion convertible note offering "for the development of a "Gigafactory" and a "Gen III" vehicle." While not that unusual - and of course, why not take advantage of low cost financing and a surging momentum in your stock - what we did find at least intriguing was the underwriters included Morgan Stanley. This is the same firm (though we would be very sure that Chinese walls ensured total lack of knowledge) that doubled their price target (from $153 to $320) for TSLA yesterday (following the analyst's now almost clairvoyant questions during the earnings conference call). Paging Henry Blodgett?

 
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Frontrunning: February 25





  • Turkish PM says tapes of talk with son a fabrication (Reuters) but opposition confirms authenticity, and national TV carriers cut parliament when played live
  • Inside the Showdown Atop Pimco, the World's Biggest Bond Firm (WSJ)
  • Ex-Jefferies Trader’s Customers Say Lies Common Tactic (BBG)
  • Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox disappears in blow to virtual currency (Reuters)
  • The messenger mania is spreading: SoftBank Said to Seek Stake in Naver’s Line Messaging Unit (BBG)
  • Ukraine Replaces Central Bank Head (BBG)
  • Yup, an actual headline: Harsh weather tests optimism over U.S. economy (Reuters)
  • Hiring of Law Grads Improves for Some (BBG)
  • Easy Currency Bet Gets Harder as the Chinese Yuan Tumbles (WSJ)
  • In Ukraine turbulence, a lad from Lviv becomes the toast of Kiev (Reuters)
 
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Frontrunning: February 24





  • Ukraine Seeks $35 Billion as Yanukovych Warrant Is Issued (BBG)
  • Ukraine's fugitive president wanted for mass murder (Reuters)
  • Polar Vortex to Bring More Snow on Return to U.S. This Week (BBG)
  • China property prices continue to rise (FT)
  • Microsoft Said to Cut Windows Price 70% to Counter Rivals (BBG)
  • Pentagon to propose shrinking Army, scrapping some jets (Reuters)
  • Hedge Funds Turn Bearish on S&P 500 as VIX Advances (BBG)
  • Draghi’s Data Jigsaw Takes Shape as ECB Readies Showdown (BBG)
  • China, eyeing Japan, seeks WW2 focus for Xi during Germany visit (Reuters)
 
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Smoking Cigars By A Mountain Of Napalm





We've seen first hand the tremendous opportunity that exists in the world, and the incredible way that human beings innovate to overcome challenges. But the reality is that the world is on fire right now. In some places, like Ukraine or Thailand, quite literally. In many others (like Japan, China, and much of southern Europe), there are heaps of smoldering embers beneath a continent-wide funeral pyre. And in the Land of the Free, it’s as if politicians and central bankers are smoking their back-room cigars at the foot of a mountain of napalm and thermite that grows ever-higher by the day. If you step back and look at the big picture, there is cause for concern.

 
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Frontrunning: February 21





  • RBS plans dramatic scaling back, to fire 30,000 of its 120,000 workers (FT)
  • Zuckerberg’s Data Stance Faces Privacy Backlash in Europe (BBG)
  • WhatsApp Shows How Phone Carriers Lost Out on $33 Billion (BBG)
  • Markets flooded with cash, should Fed prep to stamp out risk? (Reuters)
  • Venezuela threatens to expel CNN over protest coverage (BBC)
  • Firm Stops Giving High-Speed Traders Direct Access to Releases (WSJ)
  • Obama Budget to Delete Proposal to Limit Social Security (BBG)
  • Energy Holdings Prepares for a Breakup (WSJ)
  • EU Struggles to Streamline Bank-Failure Plan for Weekends (BBG)
  • Madoff said JPMorgan executives knew of his fraud (Reuters), and JPM admitted as much when it settled with the DOJ
 
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Tesla: When Just GAAP Revenues Are Not Enough, Unleash The Non-GAAP





In summary: non-GAAP P/E of 259x, and GAAP P/E of Div/0, as GAAP Market Cap/Sales is a "conservative" 12.4x. Good luck with that growth. You are going to need it.

 
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Frontrunning: February 19





  • Ukraine leader denounces coup bid, West weighs sanctions (Reuters)
  • Time to buy Imodium calls: Kuroda Easing Doomed as Yen Seen Missing 120 Level (BBG)
  • Teens Disappear From U.S. Workforce (BBG)
  • Fed Sets Rules for Foreign Banks (WSJ)
  • Quant Funds Feel Investor Bite After Underperforming (BBG)
  • China Probes Qualcomm, InterDigital Over Monopoly Concerns (WSJ)
  • Capital One says it can show up at cardholders' homes, workplaces  (LATimes)
  • SEC Gains Power to Take Profit Made From Insider Trading (BBG)
 
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US Organized Labor Humiliated After Volkswagen's Tennessee Workers Vote Against Unionizing





While US organized labor has been in a state of steady decline for several generations, never had it suffered as crushing a blow as it did last night, when in a 712 to 626 vote, Volkswagen's hourly workers in Chattanooga, TN, rejected joining the United Auto Workers labor union. What makes the defeat even more bitter is that a win would have marked the first time the union has been able to organize a foreign-owned auto plant in a Southern U.S. state, and would have been particularly meaningful, because the vote was set in a right-to-work state in the South, where anti-union sentiment is strong and all past UAW organizing drives at automobile plants have failed. What is most shocking, however, is that the defeat came even though the UAW had the cooperation of Volkswagen management and the aid of Germany's powerful IG Metall union, and yet it still failed to win a majority among the plants 1,550 hourly workers.  As the WSJ notes, "the defeat raises questions about the future of a union that for years has suffered from declining membership and influence, and almost certainly leaves its president, Bob King, who had vowed to organize at least one foreign auto maker by the time he retires in June, with a tarnished legacy."

 
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Yen Carry Trade Fumbles Again But Equities Supported By Strong European GDP Data





So far the overnight session has been a replica of yesterday, with the all important carry trade once again fizzling overnight during Japan trading hours, and dipping as low at 101.60 before staging a modest rebound to the 101.8 level. We expect the "invisible" 102.000 USDJPY tractor beam to be again engaged shortly and provide market support and/or levitate stocks higher as the now standard selling in Japan, buying in the US trade pattern repeats. On the other hand, US equity futures appear to have decoupled from the pure carry trade, and instead latched on to USD weakness and EUR strength following European Q4 GDP data, which came at 0.3% on expectations of 0.2%, up from 0.1%. Considering the constant adjustments to the European definition of GDP, at this point Mongolia would have been able to demonstrate growth if it was in Europe (but apparently not Greece which once again missed GDP expectations with Q4 GDP of -2.6% vs Exp. -2.0%). Expect ES and USDJPY to recouple shortly, as they always do - the only question if the recoupling will take place lower or higher.

 
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CBO 'Admits' Assumption That US Never Falls Into Recession Again Is Wrong





From budget projections released by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) last week:

CBO now expects that output will fall slightly short of its potential, on average, even after the economy has largely recovered from the recent economic downturn.

Translation:

We’ve thrown in the towel on our long-time assumption that the economy never again falls into recession.

Shocker: the business cycle lives!

 
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Porsche Sales Surge To Record - 3 Years Ahead Of Plan





It seems yet another (luxury) car maker did not get the "but it's the weather" memo. Following Mercedes record sales in January, Porsche has announced today that expects to hit a target of selling more than 200,000 sports cars next year, three years earlier than originally scheduled. As Reuters reports, Volkswagen-owned Porsche is entering the lucrative segment of compact SUVs with its new Macan model, which has already sold out about eight months of production ahead of its arrival at German dealerships on April 4. Wealth effect, of course, is all that matters... and the promise of higher minimum wages and a Maserati in every garage.

 
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Frontrunning: February 11





  • Frustrated by Karzai, U.S. Shifts Afghanistan Exit Plans (WSJ)
  • Yellen Testimony Guide From Payrolls Report to Emerging Markets (BBG)
  • Gold hits three-month high, shares up ahead of Yellen (Reuters)
  • Tightfisted New Owners Put Heinz on Diet (WSJ)
  • Senator describes "gruesome" bin Laden photos (Reuters)
  • More reasons for the ongoing economic contraction: U.S. Winter Storm Seen Spreading Snow, Sleet Across South (BBG)
  • Barclays Cuts Up to 12,000 Jobs as Quarterly Profit Falls  (BBG)
  • Boeing Considering 787-Size Medium-Range Jetliners (WSJ)
  • AOL Chief Apologizes for ‘Distressed Babies’ Comment (BBG)
 
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