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Frontrunning: May 17

  • As Brexit vote looms, U.S. banks review their European commitments (Reuters)
  • Oil’s Strength Continues to Boost Global Stocks (WSJ)
  • Trump closing gap with Clinton, poll shows (Hill)
  • In Adjacent Pennsylvania Counties, Republicans Are Split on Donald Trump (WSJ)
  • Make America Gold Again: Calls for Everyone's Favorite Standard Are Back (BBG)

Zuckerberg To Meet Conservative Media Figureheads As Facebook Censorship Scandal Escalates

In an attempt to resolve the ongoing "conservative censorship" crisis at Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg has invited prominent conservative media figures, including Glenn Beck and Dana Perino, to a meeting at Facebook's headquarters this week. As CNN reports, the meeting is scheduled for Wednesday and aims at addressing the alleged suppression of conservative news stories in Facebook's "trending" stories section. Along with Dana Perino and Glenn Beck, other confirmed attendees include Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute, CNN conservative commentator SE Cupp, and Zac Moffatt, co-founder of tech firm Targeted Victory. Moffatt was previously Mitt Romney's digital director.

Liquidity Problems? Deutsche Bank Offers 5% Yields If Depositors Lock Up Their Money For Three Months

We were surprised to find that in a promotional offer by Europe's biggest (and by many accounts most insolvent) bank, Germany's Deutsche Bank is not only not rushing to penalize depositors, on the contrary it is offering its Belgian clients a 5% gross return for new €10,000 - €50,000 deposits if this money is locked up for the next three months. The offer is only valid for the next 40 days, until June 24.

Frontrunning: May 12

  • Trump’s Early Backers on Capitol Hill See Their Profile Raised (WSJ)
  • Oil prices rise toward six-month high, tightening supply (Reuters)
  • EIA says outlook for oil brightens as output disruptions erode surplus (Reuters)
  • Investors Fleeing $9 Trillion of Negative Yields Fuel Bond Binge (BBG)
  • Beaten-Up Hedge Fund Billionaires Reminisce About 'Golden Age' (BBG)

HSBC’s London Gold Vault: Is This Gold’s Secret Hiding Place?

HSBC’s main gold vault in London regularly comes under the media spotlight for a number of reasons. These reasons include: a) the HSBC London vault stores a very large amount of gold on behalf of the well-known SPDR Gold Trust (GLD); b) along with the Bank of England vaults and JP Morgan vault, the HSBC vault is one of the 3 largest gold vaults in London; c) the location of the HSBC vault in London is not publicised and so the secrecy creates intrigue; d) HSBC every so often throws out some visual or audio-visual media bait about the vault, most famously in the case of CNBC’s Bob Pisani; Despite all of the above, no one seems to have ever tried to figure out where this gold vault is actually located. Until now.

If Everything Is So Great, Where Are The Unicorn IPOs?

Over the course of the last week it seemed no matter where we turned in the business media one meme was being pushed above all others: It’s still a great time to be a private tech unicorn. Implying, that funding rounds were still “robust.” What wasn’t said, so we will, is this: It’s a great time to be a private “unicorn” rather, than take the chance and become the poster-child for the IPO apocalypse. For it’s better to be assumed a $BILLION dollar success story rather, than IPO and officially open the books to the market and remove all doubt – that you’re not.

Former Fed Official Warns Of The Death Of The Fed Funds Market

“What this means for the Fed’s reaction function isn’t clear,” Pozsar concludes. “But our instinct tells us that we will deal with a Fed inherently more sensitive to global financial conditions, inherently more sensitive to global growth and inherently more dovish than in the past…Far be it from yours truly to worry. Still, it’s hard to take comfort in the knowledge that the Drano we’ve all come to know, though maybe not love, is now off the market.

Haunting Pictures Of A Transportation Recession As Freight Rail Traffic Plunges

The impact of the transportation recession on railroads is now very visible. Here’s how Union Pacific is dealing with this issue, via Google Earth, on May 3: 292 engines idled on a siding west of Benson, Arizona, along I-10, for a stretch of nearly 4 miles. Note how the line of locomotives curves and fades into the left edge of the photo – an once majestic and haunting sight, all these powerful machines idled on a track in the Arizona desert...