- Islamic State executes soldiers, takes hostages at Syria base (Reuters)
- Buffett Burger King Funds Flip Obama’s Inversion Calculus (BBG)
- Equities Reach Record $66 Trillion as S&P 500 Hits 2,000 (BBG)
- Central Banks Playing Own Version of Plaza-opoly With FX (BBG)
- Russia court closes McDonald's branch for 90 days (Reuters)
- Finland Says NATO an Option After Russia ‘Violates’ Border Laws (BBG)
- Netanyahu Hit With Domestic Criticism Over Gaza Truce (BBG)
- Biggest Danish Fund Readies for Rate Shock as Exit Narrows (BBG)
- Nonprofit Hospitals' Profits Fall (WSJ)
If the big hope propelling both ES and S&P cash over 2,000 was the Ukraine-Russian talks, leading to some de-escalation and a thawing of Russian-German conditions, then it was clearly a dud. As the WSJ reports, "face-to-face talks between the Russian and Ukrainian presidents failed to produce a breakthrough for ending the conflict over eastern Ukraine, as Kiev released videos of captured Russian soldiers and rebels pushed toward a government-held city. The one-on-one session, which Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko described as "tough and complex," ended early Wednesday after a day of talks on the crisis in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Mr. Poroshenko said afterward that he would prepare a "road map" toward a possible cease-fire with the pro-Russia separatists." In other words, absolutely no progress. There was however escalation, when overnight the September Bund future rose as much as 36 ticks to 151.18, after Poland PM Tusk said “regular” Russian troops are operating in eastern Ukraine. And so we are back to square one, with concerns over Russia pushing European bonds to new record highs, in turn leading to more US Treasury buying, while a brand new rumor of more easing from the ECB, this time by Deutsche Bank, has propped up European equities, which like US futures are trading water around the critical 2000 level.
With Europe and the US on one side, and Russia and China on the other, the saying, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" could best describe the current geopolitical situation
It is unclear exactly why stock futures, bonds - with European peripheral yields hitting new record lows for the second day in a row - gold, oil and pretty much everything else is up this morning but it is safe to say the central banks are behind it, as is the "de-escalation" algo as a meeting between Russia and Ukraine begins today in Belarus' capital Minsk. Belarusian and Kazakhstani leaders will also be at the summit. Hopes of a significant progress on the peace talks were dampened following Merkel’s visit to Kiev over the weekend. The German Chancellor said that a big breakthrough is unlikely at today’s meeting. Russian FM Lavrov said that the discussion will focus on economic ties, the humanitarian crisis and prospects for a political resolution. On that note Lavrov also told reporters yesterday that Russia hopes to send a second humanitarian aid convoy to Ukraine this week. What he didn't say is that he would also send a cohort of Russian troops which supposedly were captured by overnight by the Ukraine army (more shortly).
Key highlights in the coming week: US Durable Goods, Michigan Conf., Services PMI, PCE, and CPI in Euro area and Japan. Broken down by day: Monday - US Services PMI, New Home Sales (Consensus 4.7%); Singapore CPI; Tuesday - US Durable Goods (consensus 7.5%) and Consumer Confidence; Wednesday - Germany GfK Consumer Confidence; Thursday - US GDP 2Q (2nd est., expect 3.70%, below consensus) and Personal Consumption; Euro area Confidence; CPI in Germany and Spain; Friday - US Michigan Conf. (consensus 80.1), PCE (consensus 0.10%), Chicago PMI; Core CPI in Euro area and Japan (consensus 2.30%). Additionally, with a long weekend in the US coming up, expect volumes into the close of the week to slump below even recent near-record lows observed recently as the CYNKing of the S&P 500 goes into overdrive.
- Jackson Hole Theme: Labor Markets Can’t Take Higher Rates (BBG), or anything else for that matter
- Kidnappers free American missing in Syria since 2012 (Reuters)
- More unpatriots: Burger King in merger talks with Canada's Tim Hortons (Reuters)
- California Quake to Cost Insurers Up to $1 Billion, Eqecat Says (BBG)
- Congo declares Ebola outbreak in northern Equateur province (Reuters)
- Missouri Governor Defends Ferguson Prosecutor (BBG)
- Kuroda Douses Japan Stimulus Expectations (WSJ)
- London Jihadi Call Vies With Banks in Canary Wharf Shadow (BBG)
- Netanyahu Signals Expansion of Air Attacks in Gaza (WSJ)
- Libya's Islamist Militias Claim Control of Tripoli (WSJ)
Dispassionate overview of the week ahead, with thoughts about September.
- Ukraine accuses Russia of invasion after aid convoy crosses border (Reuters)
- Hunt for Foley’s Killer Spans Old Policing and Tech Tools (BBG)
- U.S. Probe Examines GM Lawyers (WSJ)
- Argentina accuses U.S. Judge Griesa of "imperialist" attitude (Reuters)
- Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm (Reuters)
- Geneva Banks Break 200-Year Silence to Unveil Earnings (BBG)
- Richest Jailed Putin Foe Says Ukraine Fears Sparked Prosecution (BBG)
- Disclosure of Failed Attempt to Rescue James Foley Is Criticized (WSJ)
- Execution of U.S. journalist reveals the changing business of war coverage (Reuters)
- FTW: Europe Stocks Rise as Data Signals Need for Stimulus (BBG)
- More de-escalation: Dozens die in Ukraine in street battles, Donetsk shelling (Reuters)
- Calm largely holds in Missouri after grand jury opens shooting investigation (Reuters)
- Attorney General Eric Holder Vows Thorough Probe of Ferguson Shooting (WSJ)
- World’s Biggest Wealth Fund Slows Emerging Market Investment (BBG)
- Market Chilly to Argentine Debt Proposal (WSJ)
- Israeli air strike kills three Hamas commanders in Gaza (Reuters)
- Retooled Hamas Bloodies Israel With Help From Hezbollah (BBG)
- Investors Pour Into Vanguard, Eschewing Stock Pickers (WSJ)
- Fed Debates Early Rate Increases (WSJ)
Three more banks have been permitted to import gold to China, as IBTimes notes, the country redoubles its efforts to attain pricing power of the commodity. The move, which brings the number of firms allowed to import gold into China to 15, comes ahead of the SGE launching its Yuan settled bullion exchange, in hopes of replacing the now discredited London Fix and become a price-discovery center. Shanghai Pudong Development Bank and China Merchants Bank were joined by Standard Chartered - only the 3rd foreign bank to be allowed to import gold into China as the nation continues to increase the pace of liberalisation of the gold market following the approval last year of the country's first gold-backed WTFs.
Enter the Golden Dragon ... China is moving closer to positioning itself as the physical gold trading hub of the world and the world’s gold price discovery centre. It is a natural progression for the largest economy in the world and for the world’s largest gold buyer, importer and indeed producer. The Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE) is launching its yuan denominated international bullion trading exchange next month.
Absolute Bubble Insanity: For Nearly Half A Billion Dollars, Here Is The World's Most Expensive PenthouseSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/19/2014 13:02 -0400
Forget Hong Kong, London and New York: when it comes to the pinnacle in absolute real estate insanity - perhaps in all of history - look no further than James Bond's favorite gambling mecca, Monaco. It is in this tiny Riviera principality where we find the Tour Odeon, a double-skyscraper being built by Groupe Marzocco SAM near Monaco’s Mediterranean seafront, which will contain a 3,300 square-meter (35,500 square-foot) penthouse with a water slide connecting a dance floor to a circular open-air swimming pool. The description is nice, but it is the bottom line that is mindblowing: Bloomberg reports that the apartment may sell for more than 300 million euros ($400 million) when it goes on the market next year, French magazine Challenges reported. That would make it the world’s most expensive penthouse, according to broker Knight Frank LLP.
London home prices fell in August by 5.9%, the plunge the biggest since Dec 2007 (and 2nd biggest drop on record). Since western sanctions on Russian oligarchs hit 3 months ago, home prices have fallen in London (especially the highest-end regions, such as Kensington -7%) and now that weakness is accelerating and spreading across the entire UK. As Rightmove reports, the 2.9% drop in UK home prices is the worst August on record. How long before the UK pulls back on its 'support' for US sanctions? Costs, indeed?
The main event of the week will be Yellen's long awaited speech at the Jackson Hole 3-day symposium taking place August 21-23. The theme of this year's symposium is entitled "Re-Evaluating Labour Market Dynamics" and Yellen is expected to deliver her keynote address on Friday morning US time. Consensus is that she will likely highlight that the alternative measures of labour market slack in evaluating the ongoing significant under-utilisation of labour resources (eg, duration of employment, quit rate in JOLTS data) have yet to normalise relative to 2002-2007 levels. Any sound bite that touches on the debate of cyclical versus structural drivers of labour force participation will also be closely followed. Unlike some of the previous Jackson Hole symposiums, this is probably not one that will serve as a precursor of any monetary policy changes but the tone of Yellen's speech may still have a market impact and set the mood for busier times ahead in September.
- Barack Obama's 'vacation from hell' (Politico)
- Russian aid convoy checked; military vehicles mass near Ukraine (Reuters)
- Ukraine Says APCs Entered From Russia to Aid Insurgents (BBG)
- Islamic State Said to Challenge Al-Qaeda for Leadership (BBG)
- Missouri protests calmer after governor puts black police captain in charge (Reuters)
- Finally someone will prove the US is a pyramid scheme (in a 1000 page presentation): Ackman’s Pershing Square Sues U.S. Over Fannie, Freddie (BBG)
- Banks, Financial Firms Load Up on Cheap Debt (WSJ)
- Putin to Meet Finnish President as Threat of Cold War Grows (BBG)