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Global Markets Flat, Coiled Ahead Of Today's Risk Events: OPEC And The ECB

There are just two drivers setting the pace for today's risk mood: the OPEC meeting in Vienna which started a few hours ago, and the ECB's announcement as well as Mario Draghi's press statement due out just one hour from now. Both are expected to not reveal any major surprises, with OPEC almost certainly unable to implement a production freeze while the ECB is expected to remain on hold and provide some more details on its corporate bond buying program, although there is some modest risk of upside surprise in either case.

So, You Thought Slavery Was Dead? Think Again

Nearly 46 million human beings are subject to slavery, a new report released this week concluded. According to the third annual Global Slavery Index, which gathers and analyzes surveys conducted by Gallup, the number of people forced into “modern slavery,” or “human trafficking, forced labour, debt bondage, forced or servile marriage or commercial sexual exploitation,” rose from 35.8 million to 45.8 million since 2014 — a 28 percent increase.

Goldman Fires Dozens Of Investment Bankers

Following an abysmal quarter for investment banks around the globe, which saw salary cuts across the board as a result of sliding revenues in virtually all product areas, we forecast that the next logical step will be ongoing major layoffs of some of the world's highest paid employees. This morning none other than the most insulated from global financial troubles bank confirmed just this when Bloomberg reported that Goldman had quietly cut investment banking jobs in the last few weeks, joining securities firms that are adjusting to a slowdown in deal activity.

Frontrunning: May 31

  • Major Bourses on Course to End Month Sharply Higher (WSJ)
  • Brent crude lower on strong Middle East oil output (Reuters)
  • Treasuries Lose Their Lead Over Shares as Fed Moves Toward Shift (BBG)
  • Lost Decade for Value Stocks Tests Faithful Who Say End is Nigh (BBG)
  • Iraqi army pause at southern edge of Falluja as IS fights back (Reuters)
  • Risky Reprise of Debt Binge Stars U.S. Companies Not Consumers (BBG)

Futures Flat, Gold Rises On Weaker Dollar As Traders Focus On OPEC, Payrolls

After yesterday's US and UK market holidays which resulted in a session of unchanged global stocks, US futures are largely where they left off Friday, up fractionally, and just under 2,100. Bonds fell as the Federal Reserve moves closer to raising interest rates amid signs inflation is picking up. Oil headed for its longest run of monthly gains in five years, while stocks declined in Europe.

As Short Interest Soars To Record Highs, Chinese Stock Futures Flash-Crash 12.5%

Shortly after 1042am local, Chinese stock futures (CSI-300) flash-crashed over 12.5% on extreme heavy volume (while the cash CSI-300 remained unch). This move erased 3 months of gains but within 1 minute was back in the green with stocks up over 2.5%. The shocking collapse, exaggerated by a major lack of liquidity, was made more surprising by the fact that the last week has seen a record short position in the major Chinese stock ETF. Simply put, the heavy hand of market-central-planning has erased any and all depth in futures markets and positioning has become so tilted that price vacuums are likely to continue to occur.

Emperor Securities Shows How To Successfully Fleece Retail Investors

From April 2015 through May 2016, every single one of the 173 stocks that Emperor analysts covered had a buy recommendation. The analysts were so wrong that shorting every one would have yielded 13 percent through last week. As we reported last year, Chinese retail investors opened enough brokerage accounts for every man, woman, and child in LA. As it turns out, that's precisely how Emperor was making its money, by securities turnover and margin loans due to an influx of new retail customers. The firm threw day trade buy recommendations out on every single stock and watched new inexperienced "investors" trade on that data. That effort takes Wall Street's lazy clustering to an entirely new level.

Ex-CEO Of Largest Swiss Insurer Commits Suicide, Three Years After CFO Hanged Himself

In the latest tragic news from the world of finance, earlier today Zurich Insurance, the largest Swiss insurer which employs 55,000 people and provides general insurance and life insurance products in more than 170 countries, reported that Martin Senn, the company's former chief executive officer who stepped down in a December reshuffle, has committed suicide. He was 59.

Former Morgan Stanley Chief Asia Economist: "Don't Listen To The Ruling Elite, The World Economy Is In Real Trouble"

"Don't listen to the ruling elite," warns former Morgan Stanley Asian Economist, Andy Xie, "the world economy is on the cusp of a prolonged period of stagnation and instability." Xie points out that the ruling elite is blaming it on people seeing things (skeptic and fiction peddlers), and that "their strategy is to change people’s psychology." Unfortunately for them he concludes, "the world is catching fire and that fire will eventually reach their Davos chalets."

CEO Of Asia's Largest Commodity Trader Unexpectedly Resigns

We have tracked the problems of recently junked Noble Group - Asia's largest commodity trader - extensively over the past year. Then, moments ago things finally turned serious for the company, announced moments ago on the Singapore stock exchange, not only is CEO Alireza resigning, to be replaced by William Randall and Jeff Frase as co-CEOs, but the company will also begin the sale process of its Noble Americas Energy Solutions, one of its star assets, in a deal that will generate "significant cash proceeds", which is the best confirmation just how desperate for cash the company truly is.

Meanwhile In China, Cow-Collateralized Stock Buybacks

Over the past few years, we have written many strange stories about China's often-ridiculous, perpetually-bubbly, always on the precipice financial system. The story about China's literal "cash cows", however, is by far the strangest.