After a busy morning of phone calls from Israel and chatting with his base 'influential' CEOs, we are sure the Compromiser-in-Chief will reach across the aisle this time... right? Will the market follow the recent trend and drop on his every word? Live webcast below...
No, this is not a clip from the latest Call of Duty showing what happens when one gets a 9+ killstreak. It is the IAF taking out the head of the Hamas military wing, which has set the region ablaze (even if the central bank manipulated VIX and EURUSD refuse to budge in response).
it was only a matter of time before today's Israeli offensive ran into a snag. The complication: Egypt, which has long been treading the fence being both a pro-US regional power (someone has to provide those joint guarantees on Egyptian bonds, and to supply the local tear gas canisters in exchange for a friendly Suez Canal administrator), as well as a pro-Muslim presence. Today, the government was taken to task by the ruling Islamist Muslim Brotherhood which felt the need to be true to its name and express disgust at the Israeli action in Gaza. From AFP: "Egypt’s Islamist Freedom and Justice Party, formerly headed by President Mohammed Mursi, said on Wednesday Egypt would no longer stand by as Israel attacked Palestinians after air strikes killed a Hamas leader. The FJP, the political arm of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood movement, said Israeli air strikes that killed top militant Ahmed al-Jaabari in Gaza earlier on Wednesday required “swift Arab and international action to stop the massacres.” The party, which fielded Mursi in a June election to replace toppled president Hosni Mubarak, said Israel “must take into account the changes in the Arab region and especially Egypt.” Egypt “will not allow the Palestinians to be subjected to Israeli aggression, as in the past,” the party statement said."
Between the escalation in the Middle East and Olli Rehn pouring cold-water on the hopes and prayers of an imminent Spanish rescue-request, sovereign bond risk rose notably today. A late-day rampapalooza in EURUSD (another round of end-of-day repatriation?) signaled risk-on in the correlated monkeys and sure enough (in the US and Europe) stocks rose into the European close. The USD is remarkably unchanged on the week - despite the volatility in risk assets in general (zee stabilitee at the 1.27 peg seems the new normal) - as the Fed/ECB 'agreement' appears to have crushed the life out of yet another market-based signal - as EURUSD implied vol crashes to five-year lows.
As expected, the escalation out of Gaza has been fast and furious with Al Arabiya reporting that the Hamas response to the operation that Israel has code named "Operation Pillar Of Cloud", which an IDF spokesperson has clarified Israel is ready to escalate into a ground operation into Gaza if needed, is that "Hamas is now in open war" with Israel. Moments later the organization Islamic Jihad has unsurprisingly, chimed in: "Israel has declared war on Gaza and they will bear the responsibility for the consequences." Stay tuned folks cause this may get very messy quickly. Now if only the US military wasn't currently the functional equivalent of a grotesque reality gong show.
"War (escalation) is good" appears to have been the idiot algos immediate knee-jerk reaction to the post-Israel news jump in oil prices - as correlations rule the world. But once the reality of Gaza being 'the start' of an apparent escalation, and opened up the third Israeli front after Iran and Syria, risk was decidedly off and US equities reverted to their lows of yesterday...and back to early August levels (pre-Draghi).
Israel Assassinates Hamas Army's "Chief Of Staff" In Precision Airstrike, Hamas Vows "Infernal" ResponseSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/14/2012 11:08 -0400
Update: Israel CDS 145/155, +6 bps
In a move that is certain to aggravate the already frayed relations between Israel and the Palestine, not to mention send Brent spiking, moments ago the IAF, in a precision airstrike, assassinated Ahmed Jaabari, the head of Hamas' armed wing - a position that is equivalent to Chief of Staff - together with his son, who were travelling in a car at the moment of the strike. And, as expected, the furious Hamas response has already been logged and promises much more death and escalation in the near term.
Markets, you see, always live in this “day before” where the bend in the highway never comes, where the path is always straight and fixed and where it is generally thought that nothing of consequence will happen. Then some event takes place, something magical or wonderful or awful occurs and the world is turned on its axis and nothing is ever the same again. We are in danger, “clear and present danger” and the strategy of the “day before” is no longer appropriate. $400 billion has poured into bond funds this year, an all-time record, with yields at depressed levels indicating a quite real flight to safety. The United States lost thirty-six percent of its wealth during the American Financial Crisis and, people or institutions, the song rolls across the landscape, “We won’t get fooled again!”
When we reported yesterday that following "recurring" "provocations" by the Syrian military, which is so very confused who it wants to declare war on first - NATO member Turkey, or best US friend Israel, it is pressing on both fronts, even as it continues to be torn by CIA funded, and Al Qaeda stoked civil war, which saw Israel launch a missile into Syrian territory for the first time since 1973,we said, "It goes without saying that this is merely the first proverbial shot across the bow, or in this case the DMZ. Much more to follow, until finally the UN rules, and the fair and objective media backs it, that the time to invade liberate Syria has come." Sure enough, less than 24 hours later...
ISRAELI MILITARY REPORTS `DIRECT HITS' ON SYRIA TARGETS: AP
- Jefferies to be bought by Ian Cumming's Leucadia in an all-stock deal for $3.59 billion or about $17/share (WSJ)
- FBI Scrutinized on Petraeus (WSJ)
- Identity of second woman emerges in Petraeus' downfall (Reuters)
- SEC staffers used government computers for personal use (Reuters)
- Japan edges towards fifth recession in 15 years (FT)
- Europe Finance Chiefs Seek Greek Pact as Economy Gloom Grows (BBG)
- Americans Say Europe Lesson Means Act Now as Austerity Will Fail (BBG) - of course it would be great if Europe had ever implemented austerity...
- Greece battles to avert €5bn default (FT)
- You don't bail out the US government for nothing: No Individual Charges In Probe of J.P. Morgan (WSJ)
- Israel Warns of Painful Response to Fire From Gaza, Syria (BBG)
- Greece's far-right party goes on the offensive (Reuters)
- Don’t fear fiscal cliff, says Democrat (FT)
- Apple Settles HTC Patent Suits Shifting From Jobs’ War (BBG)
- Man Set on Fire in Argentina Over Debt (EFE)
- Iraq cancels $4.2-billion weapons deal with Russia over corruption concerns (Globe and Mail)
- An Honest Guy on Wall Street (Bloomberg)
The upcoming week comes less loaded with policy events. The only major one is the Eurogroup meeting on Monday, however EU officials have already confirmed that no decision on the next Greek aid tranche will be made before the Troika’s next report on Greece’s adherence to the bailout conditions. Greece has scheduled an auction for Tuesday in order to roll over €3.1 bn in T-bills expiring by the end of the week. Additionally, in the US, the President has invited leadership of both parties for a first round of talks on the fiscal cliff. The data calendars also look lighter, with the publication of the FOMC minutes on Wednesday, and US Philly Fed on Thursday.
Last week, when we reported that Syria has decided to enter the Golan Heights DMZ, and "provoke" yet another pro-Western stalwart, Israel, we said: "Syria can't wait to start a war, hopefully one which also involves Iran, and provokes the punishment of NATO and the west." We said this because when it comes to what the "fair and objective" media has deemed rogue states, the theory of rational actors no longer applies. Such is the case now in Syria, whose regime is not only involved in a bloody civil war (whose one-sided accounts we get each and every day), but it recently did everything in its power to start a war with Turkey (which failed after it became clear time and again that this was nothing but one huge false flag provocation) and thus provoke NATO's fury which would naturally wipe Syria off the map with the UN's blessing, and start a broader Middle Eastern conflict which certainly would not end there, but has also escalated to Israel just to be certain it gets promptly retaliated against. Today, we learn that Syria has finally gotten what it so urgently desired, after Israel, for the first time since 1973 "returned fire on Syrian military forces after Syrian shells exploded in Israeli territory."
"I don't think the US government even realized how far it had spread" is how the collateral damage from the Iran-attacking Stuxnet computer virus is described by Chevron. The sleep San-Ramon-based oil giant admitted this week that from 2010 on "we're finding it in our systems and so are other companies... so now we have to deal with it." It would seem that little consideration for just how viral this cyber warfare tactic has become and this news (reported by Russia Today) is the first time a US company has come clean about the accidental infection. On the record, the federal government maintains ignorance on the subject of Stuxnet, but perhaps Chevron sums up the impact of Stuxnet best (given the escalating Iranian enrichment program): "I think the downside of what they did is going to be far worse than what they actually accomplished." As more truth comes out so it would appear the probability of copycat attacks is rising as the shadowy Iranian-based hacking group called The Qassam Cyber Fighters took credit for launching a cyberattack on the servers of Capital One Financial Corp. and BB&T Corp just last month.
Today’s AM fix was USD 1,715.00, EUR 1,347.42, and 1,075.84 GBP per ounce.
Yesterday’s AM fix was USD 1,730.50, EUR 1,345.86, and GBP 1,080.75 per ounce.
Silver is trading at $31.85/oz, €25.10/oz and £20.00/oz. Platinum is trading at $1,546.75/oz, palladium at $607.30/oz and rhodium at $1,100/oz.
Gold rose $2.10 or 0.12% in New York yesterday and closed at $1,718.30. Silver hit a low of $31.209 then recovered in late trade but still finished with a loss of 0.56%.
Memo to the Arab World: Good news and bad news with the re-election of Barack Obama to the White House. The good news is that a victory by the Republican candidate Mitt Romney would have given Israel and its current leadership a free hand at continuing a policy of arrogance that will lead the region towards greater mayhem. On the other hand, with Obama in the Oval Office, don’t expect anything drastically different to happen in the Middle East in so far as US involvement goes. And if Obama’s acceptance speech is anything to judge by, where his only mention of anything related to foreign affairs was a reference to "freeing ourselves from foreign oil," it seems obvious that the Obama administration will want to focus on solving domestic issues. At the end of the day these are issues that matters most to the average American who would rather not have to worry about the Middle East and terrorism – that is until they come knocking at our doors as they did on September 11, 2001.