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Star Wars Smashes Opening Weekend Box Office Record, But Will It Be Enough?

This weekend the force was strong with thirty (and forty, and fifty) year-olds, wishing to awaken memories of their youthful days with an admirable redo of the first Star Wars movie, first released nearly 40 years ago. But the force has never been stronger with Disney which is expected to rake in a record-breaking $238 million in opening weekend box office sales in the US and Canada, and a near-record $279 million overseas, a grand total of well over half a billion around the globe.

Global Trade Snapshot - "The Pain Is Getting Worse"

In December 2013, in a sign of robust global trade driving demand for container ships, the Baltic Dry Index peaked at 2,330. By July 2014, rates had collapsed to 730. Today, rates have fallen to 471, the lowest since the recession began (in fact, the lowest ever). The BDI is a leading indicator pointing to worse trade conditions. Just as the 2014 collapse in the BDI reflected a collapse in global trade, the recent erosion in the BDI signals further trade weakness to come. Here's a snapshot of the meltdown.. and the pain is getting worse.

Futures Slide As Quad-Witching Has A Violently Volatile Start After Massive BOJ FX Headfake; Oil Tumbles

Following the latest BOJ statement, the market found itself wrongfooted assuming the BOJ was actually launching another episode of easing, sending the USDJPY soaring, until suddenly the realization swept the market that not only was the incremental action not really material, but even Kuroda spoke shortly after the announcement, confirming that "today's decision wasn't additional easing." The result was one of the biggest FX headfakes in recent days, perhaps on par with that from December 4 when EUR shorts were crushed, as the biggest carry pair first soared then tumbled and since the Yen correlation drives so many risk assets, also pulled down not only Japanese stocks but US equity futures.

Will 'Elites' Blow Up The GOP?

Has the GOP establishment learned nothing from history? What the elites have to realize is that it is they and the policies they produced that are the reason Trump, Carson and Cruz currently hold an overwhelming majority of Republican votes.

Cornering Russia - Risking World War III

Official Washington is awash with tough talk about Russia and the need to punish President Putin for his role in Ukraine and Syria. But this bravado ignores Russia’s genuine national interests, its “red lines,” and the risk that “tough-guy-ism” can lead to nuclear war. In short, Russia is being offered only the binary choice: to acquiesce to the “benevolent” hegemon, or to prepare for war.

About That Rate Hike...

This is where the Fed. now finds itself. Here they were. Just holding policy lines doing what they in their Ivory Tower contemplated and the so-called “smart crowd” insisted they do. And now the saying of “Between a rock and a hard place” might be an understatement. The world sits atop a tinderbox fueled by monetary policies that created them and awaits a match that could set it off in a blaze of who knows what. All in short order. Unless they don’t do anything except try their best Draghi impersonation and declare, “They too are once again at the ready to do what ever it takes!” Except – just not now.

Emerging Market Vulnerability - The Most Likely For Disruption From Fed Liftoff

The build-up in credit or leverage in many Emerging Market economies has been an important focus for EM investors given historical episodes of credit crunches and subsequent growth slowdowns. While broadly speaking, EM stocks began to drastically underperform DM stocks at the start of QE3, Goldman summarizes in a heat map, the EM nations with greatest potential for the upcoming Fed liftoff to cause a major disruption.

Jeremy Grantham Urges "Easily Manipulated" Americans To "Become More Realistic" About World's Demise

Americans have a broad and heavy bias away from unpleasant data. We are ready to be manipulated by vested interests in finance, economics, and climate change, whose interests might be better served by our believing optimistic stuff "that just ain’t so." We are dealing today with important issues, one so important that it may affect the long-term viability of our global society and perhaps our species. It may well be necessary to our survival that we become more realistic, more willing to process the unpleasant, and, above all, less easily manipulated through our need for good news.

Freeport McMoRan, World's Second Largest Copper Miner, Suspends Dividend

FCX announced today that its Board has suspended its annual common stock dividend of $0.20 per share. This action will provide cash savings of approximately $240 million per annum and further enhance FCX’s liquidity during this period of weak market conditions. FCX’s Board will review its financial policy on an ongoing basis and authorize cash returns to shareholders as market conditions improve.

This Is Why $20 Oil Is A Possibility

The day of reckoning has arrived for the oil price. After a year of "Oil Price Crash" in October the world managed record production of 97.09 Mbpd. Production momentum built in the period of high price, 2007 to 2014, is proving very difficult to switch off. It must be switched off and it seems to me the most likely scenario is sharply lower oil price in the near term.